Weekend in Review

on 29 November 2010


I don't know about y'all, but I'm exhausted.  Of course, I haven't been sleeping much lately, so that might be part of it, but the weekend was jam packed with fun and good times too.

My sister is running away to Europe this week with her only daughter.  They're going to Austria, Switzerland and Germany to tour the Christmas Marts and some museums and concerts as well.  She's been looking forward to this for so long that I'm not really jealous of her.  Not much.  Not right this minute.  Give me until next weekend and that might be different.  Anyway, we went up to her house to play on Saturday and I took a pumpkin cake because that's what I do.  It was fun and delicious all the way around.

Friday was my annual tradition of Clean Out and Haul Off.  It seems like when half the world is out shopping, I usually prefer to stay home and clear stuff out.  This time it was all stuff from the Boy's room.  It was good and sad all at the same time.

And Thursday, Thanksgiving was spent with my parents and my Grandma.  Mom and Dad did the turkey and the potatoes and dressing and Chris and I did a squash casserole and Pioneer Woman's green bean casserole and let me tell you--those beans were AWESOME.  Once the sauce was made I looked at Chris and said, "I could take a bath in this stuff!"  Mom made us pumpkin, pecan and apple pies and they were YUM.  It was nice and low key and we ended up watching Polar Express with the Boy.  He was really worried about their tickets.  It was awesome.

And the added benefit of having limited income, I'm done with my Christmas shopping.  I made my choices and sat down at the computer and ordered a couple of things for the Boy and a couple of things for Chris and we're done.  We're putting up the tree tonight for Family Night and then I'll set to work on cookies and toffee and other yummy and highly caloric things.

Oh!  And Chris has a phone interview tomorrow.  But then...some of you might already know that.  Think good things for my man, will you?

How was your weekend?

Propaganda Friday

on 26 November 2010

Since it's coming up soon...


on 24 November 2010

I have a long list of things that I'm thankful for this year.  I have a short list of things that aren't ideal, things that I might wish were different, or things I would scrap all together, but the list of things I'm grateful for is much longer.  And for that...that shift in perspective, I'm very grateful.

Most of all, it's these...these eternal, infinite blessings.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.  Now, let's have pie.

What I have been doing all. morning. long.

on 22 November 2010

Making Bagels!

I used Rose's recipe, which was so great because she had her father help her.  She asked him, during a taste test, "Dad, are they like what you used to eat when you were a kid?"  And he said, "No.  They're BETTER!"  And they really were heavenly.  I used 3 cups of whole wheat flour and 2+ cups of bread flour.  It yielded this lovely soft but chewy inside and a crispy-chewy-crunchy crust.  They are SO good.


Dude.  SOOOOO much work!  I told Chris, it would be worth it if we were still living in Brunswick and there wasn't a bagel place for miles around, but here we have a Brueggers just down the road, so I don't know how much I'll actually make them.  They are really freakin' good, so maybe...but we'll see.

The Boy seemed to like them...

That was our lunch today.  I had meant them for breakfast, and started them at 7:30...but they weren't done until 11--so we had them schmeared with cream cheese or peanut butter and jam...they were every bit as good as the ones I ate in New York.

In other news:  I got up this morning at 6:30 to work out.  I haven't worked out since well before we moved down here...which would be, oh, 5 months.  Let me just say, I kind of wanted to die.  And in the middle of my near-coronary experience in the living room I thought to myself, "This is why doctors say that exercise needs to be a routine.  Because when you get out of the routine it is just so very painful going back to it."  Over all, I'm pleased with myself for getting out of bed and getting (some of) it done.  Tomorrow my goal is to make it out bed a bit sooner so that I can get it all done.  My other goal is to be back in my jeans by Christmas.  And for those of you who know me well, you know this is pretty typical of me.  I wear loose clothes all summer long so I don't really notice that the ice cream as accumulated on my bum...until winter.  Then I have to bust my bum into some shape so that I can wear my jeans.  I have a longer range goal to actually...you know...STICK WITH the exercise come next spring and summer, but we'll see.  In the meantime, I have to put some bagels in the freezer before they go stale...

Propaganda Friday

on 19 November 2010

This is a shout out to all my Russian speaking cheloveks--also any of you who read.

Literacy is the path to Communism.

You heard it here first.

I am the Master...

on 17 November 2010

...at starting things, getting half way through and then ripping out everything I've done in order to start over.

Remember that lovely list of projects I had?  Remember how I was part way through with most of them? 


I ripped back the sock.  I have a nicely wound ball of yarn now.  In fact I have TWO because I ripped back both socks.  I wasn't happy with how I started to work the decreases and my goal is socks that are...NICE.  Wearable.  Not...homemade and poorly executed.

I guess it's not entirely true since I haven't ripped back Chris' sweater vest.  But then, I haven't knitted on it in a while either.  I did manage to set up my sewing machine in preparation for a big sewing fest.  This is how I get stuff done.  I'm the world's WORST multi-tasker so I don't even try any more.  I focus all of my attention (or as much as I have to spare) on one thing and make a highly concentrated effort and in the end I do a better job on the one thing at a time than I would have done if I had tried to do more than one thing at once.

Incidentally, I'm home this week and it's NICE.

Except everyone's sick.  The Boy got it first and he graciously passed it on to Chris who then lovingly passed it on to me.  What can I say?  We, here at Burnstopia, believe in sharing.

Send help...also tissues

on 15 November 2010

So I managed to set up my project table on Saturday...it's not currently visible underneath all the crap on top of it...

And that stuff is still on top of it because we are ALL sick.

The Boy started late last week with a nose that could not breathe but did have the amazing ability to spout BUBBLES.  He had a rough night Thursday night followed by a rough day Friday but then he seemed to perk up on Saturday, which was convenient because Saturday was when Chris started coming down with it.

(Incidentally, the Boy no longer says BE-GOK-COPTER for helicopter.  He says the much less endearing HEP-I-COPTER and that makes me sad.)

Anyway, we all stayed home from Church yesterday because the men folk were too sick to inflict on others, but I was still fine so I fervently prayed that I might make it out unscathed.

You know, I firmly believe that we have a God of miracles, but that doesn't mean He can protect me from my child who thinks that every cup is a common cup of water and everyone else's food is fair game.  So being sick is the price I pay for indulging my child and his constant requests for BITES!

And you know, as I was sneezing sneezing sneezing and blowing blowing blowing last night and Chris was apologizing for me being sick, I looked at him and said, "It's worth it.  If the choice is have a kid and get sick or not have a kid and still get sick, I'd rather have the kid."

I still managed to start 1 of 3 baby hats I'm making up for friends.  I love doing baby hats, so they're so tiny and fast and soft and just so adorable.  I know they won't fit the babies long (and not at all if they come out with ginormous heads like we have in our family), but for the moment, they're so tiny and sweet that I'm thoroughly enjoying the process of working on them.

And on that note, I'm taking my sinuses and going to have a long, hot steam.  Happy Monday, y'all.

Soupy Saturdays

Once the weather cooled off here, Chris and I instituted Soup on Saturdays.  We're all home together so we have some time to cook up a big pot of warmy goodness.  We make it a point to buy some crusty bread and we end up with an enormous bowl of soup in the fridge to eat on all week long.

So far we've made:

  • Pioneer Woman's Corn Chowder
  • Mushroom Barley soup (and oh my HECK this one was GOOD)
  • Russian Borscht
  • Roasted Tomato Soup (this one is a gold standard in Burnstopia)
We've got a lovely cottage-pie stew on deck, a creamy baked potato chowder and I'm starting to think about attempting a fish chowder--but I need a decent recipe...I'm not shelling out a ton of money for 3 or more different kinds of fish if it's just going to be meh.

The mushroom-barely was from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything and I futzed with it until I came up with this super thick, rich lovely stew like meal.  With some toasted rosemary bread it was heaven itself.

I've never actually had borscht before so it was fun to make.  I love the technicolor beets and you know, anything with sour cream as a condiment is delicious.  I started saying numbers in Russian to my Boy just to mess with his head and he's become addicted to them.  He comes up to me and shouts, "DVA-PYAT!"  Which is "TWO-FIVE!"  and I know it's my job to recite them and he chants them after me.  I know he has no idea what they mean but it just makes me laugh to hear him speaking Russian.  I've started doing the same with French and he loves them too, but doesn't know them quite as well as the Russian ones.  If I get him started he can say all of the numbers in order from 2-10...1 is still hard for him.  Mostly, I'm just sowing seeds, hoping that in the years to come as we sit down to work on foreign languages it will come a little easier to him than it otherwise would.

I also found this recipe for grilled cheese sandwiches using pesto and fresh mozzarella (which the Boy says, "RELLA!") so one afternoon we made up some grilled cheese sandwiches with pesto and moz and finished off the soup.  It was warm and delicious.

The Corn Chowder was good, but Chris made it really spicey!  So I poured it over plain baked potatoes and topped it with a little cheese (feta or cheddar, both were good) and that mellowed the spicey quite a bit.

So tell me, how are you enjoying the cooler weather?

Propaganda Friday

on 12 November 2010

I have an ironic affection for World War 2 propaganda.  I gather it up and use them for bookmarks and postcards for certain people.  Since I'm short on stories, I thought I'd treat you all to some of my favorites over the next few weeks.


The Delicate Art of Procrastination

on 10 November 2010

So I was supposed to be taking time off from blogging to work on other projects.  Here is an incomplete list:

  • Knit washcloths to replace my ratty ones.
  • Knit socks for the Boy (a pair of wooly blue ones, and a thinner pair of stripey blue/grey ones)
  • Knit a simple, cozy sweater vest in wool for Chris.
  • Bake some bread.
  • Knit a kitty-cat hat for my Boy (I convinced him to wear a hat by putting kitty cat ears on it...now I just have to make it!).  Why?  Why does he hate to wear a hat?  Even when it's pouring rain?  And cold?  The child adamantly refuses to wear a hat.  I'm hoping the addition of ears will make him more amenable...
  • Sew up some aprons since most of my t-shirts (and some of my pants) have bleach stains.  Apparently, I'm a messy cleaner.
  • Sew up a baby blanket for my friend Sarah R. Who's having a Boy!  Am SO excited for her!  And Sarah B. who is having another girl!  I'm excited for her too!  And now I  can rationalize buying and sewing up this super girly fabric that I've had my eye on! 
  • Go back to working out daily.
  • Go back to baking our bread.
  • I have two separate freelancing projects that need work.
  • Read.  Read.  Read.

Want to know what I've actually gotten done?
  • I'm half-way through the washcloths.
  • I'm half-way through one sock.  Not one pair.  One SOCK.  I still need to shape the toe...
  • I have the cuff done on the first of the stripey socks.
  • I'm about 1/47th done with the sweater vest.  At the rate I'm going, I might finish sometime in the next 4 years.
  • Aprons still UNCUT, needless to say, they are as yet, unsewn.
  • I haven't even BOUGHT the fabric for either Sarahs' bay-bay!
  • I'm doing some exercises but I wouldn't call it working out.
  • I haven't baked a loaf of bread since we moved.
  • I've cast on the hat for my Boy.  In fact, I've cast it on 3 times...and all 3 times I messed it up and had to pull it out.  Needless to say I've set it aside for a moment.
  • I did manage to finish Hons and Rebels by Jessica Mitford.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.  I was having a hard time settling in to anything and I finally figured out that I really needed to read something HAPPY, but sadly, my library isn't stocked with anything happy--nothing at all!  So I started and read about half of four or five different books and couldn't figure out why...then I suspected what was wrong.  I picked out Hons and Rebels because I had read a couple of books by her sister Nancy and they were hilarious.  It didn't disappoint.  It was funny with sad parts, instead of my usual sad with no funny at all.  It seems to have maybe broken the streak of not being able to settle in to anything.  
  • I haven't even touched the freelancing.  That's my big goal for Saturday.

I've been trying to think about what exactly I HAVE been doing all this time...
  • Um.  I worked part time.
  • ...um...my sister comes to visit every Thursday.  We have some good conversations!
  • the Boy looks at me and says, "Mama SIT!"  and I sit and we play and wrestle and tickle and laugh.
  • Chris and I have been re-watching Battlestar Galactica...
  •  I'm doing pretty well putting dinner on the table every night...I found this great blog called Dinner: a Love Story and it's fabulous.
  • Ruby has had 2 viruses in the past 6 weeks.  TWO!  One was malicious the other one was just annoying.  Chris was my valiant techy and fixed everything up.  Part of the problem is that we both have about four different malware/protective  software on each machine and one program picks up the virus and can't delete it because the other 3 are attacking it too. 

And that's about it.  That's been my life for the past couple of weeks.  Not much going on.  The Boy keeps us cracking up.  At least once a day Chris watches him and says, "I love that kid."  Or, "He is just so awesome!"  And he really is.

The Beginnings of a Manifesto

on 08 November 2010



Not so much has changed.

Chris still doesn't have a job.  He's continuing to send in applications, emailing and calling his contacts in the hopes that someone will push him to the front.  The problem is that it's just slower than slow.  We're both discouraged and feeling impatient.

My last day is Friday.  I'm past ready to be done.  I feel like the whole thing was a huge waste--a waste in time, money, frustration and disruption for the Boy, and exhaustion for me?  And for what?  We didn't really make enough money from it to make a huge difference.  And that makes me more frustrated and irritated than I can accurately convey in words.

I have a new respect for working mothers.  I should qualify that statement.  I have a huge new respect for mothers who are forced by circumstances to work outside the home.  Their lives are incredibly difficult, none of their choices are easy, and I'd be willing to bet good money that most of them are just doing the best they can.

That said.  I have a Bachelors degree from the University of Washington.  I graduated with honors.  I speak three languages.  I have a masters degree from the University of Georgia, I used all three of those languages in my thesis.  I've taught in a university, I've done administrative work in a variety of professional settings from a major research university to the Port of Seattle.  I've traveled the length and breadth of this country and in parts of western Europe.  And what I can tell you is this:

In comparison with all of that I choose Motherhood any day of the week.

It's hard.  Some days more so than others.  It's thankless and exhausting.  It's repetitive and monotonous.  It's sticky and noisy.  And yet.  At the end of every single day, I tuck my boy in to bed and I know in my bones that I am doing the work I was sent here to do.  I know that in the course of the day, I've done something meaningful and good.  In all my years, and in the variety of work I've done, I NEVER felt that at the end of the day.

I don't feel for a moment that my education is wasted, that my potential is somehow wasted.  I feel that there can be no more demanding need for my intellect, my skills and talents than to Mother this amazing boy.