Monday, December 31, 2012


Another thing I've been busy doing is visiting thrift stores.  Violet and I went to a big one near the art studio where she takes lessons.  It was after her class on a Saturday before Christmas.  Boy, was that place busy.  She found a new sweater.  I found some various craft items including a BIG BAG of felt pieces for less than a dollar.  Some pieces were small, but others were full size.  Definitely got my money's worth as we can use it for many Juliette projects.

That same day we visited 2 used book sales, one a book store run by a local environmental group and the other the Friends of the Library at a neighboring town.  Violet found an armload of books at both.

We cleaned out her closet last week and had 4 bags of outgrown clothes between the two of us.  She agreed to go with me to our local thrift store to donate them.  Of course, we had to go in.  Turns out clothes were 50% off.  She found 3 pairs of jeans, 2 sweaters and 2 other shirts.  I found 2 cardigans and 2 shirts.  Total price?  $29.

Yesterday she mentioned that there was another shirt there that she was thinking about.  I called the store and they were open.  We went back and the clothes were still 50% off.  Violet came home with another pair of jeans, several shirts and a jacket.  I got a pair of p.j. pants, another cardigan, and 2 more shirts.  Plus a neat scarf.  And a pair of boots.  The boots were marked $6 and weren't part of the sale.  But when the lady rang us up, she only charged us 6c for the boots, she missed the two zeros.  She was rather frazzled at the time with a crazy lady on the phone.  We weren't rushing her or anything.  I didn't discover it until we got back home.  I wasn't going to drive back across town to correct it.  I would have said something if I saw the mistake when we were still there.  But sometimes the mistakes are in the store's favor, so it will even out in the long run.  And if I still feel guilty next time I'm there, they have a donation jar.  I can drop some money in there.  (It is a not-for-profit that supports several great local charities to help adults with disabilities and a women's shelter.  I love supporting them.)  Anyway, today's total?  $32. 

In the Spring we plan to go back and try to do another shopping spree when they have the summer clothes out.  We both needed a boost to our wardrobes.  Oh, more about the boots.  They look like they've never been worn and are rubber, about ankle high with a really good tread.  I keep slipping on the ice this winter, falling all the way one time, so I wanted the good tread.  Hopefully I won't fall again now that I have my practically stolen boots.

Happy New Year, everyone!  May your thrift outings be filled with good finds in 2013!

Saturday, December 29, 2012


That's the answer to the question, "What in the world has Freakmom been up to?"  Reading.  Borderline obsessive, in need of an intervention, reading.  While I've missed my daily blog writing (okay, so I haven't been "daily" in months, I was at one time), blog reading, forum visiting, e-mailing and other internet activities, I've really been enjoying reading.  Anywhere from one to three hours a day.  So what does Freakmom read when she's obsessively got her nose in a book?  Lots of stuff!

I've been reading for my class at Abigail Adams Academy.  For January we are reading about George Washington.  I found the book selected for the class to be, well fine.  But the author, polar opposite from my beliefs.  It was Being George Washington by Glenn Beck.   I read it.  You can't (in good conscience at least) criticize a book without reading it first.  I have to say one thing for it, it got me more curious about Washington.  So I did what any self-respecting feminist would do, sought out a book about his wife.  I've been reading Martha Washington: An American Life by Patricia Brady.  Now there's a book I can recommend.  I am learning a lot about Mrs. Washington that I never knew.  And seeing a side of George that a military history just doesn't go into.

I'm also on a women's literature kick.  It started last summer when I drove to Michigan by myself and wanted some books to listen to in the car.  I got some Edna Ferber.  My all time favorite author.  I listened to the Emma McChesney short stories (in three collections, Roast Beef Medium, Personality Plus and Emma McChesney and Co.).  Those led to Fanny Herself and So Big

Also while driving I listened to Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley.  I had never read it.  It was fabulous!  And written by a women.

Then looking for a copy of Joy Luck Club on my book shelves (I didn't find it, I'm currently searching book sales and thrift stores for it), I found my copy of Mankiller: A Chief and Her People the autobiography of Wilma Mankiller, former chief of the Cherokee Nation.  I had never read it. So I did!  Fabulous!  Simply fabulous!  Talk about a strong woman who went through some difficult times.  And she told the history of the Cherokee people.  Although we can't trace it on paper, due to divorces, remarriages, lost birth certificates and adoptions, my mom is half Cherokee.  (Also half Choctaw, which we also can't prove.  Her father was 100% Choctaw, brown as brown can be...his military paperwork lists his race as "white".  The man wasn't white.  Trust me.  But you didn't claim to be Indian during World War I or II if you could claim to be white.  I guess the military wasn't too picky then about details.  He lied about his race.  He lied about his age twice.  First to enlist in WWI he said he was older than he was, then in WWII he claimed to be younger.)

But I digress.  Great book, I highly recommend it.  Mankiller had a quote in the book by Alice Walker, author of The Color Purple.  I've never read any of her books, but I found myself searching through Amazon looking up titles.  I found Anything We Love Can Be Saved, a collection of her essays about her activism.  It was in at our library so I checked it out.  And guess what?  I loved it!  Okay, I have to warn you, Alice Walker is a strong woman and tackles really difficult subjects.  She could scare the Hail Marys of out of a lot people.  It brought me back to my college days when my friends and I were taking Women's Studies classes and questioning "the man" a lot.  I intend to read more by her.  She is phenomenal!  And I want dreadlocks now.  Alas, my straight, limp and lifeless as can be hair will never form dreads.  But golly are they beautiful!

Now I'm reading The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck.  Can you believe I've never read any Pearl Buck?  I'm really enjoying it too.

And in between all this I've renewed my love affair with Donald Westlake and read all the Dortmunder novels.  If you like comic crime novels, where the bad guys are really rather good and never quite get away with it but give you lots of laughs along the way, pick up a Dortmunder.  Your librarian can show you them.  I've also reread all of Carl Hiaasen's novels for adults and am working on his novels for kids.  He writes environmental mysteries with lots of humor (and some really strange characters). 

So as you can see, I've been busy.  My library card has been getting quite a workout!  But it leaves little time for blogging.  Hope you have a wonderful New Year filled with good books!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

So Much for Having Extra Free Time in December

All year long I talk about how WE have all this extra time in December because activities grind to a halt and we don't have a big extended family to fill our holiday times with parties and other festivities and all the planning, shopping, baking, and doing that generally goes in to it.  Add in the 2 weeks vacation I am taking and I should be coasting through the days.

Well, that hasn't happened.  Thank goodness I am off from work because I don't know how I'd be squeezing work into the mix.  Activities are continuing through next Saturday this year.  And Violet's volunteen group has their storytime session at the library on the 27th.  We spent yesterday at my parents' helping with their Christmas tree and Dad and I went to lunch and shopping.  Today after art class we went to meet sled dogs as part of the town Square's holiday celebration.  The dogs were beautiful.  But it was raining and windy and muddy!  I guess it could have been cold and icy.  We also grabbed lunch out and hit 3 thrift stores.

Anyway, we've been busy making new decorations for our tree, since Bubbles is Destructo Cat.  I guess the candy cane reindeer are the only ones I've offloaded from the camera to my computer so far:

I'll get the others and post them.  And I need to take a photo of the full tree with all the decorations. This week we have a Christmas party with our Juliettes, are meeting my dad at the local historical museum to see the 50's Christmas living room, have a Christmas party/cookie exchange/lunch with the girls' club, as well as tennis and art class.  So: clean the house, get out the supplies for 3 crafts and making fudge, make cookies, box cookies for the exchange, oops first buy cookie ingredients, make 5 copies of the cookie recipe, make turkey/cheese roll-ups to take for the lunch dish to share, better get the ingredients when getting the cookies ones, make goodie bags for 10 friends, ask Violet if she wants to make them for 2 brothers as well - I think we have enough stuff, finish shopping, wrap presents, mail presents, send cards, and somethings else...

Oh yeah!  Enjoy my carefree time off from work!  Yeesh.  I guess this is why I usually go on vacation when I go on vacation!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

That Darn Cat

Bubbles loves the Christmas tree.  It didn't take her long to make it all the way to the top!

And start to take a nap

I call this one, "Cat Butt in Tree"

"But I'm so darned cute!"

Yes, it is proving to be an interesting Christmas time.  We didn't want to put up any sentimental or breakable ornaments.  It seems to be a wise decision.  Instead of lights we made paper chain.  We've since added some paper snowflakes too, which also help to brighten it up.  The ornaments are all either homemade or from a garage sale (years and years ago Mr. I. and I bought them) or the thrift store (Violet and I score big there on some ornaments on Monday, $2 for about 50 ball ornaments).

I have to say it is rather odd to have your Christmas tree shake and meow when you are quietly sitting by it.  I think it will come down the earliest ever this year.  By the 26th I expect we'll be tired of picking up ornaments and pulling kittens out of it.

The Afghan

Here it is, the afghan:

The squares are approximately one foot by one foot.  It became a nice-sized blanket. Violet has been sleeping with it on her bed and says it is really warm.  The squares are sewn together by some very not so neat whip stitches with white yarn.  Really, I am capable of much better sewing.  I should take it out and redo it neater.  But I was so tired of working on it, I just wanted to finish it.

That said, I do plan to do another some day.  I like the every other white scheme, but maybe some pastels next time for fun.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


I've been knitting again.  Actually, I haven't stopped.  The house is full of yarn. I can't go to the thrift store unsupervised, I come home with balls and balls of yarn.  Here's my latest completed project, a cute little teddy bear:

And so he won't get cold in the winter months, he's got a vest:

Doesn't he look snazzy?  It is too big for him.  I didn't follow directions and used needles that were one size too big.  But that's what I had.  And besides, I like baggy clothes, don't you?  Much more comfy.

I'm working on making him a friend:  a hot pink bunny.  The bunny will have a vest too.  Likely too big, I don't know that I'll get the right sized needles any time soon.  And I am very, very close to being finished with an afghan.  I've been knitting square after square after square.  I have them almost all sewed together.  I'll post that photo soon.

Monday, December 3, 2012

My Girl Scouts are the Best!

Today we had a Juliette meeting at our house.  Guess what those crazy families did?  They showed up with a giant card thanking me for leading their group!  And that's not all.  A $40 gift card from Amazon to get myself something special!! Can you believe it?  That was so sweet of them (the girls and the moms).  I was caught completely off guard!  They are so sneaky!  And super!

We've been together most of our homeschooling careers.  Sometimes one of our families have drifted off for a bit, but we always get back together.  The drifting is just due to overcommitments, that sort of thing.  We've never had a falling out.  We respect each other family's beliefs, interests and oddities.  They have been a great support group, and probably why we've never gotten involved in a big group.

So, today we painted Christmas cards.  Here are Violet's:

Their challenge was to use sponges and Q-tips for painting.  The Juniors are earning their Drawing and Painting badge (I'm going to get the Cadettes some sort of arts and crafts fun patch).  At the end of the meeting the other girls were saying how great Violet's were and how her art work is so much better than theirs and to "stop doing stuff so nice!" (with a laugh, of course).  I thought that was a nice complement.

We also made popcorn chains (Violet and Butterfly hung the ones Violet and I did out on the trees while waiting for Butterfly's mom to come.  Now it is raining hard.  So much for the popcorn.  Sigh.) 

Last Friday we met at the nearby town square where Mr. Incredible has his office (and where the outdoor scenes of Groundhog Day were filmed, which I've only mentioned a gazillion times, but you name drop where you can).  We visited an art gallery, looked at the community decorated Christmas trees on display in the Opera House, browsed a great boutique filled with Christmas decorations (which we later returned to and bought ribbon candy - something I couldn't find last year!), got hot chocolate/coffee from Starbucks (crashed Mr. Incredible's office and drank it at his conference table), and finally went on carriage rides around the square:

The city has free carriage rides on select days throughout the holiday season.  The driver and horse take you on a spin (a very slow spin) around the square.  It is so awesome!  I feel like I have the Christmas spirit for the first time in years.  We voted today that this will become a Juliette tradition.

In the photo, the building with the dome on it is the old courthouse.  It houses the art gallery we went to.  It used to have a Dick Tracy Museum too, but sadly that closed due to lack of funding.  If you look just to the right of it, behind the trees, across the street, and on the second floor, that's Mr. I's office.  See him waving?  Okay, you can't see it and he is probably at his computer working.  But he was there.  The photo was taken standing on the Opera House steps.  (The Opera House played the part of the hotel in the movie.)

In two weeks we have our last meeting of 2012.  We'll make some Christmas crafts and fudge.  I'm looking forward to it as much as the girls!  Did I mention they are the best!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

An Unconventional Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!  Does it feel to anyone else like they've been wishing people that for 2 weeks now?  I tell you, we sure know how to drag out a holiday.

Tomorrow we are going to my parents for the holiday.  The original plan was turkey breast, sweet potatoes, stuffing, gravy, pumpkin pie, all the usual stuff.  Then late last week my mom was diagnosed with gallstones.  She needs to have surgery for it, but it won't be until December.  In the meantime, to avoid a flare-up which would require emergency surgery she is avoiding all fatty foods.  Alcohol too, but she doesn't drink anyway.  She's on a very limited diet and due to not pleasant symptoms is avoiding most foods.  We let her decide what we'd all eat, if anything.  After all, the holiday should be about getting together with friends and family, not what is on the menu.  I offered to make soup or something light here, but she didn't want to travel and really didn't want to cook.

It has been decided to get subs from Blimpie's.  There's a Blimpie's in the 24-hour Walmart near their house.  She can get a sub and pick out from what she does want to try, and as she put it my dad will happily have anything she decides to pass on.  I have to say, we're all rather excited about the menu.  My dad and Mr. Incredible will go into town to get it.  We never eat at Blimpie's.  Subway is our usual go to sandwich place, but they are all closed.  Well, we think they are.  I called a few that were definitely closed.  Then I called the one that is in between our two towns, and the brain trust that answered the phone said they didn't have the schedule posted yet.  This was on Tuesday.  I said, Thanksgiving is in 2 days, you don't know if you'll be open or not?  She was sorry but she didn't know, and I could call back that morning if I wanted.  Yeah, that won't be happening.  Blimpie's could tell us they'd be open from 9-4, then reopening at 8:30 that night. 

So while yes, it is terrible that the Blimpie's people won't be home with their families tomorrow, my family really appreciates that they will be working.  They are giving us an option that keeps my mom from feeling guilty that she's depriving us all of a Thanksgiving dinner.  And gives the rest of us peace of mind that mom won't overdo it trying to cook for us.  Clean up will be a snap.  And we'll get an Unconventional Thanksgiving to remember.

By the way, I voted for buttered toast, popcorn, jelly beans, and something that looks like cheese doodles (but we can't ever decide from the animation).  But that lost out.  The beagle and little yellow bird will have to serve dinner in a different backyard.

Whatever is on your menu, I hope you have as much fun and laughter as I expect we will!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Making Decisions

The other night I realized I'm putting too much pressure on Violet to decide on her own what to do about all her extra curricular activities, what to keep and what to drop.  She hates making decisions, especially if she thinks it will hurt the feelings of others.  So I told her she has complete veto power, but that I'm deciding for her.  She was so relieved.  A couple of days later I told Mr. Incredible what I was doing.  I thought he was going to object.  Which is why I didn't tell him at first.  But he agreed as long as the decisions were what she was going to want.  Which they are.  And she can say no.

First I told her to keep art class.  She loves her art instructor and the kids in her class.  She loves art.  She is never so animated after an activity as she is after art.  She talks about what they are doing in class, what they talk about, what she said in class, what other kids say, what the instructor says.  She is absolutely bubbling over!  It is a keeper.

Also, she's keeping Volunteens at the library.  It is the same thing afterwards, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk.  And she talks during it.  She doesn't talk in groups.  But with both of these activities she is opening up.  She likes the kids in Volunteens.  She doesn't know them well, but she likes them.  This one stays.

Juliettes at our house will continue, it wasn't up for debate.  We've committed to the other families to go through May at least.  And we all love that group. We've been with most of those girls for 7 years now! 

Homeschool Girls Club where the do Girl Scout activities is out.  She has never, in the year and a half with this group, been half as excited after a meeting as she is with art and the library.  Many times she's in tears or fighting them off.  I think she likes the girls, but just not in the full group setting. She's uncomfortable with the group.  They meet weekly, for an hour and a half and it is a half an hour away from our house.  That translates to 10 hours a month for a group she is lukewarm about at best.  I've been saying weekly is too much for us, but the other mom doesn't want to reduce it.  We're done with them.  Thank you very much, we'll see you around the homeschool scene.  (I still have to tell the mom.  I'm kind of dreading it.  I'll take any advice you have to offer, I don't break up well.  I'm thinking we'll just miss most of the meetings (or all) between now and Christmas and then say we won't return for next year.) 

As they say in politics, tennis is too close to call.  She's had 3 out of 7 lessons.  She likes it.  But she isn't as enthusiastic about it as art and the library.  I said she should go to the other 4 lessons, then we'll decide.  There is also a tennis/swim class at the same place on another day.  She could do that.  45 minute tennis lesson and 45 minute swim lesson.  She's a great swimmer, but she could always work on her endurance and swim strokes during the swim part.  It is only $3 more per week for that class.  I'm thinking maybe another 7 week session or two before stopping lessons.  Maybe with swimming, maybe not.  The polls don't close on that one for a while yet.

Tomorrow we are going to check out the karate class.  I think I said before that my dad is going with us, and has offered to pay for at least the first month of lessons if she wants to do it.  I'm strongly considering waiting until March or even summer for starting it, if it does look to be a good fit.  I had reservations about adding anything, especially one that will require driving distances in the winter.  But then late last week my mom learned she needs to have surgery for gallstones.  They will have out of pocket expenses for that, no matter what insurance does and doesn't cover.  So I mentioned to her to let my dad know we may postpone lessons to give our schedule a chance to settle down but I hope he won't be disappointed if she doesn't start right away.  I really want to wait to add anything new.  It just has the added benefit of not overloading them with expenses at this time either.

So there you have it.  I haven't gotten a single veto.  I can make the tough decisions so she doesn't have to "disappoint" her friends.  I'm all for kid-led activities.  But sometimes you gotta be the mom.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Busiest Week

This past week was by far the busiest we've had all semester.  We had at least one thing everyday, most days two or more things.  We had the Juliettes here on Monday.  We made black bean and chick pea wraps.  They are high in antioxidants and we were learning which food had those.  We decorated our boxes for the Thanksgiving donations and sorted our canned and boxed foods for them.  On Tuesday, Violet's best friend, Butterfly, came over and they made cookies with a twist.  The twist was they mixed, matched and experimented with add-ins such as chocolate chips, cocoanut, mini marshmallows, pecans and M&M's.  The results were delicious.

On Wednesday Violet had tennis.  The other girls she knows weren't there.  She didn't seem to mind.  That night I had to go to the Girl Scout leader meeting to get the info on the Girl Scout cookie sales.  I got to catch up with my mentor and see a few old friends.  It was nice, I hadn't been to a meeting in 2 years.  I may go to a few more, we'll see.  It is nice not "having" to go.

On Thursday was a tour of a local coffee shop where we learned about coffee production, importation, roasting and brewing.  The owner did a fabulous job.  I hope the mom who set it up coordinates a thank you card for him.  (Whenever I do a tour I make an oversized card and get everyone to sign it, and encourage the girls to decorate as well.  Sorry, I won't do it for someone else's tour.)  On the way home we picked up the candy and nuts from the Fall Product Sale, and went to the grocery store.

Friday was the Golden Dragon Acrobats at our local theater for the school day performance.  They were AMAZING!  I think gravity must have been turned off because there was no way under the laws of physics that they could have done what they did.  Friday night I had to go out to deliver the Thanksgiving boxes to the food pantry.

Tired yet?  We're not done.  Take a quick catnap in the car if you want.  Art class is Saturday morning.  I went to Starbucks and had a cup of their Christmas roast.  No, I didn't go to the independent coffee place that gave us the tour.  It was a bit farther away.  Okay, not unreasonably far away, but gosh darn, I was getting tired of driving.

Our plan was to meet Mr. Incredible after art class and go to lunch at the Chinese place right around the corner from his office.  He called and said we needed a new plan, they don't open until dinnertime on Saturdays.  Oops!  Our friends' Italian restaurant, which is also right by his office, recently stopped serving lunch too!  Bummer.  So we picked up Wendy's and had a picnic in his office.  You see, we were going around the other corner from his office to the movies to see Wreck-It Ralph.  Great flick, we loved it!

Saturday night I finished up work for the week.  I am off until after Thanksgiving weekend.  It stunk to have to work so much on Saturday before I could hang it up, but honestly with all our outings I hadn't logged many hours.  Then this morning, Violet and I drove to my boss' house and delivered her candy and nut order, plus one to take to the office.  But mainly we dropped off my work computer to go in to the IT department for some updates while I'm off.  On Wednesday when she's working from home we'll go back and get it.  Kind of a pain, but much less than having to take it to the office myself.  The IT guy said one of the updates takes 8 hours.  He usually starts it in the afternoon and finishes it the next morning.  So this worked really well.

Finally, to reward ourselves for a busy week, we stopped at Dunkin Donuts and bought a dozen to bring home, and coffee for me and hot chocolate for Violet. 

We're not having another week like that again anytime soon.  That was nuts! 

Saturday, November 10, 2012


This morning was art class.  Violet had a good time and was talking up a storm about things the different kids said and so on.  Mr. Incredible had offered to start taking her when I have to go to the office on Saturdays, if she wanted to stay in it.  I told her and I think she might take him up on it.  Seems like she mainly wanted to drop art if she had to switch to an evening class.  I'm glad she might keep it up.  She's really good.  Her art teacher is terrific.  And I haven't heard her talk so excitedly about a group since, well since Volunteens on Thursday!  I think tennis is still history.

I went to Starbucks during art class.  I think Mr. I likes of idea of getting to go there himself while she's in class.  It is such a nice treat.  Coffee, quiet time, wifi, it doesn't get much better than that.  Well, it would be better if I could be in slippers and sweatpants instead of proper shoes and clothes, but those pesky public health regulations don't really support that.

I've cleaned the house and tomorrow will get things set up for our Juliette meeting.  We're making our Thanksgiving box to donate to the local food pantry.  The Girl Scouts in our area do it every year.  And we're going to learn about antioxidants and make a black bean and chick pea pita pocket which is high in antioxidants.  Except ours will be in whole wheat tortillas instead of a pita because we couldn't find pitas at Walmart.  The Juniors are earning the old Looking My Best badge and the new Simple Meals, the Cadettes are earning Eating for Beauty.  We'll also talk about the importance of sleep for looking good.  And we'll list some foods high in fat, sugar and salt and pick one to make at the next meeting, but healthier.  It should be busy and fun.

I have volunteered to coordinate all the cookie sales for Juliettes in our service unit.  I am such a control freak.  I think I'll be happier doing the extra work in order to have more of a say in how they work.  Remind me of that this winter!

We've had super warm weather today and yesterday.  It is supposed to stay the same tomorrow, then turn cold and maybe even snow! 

Friday, November 9, 2012

Like the new look?

After my last post I was playing around with Blogger and decided to give Freakmom's Space a new coat of paint.  What do you think?  I kinda like it.  It fits me.

Let's see, yesterday was Volunteens.  Violet REALLY likes it.  On the way home she said she likes it better than the girls' club group she's in (that's the "extra" Girl Scout group she goes to).  She signed up for 2 times to go decorate the library.  One was to decorate for Christmas/winter holidays.  We're not 100% sure what the other decorating will be.  We think it is to do a bulletin board for the winter reading program.  We do know the day and time she's supposed to be there.  At least we have that down.

The kids worked on their storytime.  They chose a theme of "fish".  She said she had fun picking out books and they are doing a craft of fish in a fish bowl.  I think it is a paper craft, I'm not sure.  I'll try to get photos and post.  It isn't until the end of December though, so it will be awhile.  Violet isn't reading stories.  She wasn't comfortable with it at all.  But I'm so thrilled she's going and participating and having fun!

Today I called the karate studio we're thinking of having her join.  I spoke with one of the owners.  He was thrilled when I said who my dad was.  My dad learned from the same grand master as this guy did and Dad had his own studio for years.  Dad, Violet and I are going to the studio to watch a class, and then Violet will get to try a free class.  I'm going to try to find a time to get over there for her to sneak in and watch for a few minutes before then.  Their class dates directly overlap with activities we already have.  Unless we go later in the evening, and I'd rather not.  So I think Violet's pretty much made up her mind that if she likes the looks of karate, tennis is history after this session.  She'll know the basics and will be able to goof around in the park on a tennis court with friends.  That was her main goal.  I think she's also going to take a semester off from art and pick that up again late spring or summer. 

I'm glad things are falling into place slowly.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


I was busy with phone calls for work today.  I had mixed feelings, I had to leave the last call early, right when they finally started involving me with questions, etc.  I felt bad that I had to leave, not helping my career or position any.  But, they also started the meeting over a half an hour late.  Not my fault, and they knew ahead of time what time I had to leave.  Oh well, I'm not going to lose sleep over it.

This was week 2 of tennis.  Three of Violet's friends were in class this week, none of them had made it last week.  Violet didn't mind that she had the chance last week to learn her way around last week without them there.  She did say the class had about twice as many people this week as last, and she liked it smaller.  She's got 5 weeks left.  I'm not pushing her to take another session or to quit after that.  It is only 5 minutes from our house, which is awesome.  But it does take up a precious time slot and we could funnel the money to something else. 

Tomorrow is Volunteens at the library.  They will be planning the children's storytime session they are putting on during Christmas break.  I'll take a book or my computer and hangout while she's there.  Another one that is only 5 minutes from home.  But this one I do want to see her continue, at least for a while.

The election is over.  Some of my candidates won.  Some lost.  Now comes the waiting to see what actually happens.  But these are politicians we're talking about, nothing will happen.  The economy will still be in the dumpster.  The healthcare system will still suck.  There won't be enough good jobs.  Roads will either be in horrible disrepair or hopelessly blocked off due to construction.  And no one elected will give a rat's ass about me or my family or my concerns, no matter what they say.

Not that I'm bitter or cynical or anything.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Lots to do

Busy day today.  We spent the morning running around.  I wanted to go vote (so I can reserve my right to complain).  Violet wanted to buy some Christmas material to make some pillow cases, and I wanted to get the material while it was on sale at JoAnn.  We needed groceries and gas, and needed to pick up some holds at the library.  While we were out and about, in mixed with the rain...snowflakes!  Yikes!  What is up with that?!

I had some work to do.  The boss was back today, I was very happy about that.  Had a short phone call meeting with her.  All is good.  Or least the same as always. 

We were busy with school work.  Violet is kicking math's ass these days.  She's doing Teaching Textbooks Pre-Algebra and is out of the percents, fractions, etc. stuff and into the real beginning algebra stuff.  She has a brain that works well with that.  She can solve those equations in her head with amazing speed.  Thank goodness, she's struggled with the arithmetic topics.  She's enjoying it much more.

About 4:00 we wrapped things up and played a round of Phase 10.  We love that game.  We don't play 100% by the published rules.  We've altered a couple of things so that they make better sense to us.  For instance, even if you don't phase in a round, you still move on to the next phase in the next hand.  I think we need to get out the rules and learn to play Rummy.  I used to play, but I don't remember how any more.  Violet is really good at Phase 10, so I think she'd enjoy it.

Mr. Incredible is watching election results.  I drift through every once in a while and make fun of the fact that they can declare winners with only 2% of the vote in.  I did peek at the local newspaper's website and I think I'm going to be disappointed with the local elections.  Well, I'd be disappointed if I didn't fully expect my picks to lose.  I don't vote with the majority here in my county.

Tomorrow I have a few phone calls for work, so Violet will get some time off.  Then she has tennis in the afternoon.  Always on the go!

Monday, November 5, 2012


Yes, tomorrow is finally the election.  I know it won't all be over after that, but once the polls close at least part of the madness will end.  There will be weeks, months, years of bickering to come.  But at least by then people will stop trying to tell me how to vote.  Yes, I can make up my own mind.  Crazy, huh?

I have been avoiding some homeschool forums for a few weeks.  I can't take the bickering.  Sorry, no matter how you try to spin it, in my opinion it isn't "educational" discussion, it is soap box fillabustering.  Except I don't have to listen.  I can click to another website.  Or even better, pick up a book and read.

I've been reading So Big by Edna Ferber.  She won a Pulitzer Prize for it.  I read it a long time ago in high school.  I am loving it now.  I think her books are definitely better to read when you are older.  I loved her writing then.  But now I get so much more of it.  If you loved Edna Ferber but haven't read her work lately, I'd highly recommend picking one up again.  She is a master.  If you ask me.  Which you didn't, but this is my blog. 

The weekend was pretty uneventful.  Art class for Violet, turned in Fall Product Sales orders, cleaning, reading, relaxing.  A nice time.  I didn't work at all, even better!  I am pretty caught up on things so I've been coasting along quietly.  The boss has been on vacation and gets back tomorrow.  Things will pick up when she's back.  But I am so glad she's returning.  Bad things happen when she's gone for too long.  Some weird things happened last week.  I'm glad she's coming back before they can turn from weird to bad. 

So happy election day everyone!  Just think, soon we'll be able to answer the phone again!!  (Could this possibly be what our Founding Fathers had in mind?  I keep picturing James Madison rolling in his grave.)

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Tomorrow: A Day Off

Finally, tomorrow we don't have to go anywhere!  I love those days.  And so does Violet.  I think that is another sign we have too many activities this year.

Today was the field trip to the photography studio.  It was fantastic!  She showed us all around.  Did some photos.  Demonstrated some lighting techniques.  Showed us what she does in touch up and computer artistic enhancement.  We learned a lot and had fun.

We've been talking that Violet should take karate or self-defense starting after the first of the year.  My dad is a former karate instructor and had his own studio while I was growing up.  I took classes, of course.  It was really good for me.  I should have been more serious about it, but my parents wanted to be sure not to push me into it.  A little gentle shove would have helped.  Or maybe they were right and that same gentle shove could have been disastrous.  Parents never know.  We do what we can.

Anyway, I think Violet does want to give it a try.  My parents have offered to pay for it if she wants to try it out.  But looking at the schedule something else will have to go.  So in December, we'll sit down and take a hard look at activities.  Violet knows this and is happy to do it.  I've told her she doesn't have to give anything up, but if she does decide to add something, something will need to go just to fit in all in and save our sanity.  She's in agreement.  Like I said, she loves the rare days home and wouldn't mind a few more.  The only thing that can't go is the Juliette group that meets at our house.  We've committed to the girls for the full school year.  And I think it is one of Violet's favorite activities.  I'd really like to see her continue with the volunteer group at the library.  I think that has potential to be really, really good for her.  I think she likes it a lot too.  So that leaves the other Cadette group, art lessons, and tennis. 

We'll have to wait and see. And we all know how good I am at that!  I wanted to go ahead and schedule a photo shoot for high school graduation photos, in four and a half years!  You know, get it on the calendar now while it is fresh in our minds. 

Yes I have a problem. 

Hello, my name is Freakmom and I am a compulsive planner.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Hello? Anybody Out There?

That was us standing in the door with our bowl of candy tonight.  We got some trick or treaters, but not as many as past years.  It was cold, in the mid-40's, and windy.  And I guess our neighborhood is getting older.  At one point this place was overrun with toddlers and school age kids.  Now we have teenagers and empty nesters.  Candy was given out by the handful because I didn't want to be stuck with it (we didn't buy chocolate this year).

Tennis went fine.  Violet said she was the worst player there, but wasn't overly down about it.  There were a couple of other new kids, but most were returning.  Two friends of hers who are in the class weren't there today.  Probably off for Halloween.  She was just as glad, not that she doesn't want to be in class with them, but because it gave her a chance to get acclimated (the girls have been taking the class since last year).  Violet is planning on going back next week.

Tomorrow is a field trip to a photographer.  There is something nearly every single day!  I'm tired.  I'd better post this and go curl up with a book.  Blogger is acting wonky and I don't want to lose this!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


Ironing day was a great success.  The girls enjoyed tracing and ironing on the transfers to the pillow cases so much, they didn't get to the fuse beads.  But I promised to bring those back out at a future meeting.  Our birthday girl brought us delicious brownies!  Man, oh man, I was wishing there was a polite way to keep the leftovers!  But I sent them back with her.  My Cadettes happily did their own ironing, but the Juniors didn't want to.  I did get the youngest Junior to do a little at the end.  Their sashes look good and they were so happy to get them updated. 

I am so pleased at how well our little Girl Scout group is going this year.  The moms have been chipping in with miscellaneous supplies.  One family sent a whole stack of white card stock (they have a family printing business which uses it).  We'll turn that into Christmas and/or thank you cards soon!  There's so much, I'm thinking Valentines too.  Another family had a bunch of clay pots we can decorate.  I'm just so thrilled to have the participation!  And we're putting together a Thanksgiving box (a tradition for our service unit).  The moms are all busy splitting up the list of what to go in it.  I love it! 

Today was more stressful.  Violet and I met with her orthodontist to see what the plan would be for phase 2 of braces.  Mr. Incredible and I had talked about it a lot, and agreed that this was something we should do now while she's young and everyone else has them on too.  They are needed.  She could get by without them, but it will be much better in the long run.  There could be some serious issues as an adult if a few things are fixed.  Not immediate, but some day.  And it isn't her fault that we have a lot less income (and no dental insurance) than we did a few years ago.  Tonight it was decided we'll wait until after the first of the year to get them on, then she won't have to have them for Thanksgiving and Christmas.  They are talking probably 12 months, maybe a little longer, so if she gets them on after the New Year, she'll have them on for one holiday season, but not two.

You'd think having made a decision that has been hanging over my head for months would make me feel better, but no.  I'm still stressed.  I know it is the best, I want her to get them.  I just hate making her wear them, having to dip into savings to pay for them, and just everything!  (I know you all know what I mean).  I'm a bundle of guilt and stress and anger tonight. 

Tomorrow is Halloween.  We'll be back a little after Trick or Treating starts, Violet has her first tennis lesson.  I'm worried about how that will go too.  I hope she enjoys it.  I hope the instructors are nice.  I just hope, you know?

I would say I'm overreacting to everything, but you know, I think I am just "mom-reacting" to everything.  Well, that and I am a control freak who isn't in control of much this week! 

Where are the chocolate bars for tomorrow?  I think I need a few now!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Ironing Day

Tomorrow is Ironing Day for the Juliette Group at our house.  I've invited the girls to bring their sash or vest and any badges, journeys or patches that need to go on them and we'll set up the ironing board and give it a go.  The girls were starting to get a little less interested in the badges themselves although they still love the activities.  Then I learned it was because the badges just sit there and aren't getting on their sashes/vests.  Well, then, let's iron! 

Since we'll have the iron out, I decided we needed to do some iron related crafts.  I've bought them all a plain white pillow case, and I have transfer paper and pencils.  I brought out the designs we used for Shrinky Dinks last year.  And I got a great set of fabric markers.  The idea is they will trace their design choice on the transfer paper, use the transfer pencil on the other side, iron it onto the pillow case, and finally color in the design with the markers. 

When I got this out for testing, Violet started with it, then wanted to start drawing freehand with the markers on the pillow case.  Which is fine.  But doesn't take as long (and we have a 2 hour meeting to fill) and defeats the purpose of bothering to get the transfer paper and pencils.  She's cool with it for the meeting.  I think I'll ask the girls to all try at least one transfer method - and see if they come up with the idea to just draw on their own. 

The other craft I have is fuse beads.  But to make it more challenging, I found a website with a bunch of designs which are done on the fuse bead boards but don't fill the whole thing with random colors, like any preschooler might do.  The link takes you to the Halloween designs, they have a bunch more.  I printed out the Halloween and a bunch of animals for the girls to try.  They can just fill the shapes with colors, but these look like more fun.

Here's a sample of what I mean from the website.  The website has all sorts of great projects!

The girls have been invited to wear their Halloween costumes if they choose.  The sister pair have decided not to due to ironing issues, floppy sleeves and such.  Violet and I are going to wear ours (I'm going as the Swedish Chef in my chef jacket and hat, I made a little red bowtie, and I have a small rubber chicken key chain and little pot, so I can "put the chicky chicky in the pot".  You already saw Violet's costume.)  If the other girls don't wear theirs I told Violet we can change if we want.

One of the girls may bring a birthday treat.  Her mom asked if they could a few weeks ago, but didn't want to commit just in case life got out of control.  I think we all totally get that!  Smart move, I say!  I didn't mention it to the girls, and since we don't always do snacks no one will miss it if there isn't one.  And if there is...bonus!  (Their family owns an Italian restaurant, I'd be over the moon if they brought their homemade cannoli, but I'm not getting my hopes up.  If you ever visit, I'll take you to their restaurant and we'll get them.  YUM!  And I don't even like cannoli!)

Have a great week!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Is it a Girl or a Cat?

The costume is complete, didn't she do a great job?  She's Bubbles!  Complete with a tiny bell sewn on the collar.  The black sweat pants are Girl Scout, with the white felt strategically sewn over the logo.  The black shirt is from Walmart, as are the socks, ears and tail.  The shirt is decorated with felt.  The pink collar has fabric marker cupcakes on it to match the design on Bubbles' collar.  And the fish shaped tag says "Bubbles".  The paw pads are an old pair of white gloves with pink and black felt paw pads sewn on the palms.

She plans to hand out candy and not trick or treat this year.  Bubbles likes to run through the front door (or try to at least) so she'll be in her costume with her harness and leash (did I mention Violet is trying to train her to walk on a leash?)  It should be an exciting evening!

In other news, the other Janet went to a seafood place in New Orleans and uploaded it to her foursquare profile.  I wonder what she got to eat.  I would have had the gumbo.  Wonder where we will go next?  I wouldn't mind a dessert, perhaps we can go out for cheesecake.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

You've Got the Wrong Janet

From time to time someone else named Janet, different Janets, get my e-mail address confused with theirs. Maybe they write it down correctly and the other person can't read their handwriting?  Maybe they just forgot what it was?  Who knows. 

The latest is Janet P from New Orleans who last night signed up for something called Foursquare with a similar e-mail address as mine.  See, it turns out that G-mail doesn't recognize dots.  So I get her notifications.  I already have one friend.  I thought about contacting him to tell her the e-mail didn't work as she hoped, but I don't know her password and I can't post without an account.  The kicker?  Foursquare is apparently something people do with their smart phones.  I don't have a smart phone.  It is a very sore subject with me right now.  Everyone else on the planet has one and expects that I do too.  Nope.  I can't afford a new phone right now, no matter how useful it would be.  I'm stuck with my 1990's Motorola flip phone for the long haul.  Yes, this is another anger issue.

But back to the e-mail issue.

Stephanie who recently stayed at an Econolodge in California, I unsubscribed your my e-mail address from them.  If you find this, since you used the e-mail address associated with this blog, please double check it and resignup with Econolodge if you'd like.  Oh, and beware of bedbugs when you are staying in hotels.  Check those sheets very carefully.  The place may look clean, and may very well be clean, but those darned bugs may still be there.  And you won't know until you leave and start itching several days later.  And be sure wash all the clothes you took with you on the trip upon your return.  One of the little buggers may have hitched a ride home in an unworn undergarment and may attack your armpits a few weeks later.   I know this is a delicate subject, but you need to know.

I've gotten e-mails from other Janet's friends, inviting me to their kids' playdate meetups.  Sorry, you missed them Janet and her kid, but I just deleted them.  Eventually you must have corrected your friends or moved on to another playgroup who can get your e-mail address correct.  Smart move.  Those new friends are probably much nicer anyway.

There was also the Janet from England who was on some sort of search committee.  They kept sending me resumes for your review.  I ignored those at first.  Then they started to get grumpy that you weren't responding.  I replied that I wasn't you and they stopped.  Sorry I didn't respond quicker.  I thought it was spam for a long time.  Tell them to quit yelling at you, it was their mistake in the first place.  Geesh, the nerve of some people.

I was really annoyed about all this, until I read the article that I linked to above.  If you didn't read it, and I don't blame you, I often don't follow links in blogs I read, you might want to.  It is amusing.  After reading Sarah's trials with the wrong Sarah's e-mails, I've decided to look at this as an interesting sociological experiment.  I almost can't wait to see what shows up next. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

We're really not slovenly

Looking back at my posts, it sounds like we live in some sort of slovenly suburban hovel.  Mice in the walls.  Bedbugs.  It really isn't as bad as it sounds.  Of course, we are also overrun by box elder bugs.  Did I mention that Bubbles likes to eat them?  Pops them like candy.  But no, the house is fairly clean (I've never claimed to be a superior housekeeper).  There are no dirty dishes piled up in the kitchen (well just a couple, from earlier today), no spoiled food in the refrigerator, no mold, no garbage piled up.  Just bugs and mice.  Sigh.

Today we went to the fitness center where Violet is signed up to take tennis lessons starting next week.  We'd never been there and wanted to see where we were going before class started.  They couldn't have been nicer.  They gave her a non-member card that she could just get swiped each time she goes, showed us where the tennis courts are and the lounge.  Offered us a full tour, but we passed for now.  We aren't going to join.  But gosh, it was tempting.  They have a pool, a spa, tennis, weights and exercise equipment.  And get this...a Subway!  Yes, there is a restaurant in the fitness center!  Boy, when we have money again...  I had no idea how fancy fitness centers had gotten.  It was a far cry from they YMCA I used to lifeguard at during college.  It is owned by a big hospital conglomeration.  No wonder their fees made me cringe when I looked at them.

I bet they don't have mice in the walls.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Light Week

This is such a nice, quiet week.  There's just Cadettes (the group I called "girl's club" because the mom who runs it isn't a trained GS leader, the girls aren't a troop, and I don't think many of the others are even registered, they just use the GS programming. Can you tell I don't approve?  All the more reason for me to drop off and go.  I like the other families involved, I really do.  I just have different Girl Scout beliefs than they do.), and a library program that Violet will be a volunteer at.  It must be our quietest week in months. 

At work, most of the partners and managers in my department are out of state at conferences, that I didn't have to go to!  Woo hoo!  So I do have a few more things to handle, but so far it hasn't been bad.  And when the cats are away, they aren't making up projects for the mice to do.

Speaking of mice, they are back.  We hear them in the walls at night.  Mr. Incredible thinks they are getting in through the garage.  He's set up a bunch of live traps.  Yesterday he caught 4.  He lets them go in the backyard.  I think he needs to tag them so he can see how many times he lets each one go.  Today there haven't been any in the traps.  He didn't leave the traps set while he was out at work today.  He knows Violet and I aren't very responsible for checking them and letting the mice go. 

Bubbles is well on her way to being a mouser.  She's caught 2 so far.  None recently.  She finds them in the basement and we think the mice have figured that out, hence them in the garage.  She is learning the fine art of mousing from "Uncle Alexi" and "Uncle Marbles" our other 2 cats.  By the way, Uncle Alexi isn't fond of her.  He tolerates her. But mostly he acts like a grumpy old grandfather who'd rather be left alone to snooze in his recliner.  Uncle Marbles will way his tail for her play with. 

On tap tomorrow: a trip to the library to pick up a bunch of books that came in on hold.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Feeling Better

Posting yesterday was definitely therapeutic.  And getting positive feedback from you guys, even more so!  I've been away too long.  And I think I've gotten lonely.  I have in person friends, but you know how that is, we're all too wrapped up in the comings and goings to talk.  Isn't it odd how you can feel closer to online friends than people you see in person?  You share so much more when you have time to sit and talk and think.  Online everyone can do it in their own timezone and own space.  In person, well, we never stop to do that anymore.

It is probably wrong to say, but I was so glad to hear that many others are also having their anger issues in a bunch due to the pending elections.  I saw a news story that the election is neck and neck right now.  I am scared of what would happen if my candidate doesn't win.  As I am sure many others are too, from both sides of the ballot.  Because both sides are painting such horror stories of the other.  No matter who you are in favor of, the other side makes Hades seem not so bad.  (Not posting here which side I'm on.  Those of you who've known me for years can probably guess.  I don't want it coming up in search engines and having opposing sides leaving comments.)  I know it is part of campaigning and things won't really be apocalyptic, but you know how it is.

On an even more personal note, I switched to using a hydrocortisone cream on my suspected bites and they are a lot less itchy.  I've tried a few other things which weren't successful.  It does brighten one's day not to be scratching under your armpits all day!  I say suspected because Mr. Incredible isn't as convinced as I am that they are bedbug bites.  He still has the thought that bedbugs are found in dirty, unkempt places only.  Whereas truth is, they can be anywhere.  They actually just prefer dark places.  From my research they don't care if the place is clean or dirty.

Did I tell you that Violet is dressing up for Halloween as the new kitten, Bubbles?  Her costume is almost ready.  I'll post photos when it is.  In the meantime, do you want to see the new cutie in our lives?  

Little stinker, isn't she?  She's into EVERYTHING!

This was after the last Girl Scout meeting at our house.  Bubbles was exhausted! It is hard to keep 5 girls entertained for so long.

Bubbles' costume is ready to go.  Isn't she the cutest pumpkin? She looks mad here, but she seems to like wearing it.

Okay, this one takes a little more explaining.  One morning I saw a parakeet in the birdfeeder on our back deck!  A parakeet!?  That's not right!  So we got out an old birdcage and set it on the table outside, thinking maybe it would look familiar to the parakeet and he'd fly to it.  He didn't.  When it started to rain, I brought it inside.  Cue kitten to climb in and make herself at home!

I'm going to try really hard not to be a stranger.  My mental health is too important to neglect my buddies like I've been doing!

Many hugs to you all!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Remember me?

Yes, I am the AWOL Freakmom.  Many of you just got the Girl Scout e-mail for magazines.  Sorry to send those out.  And doubly sorry that I didn't get the reminder e-mail turned off.  I'm afraid you will all get another notice.  Stupid sales.  Violet has 5 years left of selling stuff (not that I'm counting) and I can't wait to not have to hawk magazines and especially cookies any more!  I swear, I'm not even going to eat another Girl Scout cookie once she's done.  Not that I have issues.  No, I'm one gigantic walking issue! 

Well, what have I been up to?  Here's some highlights (and possibly some lowlights):
  1. Traveled for work:  and went on one family trip.  There was a 24 day period overlapping August and September where I stayed in hotels 15 nights!  Sounds glamorous, doesn't it?  I got bedbug bites during Conference Number Two.  They didn't show up until Family Vacation Trip.  I couldn't figure out what all those red itchy spots were on my legs.  Mr. Incredible and Violet didn't get them.  Then I did some research and found out that the bites can take up to 14 days to show up.  That pinpointed it straight to the Conference.  Sigh.  I still have some itchy spots.  In my armpits.  Seriously.  Life is so glamorous.
  2. Drove Violet to activities: Remember when I couldn't get this girl to sign up for anything?  Boy, that has changed.  She's in 2 Juliette groups, takes art lessons, goes on field trips, starts tennis next week, and joined a volunteer group at the library.  I have decided to just drop her off and pick her up at the other Girl Scout group.  I can't stay and not get involved.  The mom running it does a nice job.  I'm not needed. I'll be at the library with my laptop during the meetings.  Violet will like that better too.
  3. Grew angrier: The election is not helping my anger issues.  It is escalating them.  I need this election to send and end soon. I keep threatening to hit people with big sticks.  Not to their faces.  But later.  Like when I was given a poor review in my annual job performance review.  I was told to manage my stress better.  You people cause all my stress!  There's a bit more to that which I can't post, which is stressful.  Stress causes anger.  Anger makes me want to hit things with a big stick. 
  4. Hung out at Abigail Adams Academy:  I've been helping out behind the scenes, mostly with registration.  I've taken over accepted moderation duties of the Yahoo Group for students.  And I've been taking the Colloquium class this year.  I do so enjoy hanging out with the ladies over there.  I actually read some Shakespeare and was able to discuss it semi-intelligently!  Go me!  
  5. Worried about finances: Review point number 3, anger issues.  Those big sticks can get expensive. 
  6. Worked:  besides the conferences, I've worked here at home too.  Trying to get to the office is so disruptive to school and family that I've missed some meeting I maybe shouldn't have.  But on their death bed, no one ever regrets not going to more meetings.  We'll have to see what the short term effects are.  Probably another bad performance review.  My life is an endless, itchy cycle.
  7. Wore my skirts: Remember the ones I made.  They worked great for the conferences!  I love them!  I do want to make a black one.  I think that would really fit in nicely.  Neither Violet or I have done any sewing, but we really haven't been home!  She has some Christmas sewing planned.
  8. Adopted a kitten:  Preki Cat, who posed so beautifully on the quilt in my last blog post, died peacefully at home shortly after that photo was taken.  Before she died we had made plans to adopt a kitten, Bubbles.  Bubbles' mom, Blanche, had been recently adopted by my in-laws.  Then they learned Blanche was expecting.  Violet got the pick of the litter.  We think she did a good job choosing.  Bubbles has been a very good addition to the family.  We miss Preki.  She was a good kitty.  
I think I'll end for now on that good note.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Quilt

Violet made her quilt last week.  They added an extra class session so that the girls could finish them.  Violet's turned out magnificent!  She chose all her materials and did all the sewing herself.  With the instructor's guidance, of course.  Here it is on her bed:

And in this photo our cat, Preki, was kind enough to pose with it so that you could see the backing she chose:

Preki is the cat that hasn't been eating much.  We got some kitten chow for her and she does pick at that.  She has energy, is taking good care of her fur, and still has her old spunk.  She just barely eats.

But back to the quilt.  Violet has already said that if they offer quilt class again next summer she wants to go and do another one.  In the meantime, she has a few projects planned out, but hasn't started yet.  She did spend 25 hours working on the quilt for a total of 61 hours of class time this summer (I'm giving her a full credit of sewing on her 8th grade transcript.  By the time you add in travel time to the offsite class, which I fully believe public schools would do, time spent purchasing her material and planning other projects, she'll have a full credit earned).  I can see where maybe she's ready for a break from it.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Making of a Skirt: A Photo Journal

I made the khaki skirt on Saturday and knew you'd all want to come along on the journey!  So grab your favorite beverage, get comfy and here we go....

Prepping that material:

I forgot to take a picture with all the pieces pinned and laid out.  But here's one sleeve.  I hate pinning and cutting out the pattern pieces most of all.  I'm not sure why.  I do tend to poke myself with pins a lot during the process, but I do that throughout the sewing process.

Pieces that have been cut out:

The first pocket sewn and basted into place:

Both pockets are in:

The casing for the elastic.

Finally, got that blasted casing on!  I think I had to redo it 3 times if not more.  I had trouble first with getting one of the pockets caught up in it (rookie mistake), then I ran into all sorts of problems with the thread tension.  Finally, I got it to turn out okay.

I wasn't happy with how bunchy it was by one of the pockets.  But I'd had such a time I wasn't going to redo it AGAIN!  I plan to wear shirts untucked with it anyway.  And if anyone is looking at it that closely while I'm wearing it, I'll punch them.  I did do another skirt (yes, #4!) on Sunday and I kicked pocket butt!  Smooth and gorgeous.

Working on the elastic:

Still working on it. 

Finally, done.  Look at that BEAUTIFUL slit!  I'm really proud of it, it looks the best of all the ones I did.  The purple dots (you can see if them if you enlarge it) and from my sewing marker, I washed them off today.  And the water spots were from spraying and ironing.  They're gone too.

Voila!  The finished project.  Done all on Saturday.  No photo of me wearing it because Mr. Incredible and Violet have been gone all weekend and aren't home yet (hence my ability to sew 2 skirts in one weekend). 

There you have it.  My beautiful khaki skirt.  I think it will make its debut on Tuesday with the black shirt.  I have to go to training for 2 days this week (don't get me started on that waste of time) and thought it would be nice.  I'll wear it with my new black sandals.

Friday, July 13, 2012

The Green Shirt

I started out liking the green shirt.  But it is hard to match.  And at a conference recently they took a photo of me and 2 coworkers all in our green shirts.  The next morning at breakfast they had the photo up on the big screen.  It was supposed to be scrolling through all the photos from the day before but they were having technical difficulties.  For 30 minutes or more we were larger than life in our green shirts.  All three of us pale as they come looking even more washed out and ill.  That kinda killed it for me.

I thought it was passable with the purple skirt too. I'll probably do that combo some day.

I had the worst time getting the hem straight on both. 

I think my inner girlie girl is coming out.  I've avoided skirts for at least 10 years also.  I bought a new pair of sandals to go with them.  A pair of black Keds sandals.  Very comfy for walking all over the trade show.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The skirts

I've made 2 so far.  I hope to get another done this weekend.

The purple one was the first one.  I think I like it better.  The material isn't quite as thin and it just seems more me.  You can decide.

When did I get so chunky?  Yipes!

My original idea when I made these was to wear with the company shirts.  I hate wearing the shirts with slacks.  I feel like I'm dressed just like the guys, because I am.  I am not a guy.  As Anne Burrell might say (she probably wouldn't, but maybe) "I'm a kick ass girl accountant."  (I recently heard her refer to herself as a "kick ass girl chef" and decided I wanted to "borrow" it.)  Anyway...

The black shirt works okay with both:

But, man, the green one is just impossible:

I don't think anyone can possibly look good in that shade of green.  My next skirt is a khaki "bottomweight twill".  I'm not exactly sure what that is (and apparently Blogger doesn't know either).  But it looks and feels just like what I refer to as khaki pants.  If that works, I'm going back to Joann armed with coupons and getting some black bottomweight twill and some dark brown and do 2 final skirts.  And if after trying to sew the twill for 20 minutes I'm ready to throw it in the trash, I'll try something else.

Hope you enjoyed my fashion show!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

In a nutshell

I'm such a bad blogger, I'm so behind.  I've been goofing off this summer...and it feels great!  Here are some highlights:

1.  I made a skirt!!!  I sewed it all by myself.  Well, Violet threaded my sewing machine for me.  Then, guess what!  I made another skirt!!!  I'll post photos of them soon.  My thought was that the men at trade shows all wear their company shirts with slacks or khakis.  So we women do too.  What nonsense is that?  I don't want to look like a man!  So I made skirts to go with my company shirts.  Today I bought some khaki material to try to make a skirt with.  Because once in a while we do have a written dress code to follow (suit or company shirt and khakis).  The skirts turned out okay.  Not perfect.  I had to redo steps numerous times.  But the more I sewed the better I got.  I'm still a beginner, but hey I MADE TWO SKIRTS!!!

2.  Violet turned 13.  Gasp, I HAVE A TEENAGER!!!!  She's a great teenager.  We had a nice family day together.  She has a party planned on Friday with her best friend.  They'll have fun.

3.  It was hot.  It was over 100 for 5 days straight.  It doesn't get that hot here!  And the grass and the flowers and the garden have practically all turned to dust.  Some of our plants have just disappeared.  I'm guessing spontaneous combustion.  That or rabbits.

4.  Our oldest cat has stopped eating, or practically.  We've gotten her to eat some ham, some KFC (she likes original recipe) and some kitty Ensure we got from the pet store (it isn't called that, but it describes it well).  Her energy level has been back up since we brought home the KFC and she had some of that.  Then we got her to eat the other stuff.  She turns 15 next month.  We're keeping a close eye on her.

5.  We've been going to movies as a family.   Well, twice now.  That's more than we've ever done.  We saw Brave and Madagacar 3.  We have plans to go to the new Ice Age movie in a couple of weeks.  There's a theater just around the corner from Mr. Incredible's office so we go there.  Quite a fun outing.

6. Violet was supposed to have a drawing class this week but it was canceled due to low enrollment.  We'll look for other classes with the instructor this fall at the art studio where she took jewelry class.  He teaches there as well as at the Kids and College program.  Bummed on the cancellation, but she's been so busy this summer, I really don't mind her having a week off.

I'm sure I've missed a lot, but those are some highlights. 

Monday, June 25, 2012


I can't go into any detail, but the thing that has been stressing me out and haunting me for the last 3 weeks, went away today.  It was a project for work.  The Big Boss nixed it.  I was so happy, I could have kissed her. 

Let the summer relaxing begin!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

8th Grade Curriculum

It is done.  I've written our curriculum for 8th grade.  It took me one and a half weekends to do it.  It is a kick ass 8th grade curriculum if you ask me.  Which you didn't.  But I said so anyway.

Here are the highlights:

I only put links to the books I didn't think you'd all be familiar with.  I have more details on most of the subjects.  Except science.  We're going to read the encyclopedia and look for DVDs and other materials that go with the subject matter.  If you want to see any of our breakdown, let me know.  I can e-mail it to you or post it.

Some of the courses I'm not trying to have us do the whole thing in one year.  That would be too much.  And I'm famous for trying to do too much.  This way we can add more.  Or delete things if we want.  I'm pretty excited about it.  Told you it was kick ass.


Violet and I went to the thrift store to look for material and a throw pillow that could be used with the pillow cover she made.  We stumbled into a huge sale.  All the clothing you can cram into a paper bag for $2.  Total.  $2.  We know the ladies who work there, yes, we're regulars.  One told us you can get 2 men's suits into a bag.  For $2.  We ended up with 8 items between us including a jean jacket for Violet.  For $2.  Even if we only ever wear one thing, we'll still come out ahead.  Ladies' shirts are usually $4 each.

We also found a bunch of material, including a really cute Thanksgiving pattern.  I may make it into a table runner, if Violet doesn't do anything with it first.  We also got 3 yards of a really cute heart pattern for $3.  I bought yarn.  "My name is Freakmom and I'm addicted to yarn."

We found a soft, squishy throw pillow the same size as her pillow cover she made in class.  It was a bit worn, but clean.  For $3 it has now been stuffed into her pillow cover.  Pillow forms were over $10 at JoAnn, closer to $16 if you wanted a soft one (we used a 50% coupon, but still!)

While Violet was in sewing class I walked to 2 other thrift stores near the town square.  Neither are as nice as "our" thrift store.  But I found a white blouse to wear to the 50's night I have to go to at a conference in September.  Not sure if I'll just go with denim capris and bobby socks or if I'll get brave and try to make a poodle skirt.  I picked up some other odds and ends, like a new shoulder bag.  Which I've already replaced with a different one on clearance at Wal-Mart.  Consider my $2.50 for the first bag a donation to the women's shelter that the thrift store supports.  I still may use it from time to time and the shelter does really good work.

Recently I had to rewrite my bio for work.  They wanted us to put a personal statement at the end.  You know, "when not working John Doe enjoys golfing and traveling with his wife."  In fact, of the ones I've read, 90% say just that.  Insert Jane and husband some of the time.  I wrote, "When she isn't at the office Freak keeps busy homeschooling her daughter, volunteering with Girl Scouts, and frequenting thrift stores in search of that perfect bargain."  Maybe 90% of the people just aren't as interesting as I am!  (Insert hysterical laughter.)

Saturday, June 23, 2012

An Update

Today I realized it has been a week since I promised you all an update and I still haven't given it to you.  I'm sorry!  Well, there's no time like the present.

This past week Violet took her third sewing class:  drawstring bag.  She made 2 bags during the class that they had hoped all the girls would finish just one.  It isn't just Violet, the other girls in the class are just blowing the minds of the sewing shop owners and the instructor.  They are looking to do advanced classes for them next summer. 

One of the girls who has been in all three classes had her 10th birthday this week.  Her mom got all the girls in the class material to make snap bags. They are little purses with measuring tape (you know the metal kind) as the closure so it "snaps". 

By Friday, Violet was almost done with her second bag so the instructor let her decide what to do.  Violet opted to use some of the leftover material from her bags to make scrunchies.  They turned out great!  Can you even buy scrunchies in the store any more?  We were looking for some while on vacation last year and couldn't find any.

The first drawstring bag
The second drawstring bag

The Scrunchies

The snap bag

In some ways the girls aren't getting the full flavor of sewing.  The instructor does all their cutting for them with a rotary cutter.  She has offered to teach Violet how to use it during quilt class in July (yes, one more class to go!) but she's said she doesn't want some of the other girls using it.  I've never used a rotary cutter and they sure do look nifty.  But I'm thinking she needs to try a pattern and hand cutting.  Of course, that is how she did Barbie's dress I posted.  She took the dimensions from the sewing book, drew it on graph paper, cut it out and pinned it on the material and cut from there.  Never mind, she's doing that part on her own.

I was back at work this week.  I did not adjust well to my return.  I didn't have a relaxing time off because of things going on there and didn't feel ready to go back.  I'd like to complain more, but I can't.  I'll leave it as, "if it was fun, they wouldn't call it work."

The sewing classes are in the downtown square where Mr. Incredible has his office space.  That has been very handy.  I've taken over his back room as my office.  One day he wasn't going to be there and I didn't want to mess with the alarm system so I spent class time running errands.  I checked out a new thrift store and bought Violet some material.  I'll take her back to it, the place was huge!

It has been hot and muggy.  Often June is pretty cool around here.  It has me worried about August!

I'm afraid that's about it.  I've been helping out with Abigail Adams Academy here and there, and doing a lot of reading on my own.  This morning I cleaned the first floor.  Tomorrow the upstairs awaits its cleaning.  I've also completed writing our 8th grade curriculum, but I think I'll do a full post on that.  Gotta keep them wanting more!