Monthly Archives: January 2013

Super good parenting advice

If you are a knitter, you probably already read The Yarn Harlot.

If had to give a quick list to someone going into parenting teens, it would be to remember this: A) SHUT UP.  B) Don’t take the bait. C) Don’t take it personally. D) You are probably too pretty for prison. Walk it off.

If you’re a not knitter and not already reading The Yarn Harlot but sorta like looking at pictures of knitting, you may want to add her to your blog feeds.

Thirteen is causing me to EXACTLY need this list right now. He is so charming and wonderful and then he flips directly into FULL ON ARGUMENT where if I say something is white he says it’s black, if I say it’s up he says it’s down, when I say he is Thirteen he makes up an entirely new and actually untruething just to pick a fight. It’s horrible. So far I only last for about 3 minutes before I am pulling out the STERN VOICE and GLARING AT HIM THROUGH MY BUSHY GRAMPA EYEBROWS and USING CUSS WORDS FOR EMPHASIS. Which is exactly what he wants, because then he gets to put on a full body “nobody loves me” suit and wear his “everyone picks on me” hat and snit on out of the room.

And I’m fairly certain that as soon as I learn to deal with this tactic of his he will switch strategies and find an entirely new way of interacting that will make me question my actual capabilities to be The Adult.

Luckily he is also charming, adorables, sweet, and really fun to be around.

Luckily, I am too.


A Practical Wedding Post

Did I ever mention (of course I didn’t) that I wrote a piece about our convoluted wedding planning, and it was published on what is possibly the only wedding blog any newly engaged (or long time engaged or old married) person should ever read? That website being A Practical Wedding?

I did, it’s here.

I’ve been with my sweetheart for over four years now, and our first few months were a whirlwind of “How did we ever find each other on the Internet;” “Thank goodness you have a lease, or we’d be moving in together way too quickly;” and “Oh gosh I hope his kids love me.” Since we met I have learned to ride a motorcycle, determined how to ask for what I need from my partner as we share the household responsibilities, and figured out a way to make a blended family without feeling threatened by former spouses or the fact that I moved to a small town with everyone else ever formerly and currently involved in my partner’s life. We negotiated a refinance of our big old house, made a budget together, and put together a list of short-term and long-term financial goals. It all sounds so romantic, doesn’t it? The subtext for all of this is, however, how over the last four years I’ve learned how to love the idea of Marriage.

Is it weird to quote yourself? I think it’s kind of weird.



Now that we’re home and officially married instead of just informally and semi-secretly all partnered up, I can’t help but tell people who ask “how does it feel to be a married lady?” that it’s exactly the same as being a living-in-sin lady—although if I’m honest with myself, it’s not exactly the same. Mike and I are exactly as we were. Our relationship didn’t change, we were fully committed to a partnership before the Judge and the State of New York approved of our union. But as much as I have been skeptical of what a legal marriage would bring to our relationship, it turns out that our community really does factor into it. I was surprised and humbled by the well wishes we received from our friends, family, and colleagues. Even though we’ve been warned that when the wedding and the marriage are decoupled like this, odds are we won’t ever get around to having a big celebration party later, I am even more sure that inviting our community to celebrate with us and mark this occasion will be a tremendously important part of our relationship and our family history. Wish us luck as we plan our celebration party to be as beautiful and loving as our life together, while staying, most romantically, below the cost of two mortgage payments.

Read all the inbetweens!

Peter Cooper

Knowing what I do about Peter Cooper – a man who loved the chili at McSorleys and who fraternized unabashedly with feminists, people of color, labor organizers and abolitionists – I think my pal Xenia is on to something here.

I have the most amazing friends!

Traffic. Ugh traffic.

I took a bad spill yesterday when I was leaving the house – no ice or anything, I just fell over, and landed right on my tailbone. It hurts SO BAD. I drove to work but should have turned around: 20 min into the trip I was crying. Walking around is ok, but sitting is not ok.

And then I got this on my trip home:


TRAFFIC. I think there was one of those oversized houses-on trailers tipped over. Regardless, the day I brutally injured my sitting parts was not the day I wanted to be stick in traffic for 2 1/2 hours.

This morning I begged off of a 100 mile drive to my job site for meetings and used the extra time in the morning to do my nails.


Science project

Mister Nine has a science project due this week so we’ve been discussing hypotheses and experimentation procedure for a few days now. He has an exciting idea about electricity and what materials may or may not conduct it, and we are developing an experiment to prove his hypothesis to the entire fourth grade.

Turns out it can be pretty helpful to have a mad scientist for a dad and stepmom who writes up scientific methodology and results at her day job.

2013 Recipe 1: Beef Stew

A sweet friend suggested that she was going to try one new recipe every week this year. What a brilliant resolution! I have got an evernote account FULL of recipes I’ve snipped out over the years, and really would like to cook more at home. I’ll give it a go too.

So: Recipe 1: BEEF STEW.



I worked at home yesterday so had a chance to make this Beef Stew, from Real Simple. It goes in a slow cooker but it is not at all like the slow cooker stews I made when I was a kid – those involved chucking everything in and turning it on, this one requires browning and deglasing. It IS delicious. The boys loved it (though Thirteen carefully ate around all of the diced onions, and really seemed to enjoy most of all the latitude to put as much bread in his body as he could).

Note for the recipe – I wouldn’t recommend following the proportions. I used 1/2 the meat, and it was entirely satisfactory. Any more and it wouldn’t have fit in my 4-Qt slow-cooker. I don’t usually have baby carrots in the house but we did from our recent car trip to Ohio and back, and I was happy to chuck those monstrosities into dinner as well.

And here is my beef (oh geez, entirely unintentional!) with slow cookers – they are really no good if you work away from the home. I want something I can chuck food into and cook and when I come home it’s all set – but almost all recipes seem to say “6-8 hours on low or 4 hours on high.” I work an eight hour (at least!) day and it takes me another hour or so to get to and from work. I can’t just leave that cooking all day long. Therefore, slow cooker use is restricted to those times I’m at home and can start it up at my leisure, letting it work hard behind the scenes while I’m nearby and ready to shut it off before dinner time.

This is a necklace


My sweetheart made me this necklace for Christmas – mostly, I think, because the skull beads cracked him up. I showed it to a geologist at work and he thought I was rock-name-pop-quizzing him. I guess geologists get that a lot – people just hand them rocks all grubby and warm from pockets and say “I thought this was pretty, what is it?” Whereas I am all “Squee skulls!”

Also of note: upper portions of the vest I FINALLY finished after (not) knitting on it for about 2 years. I love it and wear it all the time.

Handwritten notes


I had a brilliant idea to slip personalized notes in to the invitations for the Cooper Union Founders Day Celebration. I am about 50 invites away from completion and my poor wrist is screaming. I’ve got a total of 169 to write. No big, right…?

Ohio 2013

We are on the way home from Ohio, where we spent New Years Eve ringing in 2013 with Mike’s Aunt Kate and family. This is the 3rd year we’ve gone out for their annual seafood feast and party and it’s so nice to get to know everyone. The boys are great with the long drive. We are toughening them up for epic adventures of our or their making in the future.

This year we spent a whole day with Kelly and Erik in Pittsburgh – sledding, chilling, and pizza partying with a few others. It was a perfect break in the highway monotony and when we resumed our trek west we stayed on secondary highways to western Ohio – it only added another 1 1/2 hours to our drive and it was so much better than the turnpike.

On our trip home hilarity ensued when a friend sent me a link to Get to know your Carhartt Boyfriend, and I turned to my sweet manly husband and snapped a picture before reading him the article as he drove us home.


There was snow at home while we were gone, so Mike and I are a tiny bit worried our steep-and-long driveway will be impassible… But did I ever mention that My Carhartt Boyfriend has a flame-thrower in the basement? So if you see steam and fire from our house tonight we are just trying to melt the driveway so we can park the car and get to bed. Promise.