How I Spent My Summer Vacation

As I mentioned in my last post (far too long ago), Ben graduated from Northeastern School of Law in May. His mom, dad, and sister came to visit us for Commencement, and we had a wonderful time day-tripping around New England. We visited Plimoth Plantation, the U.S.S Constitution, Harvard Natural History Museum, and the Nubble Lighthouse in Maine, and dined at the Union Oyster House. Mom and Dad also helped us finish packing up the apartment and loading everything into the truck to head up to The farm in New Hampshire. After getting everything loaded up into the storage unit, we spent about three weeks crashing with friends while we got the Little House ready for habitation. It’s spent the last few years as storage and a hang-out spot for actors and paintballers, so it was in need of a good scrubbing. I cleaned, mopped, painted, and got us all moved in while Ben began studying for the MA and NH Bar Exams.

Once we were all settled, I started working on costumes and props for Hampstead Stage Company, and have since become House Manager as well. Ben took the Bar exams at the end of July, and won’t find out the results till mid October. In the meantime, he’s pursuing job leads and helping our boss Kati write her memoir. We’ve been working on turning our yard into an outdoor lounging spot by training the grapevines to grow over the trellis to provide some shade, and unearthing some paving stones to create a fire pit.

In addition to the costumes for the theater, I’ve been working on building a gown for a local fashion designer, working out some new knitting patterns, and preparing the house for the arrival of the Fall Tour actors. When those projects come along, I’ll have some pictures for you. In the meantime, he are some summertime photos for warm memories as the chill starts to come into the air!

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October Updates

The month of October has been completely slammed for me – but mostly in a good way.

Early in the month, our fair city had The Greater Boston Yarn Crawl featuring 15 shops all around Boston. My friend Deborah and I hit up or regular shops as well as a few others, and I got some awesome hand-dyed yarn called Sun Also Rises from Toil And Trouble. All her colorways are inspired by literature, but despite its name, Sun Also Rises reminded me of Ponyo, everybody’s favorite little fishie by the sea.

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Ben and I also did a weekend overnight with Charlie and Alex while their mom & dad went to a wedding in New York. The four of us had a great time! We had a ton of fall fun playing Monster Mini Golf on Saturday and going to the EcoTarium on Sunday.

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In the middle of the month, Charlie and Alex got a brand new bunny they named Bunnysaurus Rex. He’s an English Spot and lop mix, and the boys’ mom and I have been building him an epic house for the living room. It’s 2’x6′ and features an interior with a ramp up to a mid-level shelf and another ramp up to his “rooftop garden.” The top level will have a plug to keep him from escaping when all of his people are out for the day, and a wooden fence to allow him to safely explore the upstairs. Both levels will have padded floors to protect Rex’s feet and the wood will be sealed with high-gloss paint to protect from any errant puddles. Of course it will have all the regular bunny amenities such as his litter box, water bottle, hay trough, hiding boxes, and plenty of toys. I’ll get some photos up of the finished house in the next week or so.

The end of the month is of course, Halloween. Ben and I like Halloween just fine, but for the last few years we’ve both been to swamped to do much about it. And we live in an apartment complex that doesn’t lend itself to trick-or-treating, so we didn’t even buy any candy this year. But after looking at pictures of people making costumes for themselves, their kids, and their pets all day on Facebook and Reddit, I decided our bunnies needed some costumes. At 3pm I broke out some stash yarn size 3 needles, and black scrapbook paper and around 11:00, THIS was the result. I was pretty pleased with myself.

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So in addition to all of this, October featured my usual nannying schedule of one 65-hour week alternating with one 30-hour week, and my regular knitting projects – a hat for Samantha’s Monkey, a. Minion hat and Daniel Tiger’s blue Tigey for various Halloween costumes, and a pair of mitts for my new HH Etsy Shop. And wouldn’t you know it, the Red Sox were in the World Series, and I needed something with which to taunt Ben’s Cardinals-loving brother. Trash-talking ensued, and thus was born a pair of Loser’s Granny Panties, suitable for wearing on one’s head to the winner’s delight.

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So the downside of all this business is that in the past six weeks, two of them have been spent curled up on the couch feeling miserable. This week I realized that it was probably a recurrence of whatever it was last time and went to the doctor. Sure enough, a sinus infection that made my asthma go nuts has resulted in both being sick and being pretty exhausted all month due to not being able to breathe properly. But I got all fixed up with with a whole pack of medicines, and while it’ll take a little while to be fully recovered, I’m well on my way, and that’s good news too.

Adventure Day With The Boys

Yesterday my partner Ben and I took Charlie and Alex, the boys I babysit, out for the day so their mom and dad can keep packing for their impending move. We started out at 9:30 heading to the New England Aquarium. They’re renovating the central column tank, but we still got to see all the animals – and Im pretty sure we got a better look at Myrtle the Turtle in her temporary home. We checked out the fur seals, the adorable blue penguins, several types of jellyfish, and the (seriously icky) octopus. I have a deep and abiding fear of octopi and their slimy appendages that the boys think is completely hilarious. They wanted to take me to see the octopus and watch me freak out. I managed to hold it together (“She handled it better than I thought she would,” said Alex) but I did encourage us to move along a little faster than I would have for the turtle or penguins.

When the boys tired of the aquarium, we moved about two miles up the road to the Museum of Science. First we watched a 3D movie about dinosaurs, and then enjoyed some snacks. Ben and Alex headed off to play science video games while Charlie and I went to the butterfly house. While we were in line, Charlie made friends with a girl his age named Simone. They took turns comforting one another when the butterflies would startle them, and afterward we held a little caterpillar and fed him a leaf while we learned about how he would turn into a big pretty moth. Then Simone and Charlie decided they wanted to see the dinosaurs together, so off we went! They were adorable together. I gave Simone’s mom my contact information in case the kids needed a play date later.

Finally our little guys were worn out and it was time to head home – but not without a stop at the penny smashing machine and the gift shop. Charlie picked out a toy train, and Alex got a plaster treasure chest from which he’ll have to chisel a piece of fool’s gold. We had pizza for dinner, bath time and story time, and the boys konked right out. It was really a fantastic day.

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Episode #188: Kid Logic

Just finished listening to This American Life’s episode Kid Logic, which I was really looking forward to because I spend a LOT of my time playing with kids. When I’m not working in theater, I’m babysitting for one of three families (two regularly and one occasionally) or working at Kids’ Fun Stop, an indoor playground in West Roxbury. Most of my Facebook friends are very familiar with Charlie and Alex because I quote all the funny things they say while I’m hanging out with them. Charlie, who’s 3, says the cutest things, and Alex, who’s 7 going on King of the World, asks me all kinds of interesting and challenging questions that I have to think about a lot to answer accurately and age appropriately.

Some of my favorite topics from the boys have been the following:

-Are monsters real or was that just a statue?
-Are you here to make sure no bad guys can get me?
-Who is the smartest person in the whole world? Does everyone know he’s the smartest?
-If the election was such a big deal, how come nothing happened afterwards?
-Why isn’t Michelle Obama the queen?
-Why do grown-ups like to watch the news so much if it makes them sad?
-How do you know that the person you’re dating is the person you should marry?

I tell Alex that he’s allowed to ask me as many questions as he wants, because it’s his job as a kid to learn as much about the world as he possibly can. He tells me he will, because HE is going to be the smartest man in the world and I can say I knew him when he was a kid.

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…..Still Snowed in.

Well, we’re still snowed in, though relatively happily. Ben’s been working on a giant paper for law school, and I made an attempt to excavate our cars, to little effect. But until I fell over and got snow down my pants, I was having a good time with my neighbors who were all laughing about our predicament and sharing entrenching tools and beer, which was being kept cold in that same snow. I wasn’t able to go babysit tonight and unless they plow our parking lot again, I probably won’t be able to get to work at the playground tomorrow. In the meantime, I’ll just be in here knitting and watching Too Cute! with the bunnies.

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Snowed In!

Well, The Storm has us hunkering down and cuddling up. Governor Patrick declared a snow emergency for the state and ordered everyone off the roads at 4pm, which is a great idea because the roads were almost impassable by 2:30. Here at the Humanist House, we still have power and heat, but no intentions of heading anywhere for at least the next twelve hours. I’m working on another Shawshank sampler and my Owlie socks – but only after frogging them back to the middle of the cuff and nearly starting again. I decided I didn’t like such a tall cuff and discovered a bit of a problem with the heel turn that I wanted to think about a little further.

One week from today, I’ll be back at Boston Conservatory as head of wardrobe for the Winter Dance Concert, and I’m hoping to have my current projects finished up by then so I can think a little more about a few machine sewing projects I have on the horizon.

In the meantime, I’d like to share this website with you: Toward The Stars features fantastic gender-neutral and stereotype-breaking toys and clothing for girls, all of which encourage education, independence and confidence. I really enjoyed looking throughout their catalogue and I’m definitely looking forward to purchasing some of these onesies one day.

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Photo from Toward The Stars