Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Pinterest is the Devil

I'm sick.  I've been sick for several days, and I am never sick.  Unless I get ahold of a bad oyster, or more likely, bad gin.  But I am well and truly sick this time, and I don't like it.  I don't like doctors either, which presents its own quandaries.  Any hoo, I decided it was the better part of valor to stay home - to skip that meeting,  to NOT finish cleaning out the garage, and to put off starting those tomato seeds.  Again.  Instead, I thought I'd try to work on something simple, like crocheting a dishcloth.  Nothing overly involved, mind you, just your garden-variety dishcloth.

And after searching on Ravelry (love) and other yarn-manufacturer sites, I couldn't find what I wanted. (It's a dishcloth, you might say.  Shut up, I might say).  My friend, Mary, was on Pinterest the other day looking for some pattern or another, and I thought, hmmm.  Maybe I'll just hop other there real quick and see if there's something dishcloth-y over there.

Now, I've heard of Pinterest.  I see people's pins on Facebook.  Not interested.  I'm far too busy doing things like cooking and gardening and crocheting and canning and knitting to spend anytime sitting around looking at stuff on the internet.  I am waaaaay too important, too capable to need the internet to drive my creativity. I am WOMAN! But nevertheless a woman who needed a catchy dishcloth pattern.  Plus, the septic guy was here to pump the system out, so I was in a hurry. (Did you know methane gas actually EATS the concrete of your septic tank from the INSIDE?  Turns out it does.  This is not good news).

Hence, a brief search for a crochet dishcloth pattern on Pinterest.  Which I logged onto for the first time at 3:38.  It is 7:52, and I have only left my chair to get a glass of wine (2 times), make soup (1 time), and blow my nose (76 times).  I have ended up in the weirdest places and the greatest places.  I now have so many potential projects that the 21-day GYST Challenge may have to be changed to the 21-year GYST challenge. I will be 66 years old and riddled with Alzheimers, but my yard will be PERFECT.

The downside, however, is that it is, after all, the Internet.  Anyone with software can post something somewhere that will at some point end up a search result on Pinterest.  If it's kitchen cabinets and handy gardening tips, Pinterest is your place.  It's amazing.  If it's "homemade cold remedies", however, let me just tell you that a disturbing number of people have pinned a horrifying photo of a glass quart Mason jar that appears to be filled with garlic cloves, horseradish, apple cider vinegar (Hey, Manny), and the toes of baby snow leopards.  You.  Can. Not.  Tell.  Me.  that people are actually making this shit.  Not to mention drinking it.  Really?  Bonjour, indeed.

Gotta go.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Really Good Siblings

See that coffee cup there?  The one with the really cute red elephants on it?  My brother got that for me.  But, as my sister-in-law said, he paid his pound of flesh for it.  Again, this is not my story but his (he gets ALL the good ones).

First of all, I blame my new best friend Lucy.  Lucy does wonderful things with crochet and flowers and crafts and all that.  But what Lucy also does is drink tea.  Lovely, warm, brown English tea.  And since Lucy does it, so should I.  So, for most of this winter, I have been enjoying a nice tea break every afternoon before the kids get home.  And I've been drinking the last of the best. tea. ever.  It came from our last trip to England in 2010, and I have HOARDED it to make it stretch.  My recent bout of afternoon tea, however, has depleted my stores completely.  I tried and tried to find a suitable replacement, but no.  Even the fancy blenders at Austin's Tea Embassy (awesome, awesome tea shop - you should go there) couldn't match it. Devastation had set in.

And then!  After the kids' dentist appointment!  At my brother's house!  On the calendar!  "J. to London."  Could it be?  Is it possible?  YES!  So, I immediately texted him demanding that he go to Harrod's (the biggest department store in England) two weeks before Christmas and find me that tea.  I'm not even sure I said "please."

So, he did.  Why?  I'll never know.  I was absolutely frightful to him for most of my (and his) adolescence.  According to my little nephew, I still "boss [his] daddy around an awful lot." I am really, really sorry that I was so awful.  I'm even more sorry because that sweet boy went to Harrod's for me on the busiest shopping day ever and got my tea for me.  And there was a buy two tins of tea, get a free mug deal (who knew?), so I got this precious, pretty mug.  AND not just because of that.

Also because the tea I like comes in a nice little tin container.  One that happens to look an awful lot like a bomb.  Especially when there are two.  And you're a tall, bearded man with no checked luggage on a short-stay flight from England.  So, there he is in line at the TSA on his connecting flight to Chicago with some very nervous security guys eyeballing him.  They call him over and ask him a harrowing number of questions, including:

TSA:  What's this?  What are these?
J:  It's tea.
TSA:  Is that so?  (looking inside)
J: Yes
TSA: (pause) Oh.  And what's THIS?
J:  Cheese
TSA: Cheese?
J: Yes

You see, the best part of this story is that the only other thing J brought back from England with him was a really, really stinky wedge of cheese that his friends always send back for my sister-in-law.  The TSAs had no idea what to do with that situation.

So, they did the only natural thing.  They swabbed the cheese for explosives.

I shit you not.

Happy Birthday, Bub.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

GYST Report, Day 10

Get Your Shit Together Report
(a/k/a Damn You, Australian Open)

Day 10

There's something uniquely mortifying about setting a goal for yourself and failing at it.  Publicly.  But there it is.  For those of you following along, I had two pieces of bread and butter, two slices of bacon and some pound cake for dinner last night.  My trainer at my gym keeps telling me that food is 80% of weight loss.  No kidding.  I have been pretty vigilant about my exercise, so that's a mercy.

As far as projects go, it seriously seems like I am doomed.  I have terrible sinus from allergies (waahh). The Australian Open is on (hooray).  These two things combine to equal staying up way too late and waking up with a raging headache.  Those to things necessitate getting the kids off, taking seventeen Advil, and going back to sleep until I can hold my head upright.  Those three things conspire to prevent me from getting a full day's work in.  I can get the day-to-day done, but anything extra is cast to the winds.  And I'm serious.  In 10 days, I've finished a scarf.  That's it.  And it was 7/8ths done to start with.

Part of the problem, too, is that I'd rather do fun stuff.  Like bake.  A dear friend's dad died this past weekend, so I wanted to take a little something by.  So I baked bread, made two different kinds of muffins, and canned some strawberry jam.  Like some kind of crazy, manic pioneer, I sweated and stewed over all this business.  And it was great.

But great don't refinish the dining room chairs.  You don't have dining room chairs, you ask? Of course I do.  I have the crazy modern chairs that went with my old dining room set before I got my grandmother's George Jetson cherry table.  Last summer, yes, that would be the summer of 2011,( I prefer to call it last summer because it makes me feel better),  I bought some fabulous chairs.  They are the perfect shape, if a little beat up, and the price was right.  I was going to immediately go home, give them some TLC, change the chair pads, and voila, they'd be perfect!  They're still in the garage.  Nineteen months later, they've moved from the shed to the garage.  And they only moved there because we tore down the old shed and built a new one.  All in the time since I bought the chairs.  Damn it.

And that's not the worst part.  This weekend, I went to see my darling, dear friend from high school, who in addition to a great farm and beautiful taste has an antique business on the side.  When we went by to see the place, there were the most perfect chairs for my dining room.  Almost as perfect as the chairs I already bought.  And I almost bought them.  It's like some kind of sickness.

I think it's time to get moving.  I've only got 11 more days.

Better hustle.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Cosmic Riddle

Why is it that no one is able to put the new roll of toilet paper on the handy spring loaded roller? That is sitting right next to you. Why?

Friday, January 18, 2013

Ode to a Kitchen Table

A friend of mine who is a priest in Los Angeles posed a question on Facebook the other day.  He asked what object represented intimacy, not sexual intimacy, but the intimacy that comes from being in relationship with someone for a long time.  He was working on a sermon about something that I didn't pay attention to, but the question struck me.

And I immediately knew what my answer was.  The object that represents relational intimacy to me most is a kitchen table.  Certainly some specific kitchen tables, including my own, but also the kitchen table of history and of life.

First night of semester exams
We never hung out at the kitchen table much when I was growing up -- the breakfast room was back in a corner of the house, there wasn't much going on in the kitchen in the first place, and the dining room table was reserved only for holiday dinners, when my grandparents came to town, and the mail.  But in my house, the kitchen table is the center of all things.  It may be because I don't allow food upstairs.  It may be because I don't allow television during the week or the computer is down here or there's a comfy couch nearby for reading.  It may be because our kitchen table is where everybody is together most of the time.  It may be because my children can't go ten feet inside a door without dropping their shit everywhere and that's the closest place.  Who's to say?

But for whatever the reason, everything gets done at the kitchen table.  Eating, talking, crafts, projects, and homework, lots and lots of homework over the years.  And it makes me happy.  G has a desk in her room and does her fair share of cocooning, but usually only on the weekends.  S has never had a desk and when asked if she wanted a cool piece of furniture to use as a pull-down desk, she said she'd never use it because she always does her homework downstairs.

The table is where our family is a family.  And although T is gone most of the week, what I find deeply moving is that his place is always laid with a napkin (when there are any) and his place is always cleared.  The kids usually don't dump their books and papers there.  They'll dump their stuff on my place, but I'm around to clean it up.  Daddy's place is sacred.  I love that.  It's like the empty chair for Elijah at a Jewish Seder.  Keeping his place means he's always with us, even when he's away.

And I deeply love this table, too.  I especially love it when no one is here.  It's cleaned off and the napkins (when there are any) are folded.  And there are several more hours that it will stay that way because no one is here.  It is a place of infinite possibility:  newspaper reading, emailing, writing, reading, coffee drinking making to-do lists and including things you've already done so you can cross them off.  Wait.  What?

Kids' first day back to school a/k/a hooray!

And I love other people's kitchen tables, too.  My stuffy Florida grandmother's kitchen table had a butter dish that you were forbidden to get crumbs into - hello, butter knife!  But I can still smell the heavy scent of my grandfather's dark rye bread on all those summer mornings.  My mother-in-law's kitchen table has seen any number of looooong family gatherings - we are outgrowing her small apartment now that our kids have become adult-sized, but that table carries so many wonderful memories.  And it will continue to.

My best friend's kitchen table is a huge round, but we always sat right next to each other and drank coffee on those endless mornings when our kids were little and sucking the souls out of us.  We drank coffee and talked about what we would do and where we would go when we didn't have toddlers.  New York!  Paris!  New Orleans!  Who cares?!  And now, we don't have toddlers anymore.  And our oldest ones are starting to figure out their college choices.  But the table that was once a life raft may well be again, for a different reason.

And that's okay.

I think.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

GYST Day Three

Get Your Shit Together Report

Day Three

I had some wonderful friends over for a first annual "crafty hour" at which no one crafted a single thing.  We just ate and talked and had a delicious new cocktail from DAC, which, if I understand the story correctly, was supposed to be a Moscow Mule, but went wrong somewhere in Outer Mongolia.  Whatever it was, it was yummy.

So, nothing crossed off the list unless you count keeping dear friends nearby as something you put on a list.  

Maybe I should!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

GYST Day Two

Day Two (Tuesday):  Seriously, this was one of those days.  Not a bad one, just one with lots to do outside the house.  Still, I did cross one thing off the list today:  "Meals for A."  My sister-in-law, whom I adore, may or may not have thyroid cancer.  She was having half of her thyroid out Tuesday, so I've been making yummy things for us for a week and doubling up for her.  That way, she can take it easy.

I went out early on the worst, coldest, drizzliest day to have a delightful birthday lunch with my super bff, L, and then off to deliver meals in Round Rock.  Threw the dinners in her freezer and sat down for a visit.  A is a trooper, and the good news is that everything looked good after the surgery.  And the even better news is that we had a lovely visit with A, my mother-in-law, and A's mother.  It was nice to slow down, have a coffee, and chat on a cold day like that.

Now, a visit wasn't on my list, and I stayed much longer than I'd intended, but those are the times that make a life.  I'm not going to sweat it; in fact, I'm going to embrace it.

Family matters.

GYST Day One

Day One (Monday):  The best laid plans. . . . Day One was supposed to begin with our usual Monday run, but it was drizzling.  And 34 degrees, which is below our relatively generous but entirely sane temperature threshold of 35 degrees, so I read the paper.  I read the paper, had some coffee, and then I got to work.  Cleaned the house - not on the list.  Did the laundry - not on the list.  Watched my taped version of the Golden Globes - not on the list.  

Things were not going well, but in the spirit of Lewis and Clark, Vasco de Gama, and Ru Paul, I stepped out where no (wo)man had gone before, and I knitted.  Okay, so that's not a stretch.  And yes, I knit all the time.  BUT I have one project that I started ages ago.  It's a scarf.  And I HATE it.  It's a beautiful pattern.  It's a beautiful, soft, dove gray yarn, but it is so fucking hard that I keep wanting to rip out every stitch, and then kill somebody.  Even the doyenne of my knitting group, who can do anything, started up the pattern after I did (she also finished before I did, no comment), and she almost gave it up, too.  But I am in the last, agonizing death throes of binding off the damn thing.  So I worked on it. 

Did I finish it?  Hell, no, but I'm moving forward.  

Other items off the list:
1.  Budget reconciliation for 1/15 pay period (woo hoo, not).
2.  Email girls re Colorado trip (intriguing, I know, I'm super excited)
3.  T - fix scanner.  There are somethings I can't do, and a smart woman knows when to ask for help.
4.  Last day of double for freezing.  Made lasagne and sausage with lentils and rice for us and for my sister-in-law, who was having surgery the following day.

Not an impressive start, but Rome wasn't built in a day.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Back to Earth

A dear friend told me that it's easy to get way wrapped up in the stats/analytics of blogging.  You can obsess over every new visitor and your average time on site and all that.  Considering that I've mostly limited my readership to close friends and friends of close friends, my numbers aren't exactly high.  They could be with some self-advertisement, but I'm just not there yet.  Maybe I will be one day.  Maybe not.

Anyway, regardless of my relatively small readership, I still took great pride, and great pleasure, in my regular handful of folks checking in on me, even when I hadn't posted in a while.  In fact, I felt pretty darn special.  Until the following exchange:

From: Mom
Subject: sniff
Date: January 14, 2013 10:18:26 AM CST
To: Me

Hi there, I am sad that your blog journey is over.  Guess I'll have to change my home page now :-)  You are great!
From: Mom
Subject: hooray
Date: January 14, 2013 10:23:09 AM CST
To: Me

Oh!  I am so excited!  Just got online and there was your new posting, with more to come!  Hot doggies.  PS, you make me laugh.

There is so much to be concerned with here, not least of which is
someone with multiple doctoral degrees using the phrase hot 
doggies, but if you were paying attention, you will have noticed
that my mom has this blog as her home page.  Which means that
everytime she goes on line to check the weather, which I can
assure you is several times a day, she hits my blog.  Which
therefore means that my mother is something like 98.2% of my
readership.  Perhaps a little bit of self-advertising is in order.


Monday, January 14, 2013

21 Days of Get Your Shit Together

They're starting another 21-day challenge at my gym today.  You sign up, you commit to workout and to eat well, and you track your progress.  As the single most competitive person alive, I fall victim to these challenges all the time.  I either out-compete everyone and get super shapely for those 21 days and then reward myself for the next 30.  Or, more often, I set totally unrealistic goals for myself and then fail epically to meet them.  Sound familiar?  Who, me?

But it's January, and I ate so much bread and drank so much wine in France and Germany that when we got back, I swore I wouldn't even want them anymore.  Tell that to the cereal and toast I had for breakfast this morning.  So, I'm challenging.  I'm challenging at the gym, and I'm challenging myself, too.  Most of the people I live with will also tell you that I'm challenging. 

Here's the plan:

Much of what was going on in this picture was a to-do list of all the projects, piddly and not, that I have lined up.  Many of them are small, some of them are easy, all of them are achievable. See that composition book there?  That's THE LIST as it looks today.  THE LIST changes and evolves, as you might imagine, as things are completed (a/k/a I write in pencil so I can erase things that I don't want to do).  THE LIST includes things as small as e-mail the landscape guy about the weevils in the agaves and things as large as 
stain and recover the new (old) chairs for the dining room.  That I bought in 2010.  Whatevs.

So, in addition to the godforsaken challenge at the gym, I am setting myself a 21-Day Get Your Shit Together challenge.  I will purposefully engage in one of the projects on this list every day, reminding myself that not all projects will be completed every day.  So, instead of The Project, I will have the projects.  

AND I am resolving to blog about it. Everyday.  For 21 days.  I've been hot and cold on these pages lately.  Excusable?  Yes.  Understandable?  Yes.  It's all okay, but I do love this blog, and I believe in what I'm trying to do here, so I need to back up my belief with some commitment.  They say it takes 21 days to make a habit.  

We'll see.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

The. End.

If you're new here, for some context, you could read this or this.  You should definitely read this

Well, we went out with a whimper, not a bang.  And maybe that's a good thing.  It's a good thing because this project shouldn't have ever been a big deal in the first place.  For thousands of years, people got their food (sometimes more easily than others), cooked it at home, ate it together, lather, rinse, repeat.  Even Julia Child, in all her brilliance, didn't take off from the start.  In the '50s and '60s, housewifery and homemaking had become such drudgery that many home cooks had turned to packaged, boxed convenience food.  She had to convince home cooks that they could do better even in their own homes.  But whatever its incarnation, most food was still being cooked at home.

Not anymore.  There's so much quick, easy food available that your mind almost automatically defaults to running by the Sonic or picking up the phone to order pizza.  Intentional or healthy eating only means choosing Jason's Deli or Subway rather than the alternative.  And we were regular, if not habitual offenders.  I was always turning over new leaves -- ordering/buying fresh food/ making meal plans -- always with the best of intentions.  Mondays usually worked out, Tuesdays were iffy, and by Wednesday, we were off the rails.  Week after week.  And it wasn't until I stopped working that I could see the pattern.  Good intentions on Monday, rotten chard by Friday.

Let me say up front that the project we undertook and the lifestyle it has grown into would have been exponentially more difficult if I were working full time.  I volunteer quite a bit, am active in my community, and am physically active almost every day, but I still do have the time to grow food, shop for food, prep food, and cook food, all in the same day (except for the growing, of course).  There's no way I could have so rigidly kept to the project while working a full-time and stressful job like teaching.

But I wasn't working, so the project began with the intent to decrease our retail food footprint and increase our home food footprint.  And we did.  It was really hard at first.  Harder for some than for others, but definitely something we had to work at, to think about, to find our way around.  But somewhere along the way, and I couldn't tell you where or when, it just got easier.  Maybe not even easier, going out just wasn't what we did.  At some point, I didn't really have to think so much about it, to fight the urge to pull into every Sonic I saw, to dream about orange-peel beef, to obsess over the perfection of every cooked item.

It just became not a thing. Some nights I had wine and microwave nachos. Actually, many nights I had wine and microwave nachos.  But I had control over the quality of the cheese, the amount of salt in the chips, and with my own homemade salsa and an apple, it made a pretty satisfying meal for one.  Somewhere along the way, I became okay with the idea that this project didn't have to be about presenting three-course, five-star meals every night.  Clearly, I didn't.  Sandwiches, pick-ups and leftovers featured heavily in the QC rotation.  What eventually began to matter more (to me, at least) was an intentionality to our eating.  We knew where it came from and what was in it.  Period.  If that's where you start, it's pretty easy.

The Project By the Numbers:
Days on the Project: 329
Dishwasher total: 353
QC entries: 280
Percent of time we ate pickups or leftovers: approximately 25-30
Money saved:  My estimate is that we saved about 1/3 of our total food bill over the previous year.  My dear friend DD suggested a money saved total along with the Daily Dish, but T and I couldn't ever find a way to calculate it given the multiple variables, such as we were spending much less on restaurant food but much more on groceries, the quality of the groceries was probably better because I was cooking everything from scratch which added value to each meal but cost more, etc.  And honestly, I really hate math.

The girls have adjusted about like you'd expect.  G still eats out more than the rest of us - she goes out to see friends, have study groups, and generally likes fast food more than we do.  With her drivers license in the summer came the privilege to make her own decisions.  Does she always make the ones I'd choose for her?  No.  But she is armed with knowledge and control over what she does choose.  S has always loved the project because no one loves her mama's cooking like that one.  She has always had a better palate, and I think, a tenderer tummy.  She doesn't feel well when she eats crap, so her poor choices often come with more physical consequences that her sister's.  Transition is not her issue.  And T has been a trooper.  It squeezed my heart a little today when, at the arrival of some little gratin dishes for baked eggs, he asked how to make them so he could try them when he's away.  Sniff!  My thinking is that the project may appeal to him more from the financial aspect, but he appreciates good food as well, so that's a win-win.

We've just returned from our long-awaited Christmas trip to Germany and France (the one we were saving for when we started this thing), and I was absolutely blown away by the cost of a dinner out in Europe.  These were not super-fancy places but weren't fast food by any stretch, but each one cost anywhere from 80-100 euros for a family of four (with wine, duh), which is about $104-130US.  A regular, good quality meal (and let me tell you, they were delicious) was still about twice what we'd expect to pay here.  From what I can glean, there are two reasons for this:  one, the French expect high quality dining everywhere, so they are willing to pay a higher premium for quality meat, fresh and local produce, etc., and secondly, the French don't eat out much.  Some of this is because they have access to the most wonderful bread, cheese, meat, and produce on almost every street corner (bakeries) and certainly in every neighborhood (markets, butchers, etc.).  They're starting with ingredients that make it much easier to prepare quality food at home.

They also eat out like I think we all should be.  They eat out for truly special occasions.  Not twice a week, or even weekly.  So, their per-meal costs over the course of a week or a month can handle the higher price of eating out because they do it so much less than we do.  This, I think, is changing considering that on the Avenue des Talles, I saw a gorgeous, model-thin woman wearing an impossibly chic outfit and carrying a GIGANTIC Louis Vuitton bag with another in a LV shopping bag, holding a cake box.  Perched on top of the cake box, carried by this iteration of La Belle France, was a big, ole brown sack from Mickey D's.  Quel horreur!  And so it goes.

Back here at home, we've settled back into our routine.  I'll tell you that I did run into the Sonic last week (riddled with jet lag) and ordered a grilled cheese, a tiny tator tots, and a soda.  It was fine.  It was even pretty good, but it just doesn't hold the fascination that it once did.  I'd been out for five hours on a measly breakfast, and it was all that was close.  Could I have made a better choice?  Maybe, but I knew what my choices were, and I chose Sonic.  Intentional, and reasoned.  And it was fine.  But I haven't been back.  We may start to eat out more than we have - I don't know.  T and I didn't use our date exemption as much as we'd have liked, and there is something to the French way of making a dinner out something special rather than Plan B on a bad day. To be honest, I'm not really sure what eating out looks like post-project.   We'll just have to see.  I'm going to continue to QC, if only to keep myself honest.

When the kids started school this week, we shifted without discussion or discomfort right back into our pattern - meal plan, shopping, dinner at home.  We've made it an entire week without wanting to fall back into our old ways.  Maybe the true test wasn't if we could be successful while we were on the project.  Maybe the test is if we can be successful when we're off it.  I think I survived the first test well.  Tuesday's planned meal was roast chicken, which I had pulled out of the freezer Sunday thinking it would thaw.  That sucker was FROZEN SOLID Tuesday afternoon.  In the past, that would have been the most satisfying excuse to grab some take-out or head to Jason's Deli.  It wasn't until Wednesday morning that I realized that I hadn't even thought to go out.  I just grabbed some of my own chili (approaching its way-too-long-in-the-freezer date), thawed it, boiled the hotdogs I'd bought for S's sleepover the previous weekend, and roasted the cauliflower like I had planned.  It was a little weird - chili dogs and roasted cauliflower - but I knew where it came from and what was in it.

I'll call that progress.

Friday, January 11, 2013

What the Hell Happened to December?

So, you'll notice that this post is dated from somewhere in mid-January.  It appears that the last time I stopped to take a breath or look around or, God forbid, wrote anything was six weeks ago!  This has happened before (a/k/a June).  The funny thing is that when I look at it, it looks like nothing got done when actually that's the problem.  I was so busy doing it (what ever "it" is) that I was too busy to chronicle it.

And it is what it is.  I can't bring back time, and since I can barely remember what I had for breakfast yesterday, it seems unlikely that I can reconstruct the entire month.   So, with the help of my handy calendar and even more handy iPhone photos, this is what I figured out I was doing while I wasn't doing anything.
Tower of Fleece

Board Meeting
Friend for Tea
Dispense with TOWER OF FLEECE
Can 4 quarts of salsa

Order duffel bags for trip
Make quiche for French class
Send kids' school pictures to grandparents (only two months late!)
Gym (x12)
Run (x12)
Make 5 fleece blankets
Make dog sweater (oh, Jesus, I have become one of them.)
Game Day Sweater.  For a dog.

"Homework" with the cousins
Tennis (x6)
Knitting Club (x3)
Retirement Party
Christmas Party
Band concert
Church event set-up
Pick up Texas foods for Europe hosts
Presents for Texas hosts
Housesitter meeting
Kids to dentist
Return duffel bags for trip - too small
Dinner with the cousins!
Birthday party
Found this little gem
returning the bags.
Order different duffel bags
Prepare spreadsheet for meeting
Board meeting
Christmas party
Brunch with friends
Get girls warm clothes
Get more clothes
Eagle scout ceremony
Meet landscaper about sad agaves
Dogs to vet
Clean house to be gone
Pack clothes
Pack yarn
Pack presents