Tuesday, July 29, 2008

"Arrested Development"

My friend Scott is leaving the island in a few days.


 I'm in my usual state of complete denial. 

Having Scott live right across the street was almost like training for having a teenager. He lives completely independently from me, but I found myself checking to see if/when he had eaten, if his lights were still on when I went to bed (2, 3am), if he had food in the house. 
He is a joy to feed, as well. Eats everything I put in front of him. I LOVE that!
I'm not sure he always appreciated the extra attention, but he's a good sport, and never threw things at me, as I suspect my own teenagers will.

I think I may become Marie Barone in my later years. I can't wait to be a Mother-in- Law!

Scott even brought me lunch at the Post Office today; the most incredible tomato, mozzarella, and basil sandwich...and he toasted the bread. I almost cried.

 He also brought me the first three seasons of the show "Arrested Development" on DVD. I just watched the first 8 episodes, and I'm hooked! It's very, very funny; another reminder of why I will miss Scott so much...we have exactly the same(warped) sense of humor.

He is leaving a piece of himself behind, so I'll have something to remember him by. But I am sworn to secrecy until after he leaves the island....and nobody is 'with child' (what is wrong with you people, this is a nice boy, here!!).

I have  finished another 6 rows of the beach coverup. Miss Thing will have to try it on in the a.m., I need to see it on her to decide how many more rows to do. I'm close, very close!!
We are heading off tomorrow for a 'weekend'. Our weekends are Wednesday to Thursday, because that's when the ferry runs. We are off to Rockland for some family time, to stay in a hotel with a pool so Thing Two can show his Dad how he learned to swim. (fingers crossed that he will actually DO IT!)

I'm agonizing over which project(s) to take with me. There'll be lots of car knitting time, and I'm sooo close to being done with the beach cover-up...
But what if I finish it? Then I have to have something else. That means bringing 2 projects....and the cover-up is sort of bulky. Like a sweater. Too hot to carry around. I'm leaning toward leaving that home, and bringing the square cake bag. But, eh...it's not doing it for me right now.
Socks. I really want to bring socks. Dare I start another project when I've got two going???
And the Ravelympics so close to hand?? umm, still haven't decided on a project for this. I have sooo much to choose from! And really, for me the challenge is not how hard the pattern is, but can I actually finish it in 17 days? Now that's a challenge!!!

I have a little bit of time in the morning to make the decision.

And in the back of my mind is this sneaky little plan of heading to my lys to find something entirely new and exciting to knit poolside...and maybe a new project for the Ravelympics....

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Starting a trend?

I quit one of my jobs today. It's not as dramatic as it sounds, because it's one of my non-paying jobs. But it sure feels good to be down one more!

My goal is to run the Post Office, continue as a School Board member, and a member of the FFDC board.
So I still have 2 more jobs to get done with. Sigh, one step at a time...

Speaking of steps...I'm in training.
For the Olympics.
Yeah, you heard me. Stop laughing!
It's the Knitting Olympics. 
And I'm soooo going to win a medal.
(With a yet-to -be -determined project.)

Here, look at a beach:

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Now doesn't that make you feel all warm inside?

I have worked on the beach cover-up tonight, and am almost, almost done.
Maybe tomorrow night?????

Saturday, July 26, 2008

All kinds of fun

So, it took me days, but I read up all the blog posts I missed while I was away. (ok, skimmed.)

And there's a lot going on!!
There is this contest:



I love the Knit Witch Yarn Bowls!
They're on my wish list!!!

another contest at Knittinggiraffe@blogspot.com

and yet another, at my friend Grace's.
Grace asks an interesting question....do you put down your metal knitting needles during a thunder/lightning storm?
I would have answered 'no' a few days ago, but we just had a doozy of a storm and had 2 strikes right next to our house. Thankfully, no damage.
But Swan's Island, next to us, wasn't so lucky. Their Library and Museum was struck, and burnt to the ground. Very sad. But on the bright side, nobody was hurt, and no houses were involved.
I will be putting my metal needles down from now on, I can tell you!!!

catching up, part 4

Isn't it cool when you look up at the sky and see this:


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crappy picture while driving in a rest area

It looks like God is coming down. (There was just one patch of blue sky in the middle of dark black clouds.)

I don't leave the island much, but when I do I usually have a 6-7 hour drive ahead of me.
And let me, the voice of experience, tell you...this is the ONLY way to go:

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We've had the 2 tv screen DVD player for a couple of years, but the headphones are a new trick. I had complete silence for over an hour. And then I put the radio on, and could hear it!!!! And nobody complained about what I was listening to!!!
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And I had this to occupy me! (umm, the coffee, not the phone. Nobody I know is up at 4am who would want to hear from me. I just keep it handy because...well, you've seen the pictures of what my van looked like. Imagine breaking down and having to unpack all that crap to dig out the spare tire and jack! I keep the phone handy, and AAA paid up!)


And finally, some knitting!
Not that I've done any this week...this is all from vacation last week.
Though, now that I'm caught up, I hope to get to some!!!

First up, the crocheted cover-up, on the model...
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looking kind of dumb with the halter underneath. Like the tail hanging off the back?? We've decided this should be knee-length, so she can wear it next year as well. (cough, because it might not be finished until, you know, November....)
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Hey, how do you like her lobster buoy earrings? Those are The Big Guy's buoy colors. Cool, right? We know a guy who did the colors custom....
Why is it, whenever I ask her to try something on, I immediately get this pose...with the hand on the head??


Yarn Pirate yarn!!
She calls this colorway "cupcake'. 
Sure looks good enough to eat to me!
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And finally, the Square Cake bag. 
This yarn...I don't know. I've got this thing right in front of me, and I can't see the pattern. It all blends in. I took about 482 pictures of it to try to show the diamond pattern up, and do you know, it showed in every single picture but not to the naked eye! 
So this bag will look lovely in photos, but in person...not so much.
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Sigh, I don't know. It's not splitty. It's very shiny. It works up nice, slides off the needles just enough....and it's pretty....
but it isn't showing stitch definition. At least in person.
But it's an easy knit, and I love bags, so I'll finish it.
I'm closer to finishing Thing One's beach dress, and she wants to wear it on our next trip...so I guess that's this week's project. I should be able to get that done by the 9th of August!!



catching up, part 3

What, you thought this was gonna be easy? Did I not tell you recently that I was so far behind I might as well be going backwards?


Do you know that I have not yet done the payroll taxes that are due on the 31st?
Do you know how screwed I am if I don't get them in?

However...
1. My house is finally, finally, clean.
2. My laundry is done. (though not yet put away, I'm packing a bag to go off Wed-Thursday).
3. The Post Office is caught up.
4. My swap package is sent.
5. All the food we brought back is put away
6. As of 2:30pm, this afternoon, my van is empty of vacation detritus.

Things I have learned from this vacation:
1. One of us who live and eat in this house MUST go off the island every 2 weeks to get groceries. And it ain't going to be me.
2. 5 and 7-year olds are perfectly capable of cleaning when instructed at a very, very loud tone of voice.
3. Husbands who appear to be incompetent can be trained. He did laundry and washed dishes..and-wait for it- changed the sheets on our bed (which he slept in all week and knew I wouldn't go near without a thorough bleaching)!!
4. Never, never come back from vacation and plan to work a 6 day stretch straight out of the gate. It took me a week to get us back 'home'. I could have done it in a day, maybe two, if I could have not had distractions. 
5. Never, ever make plans, or arrange your own life around things that depend on other people. 
I keep forgetting that other people do not have the same sense of obligation that I have. 
Wish I could be one of those people. It would be so much easier.


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I think I can swim without my floaties now.
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Yup, he could!
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Uncle Michael even got him going under water and swimming across the pool.

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I missed the shot, but she was working out with Uncle Michael all week, and showed him how she does sit-ups while hanging over the edge of the pool.
Except, she's supposed to do crunches, and stop at the water line, and she goes under water, and comes up for a full sit up! He thought it was a riot!

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Why can't we just stay here?!?

Believe me, if I were Queen of the world....we would.

catching up, part 2

When you go on vacation, you should always try to connect with your roots, and include some history. Look how I accomplished that:


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Uncle Michael taught Thing One how to make homemade gnocchi.

I got to enjoy the fruits of their labor.
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Look, in the excitement I didn't even notice how blurry this shot was.
I'm beginning to think my camera might suck. A lot of my pictures are blurry like that, and they don't look it until I upload them to Flickr. When I get some free time, I'll look into that.
Don't hold your freakin' breath.

They were phenomenal!MMMMMM, wish I had that bowl right now.
She LOVED doing it. They made calzones another night, and he made the Things pizzafrittas for breakfast one morning.

He also made me calamari gravy while I was there, and Auntie Ro saved me some pizzadolci and pizzabuena from Easter that they froze for me.  Soooo good. (I've never written these words before. I have absolutely no idea how to spell them in English. I was in high school before I found out that calzone started with a 'c'. Ha.We say 'gull-i-zone-ee', 'gull-i-mah-tee',
'pizza-gain-ah', 'pizza-tho-ja'. 'nyock-ee'.)
There was so much food around, I couldn't even eat it all.
And that's sayin' something.

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mmmmmmmmmmmmm.

But the best thing I ate all week were the sangwiches Kissy brought to the beach. Yummy moradel!!

catching up, part one

I just read all of the posts I missed on the almost 300 blogs I keep track of.

And in between, I have learned to stick my foot out when the kids get too rambunctious and trip them as they run through the house. You know, so they don't run into walls and get hurt.
They are Polish and Italian. It's a scary mix. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Going Backwards

I'm so far behind in life right now, I may as well be going backwards.


I have lots of funny stuff to share abut our ride home, but that will have to wait until tomorrow.
Pressing matters of business and all that. 
Top priority must be given to payroll taxes, which are due to be filed by the end of the month, and you know Uncle Sam...he doesn't care what you knit, or who did what on their summer vacation, he wants money and paperwork, in that order.
And who am I to argue?

But I have neglected an important matter in the glory of vacation. I meant to share this and forgot all about it!
One of the best blogs I read is throwing a fundraiser: The Full Circle raffle.
A very worthy cause. Go check it out, and read why she is inspired to help the women who helped her.
I dare you not to cry.
And I implore you to make a donation.

I've already donated, but you know what? After re-reading her post, I'm going back and do it again. Yes, I am.

I went to the beach twice while on vacation. I seriously considered tying my kids to my beach chair with a rope. But the thought of being on the front page of every newspaper in the Greater Boston area in a bathing suit made me reconsider.
I did not take my eyes off the kids. (No easy feat.)
And in the end, it was the waves that commanded most of my attention. Our first trip to the beach, the waves were awesome. By our second trip, last Friday, they were downright dangerous. I found myself having a convo with the lifeguard, asking whose authority it was to close the beach. And I love waves! I had all I could do to stand up, they were that strong. A little kid would never have been able to. But the lifeguards were all over it, talking to the Mothers of little ones....their whistles didn't stop all day.

I'm off to type up minutes to a School Board meeting that took place yesterday. Then the payroll taxes. 
If anybody would like to break into my house tonight and finish putting away my grocery shopping, I will oblige by NOT calling the Police. I got home Sunday afternoon, and my car is still not unpacked. (There was over 4-digits worth of groceries packed into that baby, well over, lest you think us lazy here at The Rock. Unloading that stuff and putting it away is enough to make me cry. I'm still not done, but I can see my kitchen countertops tonight, so progress is being made.)

Tomorrow: pics of the as-yet-unfinished crocheted beach cover-up, Pirate Yarn (!!!), and some progress on the Square Cake bag.


Saturday, July 19, 2008

Torture

   The end of a vacation always sucks, right? Well, get a load of mine.

I have spent the better part of three days (hot, humid days, but whatever...)getting ready for the ride home.
I have been to Walmart (twice, actually), Stop n Shop, Christmas Tree Shop (yay!),
 Michael's (yay!), Napa (for The Big Guy), Costco (guy told me I was the highliner at his register for the day. lovely. glad I can single-handedly support your business.),Radio Shack (the new cord wouldn't run both screens of the car dvd player. Sooo not going home without it!!), and filled the gas tank and coolant (it's 97" here today).
I'm a puddle of sweat.
This is what it looks like when you live on an island and only go shopping once a month. And cook like a fiend.

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If God is my co-pilot, he'd better be small...

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'cause there ain't much room in here for him! And this is before our Sam's order!


I don't know how it's all going to fit in my van. 
I'm going to have to leave the beach bag and all the beach toys here. 

We will be on the road at 5am. Honk if you see me!
And if you see me stranded on the side of the road, pick up the kids and run, because I will surely be suicidal!!!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Beach, Baby!

We hit the beach yesterday (Friday) where I did this:


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And the kids did this:

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It was a perfect beach day, at my favorite beach in the world. The waves were kick-ass, to boot. 
Thing One couldn't get enough of the water, Thing Two...not so much. The waves were pretty violent and a little too much for him. He got knocked off his feet twice, and wouldn't go past his knees (I'm not complaining...it was easier to keep an eye on him!). 

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Even these two couldn't stay away...and I'm going to consume mas quantities of crap for putting this awful picture of a certain someone on here...but he was off scoping the beach babes and this was the one and only pic I got of him! So tough nuggies.
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Even this guy got in on the act!

Today we see how well we applied our sunscreen. Thing Two gets 5 stars ('course, I applied it), Thing One gets 4 stars (probably because the waves washed off a lot of it and she spent much of the day in the water).
I get 5 stars for the front of me, 3 stars for the sides, and 0 for the back!
Ouch!

So, this is the crocheted beach coverup. I've had this idea/pattern rattling around in my head for a while, since I found this yarn on Ebay last winter. 
It's all cotton, tie-dyed, in two different weights-bulky and DK.
I knew it would be top-down and seamless. I knew it would be mesh-yoked. I knew it would be A-line. 
But from there down, I'm on the fence. I've tried to 'wing it' twice, with 2 different stitches and I don't like the look. Here's the latest:

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I think this is a keeper! 
This is for Thing One, and she has tried it on 482 times so far (I have the hardest time judging when to split off  the sleeves for the top-down raglan....).

My fingers are a bluish-green from this yarn. Think a vinegar bath will set the dye enough, or do I need to do some serious investigation on how to set the dye?
Any handpainters out there???

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The last time I consent to this!

Thing One got an Easy Bake Oven from Santa.

I like my big oven. It makes food that will feed more than a mouse.

I let the girls have at it, the day before we left. They were all afternoon making these. Poor Natalia, she was on her own most of the time...

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Yup, all afternoon. Barely enough to feed a mouse.
I think they had fun, though.

I brought a full bag of knitting projects here on vacation.
And yet, I'm going to search for yarn shops to visit. 
Anybody know of anything I shouldn't pass up????


Finally, sun!

The kids and I are officially on vacation! 


We struck out yesterday on the very full ferry, and had a pleasant ride to the mainland. Accomplished a bunch of errands, and then the Gremlins struck.
You can't have it all, you know?
First, it was hotter than the armpit of hell on the mainland. I worried the entire trip that the van (not-so-new) would overheat on the highway and we'd be stranded in the 93' heat. Me, and three kids. Even with a full knitting bag, it would NOT have been good!
 Thankfully, it didn't happen, but my heart went out to the few motorists I passed in that predicament. I always call the Staties when I see somebody on the side of the road with their car hood up. I've been there! (Back before cell phones, it reeeaaally sucked.)
We tried to hook up the Dvd  player in the car, but it wouldn't power up. We only use it on the drive to Boston, and it worked fine on the last trip, in April. 
Went right to Radio Shack, where I latched onto the leg of a twenty-something who looked like he might have some tech-savvy, and he hooked us up with a new power cord. Gremlins rebuffed!
They got me again about 20 minutes later: one screen dimmed and wouldn't come back. Three kids crowded around one screen, but it kept them quiet and occupied, so all was well.
We hit torrential thunderstorms around Augusta, and crawled along at 25 mph for miles, like everybody else on the highway. Couldn't see a thing!
Finally, made it to Nana's at 8pm.

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It was a very long day.

She met us in the driveway with the news; they'd lost power for some unknown reason at 7:30.
OMG, no air conditioning?? We threw the kids right in the pool. It was so muggy! We don't ever get this weather on the island!
Power stayed out until 4:30 this morning. I slept on her cellar floor, rolling around on the tile looking for a cold spot. When the power came back on, I sprinted up 2 flights of stairs like Flo Jo on serious juice, clamped shut all the windows in my path, and maxed out the AC. There was frost on the windows when we got out of bed this morning! (Don't tell my Father...)
It's much cooler today, not as humid. Nice cool breeze, which I'm loving! The kids have been in the pool all day.

Things have swung 180' around here. I have had to go into the shed twice, on the sly, to turn down the music! When I lived here, they used to throw things at us to keep the music down.
And how is it possible that I'm the fattest one here???
All they do is eat!!
So glad I'm here, though. Rock on, Neil Diamond!
Off to get Thing Two a haircut before Mike the Barber takes off for a long weekend, he looks like one of the Monkees....

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Sunday, July 6, 2008

Happy 4th of July!

We had a great time again this year. Frenchboro had it's 2nd annual parade and cookout, followed by games and boat races. It was a beautiful day, too.

Here is our float:

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Somehow, it's always camo....

All the floats were great this year, some patriotic, some just plain fun, and a couple not- so- politically- correct but Very Funny!

Michele, Mario, Patrice and Meathead (we needed a new nickname for 'little Mario', as he is now 13, and almost the size of his Father. This week, he was dubbed "Meathead"), all left on Saturday morning.
We stole Natalia.
We'll bring her down with us in a few more days.

The kids are having a blast.We've been down to the Store for the last 2 days, and the kids have been swimming at the head of the Cove. I think they like to play on the flats at low tide better; that water is COLD!!!!
I was once shamed into swimming with a bunch of teenagers at Eastern Beach. Like, out over my head real swimming, not walking in to your knees kind of thing. 
These kids were all psyching themselves up for a dip, and asked me to come. We were at a barbecue, and I sort of blew them off because I had nothing to change into, didn't want to sit around in heavy wet clothes, and they called me old.

"Oh, we didn't realize you were one of the old folks, we forgot."

Being on the low side of 30, I was pissed. Looking back, I should have been flattered they even thought me 'not old' for even a minute! 
And off I went. Barreled  right in with them. 
I've never felt anything like it. It hurt. Even when I got out, it hurt. Do you know, I can still remember how that felt?!? (unlike childbirth, that memory didn't fade!)
 It took every ounce of determination I possess to wade out deeper and deeper into that water. Now I wonder what else I can accomplish, if I could make myself withstand that!
And even now, I can recall Joseph walking past me in the water as if he were on a street, and diving head first into a wave. That kid went under. I think he was 9 years old.
He should have brain damage.
Actually, we played a lot of card games together this winter; I think we both suffered some damage, judging from our performance!

So, we had a good visit with Michele and Mario and the kids. We:
ate lots of crabs and lobsters, 
ran out of milk, bread, eggs, and toilet paper, 
Mario stuffed the truck in a ditch as soon as they got here,
We had 5 days of fog the 7 days they were here,
 Mario can bbq (as opposed to the Big Guy, who thinks he can, but can't), so we had some kickass chicken on the grill, and a shrimp veggie dish that was so good, I can't wait to do it again,
 Michele helped The Big Guy replace my single- bowl kitchen sink with a double ( I am trying to get used to it. I hate it.) while I was at work (traumatizing experience for me,what with the OCD and somebody playing in my kitchen...in my cabinets...), and they almost had it all back together and cleaned up when I got home. She took care of all the mess while I sat in the corner and sucked my thumb (It was too early to start drinking).

I spent a lot of time on Natalia's top, and finally finished it Saturday morning, after those guys cleared out. They left at 7am, so the kids and I plopped on the couch and watched Don Knotts in The Ghost and Mr. Chicken. They loved it! Thing One is a huge Andy Griffin Show fan (thanks to Netflix), and she thought Don Knotts was hysterical in this.
It is a great movie; if you haven't seen it, you must! Gotta love that all the women wore hats and gloves in public, as opposed to now, when young girls don't know what underwear is for.
I am viscerally opposed to thongs, and the day I catch my kid in one is the day I set her out on the doorstep wearing nothing but.

So, here is the finished top...


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That was a lot of edging!

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I've had these buttons for eons. I can't even remember where they came from, or where I thought I'd use them. I actually thought they were kind of ugly, in the package. Twelve buttons, in 3 different sizes and 4 colors. Really not cool.
But they are perfect on this top! They are just- ever-so-slightly glittery, which 11 going on 16 loves.
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I had to threaten her with something awful that I will not divulge, to get her to pose for a pic. She was appropriately grossed out.
 This is the best picture I could get.

Look, there's the evil sink. Did I mention that he had to take out those 2 small drawers on either side of the sink in order to fit it? Now my dishcloths have no place to live, nor do my giant Sam's size bottles of spices. I am bereft. And they are homeless.


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Kind of blurry, but this was all about the colors anyway.
Isn't that awesome?




Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy Birthday to Patrice!

     How cool is it that Patrice was here for her Birthday?!? We never get to see her on her special day. In fact, we were trying to remember...we think this is the first Birthday she's celebrated in this country, the little jetsetter!


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It's the only time the house is quiet: cake.


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I'm four today! But I'm the Princess EVERY day!


Thursday, July 3, 2008

Vacation!

Here is all the cuteness you can stand:



video

We had our second day of sunshine here on the island this week. There's been mushroom foraging, crab hunting, and lobster fishing. Some regular fishing, too.
And lots of this:

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This was around 9pm. It's not normal for people to be so sleepy.


The kids are having a ball.


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These are sick, sick people. Do not laugh with them, kids!


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Ummm, is he sitting in his lap? Is this what they mean when they say the computer brings people closer together?


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Yeah, gotta run...4th of July festivities tomorrow!!!!

Watch for a knitting update later in the week. It doesn't look like I'll be finishing Natalia's top before she leaves on Saturday. I'm trying to keep her here a few more days to buy some time!