Thursday, July 2, 2015

Tea Time with Tiffany Episode 6 - Calling all knitters and crocheters!

Yes, this is a themed week here at Life of a Catholic Librarian it seems. Lots of knitting posts! But I'm sure I'll be inspired by something new next week, and thus I'll write about that. I always aim to keep things interesting for you. ;-) But this week I thought I'd talk about my knitting and crocheting journey in the latest installment of:


How did I get started in each craft? What are my favorite types of projects to work on? Epic knitting fails? It's all here!


Items mentioned during this episode:
  • You can find learn to knit/crochet classes at your local craft store (Jo-ann, Michael's), or at your local yarn shop. Stop in and ask! You can not only learn the skills, but become a part of a supportive crafting community.
  • The infamous Navy Blue Cardigan.
  • Patron saint of artists - St. Catherine of Bologna.
  • Patron saint of weavers and wool combers - St. Blaise!
  • Find saint dolls at Saintly Silver (saint softies), and St. Luke's Brush (painted wood dolls).
  • Please write in with your crafting journey! Or let us know about someone you love who is a crafter and has made something for you. If you blog about crafting, don't forget to leave us your url!
I'm off for a 4 day weekend, so I won't talk to you all until Tuesday. But I'll be keeping you all in my thoughts and prayers, and I will absolutely be keeping my eye out for your comments! You will all receive a personal reply. :)

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The Catholic Nook: A patron saint for crafty, artistic folks?

There's been a bit of an arts and crafts theme here the past few weeks, yes? My past two video posts (here and here) have focused on getting involved in the arts, specifically dance, and I've been knitting a lot, so I've been writing crafty posts. This all got me to thinking...I am a person who quite enjoys patron saints. Whenever I embark on a project of any kind, of discover something new, I think to myself:

"I wonder who the patron saint of...(fill in the blank) (let's say Zumba!) is?"

Obviously, we sometimes have to adapt a patronage, since there isn't *specifically* a saint for people who enjoy Zumba. ;-) So, when I Googled "patron saint knitters," I found a couple of interesting people, one of whom is St. Catherine of Bologna. Want to know why I was drawn to her? She's the patron saint of the arts. Visual and performing arts, to be exact. Hello, kooky Catholic belly dancer over here! St. Catherine certainly seems like a patron that I can adapt (along with St. Cecilia, patron saint of music) for dancing. But it seems to be that a patron for artists can be a patron for all crafters, including knitters and crocheters. We're creating art too! So, what do we know about St. Catherine of Bologna?

Well, we know that she was born in Italy in 1413, to an important family in the area. She was the daughter of a diplomatic agent to the Marquis of Ferrara, and her early education included many of the arts that were prevalent in the city at that time: music, literature, painting and dancing.

Early in her life, Catherine expressed the desire to dedicate herself to Jesus. As a teenager, she entered the Franciscans as a Tertiary (a Third Order, lay member). Ultimately, she became a Poor Claire, and was appointed the superior of a convent in Bologna. During her time there, she continued to engage in her loves among the arts: painting, playing the viola, and writing poetry. She also composed a treatise detailing mystical visions of Jesus, and torturous visions of Satan.

In 1463, she became ill during Lent, and passed away on March 9th (also her feast day) of that year. Her body, later exhumed after people noticed a sweet smell emanating from her grave, was found to be incorrupt. She was canonized in 1712.

Well, well, well. A patron saint of the arts! I think that she is perfect for us, yes? Do any of you have a devotion to St. Catherine of Bologna? Do write in with your thoughts!

*information gleaned from Loyola Press

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Crafty Tuesday: Of unexpectedly angry birds, and sock yarn obsessions...

Well, look at me go, two Crafty Tuesday posts in a row. I go in fits and spurts though, kwim? Whatever is bouncing around in my little head at any given point in time is what I write about here on this blog. Right now, that's crafty stuff. And so here we are!

Based upon my holiday crafting post from last Tuesday, I set up my Ravelry gallery with all the projects queued up, plus other fall/winter knits that I'd like to get to.

#overlyambitious

YEAH, there are a lot of projects in the queue. Plus I added a few more (my sister asked for a shawl for Christmas, I mean, all for love!). As I took stock of this wall of to-be-completed projects, I decided that I'd try to finish a few things quickly, to give me confidence. So that my spirit would not falter. ;-)

Thus, this weekend I worked quite a bit on my Abbey Pullover. I'm on the yoke, this girl is nearly finished. The yoke is lace, so it's slower going, but it's going. The precious little churches in the cloister lace are nearly all formed!


Smoke was nearly coming from my needles this weekend, I was working so studiously. Then I ran out of yarn.

*panics*

Don't panic! ;-) I have another skein, I just didn't have it with me, whew! It's in my, ah hem, *work stash*. That would be the drawer in my office filing cabinet that is filled with yarn rather than papers. Why are you looking at me like that, doesn't everybody do this?!

*adjusts glasses angelically*

ANYWAY, I had to pause until I could grab that last skein of yarn, but I'm near the top of the lace chart. A gold star goes on my assignment sheet.

So then I took a look at the projects in my queue. If I can whip a few small ones out quickly, that will decrease my incomplete number quickly (which is now hovering around 20, eeks!) and soothe me a bit. So I decided to crochet the baby bird Anne has been asking for.

I love crocheting animals, very enjoyable and cute. I don't love *knitting* animals as much. There are parlor cats who will not be named that are a direct result of this situation. But crochet is all good. So I found a free pattern from one of my favorite designers, Teri Crews, and set to work yesterday. 

I was finished in under two hours. Teri's bird is blue, but Anne wanted a red bird. And this is the result:


So, YEAH. He's cute, right? BUT decidedly more Angry Birds than I was going for. When I gave him to Anne, who has never seen an Angry Bird a day in her life, she took him, kissed his beak, named him Bugaboo, and then examined her new baby very carefully:

"Mommy. How come he looks so...mad?"

"He's just a very serious birdie, sweetie."

"Is he sad?"

"No, he's happy! He's just worried about things. It isn't easy being a bird. He has to worry about flying south come fall."

She seemed to accept this explanation and worked diligently to introduce him to her other animals so that he would feel included. ;-)

One project down!

Later Sunday evening, I was sitting beside Mike casting on for a new hat while we watched TV. I was getting gauge but not real happy with the fabric, and contemplating dropping down a needle size, when he asked me about sock yarn in fall colors.

Hark! My darling is asking not only about yarn, but sock yarn that is not plain black or navy blue?

*swoons*

"Yeah, just for around the house. Kind of like retro 70's colors? That would be kind of fun. Do you have any yarn like that?"

"No, but I SHOULD!!!"

*spends the next 30 minutes in frantic search on my phone "for research"*

"You don't have to worry about it if it's too..."

"WHAT?! No, no, I love this. I mean...I REALLY LOVE THIS."

He asks me about sock yarn and then says I don't have to actually do anything about it? Silly man!

I will conquer this particular self-striping quest, I know I will. I have found a few contenders and have a consult scheduled with Mike for tonight. ;-) The only problem is...

...this adds one more project to my queue.

Oh. Right. Sigh.

What are you working on this week, friends? Trying to finish some projects up before starting your holiday crafting for the year? Do tell me all about it in the comments. *beams*

Friday, June 26, 2015

7 Quick Takes {Take 84} Fab Amish mysteries, summer dancing update, alert: tears ahead! and EXCITING news, edition...

We're at a nice point of the summer, yes? School is out, the 4th of July is on the horizon, and everything is feeling pretty laid back at work. So, what's going on with me this week, you ask? Lots of summery activities. Reading, dancing, writing, and only one thing made me cry this week. ;-) What's this all about? Read on!

-1- My baby!

I won't keep you in suspense. The teary thing is that we received a letter confirming Anne's placement in our district's universal Pre-K program, with her school assignment, start date and time, and supply list. It made me a little...*emotional*, as such things are wont to do. She's my baby, and dropping her off for the first day in September is going to be a bit rough. You might want to consider skipping the inevitable hysterical weepy post that is coming for *that* particular day.

*sniffle*

Thus, I've been trying to distract myself from thinking about this coming fall with other things. What are those, you ask? Read on!

-2- Distraction #1 - "Maybe if I try moving it a little closer to my neck...OW!"

So, I've been dancing. :) Practicing for the festivals, and I decided to go with balancing rather than drum. I just wasn't feeling the drum. If I'm bored by my own dancing, I hardly think anybody is going to want to watch me. So I pulled out my old buddy, my sword. Sword and I go way back. :) We like each other, we usually dance well together. Occasionally he gives me a heart-stopping moment during performances when I go to balance him on my head, but for the most part he is predictable and stable. I want to add shoulder balancing to my repertoire, so Sword and I have been practicing a bit. It's going well, albeit a bit ouchy. But I'm excited to be feeling good about the music and style that I chose, and it's invigorating to have a new challenge to work on.

-3- Speaking of dance...

If you haven't watched already, my past two video posts (Tea Time episodes 4 and 5) encompass a short series of my journey in Middle Eastern dance. I had a lot of fun recording them, and I manage to tie everything into a Catholic angle with accompanying patron saints. :0 Go check them out and leave me your thoughts!

-4- Distraction #2 - "Mom, why do all the books you read have people wearing bonnets on the cover?"

It's true, I love Amish fiction. And this summer I'm reading a series that I am *really* enjoying. There are currently four titles in the series, and they weave in romance, family dynamics, and mystery. LOVE. They are the Appleseed Creek Mysteries, by Amanda Flower. The first book is A Plain Death:



I'm currently on the third book, and because the characters all carry over from story to story, I am very heavily invested in the characters. The titles often go on discounted prices for Kindle, so keep an eye on them, or see if your library has them. I definitely recommend.

-5- And I've also been reading...

Unleashed, as part of the Catholic Mom Summer Book Club:

I'm on chapter three. I've been keeping pace with the weekly chapter posts, but this week the chapter is longer and I haven't finished yet. :0 But I'm trying! It's nice to have a longer span to read a deeper spiritual book such as this one. I've been leaving comments after each post over at Catholic Mom, and there is lots of chatter each week. Come join in!

-6- Distraction #3 - "I need a better word here than 'flexible.' Resilient? Maybe. Let me check the Thesaurus...Buoyant or supple? Um, no." The EXCITING news!

I've been doing a lot of writing lately. Other, non-blog writing. Well, to be precise, I took several old pieces that did appear at one time on this blog, and completely re-worked and edited them. And the reason that I did that is because those pieces are going to be posted somewhere else, and I thought the writing style could use a boost and an update, and to incorporate less emoticons. ;-) Where are these pieces going to appear, you ask? Read on!

-7- There is a theme, right? I'm a new contributor at Catholic Mom!

*streamers*

I am VERY EXCITED. :0 I'm going to be contributing one article a month over there, and I even have my own little author page and everything, soon to collect my writing as it appears. My first piece will come out the week of July 13th, and I will be sure and link to it from here if you'd like to read! I truly appreciate your support!

On that vein, I've been getting more comments and interaction over here on this humble blog, and I wanted to take an opportunity to say thank you to you all. Knowing that people read what I write, and care enough to respond to me, well...that's why I do this. I do love to write, but I don't think I'd continue if I didn't have anyone to share it with. And for that...THANK YOU. So much.

I'll talk to you all next week. But in the mean time, check other 7 Quick Takes over at This Ain't the Lyceum!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Tea Time with Tiffany Episode 5 - Dance performing, and how this is teaching us a larger lesson about God :)

Happy Thursday everybody! Today I'm wrapping up my dance story in another episode of:


Today I focused on performing, and my move up to dancing in a troupe. Are there spiritual lessons to be learned from performing? Yes, there are! Listen to find out what those are. :)


Items mentioned during this episode:
Are you a performer of any kind? Do you think that performing regularly helps to convey larger life lessons about control and humility? :) Do write in! Also, do you have any suggestions for other topics I could cover in this video series? Let me know!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Catholic Book Club: Praying in Rome

Happy Wednesday everybody, and welcome to June's installment of the Catholic Book Club! I'm looking forward to sharing my thoughts on this enjoyable book, but I have to admit that I'm a little tired this morning, so you can see the full extent of my commitment to you via my heroic efforts to still type coherent thoughts. ;-) Last night, Mike and I were settling into bed when we heard a very foreign sound:

"Wait. What's that?" *I look up from my knitting humor book* (Stephanie Pearl Mcphee's Yarn Harlot: The Secret Life of a Knitter, for anyone who is interested, and it is FABULOUS)

"I'm not sure. Could it be crying?"

"Nah! It can't be. It must be those cats fighting outside again."

Our kids are 9 and 4. They, thankfully, no longer wake us up by crying and demanding to nurse.

"I still hear it."

*Mike goes to the door to investigate*

"It's crying. It's Anne."

"Who?"

See? This is a very odd thing for parents who have slept through the night for several years in a row. We've repressed all of those other, ugly memories.

So we had to deal with that. Twice. And we all didn't sleep well the night before due to a large thunderstorm system that moved through around 3 am. Tired, so tired.

At any rate, Praying in Rome: Reflections on the Conclave and Electing Pope Francis, by our very own Cardinal Timothy Dolan! I first heard of Cardinal Dolan back when he was Monsignor Dolan and was the rector at the North American College in Rome, via my reading of The New Men: Inside the Vatican's Elite School for American Priests, by Brian Murphy. That is also a great book, with very touching and personal stories of seminarians preparing for the priesthood. The then Monsignor Dolan's role as their mentor and guide through their studies and spiritual preparation, and his humorous and down-to-earth approach to these things, always stayed with me. I remember his appointment as Bishop and return to the United States, and I was thrilled when he was named the Archbishop of New York.

Praying in Rome is Cardinal Dolan's short reflections on his experience learning of the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI back in 2013. His writing style is just as I expected based upon what I knew of his personality, which is to say very personable, friendly, and relatable. It's written in an informal, conversational fashion, as if he was talking to you over a cup of coffee and you asked him what happened when he learned that Benedict XVI had resigned. He would say:

"Well, I was going about my usual weekday routine. So, I got up early, because I like to pray before I get down to my New Year's resolution of running on the treadmill each day, but then my phone rang..."

This is a quick read. I read it in just a few sittings. And at $1.99 for Kindle, it's well worth it. He makes you feel as if you are there with him, caught up in the excitement and rush of energy that came with this big announcement, and the expectation of the Conclave. Once he gets to Rome, obviously he cannot reveal any details about what happened behind the closed doors of the Conclave. While I am a nosy little thing and was *dying* for more details, I understood why he had to be careful about what he wrote in that section. But the details that he did provide were very sweet and personal. For example, he writes about the first time he met Jorge Bergoglio during the pre-Conclave meetings between the Cardinals, and his impression of him.

I really liked this book! It had a journal-like feel to me, as we journey along with Cardinal Dolan for this exciting blur in time. I definitely recommend it, especially at that price. OK, who else has read this, and what did you think?!

For July, I'm focusing on the Catholic Mom Unleashed Book Club, and so far we are only through two chapters, so still plenty of time to join in if you like! There is tons of chatter in the comments as each weekly post comes out, and I've really been enjoying it. You can also sign up for reminder emails when the chapter posts come out each week, which I took advantage of. Come take a look!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Crafty Tuesday: Is that holiday knitting I feel in the air?!

It happens every year. And it's always right around this time, late June/early July. I get drawn in by schmaltzy Hallmark Channel commercials for their Christmas in July movies. The temperatures are getting warmer, yet I start thinking about how I need to finish up my current projects so that I can start working on hats and mittens for the fall. Knit Picks has their summer yarn sale. All of this translates to me getting crafty fever for holiday knitting and crocheting. Big time.

I had been going through a bit of a crafting slump. I've been so enamored of other things lately: some writing projects, festival dance practices, summer activities with my family. And thus my craft projects seemed a bit...lackluster. I'm working on a sock that I started during the CNMC, and it's true, I do love it:

The colorway is called "Rustic Cabin" which I sort of adore. But it's pretty mindless knitting. I am looking forward to wearing these socks in the fall, but the project isn't exactly scintillating. I'm also finishing up a sweater that I've had on the needles for what feels like at least a decade, so also lacking a bit of excitement in Sweaterland. I'm on the yoke, and I have to say, that's the best part of this pattern. The section features cloister lace:

See the little churches forming? It's not possible for a pattern to be more perfect for me, yes?! The only issue was that the rest of the sweater is plain stockinette fabric and I nearly died of boredom slaving away to get to this point. I hope the sweater appreciates that. ;-) The sleeves nearly finished me, such was the nature of their monotony, and it may have been LAST summer that I was diligently hard at work on those.

*halo*

So, FINALLY, I am nearing the finish line, and the lace has been more interesting, definitely. But given the long term nature of the project, it just doesn't have that fresh, new feel anymore.

Cue the summer yarn sale and me sniffing the air:

"Hark. That's humidity. And consequently, my hair is an absolute disaster. Yes, that's right, I must order yarn right away and make a list!!"

If that statement makes sense to anybody else besides me, then you must be as delusional as I am.

But there is a method to my madness. June 25th (just a mere two days away, I might point out) marks exactly 6 months until Christmas Day. For knitters and crocheters out there, you know that this means that it is the perfect time to plan out and begin holiday gift crafting.

Suddenly, I am all inspired. :0 Yarn order over the weekend, check! Including some TO-DIE-FOR organic cotton hand dyed to stripe like a watermelon. I know that this all likely sounds like gibberish right now, but trust me, the resulting kitchen accessories are going to be *smashing*. I tried to keep the new yarn acquisition down (snort!) to things I needed for my gift list that weren't already in my stash. My husband likely isn't going to see my actions as anything resembling restraint, but he isn't a knitter, he doesn't understand our yarn hoarding ways. ;-)

And so, *drum roll* here is my list for 2015, and I think it's pretty darn reasonable:

Mike - Sweater. I procured the yarn for this during Knit Picks' big Thanksgiving week sale, which was an approved Mike color (translation: brown, gray, OR navy blue; God forbid anything should be multi-colored), and it was a fantastic deal. It's a gorgeous cabled pattern. If I start July 1st, I'm optimistic that I can finish this by Christmas. Hope, after all, does spring eternal.

Henry - Gingerbread socks. Fancy dancy, self-patterning sock yarn procured, these are easy. He's been asking for them and loves handknit socks. He is so obviously my offspring.

Anne - Yellow blanket. Naturally, she chose this particular occasion to want something to be only one color, and I only have one skein of yellow sport weight in my stash. Need more yellow, but otherwise this shouldn't be too bad. I will crochet it (so much faster), because the thought of knitting a whole blanket makes me twitchy.

Mother-in-law, grandmother, various aunts - Watermelon-themed dishcloths and potholders.

Of course, I have a bunch of other projects that I'd like to get done as well, such as some winter wear for myself, and hats for any nephew who asks. Oh, and some shawls. I love shawls, have I mentioned that. SO MANY SHAWLS. I made project pages for everything in my Ravelry gallery, and I now have...

*counts*

...18 projects in-progress or in the wings.

*gulps*

I can do this!!

*rallying cheer!*

If you're a friend or relation, and would like a handknit for the fall or winter, let me know now so that I can add you to the list! :0

Ok crafters: let me see your list! Leave it in the comments. ;-)

Monday, June 22, 2015

Lots of summer busyness, parish changes, and the joy of Ordinary Time...

This is kind of a crazy, all-over-the-place title, but I think it's apropos given how things are going for me this month. It's all good, truly, but SO BUSY. I took Friday off from both work and blogging for this very reason. There were plenty of things I could have gotten done, but...sometimes you just need to step back from all that, you know? Recharge and refresh. And so here I am, all refreshed and ready to chat with you. ;-)

On Friday, Mike and I took the kids strawberry picking. We live in Western New York, so as you can imagine, there are some pretty rural areas not far from us. Thus, on Friday off we frolicked to a farm to pick strawberries:

"Henry, DON'T DO THAT!!"

"Anne's STARING at me!!"

Right. A pretty painful experience. Well, the car ride was. The strawberry fetching in and of itself was actually very lovely. It was overcast and cool and Friday, as well as being uncrowded, so it was ideal picking conditions. We filled three quarts full of strawberries to take home with us. That is to say, Mike and I did. The kids mostly chased each other, but a good time was had by all. I didn't even have to threaten the children again until we got back in the car to drive home.

Saturday and Sunday were much more humid, but we persevered. I started officially working on my festival dance solo, more to come on that later this week. And yesterday, we spent some happy time after Mass chatting with our young friend Kendra and Fr. Joe. I just adore both of them. AND, big changes coming in the parish.

*ominous musical score starts up*

I mean, parish change is fine with me, but it most certainly is not with other people in the congregation. Coming in the new liturgical year are changes to the religious education schedule to accommodate a downsizing in space from the selling of our old school building, plus most crucially, a change in the Mass schedule. We're going to be moving from a vigil and three Sunday Masses down to a vigil and two Sunday Masses. Given the attendance at these Masses, I'm not surprised.  Instead of 8 am, 10 am, and noon, there will be Masses on Sunday at 8 am and 11 am, with religious education classes in-between. I'm not certain how this is going to go over, but it is certainly a needed change. I will miss the 10 am time slot, I really love it, but an hour difference isn't going to kill us. So we'll see how this goes.

But as we sat chatting with Fr. Joe following Mass, he in his bright green vestments for Ordinary Time, I got to thinking about the summer liturgical calendar. Although July is usually my least favorite month of the year weather-wise (this year though, I am embracing all non-snowy months, so July and I have a new understanding...), it is one of my favorites in terms of saint feast days.

Although it is not a special liturgical season, the summer of Ordinary Time has it's own charm. In July, we have the feasts of Bl. Juniperro Serra (soon to be canonized during Pope Francis's fall trip to America!), St. Maria Goretti, St. Benedict, St. Kateri Tekakwitha, and Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. July also houses the feasts for both of my children's patrons, St. Henry and St. Anne. I'd like to plan something special for each this year, although I have zero ideas, so if you have any, please do write in. :)

It's a quiet time of year, as it's still a long way off to Advent and there is this lull in the Church calendar, but I love enjoying each of these feast days. I try to remember and pick up my Magnificat each day to read that saint's synopsis in the daily Mass section, and my Divine Office app also has a Saint of the Day feature. Sublime!

Come June/July each year, I also start to think ahead to Advent and Christmas planning, but that's a whole 'nother post, which I'm going to save for tomorrow. And I have lots of posts planned this week! Crafty Tuesday, Catholic Book Club Wednesday, likely a video post on Thursday picking back up with dance, and then 7 Quick Takes on Friday. Yay?!

How was your weekend?! And do you have feast day celebrations for any of the saints that I mentioned above? Do write in, if you please!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Tea Time with Tiffany Episode 4 - Yes, you can still take dance lessons when you are an adult!

Can I tell you how much I enjoy these video posts? Well, I'm going to tell you anyway. ;-) It's somehow already Thursday, and that means it's time for another installment of:


It's summertime, right?! Summer is dancing festival season, thus today I wanted to talk about how I got started in Middle Eastern dance at the ripe old age of 32, and how dancing as an adult has been even more inspiring to me than my childhood years of dancing.


OK, so I got to the "beginnings" part, but I didn't have time to talk about where I am now with dance, in my troupe, etc., and I can talk about performing as well. I will plan part 2 of this dance sub-video series, coming soon! 

Ideas mentioned during this episode:
  • Your municipality's community education program! Grab their catalog and see what's in there. You may see a class that you'd like to take.
  • If dance is your thing, check for local dance studios. You don't have to perform if you don't want to! Don't let that be the reason that you shy away.
  • St. Therese - don't lose your childlike joy for the things that inspire you.
What is your creative outlet? I would LOVE to hear about it, drop me a line!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

This is why I sometimes drink before we even have dinner...

In the home of the Catholic Librarian yesterday evening:

"Hi, I'm home!"

*nobody greets me*

Well, within a minute Mike does, as he comes down from upstairs, but the kids are watching TV together, and you know, PRIORITIES.

I give each of them a squeeze, but return to the kitchen to chat with Mike as we begin dinner preparations. Shortly thereafter:

*argument breaks out in the living room*

"Stop it, HENRY!"

"I didn't do anything, I didn't do anything!"

Denial is Henry's favorite pastime.

"Guys, if you can't get along, the TV is going off."

"We're not doing anything!"

*sigh*

*one minute elapses*

"HENRY!! STOP STARING AT ME!"

"I didn't do anything!"

"Henry, whatever you are doing STOP IT! Anne, stop screaming! And stop yelling 'stop it!'"

Which I, you know, yelled into the living room. Always setting a good example.

*one minute elapses*

*another argument breaks out*

"Anne, Mom told you to STOP SAYING STOP IT!!"

This time Mike intervenes, and the TV goes off. As he turns to come back into the kitchen, I can see Anne's mutinous face in the background, looking like something straight out of The Exorcist. I expected pea soup to shoot out of her orifices at any moment.

*angry whispering commences in the background*

"Stop getting me in trouble!"

"Stop it, HENRY!"

Chardonnay, wherefore art thou? I don't know if it's their ages or what (9 and 4, for the record) but the arguing and general back sassing of the other person has been excruciating lately. Anybody out there with any words of parenting wisdom or commiseration? :)