proud member of the nation

Yes, I'm a Tigers fan... but when they're out, they're out... and a girl has to stick to a team right 'til the end... preferably in the AL. And so, I declare myself a proud member of Red Sox Nation.

I've compiled a playlist for my iPod for my pregame routine, which includes putting out peanuts and Cracker Jack, getting the hotdogs and beverages ready and putting on my hat. I think I need a jersey this year.

"Dirty Water" by The Standells

"Sweet Caroline" by Neil Diamond

"Boston Red Sox Super Polka" by Happy Louie's Polka Band

"Tessie" by The Dropkick Murphies

"Theo Epstein" by The Boston Baseball Band

"Take Me Out to the Ballgame" by Harry Carry

"I Love Baseball" by Steve Vozollo and the Rookies

"Centerfield" by John Fogerty

"You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet" by Boston

"No Pedro, No Nomar, No Lowe" by The Royal Rooters

"As We Walk to Fenway Park in Boston Town" by Jonathon Richman

"Finally Next Year" by Ides of March

"Second Best" by Steve Wynn

"Moonshot Manny" by Joe Pernice

I've tried to include the best baseball songs I could think of... did I miss anything? Yes, I could find better ways to spend my time, but man, it's October.

across the universe

My exam went well, except for the woman beside me who had a complete panic attack. She left the auditorium three times, making a fuss every time she got up. It was distracting. I think I made a couple of very silly mistakes in all the commotion.

I have to tell you about Across the Universe. Buddy and I went to see it, and I'm so glad we did! Waiting for the DVD wouldn't have done it justice at all... this is big-screen, don't drink anything at the theatre because you won't want to miss a minute of the eye candy viewing.

It's in limited release and not playing everywhere, but if you do get the chance, you simply must go. Plus, if you ever had even the eensiest crush on Paul McCartney, you'll just love the actor who plays Jude.

exam day

My midterm exam in Art History is today... in less than two hours. I've put in over thirty hours of studying, and my mind is awash with images, artist names, dates and what I'm supposed to remember about each of the possible 500 slides we've been shown so far, of which we will only be shown five. I will have four minutes to identify each slide completely. There will be three short answers and an essay as well.

The flu that dogged me last week and over the weekend - I felt better yesterday - seems to have reared its ugly head and come back to me this morning. I'm going to load up with Tylenol and some juice... I can't bear to eat anything. Flu and butterflies.

Wish me luck!

curiouser and curiouser?

If you've ever had a week when everything went wrong, then you'll know what I'm talking about. This week the new cabinets arrived for the laundry room and the living room. You know what they say about assuming things? Never assume that your cabinet guy has booked his installer. Nine months. You could have a baby in that time, waiting for cabinets to be installed. Well, the cabinets arrived and it looked like I had no installer, but our good old carpenter Geno to the rescue! He'd come later in the week. Bravo, Geno! Then the cabinets arrived from the warehouse... only the laundry room ones. I said "I think there should be more" and the delivery guy said "no way, this is all there was"... and here, I had Geno coming later in the week with only some of the cabinets. Back to the phone. The email.

Geno came to work on the laundry room. Everything seemed fine... not all the pieces were there. Missing hinges - they weren't on the doors! hmmmm.... they came on the doors last time. More phone calls. More emails. A trip to the warhouse to search for the hinges, and what do I find? The living room cabinets. Arrange for shipping. Find out the hinges we seek are standard, available at Home Depot. Well, I would have just done that first. Off to the orange box. Also to Lee Valley for the crystal cabinet knobs. I'm sure I need eight. No, I need ten, but I'll find that out later.

Get the living room stuff shipped. Meanwhile, the 15" pantry for the laundry room is actually a 24" cabinet. They won't take it back, I have to re-order the 15" piece.

None of the replacement doors fit the existing cabinetry - Geno was very, very upset. More upset than when he had no hinges. He's a peach, though. He doesn't get upset when the dog runs off with his screwdriver. Eventually, with some fancy math, some false gables and a filler piece (we both figured on that one for over an hour). But it actually worked. The other side of the room will have to wait until the right piece comes. I have to figure out what to do with the 24" piece. Right now, it's in my porch.

But something really nice happened - look at this!

How lucky am I to be the recipient of one of Jill's party hats? I won it on her blog draw. I just think it's sweet and put it out for Halloween right away. After the holiday, I'll display it in my studio. Thanks Jill! It's beautiful and fun.

Do you remember my vanity dilemma a while back? This is what I decided to do. I went here and found the small 3-drawer bureau on clearance, because the bottom drawer was cracked. I spent about half price on it. Having new glass made for the drawer front cost about sixty dollars and I had to wait quite a while for it. Anyway, I ordered the console table with two drawers and pushed them beside each other for the look - and functionality that I wanted.

The mirror-framed-mirror is from here and was just what I was looking for. Guess what happened? Just shortly after we hung it up - it fell! I came home one day and found it smashed all over the ground. From the way it lay on the floor, I could tell it fell on the table top, then forward onto the chair - both of which were miraculously not broken! There was, however glass absolutley everywhere, and especially in the bedroom, I was just horrified about it being in the bedlinen and where we walk barefoot. I cleaned for almost two hours and still found a few little shards later on.

Luckily, I had purchased two of those mirrors, saving one for our future bathroom redo. Now I'm on the lookout for another.

And how about that chair? It's my eBay score. I'm so lucky it wasn't cracked by the weight of the falling mirror, which was very heavy as you can imagine. The kids are framed on the bureau top. I'd like to hang something over it on the wall, but it can't be too shiny or busy now. I'll have to keep thinking on that one.

Here's the typewriter I won in a Salvation Army draw. Lately, when the thrift shops around here get something of interest or a good collectible, they have a draw for it or they raffle it off, instead of selling it. I suppose it gets people into the store and they get a little more money for it than just pricing it at a few dollars. They display everything in a case and they don't draw for it until they've sold enough tickets on it to meet a "reserve" amount or by three months, whichever comes first. I bought a ticket on this baby in July, and now it's mine.

I don't think I can even buy ribbon for it. I might have to look for some on eBay.

club little house arrived today!

All the goodness that is Club Little House arrived on my doorstep today. It was even better than anticipated and the perfect pick-me-up. Loopy, The Fan, and I went through it together. That means I had to restrain myself and not open it until after school. However did I manage? Let's take a tour.... starting with the lovely packing job done by Amy and her little elves:

Once the box is opened up, all of the parcels are almost too pretty to open individually. It looks like a birthday party!

First, Loopy spied two pink and brown Martha Stewart boxes. I let her pick the first treat to open. She was thrilled when she showed us the tiny cake! Look at the incredible detail, down to the fork on the plate and the pattern on the doily. Amazing. Chelle sent these goodies from "the Club Little House Bakery" and even went to the trouble of folding the cake boxes and putting windows on top. Can you just imagine?

Next, we were delighted to find Pam's art easel and canvases for the artist-in-residence, which we have a few of around here, so how handy! Notice the adorable little tube of paint and how the easel looks all painty and used. Too clever.

We got the biggest chuckle from this mermaid, sent from Susan. It came with a funny story about how the mermaid came to be the contribution - Susan pitched in to help Amy when someone else dropped out. And what a great job she did! We just adore the mermaid, and her little shell mirror. I'm thinking of wearing mermaid like a pin someday.

And of course, Amy herself never ceases to amaze and sent a tiny box from the miniature version of her famous on-line shopping emporium. I've ordered things from her so I know she really, truly goes to this much effort to wrap things so nicely! Inside the box was one of her special glitter houses! What a treasure. And a stack of mail, because our Amy just loves mail.

Sweet June, where do I begin? Loopy pounced on this one right away... but I insisted on opening it myself, I just had to. We all took quite a little breath when we saw the sweet CLH rug and a badge, too! All wrapped up exceptionally well and I must say I'd be proud to wear it anywhere. Loopy wants to wear it to school for "just one day" and I might let her, on a special occasion. The detail on the rug is something else! What fine work!

Amy's friend from Italy, Rosanna, sent the cutest pink dollhouse and a gumball machine. They were packaged so gorgeously it was difficult to break down and open them. Her handwriting is so elegant. The whole bit felt very extravagant and "European"... ooooh I loved it!

And yes, speaking of the wrapping, everyone did such a beautiful job sending their littles to each other. So many members used the CLH badge to make tags, wrapping and stickers:

And what was inside this lovely parcel from Anne? A soft green cabinet filled with tiny groceries including preserves and milk! And a little paper grocery bag, which thrilled me because I had one years ago but somehow I lost it, and I never lose track of my littles.

My one-on-one partner from last year, Maggie, really outdid herself! Check out these knitting needles, complete with a ball of yarn. Maggie, did you really sit and knit onto these toothpicks? That little basket just blows me away! The little boy and girl sillhouettes are going up on the dollhouse walls straight away.

What dollhouse craft/sewing room (or real life for that matter) would be complete without an inspiration board? This one came from Corrine, complete with inspiration on it already. It's actually magnetized with tiny brass magnets, can you believe it? The scissors are too too much.

Heather Rougeot made the sweetest little felt backpack... oh it is adorable, really. And then she packed three different goodie bags for it: a beach kit, a school kit and a craft kit. Sounds like the bag assortment I have at my house. This bag is so adorable I would wear it if it came in real-life size.

Loopy urged me to open the other pink and brown box, this one from Melissa. Inside we found a green metal lawn chair, wood crate, watering can and flowers... the chair is just perfect for our dollhouse porch and the gardening vignette we are working on in that area. And what a funky green colour she made it!

Last but not least, for I was truly hoping to get one of these littles: Heidi's folded shirts from Nordstom. I just about died when I saw those shirts. Ben buys his shirts in Nordstrom when we visit the US so I totally appreciate how cute these are! Amazing! What a cool idea!

And so Club Little House 2007 is over, I have many personal emails of thanks to send off so I'd best get at it. I can't even move these new goodies into my little house, it's all covered up with protective sheets because carpenters arrive tomorrow to do some work in the big house. I enjoyed every bit of CLH this year, from planning, visiting the blog, and of course, opening the littles. Thank you so much to everyone!

happy thanksgiving

It was Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada. Buddy says it is "his best" holiday of all. He ate as much pumpkin pie as he possibly could. Ben, Loopy and I aren't pumpkin fans. Good thing Grandma made lemon merangue pie (with MJ's recipe). I contributed chocolate pavlova, with a chocolate hazelnut ganache filling and fresh raspberries on top. The chocolate shavings are from Bernard Callebaut - the finest chocolate you can get, in my opinion. We have a local Callebaut chocolate shop here and I use it in all of my baking. Just the smell of that store when I walk through the door is enough to send me right over the moon.

And speaking of being over the moon, we had this port after dinner. My dear friend Bob had it brought in for me, just for a treat. What a lot of trouble he went to, I can tell you that. And all for the most delicious, dizzying nectar. I managed to save that bottle for two whole weeks to enjoy it at Thanksgiving with my family. I talked to Bob yesterday and he admits to having a "backup bottle" and he's coming into town next weekend for a visit... if I had to describe the flavour of this port to you, it would be "cherry chocolate cake in a bottle" and that wouldn't be a word of a lie, not one word. Can you just hardly wait to order some for yourself?

halloween spoilers

This year Loopy is going to be "Claire Bennett" from Heroes. I've got the material and whatnots I need so hopefully we can start whipping it all up this weekend. No pattern. That's how I roll.
The question is: should she be regular Claire (above) or injured/healed Claire (below)... we can't decide yet.

And me? To answer the door, I'm getting dressed up in the costume Loopy wore last year... only look at what I bought on eBay! Aren't these glasses too fun? They cost very little, I'm sure the shipping will amount to more than the glasses themselves.

Here's Loopy all dressed up last year, in her Grandma's (aka "The Fan's") prom dress. She wasn't wearing glasses, they're just Mo's Doo Dads. I really wanted to track down some funky glasses - I hope they arrive in time for All Hallow's Eve.

doggie walk

Would you like a little tour of our neighbourhood? Duke and I walk around the block every day. This area is beautiful in autumn. Let's leave our house:

Yes, we have lots of raking to do. It can wait. Do you like the new house colours? The window boxes are new, and so is the stone on the front steps. Next year we'll build a stone wall on either side of the stairs. Let's get going...

C'mon, Duke! Trot right past the houses across the street. I like the fact that we are one of the smaller, cuter houses on a street full of big houses, don't you?
It's nice to walk under the tree canopy with all of the leaves falling. The sunlight comes in so much better now. Spit that out, Duke! Phooey! Phooey! Where did you pick that up?

Duke wants to stop at the park halfway up the street, but we've got to go on. Good thing the neighbourhood kids aren't playing there right now, they're all in school. The family that lives beyond the white fence will put the boards in for the skating rink this weekend. When it freezes, the father of the house will keep the rink going for everyone to use. After supper on any given winter night, grab your skates and join in the constant game of shinny. Or you can just put cocoa in a thermos cup and stand and watch.

Another park! This one at the far south end of the street. They release butterflies at this park in the spring in honour of the man of the statue. The pond is a nice fountain and couples are always having wedding pictures taken here.

Turn the corner, and walk right past that big black dog, Duke! If you ignore him, he will ignore you. I think they must have an electric fence, because he never even comes near the sidewalk.

Past one of my favourite houses on our walk:

Someone tore down an older house and is building a new house in its place. I can't even remember the old one anymore. The new people will be here in the spring.

If I had my choice of owning any another house on the street, here it is - a cute Tudor Cottage:

And now let's go around the bend... follow the stone wall path...

We come out at Rotary Park. We're now five minutes from the house, and we've taken the long way around. Are you tired yet?

Before we go back, let's have a stop and enjoy the scenery. I love my town. The castle beyond the bridge is a historic hotel built in the 1930's, but the depression hit the area so hard nobody checked into it until 1941. Don't you love stories like that?

Thanks for joining Duke and I on our daily walk. Three times a day, actually. It's nice to get out, isn't it?