Thursday, April 17, 2008

What Makes You COOL....

It was a beautiful day here in Moncton with temperatures finally getting up to 19 degrees (that’s into the 60s!) which felt WONDERFUL after this long winter.

I was standing at the bus stop this morning to get my kids on the bus and discovered that I have gone WAY up in the estimation of two of the kindergarten boys that get on at the same bus stop as Erin & Bethany. Apparently, the dinosaurs that I drew at Queen Elizabeth yesterday REALLY impressed them. Draw a few fangs and sharp claws and suddenly, I am right up there with Batman. Ok... maybe not quite that high, but it was fun to discover the priorities of a 5 year old male.

Another mother came over to tell me that her daughter had been very impressed with the Illustrator that came to the school yesterday, but the mother hadn’t put two and two together until she overheard my conversation with the two boys. “I thought you did that stitchy thingy?” she said sounding a bit puzzled. I hid my grin.

Nick called a few minutes ago to let me know that the photo of me is on the District 2 web site. Pretty cool... even if I can shoot webs from my hands!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

When Worlds Collide...

I am finally surfacing to take a breath! This was supposed to be three separate blog entries, but even getting my computer turned on in the past 5 days has been a rarity, so with three different titles and subsections, here’s a glimpse into the chaos of my life:

The Joy of Learning Something New...

Thanks to a wonderful friend named Barb, I am totally addicted to a new pastime. I am trying to learn how to knit a sock. Sock experts will laugh, but I am still in the feverish thrill of learning a new skill.

First, Barb sends me a box of lovely yarn and needles to tempt me. She figured that after the “excitement” of the past month, I deserve a little pampering and torture all rolled into one exquisite experience. Bless you, Barb, I haven’t had this much fun since I learned to cross stitch!

Of course the first time I cast on my stitches and started to knit, I started going backwards somehow and inside out, but my mother quickly set me straight. She couldn’t help with the knitting part since she and I have TOTALLY different tensions. I am a VERY tight stitcher. I always have to go up at least a size or two in needles to keep from creating things in miniature.

Learning how to hold this little porcupine handful of 5 needles was also a bit of a challenge. Nick found it so hilarious that he took my picture. I hate being photographed in my jammies, so I’ve cropped the heck out of the picture, but .... honest... I AM having fun.

My knitting, when learning something new (ie. anything other than fluffy scarves) is just a tiny bit faster than my stitching. Think of a turtle racing towards you blindfolded through molasses.... I am a little bit faster than that.

But I am having a BLAST! I finally finished the little bit of ribbing and moved on to the stockinette stitch. Here’s my sock so far. Laugh and the dragon will bite you!

The Launch of A Book...

When the author and I first decided to hold the book launch at the Magnetic Hill Zoo, we picked the second week of April because the Zoo was opened on weekends and we thought we might pick up a lot of people passing by as well as the people we bribed (ok... more like begged, pleaded and blackmailed) to show up for the book launch.

By the middle of last week, the temperatures were soaring into double digits and Maritimers were almost giddy as the snow melted around us. I saw neighbours out walking that I haven’t spoken to in almost 5 months. It was a LONG winter with drifts higher than Nick and I in many places. Wonderful, we thought. All the animals will be out and people will want to spend a warm spring day up at the zoo.

It snowed Saturday. Not just a few fluffy white flakes. Almost an INCH of the icky white stuff fluffed its way out of the sky and onto the city. The zoo animals were smart. They hid inside. We were inside too, but as the snow grew heavier around noon, Paul and I began to worry about the really important things.... Who was going to eat all the cake?

Luckily, we have a lot of terrific friends and a supportive community. People braved the slippery roads to come up to the book launch.

They brought me flowers, chatted, designed their own dinosaurs and got us to sign books.

Sue even made little blue dinosaurs for each of us. What talent!

I even ended up on the evening news for a quick 30 second promo spot!! Since absolutely NO ONE came to the zoo itself, they were VERY glad that we gave them a dollar from every book sold for the Year of the Frog. The leftover cake went to church with me the next day...

What Else Needs To Be Done...

Now amid all the excitement of the book launch, radio & newspaper interviews, my daughters decided that a little extra pressure might make my life more interesting. Erin had a group project to work on that required friends being over at our house painting a model, writing a speech in French and I also had to listen to her practice her Persuasive Speech on a given topic for a contest at school.

Bethany has been practicing for her role as the lead Egret in “Once Upon A Lily Pad”, a sweet musical that the grade 3-4s were putting on this week at the Drama Festival. Like an idiot, I had filled out the form months ago saying that I would help with costumes. Guess when they needed to be made? Yup, I spent most of Friday and Sunday nights on the living room floor with white garbage bags for egret wings, making turtle shells out of green garbage bags, wire, newspaper and green fabric or painting shadows onto flower petals for costumes. Am I just totally insane or stuck with that super mom complex? (I am somewhat reluctant to admit that I was totally pleased with the results... if somewhat stiff from crouching on hardwood.)

Monday was spent delivering costumes to school, books to local bookstores and shops then frantically stitching on the ornament for Just Cross Stitch magazine. I’d written down the wrong date for the deadline and that has really messed everything up. Remember what a slow stitcher I am? At least I am totally pigheaded about honouring commitments and doing without sleep if necessary.

Tuesday is my double meeting day for Weight Watchers and it was a great topic this week to do as a leader, but that meant stitching into the night a bit more than my hands were happy with.

This morning I went to Queen Elizabeth School as the visiting illustrator. When I’d blocked off the date 2 months ago on the calendar, it had been wide open!! Today was also the Drama Festival, so I raced over after I spoke to the 3 grade levels and managed to watch Bethany as the lead Egret. What a wonder to watch your children find a passion and run with it! If the photos I took this afternoon turn out, I'll post them.

Now I am frantically blogging before I head back upstairs to stitch. My fingers itch to knit a bit, but I am using that as a reward for getting the ornament finished. Bait is good. Sleep is optional. I am a crafter!!!