Saturday, March 21, 2015

Mold-A-Rama Update

We're still waiting for warmer weather to want to work on our own Mold-A-Rama machine (which has a leak we need to fix, and there is still the problem of the coin return that shoots money back inside the machine), but in the meantime we got an unexpected addition to our collection!

Last year I was contacted by someone in Tennessee who came across my blog and said she collected Mold-A-Ramas, and would we be willing to trade?  I told her we liked the fun of going to the places and getting them ourselves, but that if she paid us back we'd be happy to pick things up in our area of the country and send them to her.  We ended up getting her figures from our zoo here in Milwaukee, along with things from Toledo, Detroit, and Chicago.  (Someday we will get to the Como Park Zoo and we'll be sure to pick her up some more there.)

She was pleased with the box of Mold-A-Ramas we sent her, and the other day (right around my birthday no less) we got a surprise package from her!  Four retired figures from the Knoxville Zoo that we wouldn't be able to get anyway, even if we visited, including a chimp we've never seen before:

How fun is that?  That brings our collection on our overstuffed mantle to 139.5.  (Quinn insists on the .5 for the small scrap marked "ZOO" from Miami from the one machine that wasn't working when we went.)

On a sad note in Mold-A-Rama land, the Seaquarium down in Florida removed all their machines.  I'm glad we went when we did, because those molds are among our favorites and several were unique (including the seahorse which I think is the best one).  Apparently the Seaquarium doesn't know the difference between "dated" and "nostalgia" and decided to ditch all their machines after half a century when they recently updated their park.  They were the longest running vendor of such machines in the country, and now the Mold-A-Rama/Mold-A-Matics are gone.  Sad.

The machines we were also hoping to visit in Seattle are gone as well, so we will have to content ourselves with aiming for St Paul and San Antonio someday to fill out our collection.  And one day, of course, in my copious amounts of free time (HA), I will make a violin mold for the machine at the store.  (But not this weekend.  This weened there are real violins to make.)

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Baby Things

Aden holding Quinn, 2006
I am so far removed from babies anymore it's weird.  There was such a long stretch of baby things in my life for a while, but now my babiest baby is eight.  As I am typing this he is making a batch of crepes on his own, so no, my life no longer includes the baby things.

But I have a nephew due to arrive in the world in a couple of months, and a friend just adopted a newborn, so I've been thinking about what, if any, advice I have that may still be relevant to those with babies.

Baby things change fast, so there are many things that were important for me that are already out of date.  For instance, in the few years since I was carrying Quinn around in a Baby Bjorn those Moby baby wrap carriers have become the rage and wearing my baby the way I did is decidedly out.  Car seats are forever evolving, and I don't miss dealing with those.  Baby food doesn't even seem to come in jars now that I can see, so I'm glad I collected those when I did because they come in handy in my shop.  Is Tummy Time still a thing?  Aden hated Tummy Time and Mona always fell asleep.  I don't think I was ever in a position to set Quinn down long enough to bother with it by the time he came along.

In any case, my friend with the new baby thanked me for a couple of things I said to her before her baby arrived, and I thought while I still remember anything about living with babies I should jot them down and hope they help someone else.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Puppy Dog Eyes

So much to write, so little time....  This is just a quick post to let people know I"m not dead, just swamped.

In my world there have been rehearsals, concerts, army things, a ton of work (yesterday was 12 straight hours and I still didn't get to everything), snow, cold, one kid broke a wrist.  Blogging time has been hard to come by.

In the meantime, here is the rare non-blurry picture of my dog trying to get me to stop working.
When I'm in my shop at home working on violins Chipper gets anxious.  He does not like it when I do things, so he looks at me pleadingly and occasionally puts his paws in my lap while I'm trying to carve.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Weighty Issues

I'm officially in the range of normal for my weight.  It's a large range (depending on which chart you use) and I am in the heaviest end of it, but technically I'm not overweight, and certainly not obese.  It's taken a lot of effort, but it's good to be 35 pounds lighter than I was back in June.  I still have another ten pounds or so to go, because I want to be squarely in the normal range.  I would like the option of one day eating a cookie again without that tipping the scales into overweight territory.

Self-perception is a strange thing, though.  Other people tell me I look slimmer, but I'm not really seeing it.  I know I am smaller by looking at the clothes I can wear.  I was an 18 and now I'm an 8.  (My preferred swimsuit, however still fits best at a 14, because somewhere, somehow, I am always a size 14.)  But when my pants are tight enough to stay up I still have some muffin-top stuff going on, so I don't feel any different.  I have the same body issues, just different pants.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Returning the Cart

It's hard to be appreciative of everything all the time.  In some ways that would be unhealthy, because being dissatisfied can inspire positive change and progress.  It's also distracting not to be able to take basic things for granted, or else we'd never get anything done.  As with most things it's best to find a balance.

But for the most part I don't think people appreciate what they have enough.  I'm often surprised by the kinds of things many people become openly dissatisfied with.  It's a miracle most days just to breathe, and when I'm healthy I try not to take even that for granted.  When I get outside in the morning I try to remember to take in one good breath and just be happy that I can.  It would be insane to try to appreciate everything we should be grateful for every moment, but I figure one or two representative moments can help put things in a better perspective.

Probably the most unlikely thing I do that I remember to mark in this way is every time I put away a grocery cart.  I know it annoys most people to have to return the cart after unloading groceries in the parking lot, especially when the weather is bad.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Goodbye Y

It's so strange navigating this week without factoring in trips to the Y.

We went to Swim Team as a family last Thursday (although, ironically Mona was the only one who didn't swim--her coaches threw a dance party).  Friday I did my laps as usual before work.  And that was it.  Now it's closed and we're not going back there anymore.

We've been going there for a long time.  Here are my kids in the playroom at the Y when we first signed up:

One of my favorite places to let the kids use up some energy was the racket ball court.  We never actually figured out how to play, we just always got as many balls as we could and let them all fly.  (Yes, occasionally someone got bonked, but life is like that.)

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Picking Up the Pieces

I had a really bad day this week.  It was all work related, and left me feeling kind of shattered where I stood.  The details aren't important, but the variety of ways in which people were hurt and reacting to it ran an impressive spectrum.  I failed someone, someone else failed and wanted to blame me, another person is coming apart and forcing me into an uncomfortable position, I goofed up, floundered, and was left staring at a pile of work I had to finish and no longer felt qualified to do.  I spent the day in tears on and off, and confronted with the reality that even when I do my best it isn't always enough and I don't really have much control over my reputation.  I'm at the mercy of my community and my own limitations.