Monday, September 25, 2006

Sleep and the lack there of

Sleep, it is precious.
I'm not worth a lot with out sleep.
When I was young it was different, the lack of sleep put creativity on overdrive for me.
Then I had children and most of my creativity dribbled out my ears.

See, like most mom's I have a sense of hearing that is extreme!
When my children were babies, I could hear them turn over and sigh in their sleep from 2 rooms away.
Even now the slightest sound has me out of bed.
I've lost count of the number of times that the phone has rang in the middle of the night and I wake to find myself down the hall and around the corner answering it before I am even awake.
This extreme sense of hearing was great when DD1 was in her sneak out of the house phase.
I could hear her window open or the back door close over the white noise of the fan in the hall and the air cleaner next to the bed.

I wake when I hear DD2's door open so she can go across the hall to the bathroom. IF she listens to a book as she is falling asleep, then I listen to the same book.

All of this is just the build up to the lack of the most precious commodity in my world...Sleep.

DD1 now works at UPS and comes in at odd hours in the early morning 5 or so days a week.
I wake as the key enters the door. Heck sometimes I wake as the car pulls up to the house.
I almost always get up to say hi and this does not endear me to her.
She almost always stays up for at least an hour or 2 because she is too keyed up to go to sleep right away.
(mountain dew is the real reason) I can hear the TV even if it is almost silent and my door is closed and the white noise is on. I can hear her type on the computer in the kitchen, go to the bathroom or let the dog out the back door. Can no one other than I shut a door silently?

Last night she got in at 2 and finally went to bed at around 4. Every time I started to doze off, my extreme ears caught a noise and I was wide awake again. At 4 the dog came in my room, even he was disgusted.
I pet his fuzzy head and then he lay down and groaned before he went to sleep. I finally dozed off sometime after 4:30 and the alarm rang at 5:45. Don't ask if I accomplished much today.

It is almost 10 pm and DD1 is visiting a friend and I'm ready for bed.
Keep your fingers crossed and wave pointy objects so that when she gets home (and it better be early)
that she goes right to bed and I can sleep most of the night.


Thursday, September 14, 2006

Do you Bento?

A few weeks ago I was blog hopping and ended up on a blog that had a positive review of an Americanized verson of the Japanese Bento box. It is called a Laptop lunch box. This is a very cool site with nutrition information and expensive but very cool lunchboxes. The company was started by a few mom's who found that the average school age child throws away over 50 pounds of paper and plastic and left over food every year. The boxes and containers are lead free.

I then googled "Japanese lunchbox", "Bento", and "Obento" I've been sifting through the sites. I am finding it highly entertaining. Perhaps I am easily entertained. There is a whole culture of Bento and it isn't just in Japan. The cartoons we import from Japan have brought bento to the world.

It is said that when your family member opens their bento/lunchbox they will feel the love from the mother who packed/made the food. So mothers try very hard to make the food look and taste wonderful. (is it just me or do we think this way about the stuff we knit for our family too?) Sometimes they seem to compete. It is a status thing for their kids.

On Ebay you can find cute Bento boxes, little bottles for condiments and little molds for rice. In Japan there are monthly magazines devoted to making Bento for your kids, calendars with pictures of bento boxes packed with tasty food.

There are blogs devoted to fans of Bento. One Japanese American mom takes a picture of her kids boxes after she cooks and fills them every morning. How do you use your camera phone?

Here are some of my favorite sites to check out.
Learn about the culture and pack a virtual box at:

This girl has explained things really well, has great links and
pictures of her bento box collection. Please check out her links.

I am now trying to get DD2, who is still in school, to get interested in Bento. Why? Because it seems healthier than most american options for a boxed lunch. I have always utilized leftovers for DH and I, but the kids never seemed to want to deal with leftovers. Leftovers aren't cool.
I think we can do better than a PB&J sandwich, bag of chips, and fruit rollup. Not that my kids ever took that combination to school. (preschool/MDO started yesterday and lots of my 3 yr olds had just that lunch in their lunchbox.) Sometimes DD2 will go years with the same lunch, day after day after day. She is toying with the idea of being a vegitarian though and perhaps this bento idea will get her to eat a varity of healthy foods.

Also, we run around so much with Ballet 5 days a week it seems impossible to feed her right sometimes. A lunchbox full of interesting food to eat on the way home from ballet might be just the ticket. I wonder how she'd feel about chopsticks?

If I were homeschooling I'd probably do a whole exploration of bento as a cultural lesson. In fact I might just recommend it to some of my friends who homeschool! They may just be busier than I am.


Tuesday, September 12, 2006

What's in your Attic?

Last weekend my DH and I spent a significant amount of time crawling around in my mother's attic. We brought down boxes that had been stored in the attic since 1971. We found junk, trash, and assorted treasures. The garbage collectors took a lot away Monday morning. Some is going to a yard sale and a few things will be carefully washed and hopefully preserved.

Things like my mother's wedding dress and several formals from her college days.
Linens from my grandmother's house,
And the spinning wheel that used to sit in front of the fireplace when I was a child. I can remember dreaming about using that wheel. When we brought the pieces down from the attic, yes pieces, it didn't look like much.

I brought it home after finding the drive wheel in a closet and set about cleaning it with lemon oil. It cleans up very nicely. After getting the rust off the wheel even turns freely with just a bit of wobble. It is missing the footman and flyer, but those are replaceble. It has a name on the hub: Alfred Andresen and Co. Misseapolis Minn.
Evidently this was a mail order company. I've sent an inquirey to the Spinning Wheel Sleuth as their last issue has an article with pictures about this company.

More about the wheel as I learn more about it.


Saturday, September 02, 2006

Me and my Bosworth Book Charkha

I know I was going to talk about bento next, but I had a very pleasant experience and I just have to tell of my lastest adventure with my little Bosworth book charkha

As I've said before, my DD2 takes ballet 5 days a week and with the price of gas I usually take her and stay at the studio doing something fiberish. Lately I have been spinning cotton on my book Charkha.

Last night I was spinning away when this elderly gentleman from India saw me and did a double take, his look was incredulous. He immediately sat down for a chat.

We spoke of Gandhi and spinning as meditation and protest. We spoke of the feel of hand spun hand woven or knit cloth in comparison to factory made cloth. We talked of the Love that is put into making something for someone. He asked me Why I spin. I told him about how relaxing I find it and how I feel productive at the same time. I told him I find it meditative.

I told him that there are at least 3 others in the Louisville area that spin cotton on a charkha just like mine. I pointed out the number stamped into my charkha (364) and told him that there were many more people spinning cotton on charkhas in the USA and elsewhere.

He told me about his wife who was watching their grandchild dance and brought her over to meet me. He told me how gifted I am to have my own mother just a few blocks away, that it was a blessing for my children to be so close to her. He said that he and his wife will be returning to India next Saturday.

His wife told me about the bazaars in India and the artists and crafts people. She told me of her carpal tunnel and how she can no longer knit, but she is doing yoga exercises everyday in the hope that her wrists will improve.
I showed her the shawl I am knitting and she stroked it and admired the fine yarn and the beautiful colors and pattern.

Then they sat back and watched as several children came to see what I was doing and I explained and a few even helped by turning the wheel while I drafted the fiber and the children were so "into" what we were doing. The Indian couple just sat and smiled.

It was truly a wonderful evening and I know that even as I am telling every one about my adventure, that next week when they get back to their home, I will be a topic of conversation. Me and my book Charkha.

If you would like to see what my charkha looks like to to
and take a look. It is a beautifully crafted machine.