Bugging Out!

Little Miss Cicada.
Little Miss Cicada spreading her wings.
Little Miss Cicada hanging out.
Little Miss Cicada hanging out.

“Every time I see them, I scrunch my shoulders and feel weird inside.  They freak me out!  They’re gross!”

Best quote award goes to my daughter Hannah, who was a teenager in 2013, the last time Brood X cicadas created a stir (of wings) in the Garden State.

Yes, our dog Lucy thought they made tasty treats. Yes, that’s me holding an adult cicada. No, no one else in my family thought they were cool.

Repost: Cicada City Part 1

One of my favorite summer nighttime sounds is the collective hum of cicadas.  They start somewhere at the end of June and continue, if it’s warm enough, into October.  I make a mental note the night I don’t hear them anymore. Then, I know winter’s on its way.

This year, a different cicada has come out of its 17-year hibernation.  If you haven’t heard of the periodical Brood II cicadas, I’m afraid you’ve either been living under a rock or under the ground as a separate cicada species. The, ummm, buzz about the buzz started before the first cicada wriggled out of a 1/4 “diameter hole in the ground.  The bugaboo about these bugs reached an all-time high about the same time a rash of little holes covered my yard.  It looked like someone had aerated the ground.  Ohhh, I guess someone did!

Hon, guess what came next?  A condition I’m calling “Cicada Hysteria!”  In fact, plenty of people are still afflicted with “Cicada Hysteria” since the insects are still underfoot, climbing trees, flying around and altogether creating a modern day horror movie.  Take Teenage Daughter #1.  Here’s what she has to say about them, “Every time I see them, I scrunch my shoulders and feel weird inside.  They freak me out!  They’re gross!”

Unlike Teenage Daughter #1, Teenage Daughter #2 is indifferent, and Tween Daughter thinks they’re cool.  From afar.  She doesn’t mind looking at them from a safe distance, but she’s not about to let a six-legged cidada crawl on her arm.

Hon, guess who let a six-legged cicada crawl on her arm?  You got it.  I bonded with Little Miss Cicada! LMC hung out on in my hands for a half hour.  LMC wasn’t trapped, tied down or otherwise constrained.  She hung out of her own free will.  I think we were equally fascinated with each other.

She allowed me to touch her hard shell and peer into the black pupils in the middle of her red eyes.  The antennas under her eyes were short and black.  She picked up her leg and “waved” to me and Tween Daughter.  Really!  Her legs were sticky in an “I can cling to bark” kind-of-way.  I have no idea what LMC was thinking.  Do cicadas think?  If they do, maybe she was thinking, “Please scratch my shell.  It’s really itchy when it first comes out of its exoskeleton!”

I placed her on the side of a Tulip tree, and now I listen for her loud buzz when I water the flowers, walk Lucy and drive through town. I hope that as soon as the song of the Brood II cicadas dies down, the annual cicadas that sing in the night return.

Then I’ll sit outside at dusk, watching the trees turn into silhouettes against the indigo sky. The bats will flit about catching mosquitoes, the fireflies will wink to each other and the screech owls will whistle and hoot.  The perfect, warm temperature of summer nights will fill me up…with hope and happiness and satisfaction. 

Little Miss Cicada.
Bonding with Little Miss Cicada. (photos courtesy of Tween Daughter)

Zombies Unite! Redux.

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Happy Halloween!

I posted this a couple of years ago, but think it’s worthy of sharing again.  My daughter and some friends are planning on watching horror movies tonight.  Guess where I’ll be?  On the couch right next to them having a blast.  Pass the popcorn!

For those that like zombies, monsters, witches, spiders, skeletons, horror movies, haunted houses, dressing up, trick-or-treating and, of course, candy! Hon, I like all of those things. Surprised?

When I was in high school, my friend and I would rent two movies whenever I slept over. First, we’d watch a horror movie, then a comedy. We loved all the horror movies and psychological thrillers of the ’80’s. Halloween, Friday the 13th, The Exorcist; you name it, we watched it. While watching the movies, we’d cling to each other for dear life, shriek our brains out and then laugh hysterically.  My friend’s mom would called down from the top of the stairs, “Girls, you’re making too much noise! Please stop screaming!”  Of course, that made us laugh until we cried. In another post, I’ll tell you the practical joke my friend’s younger brother played on. He gets points for creativity!

I recently saw The Conjuring and loved it! The Woman in Black and World War Z were scary.  And, although I don’t care for the Saw movies, an old-fashioned horror movie makes me feel like I’m on a rollercoaster right there in the theatre.  So fun!

So what’s up with the zombies?

I passed a house decorated for Halloween a bunch of times before I stopped to take a closer look. The zombies drew me over, but the ghouls on the porch kept me there. They are freaky! They make my Halloween decorations look quaint in comparison. Some of the zombies have eyes that light up at night. They look like they’re coming out of the bushes.  Check out the giant spider web on the porch! Who’s the unlucky bloke (yes, bloke!) that’s been trapped?

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Guess where I’ll be on Halloween?  Driving by the zombie house. I bet they’ll have dry ice to set the mood.

Do you have fun plans?

Keep Calm and Carry Yarn/ Potato Chip Scarf Pattern

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Texture + Color = Possibilities

I love yarn shops!  Vivid colors and scrumptious textures call out from the bins and shelves. (“Pick me, pick me!”).  I might walk in with a project in mind, or I might let the yarn decide what it wants to be.  I give it creative license!

Gorgeous Ella Rae Lace Merino Chunky blue/aqua and purple/berry variegated yarn caught my eye this fall.  I had recently finished a Potato Chip Scarf (so called because it’s ruffled) for me and wanted to knit another with chunkier yarn.  One teen daughter got a Potato Chip scarf and one got an  Infinity scarf.

Potato Chip Scarf knit with chunky merino wool.
Potato Chip Scarf knit with chunky merino wool.
Potato Chip Scarf knit in a finer wool, strands doubled.
Potato Chip Scarf knit with finer wool, strands doubled.
Infinity Scarf knit with chunky merino wool.
Infinity Scarf knit with chunky merino wool.
Infinity Scarf knit with chunky merino wool.
Infinity Scarf knit with chunky merino wool.
Petit Point pillow that may have caused me to need reading glasses!
Petit Point pillow that may have caused me to need reading glasses!

I also, finally, finished a petit point canvas and had it made into a pillow.  Petit point is comprised of smaller stitches than needlepoint.  The stitches were so small, I needed a magnifying light to see what I was doing!

I found this easy Potato Chip scarf pattern on Ravelry.

Potato Chip Scarf Pattern:

Yarn weight:  Aran/ 10 ply (8 wpi)

Needle size:  US 8  (5.0 mm)

Yardage:  300-310 yards (274 – 283 m)

Cast on 20 stitches.

Row 1:  knit 8, turn, knit back to beginning.

Row 2:  knit 6, turn, knit back to beginning.

Row 3:  Knit 4, turn, knit back to beginning.

Knit across all 20 stitches.

Repeat these rows until desired length is reaches.  Bind off.

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Infinity Scarf Post–Infinity scarf pattern.

Ravelry-The pattern I used is by Connor Thompson.

The Stitching Bee–Shout out to the yarn shop in Chatham, New Jersey

Happy knitting, Hon!

Zombies Unite!

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Happy Halloween…

…to those that like zombies, monsters, witches, spiders, skeletons, horror movies, haunted houses, dressing up, trick-or-treating and, of course, candy! Hon, I like all of those things. Surprised?

When I was in high school, my friend and I would rent two movies whenever I slept over. First, we’d watch a horror movie, then a comedy. We loved all the horror movies and psychological thrillers of the ’80’s. Halloween, Friday the 13th, The Exorcist; you name it, we watched it. While watching the movies, we’d cling to each other for dear life, shriek our brains out and then laugh hysterically.  My friend’s mom would called down from the top of the stairs, “Girls, you’re making too much noise! Please stop screaming!”  Of course, that made us laugh until we cried. In another post, I’ll tell you the practical joke my friend’s younger brother played on. He gets points for creativity!

I recently saw The Conjuring and loved it! The Woman in Black and World War Z were scary.  And, although I don’t care for the Saw movies, an old-fashioned horror movie makes me feel like I’m on a rollercoaster right there in the theatre.  So fun!

So what’s up with the zombies?

I passed a house decorated for Halloween a bunch of times before I stopped to take a closer look. The zombies drew me over, but the ghouls on the porch kept me there. They are freaky! They make my Halloween decorations look quaint in comparison. Some of the zombies have eyes that must light up at night. I like how they look like they’re coming out of the bushes.  Check out the giant spider web on the porch! Who’s the unlucky bloke (yes, bloke!) that’s been trapped?

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Guess where I’ll be on Halloween?  Driving by the zombie house. I bet they’ll have dry ice to set the mood.

Do you have fun plans?

Autumn Haikus

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My triplets plus one pumpkin picking.
My triplets and Plus One pumpkin picking, ages 10 and 3.

Colorful and crunchy leaves make me nostalgic for the time when my children were little. If you read my recent post, 19 On the 19th (Happy Birthday To My Triplets), then you know I’ve been strolling down memory lane since September.  Every year, we would

drive to the a country farm,

ride in a wagon,

pick pumpkins,

decorate our house,

carve pumpkins,

jump in leaf piles

and, of course, go trick-or-treating.

Topping off the holiday season was the best entertainment around, the elementary school Halloween show. Soon after Thanksgiving arrived and we feasted with extended family at our home.  Heaven!

I recently came across my big kids’ third grade Autumn Haikus.  I couldn’t wait to share them with you, along with a photo of each kid, all grown up now.

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"Baby A"
“Baby A” and me.

Autumn Haikus T

'Baby B"
‘Baby B” and Hubby.

Autumn Haiku M

Tween Daughter, Me, "Baby C"
Tween Daughter, Me, “Baby C”

Do you and your family have favorite Fall traditions?  Hon, I’d love to hear them.

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19 On The 19th (Happy Birthday to My Triplets!)

Happy 19th Birthday to my triplets!

Senior Prom Pic of Baby A, B and C, 2012
Senior Prom Pic of Baby A, B and C, 2012

My Plus One, also known as “Tween Daughter” says it’s a magical birthday when your birthday falls on the date you were born. Guess what? Baby A was born at 11:19 am! Baby B followed at 11:20 and Baby C showed up at 11:24. Quite a productive five minutes, wouldn’t you say hon?

Sonogram at 9 weeks.
Sonogram at 9 weeks.
Baby A
Baby A
Baby B
Baby B
Baby C
Baby C

In honor of my “babies” turning 19, here’s a list of 19 fun facts about their childhood.

1.  When I was pregnant, Baby A was so squished she punched and kicked like crazy.  Baby B sat up and hung out, and Baby C frequently got the hiccups.

2.  Baby A weighed 2 lbs, 9 oz and came home after 6 1/2 weeks in the NICU.  Baby B was the biggest at 4 lbs, 12 oz and came home after 10 days.  Baby C weighed 4 lbs, 4 oz and came home on day 12.

3.   Our 2 year-old son climbed out of his crib and by the next day, his sisters did, too.

4.  All three woke up at the 6 am every morning no matter what time they went to sleep.

5. When the kids were toddlers, if one child came in our bed, all three would end up in our bed by the end of the night.  We called it “Triplet Radar!”

6.  During the week, as soon as the kids heard Daddy’s car in the driveway, they’d line up.  When he walked in the door, they’d take turns running towards him so he could pick them up and swing them high.

7.  I once entered the kids’ bedroom and it seemed, well, shiny!  Vaseline had been smeared across dressers and in hair.

8.  Another time, two of the three kids had stepped in a giant tub of diaper rash ointment and created white, gooey footprints on their bedroom rug.

9.  The kids knocked a tall dresser down so we bolted it to the wall.  We got rid of standing lamps.

10.  Baby gates didn’t stop the little monkeys from coming out of their bedroom so we put one on top of the other.

11.  I came in the kids’ bedroom to find ALL of the audio tapes with recordings of their first words shredded like confetti.  Stacking boxes, they reached the top dresser drawer where they found the tapes.

12.  After exploring the fireplace, they jumped up and down on they couches until they were covered in soot.

13.  Two siblings always ganged up on the third sibling–it didn’t matter which two.

14.  There was so much fighting about car seats and bath time, I created car and bath charts to determine who sat where and who took the dreaded “first bath.”

15.  When the kids melted down in restaurants, I called it live “Dinner Theatre.”

16.  They lasted about 1/2 hour in their first movie (101 Dalmations) and were more interested in the candy counter.

17.  The kids had combined boy/girl birthday parties through third grade when one boy playfully stabbed a girl with a foam noodle and broke her finger.

18.  There were only two classes in each grade of elementary school so the kids were in the same class until 5th grade when two were in one class and one was in another.

19.  In evenings and on car trips, we read books out loud together.  I started reading the Harry Potter series to them when they were in 2nd grade and we read all of the books, in addition to classic literature, together until senior year of high school.

Bonus Fun Fact:  When the kids were toddlers, some people insisted that the redheads were identical even though one’s a girl and one’s a boy! My response:  “They can’t be identical if one has something the other one doesn’t have!!!”

Dressing up in grocery bags but one is windowless!
Dressing up in grocery bags but one is windowless!

Beach Blanket Bingo (Embarrassed in France)

Nice, France, 1988, I'm on the right in the black whole piece. Ilene is wearing a white t-shirt. The blonde guy in the Speedo was someone we met that day. The other three people are other student backpackers. Peter is not pictured in any of these photos.
Nice, France, 1988, I’m on the right in the black whole piece. Ilene is wearing a white t-shirt. The blonde guy in the Speedo was someone we met that day. The other three people are other student backpackers. Peter is not pictured in any of these photos.
Sunbathers in summer of 1988. Nice, France
Sunbathers in summer of 1988. Nice, France

Rating of this post:  somewhere between PG-13 and R, depending on which country you live in, what year you were born, if you are a direct descendant of Puritans, your Zodiac sign and personality traits.

Warning: If discussing the body makes you uncomfortable, you can find recipes under the category “Call Me Cook.”

Intro:  If you read about my trip to Jamaica in April, then you might remember how surprised I was when I met a couple of nudists.  After I posted “Birthday Plus Suit Equals ?, I comprised a list of my Top Ten Questions For Visitors To The “N” (as in Naked) Resort.  The whole subject reminded me of one of the most embarrassing moments in my life. Friends, if you’ve already heard this anecdote, skip it!

Back story:  In 1988, after graduating from college, a girlfriend (shout out to Ilene) and I backpacked across Europe.  We wound our way to Nice in the south of France where we planned to sunbathe and relax. For the entire backpacking trip, we asked each other one question: “Should we or should we not go topless in Nice?” We spent much emotional energy discussing this topic.

You know the whole “When in Rome” argument?  Well, a lot of French women don’t wear bathing suit tops and we wanted to be like them.  Then again, our modesty combined with skin that had never seen the light of day weighed heavily on our minds.  But, we were on an adventure (Writer friends, can you name which one of my characters is on an adventure?  But, I digress.) and were young.

Scenario:  Walking to the beach, we stopped at shops to browse.

Me:  “Look at the baskets of bikinis!”

Friend:  “There are only bottoms!  That’s it.  Let’s do it.”

Me:  “Okay, but we’re wearing whole pieces.”

Friend:  “Once we lay down, we’ll roll them down. At the same time!  Anyway who are we going to see?”

Me:  “You’re right.  Who are we going to see?”

I interrupt this story to tell you that we had met up with some other students (pictured above)  backpacking in Europe.  The girls were having the same dilemma as us and we weren’t interested in the boys “like that.”

After we set up our beach towels…

Friend:  “Tell me when you’re ready.”

Me:  “One the count of three:  one, two, three!” (Much giggling ensued!)

After awhile we got used to the exposure (pun intended) and sat up.  Then from a bunch of beach blankets away…

Peter (former football player and biggest jock in my high school):  “Naomi, is that you?  Hi!”

I lookeded in his direction and half-waved, half-covered my now burnt-to-a-crisp upper body (applying sunscreen would have been doubly mortifying so, alas, we didn’t).  I realized not only was Peter sitting a few blankets away, so were some other boys from Baltimore!

Two thoughts went through my mind:

1)  “What are the chances boys from Baltimore are sitting on the same beach I am at the same time I decide to roll down my top?!?

2)  The biggest jock from my high school, who I was never friends with, never had classes with and who I hadn’t seen since high school graduation, knew my name?  Wow!

Friend:  “You know him?”

Me:  “I can’t believe it!!”

Peter:  Waving and pointing me out to friends.

Me:  “Cover me!”

Friend:  Blocked view of me while I quickly rolled up my top.

Me:  I stayed on my towel and waved back, but I did’t go over and say hi!

Friend and I decided it was best to be occupied.  We ran to the water, grabbed a paddleboat and stayed out in the water for a long time.

That was the beginning and end of my “When in Rome” adventure!

Two more things happened after that:

1)  Peter gave me a big hug when we ran into him in Monaco the next night. (OMG!)

2)  My friend and I were in pain for a week.

Moral of the story:  Don’t roll down your top if you’re too embarrassed to apply sunblock! 

Do you have any embarrassing moments you’d like to share?  

My friend and I went paddleboating after the embarrassing incident. We stayed out in the water a long time!
My friend and I went paddleboating after the embarrassing incident. We stayed out in the water a long time!
Sexy sand sculpture!
Sexy sand sculpture!

 

Cicada City Part 1

Little Miss Cicada.
Little Miss Cicada spreading her wings.
Little Miss Cicada hanging out.
Little Miss Cicada hanging out.

One of my favorite summer nighttime sounds is the collective hum of cicadas.  They start somewhere at the end of June and continue, if it’s warm enough, into October.  I make a mental note the night I don’t hear them anymore.  Then, I know winter’s on its way.

This year, a different cicada has come out of its17-year hibernation.  If you haven’t heard of the periodical Brood II cicadas, I’m afraid you’ve either been living under a rock or under the ground as a separate cicada species.  The, ummm, buzz about the buzz started before the first cicada wriggled out of a 1/4 “diameter hole in the ground.  The bugaboo about these bugs reached an all-time high about the same time a rash of little holes covered my yard.  It looked like someone had aerated the ground.  Ohhh, I guess someone did!

Hon, guess what came next?  A condition I’m calling “Cicada Hysteria!”  In fact, plenty of people are still afflicted with “Cicada Hysteria” since the insects are still underfoot, climbing trees, flying around and altogether creating a modern day horror movie.  Take Teenage Daughter #1.  Here’s what she has to say about them, “Every time I see them, I scrunch my shoulders and feel weird inside.  They freak me out!  They’re gross!”

Unlike Teenage Daughter #1, Teenage Daughter #2 is indifferent, and Tween Daughter thinks they’re cool.  From afar.  She doesn’t mind looking at them from a safe distance, but she’s not about to let a six-legged cidada crawl on her arm.

Hon, guess who let a six-legged cicada crawl on her arm?  You got it.  I bonded with Little Miss Cicada! LMC hung out on in my hands for a half hour.  LMC wasn’t trapped, tied down or otherwise constrained.  She hung out of her own free will.  I think we were equally fascinated with each other.

She allowed me to touch her hard shell and peer into the black pupils in the middle of her red eyes.  The antennas under her eyes were short and black.  She picked up her leg and “waved” to me and Tween Daughter.  Really!  Her legs were sticky in an “I can cling to bark” kind-of-way.  I have no idea what LMC was thinking.  Do cicadas think?  If they do, maybe she was thinking, “Please scratch my shell.  It’s really itchy when it first comes out of its exoskeleton!”

I expedited LMC’s journey by placing her on the side of a Tulip tree.  Now, I listen for her loud buzz when I water the flowers, walk Lucy and drive through town. I hope that as soon as the song of the Brood II cicadas dies down, the annual cicadas that sing in the night return.

Then I’ll sit outside at dusk, watching the trees turn into silhouettes against the indigo sky. The bats will flit about catching mosquitoes, the fireflies will wink to each other and the screech owls will whistle and hoot.  The perfect, warm temperature of summer nights will fill me up…with hope and happiness and satisfaction. 

Little Miss Cicada.
Bonding with Little Miss Cicada. (photos courtesy of Tween Daughter)

Pizza By The Pool in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Chance meeting over pizza slices.
Chance meeting over pizza slices.

Back story:  When I mentioned my upcoming trip to Myrtle Beach, SC to my ceramics class, one of the women said her son would also be there with a bunch of friends. She showed me his picture.

“If you see Ned, you could say hi,” Julie said.

“Sure,” I replied.  (By the way, Myrtle Beach is big.)

Fast forward to the weekend in SC:

Scenario:  We have a pizza for lunch and there are extra slices.

Hubby:  “I think I’ll find some teenage boys and offer them the extra slices.”

Me:  “That’s weird. Why would some teenage boys want pizza from a stranger?”

Teenage daughter:  “Yeah, Dad.  That’s creepy.”

Younger daughter:  “Dont, Dad.”

Hubby:  “They’ll love it. I’m going to ask them.  Bye.”

Me:  “Do what you want.”

Teenage Daughter:  “Whatever.”

Younger Daughter:  “I wouldn’t take pizza from a stranger.”

A few minutes later, two teenage boys are fishing around in the pizza box.

Me:  “Hi.  Are you in college?”

Teenage Boy while eating a slice:  “Yeah.”

Me:  “Where do you go?”

Teenage Boy:  “Boston College.”

Me:  “Where are you from?”

Teenage Boy:  “Westfield.”

Me, now jumping to my feet:  “Is your name Ned?  Is your mom Julie?”

Teenage Boy, hesitatingly:  “Yes and, ummm, yes.”

Me:  “I take ceramics with your mom!”

Teenage Boy:  “No way!  My mom is very proud of her ceramics.”

Teenage Daughter:  “So is my mom.”

Me:  “Did you have a goatee a couple of days ago?”

Teenage Daughter:  “Mom, that’s creepy,”

Teenage Boy rubbing his chin:   “Actually, I did.”

Me:  “Your mom showed me your picture and you had a goatee in it.”

Teenage Boy’s friend chimes in.  Turns out one of their high school friends goes to college with my other teenage daughter.  We meet the whole crew and we all laugh at what a small world it is!

Later, as told to me by my teenage daughter, when she was hanging out in the pool with the group of guys:

Teenage Daughter:  “Sorry if my mom creeped you out.”

Teenage Boy:  “That’s okay, my mom’s the same way.”

Moral of the story:  Hon, teenage boys will take pizza from anyone!

Rising sophomores in college. What a nice bunch of boys!
Rising sophomores in college. What a nice bunch of boys!