Worm Farm


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Katya and Chad took advantage of the warm weather on Saturday to build, of all things, a worm farm!

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This isn’t such unusual behavior from Chad, who never to my recollection has had a horror of worms, and since his toddling days has helped dig worms; but Katya is our fearer of “all creatures great and small”, and so this was quite revolutionary!  It all began when Kristina and I found a fat earthworm who had come up for a breath of air.


It was the vigorous sort of worm that thrashes and bucks and tries to burry itself in your hand, all the while undulating and stretching and contracting, rearing up it’s head and twisting itself in loops.  Katya came running up all interested, and wanted to hold it! I was quite shocked, but agreed, warning her that it was slimy and tickled, and cautioning her to not squeeze it.  And wouldn’t you know it, but she took that worm in her own little hand, that thrashing worm, and went and gave it a ride on the swing.



Previously, as in last summer, Katya objected loudly to all things vermicious, particularly if they moved. At most, she might watch from a safe distance, keeping her feet well in.  What inspired this sudden change, I do not know. But I do know that she and Chad passed a pleasant half hour digging for worms, and laying them across popsicle sticks.


And she didn’t hurt Chad once, and cooperated and mirrored him beautifully.


Bonding over worms, who’d’ve thought it?!

A Timely Alteration


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Mum found this cute-but-a-wee-bit-too-large LandsEnd dress for Kristina at the thrift store.  The obvious solution? A simple strip of ribbon, sewn across the front to the side-seams, to function as a belt. Measure it out, singe the ends, sew it on, and you’re out of there!  Personally, I think it looks cuter with the belt! It was a timely fix, since Kristina was in need of a refreshed summer wardrobe.

Stylish “K” Top, Easter Edition


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My “K” blouse from “The Stylish Dress Book”, dressed up with a yellow belt, a look I quite like.  That little bit of yellow is just the thing for a mild spring day, or even a warmer one.


I’ve decided that since my silhouette is quite Victorian to begin with, and since the cut of the blouse when belted is Victorian as well, the yellow modernizes things a bit without being garish.  I am going to be wearing this outfit again– in fact, I already have.

Thrift Store Finds


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We hit some fresh thrifting territory recently, and here’s the color-coordinating among what we scored:

A vintage book– Barchester Towers, by Anthony Trollope (it has charmingly theatrical illustrations); A goldenrod sweater with lots of buttons; A red eyeglasses case for Chad–he chose it himself; And a pressed glass dish, that won me over with it’s scalloped upper edge and restrained size.

All in all, the excursion was quite satisfactory.


Ducks, Geese, and Seagulls


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Our solution for unused, dried out, or moldy bread is to take Mary Poppin’s advice and “feed the birds”. We stick it in a bag in the freezer (or in the grill if it’s winter) and when we have a collection we go down to the boat landing and feed the ducks. And geese. And gulls. 020

The seagulls are a new and bossy addition to the river life. They give even the most battle-hardened geese a run for their money.  But Chad loves feeding them, and it does create a pleasant diversion for an hour.  004

Katya was game to go feed the “ack ack” ‘s as she calls them– meaning ducks, of course– but when we got there, and saw the gulls wheeling and the mobs of geese lounging like snow banks, she panicked and was quite relieved when we allowed her to sit in the car and watch.  Don’t worry, we were within touching distance of the van, and as you can see, a window was rolled down, and we checked on her frequently.

Auntie Eileens Camera 040

Pictures complements of Kristina

Chad had a blast, and Kristina had a blast trying out a “new” camera (Thanks, Auntie Aileen!) 013

Chad was quite generous, throwing whole slices of bread.

Picture complements of Kristina

Picture complements of Kristina

Also complements of Kristina

Also complements of Kristina

Even Katya ended up having a good time. 026

Katya’s Two-Year Checkup


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Since Katya’s “two-year anniversary” surgery date is coming up, we were back down in Baltimore again this past week.  Here you can see Katya enjoying a cup of water in the Children’s House’s newly refurbished kitchen. 027 And here you can see Katya admiring the new firehouse installed in the basement play-room.  Really, it’s quite fantastic. 013

The appointments went well. I have no pictures from the Plastics/Neuro/Geneticist visit, because I like to be unobtrusive, and the room was unusually full. In addition to Drs. Dorafshar and Ahn, there was Dr. D’s assistant Megan, and an unnamed bearded fellow (I mean the synonym, not the rank) who lurked in the corners and grinned.  Dr D. was in a “lets show off Katya” mood, and was jovial and gracious. Dr. Ahn was interested and surprised at Katya’s progress. Megan accessorized beautifully, as usual, and M. Beardy observed with a smile.

I have no pictures from the Geneticist because I was observing. I always observe new doctors, because mum will compare notes with me later. But here is a picture of Katya modeling her sunglasses after her Eye appointment. 036034

This is my favourite picture.  Katya and I were lounging by the fire. The Children’s House isn’t usually so cold, but the main heat had gone off when the rooftop fan-blade snapped due to snow. Photo: What we do ....

Dear, sweet Katya.029

One of the Simplest Alterations


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Perhaps you remember the orchestra dress I needed? And how I dyed this one, and that failed, so I ended up with this?


And perhaps you also remember that I promised I’d tell you how I made a size 2x  dress fit a girl who wears small and medium petites?  Well, here’s the delivery. It really is one of the most simple alterations to do, right after cutting the sleeves off a t-shirt:

Take the side seams in.


The only tricky part is that this dress was lined, with the lining partially attached. So to keep the dress hanging correctly, I had to “hop” my stitching off the shell when it detached, and sew only on the lining.  Picking thread out of slinky non-cotton knit is not easy, BTW. Ask me how I know!


So the alteration on this dress wasn’t what you would call *easy*, but it was simple. And now you know!

“A Day in the Life of the Soviet Union”


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We’ve all been enjoying “A Day in the Soviet Union” by Smolan and Cohen,  recently obtained from the thrift-store.

The book is full of little notes about the pictures– for example, next to a picture of two Georgian youths, each carrying two large bouquets of lilac, it says that “Georgian men are the Don Juans of the Soviet Union– romantic and passionate, or downright lewd, depending on which version of the stereotype you hear” and that officials in Moscow were “genuinely worried” when they heard that a female photographer was assigned there; but that the photographer–who had been on numerous assignments to Latin America– “handled this one with her customary aplomb.”

All the pictures were taken on May 15th, 1987, by professionals and amateurs alike.  Here are a few of my favourites:

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note: I looked up the publisher (“Collins Publishers Inc.”) and it seems to no longer exist. As such, I am unsure how to obtain written permission as requested on the flyleaf.


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