Saturday, December 31, 2005

New Year's Resolutions

1. Get organized, once and for all.
a) Theory: I will get rid of tons of stuff, and what's left will be easier to keep organized.
b) Fact: I have gotten rid of tons of stuff this year, and somehow, what's left tends to reproduce behind my back.
c) Plan of Attack: Get rid of stuff, and bring less stuff home. I still have tons of things that I don't need, and don't really want anymore. It is going to the dumpster. If I delude myself that it will make it to Goodwill, it will end up right along side the Christmas tree box that is still in my living room (with another box and a bag of clothes my son can't wear). Garbage. That tree is garbage, or I would not have replaced it.

2. Lose weight.
a) Fact: I was at my lowest weight in twelve years at the start of this summer. I felt great, looked good (I thought anyway), and thought that it could only get better.
b) Fact: Life got in the way, and worries about something in particular this winter have caused a bit of a weight gain. Not to the point where I can't wear my clothes, but still troubling, which is a vicious cycle.
c) Plan of action: Weight Watchers. Walking. End of discussion. Going to do it.

3. Work hard to be a better person.
a) Theory: The nicer I am to other people, the better I will feel.
b) Fact: The nicer I am to other people, the better I feel, and the more they walk all over me. It is unfortunate that people believe that to get ahead, someone else has to fall behind. That's not the case at all. I am happy where I am, with only one small exception in terms of my personal life.
c) Plan of action: Count to ten. A lot. Embrace the unique about each person I meet, and try my best to help them.

4. Do more for my family, especially parents.
a) Fact: I value my family more with every passing year. I have been incredibly lucky so far, and I hope that things will go very well for all of us in the New Year.
b) Fact: My parents have done a lot for me, my whole life. I wanted to drive to Manson when I found out that my mom had the flu. I wanted to call her so badly. Then, logic kicked in: she needs rest. She does not need to be woken to the phone, or to suddenly have house guests. I will talk with my dad tomorrow, and see how she is doing, and if help is needed, I will drop everything and drive there.
c) Plan of action: Call my sisters more, and be there when they need help. Do little things for mom and dad.

5. Not talk politics or religion with family or friends, as it will only end in misery.
a) Actually, this is a standing resolution, starting in 2000, election season.

I think that about wraps it up for this girl. Oh, and another thing: I firmly resolve to not gain any wrinkles or gray hair in the new year! (actually, I've only found five gray hairs total in the last three years, and they were white, not gray, and they were immediately pulled out. The wrinkles... I am avoiding looking. Moisturize, moisturize, and use sunscreen!).

Happy New Year!!!!!!!!!!!!

Migraine Gone!

I ended up taking a bit of a nap after my last post. When I woke up at about 7, my headache was gone, and I no longer felt like the room was spinning.

Woo hoo!

So, I got out the carrots and celery, made up a bit of a tray of goodies, got out the ranch dip and pesto bread, and my son and I had a bit of dinner. He was excited because he picked out a bottle of orange soda for tonight, so let the sugar high begin.

We are debating what type of movie marathon to have to bring in the new year. We may end up watching the last four episodes of season 1 of Battlestar Galactica, but then again, he's watching some anime thing on Cartoon Network. I am lobbying for Battlestar Galactica quite heavily.

At least my headache is gone.


If you are at all prone to motion sickness, do not see King Kong. If you don't get sick from jerky camera motion, it's a great movie!!! I actually felt sorry for the male love interest, as it is obvious that he's second in the girl's heart to Kong. Action packed, and not for the queasy of stomach. My son spent a bunch of time with the hood of his coat pulled down over his eyes, and that was just for the kissing scenes!

I had to leave about halfway or so through, for a few minutes, and once in the restroom, I noticed that my face was as green as my sweater. The action had settled down a bit by the time I got back, so the rest of the movie was a little more comfortable. But jeesh...

After I got back home, which was after stopping at the store for tylenol, I called my sister. Turns out my mom has the flu, the REAL flu, and had to cancel her New Year's Eve party that she has been planning for over a month. Dessert and Champagne at midnight, real invitations, dinner, RSVPs... Wiped out by a fever and respiratory illness. Poor mom. I hope that she is getting enough rest and fluids. What rotten timing!

In any case, I am stil trying to shake this migraine that I got from the movie. I don't think that it is anything else, but maybe I had better take my temp anyway. It would be pretty crappy if I were to get sick and miss any work next week...

D is for Diet

This is it.

I have been saying this for weeks, but now that Christmas is officially over and done with, and the last cookie has been eaten, I am starting my DIET.

So far this morning, I have eaten:

3/4 banana = less than 2 points (I honestly could not eat another bite)

The focus is also on low sodium foods, as my hands, ankles and feet are swollen. They shouldn't be swollen, as I have been taking my medicine every day, but they are. This indicates that it's the food causing the problem, as I have been eating more packaged foods than normal. (okay, how can I find the time to prepare good food while I am working, then eat prepackaged and frozen stuff while on vacation? Go figure...)

I want to feel better. I want my rings to fit, I want my shoes to fit right, and I want to be able to get on the scale in the morning without wondering where the extra five pounds came from...

Friday, December 30, 2005


Not only did I burn my tongue on pizza, I also wound up with the hiccups.

Hold my breath, and try to swallow three times...


Try again...

Seems okay so far...

Thursday, December 29, 2005

This post is Untitled

Last night, I stayed up late to watch the South Park Season Rewind. True to rumor, they pulled the "Bloody Mary" episode, apparantly under pressure from the Catholic Church. The official South Park website states that the rewind would include all seven episodes, but only six were aired. I know, I stayed up for the whole thing.

I'm a Catholic, I have to tell you that I laughed my a$$ off when I originally saw that episode. In fact, about the only episode this season that I did not laugh my a$$ off at was the "Ginger Kids" episode, although it had moments of greatness. The whole point of South Park is that they rip on EVERYONE EQUALLY. There have been much worse episodes than the Bloody Mary one, and they have remained on the air. If anything, I would have thought that the Scientology episode would have been the one to be pulled, considering how rabidly litigous the "Church" of Scientology is (And yes, I looked up my facts on Scientology, and it is the most messed up organization on earth. Just google Scientology Abuse to see what I mean. Katie Holmes should run for her life.).

Anyway, the point is, the only thing pulling this episode will accomplish is make more people want to see it. I just wish I had taped it...

Mission Accomplished

The hat is done. Pictures to follow after I figure out how I want to decorate it. I honestly thought that it would not fit, as the smallest size on the pattern was for someone with a head two inches larger around than mine. But, the fact that I used a lightweight denim for the interfacing helped add a little bulk to the crown, so it fits fairly decently. I figured out a few more techiniques that I can incorporate into my normal sewing habits, too. So, the hat part of my new garb can be set aside for now.

I made a mock-up of a sleeve, and it turned out much better than I had expected. I am going to ditch ribbons in favor of cloth strips, as they will add more body and less flop. I found a remnant of some dark green silkese (which is faux silk, but gorgeous) that will make up the rolled part of the top of the sleeve - $.75 for 1/4 yard, which is plenty for my purpose. I also found some watered tafetta in a sage green that I am not quite sure how I will use. It was a hard to find color, even if it isn't quite the fabric I wanted for this costume (I am going for a kind of mix and match fabric and color, as if my character "found" bits of cloth from a variety of sources). JoAnn Fabrics has broadcloth on sale for $1.29/yard this weekend, but ours here in Ames did not have any colors that I wanted to use.

In any case, the main goal now is to put everything away, and tidy up all of my sewing stuff. I decided to reorganize things, in anticipation of some massive sewing jags over break. Besides the hat, though, I haven't done much of anything in that area. I think not having the skirt materials is really holding me back. I need to make other decision about the dress, but without that key fabric, the rest is stalled.

Time to get back to work!

Sign of the Times

Authorities Find Liquid Meth In Mail

"AMES, Iowa -- Story County sheriff's deputies said they believe methamphetamine is now being produced as a liquid that can be applied to paper.
Authorities discovered the meth after it was sent through the mail."

We live in messed up times.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005


What did I accomplish today?

• Woke up before my son and enjoyed 45 minutes of peace and quiet
• showered, washed my hair, wore make-up, did NOT hang out in my running suit all day
• Cleaned up the kitchen after making breakfast and lunch
• watched a movie with my son
• cut out the lining to the hat I am making (cut out the wool felt last night), realized that I need sew-in interfacing, and pondered substituting another fabric (black hat, red lining. I also have a reddish felt and sage green lining. I over bought materials, for the felts anyway. In fact, I now have enough stuff to make a total of four hats of this particular pattern (two red, two black). Let me know if you need one!
• Read a good portion of a non-trashy, historical romance novel. Unfortunately, I get really tired of this author's repetitious use of certain descriptions and plot devices. Hence the decision to work on my hat and blog instead of finishing the book, for now.
• I have an actual, healthy meal planned for dinner tonight. In fact, I have healthy meals planned for this entire week.

So, even though there was a good amount of day-dreaming today, I still feel like I didn't completely waste the day.

I just remembered that I have some light green denim that I may be able to use to replace the interfacing I need for my hat! If my back didn't still hurt, I'd get it cut out and start sewing on my hat, but I am still recovering from that fall on Christmas Day...

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Christmas Hijinks

As promised, here is the rundown of Christmas Highlights, or Hijinks:

Christmas Eve:

1. No Network Access until late Saturday night.
2. Had a good time with grandparents and other family members.
3. Discovered that the margerita mix was a little stronger than I thought, but was okay, as mom drove, and she never even noticed.
4. No one said the "M" word! To me anyway!
5. Watched South Park and part of Jackass with my parents after we got home and put the presents under the tree. How many people can say that they did that?
6. Slept like a rock on the floor of the office.

Christmas Day:

1. Santa came and left presents under the tree!!!!
2. Fell down the steps of the porch due to ice. Managed to fall on my bottom, and nearly pull my arm out of the socket, while saving the spaghetti salad and my mom's Debbie Sarento bowl. Ouch.
3. Ate too much lunch (dad grilled pork loin. Mmmmm...)
4. Played with my niece!
5. Ate turkey at my aunt's house in the evening!
6. Got to play with my niece and nephew.
7. Had to sleep on the floor in the living room as there were no more rooms in the inn. Mom and dad snored from the couch and the other side of the room, respectively.

And a good time was had by all...

Home again, home again...

Dense fog.

Not fun.

Anyway, we arrived home in one piece, got the Christmas gifts and luggage into the house, and I spent about an hour getting things put away, sorting the dirty laundry from the clean, and getting my son's toys in his room. Not that his toys are put away or anything, but they are in his room.

I am planning on posting a list of Christmas highlights later this evening. For now, I want to go to the grocery store, and eventually go shopping (because you know I haven't done enough of that lately...).

Anyway, it is nice to be back where the internet just works, and where I have access to tons of books and things to do.

What the heck...

If you are wondering why I was so silent the last two days, it is because we have had no network access since late Christmas Eve.

In fact, I stayed an extra night in order to help mom take care of this disaster. So, imagine my surprise when I open up the Network control panel and discover that we have a real IP number, and things are working again.

I stayed to get this fixed.

I could have been at home, with my own internet access, happily emailing, blogging, and doing stuff around the house...

And now it's pretty foggy, so we may have to wait a little longer to get on the road.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

What do you mean, the network isn't working?!?!?!?!?!?!?

I woke up this morning, and tried to check my email from my mom's house.

No connection.

Self-assigned numbers, 169, etc. Everything was plugged in, had power, etc.

All day I checked periodically.

I did not fully realize how much I depend on it (we needed to look up what quahogs were for my grandma and grandpa, and I wanted to check my email). And, of course, it's Christmas Eve, which means nearly everything in town gets shut down.

Immediately, I kept thinking about things I wanted to blog about...

Like, get this, this afternoon, my dad had to go to the grocery store. He gets there and the place is packed. Just jam full of people... And there was a huge disaster... someone ran into the grocery store. As in, with a truck. So, the grocery store, being made of metal, has a two foot deep dent in it.

Here is the disaster part... that wall of the store houses the shelves of liquor and beer. Bottles smashed all over the floor, the smell was awful. The two kids responsible (it was totally an accident), were mopping up and helping to clean up the mess. Big disaster for the store owners, especially with New Years around the corner.

And I suppose you are wondering why we needed to look up quahogs...

My uncle sent my grandparents two live lobsters, a couple of big clams, and a couple of quahogs for Christmas. They hadn't heard of quahogs before, and me not liking seafood, I had only just heard of them (didn't want to know how to cook them at all). My son got a kick out of seeing the live lobsters out in a cooler in the garage.

Anyway, we just got back from my grandma and grandpa's house, and mom opened up Safari just to see if we had internet access. I was helping set up the futon for my son, when I heard her call that it was working again. I actually started to run up the stairs before I checked myself, and finished getting out the quilts for my son.

He, of course, just laughed.

I voluntarily can go without internet access for over a week, if at camp or something, but take it away from me without warning and I get a little antsy...

Well, I have to get back to the famiy. Merry Christmas, everyone!!!

Friday, December 23, 2005

Reasons to Make a List

Last minute shopping trip:

Jeans - check
Shoes - check
Sweater - check

Batteries - ????



I guess we are hitting Hy-Vee before we leave...

Come on, can someone just admit that the name was all a big joke?

Hubble finds new moons, rings around Uranus

Yes, I have a juvenile sense of humor, and my younger sisters are totally responsible for it!!!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Once again, I overextend

Have you ever made a list that seemed totally logical on one day, only to wonder what the hell you were thinking about the next?

Memories come slamming back

Marines Stand In For Santa In Stratford
"...Needy kids get toys through the more than 100 social service agencies in Des Moines. Thursday, the Marines landed at Stratford Elementary School.
"They were selected because their homes were destroyed by a tornado," said Marine Sgt. Ben Smith, a Toys for Tots coordinator. "We feel it's the right thing to do.""

The Christmas after the Manson tornado, someone gave our school a ton of board games, and I think it was Toys for Tots. I think the American Legion men and the women's auxilliary passed them out. They were in uniform, but we were all so used to seeing people in uniform after a whole summer of the National Guard in town that it didn't phase us at all. I didn't pay much attention to them.

I remember stacks and stacks, reaching above my head, of games. Each kid got to pick two games, age appropriate. I can't remember both games that I got, but I remember that one was a "LaVerne and Shirley" game, and the other was something similarly weird. My sister in kindergarten received "Candy Land" and a "LaVerne and Shirley" game. Obviously, we didn't know anything about this until it was happening, or we'd have coordinated so as to receive four unique games. Brand new, not even out of their shrink wrap... I was in awe of getting a game when it wasn't even Christmas yet (few days before, but hey, I was in second grade).

The only other thing I remember right now about that Christmas, is that my mom was pregnant with the twins. I can't remember if we knew that she was having twins yet, or if we still thought there was only one monster in her stomach, but come the end of May, my twin sisters were born. They both nearly died, and my mom with them. Three days after a horrible dust storm...


The very first thing I did this afternoon, after cooking lunch, was take a nap!!!

Because I am now on VACATION until January 3!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yipee!!!! Woo hoo!!!!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

And don't forget the Tylenol!

I can't sleep right now.

My legs feel like they are burning.

My legs ache terribly, and I am not sure why.

And in all of my running around and buying things during the last week (ending last Sunday), I never once remembered to buy a new bottle of tylenol.

No relief possible tonight.

Updates from the Costume Department...

The other night, as I was wondering what project to work on next week, while I am vacation, I was hit with an idea.

I need a new ren-faire character, one that would be fun, and let me encourage the kids to have fun and cheer up patrons.

It all started with some costume jewelry that I found at Target while looking for stocking stuffers...

And so, Maggie "Magpie" Baubles was born! She likes SHINY things!!!! Lots of SHINY! jewelry and other SHINY! objects on the gown and sleeves, and hat. If I see anyone wearing anything SHINY! I will go silly and SHINY!-crazed! Jewel-toned skirts and bodice, ribbon sleeves with shiny beads or pearls holding things together: red, green, and gold are the colors I am planning on using, mostly because I have a nice sage and gold brocade to use for the bodice, and lots of red and green scraps leftover from other projects.

My son loves this... in the last few days, he'll say, "Do the SHINY thing again!!!!" and laugh like crazy everytime.

Lots of fun for everyONE!!!

I further resolve to complain no more...

I am lucky.

I am so very lucky.

I will get to see my family this weekend - the ENTIRE family - at Christmas for the very first time in years and years. I will get to play with my niece and nephew, and talk with my sisters and their families. I will get to see my remaining grandparents, and most of my aunts and uncles, and about 30 of my cousins. Okay, I am kidding about the 30 cousins, but honestly, I have so many cousins that I haven't actually counted in awhile.

Christmas Eve, we will go to mass (which is conveniently at 4:30pm, so does not fulfill our Catholic Christmas obligation as it is before 5pm, but if you don't tell, I won't tell. There is no possible way to get 10 people and two babies ready to go to church at 8:30 am, even with three bathrooms, without explosions.) After mass, we will go to my mom's parents' house for Christmas with her side of the family. There will be tons of food - way more than anyone can eat - and presents given to the children and grandparents. There will be margeritas, which I will drink and then regret once the heartburn sets in about halfway through. I will sit and answer questions from relatives, and if I am lucky, two subjects will be verboten (1. "I double-clicked this attachment and..." and, 2. "When are you going to settle down and get married?" This is the one that I usually get when I have a mouthful of food or drink.).

Christmas Day will begin with a leisurely waking by my son jumping on the bed (or whatever I am sleeping on - this year, air-mattress) at some impossibly early morning hour. That's IF he managed to get to sleep at all. Mom will have some sort of breakfast sweets ready to put in the oven, and my son and I will pile on the couch, waiting for the others to wake up while we watch the lights, and I try to slam caffeine into my system. This year, we will add my niece to the mix! Then, we hand out presents, and go around the room, youngest to oldest, opening one present at a time, so everyone can see what we received. My son, of course, opens two presents for every one the others do, or we'd be there all morning. Later, we eat breakfast, and play with my son's toys. This year, we are having a pork loin on the grill for lunch, with a bunch of other summer type food (my dad's famous baked beans, baked potatoes, snicker salad, and spagetti salad). After lunch, nap time! Then off to my aunt's house for another decadent dinner and Christmas on my Dad's side of the family. No awkward questions there - just fun!

After consuming my body weight in goodies, we will return to my mom and dad's house and all promptly fall asleep where ever we sit. I call the place to the left of the hearth, where I can prop my pillow and see the TV, and feel the warmth from the fireplace.

And I am the luckiest person alive...

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Oh, my aching back...

On the way home from school, right as we turned onto our street, my son turns to me and says, "We're having a potluck tomorrow at school."

My mind missed a step, and I started to say, "wha?" but then I remembered that I had a cake mix in the pantry. Whew.

The problem was, and is, that I have been so busy for the last three weeks straight, that this is pretty much the first weeknight we've spent at home in those three weeks. I had already planned to make two more items for the treat trays that I am giving my co-workers this year. I also had planned to make an ACTUAL HOME COOKED MEAL (beef and broccoli, with steamed rice, mmmm).

Then, there is the ever present laundry...

Busy night.

Two years ago, I would have panicked, and been up until after midnight trying to do all of this at once.

Last summer, I discovered FlyLady. Which means, not only did I have everything I needed in my pantry, I also already had made three of the treats that were going on the trays. I was also able to let go of my perfectionism and ditch the fifth thing I was going to make.

So, after cleaning up dinner, I sat down for fifteen minutes and took a break. Then, I made the cake, as it was a mix, and got it in the oven. While it was baking I washed up the dishes. I also put together the dough for the chocolate star cookies. So, in a little more than an hour and a half, I made a cake, made three and a half dozen cookies, and started the laundry.

I accomplished a lot this evening, and can't wait to enjoy my evening.

Monday, December 19, 2005

I can't feel the two smallest toes on my right foot...

So we head over to our standing Monday night meeting, which actually started 30 minutes early today, because it was supposed to be a Court of Honor.

With five minutes to go, besides my son and I, the only person there is the adult who opened up the room.

Yep, no one remembered, or else did not write down the fact that we were starting early.

So not only did we have to sit there waiting for 30 minutes, we never actually had the Court of Honor. And there is very little heat in the room, so I sat there for ninety minutes total, colder than ever, and still sick to my stomach, for a special ceremony that we didn't have.

Not a happy camper.

I am going to go try to thaw out my toes, because I really can't do without them.

Cold and sick, sick and cold

I am freezing. I have been freezing all day. From my feet to the tips of my fingers, I am freezing.

And now, to top it off, I found a hair in my gourmet chicken strips. A hair that is neither my color nor length. I hair that is not mine. I want to puke, but I don't have that luxury right now, as we have a meeting to go to across town. Where I will continue to be both cold and sick.

I don't think I will be eating chicken strips any time soon. In fact, I would go so far as to say that I may have a difficult time eating much of anything for awhile.

I am sure that will last until I get home tonight.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Done with the shopping, my mind moves to other things.

Lego Tie-fighter = check (on sale at K-Mart, no less!)
Drawing stuff = check (paper, markers, colored pencils and sharpener)
army guys to go with the tank he is getting = check (historical replica stuff, WWII) He has this thing for tanks. Has for years.

The rest of the stuff is already in the closet, and it will start getting wrapped tonight (if I wrap too soon, I forget what I bought).

I am so happy to be done.

Except I only spent $1 on something for my stocking. I went back to get the brooch that I saw in Target yesterday, and it was gone. They had a lot of cool jewelry on clearance that would have made for good garb jewelry, but I am not going noble anytime soon (when camping at ren-faire, with a bunch of kids, the time to properly dress noble is non-existent, and I don't have a servant to do my hair, and attempting to negotiate camp in a farthingale never ends well. Much as I like being called a princess by all the little girls, I'm thinking "Lady Thief" for next year... Okay, I'm going back to load up on jewelry, and I can pin things all over, and wear multiple necklaces... mmm... I need to work on my character anyway-- excuse to make new garb!!!!!)

Okay, now I am going to have to break out my sketchbook and color picker. JoAnn fabrics had decorator fabric 50% this weekend. I just wish I had thought of a new character earlier!!! I am thinking copper, sage, and crimson! Splashes of purple, glass pearls... jeweled slippers! OMG, I am skipping eating lunch tomorrow and am going back to pick up more jewelry from the $1 bin at Target, plus the purple and green brooches and necklaces on the clearance rack. So what if my family thinks I am nuts! I will be happy!!! I have just the patterns!!!

I am so excited to be starting on a new project! I can only hope I can pull it off. I may have to wear my "respectable freewoman" garb sometime, but this new one is going to be so much fun, that I can't wait to get started!


I really need to go out and finish buying presents for my son. I just can't seem to summon up the enthusiasm to do so.

It is very cold outside, I am worn out from the last three weeks, and this is the very first Sunday I have had in over a month where we don't have to go do anything tonight.

I have put off going shopping by reorganizing my DVD collection, straightening up the VHS tapes, most of which are going into storage anyway, by eating lunch, taking a long bath, checking my email several times, and catching up on my blog reading. I'm sure that I could find a few more things that need to be done if I put my mind to it.

To put it bluntly, I am sick of the crowds. Sick of spending money. Sick of traffic, or at least the bad drivers who think that Grand has two turning lanes where it meets Lincoln Way (there is ONE, count it ONE, and you three dumb drivers nearly hit cars every time you used that middle southbound lane to turn left!).

I still don't know what to get for my son's last three gifts. There is this game he wants that I can't find, but would cost $50 anyway, so he's not getting it. I wanted to get him a lego Tie-fighter, but every place I have looked is out. No one has any old-fashioned dominos, the kind suitable for making domino chain reactions. I am going to get him a bunch of art supplies, as he loves to draw comic books.

Anyway, I am procrastinating again...

I am going to finish getting ready, make up the menus for the week, and the grocery list, fill up the car with gas, and just go.

That way I can enjoy a relaxing evening at home.

Babysitting 101

Hint: you need four arms to change my nephew's diaper. And my son making funny noises to keep the baby in one spot so he doesn't squirm away and get unmentionable things on my sister's carpet.

We didn't get home until nearly 2 am, and I did not open my eyes this morning until 10:15.

But it was all worth it, as I think he was trying to say my name!

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Next time I get the idea to shop with the eleven-year-old, hit me to make me come to my senses before we leave...

There is nothing so horrible as trying to take an eleven-year-old boy shopping. Last night, we needed necessities. We couldn't even get through Hy-Vee without throwing a fit because I wouldn't buy chinese food for supper. Needless to say, we left empty handed.

Today, the goal was to buy stuff to fill our stockings. Last year, we each had $10 to spend on stocking stuffers. It was great, and we had a lot of fun shopping together.

Fast forward to this year.

I just wanted to be at home, with the covers over my head. I didn't even buy anything, I was so miserable.

I am going to put a tag on my purse that reads, "Don't even think about taking him shopping." It's my new mantra...


I just read a story about something I had heard mentioned awhile ago, right after hurricane Katrina. A volunteer brought art supplies to the children at the shelter in Housten, Labor Day weekend. This was right after they started arriving from the Superdome. Art therapy wasn't mentioned at the time. This was just a volunteer who realized that the kids needed something to do.

Kids' art reveals horror and hope after Katrina

"...The pictures were produced as part of the Katrina's Kids Project, which began on Labor Day when volunteer and mom Johna DiMuzio brought art supplies to give the children at the shelter something to do.

"The children started coming up and showing me these pictures of these images of the hurricane, of people drowning, things that bought tears to your eyes," DiMuzio said.

After seeing some of the art, she realized it could also help the kids express their emotions. She enlisted a few friends and returned the next day.

One 12-year-old boy used a vivid pencil drawing of flooded homes in his New Orleans neighborhood -- the devastated Ninth Ward -- to finally tell Bryan that his mother had been swept away by the rushing waters and he was in Houston all alone. He has since been reunited with his aunt."

Some of the images were chosen for traveling exhibit, to raise money for the victims. But the real power of these drawings is that the children were able to begin the process of healing, to confront what happened to them, and to tell others what they saw.

One woman's generosity, from a mom who just wanted to give them something to do, was able to give the children more than she had ever expected.

P.S. I know a lot of you may be wondering why I am taking such an interest in New Orleans, and Katrina. There are two reasons.

I have been to New Orleans, and loved it more than any other city I have ever been. It has been at the top of my "Must Visit" list for more than 15 years. Even back when I visited, I was shocked by the contrast between the tourist parts, and the poverty that we saw. But here's the thing: there was a beauty even in the poorest spots that you won't find anywhere else in the world. Ever again, because it's gone.

And the people! They were wonderful, friendly, and open. The kids that we met when we visited a high school were just great, and they made us feel at home. I came from a very small town that has its share of problem, but all of us in our group were stunned by what we saw (okay, yes, we went to Bourbon Street at night, so that would have done it, too). There is a certain something that wrapped us up and made us feel good. That's what kept New Orleans burning in the back of my mind all of these years. That's why I was glued to the coverage of the hurricane.

The second reason has to do with what happened to my town when I was a kid. We had an F4 tornado rip through town, June 28, 1979. I watched it, with my grandparents, my mom, and my little sister, after my grandpa drove us away from town so we wouldn't have to hear it, or risk being in the house if it came down. For years, I was terrified of bad weather, yet I was drawn to it. Even the shapes of clouds on a mildly stormy day could send me running to the basement. These kids suffered a lot more, and are deserving of our attention and care.

Friday, December 16, 2005

So what's up with Troy?

This guy hasn't blogged since Sunday!

He's either:

a. kidnapped by aliens,
b. rehearsing for the new play he's in,
c. too busy trying to keep up with the flurry of WWdN posts,
d. writing a new 50,000 word novel, but in a week instead of a month,
e. lapsed into a diet-induced coma, in which case someone needs to go take him some Mt. Dew,
f. all of the above.

So, which is it?

Thursday, December 15, 2005

No wonder I was so grouchy last night.

I ended up not feeling very well most of the night. I went to work, and managed to do okay despite being very busy. At lunch, my stomach started doing flip=flops, so I took a twenty-minute nap instead of making something to eat. After I woke up, I felt a little better, but not much. I ate some mixed fruit, and hurried back to work. I was okay after work, and was able to go to my son's band concert (for those of you who went to school with me, my son's sixth grade band is better than our 8th grade band - very good!).

I think it was mainly stress. I am looking forward to tomorrow night, and being able to relax.

Ten-to-one I'll be asleep on the couch before seven...

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Writer's block, or just a bad mood?

For some reason, I can't think of a single thing to write about tonight. I am tired, and I may just go to bed early (-er than normal). I can listen to the lovely sound of snow plows...


Kids' Food Different If Mom Works

Just don't tell anyone that I let him eat cookies for breakfast yesterday morning, because we were out of his favorite cereal... Hey, they had peanut butter in them...

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Oh, the weather outside is frightful...

Winter weather advisory: 2-4 inches of snow, blowing snow, that is, drifting, making the morning commute nasty. Personally, I can't wait to try to clean the car off tomorrow morning.

This is going to be an interesting winter.

It has to be at least Thursday, right?

I was talking with my son in the car on the way home. Actually, it was on the way to Taco Bell, because I am a horrible mother who was too wiped out to try to throw a nutritious meal on the table in under 20 minutes. He said something about PE, and I knew that he had PE on Wednesday last week, so all of a sudden, I was panicking about it being Religious Ed night, and how was I going to get all of the errands done that I needed to do after the movie thing tonight.

Then I realized it was Tuesday.

Oh God, it's only Tuesday. I am certain that there are many in town who are saying variations on that phrase under their breath.

"Oh God, it's Tuesday already, and I don't have that paper done!!!!"

"Oh God, it's Tuesday and I have a final tomorrow!!"

"OMG, it's Tuesday and I totally MISSED MY FINAL!!!!!!!"

"It's only Tuesday, and I have three more days of finals left!!!"

For me, this Tuesday meant the last night of Movies and Popcorn, and the last night of DASH hours to worry about. Yes, I have to set my alarm for 2:02 am again, but it's the last night of that until the end of April. It makes a difference, just knowing that.

So, I went to the store after I was done tonight, and bought healthy foods, with LOW SODIUM, so that I can get back on track to feeling better and shedding some extra pounds that inevitably stack up once you are reduced to eating chocolate muffins for breakfast, cheeseburgers for lunch, and tacos for dinner. I know, I should be ASHAMED! I just can't wait to feel good again, and I know that changing the food is going to make it happen.

This doesn't mean that I am swearing off all fast food forever. What it does mean is that I am going to follow my WW points guidelines and will also be cutting back my sodium intake to half the daily recommended allowance (1200 mg), to feel even better.

In case you are interested:

1/4 lb. Cheeseburger = 10 points
French Fries = 9 points
1 slice of Papa John's large garden special pizza = 6 points (see Mom, I told you it was good for you!)
1 apple = 1 point
1 banana = 2 points
2 slices D'Taliano light bread = 1 point
3 ounces chicken = 3 points
8 oz baked potato = 3 points
1 cup rice = 5 points
Most veggies, cooked or raw without butter = FREE
Butter Spray = FREE (trust me, it tastes okay)
Triple choclate meltdown = okay, we add up the devil's food cake, the ice cream, the hot fudge.... I really don't want to know...

Anyway, you get the point... no pun intended. It's not the amount of calories per se, it is the choices that you make. Yes, I can have a cheeseburger and french fries for lunch, but that only leaves me eight points for the rest of the day, and that doesn't stick with a girl as long as you think it would. Pretty soon you end up making sensible choices just because you know you'll end up hungry at the end of the day if you don't.

My points range on the old scale, based on weight = 20-27 points. I am very close to moving down to a lower points range. I would have been there if it hadn't been for summer camp...

You are all my witnesses.... D-Day is here. I refuse to have a sodium headache at the end of the day! I refuse to buy a larger pair of jeans! I will need to make smaller ren-faire garb for the next faire! I will be able to walk five miles without feeling like I am having a heart attack!!!!!

Ooo... I need to figure out how many points are in those chocolate star cookies I made on Saturday...

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Diet Sabatuer

11:10 am: some criossant thing with chocolate in the middle, from the Cafe, in Somerset. Kim's idea...
12:30 pm: Kim wants a pretzel and a pop, while we are shopping at the mall. I decide that I'd rather have a Jimmy John's sandwich. We get the idea to go to Panera for soup and sandwich.
12:35 pm: Panera parking lot is full. We decide to go to Culver's after toying with the idea of going to Arby's.
12:37 pm: Kim's phone rings. It's my son, they are going to go out to eat, and he wanted to know something. In the course of the conversation, we realized that they were at Culver's, just as we parked the car. When we got in the door, my brother-in-law was standing in line, holding my nephew, and my son ran over to ask me what he normally gets (that's why he called). We all had a great time at lunch watching my nephew try ketchup.
2:45 pm: Target checkout lane, we all decide to get a pop.
3:20 pm: Best Buy. Finally find Christmas Vacation DVD. Good thing, too, as it was the first movie on the list tonight. Target, Wal-Mart, and K-Mart have been out for three weeks.
3:35 pm: Leaving Best Buy to go to K-Mart on super-secret holiday misson for my son. We drive by Applebee's. "Triple-chocolate-meltdown!!!" we cry! Plans are made.
3:50 pm: Ahh.... we finally sit down to dessert. Kim has the apple pie, and mom and I each have our own TCMD, since she didn't want to share.

Kim, you are a diet sabatuer, but boy did we have a great time today!!!!!

Oh my aching head...

I made the mistake of staying up too late last night.

I fell asleep on the couch with my glasses on, and my book in my hand. My son woke me up at about ten to nine. He had woken up when my alarm clock went off and kept going off (I had set it when I got home).

One of the side-effects of sleeping on the couch is that I wasn't really comfortable, but was too tired to move, and not keen on the idea of moving from a warm couch to an icy bed.

The headache is because I couldn't stand it, and had to have a handful of party mix before bed. Too salty, but it tasted just right. I am NOT checking the scale this morning, because of the salt. It wouldn't have been so bad, but I did not have more than a swallow of water afterwards. Bad idea.

Anyway, I have less than two hours before I have to go over to my sister's house so we can leave to go shopping. I have no definite list for my son, as he seems to change his mind by the day. I have a couple of ideas. One thing that did bug me was seeing one item that I bought for him at $34 a couple of weeks ago on sale this week for $24 at Target. Kicking myself, but as it is a popular item this year, I wanted to buy it early to be sure that we had it. It was number one, THE most important thing on his list.

Yikes! My time is running out, and I wanted to get a couple of batches of cookies baked before we go, so I can give some to Mom and Kim. Plus, I want to see my nephew have a bite, as I think his reaction ought to be the best entertainment of the day...

Saturday, December 10, 2005

End of a long, but fun day...

Seriously, I have been going non-stop since early this morning, but everything I did today was productive and fun. Okay, maybe the laundry wasn't fun, and cleaning the bathroom is pretty low on my list of good times, but the rest was fun.

We went to the movies and saw "Narnia," and had an enjoyable time. Good company, despite having to dodge an eleven-year old who is too tall while trying to have a conversation. Most surreal moment: while walking out of the theater, suddenly realizing that we were walking behind two big tough guys in leather jackets, one of whom had curls on the ends of his mustache...

The movie was pretty good, and a very good adaptation. The beginning scene was not in the book at all, but it was totally necessary to set the situation and time period (WWII, England, during the Blitz). But really, it has been so long since I have read the book, that I can't remember the details. It was fun, and I got a chance to have a much needed break, and fun conversation with someone over the age of eleven.

After the movie, I raced home to throw together some cookie dough to take to my sister's house. Work called a couple of times while I was trying to do this. We had a network hiccup that tanked a couple of printers, but it all recovered correctly. That's part of my geek super-powers - troubleshooting over the phone while folding dry ingredients into the dough base :)

My mom came to town to baby sit my nephew while my sister and her husband went to a Christmas party at his cousin's in Des Moines. Mom and I decided it would be a good time to get our holiday baking done, since it is always more fun to make massive amounts of treats together than alone. Plus, my nephew is more than a handful, and we needed two sets of hands. "All of THAT came out of YOU?"

I was glad to be able to bake with my mom. Alone, I often end up kicking myself as I am putting the umpteen billionth sheet of cookies into the oven at 10:00 pm, and they all have to be frosted yet. And I eat too many as they are cooling. I usually only make a couple of different treats, since we can't eat them all, and I still end up giving a bunch away. This way, we could make more types of treats, and split everything three ways (a third to my sister, for letting us use her kitchen). Not to mention the fact that we can have nice long talks while working. Very fun!

We ended up not getting as much done as we thought we would, as my nephew had a hard time getting to sleep. He just didn't want to lie down, so my mom ended up rocking him to sleep. As soon as she put him in his crib, he woke up, but he quieted down after about five minutes of us just leaving him alone.

We made chocolate star cookies (triple batch), a bunch of almond bark pretzels (one and a half batches), and a batch of Granny's party mix (four gallons). The party mix almost killed us. It had to be stirred every 15 minutes while baking for two hours. You stir by pouring it into another container, then back into the pan. We had two of those disposable aluminum roasting pans, and it was interesting, to say the least. No wonder my mom rarely makes it... Mom also made peanut clusters beforehand, and brought us a plate. I made sugar cookie dough that we didn't have time to bake, so that is on my list for tomorrow morning (my famous melt-in-your-mouth sugar cookies). Mom is going to make the pumpkin bread tomorrow morning before we come over. This way we each can split up that stuff, too.

Then, we are going shopping. My son is staying with my brother-in-law and my nephew, while us girls go shopping. I should be able to get more of my son's presents taken care of, which will be great. I would like to be done before the end of this week, so I can just enjoy the season without the attendant stress that comes from leaving everything until the last minute.

I only hope my feet and legs hold out tomorrow.

Friday, December 09, 2005


On the way to pick up my son after work today, I got this idea into my head. I decided that, rather than get our usual Hy-Vee pizza for dinner, we'd go Christmas shopping and eat dinner at Culver's instead. Obviously, he thought that was a great idea!

Three and a half hours later, we finally got home, carried in the bags, put away the groceries, took out the garbage, and managed to miss the bottom step on the stairs on the way down. My boss made a joke about how I shouldn't lift that fifty-pound bag of popcorn this afternoon, on the off-chance I could hurt myself and be off work. It was very funny, and I had a good laugh over it... until I missed that step and thought, "Oh God, he jinxed me!" So far, I don't think I actually hurt myself, as I didn't fall (wouldn't that have been a sight, since I had quickly cleaned out the refrigerator so I wouldn't have to do it tomorrow).

I bought a bunch of baking supplies, so I can make holiday goodies with my mom tomorrow night while we are babysitting my nephew. Our list is long, but as we are dividing it three ways (me, mom, and Kim), we'll get a big variety without ending up with way too much food. Kim can eat pretty much anything she wants, but Mom and I are attempting to not overindulge this holiday season. Something to do with wanting to be able to wear favorite jeans comfortably...

I also finished all of my holiday shopping!!! Well, other than my son's sitter, and as my son reminded me, "And mine, right?" "Oh, I haven't done any of your shopping yet," wink, wink...

Gifts, and gift cards for everyone on my list, and even a little something for me. I found this really cute snowman to add to my collection at Hobby Lobby (my son's least favorite place). It was partially hidden by another item (which was very tacky, I might add), and I picked it up, and knew that I had to have it. Another lady in the same aisle also liked it, and we looked for another for her, but he was the last one. I felt bad, but it was perfect for my collection, and I had clearly picked it up first, as she was at the other end of the aisle at the time. The best part, though, was the fact that it ended up being 50% off. Check-out total = $3.76.

A mostly productive evening, even though I missed phone calls from my mom, and one of my sisters, and gmail messed up and did not register any new mail for about twenty-four hours...

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Confirmed: Me = Old

In joints, anyway. Achy, and tired, and my feet hurt from standing too long in one spot.

I am wiped out. I am so tired that I nearly fell asleep while sorting laundry just a few minutes ago.

I am going to curl up on the couch and read for a bit, enjoying my Christmas tree, and my nice fleece blanket (even though it is too short). It is important to relax the mind so that one can enjoy a restful slumber.

Okay, too cold in here to blog anymore, and I need to leave my laptop on the charger. Night all!

Precious Minutes at rest

I am trying to relax for the next few minutes, until it is time to leave for work. The problem is, I am so tired that I feel like I could fall asleep right now and not wake up until morning.

Part of that is caused by the fact that I ate too much for dinner.

The rest was caused by the fact that I could not get back to sleep after calling the lab monitors at 2am to see if the graveyard shift monitor had made it in yet (no, which led to all sorts of problems, and ultimately, one of the previous monitors staying to cover the shift). So, after being awake for half an hour, I was too tense and wound-up to sleep.

Am I too old for this? Well, when I get up from this spot, I am going to feel it in my back, knees, leg muscles, and ankles.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Life imitating art?

subtitle: The Day After Tomorrow

Did you know that it is really, really cold here? Did you know that it is so cold that I had to put towels on the windowsills, to keep out some of the cold air? I have frost inside my outer window? Not just a little, but ice?

Below zero actual temps, wind chill was -19°F last night when I watched the 10:00 news.

Yes, I have been through worse weather. Like the year I was a senior in high school. -70°F Windchill. Some guy walked from the convenience store at the end of the main street, to our house to get a tow truck, rather than calling. He ended up with frostbite on his ears so bad that they turned black. The store wasn't open yet, so he couldn't call, and he didn't want to bug people by knocking on their doors in the pre-dawn hours. Obviously, this was before normal people had cell phones.

So much we take for granted...

Anyway, that year, we missed the last couple of days of school before Christmas break because the temperatures were so dangerous. It was all about trying to stay warm, and worrying about my dad, out in the tow truck trying to help people. It was thinking about those times that prompted me to buy him hand and foot warmers for Christmas two years ago (that and a thermal bowl with a lid, so his soup would stay warm for lunch). Last year, I bought him these really good socks that cold-weather hikers use, plus hand and foot warmers. This year, I don't know yet.

In any case, when I think about all of the sacrifices my dad made for us girls and my mom (and still does), I just want to do things for him that will make his life and work easier. Keep him warm while he is out in terrible weather, say a prayer to keep him safe when he has a fire call, or an accident call. He's been stuck in the tow truck before, a long time ago when the twins were little. He came home covered in snow, ice on his beard and eyebrows, and we all just cried and hugged him, so glad to have him home after so many hours of just hearing him on the two-way radio. His former boss took out the big truck to go get him, and ended up stuck too. They had to winch each other out, and I still don't know just how they did it, but they did. Hours and hours, it took. In a blizzard. My dad was, and is, a superhero.

So, when I think back to the winters of my childhood, this winter seems almost mild so far. Except for it still being autumn, that is. I may have to try to find some of those pictures...


Last night, blogger was not working, so a post I made went off into the blogosphere, never to return.

This is a test post to see if it is working.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

'Tis the day for being bored...

"I'm bored," my son whines from his room. "Can I get up now?"

Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

Repeat, repeat, repeat.

He says he's feeling better, but I reminded him that with what he's got, better is relative, not absolute. "Wham-o, when you least expect it!"

Lucky for me, VH-1 has an "I Love the 80's" marathon on! Lucky me with the cable connection!

Anyway, I have to get going. I can feel the urge for an afternoon nap creeping on, and since having a day off is not likely to happen again for awhile, I am going to get what I can from it (beyond cleaning the house, laundry, and catering to the every whim of a kid who is stuck in bed).

At least I'm not the sick one...

Stuck at home with a sick kid

It's never good when your child gets up at 5:25 to use the bathroom.

It's even worse when you are in the tub, and you hear this frantic pounding on the door, and some unintelligable murmuring that turns out to be a worst case scenario that happened before he could get to the bathroom.

(ignore the following sentence if you have a sensitive stomach, or do not have children)
And the worst case does not end up being vomit, if you know what I mean.

So, an hour and a half later, everything is cleaned up, the evidence is in the dryer after being washed in the hottest water possible, and he is resting comfortably in his bed with garbage bags under the sheet and towels over it. A movie is playing on his tv (t.g. for built in vcr and Goodwill - $25 total). Two slices of toast and a glass of water, and he is complaining that he is really hungry. Sorry buck-o, that's what you are having, and some broth for lunch. No sweets, milk, or anything other than toast, broth, or water sipped slowly.

The bathroom is disinfected, as is the kitchen, and his room. Medicine has been given. We just have to wait for it, and take steps to avoid restarting the problem.

It is going to be a very, very long day.

Stuck at home with a sick kid

It's never good when your child gets up at 5:25 to use the bathroom.

It's even worse when you are in the tub, and you hear this frantic pounding on the door, and some unintelligable murmuring that turns out to be a worst case scenario that happened before he could get to the bathroom.

(ignore the following sentence if you have a sensitive stomach, or do not have children)
And the worst case does not end up being vomit, if you know what I mean.

So, an hour and a half later, everything is cleaned up, the evidence is in the dryer after being washed in the hottest water possible, and he is resting comfortably in his bed with garbage bags under the sheet and towels over it. A movie is playing on his tv (t.g. for built in vcr and Goodwill - $25 total). Two slices of toast and a glass of water, and he is complaining that he is really hungry. Sorry buck-o, that's what you are having, and some broth for lunch. No sweets, milk, or anything other than toast, broth, or water sipped slowly.

The bathroom is disinfected, as is the kitchen, and his room. Medicine has been given. We just have to wait for it, and take steps to avoid restarting the problem.

It is going to be a very, very long day.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Too weird!!!!!

As I was reviewing my last post, my son appeared in the door of my room. "I... you kn, kn, kn" (this went on for a bit while I tried to figure out what he was saying). I could not get a real word out of him.

I finally led him back to his bed, made him lie down, and tucked him in. "I couldn't sleep," he finally said.

"Honey, you've been sound asleep for over two hours. I think you were sleep walking."

"Oh," and he fell asleep again.

It's -2°F outside right now. Snow on the ground. I will be sleeping with one eye open, and an ear tuned to the sound of the apartment door being opened. I just hope this was a one-time deal.

OMG, I almost forgot to post today!

I managed to fill up my day with activity! I went into work at 9:00, replaced the model cartridge in the 3d printer, which meant that we were now four hours behind, as I actually went into work to start another model and the previous one had not finished because the machine ran out of material. I put gas in the car - splurged and bought regular unleaded rather than the ethanol blend for the first time since August. After getting home, my son helped me make bacon and scrambled eggs, and we had a great (if nauseating to me) breakfast (I don't like the smell of bacon, and scrambled eggs make my stomach feel icky, but he loves them). After that, I needed time to recover, so I tried to rest on the couch.

After not being able to take a nap, I decided we'd go shopping to get some gifts for the babies and others on our list. My son flat out refused to go. After about 30 seconds of arguing with me, I finally "gave in" (wink, wink), and told him he could stay at home, even though it would be really boring to go without him.


The upshot is, I got to get some shopping for him out of the way! I found a couple of excellent deals on things that he wanted, and learned exactly how hard it is to find a regular tub of Lego™ in this town. Oh, and I also can't find a regular set of black and white dominos anywhere! He wants to set up domino chain reactions but the white heavy ones do not work as well, and are very expensive (to be used to that). I guess I will need to start looking at the thrift stores to see if I can find any.

You should have seen his face when, after three hours of shopping, I walked in carrying two small shopping bags. One with my grab bag gift for my dad's side of the family, part of my mom's present and some gift boxes, and the other with my niece's present and some candy. "That's all you bought?!?" he asked. "What about Will's present? Or granpa's?" I just complained about the crowds, and how busy traffic was, and left it at that.

Now if only that trunk lid hadn't frozen up on me again tonight, I could have my four precious gifts wrapped and hidden in the closet already. My son never asks for much (on his real list, not the fake one he made this year to be funny), and never minds getting anything second hand (the only way to shop for video games). That is what makes it so fun to surprise him with something he never expected to be able to get! Today, I found a really great deal on something he wanted very much. I didn't have to spend a lot of money (under $20), but I know he'll be very excited.

Only a few more people on my list, and they may all get Target gift cards and leave it at that. Except my cousin Will. He's only in first grade, and too young to understand the power of the gift card. The rest, gift cards. They get what they want, it's minimal wrapping, and easy to transport in the car.

Everyone is happy!

Okay, technically this is Sunday, so this is NOT my fourth post of the day...

True to form, the fact that I had at least eight hours of uninterrupted sleep last night, plus two hours rest until the alarm went off, then another 90 minutes on the couch, means that I cannot sleep tonight. It is 12:29 am, and I am wide awake, with no possibility of sleep for at least another hour. And I have to get up at 7:10 again, to go back to work and start another model.

I will be so glad when the next two weeks are over.

Actually, strike that. I love having the students around. They breathe life and vigor into our town and my building. We have FUN working such crazy hours... okay, maybe not FUN exactly, but it's interesting, and NOT BORING. I honestly don't know what I would do if I weren't trying to do three things at once.

Oh wait, I would be posting four times a day on this blog. (one day off at home with no chance of getting out to do something will do this to me).

In any case (another oft' used expression of mine), I have a busy day ahead of me tomorrow. Work in the morning for a bit, then I am making scrambled eggs and bacon for my son (who discovered that he loves them about two months ago while staying with my parents). Then church, because I feel this immense guilt because my son forgot who Mary was momentarily, and got a little confused about the whole thing (he's scientifically minded, didn't really listen apparently in all six years of religious ed, plus all those masses at Grandma and Grandpa's church. I've tried to explain that it is a story, but just get a blank look.). It's not like we don't go to church, because we do, but usually it's in my hometown with my parents, and it's very early in the morning. My son can sleep with his eyes open. Seriously. Scared me to death when he was a baby. Anyway, moving on...

That brings us up to about noon.

At six, it's back to work to get the movies started, then race to the other side of town for a very important meeting.

Like I said, nearly every night this week we are doubled up on activities.

So I need to get to bed to be rested for all of that. I am going to try right after I finish this post...

P.S. Awful book is finished. The main character ends up with the guy that we knew she would. Rah, rah, rah. Still can't believe I bothered to finish it. Am on a second book which is REALLY GOOD! Half through already, may end up reading the rest of it tonight. Saving the third and best book for tomorrow. We'll see how that goes.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Saturday Evening Slump

Okay, what is this, my third post today?

My son and I played a friendly game of Monopoly this evening. We finally quit because we were hungry for supper. Well, that and the fact that he owed me about $2500 in accumulated rents from landing on properties of mine that had hotels, and only about $6 left to his name. He did have two houses each on Boardwalk and Park Place, but I only landed on Park Place once. That's why he ONLY owed me $2500 (I shaved $500 off his I.O.U.s).

We just finished watching Robots, and I'll let you in on a little secret - this kid can dance. He's got no sense of self-consciousness at all. He just moves and has a good time. And he's finally getting a bit of rythmn, too. We've been practicing with the "We will rock you" clapping, and he's finally getting the idea of rythmn and beat. When he hears a song he likes, he just gets up and dances. And so do I.

He finally decided to join an after school club. Friday, they had to come up with a skit by drawing subjects, places, and actions out of a box. Sounds like improv to me, and he had a great time with it. He really had fun with the kids on his team, and is anxious to go to the next meeting. I asked him in the car, after he was excitedly telling me about it, why he didn't join the drama club, as I thought he'd enjoy that because they do very similar things. "Oh, I'd get stage fright," he said,"all those people watching." I tried to explain how having to get up in front of a lot of people can actually help you get over stage fright, but he was still a little dubious. Besides, the drama club is already working on a production, and I am not sure that he'd have time for both clubs (and he was not impressed with the play they are putting on, "The Princess and the Pea". "I'm not being in something with the word 'princess' in it!").

It's interesting, though. The fact that he had no problem whatsoever helping to write and act out a skit in 45 minutes, with two kids he had never even met before (and one of his good friends, who had invited him to join). He was so excited when I picked him up from school.... It's not all they do, of course. Writing and acting out skits, I mean. The club does other problem solving exercises, too. I just think that if he was involved in more activities, he wouldn't sit around watching TV and playing video games all of the time.

He loves baseball, but it's too competitive, and we can't afford Little League (time or money), so that's sort of out for the moment. They are not offering the chance to go out for sports to the sixth graders, even though they are in middle school. They don't have recess anymore, and a good twenty minutes of gym class is devoted to getting on a bus and driving to the old middle school, because the gym at the new middle school is not yet finished.

Okay, I just noticed how long this post is getting...

I think it is time to close this post and get back to my awful book that I am forcing myself to read. Or maybe I'll clean out my desk drawers... I apologize for all of this rambling today. I just honestly don't have anything else to do.

Winter wonderland?

It is snowing again.

Actually, it has been snowing since this morning, around the time that I left to go to work. When I left, my car windows were clear, and now my car has about 4 inches of snow on it. Lucky for me that we got groceries last night.

I dozed on the couch for a couple of hours after work, then got up to make lunch. After cleaning up, my son and I sat down and watched more Battlestar Galactica. Three episodes worth. Five more to go, and we'll have finally seen the complete first season. We are saving them for other days.

I had planned to go do some Christmas shopping this afternoon, but the snow pretty much rules that out. The plows are out, and it isn't really windy, as far as I can tell, but I am not in the mood to play bumper cars. The problem is that I have slept as much as I possibly can today, and I have a feeling that I am going to have a long, boring afternoon and evening.

And I just remembered that it is my Mom and Dad's anniversary today! Yikes. They are visiting my sister LeAnn, and her husband and my niece this weekend. It is my niece's birthday on Wednesday. Our princess is going to be one. Amazing how times goes by... then I hear that the teen years drag on forever to compensate.

I guess I'll just go back to the book I am reading, even though I think it is actually making me dumber just for having read a third of it. Some chick lit seriously needs to not make it to press. Yes, I'll probably finish it just out of boredom, but honestly, it rambled for the first two chapters, in the third chapter the main character saw a ghost, and suddenly the plot became that of "A Christmas Carol," only for Valentine's Day. We already know who the girl is going to end up with, and the writing is just bad and not half as clever as it thinks it is. It's enough to make me vomit, which is good for the diet, if not for my literary soul.

Yes, the snow looks pretty, but it is dooming me to a terrible fate; stuck in the house with a pre-teen and a bad romance novel. Bad, bad, bad...

A post about a bunch of nothing

The scale this morning puts me at 5 pounds under what I was yesterday.

I know that this is not the truth, that it's fluctuations in water weight most likely, but it gave me a lift.

Last night, I fell asleep on the couch at around 9:00. I woke up at 5:10 with a crick in my neck, and stumbled into my bedroom. I pretty much tossed and turned until the alarm went off at 7:10. I got up, showered and dressed, and went to work to get the next 3D print started on our modeler. While I was waiting for the machine to warm up so I could check the material extrusion, I made another snowflake to put on the window in the lab (my lab monitors went crazy making snowflakes yesterday - very festive!). After leaving, I ran to the grocery store and bought garbage bags, toilet paper, eggs, bacon, and postage stamps. I also got quarters for laundry. Fun.

Now I am back at home, changed back into my pyjamas, and have a date with the couch where I will begin work on catching up on my sleep. Three nights in a row I barely slept, and last night was the longest stretch of sleep I've had in a long time. I have got to get rested up for dead week, or I will be very cranky, or very loopy. I'd prefer to be cheerful and well-rested.

I will settle for 7 hours a night and a nutritious diet that does not consist of chicken nuggets and tator tots, but I will take what I can get...

Friday, December 02, 2005

Cinderella Missed the Ball

You know how when you are busy, there is usually this one little thing tickling the back of you brain? Well, every day this week, I kept saying to myself, "You know, you should probably check and see when the office party is, just to be sure."

Every day this week, I have been extremely busy.

So, when my boss was leaving the lab after fixing something, he asks, "Are you going to the thing tonight," my insides froze.

No, I am not going to the thing. You see, I sort of thought that the thing was next Friday. The paranoid side of me kept telling myself to check the invitation, but I was too busy listening to the paranoid side also telling me to make sure we ordered another lens for the laser cutter, some white acrylic, and where the heck is my tan chip board?

In the mean time, I forgot about the party, and at 4:30 pm, it was too late to find a sitter, and I'd have to go alone.

And you know I am not walking into a fancy party in the Campanile room of the Union without a date. Some other year, okay, but not this year. Not happening.

So six o'clock saw me on the couch in my track suit, watching Scooby Doo 2 with my son. And 7:00 saw me sitting bolt upright on the sofa, suddenly remembering that I had forgotten to take the DVDs back to Family Video. Said DVDs, of course, still sitting on my desk at work.

Back into the cold to get the movies back before midnight.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Brain Dead

Yup, that's me.

Last night... I mean this morning at around 2 am, I had to call the labs to make sure that the graveyard shift monitor arrived safely at work (we did not close last night, and will not close tonight, either). After I hung up the phone, I could not get back to sleep.

In fact, I tossed and turned all night, very tired, but not able to get back into a deep sleep.

As a result, I pretty much was a zombie today, from the time I got to work, through the whole laser cutter sign-up process, and through the entire day. Pretty appropriate really, as tonight's movies were all zombie flicks.

I want nothing more than to sit on the couch, read a book, and go to bed.

Of course, the alarm is set for 2:00 am again, just because I am paranoid. This time, though, I should have no problems getting back to sleep...

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Holiday Memory #01

When I was a little girl, the Saturday after Thanksgiving was reserved for putting up the Christmas tree and other holiday decorations.

My mom would retrieve all of the boxes from their various hiding places in the store room, and my sisters and I would wait impatiently for my dad to get home, so he could put the lights on the tree.

He was, and is, very, very good at lighting a tree.

My dad still owns a service station, still drives a tow-truck, and is still a volunteer fireman. This meant that some years, we waited a very long time for him to get home, and sometimes he had to go back out into the cold or blizzards to help people.

No matter what, we waited, because to do otherwise was unthinkable.

He worked with a delicacy that defied his work-hardened fingers and hands, weaving the strands of lights artfully around the branches of our artificial, plastic tree. Always the colorful lights, patiently untangled, checked for burnt out bulbs that could cause a whole string to stay dark... He'd check and check until he found the culprit. Not until the lights were perfect could we begin putting on the tinsel, and the ornaments. The wait was always worth it. Finally, when we were finished, he'd put the tree topper on the very top, and the Christmas season could really begin.

"You better not..."

We are having a little disagreement in our household.

The disagreement is over the treasure trove that is our copy of the first season of Battlestar Galactica.

Monday, my son did not have school. He watched episodes 2 through 5 without me. Now, this would be okay if he didn't try to tell me what was going on in those episodes when I came home for lunch, and then after work.

"That girl gets shot!"


"You know that one girl"

"Oh, come on, quit telling me this! You're spoiling it!"

"Opps... sorry."

So, the agreement is, I catch up, and then I stop and wait until we can watch the next together. As he ran into the bathroom to take his bath, he yelled back, "You better not watch any more!!!"

I am half tempted to watch another and tell him alllllll about it.... :)

Monday, November 28, 2005

The Star of Controversy

The Star of Controversy
Originally uploaded by jennifergeek.

Funny story...

My mother had been searching high and low for something to put over the fireplace in the new addition. Awhile ago, my sister saw this star in the window of a shop in Ames. A week ago Saturday, when my mom was in town to help with a baby shower, my sister decided to take Mom to the shop to see it.

When they got there, it was no longer in the window, but they decided to go in to the store to see if they could find something else. Luck of luck, the shop had another.

When my mom finally got back home, she was excited to show Dad the star.

He was less than thrilled. "This is just for the season, right?" he asked as he precariously perched on a ladder to hang the star.

"No, it's perfect there. It's staying up all year," my mom replied.


You know the whole deal with "The Lamp" in A Christmas Story?

Battlelines were drawn, albeit friendly lines...

Our Lovely Tree

Our Lovely Tree
Originally uploaded by jennifergeek.

As promised, here is a photo of our too-big Christmas tree. It's the perfect size for our apartment, yes, but about the fifteenth time I had to get up on the step ladder to do the lights and add decorations, I was beginning to hum something under my breath other than Christmas carols...


How did your Monday go?

I'm sorry, what did you say? How did MY Monday go?

Well, let's just put it this way. About every ten minutes I kept pinching myself to make sure I wasn't stuck in some nightmare where everything in the labs malfunctions at once (yes, I have those types of dreams).

Luckily, things started to turn around in the afternoon. Late afternoon.

I am now looking forward to a nice evening, followed by a meeting across town.

After the meeting, I am going to go to the store and stock up on Diet Pepsi, then go home and watch more episodes of "Battlestar Galactica."

And I will be just fine...

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Lovely weather in Iowa, again.

Lightning, thunder, rain here.

South, tornado watch.

To the west, winter storm advisory.

Tomorrow ought to be interesting.

Further proof that I am a Geek

I ran into Wal-mart to get a couple of things, and ended up buying season one of Battlestar Galactica on DVD.

I am such a geek.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

You would think that seven strands of lights would be enough...

but it's not.

I am a strand short of finishing the lights on the tree. What a bummer. I am going to have to go back to Wal-mart tomorrow and buy another strand. We are going to go ahead and decorate it, and I'll just remove the decorations when I get the new strand of lights.

This tree has about forty-two billion branches on it, which is why I needed so many more lights than for the old one.

My arms ache, my back hurts, but now we can start the fun part. Finally.

Update: The tree is decorated. It is by far the best tree we've ever had, and I still have tons of room for more decorations. That's the best part - I love making new decorations every year, and usually, I have to severely curtail my ornament making, or else give tons away to family. This time, I get to keep them! I'll post pictures after my camera batteries finish charging.

Remember that scene from "Christmas Vacation"...

where they get the tree home, and it is much bigger than they realized?

Yep, I bought a seven-and-a-half foot tall tree. I have pretty high ceilings, so I wanted something that would look right, and still be manageable (size and money-wise).

That is one tall tree...

Thank god I have a step ladder, or putting on the lights would really have been difficult. I did remember to buy a couple of extra strands of lights, as my old tree claimed to be six foot tall, and I was taller than it (I'm five and a half). This may actually really be the full seven and a half...

I hope I have enough decorations...

Hanging Out

So, yesterday afternoon, as I was finishing work on mom's computer, my sister Mallory finally got home from working at Target.

Yep, she worked the insane 5:45 am to 3:00 shift, the day after Thanksgiving.

She survived.

We ended up decided to stay an extra day to spend more time with her, because she slept all day Thanksgiving, reviving long enough to eat dinner with us, and to take a bath while we were cleaning up after.

As I was about half-through the pile of dishes that would not fit in the dishwasher, I was waiting for hot water to come out so I could rinse a bowl. As it slowly turned ice cold, mom and I realized that she had taken all of the hot water. Fun, huh?

In any case, we decided to make dinner for everyone last night, as she had a craving for my oven-fried chicken and potatoes and gravy. She wanted my type of gravy, so we ran to the grocery store and spent waaayyyy too much on two gravy packets (hello, $1.47 for one McCormick chicken gravy mix?????? It's, like, 87 cents here, and usually on sale for 67...). We also rented two movies with the goal to stay up late, talk and watch movies.

Around 6:00, the phone rang. It was friends of the family, including my best friend from elementary school. They ended up coming over for about an hour, and we talked and caught up. She rode out Wilma at her brother's house, which ended up being a good idea. Florida is gorgeous, but I don't know if I could handle hurricane season.

Well, that's it for this post. I have lunch in the oven, then we are going to go shopping for a new Christmas tree, and maybe a new winter coat for me. My son also has $23 burning a hole in his pocket. He cashed in his change jar yesterday at the bank. He wants to go to Game Stop to look at what they have for used games.

Should be a fun afternoon!

Friday, November 25, 2005

I ate what?

There were eight of us for dinner (plus a one-year-old).

Here is the menu:

1. An eleven pound turkey,
2. Mashed potatoes and gravy,
3. whipped real (not from a can) sweet potatoes with brown sugar, butter, and pecan topping, (whoa)
4. green bean casserole,
5. corn,
6. fresh-baked bread,
7. grape salad,
8. macaroni and cheese (homemade, per request of my brother-in-law),
9. pumpkin pie
10. whipped pumpkin fluff pie.


Everything was wonderful, and we have tons of leftovers.

In fact, I indulged in a morning-after tradition that was sadly missing last year... you guessed it. A piece of pumpkin pie for breakfast! I couldn't even finish it. Still stuffed from last night...

Wednesday, November 23, 2005


I was NOT going to do laundry today. I had PLENTY of clothes clean for us to pack. Then I discovered my favorite jeans, and my favorite sleep pants in the laundry basket.

Obviously, it would be a crime if I did not wash these things to take with me, right? So, there is a full load of laundry in the dryer. I just had to throw my son's jeans in there, too. Why waste two bucks if I am not going to get a full load done?

So, here I am, waiting.

After this, I am going to finish packing, load up the car (oh crap, I still have the bottles and cans in the truck from my aborted attempt to recycle them yesterday!), go get a birthday present for my neice (so mom and dad can take it to her next weekend), pick up dinner, and head out of town. Luckily, the weather is great, with just a bit more wind that I would like. Yikes! I have to add "fill up the car" to the list... Luckily, gas is $1.96/gallon! Woo hoo!!!!! Hasn't been this low for ages...

Ekk! The timer just went off... laundry is DONE!!!!!

They got SOMEthing right, anyway...

This morning, I had to take my son and one of his friends to school. I have been dreading this, as there are 1800 kids in his school. Normally, he takes the bus, but as they are operating on break schedule, the bus that he normally takes is not running (he had a tardy on Monday - first time EVER - the bus did not have any signs announcing the change, so he and every other kid on the later bus had to go to the office for tardy slips).

I was dreading this based on my experience with his elementary school.

Sawyer elementary has one of the most screwed up methods for drop-off and pick-up imaginable. There is only one way into the parking lot, and only one way out (you have to drive past the bus drop-off to get out of the parking lot, even if you dropped the kids off on the other side of the school). It was a nightmare.

I was not looking forward to having the traffic increased six-fold.

So, imagine my surprise this morning when I saw the buses go to their own drop off point at the back of the school. I turned in at one of the parking lots, and followed it around a wide circle drive with ample space to pull out and around those who need to stop longer for the kids to grab various musical instruments and the like. There was no wait at all. We pulled up, the kids got out, grabbed their bags and the drum, and were off. I was able to get out of the parking lot right away. There were plenty of kids arriving, but the traffic was contained. There is at least one other circle for drop off, and plenty of parking if parents need to help kids bring in projects.

Whoever designed the parking lots knew what they were doing. It gives me great hope for the future of this new school as a whole.

And I no longer need fear picking up or dropping off...

Dear Abby

Note: Dear Abby today is all about cell phone etiquette, or lack thereof. I thought I would add my own experiences to the mix. I may actually send this one in. Link to column: RUDE CELL PHONE USE REQUIRES NEW ETIQUETTE

Dear Abby,

I read your column on cell phone etiquette with some interest, as I have experienced all manner of cell phone abuse in public places, including ones that are supposed to afford privacy.

Did you know that people (at least women are, I don't go into the men's room) are using cell phones in restrooms now? There is nothing more unnerving than being in a public restroom and having fellow occupants refuse to quit using their cell phones for the length of time it takes them to go about their business. It is uncomfortable, to say the least, and there is not much a girl can do other than wait until they leave. It is a huge intrusion of privacy. They walk in talking on their cell phones, and walk out still in full gab. Are they even washing their hands? eeewwww...

Then take last Friday night; I was sitting a movie theater with my son, waiting for the new Harry Potter movie to start. As we settled in, I jokingly said that the first person to have their cell phone ring was going to get a large Diet Coke tossed in their direction. Ten minutes later, my son asked, are you going to throw the Coke now? Sure enough, I looked in the direction he pointed, and someone was talking on their cell phone (the movie had not yet started, thankfully, so I did not have to throw the drink). The people behind us laughed (then proceeded to talk through the first fifteen minutes of movie - erg).

And there's the library, that last bastion of quiet and peace... I honestly do not mind the voices and laughter of children. I don't even mind the screaming of children - they have a right to be there, too. What I do mind are people on cell phones browsing the DVDs, conferencing with the person on the other end about which movies to choose, or the latest break-up. One time, it was so bad that every where I went to get away from this person, she followed. I could not get away! All I wanted was a movie to watch, and the library was closing shortly, and I got an earful of rather embarrassing personal problems...

There have been countless times that I have been party to one-sided conversations that I would rather not hear. I have no wish to know what you did with your boyfriend/girlfriend, or who did something mean. I do not want a rehash of what happened on your soap today (especially if I didn't catch the first part of the conversation where you indicated it was a soap and not real life - scary!). If you really have to discuss something personal, maybe you should wait to have the discussion until you are at home rather than in public. It is very hard to NOT hear your side of the conversation.


The Unwilling Eavesdropper

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

One more post tonight, and then I swear I am done!

I did not get much of anything done today.

I had all sorts of plans, and then realized, as these plans kept getting more and more complex, that if I wasn't careful, I would spend my entire vacation cleaning.

I dusted today. I spent 10 minutes dusting. I ran the dishwasher. I emptied the dishwasher. I took out the garbage. I made popcorn for my son and his friend, and I made dinner. I cleaned up after dinner. The house looks no worse than it did this morning, and actually a bit better. And I am relaxed instead of worn out and aching.

Tomorrow, I had planned to wash a load of jeans. Then I realized that I only have three pairs to wash between both of us (I wore my J-Lo warm-up pants today). Not worth it. So, I will wait on laundry.

All I have to do tomorrow is do a bit more tidying, take a box to goodwill, and pack. Oh, and I will probably vacuum, too. I may try to get a quilt top done for a wall-hanging, but since that is fun, I am not counting it as work. The goal is to have it ready to hand quilt by the time we need to leave to go to mom and dad's (I like having something to work on when I go home, as it is too loud to read, and this way I can talk and work at the same time).

In fact, I think I'll get out my sewing stuff and get to work...

Impulse Buying

Okay, I am normally not an impulse buyer. I tend to look at all pros and cons of most things I buy, to determine if

a. I really need it,
b. It has the options I want,


c. Best price/ best quality.

Which is why normally never would have done what I did about an hour and a half ago.

You see, earlier today, I was writing a post about nothing, again, when I started rambling on about my stupid tracfone that I have (because I had to go buy more minutes for it). I realized that I was always having to add minutes without even using the minutes I already had, just to keep the number active. Granted, this was a lump sum total of around $20 every two months. Not a big deal.

Then I realized that the reason I wasn't using my minutes is because, while I can hear everyone just fine, my mom has long complained that she can't hear me very well at all when I am using my cell phone.

Somehow this little seed entered my fertile brain, and I surfed over to the tracfone web site to look at the phones they had, and do a little comparison shopping. I also researched what it would take to get my current tracfone number and minutes transferred to a new phone.

Armed with the model number of the phone I wanted, I drove to Target, only to find they didn't carry it (the alternate phone was more than I wanted to pay). Empty handed, I walked out of the store and decided to drive to Wal-Mart (EVIL!).

At first, I couldn't find the phone I wanted. The more expensive phone was $20 cheaper at Wal-Mart than at Target, but I still had my heart set on the model I could not find. Luckily, they have this station set up just for cell-phones, so I asked the guy there if they had that model phone. Yep, upstairs, he said, and while I waited, he ran to get one. The price on the tracfone site was $29.99 on sale. Wal-Mart price = $21.99. I bought it, and a 40 minute card.

Thirty minutes later, the nice tracfone lady had transferred my old minutes and phone number to the new phone, activited it, and added the new minutes. Everything went pretty smoothly. After about ten minutes, I tested it. Perfect!

And the best part is that I don't have to add minutes until March 22, 2006!

P.S. I know this hardly qualifies as an impulse buy for most NORMAL people, but for me, it is. :)

Day 1: Vacationitis

Ahhh...... I am sitting on the couch, with my favorite fleece blanket over my legs, checking email and trolling the web for interesting, non-work related items. "One Crazy Summer" is playing on Comedy Central, my son's toys are picked up, the dishwasher is running, and all is good in the world.

I'm guesing I have about an hour before I get bored.

Monday, November 21, 2005


Woo hoo! I am now off work until NEXT MONDAY!!!!!

I have a bunch of things I want to accomplish, but realistically, and based on past experience, I can expect to spend a lot of time on the couch trying to muddle through the lame daytime tv offerings.

Now, my idea of a perfect TV day would be for the SciFi channel to run a Battlestar Galactica season 1 marathon, followed by a season 2 marathon. That VCR still records, after all.

I have this weird Battlestar Galactica obsession lately. I want to watch the new episodes, but I have missed so many that I DON'T want to watch it and be lost the whole time. Weird, right?

One of the other things that must be done, and that I am dreading, is getting the Christmas decorations out. My tree is really looking sad, but I could not find one that I liked as much during the after-Christmas sales. This is the absolute last year I can use it, though. Lights are easy, at least I think they will be. Please let me have remembered to neatly coil the strands rather than just throwing them in a box like I did last year... oh please...

In any case, by Saturday I will have moved the furniture around, dug out the old mix CD from Geoff and Amy (I can't find your address!), and have managed to spear myself in the foot with broken glass decorations. Cocoa will be drunk with tons of marshmallows, and I will have placed the tin-foil star on top of the tree. If we are lucky, it will snow.


I had a strange thing happen with blogger earlier today. The "Holding down the fort" post appeared twice, so I deleted one. Then someone tells me tonight that they got a 404 when trying to get to it. The comments for that post are working now, but if it was from an RSS feed, maybe that's where things got weird....

My fingers are freezing.

One side effect of everyone leaving for break is that the labs suddenly become icy-cold. My fingers are freezing, therefore I must type to keep my fingers from becoming too cold to type later if it's needed.

I have seen only four faculty members in our hallways this morning. I have not yet braved the main office, as I know I do not have any mail yet today, and I am keeping one eye on the "ditto" process running on the server. My toes are getting cold too, so I will have to take that jaunt just to warm them up.

I think I may be reduced to using my laptop as a hand warmer here in about a minute or so...

Holding down the fort

Why am I at work on the Monday of Thanksgiving break?

Why, I am backing up the Mac server, of course.

Why are you backing up the Mac server?

Why, because I am paranoid, of course.

How long is this going to take?

All day, of course. And I am not backing up every single thing on the server, but rather what I need in case something were to happen and I had to switch out a drive or something (four drives in this baby. It was one of the last of the Quicksilver models, utter workhorse, dual 1.47 GHz G4s, 2 GB RAM, 750 GB of storage.) I also want to get student data backed up, as I don't even want to contemplate what would happen if one of those drives failed (last back up was not recent enough).

Actually, I am also moving data around right now, to make more efficient use of the storage I have. I would like to repartition one of the drives, but the shuffle of data has to come first. When I set up this machine two years ago, I planned for the future, but had no idea that my lab image would swell to the 29 GB mark. This left my boot drive uncomfortably full (I think I have about 10 GB left). I am planning on moving the radmind directory to another drive, leaving a symlink behind at the normal location.

So, the whole point of coming in today, when barely anyone is around, is to placate my inner pessimist. One copy is going home with me, the other will be on a separate drive in the machine.

Okay, that 37GBs is almost done copying. Time to backup the ArtIS drive...

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Disaster Movie Round-up

"The Poseidon Adventure" on NBC.

Because having a cruise ship turn upside down isn't exciting enough, let's throw some terrorists in the mix.

Worst. Dialog. Ever.

Skip this and see the original. Unless, of course, you want to make fun of this remake. I don't know what they spent on it, but whatever it was, it was too much.

The original rocks!

Footnote: If any of you South Park fans remember the "Succubus" episode, the song she sings, "There's got to be a morning after," came from the original "Poseidon Adventure". I still giggle every time I think of it...

Let the fun begin.

I have decided that instead of sitting around with nothing to work on, I am going to start a couple of sewing projects in preparation for the holidays.

I am torn between starting projects for other people, or for myself. I am always making things for other people, and I do have a couple of gifts I would like to make. Nothing for my family, as I know what my sister LeAnn wants (I drew her name for Christmas), and I don't know if my mom would like anything homemade this year (she's not sure what she wants to do with the new addition yet). I just want something to do while watching TV as the weather gets colder.

I guess this means that I am bored.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

List items accomplished...

Okay, a few anyway. I did six loads of laundry, which brought me just about to the finished stage. I had a full load of sweaters, which are now hanging all over the bathroom. Due to a miscalculation, I had only just enough laundry soap to do six loads, so the final three loads (all three of bedding, and extra blankets) have to wait until tomorrow.

After finishing the laundry (today's anyway), I grabbed a shower and then made up the menus and grocery list for the next week. Of course, I had planned a wonderful Thanksgiving day meal of pizza, until I remembered that it was in fact Thanksgiving, and not just Thursday. I scratched off the meals for that day, and the next, and revised my list.

At the store, I kept running into a friend nearly every lane, so it took about twice as long as normal, as we had to catch up on what has been going on lately (tornados and the like). She was in Minnesota at the time with her daughter's dance group, and happened to call the house sitter just as the warning was sounded.

What a difference a week makes.

Warm and stormy last Saturday, and cold and rainy today. I wonder what the weather is going to be like this week...

Fall Cleaning

After a night of staying up waaayyy too late, I am just now getting started on my "to do" list for this weekend. I had planned on getting up early, but as we did not get home until 1:05 am this morning, I scratched that in favor of being rested. I don't think I even moved until 10, which is very, very late in the morning for me.

So, here is the wonderfully boring list for the weekend and my vacation:

1. Laundry - I need to find my sweaters and add them to the mix, as this week was COLD, and I froze at work.
2. Take stuff off of the walls in the bathroom and wash the walls.
3. Take the cans and bottles back.
4. Take the stuff off of the top of my kitchen cupboards and dust it. Wash walls.
5. Okay the rest of this also involves washing walls, window sills, and windows.

It is at this point that I almost wish that we were camping this weekend after all...

In any case, my mom is in town to help my sister Kim with a baby shower for one of Kim's friends. She wanted to know if we wanted to go to Sam's Club later, but I resisted the temptation. I have no room to be stocking up on anything. Maybe after I finish purging the cupboards. My kitchen is so small that I made half of my hall closet into a pantry.

Oops, I forgot to add

6. Grocery shopping

to the list.

In any case, nothing is going to get done unless I get off of my chair and get started.

A boy, a cup, and a wand

Was it worth waiting in line for nearly an hour?

Aboslutely. Best Harry Potter movie yet.

The only low part was the couple behind us who talked a bit more than they should. You would have thought it was their living room rather than a sold-out theater... I wanted to turn around and offer to loan the girl my copy of the flipping book, just so she'd quit asking questions. The rest was very good.

Voldemort=scary in a way not easily defined.

I may have more later today, but for right now, I am exhausted.

Here's a hint: this movie felt shorter than the others, but it's longer.

'night all...