Saturday, June 24, 2006

Into the Dusk

My son and I decided to take a walk after the rain tonight. It was gorgeous out. So gorgeous, that we decided to bring the camera along...

Storm Clouds

Evening Photos


I made it to all seven places I needed to go, managed to get everything I needed, and did it in less than 3 hours (which included arguing time with my son, who wanted a pair of shorts that I wasn't sure were going to fit him, and he didn't want to try them on. I won, he tried them on, and they did not fit. Lesson learned.)

All I want to do is sit down with my feet up, but I have to put everything away. Spent way too much money today, but it was on necessary items. In other words, nothing that is fun. Except for the $13 I spent on a new camp chair with a foot rest... Can't underestimate the power of the foot rest... Now I just have to draw flowers and girly stuff all over it so that the kids won't commandeer it...

Impossible Errands

I made out my list of errands that have to be run today, and things that needed to be purchased.

The list looks impossible. Six different places to go, scattered across town. One place needs to be visited twice, since I have a couple of prescriptions to to drop off and will pick up later (I got put on Advair by my doctor, and the other drug won't be covered by my insurance, but for the love of God, I need it, and I am dreading what it is going to cost).

Yes, some of this could have been done beforehand, but we were out of town last weekend, and this week I have struggled with fatigue every single evening (and most of the day, to be honest). That's why my burst of energy caught me off guard this morning. I did eight loads of laundry. Start to finish. Washed, dried, folded, hung up, put away. Done by a little after noon. Crazy, right?

So, here I am, hair freshly washed, after a soothing bath, with time to even shave my legs (every mother knows that this is a luxury not to be taken lightly). I am now waiting for the twelve-year-old to finish his shower. He needs a haircut again, which will probably be the biggest time suck errand we run today. The others will be easier.

And why am I suddenly hungry now that it is time to leave???? Urg... more delays...


For some reason, I have lots of energy this morning. I am currently doing the laundry, and am slowly doing small chores around the house as I find them. The floors are swept, waiting to be mopped. The kitchen counters are cleared (except for one small hotspot). The living room is picked up (except for the #$%#^$& garage sale stuff - why did I get it out so EARLY????).

I wonder how long this will last?

Friday, June 23, 2006

"Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me..."

This song has been running around in my head for weeks, ever since the massive sewing jag leading up to the Nebraska Ren Fest.

I really need to learn the whole song...

Stumbling along...

So, when I was at the doctor today, I was supposed to get a medical form from her that I had left there, at her request, two weeks ago. Guess who didn't remember until just now?

And did Mr. B pull the old, still valid form from the notebook already? Do we have a problem for Sunday??? I know that I can call Monday and they would have it ready for me, but we have to have it Sunday... I knew I shouldn't have let that form out of my sight...

Another gorgeous Friday afternoon that I am stuck inside...

Last week, it was because I could hardly move from bed without the world spinning. This week, I have to go back to work.

Next week, I will be outside far more than inside, so I guess it'll all even out. I am hoping for low 80s for daytime highs, and upper 60s for nighttime lows. No rain.

I am also hoping that this year's staff got internet access again, so I can blog and check email through the week. Probably not going to happen, but a girl can dream, can't she?

Okay, time to detangle messes, solve problems, clean the office, etc. Now if only I hadn't stuffed myself full of salad at lunch...

Thursday, June 22, 2006


Yes, it was difficult, but I successfully avoided getting sucked into the 30% off shoe sale at Target. Oh, so tempting... I saw several pairs of sandals that really wanted to come home with me and spend some time on my feet, but, I remained on target and bought a new pair of jogging shoes.

I may have to go back on Saturday, though... So many flip-flops, so little time...

Another sleepy evening...

I had to lie down again after dinner, partially because today was exhausting at work, and a little because I had stayed up until midnight last night. I didn't sleep, as I want to be able to sleep later. I just read.

Never underestimate the luxury of having a few moments to recline in bed, on top of the quilts, with a soft throw to ward off the chill of the air conditioning. Wonderful to have peace and quiet, and to be able to read without distraction.

I wish I could stay there all evening, but we've got places to go, stuff to do, and all that jazz...

Cookie Contest Update

Okay, I'm a wimp... I only ate 2 snickerdoodles. We had three minutes, and I only managed 1 and a half in that time.

But then I went on to eat cheese and crackers... People just weren't hungry at orientation yesterday, so they had a ton of food left...

So I finally lose the weight I gained last week...

and now we're having a cookie eating contest with the leftover orientation cookies... Sugar rush ahead!!! (I will probably eat only one - they are huge!)

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Okay, so my 30 minute nap turned into 2 hours...

I must have needed it. I had a dream that my aunt Paula let my twelve-year-old son drive a van. Not her van, as she doesn't have one, but this silver conversion jobbie out of the 70s. Night-MARE!

Anyway, I have the boxes out and ready to go, and am sorting out things in a general way - garage sale, or not garage sale. :) No use getting too specific.

Short break, then back to work!


Between hauling that dresser up the stairs last night, and being on my feet at work, my back is twinging terribly. I had a list of things I wanted to get done tonight, but so far, I've only been able to cross off going to the grocery store, and making/eating/cleaning up dinner.

I am at the stage right now in organization that I really, really have to clean out the closet in order to make room for things which are in my room/living room that I'd like out of the way.

Not to mention the fact that my sister is having a garage sale next month, and we are participating. Huge motivator for getting rid of things. I am planning to get rid of things that I would normally have kept "just because." Now I can jettison the last remnants of my pack-rat-itits, and feel better. The "stuff" wears me down, makes me feel less of a worthy person.

So, I think I am going to take some tylenol and a short nap, then be refreshed enough to put in a couple of good hours of sorting before bed.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

New favorite movie!

Kung Fu Hustle!!!!!

Tornado Update

Last night, I wrote that a tornado hit the town where my sister's new house is being built, in Hartford, WI.

Let's just say they are immensely lucky that the builders were behind schedule. Across the street, the neighbor's garage was flattened. The neighbors next to my sister's future house location had the siding ripped off on the side nearest to the future house (luckily, that house was also still under construction). The tornado went right over their empty basement.

I'll add links later, but I need to go drag the dresser I bought from Goodwill up the stairs, and figure out how to get it into my closet... (50% off all furniture today - found a vintage dresser from the 50s, great shape, $10).

I keep forgetting I have this...

I have a frappr map!!!

Help me feel less like a loser and more like a WINNER by throwing a tack on my map! :)



Monday, June 19, 2006

What are the chances of THAT happening?

My sister, Nan, just called. They are having a house built in Wisconsin. The basement was poured, and left to settle, then they started framing on Friday.

Yesterday, a tornado hit the town. The roof was ripped off of the elementary school, and the damage estimate is around $4 million.

She and her husband are driving there tonight, as the damage sounds like it might be in the area where their new house is being built.

More details later, after I have a chance to find the articles I read earlier about it...

Word of advice

When you have to fast to get your blood drawn for a physical, and you can't get to the clinic until noon, make sure that you don't over-do it when you go out to eat for lunch...

I am so stuffed right now that this weekend's fabulous parental dinners were a mere appetizer. Butterburger, fries, and half an order of onion rings.... Not good right now... Ate way too fast...

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Photos and Trip Fun!

Mom and Dad, being goofy

Trip Photo Set

We had a great time this weekend... Lots of stuff going on.

My mom and dad and I made a huge amount of food, invited the grandparents over for dinner, and sat and talk for hours. Dad made the most amazing ribs I have ever tasted. We wanted to hide them, and tell the grandparents that dad burned them to a crisp, but we were nice and shared.

Side shot of Dad's Famous Ribs
Would you share these???? Mmmm....

Dad bought a pellet gun, to scare the birds away, so he and my son had a little competition with an unfortunate Pepsi can. My son won. Shock! LOL... I was too busy cooking to get to play much... :(


Later, Dad had to go tow some idiot's car - high speed chase, they were throwing drugs out of the car, finally got stopped and arrested. Dumb kid is already out on bond...

After the grandparents left, Dad, my son and I went outside to make s'mores in the chimnea. My son had raided the lint filter in the dryer, and had prepared the wood earlier in the day. One match, and it took.

Getting ready for s'mores

Very good fire! We sat outside and talked, I had a great margerita (José!!!), and in general had a great time catching up. Too. Many. Marshmallows. Mom was too tired, so she used the microwave for hers, and went to bed early.

Later, I fell asleep waiting for Movie Star to come home.

Somehow I overlooked that the alarm clock was not only not set, but also blinking at me. Mom woke me up at 7:10, and I scrambled to get ready for church. Somehow, I managed to shave my legs in the shower, but didn't manage to avoid the ice cold shock when Movie Star started her bathwater in the old bathroom. Freeeeeezzzzeeeeee!!!!!!!!

We got to church early enough to catch the tail-end of the rosary, so I don't think I held us up any by waking up late... About 20 minutes into the service, Dad's firefighter pager went off, so he had to leave. He had just gotten to the doors when Mom sent me after him for the house key... Movie Star had already left for the I-Cubs game with her boyfriend, so we'd be stuck outside!

Luckily, we caught a ride home with some neighbors. We had a short moment of panic when we turned down our street, as smoke was billowing across the road. Luckily, it was someone burning trash or maybe something else... Mom and I looked at each other as we got out of the car, and we both said, "It smells like a rock concert!!!" Not happy....

After my dad got home from the fire, which ended up being a transformer across the street from the grocery store, we got ready to go to my grandparents' house for a barbeque. And much fun and food was had by all....

Enjoying the new porch...

After dinner, my grandpa proposed a toast...

Celebration time!!!
Only the finest champagne and crystal will do for our family...

Yes, bathroom cups can double as champagne glasses

Greater Crater Days are next weekend, and we may end up making trip again. Can't miss the parade, after all...

And I found out that Manson has a new semi-pro football team???? WT*??? I'll have to find the article online and link to it... Cra-ZY!!!


Iowa Bruisers introduced - Team holds media night in MansonM

Home again, home again...

After another afternoon of overeating, we are finally home. We had a lot of fun, I took a lot of pictures, and laughed harder than I have in a while. I am going to get the rest of the pictures off of my camera, and see if there are any worth sharing... So tired...


Morning so far:

8:30 am: Church
9:00 am: Dad's fireman pager goes off in church. Ran after him to get the house key.
9:30 am: Neighbors give us a ride home. Turn down our street to see smoke billowing across the road. Oh Crap.
9:30:30 am: Oh, neighbors burning trash. Get out of the car and it smells really FUNKY (as in sweet... someone was burning some weeds...)
9:35 am: Breakfast maker is not here, so I run out to the convenience store, and get some donuts.
10:00 am: Dad gets back - transformer fire near the grocery store. Big transformer fire, but they get it out okay. Good thing that's all it was, as it is really dry around here. The running joke is to ask if the town allows the firefighters to use water...
10:15 am: Ooo... Target flyer looks good today...

Saturday, June 17, 2006

What time is it, anyway?

I am wiped out. I am stuffed with food. I am mellow with the ice cold afterglow of margerita and s'mores. Not to mention family fun!

It's been a really long day, but it has been fun so far. Except having to use my inhaler twice...

Anyway, I am waiting for Movie Star to get home from work, so I can talk to her before bed.

Lots to write about, but I am going to go wait where it is a bit more comfortable...


My laundry is in the washers downstairs, and in two baskets upstairs (no time to do the usual five loads this morning).

I am dragging my feet here, putting off packing and getting ready to go. Yes, I am excited to get to see my family, but I am not excited about the drive.

Don't get me wrong, I love to drive. Give me an open road, good music on the radio, someone to talk to, and NO OTHER DRIVERS, and I'd be happy. The key words there are NO OTHER DRIVERS (in case the capitalization wasn't a strong enough hint).

30 isn't bad, nor is 20, but in between you have 17, then later 169, then 7. Two lane highways, 55 mph speed limit, ample farm equipment, etc. Plenty of opportunities to be forced to drive 35 mph for stretches on busy highways with no opportunity to legally pass. Fun. At least planting is over.

My family thinks that I am always late, based on how often I get to my parents' house, or any other destination in Manson, slightly after the time I said I'd be there. I am a person who actually prefers to be either early or precisely on time, depending on the politeness the situation requires - at work, I prefer my appointments to be on time rather than early or late. More efficient that way.

However, traffic usually throws a delay at me when I travel home. It's either the train on 17, or farm equipment, or a detour around an accident that has us going miles out of our way. Or foot dragging. Or someone monopolizing the laundry room, right after I discovered that the clothes I want to wear are not in my closet, but were overlooked when I stayed up until 11 doing laundry the night before.

Anyway, I think I've wasted enough time on this post. Time to get back to the laundry. I am ready for a peaceful weekend...

Friday, June 16, 2006

What Geek Girl Does when She iS Bored...

Who says nothing ever happens in Manson?

The Manson Impact Structure


The only thing worse than being sick, is having to stay home because you are sick.

I did get out this evening to run errands, because we needed some things from the store. It wasn't really fun, and even though I was feeling better this afternoon, going to Target nearly wiped me out. But, I had to get cards for my dad, and we won't have time tomorrow morning.

So, here I am. I've read all I can take for one day. I've watched enough movies, I've cleaned out three cupboards, and now I am at a loss for what to do next...

Miracle Toast

My son came into my room, where I was lying half asleep, trying to keep still so my stomach would play nice.

"I brought you some toast," he said. "You should sit up and eat it."

I propped myself up on one elbow, eating was the last thing I wanted to do. I was ready to ask him to take it away, when I saw his face, so earnest and concerned. He had looked the same earlier, when he brought me a glass of ice water. "Okay, I'll try." I sat up, and took a bite of warm toast, hoping for both our sakes that it stayed down - what parent wants to disappoint their child?

He smiled as I chewed. Mmm... still warm... "Thank you," I said. "This is really good." He left the room, still smiling.

I slowly, carefully finished the toast, waiting patiently, one foot on the floor to get ready to run to the bathroom.

Except nothing happened. I finished the second piece of toast, and drank a little more water. I checked my email. I took my plate and glass to the kitchen, and cleaned up the mess. I took a bath and washed my hair, put on my makeup... When the blow dryer started, my son ran to the bathroom door.

"Are you okay?" He asked.

"I'm feeling much better, thanks." And I did feel much better. My stomach is still a little weird feeling, but I kept down the toast.

"I knew it," he said. "I knew the toast would help!" And he ran back to his room to his computer, confident that his toast had cured me.

And just maybe it did. :)

Insomnia #657

I am unwilling to close my eyes tonight to sleep. The night is too peaceful.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Fruit Flavored Obsession

So we went to the Warehouse Sale on Wednesday...

Hint: This entry is NOT going to be as exciting for you as you think it is...

So, I went to the Warehouse, with the twelve-year-old in tow, on a mission to get a new monitor and possibly a different computer capable of running MacOS X. Thanks to the fact that I stayed late on Tuesday night, we left for lunch a bit early. We ended up having to wait in line for the sale to open. When the doors opened, someone in the front gave a victory fist to the air, and shouted "Woo hoo!" Yep, it's cool, but I managed to keep myself under control.

I knew better than to let myself get distracted and we fought our way politely to the back where the computer section lives. And there, on the middle shelf of the mac section, were two jewels that brought me back to the optimism that colored 1999-2001...

The newer Ruby iMac, luscious as it was in it's red transparent goodness, was unfortunately a wreck, with the display dead, no hard drive, and a minimal 64 MB of RAM... $20, but not worth it, really. Yes, it has VGA out, but what's the point of having an iMac if it isn't self-contained?

And then there was the Tangerine iMac sitting next to it, for $40. A mere 333 MHz, 96 MB of RAM, and a 6GB hard drive... The ticket indicated that it was functional. I still wasn't completely convinced... And then I noticed something odd...

It had a firewire port.

Specifically, the whole bezel at the side with the ports was not Apple OEM... it was labeled "Sonnet" and "Harmoni".

Needless to say, we grabbed the ticket, then walked around for a bit more.

I had been wanting a set of speakers, so I could watch movies, and listen to music in my room while sewing, and actually be able to hear sounds. I noticed a box of speakers, and dug through the sets of crappy beige speakers, hoping to find either a newer or smaller set at the bottom.

And I scored, big time. A set of Apple Pro Speakers in near perfect condition, for $10. Harman-Kardon speakers, to be exact, the little round ones. I decided that we probably needed to leave before I found even more goodies to take home. :)

At work that afternoon, I decided to see if the iMac at least worked, and make sure the CD drive and ports were operable. I also wanted to see if my suspicions were correct about the mysterious port panel label...

I located an old MacOS 9.1 CD and booted it up. I went to the system profiler, to check what type of RAM it needed. Imagine my surprise when I saw that instead of a 333 MHz iMac with 96 MB of RAM, I found that it was a 500 MHz G3 with 256 MB of RAM! Hello Sonnet processor upgrade!!!!!!!

If we tried to buy this card, it would be $250.

The hard drive is still just a 6GB drive, but that's upgradable if you don't mind sacrificing a little blood to the case gods (and no, I am not kidding. There is so much sharp metal inside those fruit flavored cases that it is no wonder that Apple discouraged normal users from attempting upgrades. Oh, and one cannot downplay the risk of getting toasted by the CRT if one is hasty or careless about where one touches certain parts...).

My son is now eagerly looking at the system requirements of mac games, and is happy to be able to have more options open. And we are both happy that LAN parties at the Legion are going to be much easier to attend.

At least my Magic 8-Ball still likes me...

The answer was, "Without a doubt," to the question that I was asking. Now the next question is, "Is the Magic 8-Ball right?"

Blonde Day

Today, with alarming regularity, I have felt like an absolute idiot.

Normally, I can pull up work-related memories fairly swiftly and accurately (because I write nearly everything that I do or plan to do in my notebooks). This morning, I honestly could not remember doing something that I must have done last July, and needed to reference today. Just not there. And nothing in my notebooks. Needle in a haystack search produced nothing.

(okay, quit laughing you know you wanna laugh at this.... Seriously, though. When you get used to being able to pull up some detail from the dregs of your memory, or at least be able to slap your head and say, "Oh, now I remember!" when someone says something that should provoke that type of response, and suddenly you have a hole where that memory should be - you'd feel pretty stupid, too.)

But it wasn't the only time I was made to feel stupid today...

Too many, "Duh, I get it now" moments, way later than they should have been. Not going to elaborate. I'll save this revelation for the pen-and-paper diary (because of course I have one of those, too, and have for 12 years, to go along with the work notebooks - on #7 for work).

I'm going to try to go do something that will at least let me delude myself that I am still somewhat more than an idiot.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

"The Day After"

When I was younger, I saw a movie that haunted me for years, and years. It was called "The Day After," and it dealt with the aftermath of global thermonuclear war. It was powerful, and growing up in the 70s and 80s, all too real a possibility.

SciFi channel just finished playing it. I missed the beginning, but it is the middle and end that are important.

At the end, we see a young man and woman with radiation sickness, but still seeing each other with love and humor. "They gave me a ribbon, but I don't have any hair to put it in," the young woman smiles sadly. The young man laughs self-effacingly, as he pulls off his baseball cap to reveal that he, too, has lost his hair. The camera pulls back to reveal a huge sports complex, with thousands of people sheltering, all sick.

We see a woman straining to give birth, surrounded by the other pregnant women sheltering in the hospital. The baby cries with strength, while the mother collapses in relief, happy and sad in the same moment. Alive for now, but what after?

We see an old man, a doctor from the hospital, sick, but at the end of a journey to his home, to find his family. All that remains is a cratered ruin. He picks up a damaged watch from the debris, then notices a man, woman, and two children, under a makeshift tent near the remains of his fireplace. They are covered with dust, and blend into the background. They are silent as he screams at them to get out of his house. The other man offers him food, but the doctor repeats himself, and violently gestures to them, before falling to his knees. The other man gently approaches, and pulls the doctor into his arms, to comfort him as he breaks down and cries.

The film ends with an admonishment that the scenes shown in the film are likely less severe than actual damage would be in reality.

No wonder this film scared the hell out of me for decades.

At one point, after the President finally speaks on the radio (because of course, he's safe), a man asks, "But he didn't say who shot first? Who shot first? Who started it?"

The answer: "Does it matter?"

I wonder if teenagers seeing this today would understand that this wasn't simply an action movie.

For the love of God why are we even starting to make more? Are we doing it simply because we have to be one step ahead of the madmen who are intent on starting their own cold war? Probably. Will it work to deter? Probably, but at what price?

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Wiped out.

I got home about an hour later than normal. Or rather, I left work about an hour later than normal, then had to go to the grocery store to get groceries. Then I had a meeting tonight that lasted a bit longer than I thought it would, But we got ice cream, so "neener, neener, neener" to those who missed it. :)

I know, I have a very immature sense of humor.

So, eventually, I'll have to grow up. I'm not really looking forward to that, since I've tried it already and it was boring.

To get to the point of this post, if it has one, my legs hurt from my toes to my hips from standing so much today. All of this morning, part of the afternoon. You know it's bad when sitting doesn't relieve the pain. Then again, standing while trying to figure out where the smoke smell was coming from, then waiting for the firemen, and then the electrician.

Tonight ought to be interesting in terms of trying to get to sleep...

A little excitement....

Fire department was just here to check out why we were smelling a burning smell up on 4th floor. They determined that it was probably one of the light ballasts, so an electrician is on his way.

Love the hold music!

The only time I don't mind being placed on hold is when I call telecom - they play 80s music! I'm never on hold very long, just enough to feel better. This morning - Madonna's "Crazy for You".


Monday, June 12, 2006

Where has the podcast been?

So, I was going to try to get another Geek Girl podcast finished, sometime in the beginning of May, but obviously that didn't happen. Then I had to get ready to go to the Nebraska Ren Faire, so it got pushed back to Sometime in June™. So here it is, the 12th already, and I have no podcast ready, and everything I was going to talk about is out of date, and no longer relevent. Or funny.

Actually, I'm having problems with the funny lately.

My head hurts tonight, and the asthma is not cooperating terribly well (and can the damn medicine taste any worse? It's like battery acid! I think I did it right this time, though. but yuck!).

Not conducive to funny.

However, I will have ample opportunity to find the funny this weekend... a visit to the hometown should provide moooore than enough opportunity. Especially since I heard through the grapevine that our one and only stoplight is malfunctioning...


It's funny, really. I am around people all day long, but the chance for conversation is pretty much zero. I can't remember the last time that I was able to carry out a conversation that bridged into more than just the type of small talk that is common among adults. No chance to find out what makes a person tick, or to get to know someone really well.

When I was younger (or rather, when I started this job), I had a network of friends to eat lunch with every day if I wanted. I could run down during a break, and find out how the wedding plans were going for one friend, and who did what on All My Children (okay, you have no idea how many people in our building are/were addicted to that soap, because it plays over the lunch hour). Laer, after some friends graduated, I still was able to get out of the building to catch up with friends over lunch, or to play to meet to go to a movie or out to dinner with a group of people.

I don't know what happened beyond the simple fact that they pretty much all moved away.

Instead of spending an hour on the phone with a friend who called to see if the kids wanted to play, I have hours of empty time.

Sometimes I just feel really isolated. I read with a book in my hand, almost always. My son eats so fast that he is done long before I barely get started. Once he's left the table, it's just me and my book.

My granny and grandpa used to do that; sit side by side, reading and eating their lunch or dinner, if no one else was around. When I lived at home, no one was allowed to have a book at the table. Dinner, lunch or breakfast was for catching up with what everyone was doing. You were expected to talk and share, and laugh. It was great.

I wish I had that now.

Sunday, June 11, 2006


It's 59°F here.

It's COLD!!!!!!!

Last weekend, we went swimming. Today, even the moss roses refuse to bloom...


I love kids. Their wonderful enthusiasm, boundless energy...

Pre-teens.... Well. Let's just say I'm still adjusting.

Yesterday, I asked my son to clean his room. I gave him an easy mission first (pick up the hot wheels tracks and put them in their boxes, to be followed by other specific tasks, which would make the whole job not so overwhelming, and therefor avert certain disaster).

You can guess how well that went.

He ended up grounded for a week from all electronic equipment, unless what I asked for was done before the end of the day (all of it, every step of cleaning up his room). He also was not allowed to have a friend over today, and we would not be going to the movies, or anywhere for that matter (even though I wanted to go see the musical again). The last group were non-negotiable, could not make restitution to get out of punishments for being mouthy and disrespectful.

He had thrown such an awful fit, that when he finally calmed down, both of us were a little shocked.

In the end, he cleaned his room. The TV stayed off until I pronounced it good enough.

"Can I still have ___ over?" he asked, even though he already knew the answer.


There was no argument after that.

Being a parent is never easy, but it is more difficult now than I ever thought it would be. I had it easy for the last 8 years (once he got over baby tantrums). He's never been in trouble at school, usually gets good grades, was usually pretty popular (until this year, anyway, which is part of what the fight yesterday concerned because somehow I got blamed for the fact that he has no friends at school anymore). I guess I am floundering now, because I just don't know what to do. I am trying to do the best I can.

I used to be a confident parent, but now I feel like everything I learned the last twelve years was wrong.

I need to find something for him to do that will fit in our schedule. I work, it's unavoidable. I can't stay at home all day, and let him run wild through the neighborhood, and be a chauffer to a million different activities. It isn't possible. We've got scouts, but that doesn't fill up much time, when you think about it, and there aren't that many kids involved in our troop anymore.

Something has to change, but I don't know what it is, and I don't even know where to begin.

I hate being depressed! I am going to have to watch or read something funny to snap out of feeling sorry for myself!

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Out of sight, out of mind

At the grocery store tonight, I overheard the checker and bagger talking about the upcoming trip that the Starbuck's employees are making to help in New Orleans. They are accepting donations to take to the people in need, too.

"Why are they doing that? They have enough stuff down there."

"I dunno, for the rebuilding I guess. Everything's pretty much cleaned up, so I don't know what else they'd be doing."

(This is the point where, in typical geek girl fashion, I couldn't keep my mouth shut.)

"You're kidding, right?" I butted in. "More than half of the mess hasn't even been cleared out yet." I wanted to add that they are still finding bodies, and that some people haven't even gotten to go near the wreakage of their homes, let alone been allowed to start clearing it away.

"Really?" They asked, stunned, and with shocked looks on their faces.

"Really. You should look it up online. It's an eye-opener. Thank you," I said on my way out.

It was an eye-opener for me, too.

You see, I thought everyone knew that the city, while some parts are nearing normality, is still hurting, still wrecked in areas. Still missing most of its population, flung to the far corners of America. That lovely jewel of a city that sits, virtually unprotected despite the valiant efforts of the Army Corp of Engineers to get flood walls and gates, and levees repaired to protect those who have returned, and who are bearing up under difficulties that most of us can't even imagine would exist in America.

And it's been nine months.

So, I felt a little bad for ripping the blinders from the innocent high school boys who believed that the only thing left to work on is the rebuilding, and proud of the employees who recognize that help is still needed in the south, not just New Orleans.

People are trying to rebuild, but it's hard when you can't get home, aren't allowed into your neighborhood, or are dealing with a mound of rotting building materials, garbage, and the wreckage of your home and neighborhood under the baking southern sun and tropical humidity. I can only admire the strength of those who are not willing to give up their home and city.

We love you, New Orleans!!! Please don't become Disneyland... Hang in there! We haven't forgotten!

What's your motivation?

I need to clean house.


Having a twelve-year old makes this chore an ongoing event. No matter how I try, when my back is turned, legos and pieces of paper and string multiply out of control.

I want to vacuum this morning, but in the short time between when my son woke up, and I got out of bed, the mess is back.

So, here is my list for today, so that we can go to the musical matinee tomorrow afternoon:

1. FlyLady's Crisis Cleaning!!!!!!! 15 minutes in each area, three times, then a 15 minute break with my feet up. (and yes, the whole kitchen, living room, dining room, and hall are done!!!)
2. Dust.
3. Vacuum.
4. Clean the tub better, because that stupid contraption from lysol isn't working well with the body wash I use.
5. Mop floors.
6. Tackle my son's room. Because he has way more stuff than he needs, or even uses, and we need to reclaim space for other things.
7. Laundry. Forever laundry.

Time to get up and busy.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Big Bang

There was a startlingly big bang outside not too long ago... No clue what it was...

Could have been a gun shot, although the only time I've heard guns recently, I've had earplugs in, because I was shooting out at Ike's (target practice only). And it wasn't really that recent (August).

It worries me, but there are no sirens... Maybe something fell over...

Curiousor and curiousor...

I am a complete idiot, part 794

So, I had to use the inhaler today.

First puff landed on my tongue (this tastes AWFUL!!)

Second puff I think I did it right, but I really don't feel too much difference. My chest still hurts, and I am feeling constricted.

Unfortunately, I can't do a "re-puff" too see if it would help. 1-2 puffs every six hours when needed. No more. So, I messed up the first puff, and the medicine landed on my tongue. Second puff I think may have been done right, but I don't know. It certainly isn't helping any...

Okay, I need to go align the print heads on the epson again...

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Laughed so hard I wanted to cry

It's been an up and down week here in the Geek household.

Did I mention how much I hate the fact that I have to carry a frackin' inhaler with me??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Obviously, I'm a little p.o.'d about the whole fracking asthma thing....

But tonight, I had fun! My son and I went to a dress rehearsal for Bye-bye, Birdie (a certain person was playing a bartender, wink wink ;) ). I had forgotten how funny that musical can be. Especially when there are adults acting, and not just high school kids.

It was really great to get to see the musical, but it did get the old acting bug acting up again... which sucks, since I have zero free time to pursue anything, due to something I can tell you all about later this month. A small part would probably be fun, but no singing, as an inhaler would be pretty damn obvious up on stage if I seized up. Urrgggggggg...... Until the doc pointed it out, I was pretty blissfully ignorant that my occassional shortness of breath was anything at all other than the product of being pretty out of shape and stress.

But actually, I am hoping it is just asthma. Asthma is fine. I can deal with it. I'll learn how to deal with it, just like I learned how to deal with the high blood pressure, and that time when I found that lump that ended up being nothing. Give me a couple of days and I'll be laughing at it. Like how my sisters called me Lumpy for awhile.... Fact of life, nothing to see her, just a geek with an inhaler... I'm turning into a walking pharmacy....

I hate it.

Okay, need some sleep...


okay, so I may have asthma, thanks to the lovely respiratory crap I had a couple of times this spring. Not happy. I have a prescription for an inhaler. Yuck!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

But, I did find out that the scales at the doc's office weight heavy (my doc said so).

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Not Cool

#1. People who go outside to smoke on their deck, regardless of whether the bedroom window of a neighbor is right next to the deck, and is open.

#2. I have a migraine, and I want to just sleep, but now I have cigarette smoke smell in my room. Yuck.

And I have to go to the doctor tomorrow for a check up, and probably get my blood drawn. Further yuck.

New Resolution

Instead of saying, "I meant to...", I am going to make it my goal to say, "I did..."

Life is too short.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

fitday question

Why don't they ever have a listing for grilled foods? I grill a lot, and grilling is quite a bit less fattening than FRYING foods. Where is the fitday main office located? Weird stuff on that site, but is missing common foods. No boneless beef ribs, which is what I am wanting to grill tonight. I have no idea how many calories are in beef ribs (I don't use BBQ sauce, just a ton of spices).

And yet they have boiled cow's head, and oxtail soup...

Monday, June 05, 2006


Boy injured during Frontier Days parade

He was run over by the trailer that the tractor was pulling. Maybe I misunderstood what my mom said about his injuries, but I didn't think the tire had run over his head, which is what the article says (of course, KCCI has no follow-up).

Anyway, Mom said she'd call when she has more news.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

The Loft is up!

My back and arms hurt, but it was worth it!

Now, I can switch out my old box spring for my son's newer one, and I can use his headboard on my bed, too. The old bed frame is going to the trash, and we just took the top shelf of my son's old computer desk, and moved it under the loft. He has space for his computer, and a desk for doing his homework.

Tomorrow night, we will finish figuring out where everything is going to go.

From the "It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time" Department

I should never go to Goodwill on a whim.

It all started because I wanted to find a small chest of drawers to put in my closet to hold my costuming fabric (my room is overrun with sewing stuff!).

They did not have what I was looking for, but I did spot something else I had been wanting to buy for my son for a loooong time.

You see, my son's bedroom is painfully small. It is about 10'x12', but it has high ceilings, like the rest of the apartment.

So, when I saw that silver loft (two of them, actually) sitting in Goodwill, my mind started churning. I looked carefully at the construction of the loft. Would it come apart? Yes... Would the pieces fit in my car? Well... lashed into the trunk, yes it might...

The price was right, so I asked the cashier if they could take apart the loft, and if so, I'd be interested in buying it.

30 minutes later, it is sitting in my living room. My son, having been alerted by a phone call, started cleaning his room, and shoving things into his closet to get them out of the way. He was soooooooooo excited, that he's been voluntarily helping out. The individual pieces are not heavy, but he will definitely be a huge help once we start putting it together.

The problem is that we have a computer desk to take apart and take to the dumpster, as this loft has a built-in desk (which is very cool!).

Oh, and we have some butterfly stickers to remove from it, too...

It's not perfect, but it will make a huge difference in his room!



My son is in his room, where he has been for the last 30 minutes, grounded from everything electronic until he does one small thing for me.

The problem, you see, is that my son hates to write. Specifically, he hates the physical process of writing (or typing). All I asked him to do was to write thank you notes. I have been asking twice weekly since April (!!!!!!), and my temper was stretched this afternoon by a call from my mother who, among other things, asked me if my son had received a birthday card from my granny.

I immediately got out the cards again, and asked him to sit down and write Granny a note, because it was AWFUL that this had gone on so long, and that I was NOT going to write them for him.

I had to threaten no TV to get him to do it. And he wrote a bit, leaving out "Granny" and "Love," and wrote the wrong day when we'd see her.

The problems began when I asked nicely for the corrections.

Finally, after having to raise my voice, and getting yelled at in return, I grounded him, sent him to his room, and feverishly took all of the toys he had scattered about the living room and shoved the toys into his room after him. "Don't come out until you are ready to finish that note properly, and can stop being so rude! Think about it - 30 seconds to finish that card, or being grounded?" I yelled after him.

Normally, I DON'T YELL! I can't remember the last time I yelled, before a couple of months ago (the pre-teen era is bringing out the worst!). I know this is a normal part of growing up for him, being sulky and angst-laden, but I hate being yelled at, which is why I don't yell normally. Getting yelled at makes me so angry that I could scream in frustration. I usually try to suck it up, remain calm, and try to use logic, or just ignore him (he hates being ignored, and will usually snap out of his temper right away when I turn my back and walk off).

I feel awful, because I yelled at him, but it was necessary. He cannot continue to behave this way, if I am going to get through the teen years with my sanity intact. He can't walk all over me, because I am the parent. I don't believe in physical punishment, and I think that yelling is almost as bad. But I choose yelling over the alternative.

And after half an hour in his room, sulking, while I was starting this post, I heard him walk out of his room, go to the table, and finish the card.

Now, if only I could get him to finish the others... (so if you haven't received a thank-you note yet, this is why...)

Bad News

Fort Dodge Child Injured In Parade

My mother called me to tell me that the child who was hurt is my cousin's son. He is in the children's hospital in Des Moines, and is extremely lucky to not have been hurt worse than he was.

My family life is a huge soap opera, and to explain further would have this blog become completely unbelievable, rather than just midly ridiculous. I just hope that he recovers quickly...


I hate it when plans fall through...

Movie Star and her boyfriend are no longer going out to eat with us tonight. Which means there is no reason left for my son and I to go out to eat. Because honestly, with my son's attitude lately, he'd complain about everything, and would insist on fast food instead of Hickory Park.

So, new plans are: we are staying home unless we can convince someone else to go with us, so that my son can be all "teen-angsty" in the corner while I have someone to talk to.

I hate it when my sisters cancel! Yes, we could go over to Kim's this afternoon when Movie Star and by BF get there, and play with my nephew, but at this point I don't feel like going. Grouchy me.

I think we'll hang out around the pool, maybe.

I burned HOW many calories?

So, on the fitday site, you can choose the activities that you do during the day, and it tells you how many calories that particular activity burns.

I went back to yesterday's entry, and selected all of the household activities that I did, just to see what happened.

When I just had the swimming on the list (6 minutes each of the four strokes), I had burned 190 calories.

After adding all of the laundry, the cooking, the grocery shopping, the dish washing (yes, I washed by hand yesterday for some reason), the stair climbing, and the making my bed, I had brought that total up to 350 calories burned.


Yes, making my bed only burned 2 calories...


My moss roses have EXPLODED! I had planted two flats of moss roses, spindly little things, with hardly any blooms, a little over two weeks ago.

The pot is now FULL of lovely, healthy, gorgeously bright moss roses. When I dead head them, there are usually two or more buds left behind on the same stem, so they reproduce quite abundently.

All of the seed flowers that I planted are now sprouted, although it looks like some of the seeds from one had been blown into the morning glory planter. Time will tell what they are...

My petunias are also doing well, but my son's salvia is still spindly, with weak flowers, and I may have to look up how to fix that.

The moss roses are definitely the star of the deck this year, with the petunias a close second (usually the petunias take over, because I always buy too many, and end up with about 4-5 pots of just petunias).

If I had a garden... I'd be dangerous!

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Shocking news for the evening...

My son actually ate asparagus at dinner.


I was so excited that I called my mom and dad and left a message...


Just in from an hour spent in the pool.

I just love having a pool in our complex!!!!

I spent about 25 minutes doing laps, and I can definitely feel it. I am also slightly dehydrated, as I can tell from the lovely headache that is kicking in...

Disbelievers of evolution should spend time in the water, floating on your back, feeling the silk of the water through your fingers as you stare into the blue of the sky. There's a reason the majority of us love the water, and spend a good portion of our summers in or near it.

I slathered on the sunscreen, but I can already feel that it was not enough. I am getting a sick headache, too.

Time for tylenol, and to make dinner!


Last night, sound asleep in my bed after reading until midnight, I was woken by a bunch of drunken idiots in the parking lot of my apartment building at around 2:15 am.

Some a$$wipe kids had let their drunken bar trawl land here, complete with all that entails. "Don't pee on my car tires!!!!" was the phrase that woke me up fully, even though the overloud laughter and talking had intruded earlier. I don't even want to know what all happened. At around 3 am, I finally was awake enough to get up and close my window.

But I could still hear it.

I debated calling the cops, but since I had no idea which of the kids actually lives here, and I was too groggy to even figure out what number to call, I just suffered in silence (actually, I tried yelling out the window, but they were making too much noise to hear me).

Finally, I got back to sleep around 4.

When I woke up this morning, they had thrown a chip bag, and an empty beer case onto the roof of the garage. Beer bottles in the grass. Other garbage in the parking lot.

I am taking the car to get it washed this morning, just in case.

Not. Happy. At. All.

Stuff like this doesn't happen in my neighborhood!

Friday, June 02, 2006


When I was costuming furiously in anticipation for the Iowa Renaissance Faire, and the Nebraska Renaissance Faire, an evening at home, just hanging out doing nothing seemed like heaven.

The reality is that my son is in his room building a gigantic Hot Wheels track that spans pretty much the entire room, and I was on the couch, trying to start to read How to Make an American Quilt after finishing "Solar Lottery", by Philip K. Dick.

Yes, I am bored already.

I suppose that I could start the closet organization project, but from experience, I know that if I start now, I will be up until 1 am, at which point I will discover that I have to put everything back into the closet in order to have somewhere to sleep.

So, here I am. Online again.

Nothing going on.

Nothing to do.

Great. Another Post off into the Bermuda Triangle of the Blogosphere...

So, at lunch, while eating my very healthy salad, I wrote a post about my plans for the weekend. (Clean out my closet, basically).

And it's gone. Never got posted. I had used a widget that I had used in the past without problems, but this time, "Posting Successful" must have meant, "I will now erase your post while making you believe it actually worked."

Oh well.

So, instead of my overly long post about cleaning out the detrius of a thousand lives (okay, one life, but I have a LOT of STUFF), I will simply say, "I am going to clean out my closet. Be afraid. Be VERY afraid."

Thursday, June 01, 2006

WHY did the S'mores stuff have to come home with ME????

I had three. I am still under 1700 calories for the day, but THREE S'MORES???!?!?!?!?!?

Ren Faire and the Garb Snark: A Treatise on How to Play Well with Others

I belong to a Yahoo! Group for Margo Anderson's Patterns. I would dearly, dearly love to own Margo's patterns, as they are the Holy Grail of the Elizabethan Costuming world, but they are too expensive for me right now (car, car, car). Clothing made with her patterns is head and shoulders above the rest, and stands out from the crowd.

Now, awhile ago, last week before I even left for Nebraska, there was an ongoing thread about Garb Snarks/Authenticity Mavens (and another nasty name which I will not share here). People were sharing stories about being snarked, and how awful it made them feel when they were first starting out to have their lovely-to-them garb cut to pieces by someone who thought she knew it all. Many of them were so incensed that they flung themselves into research to prove the snarks wrong (and some did indeed prove the GS very wrong). People were sharing witty comebacks, stories of helping others who were snarked, and so on.

But then things started getting ugly.

A certain person kept trying to get the last word in, basically telling the people who had been snarked, and stood up for themselves, backed up with research, that they were the rude ones, and that the snarks were only trying to help.

Except they usually aren't being helpful so much as wanting to appear superior to the newbies, or even more experienced costumers. I doubt anyone would mistake a nasty comment in a snide tone of voice for a helpful suggestion.

It really made me sad that a lovely, helpful listserv degenerated into a slugfest over who was right and who was wrong. It is a fact that there are people (women, usually) who take it upon themselves to be the authority on garb, even if they don't know a quarter of what they think they know.

Things get passed around as gospel, with no sources to back up the "truth," and the myths are perpetuated among the ren-faire/SCA world for decades sometimes. But some people hear it once, and never think to question it, even when the truth is staring them in the face (i.e. portraits and other paintings).

I had a great time talking about costuming with some of the other ladies at the Nebraska Faire. I saw a lot of garb that wasn't "period correct" but everyone looked like they were having a wonderful time, so who cares? Nicer people I have never met!!!! I saw some ideas I want to test, for comfort, as well as a gorgeous Margo worn by Lady Giles, who was nice enough to explain to people the clothing she was wearingm and the purpose of it. And yes, she was very accurately gowned (in a Margo!), and did not stint on the accessories (I recognized a Sapphire and Sage girdle, and other jewels).

Now, not everyone can afford to dress noble. And honestly, it is a LOT of fun being a Pirate/Privateer. So much, that I will probably only do the noble thing if I am paid very well by others to do it for them, or for a costume party where I want to feel gorgeous and win the prize.

Was I period correct for this faire? Heck no!!! But I like my costume quite a bit. I know that I can sew gorgeous gowns, but when I put on a ladies gown, my personality changes to match. Faire is more fun as a pirate - trust me!!!!

So, to all of the snarks and the snarked... count to ten before you speak. If you want to help someone, make sure that they WANT to be helped first. I would never comment on a person's garb unless I saw that it had been ripped, in which case I would offer my help and a sewing kit to fix it pronto. People go to faire to feel good, not to be perfectly accurate. How much fun would the faire be without pirates, Saxons, trolls, fairies, and the like?

Not fun at all.


My sunburn blistered, and it itches like CRAZY!!!!! Just across my chest - my shoulders are still red, but not peeling. I repeat, I was wearing a long sleeved shirt, and what I thought was an appropriate amount of sunscreen on my chest.



Exhibit #1: Cafe Salad

Cafe Salad

I used only half of the dressing, and left behind most of the olives, tomatoes and feta. Still yummy!

Okay, so now I feel fat.

Hold me accountable, people!!!!!
yes, I joined fitday...

The reign of Doritos is OVER!!!!!


As promised, here are some pictures from this weekend. I don't have many, as it is hard to work and get pictures, even during breaks.

Pirate Flag

Nebraska Renaissance Festival 2006

Update: has posted pictures, and boy is there a really, really bad one of me in the bunch. Ug. Here's a decent one, though: Look at these good looking people!