Sunday, December 30, 2007


Like every vacation I take, I had a list of projects that I wanted to complete before heading back to work. I was successful at getting most of the projects checked off on my list, like the cleaning, the maintenance stuff, and moving a dresser into my son's room. Still, I have three garb projects that I wanted to take care of, and didn't get to yet.

I decided an hour ago that while I may not be able to finish them before heading back to work, they definitely weren't going to get done if I didn't start. I plan to make a set of sleeves and a forepart out of the beautiful gold embroidered fabric I found months ago at 75% off. I pulled it out and hand washed it. The fabric description said it could be washed, and while I didn't want to send it through the washer, I felt comfortable enough to hand wash it. I am still trying to decide which way to cut it, to make the pattern look the best. I am also going to have to flat line it for the forepart, so as to avoid the terrible problem of the hoops of the farthingale showing (my personal preference is to totally disguise the hoops). The fabric should be dry by tomorrow morning. I am going shopping with my Christmas money, so I should be able to start on the sleeves and forepart tomorrow afternoon.

I also need a new underskirt. I have been using a pale green taffeta underskirt that I made ages ago as a test piece. It works, but it can be seen when I dance. This isn't a huge problem, but it would be nice to have two, in case something happens to one. This summer, during one of my trips to Hobby Lobby, I found a bolt of silver gray shot taffeta, on sale for $2/yard (normally $5.99/yard). I bought all nine yards on the bolt. I should have well more than enough, as I am going to cartridge pleat it to a waistband, rather than making a gored skirt, and gathering it (yuck- my least favorite thing to do).

So, these three projects should occupy my time quite nicely. I am going to cut out the skirt panels tonight yet, and maybe even start sewing. I'm getting excited now!

And this, my friends, highlights everything that is wrong with certain parents these days.

Girl's false essay wins Hannah Montana tickets
GARLAND, Texas (AP) -- An essay that won a 6-year-old girl four tickets to a Hannah Montana concert began with the powerful line: "My daddy died this year in Iraq."

A false essay won a 6-year-old girl four tickets to a sold-out Hannah Montana concert.

While gripping, it wasn't true -- and now the girl may lose her tickets after her mom acknowledged to contest organizers it was all a lie.

The sponsor of the contest was Club Libby Lu, a Chicago-based store that sells clothes, accessories and games intended for young girls.

The saga began Friday with company officials surprising the girl at a Club Libby Lu at a mall in suburban Garland, northeast of Dallas. The girl won a makeover that included a blonde Hannah Montana wig, as well as the grand prize: airfare for four to Albany, New York, and four tickets to the sold-out Hannah Montana concert on January 9.

The mother had told company officials that the girl's father died April 17 in a roadside bombing in Iraq, company spokeswoman Robyn Caulfield said.

"We did the essay and that's what we did to win," Priscilla Ceballos, the mother, said in an interview with Dallas TV station KDFW. "We did whatever we could do to win."

Emphasis is mine.

Way to teach your daughter, there. Lying is okay as long as you win in the end. Right. And they are surprised that the tickets might be taken away? What a despicable thing to do, lying to get a six year old tickets to a concert. And the pity of it is, the girl is probably too young to really get the benefit of the very harsh lesson she is about to get on the consequences of lying.

Just shaking my head that the mother thought she'd get away with this...

Why so silent?

I just realized that my last post had been Dec. 24. I have no idea why, whilst on vacation, and having nothing more to do than to decide just how late to sleep in, and what cleaning I want to do each day, that I have not blogged about this cornucopia of free time.

Except, it really wasn't free time, as I found plenty enough to do. Here's a list of high points:

Dec. 25: Woke up, helped start food for lunch, brushed hair, put on makeup, resolutely stayed in pajamas until lunch. Opened presents, took lots of pictures, skipped breakfast, then ate way too much lunch to compensate for eating very little in Sunday and Monday. Was dozing on the couch by 8:30.

Dec. 26: Dad fixed windshield wipers. Lounged around the house until around noon, tidied away our Christmas goodies, and packed up to go home. Left town by around 5, stopped off for McDonald's, was back in Ames by 6:30. At 7, went shopping the Christmas clearance stuff, and to scope out if they had any Nintendo DS Lites, in onyx, for my son to use all of his Christmas gift cards and money on. Both Target and Walmart were out.

Dec. 27: Slept in again. Hit snooze from 8:00 to 9:00, then woke up, took a long bubble bath, made up the menus, and grocery lists. Cleaned the bathroom, and kitchen, then did the grocery shopping and spent $70 for two people for a week. Made frozen pizza for lunch, then cleaned up, and called the maintenance people to fix various problems. All but two were cleared up right away. Made chicken tortilla soup for supper. Used stir fry cut chicken, fried in olive oil, and low sodium chicken broth. I had to add salt to it, for flavor, but it still ended up with much less sodium than it would have had. Nummy!

Dec. 28: Up fairly early, took bubble bath, put on makeup, fixed hair. Sorted laundry, started laundry, emailed Mom to ask what time she was coming for dinner. Had leftover soup for lunch. Took my son to Target to buy his DS Lite. TG they had one in the color he wanted. He spent the rest of the day alternating between playing it, and polishing it. :) He much prefers buying a big item with his gift cards and money, than buying a bunch of little things. He still has $35 left, to spend later. He's a saver. Mom came over for dinner, and I made garlic lime chicken, wild rice with water chestnuts and green onion, and cauliflower (my son's choice for veggies). Every bit was eaten, it was so good.

Today: Got woken up by the appliance store calling to see if it would be a good time to come over and fix the ice maker. This was after I had turned off the alarm at 8, because I thought that they wouldn't be coming on a Saturday (I couldn't sleep last night, for some reason). They were here 40 minutes later, and stayed an hour, but my ice maker works perfectly now, without flooding the kitchen. After they left, I was bored, so started to reorganize my son's room, in preparation for moving a dresser. Then, a friend called and asked if he could come over, so that was a welcome break! And my house was clean, so I didn't even have to hesitate before saying yes, which made my day! Of course, I looked like crap, since I had just scraped my hair into a ponytail that morning, due to having to rush because of the appliance people. Oh well! Later, I took a nap, as we had a LAN party to go to tonight. We got home 30 minutes ago, and it took 30 minutes for my hands and toes to warm up. I ate way too much pizza, and got my a$$ handed to me in Starcraft but it was fairly fun. My back hurts from shivering, though. Way too cold in the scout room.

Anyway, now that I have finished with this boring post, I will promise to bore you more often in little chunks, rather than dumping all of this into one post. Call it a New Year's Resolution, if you want.

And now it's time to get some sleep...

Monday, December 24, 2007


We ended up leaving for Manson a day earlier than planned, due to a shift in when the forecast snowstorm was expected to arrive.

It was supposed to snow Friday night into Saturday morning, so we had planned to leave Sunday morning, early. Instead, when I woke up on Saturday morning, no fresh snow had fallen, and the winter storm watch had been upgraded to a storm warning, with blizzard conditions, due to start Saturday noon, and end early Sunday morning.

One of my sisters called from my parents' house, and told me that Mom wanted us to leave immediately, for fear we wouldn't be able to get home safely. My windshield wipes had broken, so there was no way I could drive safely except in the lightest of snow.

So, in less than an hour and a half, I somehow managed to get everything packed, got showered and threw on makeup, loaded up the car, got gas in the car, and got out of town. Oh, and I got the teenager to do the same.

After the flurry of getting ready, when we were finally in the car, after loading everything, and having to go into the house once more for something I had forgotten, my son turns to me and asks, "You remembered my ...?" I could see that he was concerned, but didn't really want to be rude enough to ask if I had remembered his S. A. N. T. A. presents...

"Yes. They're in my suitcase." I laughed, and could understand his concern. I would have been very upset if I had forgotten them.

Anyway, everything went well, we got to Manson safely, and were able to spend time with my parents, grandparents, and my sisters and nephews. We had a turkey dinner that night, and had a great time. Movie Star and I had a nice long talk, for about 2 and a half hours, after everyone else was asleep. It was just a great night.

Until I went to bed.

And discovered that something I had eaten did not agree with me.

I missed church, and our Christmas dinner at my Aunt Sharon's house. After the dinner, my sister Kim called and asked if I was feeling well enough to come out for presents. Since I hadn't thrown up again, and had kept down the toast I ate, I said I felt better. My dad came back to town to get me, and I was able to see everyone, and participate in our grab bag game. I ate some leftovers at about 4:30, and then we all sat around and sorted through the pictures my Granny had brought. Boy, did we find some blackmail opportunities...

Anyway, so I almost missed out on the reason I had to leave early on Saturday. I fell a lot better now, and I am looking forward to seeing more family tonight after mass.

And sometime today, I have GOT to get my son's presents wrapped. :)

Thursday, December 20, 2007


Starting Friday night, I began having problems with my asthma again. I used my inhaler, things got better.

Yesterday afternoon, I started having problems again. I didn't think to use my inhaler, though, because I was busy. Things calmed down by the time I went to bed, so I didn't think anything of it.

Today, it's been bad pretty much all day. I went into work late, because I had to mail a package, and ended up using my inhaler around 11:30. Things have been icky all day.

Tonight, just awhile ago, I was watching the news, and they had a pollution warning type thing, and recommended that people with asthma or heart conditions stay indoors, due to higher than recommended levels of pollutants in the atmosphere. It should clear up by tomorrow evening. I really hope that this isn't going to be a regular occurrence.

I think I am just more sensitive to this stuff lately due to the bad cold I am still trying to get over. I may end up going to the doctor tomorrow, but I am not sure what more she could do, especially if things are supposed to get better tomorrow night.

I hate this. I really do.

Just one more step until the holiday relaxation can commence...

The second dress is done, all of the boxes are wrapped, and the shipping box is packed. Postage has been calculated, and the box is just about ready to be shipped out first thing in the morning.

The only "Oh Shit!" moment for today came after the boxes were wrapped and carefully fitted into the shipping box. You see, I took pictures of the dress, so that I could show my mom. It wasn't until after I had downloaded the photos that I realized that I totally, utterly, screwed up the zipper in this one. It works, don't get me wrong, or I would have noticed when I sewed it into place, removed the basting threads, and fixed another small area.

There were just two minor mistakes: 1. I forgot to use white bobbin thread when I sewed the white zipper into the blue dress (they had no blue zippers left), and 2. one side at the top is higher than the other, at the zipper top.

Good one. I spent about 15 hours or more on this dress, and I fraked up the zipper.

I hope my niece isn't too scarred by this...

Anyway, as soon as the box is in the post, I will be able to finally, finally feel like I have accomplished something this holiday season. Yes, my house is a disaster, I am still trying to fight off some respiratory thing, and I am exhausted. But, I feel great right now, because I just know my niece is going to love her new costumes, and as soon as I see a photo of her all dressed up, I am going to want to start all over again with new ones.


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Step away from the sewing machine...

I am soooo close to being finished with my niece's second costume. I am attaching the skirt right now, and because I was not satisfied with the original look of the costume, I added my own parts to it, drafted from scratch, to look more "Cinderella" like. It is a really pretty dress, and I was stuck last night on a problem, was so happy to come up with a solution that added just the right detail...

And I just about ruined it twice in the last 20 minutes.

Costume satin does not like seams to be picked apart. The needle holes are sometimes still visible unless you very, very carefully use your fingernail to close the little holes, without further snagging the fabric. Usually, there isn't too much of a problem, though, because most mistakes happen in the seam line, or near it, which is pretty easy to fix or cover up.

It is a real pain, however, when you are carefully sewing a fairly bulky gathered seam to a tiny bodice, and don't realize until nearly too late, that you have managed to catch in a fairly sizable amount of BODICE into your seam. The first "Oh Shit!" moment of the evening.

And then, after patting myself on the back for fixing the problem, I go over the same seam, just inside the original seam, in order to reinforce it, and the SAME DAMN THING HAPPENS!

And this is only the first half of the skirt. The other half is waiting to be gathered (a trick in itself, because it's so much fabric for such a little waist), pinned to the bodice, then basted, and sewn very carefully (and it's not like I was being careless the first time!).

I really wanted to get this into the mail tomorrow... I know the 20th is the deadline, but I wanted to just wanted to get this done.

I think I am going to take a quick break, and then get to the point where I can just sew the skirt on tomorrow over lunch hour. Then, I can finish the zipper and hem tomorrow night, wrap the package, and get everything ready to go to the post office first thing Thursday morning.

I just have to give myself a little more time, or I am going to ruin this dress. :(

Monday, December 17, 2007

It can't possibly be this close to Christmas!!!!

I am working like crazy to get everything done for Christmas. I have my niece's second dress nearly finished (skirt attached, zipper, and hemmed by Wednesday?), and I have nearly all of the presents for everyone on my list. I have two more presents to buy for my son, and then he's done. And one more present for a friend, who gave me something I really enjoyed last year, and so is even more tough to buy for this year. ;)

Right now, though, I am soooo ready to go to sleep. I worked on sewing while waiting for the spinach to thaw for my spinach dip. Then, finally at around 10:15, I was able to get the beer bread put together (I was also waiting for the beer to get warmer), and into the over. My apartment smells like a frat party, minus the smoke and vomit ambiance. I am having major back and leg pain right now, and I am so sleepy that I am literally having waking dreams of being snuggled in my bed right now.

But, I must stay awake to get the bread out of the oven, cooled, and wrapped up for tomorrow. Another 40 minutes, minimum...

I should have just bought the dinner rolls instead...

Friday, December 14, 2007

Finally, someone says everything I have been thinking since at least 2001

Holier Than They
...There has been a lot of interesting discussion of Mormonism and Evangelical Protestantism, about Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee outdoing themselves to appeal to Christian conservatives, and about John McCain’s belief in a “Christian nation.” There has been dismay about a political moment in which it seems a candidate must pass a religious litmus test to gain national viability. There have been comparisons to John F. Kennedy, talk of the Founding Fathers, of the separation of church and state, and of how the Puritans’ rather intolerant vision of religious freedom continues to trickle down to our day.

But one line of questioning, it seems to me, is missing. One point of view is inexpressible, taboo. I am not referring to atheism – the one belief system that clearly had no place in the vision of America Romney painted in his much-anticipated speech on faith last week. Rather, I’m thinking of the now entirely muted issue of whether the basic ethical foundations of Romney, Huckabee et al’s political views truly are “Christian” – in the good-neighborly sense of the word.

The emphasis is mine.

I will not get into a long, drawn out post right now, but the author of this opinion piece really seems to have hit on everything that has been bothering me about the way this country is headed.

I really recommend reading this article. Please keep an open mind, and really, really think about what she has to say as we head into this holiday season.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

This is starting to get a little ridiculous...

I managed to get to work yesterday, despite the ice problems. I worked all day, then spent a lovely time with my nephews in the evening. I came home, puttered around the house, wrote a blog post, and went to bed.

This morning, I woke up, and while I was getting ready, I started feeling really icky.

Gross stuff ahead!

I ended up throwing up. I had a bit of a temp again, and I obviously stayed home. In fact, I crawled back into bed, wet hair and all, after waking up my son to tell him to get ready for school. I slept nearly all day, trying really hard to not move around a lot. I just threw up the one time, luckily, but I didn't start to feel better until around 6 or so. My stomach still feels pretty funky, and I'm a little achy from being in bed all day.

This just is not like me to be so damn sick for so many damn days, and with different symptoms. Maybe I picked up something else at work yesterday. Anyway, just two more days until the end of the semester.

And less than two weeks until Christmas, and for someone who started out early in the planning and shopping, the last two weeks have set me back time-wise considerably. Not a single present is wrapped, although most of them have been purchased already. I haven't had a chance to get my lab monitors anything yet, as I was sick all weekend, and was busy last night. I may leave early for work tomorrow, and get some candy from the grocery store. I think I already have treat bags. But the worst is that I still have well more than half of the shopping left to do for my son.

I just hope I am completely and utterly well by this weekend, or I don't know when I am going to finish.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Why you should always watch where you are going...

After getting to spend a lovely 45 minutes with my sister, her husband, and their two adorable sons (although the 3 year old is driving her nuts), we finished up an errand, and came home. Honestly was the best time I've had in weeks. :) My youngest nephew is sitting up and smiling and gurgling like crazy, and my other nephew is just a scream. It was great. :)

As I was putting the presents we had bought under the tree, and was taking the shrink wrap off of the new Harry Potter movie, I ran into this little bench thing I have by my arm chair. I hit the right side of the front of my right shin. I have the most incredible bruise imaginable. I am damn lucky it didn't break the skin, as there is a nice and neat mark right where it hit, surrounded by blue, and it's swollen. I'm sure it will look even better tomorrow.

Funny thing is, I felt it when I hit it, and was jumping around in the "oh-crap-that-hurts-like-hell" dance for a few minutes, then I sat down to read and kind of forgot about it until I just got into the tub. Then of course, it started to throb like crazy.

This was an appropriate end to my day.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Not fair.

I still have a fever, which means I'm not going anywhere tomorrow, either. Well, except I have to go to the store to get more soup, and more shampoo. And to the doctor, because this is ridiculous. Seriously. I've had a fever since Friday, and yeah, it's not a very high fever, but since I normally run about 97.6°F, 99°F (to 99.3°F) is high for me.

And I am so stinking restless that I can't even get to sleep. And I am starting with another bout of the chills, so I am going to at least crawl into bed, with four blankets, my stocking cap, and a pair of my son's athletic socks, and hope I can warm up. They've been lasting a couple of hours at a time, so maybe I'll get to sleep around 2.

It's a no-brainer that I am not going to work tomorrow.

You gotta love gmail...

Using the word, "spam" in a message or subject line, gives you recipes for using spam the food.

Considering that I ate entirely too much spam during my elementary to high school days, it is a food I avoid at all costs.

So, sorry google, I will not be clicking through to see delightful news ways to prepare spam.

Still hanging on...

So, I woke up this morning, got a bath, got dressed, put makeup on, all in prep to go out to run errands.

Then, I took my temperature, and realized I still had a fever.

So, I got back into my jammies, and tried to occupy myself.

Things I did today:

1. Spent some time on the couch. Urg.
2. Warmed up soup for lunch.
3. Created a new google group for costumers, due to some differences of opinion about overzealous moderation on a forum I post to. Basically, even though I have seen very few posts that were snarky, apparently, even the chance that anyone could possibly misconstrue anything to be snarky is enough to get the post deleted, or the thread locked, or the thread totally deleted. Which obviously makes people hesitant to comment on a thread with advice. So, if someone asks if something is accurate, be careful in how you reply, because someone will take offense. This also makes it hard if you are really looking for an honest opinion. So I decided to offer a place to be able to freely discuss.
4. I am now baking a chocolate cake, because I am dying for chocolate, and I can't go to the store because I have a slight fever.
5. I am also now dividing my time between checking email, and snuggling under the covers watching Battlestar Galactica, Season 2.5. With my stocking cap on again, of course, because I am still cold.

It's funny, but for technically being still sick, I am restless, and cannot sit still for long. I don't drink caffeine, so that's not the problem, and I did not take any more of the cold meds, so that's not the problem either.

Anyway, time to get back under the covers, and try to get well enough to go to work tomorrow, although technically, I should be fever-free for 24 hours before going back...

Oh, and BTW, the group is Historically Influenced Renaissance Garb if you are interested in joining...

Side effect of this stupid cold/flu/respiratory whatever this is...

Last night, I felt like utter crap. My head hurt so bad that tylenol couldn't take the edge off. I took a chest decongestant to try to loosen the crap that's in my lungs, but that didn't help either. All it did was make me unable to focus on anything at all. I couldn't read, I could barely watch TV, and when I attempted to work on my crochet project, I had to stop, because I was messing up. In a word, I was loopy from fever and the medication. My son thought that was highly amusing.

So, today, when I woke up, I thought I was in for a very rough day. But, when you are a mom, and it's this close to Christmas, certain chores have to be done no matter how crappy you feel. I started out slow, and just finished the hem on a dress I am making my niece. Then, I took a break. I sorted the laundry, and then put the zipper into the dress (first one ever!), and when I still felt okay after that, I started the laundry.

Things went downhill from there. By the time the laundry was half done, I felt woozy, and ready for a nap. But, I had to finish the laundry. So I did that, then had a bowl of soup. After the last load was folded and put away, I ran my bath water, anticipating a nice, long soak, followed by a nice, long nap.

I had just gotten out of the tub when I saw that I had an email message from work, that sounded pretty desperate. So, I dried my hair, got dressed, and I went into work.

I will leave out how dreadful this made me feel. I basically just kept everyone away while I fixed the problem, and leaned up against the counter and computer while waiting for the messages on the printer screen to show up to tell me what to do. My hands were shaking by this time, and I was freezing again, but, sometimes you gotta do whachagottado.

Of course, by the time I got home, I was full-on wiped out, freezing, and was barely able to get into fresh jammies. I huddled on the couch with two blankets, my fuzzy slippers, and my stocking cap, and tried to get warm for two hours.

When I finally did warm up, I couldn't sleep! I still can't! And when I cough, the back of my throat tastes funny. It's hard to describe. So, I've been puttering around the house, and since the fever is very slight now, I have been planning what I want to do tomorrow. Because that fever had better be gone.

So, tomorrow, weather and health permitting, I have to make a run for sewing supplies and bubble bath. But if I don't get to sleep soon, I won't be able to do anything tomorrow...

Time to try again...

Friday, December 07, 2007

I knew skipping that flu shot this year would come back and bite me on the ass...

Yep, got the flu. Not happy. Fever, chills, body aches, and terrible cough. The cough part started last night around 6, and got progressively worse. Today, it's awful.

Time for sleepy...

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Curing what ails me...

I am feeling a lot better tonight. Less stressed out, more relaxed, not freezing. Our camp out was postponed due to weather. We got about 4-5 inches of snow today, and more is expected this weekend. The place we were going to camp is pretty much out in the middle of nowhere, on a gravel road, and is difficult to get in and out of in the snow.

So I am doing a little happy dance about that. Huge relief.

After picking my son up from school, which was overly exciting, due to everyone trying to remember how not to be an idiot on snowy roads (saw two accidents), we went back to work for awhile. I got the popcorn and movie stuff ready to go, and decided to let the lab monitors handle that for the evening. We left work around 5:10, and cleared off the car again (fourth time today), and went to the grocery store with the vague idea of getting something warm and comforting to make for supper.

In the store, we were wandering aimlessly down the produce aisle, when my son spied samples. He got a tiny sample of some soup and he told me I had to try it. I got a sample, as his smelled really good. It was turkey torilla soup (rather than chicken), and after about two bites, I was heading back to the sample table to find out what brand it was. I had never actually tasted this kind of soup before, despite having many opportunities. I didn't think I'd like it. Go figure.

Turns out, they were actually handing out recipes for this soup! So, I grabbed a recipe sheet, and started shopping. We substituted chicken for turkey, mainly due to the lack of turkey broth in the soup aisle.

It took me all of 25 minutes to make this soup, because I used Oscar meyer pre-cooked grilled chicken. We loved it! Well, except for the cilantro. Just couldn't like the cilantro (we both ended up scooping it out). It was a little expensive to make, but I am sure I'll be able to come up with a cheaper way to make it (like using leftover chicken). It was so good! It was a very good idea for HyVee to hand out the recipe. I hope they'll do it for other dishes in the future.

So, I am warm, relaxed, and ready for another hectic day tomorrow, followed by a blissful weekend of getting things done.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Is it just me...

or do any of you read Dear Abby with a feeling of trepidation, half-expecting to recognize yourself in the letters of the desperately questioning writers?

I swear, if anyone writes in about a messed up, relationship-challenged, basketcase, overly-direct, loner geek of a tech person, I'll know I really am a messed up, relationship-challenged, overly-direct, loner geek of a tech person.

Then maybe, I can change, because Dear Abby knows all of the answers.


I can't get warm, folks. I feel like the world's biggest wimp, and feel like I must give up my "born-in-Iowa" creds, as it isn't even really as cold as it's going to get this winter, yet.

And no, I am not aneorexic. In fact, if anything, I am going the other way lately. Show me a cupcake, and I'm going to eat it. Or maybe six of them. Trust me, I am not lacking for an insulating layer of subcutaneous fat.

Perhaps the reason I am so sensitive to the cold lately is that I am getting another nasty cold. I have been flirting around with several varieties this fall so far, but this one feels like it has the capacity to be The One. The cold to end all colds, the one that turns into a respiratory infection just in time for Finals week. Because you know, it's not the end of the semester unless I get sick, and have to work through a sinus infection or walking pnuemonia (done both, it sucked, and damaged my lungs).

So here I am, with the thermostat turned up to a decadent 75°F (who had it down to 70°!!??? Damn gremlins!), wrapped in my favorite red blanket. You know, the one that leaves lint everywhere, the one I can't sleep without. My wubby. This blanket goes everywhere with my in cold weather. Except work, because I don't want to get work germs on it. But believe me, I am missing it the entire time I'm at work, due to the cool breezes from the lab and atrium. I have no idea why my office would feel cold when the thermostat says 84°F...

And speaking of cold, and stress, let me tell you the three things that are stressing me out the most right now:

1. Snow forcast for tomorrow,
2. Freezing rain for both Saturday and Sunday,
3. I am expected to camp this weekend, and it is supposed to ice rain this weekend.

All of the chocolate caramels in the world can't make me feel any better right now, although suddenly being able to not have to camp this weekend would improve my outlook immensely...

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Dang, I got a lot done today.

No problems with the power today, TG. It rained quite a bit after it finished ice raining around 3 or so. When it refreezes tonight, the roads are going to be a mess.

I spent most of my waking hours working on a play dress for my niece, Grace, and it's looking so cute! Well, the bodice part is mostly done, and one of the drapy sleeves is sewn, and the rest is cut out and waiting. Costume satin is not the most fun to sew, but it will look so cute when it's finished!

I spent over an hour just getting the pattern pieces traced, mainly because I had to locate everything I needed, and then I couldn't find my scotch tape anywhere, despite having just bought one of those four pack things a couple of weeks ago. I ended up finding just one of the rolls, but I'm sure I'll find the others as soon as I buy more.

My back hurts, but it is a good ache. I had so much fun today! Now, I am going to have some ice cream, then park my behind on the couch with a book and enjoy the glow of the Christmas tree.

Yep, it's a mess already...

I slept in this morning, all warm and comfortable, secure in the knowlege that I had done everything on my list to get ready for the snow and ice we were warned about for today. Groceries were bought, all of the laundry is finished, materials for the costumes I want to make this weekend were purchased, and washed. All is ready.

We are supposed to get between .5 and .9 inches of ice.

Which is soooo fun, let me tell you. Parts of Des Moines are already without power, the they were supposed to be on the low end of things.

So, I am ready. I have a bunch of things to do if the power goes out (although I can't remember the last time that happened), and we have plenty of warm clothes and blankets. The car is already covered in ice, and the little bit of snow we have also has a nice coating.

And this is only the beginning...

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

I just need to get up off of my A$$ and start doing something...

I'm in a rut, folks.

After the faire was over, I was just so exhausted that all I wanted to do was sit on the couch and read, watch movies, and clean my house. I have barely touched my sewing machine since then. Yes, I helped my mom with a baby blanket for my new niece, Sophie, and I have been working a little on play clothes for Grace (Sophie's big sister). But I haven't done anything garb wise since the faire got over, except buy two costuming books (one of which I love).

I think I was burned out a bit. Rehearsals started in February, and I had been sewing non-stop since March. It felt great to get to veg out, and just be normal for once.

And now I'm bored.

So, I am going to get out the play clothes again, and get them finished up. Then, I am going to finish the gold coif that I was making, and see if I can salvage that. Then, I'm going to be working on trim for the black gown, and hunting desperately for matching red corduroy for the red gown, so I can redo the bodice. And then there's the set of sleeves and forepart that I'd like to make...

Okay, I do just need to get off my duff and get to work. Maybe it'll help save my sanity at this time of year — the end of the semester is always hard, but throw in Christmas prep and it's harder than usual. Maybe my projects will help me relax...

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Murphey's Law of Tree Decorating

At least one strand of lights will refuse to work, no matter what you do to try to troubleshoot. And then, when you are resigned to having one less strand on the tree, another strand doesn't work. Two strands, on which only half of the lights will work.

And I had almost successfully avoided having to brave the stores this weekend...

Saturday, November 24, 2007


BSG Razor was good. Very good. Lots of surprises, twists and turns. Because I have been going through the first and second seasons in order, I picked up on a couple of things that I would have missed otherwise. I'm sure many people are going to be confused.

I'm still ticked off that I have to wait until MARCH for the fourth, and final season. NOT happy about that. March. Arg!

Anyway, Razor will be released on DVD Dec. 4th. Sure would be nice to know when season 3 is going to hit DVD... it only finished back in January you know. Maybe they should get that out before March, bridge the gap, so to speak.

I just wish I was feeling better. Throat still hurts, and I definitely have a cold. No flu though, TG. The next three weeks are going to be very intense at work, and there will be no down time. No time to get sick. Today was a wash as far as getting things done at home. I spent a good deal of time on the couch, with a box of kleenex, and a book. I fully intend to spend a good part of tomorrow doing the same. Rest is important.

Anyway, my head is full of BSG right now, and I am going to have to push it aside so I can sleep. I taped it (I know, SHOCK, VCR still exists in this house!), so I can watch it again later this week. A girl has to relax somehow...

What now?

I am feeling a bit better today, although the back of my throat feels weird, and my headache is still hanging on. Or rather, I was feeling better until my son asked when we were going to put up the Christmas Tree.

Traditionally, we set up the Christmas tree on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. That would be today. I am in a bit of a quandry this year, as I do not know where I am going to put the tree.

You see, we switched internet providers this summer (keep with me here, folks, it's related. Really.). Since the internet is now provided by Mediacom, and I don't want cables running the length of my apartment, the computer is now in the living room.

In the spot where the Christmas Tree usually sits.


So, I suppose I can move the little 4-port hub that is in my son's room, and hang a really long ethernet cable off of it from the living room to my room, which would mean that I would get to watch movies in my room again (which I have missed, especially when my son takes over the living room TV with the Wii). But, it would also mean having an ethernet cable stretched across the entire apartment. Which would suck.

So, I am trying to figure out how annoying it would be to have to live with that for a month.

Pretty damned annoying, really.

It may be my only choice, though. Hmm... I think I need to figure out how long the cable would have to be to make this work... yick.


Friday, November 23, 2007

Random Post #872365

This sign always makes us laugh. No idea what they mean by "open Taco". Just another random Manson thing...

After we got home this afternoon, I tried to sleep a bit before heading out to get groceries. I don't remember drifting off, as I was certainly not very comfortable due to my son digging through his huge box of Lego™ trying to find something, but before I knew it, an hour had passed.

My throat was sore when I woke up, and when looking at it in the mirror with a flashlight, I was not very happy to see that it is red, and has white spots. It's gotten progressively worse, and now my ears hurt, and I think that the glands under my jaw are swollen. I also have a slight headache, but no fever, and the beginnings of body aches. Way to spend the last two days off before crunch time at work.

In any case, I don't know if I am getting the flu or not. I would say "definitely" if I had a fever. I've had the flu before, but not for about nine years. I knew I should have gone in and had the flu shot, but the clinic was early this week, and chances are, I was already exposed, if this is what it is.

Oh well. Looks like I'll be staying in and doing nothing this weekend. Good thing I am armed with an Enterprise marathon on SciFi, and the complete second season of Battlestar Galactica on DVD. Not to mention the BSG Razor premiere tomorrow night.

Okay, hot chocolate is done. Time to go doctor this sore throat...

We're back!

I actually did it. I actually managed to make thanksgiving dinner with my dad, and no one got food poisoning, nothing got burned, or otherwise messed up. Everything tasted great, and we had a lot of fun.

Now, I am home, exhausted, and am ready for a nap.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

"Light snow", my a$$...

Boy, is this going to be an interesting trip...

Monday, November 19, 2007

Just my luck...

Just in time for Thanksgiving - first cold of the season. I am getting more and more miserable by the minute here in the Geek apartment.

So, let's make a short list of the ways in which I have been uncomfortable lately.

1. I can't remember the last time I slept well at night. I get very sleepy, but I can't actually get to deep sleep, just tossing and turning.

2. Upset stomach Saturday night, Last night, and until about 3 today.

3. Growing cold symptoms. Stuffy nose, my sinuses are starting to get icky, and I feel congested. Just great.

I am going to attempt to sleep with my head and chest more elevated tonight, and see if I can get more comfortable. I think if I could sleep, the rest could be dealt with...

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Long Day, but good!

My new niece was born at 6:34 am today! Very surprised, as she was supposed to arrive on the 27th, by planned c-section. I guess she got a little impatient, and decided it was time. ;) Everything went well, and both mom and baby are fine! :D

We continued with our plans to go to my Granny's house for Thanksgiving dinner today. We left here around 8:40 am, and got to my parents' house around 10. I made the pasta salad that Mom was going to make (she was already on her way to Wisconsin), and we left for my Granny's around 11:45.

Tons of good food, lots of fun! We even got my Granny's Christmas lights on the trees and bushes. Dang, it was cold out today. My ears are still aching, and I feel a sore throat coming of as well...

And in a move that was pretty sad for me, and I am sure bittersweet for all of the aunts and uncles, all but a small section of my grandpa's garden was lightly tilled, seeded with grass seed, and raked, ready for the winter snows.


Well, life must go on.

And our new little sweetheart is so adorable, it made the whole day, no matter what happened, very special.

P.S. Oh, and I almost hit two deer on the way home. We didn't leave Manson until nearly 5:30, when we should have left at 3:30, to avoid driving home in the dark. We were watching very carefully for deer, and came upon two of them: one standing in the opposite lane of the road, and another just off on that sides shoulder. Very close. Very, very close. I'll admit that we both shouted, "Deer!!!" at the same time as I honked the horn, and tapped the brakes. She decided against entering the road further, and they turned. If she had decided to keep going, we'd have hit her, and maybe the other as well. I aged about 20 years in that moment. My heart was pounding until I got home. I hate driving at night during this time of the year...

My niece is on the way!!!

Nan's water broke this morning at 3am, and my mom is on the way to Wisconsin. No news yet, but she's having a c-section, so she's probably already had the baby.

Cross your fingers, folks!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Well, you know... it's like this...

TG tomorrow if FRIDAY, because my head would explode if this week were any longer.

I really hope I can sleep tonight...

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

It's this type of thing that just tops off a day...

So, I wanted some popcorn after supper. We finally got our microwave kettle corn from scouts, and I was dying for some popcorn.

Damn thing wasn't popping right, as in, not at all. In the last second the microwave was still on, I heard a tremendous POP, and opened the microwave to this:


Yes, that is one of my pretty new plates that I bought a few weeks ago.

No idea how this happened, and the plate is taking a very long time to cool off. Yes, it is supposed to be microwaveable.

This just kind of ticks me off...

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


Thanks, Troy!

This is a new meme, about books, which is a pretty hawesome thing considering. An internet meme about printed material - sweet!

Anyway, here's how it goes:
Answer 5 questions. Tag 5 booklovers.

The Questions:
1) How many books do you own?
2) What was the last book you read?
3) What was the last book you purchased?
4) What five books are most meaningful to you?
5) What is your most obscure favorite book? Or, favorite most obscure book?

1.) Hmm... Do books in storage count? I have 303 books right now, and an entire rubbermaid container of books in the crawlspace at Mom's house. There has to be more than 100 in that container. Believe it or not, I have pared things down. My entire Tom Clancy collection went to Goodwill about a month ago.

2.) Last book I read... "Light a Penny Candle" by Maeve Binchey. I am currently reading "Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency" by Douglas Adams. That should give you an idea of scope...

3.) Purchased from Goodwill: "Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell", by Susanna Clarke. I'm actually in the process of reading this book, too, but got distracted by DGHDA. It happens.

4.) What five books are most meaningful to me? This is a tough one...

  1. "Allan Quatermain", H. Rider Haggard
  2. "The Talisman", Stephen King and Peter Straub
  3. (And I'm cheating here for the last three, and listing series rather than individual books) The Wizard of Oz books - Frank Baum
  4. The Harry Potter Series (for just good storytelling, and making me feel like I did when I first read the Oz books)
  5. And the Dark Tower series, by Stephen King.

5.) most obscure favorite book... I'd say anything by H. Rider Haggard. Most of his stuff is out of print, but the Gutenburg project is amazing in that regard. Every book I read of his becomes a favorite.

And finally, who am I going to tag? Hmm... The Nerd - Mike G., Queen Catherine (a.k.a Lynne), The Duke of Somerset (a.k.a Marty), Raphael and oh heck, I'd say Jeremy, but he's on haitus, so I won't temp him. Still one short... Well, that's the list so far... maybe I'll add to it later. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

The most annoying day ever.

I have been in the most awful mood all day today. Not sure why, but everything gets on my nerves.

Part of this probably stems from the fact that I did not sleep well last night, and then when I did finally drop off, the alarm rang. I shut off the alarm, and then slept until 9:30.

I didn't get everything done today that i wanted to accomplish. That's part of what's annoying me. I did manage to get the laundry completely done again (w00t! Two weekends in a row!), and I moved a new bookshelf into the living room. I sorted the DVDs and put them on the new bookshelf. I also managed to get a tiny bit of sewing done for my neice's Christmas present. And I made a big dinner.

But, what i really wanted to do was lounge on the couch all day, watching movies, taking a nap, and reading a book.

I think that not being able to do what I really wanted to do is the source of my crappy mood.

What a way to start out what is going to be an insanely busy week...

Saturday, November 10, 2007

One Week Since the Kitchen Flood

And is my refrigerator fixed yet???? Nope.

A full week, and they haven't yet come to replace the valve for the ice maker.


Friday, November 09, 2007

You have got to be kidding me...

Police To Charge Boy With Terrorism

STORM LAKE, Iowa -- A northwest Iowa boy accused of threatening to kill two teachers and blow up his school is expected to be charged with terrorism.

Robert Stewart, 13, of Aurelia, was arrested at Storm Lake Middle School on Tuesday.

Police were called about the threats. No weapon or explosive device was found.

(emphasis is mine)

Why in the hell is this boy charged with terrorism???? I don't get it. He's a 13 year old boy. An 8th grader.

Kids this age are volatile, yes, due to the changing hormones and changing expectations of the adults around them. Yes, there are problem kids, and the boy does not have the right to make those threats, but TERRORISM??

Why is this even being considered? Isn't there a more appropriate charge that could be made? This kid needs help. He does not need to be lumped into the same category as a car bomber, particularly since they don't appear to have evidence that he meant to follow through.

This, my friends, is a shining example of how fucked up our country is.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Turning into my mother...

One of the best things my mother ever did for me happened when I was in the sixth grade.

I was drowning in depression. Gawky, unpopular, picked on by Jason A. to the point where he pushed me down when I was on crutches, and turned my sprained ankle into a broken ankle. My only friends were others who were as big misfits as I was. I hated school. I would spend study hall drawing complex geometric patterns with my four-color ink pen.

I was miserable.

To complicate matters, I was not well liked by my teacher, for reasons which I will never understand. I didn't do anything to get into trouble, but I was not trusted or liked.

Mrs. N never collected assignments directly. There was no, "Pass your papers to the front of the row," or direct handing in of assignments. Assignments were put in a stack of letter trays. Because of this, my sixth grade teacher regularly "lost" my assignments, or else they were pulled out of the pile by others in my class.

I nearly failed sixth grade.

After the first several assignments were labeled as "late" or missing, I couldn't see the point. I worked my ass off, and got nowhere, so I stopped trying in her classes.

A's and B's in the classes she did not teach, and D's in the ones she did.

One particular assignment that I remember very clearly was a narrative for a contest. We were to write an essay, in narrative form, about something significant that happened in our lives. I wrote an eight page story about what happened to my family in the Manson Tornado, double-spaced, punctuated carefully, words looked up in the dictionary, rewritten to where there were no mistakes at all, no cross-outs. Perfect.

I was told I was a liar. That stuff didn't happen. I was too young to remember, and someone else wrote this paper for me. I was stunned. My paper was not submitted to the contest because of this.

The sheer unfairness of this blind-sided me.

Later, when my report card came out, I was stunned to see that I was in danger of actually failing the sixth grade. My mother was extremely angry at me, understandably. How could I be failing when I spent so much time on my homework? Why wasn't I turning things in? She put the fear into me so badly, that I went back to class, stopped hanging out so much with my misfit friends (or anyone, for that matter), and kissed so much ass that I felt like a phony.

I squeaked by. There was no way in hell I was going to repeat that year of hell. No way.

Starting in seventh grade, I worked my ass off in every class, and got good grades again. I was on the honor roll from then on. I also never had a teacher quite like her again.

I worked hard because I wanted out of my hometown. I wanted to make something of myself. I wanted to make my mom proud, and I never wanted to be on the receiving end of a lecture like the one I had when I was failing sixth grade. You don't want that type of screaming. Trust me. ;)

So tonight, after going to my son's conference. I realized that I was going to have to make that same type of lecture. He's not failing, by any means, but he also is not applying himself, not turning in work, and is not paying attention like he should. He has the capacity to get A's, but is not working up to his potential.

I hated to do it. As his homeroom teacher said, "He's not a bad kid. He never causes trouble." In a way, it would almost be easier if he did cause trouble. He'd get the attention that he needs.

So, I came home, put aside my inner sixth grader, and made his ears ring. I focused on positives, set down rules, and expectations. I grounded him from video games during the school week, and from drawing during school hours (except during lunch - this was one of the problems he was having in classes). I will be inspecting all homework, the planner, and he will start studying for tests three days in advance. I am not letting this slip, or next year will be a fiasco.

I did not let myself feel awful during this. It is completely necessary. Something has to change. It is not enough to be smart. You also have to have the grades in order to make something of yourself. I don't want to let him throw away the opportunities he could have.

My mother must have felt the same way twenty-four years ago...

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Update on the Kitchen Flood Situation

The maintenance guy and the appliance guy left at 5:20. They finally found the valve to shut off the water to the ice maker.

I am going to take a shower, then we're going out to Hickory Park. We deserve it after all of the crap we went through this afternoon.

Yum. BBQ.

Minor Disasters

I am exhausted. I am also getting more than a little angry. I had plans for today, that are not getting done, and at this point, it looks like this whole damn afternoon is going to be wasted.

About 2 and a half hours ago, I went down to the laundry room to take things out of the wash, and put more in. When I came back to my apartment, there was a flood of water making its way out from under the refrigerator! I stood there for a second, bewildered, then ran to the bathroom to grab towels. I finally managed to mop up enough water, and bunched the towels around the side of the refrigerator, where the water seemed to be coming from.

I grabbed the phone and the phone book, and called our property management company, and punched in number 9 for emergency maintenance. I explained what was happening, and then opened my freezer to see water coming out of my ice machine, and flooding my freezer, and ice catcher! The guy told me he'd call the appliance people right away, and that the appliance people would call me to let me know when they'd be there. And he did. He called them right away.

They just still haven't called me back!

I called again at 2:00, and told him they hadn't called back. I was very nice about it, and asked him if he could please call them again, as I was having to dump the bucket I had under the leaks every 10 minutes. He promised to call them back again. He sounded very concerned that they hadn't contacted me yet.

And 45 minutes later, they STILL have't called back.

I don't know what to do. I have to set a timer to get up every ten minutes and dump the water. I have cleaned up most of the water mess, emptied my freezer, and been working non-stop to make sure that the flooding part doesn't happen again. If they don't get here today, I won't be able to even sleep tonight, as the water really has to be dumped every ten minutes! I'm calling the property management number every hour until they get someone here. They could at least call and tell me when they are coming, so I can at least know what's going on, and that they aren't going to leave me with this problem all damn weekend.

What a mess...

Wednesday, October 31, 2007


My neighbors have a problem.

Someone's smoke detector goes off every single evening when they cook. Fifth time just now. Okay, sixth. That last one sounded warbled, so I hope they didn't disconnect it.

Okay, they didn't. Seventh, eighth, and ninth.

The fucking thing has to be broken.

Just great.


Open your windows, and use fans to get the smoke out, or call the fire depa...



update: My neighbors across the hall now have their door open, and a guy standing on a chair fanning the smoke away from the smoke detector.

This is going to be a long night...

Monday, October 29, 2007

To be, or not to be...


I am having a difficult time with my Halloween costume. I meant to put together something completely NOT renaissance faire garb, but have been in a daze lately, so that did not get done.

This costume would be only for work, and therefor would not include farthingales, corsets, or anything that would make me unable to do my job.

So, I have my green pirate garb, that I could dress up a bit, and be really Hollywood style pirate. It could work, and work fairly well.

Or, I could make a run to Goodwill and find a white lab coat (yeah right), and a black skirt, and be what I originally wanted to be: a punch-card girl/computer operator from the 60s/70s.

Decisions, decisions...

Monday, October 22, 2007

Well, there's two hours of my life I won't get back...

If you were even contemplating watching "Dracula 2000", wanting a Halloween thrill, I'll save you the trouble.


Somehow, I missed this movie when it first came out. I always meant to see it, but everytime my hand passed over it on the library shelf, I got distracted by something else (ooohhh! New Hugh Jackman movie?????? Squeee!!!).

Anyway, tonight, I was channel surfing, and happened upon this movie on AMC, which is running horror movies in honor of Halloween. So, having nothing better to do other than laundry and house cleaning, I watched the whole thing.

Okay, so I couldn't get beyond the whole fact that Dracula is dressed almost exactly like Neo in the Matrix, and that the effects were cheap crap. And then, they pull the whole, Dracula-is-really-Judas-Iscariot-thing, and I just lost it. Not even the cuteness of Johnny Lee Miller could save this stinker of a movie.

I'm just ticked that I kept watching.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Bored. Filling time.

My son is at home sick again today. I took him to the doctor, and he has a virus that causes sore throat and body aches. He should be well enough to go to school tomorrow (crossing my fingers!!!!!!!!!!!). Nothing we can do, really, as it isn't strep. Just rest, liquids, and tylenol for the pain/fever (his fever is pretty much gone by now).

In any case, this means I have been stuck at home for the last couple of days. I am really bored. Really bored.

I was so bored that I decided to look up a couple of books on Amazon, and see if they had copies at a reasonable price for sale. I've wanted these books for a really long time, and that feeling was magnified by getting to thumb through them at Holly's house on Saturday. One book is out-of-print, and I wanted to see what the options were for used copies. The other is still in print, but can be a little pricy, so I wanted to see what the options for that one were as well.

I ended up ordering both, as the prices were very good. I am looking forward to receiving these books in a couple of weeks. All ren faire earned money goes back into costuming or other faire related expenses, and these books will help enormously with the costuming part!

* For those of you who are costuming buffs, here is what I ordered:

Elizabethan Costuming (For The Years 1550 - 1580) (Paperback) - I have heard some excellent reviews, and some not-so-excellent reviews of this book. I liked what I saw Saturday, which is why I decided to go ahead and buy it. I'll get what I can from this one.

Patterns of Fashion: The Cut and Construction of Clothes for Men and Women C1560-1620 (Paperback) - This is the one I am really excited about, after drooling over it for an entirely too short of time on Saturday. Excellent photos of extent garments, and detailed drawings as well as patterns. By patterns, I mean drawings on grids, and the patterns pieces are to be drafted by hand to the correct size and scale (1 inch grid). Very intimidating, but this book has the potential to teach me sooooo much. I can hardly wait!

I think I need to get another bookshelf for my room...

Monday, October 15, 2007

This test is totally biased...

Your Renaissance Purity Test Results

You answered "yes" to 70 of 152 questions, making you 53.9% FaireFolk pure (46.1% FaireFolk corrupt).
According to the scoring guide, your renaissance experience level is: A 'Dane'

I totally object! ;) A good 25 of the questions do not apply to any of the three faires I have attended, and another section was for men only! They also need a section more specific to performers. Some of these items, performers would not be able to participate in (specifically, the drinking until you pass out bits - performers know better than to drink alcohol on faire days, unless it is ONE glass of wine)

Here are some questions of my own, that really should have been included:

Have you ever:

1. camped at faire in the middle of a huge thunderstorm, and not packed up to leave?

2. been nearly passing out from the heat, but still taken time to talk to patrons on your way to the first aid station?

3. given a tounge-lashing to three drunk men, interestingly dressed and tattooed, because they were touching the weapons on the Queen's weapons rack?

3a. And had them enjoy it, and do exactly as you told them?

3b. And overhear them talking about it later? "Some hot chick totally yelled at us!!! It was hawesome!"

4. played RenFaire Bingo, and in your group had everything on the list to win without taking a single step away from the booth?

5. had dust in your water goblet, and drank the water anyway, because it was too. damn. hot. to be fussy?

6. felt freezing on a 90°F day, after getting out of noble garb and into jeans and a t-shirt?

7. and not been able to stop shivering in bed with a quilt, a blanket, and a sheet, even after turning the air-conditioning off, because you aren't wearing nine layers of clothing anymore, and 80° is COLD!!!?

8. cried during final closing gate?

9. actually been on the jousting field at the beginning/end of the fight?

10. been shocked that when meeting a new gentleman, that he did not kiss your hand in greeting? (this is a Sunday evening/Monday morning problem)

11. been close enough to the joust to have to duck when the lance shatters?

12. attempted to go to rehearsal after spending three hours in the ER the night before, because you just don't want to miss a moment of faire related activities?

13. automatically repeated, "God Save the Queen/King!" without even thinking?

14. been in a commercial for your faire?

15. been to faire when NOT in garb? (I can honestly say, "No.")

16. slathered on sunscreen and foregone swimming for most of an entire summer, just to keep your pale skin for faire?

17. actually told your hairdresser to just make sure your hair is cut in a faire-friendly length and style?

18. gone to the plumbing department at Lowe's to get supplies for garb?

19. felt comfortable giving your 13-year-old son a dagger, and sword lessons, but are terrified of him learning to drive?

20. used a bodice-chiller?

Anyway, you get the idea. I could go on and on about more "specific faire" related items, but it's getting late, and I haven't eaten dinner yet.

In addition, I think my son has strep throat. I kept him home from school today, because he wasn't feeling well. He was feeling pretty good by the time we were supposed to leave for scouts, so I let him go, as it was a Court of Honor, and he had some awards to receive. He was feeling crappy by the end of the ceremony, and I think I am going to take him to the doctor tomorrow morning. He hasn't really had a high fever (it was normal all afternoon), just a sore throat and body aches. He slept a long time today (from 8:15 to 12:30 or so), and stayed in bed without protest all day.

Oh well, such is life...

Only 10 and a half months til DMRF!!!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Gray Sunday

So, what exactly have I done in the last four weekends since the faire ended? I had to think about this last night, at the Royal Court party in Des Moines.

Not a whole lot.

My two social event type things that I attended were fun. One was a dress rehearsal for a local musical, and the other was a family event.

The party was really fun. Holly (who plays the Duchess of Kent) has a gorgeous house, and is an excellent cook and hostess. And I am insanely jealous of her wonderful sewing room that takes up the entire attic of her house! ;) Her sewing library is excellent as well. Her quilts are incredibly detailed, full of color and light, and gorgeous. There are a couple of books I need to look for, now that I have seen them in person...

It was great to get to see everyone again. :)

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Oh, too many memories...

I am watching Grease 2 right now. This is a movie that I watched so many times in high school, that I could sing every single song, and often did.

I picked this up as an afterthought at the library last week, and just got around to watching it tonight. I had the worst crush in the entire world on the Michael character, and that crush was probably responsible for destroying my ability to seriously think about any of the boys in my high school. It certainly was mostly responsible for the fact that I was glued to the TV whenever this movie was on HBO.

And you know what? I had taste. Damn cute guy.

They better not ever make a remake of this.

Monday, October 08, 2007

So now I really won't be able to sleep tonight...

... for sheer, and utter terror...

Poll: Romney Keeps Iowa Lead

DES MOINES, Iowa -- Mitt Romney is still maintaining a lead in Iowa that he's held over other presidential candidates for months.

A poll released Sunday by The Des Moines Register shows the former Massachusetts governor with support from 29 percent of Iowa Republicans. ...The telephone poll was done Oct. 1 to 3 of 405 registered voters who said they would definitely or probably attend the Republican caucuses. It has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4.9 percentage points.

The Romney people called me at least six times in September, despite the fact that I am a registered Democrat, and answered to that effect each and every time they called me over the dinner hour. "No, I am not going to vote in the Republican Causus." I can only be so lucky that they didn't call me for this poll. Maybe it was the fact that my patience was stretched to the limit at the sixth call, which came when I was very sick, and they would not let me gracefully end the call. I said it would be a cold day in Hell before I voted for Romney.

To be honest, I have not decided who to vote for yet. Hillary was in town tonight. In fact, she was less than 50 yards from where we were having our meeting. We could hear her speech through the open windows, and I went down to street level to listen. I liked what I heard. Grace, wit, and elegance. Unfortunately, the guys are going to eat her alive when it gets close to nomination and the election (if she's nominated).

She also didn't litter our town with her signs like Romney did during the straw poll. Every. Two. Damn. Feet. He had signs every two damn feet, and plastered across our lovely buildings in campustown. I was too busy sewing to blog about that bit of overenthusiasm at the time. Just trashed our town. I wish I had taken pictures.

Anyway, I have a feeling we'll be seeing more candidates in the state in the next few months. I just hope they treat us with consideration, and quit the overwhelming phone spam, and littering.

Gad, I wish I could sleep...

And if I find out who put me on the Republican phone list, you'll be put on an interesting list of your own... ;)

Need to waste a few hours?

Visit Etiquette Hell.

I've been sitting here for nearly two and a half hours. The wedding posts alone are enough to keep me reading for hours...

Sunday, October 07, 2007

List for today

1. Laundry
2. Sort movies. Find a better storage solution.
3. Vacuum (change filters, and clean brush again. Damn thing really needs to be serviced or replaced)
4. Finish dusting.
5. Declutter bathroom vanity.
6. Declutter my dresser.
7. Declutter bookshelves.
8. Start working in my closet (large walk-in closet - unfortunately the only storage area in the apartment. So all holiday stuff, camping gear, etc, has to fit in this closet, in addition to my clothes.)
9. Pack up the rest of the everyday dishes for Goodwill. Pack up granny's china and put in storage closet.
10. Go to Target. Yay! Dishes!
11. Don't forget about the committee meeting tonight!!!!!

I don't think I'll be getting my nap today...

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Accomplishments (warning, boring post ahead)

(is it October or July??? It was nearly 90°F today! I had to turn the A/C on...)

By 3:30 pm, I had finished decluttering my entire kitchen. I went through my spice cabinet, and got rid of old spices, and seasoning mixes that I didn't like. I even got rid of the can of cocoa powder that I don't remember buying. I cleaned out the junk drawer, threw away the old oven mitts and potholder (the padding had separated, and I kept getting burned when I used them), and tossed the old cookie sheets that had discolored and warped and were no longer good. I also tossed the pizza pan, because the non-stick coating had started to flake off. Not good.

I boxed up the white dish set with the silver trim, the old corelle dishes, and the sage green plates that were all chipped up. I found the coffee cups to the white dishes, and four little cordial glasses, along with the ugly plastic dishes that we used when my son was little (oops! forgot one in the dishwasher!). I threw in a few other kitchen things, and some candles I never used and never will. Coupled with the box of books (Good-bye Tom Clancy Collection - can't read you anymore) and the box of toys I packed up a couple of months ago, I had five and a half boxes of donations for Goodwill. Everything was useable, it just needed to be out of my house.

I also cleaned out the refrigerator, and went through the food cupboards to toss out of date stuff. My thought is if it's open, and I can't remember when I opened it, it should be tossed.

Somehow, I ended up with a ton of empty popcorn tins, from Boy Scout Popcorn. I kept pulling them out when trying to clean out a really deep cupboard. I was going to donate them, but I put five of them to use. I put the brown sugar, the brown rice, and the hot chocolate and oatmeal packets into the tins, and put the tins in the cupboard. Nice and neat.

While I was working on the kitchen, my son was working on his room. He picked up any obvious trash, and put dirty clothes into the laundry. After I finished in the kitchen, I helped out. We threw away a ton of old notebooks, used up school supplies, and old magazines and other stuff he didn't need and couldn't be donated. We straighted up his closet, and argued about how he really needed to toss or donate more old toys. Specifically, the huge Hot Wheels playsets. I conceeded for now, in the interest of keeping things moving along. We are going to revist the room tomorrow, and further pare down possessions. He managed to gather a whole box of old books and movies that he didn't want anymore, but just one. I plan to up that by at least another box, if not a few playsets (he has FOUR that he hasn't used in at least two years. they can go!).

So, in the end, we didn't get as much done today as I wanted, but I did finish what I had started in the kitchen. All of the garbage bags went to the dumpster, all of the donation boxes went to Goodwill, and I went and got groceries. My son's room still needs work (more tossing! more donating!), but we were exhausted by dinner time, so we finished off the evening by finishing watching movies.

And tomorrow I get to go through and organize the DVDs and VHS tapes, declutter the bathroom, and hopefully get a start on my closet.

But, I am definitely going to try to work a nap in there somewhere... Too sleepy right now to even read.

Geek Girl's Massive Decluttering Initiative!

And so it begins.

Once again, I have let possessions pile up to the point where I want to scream everytime I open a drawer, cupboard, closet, or my son's bedroom door.

I don't consciously remember buying more crap, but garb takes a lot of space, as does my son's school bags, guitar, bean bag chair, and the toys that really need to go to storage or to Goodwill.

As an incentive to decluttering, we have decided that once this project is done to my satisfaction, we each can pick out something that we have wanted to a long time, and would not normally buy.

My son, of course, wants a new game for his Nintendo DS.

I want a new set of dishes.

This was an abstract thought last weekend, when I was talking with my sister, Kim. She had sold her Fiesta Ware to someone at work for about $325 (would have cost about $600 for this person to buy new), and was going to buy new Debbie Sarento dishes with the money. My mom bought new dishes last fall. I've had the same everyday dishes for 10 years, and they are chipped, warped from the dishwasher, and missing a few pieces. I have another set of better dishes that can't go into the microwave, and that I really just don't like anymore. And then there is my granny's china that she gave me when I moved into this apartment. And my own good china which we rarely use (graduation gift)...

I didn't know what I wanted to replace my dishes, until I went to Target on Wednesday and fell in love with the most beautiful set of dishes. Unfortunately, they are not available at the online store, so I can't link to a photo. They have a cream background, on a heavy plate, and have stylized flowers. Quite beautiful. I am going to start out with a four-place setting, and expand it. I really hope they are not a seasonal thing.

Anyway, enough of the obsession over dishes! Time to get to work! I want most of this crap cleared out by tomorrow morning. I'll post progress!

* yesterday's step total: 9171

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Better, but this thing can't possibly be working right...

Today's step count was 9619.

How is that even possible? Yesterday, just over 3000, and today I'm up over 9000?

In any case, I think it jostles a lot when I am just moving in my chair at work. I was a lot more active this morning, and afternoon, but I would have been shocked to even just have twice the number of steps, let alone nearly three times...

Maybe I didn't have the pedometer on right yesterday...

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

It's never too early to plan for next year...

I have a confession to make.

I have started sewing projects for next year's faire already.

Yes, less than three weeks after the Des Moines Faire ended, I am sewing for next year.

I blame it all on the hours I spent browsing photos of the Royal Courts and Noble patrons last night. I was bored, I'll admit. I was at home all day with a cranky, sick teenager. Looking at all of the gorgeous, highly detailed garb made my fingers itch to add more detail to my own.

So, I resumed work on the gold snood I didn't have time to finish for this year's faire. It will be gorgeous when it's finished!

And then I started thinking about a piece of fabric I noticed when I went to JoAnn's a couple of weeks ago. It was gold, and embroidered. I had picked up the fabric, noticed it was only a 2 yard remnant, at $9.99/yard, and put it down as I wasn't thinking in terms of garb. Last night, it suddenly struck me that I had to have it, for sleeves and a forepart, and I was worried all of the way to the store that it would be gone.

Luckily, it was still there! So, I bought it, and will take it out of the money I earned at faire this year. While looking for a picture of it online, to share my beautiful find, I discovered a important, and happy fact:

I scored, big time.

Big, big, big time.

Embroidered Polyester Silk Oriana Camel Gorgeous golden color!

Regular price: $39.99/yard


Nothing like getting fabric 75% off...


Missing the mark

Today was the first day of the Walk to Wellness program at ISU. Basically, there are teams of 3-5 people, and we received pedometers once we registered (first 500 people to sign up got them free - our team included!). We have to wear the pedometers all day, from wake-up to bedtime, and enter our numbers of steps into a web site. We set a personal goal, and work to meet it.

The overall goal is to walk 10,000 steps per day.

I was so certain I could make that goal, so I set 10K as my personal goal.


So far today: 3136 steps

I am such a loser.

Well, this wellness program lasts the entire month of October, so maybe by the end I'll be able to meet my goal...

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

My face hurts...

from laughing too hard tonight!!!!!

The World's Weirdest/Stupidest Conspiracy Theories

Too many good ones to pull out for quotes. Just go read this. You know... this explains soooooo much.... ;)

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Des Moines Renaissance Faire 2007 Round-up

I figured that I had better get these links up before too much time had passed. I am still feeling the post-faire let-down. It was made even worse by the fact that a few of the court members are heading to the Minnesota Faire this Saturday, and I can't go. Of course, I am going to see my family this weekend, which is wonderful, but there is still that feeling of loss that comes from having to choose between two things you really want to do.

Anyway, here is the list (most of these photos, I can't provide a thumbnail on these, so you will just have to click to see the photo).

Have Court will Travel Photos at

Photos from Steve Gray

Caitlin's Photos (I particularely like this one of my son, the Earl of Oxford, and I.

More photos of the faire

And now from some actual pics from the Earl of Oxford (who remembered his camera the last day, unlike me):

The Duchess of Kent, the Earl of Oxford, and the Viscountess of Hereford

The Earl has an eye for the Ladies... ;)

The Gentlemen of the Court, and the young Viscount at a disadvantage...

And that concludes this photo round-up of the Faire!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

This week did not go as expected...

Yesterday morning, I was glad to get back to work. I got a lot done in the morning, and just started to get a little light-headed and nauseous around 11. I thought I probably needed to eat a little something, and had a snack. When I got home for lunch, my stomach was really upset, and again, I thought that I just had low blood sugar, and as soon as I ate something, it would feel better.

Halfway through lunch, I discovered that I was very mistaken. Needless to say, I didn't go back to work.

I managed some toast late last night, and it stayed down. This morning, I was still a bit icky feeling, so I stayed home again rather than end up getting to work and having to leave. I had some soup for lunch, and some fruit this afternoon. I also finally felt well enough to vacuum most of the apartment, and clean up the kitchen (13-year olds... yes, he can use the microwave, but he cannot clean up - he just doesn't see the mess).

And now, I am starving.

So, I only finished a couple of the house chores that I wanted to have accomplished by today. I am upset by that, but to be realistic, I was in no shape to do more. I am hoping that I will get back to normal by tomorrow.

And I'm down five pounds, which is about the only good thing about this...

Monday, September 17, 2007

After-faire Let-down

Much to write about the faire. I intend to write a nice, long post about the wonderful times we had, and link to various photo galleries to show those of you who couldn't make it just what you missed. Right now, however, I am still in the recovery stage.

I woke up this morning with a horrendous headache and terribly upset stomach. I had woken up at 4:30am both Sunday morning, and this morning, and just could not get back to sleep. I think it was just sheer exhaustion, and lack of good rest, as I feel a lot better now. I nearly fell asleep during my bath last night, which is why I am confused as to why I woke up so early. In any case, I slept about 6 hours off and on today, so I hope I am caught up enough.

356 days until next season!!!

Saturday, September 15, 2007


Temperature this morning, as we head into the last weekend of DMRF: 40°F

The high will be in the mid-60's, but this morning ought to be interesting...

Wednesday, September 05, 2007


Note to Nan!!! I was going to call you tonight, but every errand I ran tonight took longer than I had expected, and every chore took twice the time. Can I buy your little princess some fairy wings this weekend? Maybe even a pretty flower circlet for her hair? There are so many cute little girl things at the faire that I was ooohhh-ing and aahh-ing over this weekend (when I got a chance to shop, that is).


I am just taking a break from working on another shirt for Lord Seymour. I did not get a chance to work on anything last night, due to a school function, and I am starting to hit panic mode again. I have a ton of stuff to do tonight. Laundry is in the dryer, and our shirts/smocks, and my son's green doublet and pants are hanging in the bathroom to dry. I wanted to wash my gown tonight, but I ran out of laundry soap. Normal clothes had to be washed, too, and were more important. I hope that if I wash my red gown tomorrow night, that it will be dry by Friday night. I'll just have to finish the new sleeves so I can wear the black if needed. What a mess...

Anyway, back to work for me!

Monday, September 03, 2007

Media Coverage - the Datebook! And other stuff!

(whoops! Obviously, hitting the Return button while in the title field actually publishes the post... I hit Return instead of Tab, and posted this prematurely...)

I forgot to post this link on Thursday:

Renaissance Faire: for rogues, wenches AND families

My son's performer profile is in the sidebar - Lord William Woodville, the Viscount of Hereford.

Overall, a good article about the faire! Enjoy!

On a side note, I am glad that we have a break now until Saturday. I spent some time in the first aid room, suffering from a bit of exhaustion caused by the extreme heat, and from going straight from the joust to the weapons talk, and then participating in the Lady in Waiting Ceremony. We had no shade, and our patio, while lovely, focused all of the heat up our skirts. I started getting wobbly during the Lady in Waiting ceremony, and just focused on smiling, and knowing where the bench was behind me in case I needed to sit quickly. Afterwards, I asked permission to go to the castle.

What happened next was embarrassing. I made it to the FA Station, sat down, and just started crying and couldn't stop. I was just exhausted, and hot, and while I had been drinking water nearly continually, I was just too warm. I'd like to say that only the first aid people saw this, but unfortunately, there were quite a few people already in the room.

After about 30 minutes of rest, ice, and air conditioning, and a peanut butter sandwich (Yay, for Peter Pan!!!), I felt better, and able to attend the last joust, and finish out the day.

And now to recover enough for next weekend! So much laundry, so much house cleaning and grocery shopping... and still more sewing to do!

But tonight... sleep...

Sunday, September 02, 2007

2nd day, more fun than you can shake a stick at!

Wow! What a great day! We had a ton of people visit the faire today! 80 people at the weapons talk alone!

The heat was terrible, but we drank lots of water, and ate lightly (or rather I ate lightly, the Viscount had his normal 13-year-old's appetite). We also spent some time in the first aid room during breaks. After sitting for 10 minutes with ice on the back of my neck, and a fan blowing on me, I felt quite comfortable for a good time afterwards. Unfortunately, the Royal's Patio is without a sun shade at the moment, so it was quite warm.

After tomorrow, we get a few days break, then we get to do it all over again. :)

Saturday, September 01, 2007


Long day, but fun! The faire site is gorgeous, and we had lots of people attend our shows. Tomorrow is supposed to be much warmer, and I have no idea how I am going to deal with that, other than lots of water, and shade.

I am exhausted, and am waiting only for the washing machine to finish before relaxing in a bubble bath, and heading to bed very, very early.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Thanks, Fox, for the huge kick in the...

The Iowa State vs. Kent State game was supposed to be on channel 22 tonight. Instead, Ames viewers were greeted by an infographic saying that Fox had refused to let Mediacom show the game in Ames, because "Iowa is a Big 10 State."

Nice. Apparently, the rest of us don't count.

I missed the game anyway, due to my son wanting some time on the nintendo, and due to my Mad Men addiction. I only found out about this on the news just a few minutes ago.

After work, I had to go pick up my son from a birthday party. The house was mere blocks from the stadium, so I had a heck of a time even getting close to the house. Luckily, my son saw the car, and came out of the house. I saw at least one of my lab monitors carting a case of beer with a friend... I'll have to give him a bad time about that on Tuesday, when I get back to work.

You see, surprise of surprises, I am actually taking a day off of work tomorrow. I have been swamped for the last seven weeks, and I need a break. I plan to sleep, finish some faire related errands (I bought my son the wrong type of scrub pants, and then managed to lose the receipt!), and finish last second projects. I plan to be in bed by 10 pm, and sleeping by 10:15. I'm finally getting excited!

Anyway, just a couple of buttons left on my son's doublet, and then I need to cut out a little pouch to hold my rose coins, and a new pouch for my son (he lost the one I made him last year). I also finished the new bodice jewelry, and tacked it to the black bodice. Then, I have to modify the new scrub pants for my son. I still have quite a bit of work to do on the new sleeves, too. I keep finding more stuff that needs to be done before tomorrow night...

Anyway, a day off is exactly what I needed to save my sanity!!! :)

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


Small things this week, really, but still good:

1. Green doublet: just needs buttons.
2. Hat for my son: done.
3. 2nd high-necked smock: about 30 minutes of work left, then DONE.
4. Black bodice trim: half finished.
5. Remembered the photo order form and check for school pictures, along with making sure my son had something decent to wear ahead of time.
6. Fixed that keyserver problem yesterday morning, before the labs opened. Turns out some people no longer in our laptop lease program still had the keyserver client installed, which eventually put us over our client limit, causing any new machines that tried to connect to get put on a prohibited list. Erg.
7. Found updated printer driver for our color printer, for the Intel Macs, to fix a bug when printing from Photoshop CS3 (files printed showed up as "Unknown" documents, 1KB in size). Wrote a script to automatically install the printers, for our students to use on their laptops.

And much, much more.

Okay, time to go back to work...

Monday, August 27, 2007

Yes, it is possible to underestimate just how long this week is going to be...

My list of things to do at work just keeps getting longer, and I feel like I am barely keeping my head above the water.

I just need a break tonight, and tomorrow should be better.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Long day, sandwiched between two long weeks...

Yesterday was our final rehearsal before the faire opens this coming Saturday! It was a gorgeous day, despite a few puddles. Very productive!

I finally finished my son's new doublet, except for the 15 buttons down the front. I also made him a new hat out of black velveteen, with one white ostrich plume, and one peacock feather (Hobby Lobby is not open Sundays, so his request for three peacock feathers had to be shot down). I recyled the amber jewel from his last hat, fixed the tack back to it, and put it all together. It looks really good. His last hat was way too small, and was cutting off the circulation to his brain (or so he says... LOL).

I have a long list of things that need to be done before Friday. I have already prioritized, and scheduled the days for each task. I am hoping to be able to be done with everything before Friday, so I can concentrate on sleeping, and enjoying the anticipation of opening day.

Today was a pretty long day. Besides sewing, laundry, cleaning, etc, I had to train new lab monitors at work. That took all afternoon. Just before I left for work, I got a call from Lynne, our head of the Royal Court (you know, the wearer-of-the-pointy-hat). She said that she had been contacted by a reporter from the Des Moines Register's Datebook, who wanted to also interview my son, as he is one of the youngest performers at the faire.

I didn't have time to call back the reporter right away, as I needed to get to work, so we called this evening, and arranged to talk with her at nine or so. She talked with my son, then with me (to clarify things that my son didn't know) for about 45 minutes. My son did a great job, despite being pretty nervous. He had made some notes of things he thought she might ask, in case he would forget something while he was talking to her. I just explained that he just needed to pretend this was a friend of teacher asking the questions, and he'd do fine.

The article will appear in the Datebook on Thursday. It will probably show up online the same day. I'll post a link when I find it (and probably buy quite a few copies of the paper!!!).

Well, I'm blinking over the keyboard right now, with still an hour before I can take more Sudafed. I have a nasty cold that I hope does not turn into a sinus infection. I am coughing quite a bit, and my voice is going. I am going to be drinking tea with honey quite a bit this week, as I need to be able to talk this weekend. Today was better than last night, so I have hope that I can shake this quickly. Ten hours of sleep last night helped quite a bit. It's too hard to sew when your sinuses are driving you crazy... :)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Too busy.

Just finished cutting out my son's second doublet. I found a very nice green, uncut corduroy on sale at JoAnn Fabrics on Sunday. He really, really needs this second, more sturdy doublet. Hopefully, I'll be able to get it mostly sewn tomorrow, as I have other sewing that needs to be done. Less than two weeks until faire!!!!

Going crazy here... Need a vacation from everything...

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Done. Or nearly.

I am waiting for the last of the intel macs to finish being imaged. I would have been here much, much longer, if not for some creative thinking.

I grabbed my master machine from the G5 lab, stuck it on a cart, and rolled it into the MacPro lab. I connected a machine to it using target firewire disk mode, and applied the image to it's boot drive with NetRestore. I also copied the disk image itself to the machine's data partition. I used my firewire drive to apply the image to another machine, and copied the disk image to that machine's data drive as well.

This gave me three computers to use to apply the image to other computers, using target firewire mode, as well as my single firewire drive. I turned off the verify target option, to speed things up as well (after seeing that applying via target fw mode is less than half as fast as the firewire drive).

Even though using target firewire drive mode was much slower, it is still faster than using only a single firewire drive on 14 machines. I would have been done even faster, but it took awhile to get things set up. A 36 GB disk image takes time to copy, and even more time if you are using NetRestore at the same time. The first two machines took over an hour to build, with one taking an hour and 40 minutes.

In any case, if a couple of minutes the last machine will be done, and I can go to dinner with my son, then shopping for clothes, as I have nothing nice to wear anymore, and groceries, since we have nothing fast and healthy to cook left in the house.

In 14 hours, I'll be back at work, ready for the new semester. I intend to sleep at least ten of those hours... ;)

Beginning of the longest day.

I have no idea how I am going to finish everything I need to do today.

There is one main rule I stick with at work, and almost never push aside. If there is a problem that rises up in a radmind loadset, FIND OUT WHAT CAUSED IT, and FIGURE OUT HOW TO AVOID THE PROBLEM, or HOW TO FIX IT.

Friday morning, I disregarded that self-imposed rule, for the sake of expediency in getting the new intel Macs ready for the school year.

You see, Adobe After Effects CS3 was not playing well. It would not hold the serial number once the loadset was applied to the machines, not on the MacPros, nor on the older G5s. Not in the admin account or in the user account. One of my attempts at fixing it actually cause the MacPro to lose the ability to be logged in. When attempting to reset the password (thinking it maybe had been wiped out during testing), I got an error that no users were available on that volume.

Oh crap.

Time was wasting, though, so I ended up just reloading the machine using netrestore, and reverted back to an earlier version of after effects, that I already had working earlier this summer. It was only one machine, after all.

I applied the fix, and it worked perfectly on both types of machine.


I had one more software package to install - Maya 8.5. I sat at my master machine, a G5, and created the loadset. I applied it to all of the G5s, six at a time, as it was a large package, and I didn't want to overload the server and slow things down to a crawl. I then moved to the MacPros, and began applying it there.

Here is where I made the mistake of forgetting that I was dealing with two different types of machines.

Friday at 5:40 pm, after thinking everything was perfect, I went to the MacPros to start the apply on the last six machines, with the aim to going home, and just finishing up on Monday (they would have needed just a reboot to be ready for users).

I sat down at one of the finished machines, to test the overload. I was pretty confident it had worked correctly.

I couldn't login.

I couldn't login on any account at all.

The damn bug had been replicated, in the worst possible way.

I quickly stopped the last six from running, and ran to the server to remove that loadset from that command file. I ran radmind again on those six, and managed to salvage them.

But the other 14 will have to be reloaded today. They take 26 minutes to reload. Normally, I have two firewire drives, but I loaned one to my boss. I have one drive, and 14 machines. This was to be my last day off for the next month, between work and the faire.

This is the price to pay when not tracking down why something failed, because you think you don't have enough time. If I had spent even an hour figuring out what files were causing the problem in the first failed machine, or if I had tested one machine after applying that loadset (which I normally do, but I honestly thought there would be no problems with the maya loadset), I wouldn't have go to work today, on the worst possible day, to reload more than half a lab.

I am writing this out, in the hopes that it will remind me to never, ever make that mistake again.