Friday, February 29, 2008

Weekend Plans - It is actually going to be above freezing!

I have big plans for this weekend.

Spring. Cleaning.

I am soooo ready for spring. It is supposed to be in the 40s this weekend, so the windows are going to be opened, and the house is going to be cleaned from top to bottom.

My son is going to go through his room, box up all toys except Lego™, and pack them away to take to my parents' storage room. You see, we were going to do that before Christmas, but since I've felt like I was sleepwalking since before Thanksgiving, it didn't get finished. Now that the sun has been out a couple of days, and the snow is melting, I feel finally awake and ready to work at this. And I have a very willing helper. A helper who is going to be sucking up big-time for a very long time, and has nothing better to do, as he is grounded.

Don't even want to talk about it except to say that he has received his first and last D, and is fully aware of the mistake he made when he kept telling me that he was doing well in math this trimester. Whoops.

We've worked it out, and set out the restrictions he is going to have. I want to say that he learned a valuable lesson, but I think I'll have to wait to see if he really got what I was trying to say.

It was so much easier in elementary school...

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Disappointed in Project Runway.

If you were watching, you know that Chris is out and Rami is in.


Honestly, I loved Chris' clothes, and if I had the body and Budget, I would wear them in a heartbeat.

Rami's clothes were boring. Honestly boring.

Okay, I'm going to go back to reading a book and waiting for next week, when Jillian had better take the prize, or we'll know this show is rigged.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Don't even ask me how the weather is up here...

Especially if you are a telemarketer from South Carolina who has the guts to ask an Iowan how the weather is...

Today was an interesting day. Morning started out rough, with the accmulated snow and ice needing to be scraped off of the car. I left the house 20 minutes early, and it barely was early enough. The roads were awful in town, but cleared up by noon.

The diet has been going surprisingly well. I think I am more motivated than I can ever remember being about losing weight. I am going to make this work. Follow the program, learn to make good choices, and take off the damn weight. I am not as hungry as I was last week at the beginning of this. Part of that is timing and content of snacks. :)

Anyway, today's totals:

Breakfast: shredded wheat - 3 pts
Morning snack: Fat-free pretzels - 2 pts.

Lunch: Smart Ones Chicken Alfredo - 7 points (not terrible, but not the best)
Broccoli - 0
One slice of bread - 1 point

Snack (3:00): animal crackers - 3 pts

Dinner: 3 oz baked chicken - 3 pts
8 oz steamed potatoes with butter spray and Lawry's Salt (oh yummy!) - 3 pts (this was a serious amount of potatoes, if you've never measured. almost too much to eat)
winter mix vegetables - 0

Evening snack (8 pm) - pretzels - 2 points

Totally not hungry now at all.

Total: 24 points - very good!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Accidental Art

From this month's issue of National Geographic:

The God Particle

Yummy pics of the Large Hadron Particle Collider, and a very interesting article, too. We haven't gotten our print edition of this mag yet, as we always have a gap in our subscription due to renewing through the magazine sales at the middle school (then we get two months at once). Can't wait to get it!

Visit the article, and see more incredibly beautiful images of this collider. To me, part of what makes it so beautiful is that the design of the collider was dictated by its needs, symmetry combined with practicality. I would love to be standing were the man in the photo is standing. It would be overwhelmingly lovely!

Geek Outing

Yesterday, for a scout activity, the kids had planned to go to the Science Center in Des Moines. The plan was to explore for a few hours, then go to an IMAX movie.

Well, it turns out, the only people who were able to go were my son and I, and one of our assistant scoutmasters (we have a very small troop, and initially, two more boys and their father were going. But, one of the boys was behind in homework, and so they called to say they weren't coming). We still had fun. I can't remember getting to explore the center in such detail before.

I knew it was going to be a good visit when we walked in the front door, and found this:

The teenager wanted to take it home with him...

I especially like the space room (surprise, duh), and we spent a long time there. They had huge binders with collected space news, and good info and shots from current missions. They had a nice display about an astronaut from Iowa who was a commander on a recent shuttle mission (nice ISU shirt!). We built Lego spaceships (the teenager built the Galactica, of course, in the amount of time it took B and I to even put parts of generic ships together), and the teenager helped little kids play with the marbles in the gravity well.

I even did something I never thought I would do in my entire life.

I touched a snake.

Yep, I really did. One of the staff had one out for people to see and touch. Non-poisonous, of course (they have plenty of poisonous ones there, too).

Lunch was good, but we all ate too much. My son had a cheeseburger, fries, and a piece of pizza from my personal cheese pizza, and one from B's meat-lovers pizza. We also shared an order of breadsticks. I know the teenager had skipped breakfast to be able to eat there, but I had no such excuse. 13.75 points for the pizza*, 3 points for the breadstick, 1 for the sauce. Oh, but it was good. The guys said the cheeseburgers were really good, too. My son declared the cheeseburger and fries better than Culver's, which made me regret not getting that instead of pizza.

Anyway, we never had a chance to get bored at the center. My only complaint would be that they are not maintaining the exhibits as well as they should be (which was a problem in the old science center, too). More things were broken than should have been. For some, things that a simple blob of glue would fix. For example, in the reptile room (not its real name), they have drawers with fossils, rocks, and leaves. In some drawers, the individual pieces had come unglued, and were loose and out of place in the drawer, making that drawer pretty much unusable for its intended purpose (identification). At least two drawers, out of six, in each of the three towers had problems. I wanted to tell someone to give me a screwdriver and the glue gun, and I would fix it myself.

In all, I counted five activities that were actually broken (that would take more than glue to fix), and that didn't include the problems with the Galactic Jukebox, where you could put together clips of what you wanted to see in the Star Theater. The putting together of the show worked, but when we viewed them, everyone's shows had clips that would suddenly drop out early, or the wrong audio was with the wrong video. It was weird. We made sure to tell a volunteer about this, so they could fix it. It was more disappointing that anything, because when it works, it's really cool.

One exhibit room was completely blocked off, with no signs to explain why (were they putting together an exhibition?). We weren't the only people to comment on this.

All in all, it was a good day, but I could have gone to a regular movie theater to see Spiderwick, and been happier with it. I wouldn't have had kids kicking my seat and talking through the ENTIRE MOVIE, nor would we have been sitting next to adults who treated the place like their living room (what adult needs to leave THREE TIMES during a 90 minute movie???). From what I hear, that's a Des Moines thing... And yes, I did ask the kids to please quit talking, but if the parents don't back that up, it's a losing battle). For the love of God, teach your kids how to act in a public theater before taking them to one.

We did, however, decide to go back next Saturday morning and see the Mars movie. That would be worth seeing, and I doubt any little kids will be in that one.

All in all, a good day. :)

* 17 for a whole pizza hut personal, regardless of toppings, so really, it was probably slightly less points total. I am not going to post a complete points breakdown for yesterday, but believe it or not, by good breakfast and dinner choices, I stayed within my points for the day.

Friday, February 22, 2008

I'm honestly not really trying to bore you all...

I'm just not the most interesting person in the world. Sorry. That's what happens when you take the chocolate away from me. Seriously.

Okay, today, I did okay on the diet. I saw a slight improvement on the scale this morning, but it's too early to count. Anyway, here is today's totals so far:

Breakfast (broken record):
shredded wheat - 3 pts.
BTW, this shredded wheat is the Strawberry Delight frosted mini-wheats. Very good!

fat-free pretzels - 2 pts.

Smart Ones Fettuccine Alfredo, with extra broccoli: 7 6 points. Loved this!

more pretzels - 2 pts.

I've been chewing gum to get through the early evening until dinner, so was able to cut out a snack.

4 oz chicken, cut up and fried with Pam - 4 pts.
wild rice - 3 pts
water chestnuts - free
soy sauce - 1 (less than 1, really. Only 10 calories per tbsp.)
onion - 0

Yes, I need a snack right now. Not sure what it will be. Maybe an apple or applesauce, and pretzels...

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Day 2

Breakfast: shredded wheat - 3pts.
mid-morning snack: same - 3pts

Weight Watchers, Smart Ones: Slow Roasted Turkey Breast, with mashed potatoes: 4 pts.
green beans: free
bread, three slices: 3 pts. (hoping to avoid afternoon cravings)

Snack: Harvest Cheddar Sun Chips: 4 points - helped bridge the gap, as dinner wasn't ready until after 7.

4 oz. chicken breast - 4 points (baked, with butter spray, and crushed Italian croutons, less than 1/4 serving)
cauliflower - 0 points
instant mashed potatoes*, one serving, with butter spray and garlic: 2 points or less (did my calcs on the info on the box for the prepared mix, but left out the butter)

One serving fat free pretzels: 2 points, for 32 pieces. great snack, couldn't tell they were fat free at all.

Guilty pleasure: 1 cadbury caramel chocolate egg. I told myself I wasn't going to eat it, but that would be like telling Riker he couldn't go on an Away Mission. I ate it, I'm owning up to it: 4 points.

Total: 29 points, but probably less considering I used no butter on the potatoes.

Disappointing. But, I had points left over yesterday, so not a terrible start. Tomorrow night, I'm adding exercise.

* Note: The only reason I used instant potatoes was due to the fact that the bag of potatoes I bought last week smelled musty when washed. I hate it when that happens. The garlic seasoning helped mask the school-lunch taste.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Day 1 - Diet Begins

Accountability is key. My range: 22-29 points. If you are familiar with WW, you will be able to guess my weight. I am very alarmed by it myself, because it snuck up on me. This is the first step to getting rid of bad habits and getting healthy. And getting into my corset and court gowns...

Breakfast: yum!
1 serving Frosted mini-wheats = 3 pts.

Lunch: very good, and filling!
Weight Watchers, Smart Ones: Slow Roasted Turkey Breast, with mashed potatoes: 4 pts.
green beans: free
bread, two slices: 2 pts.

Snack: work, 3:15
one serving animal crackers: 3pts
100 calorie snack pack, Ritz Snack Mix: 2 pts. - YUCK. I should have just poured the salt straight down my throat. Couldn't finish this.

Healthy Choice French bread pizza - cheese: 7 pts. Yuck. Too much sauce, and the sauce was not good. Waste of 7 points and $3
1 cup unsweetened applesauce, with nutrisweet: 1 pt.

Evening Snack: (Yes, I'm a snacker. That's how I got into this mess!)
one serving microwave kettle corn: 3 pts.
one apple: 1 pt.

Today's total: 26 pts.

Still hungry, though, and I shouldn't be. Tomorrow, I'll actually cook dinner, and I shouldn't have any problems. Heck, I really started this last night at dinner, and didn't have any problems. Wasn't hungry at all last night. Tonight... should have had soup instead of the popcorn and apple. Same points, would have been more filling.

Anyway, more updates tomorrow...

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Something I forgot to add to the last post...

Is there any reason why I should have my third sore throat in three weeks??? Seriously, this is getting ridiculous... I really do not want to have to go to the doctor again this month (had a checkup two weeks ago). No fever or anything, but this is not normal. WTF is going on? Maybe I do have mono after all...

P.S.: The reason I am up so late posting, is because I fell asleep on the couch at 4, and did not wake up until nearly 7, when my son woke me up because he was hungry for dinner. I could have slept until morning if he hadn't.

How I spent my lazy Sunday evening...

Second week in January, I went to Hobby Lobby, to scope out the 80% off Christmas items sale. I picked up some really great stuff, including this bead garland, for $1.

I spent a bit of time last night trying out possible "edits" to this garland to turn it into a renaissance girdle belt, playing off different styles seen in paintings of the period, and a little jaunt to the Sapphire and Sage site for inspiration (if I had the money, I'd spent a LOT there.).

I discarded the first variation, then spent more time tonight trying different options before coming up with this final version. This is just the section that will hang down from the center front of the belt.

This is the bottom edge, showing the bottom decoration.

This photo shows the center section, so you can get an idea of the pattern to the design. Nearly all of the "gold" plastic (shudder) beads are from the Christmas garland. The except are the gold metal beads that are placed next to the larger pearl crosspieces. The large pearls are from a Christmas ornament that I bought at the same same for 50 cents (and I had pearls of enormous size left over). Again, plastic. Yuck. But, they will do. The smaller pearls are 8mm (oyster) and 10 mm (ecru) glass pearls. The red glass beads are 6mm, and quite a lovely red (not so bright red as in the photos). The red oval-ish beads at the bottom of the piece are acrylic, and I have had them for years.

I was worried about using the plastic beads, but this ended up being pretty heavy as it is. I can't imagine what it would weigh if I had used all metal and glass beads... Besides, no one is going to get close enough to be able to tell the difference. The designs of the beads are within period bounds, so I am not too worried. I am creating a look, not 100% accuracy. Besides, the dress itself usually weighs enough that saving weight elsewhere is essential.

This was a great project for a blizzardy day...

Note: This was a "stash" piece. I did not buy anything to complete it, with the most recent purchases being the garland and ornaments. I am trying to see how many jewelry and garb pieces I can complete without additional purchases (with the exception of duct ties, for bodice boning, because I am completely out). The only additional allowable purchases will be thread, fastenings, and maybe cotton for lining.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Another Valentine's Day Escapade...

When I woke up this morning, I felt like I had been standing for hours or walking for days, or climbing hills in flip flops for miles.

All day, my legs hurt, at the top where they join my hips. As the day went on, it got worse and worse. I couldn't figure out why.

It wasn't until my son and I were getting ready to go shopping that I remembered a reason why I might be in such pain.

Yesterday, while getting out of the car at HyVee, I realized I had parked in a 2 inch deep puddle. While trying to avoid stepping into the freezing cold mess, I kept my right foot in the car, and gingerly extended my left foot to higher ground.

And promptly slipped, plunging my left foot into the water, and overextending my legs.

I managed to keep myself from falling into the puddle, and breaking something, but in the process, must have pulled some muscles. But, the important thing is, I didn't fall further, and break my hip. Because then I would feel really old, and really stupid, instead of merely in pain that will eventually get better.

By the time we got to Walmart tonight to buy a new DVD player, I was regretting leaving home. Walking is not fun at all. To make matters worse, I forgot to buy more Tylenol...

I just hope I can manage to get my housework done tomorrow...

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Fabulous Day...

(no, really, I mean it...)

Here was my reward for working so hard today:

1. Upset stomach,
2. Way too much to do before tomorrow morning (cleaning),
3. and a broken DVD player.

Yep, my DVD player decided to quit working. It just doesn't power on at all anymore, no matter where it is plugged in. This really sucks. Now I have to go buy a new one.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Someone shut off the jackhammer in my head...

I have been fighting a terrible headache since noon. Nice wrap-around headache. Nothing is touching it.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Wha huh wa?

Yes, we all know it's Fashion week, and that the Project Runway Season 4 is kind of off in its airing schedule, either by purpose or screw up.

Being bored this afternoon, I decided to go to the PR site and read some blogs, commentary, etc.

And what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a link to the Project Runway Season 4 Fashion Week collections!!!!!!!! ?????????

Of course, I clicked through, and it shows collections for the remaining 5 designers, Chris, Sweet Pea, Jillian, Christian, and Rami. So, yes, I know this doesn't tell who wins, and that all we know is that all five showed a collection of some sort (and so did Victorya). And the teaser for next week's episode has Tim saying 2 designers will be out.

I'm slightly disappointed to have seen the final set of clothes, but I am ga-ga over Chris' collection. Just perfect. I love the use of color and prints.

Chris' Collection

Costuming work - Gold Forepart and Sleeves

I finally am nearly finished with a project I've been working on since mid-January. Here are a couple of pics of a new forepart and sleeve set for my black gown:

The gold is a piece of fabric I got on sale at JoAnn fabrics, for $10/yard. It was originally $40/yard, so it was a great deal. I barely had enough at 2 yards. I am using the paned sleeve and the forepart patterns from the Margo Anderson Ladies patterns. The forepart is backed in cotton drill, and has about 200 4mm and 8 mm pearls sewn to it. The red and gold trim has a pattern of stylized flowers. This was a Hobby Lobby clearance find at about $1/yard.

The sleeves are lined with two layers of quilter's cotton, and embellished with 4 mm, 8mm, and 10mm glass pearls and gold cord. I still need to finish the top edges of the one sleeve, and sew the panes together for the other.

The gold cord was in the Christmas ribbon section at Hobby Lobby, for $2.50 for a roll of 10 yards. I had two rolls, and used about 12.5 yards on these two projects. I really wish I had bought more, as there is another project I'd like to use it for. Now I'll have to wait until they put the holiday stuff out again in June or July, and hope I have enough time to add it to the new dress.

This has been a fun project, as I am not rushing through it to get ready for faire. I have months to go before our first booked faire at the end of May, and even if we work at the Amana faire again for the court, I have plenty of time. I can't wait to wear this!!!

Friday, February 08, 2008


I hate falling asleep on the couch, especially on Friday night.

As best I can figure out, I dropped off around 8 and woke up at around 10. Now I feel like I am forgetting something extremely important, and I can't quite figure out what it is exactly. So, I can't go back to sleep, as I am feeling anxious. Nothing scheduled for tomorrow. Laundry is mostly caught up. House needs an hour to get back into shape. No real reason for anxiety. Bummer.

So, it's time to fall back on the old standby - channel surfing.

I managed to find Bridget Jones' Diary on Bravo, although it loses something in the editing for TV. Such a sweet story, really. Too bad it's nearly over.

I doubt I'll find anything else on at this time of night. And no, out of general principal, I do not watch the Lifetime Movie Network, because seriously, every movie they show has one of four topics: 1. abused wife/girlfriend flees psycho spouse/boyfriend/stalker, 2. daughter/single/divorced mom beats incredible odds while dealing with personal tragedy, 3. woman/girl with eating disorder, 4. woman/mother with cancer or other terrible disease.

In other words, the same four movies. Only the names of the characters, and sometimes the actors that play them, change.

Boring night...

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Everything all at once, or nothing at all.

I stayed home from work today, because I had a terrible sore throat still this morning, and had spent most of last night with the chills. By 3, I was feeling almost human, despite the fact that I knew my son had a band concert at 5, and needed to be at the school by 4:30.

As we were getting ready for the concert, he dropped another bombshell on me.

High School orientation at 7:00 pm tonight.

So not ready to have a freshman in high school.

Be careful what you wish for...

feel even worse this morning, and I now have a fever. :(

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

The only thing that could have made me feel better tonight just happened.

Ricky finally, finally, finally got voted off of Project Runway!!!!!!!! And Chris won the challenge!!!!!!!

Okay, now I can go to sleep... Out of tylenol pm, so I may not be able to accomplish that, but I am going to try.

How can I fell this crappy and not have a fever???

I either have strep throat or the real flu. And my thermometer has to be broken, because I'm reading really low (78.9°F). My bones ache and my throat feels horrid...

Monday, February 04, 2008

Sad news...

A couple of years ago, this person I didn't know left a comment on one of my posts regarding a time my son was sick.

I started reading his blog, which documented his struggles with ALS, and his decline.

Well, Saturday, Brainhell lost his battle with ALS.


Sunday, February 03, 2008

Further cementing the whole geek thing.

On the way home, while talking over our Super Bowl party plans for tonight, my son and I realized that we had no desire to actually watch the game. We would basically be watching for the commercials and half-time show.

So, we broke with tradition, and had an Enterprise/Next Gen marathon.

We did catch the last bit of the game, so we saw the upset.

And that was enough for us.

Next year, all out Battlestar Galactica marathon...