Monday, December 31, 2007

Still recovering

We're still digging out of the Xmas avalanche, so not much is going on of any consequence.

We're still looking for DH's wedding ring, although I haven't had a chance this week to really dig around and hunt for it. I'm hoping that it shows up soon, but that may be a hopeless idea. It's off cavorting somewhere with my original Swiss Army Knife, which hasn't been seen since our wedding day. I kept hoping to find it, and swore that I'd trip over it as soon as I ordered the replacement, but no such luck yet. (I'm still expecting it to appear after we move and unbox everything.)

Need to work on the goals for 2008, and figure out what, if anything, actually got accomplished in 2007. More on that later. I've gotta go roust a Burrito from his nap so we can get ready for our holiday partying.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Still looking

I'm still looking for DH's ring, and digging out of the Xmas avalanche. Bah!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

We survived Christmas

The only serious casualty so far is that DH misplaced his wedding band somewhere and we haven't found it yet. Can't even pinpoint the last time he remembers having it on, so it could be a fun time.

We're actually not done with Christmas. Thanks to a rotten schedule, El Burrito has one more Christmas morning to get through. We spent Christmas Eve with DH's family, and Christmas Day with mine, so we decided to hold off on opening the things we (and Santa) got him until Saturday morning, so we can have some time to enjoy it. I'd wanted to open some Christmas morning, but that was spent rushing around to get to my Mom's in time for gifts, so it didn't happen. Which means DH and I haven't opened ours either.

This is one of my gripes with Christmas - I'm 35 freaking years old, and the only time I've had a nice relaxed Christmas morning as an "adult" would be the year that we had a snowstorm on Christmas morning. The weather was too bad to drive, so DH and I stayed here and had time to open our gifts without being in a rush. Of course, that was also the day I found my first grey hair (having dark hair stinks - it makes the grey stick out like a sore thumb). Other than that one year, I've spent every Christmas morning for the past ten or so hurrying to get to Mom's before everything was over.

I swear, it's going to be different next year. I just don't know how yet.

And later, after everything's unpacked and sorted out, you may get the details on how head-bangingly frustrating my Christmas has been. Or not. :)

Friday, December 21, 2007

3 Days left

Well, only three days until Christmas now.

In spite of watching A Charlie Brown Christmas almost every day, and listening to the soundtrack a lot, I still don't feel like it should be Christmas already. At least the shopping is finished, so we don't have to go anywhere near the mall this weekend. There's just the wrapping to do, and the endless driving to look forward to.

El Burrito and I did hit the mall this morning, since his photos were ready to pick up. Wouldn't you know, the one time I was hoping they'd print a few "extras" to tempt me with (one pose in particular), they didn't do any at all. The clerk was surprised that there weren't any specs. So, I guess I'll have to see if I want them bad enough to pay "full" price for them. El Burrito got lucky in Target. He's been playing all week with a little "Cars" wallet that I got in Target's Dollar Spot - it's a gag gift for BIL. I went to Target this morning planning to buy El Burrito one, since he's so enamored of the other one. He got the only one I could find, and it was hiding in a bunch of play mats. Target's already got the Valentine stuff out in the Dollar Spot, and Christmas lights are already 30% off. Jeez, can't the Christmas sales wait until, oh, maybe after Christmas?

We also came home with a certain Cookie Monster stocking, crazy as it may be. Pictures later, it's just too funny. Or maybe I'm just odd.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Wrapping Day!

After lunch today (i.e. in about 90 minutes), Wrapping Day 2007 will kick in.

Thanks to El Burrito, the usual routine has to be modified. We'll be watching A Charlie Brown Christmas with lunch (because we have no kitchen table, and eat in the living room), and then I'm putting in a Due South DVD and El Burrito can supervise from the playpen while I wrap and watch. I usually watch the "Victoria's Secret" 2-part episode (nothing to do with the underwear store!), but someone, in their infinite wisdom, put Part 1 on Side A and Part 2 on Side B. I may not want to hassle with flipping the disc, or dealing with double-sided discs at all, so I may watch different episodes.

We need to finish wrapping today, or at least wrap the stuff that has El Burrito so distracted. The gift pile includes a Cars wallet, a car-shaped mouse, and a Tracfone, all of which the boy keeps digging out of the gift tub and toting around. He gets a little cranky when I take those away from him.

At the very least, DH's surprises and the "distracting" gifts are getting wrapped today. Tonight, we haul out the tub of El Burrito's goodies, and decide what Santa's bringing and what we're giving him. Somehow, it's worked out that almost all his toys are wood-based, and only two need batteries. I'm sure that won't be the case for the gifts from his grandparents, but it's a start. We'll find out later how the Fisher Price Computer Learning System works out. His grandma got it for him, because the boy can not leave the keyboard and mouse alone, but I'm not sure that giving him another reason to play with the keyboard is the way to go.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Christmas Countdown

So, here it is, less than a week until Christmas. We still have one person to shop for and a few gifts to pick up (gift cards).

And practically NOTHING is wrapped, because someone (who will remain nameless, but he's the only toddler in the house) flat-out refused to nap today and insists on staying up way later than he should. So I got no wrapping done today, or even a lousy shower, thank you. I don't normally bug the DH at work, but I had to call him earlier just to vent a little. And to have him talk to that little someone on the phone about naptime, but it didn't work.

Yeah, it's a great day. And it's been this way all week.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

One week until Christmas!

Eeek. And, it turns out, the big box of wrapping stuff (bows, ribbon, etc) is in storage, and has been for a year or two, DH says. So we're stuck with the wrapping paper that was stored under the couch. No ribbon this year.

I swear, next year, I'm really decorating. Not just three strings of lights and a 2-foot tree; we're going all out. And by then, I'll have some of those spiral trees that I like so much, but have no place to display.

Monday, December 17, 2007

It's unnatural

Really. The weather forecast right now is predicting a high in the 50s for Christmas day in Missouri. That's just not right. This isn't California or Florida, darn it, it's supposed to be cold (and ideally snowy) for Christmas.

I want a white Christmas! Thought I was going to get one, what with 7 inches of snow on the ground right now and a single-digit wind chill, but no. It's going to be in the 40s by Thursday, so all we'll have is acres of sloppy mud.

This stinks.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

I'm tired.

I'm tired of basically wasting money because I can't find things or I'm not paying attention.

Like coupons. We got El Burrito's photos at Sears this week, and ended up messing up two things. I forgot to get prints of one of the cutest shots, because I was distracted and hungry. Then we skipped a collage that had all of the poses in it, because it wasn't the $2.99 we thought it was. Turns out, I had a coupon that would have gotten it free. But, since I hadn't looked through the mail from two days ago, I didn't know it. And, since it's been two days, I can't add to the order at the sale price. So, if I want a print of the cute pose, it's going to cost me $15 plus shipping, instead of the $2.99 I would have paid if I'd just woke up and paid attention to what was going on.

Yes, I'm a little miffed at myself right now.

I'm also tired because once again, it's 2 freaking a.m. and we're still awake. And we have a ton of stuff to do Sunday (i.e. today), because we mucked around today (i.e. Saturday) and got nothing accomplished.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

More snow

We got a lovely snow overnight, probably four inches, and it's still snowing. No holiday shopping for us today. :(

Hopefully the church's Santa Claus dinner tomorrow won't be cancelled again. It was originally last weekend, but the ice storm postponed it. One way or another, I'd like for El Burrito to get to meet Santa this year, now that he's old enough to sort of get it.

Friday, December 14, 2007

I swear . . .

. . . that as soon as we get through Christmas and New Year's, we will be house-hunting again. The boy and this place are getting on my last nerve this week, and it wasn't a sturdy nerve to begin with.

Believe it or not, the only sizable place I can find to put things (Christmas gifts, fragile things, whatever) out of El Burrito's reach? The bathtub. Because there are really only 4 rooms here, none of which can be made a No Burrito zone, unfortunately. The bathtub hasn't been used for bathing in a few years, because the person who designed the front bathroom was obviously smoking something that day. After they squeezed in a tub, toilet, and sink, there's not enough room to turn around. There's about an inch of clearance between the door and the toilet, and when the door is open, the tub is inaccessible. (Which is why El Burrito is still getting sink baths.)

Anyway. The fact that I can't keep things out of the boy's reach is getting to be a problem, and it'll only get worse the taller he gets. Luckily he hasn't broken anything yet, or managed to hurt himself, although he's got a habit of "relocating" things (his comb has been missing for a month). He likes to play with the PC mouse and keyboard, and short of unplugging them, the desk isn't wide enough to put them out of reach. He's rebooted the PC once, and somehow has found a key combo that will log me out, log his father in, and make the PC attempt to install Paint Shop Pro (even though it's already installed).

So, we've got to move soon. Really. (Yes, I've been saying this for, oh, 3 years now. This time, I may actually mean it.)

*****

In other news, we got El Burrito's photo taken at Sears last night, and a family portrait. It took 2 hours, most of that deciding what to order afterwards (and I managed to not get a print of one of the best ones). Oh, and Jan? We made it out with $70 worth of prints. I was tempted to get the photo CD again, but they wanted $69.99 for it. Now, if they have a $19.99 "special" when I pick up the prints, I may consider it, but $70 is insane.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

I'm not ready for Christmas

In case anyone was wondering.

Note to the wise - chocolate-covered marshmallow bunnies are not at their peak taste when eaten 8 months after Easter. Especially when they were in the car traveling to Tennessee and back. (The marshmallow is a little stiff. It's odd.)

We've got an appointment this evening to get Xmas pictures taken of El Burrito, and probably the three of us. Which means I need to get offline and try to intimidate my hair into looking halfway presentable, and figure out what I can wear that makes me look less like, oh, someone who still weighs approximately what I did when I was 8 months pregnant. Fun!

DH's doctor gave him a month's trial of Byetta and a follow-up appointment in January. Loads of fun. The info pack says repeatedly to eat within an hour of taking the medicine, but they don't mention anywhere just what will happen if you don't eat (say because of car trouble or something). Yeah, there are ways, like keeping snacks around, but I'd still like to know what happens, just to be prepared and all.

And there's some lovely stuff brewing with my family, which is enough to make me want to throw fish at people. My brother's girlfriend works at the same company one of my aunts does, and apparently there's some conflict going on. And this aunt, one of Mom's sisters, has worked there for a while (girlfriend is new) and is very good at stirring up crap without getting any of it on her.

Also, my slightly tacky side is showing. At Target last night, I found the craziest Christmas stocking with a Cookie Monster head attached. It sings carols and makes Cooking Monster comments. I am so tempted to go get one, even for $14.99; I only saw one on the rack, and it's not showing up online. I draw the line at fake-mounted singing fish, though.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Lots of Pictures

Lots of pictures:



Sunset, December 4th.

*****


El Burrito's new hat. The yarn did a nice diagonal-stripe thing toward the end. He's gotten compliments on it a few times already.

*******


The Big Fluffy snowflakes from last weekend.

****


The ice that we got on top of the snow.


*****


Our pathetic holiday decorations: a string of lights suction-cupped to the window, a short string of LED lights on the stair rail, and the tiny fiber-optic tree. Oh, and a few of Breyer's Christmas horses. Three and a half so far - I have the accessories for one set, and can not find the horse anywhere. I know it's here; I have the box for it. Just can't remember where I put the horse. And it's bigger than a breadbox, so it's kind of hard to misplace.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Not my best day

This feels like a wasted day. My main accomplishments are: reading many, many, many books to El Burrito, cleaning up the meat that leaked in the fridge, and taking a shower.

In other words, the dishwasher is full of dirty dishes and I don't have a clue on dinner, which means sandwiches. Again. And we have to eat early, since DH has a checkup tomorrow, which means bloodwork, which means no food after 8 or so (we eat late). Plus, I haven't ordered the 2 gifts that I meant to. Crap.

Speaking of which, his doctor brought up the idea of prescribing Byetta last time (DH has Type 2 diabetes), and he'll probably going to want DH to start it now. I'm really not crazy about the idea, but I'm not sure why. Maybe it's the needles, maybe it's just the not-so-logical thought that I (and DH) should/could have done something to "fix" it - being more strict on the diet, more exercise, cooking better, whatever. It just makes me feel like I've failed at something, illogical as that may be.

(Like there aren't enough things I already feel like I've failed at - my weight, socializing El Burrito, the whole "job" thing. Just to name a few.)

Oh, and my hair and I? Not getting along well these days. No matter what I do, it seems to look scruffy, and the bangs are always in my eyes. Which means, of course, that it's time for Xmas pictures. As in family pictures. Humph.

Like the normal holiday stress wasn't enough, now I've got all this. And, the topper, the chance of a lovely ice/freezing rain/snow storm tonight. Joy.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Ice and more ice

Wow.

You know, I like winter in general. I can live without bitter cold weather, but some cold is just fine (and keeps the bugs in control). Snow? Not so bad, and fun to play in. But ice? Unless it's in a cube and keeping my drink cold, or in a glacier somewhere, I can do just fine without it, thanks. You can drive in snow, but ice makes traveling pretty hazardous (especially for people who seem to think that an SUV can get them anywhere).

If you haven't heard, the midwest got some nasty weather over the weekend, and more is on the way. We got about 1/4-inch of ice/sleet/freezing rain over the weekend, and our area got of easy compared to the southern part of the state where my parents live. I haven't tried to call yet, but I'm betting that they're sitting in the dark, based on the Ameren maps. (They don't have Ameren electric, but I doubt the downed lines are just an Ameren problem.)

It's bad enough that our governor declared a state of emergency over the weekend. Joy. It hasn't even been a year since our last nasty ice storm, and some rural areas are still cleaning up the tree debris.

Anyway, we've still got power, and enough groceries to tide us over until the city could get the streets clean. (Living near the main city streets and less than a mile from the grocery store can be an advantage at times.) There's an Ice Storm Warning until Wednesday night; they're predicting up to another 1/4 inch of ice. The weatherman is predicting ice and/or freezing rain tonight, then rain tomorrow, and so on until Wednesday. And our local weather channel, which used to show the weather radar all the time, has now gone to crap. It's about 50% commercials now, and in the middle of this weather mess over the weekend, their forecast was 3 hours old. Totally worthless.

And now, on to the good news:
  • My email to Ziploc last week about their lid issues got some results. I didn't get anything specific as a reply (lazy eejits), but I did get an envelope today with coupons for 2 free packs of Ziploc containers, along with some other coupons. Makes me think I should send them another comment about the bowl that melted in the microwave this summer - in spite of saying "microwave-safe" on the label, and being heated for less than a minute.
  • The Christmas Tree is up. Of course, that took all of half an hour, and most of that was finding the power strip and getting it set up. It's a 32-inch fiber optic tree from the post-Christmas clearance at Dollar General 2 years ago, decorated with an 18-foot strand of copper-colored beads (20-cent clearance find). Yeah, we really splurged on the decorations. :) Now I just need to hang the lights in the windows and on the railing.
  • Check out the Christmas Cards from the Hubble Space Telescope. I may print a few of those off, if I don't have enough photo-cards to go around (since I can only find one of the two boxes of cards).
El Burrito's vocabulary made some leaps last week. We've started a list of the words he knows, although most of them probably aren't clear enough yet for a stranger to understand. I'm still not sure where he learned "pie" since it's not a common thing in our house. :) "Read!!" is still the big one, complete with exclamation points. And we had to call Grandpa over the weekend, so El Burrito could tell him what a sheep and a chicken say. The boy does a pretty good chicken, a hilarious sheep, and a good pig impression, too. I'm just sorry that we never got his original duck sound on tape - he sounded a lot like Daffy Duck. I managed to get the rest of them on video last week, though.

The boy's also got some muscles. He was "supervising" yesterday while we put the groceries away, and he managed to lift a 5-pound bag of potatoes off the floor and carry it over to me. All of 2 feet away, but I was still impressed.

Ah well. Back to the laundry.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Stumped

I've got less than 3 weeks until Christmas, and no clue on what to get DH for Christmas, other than the traditional Dilbert page-a-day calendar. I've got a couple of ideas, but actually finding the items is the sticky part, not to mention getting them delivered in time. And a toddler in the house is not good for the concentration needed to bargain-hunt online. Gah. Where did November go??

Speaking of Christmas

  • USA is showing new Christmas episodes of Psych and Monk tonight (yay!) Also tonight, the last episode of Stargate: Atlantis for the year, but I doubt the holidays are mentioned.
  • The BBC website has a Doctor Who Advent(ure) calendar online. Apparently there's a Christmas Who, at least if you're overseas. (Note: the calendar is not so spiffy on a dialup connection. Maybe I'll have to try it out at the library or somewhere.) There's also a non-Flash version.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Bugging me today

Companies that are bugging me these days:

  • Ziploc - Because the lids of the new "Snap n Seal" containers don't fit the almost-identical "Snap n Seal" containers that I bought two years ago. (The bottoms sides of which suffer a high mortality rate when they do kamikaze leaps out of the freezer. Hence the new bottom/old lid issue).
  • Playtex - I love their sippy cups, but would it kill them to put some measurement indicators on the side? I'm ready to take a Sharpie to all of them.
  • Playtex again - Because they have this website, but don't accept emailed questions or comments. It's phone or mail. Twits.
  • Evenflo - Maker of our 2nd car seat. They list "optional" shoulder-harness cushions in the manual, but when I called, I was told that the cushions are out of stock and won't be made any more. But they would gladly sell me the $60 set of all the pads and cushions. Hah!
  • Olympus - I love their cameras, but they used to have this online trouble-shooting program (called Uncle Otto). It was very helpful when I had a weird problem with my old C-3020. Now the SP-510 is having issues with focusing and, you know, actually taking a picture when I press the shutter. Not constantly, and nothing I can replicate on demand, but often enough to bug me severely. The only help now is phone support. Now, I've still got a wicked cough, and I'm hoping that I'll actually get someone who speaks intelligible English when I call. Because the outsourced Tracfone CS this summer was a pain. The person spoke English, but the accent was bad enough that I had to make them repeat almost everything they said. (*)
  • MediaCom - They won't stop calling us to pimp some combined plan that we don't need.
  • CenturyTel - Ditto. Half the time these days, if the phone rings it's either M or C. I hate to tell them, but as soon as we move, MediaCom is on the chopping block. CenturyTel may be as well, depending on where we end up.
There are probably more, but those are the biggies today.


* - And I don't think I'm that bad with accents. I did okay in Ireland. I can understand most of Red Dwarf without the captioning (although some of the jokes are beyond me). But I was amazed at an episode of Passport to Europe on the Travel Channel a while back. The episode was set in Scotland, hostess was talking to someone at Edinburgh Castle or somewhere. The man was speaking plain clear English, enunciating well, but you could tell he was Scottish. They subtitled everything the man said. Boggled my mind.

Snow!

It's snowing here. Started between 11:30 (when UPS dropped off DH's gift from the company) and 12:30 (when I went for the mail). It was just little snowflakes, but in the past hour it's shifted over to the Gigantic Fluffy Snowflakes. I caught one on my hand, and it was about the size of a quarter (although fluffier).

The weather this morning was predicting 2-3 inches by commute time tonight, and a swath of one-inch-per-hour accumulation that is supposedly going to move through in a couple of hours. DH may be wishing for his gloves by the time he leaves work. Good thing we got our groceries last night.

I'm just waiting for the storm of bitching to start online, in the local listserv I joined. Last winter, we got hit with a bad storm that dropped 15 inches of snow overnight. It was snowing so hard that the road crews had to wait until morning, visibility was that bad. I swear, I never heard such moaning and griping in all my life from people, just because the roads hadn't been cleared by 8:00 a.m. Sorry, our city doesn't have a fleet of snowplows as big as Detroit's, because we don't get as much snow as Detroit does. If we get 3 inches by 5:00 today and the roads are even a little iffy, people are going to start complaining. There are some people in this city who are just never satisfied.

I can see needing to go to work when your employer doesn't want to close down for the day - I drove to work on at least two days that I shouldn't have (*) - but sometimes, that's life and you've just gotta deal with it. Either take a sick day (if you can) or take a chance on the roads. On the other hand, lots of people seemed to be whining that they needed medicine or groceries or whatever, and couldn't get out to go shopping. Seriously, that storm didn't come out of nowhere. Sure, no one expected 15 inches, but there was snow in the forecast. If the fridge looks a little bare and the prescription jars are getting empty, maybe that means it's time to make a supply run before the storm hits, not after. This time of year, especially in a state like Missouri, where the weather's always a little temperamental, it behooves you to keep up on the weather forecast.

* - It's not a good day when you can drive 60 miles to work and only see a dozen cars, three of which were not actually on the road anymore. One of those was upside down in the median. I definitely should not have been on the road that day, but I was working for the Dragon Lady at the time. She already scheduled a "meeting" every Friday where she would tell me what I'd done wrong that week; I took notes and gave her a copy of them every week. Anyway, one of those days I drove in, the driveway was a sheet of ice. I fishtailed when I turned off the highway. It was a bit freaky.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

A "garden" update

Or maybe calling it a jungle would be more appropriate. There are two trees, you know (one avocado, one redwood seedling).

Anyway, the jungle is having some problems. Namely, my watering routine got lost, the plants were dry for a few weeks, and that seems to have been the last straw for the poor catnip (lasted almost 3 years!) and the mint (survived two summers and almost 1.5 winters). The jade plant that I bought last fall also died at some point. It was looking sad for a while, so I can't tell exactly when it died.

And then there's the pot of cacti that my mom got me when I had my wisdom teeth out. Started out with three plants, now it's down to two, and I honestly have no clue if either of them are still alive. Cacti are inscrutable, you know. Very good at hiding their emotions, as well as their health status. :)

On the other hand, the Christmas cacti are doing great. A few of them bloomed back in the summer for some bizarre reason (they were outside, so the day/night cycle should have been all-natural). Both pots started blooming pretty profusely last month, so they're about to wind down, but I did have one sprig that bloomed a nice orange blossom. I was so happy, because until then, I was convinced that they were all either white or that fuschia/pink color. I even told my sister to get me a non-white, non-pink one for Xmas if she wanted to.

Pictures coming soon.

Christmas-y pictures

As mentioned (I thought, but I can't find where I talked about it), we went out Friday night to see the tree lighting ceremony at Shelter Insurance. El Burrito got to wear his new coat.


Yeah, it's a little big. Comes down to his knees, and there's a good 2 inches of extra sleeve, so we can get by for a while without mittens.


Slightly out-of-focus panorama shot of the tree. They set it up in the fountain every year; apparently they haven't drained all the water out yet. Go figure. I need to go back for better pictures; my camera was running out of batteries, so I didn't get many pictures.




The three of us in the cold. Someone asked me to take their picture, and took one of us in return. It was in the 20s that night, and we didn't stay more than half an hour. There was music from the middle school choir on the next block, and rumors of Santa, elves, and cookies, but we left before Santa appeared.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Time flies

It's already December, and I don't know whether to be a tiny bit freaked that the year has flown by and I've got 3 weeks until I have to write "2008" on the checks, or just bummed about it because I've accomplished almost nothing this year. The amount of stuff that needs to be done by Christmas is no something I want to think about right now. Especially since I've still got this rotten cough hanging on.

Then there's that list of "long term goals" on the kitchen whiteboard. "Long term" meaning by the end of this year, actually. It's an old list. The top two things are buying a house and getting our wills done. The whole house thing gives me a headache, especially when my sister says things like "Give me 3 days, I'll find you a house." Sure you will, but will it be something we want to live in for 10 years? Because unlike her, I don't plan on moving every 3 years or so. It may be unrealistic, but we're looking for a place that will get us through the next 5 years minimum, hopefully longer.

Then there's the whole issue of wills. We got the Nolo Press Simple Will Book, and some recommendations for lawyers. The book says you can write your own will, but we feel more comfortable having a lawyer at least look at it. But, with the forms and information from the book, we can at least get a good start at things, and not have to spend $50 an hour hemming and hawing with the lawyer about things.

The will train lost its momentum when we started thinking about guardians for El Burrito. As strange as it sounds, with DH's large family and my not-small family, we can't come up with anyone that we think would be really suitable as a guardian. We've got a good option for a financial guardian, but no really good choice to raise the boy (if needed, God forbid and knock on wood). It's got me stumped.

The choices:
  • BiL #1 - Not married, but dating a nice woman. However, he's been written out of the in-laws' will thanks to a bit of mess over him being executor of Grandma's will, and his own two kids have some issues. Choosing him would set off another lovely little firestorm in the family.
  • BiL #2 - Wouldn't trust this one to feed my fish, thanks.
  • BiL #3 - Seems good at first. Has 4 kids already, decent house, but is financially strapped because of it (private/religious school tuition x4). This pair has never, that I can think of, held or said more than 4 words to El Burrito. Even #2, who's not a "kid person" other than teasing the nephews, will talk to Burrito and sit him on one knee. They're the most religous of the bunch, and I worry that El Burrito would end up being sort of a second-class citizen, since they've got their 4 kids already. (I've been that route thanks; both sets of grandparents played obvious favorites, and we were at the bottom of the list on both sides.)
  • BiL #4 - The choice for financial guardian, because he's pretty tight with a dollar and fairly sensible (although he's a bit conservative politically for my taste). But he's a bachelor and I don't see that changing any time soon, so him raising El Burrito wouldn't be the first choice. He works an office job and raises cattle on the side, so he's not home a lot.
  • SiL #5 - Would do in a pinch, but I'd rather have a better Plan A. Has 2 kids already, as well as 6 step-kids and a step-grandkid back in New York. However, her husband has a habit of squandering money - trading cars every other year (although this has stopped in the past couple of years), boats, motorcycles, travel trailers, hot tubs, and so on. Also, their kids are little hooligans, because they really don't get enough discipline at home. You can tell a difference at the in-laws' house when the parents aren't there.
  • My sister - married, but not having kids (by choice). Also, likes to travel a lot, and is currently spending 3 weeks every few months in Florida for her degree. I think she'd do it if we asked, but it wouldn't be a good fit.
  • My brother - not married, still living with our parents. Dating a nice girl, though, who intends to have kids from the way she talks. (And also says that my little brother, if that's who she marries, will not get away without changing a few diapers.)
I have an aunt and uncle who I thought might work; they've got a daughter in grade school (*), but now they're planning to adopt an orphan from Russia, so things will be a bit shook up for a while.

* - My mother's family has a weird generational thing going on, because my grandmother and great-grandmother had about 6 kids each and stretched them out over a few years. Grandma and Great-Grandma were having kids at the same time for a while, because Mom has an aunt who's about her age, and they were having kids about the same time too. One of Aunt's kids is younger than me. The aunt above is Mom's youngest sister, who waited a few years to have her daughter, so she's not that much older than El Burrito. It makes figuring out generations a little tricky. It's like they all got mashed together or something.

Anyway, like I said, our choices for legal guardian aren't that great, given the number of choices. And we don't even have any close friends we could ask. DH has two friends who are married with kids, but one pair is also raising three hooligans. Not sure about the other pair. I've got two friends, but one is not a kid person. The other would be great, I think, but she already has two of her own and I only see her once a year, if that often.

* * * *

So. That's all something that needs to be dealt with, although it might have to wait until after the Holiday Crazies. (Did I mention that a local radio station started playing Christmas music 24/7 on Thanksgiving Night? Jeez.) And then there's the whole house thing. And we've procrastinated on the door problem until it's probably too cold to deal with it until spring.

Monday, December 3, 2007

So

So I had some ideas about what to blather on about here today.

But then someone decided that he wasn't in the mood for a nap today. After he sat in his crib for almost 90 minutes, I gave up hoping and went in to get him. No shower for me until later, and no possibly-interesting blog post, either. I'll be lucky now if the laundry gets done, and the living room looks like a toddler-tornado went through town.

I did manage to accomplish one thing over the weekend. About 90% of that never-ending basket of "miscellaneous" laundry got put away. Of course, in the past few weeks it had grown into about 3 baskets, mostly of El Burrito's stuff, but it's more under control now. And I found my winter hat and gloves.

And we went to a Christmas-tree lighting on Friday, but more on that later.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Christmas Stuff

All right, Walmart is tempting me too much now. They've got the TMX Cookie Monster as one of their daily deals, for $20, and DH just talked me out of getting El Burrito one. As he says, we've already bought most of his gifts, and the Cookie Monster thing may be a passing phase. Or maybe it was really for me, since I bought myself a Mr. Potato Head from Target. Who knows.

It's not like the boy is deficient in the toy area, and heaven knows, with Christmas next month we'll be knee-deep in toys. Maybe it's because I remember wanting things when I was a kid, and not even mentioning that I wanted them because I knew it wasn't going to happen. Or maybe I'm just a sucker for a "Deal!!!" and susceptible to commercials. I won't deny either of those. I remind myself regularly that just because it's on sale, doesn't mean that I have to buy it. And 95% of the time, I don't. Which will occasionally leave me wishing two days later that I had bought it, darn it, but usually not.

Of course, DH is still confused by the fact that just because I say something in a store is "neat" or "cute" or whatever, doesn't mean that I'm going to buy one. It just means that I appreciate the idea of it, not that I want one sitting on the coffee table.

Now I'm off to blow my nose some more (since the cold is still hanging on) and search for the old Tickle Me Cookie Monster on Ebay. Surely now that the new improved one is out, the old one will be cheaper, right?

Stay tuned for more cold-induced ramblings.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Where does the day go?

How did it happen, that in spite of El Burrito waking up at a normal hour (proof that he's on the downhill side of the cold), we still didn't make it to the PO today, and he was still wearing his jammies at noon? And lunch was at 1:00, somehow.

It boggles my mind.

Okay, part of it was that our PO run was cancelled so we could wait for the UPS guy to deliver the new laptop battery. And since it's the holiday season, he's usually later than the usual 11:30-to-noon time.

And El Burrito is on a reading kick today. So far, the count is

Cookie Kisses - twice
The Owl and the Pussycat - twice (this one has awesome illustrations by Jan Brett)
Grover Sleeps Over - once
Bert & Ernie's Spring Cleaning - once
Hippos Go Berserk - at least twice, possibly three times
The Cow's Alfalfa-bet - maybe once, or that may have been last night

And he won't take no for an answer when he wants me to read to him. Doesn't matter if I'm sitting on the floor opening shipping boxes with slightly sharp objects, or what. He'll climb over whatever's in his way, clutching a book in one little hand. Not that I'm complaining, you understand, because I'm so glad that he likes books, but it would be nice if he understood "wait 30 seconds until I'm done with the wire cutters" or something.

Anyway, the PO run (with stops at Target and maybe Gymboree, since I use the PO branch at the mall) has been postponed until after DH gets home. Luckily, the mall PO branch is open until 7 p.m. However, now that The Holidays are upon us, I'd better remember to go to the PO first thing in the morning for a while. That's about the only time they aren't knee-deep in people. Last year, Steve the Clerk told me that they had a line waiting to get in when they opened at 9:00 a.m. the week before Xmas.

Which means that if I'm going to sell anything on Ebay, I'd better list it PDQ, so I won't be fighting the crowds at the PO.

***

As of bedtime, the reading list stands at:

Cookie Kisses - twice
The Owl and the Pussycat - twice (this one has awesome illustrations by Jan Brett)
Grover Sleeps Over - twice
Bert & Ernie's Spring Cleaning - 2.5 times
Hippos Go Berserk - at least four times (DH and I have this one memorized now)
The Cow's Alfalfa-bet - once for sure, possibly twice
Clarence the Curious Calf - twice
Click Clack Quackity Quack - once
Birthday Monsters - once
Cookie Monster's Kitchen - once

El Burrito managed to climb up onto the couch for the first time tonight, toting Clarence the Curious Calf along with him. The boy's persistent, and we can't deny that he's getting enough reading time.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Books

El Burrito, proving that he really is my kid, is showing signs of being a book worm already. (I said - mostly joking - when he was born that he could do two things that would make me wonder if we brought home the wrong baby: not liking to read, and being afraid of animals.) We're pretty sure that he is saying "read" now, although it comes out more like "ree-dah" - but it's still easy to understand when he's standing there with a book. So, he periodically bops over with a book and pretty much demands that I or DH read it to him, saying "ree" and climbing up our leg. He's also happy to look at books on his own, usually the board books that can take some abuse, but also regular books, catalogs, my Dayrunner, and occasionally a blank spiral notebook that seems to fascinate him.

He loves to look at books, and he's surprisingly good about not tearing the pages when he turns them. His favorite books this week are Happy Birthday, Moon, which I read to him three times in one hour yesterday, the Going to Bed Book, and Sheep in a Jeep. I'm thinking that some of the other books in the series might be good ideas for his Xmas list for Grandma B.

He's also got a thing for the moon these days. He loves Happy Birthday, Moon and the Going to Bed Book, both of which have the moon in the illustrations, and he likes to look out the window at the moon. So, he's getting the Moon in my Room for Christmas, since we found it on sale at JCPenney.

On the other hand, I think he's finally started saying "no" this week. Usually it's "nonononono" and reminds me of the character Jim on Vicar of Dibley, whose most common answer to any question is "no no no no . . . yes". For now, we're going to pretend it isn't happening.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Sickness and Christmas

Two out of three people in the house are sick (nasty cold - runny nose, sore throat, the works). Who isn't sick? That would be DH, the one who has the most contact with other people. Funny, don't you think? El Burrito is off his feed, but not grumpy otherwise. Not too fond of the nose-sucking, but until he learns to blow, that's the way it'll be.

Since November is almost over (holy fishsticks, where did the year go?), it's time to start planning for Christmas. Oy. My brain hurts just thinking about it.

First, there's the whole gift shopping thing. We've got maybe a dozen people to buy for, I think. There are 5 on DH's side - parents, the only uncle, and two siblings (they draw names at Thanksgiving - small pool, since one brother doesn't participate for some reason, although their kids get a pile from the grandparents). On my side, we shop for 6 - parents, my brother and sister, brother-in-law, and probable-future-sister-in-law. And possibly my grandparents, although they're wicked-hard to buy for and we've always been at the bottom of their priority list. I'm pretty sure that our gifts to them usually ended up in their yard sale, but I can't prove it. We try to get them food-type gifts now.

El Burrito is the easiest person to buy for so far. We've already got a box of stuff for him, thanks to a couple of sales at Amazon. DH is mostly the opposite. The big Farscape stack was my best idea, and now I've got no clue for Xmas. It would be easier if his birthday were a few months earlier. As it is, I've got a month between birthday and Xmas to come up with a new idea.

DH's family usually does lists, and MIL likes to have them by Turkey Day. However, the two people that we drew? No lists yet. One brother has mentioned a few CDs lately, so I took advantage of some Amazon sales, but the other one is going to be a crapshoot. He may just get Dockers if he doesn't fork over a list soon, and if he doesn't like it, it's his own fault. My family doesn't do lists usually, and my parents are impossible to buy for anyway. Dad's got the habit of buying what he needs when he needs it, so I usually get my brother to give us some ideas. Usually tools, although we're running out of things he can use but doesn't have yet. Mom is worse, because we're trying not to contribute to the clutter problem (she's a packrat of high degree). And this year, we've got Probable Future Sister-in-Law, who I know zilch about. At least my sister is easy to buy for - I usually renew her subscriptions to Frommer's Budget Travel and National Geographic, plus a few other things. And Brother-in-Law likes cars, so that gives us plenty of options.

Then there's the whole methodology issue. I like to come up with ideas, find it, and buy it. DH likes to wait for inspiration to hit, usually while he's at the mall the week before Christmas (joy joy). This year, I think we'll have to let El Burrito spend an afternoon with his grandma while we shop.

Decorating is a whole other thing, especially since I've still got the Halloween decorations up. Most of our decorations are in a tub somewhere, probably in storage. We got a nice fake tree when the local K-mart closed a few years back, and used it at least once, but it was the first thing we put in our "attic" storage, and since the storage locker is packed full, we won't be seeing the tree again until we move. (I swore we'd be in a house by now so I could decorate, but oh well.) Until then, we're making do with a 3-foot fiber optic tree from Dollar General's post-Christmas clearance. It's pretty, but you can't fit a lot of packages under it. :) It's an improvement, size-wise, over the redwood sapling from earlier years, though. One gift hid the whole tree.

And with El Burrito mobile this year, there's no telling how the tree will fare, or if he'll get a big kick out of pulling the lights down (they get suction-cupped to the door windows).

Monday, November 26, 2007

Frustration

Online shopping is supposed to be easier, right? So why am I sitting here waiting for Hasbro's site to reload (multiple times), and watching Target try to decide if the Potato Head set is in stock or not (it's changed almost daily for the past few days). I was getting ready to check out today when it went out of stock again. Gah!

And now I'm trying to decide if I can trim the Hasbro order anywhere. It's heavy math - is ordering enough for free shipping more expensive than ordering just the essentials, or not? I should mention that I'm not that good with math, especially working in my head. On paper is better, but this is like one of those tricky word problems with no right answer, especially since their shipping is based on weight. And then, of course, Target's website makes you get halfway through completing the order before they tell you what shipping is.

And then there's a big complicated Amazon order to place today. It'll have to be split, because the 10% discount from my credit card can't be used on the 4-for-3 deal. I wish they'd put the whole cart on one page and let you sort by price or whatever. Much easier.

Meanwhile, it's cold and rainy here. I've got a sore throat and El Burrito has a nice little cold, runny nose and all. Something viral, I guess, since he's been on antibiotics for the past ten days for an ear infection. And he may come down with something worse, since one of my cousins this weekend was being treated for strep, had a "classic viral rash" according to her nurse-aunt, and of course had to breathe all over El Burrito and cough on his bus book while we were there. I'm all for a healthy immune system, but at the same time, I'm not going to go begging for more sickness. That's just crazy.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Sometimes, Amazon is a bad place to browsece

I started out doing Xmas shopping, and ran into Amazon's sales. Between the $5.99 and under section, and the buy 3 get one free, section, I've got a overloaded shopping cart right now. Sure, some of them are Xmas gift ideas for other people, but a good chunk of it is gifts for me. Add in the 10% off coupon that my Amazon credit card sent me, and it's insanely tempting.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Home again, home again, jiggety-jig

Well, we're home again from the holidays. Had a good time, including not one, not two, but three Thanksgiving dinners (Thursday, Friday, and Saturday). El Burrito got to pet his puppy (who isn't quite a puppy any more, being six months old), and I got some juicy family gossip.

Didn't do any Black Friday shopping in the stores; didn't even stop at Michaels's tonight on the way home. Ordered a few things online, half of which already shipped. And I'm still waiting for Artoo Potatoo to get restocked at Hasbro.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Sometimes, I want a fast Internet connection

Usually I'm okay with being on dial-up. Given that we'll (ideally) be moving to a rural-ish area where cable isn't an option, I've decided that I'm better off not getting used to high-speed internet. But sometimes, it would be nice. Like right now, when I'm waiting patiently for Hasbro's website to load (and reload and reload - they're having issues). I'm ordering from Hasbro and Rural King, and that may be the extent of my Black Friday bonanza. Unless I wake up early and feel like braving the crowd at Michael's to get some cheap picture frames.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

The land of indecision

That's where I am right now. My mother-in-law wants Christmas lists today. So I'm sitting here, looking at my Amazon wish list (679 items, not including DVDs), and can find all of 4 things to ask for. Because, sadly, a good 50% of my Amazon list is stuff that can only be found used. And about 25% of what's left is in the "$50 or more" category that I won't put on a Christmas list. I'm trying not to be greedy, you know.

Which leaves me asking for 2 CDs, another set of rechargable AA batteries, and the Hubble Space Telescope calendar for 2008. Unfortunately, if you don't give them some options, you end up with another bath set or something like that. Year before last, I think I got three bath sets - my mother, my mother-in-law, and whoever got my name in the drawing at the in-laws. I tried not to think that it was a subtle hint about odor or something.

After looking at the ads for tomorrow, the only place I may go is Michael's for picture frames. There's a bit of online shopping to do, but that's it.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Blah

It's cold and rainy. Yech

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Unproductivity

. . . again.

It's almost 5:00 and I feel like I've gotten zilch done. Part of that may be because
  • we didn't go to bed until 2 freaking a.m.
  • it took me another 2 hours to finally fall asleep (not counting dozing off for a few minutes)
  • woke up at 8:30
  • meant to leave the house at 11:30 and didn't get out the door until noon
  • searched in vain at JCPenney for the "Moon in my Room" that the clerks didn't recognize
  • until I called on the phone and was told "yeah, we have it"
  • and El Burrito didn't start his nap until 4:15 (an hour after being put in the crib)
Sheesh.

And instead of working on some pictures in Paint Shop, I'm fighting the email tsunami and updating my stash at Ravelry. And letting the dinner beans boil over. Oops.

There's also the Pile of Laundry that won't go away, which needs to be dealt with. One basket's worth of clean *stuff* that's been hanging around for a month or so now. It's not the same stuff exactly; a few things get put away, a few different things get shoved in, and it rotates. Odd things like a sock or two, assorted Burrito things, whatever. But I can not figure out why it's hanging around like a bad cold. I keep attacking it, and it's winning.

On the other hand, we scored $4 worth of cool stuff at the library sale today. Three Serendipity books (by Stephen Cosgrove, lovely illustrations by Robin James) for 50 cents each, plus The Class Pet from the Black Lagoon, the board book version of Jamberry, and 365 Science Projects (planning ahead for El Burrito).

And my American Science & Surplus order shipped, with a box full of inexpensive and neat stuff. Their catalog is always a kick to look through, and so is their website. Instead of using the gibberish letters for spam prevention, they use math problems (easy ones). I like their attitude.

I'm also enjoying probably the last nice weather for months. It was in the 70's today, for crying out loud. The high on Thursday? Yeah, um, try the 30's. Precipitation was mentioned. That's when I stuck my fingers in my ears and started humming loudly.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Yarn and other stuff

So, today is DH's birthday. #38, which may explain why he's been a bit down this week. El Burrito and I trekked to the mall for birthday cards today, and we're taking him out for dinner tonight. Then he gets his gift - the almost-complete set of Farscape on DVD.

It's "almost complete" because I'm still hunting down the Starburst 1.2 set, since any Season 1 DVD - box set, Starburst, or individual disc - is scarcer than hen's teeth right now. I got seasons 2, 3, and 4 for $120, and will spend that much or a bit more on season 1 by the time I get it all. If only I'd started buying these last year, before ADV Films lost the DVD rights to the first season and was selling the sets cheap. Sony has the rights now, and they're doing nothing with them, the nits. They're apparently getting the rights to seasons 2-4 at the end of the year, and will hopefully do something about releasing them then.

Of course, by then I'll hopefully have that last elusive set, so I won't care personally, but I'm hoping that everyone else will be able to find sets easily. Because the Season 1 box set is going for astronomical prices online, and I know what it's like to be a fan of a show and lust after something unaffordable. I drooled for years over the Babylon 5 DVDs; they were running about $80 a set when they were first released, and that was on sale. No way could I afford those, as a grad student and underpaid librarian. I got lucky this year and actually read the Best Buy ad when they had the sets for $19.99 each. I didn't quite do a happy dance in the living room, but it was close. :)

***

Still working on El Burrito's hat. I tried it on him last night and it was too big, so I had to rip out everything back to the last row of increases, plus another two rows before that. Hopefully I'll have it the right size this time. I pay attention, but somehow I think I manage to add a stitch every row even when I don't mean to. I think it's somewhere in that "slip-stitch and chain one to get to the next row" area.

After that, I'm going to take a shot at one of those door-snake things to block the drafts. I've got a sock arrangement right now, but I need something that can withstand being toted around by El Burrito.

***

Then there's the whole issue of Thanksgiving this week. Lots of lovely travel, deciding if there's anything worth going after in the sales Friday, eating, and our lovely weather. It's in the 60's today, but the high on Thursday is going to be in the 30's. Joy. Plus my mother-in-law needs Christmas lists, and I don't have a clue what to ask for. Right now, the only thing I can come up with that's feasible is dish towels. I'd like a Tivo, a new house, and a jade plant that won't die, among other things, but those won't really work.

Having both sides of the family nearby is good most of the time, really. But geez, for the month around Thanksgiving and Christmas, it can suck. Both sides expect us to show up, since we're relatively close (30 minutes to the in-laws, 2 hours from my parents). If we were further away (say, oh, Michigan with my sister), they wouldn't expect us to try and see both families this week. Thanksgiving isn't bad, we'll probably have dinner at DH's folks Thursday and then spend most of the weekend with mine (causing issues with NaBloPoMo, being Internet-less down there).

Christmas, though, is a royal pain. DH's family is Catholic and does Midnight Mass, then opens gifts after Midnight Mass (except for the kiddies, who open earlier). This means that in the past, we've been there and awake until 4 a.m. or so - and that's when the priest had some sense and held Midnight Mass at 10:30 p.m. (How are you supposed to combine Midnight Mass with kids who have an earlier-than-midnight bedtime, without getting tired tantrums the next day????) Then we drive home, sleep for a few hours, and head down to my parents' place. And, of course, last year they opened everything before we got there, which really sucked all the fun out of it for me. This year, I'm begging my family to wait until we get there for the whole gift orgy, and if possible we're leaving the in-laws immediately after Mass.

I swear, when we get a house, we're doing at least one holiday at our house, plus El Burrito's birthday. Someone can come visit me for a change, because I'm sick and tired of spending Christmas on the road.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Things I dislike

I absolutely hate trying to make a decision in a hurry. Really. Which is what I'm trying to do right now, before we head out to the in-laws' for dinner.

Back to being indecisive. Bleh.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Yarn stuff

I'm working on El Burrito's new winter hat right now. I started it last night, but he was into things and I lost count so I had to rip it all out and start over. It's a very basic hat pattern, found after much Googling, done with an I hook and a skein of Paton's Canadiana yarn in the "Misty Mountain" variegated. Hopefully it's a masculine enough color that people won't have to ask if he's a girl - it's much darker in person, not as much purple.

Then I went to Michael's for their yarn sale tonight. Came home with 3 skeins, all Bernat - 1 Bamboo Natural Blends in linen, 1 Satin Sport in seashore, and one Softee Chunky in denim ragg. The Bamboo is my first bamboo yarn (it's 86% bamboo). Michael's has just started carrying most of these; I would have noticed the Satin Sport if I'd seen it before. Nice and soft. The Softee Chunky may end up being another Burrito hat, too.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Friday!

Here I am, chipping away at a 3,000-message inbox. The Burrito had his 18-month checkup today, complete with flu shot. Still on the lower end of the scale, but his weight is now in the 35th percentile. Maybe now my mother will quit worrying that we don't feed him enough. Slight ear infection in one ear, which may explain the fussing last night.

Random tidbits:

Just ordered some neat stuff from American Science & Surplus, aka MacGyver's Dream Warehouse.

Need to start working on El Burrito's new winter hat, since last year's isn't fitting too well.

Yesterday was a bit hectic. Did my first financial wire transfer, to help out my sis, who's working with a title company and bank that are idiotic at times. Title company didn't tell them until closing day that sorry, they don't take personal checks, just cashier's checks.

I looked for Comet Holmes P17 last night and couldn't find it. Turns out I was looking in the wrong place, so I'm going to give it another shot tonight.

Next week is Thanksgiving! Tomorrow, I'll rant about Christmas Creep and the fact that the stores have skipped decorating for Turkey Day or Fall in general, and have leapt from Halloween to Christmas.

Thanksgiving means I need to start working on Christmas lists, both what we need to buy, and ideas for the in-laws to use. How can I have a massive Amazon wish list, but not have anything to put on a list? How??

Thursday, November 15, 2007

My new haircut

So, as promised, the scoop on the new haircut.

The "before" picture:


(It's only that wavy because it was braided most of the day. As a rule, my hair is straight. It never held a curl in grade school, no matter how long my mother kept it in sponge-rollers for school picture day. I quit fighting it a long time ago. I've got better things to do than fight a losing battle with my hair.)


After the first cut:



I was going for 8 inches, but took the plunge for 10 so they could donate it to Locks of Love. They gave my sister a $40 discount because of that, too. Now, they cut off a few more inches after taking the big cut, which left it shorter than I'd like. But, in 4 months or so it'll be back to where I wanted it in the first place. But it happens every time - I say "take off X inches" and they end up taking off X+1 or something. Next time, I'm taking a ruler.


The final result:


However, it will NOT look like this on a regular basis. My sister took this picture after the stylist spent close to 45 minutes working with a blow dryer and a flat iron. I don't own a flat iron, and the last time I used our hair dryer was to dry El Burrito's shoes so we could go to the library. And, honestly, I refuse to spend 30 minutes a day blasting hot air at my head, even if I washed my hair every day in the first place (see the losing battle comment above - it gets washed every other day for optimum behavior. Any more than that, and it gets a mind of its own.)

I've got better things to do, and I'd hate to see the split ends I'd have. Because if you look at the hunk of hair, there were very few split ends, and I haven't had a hair cut in about a year. I used the hotel blow dryer while we were traveling and that was probably the first time in years that I didn't let my hair air-dry.


Anyway, the plan is to let part of the bangs grow out and turn them into another layer. My sister swears that they'll get trained to sweep to the side after a while, but I have my doubts. I've been braiding it non-stop for two years now, and the sides still fall forward, so I think my hair may be as stubborn as me. :) I'm still peeved that it's too short to braid at all, and makes a sorry excuse for a ponytail, because that leaves hair clips as the only other option. And after whacking the hair clip on the car door frame too many times on the ride home, I'm not liking that option a whole lot. Plus, the sides fall out of the clip and get in my face, and lately that's one of the things that really gets on my nerves.

But we'll see how it goes. I should get some comments on it when next time I see our familes. (I got 6 inches cut off one time and my dad didn't even notice. I think he'll notice this time.)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

NaBloPoMo

Procrastinators R Us, right?

I'm doing NaBloPoMo this year, and I've got the badge to prove it. :)

Traveling, Burrito style, and other stuff

Apparently today is the 38th anniversary of the Apollo 12 launch. Pretty neat to know. One of the things I'd really like to do is see a Shuttle launch, live and in person. Don't know how likely that is, though, now that the Shuttle program is being phased out, and I live a good 18 hour drive away from the launch site. :( The launches aren't shown live on TV as much any more, either; I guess we've become blase about them (at least until something goes wrong, and all the gloom-n-doom folk get their air time to blow things out of proportion). I wish we had NASA TV; maybe we'll move soon and get satellite instead of our lousy overpriced cable. Or I could break down and get high-speed internet and watch NASA TV online. Hah.

Anyway, more about the Trip.

El Burrito travels pretty well, thank God. Has no problem napping in his car seat, and this was his first big trip forward-facing in the new Britax we bought. The only slight issue was his method of letting me know when he wanted another cracker to eat. His "notification" was to squeal at me, which got him compared to piglets and girls who've seen spiders. :) Other than that, he was pretty good. We stopped twice for pit stops and he got to run around in the play area at a BK and McDonalds.

The boy flirted his way across four states, too. Everywhere we stopped to eat, he'd manage to find someone to wave at, make eyes at, and otherwise flirt with. Sometimes it was a waitress, sometimes it was someone at the next table, and there were two touch-pool attendants at the Aquarium that got a lot of waves. One even got a bit of a hug while his auntie was holding him. The breakfast attendant at the hotel remembered him (kind of) the second time around, and the two old ladies at Cracker Barrel complimented him on his waving. :) He's a very social boy, our Burrito, unlike his parents. At least he doesn't run screaming from strangers, which wouldn't surprise me since we don't go out a lot. He did get mistaken for a girl more than once, though, in spite of wearing what I'd call very boyish clothes. It must be the blond curls and the wicked-long eyelashes.

It only took 20 minutes or so for the Burrito to warm up to his Auntie, who hasn't seen him since he was a week old. He also got to pet the dogs - one more than the other, bigger one - and even got to pet Cranky Cat once or twice. And discovered that if you step on the dog's tail, she yelps. Spooked them both, I think, but nothing drastic. Overall I think he had a good time. The only things we did while we were there were spend most of a day at the Aquarium and a few hours at the Ikea. He ate fairly well, especially any time we found macaroni and cheese.

I came home with over 1,000 pics, most of which probably won't turn out worth keeping. Flash was useless in the aquarium, thanks to the glare off the plexiglass, so even with the exposure compensation and wide aperture, a lot of them will be blurry. Got a cool movie of the jellyfish, though. Wish I'd thought to do movies of some of the other things, like the rays. And the touch pools were amazing - El Burrito touched a sea star, and DH & I got to touch some rays. Skipped petting the shrimp, though. I'd rather eat them. I was also told off by a non-employee for taking pics of the Leafy Sea Dragons. I didn't have my flash on, thanks very much, he needed to be talking to the woman with the cell phone camera who was next to me.

So tomorrow, I'll tell you all about the new, very drastic haircut. Let's just say that it's the first time in 20 years that I haven't been able to braid my hair at all, and it may drive me crazy before it's long enough to braid again.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

What a trip!

Well, we're back from Georgia, finally. I may be in favor of skipping any more road trips until El Burrito is a year or so older.

That rash I mentioned yesterday? Not a rash, as such. Just a whopping reaction to the sulfa antibiotics I was taking for the Nasty Zit from H@## on my back. I've got hives everywhere (except my face). One on my arm, is in the running for Biggest Hive Ever; I should email Guinness and see if they keep records on that. It stretches from my elbow almost to my armpit. Apparently I'm the poster child for odd reactions, because I got the hives on Day #9 of a 10-day run. One painkiller made me get tiny hives, but only on my eyelids. And a few years ago, I had a run of almost singular hives - they would show up in pairs or quadruplets, and always symmetrical, on both wrists or both thighs. It was strange and we never did figure out what caused them, since I didn't see a need for the extensive allergy testing. A combination of Zyrtec, another oral med, and a lovely expensive eyedrop took care of them, and after about 18 months they went away altogether.

Anyway, it popped up yesterday morning in Georgia, I skipped the last dose, and called the doctor when we were about an hour from home. I got their last appointment for the day, and for a co-pay and who knows how much off of my deductible for the year, I got "Yep, it's a drug reaction. Take Benadryl and Claritin, and don't ever take sulfa antibiotics again." Joy. So now I'm allergic to probably the two main groups of antibiotics, with my penicillin allergy. Good thing I'm usually healthy.

And now I'm off to soak some bibs in bleach water while 1,000+ emails (probably 80% spam) download. Then it's a shower, a dose of Benadryl, and we'll see if I can wake up in the morning at all. Benadryl knocks me on my butt, or used to. I haven't touched it in 15 years, because I'm worthless when I take it and I really never could tell that it actually helped the symptoms I was taking it for. I do know that I probably shouldn't drive while I take it, or go shopping, or much of anything requiring deep thought. :) Hopefully 8 hours of sleep will take care of the worst of it.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Monday, Monday

Short post again. Hectic morning helping my sister finish packing. And my hand has a funny rash on it. Could be the dogs, the cat, the touch pool at the aquarium, or dry skin. Who knows?

Tomorrow will be a longer post, I promise. I hope. Wednesday and Friday will also be busy, so who knows when the laundry will finally get done.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Talk about sight seeing.

Today's sight-seeing? Ikea. Pretty cool, but atypical.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

A slow day

This will also be a contestant in the "shortest blog post ever" contest. I'm downloading 500+ pics from the Aquarium yesterday, and Sister's PC is pretty slow. The haircut is starting to grow on me - no pun intended - although I wish it was an inch longer. Pics to come next week, compliments appreciated.

My McCaffrey Quest entry for this year will be sub-standard. Had to leave most of the books covered in the trivia contest at home, and Google isn't helping on most of the questions. Entries are due very early Monday morning, so I odn't have a lot of time to work.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Big haircut

Big haircut today, a birthday gift from my sister. Pictures later.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Notes from the road

How does an 11-hour (according to MapQuest) trip end up being more like 14 hours? Must have been the road work we kept running in to.

Illinois is a lot flatter than most people think it is. Parts of southern Illinois reminded me of Kansas but with more trees.

Our planned 10:00 a.m. start got scrapped. We left at 12:30. Spent the night in a non-smoking hotel room that reeked of cigarettes. Joy.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Why?

Why do I complain that we never go anywhere, and then get seriously cold feet at the idea of taking a trip? There's no logic.

If we're aiming to be out the door in 40 minutes, why am I online and not in the shower? (Answer: printing off directions to our destination, and blogging for the day. And procrastinating. See the "cold feet" issue.)

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Did I mention

. . . that my sister is giving me a bit of a makeover for a birthday present while I'm in Georgia. Apparently I'm getting the package deal at a salon -
"shampoo, rinse, treatment (as in deep conditioning or something like that), a cut
and style. You also get a free brush with the package. "
I'm about 4 months overdue for a haircut, but I'm a little worried about this. I don't deal with change well, especially when forced to change, and although I've been pondering a hair change for a while, this may not work out really great. Given my preferences, it'll be limited to a haircut with no layers and fairly straight across the back, since that makes it easier to braid and go. An oval cut leads to a frizzy braid, or a half-length braid with a really long tail that looks bad.

There's also been mention of a makeup consultation with Bare Escentuals or however they spell it. I haven't worn makeup in 7 years, and that was just for the wedding.

Busy Busy Busy

All right, so I'm online and therefore not too busy at the moment, but still. I'm trying to do NaBloWriMo or whatever the heck it's called. We'll see how that works, what with being out of town for a week. :)

***

First of all, my plecostomus (aka the foster fish, Squiggy the Strange) is weird. He went on a tear in the tank at lunchtime, and hit the lid hard enough to knock the fish food jar onto the floor.

Right now, I am trying to find out if UPS has something similar to the USPS's mail holding service. We're going to be out of town, and I may or may not have a package en route. I ordered a model horse from the factory and they don't believe in letting customers know that their purchase has shipped. Yes, I've been spoiled by Amazon and others, who actually give me the tracking number so I know when to stay home and wait for a delivery. Since UPS does a return-to-sender after the third attempt, I need a plan.

El Burrito is feeling better. The nasty cough Sunday night must have been the worst of it. So he won't be feeling too lousy on our trip, yay!

Speaking of which, I need to start packing. El Burrito's stuff alone will probably take half of the car space. Other than that, we just need clothes, a few books for me, possibly a crochet project, and of course the sack of stuff that Mom is sending for my sister.

I also need to
  • arrange for someone to feed the fish and make sure Squiggy is alive, because he would make a stink after a week, and he would die while we were gone just for spite
  • water the plants
  • remove anything from the fridge that could become sentient if left alone for a week
  • figure out what's going on with the "big" camera (the SP-510; the FE-120 is the "little" camera), because the weird focusing thing is getting to be a problem
  • find out if there are any tricks to photography at an aquarium
  • make sure all the batteries are charged and ready
  • find the car charger for the Tracfones
  • set the VCR - can't miss Stargate: Atlantis, or the CMA Awards (and I tape the music awards - FFwd through the fluff, watch the show in an hour)
  • take care of various YahooGroups that I own
  • work on a plan for McCaffreyQuest 2007, since the questions will be posted while we're at the aquarium, and answers need to be submitted before we leave Georgia
And I'm sure there are more. Sadly, it won't all get done before we leave, unless we suddenly get some 30-hour days this week. I gave up the idea of listing things on Ebay last night; it was only going to save me $1.50, so I decided staying up until 2 a.m. wasn't worth it. Turns out there's maybe a better deal now, with free "gallery" listings or something.

Monday, November 5, 2007

I need a nap

It's 2:00 here, and I'm already wanting the day to end. Sheesh.

Why? Well, long story. To start with, El Burrito is still feeling puny. He had a nasty cough-till-you-gag going on last night, with all sorts of congestion. That's been going on for a day or two, so I called the pediatrician's office this morning. Got a callback at 10:15, can we be there at 10:30? Not so much, thanks (it's a 20 minute drive and El Burrito was just eating breakfast). So we got the 10:45 appointment, and I set a record for getting us both semi-presentable and out the door. We were only 3 minutes late for the appointment, so we only spent 5 minutes in the waiting room (sick kid side).

Verdict: Nothing going on in the ears, which we wondered about since El Burrito woke up in the night slapping himself on the head. Nothing in the lungs, either, so it's just sinus drainage, which is why it's worse at night. Just a cold, in other words. That fever last week was the beginnings of it all, and it'll probably clear itself up in another week or so. Humidifier, fluids, et cetera and so on and so forth.

Which means, joy of joys, that El Burrito will be feeling "meh" during our trip to Atlanta this week. Fun. But at least we know it's nothing serious.

And I've gotta say, he may be feeling puny but it's not slowing him down any. He got ahead of me after we got home, and I caught him splashing in the toilet. That got him his second change of clothes for the day. Then he was bopping around while I downloaded my email, and got the Vaseline jar. I've got pics of him happily smearing goo all over the kitchen floor, and himself. Clothing change #3, and it wasn't even noon yet.

So now he's asleep, and I've got to get cracking on the laundry that didn't get done this morning while we were gone. Oh, and go clean the kitchen floor again, since I'm sure the first run didn't get everything. And then figure out how best to wash hand towels that are slimed with Vaseline. And then, if I get time, list a few things on Ebay while they've got a listing sale going (which ends tonight). Plus, getting ready to leave for Atlanta in a couple of days, which means packing and figuring out a glitch with the camera, among other things.

But all I really want to do?? Is sit and vegetate for a while.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Vacation's over

Our little vacation is over. We're leaving after lunch to go get El Burrito. He's been having a blast with Grandma & Grandpa since Thursday night. Mom says he can say "tractor" now, and got to play with his puppy, among other things.

And now I'm going to go compose a reply to the seller of that Ebay auction, to let them know that I won't be paying the extra $45 in shipping that they want. I realize that it's still a decent price on the puzzles, and that it was probably an honest mistake, being their first sale and all. But it's still twice as much as I thought the total would be, so that's that. I'd really like to have the puzzles, but oh well. Sooner or later they'll all show up on Ebay again; they're not that rare.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Daylight savings time

I hate the time change. Nuff said

Friday, November 2, 2007

Trick or Treat, and other stuff

"Other Stuff" first:

El Burrito is spending the weekend with his grandparents. They actually drove up to get him yesterday afternoon, so I spent the day packing what he'd need for a 3-day sleepover. I remembered the meds, since he is coming down with a cold along with the teething - the runny nose and probable sore throat is more than just teething. I managed to forget the extra-layer bodysuits, though, so hopefully he won't need them. Mom called this morning with a report. They stopped off at an aunt's on the way home and El Burrito had fun. Until they had to leave Aunt's toy cars behind, that is. I suspect he'll get toy cars for Christmas. He's been on a car kick lately anyway, although I've got no clue where he got it from.

So we had a quiet night. Well, aside from DH having a 5-second "eek" when he woke up in the middle of the night and thought El Burrito was being awfully quiet. :)

I took the opportunity to do things I couldn't do easily with El Burrito around. First was calling the medical group that I haven't been to in a few years (since my last PCP went AWOL with no explanation) and beg an appointment for today. The doctor confirmed that the Nasty Zit from H@## on my back is, indeed, a boil; probably staph, possibly MRSA. She lanced it and took a culture, so we'll know for sure next week. No surprise if it is MRSA - El Burrito had a mild MRSA infection before he was a week old; either he picked it up at the hospital or we were already carriers. And I suspect that the three Big Nasty Infected Hairs this summer were also staph. So now I've got a bag with $85 worth of medicine to clear things up, and instructions to pay strict attention to handwashing and not reuse bath towels for a while.

After that lovely fun, I returned a few things for refunds, hit the Halloween clearance at Walgreens, bought two balls of beautiful wool yarn on clearance at JoAnn Fabrics, and traded some books in at the used-book store. Now I just need a way to keep from buying the same book twice. It's only a problem when I pay full price for both of them, which thankfully doesn't happen often. I do wish the store would give an itemized receipt of some sort, though. It would help to know if I got anywhere close to breaking even on what they accepted.

There was a drawback to the book swap. Usually I come home with fewer books than I took. This time, not so much. They only took part of what I offered, which is fine with me. But I also hit the mother lode in the Trek section - the first 15 or so volumes of Best of Trek, and all but one in lovely shape for books from the 1970s and 80s. Also found a Dorothy Lyons horse book, hardback and in great shape, for the insanely cheap price of $1.50. Now if I could only find a decent copy of Harlequin Hullabaloo, which I don't see happening anytime soon. The other used book store in town has a copy, but it's got a severe mildew problem and they still want $10 or so for it. That's probably why it's been on their shelf for the past 4 years (I'll swear it's the same copy, based on the mildew design on the cover.)

So, on to the Trick or Treat pictures.



Our Halloween decorations, featuring the El Burrito jack-o-lantern. It's a painted craft pumpkin, with the same teeth as Burrito. Almost - I need to add the newest tooth.



The free picture from the grocery store's Halloween Walk.


Showing off the teeth at Grandma's house.


Hot on the trail! Boy's gonna be a powerwalker when he gets bigger. The grocery store had Goblin Stations set up around the store, with costumed employees handing out goodies. For the first half, the Burrito would see the next station and make a beeline for it. He wasn't afraid of any of the characters, which I'm happy about. He would take the candy from the tray and put it in his treat bag, and waved at everyone.

Walking with Daddy.

The Walk only took about 15 minutes, and the candy haul was acceptable. A granola bar, apple, juice pouch, gummi fruit, and 8 mini candy bars. I think that's about the right amount. It's more than he needs (or will get to eat), but not enough that Horrible Things would happen if he ate it all at once.