Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Well, duh

Proof that I can be an airhead.

I got a box from Amazon today: two books and the Babylon 5: The Lost Tales DVD. I noticed as I unpacked it that one of the books looks familiar. Because, duh, I already have a copy, which I was looking at last night. In spite of the Big Monstrous Spreadsheet listing almost every book we own (except for the ones in Mom's basement), I managed to buy the same book twice. And pay full price for it both times!

The real kicker is that it's an $8 book, so by the time I went through Amazon's return process, I'd only get $4 for it. I think I'll see what the used book store will give me for it.

Monday, July 30, 2007

The Fair results

I went over yesterday and picked up the crafts I entered in the county fair. I'm happy with the results - 4 blue ribbons, 2 red (they judge on the Iowa system or something like that - no single 1st or 2nd place, they give out multiple blue and red ribbons). And, nice bonuses - there's prize money! Not enough to get rich, just $2 per blue and $1.50 per red, but the photos got enough to pay for the processing. And apparently people were "raving" about the cross-stitch; apparently the fact that I did all that wording impressed them. :)

So, here's what I entered:

A. The cross-stitch project, Web of Life from a JanLynn kit, got a blue.

Not the best picture of it, but I can't find the better one. The design is 11 x 17 total, plus the margins, so it's pretty big.

B. The Burrito's hat got a blue, but lost five points for "general appearance." I think it's because he wore it a bit, and a few of the ends came un-tucked.

C. My red and gold Gryffindor scarf got a blue. No picture of it. It's a red and gold striped scarf, done in acrylic yarn that took forever to find in the right colors.

D. Photos (Full-size versions are on my website, just click on these.)

This moon shot that I threw in as a backup, did the best. It got a blue, although the comment was that if the moon was off-center, it would look better. I like it as is, but I may play with cropping it to see how it looks.

The yellow flowers got a red; it lost 10 points for clarity, 10 for subject matter, 20 for composition (!), and 1 for matting. Apparently there was "too much light" (I think the auto-fix in Paint Shop overexposed it a little) and apparently it's hard to tell where the focal point is.

And now that I look at the comments, this one was supposed to get a white ribbon instead of red. Looks like the judge changed the results, but someone misread things.

The lilies also got a red. It lost 5 points for subject matter, 10 for composition, and 1 for matting. Maybe the judge isn't a fan of lilies. Apparently it could be cropped better (I don't see it, myself) and there was tape visible on the matting. I think the tape in question is where I taped a second piece of whole cardstock to the back of the cardstock mat.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Burrito's Puppy

I talked to my mom this morning, and El Burrito now has a puppy. Sort of, anyway, since it'll be staying with the grandparents until we find a place - DH says we'll have to get off our butts and start looking, or Burrito will have a dog instead of a puppy.

I owe him a puppy anyway. I told him when he was born that if he managed to avoid colic, I'd get him a puppy when he was big enough. Of course, given his age, I think it'll be "our" puppy more than "Burrito's" puppy, but hey.

My brother's beagle/basset cross had puppies this spring, the day after El Burrito's birthday. Six total, 4 males and 2 females. All cute as can be, of course, and 75% beagle. Brother is keeping one male and one female for himself, El Burrito gets the second female, and Bro is going to sell the others. Unfortunately, the male he planned to keep (adorable little guy with full-size basset ears) got lost last week. Mama-dog followed my brother when he went to check on some hay he'd cut, and the pups weren't penned. Three of them followed Mama (Suzie), and only two came back. They looked everywhere, called the neighbors, but no luck. Hopefully someone driving by picked it up as a stray; it's better than thinking the poor little guy had some sort of nasty run-in with a snake, eagle, or my cousin's idiot dog-pack.

Our puppy is probably one of these four. Of course, this was taken back when they slept half the time. They've outgrown that. :)

Other Burrito news: The Crib War is waning. He's gone to sleep in his crib the past few nights without protest. He may not stay there all night yet - he usually ends up with us about 4 am when he wakes up - but it's progress.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

It's not just me

I finally read the comics from the Sunday paper last night. Sunday's Heart of the City proves I'm not the only one waiting impatiently for the 4th Indiana Jones movie. Because Harrison Ford may look darn good for his age, but he's not getting any younger. Luckily, although I may have to wait until next May for the movie, the first volume of the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles DVDs will arrive just after my birthday. Of course, given the scads of bonus material that's supposedly on these DVDs, the price tag will probably scare me, but that's what those Amazon gift certificates are for.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Strollers and Stuff

I think we may have found our next stroller, finally. We went to Sears last night to see what they have. Because, duh, I've been through the clearanced kids clothes at Sears a few times lately, but never thought to go one aisle over and check out the strollers.

I'm being a little stubborn about strollers and car seats - they qualify as something I want to buy in person, or at least see in person and order online later. Because all the specifications don't make up for getting to take a stroller for a spin around the store, or making sure that the car seat actually, you know, fits in the car before you buy it (and have to spend money shipping it back because it wouldn't fit). Most other stuff (clothes not included) I'll buy online, if the price is right and there's a decent return policy.

And locally, our stroller choices were pretty sorry, unless we wanted to drive 3 hours into St. Louis or Kansas City to find a baby-specific store with a wider selection. Target has exactly one non-travel-system, non-double stroller to choose from, and Walmart has two, one of which is the same as the Target stroller. And neither of those stores will let you test-drive the stroller. Nope, they have a display model that has been de-wheeled and zip-tied to a shelf. And the shelf is about 3 feet off the ground, so you can't even stand next to the stroller to see if the handles are tall enough, or fiddle with the seat recline, or see how compact it is when it's folded up. Toys R Us and Sears had three strollers each (no overlap!), and both places actually leave the wheels on so you can toodle around the aisle with it for a few minutes.

Notes: One at TRU was nice, but the "boot" left no room for Burrito's legs to stick out, and there wasn't any apparent way to tuck it out of the way. It unclipped from the tray, but then it just sort of dangled there. The Graco Mosaic at Sears was just way too wobbly for a $100 stroller. And while I love the Baby Bargains book and website, the reviews and discussions seem way too focused on the more expensive brands that aren't in stores around here. The stroller discussions on their forum were about 90% focused on double strollers anyway. No help there for what we need.

So, I wrote down the information on the strollers we liked at TRU and Sears, and came home to hunt down reviews and such. Which led to more head-banging, because it seems like 90% of the reviews online are for a) insanely expensive ($800!!) strollers, b) two-seater strollers, or c) "travel system" strollers that come with an infant car seat, but not separately. Now, Hell will freeze solid and turn into a pinwheel before I pay that kind of money for a stroller (my last horse didn't cost that much), and we don't need a double stroller or a "travel system." So.

Anyway, after much Googling, I found a few reviews on the Kolcraft Contours stroller we saw at Sears, and I think it'll do, assuming that it fits in the trunk on both cars (we need to measure things). I managed to find some reviews that were basically complimentary and didn't raise any red flags. And we're in luck - Sears carries it in "Ruby" (aka red), while Target.com and Walmart.com only carry it in "Cosmic" (aka radioactive neon green, similar to the color of Surge soda). K-mart carries a similar stroller, without the Ipod dock that we won't be using, in a maroon, but it's not listed on Kmart.com. So I guess we'll be getting a red one.

So that's one thing marked off the list. Too bad there's still 8432 other things still on it, including finding a bigger car seat, and a house.

Monday, July 23, 2007

In-Laws, Harry Potter, and other stuff

Generic stuff today:

Another Sunday-afternoon visit to my in-laws' for dinner yesterday. Sometimes I feel like I don't fit in out there. Okay, most of the time. Yesterday was so fun - two of the Burrito's cousins have nasty summer colds right now, so of course they spent all their time within two feet of him (they have no concept of personal space, and the toothpick-sized 3-year-old tried to pick the Burrito up and carry him (!), luckily not dropping him on his head before someone grabbed her). Youngest sick cousin spent a lot of time coughing on Burrito's toy car, too. Then one of the oldest cousins (old enough to know better) was using the toy car for a sort-of roller skate, barefoot. I'm not a big germophobe, but jeez, people! The car's getting disinfected, and I'd run it through the dishwasher if I thought it would survive.

Then Least-Favorite Sister-in-Law (parent to the rollerskate cousin) managed to get in another snide compliment. El Burrito started really sort-of walking last weekend at my parents' - bopping along while holding our hands as we walk behind him. He loves it. So we showed Granny that little trick, and then he was doing pattycake for her. Which is not a new thing, we've been playing pattycake for months now. Least-Favorite SIL pipes up and says "He's finally catching up, isn't he?" And I swear, that's almost a word-for-word quote - I'm not sure about the "isn't he" part. I'm sorry, I didn't know he was running behind. I came thisclose to saying that out loud, but I bit my tongue. Twit. She's moving rapidly up the "People who can bite me" list.

I finished the last Harry Potter at 1:00 this morning. Started re-reading it over lunch, because I read it pretty speedily the first time. Had to find out who died and get it over with, you know. And oy, what a list. I got lucky - ordered from Amazon with the free shipping, which usually takes a week or so, but the PO delivered it Saturday, just as we were leaving to do the shopping. And before we could get out the door, my sister called to see if I'd gotten mine yet. Then she called Sunday afternoon to see if I'd finished. :)

An acquaintance of mine (fellow that went to the same church) died last week. Two years younger than me, with two little kids. He was working on a construction site and fell 30 feet. His family was able to donate some of his organs, but it's still a tragic thing. I've been trying to decide whether to send flowers or a donation to the fund set up for the family, but since visitation starts in an hour, I'd say it's too late for flowers.

And I need to read up on strollers, convertible car seats, and Mozilla Thunderbird. My ISP is requiring an email program with features that Eudora doesn't have, and since I refuse to use Outlook, Thunderbird is the best option. Stroller shopping is a pain in the #%%, because the stores here have virtually nothing as far as options - Target has exactly one non-travel-system stroller, Toys R Us has 3, and Walmart had 2. Toys R Us is the only store that will let you push the strollers around the store; everywhere else they've been tied down and de-wheeled. And that is the sum total of available stores, other than Sears, which I haven't visited yet. It's insane that a city this size has such crappy options for baby-shopping. Car seats are just as bad - we've narrowed it down to Evenflo's Triumph or a Britax Marathon or Roundabout. Of those three, we found one (a Britax) in stock at Target. Zilch on the other two. The big question is which seat will fit in my car - that will probably be the deciding factor. DH's car isn't a problem, being a mid-sized car (Ford Taurus). The Escort, on the other hand, isn't exactly a roomy car.

And now I've gotten all that out of my system, so I feel better. Time to go change the laundry and feed El Burrito.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Note to Self:

Before starting any more of the stack of cross-stitch projects, measure the Aida that came with the kit, measure the finished project, and figure out what size frame you'll need. Then look at all those measurements again, realize the fabric isn't big enough, and go buy a larger piece of Aida. This will prevent any more foul thoughts while trying to wrap the extra half-inch of Aida around the foam core when attempting to frame the finished project.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

More ponderings

So at dinner last night, DH & I talked a bit about house-hunting (brought on by our Idiot Neighbor). DH came up with another possibility, given that we may not be able to find what we're looking for, at an affordable price, in the next few months. He brought up the idea of renting a house for a year or two, while we keep looking for some acreage outside of town, instead of buying a house in town and only living there for a few years. Now, that would be an improvement over what we have now, since a house would presumably have a yard, more space, etc. However, it would mean moving twice instead of once. Plus there's the whole inertia factor - we need to light a fire under our butts as it is.

But the idea of moving twice gives me a headache. If we were only in a house for a year or two, we'd probably just leave most of the stuff packed up, and most of it's been packed for at least two years already. I don't want to think about all the duplicate things that will turn up when we're finally in a house and can unpack everything. The Mother of All Yard Sales will be happening after we move, I swear.

El Burrito is Home

El Burrito is back home from his visit to Grandma and Grandpa's house. He's actually asleep right now, which took all of two minutes after everyone left. He's a tired boy. :)

When he saw me walking up the sidewalk, after being gone since Sunday, he just stared at me like I had an extra head. Didn't seem too excited to see me again. I guess my ego will recover. Ha.

Sounds like he had a fun time, though. My folks took him up to visit my aunt (Dad's oldest sister), who hadn't seen him since last fall. She's having her first round of chemo today, so Dad wanted to go see her before she started feeling lousy. They also went to visit my grandparents, and then there were puppies and some mention of a little wading pool. I'm not sure I can compete with that kind of fun. No room here for a puppy or a pool, and not that much room for crawling around on the floor.

I ran some errands before El Burrito's arrival, so I think I have everything to get ready for the fair now. I got photos printed at Hy-Vee (the only place that does matte photos, and the only place with a photo machine that will actually read a USB key), and got frames and foam-core from Michaels. Last night I dug through my small bead stash and found a dozen beads that should work with the cross-stitch, since the originals are missing in action.

DH and I saw 3 movies while we were Burrito-less, and sadly, I think we paid full price for all of them. I also found out that the theater we usually go to is having summer daytime matinees, $1 a ticket, at 10:30 every morning. It's the same movie all week; next week is Happy Feet. I may take the Burrito and see how he does. We'll sit way in the back, where it may be quieter, and hey, if I have to leave early, it's only $1. (He's not big on lots of noise - the hymn-singing at church last Sunday upset him a bit.)

Plus, I found out that one of my favorite books, Susan Cooper's The Dark is Rising, is being made into a movie. On one hand, it's being done by the same studio that did the Narnia movie. On the other hand, one of the stars (Ian McShane, from Deadwood & Lovejoy) says that they weren't very faithful to the book. Of course, he also said in that same interview that he didn't read the whole book, because it was "really dense". And I seriously hope that he was joking or something, because the density of the Dark series is nothing compared to, say, Tolkien, or maybe even Harry Potter.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Fun, Day 2

More Burrito's-at-Grandma's fun:

Last night, we went to see Pirates of the Caribbean, which I thought we'd missed. By chance, I looked at the showtimes for the theater we usually don't go to (high prices, abysmal popcorn), and they're still showing it twice a day. Not a bad movie, although I think the first two were better.

Of course, there was some pre-movie drama. We've got this neighbor who's a bit of a drunk. He's the one who had Brother-in-law's truck towed last year, when BIL parked in Drunk Neighbor's space. Anyway, when I came home yesterday (at 1:15), I for some bizarre reason parked in the spot next to mine, which happens to be Neighbor's space. I can't explain it, I must have been distracted. Anyway, at 5:00 we were heading out to have dinner and go to the movies. DH went to get the mail, and Neighbor was standing by the mailboxes waiting for something. DH finds out that he's miffed that someone's in his parking space, takes a look, and I go move my car.

Now, my car had been there for 4 hours. I'd been home the whole time. I've been parking next to Neighbor for 7 years, been driving the same car for 7 years. I don't care how many brain cells he's pickled over the years, you can't tell me that my car didn't look just a tiny bit familiar. And yet, instead of knocking on the 7 other doors in our building, because he knew the car belonged to someone in the building, he just calls a tow truck.

Rude, passive-aggressive, petty, vindictive, un-neighborly, rotten stinking jerk.

So. Enough about that. Today, for my enjoyment, I went to the big flea market/antique mall south of town. It took about 2 and a half hours to go through the whole thing, and I actually found a few things worth buying (under $40 total). I also found some grossly overpriced things related to my hobby. And we may go see Ratatouille tonight. We have gift cards to one of the theaters.

Tomorrow El Burrito returns. So, before he gets home, I have to:
  • take some books that I sold to the P.O.
  • hunt down 7 beads for the cross-stitch project, since I've misplaced the ones that came with the kit
  • hunt down a frame for said cross-stitch
  • finish and frame the cross-stitch (without glass, and just temporarily)
  • decide on the photos for the fair
  • get said photos printed and matted with posterboard (again temporarily)
Part of that will be easy - I checked a few things at Michaels' this morning, but I think I have some beads and a frame here that will work.

Monday, July 16, 2007

The "Free" Day, part 1

So, here I am, almost 24 hours into our little Burrito-vacation. Less than 48 hours before the Vacation ends.

So, how have I been using the time?

Well, we went to a movie last night. The plan was to see the 5:00 showing of Harry Potter (matinee price), then grocery shopping and dinner. That plan hit a big rock, as the 5:00 show was sold out at 4:40. So, we ended up with full-price tickets to the 8:00 show (skipping the 6:30 option, because darn it, if I pay $8 for a ticket, I wanna see it on the BIG screen). Grocery shopping got shifted to the pre-movie time, and we ate sandwiches at home.

The movie verdict: not bad, although it seemed shorter than the others, and as though more of the book had been left out. I know, they're trying to cram 500+ pages of book into a 2 or 2.5 hour movie, but still. I wanted to see the statues come to life. And the Weasleys' swamp. Dolores Umbridge, though, was just as creepy as she should have been. Like a 1950's-era matron with a nasty evil streak. And all the cats!

Today, in between the laundry, I've read part of a book, and done a little bargain hunting. I went to the "small" flea market, hoping to find some horse figurines. There are a couple of flea markets I like to go to, but I can't take the Burrito - these places are too crowded and not stroller-friendly at all. No luck today, at least nothing that I bought, but I'm going to the "big" flea market tomorrow.

And I did stop at Orschelns and get some toy farm animals for the Burrito. I feel guilty that he'd never met a horse until last month, and I'm not sure that he's seen a live cat yet either. He got to play with his Uncle's puppies yesterday, although he's not as crazy about them as he was. Understandable - they're past the tripping over their own feet stage, and at 7 weeks old, they're very energetic and rambunctious. Plus armed with sharp little claws. But he did pet one, and got to watch them fighting and playing with each other. If we had room, he'd probably be bringing one home with him on Wednesday.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Alone time!

I'm finally going to get some time "off" next week. El Burrito is going down to spend a few days with Grandma & Grandpa before Grandma goes back to work (she's a para-professional at the local school, which starts in about 5 weeks). We're delivering him tomorrow, and Grandma will bring him home on Wednesday.

Of course, we're spending the night, so we won't be back home until Sunday afternoon/evening, so the real "free time" will be Monday, Tuesday, and part of Wednesday. And DH will probably work those days, so I'm not sure when we'll squeeze in going to the movies. I must see Ratatouille and Harry Potter - I've seen all the Pixars in the theater except for Bug's Life, and all of the Harry Potter movies. And I'm still peeved that I missed out on Super-man 3 and Pirates of the Caribbean 3. To prove our patheticness, I can't remember the last movie we saw. It may have been Eragon, which was something like 8 months ago.

Plans for the free time:
  • try to do part of the laundry on Sunday night, to free up Monday
  • hit the two main flea markets in town, and possibly some thrift stores
  • go to the Childrens Orchard resale store and see what they have in the way of strollers
  • work on the Fair entries
  • vacuum, since El Burrito is still anti-vacuum-cleaner
Other than that, who knows? Lord knows I'm not the most productive person as far as time-use goes, and the To Do list is of astronomical proportions these days. I'd like to be able to walk through the living room without needing a shovel. Plus there's that whole "Burrito needs a new car seat" thing, which also means getting a new stroller. Oh, and a house.

And maybe, just maybe, he'll be more inclined to sleep in his crib when he gets home. He actually fell asleep in the crib again last night, and slept for about two hours, but woke up crying and loudly vetoed the idea of spending the rest of the night there. Sigh. And my mother is still giving me grief about letting him fuss for more than 20 minutes in his crib. Even though it took him almost an hour to fall asleep last night. And when we tried the "going in to reassure him every ten minutes" idea, it backfired horribly. He got more and more agitated (actually, p***ed off is a better description) every time we left.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Some days I wish we had high-speed Internet

There are a few times I wish we had high-speed internet, rather than the dialup that I've had for years.

  • Being able to watch the PsychOuts on YouTube, if they're still there, since they weren't included on the Psych DVDs. "PsychOuts" are outtakes from filming, but they're only shown during the credits for the first airing of the episode. Later repeats don't have them.
  • The hilarious Made in Eureka commercials - total spoofs, as "hidden" advertising for Sci Fi's Eureka series (Tuesday nights, 8:00 Central time, don't miss it).
  • Not having to wait and wait and wait to download the full-size version of Hubble's Carina Nebula panorama. The high-res version is 7.3 MB, the full-res TIFF file is almost 500 MB. I'm not even touching the full-res TIFF, but a nice higher-res version would make a nice background for the PC. The interactive version is pretty fun to play with as well.
The only thing I miss about my last two jobs is the high-speed connection. Having a T1 line was great - NetRadio introduced me to Great Big Sea, for which I am eternally grateful.

But, given the cost, and the likelihood that we'll end up moving to a house where cable or DSL isn't an option, we've been sticking with dialup. No point in getting used to a speedy connection, if we won't be in a position to continue with it. Plus, the cost is a bit much (although the cable/phone/internet packages are tempting).

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Another unproductive day

Welll, it feels like it, anyway.

Things accomplished: five pounds of split chicken breast going in the crock pot, the condo lunch (a 2.5 hour excursion), and El Burrito fed twice so far. Oh, and three diapers changed.

And it's already 4:30. And I'm hungry again.

For the condo lunch this month, we went to a local brewery/pub. I've been there once before, and I'm still not impressed. DH was right - if you don't order the food when they take drink orders, you'll add a half hour to your stay. So, after arriving at 11:00, our food came out about 11:50. Catfish was okay, but tasted a bit burnt (it was cornmeal breading, my favorite), and the fries were a touch on the soggy side for my liking. The soda had an odd taste - I think the carbonation was out of whack on their soda fountain. But what irked me most was that for some reason, the waiter brought the checks in three trips (there were maybe 15 people today), but somehow didn't print mine up until the fourth trip. By the time I got my check, everyone else had paid and left, and believe me, these ladies don't rush. Lots of chit-chat and all. Nice waiter, but still. He got a $2 tip (almost 20%), just because El Burrito was fussy and I didn't want to fiddle with the math.

Meh. I'm going to go work on the cross-stitch while Burrito is asleep.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

A little progress

A little progress last night - El Burrito actually fell asleep in his crib, at night.

Of course, it took listening to most of an hour of low-grade fussing before he finally conked out. And then he woke up 45 minutes later in dire need of a diaper change. DH spent an hour in a folding chair next to the crib after that, but he wouldn't fall asleep again, so he ended up sleeping the rest of the night with us.

Other progress: I found the chart and floss for the cross-stitch that I plan to finish for the fair.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Crib boycotts, Fair stuff, and more

First and foremost, I hate going to the dentist. Just have to get that off my chest. Yes, I had an hour of "alone time" (aka baby-free time) today, but half of it was spent getting my teeth cleaned, the other half spent going to and from the dentist's office. It definitely wasn't relaxing.

Crib War news: Napping in the crib is back. El Burrito has been napping in his crib for a full week now, with no problems. Back to the old routine: put El Burrito in the crib with Eeyore and Jingle Pony, hugs and kisses, turn the monitor on, and he may or may not fuss for a few minutes before conking out. Hooray!!

However, sleeping in the crib at night? Still firmly and loudly vetoed. We've tried the recent standard of putting him in the crib when he's tired (which used to work, I swear I'm not imagining that). We've tried putting him in the crib when he's asleep. Light on, light off. House completely dark, or not. No go. Even sleeping in the playpen in our room isn't 100% working. Which means, basically, that one of us has to go to bed when he does, or else he stays awake until we do. And he usually wakes up when we do, since moving him to the playpen or crib in the morning also doesn't work. So we're all getting less sleep than we'd like.

Fair news: The class list for the Home Arts division is online now (with a typo in the link that I notified the webmaster about). So I can plan what to enter this year. I've got a counted cross-stitch that I can enter, providing I can finish up the backstitching in 11 days. I started it 6 years ago (*), but since it's not finished, I think it should qualify for the two-year time limit. Then I've got the crochet stuff - El Burrito's acorn hat (without the leaves, but oh well), my Gryffindor scarf, and whatever else I can fit into a category.

* - I think it's been 6 years. I could be off a year or so. DH and his siblings were recommended to have colonoscopies every three years, because both parents had colon cancer. I know I started it in the waiting room while DH had his colonoscopy-before-last. Last time, it was the Gryffindor scarf, the time before that it was the quotation on this cross-stitch, because it was all one color and I wouldn't have to take all of the floss. I just can't remember how long it's been since the last one. I know it was pre-Burrito, but I can't remember if it was pre-pregnancy or not.

Friday, July 6, 2007

I did it !

I just called for some information on entering the Home Arts division at the county fair this month. It's another one of those things I was going to do last year, like the Riding Program, until I/we got pregnant and El Burrito's arrival tossed all my plans and routines out the window.

Of course, the division I want to enter (Home Arts, i.e. photography, needlework, canning, etc) is the only division that doesn't have a class list on the Fair website, or a contact number. I Googled until I tracked down a contact number from two years ago, and luckily that's still the contact person, but the phone call wasn't the most successful. Her class list file was corrupted and she hasn't got another copy, so she told me what little she remembered offhand. But nothing on sizes, matting for photos, time limits or whatever. Her advice was just to bring whatever I have to the entry session and fill info out there.

So I guess I'll just scrounge up my nerve, take a box of stuff on entry day and wing it. I know they have sections for photography and crochet, but there are probably other things I could enter if I knew what they accepted. And sadly, I had the brochure from two years ago, and tossed it because I just knew I'd find another one this year.

And, through the lovely services of the Wayback Machine, I just found the class list from 2004. Not up to date, but a place to start.

Also, Amazon's clearance section is dangerous. I realized in time that while the price was great, I don't need 7 pounds of Irish steel-cut oats. (Although DH could stand to lower his cholesterol.) I did get a book, a set of microfiber dishtowels, two things for El Burrito, and three very cheap plush toys that may be mine or may be El Burrito's. We'll see who wants them worse. :)

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Crib update

El Burrito has napped in his crib every day this week. Knock wood. Still not sleeping there at night, and over the weekend would only nap in the playpen. Not sure if it's a separation thing, being over-tired, or if he's just figured out that if he squalls himself hoarse for 45 minutes, he'll get to sleep in his playpen in our room. Like that's any more fun than a crib, but who knows how his mind works.

Of course, he played in his crib for most of an hour before finally conking out today. Which put it close to the time he might have been getting hungry again. We may need to tweak the schedule, and stick a snack in before naptime. I think he sleeps a bit better on a semi-full tummy.

We also discovered last week that El Burrito is a cribber (in the horsey sense). DH was getting him out of the crib, and noticed that he'd gnawed pretty heavily on the top rails at the end of the crib, which are of course the ones without the plastic teething rails. The ends of the crib are round rails (it's a Jenny Lind style crib), and when he's in one of his squalling fits, he also gums the end rail. He's only got two teeth, but he'd done some interesting things to the wood. The problem is fixed now - we folded two of his flannel receiving blankets and wrapped them around the rails with zip ties. That should fix the problem, since he only really does it when he's mad.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007


Recent progress:

  • El Burrito had a 2 hour nap yesterday (although not until 5 pm after Grandma left)
  • El Burrito is napping now, has been asleep for almost two hours
And both of those naps were in his crib.

Decluttering progress:
  • Last week's paper recycling was 41 pounds of stuff in 3 grocery bags
  • I made a trip to the local book-trading store - they kept 9 books, I left with 1 book (The Princess Bride, hardback) and $13 in credit
  • The books they didn't want, plus a few others (total of 14) went to the library friends group
  • I sold a book on Amazon for $18 (it was a duplicate from the book sale, I paid way less than $18 for it)
  • Said book is packed and ready to go to the PO as soon as DH gets home
  • I listed 7 more books on Half and/or Amazon today
  • And there are 18 books that I need to relist on Amazon (I got the listing expiration notices last night)
  • All of the Half/Amazon books now fit onto one shelf in the bookcase
  • I send a box of stuff with Mom yesterday. She & Dad are going to Georgia to visit my sister on Saturday, so I sent magazines, two late birthday gifts, and a DVD full of pics of El Burrito aka Most Favorite Nephew.
  • Of course, Mom left two boxes here - stuff for me to sell online, plus a tea set that she bought in Germany in 1970 (part of my inheritance).

Wastes of time

Do you ever find yourself doing something, or finishing something, and only then wonder why you've wasted your time on it? Especially if it was something you didn't enjoy?

For example - I read a few books recently that, when I was done, I wondered why I'd bothered. (Note: I have a quirk - if I start a book, I'm pretty sure to finish it, whether I like it or not. Except for one Star Trek book that bored me to tears. Anyway). I recently read a couple of teen-marketed books. The latest was the first book in the "Gossip Girl" series - because Kirsten Bell, star of Veronica Mars, is rumored to be working on the television series based on the books. Before that, there were the first two in a series called "Clique" - they got a good mention in the column that the library does for the local paper, so I thought, why not?

The titles should have warned me. They were quick reads, even if I hadn't been skimming and speed-reading after the first chapters, but still. I finished them in under an hour, stuck them back in the library tote, and gave myself a mental thwap (three times!) for wasting my time on crap that left a bad taste in my mouth. Ditto for The Nanny Diaries and The Devil Wears Prada. Why did I torment myself by reading books that give me bad reminders of my last two jobs? Books with main characters that I really want to shove off a cliff? I'm just glad that most of these were either library checkouts, or books that only cost a buck at the book sale.

It happens with television shows, too. DH finally burned out on American Chopper a while back, hallelujah and amen. The bikes were neat to see, but gad, the insanity of the process made my teeth hurt. But the last round of Celebrity Fit Club (VH1) had me wishing for Tivo, just so we could skip the crap, which would have meant watching an episode in about 10 minutes. I enjoyed past seasons (okay, the Jeff Conaway train-wreck was some guilty rubbernecking), but the manufactured drama is over the top and impossible to ignore now.

And those are the ponderings for the day. Back to listing books at Amazon and Half.

Monday, July 2, 2007

A little rant

Just to get this off my chest:

The people in charge at the school district that I graduated from are complete dolts. Seriously. There are no words.

My dad retired this year. End of July, actually. He's been the bus mechanic/transportation director/route director/mostly-full-time bus driver for quite a few years (20 maybe?). He's had a 100% pass rate at the annual inspection for something like 15 years in a row, a record matched by only three other people in the whole state.

The school district advertised for a replacement. The ad mentioned that the job required 5 years of diesel mechanic experience - which is logical, since all but one of the buses is diesel. They had two applicants. Applicant A had the required experience in diesel engines, plus had done route director work at another school and had bus driving experience. Applicant B has no diesel experience, no bus driving experience, but has run a body shop.

Who do you think the school hired? That's right, Applicant B, the one who didn't fulfill the experience requirement, but whose wife works at the school. And yet he's being hired for a job he isn't really qualified for, at the salary that my dad made three years ago (i.e. after 18 or so years on the job). After they add what he'll earn driving a bus when needed, he'll be making what Dad's making now. He was also hired as a 12-month employee (Dad's been an 11-month contract since he started), so he gets an extra 2 weeks of vacation, plus various sick days.

Dad can work 550 hours (1/4 full-time basically) this year, if he wants. The superintendent wants Dad to save some of those hours so he can help the new guy through inspection next spring. If it were me, the guy sounds okay, but I'd use the 550 hours to get the guy up to speed, and then it would be time for him to sink or swim. When Dad started, he didn't have anyone there holding his hand for the first year.

IMHO, the school shouldn't count on Dad being around to bail them out when the new fellow's lack of experience comes back to bite them in the butt. And it will bite them, because he's got 15 or so buses to look after, and since it's a rural district, they rack up the miles. And they've hired a nice, but totally unqualified person to take care of things, and he's the only one there. It's not like he has an assistant or supervisor around to lend a hand. Of course, if it takes a while to get the new guy up to snuff, Dad may not have any time to use when inspection rolls around next March.