Thursday, August 30, 2007

What a day

For such a busy-feeling day, I don't seem to have gotten a lot done. Of course, most of that's because it took two hours and two trips to pick up a school bud display whatsit at Walmart for my mom, and I spent most of another two hours feeding the Burrito. Who loves cottage cheese, by the way - rinsed, drained, and used as finger food. He had cottage cheese bits up to his elbows, and almost up to his eyebrows.

I did get some shopping done at Walmart myself. Strangely, Target doesn't carry the metallic cardboard car-windshield things. Or fishing swivels. So, as much as it gripes me to go to the new Walmart, where the sales tax is higher because of their transportation district (which is another rant for another time), I had to do some shopping there. Also got some killer deals on clothes for the Burrito next summer. Sears has the summer clothes on clearance, plus 50% off the clearance price. $3 shirts, y'all. And we got an additional 50% off one outfit since the shorts were missing - original retail was $22 for a shirt, shorts, and hat; we got the hat and shirt for $2.75. Sure, the hat probably won't fit, but khaki shorts are easy to find and the shirt's adorable.

Honestly, I got a kick out of walking around Walmart, because they were playing Vince Gill's Fruit of the Loom ad on those TVs they have hanging from the ceiling. It's a hoot to watch, and he's got a wicked sense of humor. This is supposedly the 2-minute "album cut" on YouTube, but alas, I have dialup so I don't know.

And Amazon is wicked, I tell you. Another DVD sale. Must resist the temptation.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Lost: one appetite

Reward offered; if found, please post here.

No, it's not my appetite (although I was reading Peony in Love yesterday, by the author of Snow Flower & the Secret Fan, which I've also read, and the foot-binding scenes are definitely an appetite-killer).

The Burrito, a boy who's always had a healthy appetite, who polished off a whole 15-ounce can of carrots at lunch two weeks ago, and who has never really turned up his nose yet at anything other than straight milk in his sippy cup (which we're working on), has become frustratingly fickle about eating. Until last week, he's been a champ, and he's eaten about anything we've offered. He may not have gone ape over lima beans like he does over bananas (no pun intended), but he'd eat them. Carrots, sweet potatoes, pears, peaches, applesauce, green beans, you name it.

Not any more. The only thing he's eaten reliably this week was cheese, shredded or sliced, and crackers. And apple-wheel cracker things from Gerber, which he likes to shove in his mouth whole. Not the most balanced diet. Today alone, he's rejected apple puffs, sweet potato puffs, apple/plum baby food, sliced carrots, freeze-dried apple bits, and a few tasteeos (store-brand Cheerios). And we're not done for the day, I'm sure. Last night we gave him a few chopped tater tots, a bit of hamburger, and some mixed veggies for dinner. He ate about 3 bites on his own, the rest was a struggle. I managed to get some peas and shredded cheese into him at lunch yesterday (what a combination), by letting him bang the tray with one spoon while I shoveled peas with another spoon.

Can we say "Frustration"?? Yep, I thought so.

Good things: has the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, Volume 1, up for pre-order now at 42% off (although they show a higher suggested retail that I've seen quoted elsewhere). The weather's cooled off - it hasn't been over 99 for a week. Found some nice books at the library sale yesterday, for a total of $6.50.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

What we've been up to

Or, pictures I've taken. :)

There was a hot air balloon competition in town last weekend. It got rained out on two of the four days (high wind, lightning), but we got to go see the ballumination, where they light the balloons up after dark.

I managed to get a shot of three balloons lit up simultaneously (they used the propane flame for the light, so it wasn't a continuous thing). It's a little over-exposed, but it looks pretty good.

And this morning, I crawled out of bed at 3:30 a.m. to watch the lunar eclipse. I got really lucky - the whole thing was visible from our tiny deck, so I spent two hours outside. And took a few hundred pictures, some of which turned out okay. I missed the end of the eclipse, thanks to the flowering whatsit tree across the street, but the last part of the eclipse here got lost in the dawn anyway.

3:50 a.m. - the first bite gone out of the moon

4:45 a.m. or so - the last sliver of moon still lit up

5:15-ish a.m - the moon is totally covered. Most of the full-dark pictures are a little blurry. Not sure if it was the longer exposure or if I'm still having problems with the auto focus. But at least I figured out why I couldn't get the sequential shooting enabled, before I emailed the company and found out that "noise reduction" and "digital image stabilization" aren't the same thing. I'm glad I checked the manual again.

It was pretty neat, and the weather was nice as well. Makes up for missing the Perseids earlier this month.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Burrito Stories

El Burrito had his 15-month-ish checkup yesterday. He's still got the XL head (95th percentile) but his height and weight have dropped a bit to 30th and 25th, respectively. Now, he's about due for another growth spurt, and the pediatrician said height at this age involves a bit of guesswork, so I'm not worried. His grandmothers, on the other hand, will probably start trying to stuff him like a pate' goose.

He's doing better than we thought with words, though, according to the ped. She considers animal noises to count as words, and the Burrito can do cows, bears, fish-face, and at one time did a pretty good Daffy Duck impersonation (which I haven't gotten on tape yet, and he won't do it lately). I think she said she was happy with 4 or 6 words at this age, and he's got that covered, even if we don't count the words that he's said once but refuses to say again. (I swear he said "applesauce" plain as day last week, but he hasn't done it since.)

El Burrito is also thisclose to walking on his own. He can stand up on his own now, without pulling up. Loves to stand in the middle of the floor, wave his arms around, and sit back down. His favorite game is standing up on the bed, then sitting down hard enough that it bounces a little. Stand up, sit down, laugh. Lather, rinse, repeat. But boy are we in trouble when he starts walking.

Cute Burrito Story #1: El Burrito can pat his head when asked, although he gets mixed up occasionally when we branch out to "pat daddy's head" or "pat mommy's head." Pronouns, you know. So, when we were outside with Grandpa and Lexie/Lexi, Grandpa told El Burrito to pet the puppy's head. El Burrito patted himself on the head instead, and Grandpa got a kick out of it.

Story #2: Day before yesterday, he was bopping around on the floor and found his lunchtime sippy cup that I hadn't picked up yet. So he picked it up, took a sip, then stood up on his own and put the sippy on the coffee table. I said "thank you," and then he bumped the sippy and it landed in the little wastebasket. Oops.

And that's it for now.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Still with the email

The Burrito is asleep, the laundry is drying, and we're skipping the library today. Postponing, actually - we're stopping tomorrow after El Burrito's checkup (and shots!) to drop off some donations and overdue books. The Friends of the Library are getting a paper shopping bag full of audio cassettes and a 20-year-old set of World Books.

I know what I want for my birthday this year. Other than a house, of course. Paramount/Lucasfilm is finally releasing the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles on DVD, and Volume 1 (of 3) is due out in October, not long after my birthday. Amazon doesn't have a price yet, but it's a 12-disc set, so it won't be cheap. Suggested retail is $117.99, but it'll be marked down the first week. The set only has 11 hours of episodes, so the rest is all bonus goodies. Apparently there are about 100 historical documentaries that were produced to go on these sets.

Right now, I'm cleaning up the massive load of dupicate emails that were created when I switched to Thunderbird. So far, I've deleted 123,006 emails, just in the past two days. And I'm still going through the folders, so there are more out there. Thanks to 6 attempts at importing, I had 8 copies of some messages. It's insane. But I guess it counts as decluttering, right?

Other decluttering - got rid of some boxes in the trash yesterday, and took the old Evil PC and an old printer to a technology recycling dropoff over the weekend. Apparently they refurbish what they can, and recycle the rest. Last weekend was also Hazardous Household Waste day, so we no longer have a bag of dead batteries and 2 compact florescent bulbs sitting around. (The bulbs were sacrificed proving that our kitchen light isn't CFL-friendly.)

Monday, August 20, 2007

Puppies and Weather

What I saw during the Perseid meteor shower last week:

That's right, nothing.

* * *

This may be the Burrito's Halloween costume if I don't have a better idea.

Matching onesie and pants. He could be a green bean. :) Or, tack on a tail and he could be a dinosaur.

* * * *

It rained last week, which we needed.

Not sure we needed the humidity that came afterwards, though, since it was already 100 degrees all week.

* * * * *

We went to visit my parents this weekend, and El Burrito met his puppy again.

We decided she didn't look like a Beans, so her name is Lexi (or Lexie). Need to decide on the spelling and get her a collar.

They're 75% beagle, 25% bassett, although Suzie (50% bassett) looks more like a beagle. Her sister is Sadie, and her brothers are Henry, Sanford, and no-name-yet (I suggested Sherman). Sadie and Sanford are staying with my brother. Henry is living with a cousin - the life of Riley, apparently Henry prefers the house at 74 degrees. (Heck, our house isn't that cool. I keep it at 80 during the day, and still gripe about the electric bill.) No-name-yet really shows his bassett side, he's got ears you wouldn't believe.

El Burrito also got to go swimming in his inflatable pool on the back deck, with a bunch of off-balance duckies.

And it rained while we were there, which made Grandpa and Uncle very happy. They'd lost two cows and a calf this month (lightning and a freak accident), so a needed rain was a nice change.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

More random stuff

First of all, check this out. Gorgeous night shot of the Milky Way over the Teton Mountains. I want to be able to see the stars like that. Right now, in town? Not so much.

Had a visit from my mom today. She ended up taking most of the day off to bring my aunt for her last chemo treatment. She'll probably be back at work by 4:00, and work until 7:00 or so (it's open house night at the school). She had a great time with the Burrito, and we're going to visit them this weekend. El Burrito can play with his puppy, and we can decide what her name is.

My "new" camera is on its way back home after being repaired. The UPS number isn't a tracking number, though, so I haven't been able to get a delivery estimate yet. But it will hopefully be here by Friday.

Loreena McKennitt announced more tour dates in the US for October, and she'll be in Atlanta for a show. My sister and bro-in-law live near Atlanta, and we haven't seen them since El Burrito was born. It's tempting, especially since the weather there should be decent in October (better than in July, when my folks went to visit).

And the Burrito and I missed the condo lunch this month. I thought it was tomorrow, for whatever reason, but it was last week. And they were going to a new restaurant, too.

Maybe tomorrow I can come up with something substantial to write about.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Fashion, meteors, and why my family makes me crazy

So, DH had a four-day weekend, and I'm not insane at the end of it. That's good.

And I think I'm safe from the "mom jeans" based on Jan's description. I avoid acid-wash and other odd colors; I much prefer the standard Levi-blue color, but I'm wearing dark stonewash Lees right now because that's all they had in my size last time. (I get most of my jeans at a Lee factory outlet - great prices, but a crapshoot as far as finding your size in a style you like.) I'm not the most fashion-conscious person though. I go with comfort over looks, which is why I own one pair of heels. Tried watching What Not to Wear, but it got annoying after a while.

The Perseids last night were a bust. From here, in the "city" as it is, we have no decent view of the west. I got up at 4:30 a.m. anyway, just to give it a shot, but no luck. Sigh.


And, for the "my family makes me crazy" portion of the show. One of my aunts is currently having chemo (breast cancer, second of Mom's sisters to have it). She was living with her second husband, a nice enough guy, but her two daughters convinced (bullied, probably) her into moving out on her own in the middle of all this, because Husband's house "has mold" in it. And so does my shower, but I digress. They've never liked their step-father, even though they were both out on their own before he was in the picture.

Said daughters are also adamant that Aunt can not stay alone, because she needs help with fetching things and because chemo is making her bones brittle or some such (which may be true, I don't know). So, IMHO, making her move out was a bit counterintuitive, to put it mildly. But, instead of stepping up and taking care of this situation themselves, since they're more-or-less responsible for it, they're guilt-tripping my mom and her other sisters into bringing Aunt to her chemo appointments, spending the night at her apartment, etc. etc. Asking is one thing, but guilt-trips are another. Mom got a nasty little email from one of the daughters, basically saying "I need someone to drop everything and spend a night with her, and if you can't help, don't bother calling." Mom's already brought her to half of her chemo treatments (they're not far from here, so it's a chance to see El Burrito), but she's got other things on her plate as well, like taking care of an elderly neighbor this summer, plus both her parents, plus life in general. My parents farm - baling hay and cutting fescue seed can't be put on hold that easily.

It just bugs the life out of me that Mom's sisters (& nieces) are so nonchalant about taking advantage of her, and yes she could say no to them (and does), but there's other family stuff going on there as well. Her mother started it, and it's perpetuating itself, and it's a big mess.

It's also why my sister and I swore to never live within a mile of any family. Sis takes it to extremes, she's lived in a different state since she got out of college. :)

And that's my family rant for the day. I've got more stored up - there are at least five cousins, on both sides of the family, that should be kicked in the pants repeatedly, and that's just the tip of the iceberg.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

A fashion question

Fashion question for the day (because I am fashion-illiterate and -oblivious):

What are "mom jeans"? And why, whenever someone uses the term in a chat room or message board, do I get the distinct impression that there's a bit of a looking-down-the-nose sneer that accompanies it?

And why do I get the feeling that I wear "mom jeans" now, and have been since grade school (see the fashion-oblivious comment above)?


DH is taking two days off, starting tomorrow, so things will get interesting. Apparently he's planning to move some things (no idea what) to storage, and take other stuff to Goodwill. Which bugs me, because I have the feeling that even though it's stuff we need to get rid of, Goodwill will probably take it right out to the dumpster. There was talk of "other plans" for the time off, but no details. Probably something I won't like, if I had to guess.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Random Things

A collection of random, unrelated stuff today:


The Perseid meteor shower is this weekend (Sunday night/Monday morning is the peak), and since the moon will be new, it's going to be a great show. I just have to figure out a way to see it. Watching from here probably isn't really workable - the Perseids are in the northeast, which is the direction that we don't have a good view in, unless I go stand out in someone's parking space. It would be easier if the peak were a night earlier; staying up that late when DH has to work the next morning doesn't go that well. Off to the drawing board to come up with a plan. Now that I've got a nifty camera with a bulb setting and a remote, I could (with luck) get a picture of a meteor.


I mailed the "new" camera back for repair today. Forgot to take out the batteries first. Oops. At least it was the cheap set that came with the camera, and not my good NiMH rechargeables. With any luck, I'll have it back in two weeks.


Yahoo had a story this morning about fast-food branding and kids. They took identical foods (burgers, milk, fries, carrot sticks), half in McDonalds wrappers, half in similar non-McD's wrappers, and offered it to pre-school age kids. Anywhere from 50-70% of the kids (depending on the food item) thought the McD's wrapper foods tasted better.

That's depressing. Makes me even more determined to keep El Burrito out of the fast-food joints as long as possible ("forever" probably being unfeasible). Sadly, McD's is a sponsor of Sesame Street, which we watch on PBS in the mornings.


Vince Gill's being inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame this fall. In my book, that news is almost as good as George Strait being inducted last year. (To which I said, "about #$%# time!). However, realizing that Vince Gill is 50, and George Strait is my dad's age? Makes me feel old for some reason. :)


Took the new stroller for a drive at the library and mall today. It's sweet - steers well, rolls easily, and fits in the trunk of my car. And we noticed something that my dad and brother will like - it's red and black, aka International Harvester tractor colors. Grandpa will approve. :)

And we bought a few neat books at the library today. It's the "Classics and Oldies" two-day sale, which means lots of books, and no parking space available.


Sick fish in the aquarium. Just one, and I'm guessing it's just old age. She (I think) spends most of the time resting on the gravel. She was like this about two weeks ago, but rallied for a while. Not sure if she'll recover or not. I doubt it; wish there was a decent way to euthanize a tropical fish, other than sticking the poor girl in the freezer or something.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Email, computers, and rotten moods

Fair warning to anyone (hah!) who might want to visit: I'm in a lousy mood today. And for a few reasons, all of which are illogical. But there you go.

My email is finally working as it should. Who would think that switching email programs would take three freaking days?!?!? I installed Thunderbird Thursday afternoon, and finally was able to download and read my incoming email late Saturday night/early Sunday morning. And that involved both DH (the computer guru) and myself staying up until 5:00 blinking a.m. on Saturday morning (aka Friday night). On more than one occasion (two that I remember specifically) I was ready to chuck the whole thing out a window somewhere.

After 2 six-hour attempts to download the whole 9-year collection of email from Eudora, DH had the brilliant idea to import it in batches. Thunderbird doesn't offer that as an option, but renaming a few files here and there and moving them to the other hard drive made it work. We also used a handy little utility that saved all the read-status information during the import, and discovered that a blank space at the beginning of a folder name confused Thunderbird into skipping that folder during the import.

Also, Olympus is strange. Their confirmation email to me when I bought the camera said "email us if you need help." So I did. Their reply was to call their toll-free number. Now, why couldn't they skip the whole "email us" bit and go straight to the phone call? Anyway, the final verdict is what I expected - the camera has to go back for repair. Estimated 7-10 days for repair, plus travel time each way.


Friday, August 3, 2007

Fun with Email, part 4

4:10 p.m.

After almost six hours of importing email, Thunderbird errored and crashed. So we're going for round 6 of the email import. Oy.

FedEx delivered my new-ish (refurbished) FE-120 camera, which also has a snag. The card won't click into the compartment. Sigh.

Sucky day.

Fun with Email, part 3

So, it's almost noon here. Thunderbird has been importing my Eudora mail (for the 5th time) since about 9:30 this morning, and if the status bar is right, it's not even half done yet. I'm glad I started it before the Burrito's breakfast, and I wish I'd started it right after I woke up.

Of course, this means that my 2 a.m. "Aha" moment was probably right, because it's taking much longer to import this time. Apparently the problem was the workaround I was using to keep certain folders near the top of Eudora's folder list. I put a space at the beginning of the folder name - " Stuff" rather than "Stuff" - to keep some of them at the top. After taking out those spaces, the import seems to be going well.

And, joy, after 5 tries at importing, I'll have 5 copies of some things. Plus the fun of setting up all the email filters again, although Thunderbird's Junk procedures might make some of the filters unnecessary. I hope.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Fun with Email, part 2

Well, after at least two hours (non-consecutive) of fiddling with TBird, I've run into the first big snag. After three attempts to import my email from Eudora, only part of the folders are being imported. And, of course, the important folders are the ones that aren't moving over, and I can't seem to find any helpful information on this sort of thing.

Gah. This is why I hate switching software. I've had Eudora since 1998.


Fun with Email

So I bit the bullet about an hour ago, and started installing Mozilla Thunderbird as my new email program, replacing my old (version 4.2) much-loved, although often frustrating, Eudora. I didn't have a choice. Prodigy, now owned by/called AT&T Yahoo, is my ISP, and they're requiring email clients to have SSL capabilities. My old Eudora can't do that, and the new Eudora is going to be based on Thunderbird anyway, when it's finished. So, since I've been happy with Firefox for at least a year now, I'm switching to TBird.

So far? Lots of hassle getting the accounts set up, mostly because I've got five email accounts, and even though there are only two domains to deal with (prodigy and my webspace provider), it's always a pain figuring out the little details. Even with Eudora open and copying the info directly over, it's a pain. Plus, I think I'm still having problems with the SMTP server at Prodigy. That was the subject of about six weeks of pain in the #$$ hassle when SBC Yahoo bought Prodigy. It took many, many emails to the Customer Service robot, and eventually a live-chat with someone at Yahoo, to get it fixed. The "official" paperwork had two different sets of SMTP/POP info, and neither one worked. The live chat helper gave me two more sets of info, and finally one worked. Never got an explanation for why, but apparently I'm using some SMTP server that's not mentioned in the help files. Huh.

It looks a lot like Outlook (not a plus, in my book). And it seems to be slow at downloading email. That could be a problem, since I somehow get a lot of email. Seriously - we go out of town for the weekend, and I can have 500 messages waiting for me. Most of those are fluff, I belong to a few hobby Yahoo-lists that are mostly listing things for sale, and they generate a lot of traffic. Ditto for the Freecycle list and a few others.

On the up side, it's downloaded a few emails that for some reason Eudora wouldn't download. I could see them in the webmail interface, but even after a year, they were still sitting on the server instead of my hard drive. Bizarre, no?

Something I don't like: The status bar shows the number of emails to download, but only for one account at a time (I think). Eudora will show the status for all five accounts at once, which is what I'm used to. I can't think of a serious need to know that, but I like being able to see it.

Getting my email filters set up again will be a tremendous pain, since TBird apparently can't import settings from Eudora without crashing, and I have sooo many filters it's not funny. And of course Eudora doesn't seem to have a way to print them out. Sigh.

On the other hand, if the Junk filter works, I'll be soooo happy.

Well, Duh! Part Dos

Another "Duh!" moment last night, when contemplating El Burrito and the Great Crib Wars (which are tapering off, but not totally over).

Since lately he's usually awake when we put him to bed, we leave the light on. Also, because when he's fighting the idea of sleeping, he may sometimes play in the crib (when he's not crying pitifully and loudly). So we don't like to leave the poor boy sitting in the dark crying; it's not quite as pitiful when the light's on.

It dawned on me last night, for some reason, that he'd probably sleep better if we finally got off our rumps and hung up his night light (okay, it's a wall light, and ours is a crescent moon instead of this star, but still). You know, the one we've had since he was born, that his favorite aunt got him at Ikea and brought all the way from Georgia, along with the matching star-and-comet mobile? The one that uses a little 40-watt or smaller bulb. Because the light right now, duh, probably isn't conducive to sleeping. It's the floor lamp that we had in that room back when it was an office/library/general "stuff" sort of room. The floor lamp with three movable heads (standard college-dorm lamp), and 3 150-watt-equivalent CFL bulbs in it, because this place has lousy light and I needed to see what I was doing on the PC, bills, etc.

What can I say? The Burrito has always been pretty good about sleeping anywhere and everywhere - noise and light haven't bothered him (which I attribute to the nights in the nursery at the hospital). He's slept through doorbells, dropped pans, and the installation of a peephole in the door 8 feet away, complete with electric drill. Although not the vacuum cleaner.

So, today or tomorrow, we will clear a path to an appropriate wall socket, because "his" room is still about 70% storage and 30% his, and the nearest socket would put the cord right in the reachable-from-the-crib zone. And this weekend DH & I will be hanging up a certain wall light and matching mobile.

And I will continue to feel like a twit because it took this long to realize it.