Friday, September 28, 2007


Big news - El Burrito ate carrots with a fork today.

Yes, he's using a pickle/seafood fork. Light, fairly dull, and my third choice when the dinner and salad forks are all in the dishwasher. The Event was properly recorded - camcorder, digital camera, and digital camera movie mode - and we even called DH to share the news.

Still working on Tooth #3, and he's slept through the night in his crib probably 10 nights out of the past 14. Sadly, last night was not one of them, which is why I'm dragging today.


El Burrito is going to his first Renaissance Festival this weekend, in Kansas City. (Not the best website, though) We had to skip last year, since we were still horribly sleep deprived and DH's car was being persnickety. It'll be a one-day trip instead of our usual weekend visit with friends in the area, but it'll do. We'll still have dinner with some friends of mine in KC, but we won't be spending the night catching up. Now I just have to make sure and pack everything. Food, water, straws, sunscreen, what else?

This year, I may manage to buy the windchimes I've been lusting after for a few years. Almost bought them last time, but I waffled too long. And it won't be RenFest without at least stopping at Nene Thomas' stand to see what new artwork she's got for sale. I still drool over the Winter Carousel Horse, but it's a huge piece. And sold out. I've got the 5x7 note card of the print, but it's not the same as the wall-sized original. I keep hoping that she'll finish the Carousel Horse series and turn it into a calendar, since there were originally 12 designs that she had in mind.


The only (slightly) decent shot I got of the Harvest Moon on Wednesday night. Lousy timing.

DH and El Burrito (and the new stroller) on our walk last night.

Clouds we saw while out walking. Three laps around the complex, so about a mile.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Shoes and stuff

All right, the Burrito is finally asleep, so here goes.

* * * *

To answer Jen's questions (Thanks, Jen!), El Burrito is 16 months old and apparently takes after his parents, because we both wear a wide shoe (at least in Rockports and New Balance). That's our boy - 40th percentile in height and weight at his last checkup, but 95+ percentile on head size, and already wearing about a size 5 or 6 shoe, as far as I can tell. Oy. Weather-wise, it's Missouri, so it may be cold this winter, or not. Right now, we're running in the 80's but that's a bit warmer than usual, sayeth the TV weather dude. It may get nasty-cold in January again, or we may have a mild winter.

El Burrito is just getting into the walking thing this past month, and we're still in the condo, so he's not doing a lot of outdoor walking unless we visit the grandparents. He does need to get used to wearing something on his feet, and in a few months we'll need something to keep the tootsies warm. Last year, we had winter booties from Carter's, which worked great.

We hit almost every shoe store at the mall last week. It's freaky, less than 100 stores in the mall, and at least 10% are shoe stores. There are 3 flavors of Foot Locker, Payless, Tradehome, and a couple others, plus of course Target, Sears, JCPenney, etc. No Stride Rite in the area, though. And yet, a crap selection of kid shoes, and I had to drive 90 miles to find a pair of Rockport walking shoes for me, because no one in this city carries women's Rockports. Men's, yes.

We ended up getting these at Target - MiniStars, made by Bobux. All leather (although made in China, and DH the cynic says don't be surprised if they meow someday), soft sole. With elephants on top.

(Yes, that's our lovely used-to-be-mauve carpet. The person who furnished this place had to be color blind and a bit clueless.) Only $13, and the only non-girly pair in his size (Large). We figure they'll be good enough as a starter shoe, get him used to not walking barefoot, keep the toes warm inside, and keep him from finding that cross-stitch needle (blunt ended) that I think I lost. So far, he hasn't been trying to take them off, so that's a good thing.

In a month or so, when the weather's colder and he may be doing more outdoor walking, we can go back to Sears or Payless or wherever, and get something a bit sturdier and warmer. By then, he may be able to wear a stiff soled shoe without too much trouble. Right now, 90% of the "real" shoes in his size that we can find have soles that I can't bend with both hands, and putting him in those this soon seems like begging for trouble if you ask me. There is a store in town that carries Robeez, but that's it for the kiddie shoes.

* * * * *

Other Stuff:

A water lily at Shelter Garden. We need to squeeze in a few more visits before the crew starts tearing out the annuals and take the fish in for the winter.

The Tracfone issue is fixed, although I'm not sure I'll get my Ebates money for the order. Took them less than 48 hours to reply.

And, since I missed Jan's invitation to join the Flickr pool, I present (doo doo doo) the outfits that El Burrito and I wore to the library yesterday.

El Burrito is wearing the shorts from a pair of Carter's PJs, a yellow shirt that his favorite aunt found at a thrift store (over a Carter's onesie), and the size 5-7 hat we got at Gymboree last weekend ($4, clearance). Not his most coordinated outfit, but hey. I'm just lucky he held still long enough for the picture. Usually I get the top of his head as he rushes over to grab the lens cover.

And me. Don't remember where the shirt came from; the jeans are a pair of Levis that Mom brought me last week, from my Aunt's yard sale. Not worn enough to even be broken in yet. The perks of aunts with expensive taste and high closet turnover. :) Plus my old New Balance walking shoes that need to be replaced. Pardon the missing head and feet, I was using the 2-second timer and perching the camera on a cracker box.

Someday I need to figure out what to do with my hair, since it's been the same for oh, 20 years or so (basically, since that ill-fated perm my mother talked me into). I've been thinking lately of ditching the bangs (fringe, if you're overseas) but don't know what to do otherwise.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Random Thoughts

Random quick stuff again, because I've been busy and El Burrito is fascinated by computer mice.

More on the whole Shoes thing tomorrow. We've got an interim solution, that should hold us for a month or two, until it's cold enough to need something else.

Tracfone can be a pain. Their website, specifically, has problems with timing out on dialup, and reloading the page gets error messages. Not helpful when you're trying to order something. Their phone support is okay, but has been outsourced overseas - I managed to get a resolution last time I used it, but the accents involved meant that I had to have the CSR repeat about 80% of what they said.

El Burrito is still thisclose to getting Tooth #3 (upper right center). Sadly, I don't think I wrote down which lower tooth came in first. Makes me feel like a bit of a failure, actually. Didn't write down the day he first "walked" or smiled, or anything. Bah.

And I need to go find some ibuprofen, because my whole leg aches right now. And switch the laundry.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Brain freeze

You know, I do come up with interesting things to write about here. Trouble is, they usually come to me when I'm doing something else, and by the time I get back here, I've forgotten them again.

And now El Burrito is waking up.

Burrito news: He's walking well. Working on Tooth #3 (at last!). Slept in his very own crib all night last night (first time in months). Figured out how to turn on the stereo, and crawl under the baby gate into the kitchen. Also knows how to back-crawl off the bed now, although he gets in a hurry and falls over when he lands.

No walk last night. We were bad and went out for dinner. Returned something to Walmart, bought El Burrito some clothes for next summer. Love the clearance - $1 shirts and $2 Wrangler shorts. Now I need to lose weight so I can find some of these deals for me.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The New Leaf

The "new leaf" is chugging along. I've managed to remember the morning tooth-brushing three times in the past week, which is good for me these days. Just need to find the floss and start using it. And get rid of all the unwaxed floss around here, because it's everywhere and I can't use it. It shreds between my teeth.

We've been walking twice, plus the weekend shopping involved enough walking to count as exercise in my book. It made my feet hurt, anyway.

We got the results of DH's quarterly bloodwork this week. His blood iron is back to normal and his HbA1C was a lovely 5.9 - the iron-free vitamins and cinnamon capsules seem to be helping. However, his triglycerides and HDL are still not where they should be. With any luck, the walking will help the triglycerides, and the fish oil supplement may help the HDL. I need to find the last bloodwork numbers and see if there's any improvement since we started the fish oil.

Now, if I could only figure out a way to get 28-hour days and convince El Burrito to sleep all night in his crib. Then I might actually have the energy to get something done.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


As much as I hate shopping for my own shoes (because I can never find something comfy in my size), shopping for toddler shoes is worse.

Have I mentioned that the Burrito is walking now? That, plus the fact that it's September, means it's time for him to have some shoes. And for a city/town this size, our shoe selection sucks. I knew this already, from my search for a pair of not-white, not-sneaker walking shoes for the Ireland trip. The Burrito shoe search confirms it so far.

He's apparently got big feet, a size 6 from the shoes at Sears, to go with the big head (and 30th %ile height/weight). Which means that most of what we found at the mall (Sears, Target, Gymboree, Foot Locker and Childrens Place) in his size was big clunky sneakers. Not what I think he needs right now, still being new to the walking thing and not quite steady on his feet yet. I'm thinking he needs something more like the soft-soled Bobux-type shoes at Target. Right?

Babies should come with a manual, really. And my mother, who came to visit yesterday, is already asking if he has a pair of shoes for the winter, and warning me that since he's gone barefooted all summer, it'll be hard to keep shoes on him. Well, it's been hot all summer, and lord knows he can pull socks off faster than I can put them back, I'm not expecting shoes to be any different. Especially once he figures out how Velcro works.

Monday, September 17, 2007

At least it was free

Over the weekend, I watched one of the most pointless, painful movies I think I've ever seen - Highlander: The Source. I should have known it was a piece of dreck when it went direct-to-SciFi (hyped as a "Sci Fi Original!") instead of being a theater release. At least it was on Sci Fi, so we didn't pay for movie tickets to watch this thing.

Seriously, I was a big fan of the series (at least until Richie's death), and watched all of the movies except #2 (The Quickening), which I was told to avoid and pretend it never happened. But this was a horrendous mishmash of amazing proportions, that may make Quickening look good by comparison. The impossible planetary alignment, the depressing chaos, the blond Immortal who looks like the German/Nazi villain in every B-movie. Yet another mortal "love of his life" for Duncan - how many is that now? And this one he actually married, but she left him, because he didn't mention the no-kids part until after the wedding.

In short, the writing, if you can call it that, was abysmal. The plot wandered off and got lost, and never made sense in the first place. The ending was confusing, to say the least. Plus, killing off a main character, and implying another death? Never a good idea.

So unless you're the type of fan who must watch everything related to your focus, I'm warning you now, avoid this one and save some brain cells. And if you have to watch it, record it so you can skip the commercials (and the cheezy ripoffs of Queen songs that saved some royalty money). You'll thank me later.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Working on a new leaf

I'm working on turning over a (small) new leaf, brought on by my quarterly dentist visit yesterday and DH's quarterly checkup earlier in the week. We'll see how it goes.

I got a clean report from the dentist, other than one tiny possible cavity, so small that the tip of the probe won't fit into the little spot to confirm it. My gums are holding their own, and one area looks better. Better than it should - he didn't say it in so many words, but my immune system is being more helpful than it should be, considering my sorry lack of brushing and flossing. I was a faithful twice-a-day brusher for most of two years, but El Burrito tossed that train right off the tracks and over a cliff.

I'm still brushing at night - when I take out the contacts, so it's a good reminder. But I'm going to try to work the morning brushing back into the routine. I was doing it when I put my contacts in, but it finally occurred to me that eating breakfast right after I brush is sort of defeating the purpose. So the new plan is that I will brush my teeth when I go roust El Burrito out for his breakfast. It's a two birds with one stone idea - my teeth get brushed, he gets to supervise, I'm setting a good example, and hopefully he won't end up with a mouthful of fillings like me.

Part B of the new leaf is going to affect DH. We haven't got his bloodwork results back to see if the fish oil and cinnamon is working, but his doctor is not really ecstatic about his sugar numbers (Type 2 diabetes) and repeated the "lose weight and exercise" bit. So, when he got home last night, we put El Burrito in the new stroller and walked two laps around the condos. That only works out to about 2/3 of a mile, but there's a good uphill climb on the last 1/3 of the loop, so it's a decent bit of exercise. Given our schedule and lousy time management, it's the best we'll be able to do for a while, but it'll last until the time changes and it starts getting dark before DH gets home from work. I can't wait until we find a house and can buy a treadmill. But, until then, I'm planning for us to do a few laps every night, weather permitting. If I get ambitious, I could take the Burrito for a spin every morning before breakfast, but I don't know how likely that will be.

Part B.b is going to be working on the diet again. That'll take some work and pondering, because we tend to fall back on the typical meat-potato-bread sort of meal that we both grew up with. Hamburgers, steak, tater tots, etc. Or deli turkey sandwiches. Sigh. It's time to dig out the cookbooks and start getting vigilant about the carbs again. More fiber, fewer carbs, less "junk" food. Which means getting ruthless with my sweet tooth and the grocery list. It won't be fun.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Dinty Moore isn't what it used to be

The local paper had an article about school lunches one day last week, and it boggled my brain on a few levels.
Paxton Keeley children don’t mind trying new things, but Sullivan [chief cook at Paxton Keely Elementary] said they let her know when something doesn’t appeal to them.

The beef stew, for instance, didn’t go over well at all.

"The kids did not know what it was," Sullivan said. "They had no concept of stew. I tried to explain it was a thick soup, but they just couldn’t grasp it."

The school no longer serves beef stew.

But fish sticks are back on the menu after children rallied for them in a schoolwide survey a couple of years ago.

How can kids not know what beef stew is?!?!?! Obviously, Dinty Moore needs to up their advertising budget, because you bet your boots they know what Campbell's chicken noodle soup and Spaghettios are.

I don't know which is worse: that the kids don't recognize beef stew, or that it was taken off the menu because of that. Or that, based on the photo with the article, meals at the elementary school are served on styrofoam trays with plastic forks. Yes, I realize, if the kids won't eat it, there's no use cooking it just to toss it later, but the kids should be encouraged to try new things. If they never see anything new, they aren't going to expand their repertoire, so to speak. The pasta bar and spicy chicken sandwiches mentioned in the article were also new at some point.

And this is a somewhat environmentally-progressive town - the mayor suggested a grass roof for the new city hall expansion - so the styrofoam really surprised me.

I'd boggle more, but the Burrito (who likes BBQ and soft tacos, as well as ham & beans) is awake. So we're going to go sort through his clothes and weed out the too-small things.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Madeleine L'Engle, and other trivia

Sad news - Madeleine L'Engle died last week, age 88 (which doesn't seem that old to me). I missed the news until I saw it on Susan Wittig Albert's blog this morning. A Wrinkle in Time has been one of my favorite books since grade school or junior high. I read her other Austin and O'Keefe books, but Wrinkle was the one that I read over and over, until my copy fell apart. (Many Waters didn't do a lot for me, and the nuclear war part of Swiftly Tilting Planet creeped me out a bit. Blame it on watching The Day After when it was on TV years ago.)

Anyhoo. Wrinkle is one of those books that I periodically re-read, usually whenever I come across one of the two or three copies I own. It's the book version of comfort food for me, I guess. I identified somewhat with Meg when I was in junior high, being one of the smarter kids in my grade, plus the glasses that I'd had since 2nd grade. I think I may still feel a bit Meg-like, because I still have the feeling that I don't quite fit in anywhere. It still surprises me that it's on the ALA's Top 100 Banned Books list; I'd go the other way and probably want it on the require-reading lists, but then I'm not typical, am I.

Although, if you love or even just like the book, don't bother with Disney's television adaptation from 2003. It's crap, plain and simple. I watched it out of morbid curiosity, but it managed to suck all the good parts out of the book and replace them with dreck. And I say this as someone who started watching the X-Men cartoon just because Chris Potter was doing the voice for Gambit. His appearance in this movie didn't save it.

* * * *

Other notes:

White vinegar will get tea stains out of Burrito's clothes.

Proof that my taste in music is eclectic, to say the least: I went to the big fall sale that the Friends of the Library had this weekend and came home with
^ The Sounds of Nova Scotia volume 2 (Canadian artists)
^ Songs of the Sea (more Atlantic Canadians)
^ two CDs of chanting monks - the Benedictine Monks of Santo Domingo de Silos & another group
^ Andy Griffith
^ an NPR jazz compilation
^ Lee Roy Parnell's greatest hits

Ended up wearing jeans to the play (Smoke on the Mountain Homecoming, by the way - pretty good, lots of hilarity). It was a matinee with lots of kids in attendance, so jeans weren't out of place as it turned out.

Friday, September 7, 2007


Pretty much sums up my week. Nothing exciting, really.

Digging through a mountain of miscellaneous papers and other stuff, currently living in two big Sterilite tubs. Finally getting the Eudora-to-Thunderbird switch cleaned up.

Tomorrow will be busy. The library's fall book sale starts at 9 am sharp, and we have to have lunch and leave for the in-laws' by noon. Actually, probably 11:30 since we need to drop the Burrito off at his auntie's for the afternoon, while we see a play at the Arrow Rock Lyceum with DH's parents, one brother, and 3 nieces. Which means I'll have 90 minutes at the sale, tops. Sigh. We'll have to get up early to get there in time for a parking spot - the library remodel a few years ago didn't help the parking lot at all - and to see if anything's left after the used-book-store fellow shops.

(This guy puzzles me. He's got a store downtown, which is moving this fall, and a booth in a flea market that's closing this fall, and yet he was still at the book sale this week, buying more books. And unless he's had a big clearance sale, his store front will take a few moving trucks to relocate. He's got books packed in so tight that I'm waiting for the store to explode. The shelves are so close together than two people can't pass in the aisle. I'm amazed that he hasn't been sued for being noncompliant with the ADA guidelines and totally inaccessible to people in wheelchairs or on crutches, or basically anyone larger than Kate Moss. But then I'm shocked that the fire marshal doesn't have a stroke just on walking into the store, because I'm guessing it's a fire hazard in a couple of ways. Unless the books are packed so tight that there's not enough oxygen for them to burn.)

Anyway, I need to pack Burrito's diaper bag tonight, and dig through the closet for something to wear other than jeans, if it's there. I may have no choice. Until I lose some weight, I've got two pairs of jeans that fit tolerably well, and a handful of t-shirts and blouses. No skirts, a couple of dresses that probably don't fit anymore. I've got some corduroy pants, but it's still 85 degrees and humid here, so that may not work.

Next month will have another weekend juggling act. My father's family and my mother-in-law's family are both having reunions. On the same weekend. Which happens to be the weekend of the library's children's book sale that I never miss. I think the reunions are on different days, which is good since one reunion is about 2 hours from here, at Bennett Spring State Park (which is lovely, and I haven't been there in years). Hopefully the weather will cooperate this year - last year there was a nasty wind off the lake and it was too cold for fun.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

So how was your weekend?

Mine was tolerable, but not what I had planned. But then they never are.

I always have hopes and expectations for weekends, mostly along the lines of making the "house" (aka condo) look like less of a tornado zone. I had higher hopes this weekend, being a three-day break with DH home to help out.

It didn't happen. If anything, the place looks worse today than on Friday, mostly because things got rearranged while we were hunting for the owners manual to my car, which DH wanted to consult before installing the new convertible car seat for the Burrito. Yes, the manual usually lives in the glove box, but I brought it in to check on the 30,000 mile service requirements (which the dealer wants an exorbitant amount of money for, by the way). Still haven't found the manual, but we downloaded one from Ford's website, and need to inquire at the dealership about LATCH refits and tether straps.

As it turned out, we started working on the car seat project at 2:00 (after lunch out and a trip to the grocery store and Toys R Us). Finally got it installed at 7:15. A good part of that time was spent washing the cover and waiting - and waiting and waiting - for it to dry. The manual suggests 10-15 minutes on low heat. Hah! Try an hour, folks. After half an hour, I could still wring water out of the padding. It took an hour before I thought it was dry enough to safely put in the car without fear of mildew.

I also spent part of that time online, trying to get Evenflo's website to cough up some information on ordering replacement parts, like a seat cover (just from curiosity) and the optional strap padding. Their website is insanely worthless, and doesn't play well with Firefox. To see a list of replacement parts, you have to provide the serial number and date of manufacture, which spits back a list of half a dozen parts. The printed manual lists seat covers, strap pads, and cup holders as available purchases, and yet none of those are listed on the website. Dolts. They had a survey popup when I went to the site, so I gave them an earful. We'll see what happens.

Here's another annoying website: Megablocks. DH's sister gave us some toys that her kids outgrew, including a Megablocks piano that the Burrito loves. We've figured most of it out, but there's a switch on the bottom that's stumped us. So I go to their website to see if they have replacement instructions. The "Instructions" page is useless, as they want the name of the toy line, and plain old "Megablocks" isn't an option, although it's on the piano in large letters. So I check out the "Request" page. Sure, they'll send me instructions, if I provide the model number. Which is conveniently located, get this, on the front of the instruction manual. You know, the one I lost which is why I'm requesting a replacement? Yeah, that one. Or, option B, I can give them the last four digits of the UPC on the box. Yeah right.

We won't get into the hunt for the instructions to the Fisher Price aquarium crib music thingy.

Or the fact that we have Lyceum tickets for this weekend (with the parents-in-law, DH's 4th brother, and 4 of the grandkids). And I have nothing to wear, unless I wear my jeans and ignore the looks.

On the other hand, the Spirit and Opportunity rovers are getting enough sunlight to run again, which makes me happier than it should. These things were planned to last 90 days, and there were probably people hoping to get half that, and here they are, almost 4 years later, still chugging away. That's news, people. Not the pointless antics of talent-free celebrities.

And I'm wondering if the Burrito would look cuter as a zebra, penguin, jack-o-lantern, or hot dog for Halloween. Or the tiger costume from Target. And this shirt from Old Navy would be too cute on him. We'll have to hope for post-Halloween clearance prices if they don't sell out.