Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Lousy timing

Today is Halloween, and El Burrito has a costume. He's also going to visit his grandparents for the weekend - Mom's coming tomorrow to pick him up.

So, of course, what happens? He's running a temp today and feeling "meh" in general, judging from his behavior. It may be teething related, since he's got one tooth about to break through and 3 others sitting so close to the surface that you can see them. Hopefully it's not some bug he picked up from his cousins this weekend. I kind of doubt that; for all their excitement when he walked in the door, they didn't play with him that much on Sunday. Of course, the clamoring sort of spooked him when he got down to play, so I had to tell them to back off a little. His two youngest cousins are pretty loud and tend to not recognize personal space, and it overwhelms El Burrito.

Hopefully we'll find a place to do a little treating tonight - the grocery store was advertising a "Halloween Walk" but didn't have any other info - and a dose of acetominophen will get us through that if he's not feeling better by then. But if Grandma has to postpone her weekend, she'll be pretty sad. She's got Friday off and was planning on some fun.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Crazy things

Crazy things I've seen lately:

  • A $2,300 bathrobe in a magazine. Cashmere blend, but still. That's almost what I paid for my first car.
  • A bathtub carved out of a granite boulder. (In the same magazine.) Prices range from $13,000 to $15,000. I didn't bother to wonder how the plumbing worked, or how much the darn thing would weigh and how much the bathroom floor would have to be reinforced before you moved it in. Not to mention getting it through the door, although a bathroom with a boulder tub probably isn't a "normal" bathroom with a standard doorway.
And now El Burrito is waking up, so you'll be spared any more reports of crazy magazine products. :)

Monday, October 29, 2007

Comets and Cookie Monsters

And yet another unbelievably unproductive weekend. The only errand we had was to go grocery shopping, which took less than 90 minutes. So how, please, did we accomplish nothing off The List this weekend? Not even fiddling the front door so that I can lock it without hurting myself, or moving the houseplants? Don't even bring up the fact that you can't get into our closet at all, or the couple of things I need to return, or the aquarium that needs cleaning. We managed to do diddly squat this weekend.

We did go out to the in-laws' yesterday, for a birthday dinner (my birthday, plus a brother-in-law's). We took El Burrito's Halloween costume and he got to wear it around a bit. I wish I'd gotten the camera out first, because he was trotting around with the biggest grin on his face. He's apparently very proud of his Cookie Monster costume. I hope he can wear it around the house for a month or so; he looks too cute in it.

I also tried to take some pictures of Comet Holmes 17/P, which has been in the news lately. It was visible with binoculars or a telescope, but it flared up last week and you can see it with no assistance now. I thought I was prepared - had the camera, tripod, batteries, and a sky chart of the right area. I forgot one thing - the little whatsit that attaches the camera to the tripod. Ooops. Made DH stop at the end of the gravel road anyway, while I found the comet (I think) and attempted some pictures with the camera propped on top of the car. Long exposures with an idling car don't work out well.

But I got a nice surprise when we got home - in spite of the overabundance of lights around here, we could still see what I think is the comet. Having a building to block the moon actually helped. So at 11:30 last night I was out on the sidewalk with the camera, tripod, and whatsit, taking some pictures of the comet area. Now I need to find the sky chart again and make sure what I think is the comet really is the comet, and not just a star that's supposed to be there.

Friday, October 26, 2007


My DH, that is. Possibly.

The furnace guy came today, so we got the front two rooms presentable (pictures to come) this week. I gave up at 1 a.m. last night, considering things "good enough" as long as I ran the vacuum this morning. Had to take El burrito to bed with me because DH was tinkering in his room, aka "the other room," when I went to bed. I woke up at 5:45 a.freaking.m. and all the lights were still on. DH was still awake. I staggered blindly (no contacts!) in to the kitchen, stared at him until he asked me what was wrong, and hauled him off to bed for 2 hours of sleep.

He'd mopped the kitchen floor, among other things. I'm pretty sure the furnace guy didn't notice. (He also had to ask me where the filter is on our machine. It's somewhere in the guts of the furnace, darned if I know exactly where. One guy thought it was accessed through the return air vent. You know, the one that's seven feet above the floor. I'll be the first to admit that the floor plan and such here stinks, but it's not that bad, thank goodness. I'm going to have the next one draw a diagram and stick it to the furnace.)

Granted, the front rooms look good, but we'll spend the next two weeks trying to find things that got shoved in a box. I just found the checkbook last night, and it's been missing for a week.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

One step forward, one step back

Or, a nice round of Musical Chairs in my future.

So, I've spent a lot of time this week trying to get the living room to a state where I won't be embarrassed with the HVAC guy comes for the annual furnace checkup tomorrow. It's starting to shape up actually, helped by moving a little bookcase into the living room for all of El Burrito's books, and boxing up some figurines (Breyer horses, to be precise) that had been under the coffee table for lack of space. It was looking presentable last night, until I saw the forecast in the newspaper. Predicted low last night was 33 degrees. Which means that the houseplants had to end their little porch vacation, and move back inside.

Given the fact that I've got way fewer plants this year than I did last year, it's odd that they seem to take up more room. Part of that is because I've got fewer "safe" places for them. This time last year, El Burrito wasn't even crawling yet, so the plants were okay. Now he's walking, and flat-out insisting on trying to walk through spaces that he won't fit through. Joy joy. And thanks to the bonkers floor plan, there's only three rooms that can be easily closed off without turning the condo into a cave. Two of those are the tiny bathrooms, with no windows, and squat for counter space. The third would be what was supposed to be El Burrito's room, but which is actually mostly the "other" room where everything gets shoved, with his crib and things in 1/3 of the room. It's easy to close off, and doing so doesn't block off too much natural light. Closing off the other bedroom makes the place feel like a tomb, since that's the window where most of our natural light comes from.

So right now, there's a sad-looking Chinese evergreen sitting on top of the washing machine, and the avocado and Madagascar Dragon Tree in the bathtub. All of those will have to be moved to another location, because the Furnace Guy will need to wash the filter off in the bathtub (it's a permanent filter), and he has to basically sit on the clothes dryer in order to get to the furnace, which is shoe-horned into a cranny beside the dryer. Everything else, I guess, will be wedged onto a plastic shelf in front of the window/door in El Burrito's room. And that means that I've got to come up with a place for the things that are currently on that shelf. And find out where the sticky stuff all over the amaryllis came from. I don't know where the redwood will end up, though. It's too big for a shelf, poor thing, but at least it survived the summer. It needs repotted badly, but it's already in the biggest flowerpot that Walmart had, and I'm hoping to move before I have to repot it. Then I can stick it in one of those half-barrels and be set for a while.

On other topics, someone sent me this picture from the fires in California. Gives me a chill.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Geniuses, I tell you

The Britax people are hilariously genius. UPS (a frequent visitor to our doorstep) delivered our new car seat today. We ordered a Marathon for DH's car, now that El Burrito is about to outgrow his Graco infant seat, and Evenflo peeved me once too often about the convertible seat in my car. Anyway, the box the thing came in is great. Mr. UPS even commented on it.

It's shaped like a chair, and it's even got handles. Lovely people. More boxes should come with handles, because hefting something bulky up our steps is a pain.

And we've decided on a date for the weekend in Atlanta. More than a weekend, more like 4 days, but it'll be fun. El Burrito's second trip out of the state, and the first time my sis has seen him since he came home from the hospital.

As it turns out, though, our trip will fall on the weekend of McCaffreyQuest, which means I won't score high this year. (McCaffreyQuest is an online trivia challenge for fans of Anne McCaffrey's books. Usually about 150 questions or so, some multiple choice, some short-answer. The top 10% of the scores get prizes, the rest of us just get our name on the Wall of Fame. Where mine would be, but I never got around to answering the email last year about what name to put up. Sigh. It was the first year I entered, and I got 146 out of 164 right.)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


Is my day, described in one word. The rest of the week will probably be the same. Nothing serious, just that I'm (we're?) stuck in the Quagmire of Indecision and Unmotivation.

For example, how can I have a 28-page wish list at Amazon, yet have no suggestions at all when my MIL calls to see what I'd like for a birthday present? Granted, there's some pricy stuff on my wish list, but even the under-$30 list would fill a few pages. But still, no suggestions come to mind.

Last night, I said we had 3 things to do - El Burrito's bath, 3 sympathy cards, and a decision on the Atlanta trip. Four hours later, we'd done the bath but nothing else.

We still haven't decided when to go see my sister in Atlanta, and we're running out of time. DH wants to fly, I'd rather drive. Knowing what we pack for a day and a half at my parents', I can't fathom trying to haul El Burrito and all his stuff on an airplane, and then having to either rent a car or fit 3 adults and a car seat into Sis' Ford Mustang. DH suggested not taking the stroller and playpen (I think leaving the stroller is insane, given airport walking and a day at the aquarium). Plus Sis has a box of books for Burrito, and I'd planned on visiting a dealer that carries some lightish but bulky things, which couldn't be flown home easily.

I'm ready to scrap the whole idea, but I'd really like to go to the Aquarium.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Gloomy weather

Is what we have today. 86 degrees yesterday, 66 today. We took advantage of the nice weather yesterday to walk through Shelter Garden, along with everyone else. Including a lot of people taking family pictures of one kind or another - the place was thick with people toting big expensive cameras. I was toting my big-for-a-digital not-so-expensive camera.

We sent 35 pounds of paper to the recycling today, and worked over the weekend on boxing things up and cleaning. So how, I wonder, does the house look worse today? It's anti-motivating for sure.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Quite the vocabulary . . .

. . . especially for a monster.

In less than four minutes yesterday, Cookie Monster managed to use lachrymose, ecstatic, elated, and euphoric in the "Letter of the Day" segment of Sesame Street. Considering the target audience, that's amazing. Heck, I've got a pretty good vocabulary, and I don't recall seeing "lachrymose" until I read the Lemony Snicket books a few years ago.

Yes, I watch Sesame Street, and I enjoy the puns. Grover's raven and Uncle Rachmaninoff still make me smile, and the Meal or No Meal spoof of Deal or No Deal made me laugh my head off.

The Burrito stalled on his nap for an hour and a half today, which makes it seem like a very unproductive day. He's also worse than a cat lately for being underfoot. He loves to sneak up behind us, and being so short and very quiet, we don't see him until we turn around and almost trip over him. I'm seriously considering getting one of those orange flags-on-a-stick that you can put on a bicycle, and taping it to his diaper.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

I don't believe this

This is getting crazy. Another email from my mother this morning. Another funeral, believe it or not. This makes three funerals in seven days for Dad's family - all at the same funeral home, all with the same man doing the service, and 2 out of 3 at the same cemetery. The Reverend has got to be getting tired of seeing the same crowd in the audience, and lord knows they're getting tired of being frequent visitors at the funeral home.

Things you just have to laugh at: " Subject term: Power tools--Drama--Video recordings." as a catalog subject heading for the Red Green Show in the library's online catalog. I wonder who came up with that one? Not surprisingly, there are no other entries under that subject. Because who else, really, would do "dramatic video recordings" about power tools? Although, Red Green is more comedy than anything, and Canadian comedy at that.

(Or maybe I took that cataloging class once too often, and normal people don't get the joke.)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

When we move

When we get a house (whenever that is), I hereby vow and swear that:

  • Those hanging lamps I got from JCPenney 7 years ago will be used again. (They were in the bedroom for a while, but we took them down when we started househunting. Mostly because we didn't want any confusion about what conveyed with the condo and what went with us. That was about 4 years ago.)
  • The nice comforter set - also from JCPenney 7 years ago - will come out of the bag and be used. Probably only in the winter, since it's flannel and DH can't sleep if he's too hot, but it will be used.
  • I'm going to start using the dishes I got back when I worked at Oneida, 10 or so years ago. I got a killer deal on 12 place settings of a pattern we were closing out. I've also got 3 sets of flatware courtesy of Oneida - one that I'm using now, one that I love but don't have all the pieces of (just 12 place settings), and one that I love and have almost the whole nine yards of. I don't have the grapefruit spoons and steak knives, but I've got the rest. And the best part was that most of it was second-quality and I paid 10 cents per piece for it. I had to get first-quality pieces to fill out the big set, but with the employee discount, I still got 12 place settings dirt cheap.
  • We're getting a chest-type freezer after we move, and I plan to start freezing a few meals ahead.
  • We're going to have a table. No more eating dinner on the couch, which is our only choice now. Had to get rid of the table to make room for the crib last year.
  • There will be bookshelves. Lots of them. And all the books will be unpacked, and there will be a massive round of listing on and Amazon Marketplace. Because I know there are duplicates, thanks to the library's 50-cent paperback sales, my lousy memory, and the fact that I can't tote along the PC with the massive book-inventory spreadsheet when I go to the sales. We have at least three full sets of the James Herriot books (hardback and paperback), plus my original, read-until-the-covers-fell-off copies.
  • All of our Nene Thomas prints will (eventually) be framed and hung. That may take a while, because they're mostly odd sizes and I don't think I could handle seeing the total for framing all of them at once.
  • Somehow, we're going to have a decent pantry, and we'll be able to see what we've got. "Out of sight, out of mind" is a dangerous thing at times. Also, things will be grouped. No more of this one bottle of ketchup in this cabinet, and one over the fridge. Birds of a feather will be flocking together, or else!
  • I may insist on a real desk (not the table we're using now) with drawers and such. That way, the "office supplies" could all hang out together. And I could be astounded at how many partially-used rolls of Scotch tape we really have.
I'm already working on other things along the same lines. We rounded up all the samples of lotion, shampoo, etc. that have spawned here over the years and are working through those. And when I ran out of my usual body wash last month, instead of buying another bottle, I started in on the stash of Bath & Body Works freesia products that I stocked up on when they discontinued that scent (about five years ago - and they re-introduced it last year). Everything mail-related (stamps, envelopes) is on a little wire cart with the "stuff to be filed" pile. Okay, not the stamps - they're stuck to the filing cabinet with a magnet, about 18 inches away from where I pay the bills. Hard to lose.

On the other hand, that New Leaf died a quick death. New Leaf 2 will have to start soon. Okay, part of New Leaf 1 is still going - El Burrito sleeps through the night in his crib 90% of the time now. But the walking and dental hygiene has backslid horribly.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

It feels like Monday

Today feels like Monday, even though we made our regular Tuesday library trip today.
I blame it on the fact that we weren't home yesterday, and that I'm doing laundry today. It'll throw me off the whole week.

The funeral-related stuff went okay. There was a big crowd at the funeral - standing room only - which is a nice thing. My aunt is doing okay so far, in spite of having 14 people (3 preschool age) and 4 (indoor only) dogs staying with her over the weekend. My dad had to go over and help settle a few arguments, I think, when the funeral arrangements were being discussed. Too many chiefs, not enough indians - some of Aunt's kids/grandkids are known to be a bit bossy, and that's being polite. :)

Everything happened so fast that I doubt she's had time for it all to really sink in. It'll probably all hit her in a day or two, when everyone's gone home and she's alone in the house. She does have family nearby - my parents are just down the road and one daughter lives a few miles away - but it's still going to be a major adjustment. Their 50th wedding anniversary is next month, too.

And right now my Dad's cousin is staying with my parents, and will probably spend a few days with Aunt after that. I feel a lot of sympathy for all of them, because the woman talks constantly and is also a bit bossy. (Actually, she has an opinion on everything, including planting trees in cemeteries, and her opinion is always the right one.) 24 hours with her made me tired and a little testy. She's been staying with Mom & Dad for about three days now. Dad may go in to work just to get some peace and quiet.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Well, that was fast.

a.k.a. Rotten News, part two.

My uncle passed away late Friday night, less than two weeks after getting a 2-3 month outlook. I don't know what kind of cancer he had, but it must have been some nasty aggressive sort. He was on medication to help control the brain swelling (not totally successful), and they decided to stop that on Friday. They didn't give him the 9 p.m. medication, and he was gone before midnight. He never really woke up after the surgery last week, from what I've heard.

Mom called last (Friday) night with the times for my aunt's funeral today and an update on uncle. He never really woke up after the surgery last week, was on a ventilator, and hadn't been responsive for a few days. After hearing how things were, I wasn't that surprised when the phone rang this morning. At least it was relatively quick at the end, which (I think, anyway) is preferable to a long lingering coma or something similar. It sounds kind of callous when you say it out loud, though. (Personally, I want to go in my sleep, at the ripe old age of 98 or so, and still possessing a fairly sound mind and body, thanks very much. Not the way my parents' next-door neighbors are headed, for instance. More ranting on that later this week).

Visitation is tomorrow night, funeral Monday (with rain in the forecast, to top it all off). I didn't think they'd be able to schedule things that quickly, but apparently the funeral home isn't booked, so there it is. El Burrito is having a sleepover with DH's parents instead of going with us. I think he's still a bit young to deal with the whole funeral thing, and he can do without a rainy funeral on a 60-degree day right now. Gramma is disappointed at not seeing him, but she'll get over it.

Coming up later - pictures of the cutest Cookie Monster costume, and the headache of getting a baby gate to fit our stairway (do not get me started again on the lousy layout of this place. Really. We apparently need a 5 foot 8 inch baby gate. The only one we found so far that might be that wide was $100. I can get either Grandpa to make one cheaper than that, thanks.)

And now I'm off to pack.

Friday, October 12, 2007

October already?

How is it October already? Seriously, what happened to September? It's already cooling off here, although it was a whopping 87 degrees or so last Saturday. This week, it's cool enough that I'm faced with the issue of moving the houseplants back inside, and we still haven't managed to re-hang the doors - which will pretty much require that my little jungle be outside for the duration. (Although I seem to have killed the grape ivy, after 8 years.)

Short family update: Aunt's funeral is tomorrow. Uncle's will probably be sometime before Halloween, if things are as bad as I've heard. He's not breathing on his own, and he's got some brain swelling. A few days ago he could squeeze someone's hand, but not lately. The doctors say 6 days at the most.

Anyway, it's almost mid-October, which means that I need to come up with a costume for El Burrito - I'm leaning toward Cookie Monster myself, this being probably the only year I'll have any input in the decision. :) Unfortunately the cheap Walmart version is crap and the nice one online is $50. I plan to hit a few costume stores tomorrow (including a consignment place) and see what turns up. If only I could sew more than buttons.

And we need to get things organized for a visit to my sister in Atlanta. DH, normally the conservative one, is okay with the idea of flying the three of us down, but the thought of trying to get our stuff and Burrito's stuff on a plane just freaks me right the heck out. At the very least we'd need to take the stroller, playpen, and car seat, and we'd be renting a car while we were there - Sis has a Mustang and a Mini Cooper, both two-door cars and neither one what you'd be able to fit 4 people and a car seat in. (I've ridden in the back seat of the Mustang, and I had to sit sideways to fit.) The mere idea of trusting an airline to not mangle or abscond with the stroller and playpen is laughable. Of course, our other option is to drive and make a 1.5 or 2-day trip of it, so that Burrito would have some running-around time to burn off some steam.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Back online, and stuff

Back online, hooray! It was the power supply as we thought. That's the third one in 5 years or so, so we need to figure out what's going on to cause it all. Spent last night downloading a week's worth of email and spam, and now I need to find out why some of the email filters aren't working.

Non-family related sad news - the racehorse John Henry was euthanized this week, at the honorable age of 32 years. He raced successfully until he was 9 years old, which is practically unheard of in the "big leagues" of horse racing (I'm not that familiar with the horses that race on the smaller tracks). These days, if an un-gelded colt wins a Triple Crown race, you can probably bet that they'll be retired at the end of their 3-year-old year. I can see the point about not risking their health by racing them unnecessarily, but I also don't think racing an immature (physically speaking) 2-year-old is that logical either. Anyway.

Family-related update: An aunt on Dad's side passed away yesterday, fairly unexpectedly, but she'd had health problems (asthma, etc) for a while. So, probably a funeral this weekend. Uncle is still hanging in, but it's not looking good. He wasn't at the reunion; he had surgery last week to remove some masses that were obstructing his intestines, and ended up having 2/3rds of his colon removed. The prognosis now is 60 days at best, and apparently the cardiologist recommended taking him off the ventilator so as not to prolong the suffering. This is apparently a pretty aggressive cancer. Uncle had spinal surgery last fall, and presumably there were MRIs and such as prep for that, and no one saw any of this mess. My other aunt with cancer is doing well, though. Her T-cell count is better than expected, and she may not have to take the full run of chemo/radiation (I can't recall which she's taking right now).

Otherwise, the family reunions were a good time. However, next year, I swear I'm taking some sort of vegetable dish instead of our usual famous peanut-butter Rice Krispy treats. Because at both reunions, the food was 45% meat, 45% dessert, and 10% pasta- or potato-salad or bread.

Small bit of good news - there's a slight chance of a second Firefly movie. Which would make me insanely happy, especially since it would supposedly happen before the first movie, timeline-wise.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Offline for a while

I'll be offline for a bit. Computer troubles. I'm using a library PC, since DH came home early. Wicked fast connection, but I hate this keyboard and the mouse sticks. Plus, IE instead of Firefox. I miss tabs.

The "New" PC - only a few weeks newer than El Burrito - decided to crap out yesterday. I hit the power switch on the way past, and when I came back a few minutes later, still nothing. Arrgh. I did my usual checks - plugged in, power strip, etc. Turn off the strip, count to ten, try again. No go. Unplug everything, down to the monitor and phone line. Still no go. DH did some checking from work at Dell's support site and popped it open when he got home. Best guess is that the power supply crapped out. This would be the third one in 7 years. I must be jinxed. But at least, thank gods, goddesses, saints, and whoever else, it's not the hard drive. Because I stink at actually backing up things like photos. Even with the mega-huge second hard drive from the Black Friday sales last year.

And wouldn't you know, the PC would crap out when I've got auctions going on Ebay.

DH ordered a new power supply but no clue on when it'll get here. So I'm stuck with library PCs for the time being, or the laptop in a pinch. Don't like to get online with it, it doesn't have a firewall and it does have all the Quicken data, but for an hour here or there it might have to do.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Rotten news

And now for the bad-news part of the day. Because there had to be some, you know?

We've got two family reunions this weekend - DH's mom's family on Saturday, my dad's family on Sunday. Which sounds hectic but fun. Not so much with the fun, now. My mom called this morning, with some news about one of my uncles - Dad's 2nd-oldest sister's husband, to be precise, so not a blood relative, but still. They live about a mile from Mom & Dad; moved down from St. Louis a few years ago after they retired. He was having some problems with his shoulder and went to the doctor a few weeks ago. Assorted tests, and so on and so forth, discussions about hospitals and second opinions. They found a mass in his lung (not overly surprising - he smoked cigars for decades). Then a related mass in his shoulder, hence the pain. Then nodules in his stomach and something, I don't recall the word, in some lymph nodes. Not great news, but not horrendous.

They did an MRI last week, and scheduled a bone biopsy for today (to give the Coumadin time to clear his system). Mom got a call from my cousin (Uncle's daughter) this morning. The bone biopsy is cancelled, because they got the results from the MRI. The cancer's in his brain, too. The doctors are giving Uncle 1 to 3 months. Which means that unless things go very very well, better than expected, we're looking at a funeral before New Year's.

This sucks, people. Really, really sucks. Mom's second sister was diagnosed with breast cancer this summer (her second sister to have it), Dad's oldest sister had surgery late this summer for a large mass in her abdomen and is having chemo now, and then this. Just in time for the reunion. Which, granted, it'll be good for everyone to get together for a good (kinda) reason, but it's going to put a big damper on things.

What the bloody hell do you say to someone on Sunday, when he's just found out on Monday that he probably won't see Christmas, possibly not Thanksgiving or even Halloween? I suck at this sort of thing to begin with, but it's worse with family. "Hi, how are you" seems pretty clueless. Saying goodbye when we leave will be even more awkward. "See you later" or "Have a good week" or any variation of that is just an idiotic thing to say in this situation.

Renaissance Festival Fun

Warning - lots of pictures. :)

The Ren Fest was lots of fun, although we got a later start than planned, and didn't get there until 1:00. We had a good drive up, although El Burrito didn't nap in the car like I'd thought he would. We saw a B-2 bomber flying over when we had a pit stop near Whiteman AFB, and had our usual pre-Fest pit stop at the Farm & Home just outside the gates. (Last flush toilets for 400 years, plus a great selection of Breyer horses, my collectible of choice.)

The front gate (although this was taken as we left - the lines were longer when we got there).

We did a few things that we always do:

Gotta have some Kettle Corn, which I'm still munching on today. Delicious stuff. The microwave popcorn version isn't comparable, and I don't waste my money. I just buy the good stuff two or three times a year. The fresher the better.

Also, Cinnamon Crunch Almonds. There's got to be a recipe for these out there somewhere. Too yummy. Cinnamon, sugar, almonds, and something else that we couldn't identify yet.

We watched a few performances:

Tartanic, which is why we were too late for seats at the last joust. Guys with bagpipes, drums, and kilts. Wicked funny. :)

A few minutes of the Jolly Rogers, which we'll probably have to skip for a year or two now. They're a touch on the bawdy side, and the show is marked "Not for Little Ears" in the program. But they're hilarious. Also, Tullamore was back at the Fest - they were one of the first groups I remember watching there, and we've got all three of their albums now.

The World Bird Sanctuary near St. Louis usually has a birds of prey demonstration. This is the acrobat eagle, native to the Sahara. The real name is some French word that I didn't catch. They also had a Harris hawk, barn owl, and a few other, including

Heritage, the perigrine falcon. He didn't fly - he's 22 and has cataracts. But he's gorgeous. The sanctuary is only a few hours away and is having an open house this month. I'd love to go up and see the birds, but this month is already packed. Maybe next year.

The usual signs with puns. :)

And we did a bit of shopping. We made our annual stops at Nene Thomas' booth - one early stop to check out what's new, and another stop right before we leave, to do the actual buying. Gives us time to consider what we like, and we don't have to either haul theprints around with us, or remember to go back and pick them up before we leave. We ended up with four matted prints this year, thanks to living in the Land of Indecision. Three larger ones, and a small unicorn (Petal, companion to Treasure, which I'll have to order online).

One of the larger ones is called Innocence. I'd seen it online and it was good, but not gotta-have-it. That changed when we saw it in person, because the iris blossoms in the background are amazing. The scan on the website shows some of the detail, but I wish they had a closeup of the irises, they're jaw-droppers.

I also got a spinner like this one, only in gold, from Illusion Spinners. They've got video of the spinners in action on their website; the picture doesn't do it justice. And El Burrito is fascinated by it. Maybe I should have bought two, because I can see him appropriating mine. :)

El Burrito had a good time, flirted with a few ladies in costume, and even napped a bit.

Unfortunately, the wind chime booth wasn't there this year, so I still have no wind chimes. And I can't remember the name of the booth at all. I did find a contact email for the crafts person at the Fest, so maybe I can track them down. Because I've been lusting after those wind chimes for about five years now, and of course I swore I was coming home with a set this year, and got foiled again.