Thursday, January 31, 2008


Or trying to, anyway. I'm going through a tub of stuff that we probably need to get rid of. It's mostly baby clothes - a set of preemie dresses and some other girl clothes that we didn't use for El Burrito (for obvious reasons). And yet I'm having a bit of a hard time committing to letting go of it. Go figure. Even though I'm firmly of the opinion that I don't want to go through the whole pregnancy thing again (much to my mother's dismay, and I swear I can't wait until my little brother gets married and supplies the woman with another grandkid or two). It's that insane little packrat-voice in my head that keeps saying "save it for later, you might need it" even though it might be something I'll never need again.

Anyway, I need to get on the ball with this stuff and at least sort out what might sell on eBay, so I can list it before their fee changes go into effect next month. I may cut back even more on my selling, given their proposed changes. They're touting it as being cheaper, since they are reducing the listing fee - by 5 cents on the lower-priced stuff that I usually list. What they don't mention in the headline, though, is that the final value fee is going up 3.5%, for a total of 9.75%. Yeah, as long as it sells for more than $2, they've made back their measley nickel.

Then there are the three Roper Western shirts that won't go away. Brand new, with tags, but bought at least 10 years ago. By my mother, who doesn't quite have the same taste in clothes that I do, which is why the tags are still on. I don't even know if they're "in style" anymore. I thought I'd sold them to someone in Australia, but when I found out that shipping them would be around $30, she backed out. And I didn't blame her at all.

Speaking of Ebay, I just left my second negative feedback ever. Last time, it was a buyer who never sent payment, even after claiming to send it three times. This time, it was a seller who never sent the DVDs I thought I'd purchased (on It wouldn't have been so bad, but their excuse was that the DVDs were out of stock, and they didn't bother to inform me of this until three weeks after I placed the order. Now, rules state that you have to ship within either two or three business days, so the fact that I didn't get an update until I emailed them is what bumped them from a neutral to a negative. If they'd emailed me and sent a refund within a week, I would have been okay with a neutral. But that didn't happen, and apparently it's a common thing with this seller (or group of sellers, as their "Me" page implies).


So, ideas for getting this stuff out of the house:
  • see if the local Children's Orchard wants the baby stuff (except that what I've got is mostly low-end stuff, like Walmart)
  • find a consignment shop
  • Ebay
  • donate to the local charity thrift store
Hmm. Off to ponder some more.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Not a lot going on

(To quote Corner Gas anyway)

A so-so day. I need to write out a to-do list, to help jog my memory.

And I think I may have finally killed the redwood sapling, poor little thing. It started life as a Tree-in-a-Can souvenir, and it's in the biggest plastic planter that Walmart carries. It would be much happier in real dirt outside, but I'm afraid it won't survive until we can find a house.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Tuesday is book day

Today was Tuesday, so that meant another trip to the library. We found a few books at the sale, El Burrito was his charming self and saw his buddy who works at the sale fairly often, and we didn't check anything out of the library. Because, you know, I've got a reeeeaaalllyy overdue DVD that was putting a block on my card. Sigh. So we watched the DVD at lunchtime and now I need to get it back to the library before my books that are waiting for me, aren't waiting (there's a time limit on holds).

El B got 2 books - What Moms Can't Do, and When Moon Fell Down. He absolutely loves the moon, and held the Moon book in his stroller the whole time. For myself, we found Hiding the Elephant: How Magicians Invented the Impossible and Learned to Disappear, and Tomb of the Golden Bird, from Elizabeth Peters' Amelia Peabody series. My sister swears that I got her hooked on the series, even though I've never read it. I think she's confusing Amelia Peabody with Emily Pollifax, a series that I love (and which I wish there were new additions to the series, but nothing for a few years now).

Still reading The Irish way : a walk through Ireland's past and present by Robert Emmet Ginna. It's misplaced in The Pile again, so I need to find and finish it before it's overdue. It's an interesting read, and I'm getting to the part where he's in the southern part of Ireland, which is where we spent a few days. It's a kick to read about places and say gee, we were there!

The Earflap Hat

Finished today, officially - I tied the pompom on after lunch.

Right now, the earflaps are big enough to double as cheek warmers. Which, since it's snowing here right now, is probably a good thing. We'll see how he likes wearing it.

This is the back view, after I finished the earflaps. Now, the stitch markers are in the joining row for each round. I can't figure out how, after re-doing the bottom 10 rows or so (of 17 rows total), making sure I had the right number of stitches, but the earflaps got off-center somehow. I had to move them back a bit - 3 stitches each - but they still should have been equal distances from the joining row.

The pattern is from the 2008 Crochet Pattern-a-Day calendar, designed by Kimberly Pressley. I left out the second round of alternating front- and back-post DC, to make the hat short enough, and I ended up with about 60 loops instead of 40 for the pompom (which still looks skimpy). I used Bernat's Softee Chunkee Twist in denim ragg, and now I've got another whole skein of it with no intended use. Silly me, trusting the label when it quoted 2 balls for a hat.


Pictures, finally.

This is a typical picture lately, since El Burrito realized he can see pictures of himself on the back of the digital camera. He used to grin when he heard the camera booting up, now he just runs toward it. And instead of a cute shot of whatever he was doing, I get a blurry top-of-his-head. Sigh.

Have I mentioned that the boy is a book hound (like his mother)? He's got his own bookshelf next to the glider, and it's full. This is what it looks like in the morning:

This is what it looks like after El Burrito hunts for a specific book:

And this is El Burrito in his new little chair, reading a book:

And this is El Burrito having his first tortilla chip (no salsa) at Chevy's. He can finish off a soft chicken taco by himself, and will say "taco" sometimes. He's also got some fans at Chevy's - some of the waitresses have been there a while and know him.

His other favorite "chair" is our kitchen step-stool. He likes to sit on it for some reason. He's also started holding the phone on his own, when he gets to talk to Grandma.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Finished Hat

Well, the new hat is 99% finished. I just need to make the pompom for the top, and it's done.

I made a few adjustments to the pattern, mostly leaving out one row of back-post and front-post DC, and moving the earflaps back a bit (3 stitches each, to be precise). Pictures soon.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Hat problems

I've finished the main part (not the earflaps) of El Burrito's new hat twice now, and am going to be hoping that the third time's the charm. The first time, it was too long, so I ripped out a few rows and left out a row of back- and front-post double crochet. The second time (finished this morning), the length was right, but I discovered that I've managed to add in about 5 stitches at some point (65 instead of 60 total). Which explains why the seam was looking so odd. So I'm going to take out the last four or five rows and see if I can't pay better attention this time.

I'll have most of a skein left, too, since I trusted the label when it said one hat = two skeins. He's too young for a scarf yet, so who knows what the extra will end up as.

Friday, January 25, 2008


So, the problem with the Ebay shipping yesterday was my error. Yeah, there's a difference between Parcel Post and Priority, and I wasn't reading carefully. Glad I noticed before I actually mailed it. But it got worked out in the end, and the diaper bag is en route to a new home.

And I've been trying to prep a bit for the weekend. I've got two things that have to be mailed tomorrow, so I need to finish tracking them down, packing them, and getting the labels printed. I've got a shirt and some beads to return also. The beads and shirt are located, along with the receipt for the beads. I just need to find the Sears receipt for the shirt, which seems determined to not be found.

Been following the Heath Ledger news (because you can't avoid it). The fact that his parents and ex-SO found out on the news, instead of getting a phone call or something, really ticks me off. As does the fact that the masseuse who found him decided to call Mary Kate Olsen first, and called 911 almost half an hour later. There are no words for how insane I find that. I know it's not usual to find a possibly-dead body, and panic would set in, but cripes, people. 911 and CPR shouldn't be that freaking hard to come up with.

El Burrito has turned out to be a Muppet fan. He likes his Sesame Street in the morning, although we've been watching the old episodes on DVD lately (Old School Volume 1, until I can order Volume 2). I got the Muppet Show Season 1 for Christmas, and put the first disc in yesterday. He got a bigger kick out of that than he does from Sesame Street. I've got no clue why he found it so funny, but he laughed for most of the second episode.

I started his next hat last night - it's going to have earflaps. I got the pattern from the 2008 Pattern-a-day calendar that he got me for Xmas this year. It's going pretty fast so far, it's probably close to halfway done. I figured out the front post and back post double crochet, although I'm not crazy about them yet. Tonight should get it finished, if I can crochet through the majority of Psych, Monk, and/or House (to keep from seeing the gorier bits of House).

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Yarn and Burrito stories

El Burrito stories: He's learned to say his own name (close enough, anyway), and uses it a lot w hen we look at pictures on the computer. Which is one of his favorite pastimes lately. He's also discovered that I have a rubber ducky (a Due South souvenir) and is a little miffed that he can't play with it.

I'm going to start working on his 2nd hat this week/weekend. Day late, dollar short - it's 18 degrees here, so he could use a warm hat with earflaps now. I played with the Bernat Satin Sport in Seashore that I bought a while back, and I think I'm in love. Nice silky smooth yarn, and a beautiful color. Now I just need to figure out what to make with it. It's a lightweight yarn, "3" on the label, and Bernat's website doesn't really have any good suggestions.

And I don't think Ebay's shipping calculator is quite right, because the shipping it charged my buyer is possibly going to be less than what the PO is going to charge me. Ebay charged the buyer $9.29, the USPS site says it'll be $9.10 minimum (it's sitting on the hairline between 2 pounds 15 oz, and 3 pounds 1 oz). And that's with a small ($1.50 or so) handling fee added in. I'll have to remember this next time.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Random Things

Random things:

The camera is on it's way to be repaired. Hopefully they can figure out what's wrong with it.

The "Suisse Chocolate Truffle" hot chocolate mix from Swiss Miss is darn good. It would have been better if I'd used really hot water instead of almost lukewarm, though.

The skin on my hands is insanely dry. The big bottle of Suave lotion isn't working, and even Eucerin isn't helping much. The 2 gallons per day humidifier must just be holding its own; I should get a hygrometer and see.

Spent an hour or so working on Sister's website. It needed an update badly, since she moved to Michigan two months ago, but the website was still talking about classes in Georgia. Now I just need to do something with mine - I bought the domain name over a year ago, but it's mostly been used for hosting Ebay photos so far. I've got plans, though.

A small incentive to move: Got a letter from the company who owns our storage unit. They just bought it from the old owner, which explains the new office hours and why we can't pay our condo assessment there anymore. The rent went up, the due date changed, and they've got some scary late fees. And all of this was on two pages of 8-point or so type. Sigh. But hey, we get longer phone support hours! (Seriously. Who calls a storage place for any reason other than to ask about prices? Why would I call them after hours? It's not like they're going to go to our bin, dig through for my ironing board, and drive it over.)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Reading Day

Aside from endless repeats of Clifford the Big Red Dog and Happy Birthday Moon, there's not a lot of reading going on. I'm reading a journal now, by a man who walked the length of Ireland (north to south) a few years ago, and I've got a book about the rehabilitation (I guess you'd call it) of the Baghdad Zoo waiting for me.

It's taken me a few hours to get the camera ready to go. Had to try to explain the problems, get the paperwork, find a box about the right size, and keep El Burrito from running away with the paperwork, or the box, or the tape. In between looking at his pictures on the PC, that is. Boy's getting vain or something. :)

And I just found out that Heath Ledger is dead. Sad news.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Can't get a break

I can't seem to get a break these days. I must have irritated a higher power somewhere, or else Murphy's Law is having a really good week.

Sat down just now - halfway into El Burrito's nap - to print out all the paperwork for getting the camera fixed. Printed the first page, and it came out blank. Out of ink. We have another ink cartridge somewhere, but darned if I can find the stupid thing. So DH may have to buy one on the way home, which means that the first one will be tripped over about fifteen seconds after he walks in the door. Sigh.

And the Quicken gremlin is really tormenting me lately. We run everything through Quicken for tracking purposes and such, but we do it manually instead of downloading the transactions (which I don't mind; otherwise, we wouldn't know that there's a $30 trip to Target that never hit the credit card). Normally, it's fine, but the last six months or so, it's torture. Every time I sit down to reconcile either the bank statement or one of the two credit cards, it takes at least an hour to get things to work out. Last night, it was 90 minutes with DH's credit card, and I threw in the towel at 1:30 a.freaking.m.

It's bizarre - I'll get the statement to work out every month, but the next time I sit down with it, something's off somewhere. Sometime's it's a transaction that got put in as income instead of outgo, sometimes a date gets put in wrong and the transaction goes in for six months ago instead of this month. Sometimes, there's no freaking clue what's wrong. DH and I are the only ones who play with Q (mostly me), the laptop never goes online, so my only conclusion is that there's a gremlin. DH's credit card will not add up; things are fine with the August statement but not with the current one. And I swear, everything was just fine two months ago. Where's it coming from? I don't know, but I'm ready to pull my hair out. Or go the "easy" route - just pay the stupid bill and don't worry about reconciling anything. Heck, there are people who brag about not balancing their bank accounts at all for the past ten years.

But DH and I are too nitpicky for that to happen. So I'll keep fighting with it and threatening to throw something off the roof.

Now El Burrito will be waking up any minute, and I need to find that rotten ink cartridge. So much for getting anything actually accomplished today. (I shouldn't be surprised. It's been that way every day for the past two weeks. It's very discouraging.)

Friday, January 18, 2008


Today, El Burrito got a visit from his grandparents. He's apparently decided to call them Pahpah and Mah, at least for now.

If he's looking at a magazine, any man is Dada, women are Mama. And anyone wearing a hat (baseball-type) is also Pahpah, because that's what my dad wears most of the time (seed/feed company hats, mostly).

And I made a big mistake when I let El Burrito discover that you can look at pictures on the camera's LCD. Now, the minute he sees the camera, he runs over to look at the pictures. No chance of getting a photo of him now unless I sneak up on him.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Cold weather

It's cold here today. Okay, not North-Pole cold, but below-freezing cold.

So I've got almost 5 pounds of split chicken breast going in the crock pot, along with a whole head of garlic. And in about an hour, I'll go cut up some carrots and sweet potatoes to toss in, and decide whether or not to have DH stop for a loaf of Italian bread on the way home (garlic bread - yummy!! But high-carb.)

El Burrito's latest craze is to sit on my lap and make me scroll through all the pictures on the computer. Especially pictures of him, his family, or balloons. He gets the biggest kick out of it. And believe me, there are a lot of pictures on this hard drive. We have a digital camera, and I don't manage to delete all the "bad" shots.

I'd be much happier, though, if he'd get over this waking-in-the-night thing he's been doing lately. We're not sure if it's another tooth coming in, ear pain, dire thirst, or just the nasty congestion that he and I have had lately. Whatever it is, we're about two hours short on sleep from last night.

I had another brainstorm (small one this time), and put a "missing dogs" ad on the semi-local Craigslist. The Craigslist cities are about an hour from "home" but it's worth a shot. And I'll work on an ad for the local paper this weekend. The deadline is Monday, which always throws me off, because our paper was never delivered until Thursday.

Now I just need to find the paperwork to send with the camera, get the veggies cooking, and work on my sister's website. She moved from Georgia to Michigan last month, so I need to update the location if nothing else.

Slow slow slow

How can it take so long to list something on Ebay? Even with templates, it takes me half an hour or so to list something. Must be all the things that sidetrack me.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Tuesday Books

Tuesday is library day, so it's time to talk about what I've been reading lately.

First of all, I wasted 50 cents at the library sale today. They've got a cart of books without dustjackets, 50 cents each, and I found one called First Time Mom. Flipped through it briefly, since I had El Burrito along and the stroller can cause traffic issues, and it looked like it might be interesting. After I read the chapter on working outside the home over lunch, I realized that the author is a man, with some pretty old-fashioned ideas about women working at all.

On the other hand, I got The Celery Stalks at Midnight and two Jane Yolen books for El Burrito's future enjoyment, so it wasn't all bad.

I also caught up on a bit of library reading last week, since the books were a little overdue. (Let me say, if our library charged late fees, I'd be in trouble.)

I read the second and third books of the Olympians series (I read the first one a while ago). This is a pretty good series, although it's aimed at young teens or thereabouts. Book 1 is The Lightning Thief, which sets up the scenario, and the series continues in The Sea of Monsters, The Titan's Curse, and The Battle of the Labyrinth, which isn't out until May. Basically, the set-up is that Percy Jackson (age 12) discovers that he's a demi-god, son of Poseidon and a human woman. The Olympian gods and goddesses are still around and active, which is why Percy's pre-algebra teacher tries to attack him. Percy spends the summers at Half-Blood Camp with other demi-gods, and goes on adventures to prove that his father didn't steal Zeus' lightning bolt (and other mysteries).

I like this series. Sure, it's written for kids, but it's got a little of the satirical tone that I enjoyed so much with Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess. Poseidon dresses a bit like a Jimmy Buffett fan, Mount Olympus floats above Manhattan, Apollo drives a Maserati. Plus, all those Classical Civilization courses I took in college mean that I get a lot of the references (and figured out early on who Percy's father was). It's fun to read.

On the non-fiction side, I read Letters From Eden: A Year at Home, in the Woods, by Julie Zickefoose. Her illustrations were lovely, and the writing made me want to move even more. Living in a condo means that container gardening is my only option; even a bird feeder isn't really feasible right now. I really, really want to be able to plant flowers, or have a garden, or put up half a dozen bird feeders.

There were more, but I can't recall them right now. So I'm off to do some more Googling about steaming apples. We've got a nice Black & Decker steamer, but we just use it for rice. El Burrito loves applesauce, but doesn't have enough teeth yet to eat a raw apple, so I'm going to take a shot at steaming them. (It's very bizarre - you can find canned sliced pears, peaches, and most any other fruit, but the only way to buy canned apples is as applesauce or sugar-heavy pie filling. Oh, or the little jars of Gerber apple chunks that are the equivalent of $10/pound or more. Not happening, sorry. Steaming the $1.19/pound raw apples will be just fine, if I can figure it out.)

Monday, January 14, 2008


We've been making progress.

** My dad called this morning: he found DH's wedding ring. Yay! It's the strangest thing, though. I had a brainstorm over the weekend, and we looked at all the pictures from Christmas. DH had the ring on at his family's house Christmas Eve, but it was gone in the pictures from Christmas Morning at my parents'. Since it was gone in some pics taken maybe 20 minutes after we got there, we figured that it was either here or at his Mom's. Or in the driveway somewhere. Not so. Dad found it in a trash bag of used wrapping paper that he was using to light the wood furnace. Luckily, they pay attention when they're lighting fires - Mom found a gift one year that got shoveled in with some wrapping paper, and I had a whole sheet of stamps fall into the shred bag a few years ago.

I'd actually told Mom a few days ago that we figured it was here. We started at the door yesterday and searched every inch, which meant clearing everything off around the computer desk, since the ring usually sits in the change bowl next to the printer. I found a few things I was looking for, and four half-used rolls of Scotch tape, but no ring.

** I just got off the phone with Olympus tech support, since the reset idea didn't work and the camera still has problems. They don't diagnose problems over the phone, and no longer have their little AI-based troubleshooter on the website, so my poor camera will be traveling to the repair center in New York. I've got a month left on the warranty, so with any luck I'll only be out the cost of shipping it back. The hard part will be writing an explanation of the problems; they're hard to put into words, and it doesn't help that they seem to be random and not easy to replicate.

** El Burrito got his very first haircut last night, fully documented on video and photo. More on that tomorrow.

** I finally ordered the magazine subscription I gave my sister for Christmas. I swore I sent a check with my renewal, but apparently not.

On the other hand, I managed to miss the deadline for classifieds in the paper back home, so the "Missing Puppies" ad will have to be in next week's paper. (This would be a drawback to a weekly local paper.)

And when we went shopping at Toys R Us, I realized that the $5 gift card we got for buying diapers there last fall had expired two weeks ago. Rats!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Ponderings on light bulbs

Things that won't work (as well, anyway) without an incandescent light bulb:

  • Lava lamps
  • Easy-bake ovens
  • Home incubators for chicken eggs, etc.
  • Heat lamps for pet lizards and other reptiles
According to the local paper, part of the energy bill passed in Washington recently included legislation to phase out incandescent light bulbs in the next five years. It wasn't clear if they were going to be made "illegal" or what, but it was an interesting thing.

We've switched over to compact florescent bulbs in about half the fixtures here so far. The bathroom vanity lights are still incandescent, and will be until they burn out at least. And we have a few lights that aren't CFL compatible right now, like the track lighting and the kitchen light. There's something about the kitchen fixture that is CFL-unfriendly. We've tried at least 2 CFLs, maybe three, and none have lasted more than two months so far. I think it's because it's a closed globe and the bulb gets too hot.

Anyway, if this legislation is going to work, the CFLs and LEDs will have to make some advances in the next five years. But I still don't see my lava lamp working with a bulb that doesn't put out as much heat. It's part of the design. Ditto for the Easy Bake Oven.

More on all that later.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Camera issues

I'm writing this here so that I'll hopefully remember it. (My short term memory stinks at the moment.)

Tonight, and tomorrow morning, I need to take as many pictures as possible with my "big" camera, the SP-510. It's been having issues for a while, and the warranty is ending next month. The only email suggestion I got from the company was to try the "reset" button. So I did. And now I need to test the camera as much as possible, to see if the issues are still there.

  1. Sometimes the camera has a hard time getting a focus on something. Seems to be worse when I'm zoomed in all the way on something. Even trying to push the shutter button halfway for a focus lock doesn't work. It works away to focus on something, but ends up "locking" out-of-focus. If I try the same shot a few seconds later (after waiting for the fuzzy-shot to save), it usually works.
  2. Sometimes, when I push the shutter button, nothing happens. Okay, sometimes it tries to focus, but it never takes a picture. Seems to happen most often when I try to lock focus and then wait for the shot, but not often. Very annoying to try for a pic and not get one, especially with a fast-moving Burrito.
  3. Minor issue - using the arrow keys to scroll through the playback can be iffy - sometimes I push the little arrow key and nothing happens. Maybe I don't push firmly enough, maybe the push has to be centered in the little button (they're quarter-circle buttons, surrounding the OK button).
So, there it is. We'll see if they show up again tonight.

If they are, it's phone-support time for me tomorrow. And hopefully, if they've shipped their tech support out of the country, they hired people who can speak pretty good English, because it's hard enough to explain these weird problems in the first place. (Tracfone's phone support was a headache; I had to keep asking the guy to repeat everything so I could get a second chance to understand his accent. It took a while to fix a simple problem.)

If not, I'll keep testing this weekend, because I'd hate for this to pop up again after the warranty expires. And yes, I should have called months ago, because this isn't a new problem.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

What's going on?

What's going on here, you may ask (if anyone's reading this, that is).

Well, El Burrito got to watch Cars the other night for the first time. And loved it, as expected. I try not to let him watch a lot of TV, but he does watch some, and was fascinated by the movie for most of two hours (he lost his focus near the end, after he ate). He's been attracted to car commercials for a while now, and loves his toy cars, including his Dirt Track Lightning McQueen and the Tip N Toot Tractor that he got for Christmas. (I personally want the Movie Moments set with Guido, Luigi, and the Tractor, although I'm hoping to find it locally at a more decent price. Kid can have the Tractor, I just like Guido and Luigi.)

He got in trouble last night with both of us, for deliberately tearing a page out of a book. He "reads" a lot of books, but this is the first time that he's torn one. In his defense, it was a used book we got at the library sale, and the page was already torn a bit, but for some reason he took a notion to tear it some more. Hopefully he won't make a habit of it.

The Burrito's vocabulary is growing by leaps and bounds. He's learned a lot of words in the past month, and it's time for us to make another list of what he can say. He can say most of the Sesame Street Muppet names, and takes a stab at "Charlie Brown" although it's pretty vague. And "Eeyore" sounds more like "eeeweeh" or something. And I'm still getting used to him saying "wa" for water, so sometimes he's saying it and I don't realize that he's wanting a drink. Yes, bad mommy. Pay attention!

He's stuck on "triangle" these days. It's his word for all shapes - circles, triangles, squares, whatever. On the other hand, he makes a distinction between cars, trucks, and tractors (although the motorcycle picture in his book got lumped in as a tractor yesterday).

Delsym's cough medicine (recommended by our pediatrician) works. However, I think it may have a little side effect. El Burrito got a small dose the past two nights, so he could sleep without coughing. Except that after his pre-bed dose both nights, he was wide awake, babbling away in his crib for a good two hours. With that kind of timing, I think the meds must be getting him a little wired up. I had the same reaction to one of the allergy meds years ago - Tavist-D, I think. Kept me awake aaaaaallll night.

El Burrito and I went to the condo lunch again today. The Little Old Ladies love him, and he always gets compliments on his good behavior. And his pretty eyes. He's a good kid, our Burrito. He's pretty good about sitting in the high chair and playing with the crayons or whatever, although his toy car got rolled off the table more than once today.

He's probably going to get a haircut one night this week. All the pretty curls are going away. :( Makes me sad, but it's time. The front hair is hanging down in his eyes and bugging him (I know how he feels), and the back hair is pretty long. Trimming just the front would put him well into Mullett Territory, and I can't have that happening. So it's just time to sit down, get out the scissors, and try not to draw blood or botch the job too badly.

I got a copy of all of Jane Austen's novels at the library yesterday for 50 cents. I'm hoping to be able to watch all of the adaptations on PBS in the next six weeks, but I'll have to remember to record them, because El Burrito always manages to need a diaper change whenever I'm watching something interesting.

I managed to resist the 30% off Yarn Sale at Michael's last week. However, 5x5 inch frames aren't as easy to find as the photo studio girl led me to believe.

I still haven't called about getting the camera fixed, or about the error in an online order I got last week. I did manage to email about one error in an order I got this week; the company is sending out the right product, and told me to keep the one I was mistakenly sent. Nice!

And that's about it for random bits and pieces today.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Dog luck

For some reason, my family's luck with dogs has hit the skids lately. Talked to Mom this weekend, and along with our puppy and two others being stolen, my brother's dog had her second litter of pups the day after Christmas, and they all died (I'm not sure why).

When I was a kid, we had a cocker spaniel mix and two beagles for years. Then we had a cocker spaniel for 13 years or so, and a collie (with bad hips) for about 12 years, mostly simultaneously. There were a few other dogs in there - one of the cocker's offspring and a pair of beagle pups that had fairly long lives (the beagles had car problems) - but overall, everything lived a long time.

But since Lady and Cody died, my folks can't seem to keep a dog more than about four years. They've had a collie that my sister found in Indiana, and a string of beagle-mix dogs, and none of them so far have made it to "old age." Part of it can be ascribed to my idiot cousin's pack of livestock-harassing, dog-killing mutts who live next door (although they seem to be under control now), and now the puppy thieving, but some of it is just random stuff. Maybe now that Dad's retired and home all day, things will change.

The odd part is that when I was a kid, we were constantly finding dogs. Our house was up the road from a major sandbar party spot and swimming hole, and people also used it as a good place to abandon their no-longer-wanted dogs. The first year we lived in that house, we had something like 25 dogs dumped basically on our doorstep. We didn't have a humane society in the county, and the nearest one wanted $10 per dog to take them, so Dad managed to find homes for all of them. Luckily, he worked with a lot of people at the county, because we had a lot of dogs show up at the door over the years. One time, it was a female dog and her litter of six pups, which we had named by the time Dad got home. Another time it was a border collie cross that we would have kept if he could have stopped chasing cattle. My aunt took the Irish setter, after he "treed" Dad on the tractor the first time.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Fun with Weather

Here in Missouri, it was an unnatural 70+ degrees yesterday and today. Then a cold front came through, the storm sirens started howling, and El Burrito and I spent most of an hour camped out in the bathroom (the safest room in the house) while we listened to tornado sightings on the local weather channel, and hail and thunder outside. Heavy but brief rain, golf-ball sized hail, and lots of wind. Joy joy - wonder how much hail damage DH's car (the "new" car of the family) got. Sigh.

Normal weather for April, but not for January.

And our bathroom, now that El Burrito is toddling, isn't the easiest place to corral him while there's a storm raging. Very small, and too much to get into - the toilet, the under-sink space, houseplants, basically everything that gets shoved into the bathroom because it's usually a Burrito-free space. Yet another reason to move. I would really prefer a house with an actual basement when we move. We get a lot of storms and tornado-conducive weather, and I like to have a hole to crawl into. Nothing's worse than waiting out a storm on the 8th floor of a dormitory, or the 4th floor of an old apartment building with lots of large windows.

And on top of it all, El Burrito has another cough (caught from someone at New Year's), and I've got a sore throat.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Four years!

Nothing personal, but today is the 4th anniversary (in Earth-years) of Spirit's landing on Mars.

And I think that it's one of the coolest things ever. I mean, Spirit and Opportunity were planned to last 90 days on Mars. The scientists involved were probably ecstatic to get a safe landing and the full 90 days, since there were so many things that could have gone wrong (like all the other Mars missions that have failed before they even got to Mars). The fact that both Spirit and Opportunity are still working away, years past their expected "expiration date," just amazes me.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

No news

Which isn't good news, in this case.

Still looking for DH's wedding ring, although we haven't ransacked the house yet. Knowing when he lost it would help.

And still no reappearance of El Burrito's puppy. I found the newspaper's website, and am considering an ad in the Lost & Found. More extreme would be an ad in the main part of the paper, and mention of a reward. $4.50 minimum for a classified (30c per word) or $3.50 per column inch for a bigger ad.

And still mega-peeved with whatever lowlife cretin would steal puppies on Christmas.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Not a good beginning

(Warning: venting ahead)

Yesterday wasn't the best beginning to the new year. But the story starts back before Christmas, so I'll start at the beginning.

As of 10 days or so ago, El Burrito had a puppy (Lexie), and my brother had 3 puppies (Lexie's littermates - Sadie, Sanford, Mr. Friendly) and a female dog, Suzie (mother to said puppies, expecting another litter this spring). Beagle/Basset crosses, farm dogs, occasional hunting dogs (although they needed a refresher course in mole eradication.) The puppies were 7 months old, born the day after El Burrito's first birthday.

Note the use of the word "had" - things have changed, and I'm more than a little peeved about the whole thing.

A few days before Christmas, my parents came home and the puppies were all missing their collars. Now, one dog can lose a collar on occasion. But four dogs losing their collars on the same day? The next day, they come home from somewhere (Dad's retired now) and Sadie and Mr. Friendly have disappeared. Stolen, presumably. Who knows, maybe someone was cruising for a cheap Christmas gift or something.

Yesterday morning, Mom called. They left for a few hours New Years Eve, and Lexie was gone when they came home. Some creep (*), presumably the same lowlife scum who took Sadie and Mr. Friendly, stole El Burrito's puppy.

Now I'm thinking that someone's stealing the puppies to sell them. My idiot cousin's killer-dog-pack seems to be under control, I doubt the bald eagles in the area would grab two puppies in one day (and take the collars off beforehand - no opposable thumbs), and the missing collars definitely make me suspect that humans were involved and the puppies didn't get lost or something. And coming back a week later to grab another one just takes gall, folks. At least, with the separate snatchings, I can assume that it wasn't someone stealing for lab testing - if that was the case, they would have taken all the puppies the first time. And if I'm wrong on that assumption, don't tell me, because it would make me absolutely sick.

Since my parents have been home most of the past two weeks, they've been home more often than not. Which makes me think it's a neighbor doing this, because there's not a lot of traffic on their road, so it's not like someone would chance by and see the puppies and decide to come back tomorrow and snatch a few. Someone's keeping an eye on things, and knew when it was safe to go grab a pup or two, and there's not much we could have done to prevent it. My brother does have a dog pen in the yard, but that would just make things easier for the creep. Even if he padlocked the gate, chain link is easy enough to cut with the right tools. I should suggest keeping the last dogs in the garage when my folks leave, although I can see them making a tornado-sized mess if they were left alone for very long. And making sure to lock everything, in case this rat-fink doesn't stop at stealing puppies.

So, to the lousy, slimy, weaselly, rotten creep who stole our dogs: I hope your teeth fall out. I hope those puppies howl all night, every night - trust me, their brother does, and I wonder if you knew that and left him on purpose. If you kept them, I hope you step in dog poop every time you leave your house, and I hope they chew up everything in sight. I hope, if you sold them to someone, that the check bounces, and that the puppies make such a fuss that the buyers want a refund. I hope they run away and find their way home somehow.

(Yes, I realize that's a futile hope, but it's happened on occasion. When I was in grade school, our dog Sunshine disappeared for two weeks or so. She came home one day, skinnier and with a rope trailing from her collar. Never found out who did it, but I hope their teeth fell out too. Creep.)

I'm contemplating putting an ad in the local weekly paper back home, just on the off-chance that someone knows something. It truly sucked, telling a little boy that his puppy is gone. I'm pretty sure he didn't understand anyway, I don't think he had gotten the concept yet that Lexie was his, and just living at Grandpa's until we found a house. (And yes, I feel guilty about the whole thing, because if we'd moved already, this wouldn't have happened. At least with Lexie - Sadie and Friendly would still be gone.)

* Trust me, "creep" is the mildest word I used. After I got off the phone, the vocabulary went rapidly and rudely downhill, into the territory that my mother doesn't know I use and the Burrito shouldn't be hearing now that he's mimicing words. I haven't been that mad since Mom called about my cousin's dog-pack killing their collie and beagle.