Monday, March 31, 2008

Progress ! !

Yes, it rates exclamation points.

We made progress this weekend. Really. The grocery shopping was finished before lunch on Saturday (and you have no idea what kind of accomplishment that is). The whole place got vacuumed. We found the missing phone and the letter G from our puzzle, but not the missing gift card. And we found out that El Burrito is still freaked about the vacuum, except when I hold him while I vacuum. Otherwise, he runs and leeches onto DH the minute he sees me with the vacuum, whether it's plugged in or not.

DH also worked on the taxes. Bleh.

Today? Also productive. Most of the laundry was folded before DH got home, and it all got finished today (except for one load to fold tomorrow). A few of El Burrito's clothes got sorted out and a too-small stack got packed away.

Plus we didn't get hit with the 60 MPH winds and 1.5-inch hail that was wandering around the state.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Flowers & other photos

Catching up on photos from the past couple weeks.


I broke down and bought a pair of potted shamrocks (Oxalis regnalis, specifically) after St. Patrick's Day. They were $1 each and a different variety from my other shamrocks, so I brought them home. Still planning to buy some bulbs of the purple variety, though.


One of my amaryllis bloomed this week. It was a bit of a shock, since I'd forgotten to water the bulbs for a few months. (The hazard of putting them in a cool out-of-the-way spot.) Of the 7 potted bulbs, 4 are alive. The other three are still iffy, and I won't be surprised if they're dead.


I cooked corned beef instead of the usual Irish Stew (with beef, not lamb) this year. It's an interesting taste, but I think I prefer the stew right now. I even got a few parsnips this year, but they tasted more peppery than I remembered (unless that was the seasoning from the corned beef).
Sadly, part of the leftover veg hid in the fridge until they were past their prime.


Cute El Burrito story time. We went to the condo lunch this month (Bob Evans - not bad, the chicken & noodles was yummy. Plus, smiley-face kiddie fries.) and had a good time. El Burrito took his toy bus along, and it had some adventures. First it got to drive into the butter packet. Then it got a trip to the Bob Evans Car Wash, courtesy of El Burrito. (This photo is a re-enactment, though.) Luckily, it's dried out nicely, but I had to inform El Burrito that he wouldn't pass Grandpa's bus-driver exam if he kept driving off the table or into the butter.

Then we stopped at JoAnn Fabrics on the way home, and the bus landed on the floor a few times. Found out that Elmer's Glue isn't good for sticking wheels to axles, so it's time for plan B. This bus has one whole screw holding it all together (4 or 5 pieces). The screw fell out at the library one day, and little bus bits were everywhere. Most of them landed in the stroller basket, since the footrest sort of acted like a funnel.


I bought some Moda Dea Ticker Tape on sale last month, and tried it out. It's pretty yarn, but my hands aren't suited for it at the moment. Even with a daily slathering of Eucerin, the yarn was still snagging on my fingers. It's another one of those yarns that are pretty, but what do I make with it?

I also tried some Bernat Bamboo, but I really don't care for it so far. It's amazingly soft, but the slubs just throw me off or something. Good thing I bought them both on sale.

El Burrito got to sit on a tractor last weekend, and he's still talking about it (and about riding in the truck). I guess the first thing he did was push the steering-wheel nut to see if it honked like Grandpa's truck. Dad got a kick out of that. :)


One of his "things" lately is a fondness for laundry baskets. He likes to push them up and down the hall, or sit in them. Sheepie got to ride in the laundry basket one day.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Unproductive Days

Some days, I just don't get anything done (or at least it feels that way). Today is one of those days. El Burrito is teething or something - ran a slight fever yesterday, and has been a little fickle today. Other than his scant 90-minute nap (an hour shorter than normal), I think I've spent most of the day looking at pictures on the computer with him. He's still stoked about riding in Grandpa's truck last weekend, so we've looked at pictures of the trucks all day. Not conducive to getting anything else done.

I did manage to get part of the recycling bagged up and watch an episode of Slings & Arrows while he was sleeping. I just didn't know that would be the total of my "free" time today. I thought he'd sleep for another hour or so. So much for that idea. And I've got a dozen things that need doing.

Oh, and there's a storm front moving through. There was mention ofpotential baseball-sized hail. The fun never stops.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Reading and such

Started - and finished - the Tori Spelling book on Tuesday. I did read fast, hoping to get to some scoop on the "reality" show, but it and the marriage to Dean McDermott got skimped on. Oh well. Interesting book; I watched a lot of Spelling shows in my youth.

Otherwise, it was a slow day. I got some boxes ready to recycle, folded some laundry, and it rained.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Books and stuff

Today's trip to the library was a little more expensive than last week (natch, since we didn't buy anything at the sale last week).

Book sale total: $15.50. El Burrito got a Pooh book, two books about Biscuit the puppy, and another book about puppies, for 50 cents each. I got a Dover coloring book on Celtic fashions, and a signed copy of The Two Worlds of Jim Yoshida. And I found two old military books for DH (the man who has a copy of the Army/Marine counterinsurgency manual, of all things) - a Ranger handbook and a 1960s field manual that belonged to a friend of DH's family (he died last fall, and a lot of his books were donated to the Friends group).

Returned 6 items, I think, including a kids' crochet book, the astronomy book I was reading last week, a Sesame Street DVD, and Drew Pinsky's book Cracked, which is sort of a memoir/autobiography, but also sort of not. I read it in just a couple of hours, so it was on the fluffier end of biographies.

Checked out 8 books, including biographies/memoirs of Ron Howard and Tori Spelling. The Tori Spelling book is mainly for whatever tidbits are in there about her 2nd marriage, because her 2nd husband had a small part in Due South for most of the series. I'll admit to watching their Tori & Dean: Inn Love "reality" show, but there was a lot of eye-rolling going on.

Library total: 40 items out, 6 on hold.

And now it's back to Googling information on variegated ginger, and other odd things, like getting the address for a first-day cover of the Edwin Hubble stamp. I just found out he's from Missouri.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Another busy weekend

Busy weekend, since we went out of town. I went to a hobby get-together on Saturday, and we left El Burrito with my parents for the weekend. He had a great time, and was indulged quite a bit. He got to pet a baby calf, sit on the tractors, ride in Grandpa's Truck, learned how to honk the horn, and my sister called all the way from Detroit just so she could teach him to say "goober." :) Since our last visit, he's been crazy about Grandpa's Truck, and wants to see pictures of it every day. Now that he's gotten to ride in the trucks, he'll be even more crazy. Every time he turned around Sunday, he wanted to go ride in the truck. I took more pictures of the trucks and tractors, because I was getting a little tired of looking at the same four pictures over and over again.

I feel a little guilty, we didn't buy him anything for Easter. Grandma did, though - a little candy, 3 stuffed animals, a couple of toys. He got to hunt eggs at church Sunday, too. We may boil a few eggs and dye them this week, after things get unpacked from the trip. I'm not sure how much he'd get out of it, but we'll see. (He was the only kid at the egg hunt who didn't grab the candy and snarf it down, apparently. Not that I'm sorry about that, but whatever.)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


I managed to get in bed an hour earlier last night, which is a major accomplishment. (In bed by 1 am instead of 2)

It didn't work. El Burrito woke up 3 hours early and wouldn't go back to sleep. So, I think I ended up with an hour less sleep than usual, instead of the hour more that I really, really needed. Which means I was more than a little cranky this morning. I don't think I'm cut out for this motherhood business. He's almost 2, and I'm still waiting for my brain to come back.

Needless to say, that quick trip to the grocery store didn't happen.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


It's a first - I didn't buy anything at the book sale today. Skimpy selection, since the big sale this month probably cleared out a lot of the stock.

Returned 10 books, a video, and a DVD on Saturday, and another three books today. But then we came home with 10 more books (3 for El Burrito, and 5 more crochet books), so the total still stands at 39 items checked out. One of the crochet books is Stitch N Bitch, which looks interesting, but reeks of cigarette smoke.

Reading-wise, it's mostly been reading books to El Burrito. I can recite Hippos Go Berserk from memory now (although it holds up well under repetition), as well as the Owl and the Pussycat (Edward Lear, illustrated by Jan Brett). For adult reading, this week it's Living Well on a Shoestring: 1,501 Ingenious Ways to Spend Less For What You Need and Have More For What You Want, found at the book sale for 50c, and The 50 Best Sights in Astronomy, which I've been working on for a while. Had a little setback with it, when El Burrito pulled the bookmark out of it.

El Burrito is working on some molars, leading to much grumpiness at times. His vocabulary is growing by leaps and bounds, too. Currently, he's fascinated with flags, trucks, trains, and books. And Cookie Monster, and Super Grover. Oh, and looking in the washing machine as it fills up. (He tossed a tractor in the washer yesterday, tried to put a car in the dryer, and was planning to drop a truck in the toilet, I think.) He's coming up with his own names for things - Birthday Monsters is "monster cleaning crew" and the "kitty cat book" is The Owl & the Pussycat. And whenever he hears the word Tuesday, he says "library! books!" now.

I may have to start swearing like Satchel, now that El Burrito is hitting the parrot stage. That's just too funny.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Concerts and such

Well, I got practically nothing done over the weekend. I put two weeks of receipts into Quicken, DH did the dishes, and we did some shopping. Other than that, nothing. We still haven't found the gift card we got for Xmas, the other handset for the telephone, or El Burrito's left shoe.

We did go to a concert Saturday night, and we took El Burrito with us. The local Celtic Arts Association brought Andy M. Stewart and Gerry O'Beirne to town for St Patrick's Day. It was his first concert, other than a few performances at the KC Renaissance Festival. He did very well, considering he had a very short nap and ate "dinner" (graham crackers, goldfish, and apple bits) during the concert. He was very well-behaved. One of the singers was talking to him during intermission, and complimented him, too. Gerry O'Beirne called our Burrito "an advertisement for having babies." (Which brings even more guilt, because I'm not all that crazy about the idea of having another one.)

And then I proved that I have no ability for small talk, asked very awkwardly for an autograph after the show, and was too chicken to ask Andy Stewart to sign the CD we bought. Because I'm a big chicken, even after taking public speaking in both high school and college.

Now, I'm off to make a loaf of soda bread, if El Burrito will cooperate. The crock pot is working on a corned beef brisket, complete with potatoes, carrots, onion, and parsnips (but no cabbage).

I've given up on finding a purple oxalis (shamrock) in town, so I'll be ordering online. I'm tempted to get both a purple variety and one called Irish Mist, but I'm not sure I'll have room for both - they're hard to find online, the best I've found so far is a place that sells in packs of 25 tubers/bulbs. That's a lot of plants. I saw a total of 5 purple plants in stores this year, and I'm guessing the last three were sold before I realized how scarce they are.

I've also given up on finding a Chieftains performance on TV today, because searchable TV listings seem to be scarce as well. We did watch the NYC St Pat's parade today, but it was skimpy on the music. (And I saw a lot of kilts, which I thought were a Scottish thing more than Irish.)

Friday, March 14, 2008

I want a vacation

Actually, just a day "off" would do it. A day where I didn't spend an hour reading to a certain young fellow, or looking at pictures with him on the computer. (I can say no to a lot of things, but when the kid asks me to read him a book, I can't bring myself to discourage that at all. But it's a gigantic time eater.)

But then, it wouldn't be a day "off" - it would be a day spent trying to catch up on all the stuff I can't do while I'm reading, looking at pictures, or whatever. What it boils down to, is that I need to get more organized and try to get more done during the day, instead of saving it all for "later" or the not-long-enough weekends. Of course, I've been saying this for three years or more, and still no luck.

Speaking of luck - Monday is St. Patrick's Day. There's an Andy M. Stewart concert in town this weekend that I'd love to go to, but can't figure out the logistics of El Burrito'ing. I'm going to do the usual crock-pot Irish (sort of*) stew, and soda bread. And keep hunting for a purple oxalis plant to go with my 3 green ones. There were three at Schnuck's yesterday, but they were $9 each, and I couldn't make myself spend that without checking a few other places.

(*) My usual Irish stew has beef instead of lamb; lamb around here, other than chops, is almost impossible to find, and darn pricey when it is found. This year, I think we'll use the corned beef we bought on sale last year, if it hasn't gone weird in the freezer.

Otherwise, I'm determined to get something accomplished this weekend as far as housekeeping goes. We need to vacuum, and I'm tired of scolding El B. for stepping on things in the floor, when I'm the reason that said things are in the floor to begin with. (Okay, me, and the severe lack of space, storage or otherwise, around here.) Maybe it's spring fever, but I've been a little short-tempered all week.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

More reading

A little update on the library progress is in order. Already in the tote bag to be returned:

  • Grunt: Pigorian Chant from Snouto Domoinko de Silo - hilarious, if you read the enclosed lyrics. The pigs chant in Pig Latin.
  • Books 2-5 of the Spiderwick Chronicles (I read Book 1 last week). These are entertaining, especially for younger kids. Us older kids, though, who are used to the magnitude of Harry Potter, might be a little underwhelmed.
  • Much Obliged, Jeeves (P. G. Wodehouse). The television series is genius, but the books are equally genius in their own right - there are lots of great scenes that never made it to the screen. Fry & Laurie are hilarious, and I hope that Stephen Fry's QI series makes it over here someday.
  • Framed: A Baby Blues Treasury - one of the comic strips I read every day, along with Get Fuzzy, Non Sequitur, and a few others.
And there are half a dozen crochet books that need to be returned, as soon as I finish looking through them. I'm looking for patterns that don't take a lot of yarn, to use the one-of-a-kind skeins, and for something a little harder than scarves and hats, but not as hard as some of the crocheted Aran sweaters that are tempting me.

That'll get the "out" list from the library down to around 35 items.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

House Hunting

We need to get going on the house hunt. It's spring. El Burrito's Birthday is just two months away, and it would be nice to have his party at our house, instead of having two parties with his grandparents. And my sister keeps nagging me about it. (She thinks looking at 12 houses in one weekend, 30 minutes per house, is realistic. If you're looking at houses outside of town, not so much.)

Which means that we need some sort of criteria about what kind of house we want. You know, to help narrow down the search. Our problem (one of them) is that we're maybe too flexible. Right now, there are three options.
  1. Sell the condo and rent a house for a year while we look for a house with acreage.
  2. Look for a house with acreage, then sell the condo.
  3. Buy the first good house we see in town, sell the condo, and look for a house with acreage.
(Acreage here being anything over an acre, so we'd be looking outside the city limits, and ideally around 10+ acres so we could have critters - a horse, chickens, a few future-dinner steers.) Anyway, that makes narrowing things down a bit hard, because in-town houses and houses-with-acreage are sort of two different things. I'm not in favor of the rent option except as a last resort, just because it means more moving, and more time with everything in boxes. I've already got stuff that's been boxed up since we were married, just because there's no room here.

So, my criteria at first will probably be based on things that bug me the most about the condo, that aren't easily fixable. For example, I've watched some house-hunting shows and see people dismissing a possible house because they don't like the paint colors. For me, that's not really a deal-breaker. I know where Lowe's is, and I know how to use a paint roller. On the other hand, lack of windows and air circulation would be a deal-breaker for me. Ditto for really creepy neighbors, hideous floor plans, or seriously lousy locations.

We looked at two houses Way Back When that would have been considered if they'd been somewhere else. One was maybe 200 feet from Interstate 70, just off the access road; the traffic noise was constant. The other was on a bluff. It had a lovely view, but the edge of the bluff was maybe 75 feet from the back door. And there was a railroad track at the bottom of the bluff.

So, criteria.
  • More than 1,000 sq. ft. In other words, it has to be bigger than this place. I'd prefer 2,000 sq. ft. minimum, but I can be flexible if there's an attic, unfinished basement, or whatever. Or if there's room to expand.
  • Windows. Must have windows. Windows that open, and aren't part of the door. The cave atmosphere here is just too irritating.
  • Must have a yard, whether there's acreage or not. A fence would be nice, but if it's not there, we can put it in later.
  • Closets other than in the bedrooms. I'd love to have a closet in the bathroom or in a hallway, to use as a linen/storage closet. Walk-in closets in the bedrooms are nice, but they're not enough.
  • Kitchen counter space.
  • Basement level. Because I prefer to have a place to go when there are tornados. The second-floor bathroom option just doesn't feel safe enough to me.
And that's about all I can think of right now. Most of the things that bug me about the condo are things that could be fixed with enough time and money (and tools) - the lousy lighting, for example, and the shower. But the fact that it's too small, the bathtub is practically unusable, and there's no natural light coming in - those are harder to fix.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Library day again

All right, I don't know if it's the computer or my internet connection, but things are waaaaaay slow today.

It's Tuesday, so here we go, with more book-related stuff.

Backing up a few days, the Friends of the Library had their big spring book sale last weekend. Tons of books, $1 for hardcover, 50c for paperbacks, plus videos, records, CDs, and a huuuuuge comic book collection that someone donated. I volunteered as a cashier for 2 hours, and did some shopping as well. Spent less than $40 this time. I went shopping alone the first morning of the sale - get there early or park far away - and scored some interesting books (lots of sci fi), 2 vinyl albums, and some CDs. For $6, I got a CD of a local group for my parents, plus two Kevin Welch albums, a Desert Rose Band CD that I hadn't known about, the Mavericks, and the Notorious Cherry Bombs (because I'm a big enough Vince Gill fan that I even have his Pure Prairie League stuff).

Then I stopped at a preschool group yard sale on the way home. It was almost noon, so it was $1 a bag. Came out with 5 books (3 Trixie Belden mysteries, an Isaac Asimov, and An Incomplete Education), 4 8x10 picture frames with glass, a cute stuffed lobster, and a sweater that may be wool and will be experimented on.

On to today. Library-wise, I have 44 things checked out right now, and 7 books on my hold list. We returned a video and three or so books today, and came home with two Sesame Street videos and three books (in other words, 1 thing for me, 4 for El Burrito. Kid needs his own library card as soon as he's old enough.). I need to track down the Jeeves & Wooster book, because it's due back, and start watching the first season/series of Slings & Arrows. If I do that, and go through the crochet books I've been waiting for, I can take about half the pile back to the library next week.

We spent $4.50 at the sale today, came home with a Sophie Kinsella novel that looks new, a book on the Trojan War, and a couple of light-reading paperbacks.

As far as reading goes, I read the Spiderwick Chronicles this week. Seriously, I read the fourth one yesterday, and it took me about an hour. I know they're targeted to younger kids, but I've been spoiled by Harry Potter, apparently. :) They are interesting books, but I can see why they made one movie based on all five books. Trying to do a 90-minute movie per book might be stretching it a little too much. Anyway, they're an interesting read, and I'll have to re-read them again sometime. Maybe I'm just in too much of a hurry.

Otherwise, I'm trying to finish up a few books that I started, so I can get them back to the library. I'm in the middle of an astronomy book and one on PR & marketing, among other things.

We returned the Muppet Family Christmas video today. I really liked this one, it had many of the Muppets from both the Muppet Show and Sesame Street, plus the Fraggles, which I'm totally unfamiliar with. Everyone got some screen time, and the songs were good. Elmo (aka the little red menace, according to Oscar the Grouch) was seen, but not heard. That's a plus in my book, because it seems like 80% of the Sesame Street DVDs I see at the store are all about Elmo.

And that's all for today, because the Internet slowness is bugging me and I've got to think about dinner now.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Top of the list

My least-favorite sister-in-law (actually, DH's sister-in-law, so does that make her a sister-in-law once removed?) made it to the top of my crap list this weekend.

I've ranted about her before, because for some reason, she seems determined to make snide little remarks about El Burrito every time she sees him. This is the one who doesn't speak to me at all, who has repeatedly ignored me when inviting the rest of the family to bring stuff to her yard sales, seems to believe that El Burrito is on the slow side regarding vocabulary and walking and basically everything, and so on.

We went to DH's parents' last night for another birthday party (two of his brothers, this time), and She was there, since her DH was one of the birthday boys. El Burrito was perfectly happy to play in the living room with some toys, while his cousins were running around screaming like banshees and locking each other out of the bedroom. The next-oldest cousin, a boy, is 2 or 3 years older than El Burrito. Then there are 3 girls, all between 6 and 10 or so, and 2 boys older than that. So really, not that many kids close enough to his age to play with, because I think at his age, there's a big gap between a 2-yr-old and a 4-yr-old.

So, because a not-yet-2-year-old is content to run a truck back and forth on the couch, and doesn't want to play with a bunch of hooligans that are at least twice his age, She was wondering if he was in any playgroups, or Parents as Teachers, and said she didn't think he was getting socialized enough with kids his own age. And that, by the way, her kids were all playing with puzzles at his age.

(Imagine me rolling my eyes, with a little steam coming out of my ears. )

This irked me for a couple of reasons.

First, because I was sitting not 10 feet away from her, in plain sight, while she was making these comments. She didn't bother to ask me if we do playgroups or anything, she was asking one of his other aunts. We could be going to playgroups twice a day every day, and they wouldn't know it!

Also, I don't think Parents as Teachers is in the habit of bringing a playgroup to your house every week. At least not around here. I know they do educational visits, but it's one person visiting, not a group.

Third, we do have puzzles. El Burrito has two of those peg puzzles, plus an alphabet puzzle and a numbers puzzle, the fit the shapes into the spaces kind. So not jigsaw puzzles. I wish I'd been able to pick my jaw up off the floor and ask what kind of puzzles her kids were working, because I really doubt that they could do 100-piece jigsaws at age 2. Just because we don't take a puzzle with us everywhere and make the boy perform on cue like a trained seal doesn't mean that he doesn't do Things.

In short, she's ticked me off royally, and she's now at the top of my Bite Me list (for lack of a more polite way to put it). DH said last night that it bothers him too, so at least it's not me being bothered by things that aren't really there.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Random Bits and Pieces

Random stuff:

I have another sickly fish, unless he's already died. I lost another one about a month ago, so after this one goes, the population will be 4 orange platies, 4 zebra danios, and one huge Squiggy the Pleco.

I just finished the last of the M&M Kissables (a Kiss/M&M cross) from Valentine's Day 2007. In the fridge, we have a Pot o' Gold box of chocolates from 2007, too. Need to eat those before they go bad, but it's honestly not my favorite chocolate assortment. I like the round ones with the orange/lemon/raspberry cream centers. And the caramels, of course. My favorites.

Daylight Savings Time starts this weekend. We are not amused. DST doesn't change the amount of daylight time we get, so I'm really not a fan of the whole thing. And moving the dates this year is going to be a real PITA, because our outdated VCR will have issues with the built-in DST feature. I'm also skeptical about the supposed energy savings, given this little news article on Yahoo today, and this one from last year. Sure, probably not an in-depth study, but food for thought. (Actually, it's like debunking the gas boycott email that goes around - most people will just fill up the day before or after, thus using the same amount of gas, just shifting when it's purchased. DST just means we have more lights on in the morning than the evening, or vice versa.)

I'm ready to start the countdown for the new Indiana Jones movie, which was mentioned in the Heart of the City comic today. I've been waiting for this one, and hoping that Lucas would get in gear before Harrison Ford was too decrepit to pull it off. The man looks darn fine for his age, but keeping up with Ally McBeal may be taking a lot out of him. And then I remembered that this is George Lucas we're talking about, the man responsible for the amazing first Star Wars trilogy, but also the man responsible for the really not-so-good second SW trilogy. Now I'm just hoping that Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull doesn't suffer from some sort of Jar-Jar Binks problem, or that pathetic focus on CGI while leaving the script to be hacked out by monkeys.

Either way, we won't get to see it on Opening Day, because that's El Burrito's birthday and he's a little young for movies yet.

(Also, the website is totally Flash-based, and takes for-freaking-ever to load. And they don't give you a "skip intro" sort of option. Now that it's finally loaded, it keeps re-cycling all the little Flash windows about every 3 seconds. I don't have time to read them, much less click on a link. Assuming that any of the links actually work, which they don't for me. Gah!! It wasn't this bad last time I looked at the site.)

There was probably something else, but El Burrito is awake. He's been working my last sad little nerve for the past two days, and making it very hard to get anything done other than reading Grover books and looking at his pictures on the computer.

Thursday, March 6, 2008


So, it's Thursday.

El Burrito spent a full 90 minutes in his crib before he finally fell asleep. That 90 minutes included about four trips in to give him two toy cars, his "grumpy book" (Winnie the Pooh), another book, and the truck he dropped. Sigh. He's on a tear this week, wanting to be read to almost half the total time he's awake. Not that I'm going to stop reading to him, but jeez, it makes it hard to get anything accomplished.

I just finished the earflap hat for my sister in Cold Detroit. I'm weaving in the ends right now, then I've just got to braid the cords and make the pompom.

I was watching some more of my Due South DVDs, and I'm just going to have to buy another copy of Season 1. I haven't gotten any reply from the studio, and it's been five years since I bought the set, so it was a long shot anyway. I was watching disc 2 today, and the last two episodes on both sides (*) are unwatchable. No visible damage to the disc, so I guess it was a burn error. That makes two discs with errors out of three in the set, so I may as well just buy a whole new set. Gah. I'm almost sure I checked these when I got them, but I guess I missed some episodes.

* I may have said it before, but I'll say it again. I absolutely HATE double-sided DVDs. They're touchy and finicky, you can't put them down anywhere for a second without chancing a scratch, and I can never remember which side is which, even when they're labeled. I was this close to really getting it once. Then I got the first season of Northern Exposure, with a production error that labeled the A & B sides of the first disc backwards, and that just fried whatever cell in my brain was keeping track of which side goes up.

I finally remembered to note what time I filled up the new humidifier. The big difference between warm-mist and cold-mist machines seems to be noise and speed. Our Holmes warm-mist could put out over two gallons per day - we had to fill it up daily, and a fill-up wouldn't last 24 hours. It was also quiet, since it worked on a heating element. However, the drawback was the filter - it got gunked up and had to be cleaned almost daily, with a new filter every two weeks or so (at $5 each).

The ReliOn is a cool-mist, so it's powered by a fan instead of a heating element. It only puts out about half a gallon per day on low - it's a 1-gallon model, I filled it up at 6:00 Tuesday night and had to refill it at 5:00 today. It might go faster on the "high" setting, but the fan on "high" is kind of noisy. Great if you need white noise, not so great otherwise. On the other hand, the filter only has to be changed once per season unless it gets lots of build-up, and ours still looking pretty good. Plus, we got some filters at Walmart last month, $2 for a 2-pack on clearance; not the same model, but with a bit of trimming they'll be the same size.

Pros and cons. I wish we could get more moisture in the air, but the filter costs on the other machine were a little steep and I'm not sure there's any way around the water build-up, other than buying filtered water for the silly thing.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


It's been almost 4 months since the big haircut.

My former bangs are down past the end of my nose, but still not long enough to tuck behind my ears, so it's little hair clips for them. In spite of what my sister said about not being in third grade anymore. It's that or go insane from the sheepdog experience, and getting poked in the eye with your own hair isn't fun.

The layers were a good idea in theory, but I don't think I'm going to keep them. Unless I go super-short with all my hair, they just won't work, as far as I can tell. My hair as it is now doesn't work with a plain braid, French-braid, or even a ponytail. I'm stuck with clamshell clips and barrettes, which still leave half the hair loose. And honestly, it's probably just me, but the clamshell clips just don't look "finished" to me; they look like what you do first thing in the morning, as a way to get the hair out of the way until you have time to "fix" it.

Anyway, is shoving it all in a clip every day any different than putting it in a braid everyday like I used to do? Probably not. Same rut, just a different view.

So, as it stands now, I'll probably keep it about the length it is now, but grow the layers out, because I can't just figure out what to do with it when it's all different lengths. I need a way to pull it all back out of my face and off my neck sometimes - for example, if I take riding lessons again this year. Helmets don't fit over big plastic hair clips.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Another Tuesday book post

Today's library stats: 33 checked out, 15 on hold, returned 7 or so, checked out 6. And First Crochet should be waiting for me next time we're there. Finally, the bath mat pattern.

Returned to the library today:
  • Spiderwick Chronicles #1 - pretty good, although obviously an intro to a series. I can see why they didn't go the one-book-per-movie route, because this first one was kind of skimpy. At least compared to Harry Potter, so maybe not "skimpy" if you're a member of the intended audience. :)
  • Darwin's Blade - interesting, and I wonder if it's part of a series
  • a V.I. Warshawski book whose title I forgot already (read it because it was a bit of Walmart parody)
  • I am Legend - didn't want to see the movie without reading the story first, and now I think I'll skip the movie.
  • Learning about Numbers (a Sesame Street video that had two run-ins with our VCR)
  • How do Dinosaurs count to Ten, Spanish version.
At the book sale, we spent $11 for
  • The Romance of Tall Ships - Jonathan Eastland
  • Route 66: the Mother Road - Michael Wallis
  • Successful Prize Contests - Kaufman & Cone (c. 1950 - bought because I really liked the Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio and this is sort of background for that)
  • Daily Life in Ancient Rome, 2nd ed - Jerome Carcopino
  • Quest for a Maid - Frances Mary Hendry
  • Howliday Inn - James Howe
  • On the Farm (kiddy book)
  • Tribal People of the Northwest (VHS)
Read over the weekend: The Coalwood Way, by Homer Hickam - sequel to Rocket Boys aka October Sky. This is a good trilogy, and I keep suggesting Rocket Boys for the local OneRead program. DH & I saw the author speak on campus a few years back, and he's an interesting person.

The little review of Learning about Numbers:
This was a pretty good video, focusing on the Count and Big Bird, with appearances by Ernie and Kermit. It includes little skits for each number, like the "King of Eight" and another one with six soccer socks. Only 30 minutes long, but still entertaining.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Busy weekend

Well, El Burrito had fun this weekend, and is set for next winter's pajamas. I'm wiped out, though.

We took advantage of the nice weather (seriously - in the 70s yesterday! and low 30s today), and went down to see my parents for the weekend. "Weekend" being about 36 hours total, because we can't seem to get up early on Saturdays.

On the way there, we stopped at the outlet mall in Osage Beach and did a little shopping, mostly for El Burrito. We hit the winter clearance at Carters again, and bought El Burrito's pajamas for next winter - fleece PJs, mostly 2-piece sets this year, on the $3.99 racks. Score! He also got some shirts/bodysuits for next year, and a few things for this summer. Over half of what we bought came from the $3.99 section, and we had a 20% coupon on top of that. The puzzler was that Carters sent out punch-cards last fall (like October) - one punch per $10 spent sort of thing. We tried to get ours punched this weekend, and they've already discontinued the cards because they've got something else in the works. That was a lot of money spent on a program that lasted less than six months. I got at least one postcard mailer about it. Weird.

Then we went next door, and I spent a large pile of money on new bras, which I was in dire need of, and found out that the ones I love are apparently discontinued. And can I just say, I hate bra shopping? After taking out everything that's padded or wired, there's just not a lot left to look at, most of the time. I'm testing the ones from the half-price section; if they work out, I may have to order a few more, since they're also discontinued.

Anyway, we also went to the new Gymboree outlet. I'm not really impressed by the outlet, though. The prices weren't that great, compared to what I've found at the big sales in the regular store. I bought a zip-up sweater/cardigan for next year, almost identical to the one he's wearing now. The outlet sweater has a solid-colored back, where the original has the color pattern all the way around. I paid $7 for the original (full price was $32.50) and $10 for the outlet version (full price $24.00). I'm thinking that the non-outlet sweater was a better deal. We go in the Gymboree store when we're at the mall here, and I keep an eye out for really good deals, like the 99-cent summer hats and sunglasses at the semi-annual sale. The outlet prices don't seem to be a good enough deal to justify the drive.

So, you ask, what about the non-shopping part of the weekend?

Well, El Burrito got to have a lot of fun. His grandma found a bubble-blowing doohickey - it runs on an AA battery, four bubble circles in front of a tiny fan (with craft-foam fan blades so you can't hurt yourself). It's pretty neat, and it can shoot bubbles a lot faster than I can blow them! We blew bubbles on Sunday, in spite of the stiff breeze. It was in the 70s on Sunday, until about 5:00. He got to ride in Grandpa's truck across the field to feed some cows and see a few calves, which he liked. He ran around the yard, petted the two remaining dogs, blew bubbles, saw some tractors, and walked across the driveway to say hi to some more cows. And he got to watch Grandpa building fence, and ride in the other truck, and just have a good time in general.

He also got to talk to his favorite aunt in Detroit, where it was 34 degrees. She was jealous of our weather.

In other words, he had a great time. The only sticky part was when he went hunting for the "truck book" that he saw at Christmas. The one he's only seen twice, which is now in Detroit. He was pretty persistent in looking for it, too - the other truck books just weren't the same. :)

And, since his "nap" both days was less than two hours total, he's been a bit of a grump today. He didn't fall asleep until he'd been in his crib for 90 minutes - I was just giving up and going in to get him when he conked out, flat on his back with his binky dangling out one side of his mouth.