Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Online shopping

. . . is sometimes a pain. I'm trying to squeeze in 4 orders for naptime today, since they've been on The List for a month now, and it looks like I'll only get one done. I wasted time comparing the final totals for 20% off versus 10% and free shipping. I was going with the 10%, but I found out during checkout that the code expired Monday. Rats. So it's cheaper, in the long run, to add a Potato Head and hit the $50 minimum. The math makes my head hurt (or maybe it's the allergies).

Hasbro's website, by the by, is a pain as well. It has a habit of timing out to a 404 error, way too often. Sigh. Also, in Hasbro's oddness, the Star Wars Potato Head 3-pack (Darth Tater, Spud Trooper, and R2 Potatoo) is *more expensive* ($28.99) than buying the Darth/Spud 2-pack and an individual R2 ($24.98).

And Thunderbird burped again today, which resurrected a few hundred deleted emails back into my Inbox. What a pain, and I can't figure out how to keep it from doing that. I empty the trash folder and compact the mailboxes regularly.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Another Tuesday, with a twist

(No jury duty for tomorrow!)

First, the twist: El Burrito woke up sometime around the uncivilized hour of 5:00 a.m. this morning. I'm not sure what time exactly, since I can't sleep in my contacts and was too tired to look at the clock anyway. So, after fussing and crying in our bed for a bit (or longer), we woke up enough to check his temp around 5:30-ish. Yeah, 100.5, thanks. Pass the kiddie ibuprofen and the syringe.

One call to the doctor's office in mid-breakfast, and they put us on the list to be there in half an hour. It's a 15 minute drive, and that's not counting getting out to the car. We were only 5 minutes late, in spite of my finishing breakfast and changing out of my jammies. It's not an ear infection, and it's probably not the strep he was exposed to 2 weeks back (courtesy of his grandpa). Probably viral, so just wait it out, keep dosing with ibuprofen/acetaminophen, and call if he's still feeling peaked on Friday.

So we came home for a bit, and then ventured back to the library. Because he asked all day yesterday about riding in mommy's car and going to the library for books, so there would have been a mutiny if he'd had to stay home and have lunch with Daddy.

Current library stats: 37 items out, 7 on the wait list. We checked out 7 books today, and returned7, if memory serves. Forgot the stinking DVD, though, that's just overdue enough to block my account. I'll have to drop it off later this week so I can renew everything else.

We returned
  • Snow Ponies
  • Names and Naming in Young Adult Literature
  • The Second Nine Months - reviewed earlier
  • 40 Digital Photography Techniques
  • Closeup Shooting: a guide to closeup, tabletop, and macro photography
  • No Way Home - I didn't get time to read past the intro of this one, and it felt like a downer of a book anyway. Maybe I'll try it again later.
  • A Ball, a Dog, and a Monkey: 1957 - the Space Race Begins - This one was very interesting. I'm interested in "space stuff" anyway, and getting a history of the space race was educational. Turns out, one of the first satellites the U.S. launched after Sputnik, called Vanguard I, is still in orbit 50 years later.
I did check out 7 more, so no net decrease, but they were all holds, nothing I browsed for on a whim. And one of those, the Vanna White crochet book, will probably be going right back to the library. For interesting reads, I've got the third book in Anne McCaffrey's Petaybee Twins series (Deluge), the autobiography of the Hillstrand brothers (the Time Bandit owners from Deadliest Catch), the Ed Begley Jr. book, and Bruce Campbell's second book.

We spent $2.50 at the book sale. El Burrito got the Sesame Street 1,2,3 Story book, and I got the collected Miss Marple short stories (50cents from the "missing dustjacket" cart) and a YA novel called Spirit Horse. And the little charmer got to see his book-sale buddy, the older lady who thinks he's awesome, and she had another book for him, the board-book version of Owen & Mzee: Best Friends.

The boy has admirers at his regular haunts - the book sale volunteer, the manager at the BBQ place, and the manager at Chevy's, who talked to him last night again. We went out for dinner before the microwave-shopping trip - the chicken flautas last night should have been served with a fire extinguisher!

Monday, April 28, 2008

So tired

Note to El Burrito: It's not funny to wake up at 3:30 a.blinking.m. and refuse to go back to sleep for two hours.

It's really not funny when you do it two days in a row.

And it's downright nasty to then wake up 90 minutes early on the third day.

Yes, I'm tired. Very, very tired.


In other news, I'm up for jury duty this week. That has good points and bad points. The bad part is the hassle of juggling El Burrito-care for a week, plus the pain-in-the-neck factor of downtown parking. Luckily, DH's parents live fairly close and can take him if needed, although they have doctor's appointments scheduled for at least 3 days this week (father-in-law had hernia surgery about a week ago). Good points? Well, semi-alone time might be nice, plus I could work on some reading or crochet while I sit in the waiting room.

At any rate, I was off the hook today, and again for tomorrow. I can call in every afternoon and see if I have to show up the next day.

We have to go appliance shopping this week, too. The microwave died last night, sort of unexpectedly. Okay, it's 20 years old, so in appliance-years that's, oh, older than Moses. It's going to be a pain to replace, just because it's an over-the-stove model and we'll have a fixed amount of space to work with. We went through this with the fridge, and after we took measurements of the space, we had exactly two models at Sears and about that many at Lowe's that would fit in the hole. It does cut down on the decision-making, though. However, it would be really nice if the websites for Sears, etc. would let you search by dimensions. Much quicker.

And now it's time to rant again about shopping for jeans. I found out earlier this month that the local Sears doesn't stock womens-size Levis in the store. The same is apparently true for JCPenney - the only jeans in the "Womens" section were some cheap-looking brand that I can't remember the name of. Oh, and the elastic-waisted may-as-well-be-sweatpants "jeans." No, thanks.

Why can't stores stock jeans for people with a waist size larger than a q-tip?????

And now El Burrito is awake. Back to folding laundry.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Random Stuff

A few weeks ago, I got an email from Sears, telling me that my rebate had been processed. I was confused, because I couldn't - and still can't - remember what rebate they're talking about. But a week or so ago, there was a $5 Sears card in the mail because of that rebate. It's bizarre, but I'm not turning down a gift card. And I did check via the Sears website, it's legit and not a weird scam.

I finally found cases for my MP3 players, at Circuit City. Only $5 each, too. One is silicon (from DLO), one is something else, possibly neoprene-related (from Verge). I prefer the clearish silicon, in spite of the lack of protection for the screen. The Verge came with an armband and a little pocket for earbuds, but it doesn't have access ports for the power/volume buttons or the microphone. The DLO is a snug fit, though - it sort of slides on like a sock, and the opening is on the small end of the player, not the large end.

And now I'm off to watch Slings & Arrows while I dig through some paper-clutter. I've gotten the Yahoo inbox below 4,000, so it's time to step away from the computer for a few hours.

Happy Birthday, Hubble!

The Hubble Space Telescope launched 18 years ago today.

I was just checking out the Hubble website, and found a printable wall mural you can download. It's the Carina Nebula, but in black and white. If it was in color, I would so be having one printed somewhere. Even the B&W is tempting, though.

Ooooh, I wonder if there's a wall mural of one of the Spirit or Opportunity panoramas? Now that would be beyond amazing. I think I'll have to Google that after lunch.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Recent reading

I used to keep a notebook with a list of all the books I read, but I got out of the habit. I'll try it here for a while.

  • Names and Naming in Young Adult Literature - Nilsen and Nilsen. Interesting tidbits.
  • The Second Nine Months - Vicki Glembocki. Wish I'd read this one last year; it's nice to know that not everyone buys into the "motherhood is all happy gooey sweetness" idea. She must have gotten over it, though - she's had another baby. I'm not sure I'm ready for that.
  • 40 Digital Photography Techniques - John Kim. Good tips, some a bit basic, but still educational.
  • Day of Honor - Michael Jan Friedman & Jeri Taylor. A novelization of an episode of Star Trek: Voyager. I think sometimes I'm the only person who liked Voyager, and Enterprise. Heck, I even was okay with the theme for Enterprise, which had a lot of "true" fans rabidly calling for someone's head on a platter.
  • Jump for the Moon - Patricia Leitch. One of the "Jinny at Finmory" series, written in the 70's. I've got 2 of the 12 books. I'd like to have the rest, but that may take a while, because they're out of print and some of them get pricy on Ebay, etc.


For the record: whatever I'm allergic to has started blooming/sporing/pollinating/whatever. Sometime between noon and 6 p.m., to be precise. I think I've used half a box of kleenex in the last 6 hours, in spite of starting on the Claritin a week or so ago.

It's not the ornamental pears, because they've been blooming for over a week. Might be the oaks, since they just started leafing out yesterday. If I knew what it was, I'd move away from it. But, two weeks or so of sneezing isn't worth the needles involved in allergy tests.

Either way, I hope it passes soon, and that it doesn't get as bad as the first year this all started, about 5 years ago. That year sucked. In the space of ten minutes, I could go from normal to looking like someone socked me in the eye. My left eye (always the left) would tear up, go all bloodshot and teary, and puff up. I usually had to take that contact lens out, because the swelling inside the eyelid would keep knocking it off center (as my optometrist explained it). I ended up on both Zyrtec and an allergy eye drop for the summer, and wore my glasses a lot. The eye drops were pricey, too. It's not a good sign when the doc gives you a rebate form with the Rx, and it's for a $25 rebate on a tiny, less-than-an-ounce bottle.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Reading on Tuesday

Today's library stats:

Checked out: 37
On hold: 10
I'll be waiting a while for two of these; I'm #23 on the list for the new Sophie Kinsella, and #15 on Peter Walsh's new book.

Returned: 5
Checked out: 7

I need to hunt for one book that's still showing up on my account; I'm pretty sure I returned it, but I'll look around to make sure it's not under the seat of the car or something.

  • Drive - a picture book about a father who drives a tractor-trailer rig. El Burrito wasn't as crazy about it as I thought he'd be.
  • The Books of Great Alta (combo of Sister Light, Sister Dark and White Jenna) - never got started on this one, but I picked up the 3rd book of the series at a sale and thought I'd start at the beginning.
  • 2 crochet books
  • 1 photography book
Book cart sale: $3.50, for 5 books (3 for me, 2 for El Burrito in the future).


It's warm here, almost 80 the past two days. The problem with the lovely weather is that the condo heats up easily (we're on the sunny side, and the shade trees haven't leafed out yet). Since there's no decent air circulation, it takes forever to cool down at night. With both doors open, it was still 80 degrees inside at 2 a.m. (down from the 81-degree high at 9:00).

We've been strollering around the neighborhood almost every day, too. El Burrito likes it. We've seen so far that there are at least 6 units for sale, and a minimum of 16 flowering pear trees in the complex. They're pretty, but the fragrance isn't much to speak of. I much prefer the redbuds and dogwoods anyway, and lilacs for fragrance.

The rain this morning knocked a lot of petals off the pears, and they sort of drift in the breeze like snow. It's pretty to watch. We're also waiting to see if the robins nest in our shade tree again this year. Last year's nest is still there, but looking a bit rough. We did see a songbird of some kind this morning - yellow with black wings. I can't remember the name of it, and our bird guide is boxed up somewhere.

And now it's back to digging through paperwork. I'm on the list for potential jury duty next week, so I need to find the notice they sent. I have to call every night and listen to a message that'll tell me if I need to go to the courthouse the next day. I've done this once before, spent a few hours on hard plastic chairs before I was sent home. I'm not sure what kind of trials are coming up, but there's been a rash of crime lately. I've got books to read and patterns to crochet, if I can decide on yarn, and I guess El Burrito can spend a few days with his grandparents.

I just wish I could find a decent wool yarn that's soft, washable, and doesn't pill like crazy. I've considered Mission Falls 1820 and one other, but they reportedly pill badly. I've got a skein of Patons Classic Merino to try out, even though it's hand-wash only. I'd like to make El Burrito a hat to match his coat for next winter, and machine-washable wool would be a big plus.

Monday, April 21, 2008


How can a weekend feel so busy, but not much got marked off the list? It's bizarre, and discouraging.

We did get the shopping done on Saturday, mostly quick trips to places I don't usually go (Walmart, etc.) I stopped at a big rummage sale on Saturday, and for $2.50 I got 4 plush critters (2 Cookie Monsters, 1 Big Bird, 1 Beanie puffin), 4 videos (2 Sesame Street, 2 Pooh), and a DVD (Sesame Street). Of course, it turns out that the two Pooh videos are also on the Pooh DVD El Burrito got for Christmas, but oh well. We also got another Cookie's Cookies book & plush set over the weekend, so we're fully stocked on Cookie Monsters. El Burrito seems to have settled on Cookie as his buddy/security blanket right now, so we thought a spare might not be a bad idea.

Cookie gets around quite a bit. He's been to the library and the grocery store, among other places, and went shopping with us this weekend. He gets to sit in the high chair at breakfast, too.

All three Cookies and a Bird ended up in the high chair last night, after they took a trip through the washing machine.

And the young man got his second haircut. I took a lot more hair off this time, but he cried the whole time, so it looks kind of scruffy around the edges. But at least no one lost any blood, and I didn't have to give him a buzz to even it all up.



Friday, April 18, 2008

Geek night

Well, wasn't that a downer of an evening. Other than the Sarah Jane Chronicles, Sci Fi racked up quite a body count this evening, between Doctor Who and Battlestar. Sad.

And someone at - has some issues with angel statues. First "Blink" - you'll never look at a statue the same way after that one - and now this. Oy.

Shamrocks, earthquakes, stroller-ing, and Doctor Who

For the record, I didn't feel either of the Illinois quakes today, and I was awake for the second one. Which is odd, if people in Kansas felt it, but we didn't. Illogical, Spock would say.

It's Friday, so I've been working on the list of things to take care of this weekend. Like the leaking faucet, and a squash that needs to be baked. Hopefully, El Burrito will like baked squash as much as he liked the squashed squash-in-a-jar baby food.

I put El Burrito in his stroller after lunch - with a blanket, since it's 30 degrees cooler than yesterday - and we took a spin around the neighborhood (maybe half a mile). He seems to like it. I mentioned it before lunch and he asked a few times about "walk in stroller" while he ate. Plus, he talked the whole time we were out, mostly about Grandpa's truck, and the squirrel we saw. If I can manage to do that every day, I may lose some of the baby weight at last.

I just ate the last tiny pack of candy Sweethearts, from two Valentine's Days ago. Plus, I didn't buy any sale candy after Easter or Valentine's this year. The candy stash is dwindling, and it's a long time until Halloween. I may have to actually bake my own cookies now, but that's not a bad thing. Even a cake mix has to be a little healthier than the pre-made stuff, and I'll burn a calorie or two stirring it all up.

And I just ordered some purple oxalis (shamrock) bulbs. I'll have to resist adding to the jungle, since it's a pain to move plants, but I swore two years ago that I'd get some. Now I just want a jade plant, a decent looking aloe, and another variegated ginger (to replace the $5 ginger that I killed, after stressing for hours about whether to buy it or not, I kid you not).

Someone's awake now, so the rest of my online shopping will have to wait until tonight. Plus, new Doctor Who tonight (! !) and Battlestar Galactica. Friday night is geek night.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

When I win the Lottery

I will spend so much money at Sideshow Collectibles.

Check out the Indiana Jones figure (are they still called action figures?) that goes on sale tomorrow. I'm all in favor of replicas that look like the character they're based on.

Yes, I'm a geek. I bought the big mondo gift sets of the Lord of the Rings movies, the sets with the Sideshow/Weta figurines of Gollum, the Argonath bookends, and the Minas Tirith box. The detail on Minas Tirith still amazes me.

They did a miniature of the Golden Hall of Edoras that looked stunning. I drooled for hours, but I couldn't pay $125 for something the size of a shoebox. I got the Puzz3D instead. They also made a statue of Gandalf and Shadowfax, and Samwise with Bill the pony. They're all sold out now, so I'll have to hit the jackpot.

In the meantime, I'll probably end up with a Taters of the Lost Ark, because it's just too darn funny.


(because I'm still not having any luck with titles)

The weather here is beautiful for April. We've had the doors open the past few days, getting a nice breeze, and El Burrito & I spent more than an hour out on the porch yesterday. I wish there was someplace outside to let him run around, but the best thing here at the condos is a grassy area, unfenced, right next to the street. Where people "walk" their dogs, and may or may not clean up the leftovers. I need to see if there are any city parks around here that I don't know about, that may have kid-friendly areas. It's almost time to move the houseplants out, too, although that may cramp El Burrito's space on the porch a little.

El Burrito and I went shopping today. We walked through Sears on Tuesday on our way to the Post Office (it's nice to have a PO branch at the mall), and saw some 75% off clearance racks. I didn't get to stop, because El B. was walking instead of strollering, so we went back today. We came home with 4 pairs of khaki-style pants for me, and 3 shirts. Grand total - just under $30.
  • 2 fleece sweatshirt-type shirts - $1.24 and $2.49
  • plaid button-front shirt - #3.74
  • Lands End chinos in black and blue - $7.49 and $6.24 (they look identical, go figure)
  • Classic Elements khakis- $3.74
  • brown khakis - $4.99
And we took a stroller ride around the buildings before we got the mail and came inside, so more exercise for me!

I tried on a pair of Levis 550s, which I thought were identical to the pair I was wearing at the time, but a size smaller (the current ones are a bit loose). Yeah, right. I tried to put on a pair of "misses" Levis. "Tried" being the operative word their. And Sears doesn't seem to carry womens sizes in Levis. (Actually, the Levis site has Juniors, Misses, Petites, and Plus. Thanks a lot, there. Calling it "Womens" instead of "Plus" might just be semantics, but it wouldn't make me as bummed about shopping that section, either. What about those of us who aren't "Misses" anymore, but aren't really "Plus" sized either? (Okay, I'm probably a Plus right now, but still.)

So, even assuming that I return a pair or two of pants, I'm good for the year now that it's getting too warm for cords. Unfortunately, we didn't find any equivalent deals for DH in the way of dress pants. He's lost 30 pounds in the past year, thanks to the Byetta, and his current pants are a bit on the large size.

That would be the weight my parents, and his, are so unbelievably fussed about. Now, keep in mind, he saw his doctor last week for his quarterly checkup. Doc was totally fine with the weight loss and would be okay with DH losing another 10-20 pounds, which DH could do pretty easily by adding a bit of exercise to the diet & meds. DH's mom was talking last weekend over dinner about him being "unhealthily thin" if he lost anymore weight, and my parents have been worried that he's lost too much weight for a few months now. Mom keeps telling me to make sure I feed him enough, and worrying about DH seeming tired, while she ignores the big dark circles under my eyes (DH gets more sleep than I do!) and the fact that I still weigh about what I did at 7 months pregnant.

And I wonder why I feel ignored sometimes.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


(because I stink at titles sometimes)

My mother left a message on the answering machine this afternoon. I love her, but sometimes I end up banging my head on the wall. She talks to El Burrito more than she talks to me, when she calls. Usually I say "hi" and hand the phone to her favorite grandson, and that's about it. Her message today was telling El Burrito to enjoy the gorgeous weather we're having, fretting about DH's weight loss (she's worried about it ever since we told her the meds make him nauseous), and after she told me to take care of them, she added "and yourself." That was the extent of her "talking" to me.

It makes me feel like an afterthought sometimes. Sigh.

Today's the 16th of April, which means it's been 15 years since my old horse died, and pretty much took the last bits of my childhood with him. Okay, I was in college and over 20, so not really a child anymore, but he was a big part of my childhood, and after he died, "home" just wasn't the same. I got another horse for a few years right after that, but he was about as different from Smoky as he could be and still be a horse. It still feels a little off to go back to my parents' farm and not have a horse around (or hens, or our collie).

He actually died on the 15th (Tax Day - what a way to make sure I never forget), but I didn't find out until I came home from college the next day. My parents didn't tell me until I stopped at Dad's office to check in on my way home, because they didn't want me upset while I was driving. Good idea, because I don't know how I made it the few miles from there to the house. Actually, there's a lot of that whole weekend that I don't really remember. I tend to sort of block things out and go on autopilot for the big shocks, apparently. I know my sister and I went to a concert that weekend, but I swear, I don't remember any of it.

We don't know what killed him (no autopsy or anything - he was a grade gelding, no insurance or anything) but best guess is either a heart attack or lightning, since it had rained that day and the farm is on a hill that's some kind of a lightning magnet, based on how often the phone gets fried or the house gets zapped. Smoky was in his mid-20s - there was some dispute over how old he was when Dad bought him - but he was as healthy as your proverbial horse. Other than an injury or two and a touch of arthritis, there was only one day when he felt a bit off and didn't clean up his dinner.

At any rate, he was fine when my parents left for work that morning. He'd guilted Dad (he was a master at it) into giving him a bit of grain along with his hay, and he'd cleaned it all up. When Mom got home, he was laying near the fence closest to the house, dead. He hadn't struggled or anything, Dad said, it just looked like he dropped in his tracks. There was one little scrape in the dirt from a hoof, and that was it. Dad had him buried in the pasture before I got home. I keep meaning to get a marker or something, but I haven't done it yet. I don't know why.

One of the big regrets I have is that I didn't have many pictures of him at all, and most of the pics I do have are ancient and not-so-good.
This is the "old" man when he was about 14 or so, and I was around 10. This is about the time I started worrying needlessly about his health. It's all because of an article in Western Horseman about a barrel horse who retired at 13. I didn't make the connection at the time, but compared to a competing barrel horse, Smoky was pretty much retired. He was a backyard horse who went around the fields with me, occasionally got called on to move a few cattle, and rode in the Homecoming parade a few years. Not a really strenuous life, compared to some.

He was about the sanest, most bomb-proof horse I ever met, though. Mom used to ride with a couple of my cousins who had horses, and when I was really little, I went along. Mom packed a little snack in an old bread bag, and maybe a diaper or two, I don't know, and off they went. That would be me there, a little older than El Burrito is now.

That's me and I think two of my cousins. I remember riding him around the yard with 2 or 3 cousins with me, all hanging on to the kid in front of you, and the front kid holding mane while Dad led him. Occasionally, we'd get off balance and all slide off, still hanging on to each other, but Smoky could stop before we hit the ground. And then, of course, give us his "what are you doing down there??" look.

I still miss him. Especially on days like today, when it's sunny and warm and breezy and beautiful. It's the perfect day for a bareback ramble around a field.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Another Tuesday, another library trip

Finally, the tax stuff is in the mail and gone. We're later than usual this year; DH pulled an almost-all-night session over the weekend finishing up the main taxes and dealing with Missouri's weird use tax. (We spent a lot of money online last year. Blame Amazon.)

So, the library stats for today: 35 items out, 7 on hold. I returned two books, and came home with one book and a DVD - Slings & Arrows Series 1 again. Maybe I'll finish it this time. :)

For the returns, I finished The Complete Peanuts 1961-1962, and Architecture of the Absurd (subtitled How "Genius" Disfigured a Practical Art. It's a quick read, lacking in depth but interesting. I wonder what he'd think of the new library here.) Then we spent $8 at the book sale (some nice picture books, $2 each). And, while we were there, I remembered to check the back issues of the newspaper from last week. Yep, our picture was there, on the front page, with a quote. I sound a little, I don't know, uninspired with my quote. And I miscounted and said it was El Burrito's second election. Second this year, I should have said, because I know he went a few times last year, too. Oh well.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Book sale fun

I do love the Friends of the Library sales. You can't beat 4 books for a dollar, or 2 for a buck if they're hardbacks.

I made it to the children's sale both days, but by Sunday things were pretty sparse. I left El Burrito and DH home asleep on Saturday, and actually found a parking space in the main lot. (Lucky me, because I bought a lot of books that day.) I shopped for an hour, and filled up all of my sturdy totes for $29.50. I got some Sesame Street books for El Burrito, as well as some board books and picture books, and a few things that I read as a kid.

On the way home, I stopped at the Habitat for Humanity fundraiser garage sale, and scored some really neat stuff. I got a bag of books, including 3 old Trixie Belden mysteries and a JavaScript book, and I ran across an old booklet about horses. It's pretty basic stuff, but I bought it (a whopping 25 cents) because the illustrations were done by Sam Savitt. He drew the nicest looking horses, I think, nothing overly fancy, but they all look like the kind of horse I'd like to own, for some reason. He and Orren Mixer are two of my favorite equine artists. I also found a Puzz3D of the Titanic for just $2, and only missing 2 pieces. (DH wonders why the Titanic is flying a U.S. flag, though. I told him to ask Wrebbit, because I don't know.)

The book sale on Sunday was pretty picked-over, but I bought a few more books, including a couple that look really interesting.

Friday, April 11, 2008


This is the kind of day that makes me want to go back to bed - cold, grey, and windy. Plus, a nice headache right behind my left eye, and I'm tired anyway. Joy. It's a good thing I don't have any garden catalogs around, because I'd probably be tempted. As it is, I spent part of yesterday working on a letter to the condo board. I don't know who decides when to prune the shrubs, but they pruned the forsythia in December (it should be pruned just after it blooms), and as a result, they look like crap instead of like beautiful cheery yellow bushes again this year.

Instead of going back to bed, I spent the morning reading books to a certain young man, and looking at pictures of Trucks! with him on the computer. Oh, and playing trains, too. He's been a bit cranky when he can't get the trains linked up - he's still figuring out the positive/negative magnet idea.

We have to make another hospital visit tonight; Mom won't go home until tomorrow at the earliest. She has to walk and make it to the bathroom by herself before she can be discharged, and so far she's passed out or vomited every time they've gotten her out of bed. Her blood pressure drops when she sits up, which is probably what's causing the passing out. She's not a really happy camper right now.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Cute Burrito Stories

Since I can't find the baby book, y'all are going to have to sit through some cute stories about El Burrito, before I forget them.

The boy was in fine form yesterday, too. We were having a snack after his nap - he had Goldfish crackers, I had pineapple. I offered him some pineapple, and he liked it. For the first few bites, he was sitting at his "table" in the kitchen (it's really a step-stool, but he sits on the bottom step and rolls his cars on the top step). Then he moved over to sit right next to me, to be all of 18 inches closer to the pineapple. After a few more bites, he was in my lap. I guess the pineapple was a hit.

Later, he was laying on the kitchen rug, and started singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. He's sang along with us a little, but that was the first time he did it on his own. And of course he wouldn't do it again after I grabbed the camera to get it on video. He did sing again while we were visiting his grandma in the hospital, and he even pointed both arms at the sky at the end. Cracked his grandparents up. :)

He's also started lining up his cars in his crib. He's got a handful of little plastic Tonka cars that he goes to bed with (we take them out after he's asleep), and I went in yesterday at nap time and found this.

As much as he plays with his Ikea wooden trains, I would have bet that he'd line them up end-to-end like a train, but nope, the boy parks his cars. This picture cracked his grandpa up again last night.

Mom's surgery went well. We drove down to visit her last night, and may go again tomorrow if she has to stay in until Saturday.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008


Update 1 - Our picture was on the newspaper website yesterday. There was audio, too - I didn't have the nerve to listen to it last night (I don't like the way I sound on tape. Yes, I'm weird.), but my sister listened, and said I didn't sound too strange. :) I misunderstood a bit - they were doing a bit on why people vote, and needed a picture of someone with a kid. Luckily, I sounded coherent, but I could have done better if I'd been paying more attention (which is hard when you're also dealing with a toddler).

I'm not crazy about the picture, at least my part of it. I look waaaay too much like my mother, and my sister gave me grief about the barrette that was keeping my hair out of my face. El Burrito, on the other hand, looked like a little charmer. He shook hands with the photographer as we left, too. He actually says "shake shake" as he shakes, it's too cute.

Update 2 - Mom's surgery went fine this morning. I just hope it wasn't a mistake to only do one knee at a time. Sis & I think she may have been better off doing both knees and getting it over with, because if the recovery from this one has any problems, she'll be more apt to skip the second one.

El Burrito and I had lunch with the condo ladies today. He chowed down on a plate of macaroni & cheese, and impressed everyone with his fork-handling skills. He had to use a full-size fork, because I managed to drop his kiddie fork on the floor before he got to use it. He was also really excited about the jumbo crayon hanging on the wall at TGIFriday's.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Tuesday adventures

It's going to be a busy week. Tomorrow we've got a condo lunch and then we're going down to see my mom in the hospital after her knee replacement. Fun.

Library day stats: 37 items out, 7 on hold. Checked out 4 books and a DVD today, returned two videos and at least 5 books, and spent $2 on books for El Burrito.

So, quickie book reviews of what we returned:
  • The Best of Bert & Ernie - I'd buy this one on DVD just for the Ernie & Bert in Egypt bit. And the "I Don't Want to Live on the Moon" song. On the other hand, 30 minutes is not enough for the best of Ernie & Bert. They forgot the Rubber Duckie bit, and Bert doing The Pigeon, for starters.
  • 8 Super Stories from Sesame Street - was actually 5 stories, since it's a 2-video set and one video is missing. So, sadly, we didn't get to see The Great Cookie Thief or Big Bird Brings Spring, but the SuperGrover stories were fun.
  • Gotcha Capitalism - interesting book, lots of useful information. Some of it doesn't apply to us - we still use dial-up internet, and our cell phones are pre-paid Tracfones, but we'll be getting satellite TV soon, and it's good to know what to watch out for.
  • The Hunt Ball
  • Hotspur
  • Don't Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me - don't remember why I put this one one hold, actually. Go figure. I'm sure there was a reason. I think. :)
  • How do Dinosaurs Learn their Colors - This is a cute series, and I'll have to buy a few more of them. We've got one book in both English and Spanish, so I'll have to brush up on my accent.
And I figured out the problem of the dead/not-dead character in that mystery series - two people, almost the same name, father & son. Aha!

We also voted while we were out, and El Burrito's picture may be in one of the local papers tomorrow. The paper was looking for people who brought their kids to vote, or something like that. At noon, I was the first voter with a kid along, and just their luck, he's a cute kid who was wearing an "I Voted" sticker on his jacket. I just hope I didn't look too bad, since my hair's still in a willful mood. And that if they quote me at all (there was chit-chat about why I bought him, why I vote, etc.), I actually sound coherent, because I swear my brain is shrinking sometimes. Side effect of being around a toddler all day.

And speaking of the condo lunch, the TGIFridays website is crap. 90% Flash-based, takes for-freaking-ever to load, and I can't make it show me just the plain menu. Not the drinks, or appetizers, or Guy Fieri junk, I just wanna see the lunch entrees. Is it really that hard?

Monday, April 7, 2008

Weekend progress

I actually made some progress over the weekend. I'm still in shock, because that doesn't happen as often as I'd like.

Saturday: We went out for lunch, took a walk through Shelter Garden, and worked on taxes. El Burrito got the last Easter-freebie "Cars" (tm) cup at Bandana's - we go there so often that the manager recognizes us, and El Burrito waves at him. Then I got to go shopping alone (I never go anywhere without El Burrito lately). I didn't buy any plants at the hardware store, unless you count the 15-cent carrot seeds, but I did stand downwind of the rose bush display for a while. Heaven, I tell you. I didn't buy any yarn at Hobby Lobby, or any 90%-off Easter candy.

And then I took my hardware store pressure gauge and aired up my woefully underinflated car tires, courtesy of the free air machine at the HyVee gas station. Yeah, the car drives much better now, and it could probably use a little more air, because I was guessing at pressure. Couldn't find the rotten sticker with the pressure info.

Sunday was also productive. The fish tank is clean, three plants were re-potted, and one of the kitchen cabinets got rearranged.

Whoever thought particle-board cabinets were a good idea should be whapped, if you ask me. Plywood would be better. We've had problems with the shelves, because the particle-board can't support the pegs that hold the shelves, and the stuff just disintegrates if it gets wet (leaky sink, anyone?). It's not fun when a shelf caves in and plates go everywhere. The peg on the plate shelf was starting to give way again, so I got some square dowel a while back, and finally got around to cutting it the right length to prop up the plate shelf. And while I was at it, I had the brainstorm to, hey, put the heavy plates on the bottom shelf, and the lightweight stuff on the iffy shelf. Go figure. And it only took three tries to get things the right length.

Plus the weather was great, and we had the doors open a lot over the weekend.

Friday, April 4, 2008

And trucks, too

We did go to Parks & Recreation's Tons of Trucks event last night, in spite of the miserable weather - mid-40s and spitting rain, but at least no more hail. (Reminded me of Ireland, except that I was dressed for it this time, instead of chilled to the bone.) They had a good turn-out, considering the weather, both from spectators and trucks.

They had a few tons of trucks and tractors there, plus one boat from the Conservation Department (or Fish & Wildlife, I forget). There were even a few fish to look at near the boat, live catfish and sturgeon. Pretty neat. UPS, FedEx, and USPS had trucks there, MFA had a gas delivery truck, the Bookmobile was there, plus a fire engine with the tower extended. State and county police vehicles, the Red Cross, HazMat, a school bus (with the alarm going off), one of those semi-trailer-sized tow trucks. Trucks everywhere! Then there was a whole section with tractor-type stuff, mostly from the Parks & Rec garage that was right next door - mowers, backhoes, a ditch witch, the whole nine yards.

El Burrito didn't get as excited as I thought he would, but I think he had a good time anyway. Probably had something to do with being cold and missing part of a nap yesterday. It's just that fire trucks and police cars and massive quarry-size dump trucks apparently aren't as much fun as Grandpa's Truck. If they do this again next year, we'll go again, and I think he may have more fun, since he'll be big enough to climb around a little more. Right now, I think he's most impressed with the tow truck-shaped keychain freebie we got.

It was a fun trip, in spite of the weather, and I took a bunch of pictures so El Burrito has something to look at besides the dozen shots of Grandpa's Truck that I took at Easter.

Stink ! !


(giggle giggle)

"That's fun-ny."
Apparently "stink" is a hilarious word when you're not-quite-two. And the way El Burrito says "That's fun-ny" makes it even funnier.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Weather and such

Gardening news: My redwood sapling, poor thing, was declared dead over the weekend. It had been a little crispy for a while, so it probably died a few weeks ago. Not sure why; it had been looking brown around the edges for a while. I hoped that we would move and I could move it into a big half-barrel tub so it would have more room, but that didn't happen in time.

So it got dismantled over the weekend (dismembered sounds so gory) and put in the trash. The pot is out on the porch until we can put the dirt out for yard-waste pickup.


We had more weather today. It's been a heck of a spring so far; that thunderstorm back in December was just the beginning.

I heard some thunder just before noon, checked the local weather channel, and decided to pop out for the mail before the storm got here. I didn't quite make it - the hail started before I could even get my jacket on. Pea and bean sized hail, and lots of it.

This is the front sidewalk; those spots are my footprints - there's a low spot in the sidewalk, and the puddle was covered with floating hail. Got my socks wet going through that for the mail.

There was so much rain and hail that the hail was running downhill on the runoff. It's not something I've seen that often; usually when it hails, it's not enough to cover the ground this way. Little rafts of hail floating downhill are kind of neat, in a strange way.

This is the gutter-spout on our building. That pile of hail is about 3 inches deep. Even now, 4 hours later, there are little hail piles under all the spouts. The back sidewalk had a patch of hail about 3 feet square and 2 inches or so deep. Walking on it to take these pics was different, it's not like walking in snow at all. Crunchier, and a little roll-y, like walking on jellybeans.

Luckily, the storm moved through before lunch and the weather seems to be clear, just cloudy. The city Parks & Recreation is having a "Tons of Trucks" display this afternoon - all sorts of big trucks for kids to look at and climb into - and we're taking El Burrito. He's been talking about riding in Grandpa's Truck for almost two weeks solid, so we think he'll get a kick out of this. I can see two potential problem spots, though. The obvious one is having to leave at some point, but he may take a notion to get upset because these trucks aren't going to take him for a ride around the field to look at the cows or anything like that. :)

Hopefully, though, he'll just have a good time. We had an early lunch and he started his nap about 45 minutes earlier than usual. He was tired anyway - he woke up in the night coughing (swallowed the wrong way or something) and ended up in bed with us after a snack. 2:30 in the morning, and he kept saying "stick" or something - stink? steak? Hard to tell with the binky in his mouth - and giggling like crazy.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008


Well, that was fun.

I remembered this morning to call the HVAC company and schedule our spring A/C checkup. Turns out they had an open appointment today, so I took it rather than schedule something 4-6 weeks out (DH prefers to have the A/C checked before we have to use it).

Yeah, I called at 11:00, and was given a 1:00-3:00 time slot. Can you say busy? That's right, I had two hours (because they've been known to show up early) to clear all the clutter out of the living room. Plus getting the front bathroom cleared, because they have to wash the filters in the bathtub. Which is currently being used for box storage, since the bathtub is practically unusable due to location issues. Oh, and remove a ton of dust bunnies from the washer & dryer, since they're right beside the A/C, and you have to crawl over the dryer to get to the furnace and A/C.

Yes, this place is small, and the nitwit who laid the floor plan should have to live here for a year.

I did get things presentable in time. DH came home for lunch to help, and El Burrito "helped" by pushing a laundry basket up and down the hall. Of course, the bedroom is knee-deep in all the stuff that formerly took up space in the living room, so we'll have to finish dealing with that before we go to bed.

It's time to start boxing things up again. DH says if we box up enough essential stuff, we'll have to move so we can start using it all again. :)

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Library day

Library day again. El Burrito was a bit excited about riding in "mommy's car" but it doesn't seem to compare to a ride in Grandpa's truck. :)

Library totals: 39 items out, 6 on hold. Returned 7 items, checked out 5, so it's moving in the right direction.

Returned to the library today:
  • Very overdue Slings & Arrows DVD; I only managed to watch the first episode. I went to put it on hold again so I can finish it, but it doesn't seem to show up in the library catalog. That's bizarre.
  • Happy Healthy Monsters DVD (again) - I checked it out again to look at the "bonus" features. Not much there, just a 1-page coloring sheet and a Cook with Cookie Monster game.
  • Crocheted Socks - because crocheted socks just aren't going to be my thing.
  • Stori Telling, by Tori Spelling, which I posted about earlier.
  • An Idiot Girl's Christmas, by Laurie Notaro; this one is short essay-type snippets, but some of them are hilarious (especially if you've ever gotten a totally-wrong gift from someone)
  • Books 2, 3, & 4 of Rita Mae Brown's foxhunting series - Hotspur, Full Cry, and The Hunt Ball. These are entertaining books, lots of horses and hounds. I do think that one of the murder victims in Full Cry was resurrected in the next book, but I didn't double-check that before I returned them.
And we went to the big First-Tuesday sale and spent $10 on two bags of sci-fi goodies and some books for El Burrito (2 Pooh, 1 Clifford, 1 Sesame Street). We also found The Toddler's Busy Book: 365 creative games & activities, that will hopefully have some good ideas for games. If not, it was only 50 cents.

And El Burrito's book-sale buddie, the older lady who is always happy to see him, had a little present for him - a Paddington board book.

Now, it's off to clear out the email and think about supper, among other things.