Wednesday, July 30, 2008

What I did Monday night

I watched part 1 of Reckless on DVD, and made this:

It's a belt for El Burrito. Took me about 90 minutes to do - all hand-stitched, since I don't have a sewing machine, and I won't include the hour or so we spent looking for the pincushion.

I ended up making this belt, thanks to Hobby Lobby, because I can't find a belt around here that will fit El Burrito. (Can't find a small toddler-size pillow, either.) He's 2, but still wearing 12-month and 18-month shorts because he's apparently a bit on the beanpole side of things. I found some belts online, but I couldn't talk myself into spending $15 on a velcro belt that he'd only be able to wear for a year. So instead, I spent $3 at Hobby Lobby and ended up with this. $1.24 for a yard of cotton strap, $1.69 for a package of 4 D-rings. I may ask for a thimble for a partial anniversary present, though. Getting a needle through three layers of strap was a trick sometimes.

Reckless, by the way, is pretty good so far. We're only 2 hours in, and the set is 8 hours total (with the 2-hour sequel). I got a good laugh at the end, mostly because we've been watching Foyle's War on Masterpiece, and Michael Kitchen is in both series. I'm used to him being calm, wise DCS Foyle who always catches the culprit, and hearing him leaving half a dozen panicky, rambling messages on his wife's answering machine, thinking she knew he was having an affair, just hit my funny bone for some reason.

In other news, it's rained all day. My rain gauge is topped off, and I need to empty it. El Burrito insisted on walking out in the rain to check the mail, and got to play in some puddles along the way. He hit a deep one at one point and got his socks wet, but he had some fun. Yesterday, he dropped his plush Elephant (a plush Horton, $6 on clearance at Target, and a big hit here) in a puddle, but he dried out overnight.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Books and more books

Stay tuned for your regular Tuesday update:

Today's library stats: 18 items checked out, 8 on hold, returned 8 items today.

On the return list:
  • Make Love! The Bruce Campbell Way - Fiction, unlike his autobiography, and pretty darn funny. Also a nice fluffy, shallow summer book, and it's illustrated. (P.S. The "Make Love" in the title refers to a movie, not any actual PG or R-rated content. )
  • Cranford - The novel that was made into a miniseries for Masterpiece Theatre. I think so far I prefer the miniseries, but the book was equally as good. The miniseries just had Judi Dench to swing the vote. The book is slightly confusine - the Notes at the back keep referring to Appendix A & B, which weren't included in the Notes.
  • The Frodo Franchise - Didn't finish it, may buy it. But I'm a LOTR junkie.
  • Masterpiece Theatre: A celebration of 25 years of outstanding television - Great behind-the-scenes stuff, and may lead to a longer hold list, if any of the old shows are out on DVD now.
  • Living like Ed - Interesting, and I may get a copy for my sister
  • The Sneaky Chef - interesting ideas to keep in mind
  • 2 DVDs - Reckless, disc 1 (amazing stuff), and There Goes a Fire Truck/Garbage Truck/Truck
Then we spent $1 at the book sale (because I had a grand total of $1.16 with me) on 2 books, and had to leave behind the T.A. Barron book. Oh well.

Monday, July 28, 2008


Lovely Monday.

The good news: most of the laundry was washed, dried, and folded before lunch. At the moment, there's one load in the dryer, a rug in the washer, and three loads waiting to be folded. We sorted out the under-the-kitchen-sink stuff over the weekend, and have a box of goodies to take to the household Hazardous Waste drop-off this weekend.

Oh, and while I was emptying a laundry basket of "stuff" that had been sitting around for a month, I decided to try on some of the jeans in the pile. I've got three more pairs of jeans now that come close to fitting. (Yay!) Of course, by the time I semi-retire the two current pairs that are slightly too big now, I'll be back to having more days of the week than jeans to wear every day. Ah well.

The bad news: I waited too long to order a Nene Thomas print (it's the companion piece to one I bought last fall) and it's sold out now. I thought it was an open-ended run, but apparently not. Off to Ebay I go.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

What happens . . .

when Mommy goes bargain-hunting online for a tractor-crazy Burrito?

Well, El Burrito ends up with 2 bigger (1/16th scale) tractors, but no big trailers to pull with them. Which leads to scenes like this one:

One big tractor pulling a small (1/64th scale) flatbed trailer, hay wagon, and feed wagon. At the same time. :) That's Tractor Mac, by the way. The other "big tractor" is Deke (even though the "real" Deke in the book is green). And yes, the Burrito can tell them apart, although the only differences are the decals and hub color, and will correct us when we call them by the wrong name. "That's not Tractor Mac! That's Deke!" he says.

Then UPS delivers a box of small goodies today

and someone votes to skip lunch and play! (He got out-voted on that one.) Lots of duplicates - 8 hay rakes, 5 cultivators, and 4 balers is a few too many - but lots of fun. And I can probably resell some of the duplicates and pay for at least part of what this batch cost. Which was a steal, by the way, as was Tractor Mac up there. Mac cost a whopping $5 from Ebay. In contrast, there was a very similar tractor at the flea market this month, in much worse shape, for the low, low price of $22.50. Plus tax. The batch of 1/64th stuff was $18 including postage, and made it here super-fast - it was shipped out yesterday. That's less than $1 per piece, and they're all in good shape except for the silage choppers.

Anyway, today we had scenes like this one on the couch:

Grandpa will get a kick out of this one. El Burrito apparently has a lot of faith in the little Farmall there. It's pulling not one, but three disk cultivators, plus a hay mower, a grain wagon, and a tub grinder (or bale chopper, I'm not sure what it's called).

Then we added another cultivator, and rearranged the lineup:

Grandpa got to hear all about this on the phone tonight, and will probably want a copy of the pictures. He's a confirmed Farmall & International man, although he has a Massey Ferguson combine.

Needless to say, I'm on the hunt now for some bigger wagons and such at a decent price. Aside from the goofy appearance of a big tractor and little trailer, the little stuff won't stay hitched to the big tractor that well. So a few bigger implements will lower the frustration level around here. Plus, more fun!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


It's stopped storming, after a night full of lovely cloud-to-ground lightning, so we're going to the library. Also to Walgreens and Linens N Things (El Burrito needs a pillow).

Today's library numbers: 22 items checked out, 9 on my hold list, nothing horrendously overdue (now).

Back to the library today:
  • Remains to be Scene - mentioned earlier
  • Ready Set Crochet - interesting beginner-level book, with a lot of stitch patterns to try out.
  • The Battle of the Labyrinth - also mentioned earlier
  • Shooting Digital - This one is a photography book, which I read slowly because there was a lot of information in there. Also lots of examples and explanations.
  • Fortune's Fool - a Mercedes Lackey book, but not Valdemar. This one is from her 500 Kingdoms series, which is from a different publisher. The books so far have been a mix of fantasy and romance, based on mythology and fairy tales. This one was heavily linked to various Russian fairy tales.
  • Overtreated: Why too much medicine is making us sicker and poorer - Didn't finish that one (it was severely overdue), but it looked like an interesting bit of research.
Then we checked out 3 books and a DVD, and spent $7 at the sale. Found a Winnie the Pooh ABC book for El Burrito, and a couple of goodies for me: a book by Anne LaBastille (although not Woodswoman), a book by Thelwell the pony cartoonist (but not pony cartoons), and a pair of YA paperbacks.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Busy weekend

We weren't home much over the weekend.

Somehow, watching DH's niece & nephew (at their house) while the in-laws went to see a 2-hour play morphed into a 10-hour babysitting experience. Between meeting everyone at DQ for dinner and the usual chit-chat afterwards, we left here before noon and got home after 10:00.

This is why having the in-laws watch El Burrito for "a few hours" while we go look at houses or see a movie can be an all-day thing.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Well, that was interesting

Had my quarterly dental visit today, with the periodontist's hygienist. I'd forgotten that they were talking about a full set of X-rays this time. And they do mean full - about 18 different exposures, roughly 2 teeth per shot.

Yeah, that bill's going to be fun to see, insurance or not.

Book notes

Finished a couple of books recently.
  • Remains to be Scene - The first in an apparent series, the "Polly Pepper Mysteries." Polly Pepper is an actress "of a certain age" who manages to get involved in a murder. This one was a nice fluffy Hollywood mystery. Lots of name-dropping (both celebrities and brand names), but lots of typos that should have been caught by an editor somewhere along the way. I can see "blanked" getting by instead of "blanket" but seriously, any computer spell-check worth the name should have flagged "Vicoden" and "Prince Ranier."
  • The Battle of the Labyrinth - The fourth book in the Percy Jackson series. I'm going to have to buy the rest of these. The stories are good, and I like the cover design, too. Pages 312 through 317 (hardcover edition) were almost enough to make me go teary-eyed.


It really shouldn't take 45 minutes and 4 failed attempts just to get one image printed the right way (as in, without bits of it lost off the edge of the page).

It also sucks, honestly, that the main room is back to looking way too lived-in for my happiness. It was clean enough until last weekend, and it's just gone to heck this week.

The only good news is that the soundtracks from the first three Indiana Jones movies will supposedly be re-released this fall. Something to put on my Xmas list. :)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Books, books, books

Today's library numbers: 24 items checked out, 8 on hold. We returned 5 books and only checked out one CD that was waiting for me.

The irritating part is that I had something else waiting on hold for me, but they only hold things for 7 days. I didn't make it in to the library in time, so the hold expired, and I can't remember what it was. Either I'll remember later, I'll find the mailed notice, or it wasn't that important anyway.

Returned today:
  • Does this Clutter Make My Butt Look Fat? - Written by Peter Walsh, the organizing "guru" from Clean Sweep, which I used to watch a lot. It's an interesting theory; I know we eat out occasionally (or default to PB&J sandwiches) because we don't plan meals in advance.
  • What Every 21st Century Parent Should Know - Full of statistics, many of which prove that the 24-hour news media tends to blow some things a bit out of proportion.
  • The Dirt on Clean - Very interesting, but I only got to page 100 or so, so it's back on my wait list.
  • The Complete Peanuts 1953-54 - Has one of the best cartoons ever: Charlie Brown using a vinyl LP as a frisbee, dog toy, and other things, then complaining that those darn library records always skip.
  • Great American Horses: The Tennessee Walking Horse - Kiddie book.
And we spent $2.50 at the sale - $2 on books for the in-laws, 50c on a Sesame Street book for El Burrito.

Monday, July 14, 2008


I got to do a little gardening recently (if you can call it "gardening" when it's all in containers).

This is an agave, I think, that I've had for a couple of years. It's in a 4-inch pot, and probably is due for either a larger pot, or division. Got it at Walmart on clearance, so I need to look up its habits again.

This is part of the oxalis/shamrock jungle. I started with 2 medium-sized pots of green oxalis from the hardware store. Those got divided and repotted, and I ended up with three pots, although one is kinda skimpy (the one on the left there). The one in the upper right is one of two new plants I got on clearance this year. For $1 each, I had to bring them home. I think they're a different variety; the leaves are shaped a bit differently.

This spring, I finally bought some of the purple oxalis I've been wanting for a while. I ended up getting it online, because it was cheaper than buying something locally. These are Oxalis triangularis, and I love them. You can kind of tell from this picture that they were started inside. The early growth was long and lanky, but since I moved almost everything outside, the new growth is much shorter. Some of the stems are just barely long enough for the leaves to miss the ground.

One of the plants just bloomed last week, and the flowers are slightly pinkish, while the green oxalis blossoms are white.

Last month, while we were at Lowe's buying appliances, I picked up a 4-pack of jade plants, which I'd also been wanting for a while. I finally got around to potting the poor things this weekend, but being succulents, they handled a month in plastic "pots" fairly well. I had to play musical pots with a couple of spider plants so the jade could have a clay pot, but I think it'll do better in clay than plastic, especially since I didn't have any sand to mix into the potting soil.

And, last but not least, I've got some tree-lets (they're too young to be saplings, I think) growing in cups. We've got a beautiful pin oak right outside our door, which I would gladly take with us when we move, if it were feasible. I picked up some of its acorns last fall, with plans of sprouting them. Right now, though, there are dozens of tiny trees sprouting under the tree, so I just dug up a few of them. Most of them still have the acorn stuck to the sprout, but at least one had a foot-long tap root too. I've got 5 right now, I think, and hopefully at least one will survive until we can move and plant it at the new place.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

TV Tidbit

Reminder to myself: Foyle's War starts on Masterpiece tomorrow (Sunday) night.

And, sadly, this is the last series for the show (*). I've got a love/hate relationship with the British/European/Non-USA method of doing fewer episodes of a season/series. On one hand, it does help keep the quality of the writing up. On the other hand, there's less of a good show to enjoy. Take Foyle's War - Series 4 and 5 were 2 episodes each (and were shown together as Series 4 here in the US). Can you imagine a Hollywood series with a 2-episode season?

Either way, Foyle's War is a remarkably good series from Britain, and they've put a lot of work into the historical accuracy of the stories. Plus, Michael Kitchen is always enjoyable to watch. Now if PBS would stop trimming bits of the story to fit the show into a time slot.

(*) The Wikipedia article says that there are negotiations going on regarding more episodes. If they can make more episodes of the Sharpe series, 15-odd years later, I hope they can make a few more hours of Foyle. Good shows are hard to find these days.

Still quiet

Yeah. Not much happening on the blog, is there. Turns out DH also took the last two days off as well. Which I found out when the alarm went off Thursday morning and he didn't get up.

That nice most-of-a-week of "me time" without the Burrito? Riiiight. Not so much on the "alone" part, since DH was home for all of it (other than Wednesday afternoon). And we spent a good part of it doing what we usually do on weekends - sitting around, usually in front of the TV. Inertia is lovely stuff. I love the man, but I can only take so much channel-flipping and news-channel hollering before I tell him to pick a channel and stay there. And the Burrito is coming home tomorrow afternoon, so it's back to the same old thing as of Monday. Sigh.

We did have some fun and get some stuff done around here, though. Went out to dinner at a seafood place to use a gift certificate, went to the movies to see Wall-E, ran some errands, nothing exciting. We went through some paperwork, did some filing, and I've emptied the shredder bin 4 times so far (small bin, though). And there are 4 bags of paper recycling to go out on Monday morning, with more to come.

I did take DH flea-marketing one afternoon. I was hoping to find some Breyers, but the only luck we had was finding toys for El Burrito. I saw two hilariously overpriced Breyers; the dealers don't seem to realize that the company is still in business, so the models aren't all "vintage" and priceless. Ha. $17 for something that's still available at Target for $11.99? Don't think so, thanks.

We did find a couple of Cars (tm) cars in good shape for $1 each (although the unopened ones were going for $5), and some older Ertl tractors at a reasonable price, plus a dump truck that he should love. They weren't as cheap as the new ones, but the older toys were built better. The new Ertl tractors are 90% plastic now, and all identical except for color. The ones my brother played with as a kid, and the ones we just bought El Burrito, are mostly metal, and are really scaled-down versions of specific tractor models, rather than the generic things they make today. I'd rather pay $4 for an older one than $4 or $5 for a newer one that won't hold up as well. Little Brother put a lot of hours on his old ones, and other than a little missing paint, they're still going strong. The new ones won't hold up that well, I'm sure. Someone from the Ertl company was at the Red Power Round Up last month, and if I'd known, I would have gone to their little presentation and possibly given them a little feedback. Because honestly, the $2.99 Cars (tm) cars are built better than the $4.95 Ertls these days, and that's sad.

News flash: apparently I missed the window of opportunity to leave feedback for a lousy Ebay seller. Darn. I bought a plush Grover back in April, paid that day, and it took them two weeks to ship the darn thing. The postmark was dated the day after I sent the first of three (I think) emails, none of which were answered. That would be why their feedback is down to a lovely 94% right now.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Tuesday's book post

As of yesterday, there were 32 items out, 9 on my hold list, and one (Slings & Arrows, series 1) that was so overdue that my account is blocked. Yay.

We returned two books and one DVD, and obviously didn't check anything out. And right now I've got 4 CDs ready to return, plus the Slings & Arrows set that I finished today. (It's got "adult language" so I can't watch it with the Burrito around.)

  • It's the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown - Can't find our copy at the moment, hope El Burrito doesn't notice until I can find ours.
  • Tomorrow, When the War Began - Didn't finish this one, but the series looks interesting.
  • Size 12 is Not Fat - Meg Cabot's mystery series for older readers (older than the Princess Diaries audience, that is). Pretty good for a summer read; I forgot I'd already read it, so I need to read the sequel, Size 14 is Not Fat Either.
Then we spent $6.50 at the book sale. El Burrito got a book from the Mr. Rogers series (about potty training), I found 4 Black Stallion books and a big coffee-table type book about castles of Ireland, and we found an American Girl book for my mother-in-law (to give the granddaughters). I'm pretty sure I have all the Farley series already, but they're back home in the basement, so who knows what shape they'll be in when I find them again. I bought these four as backups.

I tried taking El Burrito in without the stroller, and it went well enough until I was trying to juggle him, a purse, a tote bag, and the books we were buying, while trying to see if I had enough cash in my wallet to pay for the books. Yeah, not so much, until I grow another arm or two. He did get a kick out of walking around in Office Depot, though. A new place, lots of aisles to bop up and down, and a big poster-sized Cars coloring book on a shelf. Fun!

Quiet !

In two ways.

First, the house is quiet. Really, really quiet. El Burrito is spending a few days with my parents; they picked him up (or abducted, as DH says) yesterday. No mention of when they're bringing him home, Mom just asked if I'd packed enough clothes for 6 days or so. They didn't call last night, so he must have slept - Mom was worried because he didn't sleep well last time we went for a visit. (It's because she talks to him too much, instead of telling him to lay down and go to sleep.)

Also, it's quiet here, because I haven't had as much computer time as usual. Blame DH and July. July is "use it or lose it" vacation time at work, since he can only bank so much vacation time. He came home last Monday and said, basically, "Oh, by the way, I'm taking off work tomorrow, and Thursday, and next Monday, and a half-day on Wednesday." Gee, thanks for the notice.

Somehow, he had a five-day weekend and we got squat done other than relaxing and eating out. He spent most of Tuesday with some sort of bug that's going around. We did finally take my car in for some maintenance work that's been on the to-do list for 6 months - replacing the 9-year-old battery, oil change, etc. - and I managed to get DH to fix the leaky faucet, since we've had the parts sitting around for a month.

Cute Burrito story of the day: Yesterday, while we were getting ready for the library, he took his rubber duckie and made it kiss all of the Breyers lined up on our dresser. That's my boy.

He's also been asking for a "kee-nex" a lot - when he wakes up, while he's eating, and so on. He wants something to wipe his face with, we figured out. Doesn't like drool on his face apparently. He also asks for one - we usually give him a burp cloth - when he gets his face wiped after he eats. Persnickety child, he doesn't like his face wet much at all.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

My little boy's growing up

I used the last of the Dreft almost a month ago, and El Burrito just had his last bottle of formula. He's been on mostly milk for a while now, but we just finished off the last can of toddler formula. (*)

He's not a baby any more. I'm not sure whether to be happy or sad about that.

* He's been getting toddler formula along with milk because he's on the small side of the height/weight charts and he's usually not a big eater. He's getting better about eating gummy vitamins, so I'm not as worried about him being deficient in something. But we'll still keep on with whole milk instead of 2% for a while.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The missing stove, or How I wasted a whole day

A certain home-improvement store made it to the top of my Bite Me List today. (Hint: The name starts with an "L" and ends with "owe's".

They were doing okay on my list until last week. We bought some appliances there last month, and two of the three had to be ordered special. Who knew bisque was such an "out" color right now? Three weeks to wait for the dishwasher and microwave, they'd call when it came in and schedule the deliveries. We got a message about a week and a half ago that our order was in, and nothing else.

Last Thursday, around 9:30 a.m., the phone rang. It was the installation department. Fun conversation:

"We'll be installing the stove around 12:30."
"Um. . . wait. 12:30 today??"
"Yes, today. Weren't you expecting us?"
"Is today okay?"
"No, it's not." (*)
"We can reschedule. How about next Tuesday?"
"Sounds good."

* Three hours or so notice was so not sufficient. You have to go through the living room to get to the rest of the "house" and the LR at the time was a certified disaster area. No way was a stove going to bop through to the kitchen.

And then I called the installation department back, contacted their subcontractor, and set the microwave & dishwasher delivery for Friday.

Silly me thought that the rescheduled installation would, you know, be added to a calendar or something.

Got up today and had an early call from the store, asking how the installation of the dishwasher and microwave last Friday went. Fine, I say. I kept waiting for the installation guys to call and say they were on the way; the other crew had to call for directions to our building last week. (GPS will only go so far.) At 1:00, after the library run, still no word. At 2:00, I called the install dept. and left a message on their voicemail. Ditto for 2:30 and 3:00. Then DH (who took a vacation day and ended up feeling sickly all day) called the main line and talked to the guy who sold us the stuff.

Get this. He didn't know where the stove was. In the warehouse, on the delivery truck, who knows. Had to call us back (two hours later). Apparently, the stove was on the truck last week when the crew called, and it just got stuck in a corner somewhere after we rescheduled things. The new delivery date never got noted or written down anywhere. No one knew it was supposed to be installed today.

Yeah. So I spent the day sitting around waiting for nothing. Couldn't do laundry in the kitchen, couldn't get online until they called, zilch. I did fire up the stove to cook lunch, figuring that would surely have them knocking on the door as soon as I hit the mid-cooking point of no return.

They're supposed to be here in the morning to take care of the new stove. If we weren't getting free installation (a rebate, actually) already, I'd be asking for it, to make up for all this hassle.