Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Lousy planning

I took El Burrito to the county health department for his H1N1 vax today. They were offering them to anyone under 4, no appointment needed, and his ped's office doesn't have any yet. He got his vax, but we'll count the ways I screwed up.

The vaccination clinic was from 1:00-5:00. We usually eat lunch around 1:30 or 2, but we had a late breakfast, and I honestly didn't think we'd be there a long time, so we didn't have lunch before we went. We got there at 12:45, the parking lot was packed, and we were #202 in line. Got home at 3:00. Yeah.

Didn't take any snacks or water. We did take a couple of toys. And El Burrito was very well behaved, even without snacks, a drink, or a stroller to sit in while we stood in line.

The biggie: I believed the news release and told El Burrito that he'd be getting the "flu juice" - aka the nasal FluMist. Turns out I was wrong; he was old enough for the mist, but since his seasonal-flu vax was the FluMist version and was only 2 weeks ago, he had to get the injection. He was NOT happy, and I apologized all the way home. The nurse was impressed by how well he took the news, and the shot, but he didn't get really crying until we hit the parking lot.

I was a little distracted while the nurse explained things, so I'm not sure if his second dose of H1N1 (also not mentioned in the Health Dept information) has to be an injection because dose #1 was, or if it can be the Mist. I'm hoping for the Mist. I'll have to call the pediatrician's office and see w hat the deal is, and if they will be getting any of the stuff, because I'd rather not deal with the lines at the Health department again.

Also, I really wish the Health Dept had lined up more than a measly four nurses to do the injections. Seriously. They had 200 people in line before the doors opened, and only 4 people giving the vax? It's a wonder we were only there for 2 hours.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Reusable bag review #1 - Chico and Walker bags

So, follow-through. Here are my thoughts on two of the reusable bags that I've got running around (three kinds, if you count two types of Chico bags).

First up, Walker bags. I've got one of these, in green; it was one of the first reusable bags I bought. It's a fine-gauge mesh, so it's definitely squashable. With a little practice, you could probably fit it into a plastic Easter egg. Very washable, and dries super-fast. Size: 16x13x4 (per, rated up to 35 pounds. Has nice long straps, probably long enough to carry over a shoulder. However, the mesh is hard on book corners if that's what you're carrying, and the mesh straps are also very hard on your hands if you're carrying anything heavy. The straps tend to roll instead of laying flat, so the pressure is concentrated. Basically, it doesn't get used a lot. It's good for bulky, light-weight stuff, but not for anything heavy.

Next, Chico bags. I've got two of the original Chicos, and just got a Chico Vita.

Chico originals: I like these, but they don't hold up well for me. My first one started to loosen up at the bottom seam, even though it's rated for 20+ pounds and had never carried anything heaver than a gallon of milk (approx 8 pounds). I had it replaced under the company's guarantee, but the second one is having the same issue. Also, the handles are too short for my taste. However, I like the colors and the attached bag to stuff it into. I also think the material is a little flimsy; both of mine have developed dimples from corners of books and boxes, and at least one has a hole in it.

Chico Vita: Just got it. It's larger, and they changed the construction so that it doesn't have a seam at the bottom. It's got longer handles, which is also a plus for me, and the handles are on the sides of the bag rather than the ends (as the Chico originals are). However, the material feels even flimsier/cheaper than the original style of Chico. It crinkles almost like plastic, and the contrasting border feels and looks like the cheap plastic edging you'd find on a crappy makeup case from the dollar store or something. I may use it a couple times to make sure, but I think it's up for resale, return, or re-gifting.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Email avalanche

You know, it stinks to have over 3,500 unread messages in your Inbox.

That's all I can come up with for today. El Burrito didn't nap, and my 85-year-old grandfather had a hip replacement today. Oh, and my niece-dog had a fatty growth removed from her back.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Coming this week

This week (or month), I think I'll do a series of little reviews of all the reusable shopping bags we have running around. I've gotten quite a stash now - Chico, Chico Vita, Baggu, Acme Workhorse, Ecobags, and a couple others. Some are better than others.

Monday, October 19, 2009

It's the Sun! ! !

The sun was visible here today, after a solid week of clouds, gloom, and rain. I almost didnt' recognize it.

In between laundry loads, El Burrito and I popped out to the post office to mail a book I sold online, and then went for a walk in Shelter Garden. They've taken out most of the flowerbed plantings, but the roses are still blooming. The herb/tactile garden is also still going strong; the lemon balm is planning a coup, and the Mexican flame vine has vined almost all the way around the center of the garden.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

I was wrong

We did buy another First Alert CO detector, but it's not one that interacts with an infrared signal.

On the up side, I think it'll fit the base we already have installed.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Book sale goodies

This weekend was the fall children's book sale, so I hauled out of bed early. Spent $46.25, and got some goodies.
  • two Billy and Blaze books
  • The Golden Stallion's Victory
  • The Sorrel Stallion (although with a puffy sticker on the front)
  • some Serendipity books
  • coloring books for El Burrito
  • a Marguerite Henry book that I'd never seen before
  • a paperback copy of Dorothy Lyons' Golden Sovereign
  • quite a few Anne of Green Gables books
  • at least half of the Great Brain series
and some other stuff, of course.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Misquoting Scarlett

To mis-quote Scarlett O'Hara, as Cow (watch the Big Bang Theory!) is my witness, I'm never buying a First Alert talking carbon monoxide detector again. Ever.

First, the rotten thing can only use a certain brand of battery. Any "inferior" battery leads to monthly replacements, after being scared out of your wits at 3 freaking a.m. when it decides the battery's dead.

Occasionally, it talks in the middle of the night for no good reason. This leads to the whole family levitating in bed, then taking a while to get back to sleep.

One of the "features" is that you can use the infrared beam from a TV remote to do the weekly test and make sure it's working. Thanks to a lousy floor plan, the only place in our hallway for the detector to be mounted, is also more or less in the line-of-sight of our usual TV-watching spots. We'd learned to be careful where we aimed the DVD remote, but the TV remote didn't seem to be as bad. That changed last week when I put a new battery in that one. I've set the damn thing off half a dozen times this week alone. We put masking tape over the "test" button, theorizing that the pinhole in the button was the IR receiver. Not so much, as it turns out - I set it off this morning and woke El Burrito up early. He hates the test script, so of course, he didn't go back to sleep.

And just now, from the bathroom counter (where it's been exiled to), the detector's started talking again. I was too busy jumping out of my skin to notice, but I think it's wanting a fresh battery. So now it's face-down on the counter and wrapped in a towel. I may shut the bathroom door before I go to bed, too. That damn voice freaks me out every time it starts talking out of nowhere.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Long horse-related meme

Found this online and thought it would be a good post for today.

1. How old were you when you first started riding?
Around 3, I think. Possibly earlier, and may have been in diapers, but that was riding double with my Mom, not alone. Riding independently, maybe 8 or 9.

2. First horse ridden: Smoky, our saint of a gelding.

3. First horse trotted on: Smoky

4. First horse cantered on: Smoky, but not well. I looked like crap, and was bareback most of the time. Cantered 1 stride or so on DJ, accidentally. Intentionally and halfway-decent looking - Peyton, my riding lesson pal.

5. First Horse fallen off of: Smoky, but you had to work to do it.

6. Most recent horse fallen off of: DJ

7. Most terrifying fall: DJ, the day the little fiend blew up and bucked me off.

8. First horse jumped with: I've never jumped.

9. First horse who ran away with you: Smoky, a couple of times. All when I was riding with the saddle and couldn't feel him enough to head him off.

10. First horse that scared the crap out of you: DJ, for a lot of reasons.

11. First horse shown: Haven't shown.

12. First horse to win a class with: See #11

13. Do you/have you taken lessons: Yes, but only for three summers, 18 lessons total.

14. First horse you ever rode bareback: Smoky. Rode bareback 95% of the time, because Dad's stock saddle weighed as much as I did, and I wasn't tall enough at the time to get it on Smoky's back. NEVER rode DJ bareback - he was a bit crazy, and had withers like Pikes Peak or something.

15. First horse trail ridden with: Smoky

16. Current Barn name: None

17. Do you ride English or western?: Western saddle-wise, with a bit of English mishmash tossed in.

18. First Horse to place at a show with: See #11

19. Ever been to horse camp?: Nope

20. Ever been to a riding clinic? Nope

21. Ridden sidesaddle? Nope

22. First horse leased: None

23. Last Horse Leased: None

24. Highest ribbon in a show: See #11

25. Ever been to an 'A' rated show?: Nope

26. Ever competed in pony games/relay races?: Nope

27. Ever fallen off at a show: Nope

28. Do you ride Hunter/Jumpers?: Nope

29. Have you ever barrel raced? Nope

30. Ever done pole bending?: Nope

31. Favorite gait: A good motivated walk, although Peyton's slow jog was a close second.

32. Ever cantered bareback?: Yes, but it wasn't pretty.

33. Have you ever done dressage?: Nope

34. Have you ever evented?: Nope

35. Have you ever mucked a stall?: Not really; my horses at home always had a pasture and run-in shed, so technically there wasn't a stall or much in the way of bedding.

36. Ever been bucked off?: Once, by DJ (I'm not counting the "lost my balance and fell off" falls, or the time DJ spooked out from under me). He had his knickers in a knot about something the whole ride, and finally blew up and bucked me off. I stayed on for a couple jumps, bruised my knee on the horn, and landed sort-of on my feet (then sort of rolled backwards onto my butt and back).

37. Ever been on a horse that reared?: Not really, although DJ half-reared once, and would get light enough in front that I didn't think his feet were touching the ground.

38. Horses or ponies?: Either. I'm considering that my next equine might be something in the 14-hand region, technically a pony. I rode a short QH mare once in lessons, she was maybe 14.2, and I liked not needing a ladder to get on. (Unlike the 17hand giant I rode that same summer)

39. Do you wear a helmet?: I do since I started lessons. Didn't as a kid, but it was the 70s/80s.

40. What's the highest you've jumped: Don't jump.

41. Have you ever ridden at night?: Late dusk, but never really pitch-black dark.

42. Do you watch horsey television shows?: Yes. Gotta get my horse fix, but sometimes the errors make me cringe.

43. Have you ever been seriously hurt/injured from a fall?: Not yet. Got some bruises from DJ though.

44. Most falls in one lesson: None, yet.

45. Do you ride in an arena/ring?: Did for lessons, not as a kid.

46. Have you ever been trampled by a horse?: No.

47. Have you ever been bitten?: Yes, by that nitwit DJ. He was nippy for a long time and I usually had my hands full and couldn't fix it, until he caught some skin one day and I reflexively yelped and I think swatted him on the nose. Then I stood there and read him the riot act. It cured him, he wasn't nippy after that.

48. Ever had your foot stepped on by a horse?: Oh yes.

49: Favorite riding moment: To be answered later

50. Most fun horse you've ridden: Smoky, because I trusted him. Peyton, Libby, and Katie because they knew how to do stuff that I hadn't (and sometimes haven't) done.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Library day

Had another busy morning at the library. Storytime, computer time, and the book sale. Plus we filled our third punch card to enter the library's anniversary giveaway.

Currently: 47 items out (21 of those are El Burrito's) and 8 on hold. Their new system to let you put a book on your hold list, but delay it until a specific date, is useful. I can put books on hold before I forget them, but delay them a few weeks until I have time for them. I need to finish Physics for Future Presidents this week; it's overdue and needs to go back.

Ned the brachiosaurus went to the library with us, and was introduced to a few people. He also liked storytime, and was admired by the volunteer running the book sale today. I spent $3.50 on books; $1 for me and $2.50 for El Burrito, who got a hardback copy of How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night? and a Pooh book, among others.

Monday, October 12, 2009


It's official; says the recorded high temp on Saturday was 46. I really think it was colder than that most of the time we were at the Renaissance Festival.

El Burrito is starting to give up the binkies. He has two kinds, blue (harder silicone) and green (softer). Green is his favorite. He fell in Looovvvee with a toy brachiosaurus at Michaels today, and after some consultation with the Binky Fairie, he decided to swap his blue binkies for Ned the Brachiosaurus. He was a little weepy at bedtime, but still had green binky, so we'll see how it goes.

Sunday, October 11, 2009


What's the deal with maternity portraits and plaster casts of pregnant stomachs? I love the Burrito, but I looked (I thought) like crap while I was pregnant. No way do I want to pay for a professional picture to prove it. I've got enough of our pics to do that, thanks. The plaster belly casts are even weirder to me, though. What do you do with it? Hang it on the wall like a shield, use it for a mega-sized chip bowl?

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Weekend Fun

We made our annual trip to the Kansas City Renaissance Festival today. We've now been there for all the major possible weather conditions - heat advisories (aka the year I almost passed out), drenching rain (the year we had no umbrella or ponchos), and now some unseasonable cold weather. (The Fest ends in early October, so I don't think it'll ever get snowed on, but this is Missouri so I won't swear to it.)

The high today in Bonner Springs was maybe 40 or so. It didn't rain, which would have been utterly miserable. Luckily, we'd taken a blanket and extra clothes in case it did rain, and I'd packed a scarf and ear-warmers just in case. (I was remembering three weeks of being miserably cold in Ireland.) After about an hour, I went back to the car for the scarf and blanket, and managed, with some dexterity, to put my extra shirt on under my original shirt.

Other than the cold, we had a good time. El Burrito spent most of the day riding in his stroller, wearing a polar fleece jacket and his winter hat, with his Lightning McQueen blanket tucked around him. We saw a dragon show for kids, the raptor show from the World Bird Sanctuary, bits of music, and did some shopping. El Burrito's favorite bits were the "necklace" he got for donating to the bird sanctuary, and getting to see the elephant again. He wasn't fond of the dragon (a person in a costume) but he sat through the show anyway.

We visited Nene Thomas' booth as usual (still kicking myself for missing Petal before it sold out, didn't see Tullamore perform this year, and bought a nice copper dragonfly sculpture for our future garden. I still need to scare up a recipe for those cinnamon crunch almonds.

And I have to say: it was Pet Weekend at the Festival. Dogs everywhere, from Jack Russells to Great Danes, and I don't think I saw any dog poop laying around. Fairly remarkable; there are far fewer dogs in our neighborhood and that visit Shelter Garden, and I see abandoned piles at both places on a regular basis.

Weather-wise, it frosted last night, and there will probably be a hard frost or a freeze tonight. This is the earliest I can recall a frost; there was one year it froze around Halloween, and the Christmas tree farm down the road lost a lot of trees.

Friday, October 9, 2009

The Semi-annual Moving of the Houseplants

Frost warnings are out for the weekend, so I brought all the houseplants (and not-so-houseplants, like the sunflowers) inside tonight. Had to do some rearranging first, which had to wait until DH got home (the vacuum was involved). It was cold enough outside that I could see my breath. My plan to spend an afternoon cleaning the dust off the leaves and such got canceled due to the weather.

Living room looks sort of like a forest now.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


It's a good thing we went on our picnic yesterday. The only picnickers today were the fish. It started raining sometime between midnight and 3 a.m. this morning, and it's still going. At just before midnight tonight, I emptied 5.5 inches out of my rain gauge. My feet got wet when I got the mail tonight, because our sidewalk was underwater.

Mizzou had a home game tonight, too. I bet it was more like mud wrestling.

And there's a potential for frost or freezing weather this weekend, so the houseplants all have to come in tomorrow. Fun.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


We took advantage of the sunshine this morning and had a picnic at Shelter Garden today. El Burrito and I picked up Subway and KFC (El B. likes their mac 'n' cheese), and DH met us there. It was a bit on the cool side, but overall a nice day. Weather report says rain the rest of the week, so it's good that we went today.

Unfortunately, the fish are already on "vacation" until next spring; all the pools and waterfalls were drained and the koi were gone. Of course the water lilies were also gone, so my plans to take the big camera and get some decent pictures were thwarted. The little camera does okay, but the big one has more zoom.


Not sure how Charles Schulz spelled it, but I feel a bit like Charlie Brown right now, when he's sitting there yelling "Aaaauuugghhhh!"

My little sister is getting a divorce, after 14 years of marriage, and my parents are freaking out, to put it mildly. Sis is in Florida for a year-long residency in Traditional Chinese Medicine, and BIL is in Michigan (she chose the school when they lived in Georgia). Apparently things have been not-so-good with them for a few years now, and it's finally come to the surface.

She's always been a little more liberal/crunchy than the rest of the (conservative) family, and learning yoga, acupuncture, and traditional Chinese medicine have just emphasized that. My mother just emailed me to ask if I thought they were bad parents, like my sister does. Mom is apparently siding with my future-ex-brother-in-law, who is stirring the pot just a bit. Sis may change her name to something that isn't her maiden or married name, which I think will be an issue with dad. Heck, it's already an issue with Dad. Mom thinks she's being brainwashed, but I'm not sure by who or what.

Anyway, from the undertones in this little email conversation that she and Mom have been having, it wouldn't surprise me if Mom pushes so far that Sis cuts ties altogether. She's already said she'd never move back "home" or even to the same state. (Of course, we both swore long ago that we'd never live within shouting distance of any family. We grew up a half-mile from our grandmother, and it wasn't pretty.)

Oh, and my 85-year-old grandfather is having a hip replacement in two weeks. I'm just hoping he survives the surgery.

I am so not looking forward to our next weekend visit.

Monday, October 5, 2009

I'm drowning

. . . in email, that is. My Yahoo account is a losing battle at the moment. They changed something a month or so ago, and ever since then, it's been an exercise in frustration. Deleting a message means clicking the little "delete" button at least twice, usually four times, and waiting for 15 seconds or so. Right now, I've got 3,000 unread messages, and wwwaaaayyy more than that in the "need to take care of" category.

And this isn't even my primary account.

Which, actually, is easier to deal with. Thunderbird downloads it all and files it, and I can delete multiple emails at one shot. I can sort by date, sender, etc. without having to wait for the whole freaking page to reload. I love Thunderbird.

Yahoo, on the other hand, not so much. I've been unsubbing from newsletters and such that I don't want anymore, but even that takes a while. I'm not sure I'll ever catch up. DH suggests a mass-delete and starting over, but I don't know that that would work either.


Back to bailing out the boat with a teaspoon.

It's fall

Fall must be here. Harvest Moon was Saturday night, and it was dark when we left the grocery store at 7:30. Obviously, we need to start doing two things: getting started earlier on the weekends, and I need to start doing bits of the shopping/errands during the week. I did this before El Burrito came along, and then it was just too hard while he was little and I was trying to juggle a shopping cart and a stroller. Never figured that one out, but now he's old enough to ride in the cart, so we're more mobile (sometimes too mobile).

In other news, it was a beautiful day today, but a touch cool. Time to dig out the long sleeves and jackets. Soon it'll be time to break out the flannel sheets.

Yeah, I need to work on my blogging.

Saturday, October 3, 2009


Did a little gardening today, if you can consider a bunch of houseplants a "garden."

Most of the succulents got repotted last week (everything except the Christmas cactus and the jade plant). I'm hoping fresh soil will give my old and very scruffy looking aloe plant a new will to live and grow. Poor thing has actually gotten smaller since I got it.

Today the avocado got some fresh soil, and I finally got the summer-clearance perennials in a big planter with some topsoil. Hopefully I didn't put that off too long, I'd like to manage to overwinter them for our future yard. The Chinese evergreens (aglaonema) also got repotted; one was moved to a smaller pot because it's not doing well, and a lot of dead leaves and failing stems got pruned. I'm actually a little worried; these things are tough, and mine are looking kind of bad. Benign neglect, I guess - I need to remember to water & fertilize more often.

The Christmas cactus also got moved outside. The cooler temperatures & darkness should trigger them to set buds and bloom around Christmas/New Years. If they don't get confused again - one of them got confused and bloomed in the summer not long ago. It was weird, since they usually won't bloom at all unless it's cool and they get about 12 hours of darkness. These were outside in the summer, so "cool" wasn't happening at all.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Neat stuff in the mail

Got my Star Trek exclusive flash drive from Kelloggs in yesterday's mail. It's not bad, 1 GB for $7.99, but the "exclusive content" is a little skimpy. It's a total of 11 MB of images - 5 promotional images, and a screensaver with another 5 images. At least they're different images. I was hoping for more, because I'm sure half an hour of Googling could find dozens of official promo images that I could download.

Still trying to get enough proofs of purchase for a Star Trek T-shirt, though.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Bargain hunting at Walgreens

I'm not a "coupon queen" by any means, but I do have some good days. El Burrito and I trekked over to the "other Walgreens" (on the other side of town, out of our usual path) yesterday and did some shopping.

  • 2 packs of Halls' Refresh mints/cough drops - $1 each, minus 75c coupon and $1 Register Reward each - so we effectively made $1.50
  • 2 Chapstick Fresh Effects - $2.99 each, with a $3 RR each
  • Herbal Essence shampoo - $2.99, minus $1 coupon, with a $2 RR - essentially free
  • Nature Made calcium/magnesium/zinc and flax seed oil - $11.99 each - buy 1 get 1 free, minus a $7 coupon and a $1 coupon - so $4 total
  • Cars plate for El Burrito - $1 (I thought it was 50c like the other plates on the shelf)
  • Cars party favors, $2 on clearance
  • 3 Peanuts Halloween coloring books - $1
  • 3 Peanuts Halloween mini puzzles - $1
  • 4 12-packs of Sunkist - $10.92
  • Winnie the Pooh Halloween light-up decoration - $5.19 on clearance (before Halloween? go figure)
We used the $5 off a $25 purchase coupon, plus a handful of other coupons. Spent a total of $30.72 with tax. Total savings was $40 even, and we've got $10 in Register Rewards to spend in the next two weeks.

Not a bad trip. The south-side Walgreens is bigger, cleaner, and seems to be stocked better. They actually had everything in stock that I was looking for, although they were low on the Refresh drops.

It's NaBloWriMo again

Just found out that October is National Blog Post Writing Month or whatever the name is. Time to get back to blogging regularly.