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August 19, 2013

Happy Hollow!

There's a kiddie amusement park/zoo about 6 miles from our house. We've never been for a variety of reasons. Until yesterday. Some friends were going, so I tagged along with SchondyTot and left Schondy home with BabyTuesday. We had soooo much fun. And it was so good to spend some Mommy time with SchondyTot. I know he's missed me.


Carousel

He was absolutely in love with the goats. He kept grabbing their tails and then would shriek and dance when they flicked him away.


Goats

Then he went on the frog jumper ride ALONE! I swear that kid has no fear. I could have ridden on it with him if we'd waited, but he promised me he'd be fine, so I went with it. And he was great! Scared, maybe, but he totally didn't show it (much).


Frog Hopper

The rest of the rides were pretty tame.


Fire Trucks


Ridin' the "Broccoli"

He really wanted to go on the roller coaster, but the line was long and it was HOT, so when we were about 10 people from the front of the line, he melted and just wanted me to hold him. We'd been out in the sun a long time. I threw him in the Boba and went to get ice cream instead.

It was so nice to be reminded how much I adore him.

And making his blog debut because I've been really awful about updating: BabyTuesday!!

This is why I call my boys "Tank" and "Dozer". This is Tank. He'll be 5 months on Thursday.


Crushing the baby seat

Yesterday while I was gone, he rolled from his front to his back. It begins!

For reference, here's Dozer at almost exactly the same age.


Bouncin' at 5 months

If SchondyTot is our mover, BabyTuesday will be our talker.

July 22, 2012

4th of July and Hawaii, Toddler Style

So Schondy Tot is 21 months old, loves green beans (beaneans) and pineapple (mylapple), squeals every time he sees a bus, train or a helicopter (hehpocter) and loves to point out birds (ah-ahs) and dogs (dog-dog ooooooooooh) when we walk down the street. He constantly sings Happy Birthday, especially if someone mentions cake.


Popsicles!

We went to Hawaii. Just me, Schondy and Schondy Tot with my parents. Schondy Tot hasn't gotten to spend nearly enough time with his grandparents to the point that we were worried he'd never know any of them. So when an opportunity arose to go with them on a little mini family vacation, we jumped at the chance. And it was a wonderful, lovely trip with lots of amazing adventures (and some less so, but that which doesn't kill us...). We turned off our phones, left laptops at home and just enjoyed watching Schondy Tot truly meet his grandparents (both of whom are now called "Ganommy", btw).

It was a beautiful trip, though travel with an almost 2-year-old is definitely not for the faint-hearted. He got to point at the fish (pish) and turtles (teetuhls) in the tanks at the Maui Ocean Center and the Rainforest Zoo.


Pish


Teetuhls

He chased the peacocks (biiiiig ah-ahs) at the Rainforest Zoo.


Smart bird.

He swam in the ocean and zoomed around a coffee plantation near Hilo.


Mo wata, mama.


Pause for breath before our next adventure

He chatted with Ganommy Hat on the steps at the Original Hawaiian Chocolate Factory.


:)

And after soaking in every moment of Lu'au Kalamaku in Kauai, he passed out.


Passed out.

Incredibly glad to be home, but we had an amazing trip.

September 3, 2011

Today.

I keep trying to come up with something cute or snappy or witty to say, but apparently my wit is broken. Or perhaps it's hibernating. Either way, I think I've run out of ways to say, "Oops, meant to post, got too busy, here's some pictures of the baby to make up for it." So, yeah. That.


July 28, 2011: Sporting the awesome handmade!! clothes he received from one of the Ravelry October Moms.


August 15, 2011: One of our new favorite games is eating the camera.


August 18, 2011: Grandmama came to visit and she bought Schondy Tot's first shoes!


August 21, 2011: This is Schondy Tot's first balloon. He spent hours with it, until the dog popped it. He had so much fun, I'm wondering if I need to invest in a helium tank.


August 28, 2011: Carlton is the source of much fascination.


August 28, 2011: Bathtime, always an adventure.


August 29, 2011: When Irish eyes are smilin'... they're usually up to something. See also: when babies suddenly get really quiet...


August 29, 2011: Baby's got blue eyes


September 1, 2011: Our newest trick, first begun on his 10-month birthday (8/31), is standing unsupported. Yes, I'm helping in this picture, but only so we could get a picture where his tongue isn't sticking out in concentration.

July 1, 2011

Where, oh where am I tonight?

Why did I leave you here all alone? Well, you see, life happened. We've had a lot of life happening lately. You've heard the saying, "I try to take things one day at a time, but lately several of them have attacked me at once," right? Well, We had a whole mess of them. For better or worse, we have a whole herd of them bearing down on us as I type, but the baby is sleeping and Schondy is playing video games, so I felt like I could take a few minutes to bombard you with baby photos.

So what's been happening? Well...


June 9, 2011: Schondy Tot and I played outside for a little while in the glorious weather we're having.


June 13, 2011: Schondy Tot had a playdate with one of the other babies from the October group. These two are 3 days apart in age if you can believe it.


June 18, 2011: We went to a wedding in Napa. He was a real trooper and looked like such a big boy in his button-down shirt and kakhis.


June 22, 2011: He's a big fan of food. In case you couldn't tell.


June 2011: We bought a house. (Yes, really.)


June 24, 2011: Schondy Tot started packing up toys to put in his new room.


June 2011: I finished off a new quilt.


June 26, 2011: Schondy Tot approves. That's good, since it's his.


June 27, 2011: Lulu and Schondy Tot shared some yogurt.


June 28, 2011: Bound and determined to crawl.

We also celebrated our first Father's Day and yesterday, my beautiful baby boy turned 8 months old. In the last month, he graduated out of his infant car seat, and he's started saying both "mama" and "dada" (though not really with any meaning behind them), clapping his hands and pulling up on everything in sight. He's not crawling, but he doesn't let that slow him down - he can wiggle/roll/army-crawl faster than you'd believe. In the last week, he's cut his first two teeth, mostly mastered eating yogurt from a spoon, and started laughing when we laugh. I wish you could all be here to enjoy it.

May 9, 2011

6 Months Old!

So........ hi.

Yeah.

I have no excuse other than...

Ooh, look! Pictures!

For Mother's Day, Schondy and the Schondy Tot did a photo shoot. I was there, but I was just the costume and props lady. Anyway. Pictures.


With the Easter Bunny Grandma Judy sent


Easter outfit 1


Easter outfit 2


Easter outfit 3


Yarrrrrr!


Yo, ho, ho and your little dog, too!


Pirate-y


Surrounded by Lubies


Lulu's never been very good at keeping her tongue to herself.


Hiding under the blanket Mama knit.


Hmmmmm.


Ooh! Blanket!

February 16, 2011

Chaos reigns

...mostly because I'm back at work and SchondyTot is now in daycare 3 days a week. I didn't get to do last week's photo challenge (Upsidedown) because I just couldn't get it all moving in the right direction. And this week's photo challenge is to do something "out and about". We'll see if I can figure something out there, too. Since I'm at work until 5 or 5:30, it's awfully tough to get out during the evenings and the challenge runs from Sunday to Saturday night. Maybe I can do a late entry Saturday morning, but that's pretty much my only option. <Sigh> Never enough time.

For Valentine's Day, the wonderful Schondy gave me a gift certificate to one of the few specialty shops that combines my current two crafty obsessions - knitting and quilting - The Bobbin's Nest, AND he gave me a beautiful caffeine necklace from moecularmuse. Does he know me well or what!?

SchondyTot's growing so fast. Here he is in the Exersaucer, shocked to discover that there's a cow there!



And here he is with Grandmama (and Granddaddy in the background) when we traveled home to visit a couple weeks ago.



February 4, 2011

Photo of the Week - My Boys

This week's challenge was for the baby and his/her other parent. I was running out of time to get my entry together, so presented without comment, here's my boys:



January 13, 2011

All's Quiet

Life continues apace around here. I'm still on maternity leave, SchondyTot's growing like a weed, Adam's working too much. Lulu's feeling neglected and the cats don't care. We've reached a new equilibrium, I think, unexpected in this time that we were warned would be so chaotic. I think we were prepared for the worst and have discovered that life can, at times, simply adjust to accommodate one more being when the time is right. He sleeps through the night, but makes up for it by eating all day long. They tell me infants don't really eat more than 30 oz. a day, but I feel like it's 1000.


Napping in the Moby Wrap

I don't feel like I'm accomplishing a lot during the day, though I know that I'm doing my single most important task and, I hope, doing so with some small amount of competency. He's growing like a weed (14 lb. 4 oz. and 23.5 inches at his last checkup), he smiles, giggles and "hoots" when really excited. He loves "The Rainbow Connection" and to have raspberries blown on his belly.

He's not fond of being made to wait for his dinner, but who can blame him, really. He hasn't discovered his hands in the traditional sense, but he regularly gets them caught in the toys hanging from his play mat and he manages to poke at me with a fair amount of accuracy and seeming dexterity. Whether or not any of it is intentional is anyone's guess.

In two weeks, we travel to Kentucky to introduce him to the members of his family who have not met him yet. A week after our return, I resume working and he will begin spending three days a week in day care. This will, I think, be the hardest thing we've attempted yet. Seems so wrong to put someone so young in the hands of a stranger, but under the current circumstances, there is no other choice. He may or may not know the difference, but I'm already dreading the separation - even if only for half a mile.

It's 12:30am, I've been up far too many hours and the late hour has made me melancholy.


10 weeks, 3 days old

May 15, 2010

The return of angry cat and other miscellany

In an effort to talk about things other than my expanding waistline (yes, I'll talk about that, too), I've tried to think of what else is going on around Chez Schondy, and I have to just confess that there's not a lot. We're both working too much (as usual), and life continues its usual course, though at the moment we have a house guest.

Jayne, four-legged fuzzy child of Sapphire and Xippy, is staying with us while they're off supervising the high school graduation of Xippy's brother. Jayne is still, even after 2 pervious visits, convinced that she's going to lose her hide while she's asleep. We keep telling her that we've had many opportunities and haven't taken advantage of it yet, but she continues to howl in the middle of the night in hopes of being rescued from this awful place. So we call her "Angry Cat" and she says she hates us. But after 6 days, she's decided that maybe we're not entirely evil and we've even caught her playing with Deliah, but mostly only when she thinks we're not watching.

This weekend is the A La Carte and Art Festival in Mountain View. It's a great place for birthday and holiday shopping because all the vendors are local artists, so everything is one of a kind and unique, which always makes me happy.

Next weekend is the Bay Area Maker Faire and Schondy and I are planning to go. It's also pretty awesome. We usually end up going both days because there's just no way to see the whole thing in one day. When we started going a few years ago, there were lots of people, but it wasn't really that bad. Now, though, it's gotten so big that the crowds are CRAZY, so we try to go early, before the hoards descend.

Anyway, for those of you who are in to such things, we'd love to have to you come visit and go festival hopping with us next year. :)

And now for the pictures, which I'm posting at the <ahem> gentle suggestion of my Mom. (Hi, Mom!) This week appears to be when my little passenger has decided to make his/her presence visible to people other than me. Went to the doctor yesterday and heard the heartbeat, but otherwise, it was the quickest appointment ever. And that's really all I have to report on that front.


14w2d


15w1d


16w1d

April 25, 2010

Yep, still pregnant.

...and if you look closely at the pictures, you can even see it a little bit. I can't say I've progressed much in any category of baby preparedness, other than the expanding waistline category. I have purchased a crib and have a lead on a matching changing table and children's wardrobe, though I'm still completely at a loss as to where I might park these things in the house once they are acquired.

We went to the doctor on the 16th and heard the baby's heartbeat through the doppler - a healthy 152 beats per minute, though at this stage all that tells us is that there's still a baby in there and it seems to be healthy. (Wives' tales don't have much to say about heartbeat speeds this early on.)

I've now completed my first trimester, which means most books and websites tell me I've entered what is commonly called the "golden phase" of my pregnancy. Whew! That just makes all the nausea this morning and the slowly-growing heartburn of this evening just melt right away! So glad the books think I feel better!

But seriously. I do feel better. I'm sleeping again. A lot. And I have mostly figured out how to fight off the nausea (eat every hour, on the hour, it doesn't matter what, just eat). Schondy has gotten no end of entertainment from my newfound ability to completely mangle a sentence if I'm not paying close attention to what I'm saying.

Sample from a few weeks ago, in March, one week before my knitting class:
"Yeah, I'm going to next weekend to the knitting expo. It happens every year in September."

Sample from this afternoon:
"I'd like to find a book that will tell me how to get a baby to sleep through the bed."

I've always said that when I got pregnant, I was going to tell the doctor to please skip the lobotomy that apparently happens to some women after they get pregnant. As Schondy (not so delicately) pointed out today, it would appear that particular "feature" of pregnancy is not optional and is, in fact, chemically induced by the baby before you even realize it's happened. Who knew!?


11w2d


12w1d


13w2d

April 5, 2010

...and baby makes 6

Well, kids, it would appear I've gone and gotten myself a little bit "with child" (I KNOW! Can you believe it!?). As of this post, I'm 10 weeks along, due at the end of October.

Schondy and I are very, very happy, though we do alternate between moments of "Holy cow! What were we thinking!?" and moments of "This is so awesome!" I personally alternate between moments of "I have so much to do! and 6 months goes by so fast!" and "Relax! You still have 6 months!"

So, um, yeah. Not much else to say except:


6w1d


7w1d


8w0d


8w2d


9w2d


10w2d

(and if you're wondering how I arrived at 6, well, Miles, Deliah and Lulu were here first.)

March 12, 2010

OHAI!

Well, internet, it's been a while. But you see, the Peanut Gallery has a project under way - a pièce de résistance, if you will - that will definitely be worth a little silence on the blog front. I can't talk about it more, but will post some pictures of my work-in-progress when they're ready.

In the meantime, I wanted to share a little something I whipped up while taking a class at Stitches West. The class was Bohus Stickning, taught by Susanna Hansson, where we made wristlets in that style.

I can't say I knew anything about the style or about the movement or anything before the class, and I definitely found all that interesting. I can't say I found the style to be any more visually stunning or spectacular than a lot of other styles of knitting, though I know there were people in the class who would disagree with me on that vehemently. I took the class because I thought it might be fun to learn a different style than what I typically gravitate towards, and in that I was greatly pleased with the class. I can't say I'm any more enamored with it now than I was before, but the results certainly were pretty and I was very proud of my own effort.


I got off to a very slow start, so in the first 3 hours, I only finished the first little bit of the cuff, but I found that once I got started on the color work, it went very smoothly. I've never done stranded work like this before and I found that I actually didn't mind working 3 different colors at once. The yarn is pretty "grabby" because of the angora, but so long as I was paying attention it wasn't a big deal.

At the end of class, everyone brought up their projects for a group shot, so we could see them all together. It was amazing to see the differences in gauge and size and to see that, despite my very slow start, I ended up being one of the farthest along in the entire class (hooray!!). Mine at the top of the picture, just to the right of the middle.


I've since finished the entire first cuff and my plan is to finish a second one and then attach them to a pair of white wool mittens. I can't say I'll have much use for such a fancy pair of mittens and I'll probably be afraid to wear them, but it's going to be awfully nice to work on and finish something so pretty.

And also, hi!

January 5, 2010

Called Out!

As if I didn't feel guilty enough about not posting, I have officially been called out. Here I was hoping that I was the only one who'd noticed my lack of progress on my blog and it turns out my audience had gone wanting for updates. I feel terrible. But my loyal fanbase wants pictures of people and I aim to please.

So we went to the Renaissance Faire in Casa de Fruita, just like we do every year. It was, as always, loads of fun and amazing to look at, if nothing else. I found this awesome hat that was super warm and just a little funky. But I wasn't prepared to pay for it what the shop was asking, so I got Schondy to snap a quick shot of it for me to copy it. And I did. But here's the original.

Baby Bee is growing like a weed and was fascinated by all the goings-on at the Faire. Many people complimented us on the lifelike motions and cuteness of the "hand puppet" in our midst. She was a trooper, that's for sure.

I also fell in love with this hat, but didn't buy it either. I've since remedied that situation at the Dickens Christmas Fair, where I found a much more reasonably priced version that looks almost the same and is perfect for my needs.

Schondy found a flying squirrel puppet at a booth with lots of cute little animals. These were particularly great because a lot of them had fully articulated wings/heads/arms depending on how the real animal moves. The flying squirrel was just cute.

And then, at some point between October and Christmas, I had to work on days that Schondy didn't, and he thought a good motivational tool would be to send me pictures of the babies looking sad and bored. I can't say it motivated me to work more and instead just made me sad and want to leave work early. And now we have photographic proof that Deliah doesn't hate the dog nearly as much as she might let on.

...And then there was Christmas. We both felt pretty strongly that we didn't want a chopped-down Christmas tree, and our original plan was to get a Japanese Maple to use for decoration. We have tried twice to plant a Japanese Maple in our back yard, and twice we've failed. So we were thinking we'd get a small tree, decorate it with ornaments and then plant it in the yard in the spring. But given the time of year, this turned out to be not such a great plan on account of Maples losing their leaves in winter. But we still didn't want to buy a dead tree. So we ended up with a couple Dwarf Canadian Spruce trees - two of them because they were so small - that looked absolutely beautiful and will have a permanent home somewhere in the yard as soon as the weather gets warmer.

We had some company at Christmas - Schondy's family came to stay with us for a few days and on Christmas day we had a little Guitar Hero party with our family and the Neighbors' family after we had a big Christmas feast. Mark was quite sure he was going to be terrible at Guitar Hero, but we assured him he'd be better than at least half the people present and he played a couple rounds.

It was so great to see family we haven't seen in ages - the last time we saw Schondy's family was the Christmas right before we got Lulu and she just turned 3. But Lulu took right to her "Grandma" and I daresay the feeling was mutual.

So that's what's been going on. I've been knitting like a fool, but I've also been informed that not everyone finds my knitting as fascinating as I do, so I'm going to make a point of trying to post other stuff from time to time. I'm not saying I'll do very well, but I'll give the ol' college try.

December 10, 2009

Dear Luxist,

If you are going to post articles about luxury items, I have to think that you're interested in reaching an audience of moderately-to-filthy rich consumers. I also have to think that this audience is reasonably well-educated. I would like to suggest that perhaps you should assemble a team of writers whose grasp of English grammar and syntax has progressed somewhat beyond that of your average 8th grader in the interest of not ANNOYING THE EVER-LOVING STUFFING OUT OF YOUR LOYAL READERS! I MEAN, COME ON!

Case in point.

Thanks and happy editing,
The Peanut Gallery.

October 4, 2009

Cute Overload!

First of all, I'd like to apologize for the blurry images. 5-year-old Point-and-Shoot camera + wiggly baby = blurry pictures. She was just so happy and it was kind of dark in the room. Oops.

ANYway. So a few months ago, Sapphire and Xippi had a baby. She is now 4 months old and just beginning to figure out a number of very important things: what hands are for, how to blow bubbles and that squealing and/or babbling will garner much attention. On Friday, we all went out to dinner together and then Sapphire, Xippi and Little One came back to the house, where we sat around chatting and introducing Little One to menagerie that owns me and Schondy (Miles, Deliah and Lulu).

When that got boring (for the animals, not us. I mean, who gets bored of babies squealing at cats?), I went and found my most recent finished knitting project - a WWII Watch Cap - and plopped it on Little One's head. She didn't really care, but we all thought it was quite possibly the cutest thing we'd ever seen, so pictures ensued. I didn't want to keep flashing in her face, so I turned off the flash, but there clearly just wasn't enough light to make the camera happy.

But I promised my mother I'd get some pictures posted, so here they are. :-)

September 25, 2009

...and a partridge in a pear tree

Hello! Bet you thought I'd never come back, huh? Well, believe me when I say I've told myself roughly a bazillion times that I should be posting to my blog. It's not necessarily that I've been terribly busy. I mean I have, but I took last week off from work to recover from the crazy busy I've been having. And it's not like I've had nothing to say. Because there's been plenty going on in the land of here.

I just... I suppose I couldn't really figure out what to say. Couldn't talk about work because, well, you know why. Couldn't talk about knitting because I've been working. Couldn't talk about home because there's not been much to tell on account of... I've been at work. But then I took the week off, and I wasn't working, but I was recharging and I still didn't know what to say. But now! I have something to say!

ANYway. So last week, Schondy and I took the week off. We needed it. We didn't go anywhere. Didn't do anything all that spectacular. We just stayed home, watched some TV, did a little shopping, etc. And finally, FINALLY, after 3 years of threatening to do so, we bought a new couch. I KNOW, right? I've complained for 3 years about how that sectional just wasn't right for this house, so last week, we finally did something about it. Hooray!

And because it was funny, we made a list of all the things we found under the old couch when we moved it. We didn't take any pictures of what we found or anything because, ew, but we were also pleased not to find anything too disgusting, either. So without further ado:

  • 3 cat toy mice
  • 1 purple pen with a bent tip
  • 1 voided check from last year
  • 1 knitting stitch marker
  • 1 rubber band
  • 1 clothing tag
  • 1 CD case
  • 1 tortilla chip
  • 1 cabinet door bumper (you know - the little rubber thing)
  • part of a "pork rollup" dog treat
  • 1 Cheerio
  • 2 cardboard pull tabs from Amazon boxes
  • 1 black pen
  • 1 tube of lip gloss
  • 1 bead
  • 1 raisin
  • a huge pile of dust, feathers and fur

Sadly, the one thing missing from this list? Money. We found no money in our couch cushions. What are the odds, I ask you?

So here's the before and after. What do you think?

Before:


After:


April 30, 2009

A brief dissertation on why I did not become a professional pianist:

because I will never be that good.

April 28, 2009

This is just to say...

Normally, I work very hard to keep certain topics out of my blog. Religion, politics, money and any other traditional powder-keg topic are strictly verboten for a whole host of reasons, but mostly because I'd just really prefer to keep my opinion on such things out of the Internet Archive. But just this once, an article has caused me to want to break my rule a little bit. Call me crazy, but I'm interested in some reactions from other people.

Now, this article (Say Yes. What Are You Waiting For?) was interesting to me on several levels.

Go read it. All of it.
I'll wait...

You back? Good.

Full disclosure: I've been married to my college sweetheart for almost 8 years. We married when I was 22 and he was 23 (if you do the math, you now know how old we are, which gives you some context as to why I find this article interesting, I think). We didn't have a lot of money when we first got married, but we both have college degrees in good fields and are hard workers. We now both work highly-skilled technical jobs and are senior members of our respective teams. We own a 3-year-old house in a nice neighborhood in a beautiful "little suburb" of San Francisco. We have no children and can't really make up our minds whether we want to go down that path or not.

So. The article struck several chords with me as I read through it. The feminist part of me was offended at the idea that the rules are somehow different for men than for women. That there is this double-standard, captured perfectly by this statement:

...women's "market value" declines steadily as they age, while men's tends to rise in step with their growing resources (that is, money and maturation)...

That women are valuable only in terms of their ability to pop out babies, and men are valuable only in terms of their ability to pay for said babies.

The intellectual part of me is interested in the deeper implications of the various statistics:

...men and women were separated by an average of more than four years in 1890 and about 2.5 years in 1960. Now that figure stands at less than two years.
Marriages that begin at age 20, 21 or 22 are not nearly so likely to end in divorce as many presume.

and what they all mean in terms of the supposed perfect equal marriage or even in terms of trophy wives (or avoidance thereof). I mean, that part is interesting purely on an anthropologic level. I sense a bit of research on this topic in my future.

The humanist, compassionate part of me is heartbroken by the number of couples I know battling exactly this problem:

...women's fertility is more or less fixed, yet they largely suppress it during their 20s -- their most fertile years -- only to have to beg, pray, borrow and pay to reclaim it in their 30s and 40s

but wonders at the point of view of the writer of that article that would cause him to phrase the sentence exactly that way.

Maybe it's just the part of me that hates to be pigeonholed that doesn't like the sentiments in this article. Maybe it's not the feminist, the intellectual or the humanist parts of me, but the individualist part. Or maybe I just didn't like his tone.

What say you, Internet?

April 16, 2009

As seen on Facebook

A friend of mine posted the following comment in a discussion on Facebook.

Name concealed to protect the... well... embarrassed.

Ha.

April 15, 2009

Smile!

(Trust me - it's worth it.)

April 13, 2009

Anybody need a computer?

As you know, we are computer people. Schondy and I collect computers the way some people collect... blue jeans. Or running shoes. It's not something we buy every day, but we pick up a new one at least once a year. And, um, this year is no exception.

Earlier this year, it was my turn for a new computer. I got a shiny new 24" Intel iMac to replace my shiny, not-so-new 20" iMac G5. So now, there's an iMac at the house in need of a loving owner. It's not an Intel machine, so it won't run Windows or any of your PC software, but it's got plenty of Oompf for running Mac software.

I'm thinking I'm going to post it on craigslist, but thought I'd put the word out here first to see if there was any interest among the 2-3 people who read my blog.

Anyone?

January 30, 2009

Yipes! Stripes!

(with apologies to both Fruit Stripe gum and Biscuits and Jam)

Schondy and I were out walking the dog a couple weeks ago and there was a woman also out walking. We got stopped at an intersection, where I noticed the scarf she was wearing. It was fascinating - it started out with just flat stripes on the ends, done in several colors, and then gradually switched so it was these really deep zigzag chevrons. So as soon as I got home, I started poking around online to see if I could find a pattern for something like that.

A couple hours and many, many fruitless searches later, I gave up. But in my searching, I ran across some other websites I'd seen before, including Biscuits and Jam, where you can select a set of colors and stripe widths and then get back a randomly generated list of colors. This comes in really handy for those of us who knit and need some inspiration on how wide to make stripes.

Well, I poked at it for a little while, but discovered there were a few little things I wanted it to do that it just wouldn't do. I tried cracking her website open to get at the code (I assume it's a woman, but I suppose I really don't know), but decided I just didn't feel right stealing her hard work, and thought that I could write something that would do what I wanted without using someone else's work.

So, I wrote my own. Presenting: The Peanut Gallery's very own Random Stripe Generator. I suppose if you're not a knitter or otherwise crafty person, this holds very little interest for you. But for me? I could sit there, hitting "Randomize All" all day and not get bored. And if you find one you really like - a color combo that just really works for you and you'd like to share it - grab the color list and email it to me. If you suggest a name for the color set, I'll put it in the dropdown so you (and everyone else) can get back to it.

Oh, and in case you were wondering - yes, the header really does regenerate randomly every time you load the page. :-) Because I could.

January 25, 2009

Economy++

Oh, Internets. We did a thing yesterday. It was an expensive thing, but it sure made us smile. We bought two (yes, two!!) new cars. And we officially became THOSE people. Schondy and I are now the proud owners of a shiny pair of Mini Coopers. We never thought it would happen, and certainly didn't set out yesterday to do this, but, well, there it is.

So. Schondy has his cute little commuter car for driving over the hill. It's a 2009 Mini Cooper S in Pure Silver with a black cloth checkerboard interior. When he took possession of it, it had 3 miles on the odometer. :-) It has built-in Bluetooth so he can talk on the phone without taking his hands off the wheel, voice dialing (still need to set that up), a built in iPod connector, automatic air conditioner, windshield wipers, headlights and rearview mirror, and (reportedly) gets 32 miles to the gallon.

I have a cute little commuter car, too, but mine can also haul groceries and carry passengers in the back seat comfortably thanks to the additional suicide door on the passenger side. I have a 2009 Mini Cooper Clubman S in Hot Chocolate with Hot Chocolate leather interior. When I took possession of it, it had 8 miles on the odometer. And I have all the same features he does, PLUS 9 more inches of length. and half an inch of headroom. Completely by accident, I also managed to match my car to my dog. :-)

The funny thing is that until a week ago, we both swore we would never even consider Minis. I had ridden in one once a couple years ago and thought it felt like two chairs strapped to the inside of a tin can hurtling down the freeway. Schondy thought they were just goofy little hatchbacks with no power and even less personality. All that changed a week ago, when we were out walking the dog and discussing cars. He had been toying with the idea of getting a Prius and I was thinking about getting a Toyota Matrix. He was really concerned about gas mileage and I really wanted something that was small and sporty, but also would hold people and groceries when necessary. I made an offhand comment: "have you considered a Mini?" and we decided that maybe we should swing by the dealership since it was on our walking route.

So we did. And we sat in a couple of the cars and both said, "hm. Perhaps things have changed and maybe we should come back minus Lulu to see how these things drive."

So we did. We traded in our old cars (a 2001 Limited Edition PT Cruiser in Inferno Red and a 2001 Saturn L200 in Navy Blue) for next-to-nothing, BUT we managed to milk the failing economy a bit so that we don't exactly feel cheated on that score. Funny things happen when you walk into a car dealership and tell the salesman you want... two of them. (We'll take two - they're small) Suddenly, they agreed to waive the dealer markup. And knock off an additional $500 from each. And throw in some floor mats. And pay for half of Schondy's bonnet stripes. And give us free theft insurance. And 80% off of Appearance Insurance (yes, there is such a thing). And 8 hours later, we drove off the lot with two shiny new cars.

We have a lot of configuration to do, but it was time for both of us to upgrade and it just worked out nicely that we both fell in love with the same type of car.

January 13, 2009

Holy Cow! I totally forgot!

Okay, so this morning, I was poking through my email and reading websites and generally checking in on the world and I happened across this little gem from The Fail Blog:

First of all, DON'T PANIC. No, I was not on either of those planes. I have not been injured or anything like that. But it did remind me of a little event that happened as Schondy and I were coming home from Mexico. I can't believe I forgot about this! It was crazy!

I know I said the trip home was totally smooth, but that was because I totally forgot about the thing that happened when we landed in Memphis. We were on this tiny little plane. It held, like, 45 people. It was teensy. Why is this important? Well, the wings on teensy little planes, when they land, are really close to the ground. I mean, when you're on a 777, the wings are, like, 7 feet off the ground. They go right over the people, the cars, the baggage carts and anything else that might be in its path.

So we were on this teensy plane, and I just happened to be watching out the window as we pulled into the gate. Since I'm used to being on the bigger planes, I was thinking the wings were way high off the ground like usual, and as we pulled in the gate and the baggage handlers were standing right there with their baggage cart, I didn't really think about it... Until we started getting closer to the people and they started moving out of the way of the wing and I realized the baggage cart was... not getting out of the way of the wing. The baggage cart was pushed up against a concrete barrier and couldn't be moved.

So the plane hit the baggage cart. The last 2 feet of the wing slid right in to the open side of the baggage cart, pushing the cart hard up against the concrete barrier, shaking the entire plane and completely surprising the baggage handlers who were standing RIGHT THERE! The pilot came on the speaker and told us we were just a foot or two shy of the ramp and that they'd have things sorted soon. I guessed that was... probably not true, because since I had the window seat, I had a great angle on the happenings.

I watched as the baggage handlers brought over their manager. And then that manager brought over his manager. And then that manager brought over the pilot. And the pilot brought over his manager and... well, you get the idea. They all poked at the damage (not major, but certainly not something you WANT happening to the leading edge of a wing), scratched their heads and generally stared at each other. At some point, they realized that perhaps this was not a good reason to keep the plane's passengers captive and they let us off the plane, ending our ogling of their shame.

So we were not hurt, we were never in any danger, and no one else was hurt or in any danger, though the baggage handlers may have been in danger of losing their jobs. And I'm reasonably sure that plane didn't fly anymore that day. It probably still isn't flying 2 weeks later. I wish I had a picture of the crazy, but you'll just have to imagine what it looked like. Oops.

January 10, 2009

Check Us Out!

Check out the pretty pictures!


Sometimes the randomest pictures on the whole trip are some of the best. We weren't too tired or too sick or squinting into the sun or anything, so this picture is probably one of my favorites. If we could cut out the silly mariachi man, I'm sure it would be even better. :-)


Later in the same day, we did a dune buggy tour of Progreso to some Mayan ruins, where the tour guides grabbed this shot of the two of us with my brother. They, of course, wanted a stupid amount of money for the picture, but I loved it, so I went ahead and got it. The original is a little blurry from the cheap printing, but I like it anyway.


We got a great group shot of the entire family, but Schondy and I wanted some pictures of just the two of us because things have changed a bit since our last formal cruise photos. So here's the one of both of us. The photographer was quite a character, but you have to admit that he did a beautiful job, no matter how nutty he was.


I made sure to tell the photographer to back up enough to get the shoes.


Well, internets, what do you think? Do I look better?... Why, yes, I AM fishing for compliments. I think I've earned them. :-)

December 31, 2008

The Peanut Gallery vs. Mexico

The Peanut Gallery went to Mexico this Christmas. It was an amazing, generous gift from my parents to the entire family that we all went together on a Carnival cruise to tour Progreso and Cozumel. There are 9 of us, including Schondy and me, my brother, my sister and her husband and two children, and my parents. We had a lot of fun and it was great to see everyone all in one place, especially since that doesn't happen very often given where Schondy and I live. I'm hoping Schondy will get some of his pictures of the trip posted soon, and when he does, I hope he'll include some information about what we did on the cruise. But I have another story to tell. The story of how we got to and from the cruise and the merry adventures we had along the way.

Ok, so you have to know that things started off simply enough. And before we left, it was absolutely smooth sailing. The morning of the 19th, Lulu was delivered to the wonderfully kind people who were going to take care of her for the week, and the cats' toys were packed and ready to go for when their babysitters arrived later in the evening to pick them up. Schondy and I were all packed and we even had a friend who'd offered to drive us to the airport. (Thank you to all the kind, generous people who helped us over this vacation. We truly could not have done it without you)

Our first inkling that things might not continue so smoothly came when we arrived at the airport at 10:30 for our 12:19 flight. While sitting at the gate, waiting to board, we looked up at the sign and realized it said our flight was delayed and that we wouldn't be leaving until 12:45. Hm. Our layover in Houston had only been about 45 minutes to begin with. Now what?... Okay. No panic. We'll just... um... run for it. Yeah. That's it.

So after a while longer of panicking, our flight finally left at... 1:15. And we had bulkhead seats! Glorious legroom! And our pilot assured us that we'd be early into Houston. Okay. Still not panicking, but at this point, we're discussion contingency plans. Maybe there are other flights to Mobile. Maybe there are flights to Birmingham. Or maybe Montgomery. We can just call Mom and Dad and have them pick us up in one of those cities. No panic. We'll be fine.

When we hit the ground in Houston, the flight attendants on the plane announced that some people had extremely tight connections and asked that those people be allowed to exit the plane first. We jumped up, ran out, and were first to meet the gate agent, who asked where we were flying to. We breathlessly told her Mobile, at which point she flipped through the boarding passes in her hands and handed us two of them for a flight... on the 20th, arriving in Mobile at 2pm. Well, here's the thing. Notice how I said before that we left the house on the 19th? And, well, we had a ship to catch in Mobile on the 20th, and we had to be at the terminal before 2:30. See the problem? I think my response was something along the lines of, "But we CAN'T!" The lady was gearing up for a fight when I said that, but I was just... um... panicking.

So off we trotted to the customer service desk, where we told our plight to the nice lady behind the counter. .. who assured us there was nothing she could do. We tried everything - flights into Montgomery, flights into Birmingham, flights into New Orleans - anything we could thing of to get us further east before we had to start driving. Meanwhile, I've been calling my family all along, keeping them informed of the situation and letting them know the plan of the moment, which changed about 1000 times. We found out in the course of talking to this lady that we were caught in the same mess as thousands of other people. Flights were cancelled all over the country. Flights were delayed, over-booked and generally messed up everywhere. There was literally NOTHING the airlines could do. At some point in here, the very nice lady also wrote down 3-4 phone numbers to call various car rental companies to reserve a car.

We also learned that because we were flying on "reward" tickets (purchased by my parents with some of their thousands of frequent flyer miles), if at any point, we didn't take a part of our journey with them, the entire rest of the trip would be canceled. That's right, our tickets on our return flights would be canceled if we didn't fly with them... which is how we ended up with the last two tickets on a flight bound for New Orleans, leaving at 9:30 that night. We'd still have to drive from New Orleans to Mobile, but it's only about 200 miles and we could do that, then sleep the rest of the night in Mobile and be ready to meet the ship by 2. We felt reasonably good with this plan, so decided to figure out where our luggage had ended up in all the kerfuffle. So off we went to the baggage services area.

In baggage services, we talked with another very nice lady who punched all our information into the computer, and then said (very casually), "Why was it you didn't get on the Mobile flight?" Turns out, that flight had been delayed, too, and had left about 45 minutes late. Meaning: we could have caught it.

The very nice lady then said, "Oh, your New Orleans flight has just been delayed and now won't be leaving here until 12:30am." Now, she had no idea what we'd been going through, but this comment, of course, stopped us dead in our tracks. It was at this point that we said... "Give us our bags. We're done gambling with you guys. We're driving the rest of this trip."

We'd already looked it up. It was 480 miles from Houston to Mobile. If we left... now-ish (8:30pm), we'd get to Mobile about 4am. It wasn't the best of plans, but at least we knew we'd get there and wouldn't be stranded in random airport #3. When we asked for our luggage, we got exactly the answer you'd expect: "The baggage handlers are so backed up, that right now, baggage retrieval requests take 2-3 hours to process. But if you're sure, please fill out the information on this little slip of paper and we'll start looking." Seriously. She wasn't kidding. So we filled out the little slip of paper and took off to talk to a ticket agent about leaving the airport behind without losing our return flights (remember how I said they'd be canceled?).

So we got in line with the hundred other people trying to get new flights or check in for their flight or... whatever and tried to get up to the front to talk to someone about keeping our tickets. When we got through to talk to someone, we told them what we wanted and were told that we'd have to talk to the customer service center on the phone. Well, I'd been on hold with them pretty much the entire time we'd been in line and still nothing. So the lady at the counter called. And they generally get through much faster. And she was told the same thing - if we jumped ship, we'd lose our return tickets. Happily, the regional manager was in the Houston airport right then, and just happened to be walking by and heard what was going on. He approved the change. :-) (Thank you, Mr. Regional Manager. If I knew your name, I'd send you a thank you card.)

So while Schondy confirmed all that information, I called Hertz to reserve a car. That part, at least was easy. We knew it was going to take another hour or more to get our luggage, so while we waited on that, we took off to the car rental place to pick up our new mode of transportation. Turns out to get a navigation system, you have to pay extra, but at this point, we didn't care. This is how we ended up with a brand new, shiny white Ford Explorer with a nav system to drive to Mobile in.

When we got back to baggage services to pick up our luggage (~9pm), we sat around for a good 20-30 minutes until the very nice baggage services lady found us and told us... wait for it... "Oh, I just found out where your luggage is. It's in Mobile. It made the flight you missed."

Okay. To take stock of the situation, it's 9:30pm:
Where are we: Houston Airport
Where our luggage is: In Mobile, AL, waiting for us
Mode of transportation: Explorer to Mobile, AL, return flights after the cruise confirmed
Time until ship leaves: 14.5 hours
Additional problems:
Because of all the phone calls to parents, customer service and car rental places, my phone is DEAD.
We have not eaten in... many hours.
We will not be getting any sleep tonight.

So off to the Explorer we go. We have nothing but the clothes on our backs and whatever junk we threw in our carry on bags. This means we need a store. What's open in Texas that might be able to help us? Why, Super Wal-Mart, of course! So on the way out of the airport parking, we stop to talk to the women in the booths, who tell us to head south on 45 to get to a Wal-Mart. After a couple wrong turns and a few minutes in the WRONG part of town (where we bought a map of the area because we hadn't yet figured out the nav system in the car), we find ourselves shopping at Wal-Mart. At 10pm. Less than a week before Christmas. In Houston, Texas. Surprise! The place was a zoo.

Wal-Mart gives us a car charger for my phone and some random travel food to keep us from starving. Starbucks gives us some human rocket fuel to keep us awake. And we give the Explorer instructions to point us to Mobile. While we drove, we called the hotel in Mobile where we'd been planning to sleep and told them what had happened. Despite their 24-hour cancellation policy that should have meant we had to pay the entire amount at this late date, they gave us our money back and said it was not a problem (Thank you, very nice lady at the Battle House Hotel in Mobile!!)

The drive was long. Very long. We called the family every 1-2 hours to let them know where we were. We ate broccoli and hummus (well, I did. Schondy just fed it to me as I drove). It was the foggiest night EVER. At no point did we have the road to ourselves, which was very interesting. There was one truck we kept trading places with that was most festive with its Christmas lights wrapped around the front grill. We saw a truck that was on fire. We listened to WAY too many badly-sung Christmas carols. And we arrived in Mobile at the airport at about 6am.

If you've never been to the Mobile, AL airport, lemme tell you - it's tiny. We walked into the front door at 6:15 and found a sign at the ticket counter saying, "Ticket counter closes 30 minutes before all scheduled flight departures. The sign on the wall told us that there was a flight departing at 6:22. That meant we had some time to kill. So I left Schondy there to grab the first person to appear who looked like they might work for the airline, and I wandered off to talk to the Hertz people about returning the Explorer.

Hertz doesn't open there until 7:30am. So we waited. And after a good 20 minutes, the airline people came back and gave us our luggage (hooray!!) And then we could go back out to the Explorer and clean it up while we waited for Hertz to open. And then they were open and we could return the car (hooray!!). And then we went over to the airport customer service desk to ask about a cab and a hotel in which to sleep.

Here's an interesting factoid for you: most hotels won't check you in before 9am. It was 7:45am. But we were stubborn and asked that we get a cab to the hotel anyway and I was going to see if I could talk my way into a room. The 3 ladies at the customer service desk were just as helpful and polite as they could be and called Henry to bring the car around and drive us in to town to the Ramada. (Did I mention the Mobile airport is tiny?)

Henry was a chatty one. Very nice and friendly, but I have to confess that neither Schondy nor I was in much mood for in-depth conversation at that point. A good 20 minutes later, we arrived at the Ramada in downtown Mobile and I presented myself at the counter to ask for a room (knowing full well that it was 8am and they had said over the phone that they wouldn't check me in before 9). She said no. I'm not sure how she managed it, because I know she looked me straight in the eye to do it, and I'm sure I looked exactly as tired as I felt. But she said no.

So I said I was going to take advantage of her complimentary breakfast and coffee while I waited. She said that was fine. I think she knew she didn't have any other choice. At 8:55am, I presented myself back at the front desk and asked for a room again. She happily gave me one.

But then. We got to the room and discovered... that the key cards didn't work. So back to the front desk I went, where she programmed them again. And then they worked. And then we slept, after calling the family to let them know where we were and ask for a wake-up call promptly at noon. And that was when I discovered that one of the suitcases had been inspected by the airline and the gift I'd wrapped and packed for my niece had been discovered and the TSA agent, to make a point to me, had packing-taped a TSA inspection notice to the gift for me! So thoughtful of her! It fit right in with the whole adventure.

At noon, we got up, dressed, threw all our junk in the suitcases and checked out of the room, asking the girl at the counter to call a cab for us so we could get to the cruise terminal. And for the next couple days, we had a wonderful, marvelous time. The room was small, but comfortable. The food was really good. It was wonderful to see the family. It was wonderful to see their faces when they saw me for the first time in a long time.

It was all wonderful and glorious until Schondy came down with a cough. And then the cough turned into a fever and chills and a nasty little head/chest cold. But he was a trooper. And he went with the rest of us on the excursion in Progreso where we toured the Mayan ruins and saw the flamingos and hung out on the beach. And then we went on the excursion in Cozumel where we saw the crocodile and toured the lighthouse and snorkeled along the reef.

And then I got sick with the cough and the fever and the head/chest cold... and the sea sickness. We were quite the pair, Schondy and I. Thanks to copious amounts of Tylenol and copious amounts of patience from the family, we made it all the way back to Mobile on Christmas day, only to find that the horrible weather that had made things such trouble on our trip out had continued, and the fog in Mobile Bay was too thick for the ship to make it into port. We were supposed to be on the dock in Mobile before our scheduled debarkation time of 8am. We finally debarked at about 5pm. We all remarked about how bad we felt for the hundreds of people leaving on the ship we'd just arrived on and how they were getting royally gypped on their cruise, which would leave a full day late due to the weather.

And then we drove from Mobile to my grandfather's house in Montgomery, where we opened Christmas gifts and had our Christmas dinner of ham sandwiches. And then the rest of the family headed north, going home to Kentucky and Tennessee, and Schondy and I spent the night at my grandfather's house. The next morning, we got up, repacked the suitcases and prepared to catch our 11:30am flight out of Montgomery to Memphis. And it went soooo smoothly. No problems, no missed flights, nothing! We even had time to grab some food in Houston. We had bulkhead seats! It was great!

We should have known that the other shoe had not yet dropped... er... flown, as it were. Because when we arrived in San Jose and went to the baggage carousel, we waited, and waited, and waited, and... only one of our suitcases had made it to San Jose. And the suitcase we DID have was NOT the one with our toothbrushes or shampoo or soap or razors or pajamas. So we filed a request with the baggage services folks to get our luggage delivered to the house when it finally showed up. And then we went home.

And we gathered up the children from the various houses they'd occupied while we were gone. And then we got ready for bed as best we could without toothbrushes or shampoo or soap or razors or pajamas and slept like the dead!

The wayward suitcase arrived at the house at about 2pm on the 27th of December, officially marking the end of the merry circus that was our trip to Mexico. I wanted to make sure I recorded the whole craziness while it was still fresh in my mind. And I would like to point out that thousands of other people went through experiences very similar or much worse thanks to the weather and tons of other circumstances completely beyond the control of the airlines, the car rental companies and the cruise lines. So I consider us very lucky, indeed, to be home with most of our dignity, most of our belongings, and a seriously wacky story to tell the grandkids.

November 21, 2008

Wisdom from the Internets

Here's a timely little article. Interesting reading for the whole family!!

Newsweek Linky

And in honor of this post, I'm going to turn the comments back on. (Spammers, please stay away.)

November 20, 2008

The Nerd Test

Well, I'm not sure what it means to be an Uber Cool High Nerd. They didn't tell me if that was a good thing or a bad thing or... what. But, um, yeah.


NerdTests.com says I'm an Uber Cool High Nerd.  What are you?  Click here!

I have about a thousand ideas for good posts, but I have been up to my eyeballs in crazy for the last month. A real post is coming... I promise.

September 22, 2008

Long time, no see OR One side of a conversation with a non-existent entity

Why, hello, Internets. How long have you been sitting there? Been waiting for me to post, have you? Did you think I'd forgotten you? Silly Internets. I never forget you - I just get busy. So what's new with you?
...
Me? Oh, not much. Working a lot. Cleaning up the house, getting it ready for company...
...
Yeah, my parents are coming for a visit.
...
They haven't seen the house since right after we moved in, so things have really changed.
...
Yeah, I guess they haven't seen me, either. That should be interesting.
...
Well, I was actually able to give blood, which means they checked my cholesterol.
...
Yeah, pretty good, actually
...
No, it wasn't really that high before - higher than it should be, but not that high. Before the diet, I think I maxed out at 215.
...
137.
...
I KNOW, right? That's nuts.
...
Oh, that's too bad. Is she at least on medication or something?
...
Well, she needs to get on top of that.
...
A total of 62 pounds. Crazy, huh? Blood pressure's down, too. It really wasn't bad before, either, but now it's really good.
...
And I'm working out quite a bit.
...
Yeah, I try to run 3-4 days a week. This weekend, I made it almost a mile and half. Pretty good for someone who's never run more than 10 feet in her life. Never to late to start, I suppose.
...
Oh, I don't want to ruin the surprise!
...
Yeah, and Schondy hasn't taken any good pictures of me lately.
...
Well, I want to surprise the 'rents and then maybe I'll post something after they leave. The last picture I posted was about 30 pounds ago and then I got lazy or busy or... something.
...
Yes, definitely. We will chat again soon. Promise.
...
Call me!
...
Give everyone a hug for me!!


<fin>

September 5, 2008

50 Pieces of Flair! I feel so loved.

You've probably noticed that I've mentioned flair before - roughly, here-ish - so I won't go into another full explanation of what it is and where it came from and blah, blah, blah. The bad news is that currently, it is possible to display only 50 buttons. So I have hit the legal limit and will not be expanding anymore until they upgrade the system. But today, as I was rearranging my flair board to fit in another button, a realization struck me.

The flair system does allow you to grab things you like for yourself, and I'd wager that maybe 10 of my buttons came from there (i.e. from me). But the other 40-or-so came from friends and family. In some cases, I'm sure, it was just because the sentiment made the person laugh. In other cases, it's because that person was directly reminded of me. I realized that in a very strange and highly lopsided way, this little flair board is an excellent representation of what others think of when they think of me.

So let's take a poke at this thing, shall we? I can actually tell you exactly who it was that sent me each of these, but in the interest of... well, of keeping my friends, I think I'll just leave it anonymous. :-)

So everything can pretty much be bunched into 8 categories:

  1. Music
  2. 88 keys - 10 fingers, No problem
  3. Pretty Pictures
  4. Disco ball
    Black and white filigree
  5. Apple
  6. iPod Clickwheel
    It's Better/Get Over It
  7. Goofy TV/Video Game/Movie references
  8. My Patronus is a T-Rex
    Hey! Listen!
  9. Dachshunds
  10. :-) Heehee.
  11. Being crazy/irritable/random
  12. I am easily distracte... bunny
    I'm not as random as you think I salad.
  13. Coffee
  14. Addict
    Instant human - just add coffee
  15. Knitting
  16. Yarrrn

Note that all but 3 of my buttons came from just two different people (not counting me). So from this, you can deduce that: I love coffee and dogs, I'm a Mac person, I'm from or have lived in Kentucky, I'm a musician, I like Harry Potter/Wicked/Juno/Narnia, I'm married, I work too much, I'm a little abstract and I love naps (This last one is especially true). What do you think? Pretty close description?

So I challenge you, inter-web, to ponder your own personal flair board (Facebook or otherwise) and see what the buttons on your board say about you.

August 26, 2008

Argerghirrnama!

Just so you don't think I'm all weight loss and puppy dogs and knitting all the time, here's a little something to make the scholarly part of you smile. Believe it or not, I have read Plato's Republic. I KNOW, right?? And I'm a hy-uge fan of McSweeney's. For the uninitiated, they're a literary journal specializing in... left of center. They're based in San Francisco and I think they're fabulous.

ANYwho. What does Plato have to do with McSweeney's, you ask? Well, BEHOLD! Plato's Allegory of the Cave, as Explained by Popeye to Bluto.

And if you're STILL lost, check out the Wikipedia version.

August 7, 2008

Email Forwards - The Interweb's Fruitcake

Okay. So I work all day long on a computer, writing documents, sending email, surfing the Interweb, blogging, whatever. And I get a lot of email. Like... a lot of email. You wouldn't believe how much. Some of it's spam (happily, my spam filter is pretty good), some of it's bulk things that I don't really read much, and some of it's actually useful (yay!). But there's another category - the dreaded Email Forward - that I actually get very little of, which is fine with me.

Email Forwards are those silly little stories or jokes or self-help lists that people generally send around to friends and family to brighten days and generally interrupt the flow of actual work getting done.

Now, my objection to Email Forwards is not necessarily the same as everyone else's. Basically, most people find them irritating just for being. I cannot stand the wacky formatting that seems to be a requirement. I don't object to the content itself, but GEEZ, OH, PETE, PEOPLE! Does every single one have to be in cursive, pink font with 3-inch tall letters? Seriously? Do you think that adds gravity to the fluffy story you're sending? Really? And do you really neeeeeeed to show me a complete history of exactly how this story landed in your inbox (and, subsequently, mine)? I'm talking about the list of forward addresses at the top of the page. Really - I don't need to know the email addresses of all the ladies in your afternoon Mom-n-Kids group.

Anywho.

So I got an Email Forward a couple days ago from a family member that I actually thought was pretty cute, so I've removed the wacky formatting and the email addresses and the 10,000 "Hey, thought you'd find this uplifting" messages that also seem to accompany each story. And I'm not even going to ask you to forward this along to 10 of your closest friends. :-)

Mary and her husband Jim had a dog named 'Lucky.' Lucky was a real character. Whenever Mary and Jim had company come for a weekend visit they would warn their friends to not leave their luggage open because Lucky would help himself to whatever struck his fancy. Inevitably, someone would forget and something would come up missing.

Mary or Jim would go to Lucky's toy box in the basement and there the treasure would be, amid all of Lucky's other favorite toys. Lucky always stashed his finds in his toy box and he was very particular that his toys stay in the box.

It hap pened that Mary found out she had breast cancer. Something told her she was going to die of this disease....in fact , she was just sure it was fatal.

She scheduled the double mastectomy, fear riding her shoulders. The night before she was to go to the hospital she cuddled with Lucky. A thought struck her...what would happen to Lucky? Although the three-year-old dog liked Jim, he was Mary's dog through and through. If I die, Lucky will be abandoned, Mary thought. He won't understand that I didn't want to leave him. The thought made her sadder than thinking of her own death.

The double mastectomy was harder on Mary than her doctors had anticipated and Mary was hospitalized for over two weeks. Jim took Lucky for his evening walk faithfully, but the little dog just drooped, whining and miserable.

Finally the day came for Mary to leave the hospital. When she arrived home , Mary was so exhausted she couldn't even make it up the steps to her bedroom. Jim made his wife comfortable on the couch and left her to nap. Lucky stood watching Mary but he didn't come to her when she called. It made Mary sad but sleep soon overcame her and she dozed.

When Mary woke for a second she couldn't understand what was wrong. She couldn't move her head and her body felt heavy and hot. But panic soon gave way to laughter when Mary realized the problem. She was covered, literally blanketed, with every treasure Lucky owned! While she had slept, the sorrowing dog had made trip after trip to the basement bringing his beloved mistress all his favorite things in life. He had covered her with his love.

July 19, 2008

Happy Birthday, Mom!

It's a well-documented fact that for the last 10 years or so, I have not cut my hair. If you've seen me, you know that my hair has been my defining feature for a very, very long time - generally reaching to my waist or lower. I grew it to that length (something between 36" and 40", depending on how long it's been since my last trim) for a lot of reasons.

When I was a kid, I always wanted really long hair, but I never had it, so when I went to college, I seized the opportunity. So roughly 10 years ago, I stopped cutting my hair. I still got it trimmed - mostly by Schondy - but it was on the order of 2-3 inches every 6 months or so.

Cut to the first of this year, when I started this crazy diet (that I never really believed would work) and, through a lot of time and a lot of work, have managed to lose an unbelievable 46 lbs. (No one is more amazed by this than me. I promise.) So in honor of my new body, I decided to cut my hair.

Yes, a lot of people have been pressuring me to do this. But I did it on my own terms and in my own time because I'm stubborn like that.

So Happy Birthday, Mom. Your real gift is on the way, but until it gets there, here's a little extra something. :-)

July 7, 2008

The Peanut Gallery's Hawaiian Vacation, Day 6

If you haven't read the previous installment, go here first.

We started out this morning planning to do nothing but lounge around the pool, but as we were coming back from breakfast, we swung by the concierge desk, where we turned in a letter they'd given us at check-in. This letter told us to talk to the concierge to get some information and a free gift, but of course, we didn't talk to them until the last day we were here. The girl laughed a little when we told her we were leaving so soon, but actually was able to recommend one more sight we should see - the Spouting Horn, which is a blow hole. So Schondy said we had to go see the blow hole.

On our way out of the hotel, though, we got caught by one of the local artists who was selling her necklaces. She had some really beautiful work and I ended up getting the necklace you see in the picture. It's handmade of koa wood and oyster shell. I really liked some of the others she had with braided coconut fiber, but she was REALLY proud of those. :-) Oh, yeah, and there's this watery blow hole thing in the background...

Several other photographers were around, and they all hopped the fence to get a closer shot of the water, so of course, Schondy hopped the fence and got a closer shot, too. The water would shoot up 15-20 feet in the air and make this crazy howling noise. The water shot out of the hole about every minute, so we have lots of pictures of this.

As we were leaving the Spouting Horn, Schondy pointed out the baby palm tree. He said I should go stand under it, but I knew we needed a picture of him, so I sent him instead.

Almost directly across the street from the Spouting Horn was the National Tropical Botanical Garden. We didn't really have any other plans, so we popped in for a few minutes. It was massively hot and we stuck mostly to the free McBryde Garden because the other gardens required reservations and whatnot. Schondy took lots of beautiful pictures of the amazing plants in the garden, but I really liked this one. This was a tree, but I'm not sure what kind of tree.

We went back to the hotel and changed into our swimsuits and parked ourselves at the pool with our books. We found this pool several days ago and it's not the one most of the people visited, so it was nice and quiet. After we got sufficiently toasted, we ended up going back to the shopping center and the Starbucks one more time. On our way, though, we walked through the neighboring resort's gardens, which are full of orchids. So here's a shot of some of the orchids at the Kiahuna Plantation Gardens.

After dinner, we headed back to the hotel, but by then, the sun was setting. So after a little slipping and sliding on the rocks to get a better angle, Schondy took this beautiful shot of the sunset.

It's sad to know that our stay in Hawaii will be over when we get up in the morning, but I think we're both pretty much ready to go home. Our biggest challenge is going to be getting all our souvenirs home in our luggage. We're going to have to get creative with our packing. California, here we come!

July 6, 2008

The Peanut Gallery's Hawaiian Vacation, Day 5

If you haven't read the previous installment, go here first.

Once again, we were up bright and early, which was good because we had to make sure to check in with the car rental folks by 10. We had to either return the car or let them know that we wanted to keep it. We wanted to keep it. So we're going to return the car on Tuesday after we drive ourselves to the airport in Lihue. Our cab ride on Wednesday cost us almost $50, so renting a car has turned out to be muuuuuuch cheaper than getting cab rides all over the island.

So instead of heading north and east, today, we drove west. We had a bunch of destinations in mind, plus there are always bunches of amazing lookouts and photo ops along the road. Our first stop was a lookout near Kalaheo.

After that, we stopped at Kauai Coffee Company Plantation in Ele'ele. It was absolute heaven... especially if heaven is 90 degrees with 75 percent humidity. Seeing the row after row of coffee plants was awesome and even though it was devilishly hot, I had to get a cup of coffee there. I drank it as we poked around in the little museum.

After a scorchingly hot tour around the grounds, looking at all the farm implements and admiring all the coffee bushes, we went on our way, but not before Schondy shot one more quick pic of the front of the building. If you're ever on Kauai, I highly recommend a stop at this place. Mecca for any coffee drinker.

We left the coffee plantation and headed to Glass Beach near Hanapepe. We saw this on several of our tour maps and it looked interesting, but we really didn't know what to expect. Turns out, this was a good place to stop. Instead of tiny grains of sand, the beach was covered in millions of small "rocks" of glass. Some of them were larger, but there were huge areas of tiny, pebble-sized pieces. It's very much trash turned into treasure. I had to resist the urge to take a handful of the beach with me because I know that if everyone did that, there'd be no beach left if I ever came back. So my handful of glass went back on the beach for the next person to discover.


We left Glass Beach and headed further west/north and visited the Russian Fort in Waimea. It wasn't much to see, but the story was very interesting. We stuck our heads into the middle of the fort for just a minute - long enough for Schondy to pose for a picture. Then we moved on.

We had lunch at a Subway in Waimea while we were looking for the road to take us up into Waimea Canyon. We'd heard from one of the honeymoon couples at the luau that this was something we should see, so up, up, up we went into the canyon. It's about 20 miles from the bottom of the hill to the top. The road is twisty and turny and we didn't make it that far. Our little cruiser plugged gamely along, but we just weren't interested in going the whole length. So when we got to the Waimea Canyon Lookout, about 10 miles in, we decided that was enough. We'd stopped several times on the way up at the various scenic lookouts and Schondy was able to get some beautiful shots.

We took a slightly different route back down from the hill, through Kekaha, and then stopped in Ele'ele at the Grinds Cafe. It was a cute little place where the menu said something along the lines of "If you're in a hurry, come back later when you're not in a hurry." They weren't kidding. We had plenty of time to watch World Series of Poker while waiting for the waitress to get back to us. But the air conditioning was divine.

So we headed back to hotel, and then Schondy wanted to go get dinner at PukaDog. So off we went. While I was sitting there, watching him enjoy his Polish sausage with banana relish, I realized that I was quite upset about not being able to enjoy the experience with him, so, for the very first time since the end of February, I cheated on my diet. I had a Veggie PukaDog with pineapple relish. It was good. I plan to stick with the diet after this, but I feel better for having experienced a Hawaiian hot dog, which is not something I'll ever be able to have at home. I've been so good with the diet so far that I don't feel like this one day of extremely minor slippage is going to kill me.

So tomorrow, we start organizing ourselves and seeing any last sights. And we may be shipping some of our souvenirs home to us because we bought lots.

The Peanut Gallery's Hawaiian Vacation, Day 4

If you haven't read the previous installment, go here first.

After another early start and breakfast at the hotel, we went over to the rental car office to pick up our car. Turns out it was a 2008 Silver PT Cruiser. I was sooooo pleased. If I'm going to have to drive in an unfamiliar place, at least I have a familiar car. So we started driving east and north, stopping first at Hilo Hattie in Lihue for some souvenirs. We spent way too much money there, but had a lot of fun picking out presents for ourselves and others. While we were there, I talked to my family for the first time since we got here. It was nice to hear some familiar voices.

We left Lihue and drove to Wailua Falls, which was right down the road. It's one of several waterfalls on the island, but it's the first we made it to. The area was absolutely beautiful, but I wish we could have gotten closer and seen more. The vegetation is so lush, it's sometimes hard to see the sights we're trying to see. :-) There was a big pool at the bottom of the waterfall, but we couldn't really see much of it other than the far bank where all the logs were piled up. There were lots of birds flying around, too, but they were too far away to be terribly interesting in pictures.

There was a sign that said "No Vending" in big red letters. So the woman with the leis in her trunk was 10 feet to the left. There were also lots of other people around taking pictures, and this was one opportunity I took to get the photographer in the pictures.

So we left the waterfall and, on our way on out of town, stopped quickly at the Kapaia Stitchery, which is a quilting store. We talked a little about getting some Hawaiian fabric for making shirts, but decided we weren't feeling quite that industrious.

We climbed back in the car and drove to 'Opaeka'a Falls, which was just as beautiful as Wailua Falls, but even farther away from the lookout point where we were standing. Schondy had to break out the telephoto lens again, but before that, he got a nice shot of me. The river continued on the other side of the road, where there were lots of kayaks and skiers.

We've seen TONS of chickens all over the island. They're obnoxious and omnipresent. The roosters crow all day long and we even watched one walk into an open-air restaurant and pick up the crumbs off the floor. But they're quite beautiful and Schondy had to get some shots of the flock next to the waterfall.

After we left the waterfall, we stopped at the Coconut Marketplace for some lunch and a little shopping, but didn't buy much While we were eating, though, we did see the chicken come in looking for crumbs. AND there was a cat running around, stalking the various small birds in the area. The waitress shooed the cat away, telling it not to stalk the bird. Now, you may think you know why she shooed the cat, but I assure you - you haven't guessed it. She didn't want to have to clean the feathers off the floor of the restaurant. :-) Our only purchase was some apple-bananas from a local farmer because I wanted a snack. They were quite good.

We continued driving north and stopped at a Craft Fair, which turned out to be a fancy name for a tourist junk store. So we continued on our merry way to the Kilauea Lighthouse, but it was closed. Turned out, the Lighthouse closed at 4 and we showed up at, like 4:10. Sadness. But Schondy got this beautiful shot from a distance. Maybe we'll try to go back later.

So back in the car one more time, we stopped at Safeway to grab a few things, then went back to the hotel for a few minutes. We went to Starbucks, where I ordered a cup of coffee, but I had to go being a smart alec and messed the whole thing up. I asked the barista what the cost difference was between at 16 oz. coffee and a 20 oz. coffee. For me, the cost difference is, like, 15 cents. But for Starbucks, it's, like, 2 cents. She was too busy chatting with me and ended up making me two cups of coffee. When we figured out what had happened (after I'd already paid for everything), she refunded my $2.03, but then gave me the extra coffee anyway. Turns out I cannot drink 32 oz. of coffee in a single sitting. It's just too much. But I gave it the old college try.

Schondy wanted to try another PukaDog, but they were closed, so we wandered back to the hotel, and it started raining as we were walking. This seems to be a common occurrence around here. So we ended up heading to one of the resort restaurants one more time for dinner.

Then we wandered onto the beach, looked at stars and watched the people further down as they set off their own rogue fireworks and waved sparklers at each other.

July 4, 2008

The Peanut Gallery's Hawaiian Vacation, Day 3

If you haven't read the previous installment, go here first.

So we woke up early this morning - Schondy was up about 7:30 and woke me up so we were ready to go to breakfast at 8:30. Just like yesterday, we went to the Shells restaurant, where we greatly confused the wait staff by not getting the buffet and instead ordering from the menu.

We had tried yesterday to reserve one of the beach cabanas, but they told us that you can't do that - you basically reserve a cabana for an entire day, so you have to do it at least one day in advance. So we reserved one for today. After breakfast, we went and changed into our swimsuits, but when Schondy put his on, he discovered that it was a bit on the big side. So he put on regular clothes instead and decided that if he wanted to go in the ocean we'd just have to go get him one at the store later.

On our way to the cabana, we stopped by the office of the car rental company and reserved a car for Saturday. (We realized later that this was the first time either of us had ever reserved a car) They told us that it would be either a Sebring or a PT Cruiser. She sounded a little apologetic, though I'm not sure why...

So we headed to the beach, crawled into the cabana, and stayed there until about 2:30. In that time, though, I did go in the water, and Schondy had his telephoto lens on the camera to be able to take pictures of me from the cabana. So to fulfill Mom's request of a picture of me in my swimsuit on the beach, here's me as I walked out of the water.

Turns out Schondy hadn't put nearly enough sunscreen on his legs and feet, so he's having a bit of trouble with the sunburn on his feet, and his knees look like lobster knees (whatever that looks like), but we've got some Aloe with Lidocaine to make it feel a little better. So far, this has been our only major burn. Here's hoping it stays that way. Schondy did get some really nice pictures of the various surfers. They were out in force and the water was cooperating beautifully.

We went to one of the resort restaurants for lunch, which proved to be a challenge. Schondy ordered a burger and I had a salad. But as we sat there waiting (funny thing about staying at a resort - NOTHING moves very fast. Hope you've got plenty of time.), the waitress came back and told us that their fryer had just quit working, so she couldn't give him any of the fries he'd ordered. So he had a salad. And apparently she felt bad enough about it that she gave us a discount on the entire order.

By the time we finished eating, it was time to go get changed because we had reservations for the luau! Our resort has their own luau and we'd made reservations back on the first day to go. So we cleaned ourselves up and went to the luau, where there was lots of interesting food, including poi (doesn't actually taste like much, by the way), and lots of other things. Schondy LOVED the coconut pudding. There were two young couples across the table from us, both of whom were on their honeymoons, and we heard about another couple two tables over, also on their honeymoon. Awwwwwwwww.

As we were finishing up our food, the hula dancing started, and so did the rain. It sprinkled on us a little, but not enough to do anything major. But it did mean that by the time the show really got going good, there was a beautiful rainbow in the sky above the stage.

The show went on for about 3 hours. I'm including just a few of the pictures Schondy took - there were lots. So this is what we did for the 4th of July. There was a fireworks show elsewhere on the island, but we didn't go to that. EVERYONE goes and sees fireworks on the 4th. How many people can say they saw a luau on the 4th? We were quite happy with our choice.

The hula girls were beautiful and I kept thinking I needed to go ask them what they do to keep their hair so pretty.

This guy was quite a character. He came back on stage a few times in different roles. This time, he was being a Maori warrior and he danced around and waved his spear and stuck his tongue out a lot. Apparently, sticking your tongue out and making your eyes really wide is supposed to be intimidating. I think I'll have to try that some time.

In this picture, they're swinging the poi balls like the Maori warriors used to do. It was amazing to see them do that without tangling the strings.

July 3, 2008

The Peanut Gallery's Hawaiian Vacation, Day 2

If you haven't read the previous installment, go here first.

Since we went to bed so early last night, we of course woke up early this morning. We realized we'd woken up early enough to actually get breakfast at one of the restaurants here. We walked down to the restaurant, where the big special was a breakfast buffet, but they'd actually let you order whatever you liked (thankfully). So after a breakfast of Eggs Benedict (Schondy) and a fresh fruit plate (Peanut), we took off walking.

We wandered around for a bit until Schondy decided he wanted to take some pictures of the Moir Gardens of the neighboring resort - the Kiahuna Plantation. We walked through, poking at and photographing cacti, then wandered back over to the shopping center for a little light shopping, our second Starbucks visit since arriving in Hawaii, and a little lunch for Schondy. One thing about Starbucks - they always have air conditioning. :-)

We'd noticed a little hot dog shop in the shopping center and Schondy wanted to try it out. So Schondy had his very first PukaDog hot dog, complete with Coconut Relish (which he says was really good). After that, we wandered through the market again and made our very first souvenir purchase - a shot glass for me.

So after a little more wandering around, we landed on the beach, where we really wanted to sit and watch the tides come up. There are loungers that are large, wooden jobbies with canopies. The hotel calls them "cabanas" "and is very proud of them - requiring people to rent them for a day. So we sat on one of those for a few minutes, but that just wasn't close enough to the water for us, so we went over to the pool area and grabbed a couple of the plastic/metal loungers and pulled them over onto the beach. The staff watched us do this, then told us about 15 minutes later that we weren't allowed to have the plastic/metal loungers on the beach. So we put those back and continued on our way.

After recharging, we realized it was almost time for sunset and we knew that it was going to be spectacular out over the ocean and with all the clouds in the sky. Since our beach faces south (not west), getting a good view of the sunset was going to be something of a challenge. So we grabbed our stuff and took off in the westerly direction along the road. Basically, there wasn't really enough time for us to walk far enough to see much. So even though we walked probably a mile, there was still a building directly in our view of the sunset. We gave up, walked back to the hotel and went to dinner.

It started to rain while we were eating our dinner. That was okay with us because we were sitting outside, but under a cover, and we were greatly entertained watching other folks scrambling to get under cover. It was at this meal that Schondy had a Hawaiian pizza! In Hawaii! How crazy is that!?!?

It was also at this meal that I had some flat coffee. When I said that my coffee was flat, Schondy laughed and asked if I was looking for carbonation. So I handed him my cup and he tried it and... agreed. It was flat. I'm convinced that what happened was that it was evening, so my coffee was coming from the bar. The bar probably brews their coffee with the intention that it will be mixed with something a little harder. Since my cup contained only coffee, the inadequacies of the brew were obvious.

So there we are. Long day, lots of walking, very little of much interest, other than pictures! From Hawaii! Yay!

Stay tuned...

July 2, 2008

The Peanut Gallery's Hawaiian Vacation, Day 1

It's been too long since Schondy and I had a vacation. It's been almost 3 years since our Alaskan cruise and believe me - that's too long ago to be doing us much good now. Recent events have given us cause to celebrate - my weight loss and Schondy's job change have both been very good developments, changing long-standing points of tension in our lives.

So now, we're in Hawai'i. I'm currently sitting on a king-size hotel bed belonging to the Sheraton Resort on Po'ipu Beach on the Hawiian island of Kauai. I'm hot, tired, and immensely happy to be here. And so I don't forget the details later when folks ask me about my trip, I'm going to record them here for all posterity. My comments are posted in black, and Schondy has commented in red (since his commentary is always entertaining). Hopefully he'll actually make some comments at some point...

We woke up at 5am, not really having slept much due to the... anxiety of leaving on vacation early the next morning. Lulu was so confused. She could not figure out what was going on and why Mom and Dad were awake so early - she hates mornings as much as we do. Schondy and I got dressed and then scrambled around, cleaning up the house to prepare it for the loooovely young lady who is housesitting for us. We had to be ready for when the airport shuttle picked us up at 6:30am.

We got to the airport right at 7am and checked our luggage and then went through security, on our way to find breakfast. Schondy got a sandwich that was (in his words) ham, ham, more ham, cheese and ham. Then we settled in to wait for our 9am flight to Honolulu. Schondy was wearing his Allensville Yacht Club t-shirt, which greatly puzzled the man sitting across from us. It puzzled him to the point that he had to ask about it. :-)

Our flight took over 5 hours on a 767, which Schondy says is the largest plane he's ever been on. Sadly, it wasn't quite big enough because we ended up a little too close to the two screaming-est kids on the PLANET! Those two made it the ENTIRE 5 hours without stopping to breathe OR sleep! It was awesome!

We landed in Honolulu at 11:15am local time due to the 3-hour time difference from home. The Honolulu airport is strange, folks. Seriously strange. I thought several times that we had left the secured area and that we'd have to go back through security, but apparently not so much. There were gardens in the middle of the airport and a lot of the walkways were open. It was nice, but very strange. Our very first restaurant visit was to... a Starbucks!... of course. That was the only place we found that had a fruit cup for me, and I had my 5th cup of coffee for the day.

We caught our second flight to Lihue on Kauai. It was seriously the quickest flight ever. They didn't even bother to turn off the seatbelt sign and offered us only a token cup of apple juice as a snack. We both declined. Once we landed in the SERIOUSLY teensy airport, we found the baggage claim and waited... and waited... and waited for our luggage. It took forever. Don't know why. But finally, we got our luggage and called a taxi to come get us.

The cab ride to the hotel was... interesting. We ended up riding with a man listening to the stand-up comedy of Richard Jeni, which was... shall we say... adult... in nature. It was a loooooong ride across the island to the Sheraton. We arrived at the resort a little before 3 and discovered that, since we're here in the off season, this is apparently the perfect time for repaving the entire parking lot. Also, since we were early (slightly before 3), we had no room to sleep in. So we sat and waited until a room was clean for us.

Once we were in our room and had changed clothes out of our traveling duds, we went in search of some food for me, since my diet dictates whole fruit and vegetables only, and the restaurants at the resort mostly specialize in burgers, steak and pizza (with a little fish thrown in for good measure). There was a little shopping center not too far from the hotel, so we walked over and grabbed a burger for Schondy, a salad for me, and hit the little general store there for some diet-sanctioned foods and supplies for our room (apples, salt, pepper and soy sauce).

We wandered back to our room via a really big cactus/succulent garden at the hotel next door. When we got back to the room, Schondy turned on the TV and flipped through the channels for a few minutes until he decided he'd had enough. At that point, it was 9:00 and we were pooped. So we went to bed.

Stay tuned...

July 1, 2008

Look, Ma! No love handles!

Check it out! Schondy and I took Lulu to the beach!

So Schondy has had something of a job change, and it has meant a lot more time for him spent down south of home, in Scott's Valley. The new office just happens to be nice and close to Santa Cruz - one of the many beautiful little ocean-side towns in this area. This week, Schondy and I are both on vacation, but he had to go into the office on Monday for a meeting. So Lulu and I went with him. And when the meeting was over, Schondy, Lulu and I went to Seabright Beach in Santa Cruz.

Schondy took lots of pictures. He took lots of pictures of me. This was a good thing because it means I now have proof that: 1. I'm not trying to hide anything, 2. I've now lost 42 lbs., 3. I need a tan and 4. Lulu is still adorable.

Up on the sidewalk
:-) I like the lighting on this one.
Diggin' in the sand
Just me... and the ocean
In the shadow of the lighthouse
The baffles are biiiiiiig.

June 27, 2008

No, I'm not hiding anything.

Okay, so a little birdie told me that my lack of blog entries and the lack of pictures has prompted some people to assume that I'm hiding something. I assure you, that couldn't be farther from the truth.

I am busy, people. Seriously, crazily busy. I've been pulling 10-hour work days, only to go home and cozy up with my laptop and a cup of coffee and continue working - sometimes past midnight. Every day, I think about how I should post pictures of myself or put up a quick note about some of the interesting things I've been doing on the weekends. But the truth is, my brain is full.

But in a nutshell, here's what's been going on:
Last weekend, Schondy and I went with Sapphire and Xippi's younger brother to the Warped Tour in San Francisco, where we all (minus mini-Xippi) felt very old and uncool. Happily, we did get to hear some killer new music from Katy Perry and I got to introduce the peeps to Japanese Ska! I was introduced to the happiness that is ORESKABAND while at SXSW last year and loved it.

Last week at work, I was afforded the incredible honor of being voted the "Unsung Hero" of my team. It's a big team - about 600 people, so this was an amazing thing to win. So. Nothing major here, but it sure made my day.

Several weeks ago, Sapphire and I went to see a college production of "Hair", which was... interesting. We sat in the first row, which was WAAAAAY too close for anyone's comfort. If you know anything about the show, you know what I'm talking about. :-)

And I've just been generally crazy in my usual generally-crazy way.

So if you've felt neglected or anything, I apologize. That was not my intent. If you've been suspicious of the lack of pictures, I assure you, there's nothing juicy or scandalous here (unless you count the number of hours Schondy and I each work). If you've been worried about me, thank you, but I'm fine. If you've just wondered what was going on, well, not a lot and a whole lot all at the same time.

And in case you were wondering, last night at class, the official weigh-in revealed I've lost over 40 pounds. :-)

May 21, 2008

Hugged by an Octopus!!

So. You may or may not know about this particular aspect of me. Either way, I think you'll find this post interesting, but just to warn you, I have included a picture that some of you might find a little... shocking. I hid it behind a link, but I just wanted to make sure I warned you.

Since moving to California, I have become increasingly interested in living a cleaner, more natural life, including becoming a vegetarian, recycling as much as possible and seeking ways to improve my overall health without drugs or other "traditional medicinal" means. (Yes, Mom. I know. Whatever it is you're thinking, I know.)

It sounds crazy, right? It sounds like I've totally bought into the whole California crunchy-granola thing and I have joined the ranks of the famed Fruits-and-Nuts. Maybe. I'll admit to a certain level of that. But I've also maintained a reasonable amount of skepticism and have been pleasantly surprised with how often these things have worked in my favor.

Vegetarianism, in addition to lowering my cholesterol and helping me to avoid fear of Mad Cow Disease completely, also helped me drop 35 lbs. in a few months.

Recycling means that we have roughly one full kitchen bag of garbage to put on the curb per week. This includes all the garbage cans in the house. (I plan to start composting, as well, to lessen the organic material that I'm throwing away.)

Improving my health "naturally", as you know from reading this blog, means that I've lost 30 lbs. (about 25 of which I gained back after the veggie thing), making me the size now that I was when I was a junior in high school. I have done with no surgery, no diet drugs, no liposuction, and without starving myself. It has also sent me to look for alternative ways to deal with muscle soreness, stress and my ever-present migraines. It has sent me to acupuncture.

Before you ask, here are the answers to your questions:

  • No, it doesn't hurt.
  • No, the needles don't freak me out, mostly because I pretty much don't see them. My eyes are closed when she puts them in and then I take and nap, waking only she returns to remove the needles
  • No, they don't bleed.
  • Yes, I do believe it has helped me. It's the most relaxing hour of my week and I always return to work feeling nice and relaxed.
  • You're right. It might be complete quackery. I'm still holding judgement on that point.
  • Yes, it's a little expensive, but I'm okay with that if it improves my health and does so with minimal chemicals and drugs and other ways to muck with my already-wacky body.

There. Did that get the bulk of them?

Moving right along. You may have wondered about the title of this post. Well, today my acupuncturist tried something new (new for me - not for her). It's called cupping and it's supposed to help with... well, all kinds of things, but in my case, we were working on a severe case of muscle soreness following some serious weight lifting earlier this week. So, just like in the Wikipedia entry (if you followed the link), she lit a match to heat the air in the cup, then stuck it to my back while the air was still warm, so suction was created and it stayed where it was stuck.

She told me it might leave a mark, but not to panic, and that the mark was temporary. I didn't think much of it - expected maybe a faint little mark - and went about my day. When I got home, I realized I hadn't had a chance to look in the mirror or anything since my appointment this afternoon, so I asked Schondy to look at my back and tell me if there was a mark. I think his response was "Wow! Um, yes!"

So... check it out.


Scariness

(Image obscured to protect your eyes.)

Crazy, huh? And... quite like being hugged by an octopus.

Here are the answers to your questions:

  • No, it didn't hurt when she put them on me.
  • No, it doesn't hurt now, either.
  • You're right. It might be complete quackery. I'm still holding judgement on that point.

May 7, 2008

Getting off the couch.

This is an email I sent to my parents, who are currently cruising to Europe and can communicate pretty much only through emails and websites. We tried Skype, but... not so much. So I'm reposting here for the rest of the world to see. (Mildly edited, of course)

This week's weigh-in went well. I've lost another pound for a total of 26!! Holy cow! Another 28 to go before I reach my "realistic" goal. 53 more to reach my "optimistic" goal. Either way, I feel a million times better.

One of my best friends was in town this week for a thing in San Francisco and she came by the house for a few hours tonight (Wednesday). We had a great time catching up a little. It had been months since we had time to talk. I had the opportunity to go to a concert instead of hanging out with her, but gave the tickets to someone else, who seemed to appreciate the tickets and to have really enjoyed the show.

Next week on Thursday is Bike to Work Day in the Silicon Valley, and I think I'm going to do that. A friend is going to come meet me here at the house and we're going to ride together. Turns out if we take the right route, it's only about 7 miles, which is easy to do in less than an hour. I'll have to get my bike serviced, so I think Schondy and I are going to try to get that done this weekend. I'm really trying to get into this working out thing because it's the only thing that's going to make me look better in a bathing suit this summer. There's also a 1.2 mile walk at work on Friday that I think we're going to do. 1.2 miles is no big deal, but the other option is a 3.1 mile run, and I'm not much of a runner - at least not yet - so walking, it is.

I'm in the process of easing myself back into vegetables after almost 3 months of meal replacements only. Have really, really enjoyed eating cans of green beans each night for dinner. Never thought I'd be so happy to each a green bean in all my life. We're going to go to the store at some point and I'm now allowed to have apples, pears and bananas, which I'm so excited for, I can't even describe. My baked potato this weekend was positively divine (no butter, no cheese, no nothing except for one of my entrees and a little salt) and even my plate of carrots tasted like a dream - and I HATE carrots!!

So there you go. The theme of my life right now is to repair all the damage I've done to my body over the last XX years and blow you all away with how amazing I look when you next see me. For some of you, that won't be until at least the fall, so I have plenty of time to work on it. For the ones I'll see tomorrow, just remember - I'm a work in progress.

May 2, 2008

Tag. You're it.

I get tagged by these things periodically, so in the interest of playing along, here are my answers (names changed to protect the...... innocent).
  1. What time did you get up this morning?
  2. Too late - 8:45
  3. Diamonds or pearls?
  4. Diamonds
  5. What was the last film you saw at the cinema?
  6. Cinema? Really? Who calls it that? Seriously, though... not sure. Maybe Serenity?
  7. What is your favorite TV show?
  8. I have to pick just one? Probably New Amsterdam
  9. What did you have for breakfast?
  10. A Chocolate protein shake
  11. What is your middle name?
  12. Don't have one
  13. What food do you dislike?
  14. That's a really long list... the top 5: mustard, tomatoes, avocados, cucumbers and meat (to qualify, it's not that I dislike meat, really. I'm just a vegetarian.)
  15. What is your favorite CD at the moment?
  16. Who still has CDs? My favorite album right now is probably.... Paulo Nutini - These Streets
  17. What kind of car do you drive?
  18. 2001 Red PT Cruiser
  19. Favorite sandwich?
  20. Cheese and pickles with Cavenders
  21. What characteristic do you despise?
  22. Ignorance
  23. Favorite item of clothing?
  24. Low-rise, flare leg jeans from the Gap
  25. If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where would you go?
  26. Scotland
  27. Favorite brand of clothing?
  28. At the moment, Old Navy and the Gap are high on my list.
  29. Where would you retire to?
  30. Nashville
  31. What was your most recent memorable birthday?
  32. 26 was pretty good.
  33. Favorite sport to watch?
  34. Sports? Do I have to?
  35. What is the furthest place this email will go?
  36. Er. I'm not doing this in email, so.....
  37. Person you expect to send it back first?
  38. I don't know if anyone will, but that's okay.
  39. When is your birthday?
  40. December 4
  41. Are you a morning person or a Night person?
  42. Night.
  43. What is your shoe size?
  44. 9.5
  45. Pets?
  46. Miles - 9-year-old Silver Persian cat, Deliah - 5-year-old Tortie cat, Lulu - 1.5-year-old red mini dachshund
  47. Any new and exciting news you'd like to share with us?
  48. Um... I've lost almost 30 pounds
  49. What did you want to be when you were little?
  50. Depended on the day, I think, but I know veterinarian came up a few times, as did musician and maybe teacher?
  51. How are you today?
  52. Cold. As usual. And very tired.
  53. What is your favorite candy?
  54. Jelly Belly Jelly Beans. Every flavor.
  55. What is your favorite flower?
  56. Lily
  57. What is a day on the calendar you are looking forward to?
  58. July 2.
  59. What is your full name?
  60. Wouldn't you like to know?
  61. What are you listening to right now?
  62. The air conditioner running in my office, even though it's 65 degrees in here.
  63. What was the last thing you ate?
  64. 5-Bean Casserole.
  65. Do you wish on stars?
  66. Sometimes, but it's hard to see them here with all the city lights.
  67. If you were a crayon, what color would you be?
  68. Red.
  69. Last person you spoke to on the phone?
  70. Ellis and Mufaddal (who I've actually never met)
  71. Favorite soft drink?
  72. If I have to pick one it would be Sprite, but I haven't had soft drinks on a regular basis in over 10 years.
  73. Favorite restaurant?
  74. Amarin Thai
  75. Hair color?
  76. Light brown/Dark blonde
  77. What was your favorite toy as a child?
  78. Barbies? Maybe? I don't think I was really a "toy" kind of child.
  79. Summer or winter?
  80. Winter
  81. Hugs or kisses?
  82. Hugs.
  83. Chocolate or Vanilla?
  84. I love me some chocolate, but chocolate does not love me.
  85. Coffee or tea?
  86. Coffee.
  87. Do you want your friends to email you back?
  88. Um. Does anyone actually say no to this question?
  89. When was the last time you cried?
  90. A few weeks ago, I think. I was having a really bad day at work.
  91. What is under your bed?
  92. Dust bunnies and (occasionally) a little red dog.
  93. What did you do last night?
  94. Went for a 2-mile walk, had a cup of coffee from the coffee shop, then watched Lost and played some computer games.
  95. What are you afraid of?
  96. The dark.
  97. Salty or sweet?
  98. Salty.
  99. How many keys on your key ring?
  100. 3 - House, Office, Car.
  101. How many years at your current job?
  102. 4.5
  103. Favorite day of the week?
  104. Friday.
  105. How many towns have you lived in?
  106. 8
  107. Do you make friends easily?
  108. No. I'm part nerd, and that part is very shy.
  109. How many people will you send this to?
  110. Um... All of them? It being on the Innnner-web and all...
  111. How many will respond?
  112. We'll see, but probably no one.
So there. Tag. You're it. Feel free to post the answers on your blog (if you have one) and let me know when you do it or send me an email with your answers.

April 28, 2008

Super Diet Revealed!!

If you're looking for a post with lots of funny and laughs and giggles, this ain't it. If that's what you need, I highly recommend you go here. Otherwise, here's the story of my diet.

So at this point, you probably know that I've been on this crazy diet. And I haven't really talked about it, which I know has probably left you wondering what's up. I've been a little hesitant to talk about it - partly because of my own fears that it wouldn't work and partly because I didn't really have any pictures to prove that it's working. It's been a very interesting process of losing weight - and for those of you keeping score, I've lost 23 pounds in the last 9 weeks.

As a clothing maker - sewing, knitting, crocheting, whatever - I tend to spend a lot of time studying the shape of clothing, especially tops. And as a... fluffy... woman pretty much my entire life, it's generally been highly frustrating to look at patterns. Women (according to clothing makers and pattern designers) have a very characteristic shape - wider on top, two humps between the shoulders (preferably in front and of a reasonably manageable size), narrow in the middle, same width on bottom as on top, and then legs of a reasonably manageable, uniform circumference.

Would the woman who actually IS this shape please stand up? I have some very strong words for you on behalf of NORMAL women everywhere.

Ahem.

I lost a bunch of weight several years ago when I became vegetarian... and then I re-learned how to cook. 5 years ago, when I became veggie, I ate primarily vegetables in various forms - salads, roasted veggies, stir fry - that were pretty good, but not what I grew up on. But, THEN! I discovered that all the foods I loved as a kid - grilled cheese sandwiches, green bean casserole, stroganoff - are either already vegetarian or could be made so. Oh, happy day! And 5 years later, well, here I am. So back in the middle of December, I decided that I'd had enough.

I went to my doctor for... probably a regular checkup. I really don't remember why I was there. But as I was sitting there, I asked the doctor about losing weight. She was so excited that asked! She handed me a bunch of brochures and said it was up to me. So in January, I called and made the appointment to go to an orientation. And 3 months later, here I am.

For the last 9 weeks, I've eaten nothing but powdered milkshakes, pre-packaged meals and snack bars. I've had about a thousand gallons of coffee (one of the few vices still allowed), and I've taken to drinking a cup of vegetable broth (bullion dissolved in water) every evening before I go to bed. It's been both harder and easier than I expected. Funny thing about a very absolute diet. When there's no question about whether or not something is allowed (whatever it is, the answer is probably NO), it's easy to know what to eat. There have been folks in the class that have cheated on the diet (some a lot and others just a little), but for whatever reason, I haven't. I'm very proud of that, but also very surprised. I never expected this to work. And I still don't believe it most of the time. I have real trouble believing that this is going to last.

But for now, I'm wearing clothes that are smaller than I've worn in 10 years. I'm eating about 1200 calories a day, and walking 3-8 miles a day. I start this week working with a friend who has some personal training tendencies, who promises me that things will only get better. We'll see how long this lasts.

And now, pictures.

Schondy posted a few pics several weeks ago that did show me when I'd lost a few pounds, but since then, I've had a hard time convincing him to take more pictures. So today, as I walked in the door from work, I was on the phone with Mom, who was in the process of fussing at me for not posting pictures. Her timing was impeccable since Schondy just happened to be sitting at the kitchen table, right inside the door as she was fussing at me. So I handed the phone to him to let my Mom explain things. And right after he got off the phone, we walked out in the backyard, where he took these pictures... Lulu helped.

There were, of course, quite a few of these pictures, but I tried to pull out the best ones. You can see that I still have a long way to go, and that I REALLY need a tan, but it's not the quality of my skin we're interested in, here. :-) And anyway, I have plans to rectify that particular problem later.

So thanks to my picture-taking hubby, there now exists photographic evidence that I have been working my fanny off (HA!) on this diet and the results are becoming obvious. Hopefully things will continue to improve, but I've got at least 4 more weeks of the status quo, and untold more weeks of variations on this theme. Wish me luck!

April 21, 2008

74 WPM

74 words

I type 402 characters per minute
I have 74 correct words and
I have 0 wrong words


Thank you, Mario Teaches Typing!!

April 19, 2008

I want to express myself. And I DO need 37 pieces of flair to do it.

I've had a whole bunch of different ideas bouncing around in my head for weeks about posts I want to write on my blog. Trouble is that there's this whole work thing, where they expect you to, like, show up in exchange for paying you. I mean, seriously. That's the craziest thing I ever heard! Geez! So all my writing energy has gone into that and I haven't really had much head-space for writing other stuff. I apologize if this entry is not a shining example of my literary genius.

Anywho. Some of my entry ideas, I still hope to work on, but for now, I just want to talk about flair. If you've ever seen the movie "Office Space", you're familiar with such joys as red Swingline staplers and flair. If you haven't see the movie, you SHOULD. Yes, it's rated R, but the jokes are absolutely worth it for anyone who's ever worked in an office.

It seems my current time-sink, Facebook, has an app for making, sharing and displaying pithy little sayings in the form of buttons (flair). Only problem was that I liked them ALL! I liked them so much, I decided to capture a few of the better ones here. Mostly because they made me giggle and I thought I'd share the joy. In no particular order....

Friends are like potatoes. If you eat them, they die.

Whoever said nothing is impossible never tried to slam a revolving door

Say no to drugs. Say yes to tacos.

Never judge a book by its movie.

You're a great friend, but if zombies chase us, I'm tripping you.

To err is human. To arr is pirate

When life hands you lemons, make grape juice, then sit back and watch the world wonder how you did it.

I'm not random, you just can't think as fast as me.

Girls are NOT complicated. Seriously. How hard is it to say "you're pretty" and give us chocolate?

Things to do today:
1. Get up
2. Survive
3. Go back to bed.

April 2, 2008

See? I can do pictures too!

So tonight, we both got home before it was dark. This NEVER HAPPENS. But today it did. And in the interest of... well, of getting out of the house, we went on a walk. It was raining a little, but not enough to send us home, so we walked along the nature trail with Lulu, and then we wandered through downtown to see which of the coffee shops were open. Interestingly enough, only the Red Rock was open, which is the one we rarely visit. It's a great shop, but when we first started visiting coffee shops here, it had very little seating and was always just too crowded. They've now opened an upstairs area that's very nice and holds tons of people, so they've solved the indoor seating problem. But since we had Lulu with us, we had to stay outside. Luckily, it's beginning to warm up enough that sitting outside isn't so terrible, and by the time we got there, the rain had stopped.

So we were hanging out on the sidewalk, and by the time we made it to the coffee shop, we'd walked 2.5 miles and it had gotten dark. I was sitting there drinking my coffee and realized the interesting lighting that was going on behind Schondy and Lulu. So I pulled out my iPhone and started taking pictures. I'm not going to say that they're great or anything, but they're the kind of thing I usually like taking pictures of (read: people and critters I love), and I thought the pictures were not terrible. I loved the way the iPhone blurred out all the lights and was just generally grainy. I actually really like that look (these are complete unmodified from the originals).

Lulu was being only moderately cooperative - she was way more interested in climbing up on the table to lick my face, my hands or my coffee cup - but even at her most fractious she still looks adorable in pretty much every picture. The worst part was that we were sitting right next to a busy intersection and the headlights virtually obliterated most of the pictures I took. There were tons of these, but only a few of them are recognizable as anything because I managed to block out the majority of the headlights.


 

I just had to post these to prove that there's more than one artist in the house. :-) (Sorry hon - you know I think you're brilliant.)

February 18, 2008

Did you ever see a lassie go this way and that way?

I'll bet you've been wondering what happened to me. I'll bet you're just going MAD with the suspense of it all. And right you should, too. Things are always hopping here in my little world. Lemmesee...

Last weekend, Schondy and I went bouncing around the county, shopping for two days. We weren't doing anything special, but there were a bunch of things we needed to take care of. I bought new artwork for our bedroom - a set of French art posters that match the 5-foot copy of La Victoria Arduino we picked up several years ago. I tried to find copies of all the new ones we got outside of goofy online poster stores, but good images of all of them are proving rather elusive: Pates Baroni, Parapluie-Revel, Cirio and Cioccolato Venchi. Anyway, this meant that we needed frames, which of course meant wandering around to various stores until we found nice frames that didn't cost an arm and a leg. Turns out such things are annoyingly hard to find.

Also, Schondy has taken up a new crafty project from which I have high hopes for some spectacular results. At the moment, the kitchen table is covered in crafty bits and painty bits and clocky bits, but I can't wait to see what he produces.

This upcoming weekend, I DID have plans to go to Stitches West, the knitting expo. But I have other plans instead that I will detail later on account of their secret nature. I'm bummed about missing the knitting show, but these new plans mean I'll have TONS of time for actual knitting, and that always makes me happy.

For the first time in.... well, almost 6 months, I'm knitting something for myself. I'm excited about this one. I agonized for days over what to make, even as I was finishing up previous projects. I would be all settled on what I was going to make and then I'd realize that something else would be more fun or more timely, but then I'd realize that I didn't have the needles for that one or the yarn for this one or... well, you get the idea. Lest you think the lack of knitting posts means I haven't been knitting, I assure you I've finished quite a few things, but my photographer has been somewhat pokey with the taking of the photos. Maybe, given that it's a holiday and he's home by himself all day, he'll do that today...

Since I last posted, we had a major launch at work, requiring waaaaay too much time on the train between home and the city. It was good to be involved in something like that because of the attention I garnered for my skills in the organization (I spent quite a bit of time with two directors and a VP), but it was fairly grueling work that I wasn't sorry to leave behind.

I'm now in the process of hiring someone to help me (possibly two someones) to help me out at work. It's exciting, but really confusing to be navigating the world of corporate management. I have to say that I'm honored to be considered responsible (Is that the word I'm going for?) enough to manage people other than myself, but it's a daunting prospect.

Schondy and I have taken to watching a LOT of British Television. Between Torchwood and Doctor Who, we've both started using a lot of British slang. It's a bit startling to suddenly find yourself talking about snogging with a completely straight face... well, as straight a face as one can have when using the word "snog".

Anyway.

The powers-that-be at work have booked a private showing of Cirque Du Soleil, Kooza in a couple weeks. Schondy and I are both pretty excited about that. We saw a Cirque show in Vegas when we were there two years ago and it was amazing. I can't wait.

A week after that, Schondy's company is having their annual winter party. I have yet to convince Schondy that he should be asking around to find out the dress code for this event, but I'm sure I'll have some clue prior to then. At least I'm hoping. A few days after that, the Neighbors have invited us to go see the Youth Theater production of Jekyll & Hyde. Given where we live, the amount of really excellent talent in the area makes for some better-than-expected youth productions.

So that's what's going on. I had grandiose ideas this morning about posting a list of all the concerts I've been to since landing my current job, but then I felt bad because that's probably not interesting to anyone but me. I leave you with my current favorite picture of my favorite babies, photographed by my favorite photog.


The babies say hello (look quick - they won't hold still for long).

December 13, 2007

Failed!

Ok. So I had this great plan for Christmas, that I was going to hand-make some of my gifts for my family, primarily in the form of knitted thingies. And I started working on these things around the first of November, and I did manage to finish one of the two items.

But as of yesterday, following a positively INSANE day at work, I gave up. I called my mommy, hoping she could kiss the booboos and make them go away. That was not to be, but she did say something that helped, which was "you can't do it all." And in the spirit of owning up to the fact that, No, I can't do it all, I decided to cut bait. So I'm currently in the process of taking care of the things I can, and admitting defeat on some others. Sadly, I'm admitting defeat on my spectacular holiday planning, which pains me because I've been working on that since... oh... July? maybe? If you know me, you know I'm something of a classic overachiever, but even overachievers have to grudgingly admit defeat sometimes. I can't do it all.

Normally, I ship all the gifts by Schondy's birthday, which was on the 9th (happy birthday, hon!!), but this year.... not so much. I was hanging on to them in the hopes that I'd get his mother's knitted gift finished, and try as I might, it just wasn't going to happen. So everything has shipped today, which you'll notice is... decidedly after Schondy's birthday. If they get to you late, I apologize. UPS won't guarantee anything shipped this close to Christmas unless you give them even more exorbitant amounts of money than what I already gave them, so, well, they just might make it. And right now, I'm okay with that. I can't do it all.

This Friday is our group's holiday party at work, and I'm wondering just how little I can be there without offending someone. I'm wiped out. Last night I went completely ballistic on the poor dog because she thought packing peanuts looked tasty. This is a clear sign I should not be allowed in public. So Schondy and I will go and we will have no drinks stronger than a fuzzy navel and we will scoot on home to crash as soon as politeness will allow. I can't do it all.

I did feel bad about how long it's been since I've posted. I have a couple new Knitwit Papers to put up - one of which has already been photographed, the other still needs pictures. And hopefully, I'll be able to put up the Knitwit Paper about the failed Christmas present soon, complete with weekly progress photos to show it as it went together.

Until then, I'll be madly scrambling to get what I can done and I'll be trying to let the things I can't quite finish go. So if I show up at work in my pajamas, it's all because: I can't do it all.

October 23, 2007

Yarn, Cars and Dinners, Oh, My!

You may be wondering why I haven't posted much in the way of "substance" lately, and I can tell you that there are a lot of reasons. I have to confess that not all of them are good reasons, but there are a lot of them. And because I, myself, am feeling a bit disjointed and scattered, this blog post is... well... disjointed and scattered.

So first of all, I have this rule that I use every year about this time. Basically, the idea is that I have to finish all of my Christmas shopping before Thanksgiving, and it has to be shipped by December 9th. Mostly, this is because ALL of our family lives a long way away and we have to ship everything and UPS won't guarantee delivery before Christmas on anything shipped after that. But there's also the issue of the malls in this particular part of the country. Namely, you shouldn't enter a shopping establishment of any size after Thanksgiving without riot gear. Seriously.

What does this have to do with yarn and cars and dinner, you ask? Well, not so much with the cars (Sorry. No one's getting a car from me for Christmas), and I'd be happy to buy you dinner if you come visit. But this does have much to do with yarn. Unless you've been sleeping for the last several months, you know that I've taken to knitting... pretty much constantly for the last 6 months or so, churning out random things that various people (or dogs) ask for. And just recently, I decided to knit some of my gifts to people because, well, who doesn't like hand-knitted goods? I'm not going to tell you what I'm making, and I'm not going to tell you who it's for, but I thought this was a good indicator of the amount of knitting I have before me:

On Thursday of last week, I climbed in my car to drive to work and discovered my car was acting funny. I hoped it was just being slow to wake up, and tried to drive it, only to discover, about a mile down the road, that it wasn't shifting out of first gear. So I headed back home and begged the hubby for a ride to work, during which I called my mechanic and scheduled an appointment. Long story short, they didn't have the part, so they kept my car all weekend, and I got it back Monday evening. I missed my car while it was gone...

So, Saturday was our 6th wedding anniversary. On one hand, I can't believe it's been that long, and on the other hand, it feels like this is the way it's always been. :) I happened to mention to a friend at work about our anniversary and it ended up that there was a guy who knew a guy whose brother owns this really ritzy restaurant. So I made reservations. And didn't tell the hubby about these plans until a couple hours before we left. I only told him then because he had to drive and because I could tell from his face that it was making him crazy not to know.

We went to dinner and it was REALLY nice. Had a vegetarian tasting menu with paired wine selections. Fancy! Seriously, though, I now understand what the right pairing of wine with food can do. I've never been much of a wine drinker - prefer the harder stuff, myself - but that was amazing. When the dust had settled, the bill was a bit... okay... a LOT more than I expected, but it was really good food and it's not like we do this kind of thing all the time. I expect we'll go back at some point when we're needing to celebrate something else.

So that's what's happened lately. I apologize if it's not the most eloquent or humorous telling, but I'm still trying to kick this stupid cold and it's making me generally cranky and not good with the storytelling.

October 16, 2007

Which LOLCat are You?

Your Score: Lion Warning Cat

57% Affectionate, 51% Excitable, 40% Hungry


You are the good Samaritan of the lolcat world. Protecting others from danger by shouting observations and guidance in cases of imminent threat, you believe in the well-being of everyone.

To see all possible results, checka dis.
Link: The Which Lolcat Are You? Test written by GumOtaku

October 9, 2007

As opposed to people who like to be warm only from the waist up?

What kind of yarn are you?

You are Merino Wool.You are very easygoing and sweet. People like to keep you close because you are so softhearted. You love to be comfortable and warm from your head to your toes.

Take this quiz!

October 2, 2007

I had no idea Apple was so ambitious!

So as most of you know, I'm a staunch Mac Addict. I switched years ago and haven't touched a PC in ages. In fact, when my mother called me a few weeks ago to help debug my grandfather's PC, I almost wasn't able to help. I seriously have wiped that whole world from my memory - like it NEVER HAPPENED.

And it looks as though today, my faith in Macs has been rewarded with a new little thing added via a Software update. I'm one of those people who never reboots my computer, so sometimes it takes a few days for me to see the updates - it appears this one came out about a week ago.

I came back to my computer after being away and found.....


This!

Now, I'm no expert, but it would appear that if I ever have a life-threatening emergency, my laptop is now equipped to help me deal with it.

Score!!!

September 19, 2007

YARRRRRRRRRR!

In honor of annual Talk Like a Pirate Day.....

My pirate name is:

Red Morgan Kidd

Passion is a big part of your life, which makes sense for a pirate. Even though you're not always the traditional swaggering gallant, your steadiness and planning make you a fine, reliable pirate. Arr!

Get your own pirate name from piratequiz.com.
part of the fidius.org network

Yarrrrrrrrrrrrr!

September 13, 2007

Scariness!

So this morning, I'm happily reading through my blogs (as I do), and one of my favorites is Go Fug Yourself. I enjoy being reminded that sometimes celebrities and other people with personal stylists have bad hair days and bad... clothes days. I'm clicking through and come across.... this!


Scariness

(Image obscured to protect your eyes.)


Now, see, here's the thing. If you, like me, were scared witless by that picture, you may not have realized that was Robert Downey, Jr. I think he's a nice looking guy. A little wacky, perhaps, and I don't deny that the man seems to have some serious demons. But you should see him in A Scanner Darkly. Fascinating movie. And Lucas is in that one!!

But anyway, I digress. Seriously, dude. What's with the hair? No one will ever accuse me of being fashionable, but even I know that's just a bad idea.

September 9, 2007

It's Alive!!!!!!!!!

Ha! Bet you thought I was just sitting around doing nothing!

Well, actually, you probably didn't. If you've been reading the newspapers lately, you know what I've been doing. Just between you and me, the fat lady has not sung, if you know what I mean.

But anyway, the reason for this post is......

TA DA!!!! New blog in town! Designed by Yours Truly!

A Thousand Words

My better half has started blogging. What is the world coming to!?!? Madness, I tell you! Pandemonium! Cats and dogs living together! Well, sort of. Lulu thinks it's great fun to play chase. Deliah has other ideas. Miles watches it all with feigned disinterest. And that brings its own form of pandemonium.

...But I digress.

Hubby. Blogging. Go look.

Thank you.

September 4, 2007

Seems like a scam. But if it isn't, well, we'll see.

I'm poking around on Amazon, looking at stuff and things and I notice that some of their affiliates have copies of the McSweeney's I'm missing. So I cobble together all the ones i'm missing and it comes out to a little over $200. So then I think I'll go make sure those are the right ones, which sends me over to eBay, where I find a person selling ALL the ones I need in one collection for just UNDER $200. So I bid on it. And I lose.

But in the process, I notice this thing down at the bottom of the page that says "get this book for $0.75" and I think, "that can't be right". So I go look, and sure enough, I'm looking at a listing of Mcsweeney's books in various states of "used-ness" all for less than $5.00, which is interesting, given that according to Amazon, some of these can't be had for less than $50.00.

So I've ordered one for $6.49. We'll see what happens. (That's INCLUDING shipping.) It seems like a scam. I'm worried, and a little confused - mostly because, well, why haven't I heard of this place before?

It's through half.com, through eBay. We'll see what I end up with. And if I get them all that way, it'll cost me $50 for all of them, instead of $50 for one of them. I'll let you know what happens.

August 13, 2007

Updates! Get Your Updates

The title kind of makes it sound more impressive than it really is. Sorry about that.

I just updated the link lists on the right side of the page and added a few new things. That's all.

So if you're a loyal reader, LOOKEE! New Stuff!
If you've never been here before.... you can't tell the difference. Enjoy!

August 9, 2007

Ever dance with the devil in the pale moonlight?

Holy cow! I have had a WEEK, let me tell you. It's been two weeks since I last posted, but it seriously feels like it's been a year. And here's why:

So I'll start with last Wednesday, July 31, when I took my car in to have it serviced. That wasn't any big deal, but it is a hy-uge disruption to my day, mostly because I had to be there at 9 to drop my car off, and there was this GUY. Older man. Probably very nice. But this particular day.... not so nice. And I unwittingly incurred his wrath when I was helped TWICE! Twice, I tell you! while the nice people at the dealership were trying to figure out what the devil he was trying to do. I don't think they were trying to hurt his feelings, but he was highly wounded. Basically, when I showed up, I waited patiently in line for the Service Rep to help me. And she did. Little did I know (found this out a little while later) that she was supposed to be helping him with... something. ANYway, how was I supposed to know this? I know not.

So, then, after I got all set up, I wandered into the sitting area with the hideously bad TV shows. I think this time it was Maury and he was talking to this couple where he got her pregnant when he was 18 and she was 14, but then they got married, but he still had to register as a sex offender and now they have a second baby and the wife is JUST NOW 18. But I digress. So I'm chillin', waiting for a ride to work, when this very nice older man sits down next to me and, despite my obvious interest in reading my book and being highly antisocial, insists on making comments about the people on Maury to me. Well.

Then they call him up to the desk and tell him that, yes, they'll take him to pick up his fiance, but they're going to have to take these other two nice people (me and another guy) to work first. Clearly something got lost in the translation there, but I didn't realize it until later. So we all piled into the van and the driver asked us where we were headed and I told him and he said, "oh, that's really close, I'll drop you off first." Well. Big mistake. HUGE. Because Mr. Previously-Very-Nice Man was under the impression that he was going to go get his fiance and take her back to the dealership first BEFORE me and the other guy went to work. And don't you know his fiance (Filangela or something) has worked there for 26 years and she can't just leave any time she wants and it's going to be hard to get there and it was right next to the dealership and in the time it's taken to drop this young lady (me) off, we could have been on our way and "I has the diabetus and my diabetics is acting up and don't you know I need medication!?!?". All. The. Way. To. Work. Bless the very nice driver who dropped me off first.

SO. Then there was the annoying part of having to pick up may car, but that was another whole fiasco because they're only open until 5:30, and I'm just getting going at work at 5:30, but that meant I had to leave work by 5, but that meant finding someone to take me to pick up my car. AND they hadn't called me to tell me my car was done, but I decided I needed my car, dammit, so I showed up at 5:30 and waited for someone to either hand me my keys or explain to me why a routine oil change took more than 8 hours. Thankfully, they handed me my keys.

And I think Wednesday was the day I finished my first sweater-type knitted thing. I've done socks, I've done scarves out the wazoo, I've done hats and dog sweaters and... well, all little things. So this was quite an accomplishment. I was quite pleased with myself. I hope to take pictures at some point and when I do, I'll tell you all about the project.

Thursday and Friday were both fairly calm and nothing remarkable happened, which was nice. :-) But on Friday, I was offered a pairs of tickets to see Rufus Wainwright, who just happens to be my favorite singer EVER, on Saturday night. Of course, I said yes. But first I had to make it through the rest of Friday (went to dinner with Schondy) and Saturday morning (obedience school with Lulu) and Saturday afternoon, until we left at 5:30 to drive up with the Mountain Winery to see the show. I don't have the pictures of the show on my laptop or I'd post them. I'll try to put them up later, but interestingly (and annoyingly), the best picture I have is from my iPhone (for Pete's sake!) of the opening act, A Fine Frenzy, who I also happen to adore. I wasn't supposed to have a camera at all, but I smuggled in my little Canon camera, too. I'm such a rebel. So I have a video of the encore. It was quite the spectacle.

The winery was beautiful and Schondy and I would both really like to go back sometime when we're actually allowed to have cameras so he can get some shots of... well... everything.

On Sunday, again it was kind of quiet, except that we HAD TO clean up the yard. It was in a sorry state because we'd been so busy and crazy. Otherwise, there's not much to tell about Sunday. I did finally figure out how I want to do the sewing/guest room and realized I needed to get cracking with selling our old furniture to make room. I posted my stuff on Craig's List, but as of today, no nibbles. I'm pretty much at the point of "Free! You haul!" if they don't sell. At least I TRIED to make a little money. I did get an email from someone presumably interested in them, but I'm not so sure it was a serious offer. One way or the other, this stuff needs to get out of my house NOW.

On Monday, Schondy's new camera arrived, so I immediately began starring in a photo-documentary. We have pictures of me cooking dinner, watching TV, playing with the dog, sleeping, and just about everything else. Schondy seems to have a knack for this photography thing, and I'm all about encouraging it. I keep thinking about how there are pictures of my parents all throughout their marriage. Or at least there seem to be. And Schondy and I have, like, 5 pictures of the two of us and that just seems sad to me. If we ever decide to have children, I'd like them to know that we haven't always been party poopers or hopelessly outdated.

And that brings us to Tuesday, when the WHOLE WORLD EXPLODED!!!!! Each time Schondy and I have travelled, we've had to make arrangements for the care of our babies while we're gone. Before Lulu, if we were just going to be gone a couple days, we'd leave the cats in the house and just ask someone to drop by once or twice to make sure everything was still standing. If we were gone longer, the cats would go to stay with either the vet or The Neighbors (who are SAINTS for helping us out, and, I would like to mention, OFFER to take the cats. I haven't asked them to do so in ages, and have, in fact, made other arrangements, only to have The Neighbors assure me they LOVE to keep the cats and, hey! Free pet care! Don't have to offer twice.) and it was all good. Now that we have Lulu, it's a tiny bit more complicated, but only because have to get Lulu to the PetsHotel and... making the same arrangements for the cats as what we've always done. See how this works? Cats to vet or friends (the cats don't care where they are, so long as there's occasional snuggles and food and a litter box), and Lulu to PetsHotel.

So apparently we are unusual in this respect that we wish to not inconvenience others with our extremely active and demanding little dog. Because a friend (Jim) at work left for Japan on Wednesday and needed someone to watch his dog while he is gone. And I? I am an idiot. Seriously. Because I said I'd take "Pochi" for a couple days, until I pass him on to the next poor sod for the weekend, who then passes him on to the last person, who keeps him until Jim returns. Now, Pochi is very, very sweet. He's a 7-month-old dachshund-black Lab mix (Yes, you read that right. Work on that visual for a minute.), so he's relatively small - only about 20 pounds - and he definitely has the dachshund face and the long dachshund body and tail. But he also has the black lab hyper-activity, plus the puppy hyper-activity and the DESPERATE NEED for ATTENTION NOW NOW NOW NOW!!!!! And given that he's a slightly larger dog, he needs to run, which, if you've seen our backyard, you know, is not something we can provide space for at home. Lulu = tiny, so it hasn't been a problem for her. She could be quite happy running laps in a baby pool.

But, see, the crazy attention hogging and the lack of running space aren't the biggest problems. The biggest problem is that Pochi is currently being treated for Giardia, which, by the way, is HIGHLY CONTAGIOUS to.... wait for it.... cats, dogs and humans. And it means we're dealing with the most friendly and demanding HAZARDOUS WASTE-PRODUCING dog ever. I think Jim's exact wording was "don't let your own pets get too cozy with him". But did I mention he's part Lab? And friendly? We couldn't keep him from getting cozy with Lulu if we TRIED. So I'm thinking next week after Pochi is gone, I'll be taking Lulu to the vet and asking them for some preventative antibiotics. Happily, Pochi goes on to the next victim tomorrow. It's been nice for Lulu to have a playmate, no doubt, but I won't miss the 6am barking or cleaning of toxic messes. And the cats are SO looking forward to being able to walk around the house again. They've decided Pochi = evil, and I can't say I blame them. CLEARLY he does not have any cat-siblings at home.

The Lulu-playmate thing has been kind of nice, and yesterday, we took Lulu and Pochi to the park and let them run while Schondy practiced working with his camera to get action shots of them being dogs. Some of the pictures he got were really awesome. I'll try to grab some and get them posted here so you can see.

So now it's Thursday. The office is relatively quiet today, which is nice, and I have a ton of work to do, but I'm avoiding it in favor of documenting the last week (holy cow!) while I have the headspace and time to do so. Tomorrow is end-to-end meetings and, come this weekend, I'll be too pooped to lift my arms, let alone type a blog entry. Lulu graduates from obedience school Saturday morning, and I think that's pretty much the end of the line for her schooling. We're talking about sending her to Doggy Day Camp once a week or so after school is over so she can continue to get the social interaction. But I'm definitely going to enjoy having my Saturday mornings back for the sleepin'.

And that's why I've been terrible about calling. Or responding to your emails. I'm very sorry. It doesn't mean I love you any less. It just means I'm tangled up in leashes right now and will get back to you as soon as the dogs stop playing May Pole.

July 21, 2007

Gloom, despair and agony on me.

<sigh>

As I write this entry, I once again face the extremely unhappy reality of a laptop in the throes of a slow and painful death. For the last few days, I've been watching it lock up more often and refuse to save files, only to crash 10 minutes later without so much as a how-do-you-do.

In fact, as I write this entry, my laptop is telling me that it is unable to save a file. This means it's entirely possible I'll lose this entry before I get it sent out.

Sadness.

So if you're reading this, it means my entry made it. But my laptop is done for.

</sigh>

July 8, 2007

What American accent do you have?

Midland

("Midland" is not necessarily the same thing as "Midwest") The default, lowest-common-denominator American accent that newscasters try to imitate. Since it's a neutral accent, just because you have a Midland accent doesn't mean you're from the Midland.

Personality Test Results

Click Here to Take This Quiz

I suppose that's good news. It's kind of what I've tried for....

July 1, 2007

To all the folks east of the mighty Mississip:

I need your help.

In case you didn't know, I tend to be an avid collector of.... things. If there's a set of things and I find that I like one of them, I will stop at almost nothing to have the complete set. I try very hard to control this urge as I also hate clutter, but on some things, I let my inner collector run wild. Yes, given half a chance, I would be the crazy lady with 12 vaccum cleaners and 100 cats, buried under a mountain of daily newspapers from every city or town I've ever lived in. This, of course, means that if something should happen to me and you're faced with dealing with my estate, it'll be a fun and fascinating treasure hunt. (Hint: If you find everything from a set but 1, that means you're not looking hard enough. It's here. Somewhere.)

Why does this matter only to folks east of the Mississippi River? Well, back in 1999, they introduced this "statehood quarters" program thingie, where a new quarter comes out every 2 1/2 months or so. The collector book I have has two slots in it for each state - a "P" and a "D". Most of you probably didn't know this, but these statehood quarters (the standard spendin' kind, not the special ones) are minted in two places - Philadelphia and Denver. I live in California. We only get Denver coins. Ever. In the 6 years I've been in California, I've only seen MAYBE 1-2 "P" quarters and they were typically very old and not what I needed.

So I'm officially asking for your help. Dig through your change bucket, your wallet, your couch, and the back seat of your car and see if you have any of these quarters. Shiny ones are better, but I'll almost take anything I can get. I've resorted to eBay for the ones I needed before, but that gets a little expensive and I always feel like a real dork doing it. Yes, I will reimburse you for your hard-earned 25¢ in whatever denomination suits you, and for the record, I'm going to continue needing your help for the next year and a half until the end of the program.

Here's what I need:


  • Illinois (2003)

  • Iowa (2004)

  • Wisconsin (2004)

  • California (2005)

  • Nevada (2006)

  • Nebraska (2006)

  • Colorado (2006)

  • South Dakota (2006)

(And to everyone west of the Mississippi, Hi!)

June 28, 2007

Blah

Today, I have a headache. So I don't feel like working. But I feel bad that I haven't blogged in ages. So here. Enjoy the lolpuppy and I'll return when the voices in my head have finished screaming.


June 10, 2007

Maker Faire Pictures

I promised I'd post pictures of the Maker Faire and I've been trying to get there because we saw so very many cool things. But the usual blah, blah, work, blah, sleep, blah, tired, blah, blah, blah has kept me from it. (In my defense, work has been particularly nuts-o lately, but if you've talked to me, you already know that.)

So without further delay, pictures of the Maker Faire:

Tiki Bar Truck

Big Doggies

Exercise bike Generator

Trash-heap Windmills

Roomba Spirograph

Cupcake Cars

Electric Motorcycle

Man-powered
Ferris Wheel

Steam-powered
Victorian House
Giant Nintendo

LED Bike Wheels

LED Bike Wheels in Motion

The Flux Truck

Knitting the longest
scarf in the world
Frying Pan Game Controller

Steam-powered R2-D2

Marble Clock

Wooden Bikes

Power Tool Drag Races

3-D City Van

Man-Sized Mousetrap

May 22, 2007

Miscellania, Laptops, Literary Journals, Faires, Wiis and Slimy Things

(In no particular order)

Things at the Peanut Gallery headquarters have been rather interesting of late. Interesting enough that I haven't had a great deal of time to post Blog entries, but only a couple of the goings-on are especially earth-shattering. In the category of low-impact excitement, we have:


  • I've resumed my knitting. Hope to have my current project finished in the next couple weeks so I can start on something else. The interesting bit here is that my current piece is by far the largest thing I've ever attempted, so I'm pretty pumped to finally finish it.

    Side story: Somehow (and I'm not sure how this happened, so if anyone has any ideas, I'd love to hear them), I have gained the reputation at work as a FANTASTIC knitter. Now, I'm flattered beyond belief that anyone would think I was anything but an average beginning student of knitting, but I have to admit pure bafflement as to how my co-workers know I can even put sticks to yarn. I have given two of my co-workers hand-knit scarves as gifts, neither of which was especially fancy, so I can only conclude that this is the source of my fabled knitting prowress. Did YOU tell them?

  • Lulu is still very much Lulu. Deliah thinks Lulu's a great playmate. Miles thinks they're both annoying, but is greatly pleased by the pot of catnip growing on the kitchen counter.

    Nothing especially new there, except that Lulu and I have been continuing our dog classes. I hesitate to call it obedience school, though I suppose that's technically what it is. At the moment we're learning to Heel, Go to Bed, Wait and Stay (from a distance). This is the intermediate class, so it's not as much a goofy/happy/fun time, but Lulu still loves it. Not sure what we're going to do after this one, whether we'll continue on to one of the Advanced classes or if I'll go find the Santa Clara Dachshund group or what, but I'm pretty sure Lulu will be most upset if we don't continue this learning thing.

  • In 1 month, I will be attending my 10-year high school reunion. It should be.... um.... interesting.

    I hemmed and hawed for weeks, only to decide after the deadline that I really did want to go show off a little. I don't get to do that much, given where we live and the fact that everyone else in the Valley pretty much does some variation of the same thing I do. I'm excited to see all these people, though I'm a little nervous that none of the people I hung out with will be attending. Mostly, they're in the South still, but with the changing-high-schools thing we did our Junior year, it could be that my buds just aren't interested. I would understand, but be very bummed not to see them....

In the slightly-more-exciting category, we have a number of entries.


  • Schondy was supposed to be writing about this, but seeing as how I can't get him near my Blog (he barely reads it, and then only when I tell him he should), I guess I'm going to have to write about it. Basically, we sold a bunch of games at Game Stop over the weekend in the hopes of buying a shiny new toy for me and a shiny new toy for Schondy.

    We gathered up our collection of the Worst Hits for the Playstation and GameCube and hied ourselves to the store, expecting to walk away with a healthy chunk of change for the 10 (yes, 10) games we'd decided weren't worth the plastic they were imprinted on. As the clerk was scanning the barcodes to get the amount of fabulous richness he was about to bestow on us, he was telling us the various trade-in prices for our games. (Hold on to your hat, it's a doozey!) We had 2 that went for 75¢, 3-4 for $1.50, a couple for $2.00, a couple for $3.00 and one at an astounding $9.00. WOW! Plus, since we'd sold so many, we got a "multiples bonus" of an extra 5%, for a grand total of $32. Yes, folks, Game Stop gave us less than the price of a new game for our 10 games. We were so pleased.

  • Our yard has been infested with snails and slugs. And they're gross. And they're eating my plants. This does not make me happy. I'm going on a rampage this weekend. Just so you know. Stand back.

  • I've discovered yet another company with the power to separate me from my hard-earned money with great skill and speed.

    Apparently, there's still such a thing as a literary journal (Who knew!?!?) and there are still many people vying for positions in these journals, and there are still entries rejected. And that's where the literary journal McSweeney's comes in. McSweeney's was originally created to accept only content rejected from the "legitimate" journals, but has now become something of an underground alternative to such stuffy entertainments as those. I discovered this lovely trove of dry wit and dark humor at the Maker Faire (more on that in the last category) and, for reasons I don't fully know, did not buy the volume I was looking at. I have no explanation and no one to blame but myself. So I tracked them down online and ordered a subscription. They're absolutely beautiful books and I'm so excited to get my hands on them!

And in the earth-shattering, gut-wrenching, ear-splitting excitement category, we have the reason I'm writing this Blog entry instead of the mountains of work-related things I should be doing, as well as the reason I've not gotten near enough sleep in the last week.


  • My laptop died yesterday. My work laptop. With 2 years worth of work. And right now the very nice people in the On-Site Support office are trying to save my 2 years of data while I leave work on time or early because I'm COMPLETELY HELPLESS.

    You don't realize how dependent on your computer you become until it's dead. So send happy thoughts in its direction. I've been limping along with my old ghetto Desktop computer. Happily, I had a month-old backup of my email. Unhappily, I did not back up anything else. We'll see what they say in the morning about whether or not they could revive it. (Happy thoughts. Happy thoughts.)

    So in the evenings, when I normally would have been playing computer games or working, I've been knitting. And during the day, when I normally would have been working, I've been panicking. And waiting. And checking my email obsessively. I'll be so glad when this is over.

  • We went to the Maker Faire this weekend. It was like a local version of Burning Man, complete with flaming things and crazy people. We have lots of pictures of bizarre things and even more bizarre people. I'll sift through them and post a few in the next entry.

  • Schondy bought a Wii. And that's why the crazy Game Stop experience. We have Super Paper Mario, Monkey Ball and Rayman Raving Rabids, but we spent a bunch of time this weekend playing Tennis and Bowling. The good news about the Wii is that it requires you to move around, so at least it's getting us off the couch, but the repetitive stress injuries are looming. And the pulled muscles. Stay tuned.

So that's what's the haps. With any luck, tomorrow will bring good tidings of a rescusitated laptop. Until then, I'll be knitting. And checking email. Further compliating my Wii-Tennis-Elbow.

May 3, 2007

lolcatz ^_^

I'm in ur meme, analyzing ur lolcats.

So, if you know me at all, you know that I can't STAND bad grammar, bad English, or anything even vaguely resembling idiotic "netspeak" like lol, roflmao, pls, whatever else. My English-teacher grandmother would have been appalled.

So it may come as a surprise that I'm recommending this website, where netspeak and Engrish run rampant with another Internet meme - the cutesy kitty picture, which is also highly idiotic and mostly perpetuated by people with too much time on their hands.

But I swear I laughed until I cried.

Clicky:

The really bad news, here, is that they're organized, even to the point of writing a "how-to" for those interesting in using "lolwerdz". I predict that in 5 years, they will be teaching LOL-Kitteh in elementary school.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

And if you're like me and are oddly drawn to seeking a deeper understanding of such bizarre human behavior, here are some explanations from people who actually study such things.

Anil Dash
The Language Log

April 24, 2007

We're rich!!

Or something.

So if you've visited us at any point during the last few years, we've probably tortured you with looking at our change jug where we clean out our pockets and dump it all into a gallon-sized Gatorade bottle with a slit cut in the lid. We've been very proud of it for a long time, and we always said we wouldn't empty it or count the money until it was completely full.

Well, it filled up. So we emptied it.

(Lulu helped.)

And weighed it.

(37 pounds)

And took it to the CoinMaster to get it counted.

And after all the shouting, we found that there was something close to $270. And after the CoinMaster took its cut, we walked away with $247.91. Wheeee! And it gave us a little voucher that I would have very much liked to keep, but the nice lady at the cash register said we couldn't. It had a complete list of every coin we had, including one Susan B. Anthony dollar that we didn't know about, but sadly, they needed it for their accounting. :(

And when we cashed in our voucher, they gave us $247...... and 91 cents. Anyone else see a certainly amount of humor in that? We cashed in our change! For.... change.... right.....

So it just goes to show. 7 YEARS, PEOPLE! 7 YEARS! worth of change can really add up.

April 18, 2007

Pictures of Monterey

Descriptions &c. to come!

April 17, 2007

Can't you see I'm busy, here!?!?

It has been brought to my attention that I don't post to my blog often enough. Apparently, my cousins with the brand new INFANT post more often than I do. In my defense, I don't have a new child to post pictures of and I'm not so sure anyone would be terribly interested in hearing about my crazy work schedule, which is my life these days.

We DID take a short little mini-vacation this weekend that I have tons of pictures from, and I have a few pics of the backyard, which is exploding in flowers, and Lulu is growing like a weed (still!!) and is more photogenic than either of her parents.

So. When I have a few minutes today.... maybe I'll have a really boring meeting, much like the one I'm currently in.... I'll try to put up another photo entry.

Oh! Speaking of which, how did you like the photo entry I posted before? Good? I've been trying to come up with an easy way to show lots and lots of pictures in a single entry. There are apparently some fancy pieces of software available for my blog that will do it, but they're all complicated to install. I don't really want to go through that, so I'm coming up with a few of my own solutions.

Anyway, let me know what you think and I'll try out a few other solutions as I have other photo entries.

April 2, 2007

I'm a cousin! Cool!

Found out today that my cousin had her baby. Congratulations, guys!!

Alice and Matt's Blog

Seems so strange. Makes me feel old...

April 1, 2007

And I am doomed to the Second level of hell....

The Dante's Inferno Test has banished you to the Second Level of Hell!
Here is how you matched up against all the levels:

LevelScore
Purgatory (Repenting Believers)Very Low
Level 1 - Limbo (Virtuous Non-Believers)Low
Level 2 (Lustful)Very High
Level 3 (Gluttonous)High
Level 4 (Prodigal and Avaricious)High
Level 5 (Wrathful and Gloomy)Moderate
Level 6 - The City of Dis (Heretics)Moderate
Level 7 (Violent)Very High
Level 8- the Malebolge (Fraudulent, Malicious, Panderers)Very High
Level 9 - Cocytus (Treacherous)High

Take the Dante Inferno Hell Test

I am War.

Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse
Your Result: War
 

When the second seal is opened, you will ride forth on a red horse carrying a sword, unleashing war and destruction. Your mission is to take peace from the earth, so that man will kill one another. The color of your horse represents the blood spilled on the battlefield.

Pestilence
 
Death
 
Famine
 
Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

March 18, 2007

Sitting in the airport, waiting on a plane.

7am flights stink. Badly. Even if I wasn't spectacularly knackered, I'd still hate to be here. But here I am. Going home. Hallelujah. My own bed is calling my name and I can hear it from 1500 miles away. Apparently I have a loud bed.

I realized I had a couple other celeb sightings that I didn't mention in my last post. One of the guys from Arrested Development was hanging out at the Blender after party a couple of nights ago. He was impressed with Tammy's mad Guitar Hero skillz. She does have some mad skillz....

And the other day, we were at a Kings of Leon concert (Cameo's favoritest band EVER) and we saw Kirsten Dunst. For reals. Apparently a Kings fan. The end.....

March 17, 2007

I _may_ be getting too old for this...

So first of all, I officially have the best job in the world. I've sworn myself to never actually saying where I work in hopes of thwarting those who would Google my name and my company's name and thus decide to stalk me. But suffice it to say I have the best job in the world.

At the moment, I'm sitting in a Starbucks in Austin, TX. I'm here for SXSW, enjoying my third straight hungover morning (Mom, please forget you saw this sentence). The bands have been awesome. We've seen so many bands, they're all blurring together, but a couple celebrity sightings have been especially memorable....

Wednesday, we saw Lily Allen perform at Stubb's. Loads of fun, and I really like her (even though she's 18 and a little whiny). Late Wednesday night, about 2am, I was leaving Miriam's hotel and guess who was dancing in the driveway... Lily Allen! She was drunk and had a glass of champagne in her hand (did I mention the 18 thing?). As I walked away, I distinctly heard the sound of breaking glass...

Then yesterday, Friday (I think), Tammy and I were walking down the street in search of food and we saw the Flaming Lips posing for some pictures. Tammy had her camera and managed to get a pic of the lead singer - Wayne Coyne. That was pretty cool. We've been trying the whole time we've been here to catch one of the many, many cameo performances by Pete Townsend, but thus far have managed to miss every one of them.

Anyway, at this point, I'm tired. I want to go home. I have about 18 hours left until my 7am flight, and I'm really looking forward to sleeping in my own bed, with my own husband, and my own cat sleeping on my own face. And someday soon, I WILL have clothes that don't smell like an ashtray. With any luck at all.

Ciao!

March 6, 2007

Death by Cuteness!, Part the second

It's only been a month since my last post, which I figure is waaaaay better than some of my previous lapses. I always feel like I'm begging for forgiveness for being slow and I'm the one who actually DOES let others know what's going on. :-) Yes, I'm talking to YOU. You know who you are.... </guilt trip>

Anywho. So what's new? I've been sucked into yet another stupid blog. Makes me laugh. A lot. I don't normally think of myself as star-struck, but I suppose my enjoyment of this is telling... Go Fug Yourself (And for the uninitiated, here's their definition of "fug", taken directly from their website, oh, please, oh, please don't sue me, I'm linking to you because I like you and I'm just trying to share, not steal from your website.)

..."Fug" comes from "fugly," which is a contraction of "fantastically ugly" (or an f-word more prurient, if you like...)

I just really like the idea that celebrities have trouble finding something to wear because they're usually so beautiful and skinny and perfect and rich. This is proof that they have bad hair days, too, and sometimes they even have (!! gasp !!) fat days.

Speaking of toasters... Lulu is growing like a weed. When we first got her, she was so tiny, weighing about 3.5 lbs. She just about fit in the palm of your hand (well, with her legs hanging off in all directions, but you COULD support her whole body with one hand). Now, though, she's up to just over 7 lbs. and still the cutest thing EVER.

See?

We're going to puppy class every Saturday, where we get to play with all kinds of different puppies and we learn to Sit and Lie Down and Stay and all those lovely things you don't remember your parents ever teaching the family dog, but the dog obviously knew how to do, so SOMEone had to teach him...

The first week we went to puppy class, all the dogs were, of course, scared to death, except for Lulu who was more "Puppies! Puppies! Puppies! Play with me! Now! Play! Please?! You smell interesting! You're smaller than me! Do you mind if I chew your tail off!?!? Play! Play! Play!" for the whole hour. I kid you not. The trainer even called Lulu a "challenge", which is exactly what you want to hear about your "baby" on the first day of school. By the end of class, I was exhausted. It's a good thing the floors in the store are slippery so Lulu spent the whole class "treadmilling" at the end of her leash.

That was 4 weeks ago. Now we're doing a little better. Lulu is officially the wonder dog. She's learned Sit and Down and will do them immediately on command about 95% of the time. But the one that really wowed everyone was the "Leave It" command, where you put a treat between her paws on the floor and tell her to leave it there until you say different. I swear I didn't teach her to do that, she just did it. But of course, there wasn't anyone else in the class who could do it, so I looked like a total rock star. (Hee! Challenge THAT, trainer woman!) Sarah has this theory that it's because my previous experience has been training cats and they're about a million times harder to teach. I have my own theories....

We're working right now to finish off all those things we just didn't get to when we first moved into the house - putting up sheers on all the windows downstairs, getting a new cover for the futon so it'll match the curtains, hanging more pictures on the walls, etc. It's finally beginning to sound like we're going to have guests and I really want the house to be finished before they see it.

I'm going to be out of town next week, in Texas for SXSW. When I was offered tickets, my first thought was that I'd rather just have the days off, but I figure opportunities like this don't come along every day and I really should go. It'll be fun, though there's a large part of me still leaning towards punting and just staying home for 3 days.

So that's what's new. I really do need to stop avoiding work and get something done. I leave you with this inspirational quote: "Smoking kills, and if you're killed, you've lost a very important part of your life." - Brooke Shields

February 3, 2007

I speeka de engresh!

Advanced
You scored 100% Beginner, 92% Intermediate, 100% Advanced, and 73% Expert!

You have an extremely good understanding of beginner, intermediate, and advanced level commonly confused English words, getting at least 75% of each of these three levels' questions correct. This is an exceptional score. Remember, these are commonly confused English words, which means most people don't use them properly. You got an extremely respectable score.
My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
   
You scored higher than 99% on Beginner
   
You scored higher than 99% on Intermediate
   
You scored higher than 99% on Advanced
   
You scored higher than 99% on Expert
Link: The Commonly Confused Words Test written by shortredhead78

November 11, 2006

Finger Cramps

I'm writing this entry from a coffee shop, sitting in the corner while a nobody band plays lousy (but loud) rock music. I'm typing on my new cellphone's tiny keyboard and thinking "technology rules".

November 8, 2006

Straight from the horse's mouth.

"I'm obviously disappointed with the outcome of the election and as the head of the Republican Party I share a large part of the responsibility," Bush said.

Couldn't have said it better myself.


Full Article

July 27, 2006

Busy, busy, busy (pt. 2)

Ok. So did I mention I've been busy? I actually had the rest of yesterday's entry written last night and I accidently erased it when I forgot that I'd been writing it.....

Moving right along.

Monday we're leaving at noon to go to Kentucky. I've hired a car to take us to the airport because I realized after my London trip that it's basically the same price to hire a taxi as it is to hire a private "limo" (read: Towncar) and there will be a nice little man to do all the driving and meet us in the baggage claim. And with the money we're saving on the boarding for the cats, we can afford to treat ourselves a little. The cats are going to stay with Steve and Sarah while we're gone, nominally because they don't mind, but we all know the real reason. They want to practice so when they take the plunge and get one of their own, they'll have an idea of what to expect. :-)

We've been making lots of orange juice since we moved. We have a huge tree and it's absolutely loaded with oranges (as I've mentioned before). This is good as it means we get lots of Vitamin C, but it's a bit of a challenge knowing what to do about them all. We can literally pick something like 10 pounds of oranges each weekend and not even put a dent in them. My next trick for getting rid of them is to start offering them to the folks at work. Unfortunately, oranges get dirty even when they're up on a tree, so they don't look like much, but they taste amazing.

A couple weeks ago, we did a round of orange juice (a full pitcher takes about 4-5 pounds of oranges, or about 30 oranges) and I took some pictures to show everyone the madness. We did another round this last weekend and turned about half of it into juice, so we have a big pile of oranges sitting on the counter that are going to go bad if we don't find a home for them.

Anyway, Alton Brown's talking about garlic and I've had a rough day, so I can't say I'm terribly interested in blog at the moment. I'll try to post something this weekend if I think about it....

July 26, 2006

Busy, busy, busy

Ok, so apparently my absence has been noted. I had no idea anyone actually read this thing faithfully. Shows what I know....

I have no excuse, really. Work has been NUTS! I mean, really, really crazy. Not that I've been working necessarily long hours, but the hours I have been working have been jam-packed. So of course, when I get home, my brain just shuts down. Yesterday, I had a grand total of 5.45 hours of meetings scheduled. Today, only 2.5 hours, and tomorrow, another 5.5 hours. HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO WORK UNDER THESE CONDITIONS?!?!?!? I suppose there are people in our organization who deal with this on a daily basis, and they certainly manage....

Anywho. My point is that I've got a lot going on. And we've been pretty busy at home, too. Last weekend, I started working on the Sewing/Guest Room, planning to just put away a few boxes or something, and by the time I finished, Voila! Sewing Room! I'm really proud of that, especially since it means I can work on my ren faire costumes. I've also been working on finding the living room under all the random junk. Making progress. It was exciting to hang the first art on the wall. We've only been there, now, for a little over 2 months, so I suppose it's about time we got to work. :-)

Eek! And now I'm out of time. Must go pay the piper. Literally.

June 20, 2006

Oh, where to start.....

I'm slowly coming to the realization that I live in a perpetual state of... panic? chaos?... At any rate, I always think I'm going to have some down time. You know next weekend. After we take the cat to the groomer, assemble the bookshelves, do the laundry, clean the office and throw a party. I mean, there's nothing else going on. And I wonder if it's always been this way, or if other people have the same feeling.

I'm reasonably sure that those of you with children are now sitting there with a wry grin on your faces, thinking something along the lines of "Oh, just wait until you have kids. You have no idea..." And maybe that's true, but it all boils down to... I never feel like I have 2 minutes to get my head in order. Makes for a messy-feeling head.

I have to tell this story. I think Schondy finds it a little embarrassing, but it was probably my fault, so I don't know what he's all ashamed. Anway, so two weeks ago, we were helping the Friends-formerly-known-as-The-Neighbors move and I got a bunch of black stuff on my favoritest white jacket. Now, why, you ask, was I wearing a white jacket to help someone move? Well, I don't know. I just was.

ANYwho. Black stuff. White jacket. I went inside and soaked it down so that when I got home, I could throw it in the washer and hopefully all the aforementioned black goo would miraculously come out. See, we have this fancy-schmancy new front-loading washer that we're convinced is slightly possessed.... But that's a different story.... Since it's all new and smart-like, washing one jacket in there does not a happy washer make. So I gathered up some other clothes and loaded the washer and then toddled off to go do something else. At some point, I decided it would be a good idea to start working on unpacking some boxes, so I wandered upstairs to do that.... until I needed a screwdriver.

So back down to the garage I went after the elusive screwdriver beast. When I opened the garage door, though, what my wondering eyes should appear, but a hy-uge lake of laundry soap. All over my shiny new garage.

In this shot, you can see the extent of the lake - something like 10'x4'. Big. Really big. And how, I ask you, does one go about cleaning up said lake of laundry soap? I mean, think about it. You can't just.... towel it up. It's soap. It's too thick. Okay.... so you try.... the broom? Hm. That's just going to ruin your broom. The mop? Well, maybe.... but it's not like you can really wring laundry soap out of the mop like you can water. So we used a combination of all 3, kind of. We mopped the soap into the dustpan, then dumped it into a garbage can. For what was left on the floor, towels soaked it up, and then we threw them in the washer to clean up.

The moral of the story is "don't put the industrial-sized bucket of liquid laundry soap on top of the washer and then scoot it too close to the edge". Because it will hurt you.

The good news is that now our garage smells really good.....

In other news, I've been telling people for days how much all my plants love the new house. Indoor plants, outdoor plants, they're all thrilled to be here. I wish I could take some credit for it, but all I've done is put them down, give them some water, and walk away. So I have some pictures that I took last week. They don't show the spectacular things that have happened with my dahlias this week, but they show how happy everything else is.

As you can see from the pictures, we still don't have much of a backyard. We have landscapers coming on Thursday to tell us how many arms and legs they want for the privilege of giving us something other than a mud pit, but until then, I go out every couple of days and give all my potted plants a nice shower. So far, it's working....

The orange tree continues to drop oranges on our heads, so last weekend we bought a fruit picker. We also happened to buy an extension ladder, though for a different reason, so it looked like we were about to open an orchard or something. The ladder was needed because we now have 9ft. ceilings and those don't work well with a two-step stool.

I've also started back to my bagpipe lessons. I had to stop for a little while because of the selling and buying of houses. I just didn't have the headspace for anything else, so my obnoxious and expensive hobby was the first to go. But in the last few weeks I've gotten back into the swing of things.

I'm having to re-learn pretty much everything, which is probably good for me. The biggest problem I've encountered so far is that we no longer have a busy street to mask the sounds of my practicing at home. I'm going to have to bake our new neighbors cakes... or something. I'm a night owl, so I'm a nocturnal piper. Maybe this isn't the best combination. I've pondered the idea of morning serenades, but somehow I don't think those would go over very well, either.

So now that I've rambled on for days, I wanted to post pictures of one more thing - possibly the most exciting thing of all - our new TV. It's installed now, and happily sucking our time away. Schondy SAYS he was just trying to illustrate the scale of the TV by giving it a hug, but I think he really had some other motive. Maybe a little love for the TV? I think so.

As with everything in our lives right now, we have a temporary solution to the problem of where to place all the equipment that goes with our new TV. It's hung too low for a regular entertainment center (not that we need one of those anyway), and the tower speakers cause the need for something narrow. So we're looking for a 36"x36" stereo component thingie. Know of one we could buy? The larger problem is where to put our collection of 200 DVDs. We're entertaining options. But if you have any suggestions, I'll be happy to hear them.

Anyway, love getting those comments. It means I'm not doing all this work to make interesting entries in vain. I mean, my main motivation is just to ramble on about myself, but it's an added bonus that lots of people I don't talk to regularly enough are able to keep tabs on me.

June 6, 2006

Frank's 2000-inch TV

(Ha, ha! Now you'll be singing that song.... FOR DAYS! Which reminds me... hm. have to find that....)

Anywho. We've been threatening to do it. For months. Years, even. For those that haven't heard us wax long on the topic of a new, larger television, trust me. We've been discussing it for ages. Partly because The Neighbors (you know who you are) one-upped us years ago and we've been trying to get back on top. :-) Partly because we have a new house and we need yet another frighteningly large purchase right now. It makes us happy. But mostly because, well, we wanted it.

So last night, we went to Best Buy and purchased..... this. And since Best Buy doesn't work on commission, we didn't make our salesman foam at the mouth. He was still very nice. We liked him. If you go to the Best Buy on El Camino in Santa Clara, and you need a really hy-uge TV, as for J.T. Tell him we sent you. He might even remember us.

The best part was watching Schondy walk through Best Buy positively bouncing and grinning from ear to ear (which, just between you and me, is one of the main reasons we bought it. I like to see him happy). Of course, the bad news is that because it's so huge and heavy and stuff, we're having it delivered AND installed for us. And that takes 2-3 days. But when faced with installing it ourselves, we did the math:

(Hy-uge TV weighing over 100 lbs. + We don't know what we're doing + Trying to mount it on the wall) x Making sure it doesn't fall = There's no way. Ever. That we'd do it ourselves.

They did offer to hook up all our components to it, also, but Schondy assured them he knew how. You know. Because he just did it 3 weeks ago.

So that's the last purchase for a while. (Hon, I'm looking at YOU) We're going to have to pay through the nose to get the backyard landscaped and frankly, our noses are just about empty... which.... might not be the best metaphor... ew. Sorry.

Anyway, this means........ Party at our house!!!! ahem. See you there.


Oh! Before I forget. In the previous entry, I mentioned the madness we discovered behind the bookcase when we were moving.... mices everywhere! And it's not NEARLY as frightening as it sounds. See?

May 27, 2006

We're Alive!!!!

Believe it or not, we're still here. Plugging along. Bet you thought I'd forgotten. :-) Fooled you.

So we're all moved in to the new house, AND we now own it. Woo! Well, correction. The bank owns it and is kind enough to let us stay here for a small monthly fee.... It's as fabulous as we hoped it would be. So far, the worst complaint we have is that there are too many mysterious light switches around. In the grand scheme of things, this is not so bad. We have had a profoundly hard time remembering which light switch controls which set of lights. In the kitchen, there are 8 switches alone. I mean, WHO needs 8 separate and distinct light switches in a SINGLE ROOM!?!? Certainly not us. We end up flipping on (and then immediately OFF) every light in the kitchen until we find the one we're looking for. Kind of a light-switch rave.

But it's not all confusion and mayhem. The Jacuzzi bathtub and I were made for each other. It's so very wonderful to 1. have a driveway AND a garage, 2. not have to use the air conditioner (yet), and 3. be able to walk to the train station or any one of... oh.... 30 restaurants. Yes, this is why we moved here. Now we're moved in enough that we're starting to think less about the necessities (power, water, cable TV), and more about the niceties of making a house a home. We're both unabashed book fanatics. We buy stupid amounts of books. In fact, we're not even allowed to visit Barnes & Noble alone. If one of us goes, the other has to be along. We SAY this is because we both need supervision, but it's really just because we both feel like if ONE of us gets a book, the other should get a book too. This means we have tons of books. Yes, tons. (Trust me. We just moved them.)

Since it's Memorial Day weekend and that means SALES!, we're talking about visiting IKEA and seeing what they can offer us in the way of book storage. In the duplex, we had to build something to hold our books, and as not everyone has this particular storage problem, we knew that no matter what house we bought, we'd have to once again solve this problem. So we're looking into either getting something there for a couple hundred bucks, or building something custom. The reason we'd think of going custom is because we have 9 foot ceilings throughout the house and it would be really cool to have something that went all the way up. And IKEA... well, not so much with the designing for 9 ft ceilings. They prefer the 8 ft. variety.

I don't know... Maybe for the price of a plane ticket, I could get my brother out here to help.... I've threatened that on a few other occasions for projects that I wasn't sure how to tackle on my own. Maybe this time I'll do it. Really just comes down to how much money we want to spend, how soon we want this finished, and if we're able to find something at IKEA. Definitely to be continued.....

I've also booked an appointment to have a landscape service come look at our mud pit of a backyard and tell us how many arms and legs they'd like us to give them to turn our yard into something enjoyable to look at. We're entertaining several ideas of what we'd like to do, but have agreed that really, we know nothing about landscaping, other than it's generally done outside by people with a much better idea of how these things work than we do. This is because our knowledge of landscaping is pretty much limited to this: plants need water and dirt, other things (food, light, and classical music) are optional. Grass must be mowed, and mulch has to be refreshed every so often. The end. This could explain my marked lack-of-green-thumb-ness. I've been lucky so far.....

In other news, work has been absolutely brutal for the last couple weeks. Literally, the other day, one of the engineers needed some documents from me, and requested them at 10:30am. I promised them to him ASAP. Well, you know you have a problem when ASAP is 5 HOURS LATER. I suppose this is why they pay me, but geez! Last I counted, I only had one head and two arms. This limits the number of things one can do at the same time. Maybe I'll get another head grafted on. Me n' Zaphod, yo.

Speaking of bizarre literary characters, the frumious bandersnatch (a.k.a. Deliah) has been in especially high spirits of late, mostly because in the move, we found 7, yes, 7!!!, of her mice. She'd apparently been stashing them under the furniture for years in the duplex, I guess in case we decided to stop providing her with things to play with. I have a picture of what we found behind the bookcase in the living room, but it's almost 2am and I don't know where the camera is. (Well, that's a lie. I DO know where the camera is, but it's 2am and I'm not getting out of the bed to go get it.)

A couple weeks ago, I got an email from my old piano teacher. It was pretty amazing to hear from her again. It never seems to me like I was anything to get excited about in the musical realm, but she certainly talked about how much she misses what I could do. I just remember how much I avoided practicing and how much better I'm sure I could have been if I'd only applied myself. Makes me sad to think I can't go back in time and fix that now. I suppose I can make up for it a little by practicing the bagpipes a bit more, but so far, I've been absolutely the world's WORST bagpipe student. I never practice, I miss lessons, and I refuse to even talk about performing. I wonder why he keeps me around.

So that's the news. I deeply appreciate all the comments that have been posted here and all the emails from everyone who's looked at the house pictures. My intention has always been to use this blog to keep you all reasonably up-to-date on the goin's on at the Schondelmayer household. Now that life is attempting to settle down a bit, maybe I'll be a little better about posting.

Ciao!

April 4, 2006

Wow! Sorry about that.

Sorry about that last post. Very tired. Still tired. A little less existential today, though.

So the house is almost ready for the market. We're finishing up patching holes, hanging doors, hanging pictures and making it all pretty. And this is good for 2 reasons.

First, the Open House is Sunday, and the photographer comes Thursday to take pictures for the online listing and for the flyers. Must be ready by the time I leave for work Thursday morning

Second, WE FOUND A HOUSE!!!! WOOOOOO!!! It's brand new, 3 bedrooms, 3 baths, has a kitchen that's to die for, and is right in the so-called "quadrangle of happiness". We're going to work on the papers tonight to put in a formal offer, which could be interesting. It's at the very top edge of our price range, but so worth it. We're rejoicing very cautiously.

Anyway, this means that We. Are. Pooped. Forget burning the candle at both ends. We're burning them in the middle, too.

Wish us luck!!!

(Oh! And thank you, Sapphire, for the comment. It's my first and, so far, only)

March 30, 2006

Navel-gazing

Occasionally I get into one of those introspective, ponderous moods where life serves up the most interesting buffet of events and information that I can't help but wonder... and fix myself a plate...

A couple days ago, I was reading my Rolling Stone that I ordered to help out my nephew's school. Normally, Rolling Stone is a bit too... hm... pompous? maybe? for my tastes, but it was the only thing I saw in the page-after-page of self-help-monster-truck-parenting magazines and I'm quite in favor of class pizza parties, even for 6-year-olds. So I get Rolling Stone. And occasionally I like it.

There was an article about an artist I've never heard of. But his face was so interesting that I had to read about him. I could be showing my age. Or possibly my.... square-ness. But I'd never heard of Pete Doherty before this week. That was an excellent article in Rolling Stone. I highly recommend it. And I learned that even half-crazy crackpots can produce some truly beautiful writing:

      The parties and fantasy
      criminal or not plots
      must and will be enjoyed
      beyond
      and
      love
      too good at getting high
      feelin the void
      avoid the malaise
      see the rise
      of a different kind

******************

      But you're always welcome here
      I keep love handy, I keep it near
      And I take note of all of your witty reposts
      And I follow with the famous quotes and
      If i say I care, I really mean it

******************

      Just as the sun turned away, and
      (thinking, in her stupidity, that it couldn't see or hear us) asked:
      'Will you love me forever?'
      'Of course not,' I said.

******************

      FOREVER
      Shall never be found deep
      inside her
      She's way too impressed at how he
      caught the spider

******************

      Did a content person ever
      achieve anything except
      his own sunny expression

******************

      A love letter
      full of roses
      I found,
      on my pillow when I awoke

Anyway. Beautiful stuff. If a little bit crackpot. Makes you wonder about creativity and artistry.

Of course, since I was poking around online, I found some other interesting things. Including this place: Welcome to Everything@Everything2.com. Apparently, it's a place for amateur writers to post articles. And ramblings. Including this gem (warning: adult and possibly disturbing content). Something about it seems so profound. And visceral. Made me want to cry.

Maybe life has just hit me hard lately. It often does. When I'm tired. And beset on all sides.

I disconnect.
I procrastinate.
I avoid.
"Well-secluded, I see all"

Until I can sort it all out in my head. And then I'm super-woman. But until then, I'm quiet and sleepy and maybe a little prickly. I'm not hungry. I don't want to watch TV. Don't want to be touched.

And then I'm a flurry of productivity. It's those times that I enjoy. I get my work done, and the house is clean, and the vacation is booked, and the family has all been talked to, and....

But not today. Today I'm reading about a half-crazy crackpot (maybe I say it too kindly?) and wondering what it's like to not care, to lose yourself like that, to not have to worry about the mortgage
and the cats
and the clothes
and the job
and the family
and the cars
and the weather
and the price of tea in China.

But the buffet is all you can eat. And I'm not really hungry. I already ate.

Say what you will. I live something of a privileged life. Have a nice car. Buying my second house at only 27. I have an awesome job with some of the smartest people in the world. What's not to love?

Except does any of it matter? What have I done lately that I'm truly proud of? That anyone else would care about? Have I helped the hungry? Or the homeless? Have I said something nice today?

I don't know.
I wasn't paying attention.

March 20, 2006

By the Way....

You can leave comments, you know. I mean, to let me know you've been here. I like comments. They make me happy. See the link? The one that says "Comments (0)"? That means you've stopped by, but you haven't said hello. :(

March 16, 2006

Procrastination

So, this week, it's South By Southwest time and as that is a music festival and I work for the music portion of Apple, guess where alllllll of my co-workers are right now. I'm really quite okay with this. It just means that it's dead quiet around here. There's no emails. No phone calls. No one stopping by. It's nice.

Except...

Well, funny thing about everyone else being out is that I am SO not motivated to do ANYTHING. If they don't have to work, why do I have to work? Not that this is necessarily a problem. What with everyone else gone, they're not getting anything done either, so my marked lack of productivity should be pretty unremarkable. At least that's what I'm hoping.

Anywho, this week has been great for my internet surfing, which I literally have not done since... oh.... high school. I mean, one can only look at so many webpages before one just gets JADED. But I did find a link to this place. And there is some hysterical stuff here. I highly recommend this website. The owner is nuts. I swear.

In other news, D-day on the house is now just 2 weeks away. And somehow we've managed to have MORE projects than when we started this endeavour. Not sure how we managed that. And not so sure I like that. I mean, who decides to rip out a bathroom with 3 weeks to spare? Seriously. I feel like I'm on one of those goofy home decorating shows where they have 2 days to (cue announcer man with oddly deep voice) Completely Transform This Tired Old House Into A Real Show Place, Complete With Cozy Sitting Area!!! And We'll Do It In 2 Days And For Only $5!!! Next Time On (insert favorite HGTV show here). Except we're missing the TV crew. And the zany host. And the hidden crew of people who ACTUALLY do all the painting and cleaning and working. And the joyous reveal at the end. And.... well, you get the idea. Basically, we're missing the fun.

Not that I'm blaming anyone. Because I'm not. I'm just tired. So very tired.

Thankfully, work is pretty slow right now (see above discussion), so I'm able to get an hour or so of "me-time" immediately after work, before we start on the evening's projects. Last night we packed books and shot glasses. (Not together. Just at the same time.) Today, our realtors are at the house doing yard work. They're earning their commission for sure. And it's been proven over the last 4 years that I officially don't know what to do with a yard that isn't already all nice and pretty. So I need help. Happily, we have a realtor who actually likes yard work (hallelujah!), so I'm perfectly happy to just let her go crazy.

Because of all the house stuff, I haven't exactly had a lot of time to practice my pipes. And it's so sad. My pipes are beautiful. Really, truly beautiful. And they sound so wonderful. The cats (of course) hate them, but there's this amazing feeling of power that comes with playing something so.... well, loud. :)

Anyway, realtor just called. I'm to go with her to Home Depot to buy flowers and mulch and outside prettiness. Wish me luck.

March 15, 2006

Tired.

So very tired. And someday I'll write a real post. Especially after all the good comments I got on the last one.

Until then, enjoy this.
Magical Trevor Threeeeeeeee!

February 28, 2006

Kitchen Pictures

It's 1am.

I'm sleepy.

I have meetings in the morning.

But here's some pictures of the new kitchen.

Enjoy.

And goodnight.







February 17, 2006

Just in case you were wondering....

Preparing houses for sale stinks. In profound ways. And can I just say: the people who last worked on this house should have their contractor licenses taken away (assuming they have them).

I'm wishing I had pictures of the house right now. To show some of the heinous things we've discovered. The sad and frightening and WHAT WERE THEY THINKING things that we've had to fix/remove/disguise in hopes of getting some poor schlub to take this thing off our hands at an oh-so-reasonable price of 1 zillion dollars, please, thankyouverymuch. But alas, no pictures. Not yet, anyway. Maybe that's what I'll do tonight.....

Anyway, we've decided entirely on our own, certainly not because the realtor told us to... oh, no, never would we have considered avoiding this chore, to paint the cabinets in the kitchen. But if I'm going to paint the kitchen, I'm going to do it MY WAY. And I don't do beige. Be afraid. Be very afraid. So last night, in a fit of HOLY COW WE ONLY HAVE 6 WEEKS TO DO ALL THIS, I insisted on getting Schondy to remove all the cabinet doors in the kitchen. And the last 2 doors on the pantry. So now, the cats are all confused, and the house looks funny, and it's a big mess, and I don't like big messes for very long. So this weekend, if you're bored and have nothing better to do, you can come help me sand and paint 18 cabinet doors and 6 drawer fronts. I might even be convinced to provide drinks......

On that same note, if anyone has a hankering to replace a door frame, I have just the project to make you happy. Oh, yes, we were planning to save this job for a professional, but we could probably be convinced to employ... you know... ANYONE. :-)

And the pantry. Did I mention the pantry? I love my pantry. Or at least I used to. Until we discovered the hinge that wasn't anchored to the wall (yes, really). The center post that wasn't anchored.... much. The GINORMOUS globs of paint keeping the doors from closing. Because OB-viously, why on earth would you REMOVE a hinge before painting the door? That just slows you down, right? And surely no one will notice that the doors don't actually close anymore. Details!

And then there's the windows in the kitchen. We have a great vaulted ceiling in our kitchen. I've always liked that. And there's windows up really high that bring in the sunlight, so the kitchen is lovely and bright and I've always liked that. BUT last night, I decided to get all industrious and pull down the screens from those windows to see if maybe some of the 3 inches of grime could be cleaned off, at which point I discovered that only 1/2. That's right. Half! Of the window frame was painted up there. The other half, they... I don't know... forgot? to paint? Along with the entire window sill. Seriously. Who wants to paint a window sill that's 10 feet in the air? Because no one will ever see it, right? Of course!

We're pretty sure we're going to have to completely dismantle the hall cabinets for a full hardware-ectomy (again with the painting hinges - I mean, seriously, people!), but I'll worry about that after I get my kitchen cabinet doors back. Deliah thinks we opened them all up just for her and I'm not much enjoying the thought of itty-bitty-kitty-paws all over my pots and pans.

Thankfully, most of the carnage is limited to the kitchen/dining room/entry area. Not to say that everything is just fabulous everywhere else. When our realtor saw the random diagonal wall in our master bathroom (~85 degrees), she literally was speechless. And I get the impression that this is not a normal state for her. Not that this is a problem. Because it means she's able to get a word in edgewise with me. Which is (I'm told) not always easy.

Anyway, I'll be glad when this is over. It makes me so tired to think about it. I'm ready to just go. Let the (aforementioned) poor schlub deal with the globby paint and nasty window screens and new door frame, oh my! I prefer my homes to be somewhat devoid of things that make you go "hmmm." I'm hoping for more of an "oooooh" or an "aaaaaah".

So this weekend, I will be sanding and painting and lighting and migrating live rock and.... possibly hunting for the parts for a new door frame. <sigh> Come join me and we'll make a party of it.

February 16, 2006

Aaaaand now I have a template

So yesterday, for no apparent reason, I decided I needed to do a blog. Now, I have a busy life. Really. I work 9-10 or more hours a day (contrary to what my mother might believe, given that I don't go to work until 9:30am). I take Highland bagpipe lessons (yes, really). We're in the process of selling our house and moving. All this together means... I don't have a lot of free time. And what I do have, I like to fill with some good quality time with reality TV.

So as the previous entry so..... eloquently illustrated, I'm very, very, very excited to finally get this working. And yes, we really did switch website hosts to get this working. We had a few other reasons too, but this was the catalyst.

I must have tried everything yesterday. WIth our previous host, we had a really gimpy database. One that didn't work. At all. Now we have a niiiiice database. Complete with WORKING bits. And after I spent my day today configuring... and configuring... and configuring some more, I now have a working blog that I set up ALL BY MYSELF THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

Schondy says he'll post here. Somehow I doubt it, but I could be wrong. He's certainly suprised me before. I told him he could have his own blog. But I think he'd almost rather just use mine. Ah. Marriage. In sickness, health, and blogging.

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