Sunday, March 30, 2008

Back to School...

It's been a glorious week off. Glorious because we didn't have to do anything. Except for the Handy Husband, who spent the week stripping, sanding, staining, and varnishing the front doors. (One front door and a set of French doors next to them. So technically 3 doors.)
Tomorrow morning, the grind begins again. This is what I often feel like:
Dang, that print is tiny!

Today's Field Trip

Today we joined g/nephews McQueen, Mr. Thomas and their mom on a "field trip" to Nojoqui Falls. (That's pronounced NAH-ho-wee or nah-HO-wee, not no-JO-kee.) Beloved Niece gave me a great bit of trivia: These falls are the same height as Niagara Falls. Just a lot narrower. You can't get this close to Niagara.
A short walk up a narrow canyon leads to this beautiful sight. If you are alone, it's very restful and meditative to sit and gaze up at the falls. If you are a mother, constant vigilance is required as the falls pour into a pool of water surrounded by rocks. Rocks? Boys must climb on rocks. Climb? Not just climb, but ninja. In our house, ninja is now a verb, meaning "jump from thing to thing while your mother frets that she will have to take you to the ER."

But, TA DA! He survived without major damage. And hopefully his cousins will not copy his ninja-ing.

Our Earth Hour

Frank was camping with friends, so he was naturally without electricity. The Handy Husband worked all day stripping the front door, so we let him off the hook and he vegged out with the TV in another room

Ernest and I turned off the lights, TV and computer. We filled and polished the oil lamps, and found candles. Then we played Clue and Battleship. We tied.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Earth Hour

Are you participating in Earth Hour? 8-9 p.m. in your local time zone.

Called on Account of Lack of interest

Young Frankenstein
Sleeping Beauty

Chocolate will be on its way to Bunny and Vanessa, when I get around to it!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Who won?

Bunny wants to know who won my Song/Movie meme, because she wants a prize. (What she wants isn't available yet.) The prize is chocolate.

Right now it's a tie between Bunny (4 -- 3 songs and 1 movie) and Vanessa (4 songs). Tootsie and Echo are tied for 3rd with 2 each.

There's still 3 movies left. Do a little googling:

3. "The person in that room was naked from the waist down, and if that was a woman, then she is wearing the greatest disguise I have ever seen!" This is, believe it or not, a Julie Andrews movie.

5. "YES. YES. Say it. He vas my... BOYFRIEND." One of the funniest films of 1974, this is now a Broadway musical. NOT The Producers. Think of the horses snorting whenever this character's name was said.

7. "And I still think what I thunk before. I'm going to get those wands." A Disney animated classic listed on my profile.

I'm giving it away here! Chocolate is hanging in the balance.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Field Trip

Ernest took the greatest field trips in 4th grade (2 years ago).

Yesterday, we revisited one: Oso Flaco Lake. About an hour away, a boardwalk crosses a small lake (translates to "Skinny Bear") and the dunes, to the ocean. Much of the area is protected to conserve plants and wild life. We tried to find the large accessible dunes suitable for "dune diving" but couldn't remember which path to take. Ernest thought they were one way, I thought they were another. We were both wrong. But we eventually got to the ocean and Ernest and McQueen compensated by digging a giant hole on the beach. A rogue wave almost got them.

After lunch at In 'n' Out Burger, we came home to find the Brown Truck of Happiness had left a treasure trove of cardboardy goodness. All the online shopping for Ernest's birthday arrived on the same day! He's counting. "21 and a half days," he said.

Later in the day, the Cat Whisperer appeared. Ernest enjoys meeting a standoffish cat and convincing it to be petted. His strategy is to approach the cat low and slow, and offer his hand for sniffing. Once he is sniffed out to the cat's satisfaction, petting is usually allowed. This cat's name is Harry and lives down the street.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Comic of the Day


We were without our internet connection for about 4 hours today. Crazy! We've never had a problem like that before. I called Verizon and found they had an outage in our area. "Just wait 2 or 4 hours, then reset your modem."

Ahem? Wait 2-4 hours? There are boys waiting to download the new World of Warcraft patch. More importantly, I've got blogs to read. I have to renew a library book. And check my bank balance to be sure I'm not bouncing any checks before payday gets here.

What did I do for the 4 hours? Besides sit on the phone with Verizon? Took a walk with my niece, great-nephews and m-i-l, did some needlepoint, and went out to lunch with my husband.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Growing Up

This is the first year we didn't dye Easter eggs. And the first year there is no Lego on Ernest's birthday wish list. Awww.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

It's Spring!

Violet lavender drug
slipping beneath my skin,
shucking off the stale air
of too long shut in,
too long shut away
whispering to me
to breathe deep and be.

From "Wysteria Woman" by Lisa Shields

And then I bought myself some Easter flowers.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Ernest's Advice

Ernest had a bad day on Monday. The biographical report that he thought was due on Friday, turned out to be due Tuesday. Yes, Ernest had started on it. No, he wasn't procrastinating, it's just he thought he'd have 3 extra days. So he got it done. No sweat.

The 3-D monument was due Wednesday. Ernest wanted to build a model of the Lunar Rover. Ambitious. While I was running errands, he set to work cutting up styrofoam. But then he called me at the grocery store, "Mom, I need a little help." When I got home, I saw that cut-up styrofoam gets a little messy.

Building the entire Lunar Rover from scratch seemed to be a daunting task. There are some great paper models on the internet, but that seemed like cheating and the lack of originality would be graded poorly. So I offered some other suggestions. What about the moon? It seemed easier to create a moon out of a ball. Ernest sensibly agreed. We couldn't find a ball at home, but a trip to the toy store was successful. The ball was painted like the moon. The cut-up styrofoam made a pedestal. Time to paint the pedestal. "Wait," I shrieked. We had two kinds of silver spray paint. "Test them on some scraps first, to see which looks best." This is what happened: Seriously, the paint completely dissolved the styrofoam! Good thing I suggested the test. So Plan B, acrylic paint to give the base a faux-granite look. And Voila:

Ernest's advice:

1) Double check your due dates, don't rely on a supposedly reliable friend.

2) Test your materials!

Have I Mentioned much I love Coldwater Creek (outlet)? And they keep sending me gift cards. For no reason! Except that I bought a bunch of stuff. A great marketing technique: the more you buy the more gift cards they send.

The latest batch of indulgences included some red items. Red is our school color, and we are encouraged to wear red on Thursdays ("Spirit Day.)" It's a good thing it's cold today!

P.S. Regular price: $159. Outlet price: $34.99. Seriously!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Another Secret Boyfriend: Dixon Ticonderoga

Isn't that a great name? Dixon Ticonderoga. So rugged. He's a very reliable boyfriend pencil.

I've bought them for my own kids, given them as gifts for my sons' teachers, and recommended them to other teachers I've worked with the last two years, when they have complained about their pencil supply. (It's a huge issue. You'd be surprised.) You can buy bunches of them at Costco. D.T. uses a good quality wood, doesn't splinter, the erasers work, and the leads are perfectly aligned.
I love you, Dixon Ticonderoga. And I don't think Mrs. G has claimed you yet.

My Foray to Tarzhay

On Sunday, I got to the new 2-story Tar-zhay 75 miles away. It was so new, the palm trees were still tied up. It was incredibly crowded. I parked my large car in a compact spot, like all the SUVs did. It was packed inside. People were fascinated with the cart escalator. I kid you not, there was a group of people standing there watching it.

Sadly, I couldn't think of anything to buy. I thought of getting Ernest's birthday presents, but it was still over a month away. I don't like to buy things too early, sometimes there is a problem with returns. (Like with my computer, the HH bought it 34 days before Christmas and when we found out it was defective they wouldn't take it back because they had a 31 day return policy.)

So I wandered out, through the mall, ate some fish tacos, fondled underwear in Victoria's Secret, and then went back to Target to get to the parking lot.

Then something caught my eye. Shiny things. But instead of $198, they were $24.
I picked them up, put them back, picked them up, put them back. Such indecision. I walked around the store and saw the largest chocolate aisle EVER. I'm going back someday just for that! The red shoes called me back. Then I walked around to the next aisle and found these babies:
GIRAFFE! Who doesn't need a pair of $24 Giraffe-pattern shoes? So I bought both. I have no idea when I'll ever wear them. But at the moment, I really NEEDED them.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

So I'm going to give a prize...

...hey, that caught your eye.

I want to finish those darn movie and song memes. I gave some big hints. And you can google them. I will give a prize to the person with the most correct answers. Right now, IF I have counted right (and I will do an official recount), Bunny is in the lead with 4, Vanessa with 3, Echo and Tootsie are tied with 2.

The prize may be chocolate. I don't know. Depends on my mood!

Please ... complete me!

P.S. Reread the hints, I added an update.

UPDATED 3/19 at 3:30 pacific time. Vanessa got another song! There is a TIE for the chocolate now. (But there are 3 movies left. I'm going to give it another day before I call it.)

Word Cloud


Did I Stump You?

Helpful Hints:

Movies: #3 is, believe it or not, a Julie Andrews movie. #6 just won an Oscar for Best Song, and #7 is a Disney classic listed on my profile.

Songs: #5 is a 1979 song, their first single I believe, from a British band whose name means something like "big trouble." #9 won 2004's Grammy Award for Best Rock Song, and the band's name has a color in it. I'm going to show #9 to my kids. THEY'LL get it! (UPDATE- Vanessa got #9.)

Feel free to Google!

I forgot #2. Hitchcock. Think voyeur. Think Disturbia. Think of the name of my car (yet another blog, search for it, I am too tired to find the link!) Think that Jimmy Stewart is 50's hot in pajamas. Not really hot, just 50's hot.
I also forgot #5. One of the funniest films of 1974, this is now a Broadway musical. NOT The Producers. Think of the horses snorting whenever this character's name was said.

I'm literally GIVING IT AWAY.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Song Meme

I'm doing Bunny's song meme. Bunny, you better get #1!

  1. Let the show begin, I've been ready. I know Bunny would get it. Hello, Hooray by Alice Cooper.
  2. Is there anybody alive out there? Not Pink Floyd, that's "Is there anybody out there?" Hint: I blogged about the concert featuring this song. Finally, Bunny got it. Bruce with Radio Nowhere.
  3. Darling, won't you ease my worried mind? Layla, Eric Clapton. Right on, Vanessa.
  4. What good is sitting alone in your room? Come hear the music play. Cabaret. My m-i-l got this one.
  5. You feel all right when you hear that music ring. Yay, Vanessa! Dire Straits, Sultans of Swing.
  6. Here we are now, entertain us. Smells Like Teen Spirit, Nirvana, again guessed by Vanessa.
  7. Hey, hey, mama, said the way you move, Gonna make you sweat, gonna make you groove. Bunny's right, it's Led Zep. Black Dog.
  8. Every time I look in the mirror, All these lines on my face getting clearer, The past is gone. Aerosmith, Dream On. Thanks, SarahO.
  9. And if I catch it coming back my way, I'm gonna serve it to you, And that aint what you want to hear, But thats what I'll do. At Last! Vanessa got 7 Nation Army, the White Stripes.
  10. And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make. The Beatles, The End. Thanks, Echo.
Hey, that made a little story! Rock on!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Doing Something Right

Ernest's teacher sent out some e-mails yesterday morning to arrange a St. Patrick's day party for the class. After things were arranged, he sent out this note:

This class is so terrific & I'm going to miss them like heck next year. Today they all pulled together to root on a classmate who has major trouble running the mile. They rallied around this guy to where he made it and felt good for the first time ever in PE. That's just too cool. All this without even a hint from Mr. H [PE teacher]. That tells us the character of these kids. You're all doing something right at home & it shows. Values, ethics, and integrity are HUGE. Thanks for helping make my year a very special one with very special students.

Wow. Thank you, Mr. P. And it goes both ways. He's been teaching for 29 years and he is still enthusiastic. He is so inspirational with the kids, encouraging them to be eager learners and always providing a great, interactive learning experience.

They are a great class. I've known many of them since ages 4-6. This year I've volunteered for our Meet the Masters art program and it's been a joy to guide them through the creative projects.

Except for today, Friday at the end of the day, when they started sliming their hands with tempera paint like kindergarteners! Oh, well, they're still kids. (P.S. Ernest was not in on the paint sliming. He was working on the school paper. He'll have to finish his project at home.)

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Google Reader, and Why I Blog

Thanks to Jenn at Juggling Life , I discovered Google Reader. Now I can read even more blogs in less time. Whoo-hoo! And not waste time clicking on the folks who haven't posted in forever.

Like my beloved niece. [Nagging auntie.] (OK, she has an excuse. She moved, and her internet connection is not working. But she could come use my computer if she wanted to. Because now we are only 2 BLOCKS AWAY!) And then there is Yaxlich, who used to be a really funny 3rd person blogger but then he stopped.

Mrs. G rocks as a 3rd person blogger. And SHE posts all the time.

So this leads me to wonder, why do I blog? I have no aspirations WHATEVER to be a writer. I don't even like talking to people, sometimes.

I started with a couple posts on MySpace. I only went on MySpace to see what my son was doing. But there was that blog thingy. I talked/wrote/blogged about our raccoon invasion. Then I realized I liked the bloggy form of communication. And I discovered Blogger was a better space for that. I hoped that instead of sending newsy little e-mails to my friends and family, they would follow me to Blogger.

Friends? So fickle. Family, a little better. My lovely mother-in-law reads, and comments occasionally. My father, also. Beloved Niece was reading a lot before she moved. Friends, hey what the heck is up with you? Sign up on Google Reader, why dont'cha.

But the best thing about blogging is all the new friends I have discovered. It's like having pen pals, without the wait and the postage. Thank you to all. Bunny Bunster, Jenn at Juggling Life, Jen on the Edge, Vanessa at Random Ramblings (alphabetical) are my regular readers and I thank you and love sharing your lives, too. And I find that you get what you give: like if I comment on Mrs. G, she comments back. I am trying to lurk less and comment more. Which is challenging for me, because I am not a joiner, I am the quiet one in the back of the class. Who knows the answer but is afraid to raise her hand.

Movie Meme Hint

3 of the movies are on my profile.

3 a.m.

I have issues. With sleep. There's nothing I love more than sleeping all night long without getting woken up. Unfortunately many things interfere: having to go to the bathroom, husband snoring, cat purring and nudging and standing on my feet, raccoon noises, skunk smells, etc.

Last night I woke to a loud rumbling and window rattling. Living in California, my first thought was "Earthquake? But the bed's not shaking." As the brain haze cleared, I looked at the clock. 3:05 a.m. The next thought was, "A missle launch?" There's an air force base 25 miles away. "At 3 in the morning? Hmmmm." Then the brain hazed over again and fortunately I fell asleep again.

Yep. A local paper reported: "The United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas 5 rocket, which stands 19 stories high, climbed above Space Launch Complex-3 on South Base at 3:02 a.m. today, ducking in and out of clouds while thundering off the pad."

Why, oh why, did they have to launch it at 3 a.m.?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Movie Meme

I've been meaning to do the movie meme for a while. Here are the meme rules:
1. Pick 10 of your favorite movies.
2. Go to IMDB and find a quote from each movie.
3. Post them here for everyone to guess.
4. Strike it out when someone guesses correctly, and put who guessed it and the movie.
5. GUESSERS: NO GOOGLING/using IMDB search functions.
6. One movie guess per blogger.
7. Put your guesses in the comments.

I have so many favorite movies, it's hard to choose.

1. Take car. Go to mum's. Kill Phil - "Sorry." - grab Liz, go to the Winchester, have a nice cold pint, and wait for all of this to blow over. How's that for a slice of fried gold? Shaun of the Dead. Ernest got this one.

2. Why would a man leave his apartment three times on a rainy night with a suitcase and come back three times? He likes the way his wife welcomes him home. Rear Window. Thanks Echo!

3. The person in that room was naked from the waist down, and if that was a woman, then she is wearing the greatest disguise I have ever seen!

4. Oh bliss! Bliss and heaven! Oh, it was gorgeousness and gorgeousity made flesh. It was like a bird of rarest-spun heaven metal or like silvery wine flowing in a spaceship, gravity all nonsense now. As I slooshied, I knew such lovely pictures! A Clockwork Orange. Frank got this one.

5. YES. YES. Say it. He vas my... BOYFRIEND.

6. During the daytime people would want to hear songs that they know, just songs that they recognize. I play these song at night or I wouldn't make any money. People wouldn't listen. Thank you, Barbra. Once, which just won an Oscar for Best Song, "Falling Slowly."

7. And I still think what I thunk before. I'm going to get those wands. (sorry, Jen. It's not Harry Potter.)

8. What... is the air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow? Tootsie Farklepants got it! Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

9. You've arrived on a rather special night. It's one of the master's affairs. Tootsie again, Rocky Horror Picture Show.

10. No, I don't think I will kiss you, although you need kissing, badly. That's what's wrong with you. You should be kissed and often, and by someone who knows how. Gone With the Wind, guessed by Bunny Bunster .

Sometimes it's hard to find good quotes!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Bono Vox?

Bono Vox? Bono Rox!

Ernest wanted to know Bono's real name so we looked it up on WikiPedia.

Paul David Hewson.

I discovered he is only 8 days older than me! He was born on my evil uncle's birthday, but that's another story.

My Grace, and the new Tar-Zhay!

My car is over 7 years old, but I only named her last year. Another mom at school talked about her van, "good old Bess. " I thought about my car and decided to name her Grace. For Grace Kelly. Both Graces are beautiful, intelligent, and sophisticated. And my Grace has a lot of power when she needs it. I think the real Grace did, too.

I thought my Grace had a stroke while driving on Friday, but it turned out to be just a loose radiator hose clamp. Ladies, let us keep our clamps tight!

Bunny, they didn't wash her again because they had already washed her on Monday and she was still perfect clean. But they did wash the "blood" out of the engine compartment! And it was free: towing, repair and delivery!

I've had older car babies that racked up the miles when the HH and I commuted together 90+ miles a day. * I've had this car while I've been a Smalltown Mom so that's cut down considerably on her mileage. We do take her on all our long haul trips.

*90 miles x 5 days a week = 450. 450 miles x 50 (allowing 2 weeks vacation)=22,500 miles a year. 22,500 miles a year x 7 years = 157,500 miles. So, Grace got it easy! A good thing I am not commuting anymore.

The HH drives about half the miles a year (because he drives with a friend) and then half it again between cars because when he drives he alternates between the truck and his Lotus.

My pathetic math works out that he puts 5,625 miles per year on each of his 2 vehicles. [I couldn't find the calculator so I solved the division problems out on paper. Hey, at least I CAN do multiplication and long division! Ernest checked some of it.] I think that's third grade math!!!!

This mileage calculation excludes pleasure trips.

Which for the HH is up and down a twisty windy country road on the weekend.

And for me is a trip to a major shopping store.

On Saturday, Frank has to drive 75 miles to a meeting. I am going with him so I can visit the new 2-story Tar-Zhay!!! They have a shopping cart escalator. I can't wait.

She's back!

So here's my baby getting towed away on Friday:
Here's her "blood" on the garage floor:

She came home yesterday, good as 7-years-old new.

Monday, March 10, 2008

It's "Buffet" Night

That's what I call it when I clean out the refrigerator and serve leftovers. We have:

1) Entree: a lot of tri-tip and a little chicken from last night's barbecue. There's also some spaghetti.
2) Side dishes: potato salad, pasta salad, chili beans, and garlic bread (from last night), Spanish rice and cheesy broccoli rice, (from earlier in the week). I threw out the mashed potatoes of questionable age.
3) Greens: A freshly made salad!

Friday, March 07, 2008

I Don't Recommend

...because it smells like shampoo. Like a really great shampoo. But it's for dishes. It's not right.

It gets Worse!

I was driving Frank home from school (because he can't drive with the splint) when suddenly POOF, out came a cloud of greasy liquid from the front corner of the car! It had been making a small whiny noise earlier in the day. This is what it looked like inside:

I e-mailed the Handy Husband several messy pictures and he talked with the dealer (who had just serviced the car on Monday for $1400!). They say it was a radiator hose or clamp that blew. They are sending a tow truck.

Some better news, after a doctor's visit: Frank's wrist is slightly better and is only sprained. He has an ace bandage instead of the splint. Yay!

Since I am now carless, and Frank's wrist is too sore to use the stick shift, I am going to steal his car for the weekend! He can drive his dad's automatic truck if he has to.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

It's been one of those weeks... please let Friday be OK...

Problems this week, from smallest to biggest:

4) Ernest was assigned a biography report Monday. Forgot the papers at school. Remembered this Wednesday coming home, so we detoured to the library and he checked out books on Leonardo da Vinci. Found out today that someone had already chosed Leo. Came up with some alternatives. Mom suggested he call the teacher to be sure those weren't chosen already. Einstein was, Neil Armstrong wasn't. Mom made trips to 2 librarys to bring home books while Ernest worked on other homework. Nice of me, huh?

3) My car with 90,000 miles on it was serviced at a cost of $1400. And it also needs new tires.

2) We got our tax returns back from the accountant. The HH and I owe big bucks, the kids owe big bucks too! (Part of their college fund was transferred to another institution, hence capital gains.) Ouch.

#1) problem of the week. HH took Frank to a band meeting last night. Frank was heelying outside before the meeting started. Oops, a wheel caught in a crack and he went splat. Hurt his wrist and chipped his two top front teeth. They sat through the meeting. When they came home at 9:30 p.m. I looked at the way Frank was cradling his arm and said, "I'm taking him to the ER." (Cradling it the same way he did when he had a broken arm at age 12.) 2 1/2 hours later... no visible fracture, a splint, a sling, and some Vicodin. And a dentist's appointment this morning. Thank you for our wonderful dentist, Dr. Elder, who squeezed Frank in between other appointments and FIXED HIS TEETH. This is why Dr. Elder wins all those "best dentist" polls!

After Frank and I left the dentist's office, Frank hugged me and thanked me. Aaaawww.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Shiny Things

The Handy Husband's Road & Track arrived today. The shiny things on the cover are sure to catch his eye when he gets home.

Easter Egg colors!

The shiny things on the back of the J. Crew catalog caught MY eye!

But I rarely wear high heels anymore. And they cost $198! And my wide little hooves probably wouldn't even fit into them. Yet, they are adorable. Sigh.....

Now I am remembering my yellow snakeskin pumps from 1986. I loved those shoes.

And my red/black snakeskin pumps with black heels, which replaced the ruby slippers with black bows from 1983, after a heel broke off when I tripped on the steps at W Sola St. (I bought the snakeskins at lunch hour right after the rubies broke, but I had the rubies repaired later.)

... and the purple ones and the pink ones and the green sequined ones from Christmas 1990 and... Excuse me while I have a Meg Ryan moment.

And here's my Handy Husband's shiny thing:

He says he has a moment every time he sits in it.

Sunday afternoon.

The men of the house went off to do men things: Handy Husband tinkered on his car in the garage. Frank ninja-ed (like here and here). Ernest rode bikes with his cousin, McQueen.

So I watched Becoming Jane.

By the time they were all back the movie was over and I was bored, so I cleaned. Some of you may know I hate cleaning. Is this because my mother was not a great housekeeper, or because I worked as a motel maid in high school? Anyway, I was so bored I cleaned the blinds in the dining room, and then the kitchen. Then the kitchen tchotchkes had to be cleaned too. Here's my clean kitchen window area, including my Valentine's Day present. (The new faucet.)

Saturday, March 01, 2008

I got culture today...

Cultural events this weekend.... (Unusual.)
Ernest was invited to a harpsichord class this morning. Very cool. He reports that the keys are much narrower, and it feels different. The key action plucks the strings, instead of a hammer hitting the strings on the piano. I have a video, but I have to figure out how to get it on here.

Then, miracle of miracles, Frank and I went to the theatah to see "Othello." Yes, my seventeen year old son accompanied me to Shakespeare. I told him it had a great villain. Oh yes it did! And how many modern villains have been derived from Iago's treachery? I felt like I was watching a soap opera.
Andrew Philpot as Iago

And may I say I have a tiny little mom crush on the actor who played Iago (who I occasionally see in real life because his daughter is in one of my classes and takes piano lessons right before Ernest). Look at the flare of his nostril!

Corey Jones as Othello, Vanessa Ballam as Desdemona

And a really big crush on Othello, because I don't know him in real life.

Photos from PCPA Theaterfest.