Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year!

So. 2008? How'd that happen?

Happy New Year to all and to all a good night (drive carefully, if you drink, do so responsibly, wear your seatbelt, call if you're going to be late.... yeah, I'm a mom)

Resolutions? Hmmmm.... increased patience, generosity, and time spent with kids - with older kids, because once this baby pops out, I am well aware that it is 24/7 for a while with her, so have to choose a lot of activities with baby riding along in a carrier or even latched on and eating.

ETA: Oh yeah. Professional goals. I hope to finish my NaNoWriMo novel and go back and edit it so the early, exploratory scenes line up with the way the characters developed. And add some other scenes. Basically, make it a novel. It might never be good, might never be published, but I want to FINISH it.

Yes, seven months along and I'm starting to really feel it - pelvis and legs aching when I stand up for 5 hours at work, constant heartburn, and YIKES! we still need to choose a name and get a crib and a car seat (we have one convertible one that a friend gave us, but I would like to start with a little one to fit in the car better and fit the baby in better). And we need t-shirts and sleepers. Otherwise, we're pretty much set. I think we have enough cloth diapers and covers, even. A friend in the UK is going to send some girly ones. I will make a few anyway, because really fun and pretty dipes make me smile. Well, keep me from fainting during the worst of the poop, anyway.

Then in year-end best-of, Romantic Times released its nominations for Reader's Choice awards. Looky there! Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer, Wendy Roberts (which I reviewed, what, yesterday?) because it's not all romance novels, and some other books that I read and liked. And a follow-up in a series that I hadn't even realized was published yet - obviously, I wasn't waiting with bated breath, but I did intend to read it and it was on my amazon wishlist with about 100 other books. A few that I read and said "feh" about, too, but there are about 100 on the RT list in about 20 categories, so, well, horses for courses, as my British friends say.

But wait - not Lani Diane Rich's Fortune Quilt? That was one of the very very best books I read all year, romance or otherwise. Too bad I'm not an RT member or subscriber or whatever so didn't get to nominate....

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Good mystery book - Mom, you might like this one

I read this book yesterday. Yes, the whole thing. Nice, slow day. Excellent, fast-paced book.

The main character runs a cleaning service in Seattle that cleans up crime scenes. They specialize in cleaning up blood and guts (there's another company in town that does the meth lab cleanups), so there are some icky images and dark humor at times. So not only does she clean it up with the help of her employee, but often the dead people come to see her, but only the ones who, uh, haven't yet gone into the light. She often has to convince them that they really are dead or agree to pass on the message they think they have to leave before they go.

So she's cleaning up a murder-suicide and a man walks in. She assumes that he is a ghost and doesn't even pay close attention, but she later learns that it wasn't the murderer, but a real, live person, a friend of the dead couple, who had no business being in the house. Then she meets the ghost of the murdered wife who is trying to communicate about what happened, but can't.

I figured out the mystery before the main character did, but she was emotionally invested in the wrong answer. But there was another, smaller mystery that totally blindsided me and I had to go back through to look for references that should have niggled more than they did.

Anyway, lots of adventure, several ghosts, another medium gets involved, a few kisses but Mom will be glad to know nothing steamy, and just overall a really good plot.

And now I have to wait until December 08 to read the next in the series! Augh!

ETA: I just requested her first mystery book, "Dating Can Be Deadly" from the library. I guess that'll have to hold me for a bit....

Friday, December 28, 2007

And so the winter break continues

and continues and continues.... We're through the second week of three and we still haven't gone out and done anything. We don't generally, because I am lazy, but this time I am even lazier than usual.

Gingerbread-man-making party at a friend's house tomorrow. They don't eat the gingerbread we already have, but it should be fun anyway. And maybe I will drop them off there and get to work on DS1's birthday presents. Now there's a crazy idea.

I cut out a bunting for the baby and found a zipper for it in my sewing box, so I don't have to buy one of those. Score! Oh, and I have some bias tape that will do that I got a bag of from the thrift store a year or two ago. So I'm all set :)

I made chicken leftover pie for dinner. One breast of chicken, made gravy from the chicken juice, leftover peas and corn, half a huge leftover baked potato, and non-leftover cheese inside, and pre-made pie crusts that I was going to use for apple pie, but I figured we still have a ton of Xmas cookies. It was a bit soupy, but is firming up as it cools down. I ate too much of it, but had hardly eaten anything at lunch.

It's not even 6 and I'm about ready for bed. Dh had better hurry home....

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Well, I was going to put a link to a website with some headache-inducing Xmas light shows, but there's an extremely rude song on the same site, so I won't. Oh well.

We had cinnamon rolls this morning. From a Pillsbury Grand can, so don't tell my mom who bakes the best rolls ever in the world from scratch.

THEN! We opened presents. Woah, good haul this year. We hardly know where to start. Santa put computer games in the stockings, so while we were waiting for the rolls to bake and Daddy to get his behind outta bed, they started in on Putt-Putt.

The big hit? Screaming, flying monkeys. In masks and capes. Thanks Granny.

Lots of books, some games, some movies, and a train roundhouse. Too many things to play with all at once! Currently watching Looney Tunes.

And stuff for Mommy and Daddy, too. Books, crock pot, necklace, ear plugs (oh yes!), towel and slippers for the future baby.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Kids very excited now. It's 5:45 and I finally wrapped the presents and we put them and the ones from Granny & Grandpa out by the tree. Still the ones from DH and a box from DH's mom to go out when Santa arrives and sorts everything and fills the stockings.

I suggested they go to bed at five. DS1 announced he'll go to bed at seven or eight. Which would be a laugh, since nine is pretty early for them these days. This after reading today's Baby Blues.

Frozen pizza for dinner. Not sure when DH is coming home because he didn't answer when I called. He said he was coming home early - he usually gets here a bit after 7. He left really early today - he even set his alarm and got up at 7 AM. Dang, but his alarm is LOUD. It took me an hour to get back to sleep. Maybe it's that I am used to my quieter one on which I hit the snooze three times every morning...

Right. I'm about ready for bed myself.

Friday, December 21, 2007


1) presents for out of town all done and mailed except sister. She's getting..... dunno. gift card. late.

2) presents for immediate family all done except stocking. Trains Galore sent TWO boxes with duplicate roundhouses They're going to send UPS back to pick one box up. And yes, both had my name and address outside and on the packing slip.

3) haven't even started sewing new stockings

4) birthday? we've got ten days to worry about that

Took kids to 99 cent store to find present for DH. Found a few bits and pieces. He still hasn't given any useful hints except for one book and I got him that - from my Mom and Dad, though, so still nothing from me. They are decorating cards and a gift tag for that.

I think I'll get busy wrapping stuff tonight when DH gets home. and relabeling the gift from my mom to my kids on which she put DS1's name and cousin #1's name, which starts with the same two letters as DS2's name. Poor Granny! And lately I've been taunting her with naming the new baby to rhyme with the other kids.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

On the first day of Christmas...

OK, so I guess that's officially in a couple more days. But anyway.

It's the second weekday home with the kidlets. They were pretty good yesterday, except when they weren't. How hard can it be to make two angry kids go and play by themselves instead of picking on each other and both being miserable? A lot harder than you'd think. "He shouldn't be pestering you, but if he is, then GO SOMEWHERE ELSE, DON'T KICK HIM IN THE NOSE!" sounds reasonable, doesn't it? Sigh.

Only a week until Christmas and presents for my family have not been sent yet. Most have been ordered, but haven't even arrived here to be sorted out and wrapped and all. Or in the case of my little brother, I have the fleece, it just hasn't been made into anything yet, much less wrapped and mailed.

So now I'm down to the urgent to-do list
1) presents for out-of-town family
2) presents for in-town family and friends
3) stockings for kids
4) birthday presents for DS1, whose b-day is a week after Xmas

Friday, December 14, 2007

Christmas is (almost) here!

Today was the kids' last day of school. Yeah. Way early. We have three weeks ahead of us and no real plans. Uh oh. Museums. Play with friends. I'd like to take them sledding, if it has started snowing in the mountains but I don't think my midwife would approve and DH doesn't particularly like snow....

Yesterday afternoon, I spent a couple of hours sorting through fabric, patterns, and various sewing junk, so the front room looks a little less like the fabric store puked on it.

DS1's PJs are all done. He wore them to bed last night and got the pants dirty this morning, so had to wear last year's PJs to his class PJ/movie/gingerbread house party anyway. And good thing I had been rifling through his PJ shelf and found that last year's PJ pants had a huge hole in the bum and fixed it before this morning. But then again, if we had done any laundry at all this week, he could have worn his red sweatpants with the new PJ shirt. Then DS2 announced that jeans are too squeezy and all his sweats were in the wash, too, so he ended up in velour PJ pants which almost look like sweats, even though his class was having a regular day, not a PJ party.

DS2 picked out some improbable pieces of quilting fabric for a new stocking. I think I'll pick a background fabric and decorate it with his choices or sew them together and use the other fabric as lining. DS1 was grumbly and announced he didn't want a new stocking. Must find out if that's really true.

When sorting fabric, I put aside a stack of things that would look good in my brother's wedding quilt and some others that would make cute girly baby clothes. The stack of whatsis terry cloth (the really thick, soft stuff that's looped only on one side? Burly?) is still on the floor under the little table that has my barely-used iron on it, so just need to cut out diapers and get sewing. I have some Aplix (it's like velcro) and metal snaps are around here somewhere. Oh wait. I might need elastic. I have some old diapers to repair, too, mostly elastic problems and mostly in larger sizes.

Right new list:

1) Presents presents presents. Really must get going on them.
2) Sew DS2's stocking.
3) Maybe do the baby sleeping bag/bunting now
4) Clean house. Vacuum house. Whine about carpet beater thingy that doesn't work and hasn't for about a year, but will cost as much as I spent on the thing new to replace. Sigh.

Read and edit blog posts carefully. Up at the beginning I said "... if it has started sewing in the mountains..." One track mind.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

progress report on latest to-do list

1) haven't started stockings
2) big presents for kids done online - a couple of shared things, so need to find individual stuff, too. No one else bought for.
3) wedding quilt? Ah. Not yet.
4) clean up sewing area. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
5)Plugged in outside lights. Didn't get or hang wreath. Am thinking ribbons instead.
6) Made gingerbread men (and other shapes of gingerbread) for cookie exchange. Got loads of yummy stuff in return. Trying to go easy on sugar, since it gives me a headache, I certainly don't need the calories, and it activates my heartburn.

BUT I did just make PJ pants for the boys. Trying to decide if I should make shirts for both or only for DS1. DS2 sleeps with just a pull-up thingy most of the time and says the shirts twist around him or he's too hot or they make him choke and he can't sleep. Maybe I'll make him a regular shirt that sort of matches and he can wear it during the day if he'd rather. Then again, DS1 usually sleeps in his clothes...

SOOOOO. New to-do list:
2) stockings
3) PJ shirts
4) presents for rest of family
5) baby clothes and diapers. Make and/or buy. Just bought a bunch of super cute stuff from an online retailer that's going out of business. I have quilted fabric and a pattern to make a bunting/sleeping bag. I have three tons of fabric, I just need to figure out what we need most and just do it.
6) brother's wedding quilt (sorry, David, it keeps getting bumped)
7) Just saw a couple of the kids' little stuffed animals that have been sitting by my sewing table with holes in them for a few months. Feeling guilty.

ETA: Took care of the stuffed animals, sewed a button on some school pants that have been sitting there since oh, about when school began, put the elastic in the other foot of nephew's Halloween costume (he wore the rest of it already, these are just the shoe covers in bright orange), found the envelope with a friend's quilt squares and realized she never got back to me on if I should make it just the size of the squares or add to it and what colors to use. all of this helps slightly with the cleaning up sewing area. Very slightly.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Christmas quilt pictures

Finally finished!

Detail of the binding. I LOVE that fabric.

Similar quilt I made for a friend and her family last year. Zoom in to see the Hanukkah fabrics along with the Christmas, moon and sun, orange, lemon, cherry, coffee, breast cancer, snow, and generally loud stuff. It was sort of a charm/friendship quilt where a lot of the pictures meant something.

I'm thinking I should have made ours a bit bigger, too, but I had 48 inch wide batting on hand this year and used the much wider and thinner warm and natural for theirs last year. Anyway.

International and Christmas light pictures

International Night first:

My Japanese boy and my Plains Native American in the teepee in the Kindergarten room.

Two of the girls from DS1's class in the kimonos I hemmed. The red-headed and blonde Japanese, you know. (Heads deliberately cut off for privacy)

Afterwards, we went to the street near here where they all go crazy for Christmas.

Silly boys

Odd expression, but good bone structure ;)

Odder expression!

Christmas meme (this time straight from Liza!)

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags?

Well, I'm trying to be a good girl and make cloth bags to reuse, but every year most stuff ends up in wrapping paper.

2. Real tree or artificial?

Real, with roots, to be planted later. We still have one in a pot from a few years ago that we used a few times, but it's not looking so happy, since I forget to water sometimes in the summer and the pot isn't big enough.... We planted last year's and it has shot up. We got a sequoia this year, so I am afraid to plant it as it will soon take over the entire yard. Maybe I'll re-pot the new one and plant the old one and see if it lives.

3. When do you put up the tree?
Early in December

4. When do you take the tree down?
Early January

5. Favorite gift received as a child?
I want to say the year I got a big doll whose hair grows when you pull on it and goes back in when you pull the string. Chrissie?

7. Hardest person to buy for?
DH or maybe my dad. Stereotypical, I know.

8. Easiest person to buy for?
My mom and my kids. Though my mom doesn't want anything and my kids want everything.

9. Worst Christmas gift ever received?
I must have blocked it out.

10. Mail or email Christmas card?
Um. Forget/run out of time nearly every year. I manage to send out a few, generally.

11. Favorite Christmas Movie?
The Christmas Story. Or the Grinch (the original, not that atrocity with that unfunny comic guy)

12. When do you start shopping for Christmas?
Oh, right about now. EEK!

13. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present?
They end up at Goodwill after a few months.

14. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?

15. Lights on the tree?
Of course.

16. Favorite Christmas song?
Don't really have one anymore. I'm not religious anymore, but love the hymns anyway. And everything pop-ified (at least in oldies) has been drilled into my head at work. Oh, but I love the a cappella choral stuff like they used to do in Madrigals in college. Sigh.

17. Travel at Christmas or stay home?
I like staying home, but would like to go back to Ohio.

18. Can you name Santa’s reindeer?
Of course!

19. Angel on top or a star?
Star when I was growing up. Don't usually put anything but garland now.

20. What do you leave out for Santa?
We haven't left anything before, but DS1 has been making noise about it this year, so I guess we'll have to.

Friday, December 7, 2007

New to-do list:

1) Xmas stockings for kids. Let them choose fabric? Sort through bins of fabric for possibilities. Trying to NOT buy fabric until I have used some of what I have.

2) Determine Xmas presents for, well, everyone. Haven't even started. Probably a llama for my mama - or at least a leg of llama (roasted with mint sauce?), not sure how much the Heifer project and World Vision want for one of those these days.

3) Start on brother's wedding quilt.

4) Clean up sewing area so that my junk fits in the corners and you can actually approach the chimney - or come out of it, if you're a certain dude in red.

5) Buy wreath for front door. Plug in net of lights that I put on the bushes outside the other day. Find a spot for the lovely beaded gold garland I haven't yet hung up anywhere.

6) Decide what cookies to make for cookie exchange, which is Monday or maybe Tuesday. Get recipe. Probably buckeyes, since I am from Ohio. But 6 1/2 dozen's worth of dipping peanut butter balls into chocolate? Hmmm....

Field trip blues

DS2's Kindergarten class went to the fish hatchery yesterday - same one that DS1's class went to a few weeks ago. Did I even blog about that?

With DS1's 2nd & 3rd grade class, it was the first time in the many many times we've visited that I had actually seen them bringing up the salmon once they've reached the top of the fish ladder, killing them, taking out the eggs, and squirting in the milt (what the male fish call their semen), and everything. Our guide was also really good with the kids, on their level without being patronizing, etc etc. The weather was chilly, but sunny and great.

Yesterday, not so much. First off, it was sprinkling. All morning. Then, the teacher decided that what the heck, we should still take the kids to play for a while and have their snack by the lake above the dam and go for a short walk through the woods, even though it was chilly and raining. So by the time we got to the actual hatchery, everyone was already a bit cold. DS2 has been fighting off a cold for 2 weeks and the day before this, he had a barking cough and I had been starting to think about taking him to see the doctor. He was much better yesterday, but still a bit off. He even announced in the car on the way there that one of his ears wasn't hearing right and it was "beeping" so obviously there's still some sinus pressure.

Let's just say that DS2's teacher is not a person who is easily contradicted and that none of the parents who were driving were ready to stand up to her. Not even me. Bad mommies and daddies all around.

Anyway, we had two lovely young women (big class so divided into 2 groups) as guides and the one for our group was holding up a picture of a salmon and expecting the kids to read the labels on it. Um, these are Kindergartners. Some can read, but they're mostly not up to anatomy and physiology words in small type on a sign you keep moving around. She was generally over their heads, but in that high-pitched speaking to small kids voice.

And they weren't even hauling up the fish yesterday, so we watched the video. Then we went down by the fish ladder, where we didn't see any fish coming up, since the gate at the bottom was closed, and got colder. Anyway, they gave us some fish food for the young trout in the raceways and we went back to school instead of having lunch there at their wet picnic tables. If I hadn't had another kid in the car (sweet little boy, very little idea of how to stay with the group), I would have just taken DS2 home because he was really worn out and sad and clingy - he didn't even want to feed the fish. As it was, I took them back to school and we ate our lunch there, then I took him home.

We then did optimal rainy day activities -- we got under a blanket to warm up, and read some books, then took a nice, long nap. Not often that I get to cuddle up with a warm child during the day. This is the same kid who wants to sleep in my bed every night, so I do get to cuddle with him regularly and even beyond my tolerance level, but I appreciate the nap time more for it being rare.

When we went to get DS1 at 3:00 - we actually were a bit late, just barely within the grace period - the storm drain in the courtyard was already backing up. By the time we got there this morning, the courtyard was full - there were men from the district trying to unclog it and they were almost up to the tops of their knee-high boots right by the drain. This was a source of big excitement for the kids, of course. I was making photocopies for DS1's class and nearly every child in the class just had to go use the restroom in the hour I was there so they could check out the progress of the work. I said we should be teaching swimming lessons. Too bad it doesn't freeze around here or we could have a skating rink fundraiser. It was basically really lucky that it didn't rain even more than it did, because it was only a few inches below flooding the classrooms.

Why more people should play video games


And good for him!

Thanks Jen R (and I think Liza did this one a few weeks ago, too)

cash advance

Cash Advance Loans

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Well, that was a mistake

Ended up yelling at the kids.

Never decorate a tree with hyper elementary school kids when you have a massive headache and are sleep deprived.

Of course, the fact that I told them about 80 times to settle down and not throw things or flail their arms around, etc and yet they kept on doing it has made me lose my tolerance.

I have put them on alert: if they knock the tree over, it is getting un-decorated and that's it. Not sure if I can do that one. Maybe they'll just be banished from the front room for the duration.

Done with quilt!

Phew! I just finished sewing the binding on my Christmas quilt.

We're decorating the tree tonight - the kids and I got it yesterday and with the school International Night and a visit to the street near us that goes absolutely wild with Xmas decorations, it was nearly bedtime when we got home. DS2 had a meltdown about not doing it and then fell asleep really early, all worn out. He then proceeded to have a hard time staying asleep and came back into our room twice and fidgeted. I stayed up too late reading a book anyway, and then had him fussing, so didn't get enough sleep.

I haven't done anything at all about cleaning up my sewing area yet. Bad Mommy!

I want to make new Christmas stockings for the boys this year. I need to see what I have in seasonal-colored fabrics and see what they want out of that. Otherwise, I might go for felt....

Right. Going to run a couple of errands before going to get the guys from school...

Monday, December 3, 2007

So, yes it was...

Yep. they were at Palisades. DS2 tried to help my friend plant and weed, but was going all crazy fun with the big shovel and digging up the actual plants she was trying to keep, so she found them shovels, buckets, etc and they played for a couple of hours in the sandbox. We haven't been sandbox-ing much lately and probably should be. DS1, especially, spent all of last school year in the sandbox. No sandbox at their school this year, at least not in the "big kid" play area.

I dropped the kids off at school and then went and camped out in the coffee shop of a grocery store and typed almost 1000 words. I couldn't find my notebook at the last minute, so didn't type up what I wrote the other day. Instead, I rewrote most of the scene from where it got too long and the father wasn't behaving as I thought he would. This time is better.

Then i went to DS1's class where it turns out they weren't going to do spelling this week, so I didn't need to be hanging out at the grocery store near school.

Then a nice lady came and stole some of my blood. We're changing life insurance again.

I just cut strips and ran them through my binding maker thingy and ironed them, so the binding is ready to put on my quilt. Maybe I'll even get to it tonight after karate and supper. I have to say that while the red and white round peppermint candy fabric is a bit much as a full piece, it is totally gorgeous as narrow strips. I am such a genius.

Busy day and it's only 2;40. 2:40???? tIME TO GET THE kids! Augh!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

pick pick pick

I did have to work after all. The supervisor that i spoke with yesterday said i didn't, but she was apparently looking at last week's schedule. oops. So I was 40 minutes late, then got sent home early. Oh well.

Then I decided to make the whole border of my wild Christmas quilt just tone-on-tone white trees with little red birds. So that's sewed on. I cut the batting to the size I need it. I decided to use my piece of red on white A. Henry fabric that just says "Christmas" on the back, but i needed it to be a little wider. I cut strips of a red and white striped fabric. I proceeded to sew the first one all the way down the side - a good four feet, maybe more - before noticing that I was sewing it back to front. So here I am, checking my email and blogging and intermittently picking out stitches. Sigh.

Stupid good-quality thread! For every stitch I pick out, I can only tear one or two more stitches.
Oh, and the kids were picked up by a friend while I was out. She told DH that she was taking them to "Palace Eight." It took me about an hour for it to seep in and for me to realize he meant "Palisades" which is her son's school, so she might be gardening, but they are surely playing on the playground (though yesterday DS2 was eager to do some digging instead of just trimming hedges, so he might have tried to help some). I wonder when I'll get them back? DH doesn't know. He figures that she always brings them back, so wasn't too worried about where they were going or anything.

Yard work, birds, new table

So yesterday.... I got some hedge trimmers.

I already had some small pruners, but not the big clippers. So I went a little nuts. Now you can walk to our front door without pushing your way through the jungle of the hedges and getting smacked in the head by the giant lantana. The garage door is in no danger of being blocked by encroaching hedges. You can look out the front window and not just see tangled rose bush and lantana.

I even washed the bloomin' window! I got viciously stabbed in the pinkie finger when a rose bush branch snapped back as I was trying to work behind it. Well, it's a bit streaky and the glass on the outside seems to be permanently cloudy toward the bottom. As far as we can tell, these are the original windows from the 70's. They rattle around in their aluminum panes and let the wind blow right on in.

Oh, and then I watered the young trees (we haven't had enough rain yet) and pounded in food spikes and then dumped bark around the bases (note to self: need more bark for old Xmas tree) and trimmed off some of the tiny branches close to the ground on the maple. (Anyone know about shaping maple trees? This one still flops over on top and has random spots with long branches and the rest are tiny. Anyway.)

DH had cleaned up the leaves last weekend and so all I want done is for the lawn to be mowed one more time. Probably should put on fertilizer and seed, actually, and I've always wanted those lawn aerator shoes...

So I worked for over 2 hours and after I came in, I sat down for a few minutes then could barely get up, I was so sore. DH made crepes for supper and I hobbled out to eat, then went back to bed. I didn't sleep really well. I'm not too sore today, but am glad I don't have to go to work.

Oh, and the birds seem to have rediscovered the bird feeder and thistle sock, so I have little crowds of arguing finches fluttering around. And I was careful and left some of the flowers on the lantana, along with some new buds - I was still getting butterflies a few days ago, but haven't seen any hummingbirds in a while.

I should refill my hummingbird feeder and hang it out front. I've had it outside the kitchen window, but hardly ever see the birds. Ants found it the last time I had it full and they drained it.

Oh, and we got a new dining room table, which I should have mentioned much earlier. We like our old one, but it is a squeeze to fit more than four people and a friend was selling her big one that can seat eight without fuss and six chairs. So we had the whole thing put together and end-to-end with our old one and all the chairs the kids could find in the house. We can seat 14 that way, or if we pull the tables apart so people can sit at the ends, 16. Or 18 or more if we start to squish people. Last night, DH took the small, mostly dead sofa out of the front room and took the leaf out of the old table and put the now-square table by the front window. Ready for a Christmas tree :) I just need to tidy up my sewing area. EEK!

Oh, I finished all the applique and sewed the blocks together and I just need to put a border on my Xmas quilt and then can slap on backing and batting and stitch in the ditch and it will be ready for use. Should be soon...

Right. Where's that to-do list?

Friday, November 30, 2007

My Grinch name

Wretchedgrump Crustypants

Thanks, Liza Lee ;)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


I took the four kimonos that I had finished to the end of school and had some of the taller girls try them on. Well, and some of the shorter girls and some of the medium girls. Once they were there, it was about girls and clothes. Anyway, I counted 5 girls who could benefit from having me put in as small a hem as possible. We can adjust it shorter when we tie it, but we can't adjust it longer.

I have now finished all but three of the kimonos. They're sort of a weird lavender.

I have also done the satin stitching around a bunch of the quilt appliqués. I used the thread they gave me to sew the kimonos as the bobbin thread. No, I'm not being annoying and stealing the school thread; I tried to wind bobbins with as little as necessary of the odd shades of pink, but had a bunch left over and needed a bobbin for the off-purple ones, so have been merrily changing the top thread to what I want for the quilt. It seems to be going a lot faster this time around. Maybe because I haven't been choosing fabrics, tracing them, cutting them out, ironing them on, and otherwise staring at them for days on end. More importantly, I am just finishing up my own quilt instead of trying to do all the satin stitching for my 25 squares AND for the 25 for a friend. She got the quilt on Jan 1st, so it was late for Hanukkah and Xmas last year, but waaaaaaayyy early for this year, even with Hanukkah coming so early.

When I get a chance, I'll find the pictures of the ones for her last year and then post one when I finish mine. They're, um, eclectic.

Oh, and I got home to a phone message from the sewing machine repairman, who said there's nothing wrong with my machine. Which of course explains why I wasted an hour yesterday with it missing stitches and breaking the thread?

Good news/bad news on sewing to-do items

I gave up on my awful sewing machine. Well, not totally, but I took it back to the repair guy who will take a look at it.

I bought a cheap Janome from work. It's the next step up from the Sew Mini and is slightly more substantial. I'm hoping DS1 will learn to sew on it. I'm going to have someone else teach him, because I tend to lose my cool.

So the binding is all sewn on the 13 kimonos and I have hemmed the arms and skirt of a few of them. There is a huge difference in height in the girls in the class, so want to take the ones I have finished with and get the tallest and shortest girls to try them on and take a guess at lengths on a few of the others. They can bunch them up at the waist when it comes to wearing them (it will be covered by a wide Obi), but some of these girls are seriously small and others are taller than DS1, who is one of the tallest boys in the class. I made DS1 try one on last night and he was about to jump out of his skin. It's PIIIIIIIINK! Anyway, the 2 or 3 inches I've been hemming them up make it too short on him, so I need a quick head count and approx length for the tall girls. Having been a tall girl myself, I'm a bit sensitive on the issue of running around in highwater one-size-fits-all.

I just got my Xmas quilt that I started last year out. Good news is that I finished the cutting out and ironing on all the appliqué blocks. Bad news is that I have sewed around the pictures on only 8 of them - candy canes are all done and they're the easiest - and there are 25 total. They're all pretty wrinkled, too, but I can deal with that. Not necessarily by ironing, but by working around it (ducks head in shame).

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Just a couple of months later...

Yeah, that's really small, but believe me, you still can't see much when they're big.

To-do list item

Trash stupid freaking sewing machine and get a new one.

How many times should the timing go out and skip stitches, break threads, and finally completely jam up? At $50 per fix? And then the repair guy gets mad at me because I am obviously mistreating the stupid thing, making it break down? So between the last 2 times, I ended up readjusting the timing by myself and went to a different repair guy, who was nicer about it.

But it's only been a few months since it was in the shop and I haven't even used it all that much.

Starting the to-do list

Lots of things to do today / this week.

1) Sew edging/binding on about 12 pink kimonos and hem them. DS1's class is representing Japan for International Night next week. The teacher's mom got the fabric (free!) and cut them all out and sewed them together (she even basted on the binding!), etc, so it's just the finishing that has to be done. I got the kimonos, another mom got the Happi coats for the boys and another got the Obis to finish. I'm easily amused, but it still strikes me as funny that the teacher's mom did all of it. It's never too late to have your mom help with your school projects.

2) Clean sinks in bathrooms. I did the toilets yesterday and just didn't get to anything else.

3) Sit down and finish my rough draft. I got 50K words down, but I'm not done with the story. Close, though, so no illusions of having a 1000 page novel ;)

4) Back on the sewing front, I need to pull out the Xmas quilt I started last year and determine what still needs to be done. It's all applique and I ran out of time to satin stitch around the pictures last year, so there it is in a box.

5) Think about Xmas tree. We might get it this weekend. For the last few years, I've gotten a small, live tree. I'd like something a bit bigger this year. Just because.

6) Pass out when consider that I'll have to clean up my sewing area, which is one end of our front room, so I can put said tree in there. And wash the big front window. And.... OK, so this is why I just think about the tree, get it? Let me just get through the stack of kimonos first.

Monday, November 26, 2007

My NaNoWriMo icon

Just trying to figure out how to get it into my layout without linking to the page, which they ask you not to do.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

I win! I win! DONE!

I hit 50K words this evening somewhere before 9 pm. I had 50,400+ when I thought to do the word count again.

And now it's time for bed. I wrote for almost 1000 words after that, but stopped in the middle of an important scene because the characters started chatting about their childhoods, so I knew I was done for the night.

So wooooooo and yayyyyyyy me! :)

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Ribbit ribbit crooooak

Woke up late with headache and itchy throat and stuffy nose. Didn't notice until the kids got up long after that my voice is practically basso profundo with a definite rasp. I have to go to work in a couple of hours, so this could be interesting for being chatty and helpful, which are already a stretch at times for an introvert.

Supposed to be doing a one hour writing sprint. Kids just started playing Putt-Putt Balloon-O-Rama and it tends to get noisy.

I actually prefer the other Putt-Putt games, along with the Freddi Fish, Pajama Sam and Spy Fox. They're adventure games for kids where you have to find certain things, which often means finding something seemingly unrelated and trading it for what you do need. Kind of a cartoon visual dungeons and dragons/MUD with happy, cheerful characters. For kids.

So there's my Christmas recommendation for anyone with kids between oh, about 4 and 7 or 8 and a computer.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Officially Christmas season

I worked from 7:30 to about 12:15 today. They ended up sending me to lunch and telling me to not come back because we hit a big lull. I'm pretty wiped out by getting up and being out of the house by the time I usually get up on school days, plus this cold that I got from the kids has moved into my throat. DS2 was right; blowing my nose doesn't make much difference to the cough. He always says that and proceeds to wipe his nose on his clothes, so I don't usually believe him.

Anyway, they switched the music from oldies to Xmas at work. Unfortunately, there are only so many Christmas/Winter songs, so we get to hear Little Drummer Boy about once an hour, each time by a different artist in a different arrangement. AAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Last year, they had a channel on the muzak that would play regular music about 3 out of 4 songs and the Christmas ones for the 4th, but I am no longer a supervisor so no longer have a key to the office, so I just have to hope that someone goes looking for it.

And I got some more fabric. Because I neeeeeeeeded more, that's why. Fun fun prints that I'm sure I will use someday and they were all 50% off. Well, one of them was 75% off and the flannel was 99 cents a yard.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Oh yeah. Writing.

Didn't do any yesterday. 1500+ words this morning. I woke up at 5 and couldn't get back to sleep, so got up at 6:30 and wrote a nice, long scene while eating breakfast and drinking some tea. If I were more of a morning person, I'd do that more often. hahahahahahahah.

Then I got the turkey ready and in the oven and made stuffing and so on. And on and on. OK. I'm full. But it's been almost an hour since we finished eating and DS2 was dying for pie. He was dying for candy as soon as we finished eating in spite of the two pieces of turkey, a nice pile of potatoes, and a piece of broccoli (under duress), so he was really interested in sugar.

And I have weird kids. They don't really like whipped cream. Huh?

Right maybe I'll write a bit more. Maybe I'll take a nap now. Nap is winning.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Enjoy your shopping tomorrow. Or, if you're like me, then hole up at home and avoid going to any store for any reason. Well, that's my usual MO. I'm going to work tomorrow morning. Hancock's opens at 8, so we're not even the earliest of the early birds. Come by and say hi. We'll have about 5 seconds to chat. So maybe not.

Time to get to work on that Xmas quilt....

Six socks and thithle theed thock

Instead of just going all batsh*t crazy on my kids about cleaning up, I got down with them and was bossy and obnoxious and helped them clean out the toy box. It's amazing what a grocery bag and two shoeboxes worth of garbage and recycling and odd happy meal toys of characters that they have never heard of can do, when taken out and disposed of properly. We parked the trucks under the new toy shelf instead of in a heap in the corner and amazing! The toys fit in the toybox again. We have the blocks in a bag, the legos in a box, the little matchbox cars in a bag on a shelf above the big trucks. I still haven't swept. There's still stuff under the couch and under the TV/book shelf thingy. But I can see the floor.

The six socks? We found them in the toy box. There was only one pair and four strays. Good thing I keep the strays and buy big packs of white socks for my kids. I almost threw out the other navy blue one a couple of weeks ago, but here's its mate after several months.

Oh, and a few days ago, DS2 was looking out the window and said 'Hey Mommy. Look! It's your birdfeeder thing." And sure enough, there was my thithtle theed thock dangling
between the rose bush and the window. I dug it out and filled it and am waiting for the poor finches to rediscover it. That is, if any of them didn't fly South already. I got all ambitious and cleaned out my other birdfeeder and filled it with sunflower seeds, since the birds barely touched the other seed I put in, but loooove that sunflower seed.

Word for the day


It's what my vagues attempts at muscles have turned into in the last few months. Not that my mushles every really amounted to much....

I was talking to a dad at karate. He's had to drop the classes too, not due to pregnancy (ha!), but because his schedule and his wife's schedule have made it too hard to get there. He got himself a Wavemaster and goes out in the garage and whacks it around everyday. I already got my Xmas present from DH, so I guess this will have to be for my birthday. By that time, I hope to be back in karate. But hey, I can't be there everyday, even when I make it to class a couple times a week....

Or a Bob. That would be fine, too. *cackle*

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Marathon weekend update

Well, I spent a lot of time agonizing over what was happening with my characters, who are going through a rough patch. The writing was slow and hard, so I ended up playing a LOT of spider solitaire on my new computer. I am winning about 20% of the time on the medium level.

But anyway, I got back to business a few times, including at nearly 10 tonight when I realized that I was pretty much done with Act II and was ready for some major turning points. I decided to write the train wreck scene and have written 4008 words today to add onto the 4100+ I did yesterday (I exaggerated when I reported it this morning because I didn't look it up) .

The two day total is 8169 words.

Time to sleep.

Marathon weekend

Well, to be honest, I didn't spend all that much time writing yesterday. I spent a few hours with as well.

But well, not spending all that much time meant about 4 or 5 hours and I did 4,600+ words. I have no ideas how the others in my group are reacting to the challenge, but I'm happy with it. I hope to do more or less the same today and then I will be almost 40K words and 12 days to write the last 12K. It's feasible, even with working a couple of days after Thanksgiving.

And I opened up ancestry, just to see what I had done yesterday and now I'm trying to figure out when G. Shoenberger/Schonberger/whatever arrived. I think I've got him....

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Baby socks! Baby shoes!

Now, I have to state that I'm not generally the person who goes all girly and squealy and simper-y when it comes to babies and small animals. I love my babies. I love them bigger, too, which though it has its own drawbacks, is so much easier on my head. Most of the time.

However, I have a big weakness where babies are concerned. My secret awwwwww thing is baby socks. They're so little! So cute! So tiny for those itty, bitty, sweet little toes that make you go um-yum-yum... Gag. OK, deep breath.

Anyway, there is an alterations shop two doors up from a Starbucks that I go to every now and then after taking the kids to school. In its windows, I have been admiring, drooling over, and otherwise coveting the baby socks that they have stuffed and hanging there. These are probably the cutest baby socks I have seen. So now that I know we're having a girl, it popped into my mind the other day that I should drop by there.

So here's what I got: Since it was in a shop, I actually did a mix to get to six pairs, while it looks like you have to get a box of six of the same if you shop online. Let me tell you, it was really, really hard. I was only limited because they're pretty expensive for, well, just socks. I got a couple colors of the B-Jolie ones,

at least one Via Bella, ummm... not sure what else. It was really hard to choose, and I kept picking them up and putting them back.

I got a pair of these too. I have already posted the link to the Cherry email group. They know who they are! They had a lot more in the shop than they have on the website. It's a local company that does these shoes and socks, but the store I was in had lots of other fun socks for kids and grownups.

And now I have some super ultra cutie baby socks and shoesy-woosy to put on wittle baby feets!

Someone stop me now.

Christmas comes early!

DH was out a conference all day and came home just as we were sitting down to dinner. I wasn't even sure he was coming home at all tonight, since he was pretty vague about it all. Anyway, I tossed a few more chicken strips in the frying pan so we all could eat.

But before that, he called me out to the garage to make me look in the trunk. He got me a laptop! A brand spankin' new one! I just wanted something smallish and cheapish, but this one has some bells and whistles that I might never use. Scratch that: I WILL never use. AND I can watch TV on it - it has an antenna that plugs in.

So Christmas is already here at our house. But I can't actually do anything at all on it until it's had a few hours on the Internet, downloading updates and DH installs the freeware Office software. Which makes it DH's job for the moment.

The whole idea, though, is that I can play games on it and watch TV when I have the baby and am lounging in bed all day. Oh, wait. I am supposed to be writing novels on it. That, too. No more dinky notepad and typing it in later. I am techno-woman, hear me roar!

Until I actually have to, y'know, plug it into the Internet or get new software or move my writing from it to another computer. Then I need DH.

Thank you, Santa :)

Friday, November 16, 2007


Had an email this morning

I posted a note on one of ancestry. com's message boards in a thread about one of my ancestors and someone emailed me, saying she had a whole lot more. In her message before that, she mentioned that the brothers she knew about apparently had a brother named Henry who moved somewhere else and Henry is the one who's my ggg-(g?)-father, so I am going to have some new descendants for her, though she'll have all the ancestors for me.

So, of course, I piddled around on ancestry for a bit. I'm wondering if JJ Schell and Rosina Ankeny really didn't have kids until she was 40 or if there are various misspellings in the last name in some of the census years, since we're missing a few decades of those, then suddenly 3 kids in stair steps, though they had been married for almost 20 years before the first one I have found came along. But then, her daughter didn't get married until 38 and had my grandmother Shepardson when she was 40. And my dad was in his mid-30's. And my brother is 40 and just got married, no kids in view as far as I know.

And here I am having my third baby at 38 and thinking I am old.

And yes, I am going to do some writing, Mom, when I get some coffee in me.

ETA: Just about 2 more minutes on ancestry and bingo! Loads of kids. Never mind the Schell complaint, 'kay?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Writing again

Did 2K+ today. Or rather, the vast majority of that was typing up what I wrote out in my notebook last night, so I have only done a few new words today, I guess. So I really should do 2K for today, too. Or at least 1200 or so, so it'll come out to about 1200 per day for the last 3 days. Though, by my calculations, it's going to take about 1400 words per day from here until the end of the month. Eeep!

Not much happening in the novel. Lots of kissy kissy, but plot, not so much.

ETA: About 1600 more words, but it feels like pulling teeth with the kids shouting and fighting all around me (because they can't play quietly in another room, now can they? It has to be right in the small office and at top volume.) So I got started with the stuff where the hero's snooty mom shows up. I'm trying to drive the heroine away from him for all the wrong reasons.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Deviation from the plan....

Well, halfway through NaNo (in words and days), and after a conversation with a coworker about genealogy and an offer from her to find Otto's boat (which she did! His/our last name was misspelled, but it sure looks like him! In 1868, when we thought it was a couple of years later.), and I have spent my computer time for the last two days on

Also found George J Shepardson's Civil War record (Captain in the Illinois 4th Cavalry) and a bit more about his second wife, though not narrowed down as to when they married - sometime between 1880 and 1900.

Note to my family: what was the name of his 1st wife's 2nd husband?

ETA: Another question: What's George J's second wife's maiden name? Iva O. is all I have.

Anyway, I am following the Shepardsons back and back. Am now related to the Plantagenet kings and some guy named Wala de Bobbio who lived in the 8th or 9th century. Duuuuuude. Loads of French royalty, some English royalty, a few Polish and Hungarian and Spanish royals.

Look! Look! A Holy Roman Emperor! Louis I, 778-818!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


After not writing Thursday through Sunday, I took the Veteran's Day challenge and wrote for about 5 1/2 hours yesterday and got in 6200+ words. So now I have arrived at 26K words and have passed the halfway point.

I didn't win my group challenge. I stopped writing a bit after 9, meaning to go back to it after the kids were in bed, and then I fell asleep with them and woke up at 4 am. I don't know if I had any words left in me by that point, anyway. Someone else wrote for 7 hours and did over 7000 words. Woah!

OK, just got back from chiro's and have to go back to the kids' school to deliver DS2's lunch (very sleepy boy this morning) and see if they are doing spelling tests today, which I am assuming they are, but who knows, really.

Monday, November 12, 2007

The Schedule (and the schedule)

I only learned of this a few days ago and it came up over the weekend on the field trip.

Apparently, my little second grader is quite the ladies' man. Mondays at recess, he chases D. , a girl also in second grade who was in his class last year. Tuesday through Thursday, he chases a rotation of 4 or 5 other girls. Fridays, he chases M., his One True Love from his class last year.


Today the kids are home from school, but I am trying to pull off a ton of NaNoWriMo-ing. There's a challenge for most words and most time on my email NaNo group, but I also hadn't typed anything (and barely had written anything except sketches and scene ideas and a little dialogue) since last Wednesday. They are at a friend's house until about noon, then we're going to eat fast food and play on the indoor play structure (Grey day) and maybe go do mini golf after. So there goes the afternoon. I've done/typed in about 2K in less than 2 hours. (2 hours minus the time it took to drive them to the friend's and throw the ball a few dozen time for their hyper dog.)

I have about 15 minutes now and should do something constructive.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Monterey pictures - part deux

We went running around on the Old Fisherman's Wharf for quite a while after the whale watching. All my guys were getting their stomachs back before we hit the road home.

A big male sea lion defending his spot from the usurpers lined up along the left (mostly out of view - I couldn't get a good angle) and a couple more in the water.

Closer shot of the macho dude. I didn't get a picture of him later, napping with his head dangling off the steps. Looked way comfortable. So worth the time and effort to defend it.

Pelicans, pelicans everywhere!

DS1 got hungry again. At least his face was...

Wandering the docks.

Some people were back from a charter fishing trip. The guy in yellow was filleting the fish for them. Yum! Fish guts! DS1's friend, M, was helping the guy toss the heads/bones/guts off the side of the dock for the gulls and pelicans. We kept seeing a cloudy shadow rise up from the depths and grab the stuff if the birds weren't quick enough about getting chunks from it. I think it was a harbor seal because it was light colored, but I never got a good look.

Playing in the courtyard at the Maritime Museum across from the docks.

On the way home, we stopped at the visitor's center for a reservoir along route 156, just on the East side of the mountains. Don't ask me for details as I was a bit zoned and, um, desperate, but the sun was setting.

Monterey pictures

Our hotel - the Blue Lagoon. It was small and slightly shabby, but clean and dry and warm. Mostly quiet. It was out kids disturbing the peace, except for Saturday morning when the neighbors started their motorcycles...

Calvin's current love - Junie B. Jones

Looky the belly.

In the Bay Aquarium - exhibit with a huge "wave" that crashes over every 30-ish seconds, eliciting screams and excitement from kids underneath. Outdoors, you can see the animals, etc in the tide pool better, as they get sloshed around.

Marine mammal hands-on exhibit. We spent ages there. This is a killer whale catching fish.

The beginning of our whale watching trip - passing the breakwater with sea lions and cormorants.

DS1 before the pukage.

DS2 has always been our Water Boy. The ocean is HIS. And no, he wouldn't turn around.

There was a whale down there - they thought it was coming up on the left side (ummm.... port?) of the boat and here came a big plume of bubbles. Then s/he messed with us and went back to surface on the other side anyway.

I missed the first surfacing, but here s/he is again, a little further from the boat.

Halloween pics - just a bit slow!

Right. Samurai and Ninja with a skull cape. I made the samurai armor. Yay me! And the cape, but that's a bit easier.

That's DS1's padded weapon from karate class, standing in for a sword :)

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Back again!

From Monterey. Wonderful stuff this weekend. Aquarium AND whale watching. Boat full of kids and parents and I only saw one kid throwing up and heard rumors of another one. Unfortunately the one who tossed his banana and french toast was MY kid and he didn't make it to the back of the boat and didn't even quite make it to the side. Good thing he had taken a couple of layers off because he got too warm, so we still had non-puked clothes to change into.

But in happier news, we did see a whale or two. The lady who talked loudly and incessantly over the loudspeakers the ENTIRE time didn't actually tell us what sort of whale they were. I managed a couple of pictures, even with the stupid, stinking digital camera lag.

And yesterday, we went to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Fabulous! So much stuff to do and see. Someday I will have to go without the kids so I can concentrate on the things I like best and then leave when I am ready to go...

OK. Way past time for bed!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007


Yep, I broke 20K words today. I only turned in a bit under 3K for the challenge because my muse got tired and we both took a long nap yesterday, so got my socks beat off by a couple of other people.

We're about to go away for a couple of days and I will probably have to work most of the day after we get back, so I might get some writing done longhand but I am making myself type everything in before counting the words.

But all I can say is: I rock!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

A third of the way there!

Just typed up the stuff that I wrote last night in bed and have hit 17,000 + words and am more than a third of the way to 50K words.

I've got my hero and heroine together so I guess that's the end of Act I, but the road to romance looks rocky. About time for that relationship fight ;) I still need to go back and put in a scene right before they get together.

There's also a commuter train crash coming up soon and a note the guy's cousin slips under her door, which might or might not be too saucy for the guy to laugh at.

I need a break, then will dive back in at noon. A smaller email NaNo group I have joined has a challenge from noon today until noon tomorrow, to see who can write the most words in 24 hours.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Blame it on the burrito

On the way home from helping in DS1's class, I bought a burrito for lunch. I ate it while typing after my last update and managed to drag out about 1000 words, then went and lay down for just a minute..... and woke up at 3:25 with a raging case of nausea.

Unfortunately, I am supposed to be at the school to get the kids at 3 - that's when DS1 gets out and DS2 is in the aftercare from the end of Kindergarten at 2 until I get him. So I got my groggy, nap-filled head and roiling tummy on the road (definitely not the most alert, safest state for me to be in while driving) and got there to find both kids in aftercare, DS1 having just arrived from his class via the school office.

When I got home, head still spinning slightly and my stomach seizing up, there were 2 messages on the machine, one from DS1's teacher and another from DH, whom she called after trying to reach me. The phone started ringing and it was DH again. 5 minutes later, it rang again and it was the school office checking up, since DS1's teacher had been pretty worried, since I have never been that late before. Well, hadn't been this year. *blush*

So the kids didn't go to karate today because we were late and because I needed to lie down and not think about vomiting.

Oh, and I need to pay for this month's aftercare for DS2 and I'm broke. :/

ETA: I just remembered that I got Paypal from a friend in England that I mailed some stuff to (the company she was buying from wants to send everything UPS, even though it costs more than twice as much as US postal, so it ends up a lot cheaper for her to have them send it to me and then I mail it to her). So that can go into my bank account and cover aftercare and my car insurance until I get "paid" (funds transferred from DH) on the 15th.

Today I have written... um....some

It's in pencil in a notebook and it's basically all character exploration. I'm trying to understand my main character, but she's stand-offish at the best of times and doesn't confide in people easily. Not even me, apparently.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Only 1300-ish words today

Spent most of the day at work and then had to walk home (DH took DS2 to a birthday party and DS1 to a park, so they had the car.)

Everything I wrote today was back story monologue and some of it I already had somewhere else.

I still don't know much about my heroine. The hero has a lot more point-of-view scenes and I know a lot about his life. She, on the other hand, is really reserved and I'm having a hard time getting a handle on her. I have a feeling she's going to explode one of these days, though. I thought of some stuff as I was finishing up and DH was telling me the spaghetti was cooked, but it will have to wait for tomorrow.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

11,628 words

They're not going to have that fight. The pregnant wife of the friend just gave her something to think about. They can have the fight in the car or when they get back to the apartment building. Or maybe tomorrow.

Baby names

Am currently sitting here messing with

You choose names you like, put 6 of them in your "inspiration" field and let the computer find other names that you might like. I have about 40 in my "favorites" list and I'm nowhere near closer to finding anything that really grabs me. Well, maybe 10 of those, then weed out the ones in the top 10 or 20....

Helene, Amelie, Claudia, Aurora, Carina... and on and on.

Now, to get DH to take a look.

10,500 words

And I'm going to try to write some more later today.

Dragging through a scene in a restaurant with a group of people and the hero and heroine are about to get in a relationship fight, even though they're not in a relationship. I'm just having trouble getting them mad enough.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

6774 words! In one day!

brain is fried

Maybe I'll win a prize for the quickest off the blocks. Who then never finishes the 50K words.

Kids at top of obnoxiousness game. Must go.

NoNo started

3800 words so far. Woot! Have three characters. Neurotic heroine (always dates the wrong guys), nice guy next door, nice guy's cousin (also next door). No plot yet. She just kneed some guy who tried to manhandle her in the 'nads. You go, girl.

edited: I mean, she kneed him when he tried to manhandle her. And I call myself a (amateur) writer?

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Having a hard time settling in today

I slept fairly well last night - woke up a few times as usual, but went back to sleep. I am still tired today and was nearly asleep when DH's cell phone started ringing, was almost asleep again when the house phone started ringing and I had to answer it. Oh well, it was lunchtime anyway and I need a shower before going to get the kids.

Part of my inability to get anything done today, is that I am getting nervous about NaNoWriMo. I mean, who do I think I'm kidding when I say I will write 50K words in a month? But hey, let's just see how it goes.

I sewed up DS2's cape. Not only is he a ninja superhero, but he saw the fabric I picked up at (ahem) that other, rival fabric store, which is a black tricot with skulls and crossbones, and so now he has a cape made out of that - ninjapirate-superhero? My sewing machine was being a total pain in the patoot and breaking the thread and/or refusing to pick up the bottom thread so it looked like it was sewing when it really wasn't, so a quick gather-and-stitch-on-a-tie took a lot longer than it should have and left me on the verge of tears, cussing up a storm.

I need to find a chunk of fabric for DS1's belt and he needs a sword or two to complete his samurai outfit.

No costume for me this year. I was going to make a regency gown so I could be Elizabeth Bennett (since empire waisted shirts and dresses make me look pregnant when I am not, I might as well wear one when I really am pregnant), but haven't done a lot of sewing, except for things I need everyday. I wore my pirate costume to work Sunday and might still wear it tonight, but I'm not that excited by it after 2 years!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

I took my wedding ring off

No, not marital woes.

I was at my book group last night (* see below) and we were sitting in a warm, stuffy coffee house (with surly teenagers as backdrop) and I realized that my ring was way too tight and starting to irritate my skin. I slowly worked it off and wore it on my pinkie to come home and now need to find a necklace or something to put it on. I have a narrowed, shiny mark on my finger where it was. I think that was always there anyway, since other than the ends of my other two pregnancies, it has hardly ever left my finger in 9 1/2 years.

I had never noticed, really, how much I fiddle with it over the course of the day. It's usually the only jewelry I wear and now I have none. Weird.

* Irene Spencer is fabulous and chatty and just a super, warm, nice woman. Read her book, Shattered Dreams. Compare and contrast to Khaled Hosseini's Thousand Splendid Suns. Makes you stop saying "that can't happen here," doesn't it? She is working on another book that picks up where this one left off - she was leaving her husband and he died in a car accident at the end of this one. It is tentatively called Deliver Us From Ervil - her brother-in-law was the infamous Ervil LeBaron who went around assassinating other fundamentalist Mormons who didn't agree with him, then died in prison after sending death threats to the president. Because God told him to, y'know.

Monday, October 29, 2007

My akademik fortitood

I was helping out in DS1's 2nd/3rd grade class today, giving spelling pre-tests. When the last group that I did was correcting their own work, a couple of kids asked me questions about their math assignments and another about her homophones (didn't we used to call them homonyms?).

Then DS1 finished his math page while I was sitting right there, so I checked it over for him. It was about a dozen addition problems into the thousands with carrying. The really sad part was that I marked 3 of them wrong..... and he then had to show me how 2 of his original answers were right. *bonk head on desk* And he found the error in the 3rd one in about a second.

BUT as I am sitting here, I am once again pulled into the Free Rice game and I got my vocab level up to 50! OK, so some of the ones I have seen before, since I've played it a few times in the last few days, but I generally hover around 45. And OK, I couldn't maintain it at the 50 level, but I'm still hovering around 48 and 49 today :) But anyone know what "spile" means? I mean other than an Appalachian pronunciation of "spoil". Not a choice, sorry. Oh rats. It means plug, but I guessed wrong. Anyway, the sponsors of this game donate 10 grains of rice through the UN for every correct answer. It doesn't sound like much, but yesterday alone they donated 42 million grains of rice and since it started 3 weeks ago, they've donated 370+ million. How many grains in a serving?

And to my friends from Hiram: I knew the meaning of fulgent ;)

Also on the literary side, I was musing to myself as I lay face down with a heating pad on my back at the chiropractor's office this morning. I was trying to come up with cliches or bumper stickers or other short phrases to describe famous and popular works of literature. eg. Cormac McCarthy's The Road = "Life's a Bitch and then you Die" (or maybe "Waiting for Godot without the laughs"); Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights = "Mean People Suck" (or "It's all about ME").

Help me out here.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Mountain lion update

There have been a few more sightings. At least some of those have been reported to Fish and Game.

Please keep this fabulous wild animal in your thoughts as they decide if they can trap and release (or trap and toss in the Folsom Zoo with the other "nuisance" cougars) or if they will make a harsher decision.

My thithtle theed thack ith mithing!

I have one of those thithtle theed..... thisssstle sssseeed sssack (thorry!) thingies and get black niger thistle seeds for the finches. Well, as of a few days ago, it has disappeared.

Were the finches extra hungry? Didn't want to share?

I think my sunflower seeds must have gone bad, too, because the birdies aren't coming to my feeder at all. Sigh. Sad.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

It's been a sewing weekend

I made a skirt yesterday and put in the drawstring today (had to go buy it this afternoon). I got a new drawstring for a beat-up pair of old sweats I wear to sleep and around the house, because it had a shoelace in it that wasn't going to keep pace with my belly.

Finished DS1's samurai costume all except a hat or helmet or something like that for his head. I made a pair of black pants from leftovers of black flannel and interlock with the silvery fabric as the front of the bottom half of the legs. Oh shoot. Needs a belt and sword, too.

Have finished a blouse for myself all but hemming the sleeves and bottom edge. The neckline turned out kind of weird and scrunched, but otherwise it's pretty good. It looks like I'm wearing a tent, but it's a pretty white satiny fabric with big black flowers. So a nice tent.

Pictures to come when everything is modeled.

Still need to: hem shirt, make a cape and shield/logo for DS2's ninja-with-a-cape superhero costume (I ordered a ninja costume from our karate place), and make that purse that I cut out the pattern for that I've been meaning to make for almost 2 years.

Before Xmas I need to: make a quilt for my brother and his new wife, finish the Xmas quilt I was making for us that I started last year, and make PJs for the kids. I've been thinking about making them new stockings, but we'll see.

In the vague future I should: finish the quilting on a breast cancer fabric quilt I started ages ago to donate to someone who was doing the 3-day walk but I still am not done, bat and back another lap-size quilt whose top is just sitting around here, and make a pair of stretchy maternity pants for myself - note to self: find the PJ pants pattern I used a couple of years ago.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

My bunco addiction

On top of my wacky day (after the u/s, I had to pick up the kids at noon, then took them to Fresh Choice for lunch, then to a friend's house, then I turned around and went back to the school for their conferences and then back to the friend's and then brought her son home with us - then ordered a pizza for them for supper), our neighborhood co-op's Halloween Bunco night was tonight. So I went and talked a lot and told everyone (whether I knew them or not) about my new baby girl.

I also lost BIG TIME. Out of the 18 rounds we played (3 rounds of 1 through 6 on the dice), I lost 14 times. It was getting highly ridiculous, I must say. For quite a while another woman (a friend from book group) and I were neck and neck, but she managed to win a couple later on in the game. I was a total jinx, for the most part.

Turns out, that's a good thing, because the kitty was divided among biggest winner, most buncos (when you get all 3 dice with the number you are trying to roll), and biggest loser. Actually, I came out better than the others, because they tied and had to split their share between two people. So I put in $5 and came home with $30. I have only ever played bunco once before, 2 years ago at the same co-op bunco party and that time I had the most wins. So when I play again in a year or two, I guess I'll have to win the prize for most buncos, right?

And I took a smelly candle in a jar as a gift and came home with a smelly candle and a plate. I almost ended up with a bottle of wine or the smelly candle I took in the first place, but someone traded.

And now it's 11 and I am wiped out! And I am going to feed lunch to and then take care of a friend's kids while she goes to their teacher conferences. At least that means that she's going to bring them all home from school and that will save me a trip.

P.S. These rules are pretty much the way we played: , at least down through the "overview" portion though we played to 25 instead of 21.

It's a....

BABY! Yes!

Brain, mouth, nose, eyes, heart, lungs, various internal organs, arms, hands, legs, feet.

All about the right size for 22 weeks-ish.

And oh yeah. Looks like labia. No willy in sight. ;)


Gotta go gather up my flowery fabric and go crazy :)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

field trip! and fires

Field trip today to a pumpkin patch. It HAD to be the one that's almost an hour's drive away, didn't it? It was pretty cool, with a train and hay ride and slides and a pig race/animatronic chicken show (gaaaaaaaa!) and corn maze. But by that point, who really cares about pumpkins? Oh, and lack of shade around some of the stuff. I have a mild sunburn on my face and upper chest. Yikes! They told me there was a lot of shade, so I didn't bother with a hat, especially since it's freakin' October!

The kids are all ready to carve the pumpkins, but I told them no. It's 80-some out there and even only a week before, I have a feeling they would rot by the time H-ween rolls around.

I am just wiped out, though. I was power-yawning the whole way home and about to toss the 3rd grade girl who can't stop talking out a window. Nice girl, but let's just have some silence for a few minutes, please? I guess it kept me awake.

And hey, it earned me 6 hours of parent volunteer hours and only cost me a bit over 2 gallons of gas, plus hefty fee so I could wear wristbands around saying I could go on the slides of Coyote Mountain (because a 5-month pregnancy wants to go down a huge, long, bumpy slide, of course) and ride a bouncy hay wagon to a field that was down to only small pumpkins, because it's late in the season. Whine whine whine, I know. I am at over 40 volunteer hours already and want to get to our required 70 before the baby's born. I hope baby appreciated all the bouncing.

Speaking of baby, we have an ultrasound this Thursday morning. Stay tuned to find out if it's blue or pink :)

One of the other moms said her sister was being evacuated from her home in Southern Calif - with four kids, including a one-month-old baby. Mmmm fun. I am sending good thoughts of the thousands of people who are running out of their homes, not sure what's going to be left when they get back.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Don't forget to click the pink button every day! It always earns mammograms, but if they get to their goal this month, their sponsors will fund 150 bonus mammograms on top of their usual pledge. They're almost there with 9 days to go, but we wouldn't want them to fall short, now would we?

I try to remember every day for Jane and Judy and Judy and Jeannine and Rhonda and Liz and Pam and oh shoot what was her name Sara's mom and that nice lady who was in the fabric store with her friend cracking jokes yesterday buying up loads of fun fabrics to make hats, and...

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Garbage, garbage everywhere

We have just way too much JUNK and CRAP and CLUTTER lying around our house. I don't often have the energy to do anything about it or to hover over the kids so they pick up their stuff. I also get really cross when I start, because it's just an endless, thankless task.

1) Sorted laundry this evening (about time: there was a week's worth, including most of the stuff from last weekend, so more like a week and a half),

2) then went through the boys' stuff to see what was too small and moved things out/handed them down,

3) moaned about the stupid, stinking broken drawer on DS2's dresser which looks like we're going to have to get a new dresser and so we might as well get one for DS1 as well, because he's been keeping his clothes in the cupboards in the hall since we moved here about 3 1/2 years ago, and then

4) picked up all the other crap on the floor in my room, where the toys migrate to hide behind full baskets of unsorted, clean laundry,

5) then, as I discovered some pieces of fabric that had migrated there, though the kids aren't supposed to touch my fabric and sewing supplies, I found that

6) a stack of fabric that was folded and neat has been jumped and walked all over in my sewing area so everything was spread out and balled up, so after an hour and a half with very few visible results,

7) I screamed in frustration.

What's making me laugh today

Every time I chuckle at something on the computer, ds1 eagerly asks me "What's so funny?"

This: (especially the comments)

and this from a NaNoWriMo email group I just joined:
"Also, we need some challenges that aren't so word-count oriented, since some of
us may be working toward different kinds of targets (like, maybe, hours a day,
hours a week, first to freak out and write an unexplained ninja into the
storyline, etc.)"

And these:

He doesn't get it, though, poor guy. OK, so he got the spinach one.

P.S. Mom says the itchy plant with pink and yellow flowers is lantana. Yeah. That sounds right. Just keep it away from me, OK?

Friday, October 19, 2007

Nature on a smaller scale

I was sewing in my front room, next to our big, front window, which is dirty and mostly covered with rose bush and uhhhhh what's that smelly plant? Anyway, a bush that makes me break out, but which has pretty yellow and pink flowers that attract hummingbirds. The curtains were pulled back, but covered the part next to my shoulder at the edge of the window. I kept hearing a scraping and bumping, so I got up to look out to see what was going on out there. Didn't see anything. Sewed some more and heard more bumping and realized it was coming from the window. It's not that windy, so the rose bush shouldn't be scraping that much.

I peered out right by me and jumped. Two nasty, old alligator lizards were creeping around on the screen, which is loose at the bottom. One was over a foot long. The other's body was about the same size, but it looks like it lost half its tail, which is growing back. Ugh. Shudder.

Update on the mountain lion from yesterday: my friend's husband really really doesn't want to believe that it was their cat, as the man who reported it hasn't told them what color it was.
We were also wondering if he called Fish and Game about it and officially reported it.

And the sewing? Stupid machine keeps missing stitches, but the samurai armor is coming along. I am faking it from liquid silver (a lame with a slippery knit backing) and sewing sorta pleats in it instead of separate sections sewed together. Clear as mud? The rough draft might be ready by this evening when we go to the kids' school's Harvest Festival. I need to attach the upper arm armor to the body and make something for shin guards and I think we're good.

DS2 now wants to be a superhero in black clothes with a cape and two T's, for Tremendous T__ (his name). He's wearing his too-small black sweatpants already, so that half is done. Phew! ;)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Us confronting nature and vice versa

An email was sent out two days by our neighborhood co-op president that a neighbor had seen a mountain lion crossing the street toward the greenbelt at around dawn.

So yesterday, I was on the phone with a friend of mine who said that her cat was missing for a couple of days and she was thinking of going to the animal shelter to see if it had been picked up. It was an outdoor cat, but generally stuck close to home.

"Uh oh," I said, "Did you get that email?"

She hadn't, so I opened it up and read that not only was it crossing the street that intersects her street, it was right by her street.

She called the man who reported it and he told her that yes, the cougar was carrying a cat.

Awwwww :(

He was 14 but no one thought it was his time. So RIP, kitty.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

a-vee-oh correction

My mom points out that I shouldn't make fun of the Aveo, because it had really cool window openers. The kids were excited and fascinated. They'd never seen anything so wild and cool. Windows were opened and closed constantly at all times of day and night, in all weather.

You turned a little handle and your window went up and down! Yes way! Believe it! Who'd-a-thunk!

I suspect that the best part was that Mommy couldn't close your window and lock it to keep you from playing with it.

Wedding pics (other pics from the weekend - 2)

K, D, Dad, and little brother on the pier near the Arts and Science Museum

DH and DS1 looking down from the Louisiana Capital Building

K's cousins and my mom, the night before the wedding at the party at the cousin's house.

Oh this deserved a picture of its own. Tres Leches cake made by a friend of K for the night before party. Oh boy. Oh yum.

DS1 spending time with the only real, live alligators we saw, even when we went stomping across the boardwalk trail in Bluebonnet Swamp. Maybe the stomping had something to do with the fact that we didn't see any? And DH ate some breaded, fried bits of alligator one night when we went out to eat. No. Really.

And I wanted to post some more pictures of the day after, but Blogger's giving me an error message now.

Any specific requests for pictures - people I haven't posted because I went heavy on the little kids, events you'd like to see that I might have hauled my camera out for, etc - just let me know!