Friday, December 29, 2006

Are you ready for valentine's day? I got my first glimpse of what's to come when I saw red heart cookies in a bakery window this evening at the mall. Yikes. Red will be everywhere: cookies, candy boxes, underwear. Can you stand it?

My husband and Fern went to the 'Zards game tonight and Kev and I went to the mall. I had to exchange some headphones at the Apple store, the left ear had gone out. We dined at the food court, he Chick-fil-A, and I chose the chicken salad sandwich at Arby's. He was good, only disappeared a few times, each to a nearby escalator so I knew where he was. When he was about 5 or so we lost him, had no idea where he was. Even got mall security to help us. As it turns out, he had gone into the Right Start baby store. We'd only been in there once before, but he has an astonishing memory and knew they had cool things to look at. Now he hovers around me while I shop and I don't worry too much.

I'm reading Something Dangerous by Penny Vincenzi these days. It's the second of a British family saga trilogy. The first book, No Angel, covers 1904 to 1920, World War I. This book covers 1928 to 1946, World War II. Vincenzi is a British writer and therefore the spellings are British as well as the language. It's a different language style than the British version of Harry Potter so I can't figure out if that's her regular writing style or she is also using the style of the day, the time frame about which it's written. In any event, they are good reads so far and I recommend them. I'm even keeping a tally of the children conceived out of wedlock so far. (6!)

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Merry Christmas to All! My house looks like Kansas after Dorothy got sucked into Oz: piles of presents everywhere, missing gifts, and bits of torn wrapping paper.

My great present this year was a certificate to golf school in South Carolina in a couple weeks from my darling husband. He's a great gift-giver.

I really enjoyed hearing Fern squeal when she opened her gifts. CG/AM got her some saxophone music, big squeal there. The new camera from her grandparents got a squeal too. Kev, on the other hand, doesn't squeal, but you know he likes something when he opens it right away and starts playing despite the pile of unwrapped boxes waiting.

One of the cool unexpected things my husband got was a comment on his blog from the leader of the band he was writing about.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Whew! The loaf of AM's homemade fruitcake is gone. Now maybe the numbers on the scale will reverse their current trend.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Fern and I were window shopping in Ellicot City, MD on Saturday and stopped in a jewelry store. The clerk offered me hot cider or mulled wine and I declined, but Fern said yes to cider. After a couple sips she didn't want any more and gave it to me. Hmm, tastes like wine to me. The clerk was beside herself, embarrassed and apologetic, I didn't mean to give your daughter wine. I was far more amused at the situation than upset with the clerk. And Fern has a fun story to tell.

Ellicot City is home of the oldest railroad station in the country and a nice destination for a day trip, if you like trains or like to shop in an "old town" setting. The rail museum has a nice holiday train layout set up to watch.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Do you watch Survivor? I'm in an office pool and drew Ozzy. During other seasons my pick has gotten eliminated very early, this year I'm hopefull. There are five players left on the show (Ozzy's one of them), and four money slots in the pool, therefore I have an 80% chance of winning money and a 20% chance of winning the whole thing. Statistically. Human nature and television producers can really mess up statistics. The pot is $90 for me if Ozzy wins.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Now that I can see my fish, I added more. Last night I bought 8 large gold neon tetras and 4 cory cats. I think I got a bargain, I keep counting 9 neons, but then again they keep swimming around so I really don't know for sure. The big reason I have a tetra tank is because tetras school and I love seeing groups of fish swimming around together.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Have you ever been in a public restroom stall and your change falls out of your pocket? How far did it roll?

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

I woke up on Sunday and found that apparently the earth is flat.

Monday, December 11, 2006

My daughter is one strange bird.

My week-long project is finally coming to a close. My 55-gallon fish tank in my bedroom had been overtaken by algae, it was so thick in there I couldn't tell if I had any fish. (I did). I put them in a smaller tank on the floor and drained the water from the big tank and added copious amounts of bleach to kill the algae. The bedroom smelled like a natatorium for the week while I scrubbed the glass in spare bits of time. Everyday Fern would walk in my room and inhale deeply. She couldn't get enough of the smell. I guess I should be glad she's not attracted to the smell of natural gas, she'd have her head in the oven.

Yesterday I moved the little guys back into the main tank and by this morning they were adjusting again and the chlorine smell is dissipating. I made the stupid mistake of sliding the aquarium up against the wall without measuring for enough space behind for the filter (which was on the other tank at the time). Ever try to move a 55 gallon tank with water and rocks on a heavy wooden stand away from the wall without spilling a drop or removing the water? I did, and that's why I get to be Construction Girl's trusty side-kick.

Now that I can actually see my fish, I need to buy more.

Friday, December 08, 2006

It's been a while since I've successfully machine quilted a quilt larger than a wall hanging. (never) I tend to do something easy, like straight lines or meanders. People always say I'm so creative, but the truth is I can follow a pattern so I just look creative, but I can't "see" the way to quilt something so it's not just another pile of boring fabric. I can't look at a quilt/block pattern and "see" plumes of sweeping feathers placed just so, or "see" how to fill an empty space where two blocks meet. I have and browsed many times "Quilting Makes the Quilt" and can see possibilities, but have no talent for transferring examples to ideas for my pieces.

I've been pondering this while working on a quilt I've been commissioned to make for Christmas. I only have two weeks to finish it. My friend picked out the pattern and the fabric and I've put the top together. She wants me to quilt it (as opposed to sending it out to a long-arm quilter). The pattern is 16" sawtooth star blocks with secondary sawtooth stars where four blocks come together. There is plenty of open space for nice quilting patterns which I could buy at the quilt shop (since I can't imagine them on my own). But that's another thing, I'm not sure I've got the skill to machine quilt a pattern without making mistakes. The quilt is for an 8 yo she isn't quilt savvy so it'll pass the 20 yards at a gallop test, but will it pass the "I'm proud of my work" test?
My goal, therefore, becomes: pick out a quilting pattern for this quilt that I can do easily, and be proud of, and is not just straight lines.

I got the quilt layered and pin basted so it's ready to go. I set up my new sewing computer with the chosen thread and the stitch regulator (the reason I bought my new machine in the first place) and made a test piece. I'm still shaky and the lines aren't very smooth. I'm very nervous about starting the actual quilting. How much more practice do I do?

Sunday, December 03, 2006

I did a load of "fine washables" this morning. To prevent the straps from tangling and the underwires from bending in the dryer I hung them to dry in the laundry room (a la Marsha Mason & Richard Dreyfuss). Fern walked by, she's 11, and gasped.

Something for her to look forward to....

Friday, December 01, 2006

I need your opinion. There is an annoying commercial on the radio for a housing development. "Come see Brookfield homes today," or something like that, emphasizing the word "home."

I say that structure that people live in, is a house. After you move in and live in it, then it's a home.

Builders don't build homes, they build houses. The commercial just sounds shallow to me.

People make a house a home. What do you think?

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Yesterday's good deed:
Last night at the grocery after I paid for my things I saw a neighbor and said hello. He's the husband of Fern's Girl Scout troop leader. (He's also the local rock star, but that's another story.) After a brief exchange I learn he's got over $100 of groceries in his cart and no wallet in his pocket. (He forgot he had replaced his wallet with a screwdriver earlier in the day while working in the house.) So I whip out my checkbook and make out another check to the store.

If you're counting, that's three money-related good deeds I've done in the last couple of weeks. What have you done?

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Keyboard test: pop off all the keys on your keyboard and clean under there. (Yuck!) Now, put them back. Do you know where they all go? Did you lose any under your chair? I did OK except those four below the shift key on the right side. And my space key still sticks. ARG!

Monday, November 27, 2006

I drive a minivan. Am I automatically a "soccer mom?" Someone referred to me as one and I balked at the idea. My kids don't play soccer, therefore I'm not a soccer mom, Right?

Friday, November 24, 2006

Today I spent a lot of money on a new sewing machine. No, sorry, scratch that. It's not a sewing machine, the owner's manual calls it a "sewing computer." (Did not come with a sewing mouse, in case you wanted to know.) And another thing, it wasn't new, it was experienced. I was able to get a medium-end used machine for a better price than that of the next lower model brand new.

Experienced. I get a chuckle out of that word. I guess it's the new word for "used." One of the golf mentors at work has a bag of experienced golf balls available for us novices to use. Do they perform better than inexperienced balls?

What other "experienced" things have you experienced?

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

I, like other bloggers, have a list of other blogs I check and read on a regular basis. I must be caught in a time warp because many of my favorites haven't had new posts in a long time. Where is everybody? Don't tell me I missed the airline sale to someplace warm and sunny. Dernit.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Do you want the good news first or the bad?

The good news is I had a nice birthday on Thursday. CG and my husband conspired about tickets to Movin' Out. He got a pair for Fern and me and CG bought a pair for her daughter and her. The four of us should have a great time. I also got earrings (two pair), mall a gift card, books (all three of a trilogy) and rachet wrenches. Nice haul. Dinner was great, crab legs, yum. Pleasant evening.

The bad news is Petey died last night. Fern's first parakeet. We're not sure what he died of, but the pet shop owner said he had some kind of face mite. I don't if there were other factors or not. He was strong until the end flying around like crazy until yesterday. Rest in peace, Pete.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

My dad is becoming a blogger. He's been taking photos most of his life and recently switched over to digital. I love to look at his work but since I don't get to visit that often I've been encouraging him to post them. When he has enough up I'm going to shop his work around. There is a lovely cafe/gallery in Annapolis in which he should show his work. It's far easier to give out a blog address to the cafe owner than to try to get Dad to bring over a portfolio.

Click over on "dad's photos" in the margin, or just click here. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

I'm so stressed about the house I'm not sleeping well.

When the painters were here they moved everything to the centers of each room. This process unearthed loads of stuff. junk. debris. crap. The walls are so pretty now I don't want to just put the old stuff back exactly where it came from. I took probably a dozen things off the mantle before painting and now there is a vase and a pair of candlesticks. I don't want to put anything else back up there.

I spent the better part of the weekend putting the family room kitchen back in order. The hearth has been cleaned and vacuumed. I bought a new lamp for the top of the new bookshelf. We have an eight foot cookbook shelf in our kitchen. The painters put all the books and the other school papers that were up there in 3 large bins. Fern and I dusted the books off and put them back up. I purged the collection and marked a large box for give-away. All the loose recipes, school papers, IEP's and report cards are now arranged neatly in metal magazine files. You can actually get something without it falling on your head. When my husband came back from his trip, he just noticed the box of books in the hall.

I'm supposed to be working on a Christmas quilt, but I've lost my enthusiasm about it. This house has zapped the life out of me.

Monday, November 13, 2006

I'm noticing a new level of maturity in my autistic son. On Friday night I dropped him off at Xtreem Teens at the community center. This was not a Special Pop event (activities designed for people with disabilities), but one for regular kids. The activity was tie-dying a shirt and he said he wanted to go. He made it clear he didn't want me hanging around and he could be there in the group by himself.

Then later when I picked him up, I drove through McD's and got him some french fries. His sister asked him for one and he gave her one without complaint. And then another. I was stunned. He was sharing near-sacred fries with his sister?


Sunday, November 12, 2006

Another shot of Times Square from last month.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Yesterday I found a bank check for $5500 on the sidewalk. Today I found a debit card on the floor in a hallway here at work. I knew both owners and their valuables have been returned.

Ever have days like these?

Wonder what I'll find tomorrow, maybe a large bag of $10's and $20's.....

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Do you suffer from reality show depression? You know what I mean, you get hooked on a show, you're there every week, same time, same channel. The contestants dwindle to three or four people. Then they crown a winner and the next week at the usual time slot there is a huge void in your life. No show to tune in to. You get attached to these people, you love the way they dis their other house/tribe/team mates. They excel in challenges. You have them in the office pool. Then *poof* it's over.

I've been watching Project Runway, Bachelor Rome, Survivor, Amazing Race, Hell's Kitchen and Top Chef.

What do you watch? Who are you rooting for? Why do the bimbos on Bachelor really care if this guy is a prince? Do British women have princess fixations, or is just us Americans since we don't have our own royality?

Monday, November 06, 2006

Dastardly halloween candy.


I tried to get the gym here at work to start the "Maintain - Not Gain" program before Halloween, but "studies have shown if the program lasts too long it will lose participation." I told them that might be true, but people also need help with candy season. I don't over eat at Christmas and New Year's, just Halloween. I can pass on extra stuffing and pumpkin pie. I can pass on warm rolls and melting butter. I can pass on gravy made from scratch from turkey drippings. I have a hard time passing by an Almond Joy or Butterfinger.

Now I'm hungry.


Wednesday, November 01, 2006

I got a new polarizer filter for my camera and this is my first shot with it. I love the depth of the blue you get with one.

These are the square milk cartons I wrote about. Weird, huh?

This was one of the shots I took throught the sun roof of CG's van driving down 7th Ave through Times/Duffy Squares.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

I'm home today. I'm supposed to be getting the livingroom ready for the painters. They had been working upstairs and it looks wonderful. Now I need to pick up k'nex and lego creations so the guys can prep the walls.

Monday, October 30, 2006

The van is in the shop, the "check engine" light started flashing, not a good thing. We get a rental at the dealership so I was driving a green-Champaign Taurus over the weekend. I noticed a tag hanging down from the lid of the trunk when I loaded the trunk with groceries. It was a glow-in-the-dark escape release in case you were ever put in the trunk against your will. It gave me an idea.

At our church on the Sunday before Halloween there is a party for the kids which concludes by "Trunk or Treating." In the parking lot the adults hand out candy to the parade of kids from their cars. They often dress up their trunks for the occasion.

I climbed in the trunk with my bags of Reece Cups and Butterfingers and closed the lid just far enough so I could still get my hand out with a candy bar. I wouldn't let go until I heard "Trick or treat," or "thank you" from each child. I had a great time with this "costume." A lot of the other partnets didn't know it was me because it wasn't the car I usually drive. How am I going to top it next year?

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Improper grammar drives me nuts. My mother taught high school English. So did my grandmother before she when on to earn her PhD in Botany and taught at the college level. I was raised getting my grammar corrected from both of them.

Now I correct everyone's grammar, from my daughter to the guys on the radio, the preacher and my friends, whether they can hear me or not. I know it drives them crazy and I apologize, my corrections are almost like an involuntary response.

The "I" and "me" personal pronoun error is the most common one I hear. Just yesterday I heard the afternoon guy on the radio say " Sue and I your contest entry...." If you take Sue out of the equation then you'd be saying "email I your entry" and you'd know that wasn't correct. Why does the conjunction make it so hard for people?

I knew someone in college who spoke poorly and would not heed my corrections, and would say she could say it correctly if she wanted. She was working on a degree in elementary education. She never got a job teaching. Who would hire a teacher who couldn't speak correctly?

Spelling is another matter entirely, however.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Cupcakes anyone?

Today is my autistic son's 14th birthday. He helped me make cupcakes last night. Maybe I should say I helped him. He's gotten so independent, but I still need to supervise him in the kitchen. He mixed the batter and put the liners in the muffin tins and I poured the batter. I even make a mess doing that. I keep thinking about pouring the batter in a big zip bag and cutting off a corner and squirting it in each cup. But I always think of that after I've started with the scoop.

I'm still trying to eat a low-carb diet so I stayed away from the cupcakes after I pulled them out of the oven. Both kids are wanting one right away. Alright, go ahead, I don't care, burn your mouths, you're old enough to know they are still hot.

About 15 minutes later I go into the kitchen and there are about 5 left of the 24 made. Where did they all go?

As it turns out, my son put a dozen in a tupperware box and frosted them himself. Needless to say, they brought tears to my eyes.

Monday, October 23, 2006

I've been trying to buy pants for Kev for a couple of days now. He's very slender so he could wear size 10's for his waist measurement, but he needs 14's for the length. So I've been looking for 14 slims. I can find 12's, 12 slims, 14's and 14 huskies. Given his autism and indifference to how he looks, my husband and I have to do the best we can so he's not a laughing stock among the other middle schoolers at his school.

The lack of 14 slims in the several stores I've been looking in is frustrating. I bought 2 pairs of regular 14's today with adjustable waists. I hope they fit.

All this looking provokes the question about other kids. Are kids who wear this size just not "slim" any more? Are there so few children who need this size, the manufacturers just don't make them and put in adjustable waists instead? And what about the "husky" kids? Too many video games and snacks I guess.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

The painters are coming in the morning to start painting most of the rooms in the house and I haven't picked out the colors yet. I have two fan decks, those big books of color chips. Sherwin Williams bought Duron a while back so I have Duron's old colors and their new ones which were Sherwin Williams's old colors.

CG told me she picks colors by the name. "Stone Lion" remninds me of Harry Potter and "Bermuda Grass" reminds me of golfing. "Hiking path" reminds me of mosquitos. I have six rooms to select for. I could go with white in all the rooms, but do you know how many whites there are?


Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Did you see the Census Bureau's Population Clock flip over to 300,000,000 this morning? I turned on the computer at 7:30 and there were 64 people to go, then forgot to check again until almost 8:00 and I was late by 40 people. Oh well. Mom duties... It's cool to see all those zeros in a row. Here's a screen shot a friend snapped: (Thanks Lisa!)

Click to enlarge.

Monday, October 16, 2006

So Friday morning I look at the number on the scale and I haven't seen that number since I was pregnant. Friday I started a low-carb diet and did pretty well until it was time for dinner on the submarine Saturday evening. They served sandwiches (on sub rolls) and chips (sour cream and chive—my favorite) with lemonade & iced tea (mixed together is one of my favorite beverages) for supper and oreos (another fav) and cheese crackers for bedtime snack.

sheesh. Did I mention pancakes for breakfast?

My daughter's Girl Scout troop sold a bazillion boxes of cookies last spring and part of the money they earned went to camping and this trip to Baltimore to spend the night on the USS Torsk. My brother was a submariner in the Navy and I've been on a sub, so I felt fine saying yes when the leaders said they needed extra adults to go with the girls.

That's all fine and dandy until 0300 when I woke up from the diesel smell and couldn't get back to sleep. (Did I mention this was a 1944 diesel sub and the one I was on back in the 80's was a nuke, so no smell?) All I wanted was a breath of fresh air. I got up and walked around the berthing area and the mess deck a while and tried again to sleep. nada. My mind is warring with itself, fresh air, you're alright, fresh air, you're alright. The hatches were locked from the inside so I conceivably could have opened one and got my lungs satisfied, but I ended up sleeping in the mess hall with the lights on (because we didn't know how to turn them off.) It turned out the benches in the mess hall were padded and quite comfy without the smell of diesel and I could hide my face from the light under the flap of the sleeping bag and get a couple more hours of sleep before wake-up at 0630.

I managed to pass up the sandwich rolls and the chips and the pancakes and handfuls of oreos and as a result the number on the scale this morning was "almost" acceptable. Still above the Mendoza line, but I am much happier about the prospect of not having to buy a new fall wardrobe. Another week of low-carb meals and I'm golden.

Friday, October 13, 2006

I'm so far over my Mendoza line it looks like an actual batting average. No thanks to the food I've consumed in the last several days. CG and her daughter and I went to NYC on Wednesday and back home yesterday. If you've found my blog from hers you've already read about our adventures.

I've been to NYC many times and love it every time I go, but this is the first time I've ever driven in Manhattan. Whew. Not a scared "whew" (I've driven on the beltway around Washington at rushhour), but more like "wow." Our hotel was on 7th Ave so I got to drive right down through Times Square (and Duffy Square if you're being picky) on the way to the Lincoln Tunnel for the journey home. CG had opened the sunroof since it wasn't raining any more and I had one hand on the wheel and the other hand on my camera snapping shots through the roof at every stop light. I guess I need to download them for viewing. I still don't know if they are any good. I saw the Naked Cowboy, but couldn't get a good shot of him from the moving van.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The mower saga continues. First, my husband says I made it sound like I do all the mowing at our house. Did I imply that? Sorry, I just like the lawn tractor because I can't start the push mower so I can't help with the mowing until the tractor is running.

Second, I bought a new battery which I had said before. Yesterday I went out to put it in and the poles are backwards and if I rotate the battery around so the poles are on the right sides, the cables are too short. Now it's back to square one. Gotta buy another new battery. I can't see how to put in new cable without some actual knowledge of engines.

Tomorrow I'm off to NYC to get my semi-annual shearing. CG may post a picture on her site on Thursday night. She's going with me, should be fun.

Friday, October 06, 2006

My pirate name is:

Mad Mary Rackham

Every pirate is a little bit crazy. You, though, are more than just a little bit. You have the good fortune of having a good name, since Rackham (pronounced RACKem, not rack-ham) is one of the coolest sounding surnames for a pirate. Arr!

Get your own pirate name from
part of the network
I hate making phone calls, and I hate it when they don't call me back. We have a lawn tractor and the last time I used it I messed up the front tire when I drove it back in the shed. So I called our mower repair guy. This was summer of '05 by the way. He didn't call back. Over the course of the last year I've called a couple more times and nada. We have a push mower so my husband uses that. I prefer the tractor because
  • I can sit and mow at the same time
  • I don't get all sweaty
  • I can't get enough umph to pull-start the push mower
My husband found an ad for another mower guy who also makes house calls and I finally called him. He came out the next day and tuned up both mowers. When I got home from work I went out to start the tractor. Needless to say I was excited about having it back in working order. But it didn't start. Battery is close to dead. I hooked it up to the charger and the next day the needle on the charger is still sitting on "dead."

Wednesday night I bought a new battery at BJ's for $25. 265 CCA (cold cranking amps). The size that is in there now is 160. I took a car care class about 15 years ago from Pat Goss, the guy on Motor week. One of the things I learned (and remembered) is to put the largest CCA battery in your car that will physically fit. If your owner's manual says you need a 675 and the 900 fits, put it in. You'll have more starting power especially for cold winter starts for longer time. So I bought a much larger battery than needed and hopefully it'll last a while.

Now I just have to get it installed. We had company last night and it's raining today. And the forecast for the weekend doesn't sound good. Oh well. At least the tractor's been tuned up....

Monday, October 02, 2006

I haven't posted in ages. Two weeks ago I took my last project management class. I've taken a series of seven classes through work about project management and I'll be receiving my master's certificate next summer. (There is only one graduation ceremony a year for all graduates at work)

I had to write a paper about my experience in PM for this last class. I was nervous about it since I'm not a PM now and have had no experience doing any of the things we've been learning about. The paper was due on Thursday, so on Wednesday afternoon I finally figured out my topic: quilting! I wrote about how a quilting project can be like work project. I even had footnotes! The instructor enjoyed it, wrote "good paper!" on it, probably because it was about quilting and not like the hundreds of other work-related papers he reads.

Have you seen those new milk cartons? They don't pour as well as the traditional jugs. They are like a tall square block. I'll post a picture when I have control over the computer and can download one.

I'm way over my Mendoza line. Have been for weeks. Too much pizza and chestnuts, I guess. I hate it up here. The only thing that fits is jeans and I don't want to wear them to work every day, although they are comfy.

Friday, September 15, 2006

My check engine light is on again. Arg. I hate that. I took the van to the shop across from the office and they called with the diagnoses. The O2 sensors are not working consistently. The bill to have them all replaced is almost $1400. It's not a life or death problem so I can replace them one at a time. That's a good thing when it comes to car repair, but still, $1400 is still a lot any way you pay for it. I will call around for a better price, lower cost part or labor rate will help, too.

Before I knew what the problem was I didn't want to drive the van so much and drove the Corrola, the car my husband drives most of the time. His oil light was on. sheesh.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Do you like numbers? I think number are kinda cool. I try to find a pattern to remember phone numbers and addresses. I also like the odometer on the car. Yesterday the odometer read my birthday 111660.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Autism Isn't Black and White

I finished this quilt top last night. It's made with puzzle fabric and letter fabric, two of my autistic son's favorite things. This is intended as a wallhanging for his room although my husband thinks I should make another for an Autism research fundraiser. I love the puzzle fabric, I'll probably have to buy more regardless of its future. I plan to bind this quilt in the red from the center block.

The problem is I don't know how to quilt it, pattern or which color thread. Given the busy-ness of the fabric, I'm not sure I want elaborate quilting, but I cannot think of what to do.

Any ideas?

Friday, September 08, 2006

Last night was back-to-school night for my new middle-schooler. It started at 7:00. I was told about it at 6:30. Sheesh. This year is going to be a good one.

I went through Fern's schedule as she does every day, but with 10 minute classes where I learned I'm a below average parent. She has an agenda book which I'm supposed to be checking and signing every night. I've seen it once in three weeks. Oh well.

All of her teachers seem nice. The social studies teacher seemed nervous. This is his second year teaching, first at the middle school level. Fern doesn't like him. I wonder if it's his inexperience that evokes this from her.

During "lunch hour" I got to see other parents I've known for years, many just by sight, from Fern's other school years and activities. It's like a reunion for us too.

I got home at 9:00 and my family wondered why I took so long. Fern: do the math! 10 minutes times 9 class periods plus 2 minutes each to change classes plus homeroom = 2 hours.

I'm looking forward to a good year. I hope I'm not disappointed.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Update about being bribed to change a merchant feedback score (see post below):

I wrote the merchant again and said he'd ignored my request for my shipping to be refunded and therefore I was going to ignore his request.

Voila! I got the refund.

And he's still getting 2 stars out of 5.

He even offered me "member pricing" on any future purchase from his web site. I just happened to need a new memory card for my camera. His member price plus shipping is more than twice the price I found on eBay for the same thing.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Can you be bought? Do you want to be bought?

Back in July we had a lot of rain and I had ordered a rain gauge from Amazon. Actually, a merchant who sells through Amazon. Thanks to being a pack-rat I have all the emails.

July 5, I order the rain gauge.
July 11, It has not arrived and I email the company. No reply.
July 14, Your order has been shipped, here's the tracking number.
July 20, delivery.

This is a cool rain gauge, Look Here to see it. It's self emptying so it can rain more than the fill on a cylinder and you still know how much you got.

Anyway, One of my emails from the company says sorry, here's a discount code for your next purchase. I reply saying I'd rather have my shipping refunded instead of the discount.

In the mean time, Amazon's been bugging me about providing feedback for the merchant, and I'd ignored it for a long time, but finally last week I acquiesced and gave the merchant 2 stars out of 5. Soon after, I got a form letter thanking me for the feedback and a $25 off coupon for my next purchase.

Then someone actually read my feedback and I get another message:
Thank you for taking the time to provide feedback about your shopping experience. I am sorry that you did not have a good experience with SkyBox USA and I wanted to reach out to you because of that.

We are growing quickly as a company, and unfortunately, experiencing some growing pains along the way. Although that is not an excuse for a poor customer experience, we are spending the majority of our time right now focusing on fixing some of the issues that we are having so that future customers can have an excellent experience. With that being said, low feedback scores are very detrimental to our business. In an effort to help restore your confidence in us, I would like to offer you a $10 gift card at one of the following merchants if you would remove your feedback from Amazon (you have up to 60 days to remove it).

  • Target

  • Wal-Mart

  • Starbucks

So, Can I be bought? I'd really just like to have my shipping charge returned, but they ignored that request, so I'll just ignore this one.

What do you think?

Friday, September 01, 2006

The mice are back. Well, a mouse for sure, probably more. The mice in my neighborhood like butter. I don't like cold butter so I leave it on the counter. Yesterday morning there were teeth marks on one end of the stick so last night I set out a trap, with butter in it, not peanut butter or cheese. My husband found it full this morning and disposed the carcass for me. (He's such a good guy.) I found the coolest traps, if mouse traps can be cool. They are reusable and look and act like large, wide clothes pins. Pinch to open, load the bait, and wait. The unsuspecting critter triggers the spring and wham! Then you just pinch it open to release the varmint into the trash or disposal, depending on your level of cruelty, and set it back into place.

And on a less gruesome note, we're off to the beach for the weekend. All the weather reports indicate rain today and early tomorrow, and sunny Sunday and Monday. Yay! My parents will be joining us on the morrow, so it should be a nice time for everyone.

What are your plans?

Saturday, August 26, 2006

When was the last time you listened to an LP? Real vinyl? I hooked up the turntable tonight to listen to some old music, my goal is to digitize some albums and transfer them to the iPod library. It wasn't really working to connect the turntable directly to the computer or even through a pre-amp. So instead of bringing the turntable to the computer, I took the computer to the stereo. Sheesh, it hasn't been used in so long it's probably in shock to have its circuits going.

I have another goal, too. Blue October, an alternative group, has a song "Hate Me," that's played on my mainstream pop station for middle-aged women. Everytime I've heard it play, it sucked my mind back to my college years, to my friends, then to Harry Chapin. I finally figured out the melody of the verses of "Hate Me" is the same as a Harry Chapin song, but I can't remember which one.

This means research. Down into the basement to find eight, yes, eight embarassing albums. I didn't think I had that many, but you know how crazy college girls can be. I may not ever figure this out, but it's fun to go back to 1980 for a while.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Forget what I said about the pants that fit and not stressing about my weight. Any day the Mendoza line looks back at you from your scale is a day to stress about your weight.

It's like when your age changes from 39 to 40. You're not really older than you were the day before, but it's that first number that looks so bad.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

I finished! I had about a foot of binding left to sew down on a quilt I've had forEVER and I finally got it done last night. The quilt is an Irish Chain quilt made from blocks from an exchange online probably 8 or 10 years ago. I made two tops, one in green and one in blue. The blue one is for my son so I made the border and backing of train and truck fabric. It's machine quilted. The green one is for Fern. I'm hand quilting it and it'll be another 5 years to complete....

The blue one needs more quilting in the blank squares between the chains, but the binding is done and I can add more quilting whenever I'm moved to do so.

This is a picture I found of the blue chain in progress.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Most people who look at me think I'm slim and don't need to lose any weight. Even though I'm 5'7" and on the slender side, I still have a big butt in ratio to my waist. I'm pear-shaped, albeit a tall pear; my blouse size is two sizes smaller than my hips. There's always a huge gap at the small of my back in the waistband of my pants, sometimes more than four inches extra.

I'm not happy with my weight because I can't fit into many of the pants I own. If my weight drops just two pounds, my wardrobe shifts to a different size. Same if I gain two pounds: different size. Oh, and my legs are long, 33" inseam. So finding pants to fit well is always a challenge. Pants have been worn lower on the torso in recent fashion years too. I hate that because my belly flops over the top and is uncomfortable and looks and feels larger than it is, especially when it could be nicely contained inside a higher rise garment. So low rise pants are out.

So I stress about my weight, so I can fit into comfortable pants I already have in my closet, I don't want to be buying a larger size.

Saturday, my daughter and her friend went to the mall to find a first-day-of-school outfit. While she shopped, I went into Hechts to look around. Macy's bought Hechts so they are doing the makeover in the store, getting rid of the non Macy's brands and bringing in new ones.

Over ten years ago another area department store went out of business and Macy's took them over. All of the locations except for those in Prince George's county. They sited economic reasons, but many of us believed it was because the county is 62% black. It really ticked me off Macy's wouldn't come in and be a presence in the county. Seven-hundred-thousand residents here with money to spend. Why is that bad economics? So I've boycotted other Macy's since then.

Now Macy's is taking over a store I patronize frequently and I have a dilemma whether I should continue to shop there or not. I'm looking around on Saturday and I notice a brand of clothes I'm not familiar with, Charter Club. I continue on over to the clearance racks and I see a pair of Charter Club pants. Hmm. I try them on. A size smaller than most of the stuff that's fitting me now. And they fit great! Long enough. No gap in the waist band. They were a pair of lined dress trousers, much too fancy for my office. But they have a tag inside indicating the fit: Katherine Fit. Whoohoo! Jackpot. This pair did not have a clearance sticker on them, so I scanned the price. $90. Yikes. I went back over to the Charter Club section and found a less pricey, less fancy pair of pants, and they fit too.

I now have 4 pairs of new pants, they all fit, all long enough, and I don't have to stress about my weight for a while. Oh happy day.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Today is the first day of school here in Prince George's County, Maryland. My son's special-ed bus came right on time and he was ready for it. He's starting a new after care program for special needs teens at one of the local community centers. I hope he adjusts well. He should, he does pretty well in situations like that.

My daughter starts middle school today, bus pick-up at 8:59. She was just getting dressed when I left for work. Darn, I forgot to tell her to eat breakfast. shoot.

She's going to be very busy this fall. Saxophone lessons, Girl Scounts, play practice for Into The Woods. School runs 9:30 to 4:10 so she'll be getting home late, and I hope her honors classes don't overload her with homework. I'm just not sure when she can fit it in.

I created a blog for my dad over the weekend. I want him to post pictures. He lives a couple hours away so it's not always easy to visit and look at his work. I'm trying to convince him to blog. He's in his 70's so blogging is new technology for him to grasp. I'll post a link for it when he gets more pictures up.

Friday, August 18, 2006

It was my turn to golf last night. I got nine holes in at Glenn Dale before dark, which is a lot earlier now than it was in June. When I left the kitchen was neat, when I returned there was a peach pie on the stove. And all the evidence of preparation on the counter.

I thought I'd made progress the day before during the chicken salad creation.

Spirit Air had $16 flights on sale yesterday. I could have gotten to San Juan and back for $64 +tax (one stop in Ft. Lauderdale) departing 9/19 returning 9/24. Sure, hurricane season, but golf! whoohoo! And no dishes...

The pie was very good, by the way.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Fern and I made chicken salad last night while my husband went out to play golf. We had a good time cooking together. It was also a nice quiet time to tell her we're not getting another cleaning service. We've had one since before she was born.

When you get a service, your house gets cleaned on a regular basis, but there is an attitude that goes along with it that you don't have clean up after yourself, someone else will. And it's not just the kids, I've spilled something on the floor before and thought "the cleaning people are coming tomorrow, they'll mop it up."

As Fern and I are chopping up our ingredients, I explain all this. And she seems to be getting it. She made regular chicken salad with celery and I made curried with champaign grapes, apple and pecans. After we ate while we watched reruns of "Whose Line" I reminded her we had to clean up the kitchen. Before I know it, she's SWEEPING the FLOOR! I didn't say anything about the floor.

I'm trying to start maintaining the house myself by coming up with chores I can remember easily and that are not daunting. Like on payday-mondays, I'll change the sheets. Friday is trash day so Thursday night the wastepaper baskets should get emptied.

A new school year starts Monday. Fern rode the bus to orientation today. It's time for new beginnings, and I want to get control of my house.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

This is my first attempt at adding a photo to my blog. This picture of Fern and my dad was one of the first picutes I took with a digital camera. The date stamp is December 2, 2002. I'm now on my third camera (first one stolen, second died in July, a whole nother blog) and if this works, I'll be trying to do the photo thing more often.

Fern is 7 here and Dad is pre-stoke. He recovered very well, just some vision issues and hearing loss in one ear now. I should get him to blog his photos, they're great.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

I hate Six Flags. It's practically in my backyard, about 20 minutes down the road, yet we hardly ever go. If you've ever been to Hershey Park, you'll never want to go back to SF. SF is to Hershey like the Motel 6 in Cancun is to Caneel Bay on Saint John. It's a different class of place.

Each of my kids spent two weeks at camp overlapping a week in the middle when my husband and I got away for a few days. We took my son to the Water Park in Chesapeake Beach and my daughter opted for an evening at SF. We tried to go last Wednesday, got there at 6:30 thinking it closed at 10. We had discount tickets, but when we got there, there was a sign saying the park was closing at 8. We decided not to spend $80 for 90 minutes of waiting in line.

The discount coupons expired on Sunday so we went after we got Kev from camp. After about an hour of rides we decided to get some dinner. I took Kev and got a cheesesteak with fries, while my husband took Fern to get Chinese. They got their food and were done quickly and headed off to Two-Face while we ate. They were next in line on the ride when we arrived (thanks to cell phones, what did we do without them?) Kev sat at some tables and I stood by the fence to the ride and waited. He and I were about 30 feet apart. He was very content just sitting there.

While I watched Fern and her dad take their seats a discussion started between two guys in the open space between me and Kev. I wasn't really paying any attention to them until punches started to fly. I'm not in harm's way, nor is Kev. But more people join in, women too, and people are getting thrown into the fence I'm standing by. Security arrives and tried to break it up but as the fight continues, it migrates over to the area where Kev is sitting who is completely oblivious to what's going on. One of the blessings (or curses) of Autism. I pull him out of there just as a young women gets decked. Kev objects to having to move, but I explain to him I wanted him away from the fight.

A few moments later Fern and my husband get off the ride and he immediately wanted to know if we're ok. He then filled me in on what happened on the ride. It seems several riders wanted off because their friends were in the fight and wanted to join in.

Did I mention I hate Six Flags?

Why? I've been asking myself. Is it a race issue? It seemed about 5% of the patrons were white, the rest were black and Hispanic. The fighters were black. I don't think race is the problem. I hated SF before I took note of the demography of the park guests and before the fight.

I think it really boils down to park cleanliness, broken rides and the $15 they charge for parking. Every coaster I went on had broken seats or seatbelts. The drop ride had just gotten stuck and they were closing it. The water flume ride didn't even have water in it and was closed. There is just a grungy feel about the place all around. Hershey Park is such a pleasant place, too bad it's 2 hours away.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

I'm below the Mendoza line. In baseball it's the batting average of .200 that separates the bad from adequate players.

In my life, it's my weight, the number that separated a bad weight from an adequate one. I'm "happy" if I'm below it and very frustrated and unhappy if I'm above it. I really like it if my Mendoza line was 5 pounds less, but that's hard considering I'm closer to 50 than to 40 and I've had 2 kids. The more I want to get rid of a few pounds, the more I crave things that will add a few pounds. I walk with CG (Miss Kingsfield) almost every morning, which helps a lot. I've seen her Mendoza line go down in the last year and a half by our daily morning tour of the neighborhood; mine hasn't moved.

I got on the scale yesterday and I saw Mendoza-2 after struggling for the past several months (Mendoza +1.5). This morning the same number stared back at me again. yay! I ate OK today so hopefully I'll see that number again tomorrow. Or less.

Do you have a Mendoza line?

Sunday, August 06, 2006

OK, I did the martini quiz CG and Greeny mentioned in their blogs. It seems I"m not to drink with them. Here are my results:
You Are a Chocolate Martini

You're an elegant drunk, who only likes the best bars and the most expensive drinks.
A bit of a cheapskate, you're likely to mooch ten dollar drinks off both friends and strangers.

You should never: Drink and dash. You're gonna get caught leaving someone with the tab!

Your ideal party: A posh celebrity party you crash, with an open bar.

Your drinking soulmates: those with a Classic Martini personality

Your drinking rivals: those with a Blueberry Martini personality

Friday, July 28, 2006

Wednesday night I am at Strathmore Hall for their free outdoor concert series with my husband and son. Headliner: Trout Fishing in America. We find a place on the lawn and while he and Kev fetched over-priced BBQ and hotdogs, I took note of the picnic spreads of other families brought in paper (not plastic) bags emblazoned with "Whole Foods Market," "Trader Joe's," and "Balducci's" containing clusters of mini grapes and gourmet chips. Campaign workers for the Democratic candidate for county exec handed out fans. Really? at a Kids concert? This might be going too far?

I had never been to Strathmore Hall before and didn't know what to expect, but my first impression was this Montgomery County crowd might be a bit snooty and not "get" Trout. When Keith and Ezra took the stage I quit making crowd observations and just enjoyed the show. Most of their repetoire are songs for kids, but not the Insy Weensy kind, they do songs like "My hair had a Party Last Night" and "Alien in my Nose," songs kids (and adults) can really identify with and enjoy. (We have 8 of their albums :)
Have a listen here.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

My husband and I took our son to Chesapeake Beach Water Park last night. Kev loves water parks and we use them as leverage, "Do you want to go to the water park? You need to go to bed... You need to get up... You have to brush your teeth." It's hard to negotiate with a autistic child without a solid prize involved. We never actually take the prize away, he always complied with our requests. We can usually milk about a months good behavior out of a trip to a water park.

Chesapeake Beach Maryland is in "Southern Maryland," land of big hair, and definitely out of the direct influences of the big city. Therefore it was quite easy to pick my bald-headed boy out of the crowd, since he cut his own hair again over the weekend and to salvage it, I had to buzz it down to the nubbins. In neighborhoods closer to the Beltway, you will often see boys with the close-trimmed look. But not so in CB.

He had cut his hair with kid scissors while under the watchful eye of my parents while my husband and I played golf with my brothers on Saturday. My daughter, Fern, was quite upset. I think because, 1. Grandma and Grandpa should have been watching him better, and 2. Having an older autistic sibling is hard enough, but one with self-cut hair is very hard to deal with and embarrassing.

She's away at camp for two weeks and when she gets back, she'll have a week without her brother around.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Number 8 at Glenn Dale is a par 5 485 yard hole, 395 from the red tees. I came up about 10 yards short of making the green in regulation. A nice wedge shot put me close for a possible par, but then I 2-putted it. argh! The hole before is 159 yard par 3. I was on the green from the tee (yay!) but then proceeded to 4-putt (boo).

I started off by myself last night and by the time I rounded the dogleg on 4 I could see a foursome ahead of me. They had finished 5 when I was ready to start it, but 6 was a long hole so I still hadn't completely caught up with them. I wasn't hurrying, though. They were on the tee at 7 when I aapproached the green on 6. One says to the other, "Should we ask her?" My mind just goes crazy, ask me what? Why do I continue to golf when I'm that bad? Am I available for dinner? What time was it?

"Do you want to join us on the next hole?" Ah. "Although she may not want to." They were a loud but nice group of guys. I had already heard them earlier from 3 holes away and told them so, we got along just fine. By the time I finished 6, they were on the green of 7 so I joined them on 8, the par 5. I was just thrilled I hit 3 good shots in a row in front of these guys and come that close to the green. I'm still smiling. I got a 7 on the last hole and so did one of them, so I guess I'm not completely out of my league. And I'm having fun, and that is what counts.

Friday, July 21, 2006

The funny snippet for the day:

The Health Unit here at work has their suite on the same wing as my office. Across the hall from their door is an alcove with a scale in it so it's not uncommon to see someone with their shoes off weighing themselves. This morning as I walked past, there was someone there and on the floor next to them were two dozen-sized boxes of Dunkin Donuts.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

I keep seeing little snippets of life that are funny, but only mildly so, and therefore don't stand on their own well.

Like the guy I saw at the pool the other day with a towel wrapped around his middle. The towel was a Chutes and Ladders game board. If I were a guy I don't think Chutes and Ladders would be my first towel choice for drying off. We have that same towel, and it get put into rotation a lot when we grab a stack for the pool bag. We got a mini golf towel the same day.

Does anyone ever play the games on their towels? Even when it comes with all the game pieces? The pieces just get lost in my house and when I come across a stray foam child game piece months later, it always takes me a while to remember where it came from. Does anyone really keep track of stuff like that?

Friday, July 14, 2006

Today is Fern's 11th birthday. She woke to the noise of an incessant ringing next to her ear this morning. It was a new cell phone in its box wrapped in tissue paper. I was standing in the hall listening to her trying to figure out what was going on, then ripping into the paper. The phone stops ringing and the call rolls over to voice mail. Darn. I dial again, she's still ripping. I hear this quiet chirp of excitement; she can't get the paper open fast enough. Finally she answers.

I caved. She wanted one, I got her the phone. What kind of parent am I? I wavered on it for a long time. She's been riding her bike to the pool where we're members which is about a mile away crossing a 4-lane road (with fast traffic), so having her a phone call away if there were an emergency was good. But on the other hand my parents didn't worry about me when I was her age, I didn't need a phone, why does she? She can use the land line to call her friends. I guess it came down to $10/month is an OK price for knowing your kid is alright.

What do you think?

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Gold-star parenting day!

This morning I dropped off Fern at skating daycamp. She'll be 11 on Friday and I'm trying to be aware of that "don't embarrass me, Mom" stage so I'm not really affectionate in public with her anymore unless she takes the lead. She's sitting with some friends and I whisper in her ear that I'd put some money on her tab at the snack bar for lunches. She says thanks and I turn to leave. She calls me back and I see she's blowing a kiss to me. We have this game where blown kisses are like arrows. When it lands on you, it hurts, so the receiver will make a funny face of pain, and may even say "Ow!" So, here comes this kiss from across the room and I have to play along, right? I catch the kiss with the appropriate act of pain and send one back. She catches hers with a loud "Ow!" and I get a round of approving smiles and giggles from her friends and a smile from my daughter that says, "Isn't my mom cool!"

Monday, July 10, 2006

Friday was our 16th anniversary. My husband and I celebrated on Saturday by playing golf and having dinner. We chose the 9-hole White Course at East Potomac Park in Washington DC. We both played horribly because the course was in such bad condition. Standing water everywhere, the bunkers doubled as ponds. In dry conditions you'd expect a bounce and a nice roll, but the ground as wet as it was, the balls just stuck in the muck.

On to dinner. We ate at Zola at 8th and F street. The food was very good. And the bathroom scale is still telling me I ate too much. That the and 4 pairs of pants I tried on this morning before I found one that fit.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

There were 92 pairs of underwear in a recent load of laundry I did. Then I found another basket of socks I never matched and found enough underwear in there to bring the total up to 120 fresh clean pairs in my house.

Why on earth did I count them? I don't know. Once I saw those stacks growing... I guess I just felt compelled to count.

I will not count the matched socks.

I won't.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

What was my point?

I started my past post trying to write about my weekend at the beach in Chincoteague and ended up writing about last years trip to the same place for Pony Penning Week. I have all these blog entries in my head, but when I sit down to write, they get jumbled up and a bunch of nonsense comes out. What was my point? I can't remember. Do I ever have a point?

I'm not as disciplined at CG is with her blogs. She takes notes, keeps back-ups, and if she's had a boring day, she'll always have a good story to tell anyway.

I was at her rained-out pool party yesterday and when her basement flooded, so I was worried about mine, too. I kept wanting to go home and check it out. We're in the same neighborhood, so when her power goes out, you can bet mine was out too. My husband kept reminding me there was nothing I could do about it anyway and not to worry. OK. I'll try not to be anxious. Our power was out only about 45 minutes versus the 5 or so hours at CG's house, so my basement was dry, the sump pumps worked. My husband was right not to worry.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Friday afternoon I abandoned my post as house-sitter and went to the beach. OK, I got my family first, then we went.

Living in Maryland, the usual destination is OC, aka., Ocean City, (not Orange County like on TV). We like the small town feel of Chincoteauge in Virginia. Assateague Island across the channel is where the beach is which is a national seashore/refuge so there are no huge hotels or loitering teenagers. Just beach. And wildlife.

The Chincoteague VFD raises money every year by rounding up the wild ponies on Assateague and swimming them across to Chincoteague on the last Wednesday of July. The new colts and fillies are auctioned off, then later that week the adults are swum back.

These babies can go for a lot, usually $1000 - $1800 each. The foals that are too young to leave their mom are auctioned, then returned to the herd. The whole process is fascinating, and they've made Pony penning week a long standing tradition, I'm just baffled this small town's VFD needs such funding. If such numbers are kept, I'm sure they would be high on the list of dollars collected per residents served.

Anyone know?

Thursday, June 29, 2006

How come bad days never get better?

The rain made the roads bad, but I made it to drop off the kids at day camp on time, then on to the radiology office to pick up my x-rays of my arm. But their printer wasn't working, so I only had a written report to take to my orthopedic appointment at 9:15. I arrive 10 minutes early, but at the wrong office. I called the number on the referral and went to the address listed. Someone had transposed the information for my benefit.

I got the directions to the correct office and the 20 minute drive took 45. Then I had to wait another 75 minutes to be seen. I had asked at the first office when I could be seen there instead of being late at the other, but she said July 10th.

This was all before lunch, too.

Sheesh. Ever had a day that couldn't get better at all?

Monday, June 26, 2006

'Tis the vacation season. Many of my neighbors look to me to house sit while they are gone. For lack of massive amounts of personal vacation time accrued keeps me the go-to gal.

One neighbor has a blue and yellow macaw. She's a pretty bird and big! Makes our parakeets smaller than tiny. Sometimes I take her out of her cage, but her beak scares me, so I don't do it often.

Another neighbor has a pool. Since our family has a membership to a community pool, we're not really programmed to take advantage of available swim time. But I still need to check things. We had a record-breaking 5.2 inches of rain yesterday and the pool was quite full, about two inches from the top. Note to self: come back later and back-wash if it keeps raining. Then I check the skimmers. After I lifted the lid I peer down onto a frog trapped by the high water. I helped him out, but he went back into the pool.

OK, I kinda get the frog-water therefore pool thing, but when I got home, I found another frog. This time in the space between the refrigerator and freezer doors on the fridge in the garage. I guess frogs even like to go someplace new.

You ever find a frog in a different place?

Friday, June 23, 2006

There is a certain amount of anxiety when you take a dish to a pot-luck where there will be people who don't know you well or at all. Especially when you "steal" the recipe from someone and have never actually field tested it yourself. CG's sister makes a great mango salsa dish she brings to CG's pool parties. I made it and took it to the company picnic yesterday. I made it without actual instructions, measurements or anything. I was relieved to take home an empty bowl, scraped clean. whew!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

It was great to see my daughter Fern come home happy last night. She and her dad went to the Orioles game and came back jazzed. She got two autographs and almost one from Migel Tejada but it was time for him to go out on the field. They stayed for the whole game, which is an accomplishment for Fern because of her tendancy to get bored after a couple of innings.

I spent the evening driving all over Glen Burnie. I took my son to the Costco (american cheese slices & paper towels), Walmart (a new watch for Fern and bubble bath, forgot a hair brush, two broke this week) and to play mini golf and the place by the airport. I had him write the scores down on the card. It was good practice for him to write smaller given the size of the boxes. The evening was beautiful, complete with a constant flow of landing jets close enough to read "Air Tran," "Southwest," and "America West" as they decended for landing. He's come a long way with loud noises, he didn't cover his ears once.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

I got to play golf three times in three days. And it's been hot! I must be nuts. I'm still at the point in my game where I'd prefer to play 9 instead of 18, so playing 18 on Monday in the heat of the day, walking was a killer; I felt faint much of the front nine, even though I had two or three cups of water at each cooler station. I ended up renting a cart for the back nine and felt much better. A thunderstorm cut play short so I only got 16 holes in. I extrapolated my progress and posted a 126.

Yesterday I had a doctor's appointment that finished too late to go back to work, so I was able to get nine in before I had to pick up the kids. After I finished the first hole I noticed a guy playing behind me so I waited for him after I teed off on two. He could either play through, or play with me. When He approached I recognized him from another course. About a month ago my husband and I played together and we met this guy in the group behind us. It was kind of slow that day and his group would catch up with us on some of the longer holes. It turns out he is a new pro and besides being good, was very encouraging and helpful. I ended up playing pretty well, for me that is; I got a 49 (par 31). The lesson for the day was: trust what your club can do, don't force it.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

We have a ROUS living with us. Any fan of Princess Bride will
immediately know that is a "rodent of unusual size." Ours isn't as big
as those in the movie, but this guy is pretty big. It's a groundhog
who lives under our screen-porch. I've seen him about 3 times this
spring already, usually I only see him once a year. Wonder if he'd
like a pile of pea pods to chew on.....?

Anyone else have an unusual creature among their midsts?

Friday, June 16, 2006

I played the back nine at Glenn Dale Golf Club again last night, got a 65. On a couple holes I just didn't hit well, which is very irritating. It was kind of like soccer with a stick. I got tired of watching the ball skitter across the ground. The other thing that is irritating is losing three balls. I like to play with brightly colored balls so I can find them easily, but sometimes even orange balls can disappear. Like, into a pond.

On the back nine there are three holes (11, 14, & 18) that you tee off at the top of a blind hill, and, if you're a beginner, hope you can find the ball when you get down the hill since you can't see it land. One of the balls I lost was on 14. I hit off to the right, but had no luck finding it. It should have been there! Maybe it rolled under the lightning shelter...
Total for the evening: 3 lost balls, two orange, one purple, six found balls, all white. Oh well.

The upside is I played by my self and finished 9 holes in under two hours, compared with my previous round playing with others and finishing in over three hours. If I hadn't lost those balls I could have finished closer to an hour and a half..

Must practice, must play more golf.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

When was the last time you tried to buy a jar of mustard? I tried last night. My husband put "mustard (not squeeze)" on the shopping list. Basic yellow mustard seems to only come in squeeze bottles these days. Granted it's convenient, but squeeze bottles are prone to dripping yellow water on your food before the condiment is squirted out. Not exactly appetizing. Sure, a jar of "Grey Poupon" is still available, but I'm not planning on sharing it out the window of my Benz at a polo match anytime soon.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Kids need more exercise and during the school year it comes in the form of PE class.

This time last year they were splitting up the local middle school putting half of the students in another building, an old elementary, which was an old middle school. They decided to keep the special ed program together at one school, so my autistic son would not change schools. He'll have two more years there. The routine at this school is to have PE every other day all year long.

We live in the area served by the other school so my daughter will go to sixth grade there in the fall. Imagine my shock when I learned at parent orientation she would have PE for only one quarter! Look around! kids are out of shape and over weight. Why, then, is it a good idea to schedule classes like this? CG's daughter had one quarter of Spanish last year. How on earth is she supposed to remember anything from year to year?

Isn't one of the goals of education to make the students better people prepared for the future? How is this system supposed to make the students at this school better people with these scheduling policies? Why are these policies different from my son's school on the other side of town? Don't they see the lack of PE will lead to vanity sizing in the negative digits?

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Another Round of Golf

I got my handicap index last week: 40.4. That's about as high as you can go. I'm not embarrassed, I'm a beginner.

On Monday this week I played with the beginner women's group at my local golf club. The woman I was paired up with was in my class when I took lessons in April, so we knew each other. I told her I was keeping score to go towards my handicap, and she made a comment, something about being a beginner and she wasn't ready to do that. I view getting a handicap as a record of improvement, along with my scores with putt count. If my handicap is 40.4 this June, then I'd like to break 35 by the fall. Some new golfers look at their scores and set a goal of breaking 100. If you play really easy courses, that is within reach a lot faster than if you play harder courses. So I think the index gives a better overall improvement picture.

One of the lessons taught in my class was held on course, a walking lesson where playing etiquette is discussed. The most important point being play "ready golf." On Monday we got paired up with another twosome who did not know how to play ready golf. One irritating moment was when I was putting, having the furthest ball away from the hole. The other three balls were closer and on my left. Their owners were on my right waiting for me to putt, not standing behind their ball, getting ready.

The long and short of the evening was it took 3:20 to play 9 holes. sheesh. But the good part was the last hole is a long par-5 hole, severe dogleg to the left. I shot a 6. In the dark, I might add.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

I passed, then got passed by a chicken truck yesterday while driving on the interstate. The truck was loaded with cages of chickens. I couldn't tell, but there might have been two birds in each. The cages were stacked five across, about 7 high for the whole length of the 18-wheeler.

In the wake of the flying feathers, I asked my daughter if she'd rather be a chicken in one of the outside cages, exposed to the wind and rain, or inside with neighbors close in on all six sides.

She'd rather not be a chicken.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Twilight Zone

I live in a neighborhood with three basic styles of houses, colonial, split, and a cape. Some of the houses are flipped, some have porches, some don't, so you really don't notice there are only 3 varieties at first when you're driving through. My friend CG has a colonial and I have a split so visiting her doesn't jar my brain.

Last year our wing at work had plumbing problems so in order to go to the restroom, I had to go to another wing. It was like going to a neighbor's house, the layout is the same, but it's just different, different magazines on the table or the mirror would be further along the wall.

Last night I visited another neighbor. I was cookie mom for my daughter's Girl Scout troop this year and had to deliver the prizes to the troop leader. Her house is my model, just reversed. It always jars my brain to go there because things aren't where they are supposed to be. I'm usually good with all things spatial, so why is hard to adjust my brain when I visit neighbor's houses or office bathrooms?

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Another day, another diet.

Yesterday I attended CG's Memorial Day picnic/pool party. And I ate too much. A lot of it was CG's sister's mango salsa. Great stuff. So I'm telling myself I had a lot of fruit yesterday. And the chips were corn, therefore, vegetable. I just need to walk more and eat better. I'm not liking the number I'm seeing on the scale recently. Clothes are tight again and my watchband is snug. It's funny how and where five pounds can make a huge difference - before spring break my watchband was comfortably loose. I don't like being old(er), weight is harder to remove than it is to aquire.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

I bounced a check the other day. I hate that. I have overdraught protection so it wasn't really a problem. But still. Last pay period I was cash poor. AND the Corolla needed tires. The tire check wasn't the one that bounced, I waited until payday to buy them. There was 0 tread, that's zero tread on them, bald as Mr. Clean.

Now I've got new Michelins and another week until payday.....

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

I'm getting a massage today! And boy, do I need it. I like to have a massage every two weeks, but I missed having one two weeks ago, so I'm especially knotted up this week. I really notice a difference if I miss a session.

Today is also house cleaning day. I get so frustrated about the state of my house. No one can put anything in the dishwasher unless I remind them. No one else helps with the laundry, so If I'm not in the mood to do it, it doesn't get done. I have a new housekeeper who comes on Wednesdays. I still have to pick up stuff before she can come in. She says I don't have to, but I do. My autistic son won't let me clean up his letters, so I have to wait until he's on the bus. He has piles of them everywhere. and piles of k'nex. and legos. Anyone have any clues about how to get him to only play with one messy toy at a time?

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


It's been a long time since I've posted. It's really hard to come up with things worthy of writing about. I have to get over it and just write about what's happening, good, bad, or boring.

Like my golf. I'm just learning. I took lessons last fall for the first time, then completed another set of lessons last week. I took them from Troy Beck at Glenn Dale. She's a great instructor. While I learned a lot, I'm still having trouble remembering all the steps to a good swing when it comes time to tee off. Then a lot of my fairway shots don't get airbound, they just scuttle along the ground.

The practice range provides a lot of hope, but if you get an unfavorable lie in the rough, it's like the practice is all for naught.

The good thing is I didn't get in the sand at all last night! I played with a couple of classmates in the beginner's league. The bad thing is my 9 hole score wouldn't make the cut if I'd been playing 18......

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

My 13 year old autistic son stayed home from school sick today. He got up when he heard the garage door close (his room is above) and came downstairs. I was in the sewing room hand piecing a LeMoyne star for a block exchange. I think the best way to get those eight points to meet nicely is to hand piece. I'm never so accurate with the machine, just faster. He announced to me, "See the winter. See the winter, it's snowing. It's snowing." I about cried. Spontaneous appropriate speech! Much better than "I igloo, J jet, X x-ray, Y yesterday" all the time.

I got most of the block done, before I came in to work. I'm splitting the day with my husband. I'll finish the rest of it tonight at quilt guild meeting. My next block for the exchange calls for a star, so I may cut out another LeMoyne star to take with me.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

I'm not sure about blogging. I like the idea, but I've never been good at writing what I'm thinking or feeling.

I told Construction Girl about starting a blog so I could post comments on her blog. She thought it was great to be able to share about life with my teenage autistic son. I hadn't thought of that.

I had to create a blog so I could post a comment on Construction Girl's blog. I figured I might as well just post something here to get the hang of it.

Let me know you're out there and I'll post more. If I can figure out what to write, that is. It's kinda like figuring out what's for dinner, the clever ideas never come to you when you're ready to use them.