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 "...email 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 piratequiz.com.
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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.