Monday, December 31, 2007

The Flaw in the Plan

I forgot to allow for eating room when I bought the dress.

I'll breathe tomorrow.

Sent from the iPhone.

New Year's Eve Preparations

I don't think I've ever been out on new year's eve. Oh, I've been to friends' houses for little get-togethers, but never for a big party or event. This year is different, Dan and I are going to the Ramshead Tavern to see Billy Price Band. I secured a sitter back in November, AM's niece home from college. My sister-in-law helped me pick out a dress a couple weeks ago when we visited there, a fun, flirty little black and white number. I found shoes that will do. I even bought a pair of stockings. Now, I have to figure out what I'm going to do with my hair.

You all know me, I'm not a girly-girl. I fix things: I install car stereos, I drive a lawn tractor, I change showerheads (Oh, I found my channel-locks, by the way, they were in the back of the van, no tellin' why), I don't wear much make-up, I don't polish my nails, and I don't do hair. I just don't know how. I'm a wash-and-go kinda girl, no hair dryer, no curling iron for me.

I haven't had a hair cut since March when I made my last trek to New York to see Nick. He's raised his rates a couple times since I first saw him, but he grandsfathers his clients so they always pay their initial rate, not the going rate. Thank goodness. But still, it's not trivial to take a day or two off work and get up there to have my hair cut.

Dan often tells me there are other people who cut hair. I have a real hard time "breaking in" new stylists. I can't stand to have "product" in my hair, I hate the way it feels. I admit I have tactile issues. It drives me nuts if I can't run my fingers through my hair, I hate the feeling of curl cream or mousse sticking up my locks. Yuck. It always takes about 5 visits for any stylist to remember not to put anything in my hair, but I've never been so bold as to march back over to the shampoo girl and have them wash it again right after a cut and blow-dry. Although that might get the point across, maybe I should do that just once. Which is fine with me, because I don't like to have my hair blown dry.

Anyway, back to tonight. What am I going to do with my hair?

Thursday, December 27, 2007

I did it!

I've been planning out my husband's Christmas present for almost a month. I was so excited about it but couldn't post anything because Dan reads my blog.

One Sunday a while back I took his car for an oil change. The place I took it just happened to be next to a pet store so I had an excuse to buy more fish. *wink-wink*

On the drive to the shop I couldn't hook up my new iPhone to his tape deck adapter because it wasn't working. It hadn't worked for quite a while. If you've ever wandered over to his blog, you'll know he loves music. His iTunes library is well over 11,000 songs and he loves to play his iPod on random all the time. Except in his car. Where he can't, missing out on about an hour of listening time a day.

Aha. A great gift idea! I was thrilled. He's the kind of guy who thinks gift-lists are stoopid and believes you should be able to come up with ideas on your own. He's also hard to buy for because he has two hobbies: music and golf. He's at the point in his golf game where he'd need to pick out his own equipment and gift cards are right up there with gift lists. I've gone to the "golf shirt" well a lot. So, needless to say, when I thought up a fancy new car stereo that plays iPods for his big gift, I was excited.

I started doing the research on-line and quizzed Phil a lot, the young, I'm-old-enough-to-be-his-mom, techno-whiz kid in my office. He pointed me to a couple sites and a couple good brands to look at, told me it wasn't hard, and even did a bit of research about Dan's car for installation. After a visit to a local stereo store, I found a good model and had a price for comparison. $x. They wanted $y for installation, $z for the installation kit, and $30 for the iPod connection cable. And don't forget state tax. Back on-line I go, find the same thing, free shipping, free iPod cable, free install kit, no sales tax. All for $x-$10. Whoohoo!

Phil and I went out to Dan's car at lunch one day and opened up the stereo compartment to scout out the ease of installation. The next thing to think about was when would we do the installation with Phil's leave schedule to work around. When the stereo arrived in the mail we examined all the parts and the directions and discussed the wires that needed soldering together. I had to wait for Dan to go to one of his Wizards games so I could solder the wires myself with a soldering kit I bought. I only burned my finger once.

We didn't get it installed before Phil left for Christmas so I wrapped up the faceplate, the part you take off for security, for the gift-giving. Dan wasn't sure what he was looking at and wasn't sure I could do the installation after I explained what it was.

Ha! I had a blast putting it in myself. I did it last night, Phil will be so proud. It was easy since the wiring was already soldered and ready; the hardest part was finding a place for the grounding wire and getting my hands back in there to bolt it down. I should have taken pictures, but the camera batteries were dead.

Dan called me this morning to tell me thanks, he liked having his ipod playing on the way to work, and he was impressed with my ability. Now he has to figure out how it works.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

There wasn't any winter break daycamps for Kevin this week so Dan and I are splitting the work day to save our leave for our big trip in March. The kids slept in, well past 10:30 so I had an easy morning.

The guys came to start on the last phase of the kitchen. If you don't remember, we remodeled the kitchen last summer and the new fridge fit "on paper" in the space between the pantry and the cabinet with room to spare, but it didn't in reality. So the pantry wall is being rebuilt with thinner drywall and 2x3" instead of 2x4" studs. The result should be more space and I'll be able to open the drawer next to the fridge without it bumping.

Then Dan called from the office this morning to arrange "the swap," and he told me he got an email about a former colleague of mine who died last week and the funeral will be Friday. Wow, that came outta nowhere.

This young woman, Minda, was the secretary in my office for a while about 10 years ago, divorced with a son. She was friends with Kerri, the woman who replaced her. I changed jobs and left the division where my husband and Kerri work about 6 years ago so I'd kinda lost track of Minda, just heard snippets here and there from my friend who still works there. I called her to let her know she should check her work email (she's in California with family). She told me she already knew and it was suicide last Thursday night with her 9mm. Wow. That came outta nowhere.

Needless to say, I'm in shock, and feeling kinda empty. My friend said Kerri had had lunch with Minda Thursday and nothing seemed wrong. Kerri's pretty shaken up, my heart goes out to her and Minda's son.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Winter Solstice

I'm feeling kinda depressed today.

I hate the new shower head a lot. It takes me so long to take a shower now, so long to get the soap off, so long to get the shampoo out, and even longer to rinse out the conditioner. Kinda defeats the purpose of a water saver shower head, doncha think? My back and scalp feel like they are starting to break out as if I'm not getting them clean enough. I feel like I'm at summer camp, all that's missing is the sulfur smell, too. Sheesh.

My husband pointed out a recipe on the label of the can of condensed milk: Magic cookie bars. The Girl and her friend, Hermione, helped me make them. Here's the recipe:

1.5 cups graham cracker crumbs
.5 cups butter melted
1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups chocolate chips (12 oz)
1.3 cups flaked coconut
1 cup chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 350°F (325°F for glass dish).
In a small bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs and butter, mix well. Press mixture into a 13x9-inch baking pan.
Pour condensed milk evenly over crumbs.
layer evenly with remaining ingredients; press down firmly with a fork.
Bake 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool. Chill if desired. cut into bars. Store covered at room temperature.

Sounded easy enough. Hard to mess up. Right? They look pretty good coming out of the oven. But they are not "bars," they are crumbles. Taste OK, but don't hold together. They turned out like a chocolate chip cobbler.

Can any of you cooking types figure out what is wrong with this? Can you help me out and make my day?

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Year in Review

I'm not ashamed to admit I steal good ideas. This came from Lorraine where she posted the first line (or two) from the first post of each month.

Here's my year:

I finished Something Dangerous over the weekend and started the third book in the trilogy, Into Temptation and the children out of wedlock count is up to eight, but there is a mystery about one so it could be only seven. Still.
Here are my blue-greens after the first rinse.
Misheard or misunderstood song lyrics are part of life.
Yesterday in the mail I got my box of seeds.
I guess whatever falls out of the freezer when you reach in for frozen microwave lunch is what you're serving for dinner.
Saturday was a gorgeous day. Hot. It hadn't rained in a while so I set the sprinkler out for several hours. Sunday it rained, over an inch. Now the lawn really needs to be mowed. I coulda mowed on Saturday.
I'm back to work after a two-week vacation and I have a boatload of email to catch up on.
My eyelashes are sticky with dried tears. I've finished Harry Potter.
One shelf of the spice cabinet before I put it back in the new kitchen.
My husband called home on Saturday from Colorado, evidently having read my last blog entry, "Did she really say that?"
We had about 20 beggars to the door last night dipping into the family stash. Fern and Hermione went out together around our neighborhood.
Why are mammogram technician's hands always so cold?

Maybe it wasn't such a good idea?

Monday, December 17, 2007

Controlling the Flow

Have any of you seen my Channel-locks? I think our hot water heater is circling the drain. What else could it be? Every couple weeks I have to take the kitchen faucet head off and clean out the little white crystals that collect on the little filter screen because they build up and block the water flow. These little buggers have wreaked havoc on the shower head too and there is no way to clean them out, no filter. Water squirts out where it's not supposed to. sheesh.

So Saturday I went to Home Depot to buy another shower head. Now, I like a shower with a lot of pressure, not some mamby-pamby trickle, but enough force to actually rinse the shampoo out, not just water it in. I picked out a $40 shower head, very pretty, "euro design" and removed the water-saver feature and installed the head. Had to use the adjustable wrench since I couldn't find the Channel-locks. OK, they are really Craftsman groove-joint pliers, but "Channel-locks" is easier to write. Sunday morning I take my shower and I was in there for-ev-er because there was no pressure. Sheesh. I hate that. So I box the fancy new head back up and return it to the store. After church, not right then with a towel wrapped around me. It turns out the head had too many nozzles so the water was distributed too much and the pressure drops to nil.

This time I pick out a smaller $14 model and install it. And the flow is marginally better, but not good enough to keep. Maybe I'll put it in The Girl's bathroom. The guy who made up the 2.5 gallon per minute regulation on all shower heads must not have any hair. I guess I need to get one from Canada. Before you tell me to get one like the model I had before, I need to explain it was part of a set, not sold separately. Might still be under warranty, I'll have to check on that.

In addition to the shower drama, sometime over the weekend I have to clean out the filter on the kitchen faucet again and I'm reminded I might need to address the washer again. About a month or two ago I had to pull the washer away from the wall and clean out the intake filter. Man! that's no easy task and it was full of these little white particles. This is driving me nuts! Is this a symptom of a dying hot water heater? Maybe I should call my dad and ask, he'll know.

I wonder. My Channel-locks might just be on the shelf above the washer. I'll have to look when I get home.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Answers to Study this Photo #3

If you haven't played along, scroll down a couple posts, it's not too late!

1. How many water bottles are there?
2. How many coffee/tea mugs are there?
3. What time is it?
4. How many cups/containers of writing implements?
5. What ocean is showing on the inflatable globe?
6. Are the reading glasses perched on the nose?
no, they are in the after picture.
7. Radio, beaker, or both?
8. What am I having for lunch?
A trick question. Sometimes I leave my lunch on my desk all morning instead of putting it away in the fridge. This day it's not there. However, if you scroll back to the day I originally posted this photo, you'll see in the "after" photo a picture of a Taco Bell wrapper torn into a snow flake on the monitor. So the answer is: Taco Bell.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Note about the picture below. Mark and AM and Dan and I attended a surprise 40th party for one of our neighbors. Mark asked if I'd figured out how to get a photo from my iPhone to my blog and I, of course, showed him.

The party was held at the temple and the rabbi played a part in getting the birthday girl there, some ruse about dinner and "I left something at the office." The band, local favorite The Crayfish, took the stage after all the toasts and opened with Please Come Home for Christmas. Nice sense of humor.

Silly party tricks: Look, take your picture and now you're on my blog.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Study This Photo #3

My "before" desk last week:

Click to enlarge and study this photo for 30 seconds. Then answer the questions in the comment section. No Cheating!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


I deliver chocolate milk to The Boy's room, he likes a glass of frothy goodness before bed. The Girl's door is cracked, I see the blue light emitted from the TV, Gilmore Girls flickering into the air. Her head's on the pillow, her eyes are closed. She likes to fall asleep with the TV on, "it helps her." sheesh. I know she's faking it, there with her eyes closed, much too perfectly. I want her to know I know she's not asleep. I whisper: "You want $20?"


Saturday, December 08, 2007

My husband announced to me he has finished his Christmas shopping for me. I'm very excited, especially after the cool birthday gift I got last month.

And you can read all about it on his blog.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Need Gift Ideas?

Blue is edgy and electric. In this wig, Chicken sports some serrrrious attitude – she’s thinking saxophones, smoke and snapping fingers.

Blue gives your kitty a sharp look -- jazzy and totally copacetic.

Blonde is a magical mix of bashful and brazen. Fern shows off the many moods of a natural blonde: sweet yet catty, smart yet batty -- where life is alluring and coy. Now all she needs is a bikini and a Swedish accent.

Blonde sets off your kitty’s eyes and makes your kitty look tan.

Get yours here.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Photos for Thursday

First, a note about yesterday's post. It seems a lot of folks were confused about my goal, so I apologize. Maybe I needed to be more clear. My goal is to post a photo from my iPhone directly to my blog without touching a computer. Yes, I can download my pics to the computer and then upload to blogger, where's the fun in that? If I have this gadget that can do it all, I want it to do it all.

Am I right?

Edited @ 16:04: The following are from my collection of regular camera photos.

In September I posted this picture from the office window:

And in October it looked like this:


Today I forgot to bring in my knitting to keep myself occupied while my computer booted up. So I worked on my desk. Before:

After lunch:

Notice the photo on the computer screen. Thanks to Lorraine for the inspiration. I found myself folding and tearing my lunch wrapper. I didn't have any scissors in my current tote bag. Sheesh.

Lastly, lunch at The Old Siam last week:

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

I still can't figure it out, but here's another try

I've been trying to figure out how to post a picture on my blog that I took with my iPhone, and this is the closest I've come.

I took this picture at a Chinese buffet a couple weeks ago. Then I remembered I could email in posts to blogger. So I emailed in the photo which was saved as a draft message.
Now I'm editing the draft with this explanation on the computer because I hate typing a lot of text on the iPhone. I am constantly getting a 'P' when I touch the 'O' and an 'R' when I want an 'E.' The lady at the Apple store told me last night it will learn my touch and get better at knowing what I meant to type. Really?

Anyway, I'd like it to be a smoother process, but it'll do for now.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Question of the Day

Why are mammogram technician's hands always so cold?