Friday, November 30, 2007

Christmas shopping

I'm exhausted. Finished school work early, then out Christmas shopping nearly all day, with two urchins in tow. Lawzy. I deserve a medal.

Perhaps I'll design my own. Green circle, mom hand holding little hand in white.

We spent two hours at the bookstore. My store has "employee appreciation days" every year at this time, where we get 40% off merchandise. I shopped and shopped! The children decided that they weren't interested in the shopping thing, since, after all, we weren't buying much for us. They decided to help shelve books. I suppose it's both good and bad that I work there. They're comfortable at the bookstore. They love it! But because they feel "at home" they feel that it's okay to lend a hand. Luckily, the woman in charge of the children's section likes them and doesn't mind too much when they lend their version of a helping hand.

After the bookstore, we went to the game store, since I also get a discount there, and the children have several friends who are getting new game systems for Christmas. I found some excellent deals there, although I had to visit two different stores to get what I needed.

I have to stop and reassess, but I think I'm about 90% finished with my shopping now!


Sass: So what were you like when you were two?

Spyder: Well, I broke my arm. Twice.

Sass: How?

Spyder: The first time I was running in the house. The second time I was jumping on the couch.

Sass: Wow.

Spyder: Yeah, I was kind of wild. Having a little sister settled me down though.


Recently I haven't seen much more than the top of Spyder's head and his hands.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

On the bandwagon

I'm relatively new to the art of text messaging. I only started using it, oh, this summer. My friend Carla was the one who encouraged me. She rarely answers the phone, but she'll text in a heartbeat. And I got really good at it when my dad was in the hospital.

Tonight it came in quite handy. I was wandering around the dollar store -- I do love a good dollar store -- when I came across these!

Unimpressed? Well, my friend posted just recently that she was looking for just these star-shaped glass dishes.

Woohooo! Me to the rescue!

It was a bit late for a phone call, so I sent her a text message asking if she wanted me to pick them up. It's like instant messaging without the computer. I'm all about it!

Now I'm wondering if I can get Skeeter to spring for a Blackberry, to make my text messaging more efficient. Er, probably not. But I covet, oh, I covet!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Moving on

Long ago I read a story about a woman who had burned all of the correspondence she had kept throughout her lifetime. At the time, I couldn't comprehend it. Those letters were so much a part of her, who she was, who she had been. Why discard that, and in such an unalterable way?

I've kept a journal of some sort for most of my life. I came across one of those old journals today. I wasn't looking for it, just clearing out a box of stored things.

This particular journal was from my college years. And in reading through it, I absolutely could not relate to it. I remembered it, of course, but it was as if I was reading the embarrassing drama and escapades of someone else. Some of those more emotional moments -- so hard to manage and decipher at the time -- seem blatantly obvious now.

I've gotten to the point where I can see myself burning my journals and letters, though not for the reasons my 17 year old self -- the one who had read that story -- had thought. Not burning them to rid myself of them, ashamed for who I had been. But instead, burning them to honor and acknowledge that I have changed. Just as the pages turn from paper to ash, I have changed just as surely and just as completely.

Lessons from Garfield

You know what happens to liars, don't you? They end up doing the weather on TV.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

And again with the macabre

Spyder decided that he would wait on recreating the guillotine. Instead, he and Sass opted to work on other historical methods of execution.

First was the gallows, which I forgot to photograph. Spyder wasn't all that great at making the noose (I'm thinking maybe that's a good thing), but he did an excellent job on the gallows. Amusingly, he and Sass used a lollipop, dressed in paper "clothes" for their victim because neither of them wanted the "realism" of using one of Sass's dolls.

A bit later they decided they wanted to burn someone at the stake as well. (I think that perhaps that was merely an excuse to light a fire in the grill.)

The whole scene with the burning at the stake was so much fun, mostly because Spyder made up a great back-story about the man who had been sentenced to death.
"Mr Bane was an evil man, and few people were sorry to see him sentenced to his fate. He had murdered the Carmena family, the town's candlemakers. He murdered them all, even the children, over what Mr Bane thought was an unfair trade."
Spyder insisted that I videotape the whole thing while he narrated. He said it made him feel like someone on The History Channel. LOL!

Poor Mr Bane, destined for death:

Spyder told me today that his ideas had come from his Wicked History of the World and Horrible Histories books. I'm glad to know that. I had been wondering the reason for the current fascination.

Monday, November 26, 2007

I'm pretty sure the librarian is scared of us

The children and I made a trip to the library today. That's not unusual. We're there at least four times a week. I found out today that they don't bother calling us to let us know our holds are in. They know we'll be there.

Anyway, today we went with a real purpose -- to find a book with information on guillotines. Spyder decided this afternoon that he wanted to build one (sans blade, due to a stick-in-the-mud mother who said no).

We didn't find a thing, with the single exception of a book on the French Revolution. The librarian was rather taken aback at our search, considering that my children are 5 and 9 and they were anxious to build their own. We ended up finding much more information on the internet, but Spyder is like me with the books. A book at my fingertips is just so much more handy than running to the computer.

Our quest for materials was thwarted, since it seems that the town has had a run on craft sticks. Brown yarn was also difficult, so he let Sass pick out hot pink.

Spyder made his preliminary model out of straws tonight, and he did a decent job. Photos tomorrow. And with any luck, we'll be able to find craft sticks so he can make one that's a wee bit more realistic.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Wet and cold

Lest anyone think I'm freezing us to death, I turned the heat on.

Let it stand as a record! We turned on the heat on November 24, the latest I can ever remember. Having 60 degree temperatures inside the house isn't all that comfortable to me. Today wasn't nearly as cold -- hovering around 45 degrees -- but it rained all day.

We visited my parents today. My sister and her boyfriend were still there, so we decided to make another visit so soon after Thanksgiving. We don't get to see them very often, since they're about 5 hours away. The visit ended up being cut short though. Brenda sent me a text message that the children did indeed have choir practice, so we left around 2:30 to be back in time for that. That was okay though. Dad looked like he was in need of a good nap.

Since it was raining and chilly, Skeeter and I decided we'd let the dogs stay inside while we were gone. That was a big step. We've never let them stay inside by themselves for more than a couple of hours. Today they were in, unsupervised, for more than 7 hours, and they were excellent! No rooting through the trash, no accidents on the floor. I was so proud! I'll be more willing to let them stay inside on yucky days now.

I'm proud of my Skeeter too. He installed a new doorknob today! I know; I know. Not a huge thing, but he's not exactly the kind of person who thrives on that kind of stuff. The original doorknob broke -- really broke, inside the mechanism -- on Thanksgiving. Skeeter took it off the day after so we could actually use the door. I had a dishtowel stuck in the hole just so the cold air would be deterred. Oh so redneck of me. Tonight, Skeeter got the knew doorknob from Home Depot and installed it. What a guy!

All in all, quite a satisfactory day.

Saturday, November 24, 2007


My Arkansas Razorbacks won in a great, triple overtime game! Oh, joy! It's about time!

And we beat LSU -- ranked #1! My pastor is an LSU fan, so I, being the sensitive soul that I am, sent him a GO HOGS! text message. :)

Oh, Lawzy, we're in for it

It's chilly today. It started yesterday, and last night it was below freezing, the first of the year. We haven't even turned on our heat yet. It's the end of November, and we haven't really needed it.

But after yesterday's cold snap, Spyder decided that this was appropriate wear, even inside the house.

Please note, baseball cap under hood for additional warmth.

I don't know how poor ol' Spyder is going to take it if That Company decides to send us north.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Black Friday

I've never quite understood the lure of Black Friday.

I understand wanting to take advantage of the great sales. I love a good sale. I really do.

However, I do not enjoy getting up at "the butt-crack of dawn" (to borrow a phrase from my sister). I especially do not enjoy getting up that early to go outside and wait in the cold with a bunch of people who would inflict bodily harm to get their hands on that insert desired item here, which is (of course) only available in limited quantities, no rain checks.

My employer has always opened at the usual hour, around 9 am, a perfectly respectable hour to open for business. During my years in the mall store, I saw many of those people, the ones who do get up in the middle of the night for a bargain. And sometimes they're scary.

And we all know isn't really morning except in the most literal sense. It's really still the middle of the night. Quit pretending.

My sister did the Black Friday madness this morning, to get a camera for my mom -- a nice Kodak, 7 megapixel, 10x zoom -- for $150. She said this year wasn't as bad as previous ones.

Personally, I participated in my usual stay-at-home-avoiding-the crowds-day.

Things are gonna change

Oh happy day! My Memaw is getting a hearing aid!

Poor Memaw's hearing has been going for a while. It's been noticeably bad in the last few years though. She can hear well enough to communicate, if the other person speaks loudly and if the person is facing her (so she can semi-lipread) and if there are no other significant noises. She used to be one of the big talkers at our family gatherings. But lately, she just can't, not unless someone is talking to her, and only to her. She's begun to sit aside, just watching, simply because it's hard for her to participate. She's not stupid. She knows that it is frustrating for us to have a conversation with her. And it's just as frustrating for her, I'm sure.

I've been asking her to get her hearing checked for the last several years, so I'm really glad she's finally done it.

Her newly regained hearing will severely cut down on the opportunity for -- oh, someone -- to have an additional conversation about Memaw during the conversation with her.

Hypothetically, of course.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Four Things

I like doing these things, really I do. When I don't forget, that is. Candy tagged me for this several days ago, and I completely forgot until now. :)

Four First Names of Crushes I Had

  1. Michael (no, not The Michael)
  2. Matt
  3. John
  4. Scott

Four Pieces of Clothing I Wish I Still Owned

  1. The red Indian shirt that I simply wore out.
  2. The funky-plaid pants from college that disappeared, probably due to roommates.
  3. The red twin shirt that I spilled bleach on.
  4. The purple striped sweater that I also spilled bleach on. I have issues with bleach.

Four Professions I Secretly Want to Try

  1. Travel writer
  2. Songwriter
  3. Researcher
  4. Literary agent

Four Musicians I’d Most Want to Go to Dinner With

  1. John Pizzarelli
  2. Keb Mo'
  3. Chris Rice
  4. Alison Krauss

Four Foods I’d Rather Throw Than Eat

  1. Ketchup
  2. Boiled cabbage
  3. Turnip greens (gah, smells like you're serving up the lawn waste)
  4. Chitlins (talk about smell . . . .)

Four Things I Like to Sniff (er, Smell)

  1. Bonfires
  2. Citrus candles
  3. Water
  4. Roasted pecans

Ah, the tagging. Guess what -- you're it! So many people are participating in that NoBlo thing that I figure I'll help you out. Just leave me a comment so I'll know to check it out!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Must read

Drop whatever you're doing and run to Saints and Spinners for Alkelda's latest edition of Children's Books That Never Were.

Especially you, Kaleigh. Just go. Now.


Warning: I'm feeling snarky and mean today.

With that warning, a few comments on homeschooling, based on four different conversations I had today:

1. Just because I am a homeschooler does not mean that I know all other homeschoolers. It is quite possible for two homeschooling families to live in the same city and not be familiar with one another.

2. Even if I do know another homeschooling mom, it does not necessarily follow that we are friends. We all have our own personalities and opinions.

3. It is quite insulting to wonder aloud if the homeschooled children should be at home studying rather than playing in the play area at Chick-Fil-A -- with your public-schooled children.

4. It is also quite insulting to critique a homeschooling mom on what she is teaching. I don't critique what your children are learning at school. That's your job. Leave me to mine.

5. My son likes to read because he likes to read, not because I "made him that way." That look of incredulity that I gave you? Completely justified.

6. Just because the public schools here don't teach German does not mean that it's not a valid foreign language. Some people of the world truly do speak languages other than Spanish and French.

7. I think it is quite acceptable for my children to be running errands with me at 2:30 pm on a weekday. We don't have the crowd control issue that schools have, so we get our work done in less time. Unlike regular schools, we also do work on Saturdays and during the summer. I think we're allowed to do errands.

8. I am happy to volunteer to do any number of things for your organization. I am, however, a package deal. If you ask me to volunteer, I will tell you that I am only available if my children can come along. I'm not kidding about that, and it's rude to try to convince me to find a babysitter so I can be available for you.

9. Just because "I'm home all the time" does not mean that I am available to do anything, anytime. I do have a schedule too. Don't be shocked if I tell you I'm busy.

10. And most importantly, I do not / have not / will not make assumptions or judgments based on your family's educational decisions. Please extend us the same courtesy.


(Spyder walks by wearing a new pair of jeans)

ME: Hey, bud. Those jeans look good on you.

SPYDER: I know.

ME: You know?

SPYDER: I know they do. I saw myself in the mirror.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Family Daze

Skeeter took a -- much needed, well-deserved -- break today. He went in to work as usual, and at about 8 am, he decided that he just couldn't stay. He felt disoriented (not so good around heavy equipment), and he decided he would take a break for a few hours.

He came home and napped from about 8:30 to 10:30. He got up and we decided to go out for brunch. We opted for Cracker Barrel, since it was the only place either of us could think of that would serve both breakfast and lunch at 11:15. (Other than IHOP, and I detest IHOP with all of my being. It was never an option.)

Cracker Barrel was astonishingly crowded for not-quite-noon on a Monday. We had to put our name on the waiting list, so we wandered around the shop. I love the old-fashioned toys they sell. I had to convince myself I didn't need any of them. Thankfully, the wait only ended up being about 10 minutes, so I managed to get out of the toys with my wallet still unused.

After lunch, we went to the YMCA, for the urchins to swim and Skeeter to soak in the sauna. He pulled a muscle in his shoulder yesterday, so he was hoping a soak would help with the soreness.

We only stayed an hour or so, and we got back home at 2:30, in time for Skeeter to go back to work and catch up on what had happened. He felt bad for playing hooky during crunch time, but he's worked for 21 days straight, most of them 12 hour days. I figure he deserved a few hours out.

But, of course, with Skeeter home, our day was anything but normal. I have chores piling up faster than I can manage. I'm wandering in a daze because there is just so much to do. There always is, of course.

I think it might help a wee bit if I manage to go to bed before 2 am though. That may possibly have a negative effect on my energy levels. Maybe.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Unanswered prayer

Tonight, during bedtime prayers:

SASS: And God, please tell Santa that he needs to bring me a dogsled team. And a sled. And then you need to make it snow.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

I have a new job

It seems that Skeeter was terribly pleased with my data entry yesterday. I don't think it was particularly that I did a great job, since I botched his formulas on one of the pages of his spreadsheet. I think it was more that he didn't have to do it.

He loved that part, so I'm playing data entry chick tonight too. Listening to Ozzy Osborne's Crazy Train at the moment, although I have the Zen on random, so there's no telling what I'll get next.

A big thank you to PezMama, who did leave a comment after I begged. :)


Today was a gorgeous day. The children and I did story time at the bookstore this morning -- a selection of Sandra Boynton books -- and afterward it was just too nice to stay inside.

We've been doing leaf rubbings lately. We have an abundance of leaves on our land, and it's become quite a favorite way to pass the time. Because of this, I decided to take the children to Elmwood Cemetery. We've been before, several times, but it's been more than a year. We've always enjoyed doing gravestone rubbings, so that's what we did today.

Spyder remembers doing them before, so he set to work straightaway, choosing a pink crayon because "it's a happy color."

Sass started out doing leaves, since that's what we've done at home, but she got the hang of it pretty quickly. She chose a black crayon because "we're surrounded by dead people." Ah yes, the dichotomy.

And, as hard as I tried, I couldn't convince them to do their rubbings near each other, so I could get a shot of the two of them together. This was the best I could get.

While they did the rubbings, I went in search of interesting carvings. That's my favorite part of old cemeteries. They're just as much outdoor museums as they are a final resting place.

And the trees were gorgeous. Normally they've lost all of their leaves by now, but with the unseasonably warm weather, they were still just as lovely.

We were there for an hour and a half, and none of us was particularly ready to leave until

Sass fell and scraped her knee. Oh the horror! The blood! She suddenly became unable to walk, and Spyder helped her limp back to the car. We'll go back soon though, before it gets too cold and the leaves are gone.

After we left, Sass insisted that she would never feel better without ice cream. Neither would Spyder, since she knew he felt so bad for her, with her knee tragedy and all.

We went for ice cream. There are worse ways to see the sunset, sitting outside, eating ice cream, talking about the great day we'd had.

Friday, November 16, 2007

What have I gotten myself into?

Skeeter is asleep. It's 9:45, and he's been asleep for almost an hour. That poor guy works so hard. It's physically demanding work too, not just brain-work. He has that too though.

And he was so exhausted when he got in tonight. He had to be at work at 6 am, so he got up at 4:30. He got home at 5:45.

So tonight, when he said he had to enter tickets into his Excel spreadsheet, I felt so sorry for him. At that point, it was about 7:30, and his eyes were already droopy and tired. And entering the tickets is about a two hour job. So I told him I would do it.

I'm sitting here, entering gross and tare weights on a spreadsheet. I've only been working for 30 minutes, and already I'm bored out of my mind and my eyes are hurting from looking at these numbers. I'm not as fast at this as he is either. I've probably got another two hours of work ahead.

So come on! Leave a comment! I'm here . . . . waiting for it. And I will be for a while.


Thursday, November 15, 2007

Big Brother is alive and well, and he works at Overstock

Now let me tell you, I love Overstock. Very competitive prices on almost everything, and $2.95 flat rate shipping. Can't beat it.

Earlier tonight I ordered a shower chair for my dad. It's what he requested for Christmas. I can't help but think, "It's a SHOWER CHAIR. For CHRISTMAS!" but hey, it's what he wanted.

Just before that, I had logged into my Facebook account. I don't log in very often, but someone had asked me a question about Facebook, and I had to log in to answer. And I did a quiz about Grease. Scored 80%. It's been a while since I watched it.

When I left Facebook, I didn't log out. I closed the tab instead. And as I completed my checkout at Overstock, a little box popped up at the bottom that said, "Sending your shower chair purchase to your Facebook stories!"

Uh, wha . . . . . ??

Why in the world would I want to share my purchases on my Facebook account? Why? Especially with Christmas coming up? There's really no danger of my dad seeing his shower chair, since he's never even heard of Facebook. But what if I was buying a gift for someone who did have an account and was one of my Facebook friends (or whatever they're called)? Ooooh, Overstock, thanks for letting Friend know what I bought! ::exaggerated, sarcastic wink::

And that doesn't even touch the heart of the matter. Does Overstock really and truly think I want to announce all of my purchases to the world? Would anyone? And if I did, shouldn't it be my choice -- a conscious decision, not some automatic application that I didn't ask for? How dare they make that decision for me! Privacy policy, anyone?

I did get back to Facebook, and I did manage to figure out how to delete that "story." (Although, really, why should I have bothered, since I'm airing it all here.) But I should never have needed to delete it from Facebook in the first place.

I am absolutely livid right now, two hours after it happened. Overstock will get an extremely un-nice email from me tonight. And possibly a phone call tomorrow.

Welcome to Big Brother's version of caveat emptor.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

That Company

Things are stressful at That Company at the moment. That Company (Skeeter's employer) is pretty particular about things, so I can't ever go into detail.

The first phase of his job is supposed to be complete at the end of the year. They've overcome some pretty big obstacles, but they don't know if they'll make the deadline. So stress takes over. Poor Skeeter is working the same hours -- about 6:30 am to 6:00 pm -- but he has about three times as much to do in that time frame. He's more tired than usual when he gets home, and I've made him start going to bed earlier.

He's still saving them money though -- a lot of money. Today it was about $16,000. And they like saving money, but tensions are running high. It will continue until this phase is finished; nothing can be done about that.

There's not much I can do to help, except keep things settled on the home front. And try to keep him in matching socks.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Perhaps this is part of the reason our marriage works so well

An excerpt from an actual conversation last night while Skeeter was setting out his clothing and boots for this morning:

SKEETER: I'm running out of socks.

ME: Okay. I'll wash some tomorrow.

(Skeeter walks by with one grey sock and one navy blue sock.)

ME: Those don't match, you know.

SKEETER: Oh, I know. My socks haven't matched for the last few days.

ME: Oh no! I'm so sorry! I had no idea you were out.

SKEETER: I wasn't out. I just didn't have any that matched.

ME: Well that's just as bad as being out!

SKEETER: No it's not. You've been busy, so I didn't want to ask you to wash them until I really needed them. You're the one who worries about that whole matching thing anyway. To me they're just something to cover my feet.

Monday, November 12, 2007

The Coming Christmas Season

I'm late this year. I'm usually done with my Christmas shopping and planning by October 31. But with my dad's troubles, my September didn't go quite as planned.

Luckily, we only do minimal Christmas gifts -- three for each of us -- and Santa only brings stockings.

I already have everything picked out for the children; just working on purchasing.

For Spyder:

Legends of Magic set
Subscription to a magic club
Magician's cloak (handmade)

For Sass:

Monogrammed ballerina-themed purse
Tea with Me Belle
Princess cloak (handmade)

Spyder's stocking gifts will be How to Be the Best at Everything and a Klutz Coin Magic book. Sass's stocking gift will be a Find It game. And of course, they'll both get socks and toothbrushes and candy.

I always ask the children to give me a list of seven items that they'd like as gifts. They know that we only do three, but I usually pass the others along to various family members. This year, Spyder asked for the magic club subscription and the Legends of Magic set. Tonight he came to me and apologized for not having any other suggestions.

Sass asked for the Belle doll. I feel like such a sellout for buying it for her, but it was the only thing she asked to put on her list. And today she asked me if she could do chores to earn it. So obviously, it's important to her. But I still feel like I'm selling out.

As of tonight, I have everything for them either ordered or in hand, with the exception of the cloaks.

Now, to get started on gifts for everyone else!

Thinking ahead

And in complete contrast to using my china, I'm thinking about stealing this idea for our Christmas fiesta.

What a wonderfully clever idea! And I totally think I could do it!

I know nothing about the whole stamping thing, but I think I could handle it.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

The hazards of using the good china

Spyder broke one of our plates tonight. I suppose this is a natural consequence, since we do use our china as our everyday dishes. Today's loss was only the third we've had, in the 11 very full years of marriage.

It seems almost amusing, this broken plate, since Skeeter and I are celebrating our 12th anniversary today. For the first year and a half, I didn't take the china out of the boxes. Not a single piece. We had an extra room in our apartment, and it was stuffed full of the "good" things. I didn't want to risk breaking the good stuff, so it sat, unused, in the extra room.

We moved when I was 8 months pregnant with Spyder. In moving all of that unused china, at that moment, I vowed that I would use it. Use it all. What's the point in having it if it otherwise?

And we have used the china. Within 6 months, I had gotten rid of all of the old, mismatched plates and bowls and saucers that we used for everyday. We've used the "good china" ever since. My one concession has been to have plastic plates for the children, but tonight they both told me that they don't need or want the plastic plates any longer. So tomorrow, those will be dropped off at the thrift store. Even after Spyder broke the dinner plate. It was an accident, and accidents happen.

In the 10 years that we've consistently used this china, we've broken only three pieces, including tonight's -- two dinner plates and a salt shaker. I opted not to replace the salt shaker, mostly because I couldn't find one at the Lenox outlet. I will replace it though, as soon as I find one that's cheap enough.

Wasting time for a good cause

I'm embarrassed to say how much time I spent on It's a drug for a word-lover like me. My level hovered around 42, and I found myself using techniques Spyder and I have learned in his etymology study.


Saturday, November 10, 2007

A Bushel and a Peck

Sass and I have been singing this for a few days now. Because I'm such a geek.

The Nina

Today was an absolutely brilliant day, just beautiful, and certainly not typical for almost mid-November.

I worked at the bookstore this morning, doing story time, and I had no one show up. Not one little person. I can't say I'm all that surprised. We had all of three people in the store at the time. I can't say I blame anyone who stayed outside today. It was lovely out.

After my (mostly useless) sojourn at the bookstore, we came back home. We had been here for a matter of minutes when The Michael called and said he wanted to see The Nina. It's been in a local port for the last week or so, and our attempts to see it had been thwarted all week. So when The Michael asked if we wanted to meet him there, I immediately said, "YEAH!" and told the children to head to the car.

Skeeter had been at work all morning, and he pulled into the driveway as I was backing out, so was able to come along.

To quote The Michael, "Those cobblestones are pretty and historically accurate and all, but they're hell on the car." Yes they are. And walking too, I might add.

The one thing that hits you, right off, is how small the boat is. It's astonishingly small. I couldn't even see it as we walked toward the boats. It was dwarfed by the riverboat next to it.

Once you're on deck, it's really hard to imagine crossing the Atlantic on this vessel. Just sitting in the dock, it feels small. According to one of the crew, Columbus crossed the ocean with about 30 men. There were probably thirty people on the deck with us, and it felt incredibly crowded. I can only imagine that it was better on the voyage because the crewmen would have been purposeful, not milling about as we were.

My children were fascinated with the water and the various water-spying places on the boat.

Obviously, I was fascinated with the rigging, since I realized that I had taken loads of pictures of the various ropes.

The Nina website has a schedule of the ports it will visit. I highly recommend seeing it if it comes to your area!

Friday, November 09, 2007

When the boys are away, the girls have a tea party

Skeeter and Spyder are off with the boy scouts tonight, camping out. I don't envy them. I'm chilly sitting here in the warm house!

So Sass and I are roughing it alone tonight, with the doggies of course. So what do little girls do when the boys are away? We have a tea party, of course! Oh, we went shopping, then we had a tea party.

As soon as we got home, Sass pulled out the little tables and set up the tea party snacks -- cookies, sweet breakfast bread, cheese and crackers. I made the tea (Celestial Seasonings Tension Tamer, my favorite nighttime tea).

But best part of tea parties with Sass is chatting. She's naturally chatty anyway, but she really shines during our tea parties. This chat consisted mostly of Sass telling me about a movie that she had watched at her friend Olivia's house. And Sass kept calling it Elastic Pony.

Elastic Pony?

I had no idea what she meant. She told me everything about it, in her five-year-old way. I still had no idea. So I emailed Olivia's mom.

The verdict? The Last Unicorn. And it's correct. Sass confirmed it.

I never would have gotten that.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Corn and Potato Chowder

I had promised Susan that I would post my Corn and Potato Chowder recipe, but I'm a bit later than I promised. I seldom measure anything when I'm cooking, so I couldn't write out the recipe without making it again. I'm one of those cooks who goes by look and smell and taste. That's not really conducive to writing out the recipe though.

I did measure today (mostly), and here is the result:

Corn and Potato Chowder

3/4 cup bacon
6 russet or Yukon potatoes
3.5 cups chicken broth
2 cups whole kernel corn
2 cups half and half

Cook and drain the bacon. (I snip the bacon strips into small pieces before cooking so that I don't have to wait for it to cool to crumble.)

Peel and dice potatoes. Boil potatoes in chicken broth for about 20 minutes. Do not drain. Add bacon, corn, and half and half.

Cook for about 2 hours on medium heat, long enough for the broth to thicken. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Totally bad for you, but so yummy!

Today wasn't low-anything

Low-carb, low-fat, low-GI. Not here, not today.

It's chilly again, so that means corn and potato chowder for me. It's my favorite "chilly day" meal.

Last week, I taught Sass how to peel potatoes, so she was thrilled to use her newly acquired skill. Spyder has never been interested in learning how, but when he saw Sass today, he had her teach him.

Between the two of them, they peeled about six pounds of potatoes. Yes, that's right. Six pounds. Um, considerably more than I needed for the chowder. I doubled the recipe for the chowder, but I still had quite a few more than I needed. Since I had extra already-peeled potatoes, I decided to make mashed potatoes too. Spyder loves them, and I certainly didn't want his work to go to waste.

I had also already started making Chicken Tetrazzini because Skeeter doesn't like the chowder, so I had the pasta on to boil.

When I looked at the stove, I realized that I had three saucepans full of either potatoes or pasta. Not good. Not good at all. I do put broccoli in my Tetrazzini, and I did have a spinach salad with dinner, but I think tomorrow we'll all need to stay away from the starchy foods.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007


I'm just about to rip apart our alarm system. Circuit by circuit.

The thing has been beeping all day. Not beeping in any regular sort of pattern, just intermittent beeping. All. Day.

Not that we were here all day. No, not us. If I had been here, I might have been able to deal with it. But Sass and Spyder had art class today (the last class! woohoo!!), so we were gone all afternoon. But it started beeping just before we left at noon-ish, and it was still going strong when we got back after 5.

I had thought that perhaps the locks on the storage shed weren't reattached properly, since the alarm system keeps flashing "10," the code for the shed. So I went out at 10:30 pm and reattached those locks, holding a flashlight between my teeth and freezing my hands off, with the dogs barking and howling at the strange light, disturbing the neighbors. That didn't work. I came back into the house, and I heard the beeps before I even got inside the door.

This alarm system and I are about to have a showdown, since I'll never be able to sleep with this beeping going on.

Never give up; never surrender!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Old favorites

My tastes move around -- often. I read anything and everything. I listen to tobyMac and NPR and Prodigy and John Pizzarelli. (And that was just today.)

I always gravitate to old favorites though, a retreat for a while into the familiar. I have favorite books that I've read more times than I can remember. The same is true for certain CDs. Lately I've been listening to the Van Morrison & The Chieftains CD, Irish Heartbeat. It's the one I put in when I'm sitting down at night to check my email or write a blog post.


I've had it for ages, since just after Skeeter and I got married. (Ack! 12 years ago!) Most people who happen to hear it at my house or in the car have never heard of it before, but it's one of my absolute favorites. At one time I played it so often that Skeeter wouldn't let me play it while he was home. (At the time we had opposite work schedules, so that sounds worse than it really was.)

Skeeter has favorites like that too, although he won't admit it. It's quite obvious though, when I'm listening to Colin Ray's acoustic music for the millionth time, that he does.

So how about you? Any favorites that you return to again and again?

Monday, November 05, 2007

Razorback football is serious business

And poor ol' Nutt just isn't cutting it, folks.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Boys and Happiness

Tonight we had our monthly Awana Store, where the students can cash in their earned points for fabulous prizes!

The girls are incredibly easy. A few candles, some bookmarks, throw in cutesy picture frames, and maybe a purse every once in a while . . . they're happy.

The boys? Not so easy.

I had the girls all set up last week. I redid some displays for them and got out a few extra things that I had stashed. It looked niiiiiice. The boys side was woefully empty.

The children and I went to the dollar store this afternoon, to stock up on Boys Things. Since Spyder is a boy, and he's exactly the target age, I let him do the choosing. What, you ask, did he choose?
  • screwdrivers
  • tool boxes
  • foam swords
  • door alarm kits
  • tape measures
  • whoopee cushions
  • bungee cords
  • flashlights
  • squeezable, gooey, realistic organs on keychains
  • baseballs
  • fake "cracked windshield" stick-ons
I bought everything he threw in the cart, still ever the skeptic. But I'm sure I don't even have to say how much the boys loved these things.

Lesson learned.

If it's disgusting, the boys will love it. And the love for all things disgusting is only overshadowed by tools.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

What Are You Into This Month?

Shamelessly lifted from Megan at SortaCrunchy:

This Month...

The Book I Am Really Into (or one I want to get into!): Currently reading Plain Secrets: An Outsider Among the Amish by Joe Mackall. It's not exactly what I was expecting, but it is a good read.

Looking forward to Bitter Is the New Black: Confessions of a Condescending, Egomaniacal, Self-Centered, Smart-Ass, or, Why You Should Never Carry a Prada Bag to the Unemployment Office : A Memoir. I've had it as my #1 library request for a month, and it looks like maybe, finally, it may be coming!

TV Show Worth Watching: Heroes, perhaps? I don't really watch anything else. And I now confess . . . Heroes is now available on Netflix a couple of days after the show airs. I watch it on Netflix.

Movie I’ve Seen (In or Out of a theater): I last saw Dan in Real Life. I'm still undecided whether I liked it. I liked parts of it a lot, and I loved how the family was portrayed. It reminded me of mine, in an odd way. But . . . . The premise is that Dan meets an anonymous girl in a bookshop. They "connect" and the girl ends up being his brother's girlfriend. And during the next 2/3 of the movie, Dan is jealous of the time and attention that the girlfriend is giving to his brother. Am I the only one who sees something odd about that?

The Candle I'm Loving: I'm between candles. Until recently I was burning Pier 1's Citrus Cilantro, but now I'm moving to fall scents, and I'll probably break out the pumpkin and apple candles soon. Oooh, I do have a nice coffee scented Yankee Candle, but it's almost gone.

Blog I Am Always Visiting: Oh, Lawzy. There are loads that I love, but here are a few (other than the ones linked on the right) that I'm enjoying at the moment.

My House is Cuter than Yours
Like Merchant Ships

What I'm Most Looking Forward To Next Month:
Next month? Christmas, of course! Specifically, our Christmas Eve fiesta. It's one of my favorite things about Christmas.

Friday, November 02, 2007

The park

Sass, Spyder, and I walked to the park this afternoon. They've been revamping the park for a while, since the new library is being built right beside it. We haven't been over there for a while, and when we went today -- WOW! -- so much had changed!

It was nice before, but they've made it just beautiful!

The library is scheduled to open in mid-December, with the grand opening at the beginning of January.

The city has put six different exercise machines around the perimeter of the lake! How cool is that?!? The children and I had a blast with those. There is also a little walking trail around the pond and a guide to tell you how far you've gone. Twenty laps is 5.5 miles.

They've redone the waterfall that feeds the pond.

The geese are multiplying like mad! Spyder was telling Sass all about the geese.

It was an excellent day.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Just because I like it

Spyder took this photo of Sass today at the library, twirling in the entry.