Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

 nov 02015

One of my favorite baby photos of Havoc. He was 6 weeks old. My mother was very insistent that he needed sunglasses in the Florida sun

Monday, March 29, 2010

Some assembly required

Thursday I bought 2 dressers from IKEA. Each dresser came packed flat in 2 boxes. Friday night we bought a new TV stand and added a new tv to stand on it. The flat box for the TV stand weighed 85lbs. The TV only weighed 55lbs.

I spent 4.5 hours Saturday assembling dressers while DH took Havoc and planted trees with his scout troop.

Mayhem played Wii Lego Indiana Jones the whole time.

Parenting FAIL but it was a success from an uninterrupted assembly standpoint.

First I opened Box 1. 

There were drawers in Box 1


Do you know what is the last thing the instructions have you assemble is? DRAWERS! Do you know where the instructions are packed? Box 2, with all the stuff you need to assemble first.

Why not name Box 2 Box1, since it is the one you need first?

The dresser involves the fun lining up of multiple pegs onto one board


And of course you can never get all the pegs into the holes without having to lift up some of the ones that did make it in so you can line up the ones that didn’t, thereby causing THEM to not line up while the others do. 

5 tries to get the 14 pegs to line up!

The instructions clearly show one unhappy person attempting to assemble the dresser, with a big X on it and another drawing of two happy people attempting to assemble the dresser. Unfortunately only my unhappy self was available if I wanted those dressers assembled this weekend.

Eventually I did get it framed


Having done one, the second was a snap!


Let’s not talk about what the screwdriver and hammer did to my carpels or the big blister on the inside of my thumb from holding the drill, which is just a tad too big for my hand and has a long shaft holding the phillips head screwdriver bit.

So Sunday when the new TV stand needed to be assembled and the new TV mounted, I confined myself to providing the necessary hardware at each step & let DH damage his hands on it.  I also hooked up all the electronics & ran the wiring.

Because that is part of ‘home decor’ and DH doesn’t do ‘decor’

This was our old TV set up.


This is the new TV set up.


I really need to do something about those gold walls….

I luv the new TV.  Friday we received a disc from Netflix that lets us stream movies to the TV through the Wii!  I hate watching movies on my laptop so I have not used the instant viewing option much. We get unlimited instant viewing with our account so I am looking forward to getting to rewatch some of my favorite very old British dramas like Upstairs Downstairs and The Duchess of Duke Street, along with old Doctor Who episodes I haven’t seen in 20 years and Miss Marple & Poirot, as well as Red Dwarf and Monarch of the Glen, without having to wait for movies to be returned & shipped back.

(Pretty much the only thing I watched on PBS, once I outgrew Sesame Street, were, and still are, British tv shows)

I have to enjoy it while I can. Next week is Spring Break for the boys.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Weekly Winners

Some from my 365 Project this week.

Mayhem was allowed to use the BB gun at long last.

I had to keep telling DH to BACK UP so I could get a shot without him in it. He was hovering so much I swear he was in danger of having his own eye shot out.


Sunset on the Equinox


Blue glass prayer beads


And my monthly self portrait


For more Weekly Winners please visit Lotus at Sarcastic Mom.

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, March 26, 2010

New lamps for old

I went to IKEA yesterday with my friend Mel. I wanted to get a dresser for the boys’ bedroom and she was looking for a desk for her daughter’s room. I ended up buying 2 dressers, each with 6 drawers (4 boxes) and she found a desk with attached side shelving units. (2 boxes) I have never appreciated the space in a mini van like I did yesterday.

But of course you can’t just pick up the furniture you want & go. First you have to walk through the marketplace full of stuff to put on or in or next to the furniture you want to buy. Kitchenware, plates, picture frames, bins of assorted sized and materials, garden things, hooks and shelves, pillows and curtains.

And lamps.

Mel wanted to get a Chinese lantern lampshade while we were there and after pondering the various hanging lamps, that were basically a cord with a plug on one end and a light fixture on the other that you hang from a cup hook on your ceiling (no wiring required) I, finally, at long long last, replaced a standing pillar lamp that I have loathed & despised for 14 years but just never found anything to replace it with.

This lamp came to us from a friend, who was moving. He got it from his grandmother who had bought it, along with most of his living room furniture, from some government auction sale. So it is a 4th hand hideous heavy monstrosity of a lamp to begin with. I hated it when he owned it, but DH can’t turn down free furniture.

This photo is from 2005


The huge ugly lampshade fell and cracked that year & was so huge I never found another of appropriate size despite buying the largest lampshades I could find

This photo is from 2007


The detested sofa in this photo is the same as the tan sofa in the 2005 photo, just with a new slipcover, in a last vain attempt to make it less horrible than it was.

We got the sofa at the same time from the same friend who got from the same grandma who bought it at auction. Words cannot describe how much I hated that sofa, though if you were reading this blog in 2006 & 2007 you know that isn’t quite true because I actually devoted many posts to that exact subject.

It was a ‘perfectly good sofa’ meaning yes, you could sit on it without pain & stand up with only minor effort if you were under 60, so I could never convince DH we needed to spend money on a new one. A couple months after this photo was taken my parents sold their home in WV and gave me their reclining sofa set. Which is a perfectly good sofa set, I like it and am delighted to have it, it just clashes horribly with everything else we own.

I am 42 years old and have never had my own sofa. Someday, when the kids are grown I am buying a leather one. I’ve started saving for it now.

The loathed & despised lamp is also a ‘perfectly good lamp’ in it’s way. It does cast light, which is it’s prime function. Can’t argue with that. DH cannot be convinced that buying another stand lamp is necessary, so I have lived with the horrid thing for going on 14 years now.

But NO MORE!  I saw those hanging lamps and knew I was at long last free of the unwanted pillar lamp.



A perfectly adequate replacement lamp. $12.99 (and the sofa from my parent’s house)

It’s not stunning. I admit. My joy in it right now come solely because it is not the hated pillar lamp.

BUT! The plain boring white shade is replaceable! In time I can get a crinkle paper shade. Or a bright blue round globe. Or a long skinny green tube. I could even get a sort of paper pie plate with colored beads dangling from it as a shade! Endless possibilities!

Not to mention it’s another excuse to go to IKEA. I hadn’t been in 6 years.

That is way too long between IKEA visits.

Photos of the new dressers will be up sometime next week. I have to assemble them & it’s probably going to take me all day Saturday to do that.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Lets get counting

It census time here in the US and as every media outlet keeps reminding us, those forms were mailed out last week, we should have completed them & mailed them back by now.


The first question on the form wants to know how many people are living or staying in your house on April 1, 2010.

How can I know that? It’s still March.

I live in the country. I get almost no cell signal. I get semi decent internet signal.

I get absolutely no crystal ball signal.

I don’t know how many people will be living in my house on April 1.

Sure, I can assume 4, since 4 are currently living here but in 2 weeks time things can change.

My husband’s 20 something nephew could show up to live on our sofa for months.

So could a number of single friends who have lost jobs & want to look for work in the area.

We could have a foster child placed with us.

My parents could come for an extended visit.

We could ship Mayhem off to military boarding school.

I just can’t know now for sure & since they want an accurate count they will have to wait until midnight April 2.

Then there is the second question:

“Were there any additional people staying here on April 1, 2010 that you did not include in Question 1?” (bold underlining by the US Government)

So basically they are asking “Did you just lie to us?” and expecting you to answer honestly this time.

But no where to they ask how many additional people you did not include.

Plus we have some interfamily squabbling over who gets to be Person 1. I think it should be me because I’m filling out the form. DH thinks it should be him because he’s first name on the mortgage & tax forms. Havoc thinks it should be him because he’s first born & Mayhem thinks it should be him because he never gets to be first for anything else.

So I’ll do a head count at 11:30pm April 1 and then draw those people’s names out of a hat to see who gets to be Person 1.

***Disclaimer – this is an attempt at humor. Please don’t comment explaining to me how to count the people in my household.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Pain break

I’m not sure what caused it. The time I spend on the computer, the crocheting, the cross stitch, the gravel shoveling, the gym… Probably some of all of them.

My wrist and arm hurt. My hand is ok & my fingers but it hurts to move my wrist. Sometimes just turning a door knob is agony.

Carpel tunnel.

I’ve had it before, about 3 years ago and maybe 3-4 years before that as well. Not bad enough for surgery but for a brace and less time on the computer or crocheting or shoveling, etc. No bad enough for the good pain pills unfortunately. “Take some ibuprofen” 

Typing a little doesn’t hurt, so I expect my blog posts will be fewer and resemble twitter updates and be heavy on photos for a week or so while I give my carpels a rest and work out a more ergonomic seat/typing arrangement than I currently have.

I’m going to IKEA Thursday to find a dresser or two for the boys room & will be looking at desk chairs & things as well.

The doc thinks 7-10 days of taking it easy & more attention given to my ergonomics will fix the problem.

Here’s hoping.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Weekly Winners

The weather has been beautiful so I’ve been taking outdoor photos this week.

The creek is running high from the rain & melting snow


The moss is plentiful


The irises are starting  to push up


And the boys can’t wait to do some backyard camping


For more weekly winners please visit Lotus at Sarcastic Mom. Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, March 19, 2010

What I have been reading

I just took a stack of books back to the library and in a act that shocked the librarian, I checked no new books out, just renewed the 6 I still have out.

Just the 6.

I haven’t had less than 12 books out in over a year.

The problem is I am in the mood for rereading books I already own right now.

But let me tell you about some other things I have been reading'.

Magic, Mensa & Mayhem

Very entertaining read. I love Vern. He's the the best dragon ever. The Faerie characters are very well done. I love the puns, the sarcasm & the wit. The whole world of the Faerie & the Mundane and how they relate to one another is well thought out & hangs together. The plot did seem a little rushed at the end, almost as if there were so many threads running the author felt the need to grab one and pull to close it up, but it was still enjoyable. I want more Vern & Grace stories. There were so many references to past events & I want to know more about them. I hope the author can get her next book Live & Let Fly published soon. Grace is a nun in the Faerie Catholic Church and Vern is the dragon that St George (of St George & the dragon fame) defeated. They are both working for the Church so there is references to the Catholic view of religion & morality and the One True God throughout the book but it’s not the focus. The focus is keeping the Faerie from running amuck among the Mundanes, finding out why the Elves are suddenly becoming so abrupt and tracking down a bunch of brownies who are committing random acts of tidiness all over the place. It is such a fun read. This is the second time I have checked it out & is now on my to be bought list.

The Spies of Sobeck

This is a mystery set in Ancient Egypt, at the time of queen Hatshepsut, and features Amerotke, Chief Judge of the Hall of Two Truths as the sleuth. It is 7th in a series. Fanatical Nubian worshipers of the hyena goddess Nema are trying to topple the Pharoah by murdering people, using red strips of cloth to strangle them. They are also poisoning army scouts and making royal messangers disappear. Soon they murder the Chief Prosecutor and attempt to murder Amerotke and Pharoah herself. This is really well written. Lots of period detail. Great atmosphere of deceit, intrigue, superstition and fear.  I have only read one other book in this series & that did not detract at all from being able to read this. I didn’t feel I was missing a bunch of background the way you often to this many books into a series.

Urn Burial: A Phryne Fisher Mystery (Phryne Fisher Mysteries (Paperback))

I have been working my way back through the Phyrne Fisher series lately & had this and another one out.  Urn Burial is probably my least favorite of the series. Everyone is a little too much of a stereotype, including the crocheting version of Miss Marple. I find it hard to care who killed the girl or why the homeowner was being blackmailed. It just fails to hold my interest. I used to think my least favorite was Blood & Circuses (the first book of the series I had ever read,but the 8th in the series). But it has grown on me in rereadings & I actually own a copy of it now. Urn Burial has fallen in my estimation on rereading

Lastly, I have

Murder in Montparnasse (Phryne Fisher Mysteries (Paperback))

Which is my favorite of the Phryne Fisher books. She is asked by friends to help find out who is murdering some of their number. They were all ANZAC troops in Paris at the end of WWI & they had seen someone pushed under a train while they were there. Phryne was also in Paris at that time having been discharged from her job driving an ambulance at the front & now living with the bohemians,including an unsavory lover. We learn a lot about Phryne’s past in this book and it is a good mystery as well. I enjoy nearly every books in this series & highly recommend it.

So, what have you been reading lately?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Spring Cleaning

It was beautiful Tuesday! The sort of beautiful spring day that makes you think “Gosh I really ought to clean something!”

Which really? Strikes me as an odd thing to think just because the day is nice. Yet, there I was, thinking it.

I decided to clean the mini van out. It goes in to the dealership today for an oil change & whatever other maintenance is required and they vacuum out the car as part of the service.

But only if you have all your crap up off the floors first. Probably they don’t want to get in trouble for vacuuming up stuff they thought was crap but you were keeping for some reason.

And probably they don’t want to move balled up sweat socks & sticky toys to vacuum up the other stuff.

I gathered up the napkins, receipts, food wrappers and other garbage and tossed it all. And I tossed all the stuff I was keeping for some reason into a basket

This is the basket


Let’s break it down shall we?

First there were the food related items that have been rolling and banging around the mini van for I don’t know how long but that I only thought about when I went around a corner and heard one of them whack into something.


Then there were the socks. 12 socks to be exact, but 3 of them don’t belong to us and I can’t recall any time in the past 4 months when people other than us have been in the mini van. So it seems I have solved the mystery of where socks go when they vanish from your dryer – someone else’s mini van. Probably there is some sort of wormhole or gap in the space time continuum that sends socks from dryers to under seats in mini vans around the world. Do any of them look familiar? I’ll mail them to you


Then there were meal toys. 2 stuffed panda bears from some fast food kid’s meal or other and 8, yes 8, plastic sharks from Glory  Days’ Shark Attack drinks, collected over the past 3 months. Glory Days is the restuarant that serves the fried fish that has been my ‘issue food’ since Christmas. I’m sort of surprised there aren’t more sharks to be honest.


Last we have the random “Important Stuff We Have Been Looking for for Ages Now”. This includes a flashlight headlamp, a Spongebob DS game and DS wand,and a tube of hydrocortisone cream. Plus some Valentine’s Day candy and a blue marker that has Absolutely No Business being in the car


All that is left in the car is crap that can be vacuumed, like crushed goldfish crackers, dead leaves and lots of small bits of gravel.

I made another attempt to set the clock but there was no joy. I’m going to get the dealership to look at it but it’s after market so I’m not sure they will have any luck either. However Crutchfield, which is the largest after market stereo installer in the area is right down from the dealership and I’m sure they will be able to help me because they have in the past. Odds are it’s one of theirs anyway.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Did some scrapping recently

After a 3 week hiatus I finally fell back in the scrapping groove & completed a few layouts over the past 10 days or so. These are all for challenges at Sweet Shoppe Designs





It feels good to  be scrapping again, but despite all the 365 photos I take I seem to be short photos to scrap. I’ve been focusing more on things than people lately with it and don’t have as many pics of the boys as I have in the past.  I need to work on that.

Monday, March 15, 2010

I’m not an auto mechanic but

I’ve been driving for 25 years, many of those years with junk cars over a decade old when I got them, plus a number of years with cars that were no longer new, even though I purchased them that way.

I know a lot about what can go wrong with cars & am fairly good at diagnosing them.

I know the difference in sounds between a car not turning over because the battery is dead and a car not turning over because there is a problem with the fuel pump.

(correctly identifying this in DH’s truck last month as soon as at failed to start)

I know that that horrible grinding noise you hear sporadically while driving is probably caused by your brakes. Either the pads have worn off or there is a problem with the rest of the braking system, probably the rotors.

I know how to repair a problem with the radiator hose with a box cutter & duct tape.

I know the terrible sinking feeling the engine makes as the transmission suddenly goes out on you while you are driving. (having experienced it 3 times!)

I can correctly identify the timing & alternator belts and know what happens when they break while you are driving. (Not in the mini van or the Cruiser, but in any pre-1995 ford or chevy auto)

I know that if the CHECK ENGINE light comes on and stays on, with no accompanying ‘strange noise’ from the engine, that it really means CHECK BANK BALANCE

I not only know how to change a tire, I can do it on the side of the road on rainy night while wearing a dress and heels. Or in my own driveway while DH sleeps off the meds from having 2 teeth pulled. I have AAA now, but short of being in a life threatening position, like on the side of a busy highway & the flat being on the road side, I will probably get impatient waiting for them to show up after 30 minutes and change the tire myself.

I have done so as recently as 2 years ago.

I can change my own oil and transmission fluid (again, not in the mini van. We were given lifetime free scheduled maintenance as an incentive to buy, so I actually have no idea where the oil is added.  Though I do know how to jump start it)

Speaking of jump start it. The jumper cables in my mini van have been with me since 1988.

So I am not a novice when it comes to automobiles.

But there is one thing that has always eluded me about every single one of the cars I have owned except the 1972 Dodge Dart

I cannot for the life of me ever remember how to change the time on the clock. (the Dart had no clock)

I just keep punching combinations of buttons until I get fed up or the time changes. Should the time actually change I tell myself I will write down what I did and put the note in the glove compartment.

There is never a note in the glove compartment 6 months later and once again I just push random combinations of buttons and hope.

Sunday the clocks went forward. But so far, not the one in the mini van.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Weekly Winners

Some photos from my 365 project for this week. I was experimenting with a DIY lightbox using a couple different pop up mesh baskets and some scarves under the track lighting in the kitchen

071 069 070

While I was doing that I had left the craft glue on my desk in family room with the boys and this was the result.


For more Weekly Winners please visit Lotus at Sarcastic Mom.

To see Havoc’s winners please click here

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

A photographer’s eye

(very photo heavy post)

Saturday evening I took some photos in the kitchen and absentmindedly left the camera on the table.

Sunday morning, around 8am, Havoc comes in the bedroom and informs me he’d been taking some pictures and the camera wasn’t working any more because it was full.

I had taken maybe a dozen photos. The card holds 351. What did Havoc feel he needed to take over 300 photos of?

Mostly he was perfecting his composition studies of “Cat with Bowl”

First selecting the right angle for the shots



Then getting in close


Followed by some experimenting with the rule of thirds composition



and centering


There was also “Cat Wishing for a Bowl”


“Cat Relaxing”


And the popular “Cat Among the Stuff” series




Cat photos accounted for more than 200 of the photos.

Then there was “Clone Trooper Parking”



(everyone thinks I pose the toys in my 365 photos, but 95% of the time I just photograph what I find, though probably I would have called these Sunbathing Troopers or Clones at the Drive In)

Finally there is the obligatory self-portrait


There were also about 75 photos of Mayhem that I can’t share because Mayhem had removed his pajamas when he woke up.