Thursday, September 30, 2010

September round up

Katie the scrapbook lady does this round up every month & I always think to myself “Gee, you know, you ought to do that because half the time this stuff never makes it to the blog” This blog is also my journal so it makes sense to include it. Then I think “next month I am going to do it” but I never do.

I’ve decided this month is THE next month and I am doing it now.

What books and/or magazines did I read this month?

Absinthe of Malice, Scandal on Rincon Hill, Shades of Grey, Ask Alice, Buried Bones, Nemesis, Them Bones, The Kitchen Witch, Wicked Appetite, Death Without Tenure, The Raven & the Nightingale,The Maltese Manuscript, and Quieter Than Sleep

Cook’s Country & Rachel Ray magazines

What movies, television shows, plays, etc. did I watch this month?

I watched Castle, Big Bang Theory, Warehouse 13, Eureka, Total Drama World Tour and Futurama on tv. I rented DVD of several Brother Cadfael & Miss Marple mysteries, plus instant watched The IT Crowd and several Futurama movies.

What fun things did I do with my family and/or friends?

I went to a Tupperware party with Mel and played bunco with the girls. I helped out in Havoc’s class when they were making paper mache globes. Allergies kept me from doing much this month

What gifts did I give and/or receive?

Nothing given or received this month

What special or unusual purchases did I make?

I bought a new bag from Tumbuk2 and received the latest Kindle in exchange for the one I got my birthday

What illnesses or health concerns did I have?

Allergies and insomnia have occupied me this month. The allergies finally seem on the wane but the insomnia is as bad as ever. I tried melatonin this month for the insomnia but it has not been helpful

What were my accomplishments this month?

I made myself volunteer and help out in Havoc’s class. I made some great Taiwanese dishes and successfully cooked rice (once out of 4 tries but still, an accomplishment)

What were my disappointments this month?

I can’t control this insomnia. DH got sent to Connecticut for a week after being told he wouldn’t have to go.  The steamer failing utterly to cook the rice & making crunchy rice soup instead.

How did I do on my goals for the month? (Or any current short or long term goals)

My only goal this month was to survive the allergies. (I’m convinced that one of these day my hours long sneezing fits will result in a brain aneurysm). I was also hoping to keep up with LSNED but that wasn’t a goal so much as a fantasy & I did manage about half the days. Spending most of your time exhausted from lack of sleep and strung out on allergy meds is not really conducive to much of anything.

Anything else noteworthy to include?

Both boys had their first scouting meeting and it looks like poor DH may end up pack leader of their combined Tiger & Wolf troops (due to troop sizes and lack of other volunteers). He really does not have the time to deal with it so we’ll see how that goes.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

And I didn’t even realize it

I’d set a goal for myself this year of reading 100 new books.

I had the same goal last year and missed it by 2.

Well, not this year.

I finished my 100th book, Buried Bones by Carolyn Haines, on my Kindle, on Sept 21.

I didn’t even notice it was my 100th new book when I entered into my Library Thing database.  It wasn’t until yesterday, when I finished Scandal on Rincon Hill & entered it that I checked to see where I was on the challenge and discovered I was at 103 new books read this year.

That total does not include new audiobooks, but there was only one of those. I have a tendency to listen to books I have already read because the time between listens can be anywhere from 2 hours to 2 months & if I really get into a new audiobook I’m highly likely to check it out of the library and just read the thing rather than sit through having it read to me.

I’m impatient that way.

And Iike being able to flip back & check things.

And yes, sometimes flip ahead to check things.

You can follow the link above to see what I have been reading but I’ll tell you now it’s not great literature. No classics or anything that would be required for a lit class. Nothing heavy or meaningful or recommended by Oprah.

Over half the 100 books could be classified ‘fluffy chick lit mysteries’. I had a lot of fun with them this summer.

There is also a lot of historic fiction, mostly set in Tudor times, some historic mysteries of various periods, some memoirs and random other fiction & non.

Some data, just because I luvz me some data:

I own 34 of those books

11 were purchased after I read them in the library & enjoyed them so much I had to buy them

9 of them are Kindle editions

That leaves 69 books from the library.

However, I have checked 147 out of the library to date (I let my library keep a record of my loans, mostly for my own benefit. Homeland Security is free to read the list if they want. Obviously if cozy mystery readers are declared a threat to the nation I’ll be first against the wall and have no one  to blame but myself). Even allowing for the 10 books currently on my nightstand, 3 of which have been read, that means I fail to finish half the books I check out (life is too short to spend it reading things you don’t enjoy).

I have not kept a list of books I have reread this year, though off the top of my head I can think of almost 40.

And I still have 3 more months to go!

Perhaps I should work on the library checked out to actually read ratio the rest of the year?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


There is precious little that I have said “I will never…” about

Not even when I was militantly childfree.

I have plenty of friends who said things like:

I will never allow my kids to watch tv

I will never allow my kids to be disruptive in restuarants

I will never make my kids buttered noodles when the rest of us are eating ratatouille.

My kids will never be rude little screaming demons in stores

My child will never wear a leash

My kids will never waste hours of their lives playing video games.

It’s just as well I never said any of it because apart from the butter noodles thing my kids have done all of it.

And they only haven’t done the buttered noodle thing because I have never made ratatouille.

Among the very few things I have stated I will never do are:

Host a sleepover

Have a kiddy party at Chuck E Cheese

Host one of those in home parties, like Pampered Chef or PartyLite.


I just printed out the invitations for the backyard camping party Havoc wants to have for his birthday in 2 weeks,

A month after that? I’m hosting a Tupperware party.

Thank you GOD the Chuck E Cheese is more than an hour away.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Book review time!

Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde

First let me say, Fforde is one of my very very favorite authors, right up there with Douglas Adams, my very favorite author. Usually I rush right out & buy his newest book as soon as pre-order is available, but I held off on this one.

For nearly a year.

I’d heard this one was rather dark & dystopian and those are two words guaranteed to keep me from picking up a book.

Dark I can’t do. I have insomnia. Dark stuff only makes it worse.

Dystopian is always so incredibly depressing. Happy, flying car futures rarely end up in books these days (And really if everyone is happy what would be plot be? Unhappy people planning to destroy the happiness? I suppose that works but I guess people planning to destroy the unhappiness sells better). It’s always bleakness & misery as far as the eye can see, which, again, insomnia…worse…so I avoid it.

But it is Jasper Fforde so there will be wittiness and humor right? Probably?

I couldn’t bring myself to buy a book I might never convince myself to start, let alone finish, so I passed when it came out. Bought SPQR XIII The Year of Confusion instead and was treated to a rather melancholy Decius relating a mysterious murder of an astrologist right before Caesar was assassinated. Not as much fun as previous SPQR novels, but not dark & dystopian either.

But a few weeks ago I downloaded a sample of Shades of Grey on my Kindle. Three chapters were unlikely to unsettle my insomnia and they didn’t. They were intriguing. Not intriguing enough to pay $12.99 but intriguing enough that when the book appeared on the New Acquisitions shelves at the library a week later, I brought it home. I considered to thoughtfully for a few days.

The thing I knew was, I would either hate it by chapter 7 or I would be thoroughly engrossed and unable to put it down until I finished it. Given the size of the book I was looking at a good 7-8 hours of solid reading, for a first reading. The second reading (which is a must with Fforde’s books because you WILL miss things the first time through) could probably be done in 2-3 smaller sessions over a few days.

So I had to wait until yesterday, when I was relatively certain there were no plans & Dh would be watching football, thereby providing the demons with food & general  supervision in the living room.

I love Jasper Fforde’s books but all of them leave me wishing I knew just a bit more about ...something. Thursday Next makes me wish I knew more great literature. The Nursery Crimes leave me wishing I knew more nursery rhymes & fables. This one left me really wishing I had a better grasp, or any grasp really, of Welsh geography. His books always make me feel like I would 'get' it better if I just lived in Wales or had a PhD in English Lit. It doesn't detract at all from the enjoyment of the story but it's a mental background distraction while reading.

Really, I felt from about chapter 5 that a map of Wales would be useful. Not because it was necessary from a plot standpoint (Wales is never mentioned, just one tiny hint given) but I’m fairly sure the amount of geographical detail of the area surrounding East Carmine & High Saffron are based on reality & I suspect one of them is Cardiff but I’m not good with maps,especially topographic ones, so a map would have done me no good really. Seeing the area itself might though.

This story took a bit to get started. There is a lot of background development & world building, but you get no more information than the main character knows. What was the Something That Happened? Why Oz? Is a RISK game board really what they base their knowledge of the Previous world map on? What started the highly structured collective? How did they get people to go along with it? What the heck is Perpetulite? and what about the feared Mildew? Why no spoons?

But once Eddie Russet & his dad arrive in East Carmine on the edges of civilized society so Eddie can complete his Lesson in Humility by conducting a chair census and his dad start work as the substitute Chromatician, the story gets moving. We meet a variety of characters & learn about Chromapolitics and the stratification of society. Your color is your destiny.  Blues are clumsy, Yellows are controling, Purples are arrogant, Greys are the overworked lower class. Oranges & Greens seem rare in East Carmine so we don’t learn much about them. Plus we learn about all the many many rules that make up daily life in this world. Including the appropriate tie knot you should wear in specific circumstances.

Eddie makes friends and enemies, falls in love with Jane, and risks his life on his way to discovering many things about himself and about the society he has unquestioningly lived in all his life. Overall it was a good beginning a 3 book series, little weak on plot but certainly a good starting point. I look forward to the next one. Though 2014 is a long way away.

So, that was a lot of lead up for a short & not very detailed review wasn’t it?

See. The thing about this book is I can’t tell you about it in any way that would make any sense to you if you haven’t read it. Eddie’s crime? That got him sent off to count chairs? The radical idea that a single queue feeding multiple stations might be more efficient than the multiple stations each with its own queue model currently in use. You need more context for it really than I can give.

It is really a very fascinating world and Jasper Fforde’s imagination must be an incredible place. I highly recommend it.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Weekly Winners

We made fossil cookies. These guys got to stomp on the dough


We played the dollar game at bunco


Harvest moon


The book stack now includes a Kindle


For more Weekly Winners please visit Lotus at Sarcastic Mom.

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Things to put things in

I have a fondness for bags.

Purses. Satchels. Totes. Backpacks. Briefcases.

If you can put things in it and carry them around, I like it.

So I naturally have a large collection of bags, satchels, totes, backpacks and even a couple briefcases and/or business attaches from back in my childfree days of monetary employment.

Every one of them fulfills a specific need, or did at the time of purchase. I admit to owning more than a few backpacks, attaches, satchels and even purses that have not been used in 5 or so years. All of them were tried out as diaper bags at some point & found wanting & never looked at again, until a laptop bag was needed, when one attaché did come out of retirement.

I have a decent sized collection of Vera Bradley purses (and wallets) that have seen a great deal of use over the past 7 years but I am less fond of fabric prints now than I once was.

This past year I have had a brief affair with leather (and it’s imitators) in search of the perfect camera bag/purse.  I like the look of the Epiphanie Bags but they are not cheap and I’m not 100% leather is for me. Let alone a dedicated camera bag that is also a purse.  I’m more of a purse that can also carry my camera sort of person. So I have experimented with cheap bags from Target, with some success.

I have 3 bags that I like to use for hauling my camera and other things around


A Vera Bradley, a Target and a nice roomy camera bag from Wicked Stitches on etsy.

All 3 share two small yet significant problems.

1. The straps are all wrong. For the first two, with the camera added, the bag is heavy and all the weight on one shoulder gets a bit much after awhile. Plus the straps are constantly sliding off my shoulder and I have to crook my arm to keep holding it. And I hate that. The Wicked Stitches one has a single strap that is long enough to be worn messenger bag style, across the chest. But it is the same slippery material  as a seat belt and never stays at the length I put it slowly growing longer and longer as I move around.

2. They are girly. As I said, with the addition of the camera the bag gets heavy & if we are out somewhere as a family I’d like to maybe pass the burden to DH for a bit. DH is willing to carry the burden, but not if it has purple paisleys, or a small floral pattern or is obviously a woman’s purse.

So I have been on a hunt for a messenger bag that is not too big (most of them are), not girly (if they are small, they are pink) and has a decent strap.

I finally came across Timbuk2 (who are not paying me a thing, nor giving me a thing, apart from an entertaining email that led to this blog post) where you can build your own bag.

I built myself a Eula tote with standard olive fabric for $50 plus shipping.

They then sent me the following email.

Thanks for picking us.  Your new bag is gonna ROCK!  
Here is your order summary email.
We suggest that you actually read it and like it because this is what you are getting and the Lucky One's address below is where we are going to send it. If you must be That Person, we can TRY our best to make changes or cancel your order.  This is only if we have had enough coffee and our warehouse hasn't. You will need to send your email to
deleted.  Remember, this is only if your order is NOT IN PRODUCTION. Once your order makes it to our production line, we can't change it for you and if it's custom, we can't take it back. Not because we don't love you; but because we already have really, really nice custom made Messenger bags from Timbuk2.  It's part of the uniform.



1 X-small Custom Eula


Now here's the part you really want to read. 
When will my order ship?
Your order is being sent to the warehouse right now.  Orders shipped US ground or international are shipped 4 - 6 days after the order is placed.  It all depends on how many orders are in line in front of yours.  If you selected an expedited shipping method like Second Day or Next Day Air, your order will ship within 1 to 2 business days.  Business means Monday through Friday and excludes most US holidays, just in case you didn't know. Now you do.  FYI custom bags do not require any additional processing time.

How long will it take my order to get to my loving, waiting arms?
Once your order ships via UPS it will take 3 to 7 business days to arrive depending on where you call home.  You can track your order on our website using your order number and clicking deleted or you can be patient and wait for UPS to send you a notification of shipment indicating that your order has left the building.  Please note that your item must ship before anyone can track it and it can take up to 48 hours for your tracking information to trickle down from UPS to our systems. 

What if I live across the pond?
International orders are shipped via UPS International Express.
Transit times average 3-5 business days for delivery.
**International Express price does not include Duty, Customs Adjustment or VAT.
Up to $75 additional charges in VAT and duties may apply upon delivery of the product.

What if I entered my email address in wrong?
Our deepest sympathies are being sent to you via UPS because you haven't read any of this.
Much Love,
Timbuk2 Designs

I loved this email. It’s the best order summary I have ever received.

Then I got my bag


It’s the perfect size


Wallet, calendar/journal, cell phone, Kindle and camera (or actually, camera  substitute as it’s impossible to photograph your own camera in a purse using your own camera). If I don’t have the camera, my Nintendo DS fits there, or a ball of yarn & crochet project. Or a hard backed book, or a water bottle.

It has an adjustable messenger style strap of a nice solid material so I can wear it across my chest or over my shoulder and it stays the same length all day long.

Brad does not find it girly & might possibly borrow it when riding his motorcycle.

Assuming I let him.

I’ve had it for 3 weeks and liked it so much I just ordered another one in dark brown canvas, so I have one to fall back on if DH takes the other.

What’s your favorite bag?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Updating things

I’m doing some work on the blog.

I’ve got posts from a different blog and from two other sites that I am integrating into this blog because they are all about Havoc & Mayhem, plus some craft stuff and I feel it should all be in one place.

But of course formats are different & importing changes the look of the text and occasionally appears to break the whole blog, so I have to go through each post, one by one and fix things.

There are about 250 posts and about half of them require individual loving care to appear correctly. They are from 2006 & 2007 so no one but me will probably ever view them, but I want them to look nice in case someone drops by unexpectedly.

Unlike say, my living room, which is always in need of reformatting & yet never seems to get it. Oh I sweep up a few unnecessary broken code tags and put the unused emphasis in boxes out of sight but really the whole living room could do with a new template and a fresh start.

Anyway, after making the posts look pretty I have to tag them because there is no point in having posts here if I can’t then find them.

The problem is that blogger can’t make up it’s mind about publishing these posts. Sometimes they are published with the correct past date. Sometimes they are published with current one & then I have to republish it with the correct past one. I hadn’t noticed these posts appearing & disappearing in my RSS feed over the weekend but if you have or if you do please forgive me.

I’m hoping to get it all sorted this week. Thanks for your patience

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Making money

I’ve mentioned before about Havoc wasting spending his allowance on Pokemon cards and this weekend was no different in that respect. What was different was the amount of money he had available.

He only gets $2 a week as an allowance. $2. He’s 7. He doesn’t need more money, opportunities to spend it are limited and the whole purpose of an allowance at this point is to learn money management. He can buy ice cream at 50 cents a serving in the school cafeteria or he can save up 2 weeks for a $3.99 pack of cards.

And almost from the beginning Havoc has been an ‘eyes on the prize’ saver, working out just how long it will take him to buy whatever he wants and how much longer he is willing to wait in exchange for the occasional ice cream or candy bar.

Havoc was able to spend $20 replacing a scratched up Lego Batman Wii game for his brother last Xmas. He not only saves for himself, he buys for others.

A few weeks ago with about $12 in his wallet we went to target and he bought the $10.99 box of Pokemon cards. Mayhem, who does not get an allowance yet, had earned himself a $3.99 pack through helpfulness and good behavior. All the money was spent & we went home.

Saturday DH took the kids into town for lunch and a trip to Target, Havoc wanted to buy more Pokemon cards & by this point should have had $6-7 worth of allowance.

Imagine DH’s surprise when Havoc picks up the $20.99 box of of cards. Havoc says he has $23 to spend. DH calls me up and asks if Havoc had done a bunch of chores or something to earn the money while DH was out of town. Havoc has not lifted a finger around the house unless nagged to do so.

So where did he get the money?

Some 5th grader on the school bus paid Havoc $16 to draw a bunch of Bakugan pictures for him. He had a ‘how to draw bakugan book’ or something and on the way to and from school Havoc drew pictures out of it.

And the kid paid him $16 for doing it.

Now, on the one hand… Wow! My son - commercial artist at age 7! Way to go with that entrepreneurial spirit and talent.

On the other hand… WTF? A 5th grader, paying a 2nd grader $16 to draw some Bakugan figures from a book?

I mean…ok…but doesn’t it strike you just a bit odd? I can see it happening. I have no idea how much allowance this kid gets or makes in chores etc. He obviously thought it worth the money or he wouldn’t have offered to pay. Havoc likes drawing & would have drawn it anyway. He takes his Pokemon drawing book with him on the bus for something to do on the drive.

I guess because it’s just something that never occurred to me could be a commercial transaction among the elementary school set, I’m left wondering about it.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Weekly Winners

Learned a new crochet technique


Frog in the yard


Morning Commute


Waiting for cookies


For more Weekly Winners please visit Lotus at Sarcastic Mom. Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Lessons Learned

No photos and no layouts for these…yet. I feel a couple may be calling for layouts

~Sleep – sometimes more necessary than exercise

I try to keep a rein on my desire to crawl back into bed after the males leave for the day. Usually I accomplish this by talking myself into going to the gym with that old adage, you’ll feel better after exercising. And really, 95% of the time I do. But DH has been gone this week and my insomnia has been worse than usual. I think I slept 2 non-consecutive hours Wed night and while I did put on my work out clothes and walked the kids to the bus stop, I came home removed those clothes & put my pjs back on. I was worn out tired. The sort of tired that might just cause me an injury at the gym. Probably I would feel good after working out. But not rested and I really really needed to feel rested. I was back in bed at 7:30. I woke up at 9:30 and thought “get up now, things to do”  then I thought “what? what do I need to do this morning? nothing. there is silence. no one to disturb me. no one needs me.” and I rolled over and woke up at 11am. I feel good to

~ Books seem shorter on the Kindle

I know it’s a perception problem but it seemed like Wicker Appetite, Janet Evanovich’s latest, was really really short. I watched the progress bar at the bottom as I read and was constantly thinking “50%? so soon? 62% already? 98%, it can’t be?”. So when I was in Target Wednesday I took a moment to compare the thickness of the hardback copy with the thickness of the hardback copy of Sizzling Sixteen, which I own & read in hardback & seemed longer than Wicked Appetite.

They were the SAME SIZE. Then I had to go pick up “The Nasty Bits” by Tony Bordain and once again, the hardback book seemed so much more substantial than the Kindle book I read.

That is going to take some getting used to.

~Rice cooked in a steamer – not as easy as it appears

And I have 2 cups of undercooked rice floating in water after 90 minutes steaming to prove it

~ Never read new books after 8pm if you want to sleep at night.

Part of the insomnia problem is an over stimulated brain caused by reading new books before going to bed, and reading them longer because they seem shorter on the Kindle.  I had gotten into a habit of switching my reading material in the evening to old familiar books, like Agatha Christie. Things I could recite in my sleep, so they don’t get my mind all worked up, but I got 3 new books this week and with DH not being around to talk to and nothing much interesting on tv, I indulged myself and read them right up to bedtime and occasionally past bedtime. If I have had 12 hours sleep this week (including the 3 I had napping Thursday morning) I’d be surprised.

~ Soaking the dirty lasagna pan before washing is useful, over soaking it is just nasty

No comment necessary I think


I sort of wish I had taken a photo of the steamed rice soup, because it does lend itself to a layout and my mind has more or less designed a layout for the sleep being more important than exercise one as well. I don’t think anyone will be more surprised than me at how my book of this project finally turns out.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


by Havoc


It’s a deer, in the woods, by the river, seen from an angle.

And apparently the teeth are over represented.

While they were camping out by the river on Labor Day weekend Havoc saw a deer in the woods and DH suggested he draw it.

I’m glad it was explained to me because I thought it was a drawing of the (fictional) manbearpig who haunts our woods on holiday evenings. Last sighted on July 4th.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Helping out

Yesterday I was helping out in Havoc’s class.

The project?

Paper Mache Earths. 

Yep, slapping flour & water paste dripping strips of newspapers onto large balloons.

And for some reason I thought I should PUT ON my wedding ring before going to the school.

That’d be the open weave ring, with all the nooks & crannies that I have had off most of the summer because I got sick of cleaning dirt & sunscreen out of the nooks & crannies.

Most of  my conversation with the children involved these phrases:

You want to run your fingers down the strip to get off the excess paste

Yes I am Havoc’s mom

Run them down like this, to get off the excess, so it doesn’t drip too much

Mmmhmm, I’m Havoc’s mom.

See, it’s sliding because there is too much paste on the paper, use your fingers to push off the extra before putting it on the balloon

Yes, Havoc is my son

Later in the week the kids will paint them blue & then glue continents to them. I will still be trying too get flour & water paste out of my hair.

And I have no pictures because I didn’t take any and while I did have a pang of ‘oh there should be photos’, mostly I felt ‘thank god I didn’t bring my D40 into this mess’.

Mayhem was happy because my being at school at the end of the day meant he got to be a pick up instead of riding the bus. Mayhem loves being a pick up even though apparently it makes him nervous.

He’s afraid I will forget to pick him up.


Once, in 6 years, I was late picking them up from something but not really because I was told 9pm and the thing finished up early at 8:45 & all the other kids’ parents were there early to take part in the farewell prayers but not being Baptist I skipped that bit & didn’t get there until 9, when all the other kids were long gone.

But I have never actually forgotten them.  And anyway, that was 2 months ago & apparently he’s been worried about since preschool 2 years ago.

In other news, you may remember me admitting my geographical ignorance about just where Connecticut is located & how I needed to know because DH might have to go there.

Well, he left yesterday afternoon after being told a couple hours earlier that he needed to go. Prior to that, for the last three weeks anyway, there was no mention of him being part of the Connecticut business. He’ll be back Friday – probably.

The job has to be done by Thursday…unless it doesn’t.

And we all know how that goes.

In other randomness, from the back seat of the car yesterday I hear Mayhem say:

You know, when I was in pwreschool I didn’t know what 2 plus 2 was.

Serwiouswly. I. did. not. know. Can you believe that?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Weekly Winners

Laundry day


The shadows are lengthening


A new scarf


Getting ready to go skiing


For more Weekly Winners please visit Lotus at Sarcastic Mom

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

and lessons relearned

I know better. I know I know better because I did this post about it only a month ago.


In my defense, it was my favorite sushi place* and they have NEVER, ever, in 4 years, made a mistake on my order, even when the person on the phone spoke as little English as I speak Japanese (I can count to 5 and say hello, which does not qualify me for a job in Japan taking calls at a hamburger place, but Miko was wonderful on the phone despite it).

And this time? It was a native English speaker. I ordered a Spicy Girl roll and got a Spicy Tuna roll.

Sure, not as heinous as giving me a green pepper and pineapple pizza when I ordered pepperoni & chicken, and that order was taken by a computer! (I at least like spicy tuna rolls & did not have to make a 45 minute round trip to exchange food) but still.

Not what I ordered.

Spicy girl rolls have 3 kinds of fish and are wrapped in soybean sheets. Spicy tuna rolls have just tuna and are wrapped in nori.  I was looking forward to that roll.

I never pull away from a fast food drive up window without going through the bags & making sure everything, even the condiments, I ordered is in there. Fast food is busy, the wrong things get grabbed & stuffed into bags. The wrong bags get grabbed. Been there, worked that, made that mistake myself more than once.  But I am a bit slack about take out from sit down restaurants. They do less of it so they seem to take more time about it & often go through the order with me when I pick it up if it is more than 2 things.

I guess such a long string of good luck is bound to get broken sooner or later & I need to remember to check everything everywhere because mistakes happen.

*disclaimer – this sounds like I have just so many sushi places to choose from but really there’s two in a 35 mile radius, which, granted, is a hell of a lot of sushi for the middle of nowhere. They are owned by the same family, who also own a place in the city an hour away, where we used to go frequently back before we had to haul babies around with us everyplace we went. The coming of the first sushi place 4 years ago was akin to the arrival of civilization in the wilderness. Gosh, we wondered, what next? a bookstore? But no…4 years later, still no bookstore.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Lessons Learned

As often happens when I make sweeping statements on the internet like “the kids are sleeping through the night”, suddenly the opposite happens and the kids are up at all hours.

Last week I said I was not going to try & scrap my lessons learned. Nor was I going to take photos.

Yeah, well, sorta I suppose.

I did two layouts, with photos last night,




So just in case that is how it works:

I’m going to try to put on 20 pounds in the next two months!

I’m going to attempt recklessly spending $1000 before Xmas

I want to stay up all night, every night!

So there!

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Artwork by Havoc


WWII tanks, courtesy of several DVDs of The Century of Warfare which Havoc rented the last time he was at the library. Note the people inside the tanks are happier than the people sitting on top of them.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Explaining gender differences

Don’t worry, this isn’t a heavy or meaningful post.

This weekend the demons and I went to Target so Havoc could blow spent his allowance on stupid Pokemon cards. (They are allowed to spend their money as they please. I am allowed to have my opinions on it).

Mayhem wanted a Pokemon t-shirt so we went over to the boys section where they have a large display of ‘licensed tees’. You know, Star Wars, Lego Batman, Bakugan, Ben 10, Mario Brothers, etc. Havoc & Mayhem between them own nearly all the Star Wars & Lego themed shirts on display (because Target frequently has them on sale for $5) but Mayhem did find a couple new Batman ones he did not have but that kids in his class had.

I said ‘If you all were girls you would call one another up and organize a day where you all wore them to school together.” (Showing my age here because probably girls today text, actually speaking to one another is so old fashioned)

Mayhem said “Why would we do that?”

Me: “To be coordinated”

Mayhem: “Why would we do that?”

Me: um..because that’s what you do

Havoc: “Is that what you did in school?”

Me: “ Mommy wore a uniform to school. But I know girls who did coordinate their clothes”

Havoc: “But why?”

Me: Oh look! Pokemon cards!

I don’t really know why girls want to coordinate their clothes. As I said I know girls that did but since I went to Catholic school for 12 years I never had the chance. (I’m also not sure what the big deal is with running into someone wearing the same outfit because for 12 years I was absolutely positive I would see anywhere from 10 to 65 females doing just that)

Phone conversation between Catholic school girls coordinating their outfits for tomorrow.

On a party line. Because we had those still when I started high school.

Girl 1: So.. maroon socks or grey tomorrow?

Girl 2: Maroon, definitely maroon

Girl 1: With a maroon sweater?

Girl 3: Too ‘matchy matchy’

Girl 2: Maroon socks & grey sweater?

Girl 3: Too ‘making an attempt not to be matchy matchy’.

Girl 1: Well, that eliminates grey socks & grey sweater

Girl 2: Too ‘escapees from a women’s prison’ with the white blouse & grey skirt

Girl 3: How about white sweaters with maroon socks?

Girls 1 & 2: Perfect!

During my years as a sorority girl in college I went along with occasional “what are we wearing tomorrow’ conversation because it seemed like the thing to do.

But I never really understood why.

Do you?

Monday, September 06, 2010

Lessons Learned

I am once again taking shimelle’s Learn Something New Everyday class this month. This is my 3rd year doing it and my first lesson learned was

“Lowered Expectations are not Necessarily a Bad Thing”

I’m not going to do a layout of a lesson every day. It’s never happened and probably it never will. My priorities and lifestyle do not allow for a layout a day, even if I give myself all of October to complete those layouts. I can just about pull it off for Journal Your Christmas but that is more focused than LSNED.

I’m not going to do a photo a day of the lessons I learned. Should the lessons coincide with a photo, great, bonus for me, but I am already 249 days into my 365 Photo project and after 3 years of 365 projects I am perilously close to burnt out on photos (see next lesson) so I am going to be low key on taking even more photos.

I am going to journal every lesson.

In a notebook.

I know. How low tech can you be?

It’s not even decorated or doodled in. It’s just the $1 notepad on my desk by my computer.

But I write constantly in it, all day long. To do lists, to call lists, random thoughts, ideas for layouts, ideas for posts, things I want to buy, books I want to read. Adding the lesson I learned & my thoughts on it is easy, intuitive and what I have been doing for 3 years anyway. This year I decided to take the pressure off of creating & publishing it. It’s in the notebook. Good enough.

Many will make good blog posts, like this one, some will have accompanying photos, some many even become layouts. And I can merge all of them into a photo book when I feel motivated to do so.

My next lesson was

“There is Such a Thing as Too Many Photos”

Really. There is. I know this is heresy to scrapbookers but after spending a weekend editing and backing up 6 months of photos it is clear I take too damn many pictures.

Part of it is understandable, the urge to document is strong; the need to take multiple shots so you can pick the ‘best one’; with a DSLR there is the need to adjust your exposure & aperture & take a variety of shots with different ones, especially if you are learning about these things; there is the ease of holding the button down and firing off multiple shots with no effort. Then there is the 365 project which is not to TAKE one photo a day but to CHOOSE one photo a day to represent your day. You can take dozens that day if you feel like it, then pick the best, which is what I have had a tendency to do.

The rest of it is just overkill in my mind. I’ve had my D40 almost two years now. Taking 20 shots of the same thing at various angles is a bad habit I let myself get into & I am breaking it now. If I can’t get a clear decent shot in 4-5 snaps (and the vast majority of my photos are candid shots), maybe I’m just not meant to get that shot & just how many photos of my 7 year old on a swing do I actually need? 

Just because I can take a kajillion photos doesn’t mean I *should*.

DH & the demons went camping this weekend. They did not ask about & I did not give them a camera to take with them. Failure to document one camping trip is not the end of the world.

Though I admit my hands are a bit shaky when I think about it. What if Havoc goes fishing & catches a snake? That would be such a great photo for a layout. What if Mayhem gets stuck up in a tree? There will be NO evidence of it. I need a photo for a blog post about it.

Photography withdrawal.

It’s a sad thing

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Weekly Winners

Only a few today, I’m behind on editing my photos

Old shoes




Time to mow the lawn again


For more weekly winners please visit Lotus at Sarcastic Mom

Thanks for stopping by


PS please leave a link to your website when commenting so I can visit you. Thanks!

Friday, September 03, 2010

Back it up

Consider this a PSA that doesn’t come with a tragic tale of photos & data lost.

Though, considering it has actually been since November since I did a back up, it could easily have been a tragic tale.

In my mind I back up my photos to Smug Mug on a near monthly basis. In my mind I burn my digi supplies to DVD as soon as the ‘download’ folder reaches 4GB. In my mind I copy the contents of my My Personal folder to both my EHDs every 3 months.

Lots of happy thoughts in my mind.

Many of them involving Nathan Fillion, sushi and a deserted beach.

But, unfortunately, like Nathan & beach, none of the backing up, copying & burning ever happen in real life quite the way I imagine they do.

See, I have a rather selective & idiosyncratic memory due to a combination of motherhood and insomnia. Mostly I remember things that happened years ago and things that happened hours ago. Anything in between is a mystery. So if I actually remember doing a thing I assume it must have been a recent occurrence, otherwise I wouldn’t remember it. Right?

This is the leading cause of the long expired items in my kitchen. I assume since I remember buying them, it must have been recently & so I don’t look at the date.

My recent discovery of 20 month old Milanos led me to wonder what else in my life I was remembering wrongly. Later that night I read a post in some forum or other about someone’s hard drive crashing & they lost 6 months worth of photos and half the book they were writing.

And I thought “well, at most I’d lose a month of photos since I back up regularly” and thought about the last time I plugged in my EHD to do just that. Because I clearly remember doing such a thing it had to have been recently. Hmmm…wait, that wasn’t last month. It was still cool out then (I have better luck remembering things if I think of what was going on around me instead of the thing itself), so it might have a been a few month after all. Maybe April. Probably I ought to back up the summer’s worth of stuff.

So I went out to Smug Mug to check the last month I uploaded.

I was right, it had been cool out.

It had been November.

So it’s been almost a year without backing up photos & I’d have been fairly devastated to discover that had my hard drive suddenly failed on me.

I had last done a back up of my folders in February and there are currently 7GB of stuff sitting in my download folder waiting to be burned.

Then upon further investigation I discovered there are three months of photos that I have not edited from their raw format. I started shooting in raw in December for more control of editing but Smug Mug does not upload raw format so I edit the best photos of the month save them as jpgs and upload those & delete the raw format versions to save space. I was missing March, June and part of July.

How did I miss March?

Wednesday night I started an upload to Smug Mug for Dec-Feb. I also started a sync between one EHD and my personal folders and realized why I hadn’t done it since Feb. I have random files all over the damn place on two EHDs and this laptop from back when I bought it a year ago and I have no idea what is what. I need to catalog the darn things & then combine them & then I can back them up properly.

Guess what i am going to be doing Labor Day weekend (since Nathan has yet to call me offering sushi and a plane ticket)?

Wednesday, September 01, 2010


Brought to you by Havoc.


This came home drawn on the back of a math homework worksheet. Havoc said they had some free time & were allowed to draw if they wanted.

These are fire trucks trying to put out a burning airplane while people escape down the emergency shutes.

They watched Destroyed in Seconds on the Discovery Channel over the weekend & one of the things shown was an airplane in Japan that caught fire after it had landed.

It’s interesting the things that stick in his mind.