Thursday, March 31, 2011

Rainbow cookies


These are so easy to make. Just go get your favorite sugar cookie recipe & make it. (mine is from Joy of Cooking & includes cream cheese which makes a wonderful texture with these) 

Then divide it into 4 sections.

My cookie dough recipe makes 48 cookies so I divided it into 8 batches.

This was a tad excessive.

4 or 5 would have been fine.

Get your hands on some gel food coloring. It has to be gel if you want the vibrant colors. The drop kind of food coloring is pretty much useless for this. The colors are pale & it changes the texture slightly.

How much gel?


Just this much. Dip the toothpick into the container, swirl it around, pull it out, stick it in one of the dough batches, swirl it around and then stir the dough until the color is spread through out.


Chill the doughs in plastic wrap in the fridge for a couple hours.

Then divide it into small sections with a butter knife


Take 3-4 different colors & put them together. You want a lump about the size of your general chocolate chip or peanut butter cookie dough lump. A tablespoon? two? #4 disher?

(THIS is why I didn’t give a recipe for sugar cookies. Mine was from Joy but has morphed into something else. I don’t measure anymore & I am spatially challenged so I cannot even guess by sight how much of anything I am using, I just know it looks like the same amount as last time.)

Roll it into a ball & then roll it out like a snake, like you did with play dough as a kid


Then coil it up into a cookie & place on a cookie sheet


It doesn’t matter how expert you are at this, all ages can play along


It’s buttery cookie dough and you are rolling it with your warm hands so some flour or powdered sugar is helpful.

Bake for as long as your recipe recommends, cool on racks & eat


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Words on Wednesday


Havoc has been sick. Wednesday last week he complained of a headache & vague muscle pain so we gave him some Tylenol.

Problem solved!

Temporarily anyway.

Thursday the school calls around 10:30a to report Havoc has a fever of 101.9 & a cough & needs to come home. DH was in the vicinity so he picked him up, which was good because I received neither of the two calls the school made to my phones nor the follow up call DH made informing me he was picking Havoc up.

Have I mentioned technology, especially telecommunications, hates me?

School policy is no one can come to school within 24 hours of having a fever & since they discovered the fever, they know he’s not supposed to be back Friday.

I would have totally sent him as he had no fever the rest of the day, nor that night, nor in the morning Friday.

Friday night he did spike an impressive 102.6 fever that the Tylenol totally took out.

Saturday he was fine. He was his high energy self. We went to the Air & Space Museum with no reports of headaches, no fever, no general ‘not feeling well grouchiness’. It appeared it had passed.

But Sat night he had another fever of 101.3. Tylenol took it out.

Sunday we were deliberately low energy. Lots of laying around reading & watching TV. No fever occurred at any point.

Monday we sent him off to school his usual cheerful self, with a slight complaint about his leg hurting but he’d slept on it funny so we discounted it.

Then at 10:30a comes the call again. 101.9 fever. 24 more hours at home.

This time he really did appear sick. Low energy, aches & pains, no appetite. None of which was present last week or over the weekend.

That photo was taken about 1pm Monday. He slept about 2 hours after coming home and fell asleep again around 5pm (much to Mayhem’s disappointment) and stayed asleep until bedtime.

Tuesday he was home with me. Much brighter & alert than Monday, still low appetite & lower energy  & a runny nose. He spent most of the day laying on the sofa watching Mythbusters & some series about the history of weapons on the History Channel. No fever.

He has a pre-scheduled doctor’s appointment on Friday for his annual well child check. I called the office to see what they suggested about having him come in and what with the randomness of the fever they said to hold off unless it becomes constant.

I’ve sent him off to school this morning as he seems normal.

Only time will tell if he stays there. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

New meals

I have a lot of cookbooks



Plus two shelves in the living room, and a second stack of magazines on the other side of the island.

That is a lot of meal ideas, and honestly they are pretty much useless to me shut up in those books where I cannot easily flip through the ones I like when I am doing my meal planning. So I have been slowly but surely (since 2004) moving the recipes I do like to my card catalog to save me time.

My goal is to have all the books & Cook’s Illustrated in the card catalog and all the other magazine recipes torn out & put in a binder


First I mark up the cookbooks


Then I go through and copy the basic details to a card


And I make notes on the card when I make the recipe. (I grew up with library books. You are absolutely not allowed to write in those & to this day I am afraid to make notes in books I own)

Now I have to go through that stack of Cook’s Illustrated magazines (4 years worth) from the second photo & do the same thing

Plus I have go through all these.


And tear out all the recipes I like.

I realized about two years ago that this is a goal with no end. I will not stop buying cookbooks or cooking magazines, so I will have to keep writing up recipe cards.

The best I can hope for is “Caught up for now.”

Do you have any on going projects that never really quite end?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Weekly Winners - Air & Space edition

The boys’ Cub Scout pack did a day trip over to the Air & Space Museum in Dulles, VA. (4 hours in a car total. I deserve a badge myself) It’s an extension of the one on the Mall in DC. It’s not as big but stuffed full of planes.

a&s museum-10

This Is a Benoist-Korn Type XII. It was built in May 1912. It is a two place biplane.

a&s museum-9

This is a WWII bomber. I failed to note the specs of it – like the model name.

a&s museum-6

This is a B29 Super fortress. Specifically, this is the Enola Gay.

My MIL riveted the mid sections of B29s at a factory in Maryland or possibly NJ in WWII. (MIL worked in three different aircraft factories during the war)

a&s museum-52

and this is the Space Shuttle Enterprise, so ringed around with other, earlier space craft that I could not get the angle I wanted for a photo of it.

a&s museum-47

And Mayhem got a chance to work the controls of a Cessna.

For more Weekly Winners please visit Lotus at Sarcastic Mom.

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Scrapbook Saturday

I’ve not been feeling the scrapping mojo much this month but I did manage to get these two done this week from prompts for shimelle’s Blogging for Scrapbookers class.


The little tags read “$60 spent for domain name” ($10 a year) and “including Iran, Egypt & Nigeria” (they were the countries that made me go “really?”)


The journaling is about how I am struggling with not taking photos everyday & considering restarting it for my birthday

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The many parts of my brain

A list.

I generally refer to them as the Voices in My Head. You probably have Voices too, you just may call them by different names, maybe you hear your mom’s voice in your head every time you look at new shoes. “And where will you be wearing THOSE?” or maybe you simply do not acknowledge them at all, but they are there.

You may only notice them after the fact, like when you are cleaning your closet and find a pair of really cute but really impractical sandals with 3 inch heels and beading and you wonder “What was I thinking when I bought these? They go with nothing in my wardrobe or in my life actually?”

In my case *I* was not thinking anything.

Vanity was thinking how great I’d look in them & a sundress (that I don’t own) at a pool party (that never happened).

Or maybe you come home from grocery shopping & as you put your purchases away you find a tube of Sun Dried Tomato Paste and you wonder “How the heck did that get in there?” with  sudden flash of  memory of you reaching up to get it off the shelf. “What on earth did I intend to do with it?”

In my case, Chef Foodie had seen an opening, connected the paste with a recipe I once read somewhere , shouted ‘Yeah! Lets make that!” and tossed the paste in the cart before the rest of my brain caught up with “wait…what recipe?…where?…” and had moved on to the Asian sauces & thus distracted me.

Or you catch yourself all excited to try something you know you don’t really like to do but *something* inside you thinks this really is the time you need to do that bungee jump being offered at a nearby bridge. And as you get strapped up to jump the normal part of your brain is screaming “What the hell am I thinking???”

I will never be in that situation because I cannot imagine what Voice might think that bungee jumping was a good idea. Thrill Seeking Immortality left town around the time I got pregnant with Havoc & none of the others has tried to carry that torch since.

And of course, we all know Martha and her ways.

Admit it.

You have moments like that too.

These are the main players in my head:

1. Martha – Lately the most frequently heard from Voice in the group. Martha often manages to drag one or more of the others into her projects so she usually succeeds in getting her way. Martha’s reach frequently exceeds my grasp which makes her very frustrating to deal with. I’m not going to be constantly washing cloth table clothes & napkins. I’m much too lazy for that. Yet Martha talked me into buy not 1 set BUT 3!

2. Vanity – Often in cahoots with Martha and at odds with Common Sense. Vanity has watched every single episode of What Not to Wear and taken Stacey & Clintons words to heart. Sadly Vanity also believes I am in possession of a Visa gift card with $5000 on it and a Manhattan lifestyle & is always disappointed to be reminded it’s just $50 and $20 of that has to go to a pair of new shoes for Mayhem. And we’re shopping at JC Pennys.

3. Ambition – Gods above, I hate ambition. I am a lazy so & so. Lazy I tell you! Lazy! And ambition gets in the way of my bonbon eating plans with “Oh you could scrub & seal the whole slate kitchen floor before lunch today” or “You can give everyone handmade gifts for the holidays this year”. “Go on, you want to be the PTO secretary” Ambition lives to make my life difficult.  Ambition & Martha are very buddy buddy these days

4. Common Sense – The voice of the budget & the lifestyle. Common sense knows me very very well (and sounds a bit like my mom). CS steps in when the others get a bit carried away with their delusions of grandeur. “Put the shoes back, it always ends in tears when you buy heels that high” “If you really want your hair highlighted for the love of all that is decent PAY A STYLIST! Don’t buy a box.” “Think about you existing commitments for a second. Just WHEN are you going to be able to BE the PTO secretary. What part of your little free time is going to be lost to that?”

5. Chef Foodie & her side kick Cravings – CF is the voice behind the $30 worth of cheese in my fridge and the 7 bottles of wine in the rack. Cravings is why I go on food binges  - a month of wanting pepperoni rolls, a couple months of needing fried fish, a few weeks making tofu, avocado & edamame salad for lunch nearly every day. Cravings has gone off somewhere lately, leaving the field open on to Chef Foodie and her ‘make a pan sauce & toss in these wild gourmet mushrooms’ plans

6. Ms Erudite –Who doesn’t like my general reading material & is constantly sneaking ‘literature’ into my book bag at the library. MsE doesn’t make it onto the blog because generally I only talk about books I finish. I rarely finish things MsE thinks I *need* to read. MsE forgets that Insomnia has the only vote that counts in my reading material & densely plotted, emotionally draining, very meaningful books do not make the cut. MsE (who sounds like Sister Joan, my sophomore English teacher) makes me feel guilty about that when Common Sense isn’t looking.

7. and of course the Insecurities & their heckling.

How about you? Do you ever find the Voices or different facets of your personality have sometimes taken control of your brain?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Words on Wednesday

Look what finally arrived yesterday!


And by finally I mean it was pre-ordered on July 20, 2010 with a late Nov release date.

Which made it perfect for Mayhem’s Xmas present.

Then I was sent notice that the release date would be late Dec.

Ok, could still make it for Xmas and if not, well, it can be a birthday present.

The nice thing about Mayhem’s January birthday is that delayed Xmas presents can easily become birthday presents.

Then I was sent a notice of the release being moved to late Jan.

Fine! So it might be a day or so late as a birthday present, still it’s fine.

Then I was sent notice of a late March release date.

Really LucasArts? Late March? Really?  For something expected out 5 months earlier?

How poorly planned was this game release anyway?

But at long last the Big Brown Truck of Joy arrived with the game & within minutes the little gamers we absorbed in it.

They are actually playing together, which is unusual.

Mayhem is the gamer & he’s got a plan when it comes to new games. The plan does not involve getting his brother to go along with him. It involves no brother at all.

Once Mayhem has gone through the game once*, then Havoc is allowed to play & they go after all the goodies, easter eggs & high score things that Mayhem overlooked or ignored in his rapid quest to complete the game the first time through.

But they are playing this together. So far, it’s going well**. They have been playing for 4 hours***, with a small break for a quick meal & homework & there has only been one outright fight about Havoc not cooperating, which mostly involved Mayhem shouting “Over there Havoc, go over there” and Havoc shouting “No we need to go over here” and ended with a “FINE I’M NOT PLAYING”**** from Havoc that lasted until that scene was over, when he rejoined.

Honestly, the Wii games have done more to increase cooperation between the boys than damn near everything else we have done.

We have Wii Lego Pirates of the Caribbean on pre-order now*****. We ordered it in January with a May release date.

I’m dubious.

Let’s see if Disney Interactive has their stuff together any better than Lucas Arts does.

*Mayhem going through a game the first time can be painful to the listening audience as he gets incredibly frustrated and screams, cries and generally pitches a major fit whenever he gets stuck. But he will not give up on it. He plays through the tears & shrieks.

**You might disagree with me if you were in the house right now. But I have the bar set really low for ‘things going well’. How low? So low you would need a shovel to dig up the bar to see how low it is. “Nobody is bleeding, profusely” is the main requirement.

***Yes I just admitted to the whole internets that my kids played a video game for 4 hours.  They will probably do so for the next few nights until they have cleared the levels, after which the ‘exploratory phase’ of gaming will begin & game playing will fall back to less than an hour a day. We only get new games 3-4 times a year so I really don’t give a rap how much time they spend on them the first week as long as the homework gets done. No point quoting statistics or authority recommendations to me. I know them. I just don’t care in this instance.

**** “FINE I’M NOT PLAYING” is the second most heard shout from the living room during game time. “IT’S CHEATING!!! STUPID FING IS CHEATING!!!” is the most heard game time shout.

***** Every gamer has their ‘thing’. The games they cannot wait to get their grubby little hands on. The games they buy the instant they hit the shelves. Ours are the Lego ones. Lego Harry Potter being the only exception. They boys were not into it but they haven’t read the books yet. I expect their opinion will change once they are more familiar with Harry

I’m experimenting with footnotes instead of in paragraph parenthesis (my usual method) to see if it helps the flow of the narrative any better. Once again, I am dubious. What do you think?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

That time of year

Time for the annual doctor & dentist visits!

Obviously our tax return money has been received!

Some people buy appliances or go on vacation with their tax return.

We get our teeth cleaned.

The boys each get their annual exams & any vaxes we are still behind on. I’m not longer sure where we are with either of them on that count because we’ve hit booster shot ages and the original shots were so staggered that probably some of those boosters are unnecessary right now but will be needed in 3 more years.

The vax plan I was loosely following stopped before the school aged boosters & does not mention how to deal with that. But I’d think if they only had a shot 2 years ago that they were supposed to have had 4 years ago probably the booster isn’t needed just yet.

Or maybe not.

And the doc I set all this up with left the practice 2 years ago & we’ve been randomly visiting other docs so no one has the core plan knowledge anymore.

Plus there will be an updating of ‘family medical history’ given the heart problems that have recently come to our attention.

I personally had an appointment yesterday with my main doc and was given a referral to a sleep specialist at last! Our family practice is part of a wider group all tied to a hospital about 30 minutes away (from the docs’, it’s an hour for us) so they obviously recommend specialists in group & are not so good with out of group recommendations. The group recently added 3 sleep specialists so I finally get to go see one!

The goal is to find the underlying cause of the problem & treat it so I won’t need meds regularly. I get to fill out questionnaires & keep logs & diaries & possibly do a sleep study.

Just waiting to hear back on when the appointment will actually take place.

Thursday I go to the OB for the annual stuff I should have done in December, plus I get to schedule a bewb squishing.

Go me!

The boys visit the dentist tomorrow morning for cleanings. I suspect we will hear the O word about Havoc – orthodontia.

That requires quite a bit more than tax return money so we are hoping he had a collision of the recessive ‘straight teeth’ genes that exist in both our families but neither of us was blessed with.

Visual evidence suggests we are back on that denial river & I should go make cookies.

I need a cleaning & a replacement filling for one that fell out recently.

The problem is I need to gather my courage to make that appointment & courage gathering requires time. I have to build up a wall against the knee jerk fear reaction that kicks in every time I see the word dentist.

It’s a really really big wall too.

It has 40 years of fear to contain.

And if they would just say “yep, come in in 45 minutes” I might be able to keep that courage long enough not to cry in the chair.

But they say things like “How is April 21?” on March 15th.

Courage does not stick around for 5 weeks. Getting it to last more than 5 minutes is a challenge. And it comes when it is ready, not when I want it. So I can’t sit around on April 20th hoping it will kick in.

And I am an adult. No one can make me go to the dentist. I have to make me go to the dentist.

And I don’t *want* to go to the dentist!

3 things I hate about adulthood are – paying bills, worrying about the future & making myself go do things I hate, for my own good.

What do you hate about adulthood?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Monday Meanderings

DH went camping this weekend.

This usually leads to Plans to Make Stacey Happy Sleeping in the Woods.

But Stacey has ISSUES with that whole Sleeping in the Woods thing.

And while not actually liking that I am so high maintenance about my sleeping arrangements, I generally cannot overcome my ISSUES, no matter the suggestions. (honest to God it drives me freaking nuts that I can’t just lay down in a tent and sleep like normal people can. It drives me freaking nuts that very often I can’t lay down in my own damn bed and sleep like normal people either)

But this time he had a gem of an idea involving the mini van and an old queen sized futon we own. It has possibilities worth exploring.

The man thinks he can get me actual internet signal as part of it.

More on that as the situation develops.

While he was camping, the boys and I visited with some friends up in WV as well. We spent the day hanging out there along with another friend & her kids. (These are the normal people who can sleep in tents). The boys had a blast, there was little fighting & only some minor rule breaking there at the end so it was a good visit over all. They crashed at bedtime & slept until 6:54am!

Speaking of sleeping… I haven’t been much lately. If life works out that I am undisturbed from about 4am to 9am, I could possibly get an incredible 5 solid hours of sleep in. But the boys wake up at 6:05 and I hear them come down the stairs, and I hear them get breakfast, and I hear them play, and I hear them argue from 6:05 until I get out of bed. So I haven’t been able to test the theory

I have an appointment with my doc today regarding the whole sleeping debacle that has been the past year of no prescription meds to see what is up next. Last time we discussed a sleep study, which my insurance was dubious about my needing then, but might go along with now.

Random thought. I love my Kindle. I love the samples best of all. If I have “nothing to read” (which is just like having “nothing to wear”) I browse Amazon for a little bit and download samples of everything that catches my eye. Suddenly I have an evening’s worth of reading matter & am not committed to a whole book. I delete the samples I don’t like & shuffle the ones I do to a folder & when I have some extra cash I buy a couple of those books. My own recommendations folder.

We made these to celebrate the Spring Equinox


We called them Spring Spiral cookies so they sound all witchy & ritual appropriate but most people call them Playdough Cookies or Rainbow cookies.

They are just colored sugar cookie dough.

I use my favorite sugar cookie recipe, which has cream cheese in it & the vibrant colors come from just a small bit of gel food color. I’m working on a post about them for later this week.

How was your weekend?

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Weekly Winners

It was beautiful this week

Time to make dino swamp again


Get everything arranged


The carnivores are delighted


The herbivores are pleased as well


And then later we made rainbow cookies (sugar cookie dough we colored in batches)


For more weekly winners please visit Lotus at Sarcastic Mom

Thanks for stopping by

Thursday, March 17, 2011

My least favorite holiday

St Patrick’s Day.

I’ve never liked it.

And I’m at least one quarter Irish. (possibly more, we’re not sure of the exact country mix on my dad’s side)

All the 25 cent draft green beer in the world cannot save this holiday for me.


Two words.

Cooked cabbage.

This is the part were all the better blogging books say I should illustrate my statement with a photo of said cooked cabbage.

But I can’t.

I  loathe cooked cabbage so much the very sight of it makes me slightly queasy.

The smell of it makes me seriously nauseous and if you put me within 500 yards of cooked sauerkraut I will throw up from the smell.

Always something of a problem when you grow up in a family that is Irish and German.

Hate cabbage?

How can you hate food?

“Easily”, I moan from my Gran’s back porch, where I am laying in the hopes the wind will blow the offensive smell away & my head will finally clear.

“Stop your overacting and get in here and eat your dinner” would come the voice of my mother or father.

They did eventually reach a point where I could refuse the cabbage or sauerkraut, but I still had to sit at the table & eat with them.

“Fine, skip the cabbage, but you will eat the potatoes & meat”

“But they were cooked with the cabbage! They taste like the cabbage!”

The smell is so overwhelming to me even the Wonder bread tasted like the cabbage.

(Other kids wanted to grow up so they could stay up as late as they wanted. I was just hoping I would survive long enough to finally be able to refuse to eat things I hated, but I was fairly sure the cabbage would kill me long before then)

When I was pregnant with DS1 and the office cafeteria served cabbage I would have to leave around 10:30am, when the cooking smells made it impossible for me to stop retching.

“Sorry Boss, can’t make that 1pm projections meeting Tuesday. It’s kielbasa & sauerkraut day in the cafeteria.”

I’ve been known to leave restaurants upon learning that cooked cabbage is on special that night.

I’ve been known not to enter them in the first place because I can smell it from outside.

Cooked cabbage is pretty much required by  law to be served on St Patty’s Day.

Photos of recipes of it are everywhere on the internet.

The smell of it wafts from restaurants onto the street.

I don’t need to wear green today.

I already am green just from the ambiance.

We’re going out for sushi, it’s pretty much the only place I feel safe eating today.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Words on Wednesday

From the bin of long forgotten projects.


Project started April  3, 2002

Photo taken April 30, 2006.

Progress made in nearly 5 years since then?


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Monday Meanderings…a day late & serious

Ok, back from the BookWorld at last.

About a week or so ago I mentioned vaguely some family problems. Here’s the detail I left out then. DH’s older brother went to the ER with what he thought was a gall bladder attack and about two hours later was having open heart surgery to replace a faulty valve. He’s much better now, but those first few days were very hard on the family because he had some serious memory & motor function issues & there were concerns they might be permanent.

A 4 hour operation took almost 8 & he almost died twice because he has thin ‘skin’ on his heart. I know there is a term for it, I’ve even been told it but scary things tend to vanish from my mind until critically needed.

What happened was every time they tried to stich him closed his heart tore a little more. They didn’t know his heart was like that when they started. 

My MIL died from the same complication during the same surgery on Dec 24, 2001.

My FIL died 16 years earlier of congestive heart failure.

DH’s older sister had to have valve replacement surgery 10 years ago.

So genetically, if you will excuse me for a moment, DH is fucked.

My mom had valve replacement surgery in 2002 and has to have it again this year because the pig valve they used needs replaced

So genetically, the boys are probably fucked too.

My SIL did not have the thin heart issue. My other SIL has no heart issues at all. My dad, apart from back issues mostly stemming from weight, is healthy as a horse and so am I, excluding rampant insomnia and endo. So maybe the boys are not totally screwed, but odds are good.

And it kinda sorta freaks me out if I think about it too much. And it’s one of those things you can’t fix. There is nothing to ‘do’ about it except be aware of it.

Believe me, I am *aware* of it.

So I made Oreo Chocolate Chip cookies.

(denial, not just a river in Egypt)

Not the stuffed kind where you wrap cookie dough around an Oreo, those never bake right. These are the sort where you use broken Oreo cookies as a replacement for some of the chips. They bake evenly are not as achingly sweet as the other version.


I used the Oreos with chocolate cream. I wanted one of the spring versions with yellow or blue cream but Safeway didn’t have them.

They were awesome cookies.

Know what’s great about living in the 21st century?

Two in one cookies!

Advanced medical science is pretty cool too.

Monday, March 14, 2011

New Thursday Next novel is out

And I finally found time to read it.

I’m at the part where Goliath Corp has taken over Spec Ops and hauled the fictional Thursday in on spurious charges of crimes against humanity, while she was in the middle being arrested along with an important cheese smuggler, not realizing she isn’t the real Thursday & there will be no actual blog post today.


It’s killing me being away from the narrative just to type this up.

If you have never read any of Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next books you have no clue what the hell I am babbling about.

If you have read them but not this one yet you are thinking “Goliath took over SpecOps? How in the hell did that happen?”

And I’m right there with you, so I’m getting back to the book to find out, though I suspect there will be no adequate backstory to this plot twist. Book World backstories are abundant but real world backstory is seriously lacking this time around.

Not a criticism. Just an observation.

If you haven’t read Fforde & you like reading & have a passing familiarity with English Literature I highly encourage you to pick up The Eyre Affair, the first in the series.

Or The Big Over Easy, which is equally wonderful & full of nursery rhyme characters.

Back tomorrow with real world stuff.

Friday, March 11, 2011

And then it all went black


Power outages are no fun.

Generally though, you can see them coming 24 hours in advance from the weather forecast. More than 6-8 inches of snow? Find the flashlights. 30mph winds? Break out the candles. A series of 100+ degree days? Go buy some hand fans.

But if it is a nice 50 degree day? If there are cloudless blue skies?

Power outages are not on your radar then.

And so it was the other day. A lovely, warmish, no wind day. The sort of day that makes you think “I ought to do some yard work this morning. It is so nice out; not too hot for forsythia bush trimming & the weeds I am allergic to are in their infancy.”

So that’s what I did.

A couple hours later I was done & went inside to take a shower to wash all the potential allergens off of me.


(my actual shower. There are more bottles & things on the shelf & the hanging basket behind that curtain)

Like most bathrooms, mine has no window. The only light comes from bulbs.

Also, we have a well, so for water to flow we need power.

Unaware of what the future held, I stepped blithely into the shower and contemplated the large array of soaps, lotions, shampoos, cleansers & scrubby things. Did I want to smell like pomegranates? Or blood oranges? Oh how about vanilla jasmine?  Maybe the citrus shampoo with the melon body wash? I could follow it up with the green apple body lotion & smell like a summer fruit salad.

I like food & things that smell like food.

We all have our own personal bath routines, I am sure. Mine involves soaping myself up from head to toe & then bringing in a loofa or other scrubby thing for the harder areas like heels & elbows. Then I contemplate the necessity of shaving.  Do my legs feel hairy? Do they look hairy? Will anyone I am not married to or have given birth to see my legs? How much time to I have? How long has that razor been in the shower anyway? Do I have a fresh one? Am I certain enough of the existence of a fresh razor to get out of the shower & drip myself over to the closet?

Then I move on to my hair. Does my hair need conditioner this time? Did I use it last time? How about that 5 minute intense hair treatment? Do I want straight hair or curly hair? (conditioner leads to straight hair)

It was after I decided the razor was new enough to be safe & was shaving that the world went dark.


The bathroom door was shut so no ambient light from bedroom windows came in.

Just me, slippery soap, hot water & a razor I could no longer see.

All I could think was “Don’t drop the razor!”

Followed by “Get under the water & rinse before it stops.” because DH makes it sound like water just VANISHES when the power goes out. We’re not supposed to turn on a faucet or flush a toilet when the power is out. If we expect an outage the first thing we do is fill a tub with water & set a bucket nearby so we can use it to flush because all the water DISAPPEARS when the power goes out.

Now, rationally I know we have a 40 gallon water heater (or a 30 gallon, or 20 or 50, some double digit round number water heater) so unless it drains instantly when the power turns off, we still have water.

But after 14 years of living here he has me more or less brainwashed about the vanishing water thing.

Yet the shower was still flowing, though even rationally it wouldn’t flow forever, probably I had time to finish my ablutions, in the pitch dark.

I have no idea how much water flows through my showerhead per minute & I’d already been in there a decent time so possibly it could vanish at any time & I can’t see the bottles & everything smells like the citrus body wash so I have no idea if I am conditioning my hair with face cleaner or washing my face with intensive conditioner.

And I am still holding the razor in one hand because I am terrified if I put it down it will fall in the tub and I will step on it, slice my foot open and have to crawl, dripping wet & bleeding through my bedroom and the kitchen into the living room in search of a portable phone that is never where I left it last & call 911 and have them show up to see me in all my naked,dripping wet, tangled hair (from the face cleanser), bleeding glory.

So I am holding on to the razor mostly due to fear of possible embarrassment.

Then I worry, as I reach up to run my fingers through my hair while rinsing, that I might accidentally shave my hair off with it. But I can’t put the razor down. But I can’t leave the soap in my hair & one handed just isn’t getting the soap out efficiently & the water could VANISH at any time.

(amazing the amount of stress you can generate from a single shower)

I decided it was good enough, turned off the water, fumbled for the shower curtain, underestimated the height of the tub and tripped face first into the sink counter.

But I was at least able to let the razor go at last.

Then I stumbled around, hands outstretched feeling for the towels I know I set out here somewhere. They had been knocked to the floor to the left of me when I tripped but I didn’t know that. The bathroom door was to the right & I was headed that way in hopes of sunlight.

But no.

I still had the curtains closed in the bedroom. The power suddenly came back on while I was dripping my way around the bedroom in search of a flashlight or matches to find my towels.

Sky was still blue.

No clue why the power went out that time.

About 6 hours later I was in the bathroom, using it for the usual purpose, with the door shut of course.

And the power went out AGAIN!

I was so startled I screamed.

DH came running, or as fast as you can come in near darkness without tripping over things.

“What’s wrong?”

I didn’t think I could go into the whole “The universe hates me and hates this bathroom and razors and 911 and why does the power go out when I am in here & not when I am in the living room?” angsty thing.

“I can’t find the toilet paper!”

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Fast & efficient

I had to go get my oil changed yesterday

No one nearly died this time.

Go me!

Seriously. One bad experience makes you dread the next time.

I was 6000 miles overdue for that oil change.

I tend to put off things at places where I have been traumatized in some way.

Lets not discuss how long I go between dental visits.

I also had them look at – guess what?

The engine light! Which is still coming on at random just like last time.

And just like last time it was the gas cap.

Only here is the odd (and no doubt expensive) twist.

The engine light? It doesn’t come on right after I replace the gas cap, or even later that day, but up to 4 DAYS later. I haven’t touched the gas cap in that time.

Probably my neighbors are not sneaking over after midnight & syphoning my gas on a regular basis (though considering the price of gas ‘probably’ is as certain as I can get)

It comes on while I am driving on perfectly flat paved roads. It comes on when I am driving on bumpy dirt roads. It comes on while I am idling in the parking lot waiting for the audiobook I am listening to too get to the end of a chapter.

It’s random & cannot be reproduced.

My years of tech support tell me it is one of two things –

A) something internal & expensive is not attached as well as it should be

B) the user is a crazy, whiny complainer and probably lying and/or exaggerating about it in an attempt to get it all replaced

Since I am the user, I’ll go with option A.

I am fairly sure I am not lying and/or exaggerating.

Crazy, whiny complainer I’ll give you.

It lit up again while I was driving home & I wanted to turn around & go back to the mechanic and say “SEE!” because I’m starting to think they don’t believe me.

I was in and out of the repair place in an hour, which has got to be some sort of record. I have a worksheet detailing what they did & what recommendations they have. Someone with very bad handwriting wrote those recommendations. It says

squiggle squiggle ‘front tire’ squiggle ‘depth’ several more squiggles and what looks like ‘slaggart retantion BAH”

I think they want me to have my tires rotated next time. I’m guessing that because the colorful check sheet they gave me has the yellow boxes checked for tires (as opposed to green or red). Everything else is green.

DH thinks “BAH” in not mocking me, but is actually FEA, or front end alignment

They told me they could run some sort of diagnostic thing for the engine light & jargon jargon wiring jargon replacement motherboard jargon order something jargon jargon. $150 and up.

Then they said if it was the actual engine, the light would flash instead of being steady.

So I said ‘I’ll live with it for now’

Sooner or later some other issue will force my hand on the hourly labor charges and I’ll have them look at it then.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Sweet Dreams

Ever since Havoc was a toddler we have been doing various things to combat fear of the dark, fear of monsters, and bad dreams at bedtime.

The monsters thing was fairly easy.

Monsters are afraid of cats you see.

And we have plenty of cats. Including Nefertiti.


Nefertiti is anti social. She hisses at everything. She doesn’t like people or dogs or other cats. She HATES monsters. The boys were scared of Nefer so it’s easy for them to believe monsters are as well.

Now they are dubious about the existence of monsters.

The problem with the dark was solved by a short string of holiday lights hung along the ceiling. Replaced ever 4 months as the bulbs burn out.

Sometimes you can find me in Wal Mart in June lamenting the lack of availability of holiday lights.

The bad dreams though, they took some work. We tried a number of things I can no longer recall before settling on “Good Dreams Spray”.

Someone had suggested Monster Spray when we were first having monster problems but the suggestion involved letting the boys have a spray bottle by their bed all night long & that’s not an option.

But it did lead to the Good Dreams Spray.

GDS is a one time spray, used at bedtime to encourage good dreams.

It’s actually some hippy dippy natural, healthful non aerosol essential oil room spray that comes in assorted scents to promote different ‘environments’. I got it at Whole Foods in 2002, used it a few times as a room spray, found it wasn’t much for lingering scent-wise & stuck it in the closet where household products go to die. (aka the bathroom closet)

I recalled it, about a year or so later, when I was trying to think of something to use for the GDS.

It’s lavender scented & supposed to ‘encourage positive relaxation’

Positive relaxation?

As in “You will absolutely positively be relaxed” or as in “Relaxed with good thoughts”

It made me tense, seeing as the scent faded in 5 minutes & I like lingering ones.

But as sympathetic magic spell it kicked ass.

A couple of pumps over the beds & the boys went to sleep happy & had no bad dreams

And it was good.

For 7 years.

One can of room spray lasted 7 years!

I certainly can’t claim I didn’t get value for my dollar.

But now it’s almost empty and I can’t find it anywhere, so now I have to find something else lavender scented to use.

Because we still get regular requests for GDS at bedtime, usually a few times a month.

Really, I thought they’d’ve outgrown it by now.

I’m thinking of getting some little lavender pillows instead.

Or  maybe make some sachets to stick in their pillowcases.

Good Dreams Pillows

What do you use to chase away the bad dreams?

Monday, March 07, 2011

ISP 1, God 0

Well, they did it.

They defied all the omens & portents. All the clear, clear signs of Divine displeasure.

They took my tower Thursday.

(hangs head in grief)

They came in a white van, early in the morning, before I’d had enough coffee to mount a coherent protest to their actions.

wtower (2)

The tower didn’t stand a chance


wtower (3)

wtower (4)

wtower (5)

Can I get a moment of silence?


Ok, so, I deal with negative situations by finding the funny.

Know what is funny about a tower being replaced by a pole?

That’s right!

Jokes & innuendos about poles and guys trying to erect their poles!

Towers just don’t lend themselves to innuendo quite like poles do.

wtower (6)

I disparaged the pole the man was trying to get up, finding it inadequate to the task. I need a big long pole, not the piddly short little thing he was showing me.

wtower (7)

He extoled the benefits and perks of his shorter pole to distract me from the loss of my Big Man, but I wasn’t buying it. I need length to satisfy my needs!

And thickness. His pole seemed much to skinny to withstand the blowing it was going to get.

Once they had everything all arranged, a guy sat on the top of the ladder, reached between his legs and started yanking on the pole to get it up.

No really!

He did!

He slid his hands down it and then pulled upward.

Over and over again.

That’s how he does it every time, he said.

I can’t prove this actually happened because I was helping him with it & couldn’t take photos.

Yes, I helped the tower thief erect his pole.

Dear Penthouse… I want some fun & interesting search strings to result from this post.

After a great deal of yanking, huffing, puffing, cursing, and claims that he didn’t normally have this much trouble getting his pole up, the tower thief finally achieved full erection of his pole (if THAT doesn’t get me some SEO I don’t know what will).

And here it is

tower (8)

I’ve lost signal strength, mostly noticeable on weekends & evenings when everyone is using the internet.

But I have gained cell signal in the house. I have 3 bars here at my desk. We’re going to see how things go for a couple of months but should this prove to work well, we are going to cancel our land line.

We’ll stop paying Verizon for a home phone & continue paying Verizon wireless 3x as much for cell service.

um..yea us! I think.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Weekly Winners

Some from my 2011 photo project this week

This guy brought me a rose


I did some blackwork


I made some cookies (they are not burnt, that is cocoa powder)


And this is Smoke, taking a nap


For more weekly winners please visit Lotus at Sarcastic Mom

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Scrapbook Saturday

I’ve really been lacking scrapping mojo the past month or so.

I’ve got a teeny bit obsessed with Jewel Quest Heritage, a match 3 game & it’s taken over my brain. Like I can’t put 3 identical cans of soup next to one another on a shelf for fear they will disappear as soon as they meet. I sit in traffic thinking “If that mini van ill just get over into that lane & then that truck slide back one it will match 6 cars and they will vanish& I’ll move up in the traffic.

I’m always slightly disappointed when the cars move that way & then don’t disappear.

I’ve managed about 3 layouts in the past month & they are not my best work I think. This one the title didn’t quite work out. It’s ok, but not quite the look I was going for.


Same with this one. It is close to what I had in mind when I started but is not exactly it


And this one I did yesterday. Again, 95% is what I was trying to do but that last 5% I just couldn’t quite pull off


I think I need to go back to templates. These were all free form. I’ve been trying to do more free form stuff but I think I am just better with a template framework I can tweek around to my specs.

Friday, March 04, 2011

funny stuff

I’ve mentioned before that I am on pinterest, where I often have hours and hours of my day sucked away by browsing the wonderful stuff. I pin crafty things & geeky things & food things & also wordy things & I feel the need to share today

(ok, I admit, I am phoning this post in really but they are funny)

and finally

We’ve got some family stuff going on & my mind isn’t on blogging much at the moment, I can’t give too many details right now but if you all could keep DH’s brother & his family in your thoughts & prayers I’d really appreciate it.