Friday, July 29, 2011

Week in the life

I’ve been keeping up with my Week in the Life project this week. I thought it would be a good thing to get back into the habit of taking photos every day.

I’m averaging about 40 photos a day with some multiple reshoots.  My goal is to have 7-10 edited photos a day for a nice variety on a 2 page layout.

I do a lot of the same things every day, makes for visually monotonous pages. Some days I think I will rely on the journaling to mention I went to the gym rather than do another gym photo.

I’m also writing down what the boys are watching & gaming all day plus what they are playing.  They’ve been outside most of the time so there are few appearances of the dinos, clones or Legos.

I’ve only managed to edit Mon & Tues but here are some highlights








I’m hoping to start on the pages this weekend. They are going to go in my 45th Year book & I am going to do another week in the life in 6 months also so I have a summer & a winter for contrast.

Did you do Week in the Life this week with Ali?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

That time of year again

And no I don’t mean BlogHer, though it is that time of year too.

But I can’t afford to attend BlogHer unless it is less than a 4 hour drive away & that’s never gonna happen so I resigned myself to missing it long ago.

No, instead of OMG BLOG HER!!! angst, I spend this time of year in OMG SHOULD I MOVE MY BLOG??? angst

Different angst but same kinda theme.

I’ve spent 4 years with this domain name, hosted through blogger & for the past 3 years every time the renewal comes up I get all “should I or shouldn’t I” about self hosting and in the end I always decide against it because I just can’t deal with moving it myself & I don’t always understand what the hosting sites will or will not do in helping me move stuff & I know I am not asking the right questions & it’s all just too much someone get me a Xanax or something.


I finally found someone to deal with all of it for me at a very reasonable price & after dithering for 3 weeks about it (and my domain renewing the day before) I took the plunge.

More details coming soon but after 5 years with blogger, I am switching to Word Press

I don’t know why.

I mean, I have vague reasons. I’d like a gallery & while Disqus is ok, I like WPs comment system better & there are more add ons. I know I had good reasons when I was dithering about it but…

Now that I have spent the money & committed I am having “should I have done that? why did I do that?” angst.

But hey! I finally acted on it, after a mere 3 years, which is almost ludicrous speed for anything in this family.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Love this email

Better World Books is now one of my favorite online shops, right up there with Timbuk2.

Remember the Timbuk2 order email I received?

I loved that email. Loved the fun casual tone of it.

Over the weekend I ordered a few used books from Better World and today I received this shipping notification:

Hello S,

(Your book(s) asked to write you a personal note - it seemed unusual, but who are we to say no?)

Holy canasta! It's me... it's me! I can't believe it is actually me! You could have picked any of over 2 million books but you picked me! I've got to get packed! How is the weather where you live? Will I need a dust jacket? I can't believe I'm leaving Mishawaka, Indiana already - the friendly people, the Hummer plant, the Linebacker Lounge - so many memories. I don't have much time to say goodbye to everyone, but it's time to see the world!

I can't wait to meet you! You sound like such a well read person. Although, I have to say, it sure has taken you a while! I don't mean to sound ungrateful, but how would you like to spend five months sandwiched between Jane Eyre (drama queen) and Fundamentals of Thermodynamics (pyromaniac)? At least Jane was an upgrade from that stupid book on brewing beer. How many times did the ol' brewmaster have one too many and topple off our shelf at 2am?

I know the trip to meet you will be long and fraught with peril, but after the close calls I've had, I'm ready for anything (besides, some of my best friends are suspense novels). Just five months ago, I thought I was a goner. My owner was moving and couldn't take me with her. I was sure I was landfill bait until I ended up in a Better World Books book drive bin. Thanks to your socially conscious book shopping, I've found a new home. Even better, your book buying dollars are helping kids read from Brazil to Botswana.

But hey, enough about me, I've been asked to brief you on a few things:

We provide quick shipping service to all our customers. You chose Standard shipping. It should arrive in 6 to 9 business days. Tracking is not available on these shipments.

If you have any questions or concerns, please email my friends in Customer Care at If you could please include your order number  that would be very helpful.

Eagerly awaiting our meeting,

Folly du Jour

The Last Kashmiri Rose

The Damascened Blade: The Third Novel Featuring Detective Joe Sandilands (Joe Sandilands Mysteries)

How can you not love that? Not only do they raise money for literacy & libraries world wide, they have a sense of humor.

I appreciate a little quirkiness in my day & it’s so much better when it’s from an unexpected source.

***do I really need to say no one is paying or subsidizing this post? Nobody ever pays me jack for anything I post here. In fact, lets just go with a general disclaimer applicable to all posts from this point forward:

Unless I say I got something for saying something, I didn’t get anything for saying anything.

Monday, July 25, 2011

poor timing

Our a/c started acting up very early Saturday morning. I woke up about 4am to a warm breeze, where once there had been a cold  one.

Naturally we waited until about 8am to check it out. There is nothing anyone can do at 4am except frustrate themselves.

The thermostat was flashing all it’s warning lights.


It was saying


So we turned it off & pulled out the filter.

We pull out the filter so we can feel we are being proactive and doing something about the problem, not because we think the filter *is* the problem, it’s just the only bit we know we can safely muck about with in the whole unit.

The filter was filthy & neither of us could remember when we last cleaned it.

But it was 102 outside & the thought of standing out there vacuuming the filter off did not appeal. So we put it back & turned the a/c back on.

It ran until about 8pm when once again it went warm and flashing.


This time we turned it off & on again but left the filter out.

And it ran until about 2am when it went warm & flashing.


I’ve discovered that my new sleep habits are reliant on temperature. I did not sleep at all that night. It was too warm.

Not to mention the humidity.

Without a/c it’s like living in an unairconditioned basement, no matter how many fans we turn on. Mold, mildew & mushrooms start forming within hours.

Sunday morning DH vacuumed the filter & hit it with the air gun to get the last of the dust out, put it back in place, waited another hour for everything to ‘settle’ & then turned the a/c back on.

It stayed on until 7pm.

We reset it at 11pm and it was still running this morning.

Like it was all “I don’t know what you’re talking about. There is nothing wrong with me.”

The HVAC company is an hour away. It’s not a normal heating/cooling system. It’s a *special* heating/cooling system.  It’s a geothermal heat pump. And they are the only company that can cope with it.

Of course.

DH is trying get in touch with them this morning to set up an appointment.


At least it’s supposed to be cooler the  next few days

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Weekly Winners

Dinos on the march


Going for a ride


Waiting their turn


New manicure


For more weekly winners please visit Lotus at Sarcastic Mom

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Words on Wednesday


July 20, 1967


July 20, 2011

The new photo a day project starts today-a self portrait for my birthday

Monday, July 18, 2011

the weekend


Mayhem finally learned to ride a two wheeler.

And naturally all I had was my cell phone with me & then I uploaded the photo to facebook & then had to download it to my computer so I can then reload it on this blog.

Havoc got a new bike Friday night.

So Mayhem got his old bike.

It took DH a couple hours to find the hardware to re-install the training wheels & 10 minutes later one of the wheels broke.

I told Mayhem it was a sign from the Divine that it is time put aside training wheels and learn to ride a two wheeler.

It took him a couple days but he was motivated.

DH & the boys went to the lumber yard & bought some wood Saturday. DH laid some of it out where the walls for the mud room will go so we can make any adjustments we want done now.


First thing I did was add 2 feet to the overall length because we’d been miscommunicating on where the wall would end. The doors will be at either end, where the grass seed bag and the green loaders are located. The front will be a wall of windows.  

Building the mud room means a few more changes that will happen in the spring. 


As it is now, if you go out the far door you turn left into the pool & it’s awkward with the railroad ties. So the pool needs to move a bit.

The swing set is coming down, wood to be reused in the clubhouse that will be built next fall (hopefully) The deck will be moved over where the swing set is to take advantage of the afternoon shade. The gravel area will be dug out and concrete will be poured. The pool will be moved to the far left corner when it is set up.  When it isn’t we’ll have a nice patio extension for bikes & skates & someday no doubt basketball.

At least, that is the plan for now.

And I might as well admit that there is still no start date set for building the mud room.

We’ve decided to hold off the refi until the mud room has been built rather than risk waiting until November due to someone else’s action (we already risk it taking that long due to our own inaction). Better to just build it & then get the house appraised.

Somehow I doubt a $1500 mudroom is going to add any value to the property.

Lets just hope it doesn’t detract.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Weekly Winners

My friend Rinda, over at Gallo Organico has set up a summer photo scavenger hunt. I’m slowly working on it & adapting some items to my location.

First a castle.


Possibly the most heavily guarded castle in this sector.

Also, the only castle in this sector

Your country’s flag


A campfire. We made s’mores


A metal or glass building.




A rooster . Well, ok, a chicken


And they started laying eggs this week.


For more Weekly Winners please visit Lotus at Sarcastic Mom

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, July 15, 2011


I’ve mentioned my dog Houndini before.


The one who cannot be contained? Who will go over, under, around & through fences. Who must be hiding opposable thumbs because she can get out of her harness on a lead. No kennel has been built that can contain this dog.


Turns out she is not alone in this trait.

This is the chicken yard


It’s 100 feet in circumference and about 4 feet high.

Made of chicken wire.


These are chickens behind the fence


and then there is this guy


Just out for a stroll


and eluding capture


This is the second time today he has had to catch an escaped chicken


I  don’t know what I am going to do when he goes back to school & a chicken escapes.

I’ve tried. I have a hell of a time catching them, even inside the fence.

We think they are flying over the fence; that they have enough space to get a good running start. There are no gaps for them to fit through.

Unlike the cats & Houndini the chickens can’t collapse their ribcages to paper thinness.

Chickens are flock animals & they like to be together so we aren’t worried about them getting lost. The escapee is never more than 10 feet from the fence. 

And Houndini guards them if she is around. She lays down & sort of corrals them until someone comes.

The cats are afraid of the chickens, though they will watch them intently.

So we’re thinking of doing away with the fence & having free roaming chickens

I think there are to many free roaming dogs in the area for that to last though.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

*sniff* they grow up so fast

My little babies have EMAIL!!!


Mostly I am crying because I had to add two more email addys to my already chock full of email addys Windows Mail program.

Some days it take more than 5 minutes just for the retrieval to access all the accounts.

It’s not like I am going to let *them* access their email.

Oh hells to the no on that.

Someday they can access their own email, perhaps as a going off to college present.

They play some different online games – physics games, atv games & clone wars adventures – and I don’t want my email addys dealing with that stuff.

Plus it plays merry hell with logins when I can’t remember what email I used where & they end up whining “but havocandmayhem at gmail isn’t woooorrrrrrrkiiiiiiinnnnngggg”

and that is because I used stacey at havocandmayhem but failed to note it anywhere.

I get something like 200 accounts with my domain (geez!) so I spent an hour or so trying to figure out where to access these accounts with my domain & then how to add a user & then how to activate the user & then set up the users email & then how to get that email into my Windows Mail client.

While Havoc nagged at me to set up his Clone Wars account & Mayhem whined that everything on his computer needed plug ins but he’s not allowed to accept anything & can I come & allow them.

See, Mayhem got a new to him computer last night.

Both boys have been sharing a new to them computer since Christmas but since it was on Havoc’s desk it was considered Havoc’s computer.

Mayhem nagged us into setting him up a desk last month & ever since then has sat at it every day talking about how “when I get my computer…etc” and I’ve tried to get him to understand a new computer might happen at Xmas should the grandparents be willing to share the cost. (Santa has a limited budget, what with having to buy toys for every kid in the world. A $400 laptop is not in Santa’s budget)

DH decided to see what he could do about getting something working for Mayhem. We my two old laptops, plus my folks old laptop & DH’s ancient old laptop, none of which work alone. Havoc’s is parts & pieces added into an old laptop we got somewhere. Mayhem’s is now the same.

All of these laptops are Dells.

Just sayin’

So now both boys are running laptops as old as they are with Win XP & virus software on them. They both have various security on them, which is why Mayhem can’t download anything without my help.


I was 23 before I had my first computer.  Granted it was a 286 with like 10MB as a hard drive & didn’t even run Win 3.1,but still….

And you do not want to experience the drag on the bandwidth when there are 3-4 people all on the internet at once in our house.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Wordy Wednesday


Nov 2006 at the park.

Please note the old school metal whirly gig.

I & my friends played on one as a child.

The unbalanced, dangerous, OMG somebody could get hurt!, metal whirly gig, with the dirt underneath.

The sort of thing all responsible parks have long since removed from their play areas for fear of a lawsuit when some kid lets go while spinning, as kids do, and flies off landing in the hard packed dirt breaking a collar bone. Or when some kid gets kicked in the face by standing too close while other spin while sticking their legs over the sides. As kids do.

And it’s RUSTY!

Tetanus as well as broken bones & missing teeth!

My kids love it!  It was the only thing they ever wanted to ride on at this park.

“We go to lake park and do spinny thing?” they would ask.

The other park does not have one.  The other park is not nearly as much fun.

My friends and I always assumed it would be removed at some point & when we heard that an all new play area was being built at the park in 2010 we figured that was it for the rusty old whirly gig. It would go as the new stuff came in.

This photo is from Mar 2011


They painted it to match the new play area, but left it be.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


DH & I watch House Hunters on HGTV fairly regularly & the one thing that drives us crazy, apart from the people who are always complaining that their dining room table won’t fit in the space (get a new table!), is the way buyers & agents define the word budget. It seems to mean ‘suggestion’.  The buyers say they have a budget of $700,000 and the agent shows agent shows them a home at $780,000 and it remains a viable option.

If DH & I should happen to have a budget of $700,000

hahahahahaha!!! HAHAHAHA!!! hahahaha!!!

um, as I was saying, should such a thing ever come to pass we wouldn’t even look at a $780,000 home. It’s $80,000 over budget, therefore cannot be bought.

Not that we are these wonderful money managers who stick to a budget

hahahahahaha!!! HAHAHAHA!!! hahahaha!!!

but with large ticket monthly payments we absolutely do. We figured out the most we can afford to pay & that’s the most we can afford to pay, so if that means no pool in the preferred location or a pool in another location because pool AND location cost too much then something gets dropped. The end.

I think they should do a show called Mortgage Hunters that shows people refinancing their existing mortgages. They get a choice of 3 different products & then have to debate the pros & cons of each & you get to see the process & what happens when the appraisal comes up short or the overtime isn’t allowed for income because it isn’t regular enough.

We’re considering a refi. It’s been 8 years since the last one & while we have a good rate, there are better rates & better rates mean lower payments.

Though since we are still paying the same amount as our original mortgage 13 years ago, for us it means more money toward principal. We currently overpay about $100 a month.

We have two choices

A. conventional 15 year mortgage which would raise our payment due by $30 so we’d be paying only $70 extra but would pay it off in 13.2 years

And they could roll in all but the $400 upfront application fee.

But they want an appraisal.

And you’ve seen my house


My earth bermed, sod roofed house

Appraisers don’t know what to  do with it & underwriters hate it. It’s unusual!  AAAACCCKKK!!! It’s impossible to find comps so values are mostly best guesses & it’ll be a bitch to resell. (this is a useful bargaining chip should we someday be faced with a foreclosure but a HUGE detriment when it comes to getting a loan). So we face a decent change of being declined on the loan.

Plus it could take 60 days just to get an appraiser out here & 90 to close. And we want to start on building the mud room in 30-60 days and cannot be in mid build when the appraiser arrives or build it after he comes but before the loan closes.

Meaning it could be November before we can build the mud room.

Meaning I will go ANOTHER winter with no mud room because if it isn’t done by the end of September the time available for building it pretty much vanishes until next April.

But there would be no MIP & it’s starts out with a shorter term & quicker payment schedule.

B. a 30 year FHA no cash out streamline refi which would lower our payment due by $100, giving us a $200 over pay (which would change to $275 in 5 years) and would be paid off in 13.6 years.

And they don’t want an appraisal

But they do want about $1500 in closing costs, which is at the top end of our closing cost budget.

The third option has a lower payment but is over our budget ($3500 in closing costs) so we are not considering it.

Additional fun facts given by math loving DH are that at the 10 year mark (when Havoc starts college & we are looking to cash in on the equity) the 15 year loan will have $28,000 still owing & the 30 year will have $41,000 owing.

And that $13,000 difference could be very useful.

But there is the appraisal issue & being out $400 when it fails

But $1500 up front & $13,000 difference

or doing A, having it fall through & being out $400 PLUS still needing to come up with $1500 to do B.

And what about the mud room?!?!

DH really likes that $13,000 difference of the first one but I really like the no risk no appraisal on the second one.

Which mortgage will our buyers choose?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Brief recap of the weekend

We went to my hometown over the weekend.

Thursday I stuffed myself with diCarlos’s pizza. Enough so that I didn’t really want anymore the rest of the weekend, which is unusual for me. But, and it pains me to admit it, it wasn’t as good as it usually is. And it wasn’t really last year either.

The son took over the business last year or sometime after my visit the year before that. And something changed. I don’t know what that something is. I didn’t even know about the change of ownership until Saturday so it isn’t a perception issue. The crust seems the same, the sauce seems the same, the cheese seems the same but the whole together does not.


Friday it rained a lot. So first we went to Cabela’s and looked at camping stuff and rugged outdoor wear and fishing poles and guns and fudge and ‘hunting’ themed house décor.  The had some sales going on so we bought some stuff for grilling that we’ve been needing and the boys got to play the shooting range game


Then we went to the house my parents are staying at and hung out for a few hours.

OMG! this house! It’s huge! and It’s a log cabin! And it was raining so I have no exterior shots of the house but I have to show you this interior one I took


That’s a flat screen tv up there on the left and there are 6, yes SIX shower heads in that shower, plus apparently it has a light show & requires a complicated remote control to turn the water on.

Saturday it was sunny so we went swimming at my brother's house with his girls.

He spent a lot of time launching the kids in the air.



I remember my uncle doing something similar when I was kid.

Sunday we headed home & no trip home is complete without a stop at Dinosaurland


When we got home we discovered these


The hens have finally started laying!

I also played a lot of Words with Friends. I played DH, my brother, my friends Michele & Julie and also the One SFD who trounced me with his doubling up on words, something I just can’t get my brain to do.

If anyone wants to play words with friends drop me an email with your user name & we’ll play a game or 3. I use a different addy than the blog one to play Words.

How was everyone’s weekend?

Friday, July 08, 2011

June reads

A few days late

Lets start with the library books – all by Georgette Heyer.

Frederica – the story of Frederica a distant connection of Lord Alverstoke who asks him to help her introduce her sister into Society. Just perhaps invite them to a party at his house, one he was asked to have for his nieces anyway. But soon she & her siblings end up involving him in all sorts of mishaps. Very funny & entertaining. Both hero & heroine and assorted secondary characters are very likeable people. No flogging potential at all. Recommended

Cotillion- I really enjoyed this one & I can’t tell you why without spoiling it.  Kitty’s guardian decides to leave his large fortune to whichever of his nephews she decides to marry. She persuades one to take her to London so she can pursue another while two others Disapprove. Once there she gets involved in a number of scrapes & needs rescuing.  This was laugh out loud funny & no flogging was needed.

Sprig Muslin- Sir Gareth Ludlow needs to wed & resolves to propose to a friend of his long deceased fiancée. One his way to propose to Lady Hester he encounters a young miss named Amanda who is running away from home to meet up with the officer she is in love with. There are mishaps, misunderstandings & an encounter with a dangerous highwayman! Wonderfully written! Very amusing. No flogging but Amanda could have done with a shake or two.

Arabella – The daugher of a well bred but impoverished clergyman, with many brothers & sisters, Arabella goes to London to marry money. While travelling she has a carriage accident &  meets Richard Beaumaris. She overhears him assuming she has manufactured the meeting because she is after his money so she lies about being a very well off heiress. This lie follows her to London & problems ensue. It’s a sweet story & entertaining.

The Convenient Marriage – No flogging potential, but perhaps a couple sharp slaps might be in order.  Miss Horatia Winwood offers too marry her sister’s unwanted suitor, the Earl of Rule, so her sister can marry the man she loves. Rule’s enemy decides to cause trouble for Rule by seducing Horatia & leading her into debt.  Rule is a nice guy. He has his issues but he is a decent enough fellow & it takes Horatia quite a bit longer than I think necessary to appreciate it, hence the need for a couple sharp slaps.  This one is set in Georgian times rather than Regency.

The Reluctant Widow – Very far fetched plot & considering the sorts of things I read, that is saying something. Elinor is working as a governness & gets into the wrong carriage.  She thinks she has been picked up by her new employer but is actually picked up by Lord Carlyon’s carriage, mistaken for a woman who has been hired to marry his cousin. The cousin is a troublemaking drunkard, destined to die an early death & Carlyon wants him married off so he, Carlyon won’t inherit the cousin’s property & any money. No adequate reason is given IMO for this desire not to inherit. Elinor is against the idea but eventually goes along with it as the cousin lays dying of a bullet wound. Then things get weird for her. yeah. Not my favorite of the bunch but still a good read.

Next we have some Kindle books

The Grand Sophie by Georgette Heyer – My favorite of the bunch. Sophie arrives for a visit on her Aunt’s doorstep with a menagerie in tow & promptly turns the household upside down, include cousin Charles. Apart from being personally against the idea of first cousins marrying, I liked the book a great deal. It was very witty & laugh out loud funny in places.

Betty in the Sky with a Suitcase – humorous stories of air travel. Eh.

The Affair of the Bloodstained Tea Cozy – Amusing 1930’s country house murder a la Agatha Christie. Complete with poor friends, visiting Americans, the Lord of the Manor, spies, diplomats and a mysterious foreign countess. I didn’t figure out whodunnit & that is rare.

Smoking Seventeen – Very early on I decided that if the dancing bear ended up in Stephanie’s apartment I would metaphorically throw the book across the room & stomp on it. Fortunately that didn’t happen. But unfortunately I did wonder, what with her past history, how she failed – repeatedly – to spot the murderer. I figured out who it was practically the moment his name came up. That didn’t detract from the rest of it. I like Stephanie & her interactions with Morelli & Ranger.  Morelli’s grandmother puts a curse on Stephanie early on &watching it manifest was no end amusing. The plot is that bodies keep turning up in the spot where Vinnie’s bail bonds office is being rebuilt, plus one in Stephanie’s car. The bonds office is working out of various places in the meantime including Mooner’s RV, Starbucks & Stephanie’s apartment. Plus her mom has given up on getting Morelli as a son in law & is back to fixing Stephanie up, this time with the former high school football star.

No dead tree books were purchased this month.

Not a bad month for new books over all.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Where I am from

I am from shelves & shelves of books, DiCarlos pizza and summers at the lake.

I am from a perfectly clean, organized, burnt orange & gold decorated and pine scented split level home.

I am from a cul de sac in the suburbs up, on the hill, in a town by the river, in the beautiful Appalachian mountains

I am from summers at Myrtle Beach, mini golf and dark tans, from Nan's homemade noodles and Grandma's imaginative stories.

From chain smokers who refuse to roll the window down, so the smell mixed with the new car pleathor smell & the ‘pine scented’ airfreshner.

And they wondered why I got car sick.

I am from endless social activity, meeting your obligations, giving back to the community and always being on time.

From fighting over who was on who’s side, laying in the footwells, hanging between the seats & laying in the back window

We spent a lot of time in the car.

I am from Mass every Sunday, and also on Friday when school was session. From 12 years of Catholic school, getting swatted by nuns, learning prayers by rote & going to confession whether you felt guilty or not.

I'm from the Chippewa tribe, from Germany, Ireland, Scotland & Wales. From onions & cabbage and I really don't like onions or cabbage.

Actually, I hate cabbage with a passion.

I am from 6 generations of a family living in one area, until most of my own generation had to leave to find work, and from another family that moved around almost every generation. 

From stacks of albums and boxes of slides. From a home that has been in the family since 1943 and one that moved around the area more than a few times. From mementos stuffed under the stairs and long ago photos of people we can no longer name.

And I am on my way back there today to share where I am from with the next generation, growing up far away from what I knew & loved.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Wordy Wednesday

july fourth-1

Look what unexpectedly made it to the top of the House Project List!

Turns out we not only had plywood, we had something to cut out the hole!

And paint!

Who knew!

Mostly though these were made because my husband is a 14 year old boy in a 45 year old man’s body & could not resist the lure of a game called CORNHOLE.

And the need to ask everyone at the party to come & play cornhole.

heh heh heh

He said cornhole.

The idea was a US flag & a Union Jack but there wasn’t enough blue paint so DH let the boys go to town on the other one with the random cans of spray paint we have been collecting for years. There wasn’t enough white for stars either. 

Martha will address these shortcomings next year. It’s on her checklist.

I bought the beanbag thingys at Wal Mart & OMG… they were supposedly filled with ‘gravel’ but … I am more than passing familiar with many types of gravel but have never encountered the nearly weightless silica based type.

Might as well be tossing a bag with feathers in it.

So, in light of that remark we emptied out the silica and refilled each bag with a half a cup of lead birdshot #6, making each bag weigh in at a much better hefting & tossing weight of 1.5 pounds.

More dangerous too especially in young or drunk hands but I’ve been hunting for something to replace lawn darts for years & these just raise huge bruises rather than making deep puncture wounds.

So that’s ok.

Next year we’ll get a slip & slide for the hill.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Summer reading or viewing

The boys & I have been visiting the library every Friday. They each have their own library card now & I allow them 4 books at a time.

But Havoc has been getting videos instead.

So far he has watched the entire Century of Warfare series and the entire Presidents of the US series.

One day they played trench warfare in the living room using the sofas as the trenches & the area in front of the tv as No Man’s Land. At least they did until I told them to stop Going Over the Top of the sofas to charge each other with lightsabers. The dinos & clone troopers got together for a party at the Christmas Peace. They even had Gatling guns made out of legos.

Don’t tell me tv can’t be educational.

Havoc does have some books. He’s reading one of the Nate the Great series & a book called Doctor Proctor’s Fart Powder, plus he has taken an interest in some of my comic strip collection books. He’s read all of Stone Soup, most of Baby Blues (after Hammie was born) and is starting For Better or For Worse.

Mayhem prefers non fiction & is currently studying the solar system. He’s worked his way through all the planets, one book each & is now reading about comets & meteors, which tie in with his dinosaur reading.

I’m trying to get him to read some fiction but they don’t have any Star Wars stuff at the right reading level for him at the library. They are either 2 sentences a page or 150 page novels.  The library doesn’t stock the mid range books of 50-60 pages with some illustrations. The various mysteries his brother read last year just don’t interest him so for now we stick with non-fiction.

The other thing they watch on tv (along with DH & sometimes myself) is Top Gear on BBC America. So now I am treated to non stop car talk whenever we are in the car.

“Oh that’s a Ford”

“That’s a Subaru”

“Fords are faster, they have the V8 engine”

“I prefer Ferrari's”

Until I finally say “Enough with the car talk already!!”

I mean, I like cars but apart from decent gas mileage & reliability I really don’t care about the rest. I don’t need to go from 0 to 60 in 2 seconds. My road’s speed limit is 35. I don’t need to be at 60 until I hit the main road which is 10 whole minutes away. Same with when I am in town, speed limit is at most 45. So the beauties of 6.9 litre engine, or whatever it is, is lost on me.

Speaking of reliability, I had to get a new battery for mine.  I’ve had to jump start it several dozen times in the past 6-8 months, when it is very cold, when it is very hot, when it is very wet, when it feels I shouldn’t go to Pilates at the gym…

DH thinks it is an electrical issue but he realizes that due to the total randomness of the outages, it will be a long and probably very expensive process to try and diagnose it.

And possibly it is just the battery, though the randomness argues against it. But it has been jumped more times than is probably good for it so after causing me to miss Pilates twice last week, plus then needing another jump start in the gym parking lot, I drove to Auto Zone & got a new battery.

The boys were thrilled because Auto Zone installs the battery for you right there in the parking lot & they got to talk with the guy about cars while he did it.

This week will be looking for books about cars in the library.