Showing posts from September, 2008

Ground control to Major Tomtom

...Or Christmas comes to Jim in September.

...Or Jim's dad finally convinced Jim to get a Tomtom (GPS and direction finder).Now Jim won't get lost delivering pizzas when it's really dark out. We went for a little drive last night so he could show me how it works. I had my camera handy so I took a picture of the screen of the tomtom. The display shows us on our way home. The tomtom even has little icons on the map for things like doctors' offices and schools, although I thought the school icon was a hockey goalie at first. I wondered what a little picture of a goalie was doing on the street and as we passed the elementary school, I realized the icon was of a school. In my defense, the pictures are really small. So yes, a hockey goalie can totally be mistaken for an elementary school. If you look closely at the upper left corner of the tomtom display, you can see part of the hockey goalie, uh, school icon.

Earlier in the evening, we went on another fall walk. Matt…

The Great Room Switch 3: Removing the Shelf

The sewing room gets emptier and emptier.

I needed to detach the shelf from the wall--it's a tipsy shelf and so we had to secure it with a few screws. I mentioned that some unscrewing had to be done and Jim was down there in a flash with his screwdriver before I had time to say, "Where do you keep the screwdrivers so I can do this myself?"
Now I can see all the crud and junk on the floor of the sewing room. I want a giant vacuum attachment that will suck all the detritus, big and small, directly into a garbage so I don't have to injure my back by bending over for half an hour while I pick scraps of paper and fabric, canned chicken labels, and CHOCOLATE CHIPS up off the floor. Notice that I typed CHOCOLATE CHIPS in all caps. I do not eat raw chocolate chips. I repeat, I do not eat raw chocolate chips. I prefer them in a cookie dough. Even then, I prefer the raw cookie dough. SOME PEOPLE in my house have been invading the choc chip bags in my food storage and lea…

I like a bit o' brekky

Pumpkin pancakes with almond flavored whip cream=fluffy, creamy goodness that is quite filling.

Dave, them griddlecakes was good!

So Jim and I walked into the restaurant only to have the host say, "It looks like someone is waving to you." I wondered who it could be since Jim and I hadn't made any plans with anyone else to meet for breakfast at the Highland Grill. I knew it couldn't be Dave because Marissa said she's camping and I assume that Dave went too. But for a half a second, I was extremely puzzled as to who would know us there at the Highland Grill.

It was Dad and Sharon. Dad said that he read one of my comments on my own blog mentioning breakfast and thought he would go too, and just see if we showed up. And we did! So we had breakfast with them. They got the pumpkin pancakes too. Actually Sharon got the pancakes and Dad ordered bacon, eggs, and toast, and they shared.

We chatted about Katie, family history, Paul, Jimmy, driving a bus, and other thing…


Two things I have said that when taken out of their original context and examined on their own that have caused much laughter, but when used in response to actions or requests of others are perfectly reasonable responses:

"No, I do not need to see anymore of the brown guy." (scroll down for the other one)

For some reason unfathomable to me, this particular statement (which I freely admit to uttering) caused Hayley and Matt to nearly dissolve into puddles of laughter at Target last night. And we all know how hard it is to get puddles of laughter back into our vans. Or even out of the Halloween candy aisle, where we were standing. And then just as their eruptive laughter began to subside, one of them said, "Say that again, mom!" And at that moment I saw what the upper inside of my eyelids looked like. I was tempted to drag them through the lingerie department just to get back at them. Of course, I'd probably be the one who would end up embarrassed. Last time…

Mama, I want to pet the big one!

I just thought I would mention that someone found this blog by googling "sousaphone petting zoo." It happened a while ago, but since then, I've found myself wondering what that person meant by that? I just keep getting visions of little sousaphones running around in an animal pen with kids following after, trying to pet one. Maybe niece Morgan might know something about a sousaphone petting zoo. Has anyone tried to pet your sousaphone, Morg? Did you get it at a petting zoo?

By far the most popular search phrase that leads to hits on this website is for "grease pink ladies" or some form of query regarding the musical "Grease" and the Pink Ladies. I get at least two a day that look up this post. Two a day may not seem like alot, but when your website averages around 25-30 visits per day, and most of those are family members, two strangers looking up Jan, Marty, Rizzo, and Frenchy per day is a big thing. Then there is also the search for "oran…

Random pictures

These are carrots from my garden. It's nice to have at least one produce item that can go from in ground to table in half an hour (and that includes time allotted to scrubbing and cooking, if necessary. Some we don't cook). No need to peel these orange gems either.
Paul studies his homework. Wait a minute...there is something odd about this picture.
Aah, much better. But it still makes me uncomfortable to see him sit like that. I bet if I laid a level on his neck, the bubble would be right where it should be, declaring his neck to be perfectly parallel to the ground.
Two naughty cats after I scooted them out of the garage. "We're so sorry!" one said, "we'll go have a time out on the piano bench and act repentant, ok?" The other one just shrugged and said, "I'll sit, but ain't no way I'm acting repentant. I'm too cool for that. Besides, being in the garage was FUN."Can you spot the difference between this picture and …

The real story of the keyboard

Stupid keyboard. It occasionally does not work. Once I had to reinstall the driver for it. That fixed the problem but only temporarily. On Tuesday, the keyboard didn't work and I couldn't reinstall the driver because the computer said that it could not find the software. So Jim bought a new keyboard and I ignored the computer all day. When Jim brought the keyboard home, we went downstairs only to find Jimmy sitting at the computer, typing.

So yes, we have a new keyboard, but the old one STILL WORKS. I have no idea if it installed itself or what. I thought I left the keyboard unplugged and Jimmy swears he did nothing to it. He just sat down and started typing.

I am going crazy, I guess.

And I see that I've scared everyone away except for Karie by turning the events into a short story. I knew I would never be a best-selling author!

In other news today, I am probably going to be perfecting the face-plant this evening, since I have booked my calendar today to the hilt.…

The ghost in the keyboard

An early Halloween story for you. And like all spooky ghost stories, this one REALLY happened! (OK, it's not all that spooky)

Once upon a time, there lived a not-quite-middle-aged woman named Sarina who loved her computer. She liked to type on it, she liked to click with the mouse. She liked to keep track of people she knew from surrounding villages through the internet. She even took college classes because she was far away from any form of available education opportunities, and used the computer to submit her homework over the internet. Her son also used the computer to listen to music he collected from other villages, and to corresponded with his friends.

Sarina maintained the computer well. She cleaned the dust out of the USB ports, and rubbed the lint off the bottom of her optical mouse. She dusted the fans now and again. If the computer said that it wanted a new software update, Sarina happily clicked the "update now" box. She did spyware sweeps regularly …

My very favorite Graphjam entry of all time.


Sunday walk in the fall

Matt, Hayley and I went for a walk last night to chronicle any signs of fall. I've seen some brilliant reds in a few trees as I have driven around the area, but we didn't see any on our walk. But these pictures are a collection of things we did see.

An apple from my tree. The wasps didn't swarm them this year. I have to do something with them, but what and when?
A boy-made pile of acorns for the purpose of luring squirrels to the yard.
Some brilliantly colored berries or grapes.
Matt waves his jacket around.
Hayley and the world are spinning. Except for that red thing of hers. A neopet? A tamagotchi?
Some kids I know walk the balance beam. They make it look so easy.

The Great Room Switch Begins 2: Empty Shelves

I would like to share the progress I have made in the sewing room. For comparison purposes, see this post.
Notice that all the pictures on the ledge are gone. There is residue on the wall from a border put up by the previous owners, but I will deal with that when the room is empty and ready to be painted. It was a heinous border of red and silver foil race cars, a most egregious affront to the tender interior decor sensibilities of my sewing machine. She cried for weeks. Sergei the serger never saw the border, it having been taken down before Sergei arrived, orphaned, on my doorstep. Now the clock sits on the ledge, alone but happy in his role as sole dictator.

So there is the progress on the room. Not much seems to have been done, but I'll be durned if there ain't already 7 packed boxes in the garage.

This stopped me short the other day. This piece of paper has been on the door to Hayley and Katie's room for a few months, but is no longer completely applicable. No …

I'm no Dora the Explorer

I ventured into the great unknown of South St. Paul this morning. I was to meet my sister-in-law for breakfast. I drove the white car, and not my nice blue van because my nice blue van had transmission problems (AGAIN. We will not go there. I cannot deal with it). So I'm in a car that feels like a prosthetic device instead of an extension of my arms and legs. I've mapquested the address of the eatery and had the step-by-step directions, but unirregardlessly, I got lost. Well, not totally lost. I didn't turn on St. Paul Ave when I was supposed to. I was able to turn around after a while and go back.

I do that all the time. When Paul ran at the Lakeville CC meet, I waylaid myself because I was in the wrong lane, which turned out to be a turn lane and I wasn't supposed to turn. I've driven past this place a dozen times, and yet I managed to take a roundabout way to get there. Very irritating.

Anyway, breakfast with Marissa was very nice. The oatmeal pancake…

If you don't do anything exciting, you won't have interesting things to blog about

So you are stuck with a list of things to complain about and then a list of things to not complain about.

Shoebox Princess being whiny:
1. Two kids are home sick today. It's nothing to worry over, one has been feeling lethargic and "sort of" yucky and is full of coughs a mile long, and the other is suffering a "weird" stomach. Both have had runny runny noses. So they are staying home and sleeping.
2. My foot hurts after abusing it this week by exercising. My left foot is the wimpiest foot on the planet. I exercise for a week and it moans and groans and refuses to heft its half of my weight.
3. My sewing room is still full of stuff. There is a lot of stuff in it.
4. The lawn hasn't been mowed in a while. Between Paul's CC schedule and homework and Jimmy's work schedule and homework, there isn't a lot of time when they are available to mow. I plan to let Hayley start mowing soon, but she's sick today.
5. I have tons of apples on my tree…

Itchin' for a pillowfight

Ah, a break from posts about running. All those running posts were making me tired.

I packed a few more things in my sewing room. The shelves are probably 30% emptier now. But before I allow myself to pack, I told myself I had to sew something. Not a huge project type something, I just wanted to get those pants done (see stack of pants in the first photo in this post). I did do a pair today (Marissa, that makes 3 done. 3 more to go--I probably won't get them all done by Friday morning).

Then while I was cleaning out a shelf, a plastic bag fell on the floor. In it was a swatch of pieced material that was sewn from leftover pieces from a quilt that Katie and my mom finished for me. Presumably they gave it to me so I would make something with it, and I thought now would be a good time to make something using the piece. I made a pillowcase out of it. There wasn't enough of the piece of pieced pieces (that phrase makes my tummy all tickley) to do the whole pillowcase, but I…

Four pictures from yesterday's race

You can't see the swelling from the wasp sting in this picture because his smile masks it a little. And the swelling was on the inside of his mouth.
Only four teams ran this meet. Prior Lake is on the far end.
There they go!
Paul was the fourth Laker in. He's on the left.

When eating a cookie is a dangerous thing

Paul had another cross country running meet today. Fortunately it was a home meet so all I had to do was drag my butt over to the high school. I signed up to bring cookies for the team, but of course I waited til the last hour and half to make them. And the first batch burned a little on the bottom. But I made sure I didn't burn the other ones.

After finishing the cookies and boxing them up, I trotted my tushie and the fake child and a picnic dinner for her over to the field to watch some runnin'. I tossed my cookies (not figuratively; no, I LITERALLY threw the cookies I had made) over to the first Laker runner I saw and said, "Dig in." I plopped my hinder in a chair I brought and proceeded to spend the next several minutes swatting wasps away from my face.

A few minutes later, I heard Paul tell someone that he pulled a thorn out of his mouth and that it hurt really bad and his lip was starting to swell. Hmmmm, thorns....wasps flying around....swollen and hurt...…

Shoulda Coulda Wouldn't

Things I was planning to do last night:

1. Sew pants
2. Pack up more of the sewing room
3. Write for Creative Writing class
4. Clean up after fake child
5. Put laundry away

But I played Settlers of Catan with Paul, Hayley, and Matt, and I don't feel guilty AT ALL about not doing the above listed things. Hayley won. Jim handed out desserts and then fell asleep in front of the TV.

Jimmy was at work, pushing carts around. Jim drove him to work and told me later that when they pulled into the Wall*E*mart lot, Jimmy surveyed the lot and said, "Hmmm, not a lot of carts. Looks like it will be an easy night." He's already able to predict probable busy-ness based on an initial survey of carts in the parking lot. Get this child an economist degree!

The Great Room Switch Begins

Here we go!

Now that Katie is out of the house, I want to play some room-switcheroo. We have lived in this house nearly 10 years and have never played that game, and it's about time. There are some families I know who every time I visit, they've played Fruit Basket Upset (or Chinese Firedrill--choose your metaphor) with the sleeping arrangements. After 10 years, I had started to feel really boring.

Hayley is going to get the sewing room, which is the first room to get a throrough cleaning-out. But there is a lot of stuff in that room. See for yourself:
Notice the sewing machine--oh, you can't see it because it's under its cover. Well, anyway, that sewing machine and I have been friends for a lo-o-o-o-o-ong time. I believe I wrote about it in a post sometime back in April. You can also see a picture of my grandparents on the ledge (Hi Grandma and Grandpa!) and you can see a stack of pants on the table that I have to tackle. We could play a whole "I Spy"…

Running against the wind

I finally got to see Paul run today. After missing the most of the varsity tryout, being in Utah for the first race, and the second race being way the heck down in Montgomery-Lonsdale (where??), I was there to watch Paul run in Lakeville. 30 teams competed today and the small park looked more like the State Fair than a park in a rural setting. Police directed traffic and the schools had tarps set up for their "home base." I worried that I wouldn't find the team's base, but theirs was the second one I walked by. Finding Paul proved more difficult; no one knew where he was. I stood around for 20 minutes, found out the start time for the race (5 p.m.), and watched people go by. Finally Paul showed up, embarrassed to see me. Mother and camera! Here he is, arguing with some of the other varsity runners about the actual start time of the race. He thought the race started at 5:30, but he was WRONG.I got a picture of Paul running! He was fifth PL runner in--he sa…

It's all over when the fat lady collapses in a heap on the couch

So, yesterday.

Cross country running practice ends at 4:45 or so. We had planned on eating at 5. I told the lady who was bringing the salad to come at 5. I spent the afternoon making lasagnas. At 3:00, I put the lasagnas in the oven. I grated cheese, I started cleaning (there was a lot to clean).

At 4:00, the timer beeped, signaling the need to put the cheese on the lasagna. Then the phone rang. It was Paul. "We are on our way." I flipped out. WHAT HAPPENED TO "PRACTICE ENDS AT 4:45???" He said, "Oh, practice gets over early on the day before the race." INFORMATION THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN USEFUL TO ME YESTERDAY!!!* The house was still in the advanced stages of wrecktitude and the lasagna--gasp!--was still MOSTLY NOT HOT, even after an hour of baking. I had only just started to boil the water for the spaghetti. Jim wasn't home, Jimmy was ignoring my request for help by SLEEPING, and Matt is still a beginner at the art of being a truly helpful …

Today is all about pasta

I'm going to be up to my elbows in spaghetti sauce all day. Paul's pre-race pasta dinner is tonight. Every time I have people over for whatever reason, I worry that I haven't prepared enough food. And today is no different. How much spaghetti will 35 kids eat? Yes, I know the answer is "A LOT." but how much is "A LOT?" Is it more than "A TON?" or "LOADS?" Will 9 jars of Ragu be enough? And then we must take in to consideration the 2 pans of stuffed shells already made and the 2 pans of lasagna that WILL be made (will I have enough spaghetti sauce for THAT?). Do I have enough spaghetti noodles on hand? I have plenty of elbows, as you can see: (ew. she keeps body parts in her pantry. And they are PLUS-sized elbows! She's a monster!) (OK, it's still early in the morning; I'm a still a little groggy, and I type odd things while groggy)

Now I've forgotten my point. Perhaps there was no point to this post, other…

Jimmy was messing with my camera

Jimmy is taking a photography class at school, and today he came home full of knowledge and information on ISO and shutter speeds. Then I left for church (to sew some T-shirt dresses for Humanitarian aid--3 dresses total were made and I did 2 of them). When I came home, Jimmy was itchin' to show me what he did with my camera. I have to admit, these pictures are cool. I still don't know how he did it--he said something about having to have the room pretty dark and setting the shutter speed so that the camera lens stayed open for several seconds.