Thursday, February 28, 2008

Crazy weekend coming up

This weekend is just going to be nuts, and it starts tomorrow. When the school swim season ended, Mike started swimming for the Dolphin team down in E'town. Tomorrow afternoon he and I are driving over to Owensboro for the first session of a 3-day meet (he's going for just 2 days). Owensboro is an hour and a half from here and in Central time, so we will probably be late getting home. He's going to be beat after swimming the 200-yard IM and the 500-yard freestyle!

Saturday morning, Fred and Mike are heading up to Louisville at the crack of dawn for the 5K run that is the first race of the Louisville Triple Crown of Running (10K and 10-mile races to follow later in March). After the run, they will zip home and shower and then we will all set out together to go back up to Louisville.

Saturday is Annabelle's last day of Broadway Bootcamp, and we will get to go to her open rehearsal at the end of the afternoon. While she is in class though, we will take Mike to get his hair cut and to pick up his new team suit.

Sunday morning we'll be up again before the sun to all head back over to Owensboro for the third day of the swim competition. Mike is doing 4 events on Sunday: 200-yard freestyle; 100-yard backstroke; 200-yard breaststroke; 50-yard freestyle.

I never thought I'd say this, but I can't wait until Monday so that I can get some rest!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Snow day (but only for the dog)

We got an inch or so of snow this morning, but life goes on. Kids are at school; Fred is at work. I had to run Fred to the office after we dropped his car off at the shop, and when I got home, I couldn't resist taking Ginger out in the snow. Watching Ginger in the snow is about the only thing I like about winter!

First she had to contemplate the puffy whiteness, but then she took off running, doing her best imitation of a snowplow (clicking makes the picture bigger):

She found the snow very much to her liking:

And I found THESE, which give me hope that this stupid, stupid winter will be over soon:

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Future lifesaver

Mike has started his lifeguard training and is eagerly looking forward to a summer of productive employment in the field of aquatic safety. My mom was reminding me today how nervewracking it was to watch him in his early swimming lessons, when he refused to jump straight out and into the water. Instead he insisted on turning around in mid-jump so that he landed facing the wall. We just knew he was going to crack his chin wide open, but amazingly enough he never did. He has come a long way since 1996:

Monday, February 25, 2008

What to blog?

Hmmm . . . I'm really stumped today. Mostly I hung out all morning doing schoolwork. Then in the afternoon I

  • spent an hour and a half helping to move band booster crap from the old bandroom to the new bandroom

  • hit Walmart for milk and cereal because our stupid commissary insists on being closed on Mondays

  • returned library books

  • mailed about a dozen different things (I HATE going to the post office, but I don't know why. Suzie, Karla, and Amy--you can all be on the lookout for mail now.)

  • picked Annabelle up at the house and dropped her off at her piano lesson

  • picked up Mike from school (he stayed late for band practice) and dropped him at the house

  • turned around and got Annabelle from piano and brought her home

  • picked up Mike at the house and drove him 30 minutes down to Elizabethtown for 2 hours of swim practice (ow, my aching back! sitting on bleachers for 2 hours is painful) and

  • picked up soup and sandwiches at Panera on our way home for supper
Now I am going to:

  • post this

  • put on my PJs and

  • go to bed
Good night!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Comment rescue

I really suck at responding to my blog's comments. I get so excited by a comment that I want to post a response that is worthy of it. Instead I wind up in some kind of comment paralysis and don't quite get around to it. And now with this Blog365 business, my posts are rolling off the front page so quickly that sometime a post disappears before I get a chance to respond to the comments!

About a week ago I posted a picture of Mike and his friend Dana reliving the experience of teen royalty as Mr. and Miss FKHS. My dad left the following comment: "Not sure who Dana reminds me of, but Mike looks like Sky Masterson, the softhearted gambler played by Marlon Brando in Guys and Dolls." I've never seen Guys and Dolls, so I had to google to see what he was talking about. I think Dad is right:

All Mike needs is a hat . . . and 5 more lady friends.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Tea for two fourteen

Every month or so, the spouses from Fred's unit get together for what we call a "coffee." Tonight's coffee was held at the Gracefully Yours tea room in Vine Grove. Everything was really delicious, food and tea alike! I tried probably 4 different teas and went through at least a dozen sugar cubes. No early bedtime for me tonight!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Winter reading challenge: editing the list

I figured at the outset that my winter reading challenge list would undergo some changes, and sure enough it has.

I got Michael Phelps's book, Beneath the Surface, for Mike for Valentine's Day, and he stayed up late a couple nights in a row and polished it off. He really enjoyed it, so I wanted to read it, too. It was quite good--I am amazed by the dedication of an athlete who talks about his CHRISTMAS MORNING WORKOUT. I wouldn't get up at the crack of dawn to eat chocolate or receive free shoes, but I enjoy reading about people who willingly sacrifice sleep to push their bodies through grueling workouts. (I also like a good Mt. Everest book, although I don't have the slightest inclination towards climbing it myself. Not even for chocolate or free shoes.)
There's this one Indian restaurant in Louisville that I enjoy having lunch at because not only do they have good food but they also have a whole rack of People magazine that you can read while you eat. Today I was enjoying my lunch and catching up on Brangelina's winter vacation and George Clooney's love life, when I turned the page and saw a very familiar face. It was an article about Robert Rummel-Hudson's new book, Schuyler's Monster: A Father's Journey with His Wordless Daughter. I have been reading Rob's blog for years (and really should get around to updating it in my sidebar, since it is no longer called "Darn Tootin'"--it seems I am as bad at sidebar housekeeping as I am at regular housekeeping).
I don't even remember how I got to Rob's blog in the first place, but by the time he was trying to raise money to buy Schuyler her first assisted-language device, I was hooked. I sent a small donation and have continued to read over the years, cheering like mad for all of Schuyler's successes. What surprised me this afternoon was how when I saw Rob and Schuyler looking out at me from the pages of People, I felt like I was bumping into old friends in the strangest of places. I'm not used to knowing the people in People, but I truly feel as though I know Schuyler and Rob, even though they couldn't pick me out of a lineup. My next stop after leaving the restaurant was Borders, where I was happy to find a copy on the shelf. I bought it and brought it home. As soon as I post this, I'm going to head for bed and get busy reading.

So here's the new improved list:

  • Beneath the Surface
  • In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto
  • Nicholas and Alexandra
  • Russian Stories: A Dual-Language Book
  • Schuyler's Monster: A Father's Journey with His Wordless Daughter
  • The Shia Revival: How Conflicts within Islam Will Shape the Future
  • Stupid and Contagious
  • Unhooked: How Young Women Pursue Sex, Delay Love and Lose at Both

Thursday, February 21, 2008

The gift of time

I should be leaving soon for a school board meeting that would most likely have lasted until 3:00 or 3:30. Afterwards, the PTO meeting was scheduled for 4:00. I was going to have to leave that meeting early so that I could get Mike to the gym for his first session of lifeguard training at 5:00.

Well, we have an ice storm heading our way. The schools are releasing the kids at 11:00 (hey, that's now!) in hopes that the kids and staff can make it home before the storm hits. That cancels both meetings, and there is a strong likelihood that Mike lifeguard class will also be canceled.

I'm hoping the weather can hold off for an hour or so. I'm waiting for the kids to get home, and then I need to run to Walmart to pick up some photos and grab something to fix for supper because Fred's tux dinner has also been canceled due to the weather.

I can't believe I have just been given an entire afternoon to sit at home and play catch-up on my homework and work-work! This will be quite nice as long as we don't lose power or Internet.

EDITED TO ADD: No sooner had I posted that than we started getting pelted with freezing rain. I left immediately for Walmart and quickly decided that the pictures could wait for another day, so I just hit the commissary for groceries instead. Got home and found out that Mike's lifeguard class is indeed canceled. Not much else is happening though weatherwise. The ice/sleet/freezing rain seems to have stopped for now.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Making book(s)

One of my favorite things recently has been making photobooks on Shutterfly. They are super easy, and the quality is amazing. I got turned on to them back in November when Sony's Imagestation shut down (screw them--they wouldn't ship to APO addresses), and I got a coupon for a photobook in exchange for transferring my photos over to Shutterfly. I used the coupon to make my dad a book of our adventures in Scotland:

I had such fun with that one that for Christmas I made one for Fred's parents that chronicled their 2 visits to see us in Germany:

I'm proudest though of my most recent one. For Valentine's Day, I gave Annabelle a book of all the adventures the rodents have had over the years:

You can check it out here!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Sweater weather

I was in college when I learned the art of sabotaging relationships through handicrafts. In hindsight, they were probably doomed anyway, but I guess I thought that if I could dazzle the poor guy with my madd needlework skillz that we could still get to happily ever after. It took me a while to wise up, and that is why there is an elite club of men out there who are (or at least were) the proud owners of a variety of cross-stitch projects and even a few hand-knit sweaters.

When Fred and I started dating, one of the first pieces of advice I got from my mom, my sister, my best friend, etc., was this: "For God sake don't make him anything! Not until you've got a ring on your finger at any rate."

The older and wiser me listened, and it wasn't until after we got back from our honeymoon that I decided to point my knitting needles in Fred's direction. I made him a 100% wool Aran sweater that I designed myself, worked in what I am told is the traditional Aran method, which leaves no pesky seams for stitching up at the end:

It's been so stinking cold up here lately that I've been borrowing Fred's sweater quite a lot. I'm still enjoying my scarf project (over halfway done!), and I've been considering doing another Aran sweater out of the same kind of wool. I'm really on the fence though as to whether I feel like doing cables next or maybe some colorwork. I might not know for sure until the next time I go the yarn store.

Here's a picture of Mike wearing Fred's sweater:

Fred seems to be immune to the sweater curse, but I hope Mike doesn't run away from home now.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Sweeney on my mind

I woke up this morning and checked my email and discovered that my Aunt Suzie had whipped up this delightful little slideshow of the Sweeney Todd pics from Annabelle's blog. Very cool!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

See: Annabelle's blog

Today we went up to Louisville to see Sweeney Todd--the play, not the movie. It was SO GOOD, but I promised that I would let Annabelle tell you all about it. So why don't you go over to her blog right now and read her review?

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Déjà vu all over again

Remember back in October when Mike and his friend Dana were the sophomore reps for the Homecoming court? Well, last night was the basketball equivalent of Homecoming, and look who wound up as the 10th-grade reps for Mr. and Miss FKH:

Fred, Annabelle, and I went for the festivities, which occurred between the boys' and girls' basketball game. We were tired and didn't stay for much of the girls game afterwards, leaving Mike to find his own ride home. He didn't seem sorry to see us go though and upon returning home reported that he had had a nice evening.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Winter reading challenge: another update

I'm pleased to report a little more progress in the winter reading challenge, but disappointed to have finished my most recent book so quickly. Stupid and Contagious was a lot of fun with many laugh-out-loud moments. (I'm sure Fred just loves it when he's sound asleep, and I start giggling madly by the glow of my little book light.)

I am currently switching back and forth between Russian Stories (reading the English side and gazing longingly at the Russian side) and In Defense of Food.

  • In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto
  • Nicholas and Alexandra
  • Russian Stories: A Dual-Language Book
  • The Shia Revival: How Conflicts within Islam Will Shape the Future
  • Stupid and Contagious
  • Unhooked: How Young Women Pursue Sex, Delay Love and Lose at Both

Thursday, February 14, 2008

And now it's really over

Swim season, that is. We were supposed to have our end-of-season banquet on Tuesday, but we got cancelled on account of snow and ice. So it was rescheduled for tonight and, while it's not the most romantic thing I can think of to do on Valentine's Day, it was a nice time and a good meal. All the kids got towels with their names embroidered on them. Annabelle got her first varsity letter (now she needs a jacket!), and Mike got another bar for his letter. Mike also got the trophy for sportsmanship on the boys' team:

Today I made prints for all the kids whose picture I took over the past season. I wish I had taken more, as I didn't have shots of everybody. Next season, I promise! (I'm also up to be treasurer for the swim boosters next year.)

It's been a good year!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Sisterhood of the traveling coat

A few months ago, my cousin Becky bought a red jacket because it reminded her of a red coat that our Grandma Jernigan had:

That inspired my Aunt Suzie to get out Grandma's old coat and to send the rest of us Jernigan ladies a message:
You have been deemed worthy of membership in the prestigious society of the Sisterhood of Grandma's Traveling Coat, also known as The RedCoat Society. The sacred red coat will soon be in your city, and the only requirement for membership in the prestigious society of the Sisterhood of Grandma's Traveling Coat is that you have your picture made wearing said coat in the required pose of left arm extended in a friendly greeting. Next, you must e-mail said photo to this address to be published on the Sisterhood's blog. Enclosed is a photo of the founding mother of the Sisterhood and its charter members.
Since then the coat has been traveling around, all over Florida and most recently up to Kentucky, and we have all taken our turns and raised our left hands in allegiance to the Sisterhood:

Go to Suzie's blog to see the full-size pictures. Long live the Sisterhood!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Either I need new glasses . . .

. . . or AOL News needs a new copyeditor:

Snow Ice delay day!

My, things certainly do change quickly around here. By 4 this morning what had started out as a 2-hour delay last night had changed to the cancellation of school entirely. Needless to say, there was much rejoicing around these here parts.

It's not a snow day though. Instead we've got a nice crop of ice going. Oh, well, I wouldn't be out there throwing snowballs anyway! I've got homework to do.

Scenes from the ice palace:


If you look beneath the flag in that one picture, you can see a branch that fell off my neighbor's tree. It doesn't look like much in the picture, but it made a very loud cracking noise as it fell.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Snow delay!

We've had a bit of wintry weather roll into the Kentuckiana region, and the Fort Knox schools have taken the unusual step of declaring a 2-hour delay for tomorrow. Needless to say, the kids and I are thrilled! Ah, nothing like sleeping late on a Tuesday!

Annabelle's friend Katie just came over to collect her for a snowball fight. Before they left for their snow war, they took Ginger out for a quick romp. This is the most snow Ginger has ever seen, and she thought it was pretty neat. Here she is with the girls (she was too busy sniffing the powder to look at the camera):

They took her for a lap around the house. After that, she was quite happy to head back for the warm, cozy house:

Now, I am a Florida girl, so I am not the foremost authority on snow. But isn't it supposed to be silent? I thought that was part of its charm. This snow is sizzling like bacon, which makes me think there is more going on out there than snow. Let's see what Yahoo has to say:


Sunday, February 10, 2008

Winter reading challenge: an update

I'm making a little progress with the winter reading challenge. On Friday night I finished Nicholas and Alexandra. It didn't end any better for the Romanov family this time around than it has any other time I've read it. This was the first time I've read it though since having seen their graves (in August 2004):

Anyway, I really felt myself getting more and more anxious at the upcoming assassination scene, so I have decided to go for something light for my next book. Next up: Stupid and Contagious!

  • In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto
  • Nicholas and Alexandra
  • Russian Stories: A Dual-Language Book
  • The Shia Revival: How Conflicts within Islam Will Shape the Future
  • Stupid and Contagious
  • Unhooked: How Young Women Pursue Sex, Delay Love and Lose at Both

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Judge not lest ye be judged

I wound up volunteering as a judge for drama regionals today. If there is a volunteer position I am less suited for, I would like to know what it is. I would never have signed up in the first place, but Annabelle's drama coach needed to round up a certain number of judges for the competition, and he is a great guy. I really appreciate how much fun Annabelle has with the drama club, so how could I say no?

If drama regionals were American Idol, I would be Paula Abdul except without the good drugs. I can just see me flapping my hands together in a clappy sort of way and making sappy, encouraging comments.

Judging was excruciating for me! I live in a rainbow-colored world where everybody is a winner, but beyond that, all the acts that came before me were just so good that it was horrible to have to rank them.

The best part about being a judge was that when regionals ended in disappointment for Annabelle, I was able to tell her a little bit about the judge's side of things. I told her that for one thing, I really felt inadequately trained for such an important job. I also told her that I was stunned to see some of the acts that I ranked as being the highest scoring did NOT wind up going on to the state level. (Each act got performed for 2 different judges, and the scores were averaged.)

Apparently there is some sort of formula for number of judges that a school is required to provide. It has something to do with the number of contestants, and then if you don't have enough volunteers, your entry fees get raised. I have gone on record that next year I will happily ransom myself out of the judging business!

Friday, February 08, 2008

Today's post

This is today's post. Not too thrilling, is it? We've had a fun but hectic evening running up to Louisville, and we have to get up at the crack of dawn for Annabelle's drama regionals. So this is all you're getting today. I will try to do better tomorrow!

Thursday, February 07, 2008


I am not generally a good one for spotting upcoming trends. I bought a computer 10 years ago that had a CD drive even though I was pretty sure I would never have use for such a thing.

The other night, however, I shared a hotel room in Frankfort with another mom whose kids made the second day of competition at Regionals. We had so much fun! We hung out at the pool eating pizza with the coach, and then once we got back to our room, we stayed up way too late gossiping and giggling.

In the morning we talked about what a shame it is that we girls stop having slumber parties when we grow up. And then it hit me!

You know how 10 years ago nobody was in a book club, but now EVERYBODY has a book club? Well, my prediction is that in another 10 years, we're going to start having sleepovers again. I'll bring the chocolate-chip cookies!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

'Twas a dark and stormy night

Oh, man, I feel raw this morning. I'm sure it didn't help that I had a cup of coffee at my meeting yesterday, but I just could not get to sleep last night. First I stayed up a little later than usual working on my homework. Then I got embroiled in my book, and I just don't know how one is expected to close the book and turn out the light when the last Tsar of Russia is abdicating his throne, not only for himself but also for his son! And then the weather hit . . .

Lots of rain, lots of wind, lots of thunder and lightning. The power went out briefly, which reminded me that I should get up and unplug the computer. I'm glad I did--I don't know if the zap traveled through the cable or through the power cord, but I'm minus one router this morning. Oh and that poor old laptop with the sucky spacebar that was giving Annabelle such fits last night? Yeah, it doesn't want to turn on this morning. I think it might be fried.

When the power came back on, I turned on the TV to watch the weather. Once I could see that we were in the clear, I tried to get to sleep, but a firetruck pulled up in front of our house with its lights flashing. I got up and spied on the firemen through the miniblinds but never did figure out what they were up to. Pretty soon they left, and I finally drifted off.

I suppose I should go get dressed. I've got yet another meeting today at 10. I wish I could just crawl back into bed though!

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

The itchy and scratchy show

Sunday night Mike had a crop of what appeared to be bug bites around his knees. At first I thought maybe they were some weird side effect of his shaving his legs last week. I gave him 2 Benadryls and sent him to bed.

Yesterday he complained about the spots off and on, and we realized that they were disappearing in one place and reappearing in another. First it was knees and elbows; then it was wrists and shins. Two more Benadryls and off to bed again.

This morning he was really suffering, so I decided to take him to the doctor. At 6:30, I took this photo of his elbows to send to my mom. By 7:30, when we left for the doctor, his elbows were fine but his feet were so swollen he couldn't curl his toes.

Turns out the doc was as baffled as we are. No new foods, new soaps, new pets, etc. He did, however, give Mike a 5-day course of Prednisone to kick the hives into submission and a couple antihistamine prescriptions for after that. Apparently one of the side effects of Prednisone is an increase in appetite. This could get ugly.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Back in the swim

My week is shaping up to be a hodge-podge of homework, meetings, and driving Mike back and forth to E'town. He just started today swimming with a team down there. This is his trial week to make sure it's something he wants to do. It seems like a great program though, and he is really excited about it.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Regionals report

Well, the weather cooperated with us on Friday, and the swimmers took off on the bus right on schedule as soon as they checked in with their homeroom teachers. Fred and I drove over to Versailles later on, after stopping at Barnes and Nobles in E'town to pick up some Starbucks.

We arrived just in time to check in for our volunteer shift. They had the volunteers divided into 2 shifts, and it was important to me that we work first shift, which meant sacrificing being able to see (and tape) Mike's 200-yard medley relay but which would allow us to see (and tape) both kids' individual events later in the afternoon. A regular Sophie's choice for the modern mom, I tell you.

I did peek over to lane 8 from lane 3 and watched Mike's leg of the relay. He came running over later to tell us that with a time of 2:06.63 (seed time was 2:13.01), the relay had made it to the second day, which took a lot of the pressure off.

Annabelle's event for the afternoon was the 100-yard backstroke, an event she had done only once before in competition. Watching her swim just takes my breath away. There's my baby, rising like the phoenix from liquid ashes and flinging herself backwards into the race, and it's all I can do to hold the camera still:

She was a little nervous about pacing herself from the flags to the side of the pool, but she timed it perfectly and nailed her turns like a pro:

At 1:40.74, Annabelle had the second-slowest seed time in her heat, but she still finished on top at 1:29.49. You can watch her event here and you can go here to read about the meet in her own words.

Mike's individual event, the 100-yard breaststroke, happened a little later in the afternoon. Mike has worked so hard on his breaststroke this season, and it really shows:

He finished third in his heat and fourteenth overall, which made him the second alternate for the finals the next day. His final time was 1:16.86, which was a personal best for him and made him really happy:

You can watch his event here.

By the end of Friday, Fort Knox had 12 swimmers who had qualified to come back the next day--3 relay teams with 2 swimmers also qualifying outright in an individual event each and 2 more (including Mike) qualifying as alternates in their individual events. This is HUGE for us! I am particularly impressed with the success of our relay teams. As I explained to Mike, any school can get lucky enough to have one or 2 superstars, but the success of a group says a lot about the underlying hard work and dedication.

It was so exciting to be back at the pool the second day. I vowed to videotape everybody from Fort Knox that day.

Mike's relay team finished 12th with a time of 2:07.40 but wound up in 11th place when another team was DQ'ed. We were joking that their fiendish plan not to come in last had worked!

Watch the 200-yard medley relay finals here.

You can watch our contenders in the women's 100-yard breaststroke here (8th place); the women's 100-yard backstroke here (10th place); the women's 200-yard freestyle relay here (7th place); and the men's 400-yard freestyle relay here (12th place).

Before we headed back to Fort Knox, I gathered some of our swimmers together to take a picture with their beloved coach:

I couldn't resist modeling our emergency goggles:

These are the goggles that we learned the hard way always to keep at the ready, because you just don't know when somebody's goggles are going to give up the ghost!

So tell me now, 'cause I know you know: Who rocks the blocks?

Birthday report

Well, today is my birthday, and I am officially 41. Funny . . . I don't feel a day over 50. Ha ha, no, actually I pretty much think of myself as 30.

I had a lovely day, very calm and quiet. Under normal circumstances, I might have wanted to go out to dinner or something, but after the past 2 crazy exciting days, I can't think of anything I would rather do than just what I did--sit on my butt behind the computer and work on my pics and videos from the swim meet!

We had a special dinner at home (Fred grilled salmon) and then presents and cake. So happy birthday to me, and now let's get on to the swimming report!

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Longer post tomorrow

I'm beat. Mike and I just walked in the door, and I just want to check my email and head for bed. I think though that we have finally answered the question that has plagued mankind for eons.

Who rocks the blocks? KNOX ROCKS THE BLOCKS! Check back tomorrow for pics and video.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Cautiously optimistic

Well, it's 40 degrees out there right now and raining, which is way better than the ice and snow they were talking about last night. The kids just got on the schoolbus and should be leaving for Regionals right after signing in with their homeroom teachers. We have heard nothing of a delay or cancellation.

I'm blogging this morning because if Mike's relay team makes it to the second day, I'm staying over there with them. Cross fingers for continued good crappy weather (never thought I would describe cold, rainy, and windy as "good") and excellent swim karma!