Sunday, August 31, 2008

Film fest

This afternoon, Fred and I watched To Kill a Mockingbird with Annabelle. Long-time readers might remember Mike's sincere distaste for that movie, so it will come as no surprise that he didn't join us. Now we're getting ready to watch a DVD that he picked out . . . Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

All's well

Mike's experience with his wisdom teeth has been about as good as one could hope. He's not eating much, but he said that had today been a school day, he would have been able to go. So far he has had only 2 doses of pain medication today, and both times he has taken 1 Percocet instead of the 2 he is allowed at one time.

It's nice having Fred home again. He and I spent this morning running errands. Then we all watched the film Angela's Ashes this afternoon. Then Fred and I went to a cookout with some friends. Just a nice, quiet Saturday . . .

Friday, August 29, 2008

Paging the Tooth Fairy

Mike had his wisdom teeth taken out today. It all went about as well as could be expected. By the time we got back to Knox from Louisville and got his prescription filled, the local anesthetic was starting to wear off, and he was hurting pretty bad. Two Percocets later though, and he was feeling much better. Ice has also helped a lot.

I don't think he looks terribly chipmunky:

Anybody wishing to see his teeth can click here. If, on the other hand, you would rather see a picture of a cute kitten wearing a sweater, click here.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Lady in waiting

Can you believe it has been well over a month since Fred took off for Pennsylvania? He's coming home tonight for his first visit, and we're all quite excited! His flight was supposed to come in a little before 9, and now it's looking like it'll be closer to 9:30.

Tomorrow we're kicking off the holiday weekend by taking Mike to have 4 impacted wisdom teeth removed. I'm afraid this won't be a very fun weekend for Mike.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Internet love affair

Have I told you lately how much I love Zappos? In case you've never shopped there before, here's how it works: You buy stuff from them, and they ship it to you for free. If you decide you don't want to keep something you bought, they pay for the return shipping and refund your money promptly. This month, for example, Zappos sent 3 pairs of Vans slip-on shoes to my house, but only 1 pair wound up joining the family.

I bought a baby present on Zappos the other day (who knew they had so much more than shoes?!). When it arrived on Monday, the UPS man dropped off 2 boxes. I wasn't too concerned, I do occasionally order stuff and forget all about it (sleep shopping?), but when I opened the second box yesterday, I found that it contained a backpack that should have gone to a woman out in Washington. So I called Zappos to explain the situation, and not only are they having the UPS man come back to my house today to pick up the box, but they also sent me a $25 coupon to say thanks. How nice is that?!

I think I will eventually apply the coupon to the purchase of some really nice boots (when I've set aside enough cash to pay the difference). I heart you, Zappos!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Through the years

My friend Tess found the most amazing site where you can Yearbook Yourself. It's almost like a time machine!

Here I am in 1952:

In 1958:

In 1964:

In 1966:

In 1972:

In 1984:

And in 2000:

I'm not sure why my head shrunk in 2000. Maybe it collapsed under the weight of those bangs.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Driving my life away

I drove up to L'ville this morning to take Annabelle's Mac to the Apple Store because apparently 3.5 hours at the Genius Bar Friday night just weren't enough. They wound up keeping it for the day, so she and I drove back up there this evening to pick it up and arrived home just a little while ago. That's why I have nothing interesting to blog today, and I am too tired to seek out an LOLcat for your amusement. I'll try to do better tomorrow.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Scenes from a birthday

Isn't technology grand? Fred was able to join us for the present opening, although he was not able to enjoy the brownies with us:

This was the present I was most excited about giving Annabelle:

In fact, I had a REALLY hard time not giving it to her yesterday so she could wear it to her bassoon lesson. Oh, well, next lesson then!

Thirteen is the toughest!

When Annabelle turned 3, no amount of discussion would convince her that she was not, in fact, turning 6 as Mike had done the month before. She adamantly insisted on a 6 candle for her cake and a plastic dinosaur as the decoration. This picture really sums up her immense satisfaction with the situation:

Happy thirteenth (not sixteenth) birthday, sweetie!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Touch THIS!

Look at me, blogging from Panera on my iPod Touch! Today is my day for Getting Stuff Done. So far I have dropped the car off for an oil change and learned how to get online using the Touch. More stuff to follow . . . This little keyboard is making me nuts.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Where did this week go?

I can't believe how fast time is flying. This week has just zoomed right by us. This time tomorrow, the kids will be one-third of the way through the first quarter. How freaky is that?!

I'm still recovering from how dorked up my sleep schedule got from staying up late to cheer for Michael Phelps. Last night I was asleep by 11, which was the earliest I've passed out in a while. I'm hoping for 10:30 tonight. After I post this, I'm going to turn off the computer and watch the last part of "Match Point" (NetFlix makes a fortune off of me because it takes me sooooo long to get through a movie) and then read myself to sleep.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

See? Salt.

Remember ages ago when my mom joined the kids and me on what would come to be known as the hell-you-don't-know tour of Poland? We wound up taking a tour of a salt mine, and while I was there I bought some salt:

For the longest time, I didn't use it because this was, after all, special salt. Eventually though I decided that was stupid, so I started sprinkling it around. The whole time, I have been enjoying it and telling myself that when it runs out I will simply buy more on the Internet, because is there anything that's not for sale on the Internet?

As luck would have it, I recently ran out, and it turns out that there IS something that is not for sale on the Internet. Polish salt. Damn.

Edited to add: Oh, look what I just found in the Polish Yellow Pages! I've sent an email. Cross fingers!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Who invented online pizza ordering?

I want to hug that person. I hate calling strangers on the phone, and I especially hate dialing for pizza. They always ask if you can hold, but it never seems that saying no is an option.

Look, Audrey put my pizzas in the oven at 5:07:

Now I've got a new update alerting me that William is on his way here with the pizzas. Go, William, go!

I wish I could cook supper like this every night. Just tell the computer what I want and watch while unseen hands do all the work.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Is synchronized swimming an Olympic sport?

I'm too tired to create my own material, so here is an lolcat for you. Maybe Olympic, maybe not:

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Going nowhere fast

We spent $500 monthly on gas in June and July of this year. Some pitiful fraction of that is attributable to Fred, but Fred is a pretty low-mileage guy, given that I can see his old office building from my window. Not what you would call a huge commute, you know? My poor minivan, on the other hand, racked up the miles this summer--driving to and from Alabama, back and forth to E'town for play rehearsal and performances, back and forth to Louisville for haircuts, bassoon lessons, and general shopping and eating.

Know how much I've spent this month on gas? Sixty bucks. And I've still got a quarter of a tank left! Admittedly I started the month of August with a full tank of gas bought the end of July, but still. That's a pretty hefty drop, don't you think? All I'm doing now is driving to and from the high school to get Mike after cross country practice, driving just off post once a week to take Annabelle to her musical theater class, zipping her over to her piano lesson once a week, and making the occasional trip to the commissary. The dance studio is probably 5 miles away, but everything else is well within 2 miles of the house.

I bought this current tank of gas on the 8th of August, and I hope I can make it last until this Friday. We go back up to Louisville that afternoon for another bassoon lesson, so I'll definitely need to fill up then. As if I needed more incentive to stay home!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Literary cat is obnoxious

With Fred gone, I use his half of the bed as a storage area of sorts. It's good for holding stacks of laundry, the TV remotes, perhaps an empty popcorn bowl, and of course a book. Last night when I was ready to go to sleep, I set my current read face-down on Fred's side of the bed and drifted off. Sometime in the middle of the night I was awakened by the sound of Eddie viciously attacking my book. I swatted him away and went back to sleep and thought nothing more of it until tonight, when I picked up the book to continue reading:

I'm glad that was my book and not my face. We didn't name him after Edward Scissorhands, but perhaps we should have.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Light at the end of the tunnel

I've been working on a pretty big indexing project for the past couple of weeks. The first week was fairly laid back, and I kept figuring to myself how much I needed to do to get it done by the deadline, which I thought was next Monday. Then somewhere around this past Tuesday, I happened to look at my calendar and realized that no, the deadline is Saturday, not Monday. I had a bit of a panic attack and then started working twice as hard as I had been.

I finished it up just a little while ago. This will actually turn out for the better because now I have my weekend free to get stuff done around the house, but it's been a tense few days getting to this point.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Cross country

There's a nice write-up in today's post newspaper about the start of the high school's cross country season. Of particular interest here: "The boys team features two returning runners—Robert Barrasa, who was in the top five runners in the region last season, and Mike Taylor, who earned the most improved runner award last year."

The article also includes this photo, which is regrettably tiny:

That's Mike, fourth from the left and wearing a light blue shirt (that was Fred's in the early 1980's--it's vintage!).

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Not much to report

I've just been working a lot lately. I have a big project in and for some reason I thought it was due next Monday. Um, no. It's due Saturday. So the rest of this week will be pretty intense, but the weekend should be nice and relaxing once I get the project turned in.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Naked ladies

It'll be interesting to see what sort of pervy traffic Google sends my way for that post title. But I'm not talking about REAL naked ladies--I'm talking about flowers.

I have this little corner of my yard that is kind of the bulb graveyard. During the winter I love to buy forced bulbs such as tulips, daffodils, etc., and let them bloom in my windowsill. When they've done their thing, I stick them out on the back porch to finish fading away, and then eventually Fred digs a hole and sticks them in that flowerbed. It's always a mystery as to what will come back up!

Last spring I had a huge mess of foliage that I chalked up to be underperforming hyacinths--lots of greenery but no flowers:

This past week, I had some mysterious flowers that I don't remember ever seeing before come snaking up out of the ground. No leaves at all, just long stems and pod-like buds that turned out to be some sort of lily:

I found out the other day that these mysterious beauties are called "naked ladies" or "surprise lilies" (which is accurate but not as kinky sounding). According to the Louisville paper:
The surprise lily is the more common in our area, and it is fun to own and operate. Its green foliage boils up in spring, then disappears. Just when you've forgotten about them, up pop the rose-pink, amaryllislike blooms on leggy, 2-foot stems.
Yep, that's pretty much what happened here!

Monday, August 11, 2008


I could cry.

Remember that huge trash bag of empty plastic bottles I schlepped home from the high-school dance Friday night? I set it next to my recycling containers and planned on opening it up next Thursday before the recycling truck came around so that the collectors could clearly see the recyclable nature of its contents. It never occurred to me that on Monday (today), some OTHER truck--possibly yard waste, possibly bulk trash--would come along and TAKE MY BAG OF BOTTLES!!!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Olympic evening

Mike and I are spending the evening hanging out in my room watching the Olympics. It's weird to think that it has already been 4 years since we watched part of the opening ceremonies of the last summer Olympics in a truck stop in the Czech Republic!

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Saturday report

Well, the dance was a smashing success (I think they had around 150 kids there, which is almost half the school.) I stayed in the hallway handing out refreshments, but the kids seemed to have be having fun in the cafeteria.

My big success was rescuing nearly all the plastic water bottles from the trash. I was appalled last year at the homecoming dance to see so much plastic tossed in the trash, so last night I went prepared and wound up dragging home a huge yard bag of empty bottles. It's sad though to see how much water is wasted because kids take a bottle, set it down, lose track of it, get another, lather, rinse, repeat. So we've decided that we're going to be pouring water into paper cups at this year's homecoming dance.

Today I got to sleep in until after 9, which was really nice. Then Mike and I spent the afternoon in Louisville. We bought him new shoes for cross-country, went to lunch, and got his hair cut.

I think tomorrow Annabelle and I are going to go see the new Traveling Pants movie and finish off her school-supplies shopping.

Friday, August 08, 2008

In case I turn into a pumpkin . . .

I'm leaving in a bit to chaperone the back-to-school dance at the high school. I'm slipping in today's blog post here in case I really wind up having to stay until midnight. Nothing terribly exciting happened today--I scored 3 shirts at Marshalls, restored the roots of my hair to their rightful color, and treated myself to lunch at my favorite Indian restaurant (where they keep a rack of recent People magazines). Ever since I got home, I've been working on my current indexing project. Nice day, but not terribly exciting.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Poor sick little (big) dude

Mike has been fighting a bug for the past few days, and today it totally got the better of him. No voice, fever, aches--the works. We wound up at the doc's at 7:30 this morning where they tested him for strep and mono, both of which were negative. I was kind of hoping for strep, as once you get the drugs it's a pretty quick recovery. Looks like it's just a yucky generic virus. He's hoping to be well enough tomorrow to make it to school at least for his AP classes.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Home sweet apartment

Fred sent me some pictures of his apartment in Pennsylvania. The decor style is "early cast-off," but you can see that it is as neat and tidy as you would expect Fred's apartment to be:

It's a step up from his digs in Iraq:

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Second day

The positive reports from the first day of school were echoed today, as both kids seem quite satisfied with their classes and teachers this year. This afternoon Annabelle and I attended her school's open house, and I got to meet everyone.

I am getting ready now to purchase Fred's plane ticket to come home over Labor Day weekend. Hard to believe he has been gone for 2 weeks already! This is so much nicer than a deployment.

Monday, August 04, 2008

First day of school . . . and a visitor

Well, today marks our FOURTH first day of school at Fort Knox. Mike is a junior, and Annabelle is in eighth grade:

Apparently the universe was worried I might be lonely today, so this little guy showed up on my back porch:

I watched him sit there for at least an hour. At one point an adult robin flew over and stuffed a worm in him, and he seemed happy enough. I knew he couldn't sit there all day--not without baking once the afternoon sun hit him, at any rate. So when my soon-to-be-former neighbor Tammy (wah!) arrived to clear her quarters, we went on one final bird rescue together. We herded him into a corner and Tammy grabbed him, and we walked him across the alley and deposited him in a nice shrubby patch. You should have heard the little stinker scream when Tammy nabbed him! That brought out the avian cavalry--at least a half-dozen robins flew in from all over and even a cardinal stopped by to see what was going on. I joked with Tammy that she was playing the Tippi Hedren role in our backyard production of The Birds.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Hot stuff

Our AC died last night. The compressor seems to be compressing, but the fan just says "nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn" and refuses to blow the air around. I've got a service call in, and the guy is going to come take a look at it this afternoon. He said though, "I sure hope this isn't one of those calls I've been dreading for a week. Some of the fans in those old houses take these big motors, and we're out of them." Uh oh. That doesn't sound good.

For now we have the windows open, and it's not too bad. I suppose as the day gets warmer, we will likely all take our laptops and head for the basement. It's always cool down there.

I made blueberry muffins for the kids this morning to mark the last day of summer vacation. No way was I going to turn on the oven in the kitchen though! Instead, I moved my convection oven out to the front porch and baked 3 trays of minimuffins, one after another after another. The convection oven is too small to hold a regular-sized muffin tin. It's kind of like the EZ Bake Oven I never got.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Midnight shopping trip

For the past few months, Annabelle has said that at midnight on August 2, she would be standing in line at the bookstore waiting to get her hands on Breaking Dawn, the latest volume in the Twilight series. We always assumed that the bookstore in question would be Barnes and Noble down in E'town. I happened to call early yesterday evening, however, to make certain that they would indeed be celebrating the midnight launch and found out that no, they wouldn't but their sister stores in Louisville would.

I cannot even begin to tell you how NOT thrilled I was at the idea of driving to Louisville (and home again) in the middle of the night. For one thing, I had just spent the whole day there with Annabelle, buying her back-to-school clothes. For another, I just don't see that well at night and 31W is scaaaaaaaaaaary.

Fortunately, The Bookstore right here Radcliff stayed open to provide the latest dose of teenage vampire love to eager readers. So yay for them, and yay for me for not having to make a midnight run out of town!

Friday, August 01, 2008

My big backyard

I like living on an Army post. I like seeing helicopters and parachutes appear at odd moments. I like hearing the distant rumble of artillery fire and the much closer blasts of the bugle calls. I like living someplace where the lowering of the flag each day is marked with cannon fire, even though I will plan my schedule so as to avoid driving near the parade field at 5 o'clock and having to stop and get out. I like being a part of such a wildly diverse community of people who have so many important things in common.

This morning I walked from my house to a change of command on Brooks Field, and as I listened to the Army band and watched the commanders review the troops from a WWII-era jeep, I thought about just how much I like living on post. I wish I had thought to take my camera so I could have some pictures to share with you (just like I wished for my camera the other evening when I saw that big ol' coyote ambling along the side of the road). Since I didn't, I will share a rather cool photo that I took at a friend's change of command at Fort Sam Houston back in 2002: