Tuesday, September 30, 2008

If there's anything more tedious than packing . . .

. . . it must be reading about packing. Sorry about that, but I have got our Florida trip on the brain and can think of little else. I got a remarkable amount of stuff accomplished today, up to and including getting a pedicure, so now my toenails will be cute in Florida.

Ginger will have sparkly clean teeth for her trip to Florida. She spent today at the vet getting that taken care of.

Look out, Florida, here we come (almost)!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Getting ready to get ready

I've been feeling rather antsy the past couple of days, wanting to get ready for our trip but having it be too early for most tasks. I can't clean the house too early, for example, or it will just be dirty again by the time we leave. I can't pack too soon, or I'll have nothing to wear for our last days at home. Last night I did work for several hours on the paper that is due at midnight on Friday for my class this week. I'll turn it in Wednesday night, and then all I'll have to do school-wise for the week that we're in Florida is keep up with the class discussion board.

Between the anticipation over the trip and the iced tea I had at Panera yesterday afternoon, I could NOT sleep last night. I finally turned off the computer at 1 a.m. and watched Mad Men. When that went off at 2, I STILL had trouble falling asleep.

I'm getting to bed early tonight though because tomorrow I can finally start DOING STUFF that will move me towards getting this show on the road!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Out on the town

Greetings from Panera! Annabelle is at an ice cream social with her youth theater peeps, and I'm here doing my homework . . . just as soon as I finish checking my email and catching up on my boards.

It was so sweet watching her reunite with her fellow castmembers. A couple of girls came running out and hugged her and swept her off with them. It's nice to see that she has found her tribe.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

This and that

I started preparations for our trip today, although most of what I did could probably have stayed undone for another couple of weeks (like cleaning out my email). Still, it makes me feel better to know that things will be in order when I come home. It's too early to start really packing, but I'm trying to get stuff together a bit. I'm also trying to work ahead in my class so that I don't have to be too studious while on vacation.

I spent a while this afternoon downloading podcasts to amuse me on the drive down. Annabelle and I are going to Target tomorrow, and I'm going to get one of those adapters so that I can play my ipod through my car sound system. I hate listening to books on tape while I drive, but I do love me some NPR, so I have close to 20 hours of "Car Talk," "This American Life," and "Splendid Table," as well as a few other things that caught my eye (ear?).

Friday, September 26, 2008


This time a week from now the kids and I will be in DeLand, FL, and we can't wait! This weekend the kids and I are going to be hard at work to get organized so that we can pull out of here in a timely fashion on Thursday (2-day drive). I spent today cleaning up some loose ends--turned in a freelance project and started working ahead in my class so that I won't have to spend much time studying over vacation. I also took Annabelle up to Louisville for a bassoon lesson and supper at our favorite Vietnamese restaurant. There's plenty still to be done, but right now I'm going to curl up in bed and watch the presidential debate!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Must see TV

Annabelle and I just got back from her youth orchestra rehearsal, and the season premiere of "The Office" is coming on in 5 minutes. Why don't you go here and find a nice LOLcat?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Telephone skit

[A telephone rings.]

ME: Hello?

CALLER: Hi, I'm George Soandso calling from Worldperks VISA. May I please speak to Annabelle Taylor?

ME: This is Annabelle's mother. Can I help you?

CALLER: Well, I'm calling to speak to Annabelle Taylor. Is she available?

ME: Well, yes, she is . . . because she's home sick today from EIGHTH GRADE!

CALLER: [sighing] That's kind of what I thought. OK, I'll make a note of that. Sorry to bother you. Have a good day. Goodbye.

ME: Goodbye.

[Annabelle, I think I just submarined your first credit card offer. You'll thank me for that one day.]

Where the wild things are

I took Ginger outside this morning at around 9 and was astounded to see a fox hanging out in the front yard of the house that is catty corner to us. I raced to grab my camera and zipped back outside just in time to see him take off:

I walked down the street and found him lurking in the backyard. Thanks to the shakiness of my hands from all the excitement and the excessive amount of zoom, this looks like a photograph of Bigfoot's dog, but I promise you that it is a fox:

On my way back in, I snapped a shot of our groundhog George:

We like to say that George is outstanding in his field.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Flamingo fest

Saturday night was a special occasion here at Fortress Knox. The whole neighborhood came together--flamingo and gnome lovers alike--to celebrate that magnificent pink bird. At first I was worried that I had nothing to wear that was worthy of such a momentous occasion, but I was fortunate to be able to borrow THE perfect dress from one of my new neighbors:

Annabelle and I were on a fairly short leash, as I had to get back to the school for the homecoming dance, but we set off down the road and found Canada House decked out in full splendor:

Pink was the official color of the evening, and everybody took part:

Here are our gracious host and hostess, our lovely neighbors from the north:

And here is a photographic feat that is rarer than a blue famingo--a triple-bunny-ears shot:

It made me feel warm and fuzzy inside to see these neighbors set aside their lawn-art weapons and come together for a night of fellowship. (Of course, you know we're all just DYING to see what happens next at that end of the street!)

Monday, September 22, 2008

Homecoming: extended version

Since I'm not going to make my meeting tonight, I figured I would take a little time and post the pictures from homecoming, which I know some of you have been anxiously awaiting.

When Brittany arrived, there was the exchanging of flowers:

Then, figuring that the inside of my front door just wasn't festive enough for such a special occasion, we went into the yard to get some pictures.

Mike and Brittany:

Brittany and her sister:

Mike, looking like he's giving new meaning to the phrase "double dating":

After the kids left, Annabelle and I made a brief appearance at a party of our own, which I shall tell you about tomorrow. I had to get back home by 7:30 to leave for the dance. The dance seemed to go over really well. We had about 250 kids there and a ton of free refreshments.

Remember my ill-fated effort to collect the bottles after the back-to-school dance? This time I was determined that come hell or high water we were not going to shove a lot of plastic into a landfill. I wound up stationing myself by the trash cans and grabbing the used cups as kids came up to throw them away (and occasionally digging around in the trash in the dark for those that made it past me). The teachers were a big help towards the end of the evening in collecting abandoned cups from the tables and adding them to the pile.

When all was said and done, this is what we had saved for recycling (that's about 600 plastic cups behind the water bottles):

It is now in my back yard, tucked away behind our grill to hide from the bulk pickup people and waiting for Thursday's recycling truck.

Political Monday

My parents got to see Barack Obama in Daytona Beach last Saturday. They said he was quite inspiring! Here's a photo that Dad took at the event:

Change? Yeah, I'll take some of that, please.

I left my name and number at the local Obama headquarters and got a call this afternoon informing me of a meeting tonight. So as soon as I heat up some soup for Annabelle (she's not feeling well), I'm out the door!

Edited to add: Well, it looks like I WON'T be going to the meeting after all. I just took Annabelle's temperature, and my crappy thermometer that refuses to register anything higher than 99 says her temp is 100.8. This after 2 Motrin over an hour ago! I'm thinking you might be getting an LOLcat on Annabelle's blog tonight.

Sunday, September 21, 2008


Back to the goofy, fun stuff . . .

Yesterday morning before the cross-country meet, I just had to laugh and snap a picture when Mike and Annabelle's friend Katie showed up looking like they had been dressed by the same blind designer:

Sad news

I got some rather upsetting news about halfway through the dance last night. One of Mike and Annabelle's teammates from last year's swim team was killed in an accident yesterday afternoon. We're waiting to find out details for the funeral, as I'm sure the coach will try to get some of the team together for that.

I have a lot of funny, silly, goofy stuff to post, and I'm going to try to get a jump on that this afternoon (once I take care of all the stuff I let slide in the lead up to homecoming--heck, I still have a lasagna pan full of now cold soapy water from Friday night's pasta dinner sitting on my kitchen counter). But I just wanted to take a moment to acknowledge what has happened.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Homecoming 2008

I started my day by dropping Mike off at the high school to catch the bus for the cross-country meet and then going over to the middle school to decorate for tonight's homecoming dance. (Due to construction at the high school, the dance is being held at the middle school.) Then I ran out to E'town to watch him run (good run, too, especially given that this was his first one back after being injured), brought him home, and went back to finish the decorating.

Mike just left with his date and her sister to pick up more friends and go out to dinner before the dance. Now I'm going to stop by a neighborhood party for an hour or so before racing back to the middle school to work the refreshment table from 8 to midnight. I wanted to get a picture posted first though, with a promise of more to follow tomorrow:

Friday, September 19, 2008

Ah, sweet silence!

I just got into my jammies and crawled into bed with my computer. I have been living for this moment since about 3 this afternoon!

Today has been fun but crazy. I started off by going to the coffee for the International Group this morning. Then I hit the commissary and spent the afternoon cleaning and cooking for the pasta dinner for Mike's cross-country team, which we had here at 5 this evening. That kept me busy until just a few minutes ago with cleaning up, but I finally got the bulk of it put away and left the rest to soak. The kids are off at the homecoming game, the dog has been walked and put away, and the cat and I are enjoying a quiet moment together:

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Fashion disaster day

Today was fashion disaster day at the high school as part of spirit week. I have plenty of fashion disasters, but they don't seem to lift my spirits! Then again, mine aren't generally QUITE as disastrous as this:

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Long drive home

The kids and I journeyed up to Louisville this afternoon to get haircuts for them and a tie for Mike for Saturday night's homecoming dance. I was a little concerned, because the newspaper for the past couple of days has been all about the severe damage from Sunday's windstorm. It's really strange up there--you'll go along for several blocks and traffic lights are out and chain restaurants like MacDonalds are closed due to electrical outages. But then the next thing you know, the lights are working and stores are open and everything seems normal. Because of the places where the traffic signals are out though, traffic was pretty intense. It normally takes me an hour to get home from just about any place in Louisville; tonight it took an hour and a half.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Political (and musical) funny

Have you seen this yet? It cracked me up:

Monday, September 15, 2008

What not to wear?

Homecoming is frightfully early this year, and spirit week began today. Mike was a vision in pink in my Hello Kitty pajamas and Annabelle's cat slippers for jammie day:

Sunday, September 14, 2008


Perhaps it's in poor taste to mention our windy day when people elsewhere are still mucking out after a hurricane, but for us, we had quite the blustery day. At one point when I checked the weather, we had 45 MPH winds.

Mike reported that a friend of his on the other side of the neighborhood had a tree down, so I had to go check that out:

The people up the road from them had a good chunk of tree fall as well:

I'm afraid that those shots make our own "damage" look pretty paltry:

Mike was having his first official driving lesson in the middle of this storm. He has driven a lot with me and with Fred, but we wanted to have him get some real training by somebody who knows what he's doing. When the teacher came to pick Mike up, I asked if maybe we should cancel because of the wind, but he said no, Mike needs to learn in all sorts of conditions anyway. That made sense, so they went on with it.

Mike reported back that it was definitely worthwhile. This fellow had him driving down around E'town where there were traffic lights out and tree limbs down all over the place. He said he did get a little nervous when the teacher whipped out his cell phone and started canceling the rest of his lessons for the day because "it's too dangerous to be on the road right now." But he lived through it and got some good experience, and I didn't get to share that experience, so everybody is happy. Now if we can order up torrential rains for his lesson next Sunday and maybe a blizzard and total solar eclipse for the following one, he'll have gotten to practice in just about every stressful driving condition imaginable before he goes to take his driving test in Florida in October!

Saturday, September 13, 2008


I realized yesterday that I am in dire need of some new pants, and I found some I liked in an Eddie Bauer catalog. I don't know why I get the Eddie Bauer catalog, having never once ordered anything from there, and I don't know how their sizes tend to run. I thought about running right up to the EB store in Louisville to try some on--that's how excited I was--but decided to wait until today, since Annabelle had a bassoon lesson in Louisville this morning. I was really looking forward to going though!

So after bassoon this morning, Annabelle and I went to lunch and then drove straight to the mall. I headed straight for where EB is and . . . no EB. Gasp! Turns out they closed and will be reopening in a different location in October. I was so disappointed that I lost all of my shopping mojo and just couldn't get interested in looking anywhere else, so we just came home.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Color me red

I have been in the process of switching over verrrrrrrrry gradually from my AOL email address to my new, improved Gmail one. I think I might expedite the process from here on out though. I did a stupid thing today with a little help from AOL.

First, let me back up and explain that I am the membership chair this year for our International Group. That means that I keep our membership records in a handy dandy spreadsheet and send out mass emails (all BCC'ed so as to protect everybody's addresses) alerting members of club events. I've been doing email for almost 15 years now without doing anything too stupid, so I would appear to be perfect woman for the job, wouldn't I?

I am also a member of an unofficial group of moms from across the country (the "invisible friends" I occasionally refer to) who post together on an Internet message board. We met on AOL and jumped ship to World Crossing at some point and have recently moved to yet another Internet location, more secure than Dick Cheney's secret bunker, when World Crossing started going down the tubes. There's been a fair bit of off-board chatter via email about the permanent fate of the board, which was filling up my AOL inbox. One of the members pointed out that with Gmail, all emails are kept in one tidy thread, and I thought, "Wow, that's a good point." So I replied all to that message and included my Gmail address and sent off the sentiment that "AOL is really pissing me off right now. I could duct tape AOL and WC together and toss them both off a bridge." Can you tell where this is going?

For reasons known only to AOL, when I created the distribution list for the International Group, that became the first default autofill option when I type in my Gmail address. So naturally I sent that message not only to my invisible friends but also to 35 disinterested people who are probably wondering who this WC person is that I'm making death threats against. Gulp!!!

I've done damage control as best I can. I sent out a message to my invisible friends to please for the love of all that is holy don't reply all to any more of those emails. And I sent a quick email out to the club apologizing for the misdirection.

I HATE feeling stupid though! I go out of my way to avoid the stupid!! So this is really eating away at me. I'm sitting here watching my AOL inbox as the occasional "um, I don't think I was supposed to get this" message trickles in.

It's not the stupidest thing that anybody did today though:

And it's not like I'm running for vice president and had to have Charlie Gibson explain the Bush doctrine to me in front of millions of viewers last night, right?

Still I'm feeling rather sheepish right now. Bah!

(Thanks to Dawn for trying to cheer me up with that awesome dancing bear photo!)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A little night music

Annabelle had her second rehearsal with the youth orchestra tonight. I suppose I could drop her off and go do something (hang out at Barnes and Noble?) for that hour and 45 minutes, but I just love hearing what they're doing. I found a waiting room downstairs from where the wind instruments practice, and I can hear perfectly. Tonight they were sight reading some new stuff and it was really challenging. It was so cool to see her come out so pumped up and excited about the experience!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Quick hello

I had another busy day today and am actually in class right now (sh! don't tell on me). I'm checking in now to say hi, because when class ends at 9:30, I am going to hit the hay.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

This is slower?

I have made a concerted effort to simplify my life this year with Fred being away and me doing the whole single-parenting thing. By and large it's working well, but then I occasionally get a day like today that just wears me out!

I was up and working by 6 this morning. It's my new thing and works out well assuming I get to bed early enough the night before. This way I can put in 2 hours before I get dressed and take the dog out at 8. Then I was back at work by 9 to get in a little more time before leaving for the first community club luncheon of the year.

After the luncheon, I met the swim boosters president at the credit union to open our bank account. I am the treasurer--I was never treasurer of anything before we moved here, but in 3 years I've put in one as treasurer of a PTO and 2 as treasurer for the band boosters. Now swim boosters . . . Never become the treasurer of anything because once you show people you can do that, you will always have a volunteer job.

Once we got the account opened (which took longer than you might think), I raced home to change and walk the dog. Then I had a little time to fritter away before leaving for the 4 o'clock PTO meeting.

After the PTO meeting, I came home and got Mike and took him down to Elizabethtown. The University of Kentucky was having a preview night and while he's not necessarily interested in UK, he's not necessarily NOT interested either. Either way, it was worth our time to go down there and see all the different areas of study that they offer. We grabbed a quick dinner at Steak-n-Shake afterwards, and now I'm home again, typing away on my laptop in bed. Once I get this posted, I'm going to turn out the light and either watch a little TV or read with my book light until about 10, so I can get a full 8 hours of sleep before I . . . get up at 6 tomorrow and start all over again.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Code pink

Remember the neighborhood feud I told you about that involved gratuitous gnoming and flamingoing? Well, I'm afraid things have escalated:

Sunday, September 07, 2008


This might not come across as funny if you weren't there, but it cracked me up. Tonight we had blueberry muffins and fruit salad for supper. We were winding down, and there was some fruit salad and 2 muffins left. Annabelle offered the fruit to me, but I said I was getting full.

Just then Mike asked, "Hey, Annabelle, do you want to split those last 2 muffin?"

She said, "I think those are Mom's muffins," but I said they should go ahead, which they did.

Then Mike asked, "So, Annabelle, are you going to finish that fruit salad?"

She said, "No."

I said, "Wait a minute! You asked me if I wanted it. For me, do you want that is codespeak for 'cause if you don't, I'm going to eat it."

She said, "Well, for me it's codespeak for if you're going to eat that fruit salad, can I have one of your muffins?"

See? Not as funny all written out, but good for a laugh at the moment.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

This and that

Annabelle and I spent the afternoon in E'town today. A friend of mine with a home-based business that features food was having an open house, so we went and sampled and bought some of our favorites. Then we headed for Kohls to look for some new stuff for Annabelle, which was one huge exercise in frustration. She tried on tons of stuff, and we came away with one lousy t-shirt. We finished off our afternoon at Walmart, which isn't exactly my most favorite place. Just another exciting day . . .

Friday, September 05, 2008


Well, somehow I managed to fritter away most of the morning, scratching one measly task off my to-do list (paying my tuition at the last possible moment). No working, no cleaning, no laundry . . . This afternoon, however, we managed to combine 2 trips to Louisville into one, taking care of both Mike's wisdom-teeth follow-up (looking good!) and Annabelle's bassoon lesson. Speaking of Annabelle and the bassoon, check out her blog post from yesterday regarding her new musical adventure!

Now I'm having a quiet evening at home, just me, the dog, and the computer. Mike is off at a football game, and Annabelle is at a friend's house watching What Not to Wear. I probably should go do some of the stuff I didn't do this morning, but I think I am just going to be a slug instead.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

It's an honor just to be nominated

Yesterday afternoon Mike informed me that there was a chance his girlfriend would be at drill the weekend of homecoming and thus might not be able to go to the dance. "If that happens," he continued, "Scott and I have decided that we're going to take our moms and double-date." By yesterday evening, Brittany had worked it out so that she could attend drill the weekend before, so it's back to the punch and cookie table for me. Still, is that not just the sweetest thing ever?

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Blissfully boring day

The highlight of my day was buying some mint-chocolate-chip ice cream at the commissary. All in all, that's not a bad highlight.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Buying back my garbage

I generally start thinking about my next knitting project well before I finish the current one, and this time around is no exception. I've been remembering a couple of sweaters in the past that I would like a re-do on--one that left with a failed relationship a la the sweater curse and one that out-paced my knitting skills at the time and only got half-finished before being unraveled and dispatched to Goodwill.

In an uncharacteristic fit of tidiness, I had years ago tossed out the magazines that contained both of these patterns. Today, however, you can find almost anything online (except Polish salt--still looking for that), and through a little persistence I was able to track down both patterns.

The first one was relatively easy. I remembered that it was from a Vogue Knitting magazine, and I was able to zero in on the date because I knew which guy got the sweater. It wasn't long before I had the fall/winter 1988 issue waiting for me in my mailbox:

The sweater is called Hearts of Aran. It's by Elizabeth Zimmerman and was a lot of fun to knit. It is knit in the round starting at the bottom, and the only finishing work to be done is grafting the underarm seams closed:

The second one presented more of a detective challenge. For one thing, I wrongly remembered it to be from Vogue Knitting as well. Then I had a flash of inspiration and realized it was a Pinguoin pattern magazine. I was also temporarily led astray because I recalled the sweater in the picture as black and red, but no, those were the colors I was using in my doomed creation. I eventually figured all this out and tracked down a copy of the magazine in Canada:

I'm still a little intimidated by this pattern, but a little excited at the same time:

I don't know which of these sweaters (if either--I have other ideas, too) will be my next project. I need to get through the current sweater, and I have hit a small snag (pardon the knitting pun). I'm halfway through the second sleeve, and I have decided that they are just too darn long. So they need to be shortened and my options are either to (1) open up where I cast on, rip out however many rows, and then bind off or (2) knit the second sleeve shorter and re-knit the first sleeve. It's not that big a deal, but it will require thinking, and I hate having to think while I knit.

Unless I'm thinking about my next project, that is . . .

Monday, September 01, 2008

End of the long weekend

Well, Fred is back "home" in Carlisle now. We had a great visit but one that was way too brief. This is the last time he'll be in Kentucky until Christmas. We will meet in Florida over fall break and in Alabama for Thanksgiving. I'll join him on his class trip to NYC the week before Thanksgiving, but this was it for him and Knox for a while.

Mike is recovering nicely. For some reason, the lower right side seems to be giving him more pain than any of the others. I still say this has been way easier than I had expected.

He spent part of the weekend working on a project for his AP English class. They had to make movie posters for books that they read over the summer--figure out who would play whom, who would direct, etc. He chose to do Angela's Ashes, which of course already IS a movie, but his dream cast featured Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet as the parents and Freddie Highmore and a young Rupert Grint as Frank and Malachy, Jr:

He found a really cool utility online for printing his poster. At Blockposters.com, you can upload an image file and then download a multi-paged PDF of that image, which you then piece together to create a really big poster. His wound up being 2 pages wide and just a little over 2 pages long.