Saturday, January 31, 2009

Getting back to normal

The first day of this storm was fun and exciting. The second and third days were stressful, with the loss of electricity and uncertainty about what we should do. Yesterday was better, and today has been downright pleasant. Today is sunny and warm (oh, how low have my standards become when 34 degrees feels nice?!), and the ice is dropping from the trees and power lines. Fort Knox sounds like Rice Krispies.

The dog has not coped especially well with the storm. For one thing, her potty schedule is all kinds of messed up. Also, the terror of listening to the trees fall the other night seems to have given her night-time anxiety about her kennel. Her kennel is her happy place and the one spot I can feel 100% certain that she won't have a potty accident, which also makes it MY happy place. I really cannot afford to have her taking a negative attitude toward her crate, which is why I ventured forth to E'town today to score some Valium. For the dog, for the dog! I am a teensy bit jealous though, I admit, and can't help but think that if I took the Valium, she could use the whole house for her restroom and that would be fine by me.

Mike and I were in movie mode yesterday. First we watched Gran Torino, Clint Eastwood's new flick. I'm not usually a huge Eastwood fan, but the movie was much better than I expected. At first I was disappointed in the ending, but after reflecting on it, I decided that really it was the proper ending. Then last night we watched The Untouchables, which I adore. It's not my usual type of movie, but I enjoyed it as much today as I did when I first saw it almost 20 years ago. (The movie is actually 22 years old, but I resisted watching it at first because, again, NOT my kind of movie.)

Friday, January 30, 2009

Not again!

The power just went out again. Annabelle heard they were going to shut it off for an hour at 10 last night, but that never happened. Maybe this is it. I hope so!

Edited to add: It's 6:20 a.m., and we've got power again. All's well that ends well, except that the dog goes bonkers every time the power either goes on or off. I was able to ignore her earlier when it went out, but this time she was just freaking out. I got her out of her kennel and stood in the doorway while she ran outside on her leash and refused to pee. Now she's back in bed, and I'm headed that way myself.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

We'll be getting a lot more of the afternoon sun

Poor tree:

Back for now

We got our electricity back about an hour ago. I hope it's for good this time. I have the heat cranked up to 80 just in case.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


It went out again. The stupid power went out again. Please tell me that this is a joke.

Let there be light (and heat)!

Oh, beautiful, beautiful electricity! I missed you so much! NEVER do that to me again.

The power wound up being out for not quite 12 hours. All in all, it wasn't so bad--got down to around 60 in the house, which actually felt toasty after taking the dog outside--but I was dreading having to make it through the night. Three cheers for Nolin Electric! Now I just hope it stays on. There are still a lot of ice-covered branches waiting to drop.

I took some pictures of the damage. This is the tree in our front yard that I mentioned in last night's post:

Same tree, but taken from my bedroom window:

The side of our house:

The view down our street:

And some ice that I thought looked interesting:

Let's see if this works

I am sending this from my cell phone, as we lost power 15 minutes ago. I woke up to hear the dog going batshit crazy in her kennel. I think she was responding to our big tree I referred to in my last post giving up a fairly good sized limb.

Now I am just lying here alone in the dark, listening to the periodic crashes of icy branches coming down. It's pretty scary, and suddenly my snow day is not much fun.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Perfect weather

It's 30 degrees out there right now and raining, but that's OK, because we are encased in a thick sheet of ice and the installation is locked down like, well, like Fort Knox ironically enough. Yes, it's cold, and yes, it's crappy, but it's fine by me because nobody expects me to go anywhere or do anything, which leaves me free to get in touch with my inner sloth. It's a good thing I don't have to go anywhere, because my car looks like this:

I found today to be nice and cozy. I felt kind of like Laura Ingalls Wilder in The Long Winter only instead of eating cornmeal mush, I've got Krispie treats, and instead of reading Pilgrim's Progress, I'm watching unlimited episodes of 30 Rock on NetFlix. It's good to be a pioneer in 2009!

This is our fourth winter at Knox, and each year we've watched the weather take a little bit more out of the tree in our neighbors' yard:

We have that tree's bigger brother in our yard, and we pray for his continued good health:

Monday, January 26, 2009

Woo hoo!!!

Fort Knox takes an inordinate amount of pride in how our schools hardly ever close due to the weather. It really bugs Mike and Annabelle that every county around us will shut down or go on a 2-hour delay but not Fort Knox. Well, we are supposed to be facing a pretty big winter storm over the next 24 hours and miracle of miracles, Knox has already declared the schools to be closed tomorrow! I scrapped plans to cook supper tonight and have ordered pizza in celebration.

I'm really not even sure why I am so excited. I was going to get to stay home tomorrow anyway. I am just hard-wired to appreciate an unexpected school closing, I guess.

Here's a cat in a hat to mark this momentous occasion:

Sunday, January 25, 2009

New project

Because I don't have enough half-finished projects hanging over my head, I have started a new one. Back when we lived in Hawaii, I was heavily into scrapbooking. I love my albums, but I see the kids returning to my Germany blog to re-live those memories and I thought it might be nice if I could go back in time and blog Hawaii as well.

So I have started my Hawaii blog. It doesn't have a cool name yet or a pretty layout. Mostly I'm just trying to get some content posted, and then I'll mess around with the aesthetics. If you want to check it out, go here.

Looking at my Hawaii photos might just be what gets me through this winter.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Extra, extra, read all about it!

From the front page of the sports section of this week's post newspaper:

I wrote to the photographer, who was kind enough to share the image file with me. I've got it uploaded on my Flickr account if you want a better look.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Tip of the hat to Deana

My friend Deana found the most amazing site: Aretha's Hat is Everywhere. It's a clearinghouse of pictures like this one with Aretha Franklin's inauguration hat added in for an extra touch of style:

Of course I was helpless to resist this temptation. So I put it on one of my ancestors:

On me in Paris:

And on Fred during our honeymoon:

At that point I had killed most of the morning and was itching to try something new. So I made my very first LOLcat:

Somebody stop me before I hat again!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Checking in from youth orchestra

I am taking advantage of the free WiFi here at the community college where Annabelle is attending her weekly youth orchestra rehearsal. I love sitting here listening to them work through their new music. They have a medley of Bugs Bunny classics that I hope they play tonight.

My day was all about meetings. I spent the morning at the high school attending a workshop on college applications. This afternoon I went to the school board meeting. Now I can't wait to get home to my bed. I hope that there are new episodes of The Office and Grey's Anatomy tonight.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Chocolate for supper

Back in the fall when Annabelle signed up for her weekly musical theater class, I envisioned myself spending her class time at the coffee shop that was opening just outside the back gate and just down the road from her dance studio. Each week I would eagerly look for signs of progress, but in classic watched-pot fashion it refused to boil. Well, it is finally open and it offers free WiFi, so I am posting this while I enjoy a cup of hot chocolate and a piece of chocolate-pecan pie. Mmmm . . . free WiFi and chocolate! Two of my favorite things!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Monday, January 19, 2009

Pasta la vista, baby!

Last summer I bought a pasta machine at TJMaxx, and I got a ravioli press for Christmas, but I had never used either one. Mike wanted pasta for dinner tonight as preparation for his swim meet tomorrow, so it seemed like a good excuse to make ravioli. Fred and I worked together and got to be pretty good at rolling out the dough and using the press to fill the pouches and crimp the edges:

Here's the finished product:

It was pretty good, but I used plain ricotta as the filling, and I think next time I would add something to give it a little more zip.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Lazy Sunday

We had a quiet day today. I made muffins for breakfast and then we all went to the pool where Annabelle and I watched Mike teach Fred how to do a flip turn. Quick commissary run, grilled fish for supper . . . nothing terribly exciting. I'm on stripe 28 out of 35 on Fred's scarf and not sure if I'll be able to finish by Tuesday or not. The knitting is one thing, but all that braiding at the end--that seems to take forever!

Tonight was the season premiere of the HBO series Big Love, which is one of my faves. Somehow though my recording of it got messed up, and we missed the last few minutes. So now we're watching an encore performance and waiting to see what we missed.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Everything going swimmingly

This morning was the annual Brown Bear Sprint up at Shawnee High School in Louisville. It was really neat to see how much the entire team has improved. Last year a few swimmers snagged ribbons. This year the girls' team came in fifth overall, and the boys' team came in third:

Here's our coach displaying some of the awards that FKHS swimmers earned this morning:

And here is Mike showing off his medals in the car after the meet:

Two of those medals are for third-place relay finishes, which I didn't record. The other 2 are for second place in the 50-yard breaststroke (33.90 seconds, as opposed to last year's 35.63 seconds):

and for third place in the 100-yard freestyle (1:02):

Friday, January 16, 2009

Off to Louisville

Not much to report from today. I'm waiting for Mike to get home with my car (will I ever get used to saying that?) so I can run up to the airport and pick up Fred. He'll be here until Tuesday night, and we're planning a fairly quiet weekend. Mike has a swim meet tomorrow morning, but we have no big plans beyond that.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Is it too late to convert to the metric system?

Because if we were on the metric system, I might not have been quite so miserable taking this picture on my back porch this morning:

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Tell me where to go

Fred had a most excellent idea. This June, between his graduation on the 6th and Mike's American Private Enterprise Youth Program at UK (which starts on the 18th), we want to take the kids on a really awesome family vacation, but we don't know where. That's where you come in.

We don't care anything about nightlife, dancing, or gambling. There MUST be a beach and a really awesome pool. Extra points are awarded for a swim-up bar. It also has to be close enough that travel to and from our vacation won't eat a freakishly large amount of the 5 or 6 days we have free to devote to this. Please send me your suggestions!

This is a really good time for me to be thinking about beautiful, warm vacation destinations. It might distract me from the misery that is our weather forecast:

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I've been robbed

Over the holidays, Annabelle showed me the cutest video I've ever seen. Tonight, since I have nothing to blog, I asked her if I could post it. And the little turkey ran to her room and posted it first! Stinker. Oh, well, it's wicked cute, so you should really go check it out.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Do you know the muffin mom?

Most of my previous breadmaking attempts have been failures, but I think I might have finally found my carb medium: muffins! I've made a couple batches of these blueberry muffins in the past week, and the critics have been raving:

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Sunday funnies

I have a couple of humorous items to share this weekend. First of all, back when we lived in Germany, we enjoyed watching German TV partly for the ads. There was a series of ads for cell phones or ring tones or some such thing that featured "Crazy Frog," and those clips had a way of worming their way deep into your brain and refusing to leave:

Well, you are never going to believe what my friend Amy found on the streets of Seoul, Korea, and sent to us:

Our Crazy Frog boogies with the best of them when you push the button in his foot:

Thanks, Amy, Phil, and Rebecca! He shall have a place of honor in our home. (That place won't be in Annabelle's room, as she declared, "That thing is not living in my room!" I think the eyes kind of freak her out.)

And in other news, an anonymous source reports a Christmas miracle occurred in our neighborhood. It seems Santa Claus gift-wrapped Canada House:

Of course, Newton teaches us that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. I'm thinking this means we better keep an eye on the house across the street to see what happens there next.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Progress report

Annabelle continues to recover from her tooth trauma. She is still confining herself mostly to soft foods, with vanilla milkshakes from BK and Lipton noodle soup being the clear favorites. The doctor told her to stay off the bassoon until at least Monday.

Mike had a swim meet today. It was a sprint meet (only short events) up in Louisville. He wasn't very happy with his IM, but he came in 11th overall in the 50-yard breaststroke with a time of 32 seconds and change. Last year at this same meet he came in 23rd with a time of 34.93 seconds.

I knitted my way through the swim meet (think Madame Defarge in a chlorine-scented fog). I'm about a third of the way through Fred's scarf. I would be further along, but I have developed a terrible addiction to spider solitaire that seems to be sucking a lot of my evening hours.

And look! New puppies:

Streaming Video by Ustream.TV

Edited to add: Hahahahaha! Victory is mine:

Friday, January 09, 2009

Driving my life away

My hobby lately is driving to Louisville. I went on Monday to make a Whole Foods run. I took Tuesday off but returned on Wednesday for the tooth-pulling. Yesterday I drove up for Wicked. Today I had a hair appointment and a craving for nachos from Qdoba. And tomorrow I'm going up again to watch Mike's swim meet. Then I'm off through most of next week until I take Annabelle for her follow-up appointment on Thursday, get Fred from the airport on Friday, and head out for another swim meet on Saturday. It's a good thing I like my van, 'cause I sure spend enough time in it.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Wicked day

I was a little nervous when we booked Annabelle's tooth pulling for yesterday, because I've had tickets for today's matinee performance of Wicked since sometime in October. I couldn't get a Friday appointment (which was our first choice) though until sometime in March, so we went ahead and did the teeth yesterday. I held my breath and hoped that her positive attitude (she really wanted to get it over with) and some heavy-duty drugs would get her through, and they did!

The show was amazing! I've heard the soundtrack once and had just the slightest familiarity with the plot. So the show was full of surprises for me, which was great. Our seat location could not have been better--row F, smack dab in the center.

We ran by Walmart on our way home to pick up a new antibiotic for Annabelle. The liquid that tasted "like sweat" has been replaced by pills, to her great relief. After I dropped her off at the house, I raced over to the pool for Mike's swim meet. I didn't get any video, and I don't have official stats, but he was very happy. He took almost a full second off his 100-yard breaststroke time! These twice-a-day practices are paying off for him.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Paging the tooth fairy

Today was the big day for Annabelle's teeth! She was a total trouper, but I was a nervous wreck. In less than an hour, however, she was in the recovery room, using her cell phone to type messages for me to read since it was impossible to understand what she was trying to say through the gauze.

I have it on good authority that the lost baby teeth of little girls eventually find their way home in the form of diamonds:

If the tooth fairy knows what's good for her, this is the tooth she'll turn into a rock:

Go here to read about today from Annabelle's point of view and to see more photos.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Future scarf

I gave Fred a box of yarn for Christmas. I'm hoping to turn it into a scarf before he comes home for MLKjr weekend. I need to get busy!

Monday, January 05, 2009

Can you hear me now?

We finally got our new cell phones today. We got 3 Rants--2 red, one black--and they are cute little things. I think for Mike and Annabelle's purposes (talking and texting), they'll be fine. I'm worried I've made a terrible mistake for myself though. I opted to add the data plan to my line so that I could have access to my email and the Internet. I had hoped to be posting this blog entry from my phone, in fact, but it's terribly awkward and frustrating. It is so sleek and simple on my iPod Touch, and I fear I might have been better off ditching Sprint for AT&T and the iPhone. Sigh . . .

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Weekend update

Mike had his swim meet yesterday morning, and it went well, especially considering that he still has a pretty wicked cough left over from his Christmas cold. He placed first in his individual events (200 IM and 100 breaststroke) but was disappointed with his times nonetheless.

After the meet, Fred took off (and came back and took off and came back and took off and came back and took off) for his return trip to Carlisle. It sure was nice having him around the past couple of weeks. It was a little sad today, packing away the coffee maker and his mug.

Last night Annabelle had her youth theater pizza party down in E'town. I took my computer and hung out at Panera while she was at her party.

My big accomplishment for today was going to the commissary. Aside from that, I took it pretty easy. I'm trying to make "taking it pretty easy" my new way of life.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

A year of books

Once again, I used LibraryThing to keep track of my year's reading. This was the final tally for 2008 (click to see it larger):

Friday, January 02, 2009

We bid you an odd fondue

We finally got our New Year's Eve fondue tonight. We ate ourselves silly, and the kids and I waxed nostalgic about our fondue parties back in Germany with the Mitchells. Ah, good times, good times . . .

Annabelle had her consult with the oral surgeon this afternoon. She'll go back on Wednesday to have the teeth pulled. Her one question for the doctor: "Will I get good pain meds?" That's my girl! (And the answer is "yes.")

We were supposed to get our new cell phones today, but they didn't arrive. I spent an hour doing battle on the phone with Sprint, and all I can say is that if those phones don't get here tomorrow, I'll take it as a sign from the universe that I'm meant to have an iPhone.

We had one last movie night for Fred's final evening at home. Our chosen film: Untergang (Downfall), a German flick I got last Christmas. Kind of hard to follow but very interesting! It was especially amazing to see the kindly grandfather from Vitus transformed into Hitler. Mike, with his knack for concise historical commentary, summed it up perfectly: "Dude, Hitler was such a douchebag!"

Tomorrow morning we'll go to Mike's swim meet and then Fred will take off for his return drive to Pennsylvania.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Year!

Hard copies should be going out in tomorrow's mail: