Saturday, February 28, 2009

Forgot to share

This past fall the trees in the field behind our house turned the most glorious shade of gold. I dragged the kids out there one day to take pictures that I planned on using for our holiday card. Then we wound up using a family photo from Thanksgiving instead, and I kind of forgot about these. But today is cold, and there's nothing terribly exciting going on, so this seems like the perfect occasion to pull them out of the vault:

Friday, February 27, 2009

Such talent!

The kids were a little disappointed that neither of them placed in last night's talent show. Annabelle in particular was pretty hard on herself for her mistakes and wouldn't listen to our reassurances that it sounded great to the audience. I think Gary Larson best illustrated this tendency:

Annabelle played "Ice Dance" from the movie Edward Scissorhands:

Mike played "Classical Gas":

I was terribly impressed by both of them!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Phoning it in

Well, rats. Our Internet has been out for the past few hours and is showing no signs of springing to life before my bedtime. There was an editorial cartoon in today's paper that I wanted to share here. Guess that'll have to wait until tomorrow!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Another season gone

Tonight was the banquet for the swim team, but I swear it doesn't feel like it's already been a year since last year's! As is our tradition, we did a potluck supper in the middle school cafeteria. Coach Mason presented all the swimmers with their varsity or junior varsity letters and talked about what each particular swimmer brought to the team.

Mike got the Outstanding Athlete award for the boys' team:

Everybody is already excited for next season and can't wait for summer practices to start up!

Monday, February 23, 2009


We have established a Monday tradition in the past couple of months--pizza night! It works out perfectly because the commissary is closed that day, and I don't have to run out to Walmart to get whatever last-minute ingredient I need in order to cook. And best of all, it takes some of the sting out of the Mondayness of it all.

Tonight I finally finished Fred's scarf. (Remember the box of yarn I gave him for Christmas?) I'll stick it in the mail tomorrow, and maybe I can get a photo to post by the weekend.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Champion time killer

I work awfully hard some days at wasting time. Yesterday, for example, I decided that I wanted a special cellphone ringtone and image for when Fred calls me. First I ripped a song from a CD of the 82nd Airborne Division Chorus and trimmed it down to a 17-second WAV file using the Windows Sound Editor. I reduced the quality to PCM, mono, 8 kHz, 16-bit (not that I have the first freakin' clue what that means, but I was loosely following the directions in this blog post). Then I downloaded PureVoice and used it to convert the file to a QCP format--again, not because I know what that means but because that blog post said to).

Once I had the sound file ready, I picked one of my favorite photos of Fred from my old blog. It shows Fred relaxed, sporting a 2-week growth of beard, and eating French fries (in France) with a knife. I used's Sprint uploader to upload the files to the Internet, which I then downloaded to my phone via links in texts sent from Rumkin. I assigned them to Fred's listing in my contacts, and voila! Now when Fred calls me, I get this:

I always feel so stupid when it comes to cellphones, so I'm rather proud of myself. I'm hoping that next time I want to create a ringtone I'll be able to pull it together in under an hour. Not bad for a first time though!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Big picture, small picture

There is a better than even chance that I will survive winter.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Grape craving

I hardly ever buy soda to keep at the house. A few weeks ago though, I discovered that Walgreens in E'town sells Welch's grape soda, and I've invented reasons to go there a couple of times just so I can get that grapey goodness. (Believe it or not, it reminds me of Germany, as I used to occasionally buy a can of it at the USO.) So today I decided that when I went to the commissary to pick up a few odds and ends for supper, I was going to treat myself to a 6-pack or a 12-pack or whatever I could find.

Alas, it turns out that Welch's grape soda is not one of the fifty-million soft drinks that the commissary stocks. So I bought some grape Kool-Aid instead, which was good but not quite the same thing.

We had supper freakishly early tonight. I was back upstairs in my PJs by 6 p.m., and I think I am going to spend the rest of the evening catching up on my TV watching. I have a lot of shows to clean off the DVR.

Oh, by the way, if you missed seeing Annabelle's post from yesterday, you need to go check it out. She posted the German video she made for the upcoming foreign language festival.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Blogging from E'town

My hobby for today is driving to and from Elizabethtown. I had 2 appointments this morning and went home in between to walk the dog, as I knew I would be going straight from the second appointment to the school board meeting. Then I came back one last time this evening to take Annabelle to youth orchestra rehearsal. Each week I contemplate dropping her off and heading for the bookstore, but I just enjoy listening too much to pass up an opportunity. Right now they are playing a medley of classics from Bugs Bunny cartoons, and I get so excited each time I hear her bassoon. I feel like one of those moms at the end of The Music Man: "Plaaay for me, Whatsyername!"

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Wine and munchies

I've gotten into a nice little habit with a couple of friends where we get together occasionally for an evening of wine and Mexican layer dip, and tonight was one of those nights. Such fun!

Fred had his knee fixed today. By all reports it went well, and he assures me that it was not nearly as traumatic as when he had the other knee done (twice) in San Antonio a few years ago. He plans on being back in class tomorrow!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A night out on the town

Annabelle has been on a break from her bassoon lessons for the past couple of months. We didn't set out to take a break, but things got crazy with her various performances over the holidays. Then she had all those teeth pulled, which added to her time away. She got back into her lessons this afternoon though, and we all went to make an evening of it in Louisville.

After Annabelle's lesson at the university, we zipped over to Lynn's Paradise Cafe for supper. Then we hopped on I-64 and headed across town so the kids could get their hair cut. Now we're getting to bed a little on the late side, as the kids had homework to finish up when we got home.

Monday, February 16, 2009

End of the weekend

I swear today felt like Saturday. I'm not going to know what to make of tomorrow when alarms go off before dawn and the kids troop off to school.

It was nice having Fred home this weekend, although this certainly wasn't the fun weekend we had planned. We did manage to get caught up on the current season of Big Love. I also got my video footage from Regionals uploaded to the computer, although I have yet to start breaking it down into YouTube clips. Baby steps, baby steps!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Key Largo, Montego, baby, why don't we go . . .

Our major accomplishment for today was finalizing plans for our summer vacation! After Fred graduates, we're going to take the kids to Jamaica for 5 nights. This is where we're going to stay! Can't wait!!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Change of plans

We're having a nice weekend with Fred home, although my ongoing experience with the plague has forced us to change our plans around a bit. We wisely canceled tonight's fancy hotel stay a couple days days ago, and yesterday we opted to do lunch then instead of our planned dinner out tonight. The trip to the airport and restaurant seemed to sap all of my energy yesterday, so Fred and the kids scavenged for last night's supper, and we saved my birthday dinner (grilled scallops!) for tonight when I could enjoy it. My major accomplishments for today were taking a 2-hour nap and helping Fred do our taxes. Tomorrow I hope to shower. Good to have goals, eh?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Happy birthday, Jenny!

This picture, taken at the Walmart in Mililani, Hawaii, best captures my sister's offbeat, fun-loving personality:

Looks like an Olympic moment

Mike got a text from his friend Sam today asking, "Did you see our epic man love in The Turret?"

Fred is supposed to be arriving in Louisville in a little under an hour. Instead he is stranded in stupid Newark thanks to stupid Continental Airlines. He is scheduled to leave for stupid Cleveland at 1 o'clock in the morning before getting here shortly before noon tomorrow. I just got a text from him though, and he may be leaving at 10:50. Who knows?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Better but still not good

I felt pretty good when I woke up this morning. I still had a cough, but I was able to make it to a school meeting at 9 and hit the commissary for a few necessities and take a short walk with the dog. By early afternoon, however, my energy was flagging, and my cough seemed worse. All through supper tonight, I was counting the minutes until I could come up here and crawl into bed. So while I'm definitely doing better (and I give the Sambucol credit for that), I still have a ways to go. I'm going to take it extra easy tomorrow morning, as I have to take Annabelle to E'town for orchestra rehearsal tomorrow afternoon and then go pick Fred up from the airport late tomorrow night.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Well, the flu test was negative . . .

. . . but I think it's wrong.

When I went to bed last night, I noticed a little tickle in my throat. Nothing major, and the only reason I remember it is that I decided I was too lazy to get up and get a drink of water. This morning I had a cough. By noon I had a cough and body aches. And over the course of the afternoon, I felt my temperature rise bit by bit.

I had a hair appointment in Louisville today, which no way was I going to miss, but when I got home, I went to the ER. They did a rapid flu test, but it was negative.

I hope I hit bottom soon so I can start recovering. Fred is flying in Thursday night. We're celebrating my birthday on Friday, watching the state swim meet on Saturday, and spending the night Saturday at some swanky hotel for Valentine's Day. Sick is NOT an option!!!

Monday, February 09, 2009

Button eyes!

I'm afraid all I did today towards getting my video clips ready was to install Premiere Elements on my laptop computer. I hardly ever get on the desktop one these days if I can avoid it. Maybe tomorrow I can actually capture the footage and work towards getting it posted!

I picked Ginger up from the kennel this morning. I'm a little ashamed to admit how much I enjoyed my dog-less day yesterday, especially after her enthusiastic greeting for me when we were reunited. She's normally not a very barky dog, but sometimes when the joy is just too much, she gets quite yippy.

I did get around to doing a button eyes photo of myself:

My aunt sent me the link, and all the cool kids are doing it. You should go make one yourself.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

So THIS is that global warming I've heard so much about

We made it into the low 60s today and expect the trend to continue at least until the middle of the week. I was still slipping on ice in my driveway as recently as Friday, and today I wore sandals. Some people are meant to live in warm climates, and I am one of them. My whole mood is brighter when I'm not freezing my tail off.

I have a lot of work to do transferring my video clips from Regionals to the computer and getting them posted online. I thought it was going to happen today but apparently it's not. So I'll just give the quick and dirty report and save the videos for (I hope) tomorrow.

Mike qualified for day 2 in all 4 of his events. Final results:

200 medley relay: 2:01.82 (9th place)

200 IM: 2:33.46 (10th place)

200 freestyle relay: 1:45.37 (8th place)

100 breaststroke: 1:15.01 (10th place)

Too bad that videostream didn't work as expected yesterday. The site says they are uploading new copies of the swimming competition, but so far all they have is the same 11-minute grainy clip they had yesterday.

I can't believe swim season is all over!

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Tune in!

Starting at 2:00EST, go to to watch a live stream of day 2 of Regionals! Mike's events:

event 2, heat 1, lane 4 (200 medley relay) (Mike swims the breaststroke leg)

event 6, heat 1, lane 6 (200 IM) (pay attention to his transition from backstroke to breaststroke)

event 18, heat 1, lane 4 (200 freestyle relay) (last I heard, Mike swims first)

event 22, heat 1, lane 6 (100 breaststroke)

Friday, February 06, 2009

Quick Regionals report

Greetings from the Best Western in Frankfort. We have eight boys and five girls returning for the finals tomorrow. Mike is going back in all 4 of his events--2 relays and 2 individual events! Knox rocks the blocks!

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Getting ready

I was so looking forward to my long night of sleeping. I had such high hopes when I turned off the TV at 10 and passed out cold. And then I woke up at midnight. And pretty much hourly thereafter until the kids got up a little before 6. I'm just so excited about Regionals that I couldn't sleep! (Good thing I don't have to swim.)

I've been going a mile a minute all day getting things ready. I made 2 batches of blueberry muffins, figuring that they would be good for Mike to have on hand for snacking. I made a batch of Krispie treats, because it's just not a roadtrip with Krispie treats. I took the dog to the kennel, bought last-minute stuff (like a backup pair of goggles), and took Annabelle to orchestra rehearsal.

Somehow I managed to find time in my busy day to break my toe. I was walking between my bedroom and my office (barefoot! I never walk around barefoot!), and I kind of listed to one side and kicked the corner of the wall. It's just mildly painful as long as I'm not doing anything to it, but if I try to wiggle or curl my toes, I feel like the bones are coming right through the skin. Ouch!

It's going to be an exciting couple of days. Here's hoping I sleep better tonight!

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Sleeping in tomorrow

For the past couple of months, Mike has had swim practice at 6 a.m. most days. I kept meaning to re-adjust my schedule so that he could just drive himself to the gym and then on to school and I wouldn't need to go anywhere until he got home in the afternoon. Somehow I never got around to it though, so we've gone through the following daily routine:

5:15 Mike gets up and turns on the car. Once it warms up, he drives himself to the gym.

7:00 He calls me to wake me up and let me know he's on his way home. I put on my fleece-lined jeans and throw a sweatshirt over my PJ top and meet him downstairs as he tosses his wet suit and towel into the kitchen and grabs dry ones for afternoon practice.

7:15 I drive him (and sometimes a swim buddy) to school and take the car back home so I can have it later.

7:30 I creep back up to my room, strip off the jeans, and crawl back into bed to wait for the sun to come up.

Well, today was the LAST morning practice for this season, and I am positively giddy at the idea of not having to leave the house at that ridiculously early hour!

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Happy birthday to me!

When you give a gift--especially to a child--it's difficult to know whether your gift will have true staying power. For example, when my grandmother had a puzzle made of a photo of my fifth birthday party, who would have thought that I would work that puzzle with only one piece missing on my forty-second birthday?


Here's the original that the puzzle was made from:

And here's another scene from that day:

Don't we look cute and . . . vintage?

I don't have any big plans for the day. We're saving the bulk of the celebrating for Presidents' Day weekend when Fred will be here. I've got a board meeting at 12:30. Aside from that I'm going to take it easy.

Edited to add:Whee! After I got home from my meeting, my friends Sandy and Laura stopped by and surprised me with layer dip, brownies, and presents:

I'm having a very nice day. :-)

Monday, February 02, 2009

Things that make you go hmmm

Today I saw a billboard that advertised tattoos WHILE YOU WAIT. Such an improvement over the old system, where you had to drop off the body part to be inked and wait--sometimes for days--for it to be sent back to you.

Also, I heard that the almighty groundhog has proclaimed that we will have 6 more weeks of winter. At first I started to get angry or at least disappointed. But then I thought, heck, 6 weeks isn't that bad. I'll take 6 weeks. But I am putting the groundhog on notice that I expect winter to be OVER on March 16!

Sunday, February 01, 2009

End of the longest week

We are usually so busy that time really flies by. This past week though draaaaaaaagged. Some of it was a nice drag, where we actually had a moment to catch our breath and be a little bit bored. But the part where we sat around freezing and wondering when the power would come back on or how long it would last this time pretty much sucked.

Tomorrow we get to ease back into our regular routine. The schools have already planned a 2-hour delay, which is nice. Those buildings are going to need a little time to heat up! The rest of the week should fly by, with swim practice for Mike and theater rehearsal for Annabelle and meetings and errands for me. The week will culminate with the 2-day regional swimming competition in Versailles (rhymes with "fur whales") next Friday and Saturday.