Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Santa, are you listening?

It's no secret that I have a weakness for penguins. While I don't necessarily "collect" them, I absolutely melt over anything penguinesque. A little secret? Penguinita is hubby's little pet name for me. I know, silly in a stupid kind of way.

Imagine my elation tonight when I stumbled across this design!

I'll take one of each, please. Button, bumper sticker, t-shirt, tote bag. I'm not picky, but Santa, bring me the penguins!


Monday, July 23, 2007

What's going on

Not a whole lot of anything, really.

Why is it that time seems to pass by so quickly in the summer? I mean, the days are longer, so you should be able to get more done, right? Maybe it's just that the heat sucks all life out of you.

Actually, something really great happened Saturday.

Anyone who's read this blog for any amount of time will be familiar with my lamenting over the fact that no one knits in Florida. Sure, I've got this great community of online knitters to hang out with, but nothing can compare to sitting in a cozy chair in a coffeehouse with a friend chatting about yarns and needles and patters, and laughing over your first project bloopers. Well, Saturday I got to do just that.

Bless Michele and her super-great husband for making the drive down from Merritt Island in a torrential downpour to do it. And hubby gets double gold stars for patiently sitting by and keeping a smile on his face while we gabbed like a couple of old hens. We were a wet and soggy trio, but I'd do it again in a heartbeat.

Michele is super-crafty, toting her current sock around in an adorable little hand-made ladybug drawstring bag. I was envious of it's simplistic perfection. Really, I've oogled the Goknit pouches a time or two, and her bag was a perfect little knockoff. I'm going to have to break out the sewing machine, I think.

I hope that we find time to get together again soon. This time, I'll make the drive.

Sunday we had a fun day of shopping for nothing in particular followed by swimming and dinner at the parents.

Today my car got dropped back off at the shop to have the air conditioner fixed. While it was being worked on, J and I ran our usual errands including a stop at the scrapbook store for some pirate-y paper to make his birthday invitations, an then a run to the party store for decorations and supplies. We went a little overboard, but not horribly so. The good news is, I don't have to stress about last minute stuff now. I've got just about everything I need besides the food. Yay!

The car's still in the shop, and I don't even know if I want to venture a guess as to how much the final bill will be. Ugh!

Knitting... yes, I've finally finished the first clue on my Mystery Stole. I know, I'm about 4 weeks behind, but I'm not in a big hurry, and it's a project that requires undivided attention, which I don't have most of the time. I really do like the way it's turning out so far, though.

I'm itching to start on a new pair of socks just to give me a more mindless sort of thing to carry around with me. Right now my two WIPs are both attention hogs, and they don't travel nicely.

End pictureless ramble.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Adventures in Potty Training

For two days I had J-man wearing exclusively underwear. Sure, we had a trickle of an accident here and there, but for the most part he was well on his way to big boy land. Even though he's too big for it, he likes sitting on his little kiddy potty chair. I nearly have to crowbar it off his butt when he's done, but it's working, and I'm not complaining.

The only time he's worn a diaper is when I sneak one on him at night after he's fallen asleep. Let's face it- no one wants to get up at 3 am to change wet beds.

I'm so proud of him, after the long struggle we've had with the potty off and on. I guess it's one of those things where you finally give in and say "he'll do it when he's ready." Well, he's ready now, even excitedly asking for underwear instead of diapers, which he used to fuss about having to wear.

So, two days of near perfect success, and what happens? I have to go back to work. Yeah, you see where this is going, don't you?

Let me preface this with the fact that I really do love my mother-in-law, and I'm extremely appreciative of all she does for us and for J.

Ok, got the disclaimer out of the way. For those of you who don't know, my mother-in-law speaks and understands no English at all. I understand a little spanish and speak it even more poorly than I understand. We've always managed to get the important messages across with careful attention and lots of gesturing and an occasional phone call to hubby for translation.

So, when I showed up yesterday morning with a bag full of extra clothes and underwear, carrying a potty chair under my arm and declared "No diapers" and she nodded her head in agreement and commented on how cute the potty chair was, I thought we had an understanding. I then pointed to the clock, to each hour, and told her at each hour to remind him to go, all while pointing at the potty. She nodded and said "ok."

So, what did I find when I picked J up that evening? A kid having a fresh diaper put on!

Hold on for a second while I swallow my frustration.

Usually I'm not at all bothered, or at least I'm able to get over rather quickly, the things that she does that go against my grain. But this is potty training. What part of consistency does she not agree with? What part of "no diapers" is hard to understand? And how the heck am I going to EVER get him trained when he knows that when he goes over there he's going to get to do as he pleases.

When I got home I brought it up to hubby who, of course, defended his mother instead of just saying "I'll talk to her about it," or something supportive of my efforts. He and Mom think I'm pushing J too hard just because he had an accident. Umm... hello! No one goes from diapers all day to accident free overnight. He's going to have accidents, it's part of learning to go, isn't it?

Really, I have no clue how to do this, other than to hope that J will start insisting on underwear when he's there. Maybe if I just convince him enough that he doesn't need a diaper he'll start putting up a fight with his Abuela, too. Or is that wrong of me? I already know that hubby won't say a damn thing to his mother about it, no matter how much I bicker with him about it.

Aahh, the joys of communication.

I promise, soon I'll give you a post with something more substantial.

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Sunday, July 15, 2007

Go ahead, kick me while I'm down

This morning, while driving the whopping 4 miles round-trip to pick up donuts with J-man, the OTHER service engine light came on in the car. I just sat there at the red light slowly banging my head against the steering wheel.

I don't want to stew over this and ruin my already rotten mood, but now I am exactly back to where I started with the car before I spent the original $1400 on it. Just what the hell the mechanics did to it, I'm not sure, but it was a far cry from fixing it.

I've been looking online at cars this morning. Not that we can afford a new car payment, but I'm starting to wonder how much money we'll have to throw at the current lemon before it's drivable again, and whether or not it's worth the effort and the hassle.

Wish I lived somewhere hilly where I could "accidentally" forget to set the parking brake and have it roll right off a cliff. With my luck it would land on some sort of endangered tree or something. Ugh.

Anyone have a dependable car (color, style, etc. not important) they'd like to sell me for next to nothing? I'm so fed up.


Saturday, July 14, 2007

Hace Calor!

It's been just about a month since the air conditioner in my car decided to take a crap on me. Yep, that's the way my luck goes-- it works perfectly all through winter and spring, only to go kaput right at the beginning of inferno season.

Now I'm not as big of a wimp as I sound. Sure, it's hot, but I can deal with it. It's J-man that I feel bad for. You know when it's 104 with the heat index outside it's about 50 degrees hotter in the car. That's just inhumane. Add to that the fact that the wind in his face freaks him out and he wants the windows rolled up, and it's something like driving a preheated oven around.

So, as you can imagine, we're not getting a whole lot done, other than sitting on our butts in the house. I've got cabin fever in a bad way. I'm used to being out- trips to the library, shopping, whatever. I hate feeling trapped at home all day, but I can't justify going out unnecessarily when it's this damn hot.

I've had it looked at by two different mechanics now. The first ones were complete morons who couldn't tell a dipstick from a valve stem. I had no confidence in them at all, but hubby insisted that the car go there- that he knew someone that worked there, and he'd treat us right.

Yeah, $1400.00 worth of right, and while a few of the things that needed doing were done- like new brakes, spark plugs, transmission flush, etc. I STILL DON'T FREAKING HAVE AIR!! It was the one and only reason for me deciding to put the car in the shop anyway.

So, idiot mechanic tells us that the compressor is working fine (whew!) but that every time you turn it on, it blows a fuse. We'll need to take it to the dealer in order for them to trace the electrical problem.

I don't do dealerships. I'm afraid if I take this lemon of a car to them I'm going to tell them exactly how I feel about it, and it's probably not in the best interest of anyone for me to do that. I did the next best thing and took it to the mechanic that my dad recommends. Turns out, he used to work for my dealership. Woohoo. Score one for me.

I dropped the oven... er, car off on Thursday, and he worked and worked on it. He kept it overnight and all day Friday. He's found the problem. You see, some moron, and I won't point fingers, decided to try fixing it over and over again by replacing the blown fuse with bigger fuses, and ended up melting the wires. Now I need a new compressor as well as the wiring that's shot. Hmmm... wonder how that happened?

And it pisses me off to know that if idiot mechanics #1 had just stopped when they were stumped and said "You know, we have no idea what we're doing here. Maybe you should take it to the dealership" instead of charging me for multiple hours of service and a few outrageous diagnostic fees, the compressor probably wouldn't need to be replaced at all.

Oh well, can't change the facts now, can we?

So, new mechanic is looking for parts. Apparently they're hard to come by--as if I drive some sort of rare and fancy car. Apparently, they're also quite pricey. Great.

Not much else going on. The mystery stole continues to grow very slowly. I still haven't finished the first clue, and the third has already been released. It's ok though. I've never been the world's fastest knitter.

The housework is piling up. It's not like I'm not home all day and don't do it. It's just that I'm home all day, and so all my work gets undone almost immediately. Trying to clean up after a nearly 3-year-old kid is an impossible task. Sometimes I wonder if I'll ever see the day where I don't have crap piled up all around me. Chances are, the answer is no. Dishes, laundry, dog hair, cat hair, litter, aquariums that need cleaning, a lawn that needs twice a week mowings, tile floors that stay clean for roughly 10 minutes after you put the mop away, well water that stains the showers orange. No matter how much work I seem to do, the house persists in looking terrible.


Don't mind me, I'm just irritable today.

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Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Happy 4th

Hope everyone is having a great 4th of July.

A brief rundown of our day for you:

I woke up early this morning, and being the good girl that I am, I made my coffee and set to work on some school work. I won't lie though; the idea of having 2 hours to knit on my mystery stole was incredibly hard to resist. Still, I'm already WAY behind on the school work, and I couldn't live with myself if I spent such valuable quite time on anything other than the dictation.

About an hour into it, J came padding down the hall sleepily and curled up in my lap for a little bit of cuddle time. He's got this new thing where he likes to have his picture taken. Of course, he couldn't have entered this phase while at Disney, or any other time where I might have liked to have taken a decent photo. Regardless, how can you resist?

This one turned out so cute, I might have to use it for everything.

After some good cuddling, we went and woke up Dada and went to get donuts for breakfast. Yeah, I know, you don't have to tell me how incredibly UNhealthy they are. But they're a special treat, and J really looks forward to them once a month or so. We all got dressed, or at least put on shoes with our jammies, and went to the local Dunkin' Donuts. Now, whoever is in charge of doin' the donuts totally screwed up this morning because by the time we got there at 9:30-ish, there were no donuts to be had. Ok, so they had SOME donuts, but they were the nasty maple, cream filled, rolled in coconut, topped with peanuts type. Not a single glazed or even just plain donut in the shop. And poor J... all he wanted was a "pink one with frinkles" and I couldn't make it happen for him. After giving an earful to the poor girl behind the counter about how a place with the word "Donut" in their title could possibly NOT have any donuts, we bought what we thought might possibly pass J's lips, and we sat and ate.

Now, here's the part where I get to eat the big old slice of humble pie. You see, I'm not so nice when I wake up in the morning. Most folks know not to mess with or interfere with my routine before 10 a.m., and I consider not having donuts at a donut shop meddling, so I was not so pleasant.

After getting J to eat half of his not pink or frinkly donut, I got him settled all into the car and just as we were pulling out, some lady yells "Ms! I think you left your purse inside!"

Sure enough, I had. The kind lady had been good enough to turn the found object in to the girl behind the counter, and I had to humbly, and very much looking like an idiot, go in and thank her (the girl I had just finished reaming about the no donut deal)profusely for saving my big green ugly bag for me. Gotta love mornings like that.

I came home and decided the best way to deal with my misplaced anger/annoyance would be to get out and do the yard. It needed doing in a big way, and I'd much rather do it myself than watch hubby do it while fighting back the urge to point out every blade he's missed.

The poor yard got the full wrath of my grumpiness and I emerged triumphant and with a yard nearly worthy of Southern Living's front page... or at least a little less Adam's Family-ish. I even have the blister on my thumb to prove it.

After a long shower, I was feeling human again, so we decided to go out and try again at having a good day.

Here's J all dressed up in his 4th of July garb.

He's so irresistible!

We somehow ended up at Best Buy. You see, I try to be a good wife, and electronics and cars are like hubby's yarn. Unfortunately, his passions are a little more expensive than mine, and so he never gets to indulge. For the nearly 8 years that we've been together the poor guy has dreamed of and saved for a new tv, only to have that money have to go to some other worthy cause like car repairs, or getting a house out of foreclosure (long story, and this post is long enough), or a month of unexpected bedrest during my pregnancy. He's quietly just stifled his little dream and given it up over and over.

Well, it was finally time for him to get his wish. We'd saved and saved, and tucked away here and there, and before one more thing came and took it away from him again, I finally convinced him to bite the bullet and just buy the damned thing.


And the glorious after!

This is not the permanent arrangement for those who may be wondering, but it works for now. Eventually we'll either wall-mount it, or we'll take the top off the existing entertainment center and use the base to hold the new beast. To be honest, I like it being up high enough to keep the little fingers away.

So hubby finally has the toy he's been lusting after for all these years. He's a happy man, and that makes me a happy wife.

Of course, the fourth wouldn't be complete without fireworks, which we did go to watch. But the weather was terrible for them, keeping the smoke low to the ground and obscuring the view of the show. Oh well. J was so exhausted he had no interest in them anyway.

Ok, so this monster post is drawing to a close. I am picking up an extra shift at work tomorrow and must wake up at an ungodly hour. But before bed, I think I'm going to go veg on the couch and ooh and aah over the 40" of HD LCD (I'll pretend I understand what all that means) goodness.

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Sunday, July 01, 2007

Kids, little lacey things, and orgasmic oatmeal raisins

So, I've sort of taken on another kid part-time. I'm all for it, but I guess I forgot two things: 1. What having an 18-month-old is like. and 2. That not only do I have an 18-month-old, but also an almost 3-year-old. Wow!

I've only had her one day so far, and honestly, they play together well. They're both really good kids, etc. so I don't think it'll be all that difficult once we all are on the same schedule and are more familiar with each other. Every baby has their own baby language and personality and I'm still learning hers, which means that I'm not always spot on with meeting her needs/demands. Fortunately, she's much more patient than J ever was at that age.

After making a decision to go with the smaller size beads on my mystery stole, I was all set to go when the first clue came out on Friday. Of course, I have to work on Fridays, but told myself that I'd cast on just as soon as I got home. That turned into just as soon as J goes to bed, which then turned into "I'll wake up an hour or so early in the morning to get started." Well, I did manage to wake up early, but no sooner had I cast on and done the first three rows (which is nothing, considering you start by casting on 2 stitches!) than J woke up, too. I simply can't focus on lace with J clamoring for my attention. It's not fair to either of us. And so, I put it away.

Since I couldn't knit I figured that the next best thing to do would be to prepare myself for absolute success once I did get started. So J and I hit the kitchen to whip up food to munch on for the next couple of days. If I take cooking out of the equation for the next several days I'll have all that extra time to sneak in a row or two here and there.

So we made a huge pot of leftover soup. I have fond memories of my grandmother's "Magic Soup", which she swore had magical powers. My brother and I would eat it up, fully believing that it was magical. It's a tradition which is lost on Jonas so far. He has no interest in it, magical or not. He loves soup, but it has to be the creamy kind. Hubby doesn't eat soup either, so I've got this ginormous pot all to myself.

I'll eat it for a few more days, then freeze the rest, I suppose.

Soup made, I decided that hours of sitting on my butt knitting deserved a sweet treat to go along with it. Now, I've always had a weakness for a nice soft, warm, oatmeal raisin cookie. My problem is this: I've never made a recipe that stands up to the demands of my picky palate. Sure, they're just cookies, kind of the red-headed stepchild of the baking world, but I'm quite picky about them. They can't be too soft, or too crispy, or too sweet. You get the idea. I decided I might as well give it another try with a new recipe that seemed to have good reviews. You can find it here, if you wish to give them a try yourself. They really are simple, and they turned out perfect.

The recipe says that it'll yield 36 cookies, but I only got 28. Of course, I didn't measure mine out, so some were bigger than others. If you took the time to measure out each cookie, you probably could get the full 36. Man! What do you do with 3 dozen cookies, anyway?

The verdict?

Oh my freaking god!!! These are absolutely the best cookies to ever come out of my oven! There's nothing pretentious about them... just humble little oatmeal raisin cookies, but they are so absolutely perfect in every way. I wanted to crumble them up and mix them into some ice cream. Or maybe just snarf a plate full along with a tall glass of milk. Oh! The control it took to keep from devouring them all!

I did add a bit of cinnamon to the mix, which improved the recipe, I think. If they have any fault at all, it's that they're maybe a bit too sweet... as in, make your teeth hurt sweet, but I can live with that, I think. :)

In order to maintain some sort of control, I went ahead and boxed up a dozen of them to take to work next week. That means I only have 16 left to worry about. Doesn't sound nearly as dangerous, does it?

This morning I was able to get about an hour in on the mystery stole, along with an oh so healthy breakfast of a cookie and a cup of coffee. Here's the progress so far. Yes, I realize it's not big enough to really see any sort of design at all, but I'm loving it so far. Do you see the beads along the edge? I'm so glad that I went with the smaller ones! They might be a little lost in the pattern, but the bigger ones would surely have overpowered the design.

Later I'll share a few little tips that I've already come up with while working these 30 rows.

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