Thursday, August 30, 2007

Just for the record

Hey, you know how a lot of people think women end up marrying people who are a lot like their fathers?

Yeah. I didn't do that.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Why people should give me stuff: An object lesson

About four months ago, I mentioned in passing that I had used my friend's Electric Quilt software to hash out an idea I had - which turned out to be the beginning of the Kaleidoscope quilt.

Erin immediately responded by offering to give me a brand new copy of the software, which she had bought but never used. I wanted to accept her offer, but I also know how much EQ is worth, and it's not like she was just sending over a book she'd finished reading (which, for that matter, she's also done), so I offered to make her a baby quilt in exchange.

Of course, you don't give a newborn a brand new quilt without sending something along for the big sister, so I made two quilts - same pattern, different colors. And yes, I used EQ extensively when trying to decide what colors to use and how to lay them out.

I've been waiting to show you the pictures until after Erin got the quilts, and today she did, so here they are.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

My own personal shopper

Julia gets out at noon on Fridays, and when I picked her up yesterday her teacher said she'd had an especially good day, concentrating unwaveringly on her task (it was math) and wanting to continue with the next section even after finishing what she had been asked to do for that day. The words "Montessori poster child" were in fact spoken, although I acknowledge that it may possibly have been me that phrased it that way.

I didn't have anything pressing to go home and do so I took her to the ice cream place across the street before we went home. I finished my cone before she did, so we walked over to the park while she got through hers. Then of course she had to play on the playground for a few minutes, and then I decided to go across the street to the thrift store to see about some pants for her, and maybe a t-shirt for myself in the style I've come to prefer.

We found the pants and then she was happy playing with the stuffed animals while I looked through the shirts. I found a couple that might work, as well as a sports bra that might have had enough coverage to wear as a shirt in its own right at the gym. I called Julia and she came with me into the dressing room. She didn't have much to say about the two t-shirts I tried on, but she was really drawn to the sportswear.

"It looks really good on you Mommy."

"It fits you really well."

"You should get that one."

I wasn't sure if it would provide the kind of support I need for aerobics classes, so I gave an experimental little bounce.

"And it's flexible!!"

And back onto the rack it went.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Search Me

Proving once again that this is a well-rounded blog, 18 out of the last 100 visitors arrived by way of the following searches:

  • bus turkey pictures
  • chorreadas recipe costa rica
  • live turkey pictures
  • chicken coop pvc
  • did the athens live on the inland or on the coast
  • live istanbul
  • can fleas live in dreadlocks
  • my child had to pee in car
  • stripper name translation
  • coasting go-cart
  • chupeta before and after pictures
  • kids place to chat and have there own webpage
  • acropolis athens june 16 2007
  • olympic airways customer services
  • How do you bind irregular sized ends of quilts
  • I'm making my peace and making it with distance
  • girl gives boy [redacted] in car
  • white fuzzy stuff radish sprout roots

I should go ahead and post a recipe for chorreadas because that one has come up before.

I have had a small spate of pee-related searches recently, including one that, well, had to do with coffee.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Happy Birthday Julia

This week, Julia has enjoyed:




Singing of Happy Birthday by Pizza Hut personnel

Cupcake decorating

Bead stringing

Pony worship

Dress up



And the singing of Happy Birthday by family members

My girl's six.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Ladies and gentlemen, we have punctuation

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Yet another use for the Internet

So Alex called and left me a message this afternoon, asking me to check Google Earth to see if I could find the property he's working on, out on Costa Rica's left coast. I found it and E-mailed him a screen snapshot:

saving him, apparently, a bit of work in some way.

Then at some point during the afternoon, I saw passing mention of an earthquake in Peru. Huh.

Once the girls were in bed, he called again, figuring I would be interested to know that the earthquake had precipitated a tsunami warning for Pacific coastal regions and, of course, particularly for people who are less than a block from the beach in said regions.

I found the CNN article while we were on the phone, then looked up the actual text of the warning and called him back to read it to him. It confirms the estimated arrival time, and tells how local authorities will know it's safe to give the all-clear, but it doesn't say anything about how high the waves might or might not get.

Fortunately, Costa Rica is right at the edge between "warning" and "watch." Also fortunately, it's scheduled to hit around 10:00 p.m., so it's no hardship to stay up, alert and mobile in case he needs to move.

Most fortunately of all, as of now the CNN article says the warnings and watches have all been canceled. Of course, the text posted on the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center's website hasn't changed, so we'll see what's what in another hour or so.

Interesting tidbit of the evening: I liked the Al Jazeera article on the quake better than the CNN one.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

In which it all balances out

The girls like to play outside, and I like it when they do.

The rainy season, however, is in full swing and yesterday they rediscovered the joys of mud.

Now. I'd like to think that I'm not a "keep your clothes clean" kind of mom. I'm entirely reconciled to the fact that Julia, unless I'm much mistaken, has no unstained clothing whatsoever. Dirty kids? That's what water was made for.

Unfortunately, I didn't live up to the full potential of my laid-back mothering skillz yesterday when they came in at dusk, with Robin still wearing her school uniform, leaving the front door looking like this:

and the bathroom floor at least as fancy, with the greatest amount of mud (by volume) to be found on top of Julia's head.

Most of the time, all of that (well, except for the school uniform part) would really not be that big a deal.

It's just that we have had no hot water - not even lukewarm water - in this house for several weeks now. Alex has been heating water on the stove and taking bucket showers. I have been taking my own showers at the gym (where there's also no hot water, but whatever) and bathing the children at Yolanda's house every few days.

I hadn't made dinner yet, it was getting dark, and Lisa had arranged to call and read to the girls, so they needed to be ready for bed in about an hour.

Anyway. We dealt with it.

Today I stopped by the grocery store after picking the girls up at school. I asked them what they wanted for dinner and the both immediately said macaroni & cheese. We got some of that, but while we were picking out fruit for their lunches, they spotted something else they both absolutely had to have for dinner tonight.

It was this:

Kids. If nothing else, they'll catch you off guard.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

The Ravages of Time

Wednesday, August 08, 2007


They say children are priceless, but today I had an unexpected opportunity to identify just how much one of mine is worth.

Seems I committed a typographical error on my tax return, specifically when filling in Julia's social security number.

Today I got a notice from the IRS stating that the number did not correspond to their data, and that the individual in question therefore didn't qualify as a dependent on my return. They had graciously "corrected" my return; not by changing a 4 to a 1 to obtain her real SSN as reported on all prior returns, but by recalculating my taxes without claiming her as a dependent.

The difference between the refund I was requesting and the tax I would instead owe was $1498.

Valuable kid.

Fortunately, in addition to providing a handy voucher to include with my payment, they also included a handy phone number to use if I felt that I could provide information that would clear up the error.

So I called the number ($0.09/min), spent 25 minutes on hold (classical music on a pretty short loop, interrupted periodically by a grammatically incorrect apology for the delay), and was eventually assisted by a friendly individual who was happy to make the correction and recalculate my taxes, restoring my refund (minus a couple of dollars for some reason; I told her I could make my peace with that).

And I used the hold time to add the Official George W. Bush "Days Left In Office" Countdown Timer to my sidebar, so I'm thinking it's pretty much win/win at this point.

Monday, August 06, 2007

What is WRONG with people?

I have been made aware of a situation where I may be able to offer some help to a child who needs it.

That's great. I've done something similar before and while there have been people who have said they wouldn't have gotten involved, for me it was nothing but rewarding.


Everyone with whom I have been in contact has the best of intentions and is working to help this child. They know I'm here and willing to help as well, but days have gone by and nothing has part because last Thursday was a holiday.

Can you imagine?

No matter how complicated the situation--and it does sound complicated--the first step is a no-brainer: Remove the child from the crisis situation. I don't know how long they've been working on it, but I was first contacted almost a week ago.

This child needs help right now, but progress can only be made through official channels and during business hours.


(I should probably clarify that the title of this post refers to the people responsible for the situation in the first place, not the ones currently trying to help.)

Happy Anniversary to Us

August 6, 1994

We had a civil ceremony at a friend's cabin in the woods,
13 years ago today.

Sunday, August 05, 2007


I'm glad my girls were born into a world where they have a realistic chance of pursuing whatever lifestyles, careers and activities they feel drawn to.

Given the culture we live in, however, they are constantly informed that being a girl means makeup, glitter and pink pink pink. They watch absolutely no television at home (we rent videos), but plenty of it at their grandparents' house, and of course even if they didn't, they learn all about Bratz and Barbie and Co. from their friends.

I try to be okay with it, and it's not the only message they get, of course. They know girls can be and do other things.

They know it, but I hope they also feel it.

I guess what I'm saying is, when Julia took a quilt and made it into a cape and decided she was Costa Rica's youngest caped crusader, did her new identity really have to be JuliaMan?

Saturday, August 04, 2007

The Purpose

So I'm sitting here passing the time chatting online with people I've never met but who, like me, comment on a blog I read regularly.

The comment thread we were using as a chat room features teeny tiny little user icons and a lot of times it's hard to tell what they are, so I asked one of the others (he happens to be in North Carolina) what his was.

He told me (it was a goat), and linked to a blog post featuring the uncropped original photograph, which was a picture of his own father as a child, 80 years ago. The post also spoke about what the world was like back then, which made me think of my grandfather.

I have a couple of "my grandpa was old" stories, and picked one to tell:

Your comments about your dad (at the link) make me think of my grandfather. He was born in 1890 and lived to the age of 104.

He was one of the first people to make a long-distance telephone call (he knew the demonstrator at the science booth at a world's fair way back when).

And assorted other tales.

Less than 10 minutes later, someone else in the conversation (from Spain) had this to say:

Jennifer, My Grandmother was born in 1884 and she was a telephone switchboard operator (Anyone here got any idea what that was?) when she married my Granddad in 1905 and it might have been her who placed your Granddads long distance call as she worked as a demo. switchboard op. at the 1904 St. Louis World Fair.
You guys? I'm pretty sure this is what the Internet is for.

Guess what wears its age well?

Last night when Alex finished working he turned on the television, as is his wont. I went ahead and shut down the computer and went to join him.

He was flipping channels, as is his wont, and had alighted, fleetingly, on something that looked familiar. The Spanish dubbing makes it hard to figure out right away, but after a minute I realized it was The Gods Must Be Crazy.

At first I was apprehensive. I enjoyed it so much when I first saw it......wait for it......twenty five years ago, but...well, I was wondering if maybe I've changed a little since then; matured, perhaps, or at least developed more sophisticated taste.

Nope. It's still funny.

Would have been better in English, of course, but still.

Has it been 25 years since you last saw it? Go rent it. It's still fun. Find a friend who enjoys slapstick, or at least visual humor, and give it a watch. If it weren't for the schoolchildren being kidnapped at gunpoint, I'd show it to the kids. They'd love it. You know, but for the automatic weapons.

Friday, August 03, 2007

SAP dun LOLd mah catz

If you don't know what that means, click here.

If you know what they are but aren't into them, you may need to go somewhere else for a while (we'll miss you!)

Everyone else, enjoy:

Thanks to SAP for these!

To make your own, get a cat picture (like one of these, for example) and take it over here. And finally, for some thoughts on LOLcat grammar, come on over here. KTHXBYE.

A click a day for good causes

The Hunger Site The Breast Cancer Site The Child Health Site The Literacy Site The Rainforest Site The Animal Rescue Site

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