Saturday, February 28, 2009

blitz update

92% on the exam. That pulls me up to 84% overall in the class - missing that week hurt me.

Yard Sale Scores: top-secret gifts for my siblings (hint: 80's flashbacks), three galvanized aluminum tubs (one of which will be turned into a patio planter for Julia), a copy of The Adventures of Tintin: The Broken Ear, some books and a tiny little Ganesh statuette for the boys, and an awesome knit cap.

The Ganesh statuette reminds me - if you have an hour and a half to burn, watch Sita Sings The Blues. It's an adorable little animated film of the story of Sita and Rama and the end of their marriage, from the Ramayan, and the music in it is mostly 1920's Annette Hanshaw songs. It is partially narrated by three Indians recalling the Rama stories from their childhoods, and interwoven with the story of the filmmaker's own epic breakup. It was at one point being prevented from distribution because the copyright holders of Hanshaw's songs want to be paid upfront rather than strike a deal for a share in the profits. Be patient with the structure and let it charm you.

On March 26th, I'm teaching a vegetable gardening class for church. Should be fun, and should spur me to get the side yard cleaned up!

Friday, February 27, 2009

An endless chain of giving...

I am occasionally a sucker for blog phenomena, and it's usually Stephanie who crushes my resistance. She posted this on her blog earlier today, and since I "won," I have to pass the game along.

Here are the Rules. . .

1. Be one of the first Three (3) bloggers to leave a comment on this post, which then entitles you to a handmade item from me.

2. Winners, you must post this challenge on your blog, meaning that you will Pay It Forward, creating a handmade gift for the first 3 bloggers who leave a comment on YOUR post about this giveaway.

3. The gift that you send to your three Friends can be from any price range and you have 365 days to make/ship your item. This means you should be willing to maintain your blog at least until you receive your gift and have shipped your gifts. And, remember: It’s the Spirit and the Thought That Counts.

4. When you receive your gift, please feel free to blog about it, sharing appropriate Linky Love. If you are not one of the 1st Three Commenters on this post, you can still play along. Post it on your blog; start your own Pay It Forward chain, and encourage your blogging friends to do the same.

This should be interesting. I cannot guarantee that my handmade item will be in any way useful (or tasteful). But if you're game, post away. I may not even limit it to the first three.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Me Gusta la Quimica

Before I die, I will learn how to type non-English characters. And then I will forget.

Exam #1 was today. I would like to say that it seems I am not a complete idiot, but then that might just jinx things. But I suspect I did well. Because I missed a week while I was dying, I am short 15 points (10 for the lab I missed and 5 because I only got half credit for the Chapter 3 homework). Without my test score, I am at 80% so far for the course, and I DO NOT LIKE being at 80%. I cannot ever get sick again, because I am an A-obsessed lunatic.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

It's all OK now

I talked to our intrepid realtor yesterday. She, bless her heart, actually went up to the canyon and checked out two properties for us so she could report about them. The cheap little place has a couple of things wrong with it that explain why it is still not selling, even at such a reduced price. The right-of-way is a 20-foot wide easement that severely limits parking. She says calling it a two-bedroom is a bit of a stretch and that the bedrooms are odd-shaped, long and thin. She agrees with me that the location is fantastic and there is much to love, but the bedroom and parking situation is almost certainly why it is still unsold. So I will learn to live with my disappointment and will try to stop thinking about it until they lower the asking price again. ;)

Saturday, February 21, 2009

He's Still Not Agreeing!

Said with a pouty stomp.

Dan and I tend to agree quite often. That and a few other secret things are, in my mind, the key to us being married almost 14 years now and still not wishing each other dead. HOWEVER, we are locked in a loving but quite serious disagreement about the little cabin. I have promised him a flat-screen TV if he will give in, but still he holds firm. I told him that losing 300 SF would only mean giving up the office (which has just turned into a family-ignoring hideout for us anyway) and that end of the living room that we never spend any time in anyway because it's on the other side of the kitchen. I said I'd sell our oversized antique mahogany dressers that weigh 5,000 pounds or so each, although that would really hurt because my Dad gave them to me. But they are just too big.

But I think of how different our lives could be if it only cost us around $700 a month to have a roof over our head. If Dan doesn't get laid off (please oh please oh please), that's an extra $1300 we could be saving each month. A small house means we will be less tempted to fill it up with stuff. Dan could become a teacher, like he wants to, and we could still afford to live in southern California. I could be a per diem nurse (basically an independent contractor) and we could take entire summers off.

But he's hung up on 1000 SF and one bathroom. I understand, I do. But it's possible that a downstairs bathroom could be added. We could build a carport with a higher roof and shelves for storing stuff in tubs and maybe some kayaks (Irvine Lake is only a few miles away), and I could put a living roof on it for the vegetable garden.

there's so much potential.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Stephen will laugh at me

I'm trying to talk Dan into cheaping out on a house, too. I mentioned this one a few posts back. It's just over 1000 SF. There is indeed a right-of way, the road ends at the next-door-neighbor's driveway. The price has been dropped since I last mentioned it, and I'm tempted to make a lowball offer of 20% below the listed price. That would make an insanely low mortgage payment. We could save our down payment back in about a year, then buy another place (because I am certain prices will be lower by then) and rent out the smaller place at a profit. We are already in 1300 SF right now and I could certainly jettison some more stuff.

My first Chemistry exam is in 7 days and I am already in high anxiety mode. I feel like I don't know ANYTHING and I will have to go back and do extra homework to re-acquaint myself with the rules for scientific notation and significant figures. Bleccch. I'll be hiring babysitters just so I can study.

Warning: more garden talk! I have more blooms in the front yard - my first five-spot, more lupines (the cold snap made them turn lavender), and some tidy tips. I got the backyard seeded with a mix of wild grasses and desert wildflowers. I would love to grow some desert mariposa, but I'm not going to hunt them down.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

the very jaws of cell

My cell phone is on the fritz. It's my own danged fault. Luckily it still turns on and works, but it has to be plugged into the charger. I'll be able to save all the phone numbers I have in there, but I'm probably going to have to get a new (to me) phone.

Sunday, February 15, 2009


We went snowshoeing along the Pacific Crest Trail in the San Gabriel Mountains.
Rime Ice on a wind-blasted pine tree.
I hate pictures of me, but here you go.
Dan and the boys with some more icy trees.
Eli starring in the most perfect picture I've ever taken.
Paul is an awesome snowshoer and he knows it.

Friday, February 13, 2009

hippy barfday

So my birthday happened to occur this week. It really just cements that i am turning into a horrible, desperately cranky old woman. some notable things that occurred on my birthday:

1. I threatened to climb Mt. Baden-Powell and urinate on the monument at the top.
2. I referred to drivers at my college as "S.O.B's." I said the acronym, not the real phrase, but as Frank Barone once said, "You can say 'heck' all you want, He knows you mean 'Hell'!"
3. I spent 5 hours studying chemistry.
4. My friend Julia, who is a nicer friend than I deserve, watched the boys for me so Dan could take me out to dinner.
4. I had a lovely dinner at the Old Vine Cafe and ate a vegan cupcake from Native Foods.
5. I received two birthday cards in the mail, and 4 happy birthday text messages (One was a video of my 2-year-old niece Brooklyn saying "Happy Birthday Aunt Colleen"). It's like i'm 16 years old.

I got chocolate, bath salts, and a cd/ipod-dock alarm clock radio. The chocolate and bath salts were right on target, but the radio was not quite right and will get returned. Instead I will buy myself a hand hoe, because gardening has taken over my life. I sowed half the backyard with native California grass seeds yesterday and hopefully will get the other half sown today. I have been skipping the gym lately (their babysitting times just don't work for me right now) but because of all the gardening I have been getting a good upper body workout at home.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Rain, Glorious Rain

Ahhh, the rain came. Now I need to get the wild grass seed spread in the backyard and get the paths laid out - we're not doing turf grass because neither of us wants to mow and I don't want to have to water it in the summer, when I'll be gone a lot. I should mix in some kind of summer-flowering drought-tolerant annual, too. Maybe mexican torchflower.

Turns out my mystery front-yard flower is lupine. It's some kind of dwarf white lupine, which is why I didn't recognize it right away. In two bare spots I put in some seeds for golden lupine and chinese houses.

I bought some lettuces and onion sets at Home Depot last night (along with 200 lbs of sand for setting stones in the backyard paths). I pulled out my bolted lettuces and set in the new plants, plus I'll put in some seeds and hope it isn't too late for a few more cool-weather crops.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

The Man That Cleans

I was going to title this "Eli- somethingorother," but it turns out that I cannot, because Eli has changed his name again.

First Name: The Man That Cleans
Middle Name: The Man That Combs His Hair
Last Name: The Man That Goes Up The Stairs

Since that is quite a mouthful, I have been calling him The Man That Cleans today. TMTC changes his name all the time, depending on what we're doing. I was cleaning this morning (I know! What am I, drunk?) and he followed after me and sprayed water on whatever I had just scrubbed. Then he licked the clean mirror. Ah, children.

He's been wandering around the house making up songs about whatever he thinks of - today's songs have been about the anatomical differences between girls and boys, R2D2 (who Eli calls "tootie-too"), his mean mama who won't let him drink Dr. Pepper. I always, always blog with E on my lap. Right now he is laying on my right arm, which makes typing a creative endeavor. Then he starts kicking the desk, at which point I usually flip him over and set him on the floor. Right now he's crying, because I did just that.

We got a little rain just now and we are allegedly going to get more. The clouds do look very promising, but with my generally bad outlook on life right now I refuse to accept any good tidings until they are actually fulfilled. "I'll believe it when I see it" is my mantra.

I put in a new crop of snow peas today. They're a little late, but I'm hoping February is a cooler month than January. January sucked in every possible way. The last time I planted peas, the boys went in after me and planted a different variety of peas on top of them. So the peas I have growing right now are a mix of shell and snow peas. It makes harvesting very difficult, because I am never sure if it's a snow pea that's ready to go or a shell pea that just hasn't plumped out yet.

I need to get some lettuce and cabbage seeds in and be hopeful. Again, should have planted them in January. The heat made all my other lettuces bolt. Sigh. I have one orange poppy in the courtyard and some good strong larkspur plants starting to really grow. The front yard is starting to get exciting; I have my first official wildflower blooms and I don't even know what the heck they are! My winter tomatoes look awful and the one I managed to pick (Eli thought it would be fun to pluck some off and stomp on them) tasted horrible. But I noticed a tomato seedling starting to grow out of the compost pile - when I dug up last summer's plants they still had a few overripe tomatoes on them, and now I have a semi-mystery tomato seedling!

February is the time to get seedlings started indoors. I will only be doing tomatoes, peppers and eggplants indoors this year. last year I was WAY too ambitious and it was a mess.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

New Happiness

The purple crocuses in the front yard are blooming. I planted them between the stepping stones. They look lovely. We are hopefully going to get rain on Friday & Saturday.

Eli is 90% potty trained. He may regress, but he is doing marvelously. It's extremely stupid of me, but I get a little weepy that he's really not a baby anymore.

I no longer feel that I am on my deathbed. The coughing has settled down quite a bit.

I got a free chair today (it was out on the sidewalk). It makes me think of a throne.

Paul has his first piano lesson tomorrow. He is performing one of his original compositions right now. He is fond of dramatic repetition and separates his songs into sad and happy parts. He may turn out to have no talent whatsoever in the eyes of the world, but I think he's fabulous.

But now I have to get back to catching up on Chemistry. I missed both of my classes this week while I was pretending to die.