Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Lee 2, Mice 0

Along with all the wildlife outside, we get some wildlife inside too.

This house has a "daylight basement," a term I was unfamiliar with before moving here. We are built on a slope, and the lower half of the slope is built up with cinder blocks, creating a basement of sorts. It's not finished by any stretch. It looks more like an enclosed underside of a porch. The chimney base for the fireplace is there, and there are rafters from the floor above. The previous owners built some shelves into the sides (not very well) and we put our gas water heater down there.

It's just a dirt floor with tarp over it, and we discovered it can flood when it's been raining a lot. I hope to build new shelves and box stuff in more plastic tubs this summer.

We have to be careful to keep it closed up, otherwise we'll have critters take up residence down there. We *really* don't want skunks or possums down there. Liberty (our dog) helps to keep some of that away, but smaller rodents can be a problem.

I think they can find their way up along the chimney. There's an open area in the back of the fireplace, and it's also possible there are large enough holes from pipes & such that weren't sealed off. As we fix up the house, we're taking care of some of these things, but we're working on the other side of the house right now.

So, occasionally, there's a mouse. Regular old mousetraps work well. The kids tried a few times to "save" the mouse to get it outside, but it escaped each time. Last night, we heard the mousetrap snap. So Lee's managed to get 2 total now, in the 6 years we've lived here so far... As of yet, the mice have not attacked Lee.


Monday, March 27, 2006


Earlier today, I heard a lot of squawking as someone drove up the street. The turkeys were upset, I suppose, by a car driving too close or fast or something.

Just a little while ago, Animal Control showed up in the neighbor's drive. Every time I've mentioned the neighbor lady feeding the turkeys, people have responded, "That's illegal, isn't it?" Well, I guess it is!

I just thought it was kind of funny while the officer was there talking to the neighbor (the husband, not the wife who has been feeding them), there were turkeys wandering around the yard. It's kind of hard to deny feeding them when they are right there!

So, we'll have to see what happens & if the turkeys disappear or not. At least I got some pictures!


A nice lady

This last month, one of the ladies that works in my classroom had carpel tunnel surgery. So Joann subbed for her for the month. Joann used to work in the Special Ed classrooms for a number of years before she "retired" to be a sub.

She does actually take long trips & such, so it's nice that she can choose when to be available or not. Everyone at Connor's current school, and everyone in the Special Ed rooms for the Services District love to have her sub for them. She's pretty dang busy!

She met Connor when he was 3 or so in Early Intervention. He wasn't talking much, but everyone liked him because he's always so HAPPY. When Joann subbed at Connor's school last year, she covered for Connor's one-on-one assistant. He was speaking better by 1st grade. The teachers were trying to figure out what Connor should call her. Should it be Miss Joann? Her married name? As they waffled around with this, Connor took her hand and said, "C'mon White." So he chose an attribute he could remember and went with that.

She loves him and gets the biggest kick out of working with him. As a mom, that makes me really happy to know the people working with my little boy really do want him to be successful and they really care about him.

Thanks Joann!


Saturday, March 25, 2006

Ebay fun

Lately, I've been having fun with ebay.

If I see something I like at the store and it's not on sale, I go to look for it on ebay. I set my max price in my head, but don't actually enter that in until the last few minutes. I also will watch similar items to base my max price.

So in the last couple of weeks, I've gotten some new-in-box extra durable comfy shoes to wear at work for $49, instead of $98 (they really are great shoes that will last a LOOOONG time); Diana has some new prismacolor pencils that would retail at $60ish for $25 (including shipping); and I think I may have gotten some real pearls for less than $5, including shipping. I checked them by rubbing them on my teeth. Real pearls will feel rough, whereas fake ones feel smooth. I have a ring I know has real pearls, and the new necklace feels the same :)

I have to wear a fancy dress at a convention next weekend, which is why I was looking for pearls (tho not necessarily real ones - just something that would look good with the dress).

I will get the necklace appraised, but even if they were fake, less than $5 for a decent necklace is fine too!

I have that Weird Al song about ebay playing in my head...


Friday, March 24, 2006

Python (Monty)

Last night Lee & I were checking the stuff on TV before watching the TiVo. There was something on PBS about Monty Python, so we had to take a look.

Trevor is still on tech restriction, but when Lee heard they were going to do the sketch about the Twits competing, he had to call Trevor over to watch. Heh.

Guess what new search we're going to have the TiVo do now?


Thursday, March 23, 2006

Talent Show stuff

Last night I had a meeting at my house to help me decide the solo acts for the Talent Show. It looks like we'll have 12 troop acts, and we had 10 signed up for solos. We had videotaped the solo acts last Wednesday, and there was one act that didn't make it then, so they were supposed to drop off a video last night for the committee to see. Their video camera didn't work right, tho, so the girls themselves came. That was fine.

We looked at all the solo acts, and there were only a couple that might not be up to snuff for a show. We'll see if two sisters might combine in one act vs. each singing alone. They were pretty tentative, and we think they might be more comfortable together instead.

After that was taken care of, we looked at dividing up contacting different places for our prizes. One gal took 4 locations (yay!) and a few more took some others, so I won't have nearly so many to contact myself.

I also talked a while with the gal doing our programs and invitations, so she's got that under control too.

I'm feeling a little better about this whole beast of an event. I will probably still be freaking out, but at least it's kind of coming together!

I just like to have things run smoothly (who doesn't?) and I have a tough time with adjusting to things last-minute (I leave that sort of thing to Lee).

Still, it's moving along and going okay...


Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Too much nature

So, there we are, Sunday morning, enjoying the nice weather. Diana & Trevor look out the front window, and here are the turkeys, in the middle of the street, mating.

The kids don't see a lot of mating, generally (just high schoolers sucking face at school), so this is kind of a different thing for them to be viewing.

I ask Diana if she wants to get a photo of that for her Wildlife Biology teacher (who recently asked if we could get video of the foal being born). Diana says, "Mom! She doesn't want turkey porn!"

heh. funny kids.


Saturday, March 18, 2006

Just Can't Help It

It's just so amazing to me that these birds are strutting up & down my street!

I had to grab a few more shots of the tom turkeys.


Thursday, March 16, 2006

Talent Show update

Because I'm insane or something, I've agreed to be the director of the Girl Scout Talent Show this year. This is an annual event that has seen some ups and downs. When Diana was a Brownie scout (1st-3rd grade) her troop participated every year. At Junior level (4th -6th) I took over her troop. Now we're in the Teen Girl program (7th to 12th grade) and I have a troop of Sophomores.

I'm relying heavily on my teen scouts to help me with this. I have some other leaders in various roles, but it will mostly be up to me to make this thing work.

Last night was the "Auditions" for the troops & solo acts. The troops will all get in no matter what. The solo acts really had to audition, since we can't fit them all into the show. We aim for about 20 acts total, so the number of solo slots depends on how many troops participate.

I had 12 troops signed up to audition, and 4 didn't come. I don't know the story on 2 of them yet, 2 others called & bowed out. However, I had 2 other troops sign up last night, so I'm only down two troops. I think we have at least 10 girls signed up for solo acts, so we might not have to even cut anyone (which would be nice! I don't want to tell anyone they didn't make it!).

So that was two hours yesterday evening of collecting information on how many girls, type of act, what they needed for the show, etc. Now that I have this info, I can move forward on collecting donations as prizes for the troops. The individuals will get a bouquet or something, as well as a DVD of the show. The troops should also get a DVD of the show.

This year we'll be at the High School for the first time. In the past we were at the community college, but they are asking for $700 for the use of the theater, compared to less than $200 for the High School. Plus, the high school is closer, and smaller, so it looks like you have a full theater.

So far on prizes, we have a couple of nights at campgrounds. I have to send out request for donation letters to local merchants to try to get more prizes. We need something for every troop participating. The last few years, the woman in charge didn't think the girl should earn prizes. She wanted the girls to do the show for the experience of being on stage. That works once. Then you don't have any reason to participate if you're not just a ham. Consequently, the quality & number of acts dropped dramatically. To cover the cost, she raised the ticket price. So you paid $10 per person for a crummy show.

I'm dropping the ticket price down to $3 for adults, and $1 for children. We'll have prizes to hopefully get better acts, and have girls participate annually. My girls would have done it no matter what, and kept up the quality anyway, just because. But they're all a bunch of hams. :)

I'll post more on this as I pull out my hair when things go wrong. At least the audition is over, and we should have enough acts for a decent show!


Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Where's Your Tooth?

Connor doesn't tell us when a tooth comes out. I think the first few he ate. Either number 3 or 4, we helped him take out, and then the one before this new one, he'd gotten out on his own, and we asked him for the tooth. He went and retrieved it from his room and so that one I have.

He just lost another tooth. I have no clue what happened to it. I don't think he swallows them anymore, but he's also not bothering to hide it under his pillow. That's a little more than he comprehends. Plus money has no meaning to him.

I could write a "social story" for him about what to do with a tooth that comes out. Social Stories are used with kids with autism to help them learn the appropriate responses to situations. We used one to help Connor learn to use the toilet also. The school used one to help him sit in a movie theater thru the whole film before they took the whole grade to see the Polar Express. Social Stories are really helpful, but I don't know if I need to bother with the tooth. It's not like it's going to be an ongoing issue thru his life. It really only affects him for the next few years, and then he's done.

In the meantime, the tooth fairy is saving money with him.

"Your eyes are all big!" Connor quote.


Saturday, March 11, 2006


We have a lot of wild life here. If you go to Wal-Mart at night, there are bats circling the parking lot lights to get an easy meal. You must always plant deer-resistant flowers & shrubs, or you're just inviting them to a smorgasborg (daffodils are okay, pansies are not). You make sure the trash is packed up well, or the skunks will come to visit, etc.

There are also plenty of birds. Robins are all over the lawn in the morning, hawks circle around in the sky, and there's lots of tweeting songs all spring. We put out feeders for hummingbirds and I still want to get a bird bath down the road.

Pretty much all of this was expected when we moved up here. I didn't really expect the turkeys. Maybe I was thinking they were an eastern American bird or something, but the first time I saw a flock gobble-gobble-gobbling its way across our yard, I was surprised. I also didn't realize they roost overnight in trees (it looks very odd, especially in winter when the leaves are gone). And they fly at least up to the roof of the house - although they jump down pretty quick when you pull your car into the drive.

I guess my next-door neighbor really likes the turkeys. She is putting out a pretty hefty amount of feed for them every day. She started this in the Fall, and I was thinking her hunting husband was having her fatten them up for Thanksgiving. I would count all the turkeys (there were 9) and after the holidays I thought they were short a few, but then they came back after all.

We are now up to 30+ turkeys. She's still feeding them every day. Some are bigger than others, and one of the males has some really long loose feathers hanging from his neck down. Looks almost like he was tied off and escaped with the rope around his neck. Anyway, it's just something I think is different about living here in Oregon!


Friday, March 10, 2006

Another Link

As mentioned previously, I like to knit.

When I learned to knit in Germany, there was a pretty wide selection of yarns available in the standard shops. Here in the states, if I wanted "fun" yarn, I had to find a yarn catalog & buy without getting to feel the yarn or anything. A lot of them were imported, or just really spendy because they were made by small companies

In the last five years, our bigger yarn companies have expanded their lines to include these fun yarns. Even though these yarns aren't cheap, if you use your 40% off coupons from Joann's & Michael's, you can get away with making stuff pretty reasonably. Even Big Lots carries yarn for 1.00 or 1.99 at times.

With all this new yarn, yarn companies create new "looks" to sell their yarn. Some of these are really ugly. And so, the new link on the right lets you look at some of these "fashions" and poke a little fun. There is language, so be warned. It's also very funny. This one, btw, is entitled "Monkey Arms" on their site.


Thursday, March 09, 2006

It's Snowing!

This morning I had to get Trevor & myself up early to talk to the English teacher about his report before school started. Look out the window and it's snowing! Here where we live, it only snows once or twice every few years, so it's a big deal.

View from the living room window.

Currently it's not just snow flakes, it's big blobs of snow averaging the size of a quarter to half-dollar. It's pretty wet too. If you make a snowball out of it, it packs very solid and is more gray in color than white.

In any case, Trevor & I drove to school and we had our conference. By the time I headed back home, the streets were all white. I have to cross a big river between the HS and home, and that can freeze up pretty quick so I'm going slow. I saw two cars skid out on the way home - silly people.
We live on a hill, so I was a little concerned about going up, but it was fine at that point. Dunno about later today tho. The forecast says snow/rain thru Saturday.

Connor is really happy. We have elementary conference days today & tomorrow, so he & I get a 4-day weekend. I'm just glad I don't have to drive anywhere! I had to dig out the snow stuff for Connor since he'll be in & out all day. Snow, bathtub, snow, bathtub. Heh.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

New Link Added

While logging in today, I found a link for photos of Vancouver, Canada. Since I'm an Olympics fan, and they will be hosting the Winter Games in 2010, I was checking it out.

Hopefully, we'll be going up for some of those games, and I'm hoping to see some cool sites to keep in mind when we get there. Of course, we go to Canada at least once a year anyway, so maybe next time, we'll go thru Vancouver on the way.

There were links from other photo blogs from around the world, and I enjoy checking those out as well.

Fun fun fun!


Monday, March 06, 2006

Don't -- Strangle -- the Teenager!!!

So I send out an email to Trevor's teachers this morning. Please let me know if he's got lower than a B in your class, since he's fully capable of A's across the board.

Three teachers reponded. Only one mentions the actual grade at this time (C), but I'm sure the others wouldn't have gotten back to me if he had A's in their classes.

Drafting II is currently not going as well as hoped, since Trevor also has 3D Animation with that teacher, and he tends to do animation instead of Drafting. While that's all fine & good for fun, it's not okay when you are not getting the work done you need in the Drafting class. So he'll probably need to stay after school to catch up on the Drafting. I told the teacher if he continues to do Animation in Drafting class, we'll yank him from Animation. Oh well.

Math, I can understand. He's good at it, but it's not his favorite thing. He's missing 5 assignments. Most of the time he doesn't even realize he's supposed to turn things in, but the info is there if he bothers to look.

English is the one I can actually sympathize with. At 11th grade, its gotten closer to what I did in college/university. I always understood it fine, but for Trevor, his Asperger's gets in the way. Kids with autism are just really literal. There's no getting around that. Each little idiom has to be taught. He won't just pick it up and get it. Then there's the way he understands instructions: His teacher had them do 80 note cards of information for a 6-8 page essay. Trevor is sure that because he did all 80 cards, each of those needs to be somewhere in the essay - even if they don't fit the flow of the essay. I let him turn in the rough draft the way he interpreted it. The email I got back from his teacher suggests we do a little conference this week to help him understand what he's supposed to be doing with this. I don't know how much of this is being a teenager, having autism, or (dare I say it) poor teaching. I'll have to come up with my own conclusions after meeting with her.

So in lieu of strangling Trevor, his is on techno restriction. No TV, x-box or computer time at all until his grades are at least back to B's. He can do A's!!! In the meantime, if he's not doing homework, he's doing chores. If he manages to get those done, he can read at the kitchen table.

If he doesn't have A's & B's at the end of the semester, he's going to get to experience a job that is an option without a decent education. In walking distance there's an Elder Care Home. Maybe after a summer of cleaning up after old people who don't have bowel control, he'll be a little more motivated to do his job at school.


Sunday, March 05, 2006

Horsing Around

Yesterday we drove down to visit Kraig & Nancy on their ranch. They have 200+ acres with a big horse barn & riding arena. Last week, a foal was born, so we wanted to take a look. It can already outrun its mom in the arena, which is pretty wild to see.

All the kids got turns riding a mare named Tia. Connor really enjoyed the horsey ride as well as riding the tractor with Aunt Nancy to dump the manure :) Connor also kept busy practically force-feeding the mares in the Mare Motel (4 mares stay there, and the other 4 horses are in the pasture or barn). Nancy said they have 10 boarders in the barn, which is pretty nice. That barn & the arena were mostly built last summer, although the arena walls are being redone now.

Anyway - I was thrilled with Connor's acceptance of the horses, and how comfortable he was with them. Some people with autism will have like a light switch on in their brains when they are introduced to animals. I read of one girl who started talking when she got to see a cow up close, and she'd never spoken before that. I'm hoping we can spend some more time with the horses in the summer or something (although the pool is a pretty big distraction for Connor there, too - even yesterday he was dipping his feet into the 40 degree water *sigh*).

Still, with foals & horses to ride & feed, Grandma & Grandpa to visit and then a stop at Denny's on the way home for french fries, I'm guessing Connor had a pretty dang good day! Trevor & Diana both had a friend along, so they had fun too.


Friday, March 03, 2006

Happy 8th Birthday Connor!

These are what we gave Connor for his birthday.

The cereals are a treat reserved for birthdays. When did they even start making Chocolate Lucky Charms??? Most of the time, it's Life, or Chex or something like that. On birthdays, I figure I can let it slide. I get Peanut Butter Cap'n Crunch for MY birthday :)

He got 2 movies: Robots & Madagascar. A new Captain Underpants book, and Incredibles for his LeapFrog. And White Cheddar popcorn, because he really likes that a lot too. He's still watching Robots now, so I'm thinking he's happy with his birthday. He'll have spaghetti with parmesan cheese and fresh french bread for dinner & his sister made him a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. I find it interesting he doesn't really eat chocolate, but he likes chocolate baked goods & cereal - oh - and the chocolate in his Advent calendar. But Butterfingers & Baby Ruths? No, thanks.


Thursday, March 02, 2006

Another Assimilation

My little sister has joined the Blogging Community!

<-- here she is as "Miss Idaho Potato."

Anyone that knows us personally and remembers us talking in stereo will realize she and I are able to talk (type) for decent lengths of time. Hopefully, most of the time, our audience is interested in what we have to say.. :P

In any case, I'm happy to be able to see photos of her kiddles & hear more about her day-to-day than what I usually get on the phone (we like to call each other to "vent" sometimes - its a sister thing).

So - go check out Keeka!!! in the Link list!



Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Ash Wednesday

I never much thought the idea of giving something up for Lent worked for me. It didn't seem equal to give up chocolate for 6 weeks to somehow suffer with Christ.

I much prefer the idea of consciously trying to do something good during Lent, and hopefully it will become habit.

In that vein, here are some thoughts from an extraordinary woman:

People are unreasonable, illogical and self-centered,

If you do good, people will accuse you
of selfish, ulterior motives,

If you are successful, you win false and true enemies,

The good you do will be forgotten tomorrow,

Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable,

What you spent years building may be
destroyed overnight,

People really need help but may attack you
if you help them,

Give the world the best you have
and you’ll get kicked in the teeth,

- Mother Teresa