Sunday, April 30, 2006

Backyard stuff: The Planter

Oregon is rather wild. We are in a small town, surrounded by open country. Consequently, the seeds from weeds barely need any help to grab a foothold, and then take over your yard. It also doesn't help that we have about a half an acre, mostly wild. Sure, we cut the "grass" because if we didn't, it would grow taller than Connor.

In any case, we do our bit to try to actually cultivate and grow things we intended to grow, vs. just being overwhelmed completely. So we have a few spots set aside for fruits & veggies. Today's job was the planter originally set up for strawberries. Alas, the ones I planted there were from a mail-order place, and they never did actually grow. It's probably more my fault than the catalog though, since I didn't plant them the day they came in (I have a life) and then I wasn't the most consistent with the watering afterward.

So last year we had tomatoes growing there. Amazingly, I managed to grow some from seeds and they even grew fruit! Then we had some weird weather, they all split, and rotted on the vine. :( I think we saved 2 or 3 before they were all bad. Oh well.

So here's the planter as it was this morning:

Here it is now. All ready for whatever I decide to put in there. I could try tomatoes, or maybe I should go with watermelon this year... I wonder how hard it is to kill...

As you can see by the wheelbarrow, it's a good thing we can get burn permits here. That's just a teeny part of the yard! The plant on the far right is my lilac bush that should hopefully bloom next year. And there's a white bucket in the top photo that you can't see at all buried in the weeds.

Well, Tim

It would be murder, since you & your lover put him on the tracks in the first place.


Saturday, April 29, 2006

Diana, yet again!

She's been accepted for GAPP - German American Partnership Program - through the High School.

She'll be going to this town in Germany for about 3 weeks in June 2007. Our exchange student will be coming her in October of this year. Oh boy!

Somehow, Diana got matched with a gal that likes Manga - imagine that! I think we may have to give her a real American experience of staying at a yurt on the coast with a bunch of Girl Scouts. Whaddya think?

Diana needs to come up with $2000 for this trip. She will be looking for a "real job" for the summer. I think she'll just keep the paper route in the meantime, although she could be sampling more folks on the route to get more money. She will have to be a bit more proactive with that, I think.

And she's started doing some babysitting for Rocky & Sue's twins, and that money should go into her bank account too, now.

Way to go Diana!!

Friday, April 28, 2006

For Carolyn

I get this daily email from I rarely read the whole newsletter thing, but every day I read the inspiration for the day. Sometimes they are funny, and sometimes they really make you think. The quote on the right side of my page there is from them.

This was yesterday's: Other people’s faults are like bees—if we don't see them, they don't harm us.
-Luis Vigil

Of course, Carolyn will argue that if you're not looking and they land on you & sting you, you DID get harmed, but the main point in this is you really shouldn't worry too much about what CAN happen, and focus on what DOES. Most of the time, the bees won't sting you.

Well, that's the bee analogy anyway. On the people's faults, I'm not sure how they would harm you anyway. Unless you're super-sensitive? I dunno.

Okay - maybe that wasn't the best inspiration. I just thought of Carolyn & the bee thing. Don't notice it, it doesn't hurt you.

The one sting Carolyn has gotten from a bee came from her leaning on it. More detrimental to the bee than it was to her.



Thursday, April 27, 2006

Diana in the paper again

On the drawing board
This Copic marker drawing, “Manga,” is by Roseburg High School sophomore Diana Kiester.
The News-Review encourages local teachers to submit student artwork for Monday’s School News.

Five drawings were submitted, Diana's was chosen. Go Diana!!!


Wednesday, April 26, 2006


That's pretty cool.

First, being able to hear voices over the computer is lots of fun. Second, being able to contribute is pretty cool too.

I think I am cutting myself off now & then when I talk - there's a little delay or something. But most of the time it's going good. I've got it set so I have to hit the shift key to speak, so I feel like I'm almost forcing a laugh if someone says something funny and I have to hit a key so they can hear me laugh at their joke. I'm sure I'll get over this feeling though.

Before, I was just on the listening end. Now I can make my own comments, vs. Lee making my comments for me. Heh.

Since he's sitting across from me, I don't hit the shift key to tell Lee, "I'm about to die, heal me." But for pretty much everything else, I'm trying to make sure everyone will get a chance to hear me...

I will have to get feedback if the bike is making too much noise while I'm talking though. I haven't gotten to ride much lately - yesterday I'd just gotten started and Diana needed a ride to Wal-Mart to get supplies for a poster project that was due today (yes, she knows what "procrastinate" means). Hopefully next Sunday I'll be able to ride and play and talk all at the same time!!!


Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Talent Show update again

Today I have a meeting with the HS theater teacher. He has a student who will be our tech person for the Talent Show. I will give them a tentative plan of the order of acts, and we'll have to talk about things like whether they can do a disco ball & stuff like that.

So far:

I've ordered insurance for non-girl scouts (needed at any event where the public is invited.
The patches for "Talent Show" should be coming in any day.
We have about 12 solid prizes for the troops, from ice cream parties to Ice Skating & Swimming parties.
We have former GS leaders lined up to be judges (still need to work out a scale for the actual judging)
We have tickets to sell, but I still need to see who will be selling the tickets.
I need to get a couple of black t-shirts for our 'bouncers' (Lee & another dad) to make sure people don't bring food in - that's been a problem in the past.
The programs are set to be printed on Friday.
I'll need to create an evaluation form, and we need to bag up patches & any coupons or whatever we get from McDonald's etc.
I'm still collecting music for acts, and then I'll create a master CD to use at the show (plus an extra copy, plus all the originals....)
I should be getting a slide show to play before the show starts & during intermission soon. It was almost done last I'd heard.

I still have a couple of contacts for prizes to follow up with, but I think we're covered now, so anything extra goes to the girls helping backstage and doing the EmCee stuff.

My own girls still need to practice their own act more. We don't have the props all together yet (but they are pretty easy). Two of my girls will do the EmCee duties, so they need to get their script together for that. The other two girls will be creating a PSA type video to teach "how to be a good audience." The video part is ready, but they need to polish that up.

Anyhoo - still lots to do, but we have acts lined up, we have prizes, and the theater will hopefully be able to do what we need.

We are all volunteers, after all, so hopefully if the whole thing falls apart, people will be understanding!


Sunday, April 23, 2006

A couple o' new links

I added Joe's & Zaphod's on the right.

Joe is a friend from pre-married days, and he used to live in Alaska. I think Lee has convinced him to join us in City of Heroes???

Zaphod (not his real name) is from early chat days, I'm thinking '96 or so? Gol, that's been 10 years! When Lee first started chatting online after it became available, he met Zaphod on the Route 66 server, run by Bone. Gals were treated as "goddesses" on Route 66, and I used to play Trivial Pursuit against the likes of Tikiman & Chronos.

We used to do all that mIrc, pIrch and comic chat stuff. We'd "give" hugs & candy bars and hot chocolate to each other. Heh. Then Lee & I got into Asheron's Call, and kind of drifted away from the chat scene.

We did keep in touch with Zaphod though. He helped me teach parents at our elementery school about chat, for one thing. "We're talking to Nicolai in Norway today..."

Heh. Anyhoo - new stuff to read, if you're so inclined.


Saturday, April 22, 2006

Birthday/Earth Day

I'm 44 today. Things are good. I've got a great family, I like my job & where we live. I'm probably stretched a little more thinly than I'd like, but that will change (Talent Show coming up May 7th). All around, things are good.

When I was in 6th grade, Earth Day was created. It bugged me right away that they choose my birthday to do this (It's also Girl Scout Leader Appreciation Day, which I like a lot better).

While I fully agree with the concepts of recycling, using resources wisely, making the world a better place, I think a lot of folks don't really get it. The "Treasures from Trash" idea irks me the most. Any Earth Day fair you attend will have some kind of display of "treasures" made by kids from stuff that really should have been recycled more usefully. There will be a lot of paper towel & toilet paper cardboard rolls glued together with other things to create cars and castles, etc.

First off, by combining different materials (paint, glue, aluminum), these things are now no longer as recyclable as they were. Secondly, after maybe playing with them a short while, they will easily be ruined by water, any kind of weight, etc. And viola! Now it's trash again! Finally, it was never a "treasure" to begin with.

It just seems kind of like a scam somehow. Like the Hybrid cars. The creation and maintenance of their batteries causes more pollution in the long run than just using a fuel-efficient gas-powered engine (that little Honda Fit is really cute & 33 mpg!). And yet, everyone is thinking driving a Hybrid is saving the world! I'd rather move closer to work and ride a bike! My kids just use their feet to get around.

Since we don't use a trash pick up service, we are taking our trash to the dump. Diana has a paper route. There's a separate area for recyclables when you go. We wait until it's a full load for our little Ford Ranger, and we dump the recyclables in the appropriate areas. The kids collect bottles/cans to recycle for spare change. All those boxes for the cases of GS cookies go with the newspaper (after Trevor & Connor are done building forts with them). And we wash our Ziploc bags among other things.

I guess I just prefer a happy medium. Don't buy stuff that's over packaged. Do more yourself. Keep it simple. Don't waste what you already have. That's kind of contrary to the American Way right now, but it's not as bad as Earth Day.

For my BIRTHDAY, we'll go to the Oregon Gardens and enjoy the Earth. One good thing, since it's Earth Day, admission is free today. Ha.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Poor Little Guy

Connor went to the dentist today. His dad went with him.

Kids with autism don't handle things like this very well. It's incredibly invasive, and you can't really explain why it has to happen. Yes, your teeth feel fine right now, but this is to prevent and protect for later... A hard concept to sell to a kid like Connor.

Anyway, we have a dentist in town, who does all levels of sedation. He has an autistic son himself, so he's more aware than a typical dentist as to what's involved for Connor. We had to make an appointment a long time ago, because the doc only does these kinds of cases when he shuts down his regular practise. He's prepared to head to the hospital with the patient if things get hairy.

So Connor wasn't allowed to eat all morning, and he got to the dentist's office around 1:00. They gave him a drink with a sedative to help him be calm enough to do the next kind of sedation, which was nitrous gas. Connor accepted the mask over his face okay, but hte nitrous wasn't having much effect on him. He kept counting down, 5 minutes left.... 4 minutes left.... etc.

So then they had to go to an IV. At this point, Connor is NOT happy. There were 4 professionals in the room and they were having a hard time restraining him. So Lee had to go and help (we used to have to do this to pull out splinters, etc.). Lee kept his arm steady once the IV was in, and watched the doc keep upping the dose before Connor finally went under. He fought all the way.

He had 2 cavities filled, and all his molars got sealant on them. The dentist said his mouth was actually in very good shape for an 8-year-old who'd never been to the dentist.

Once that was over, they put oxygen on Connor to help wake him up, but it took longer than normal, I guess. Once he was up, he wanted to walk, but wasn't really able to do that yet.

At home, he went to bed. He was still sleeping when Diana & I got back from our Girl Scout meeting. He slept thru me taking the older kids to College Fair Night at the High School too. He slept thru dinner.

After dinner, he asked for water. Then he got up and puked in a couple of spots on the carpet before we got him into the bathroom. He's sleeping again now. He hasn't really eaten since early this morning. I will try giving him toast later when he gets up again.

As I said in the title, poor little guy. He won't have to go back for another 6 months at least, and hopefully he won't need fillings again for a long, long time.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Easter stuff

Connor still doesn't get it. He was more excited about everyone being in the backyard in his "zone" than anything else. Even though there were colored eggs all over the place, he was having more fun running around and laughing.

Trevor & Diana had to collect the eggs. Trevor spent a lot of time in the yard, because his Uncle Jim had told him one of the plastic eggs had a $10 bill in it. The lesson Trevor learned was "don't believe Uncle Jim." But Jim got to have a bit of a laugh.

Mom & Pop seemed to enjoy themselves. Lee made a lot of jokes about stuff in general, and they had tears in their eyes. Fun stuff.

And in the one picture you'll see what the kids got when they woke up on Sunday. Connor still isn't too much into chocolate, so Mom gets his Toblerone :)

Don't worry, I only eat one triangle a day...

Mass was fun. Connor really, REALLY likes the Gloria they did, so he was all jumping up and down and clapping and singing. Anyone looking at him would have to smile. Lee kept mouthing words to Diana while she's trying to altar-serve, so first she'd be confused, and then she'd roll her eyes (he's mouthing "Don't drop the candle"). Trevor is just intent on not dropping the carafe of wine. Trevor & Diana serve every other week, and fill in if the kids scheduled don't show up on the weeks in between.

In any case, Connor was pretty quiet thru most of Mass, except when he dropped his Magnadoodle - but it was only one time. ;)

Happy Easter!

Friday, April 14, 2006

Teeth happenings

About 2 1/2 weeks ago, I had my teeth prepped for crowns. #2 & #3 molars. I managed the drilling and such well enough, and then got the temporary crowns on. After the initial tenderness, I was expecting the sensitivity would go down, and then I'd be more or less careful with the temp while I waited for the crowns to be done & put in.

So that didn't happen that way. Apparently, #3 is very, VERY sensitive, and throughout the last couple of weeks, it was pretty much aching all the time. I alternated Tylenol, Ibuprofen & later on, Aleve to manage, but even so, it would wake me up at night and bother me most of the day.

Yesterday I went in for the permanent crowns. Normally, you don't need novacaine for this, but when she started pulling the temp off #3, I was jumping in the chair. So I got a shot for this. It was still iffy while they pulled off the temp, and then when they used that hose thing and suctioned, I jumped again, and they gave me yet more novacaine. Now I was okay.

The dentist said everything LOOKED good, even while I'm imagining a raw root dangling there, but he asked if I'd like a cement that would "soothe" the root (yes!!) although it might not last as long as the regular cement. So #2 has regular cement, and #3 has the one to soothe.

I had a blended margarita with dinner tonight, and it's still pretty dang sensitive. Hopefully over the next few days (weeks, months?) it will get better. If I'm stuck with a continual ache like the last few weeks - I guess I'll have to look into a root canal?

Connor, in the meantime, plucked a baby tooth out while he was riding the bus and never said a word to anyone about it. The next kid to use the seat on the short bus told the driver, "Hey! There's a tooth here!" so she wrapped it in a tissue and gave it to Connor's teacher. She figured out who it belonged to, and I supposed it will eventually get back to us at home. Connor's experience was preferable to mine, however he will be going to the dentist himself next week, and will need some kind of sedation. We're not sure yet of the level, but this dentist specializes in this stuff, having an autistic son himself. Hopefully Connor's dental experience will seem more like a dream than anything else. Not a nightmare.


Tuesday, April 11, 2006

My life at work

I think I've mentioned it before, but I work in a disabled kids classroom. I brought in some pom poms from University of Oregon that we'd gotten from friends, because the kids like fun stuff like that.

So here are the various adults in the room, twirling pom poms around to encourage the one little gal to bring her head up straight. She has to really work hard to do this, and so it's a great thing that it interests her so much.

My only problem is this reminds me of Elvira at Knott's on Halloween. Bwahahahhaha!

Sunday, April 09, 2006

119 boxes sold

That was in 2 hours in front of Wal-Mart. She had a little help from the girls in the troop that had the time slot just before us. They were good at asking in unison, "Would you like to buy some sweet and mouth-watering Girl Scout cookies?"

Between this booth and her pre-sale stuff, she's sold about 242 boxes now. Her goal was 350 - then she can get the "H20 Water Transporter" bottle and the little test-tube shampoo & conditioner holders in a nifty fold-up toiletry bag. And yes, all our older girls noticed immediately that "H20 Water" was redundant. She'll also get a light rope (shades of dancing at Black Angus!) and a towel & other things. She's not so keen on the puppy dog purse.

We still have enough cookies for another booth sale, but probably not enough Thin Mints & Samoas. So I'll have to get more of those before our next sale on Saturday. If Diana wants to do another solo booth, she may make her goal. Otherwise, she'll have to make do without that H20 Water bottle!


Friday, April 07, 2006

Cookie Booth

Here we are again... Booth sale time.

This is not my favorite thing with Girl Scouts. I'm not much of a salesperson, and neither is Diana. We have a couple of booths scheduled for Wal-Mart, with the first being this afternoon. Because no other adults from our troop are available to help, I am only allowed to have Diana sell. I can be solo with my own kid, but with anyone else, I need an additional adult.

So - this afternoon, Diana & I will haul our boxes out in front of Wal-Mart. Being 15 years old, she's lost that "cute" factor that the Brownie & Junior scouts have. She's more likely to hear, "Aren't you a little old to be a girl scout?" Well, no. Girl Scouting goes thru High School. At the end, you can do a Gold Project, which is similar to a Boy Scout's Eagle Award. It looks good on your scholarship resumes anyway.

Diana will have to be cheery for 2 hours and keep asking if they want cookies. She'll be in a Cookie Costume to call attention to herself. If we're lucky, the weather will be decent. Sales plummet if it's pouring rain. And whatever cookie stock we have, we have to sell - you can't return it back to girl scouts. So you try to order conservatively, but if the weather is horrible, we'll probably have to try to add an additional booth sale.

I already have a headache *sigh*

Monday, April 03, 2006

TOPS convention

For the last 4 years, I've been in a weight-loss support group called TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly). It's a non-profit, member-run group, and so it's a lot less expensive than other programs.

There are TOPS clubs all over the US & Canada and some other countries as well. The basic idea is a support group that knows what you're going thru, and it keeps you accountable to the club. Every week you weigh in, and if you have a loss or turtle (stay the same) you get applause. If you have a gain, the whole club says, "We're glad you're here."

Each TOPS chapter is part of an "area" which is in the state, which is in the country. Whenever someone reaches their goal weight, they become a KOPS (Keep Off Pounds Sensibly). I joined in March and I became a KOPS that December with a loss of about 40 lbs. I have maintained my KOPS status ever since. That's something pretty amazing to me, since every other time I tried to lose weight, I'd put it back on once the "diet" was over and I'd reached my goal. The difference here is that I'm expected to continue to come to the meetings, weigh in, and support the other TOPS members by being an example of what TOPS can do.

Each chapter gets to crown their KOPS with the most weight lost to goal as a queen or king. Those chapter royalty go on to more or less compete with Area royalty, which go on to compete for State Royalty, and to International Royalty.

The convention I just attended was to crown Oregon's new State King & Queen. Kings usually don't have the same competition as queens. TOPS clubs are mostly women. The men that join are often there to support their wives. The queen this year had lost over a hundred pounds to goal. The king had lost about 65, if I recall.

In any case, it was a fun convention for the most part. On the final day, all the KOPS get a chance to be announced by name and go onstage, by the amount of years they've stayed KOPS. The first group is the new KOPS from this year, ending with the new queen. The next group is the one year KOPS (with the last year's queen) etc. I'm a 3-year KOPS. The longest standing KOPS at this convention had kept her goal weight for 41 years. There were motivational speakers, as well as skits and songs. The only bad thing was during a square-dance demonstration, an older gentleman had some kind of heart attack or something and had to have CPR - by the next day he was able to be in his own hospital room and no longer in ICU (we had actually thought he had died!), so we were happy he'd be okay.

I have a really great club. We play contests and do good programs to motivate ourselves to stick to our goals. Most meetings are pretty much filled with laughter, so it's a good time. I will keep going as long as I can. These are great friends who understand the struggles we all go through. Just because I've acheived my goal doesn't make it any easier. If anything, it's easier to have a pre-made diet to follow to lose weight. It's hard to make lifetime changes to keep the weight off.

Yeah, it may look a little silly to be all dressed fancy, but seriously, when do I get the chance to have complete strangers tell me what a great job I've done? It just motivates me to keep going to my meetings and continue supporting my friends.


(the blue velvet dress is from Marieke, btw. The jewelry is from ebay $8.50 for earrings & necklace - whoo hoo! It showed up in the mail just as I was packing the car to go!)