Friday, March 30, 2007

What about a goat?

It's Friday of Spring Break now. We got Diana's passport stuff done on Monday. It should be here mid-April. Glad that's done!

The girl scouts were here from noon Tuesday till 4:00 on Wednesday. They spent most of the time working on their music for their act. The dance part didn't get started until Wednesday. That's okay - they have it pretty well fleshed-out, and they just need to practise it a lot now. We also went to Taco Bell & got ice cream as promised. They also watched "V for Vendetta" and "Monty Python & the Holy Grail."

I got some of the sewing done. I still have more to do. Today I have errands to run.

I didn't get into the yard at all. Actually, as I said, it's a pretty big job. So now I'm wondering, how hard would it be to just get a goat, put it on a chain and let it graze everything away? They eat everything - including the poison oak. There's nothing on the slope except trees & shrubs and a ton of weeds & grass. If it were cleared, we might actually be able to do some landscaping.

If you use a chain, the goat would graze everything in a semi-circle from the fence to the edge of the chain. I asked our neighbor, and he said it's a great idea. If we call it a pet, it's not illegal to have it in the yard. Then, at the end of the growing season, we take it back to the livestock auction where we got it, and sell it again - recouping our original cost for the goat. I'll bet the goat poops would be better fertilizer than my compost. I don't take the time I need to do that right at this time.

We can name it "Billy."

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Spring Break

I liked it better when it ended with Easter. At least then you had a clean house to celebrate in.

My plans for this week are:

Get Diana's passport ordered. Get Lee's & Connor's passports ordered. Order a copy of Trevor's birth certificate from L.A. (we had to do the same for Diana, and it just came last week). Send away for my Canadian passport.

Weeding the yard. This could take an entire month, so I'll just focus on a small area at a time, and see where I wind up. We have rain in the forecast for the week, and I'll just do this as I can.

Prep the strawberry/tomato garden. I had some chives growing in it, but some sawgrass got in there, and I just have to yank the whole thing out now.

Cut back the blackberries all over the yard. Then spray with Crossbow. Crossbow is the only thing that will kill the poison oak and blackberries. Even then, I'll have to do it again next year.

Reorganize the laundry room. Lee's dad made us a new cupboard & he included a drawer. An empty drawer! What should I put in there?? Should I buy my own tools in fushia and store them in there? Whoo Hooo!

Sew & mend clothes. Diana's pants all need to be hemmed up - she's a "petite" and her legs are shorter than mine. I will show her how to do the blind hem & let her take it from there. Trevor needs stuff fixed and I want to make myself a bag out of an old jeans skirt. I also have 3 years of girl scout patches for my shirt & Diana's vest. I will probably have to put some of Diana's on a bag for girl scout stuff. The vest is the same for 6 years, and there's not much room left on the back now. I will focus on earned recognitions, vs. event patches to start.

Bake cookies & stuff. Maybe can some jam. I have fruit in the freezer from last summer.

Girl Scout sleepover. They will work on their Talent Show act. There will probably be Taco Bell & Ice Cream eaten. Papier Mache could be involved. Costumes. Who knows?

I don't think we're going to go anywhere. Diana still has her job at the law office, and Trevor will be delivering the papers in the afternoons. If we have good weather & I feel up to it, maybe we'll do some geocaching...

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Connor Fun

When someone tries to contact me on IM, there's a good chance it's not actually me. It's possible that Connor is on my computer, watching one of his Favorites. He knows how to log in my MSN account, click on the little star, and find "Connor Fun" under the favorites. He's got 32 things saved there.

Currently, those include 13 Weird Al videos (both regular videos and some people created using his songs, like the Warcraft "Hardware Store" song).

He has 6 movie trailers.

He has 2 Barbie Girl karaoke videos - one is in Portuguese.

The rest are quirky ones like "Wicked Christmas Lights" and "Crazy Frog."

And now he wants to go look at Virus Alert again, so that's it for today!


Per Keeka's Request

On the post below, her comment referred to my dad's love of close ups of flowers.

These aren't as close as my dad's, but close enough for me.

These are violas I planted around tulip bulbs.

This doesn't want to die. We keep trying to kill it. It has roots like bamboo - it keeps coming up all over and we keep cutting it back & digging it up to no avail.

Double & regular jonquils or daffodils with grape hyacinth in my front walk planters.

I took these photos the same day as the post below. Isn't it funny how Keeka knew I would take them?

Once the tulips and gladiolas come up, I'll have some shots of those too.

And I took a "before" shot of Diana's bedroom window where the snowball flowers will be in a month or so too.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Spring things

We have gorgeous weather today (and yesterday). After all the temperature extremes, it's nice to have pretty days on the weekend, when we can actually have the kids help in the yard! Don't worry, they get paid in ice cream & candy bars...

Trevor usually does the mowing & Diana does the weed whacking. Connor digs holes. I didn't need any holes dug today though.

I'm not sure if it's my european upbringing or what, but I just love seeing the seasons change. I love the bulb flowers coming up (hyacinth & daffodils/jonquils now - tulips & peonies are on the way). I love the flowering trees - ours is an ornamental cherry out front - the fruit trees are still budding.

Trevor has to dig into the grass already - if it's not cut down soon, it will grow taller than Connor. Makes it really REALLY hard to find the Easter eggs!

Yay Spring!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Peanut Butter

Back in '86, Lee & I had been dating around 3 years, and I wanted to go to the Exposition Fair in Vancouver, Canada. Lee, having never been out of the country, agreed to accompany me. We would get to visit his sibs in Sacramento & Medford on our way up.

We got an extra rider in Marla, who was going to stay with her Aunt Karen, who had a new baby girl, Collyn.

Lee picked me up from my job, sometime in the later evening, because I worked 8 hours after I got out of school. Marla was all wrapped up in pillows & blankets. I don't remember much about the ride up to Sacramento - we got to Karen's in the early morning & went to sleep.

We spent a few days in Sacramento and then headed up to Medford. We stayed at Myrna & Doug's a bit, and then at Kraig & Nancy's place in Butte Falls. I recall very small Crystal & Jon peeking out at us in the morning, a big electricity outtage at Abby's Pizza during a sudden thunderstorm, Nancy showering me with rain left over on a tree, and slip & sliding down the hill at Myrna & Doug's.

We got up to Vancouver at night, and found our campground. It was a long drive from Medford, and Lee & I talked a lot & listened to music. But by the time we finally got to our site & started setting up, we discovered the tent we'd borrowed from Byron had been peed all over by his cat. It wouldn't have been so bad, except it was raining lightly, and it really smelled.

We decided we should sleep in the back of the Ford Escort instead. He was going to set that up. I was pretty hungry, and since I couldn't help much, I went to the little market in the campground & got some peanut butter, jam & bread. When I got back to our site, Lee was pretty frustrated. When we'd given a ride to nieces & nephews in the back of car, someone had discovered the little string pull to flip down the seat, and had somehow managed to wedge it between the back & the seat. Lee's meaty hands couldn't get it out again, and we couldn't put the seat back down to be able to use the car to sleep.

I discovered at this point that I can take Lee just fine when he's pissed off. This was a good thing, because he doesn't get all that mad very often (that I see), and when he does, I pretty much leave him alone to work it out. At this point tho, I'm right there in the car, trying to make a sandwich while he's cursing in the back seat. I kept my questions to a minimum like, "Do you want a sandwich?" I don't recall his answer - but I only made one for me.

Well, I started to make one for me. I'm working with the handle of a spoon, since I don't have a knife, and I open the lid of the peanut butter. In the dim light of the Escort's interior dome, I can see there's something on the top of the peanut butter. I hold it up, but the light is pretty dim. Is it a cockroach? Is it a beetle? What the heck is that thing? Should I go back to the market? I think I'd just gotten my stuff as they were closing for the night... I'm starving and I'm gonna eat. If it *is* a bug, it's dead anyway, so I carefully collect the peanut butter from the outer edges of the jar, and make my sandwich. It tastes fine.

Ordinarily, I'd have asked Lee to figure out what that was, but he wasn't really in the mood :/

The next morning, I opened the peanut butter jar to find out what that was.


The logo of this Canadian brand of peanut butter is: Squirrel Peanut Butter - the one with the peanut on top!


Monday, March 12, 2007

Baby Joshua

Lee's niece, Karrie, has a new baby. His name is Joshua. Daddy Shane & brother Benjamin are very excited about the new addition to the family.

Karrie did a water bath for the birth, which sounds like a good way to go (if you can avoid c-sections). She made it sound almost *comfortable* (?!?)

He's only 2 days old here, and will probably look completely different when we see him again - maybe Easter.

Joshua makes the 5th great-grandkid for Lee's folks. Happy Birthday Joshua!

Friday, March 09, 2007

Where should he go?

So Trevor managed to submit his scholarship information on time. He's got two Universities we're looking at - both have offered scholarships to him. Both have Engineering programs.

I was thinking he'd start out with a couple of years of community college first, but dang, these universities are being persistent!

The top photo is Oregon Institute of Technology. They have a solid engineering program, the city of Klamath Falls is a bit bigger than where we are now, and Trevor's cousin Jon got his Engineering degree there. According to Lee's sister, Myrna, there are lots of kids with Trevor's learning style (Asperger's Syndrome, ADHD) and the teachers work well with that.

Downside, it's a pain in the butt to commute from K. Falls. Especially during winter, since it's on the other side of the Cascades in the high desert. Also, K. Falls is known as the "Armpit of Oregon." Still, Trevor would spend most of his time on campus anyway...

The next photo is Portland State University. They are just starting their Engineering program. It's a Catholic University, which would be kind of cool, and the scholarship they offered is $10,000.00. They have also invited him to stay a weekend in the dorms to check it out.

Downside, I have no idea how well the administration would work with Trevor. It's in a real CITY, albeit a beautiful one, and cost of living would be a lot higher. This school also costs more than OIT.

I'm still going to have Trevor apply for the scholarships at community college.

So, what do you think? Where should he go?


Thursday, March 08, 2007

They left me

It's conference time at work, so we don't have kids.

After meeting all morning to discuss things like protocols and matrices with our various specialists, everyone decided to go out to lunch.

Except me. It's Thursday & I weigh in today. I stick to my oatmeal breakfast & yogurt lunch. If I deviate, I'll have to chop off a leg from my octopus.

Okay - don't panic, it's not a real octopus. It's a contest with my TOPS club. Everyone who wanted to play made an octopus from yarn. Whoever gets through the couple of months the contest runs with the most legs still on their octopus wins the contest.

Since I'm maintaining my goal weight, I don't have to lose, but I have to weigh in either at or below goal (I have a 10-lb leeway - 3 above goal, 6 below) to keep my legs on my octopus. I have a hard time staying at or below goal, and this kind of contest motivates me to stick to my guns and get my workouts in, etc. The regular TOPS members (still not at goal weight) have to either stay the same, or lose to keep their octopus legs.

I don't have a problem staying away from the goodies & treats (today it's peach pie & Do-Si-Do's), but when everyone leaves you alone at lunch, it kind of sucks. I could have gone along & just had iced tea or something, but they were going mexican, and the warm fresh made chips on the table would have probably been more temptation than I could manage.

Wish me luck on my weigh in!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Thinking Day 2007

First off, I was sick & didn't go. However, I'd gone ahead and made a display about the Brownie Girl Scout Travel Bug to share, and I thought it would be a good place to introduce the girl scouts to geocaching. So... I sent my girls on without me!

Now, if they hadn't all been trained Program Assistants with 10+ years each under their belts as girl scouts, I wouldn't have let them go solo. But, because are - I figured it wouldn't come back to haunt me. It probably would have been a good idea to tell the girls that I hadn't actually registered for the event though. They showed up expecting a table for our display, and because I'd spaced it, they had to explain who they were, why I wasn't there, etc. etc. I apologized to the Event gal later (she forgave me).

Typically, Thinking Day is an event to teach our girls that there are other girl scouts all around the world just like them, doing the girl scout program. Our usual way to do this in our area is to have an event where each troop decides on a country to present. They learn about the country, dress up in traditional (or close to it) clothing, and offer some kind of food that's supposed to be popular there. In the past, we've presented on Germany, Japan, Malaysia, Germany again, etc. We invite various exchange students that are attending our local high schools (through AFS), and we usually have somewhere like 150 girls attend. It's a fun thing. In fact, my girls like it so well, they never even considered not going, even though I was sick!

With Diana's new job, we haven't been able to meet as a troop lately. We still are trying to work out a meeting time that works with sports, jobs, school, blah blah. So because we're not meeting, my troop wasn't actually involved in choosing a country. I thought the geocaching display would still work for the event. People had a lot of questions about it, and we will probably have a geocaching event coming up in June or something ;) The council has awarded us a grant to purchase GPS's, and I think they're getting four of them (yay!) Plus, it would be okay if I put it together. It's really the troop's responsibility to do the display when we do a country.

Everyone had a good time, and the travel bug girl scout doll was handed over to Katelyn, who is going to Pax Lodge in London, a Girl Scout World Center, later this month. She will drop her in a cache somewhere at Pax Lodge, and hopefully, another troop will grab her soon & get her over to Switzerland, where she's trying to go! Whoo Hoo!

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Happy 9th Birthday Connor!

Yesterday Connor celebrated his 9th birthday.

He got a bit of an early start on Thursday, when his dad showed up just before school let out to pass out chocolate cupcakes. The class sang him Happy Birthday, and he was very pleased. The little girl who sits next to him gave him a knitted hat for a gift :)

On Friday, he asked to go to Fred Meyer (grocery & stuff store) to pick out a white cake. It had to be white - this one has lemon in it too. He was all ready to eat the cake as soon as we got home, but I explained his birthday was actually Saturday, and it was still Friday.
Saturday morning, Lee & I made him pancakes for breakfast (his request). Omi & Opa called and we let Connor answer the phone to hear them singing Happy Birthday to him. Then Diana & I had to do a Girl Scout Cookie booth sale for a couple of hours (sold 80 boxes!). When we got home, it was time for cake - so we put on the 9 candles, and sang and ate cake! Well, we all ate cake, Connor ate frosting, mostly.
It's interesting with a kiddo with autism when it comes to giving gifts. He pretty much has everything he wants. When Flushed Away came out on DVD, he had been counting the days, so we got it as soon as it was available (February 20). That meant he really didn't have any requests for his birthday. So, while Diana & I were at Wal-Mart after our booth sale, we went in and got a few things for Connor. He has several food items he really likes, so that's what he got: White Cheddar Cheese Nips, Smart Pop White Cheddar popcorn, Sour Cream & Onions Pringles (green chips - they are in the green can) and Decaf Diet Coke. He likes diet Coke because that's what his dad drinks. :) He was very happy with these gifts!
Then we all got our bathing suits & towels and went to the Y to go swimming. I thought I'd spend the whole time in the jacuzzi, but they now have a pretty warm salt water pool at the Y, so I managed to swim in the regular pool with the family (I get chilled easy in a cold pool). After swimming, Connor requested McDonald's park (it has the play place with tubes). We all got some snacks and Connor ran around in the tubes a while.
After we got home, I was tired, so I got to take a nap (yay!). Then Keeka & her family sang Connor Happy Birthday over the phone :) We asked Connor what he wanted to do for dinner. He wanted to go to IHOP. No one else in the family is all that fired up over our IHOP - service isn't usually great, and the food doesn't really impress me much, but that's what he wanted, so that's where we went! He had pancakes and french fries. I had a fish sandwich that was too greasy - I should have just done a two-egg breakfast. Oh well. Connor had a good time!
At home later, he got to play on the computer & xbox before it was time for bed. That's a good birthday for Connor!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Too Stinkin' Busy

Yesterday was too full.

I worked my regular hours, but then took off 15 minutes early, because the afternoon was so crammed.

I got home and loaded the boys into the van. Trevor is doing the paper route now that Diana has her new job. On Wednesdays, there's an "Extra" paper for the people that don't subscribe - it has entertainment news & coupons for groceries. We drove the route as fast as we could.

We got back home, and I had a little time to iron Trevor's shirt, and we jumped back in the van & headed to Sears to do his Senior portraits. The photo for the yearbook was due today, so we had to get it done. We'd waited this long, because we wanted the braces off. The wait at Sears was more than I needed, especially with an antsy Connor, but there wasn't much I could do about that. It took until 5:35 to do the pictures & get a sheet printed to submit to the school.

Then we raced downtown to go and get Diana from her job. She had to wait at the Comic Book shop, since she'd actually stopped working at 5:00. When we got home at 5:50, there was a message that the lady warehousing the GS cookies was leaving at 6:00! So back I go into the van to race over to the Sleep Inn conference room. I got there just at 6:00, and now the back of the van is full of cookies.

Back home around 6:15, and Diana was making Connor pancakes for dinner. Then she made the hummus for us - I got to use the bathroom! Then Diana needed to get shoes for work before Payless closed, so we ran off to the mall and she got a couple of pairs that are comfortable but dressy enough for the job...

Finally back home again - ate some dinner and sat a bit. I rode my bike an hour, and then came over to help Trevor with his essay writing for the scholarship application (due today). He was still working on it when I went to bed at 10:30.