Sunday, December 10, 2006
Monday, November 20, 2006
Saturday, November 18, 2006
However. The Hook's latest cover story about C'ville as the Little Apple, a veritable mini Manhattan, has me cringing just a bit. The very fact that an article was published saying, "Look at us! We have a martini bar! Bikram Yoga! We vote Democratic!" rubs the veneer of urban sophistication right off our smug little faces.
I haven't lived in very many cities. I spent most of my life in Buffalo, NY, lived in Boston as a young child, spent a year and a half in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Still, from this, and my time here in C'ville, I've come to recognize what I'm calling the Five Pillars of Urban Life. No doubt, there could be much debate over what these five pillars should be, but since this is my site, and I thought of it, I'm naming the five pillars:
4.Local TV News
5.Quality of the pizza
How does C'ville measure up against the Five Pillars? I'll have to return to that subject another day, since I'm at work right now.
OK--why is C'ville blogs not updating? It's driving me crazy, and the backlog of updated blogs must be tremendous. It hasn't updated since Friday.
Monday, November 13, 2006
Staying up until midnight on much balleyhooed registration date for Spring 2007 semester, only to get the following message, "Registration for this class begins November 13, 2007. Please try again on or after that date": Priceless
So Very Virginia
(I stole that from Outskirts.)
So Very Fucking Virginia.
On the bright side, the classes I need, which usually close quickly because they are in high demand, are still open because nobody else could register either. Would love to be a fly on the wall in the registrar's office this morning, when they realize their mistake.
Friday, October 27, 2006
All of Earth waited for the small black hole to bring it to its end. It had been discovered by Professor Jerome Hieronymus at the Lunar telescope in 2125 and it was clearly going to make an approach close enough for total tidal destruction.
All of Earth made its wills and wept on each other's shoulders, saying, "Good-bye, good-bye, good-bye." Husbands said good-bye to their wives, brothers said good-bye to their sisters, parents said good-bye to their children, owners said good-bye to their pets, and lovers whispered good-bye to each other.
But as the black hole approached, Hieronymus noted there was no gravitational effect. He studied it more closely and announced, with a chuckle, that it was not a black hole after all.
"It's nothing," he said. "Just an ordinary asteroid someone has painted black."
He was killed by an infuriated mob, but not for that. He was killed only after he publicly announced that he would write a great and moving play about the whole episode.
He said, "I shall call it "Much Adieu About Nothing."
All humanity applauded his death.
Saturday, October 14, 2006
My dad called me to say that at his house in Buffalo, they got 26 inches of snow, on October 12.
Since trees in full leaf can't handle the weight of heavy snow, many, many trees have fallen and hundreds of thousands of people are without power, heat, and water. The loss of that many trees is devastating.
This is the sixth snowiest 24 hour period in Buffalo's history, or at least in the 137 years they've been keeping track. I remember that 37.9 inch snowfall in December 1995. It was a Sunday. The entire 37.9 inches fell between 7:00 am and 7:00pm. And yet, I managed to drive to work the next day (and I did not have 4 wheel drive.) We Buffalonians know how to handle snow.
My Dad used World War II imagery to describe the aftermath: "Like Berlin after WWII" is how he described it. Interestingly, my SIL also referenced WWII in describing this storm. She said it made her think of London, being bombed, since you'd hear the crack of a tree breaking, and worry for a few seconds before you heard the thud. With each crack, you wondered if this would be the tree to crush your house. Buffalo hasn't even recovered from the Dutch Elm plague--I think that was 40 years ago--and now 50% of its trees are damaged.
Friday, October 06, 2006
Today's adventure: we were filmed in a political TV commercial.
This morning, we noticed all kinds of to-doing in the park across the street and went over to investigate. A commercial was about to be filmed for Creigh Deeds, who is the democratic candidate for Virginia Attorney General. Miss G and Mr. McP were invited to join, as kids playing in the background, and they asked me to be in it too. I was sent to make-up first, the producer saying, "We need to put some powder on, er, that," 'that' being my large forehead. J, arriving late on the scene, wondered, "Who's the hot chick in the chair?" and then realized it was me.
First, we--Creigh Deeds, another woman and I--were filmed talking. I had to stand on a box to camouflage my shortness. Next, Deeds was filmed playing with the kids (a carefully balanced mix of black and white) on the playground, while I hovered in the background as a token parent. Last, Deeds and I had to stand and talk--the focus of this commercial was "Keeping our children safe" and Deeds played the concerned politician, while I played the Concerned Parent. In reality, we talked about how ridiculous we felt. The cameraman kept urging us to stand closer, "That's right, unnaturally close," he joked. The last time I stood that close to a man in a public setting, a priest was saying, "I now pronounce you man and wife.”
Of course, the campaign that commercial was for is now long over with. When the commercial aired, all that showed of me was a brief glimpse of the back of my head. It's just as well. As Deeds and I stood talking for the cameras, I realized I'd walked out of the house without a bra.
Friday, September 29, 2006
I suppose I ought to say something semi-interesting. Looking forward to the meeting of bloggers tomorrow.
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Step one: Remove all dishes from china cabinet
Step two: Move futon temporarily into new room to get it out of the way.
Step three: Move china cabinet to new dining room.
Step four: Move table to dining room.
Step five:Wash every single dish that had been in the china cabinet. All but two wineglasses were coated with a thick brown grime left over from the renovation. My dishwasher is broken.
Step six: move the piano. It is on castors, so this was easier than it looks, but it was still very, very hard. I spent a lot of time tugging uselessly while my feet slid out from under me. Halfway there. I was mainly worried that the piano would crash through the floor, since the old floorboards are in terrible condition, and there is no subfloor.
Step six: move futon to where piano used to be. I don't like futons, but I won the $250 gift certificate to Atlantic Futon in the WNRN fundraiser, so a futon became my destiny.
Still unclear about purpose of new room.
Late in the evening, after J got home from work, we moved the impossibly heavy shelving unit which spent months blocking the kitchen doorway, into the dining room.
The next day, Jon put castors on the bottom of my old sea chest. I bought this at my grandfather's yard sale for $5. When I got it home, I noticed the name "Murphy"--barely discernable---stenciled across the front. I called my grandfather to ask him about it, and he said, oh-s0-casually, "Oh, yes, that's the chest that came over with your great-great-great-grandparents from Ireland in 1847." Underneath all that varnish is red milk paint. Some day I hope to restore it, and get the name Murphy visible again. For now, it makes a fabulous coffee table and mitten holder.
When you include all the consulting, planning and getting the loan, etc, this project has been a full year in the making, although actual work started last February.
Saturday, September 16, 2006
In other news, we finally got the floors finished in the part of the house we renovated.
We can move the furniture back in on Sunday, and I can't wait for that because living conditions are decidedly cramped right now. I think the ratty armchair pulled up to the computer is a particularly clasy touch.
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
Being a college student in the 21st century is quite different from what it was like when I first went to college. Before classes started, I worried that there'd be a scene like the one in the movie Legally Blond, with Elle, on the first day of class, taking out her notebook and a purple feathered pen, while the rest of the class open their laptops. In fact, I am more worried about providing my children with laptops when they go to college, than I am about paying their college tuition. Luckily for me, at Piedmont, people do still write in paper notebooks.
The biggest difference is the dependence on the internet. At Piedmont, there's a program called Blackboard that you log into and can download all your instructor's notes and powerpoints for the lectures. In the lab I am taking, we did not have to purchase a lab manual, since instructions for each lab are posted on blackboard for us to print. Quizzes and some exams are also put on Blackboard, so we can take them at home. It's all very easy and convenient, but it does assume that every student has access to a computer and a printer.
The other day, while browsing through Blackboard, I clicked on the “tools” option and then discovered “my grades,” a feature that is sure to become an obsession with me over the next few years. When you go to “my grades” not only do you see a neat summary of all your test and quiz grades so far, you also see how your grades compare to the class average. Brilliant!
And it's not that I went to college in the dark ages. We were heavily dependent on computers too. These pictures were taken in 1990, when J and I, who were then dating, traveled to Charlottesville to visit J's brother who was in medical school at UVA. It was our senior year in college. See J disporting himself irresponsibly at the top of Old Rag? See the backpack he's holding? It contained the one and only floppy disk with my senior honor's thesis and annotated bibliography. The bibliography alone was over fifty pages long. When I got back to New York, I told my faculty advisor about how J had jumping from rock to rock and swinging that backpack over his head, on the extremely windy mountain summit, and how I'd suddenly realized I'd left my thesis in it. The advisor said, “Ah, but if you'd lost the paper, you could have gotten it back from the disk.” When I told him that it was the disk in the backpack, he turned pale. I turn pale thinking about it, even now.
That last picture was taken in The Virginian. I don't think it has changed at all since 1990.
Saturday, September 09, 2006
I'm enrolled in two classes, plus one lab at Piedmont. I really thought I would hate it. Piedmont is so different from the small Jesuit college where I got my English degree. It turns out I don't hate it, nor do I feel uncomfortably old as I am far from being the oldest person in my classes and there are many people close to my age. Still, I am exhasuted most of the time .
My two youngest children have entered the public school system after having been homeschooled for the past two years. The older of the two seems to be thriving--has been busy making friends, is doing well in her classes, etc. The younger child, a second grade boy, is not measuring up to his teacher's expectations. He can't remember which baskets to put his folders in. He forgets to put a "P" next to his name on the attendence sheet, indicating that he packed his lunch. These are serious offenses in the second grade. I'm also annoyed about a note that came home recently. Attached to a list of common-sense tips for helping a child succeed in school (reading to him, supervising homework, limiting TV, etc) was the handwritten note, "Following these tips will make your child smarter..."
Really? Does the teacher really believe that? Or does she think me such an idiot that I am supposed to believe this? And this is my main problem with my youngest child's school: it serves a predominently low-income population, and the school attitude seems to be that they are saving our children from their terrible, sub-intelligent parents. It's not just this note, there have been other things.
If I weren't so tied up with school myself, I would take him right out and homeschool him until he can go to Walker.
Saturday, September 02, 2006
My husband and I work in the same department at UVA and we almost always take the bus to work from our house in Belmont. Parking at UVA is a hassle and it makes no sense to park at the stadium and take a shuttle to the hospital, when we can just hop on a city bus practically in front of our house. But yesterday I got an email from UVA about possible flooding this morning, and last night we decided to drive, in case the busses couldn't run.
This morning, it was clear that the busses should have no problem running their routes, but J had his heart set in driving because it is "easier." Sure, it's so much "easier" to drag 2,000 pounds of steel with you everywhere you go.
We left our house just as the city bus was passing. Employees can park in the hospital ramp for free on weekends. By the time we'd followed the long, slow moving line of cars to the top of the ramp where there was a space available, we'd spent just as much time as we would have on the bus. And our walk from the top of the ramp to the hospital was no shorter from walking to the bus stop to the hospital. How is this easier?
Usually, I walk home, so today I will be deprived of my walk. On another occasion that I drove to work, it took me so long to get out of the ramp, due to traffic, that I arrived home exactly five minutes earlier than I would have had I walked the entire two miles.
A car is just a two ton piece of baggage that you much check every time you need to go somewhere.
Sunday, August 27, 2006
Friday, August 25, 2006
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Charlottesville City schools started yesterday. Each of my four children is in a different city school, which means we're in for a crazy year. I had been homeschooling my two youngest children, but this year enrolled everyone in public school because I am going to school myself this semester, and working part-time and just don't have the time to homeschool anymore.
First day of school was a success, I think. No one missed the bus, everyone got home safely. I was late going to meet my second-grader and he surprised me by arriving at the door just as I was getting ready to leave. He wasn't traumatized at having no one to meet the bus, just happy to be home. He was cheerful and told me all about his day, which included eating cupcakes because one kid had a birthday today. The girls seem pleased with their schools too--one is at Walker, the other at Buford-- although Miss G has not been officially placed in any classes because they still need to assess her. It seems they've put her in the above grade level classes as a default.
Mad Scientist wouldn't tell me anything about his first day of high school. At least not at first. Later, he commented that he was the only kid in his history class who'd heard of the Epic of Gilgamesh. (Because I read it out loud to him and Drama Queen a few years ago.) “What did your teacher say?” I demanded breathlessly. Mad glared at me. “Nothing.”
What did I expect the teacher to say, “Mad Scientist, I am so impressed that you are familiar with Gilgamesh! You must have a truly impressive and excellent mother. Let me look up your phone number so I can call her and congratulate her on her perspicacity.”
No, of course I didn't expect the teacher to say that!
Monday, August 07, 2006
I know that Sprint (now Embarq) is notorious for poor customer service. For a while, it seemed that every other column by Barbara Nordin--the consumer reporter for The Hook (or is it Cville Weekly?) was about someone having a run-in with Sprint. I considered myself lucky that we've had a relatively trouble-free relationship with our phone service provider.
We recently switched our internet service from Ntelos to Embarq, and for some reason this involved "upgrading" our phone service. You see, if we upgraded, we'd get the $10-dollar-a-month cheaper DSL, plus caller ID. We'd previously had no long distance service on our home phone, but part of this upgrade requires us to get Embarq long distance, which, I was assured would cost us nothing, but was required for the DSL bundling package. Whatever. I was on the phone with them for something like 45 minutes, but our new modem arrived promptly and the new internet service is great.
But here's the problem, I got a letter the other day saying, "...To ensure your service is activated quickly, please call us today at 866-406-7717....If we have not heard from you in 10 days, your order will be cancelled."
So I called the number. It's a non-working number! The fucking phone company sends me a letter telling me to call a fucking non-working number!
I don't care if I have long-distance service or not, we have no need for it on our home phone, but I don't want our internet service to be disconnected over something so silly. My options are to a.) do nothing and see what happens, b.)call Embarq, wait on hold for at least 20 minutes and get the correct number, or c.) try calling tomorrow--maybe it's just a bad day for Embarq today and their phones aren't working. Or d.) vent about it on my blog and then do nothing.
Sunday, August 06, 2006
No, just kidding, but don't you love business that answer their phones in that manner: "We're having a great day at Trinity Mission!" "We're having a great day at the Albemarle County regional jail!"
They don't really say that when you call the jail. Or maybe they do, I've never actually called the jail.
Reading an interesting book, Crunchy Cons by Rod Dreher. It's about political conservatives who embrace the so-called crunchy lifestyle associated with liberals. And why not? It's ridiculous to assume that everyone who votes Republican also drives an SUV and embraces the Wal-martization of America. I've always thought of myself as politically liberal, but am conservative about some issues. I can feel myself warming to the Crunchy Con movement.
Also just started reading The Milagro Beanfield War.
Monday, July 31, 2006
Tourist fantasies fructify best when tourists are set down not in places but in pseudo-places, passing through subordinate pseudo-places, like airports, on the way. Places are odd and call for interpretation. They are the venue of the traveler. Pseudo-places entice by their familiarity and call for instant recognition: “We have arrived.” Kermanshah, in Iran, is a place; the Costa del Sol is a pseudo-place, or Tourist Bubble, as anthropologists call it. The Algarve, in southern Portugal, is a prime pseudo-place, created largely by Temple Fielding, the American author of Fielding's Travel Guide to Europe. That book, first published in 1948, was to tourism what Baedeker was to travel. It did not, says John McPhee, “tell people what to see. It told them..what to spend, and where.” .... Because it's a city that has been constructed for the purpose of being recognized as a familiar image, Washington is a classic pseudo-place, resembling Disneyland in that as in other respects. One striking post-Second War phenomenon has been the transformation of numerous former small countries into pseudo-places or tourist commonwealths, whose function is simply to entice tourists and sell them things. This has happened remarkably fast. As recently as 1930, Alec Waugh could report that Martinique had no tourists because there was no accommodation for them. Now, Martinique would seem to be nothing but tourists...
Thursday, July 27, 2006
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
My brother, after reading my couch entry, sent me this email:
Nice couch! Did you ever wonder how we came to call a cushioned pew a couch? I can't find it or Davenport in my etymological dictionary. It must come from the French Coucher, to lie down. Sofa? Sofa comes from Arabic or Turkish. A davenport is 'a large sofa.' Websters claims this usage is U.S. Only. In the UK a davenport is a small writing desk. A davenport table is a 'a narrow table with drawers, having drop leaves at both ends,placed in front of or behind a sofa. Also called sofa table.' Davenport would make a great name for the protagonist of a gothic novel. "Roger Davenport rode to hounds the day following his wife's suicide."
Hoping I've answered all unasked questions,
Does anyone know the origins of the word davenport? I suppose it isn't a huge leap from sofa table to the sofa itself. The only person I ever knew who actually used the word, referring to a couch, was my grandmother. And since I boldly displayed a picture of our shamefully shabby old couch, I now present the new Crabstick living room ensemble.
Friday, July 21, 2006
Although I knew it was highly unlikely I'd get hired at The New Yorker directly out of school, I was determined to be writing for them before my fifth reunion. It was all I'd ever wanted to do, the only place I'd ever really wanted to work. I'd picked up a copy for the first time after I'd heard my parents discussing an article they'd just read and my mom had said, "It was so well written--you just don't read things like that anymore," and my father had agreed, "No doubt, it's the only smart thing being written today." I'd loved it. Loved the snappy reviews and the witty cartoons and the feeling of being admitted to a special, members-only club for readers. I'd read every issue for the past seven years and knew every section, every editor, every writer by heart.
Oh, come on! I think Weisberger imagined an audience of mouth-breathing yokels. Not recommended, although I think I may watch the movie (once it comes out on DVD.)
Now reading The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. I'm only on page 95, so perhaps it's unfair to warn people away. The writing is better than Weisberger's and I love the premise: a guy who spontaneously travels through time because he is "chrono-impaired." Too bad the only time traveling we get to see are his visits to his wife, as he travels into the past and waits for her to grow up and marry him. Oh, and he visits himself as a child. Maybe it will get more interesting, but I doubt it, and this book suffers from the same middle class pretensions as the devil wears prada. Clare, the "time traveler's wife" is an artist. Naturally. Because wildly romatic adventures happen only to artists and never to bus drivers or nurses. She tells us that her sculptures are "about birds and longing." Whatever. Henry, the time traveler, in the Art Institute of Chicago, looking for someone to pickpocket, says,
I'm looking for easy marks, and just ahead of me is a perfect illustartion of the pickpocket's dream. Short, portly, sunburnt, he looks as though he's made a wrong turn from Wrigley Field in his baseball cap and polyester trousers with light blue short-sleeved button-down shirt. He's lecturing his mousy girlfriend on Vincent van Gogh.
"So he cuts his ear off and gives it to his girl--hey, how'd you like that for a present, hugh? An ear! Huh. So the put him in the loony bin..."
I have no qualms about this one.
Aw. Leave the poor prole alone. Are we supposed to be impressed that he takes advanatage of people who are less well educated than he? And on Henry's fifth birthday, his parents take him to the Field museum of natural history. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but in the context of this book, it was like having another mother at the playground say, "Oh, you took your kids to the zoo? We took little Henry to the Field museum. Now he's classifying every animal he sees with its Latin name."
I'm still fresh from reading Paul Fussell's Class, and find these ridiculous pretensions irritating. I have a feeling I'm going to stop reading this book soon as well.
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
High Prole (Proletariat)
Some of you are probably offended already. And really, this book does descend into the superficial and silly, as Fussell uses long lists of exterior markers to define the classes people belong to. According to him, even the flowers in your garden advertise your class:
Anyone imagining that just any sort of flowers can be presented in the front of a house without status jeopardy would be wrong. Upper-middle class flowers are rhododendrons, tiger lilies, amaryllis, columbine, clematis, and roses, except for bright-red ones.... prole flowers include anything too vividly red, like red tulips. Declassed also are phlox, zinnias, salvia, gladioli, begonias, fuchsias, and petunias. Members of the middle class will sometimes hope to mitigate the vulgarity of bright-red flowers by planting them in a rotting wheelbarrow or rowboat displayed on the front lawn, but seldom with success.
This book, while at times exasperating, has had me relating almost everything I do to what it says about social class. For example, we have been shopping for a new couch. First of all, “buying a couch” is a quintessentially middle class activity, especially if you do so at national chains or mail order like Pottery Barn. Stores like Rent-a-center serve the “proles.” The Upper and Top classes probably do not buy couches as such, but “discover” them at auctions, or else the same couch has been in the family since 1817. In fact, if the shabbiness of one's couch is a class status indicator, then I am the Queen of England:
So anyway, there we were at Better Living, with its “tasteful” “rooms.” The front of the store held the middle class couches—those that ape the style that might be seen in upper middle living rooms—although there was a surprising number of stiff little T-cushioned fussy plaid or floral couches that I thought went out of style in the 1980s. We wandered into the back of the store and I could see we were in the Proletariat room. All the couches had those big waterfall-like cushions such as you see on reclining chairs, and many came with built in cup holders. After considering the options available to us at Better Living, Grand's, Bassett Furniture Direct, Artful Lodger, and Under the Roof, we selected something called the “khaki classic” at Grand's. With matching love seat. To be delivered Thursday.
I know it's mass-produced crap—but when you have four children and two dogs, mass-produced crap is a sensible option. I know, the more sensitive person would buy a second-hand couch, but I have always furnished my house with hand-me-downs or items from Circa and Second Wind—even a few garbage picked things—and for once, I'd like some upholstery that will bear only the stains of my own family and not someone else's.
Who knew that buying a couch could be so intellectually intense?
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
Spent 11 hours in the car the other day, driving the whole family home from Manchester, NH. I95 through NYC is too horrible to be contemplated, so we selected a more western route, which has more miles but takes less time. It was a difficult trip due to the fact that the night before I skipped dinner, but foolishly drank two martinis and a glass of wine and stayed up well past 1:00am. Even worse, we had to drive through Pennsylvania. I'm sure Pennsylvania is home to many fine people, but driving through it is no fun. Surely it's the largest state on the east coast? It always takes way more hours than you think it should to cross it. Pennsylvania has the topography of rucked-up bedclothes and it's a massive barrier between me and anywhere I want to go. I've driven through every state on the east coast, plus much of the Midwest and as far west as Colorado, and Pennsylvania must have the biggest road sign budget of any state in this country. The interstate chatter is just annoying:
TARGETED ENFORCEMENT AREA
HEAVY TRUCK TRAFFIC
BRIDGE MAY BE ICY
And my favorite--SAFETY CORRIDOR: FINES DOUBLED NEXT 8 MILES
Not only are we bombarded with safety warnings, but the signs you want to see are curiously useless. For example, it was years before the Pennsylvania DOT saw fit to inform travelers that I76 and the Pennsylvania Turnpike are one and the same. Never mind that most maps label it as I76, that motorists don't realize that what they really want is the “Penna” Turnpike—that inane abbreviation drives me batty-- and will drive miles past their exits because of mislabeling. That particular issue has been rectified, but let's turn to the issue of mile markers. On Pennsylvania's interstates, there will always be signs telling you how many miles to Ptymtuning, or Minersville, or Cochranton, but you will never be informed how many miles to where you want to go, which is always the state line. Because the minute you cross the border into PA, your children start the siren-like whining: “Are we STILL in Pennsylvania?” Example: driving on I79, there's a junction with I80, and what does the sign say? I80 West, Sharon and I80 East, Clarion. Never mind that westbound travelers might have it in mind to travel beyond the town of Sharon, PA. Perhaps Sharon is a lovely town—I couldn't even find Clarion on my map—but somehow I think it's the kind of place where they hold a parade when they finally get a Starbucks. All I'm asking is in addition to listing the little towns on these signs, perhaps mention a major city somewhat beyond, like they do in New York, where you get on I90 just east of Buffalo and are immediately informed the number of miles to Albany and NYC. At least the NYS Thruway Authority understands that most travelers are not heading for Pendleton or Medina.
And now we come to the chief reason that Pennsylvania is such a pain in the ass to traverse by car: that the interstates are designed to detour travelers through as many small towns as possible. Imagine getting onto I64 from I81, only being forced to drive through downtown Staunton. That's how it is at practically every interchange in Pennsylvania. The idea is to bring money into the towns because the parade of shopping malls and fast food restaurants will entice travelers to stop. In reality, people just want to get where they're going, and they're not going to stop at some fucking shopping mall in Cranberry or Breezewood.
On this trip, driving down I81 in Pennsylvania, we got off just to switch drivers. What should have been a thirty second pause turned into a ten minute waste of time because we discovered that there was no way to get back onto the highway. Instead, we had to follow signs directing us “to” I81 South, which took us in an annoying and pointless loop through the business district of what I think was Carlisle, PA. And when we finally got back onto the interstate, we were in one of those “Safety Corridors” because we were in—ooooo—Carlisle, PA, and you can't have people driving faster than 55mph through such a busy metropolis.
My apologies to Pennsylvanians, but driving through your state sucks.
Thursday, June 22, 2006
This is the windowsill that Patience built.
This is the window, as yet lacking the windowsill that Patience built:
This is the guy who stars in the video which guided Patience through the windowsill that she built. That's Tom Silva from This Old House. I worked night shift, something I don't usually do, and during the 3:00am-5:00am dead time, I looked up home improvement help on the internet and found some neat little how-to movies. J and I built the windowsill together. I was in charge of measuring and planning and he made the cuts.
Monday, June 12, 2006
Wednesday, June 07, 2006
Monday, June 05, 2006
Sunday, June 04, 2006
Can I divorce J and marry my new vacuum cleaner instead? It does more around the house and it has a suction strong enough to take the house off its foundation.
That's a joke. Of course I wouldn't trade my nice husband for a vacuum! Or would I?
So we got this new vacuum cleaner, and the embarrassing thing is, I'm not sure how to work it. It's nothing fancy—just a $79.99 Target special—but vacuum cleaner technology has advanced a lot since 1998, when I bought my last vacuum. For example, there's this little feather duster. I thought that you were supposed to attach it to the hose and somehow electronically dust all your fine furniture. Apparently, it's an ordinary non-electronic duster, but what's cool about it is that when you're finished dusting, you pop it back into its little cylinder, flip a switch, and it starts to rotate and all the dust is sucked out, plus your duster is “charged” which I think means with static so that it will attract more dust the next time you use it. There are several other attachments, including something called the “Power Paw,” which I have not yet attempted to use. What this vacuum didn't come with is instructions, which is surprising in this era of the simplest items coming with booklets of instructions. A booklet came with the vacuum, but all it details is maintenance, not use. I suppose the people at Eureka thought, “What is so hard? You turn it on and it sucks up the dust,” a commendable attitude when even my insulated coffee cup came with a sheet of instructions labeled, CONGRATULATIONS! HERE ARE A FEW TIPS TO ENHANCE YOUR ENJOYMENT OF YOUR NEW STAINLESS STEEL DRINKWARE.
There were also none of the usual safety precautions, those goes-without-saying warnings that now come with every product imaginable: PASTRY WILL BE HOT or NOT A FOOD PRODUCT. DO NOT EAT. While writing this entry, I thought of hyperbole that would describe the strong suction on my new machine. I thought of saying that I'd held the hose to my sternum and it had sucked my heart right out of my chest. Then I realized: If I had held the hose up to my eye, it would have sucked my eyeball right out of it's socket! It really would! Even though, it had never up until that moment occurred to me that I would ever, in a million years, hold a running vacuum cleaner hose up to my eye socket, I still shuddered over the image of what would happened if I had. Why is there no, DO NOT APPLY HOSE TO SEMI-ATTACHED BODY PARTS warning on the Eureka Altima Bagless Vacuum?
I hope no one thinks I seriously expect such a warning to appear on vacuums! And yet, I work in an environment in which I see the freak accidents that happen to people. It would not surprise me at all to hear of someone who was injured by her own vacuum cleaner. Anyway. I've got to get back to learning the subtleties of the Power Paw.
But first. This weeks CSA haul:
½ dozen eggs
Lots of lettuce—both bibb and leaf
Bunch of beets
I'm a little intimidated by the beets. My sister tells me they're very nutritious. I remember my grandma would serve them at family dinner parties and I've always detested their beety flavor. So then why was I today shrieking, “BEETS ARE DELICIOUS!” at my kids after I served them raw grated beet in their salad? If anyone knows a good beet recipe, please share.
Last week we got lettuce, rhubarb, strawberries, eggs and tomatoes from the CSA.
Wednesday, May 31, 2006
Tuesday, May 30, 2006
J just couldn't wait to move the furniture back into our renovated space. We've been living crammed into just the living room and kitchen since February--and that's two adults, four children and two dogs. The amazing thing is that none of us killed someone. So, obviously, there's still trim to put in, and paint, but we ate dinner in our new dining room last night, and it was great. The old dining room will be a family room open to the kitchen.
Sunday, May 28, 2006
Here are a few before and after pics. As usual, they're a bit behind the times. We have now finished the drywall! J put the final coat of primer on while I was at work today. Now comes the fun of picking a paint color.
Explanation: The first two pics show the same view, looking across the back of the house. The last pic shows the same view now, with that old closet demolished and a new room where that pile of crap is. Once we finish painting, the electrician will come and install the fixtures and turn on the juice back there, and we'll get the floors finished. We also need to install trim and paint the exterior, plus the bathroom needs a complete overhaul, which will be DIY.
Friday, May 26, 2006
I want to post some pictures, but our internet connection is so slow, it's too frustrating right now. Pages are so slow to load, I've been reading magazines while waiting. We have portable broadband (wireless) and it's inconsistent. Sometimes it's fast, and other times it's even slower than dial up. And we live right near the tower, too. Don't get suckered into buying it. We're in the process of switching to DSL.