Sunday, August 30, 2009

Feelin' Crafty

So, a while back I posted that the first five people to comment on that particular post would get a handmade, crafty something-or-other made by me (with possibly some help from my son). A whole TWO people replied that they would like to receive such bounty (thanks, Jessi and Suze!) So, I decided on what I'm going to make each of you, and got extra materials just in case I get some last-minute sign-ups. C'mon people! Don't you want some craftiness? If you do, go here and drop me a comment in the affirmative. (There's a teeny catch, but it isn't too painful, I promise!)

Oh, and Jessi and Suze? I need your addresses. Yes, I know you've given me yours before Suze, but that was several smartphones ago, so no telling where that data went! You can drop me an e-mail at jenn(dot)(my last name - and no it has not changed since high school)(at)gmail(dot)com.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Pardon Me If I'm a Little Choked Up

Today was my boy's first day of the new school year, and his very first ever day of life as a MIDDLE SCHOOLER!!!! Ack!!!!!!!! How did that happen? A month ago he was in diapers, a week ago he started Kindergarten, and just yesterday he was starting fourth grade. When did he grow up into a great big middle school student? How did this happen when I wasn't looking?

This is what he looked like two weeks ago, or it least it seems like it was just two weeks ago.

And this is how he looked this morning, bright and shiny as a new penny in his 6th grade uniform. Yellow polo, khaki bottoms, belt, socks and sneakers. Only solid colors allowed (even the socks have to be solid colors, and match), no mismatched shoes, belt required.

I must admit I teared up a bit when he came out looking so grown up. Then I got misty-eyed again as we got to his school. Today being the first day of class, I had to take all his medications to school this morning. I decided I would just go ahead and take him to school since I'd be going there anyway. On the way to school, he asked if I could drop him off first before I parked so the other kids wouldn't see him being brought to school "like a little kid." Then I was told I wasn't allowed to hug him in front of the other kids. After that remark, he hopped out of the car and got ready to leave, taking big pieces of my heart with him. They were soon mended, though, when he opened the door again and popped his head in to say, "But you can hug and kiss on me all you want when we get home tonight." I immediately started to feel better, until he added, "Just so long as no one sees you doing it."

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A Knitterly Question

So, I'm browsing through my absolute favorite place in the world yesterday - a used bookstore - when I find an entire section devoted to knitting! Books on knitting basics, Debbie Bliss books on sweaters, ponchos and hats (oh, my!). All kinds of knitting goodies. I didn't buy anything, though, because I thought: But, I'm not very good yet. So I left there with no knitting books, but when I got home, I thought again: I'm an idiot. I should have bought some of those books anyway!

So my knitterly question is this: Should I practice knitting by making dishcloth after dishcloth, or scarves, or just swatching all the time? Or should I just pick a book of easy patterns and start already? I'm the kind of person who doesn't like to start slow. (Bet'cha didn't know that! wink, wink) If I'm going to do something, I just want to dive right in and do it already! So what do you think? Practice first, or just go ahead and start (and plan on lots of frogging?)

Friday, August 14, 2009

Friday Freebies!

I gleefully stole this from Jessi, and am glad to post the same game/meme on my blog. The game goes thusly: The first five (5) people to respond to this post will get something made by me (either singly or with my son's help).

This offer does have some restrictions and limitations, so please read carefully:

1. I make no guarantees that you will like what I make.
2. What I/we create will be just for you, with love.
3. It'll be done this year (2009).
4. I will not give you any clue what it's going to be. It will be something made in the real world and not something cyber. It could be anything! It could be a short story or poem written just for you. It could be a painting, drawing or sculpture. It could be something knitted (good luck identifying anything either of us in this house tried to knit!) It could be baked goods, or something crafted. You don't know when you'll get it (other than it will happen sometime this year) or what it might be! It's for me to know and you to find out!
5. I reserve the right to do something extremely strange or whimsical.
6. In return, all you need to do is post this text into a note of your own and make 5 things for the first 5 to respond to your note.

Please note that my responding to your game/meme does NOT preclude you from entering mine. I'd be more than happy to swap goodies with any one of yous guys! If I entered yours, or even if I didn't, feel free to enter mine! (Wait, that sounds vaguely naughty, doesn't it?)

IMPORTANT: This offer is null and void if I do not see you post your own note to pay this forward. So, there you go: You have been tasked. First five... And... GO!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Patting Myself (and J) on the Back

First, I’ll let you know that Dru’ is driveable, but only for short distances at this point.  Hopefully, by tomorrow night everything will be peachy keen again.  Note to those with 2004 Chevy Aveos – if you have a plastic thermostat housing, it WILL bust, it is only a matter of time.  Go NOW and buy a metal version of the same part online (~$55) and put it on.  Another note:  if you do so, do NOT tighten one side all the way down before starting on the other bolt.  Do them both evenly, or your new part will break off at the bolt hole, and all your coolant will leak out again.  I found this out the hard way (no, I didn’t do it.  The person helping me did).  Also, do not use the old gasket (“O” ring).  Spend the $2 to get a new one.

This weekend, we spent a lot of time at home because we didn’t want to be driving the car everywhere until we’re sure everything is a-okay on the car.  Saturday, we did have to drive J to an appointment, but other than that, we stayed home and watched TV and played/read that day.  On Sunday, J and I got up early and rode our bikes up to J’s old elementary school and played on the playground.  We played for about an hour before it got too hot/bright to be outside.  Then we went home and played a couple games of checkers, and later played a few games of chess.  We also watched a cool show on the National Geographic Channel called “Drain the Oceans”.  Scientists have mapped parts of the ocean floor, then used CGI technology to create virtual replicas of the ocean floor.  NatGeo then broadcast what the ocean floor topography looks like sans water.  It was very cool!

What I’m patting J and myself on the back about is the amount of work we did on the house yesterday.  We had a lot of fun playing, but balanced it with work.  Previously, the entire hallway floor was covered in laundry that needed to be done.  No carpet was visible.  It was not pretty!  Yesterday, we sorted all the laundry, got it up off the floor, and did about 6 loads!  I’ve already done one load this morning before going to work.  Not only did we do the laundry, but then we hung it up/folded it and put it away!  This is a big deal for us.  Usually clean clothes land in a basket until we wear them, then they go back in the dirty clothes.  But yesterday, I was determined to get the house organized before school starts. We also did two loads of dishes in the dishwasher and unpacked two boxes of kitchen stuff.  This may not seem like much to organized people, but to me, this was a great start and a major accomplishment!  My goal is to have everything unpacked  and  put away before my school starts on Aug. 31.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Another Freaky Life Episode

When Jamie was a baby, like most parents, I kept a baby monitor in his room so I could hear him if he started crying, listen to him breathe as he slept, etc. etc. etc. As he got a bit older, it was common for me to hear him babble, and later to hear him turn his babbling into actual words and make all the other cutesy baby noises, laughter and silliness that warms a momma's heart to hear. By the time he started serious efforts at talking, we had moved out of my mom's house into an apartment of our own. I was still unpacking things, and hadn't started putting out any of the homey touches yet - figurines, candles, family pictures, etc.

One night, after I had put Jamie to bed, I heard him laughing and babbling excitedly in his crib. Then, he painstakingly formed two syllables - "Jo......deeeeee!" - with a happy little shriek and more laughter. The babbling and laughing continued, and I thought I must have imagined what he said, or that it was just coincidence. How could he know the name of my sister who died approximately 12 years before he was born? Furthermore, it wasn't like my mom and I sat around saying her name over and over in front of him. We really rarely talked about her - it was too sad for all of us - and certainly didn't make a habit of saying her name in front of a baby who wouldn't know who the heck she was, anyway. Just as I had convinced myself of this, he started laughing and babbling, and said "Jo.......deeeeee" again! I walked into his room, to find him standing up in his crib, looking fixedly at one spot in the room and babbling like he was trying to talk to someone! Again, I convinced myself it had to be coincidence and tried to put it out of my mind.

To take my mind off thinking about Jodi - she would have loved a little cuddly baby nephew to spoil - I decided to start putting out my homey things in the livingroom. I put out my candles and knick-knacks (up high where a curious baby couldn't reach, naturally), and hung some family photos on nails the previous tenants left in the walls of the short hallway leading from the livingroom back to the kitchen. Just as I finished that, Jamie started fussing and acting cranky in his room. I figured he was probably hungry because he hadn't eaten much earlier in the day -plus, he seemed like he was always hungry. I figured a warm bottle and some baby food would put him in the mood to finally go to sleep.

As I carried him in my arms down the hall toward the kitchen, Jamie suddenly let out a squeal and shrieked out "JO....DEE!" I turned to where he was looking, and almost dropped him; he was looking right at an 8 x 10 photo of my sister taken not too long before she died! That's when I knew that Jodi was not only watching over me, but over my son, as well.

Friday, August 07, 2009

John Hughes' Movies Were the Best

I just read the sad news that John Hughes, writer/producer and sometime director of some of my favorite movies of all time, is dead.  I LOVED his teen movies, and still love to watch them to this day.  My all-time favorite would have to be “The Breakfast Club,” followed closely behind by “Pretty in Pink” and “Some Kind of Wonderful.”  I also found “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” hilarious, once I got old enough that my mom would let me watch it (what with that “R” rating and all).  I think I may just have to have a John Hughes marathon this weekend in tribute – that is, if I can get my car running.  More updates on that later.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

R.I.P. Druscilla!

Okay, maybe I'm being a little melodramatic here. Druscilla isn't DEAD, maybe just in a coma. For those who don't know, Druscilla is the name of my car. Today, Dru' up and went kaput! I had to run some errands for work, so I swung by the house to pick up J and take him with me. He loves to get out of the house, I get work errands run, and everybody is happy. Just as we were pulling up to the office supply store and parking in a spot, I heard a big "BOOM!". At first, I thought someone had slammed a car door really hard and the sound echoed off the walls of the big box office supply store. But no, it was not so. The sound had come from my car, just as the smoke and steam we saw was rolling forth from under my hood!

Apparently, 2004 Chevrolet Aveos have a nasty habit of busting their thermostat housings, which results in the whole thing popping off, and all the coolant and water pouring out of the engine. Unfortunately, this is a part that can only be gotten from a GM dealership or ordering from some obscure parts website online. If I go to the GM dealership, they won't just let me buy the part. They have to be the ones to put it on (and charge me a gazillion dollars for parts and labor). I can get it relatively cheaply (>$30) from said obscure online parts store, but to get it here in anything less than 2 weeks would cost me double the cost of the actual part, just for the shipping. Unfortunately, these types of things only happen when I'm broke and desperately counting the days until payday or my student loans come through. So, for now, Dru' will just have to chill in the driveway (I got her towed here - TYJ for "roadside assistance" plans on the cell phone bill) until my school money comes in at the end of the month. In the mean time, I'll be catching the bus to work and praying Jamie doesn't have an asthma attack or other medical emergency in the middle of the night.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not (exactly) whining. More like I'm grousing about it, but subconsciously thankful that all appearances indicate it is something highly fixable. All indications are the engine was not ruined or needing replacement. If I can get one of the guys from work to install it for me, all told it should cost less than $100 to buy a new housing, install it and replace the coolant and water. But still, I'll be on pins and needles about J's health until Dru' is up and running again!

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Uniform Crisis

It never fails.  Jamie left his cell phone charger at the old house. I have already turned in the keys, so bye-bye phone charger.  We turned the house upside down looking for it to no avail.  Monday night, I broke down and ordered him a new charger ($7 on eBay).  Last night, I realized I hadn’t seen his uniform shirts for this school year anywhere.  In fact, I haven’t seen them since we started moving from the old house to the new.  (I bought the shirts at the end of the school year when they were deeply discounted.)  So Jamie and I spent a large portion of the evening trying to find the shirts, again to no avail.  However, I did find another charger that fits his cell phone.  {sigh} Since it seems I find things only AFTER I’ve already purchased replacements, I went ahead and ordered three more of his uniform shirts.  I figured it wouldn’t hurt anything for him to have eight instead of five.  Being a boy, and a messy, klutzy kid at that, I figured at least one or two of them will have to be used as a dust rag due to stains/tears at some point in the year.  Still, I’m hoping that by purchasing more shirts, and looking for something else this evening, I will come across his missing shirts.  One funny note, though – I went ahead at the end of last year and bought his shirts for 7th grade, too, (each grade level wears a different colored solid polo) one size larger than he currently wears.  I figured since they were $3 a piece, it just made sense for me to buy them in advance.  Well, I can’t find his 6th grade polos anywhere – but the 7th grade ones were easily found and are currently waiting merrily in the top of his closet.  If you were five canary yellow polo shirts, where would you be hiding?

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Things That Make You Go "EWWWW!"

I have a secret confession to make - I enjoy reading the tabloid-ish fodder to be found in Yahoo!'s OMG! section and some other gossipy web pages (NOT Perez Hilton, but Access Hollywood, etc). I don't enjoy tabloids themselves, but I love me some Internet gossip pages (go figure). Yesterday, I read something that was disturbing on soooo many levels - I hoped it wasn't true. Then I found references to it in several other news sources where both parties involved confirmed it was true. That's when I wanted to gag.

It's bad enough that Ryan O'Neal (aging ladies' man wannabe) chose to hit on a woman at Farrah Fawcett's funeral (hadn't they just announced plans to marry before she died?). Turns out, the "babe" he was hitting on was Tatum - his DAUGHTER! Can we all spew together? I feel unclean now. This is so wrong on sooo many different levels. Am I the only one who is seriously creeped out by this? Normally, I don't talk Hollywood-type gossip here on my blog. True, I will occassionally gush about upcoming movies and show what a fangirl I can be. But I generally leave stuff like this alone. But the above-described scenario was so disturbing and gag-inducing that I had to talk about it. How can a grown man not recognize his own daughter, and hit on her? How can a grown man hit on a woman young enough to BE his daughter at the supposed-love-of-his-life's FUNERAL?

And people wonder why I avoid the dating world like the plague.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Band/Song Meme (Stolen from Jessi)

I stole this from Jessi, who had previously posted this meme to her facebook page. I've been very lax on facebooking lately, so I hadn't seen it prior to Jessi posting it on her blog. I'm not ready to share my freakiest Guardian Angel story of all time yet (that's coming later this week), so I'll post this meme instead. Anyone who reads my blog, consider yourselves tagged - but you need to post a comment here so I know you've done it (my blogger feed doesn't always update as it should).

Here are the rules:

Using only song names from ONE ARTIST, cleverly answer these questions.
Pass it on to 15 people you like and include me.
You can't use the band I used.
Try not to repeat a song title. (It's a lot harder than you think...)

Pick your Artist
Concrete Blonde

Are you a male or female?
Little Sister

Describe yourself
I Don't Need a Hero

How do you feel
The Sky is a Poisonous Garden

Describe where you currently live
Cold Part of Town

If you could go anywhere, where would you go?
Walking in London

Your favorite form of transportation
Mercedes Benz

Your best friend is

You and your friends are
Close to Home

What's the weather like

Favorite time of day

If your life was a TV show, what would it be called?
Your Haunted Head

What is life to you?
Dance Along the Edge

Your last relationship
Love is a Blind Ambition

Your fear
It'll Chew You Up and Spit You Out

What is the best advice you have to give
Beware of Darkness

Thought for the Day
God is a Bullet

How I would like to die
Simple Twist of Fate