Sunday, March 9, 2014
1. Tomorrow the children and I fly to San Antonio, TX, to visit my best friends from college who conveniently married each other and we haven't seen each other for 8 years. I would have been all prepared to go (house clean, bags packed, etc.) if I hadn't spent the last 11 days in bed with the flu. Marshall finally sent me to the doctor yesterday morning where they gave me antibiotics and real cough syrup. So, today, I'm starting to feel like myself and am spending the whole day packing because that's all the energy I have. Hopefully, tomorrow, I will have enough adrenaline going to keep the children in tow from Philly to Orlando to San Antonio.
2. This is our first trip with just the three of us, leaving Daddy at home. I've been planning it with my college besties for 15 months. But it will be an adventure. Of course, we're flying Southwest Airlines, because they have special "get on first" boarding passes for special needs families and their flight crews are, on the whole, a lot more cheerful. I plan to throw myself on their mercy at every opportunity.
3. I don't have a packing list. I generally just work from the one in my head, which frustrates Marshall to no end because then he doesn't know what to do to help. But it would take too long to write it all down.
4. Alex has no homework for the week (I'm taking both kids out of school for the trip because we're going when San Antonio schools have their spring break) because his teacher understands that going to a new place with people he doesn't remember or has never met before without daddy there to help is plenty to do in one week. You should have seen the grocery list I emailed to my friends just to keep him afloat for the week we're away. Miranda's teacher wasn't quite so understanding and sent home a big packet. I've decided to try to do some everyday and then not worry about it. Our spring break has already been all but eaten up by snow days, anyway.
5. As I was thinking about packing snacks for the plane, I was trying to prepare myself to be calm and insistent with the TSA. I always bring cups of applesauce for the kids to take their meds with and applesauce only comes in 4 oz containers. And I usually bring some of Miranda's vanilla milk drink boxes, which are 8 ounces. I've decided I can buy Alex some juice drink boxes on the other side of security, but these things I need to take with me. Hopefully, they won't go for the strip search this time. (Not kidding. I got that coming back from San Diego in 2012 because I wouldn't give up the drink boxes and they smelled funny to the machines.) Someday, we're going to have actual security instead of security theatre, but until then, I try to be patient and keep saying the magic word, "autism."
6. Pray for us. Pray that Alex's anxiety with be replaced with interest and excitement about seeing a cool new place. And meeting two new dogs. And people, of course.
7. I'll try to post fun pictures from Texas, but we don't have a lot of plans to go places. Mostly, to just be together and play. I think Miranda will find staying in a house with 3 little girls to be the best thing ever, after Aunt Katie's pool in San Diego. I think Alex will attach himself to the daddy of the house or follow the dogs around, reading to them. And I will enjoy being with good friends.
Monday, February 24, 2014
1. Sorry about the blog break. The Tuesday before Valentine's Day I came down with the stomach flu and life ground to a halt. That Tuesday afternoon my mother came over to feed the kids dinner and supervise homework. I sent my honey to sleep at my parents' house so he wouldn't be exposed to my germs. Wednesday morning my mother came back to do the breakfast and get on the bus show, since I had been up all night. I think we both napped that afternoon and then she came back again to pick up the kids and all their stuff to keep them through the snow-pocalypse. Marshall stayed in the city Wednesday and Thursday night, courtesy of his employer, so he could walk to work each day. The children we re-delivered Friday morning before the delayed-opening of school so they could go back to school. Oh, and don't forget, my dad came over Thursday to use the snow blower he gave us to clear the driveway.
If you missed it, we would have died without my parents' help the week of Valentine's day. Of course, we've had so much snow in February that they are now considering spending all of February, 2015, in California, moving from house to house and they visit friends, family and grandchildren, completely avoiding NJ snow.
2. Since all I did when I was up all night feeling awful was play on the Internet, here's what I spent my time doing: sending FB messages to friends on the West coast and then, when they were asleep, in Japan; watch Olympic curling live, visit the Veronica Mars Tumblr page, watch Keith Green on YouTube. And then the next day, I watched a lot more Olympic coverage on my laptop. Because the tv wasn't exactly working. And still isn't, kinda.
3. So our television system is rather complex. Marshall built a DVR many years ago (we can't remember how long) and we've been adjusting the system every since. However, the software that runs it stopped getting official updates after the company was purchased by Google several years ago, so sooner or later, we're going to have to change our system. 2 years ago we switched from DirecTV to Comcast for both better service and price, but those advantages have slipped away. Now I have to decide how much I want to pay to be able to watch Tennis competitions and Phillies games. $150 per month seems too much.
Currently, we can watch anything on the system (nearly a terabyte of videos) but we can't record anything new. Somehow, a leaky roof after the snow-pocolypse took precedent.
4. So our roof didn't like all the snow and ice it was holding for weeks on end, so we have a leak in an inconvenient place. Marshall was able to patch it temporarily and now we have to interview roofers to see how hard it will be to repair the problem and how much more will a new roof cost. The roof is at least 15 years old and we know it will need to be replaced eventually but we really didn't want to do that this spring. But then, when is it a good time to get a new roof?
5. My new favorite podcast is Hang Up and Listen from Slate. I read most of what Slate publishes (my mother-in-law and I love Dear Prudence and the weekly news quizzes by Ken Jennings). Lots of weird stuff there, too, but still interesting.
6. The snow is melting. We had rain last week and then a warm weekend so most of the pile is gone. Of course, the polar vortex is back so the children were grabbing for gloves and big coats again today. The bright sunshine helps in that it is cheering but it also fools you into thinking it's not 30 degrees out, before wind chill.
Yesterday, we all spent time outside cleaning up trash and Marshall and I spent some time looking at the trees, checking for broken branches. It took us quite a bit of maneuvering but we got it down to the ground. Now all we need is another nice day to cut it up for pick up.
Here's the branch:
The picture doesn't do it justice. The end is about as thick as my thigh.
Signs of spring are pretty sparse around here (although my mother and I are going to the Philadelphia Flower Show next week), but I found this yesterday:
7. Before I got sick, I did get a little more stitching done:
Two weeks from today we leave for a week in San Antonio, Texas. Eeek! I've a lot to do before then.
Friday, February 7, 2014
1. Sunday morning my honey and I woke to Alex coming into our bathroom and vomiting on the floor. Then he announced he'd just thrown up in the living room as well (why can't they ever miss the carpet? Most of the house now has laminate or tile or linoleum?). And the week went pretty much downhill from there. Alex was sick with a nausea-dizzy virus from Sunday - Tuesday. My mother had it Monday - Tuesday and I had it Wednesday - Friday.
My schedule for the week was full last Sunday and now it's just a pile of broken appointments or meetings missed. I even missed the big Youth Group party on Sunday. If I was contagious, I didn't want to give it to anyone else. And there's something about vomit that makes you want to wash everything in sight.
What's funny is the night I was dizziest was when I sat down to finish Game Change: Double Down 2012. It seemed an appropriate mood to read about American politics. Good book; scary system. It did give me significant insights into NJ governor Chris Christie. I'm hoping the current scandal permanently scuttles his presidential ambitions. He's an effective governor and I'd rather he stay and continue to be so than go wandering around Iowa and New Hampshire. He's charismatic to be sure but too volatile for the international stage. Although putting he and Putin together would be fun to watch.
2. If you missed the news (ha!), there was a large snowfall here on Monday which meant no school Monday and delayed opening on Tuesday. Then there was that ice storm on Wednesday, so we had another delayed opening. Then today was a scheduled half-day for teacher in-service. I'm amazed teachers got anything done this week.
3. I realized this week that, once again, I treat Alex's teacher as one of my closest friends, communicating with her almost daily, sharing pictures and anecdotes all through the week. The only people I text more are Marshall and my mother. What does this mean, other than Alex is a high-maintenance kid? I'm not sure.
4. I've done a bit of stitching lately. Here's the most recent progress picture:
I shouldn't have been surprised by my need to unwind my second skein of DMC 355 Terra Cotta - Dark since it is the primary color of all 4 patterns. You can see all of them here. I was surprised to find that the publisher has discontinued the iris and tulip patterns. Yet another reasons to buy ahead of you're actual stitching schedule, a process known by other stitchers as a "stash enhancement experience" or "sex."
5. Simcha has an absolutely hilarious post this week about dogs. Go read it! Of course, she reminds me of all the reasons I haven't insisted we get a dog this year. Maybe if I can keep borrowing Truman or Pepper, it will be enough to give me my doggie fix.
6. The Winter Olympics started last night and I am suddenly a fan of slopestyle. Go figure. The only problem is that our DVR has lost it's ability to tune any channel for longer than about 2 hours and when it fails, it necessitates a reboot of the server, the channel tuner and the display box. Hopefully, a new tuner, arriving tomorrow from Amazon, will fix everything. I know, there is never a good time for a DVR to fail but right before the Olympics? My honey is not happy with the timing. At least there isn't any tennis until March.
7. It actually felt warm today, The sun was out and everything. Then I looked at the thermometer: 33 degrees. Scary.
Saturday, February 1, 2014
1. If you've had to ask me multiple times this week to do anything and I've forgotten, I apologize. I'm transitioning to a new anti-depressant and the result seems to be a perpetually foggy brain. Perhaps this is God's way of introducing me to what it feels like to have ADD. I'll have a thought and start to follow it when I blink and it's gone. Very frustrating.
2. I miss tennis. But, on a happier note, the Winter Olympics start on Thursday.
3. I did manage to get to the movies this week. My father and I went to see Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit and it was much better than it's 59% rating on Rotten Tomatoes indicates. Maybe some film reviewers just don't think economic threats are sexy enough to rate a decent grade. Whatever. Chris Pine was excellent as usual and Kevin Costner and Kenneth Branagh were equally good. Jack Ryan was my hero when I was in middle school (which is why I HATED the film adaptation of Patriot Games) and I think this adaptation to a post-911 Jack was a good one. I hope they make more.
4. Valentine's Day is only 2 weeks away and I haven't decided what to do about cards for the kids. Usually we print our own but I might just buy them at the drug store this year.
5. My new favorite author is Kristan Higgins. I continue to work my way through the list of the top ten romances of 2013 and then read everything else the author has ever written (thanks to my local library, of course) and this week it was 3 novels by Higgins. Her writing is delightful and charming and usually concerns the heroine's family just as much as her romance.
I also started Game Change: Double Down but am finding it a lot more boring than the previous book, probably because it describes in detail all the ways the early Obama presidency screwed up. Goodreads continues to be a handy application to keep track of what I've already read and books that sound good and I want to remember to read in the future. Of course, it also reminds me of all the series I've started and not yet returned to finish. Squirrels, I tell you.
6. Some of the weather forecasts for the upcoming week have snow falling on both Monday and Saturday. Alex and I think we've had enough already and Miranda can't wait to build another snow fort.
7. Tomorrow I will be spending the whole afternoon at church with the Youth Group because it's our annual Super Pre-Game Party where we transform the sanctuary into an awesome, inflatable-filled playground, eat lots of great food, and then clean it all up again. It's the one thing that makes the day tolerable for me, besides all the new cool movie trailers.
Bonus 8. I filed our taxes this afternoon, thanks to TurboTax. Perhaps it wasn't the best idea to do it with such a fuzzy brain but our deductions are not very exciting so I don't expect any trouble. Of course, it was an interesting exercise to tally up how much we spent on health care in 2012, and when I say interesting I mean terrifying. Yikes!
Wednesday, January 29, 2014
I already expect Veronica Mars to be my favorite film of 2014, but there are a few more movies to look forward to:
Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (The reviews are decent and I've always been a fan of Jack's.)
I, Frankenstein (Aaron Eckhart is usually interesting even when the movie is sub-par..)
Labor Day (The initial buzz was good but now it's popularity is fading.)
The Monuments Men (Looks like a lot of fun.)
300: Rise of an Empire (The trailer is so pretty that it might be the perfect popcorn movie.)
Veronica Mars (Can't wait! Can't wait!)
Need for Speed (Another pretty trailer for another popcorn movie.)
Muppets Most Wanted (Of course, I have yet to see the most recent Muppet movie. It's on my list!)
Noah (Could be interesting.)
Sabotage (Another pretty trailer.)
Captain America: Winter Solder (Looks awesome; still need to see Thor, though.)
Rio 2 (Loved the first one. Can't wait to see if Blue Sky can make more magic.)
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (Liked the first one, even though I saw it on video.)
Godzilla (Looks terrifying.)
X-Men: Days of Future Past (Has the potential to be amazing.)
Maleficent (Could be interesting.)
Edge of Tomorrow (Another awesome trailer.)
22 Jump Street (Although I still need to watch the first one.)
Transformers: Age of Extinction (Sorry, I just can't seem to stop watching these. Besides, I like Mark Wahlberg.)
Jupiter Ascending (Yup, another pretty trailer.)
Guardians of the Galaxy (Marvel has yet to let me down.)
The Expendables 3 (Another popcorn flick.)
The Equalizer (When is Denzel ever bad?)
Interstellar (Directed by Christopher Nolan. Good enough for me.)
The Hobbit: There and Back Again (Can't wait for more Smaug and the awesome Battle of the Five Armies.)
Into the Woods (Love the musical. Film could be good.)
And that's my first pass. Maybe I should go to the movies tomorrow.
Sunday, January 26, 2014
1. We've had a bit more snow here. It snowed most of Tuesday, in fact. Nearly 12 inches. So we've accumulated enough snow days to push VBS to the week of July 4th, which means we'll probably miss it to see our California family. Of course, each kid's been in school like 2.5 days this week, so they are happy.
2. I caught part of A Prairie Home Campanion from last Sunday and the skit called "The Secret Life of Lutherans" is funny enough to share. Yes, liking this show still makes me feel old. 40 is coming.
3. Myself and both kids spent time fighting a virus this week that manifested in a low grade fever and terrible headaches. The good news is, it moves on quickly. Still hoping it misses Marshall.
4. The good part about spending most of the week, hanging around with one sick kid or another, is that I got a lot of stitching done. Here's where I was 3 weeks ago:
Here's where I stopped last night:
And here's what I did this afternoon while watching the tennis final:
Here's what it will look like when completed. Day Lily from John Clayton's Connections:
I have officially passed the halfway point and it should go much faster from here on out because there are much fewer half-stitches and color changes than in the top half.
5. Last Friday one of the shelves in the pantry collapsed, reminding us that in the 13 years we've lived in this house, we've been using a make-shift set of shelves in there and they weren't particularly sturdy. So, Saturday morning Marshall went to Lowe's and purchased a very sturdy free-standing set of five shelves and I had the fun (with Miranda's help, of course) of taking everything out and reorganizing it into a new system. And, if at any moment, I dragged my feet, trying to put the food in some helpful order, she was right there to hurry me along. These new shelves are much deeper than the previous ones, though, which is great because it means the soup cans aren't so crowded they're always threatening to fall and squash your toes. That is, until you can't remember where you hid the cookies.
6. I recently downloaded Spades to my phone to pass the time (Plants vs. Zombies 2 is impossible to win unless to pay actual money for upgrades, which I refuse to do.) It was a game I spent many hours playing in college and I've come to understand what a poor player I was back then and why only one of my friends would partner with me. Thanks, Bub. You really were an amazing friend.
7. The Australian Open just finished and I am already sad. I skipped blogging last week because I was too busy watching hours and hours of Novak, Andy, Roger, Rafa, Stan and others. Thank you ESPNHD. I think I am a FedFan. It was so hard to watch him lose to Rafa in the Semi's. And, how cool is the Stanimal? So great to see Li Na and Stanislas Wawrinka win their first Grand Slams. Couldn't have happened to nicer players.
And here's Jen.
Sunday, January 12, 2014
1. Did you know the Veronica Mars movie comes out in 2 short months?!
Have you seen the trailer? It's awesome!
Can't wait! Can't wait! Can't wait!
If you need more details, here's an article. But if you are late coming aboard the Veronica Mars bandwagon, I am so sorry for you. Your life can only be richer post-Veronica. Trust me.
2. I will not, however, be seeing the movie opening night because I just booked a trip for myself and the children to go to San Antonio, Texas, for March 10-15 to visit my college roommate and her family. We chose these dates because that's when her kids will be on their spring break. Of course, my kids are supposed to be in school that week, so they will essentially be getting 2 spring breaks, one in March and one in April. I'm sure this will be a popular aspect of our trip, especially when I ask their teachers to excuse them from all homework and classwork for the week. Sometimes it helps to have an IEP.
This will however necessitate a postponement of my viewing what I'm sure will be my favorite movie of 2014, but these friends are worth it. We haven't seen them since spring break of 2005. Collectively, 4 kids have been born since then.
This will be my first trip flying alone with the children, but our summer trips to San Diego and back have given us a lot of practice. And we're flying Southwest (as always) because they are extra kind to families with special needs kids. And Marshall promised to get new travel batteries for the Nabi's.
3. Miranda's new favorite show is The Muppet Show. The library helpfully has the first 3 seasons on DVD. Fortunately, Kermit is her favorite Muppet; I was so afraid it would be Miss Piggy. They are a lot alike.
I thought I would like the show more than I do. I have only vague memories of it from my childhood. The memories of Muppets that I do have are of watching The Great Muppet Caper over and over and over again. Still love that movie. At least, I think I do. I don't think I've seen it in 25 years.
What I watched this week was the series 5 premiere of Justified (the writing is so good it still leaves me breathless) and the pilot for Intelligence, which I enjoyed.
4. I was really planning to go to the movies this week but I never got around to it. I guess there wasn't one movie that I was dying to see to make me prefer it to a book or a nap. We saw The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug last weekend and it was really good. If you only see the movie to see the dragon, it's still worth going. Maybe I'll see Frozen this week. Maybe not. I would like to see Her but I don't dare go without Marshall. And I want to see Saving Mr. Banks but with my mother, and she doesn't return from CA until late Tuesday.
5. I think I've decided to cut my hair short. I think. I need a change. Maybe it's the weather, alternating between frozen and not and frozen and warmer and frozen again that's making me crazy. The high on Tuesday was 11 degrees F, I believe. Flannel sheets are your friend.
6. I'm continuing to work my way through the list of the best romance novels published in 2013. As of today, I've read everything published by Sherry Thomas save one (waiting on ILL for Not Quite a Husband) and am now working through all of Anne Gracie's novels. Excellent writers, both.
7. My honey has a new blog about dysthymia. Don't know what that is? Go read all about it.
Bonus 8. How did I forget? The Australian Open starts tomorrow (or rather, tonight, here in the States). So I'm going to be spending all my days and nights watching tennis for the next 2 weeks. :)
And here's Jen.