Friday, August 31, 2007

Moving... or not.

I should have said yesterday that just because the London Eye has, in my opinion, completely marred the aesthetics of the city, that doesn't mean I won't go up in it the next time I'm in London. Of course I will! Just like I may think the name Chunnel is stupid, but that doesn't mean I won't use it. I just like remembering London the way it was, that's all.

And now for something completely different. There's been an offer of a job for Hubby in the Land of Snow and Cheese, aka Wisconsin. They really want him for either of two jobs there, actually. At this point, we're not interested in moving, but if they make a good enough offer (which, obviously, we need to define before he goes out there to interview), it might be worth considering. The plan right now is to play them against where he works now (same company, different location) and see what they'll offer him right here. Not moving would be good.

Then again, I had a look at the WI homeschool laws and it sounds SOOO much better than PA. That alone makes it kind of tempting!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Books and more books

The local used bookstore had one of their big bag sales this past weekend. I picked up some great books, all I could stuff in a bag for $4. Some of my more interesting finds include:

  • the memoirs of Julian Hawthorne, son of my favorite author, Nathaniel Hawthorne. I can't wait to dig into this one and see Hawthorne's life through his son's eyes.
  • Suzanne Somers' Eat Great, Lose Weight, which I picked up mostly for the recipes. It looks like her plan (published in 1997) is virtually identical to South Beach, which didn't come out until 2003. I guess people didn't take her as seriously because, hey, she's Suzanne Somers.
  • I also found a great book on London, published in 1976. I like it because it has all the wonderful historical sites I remember from my time there (I was there in 1991), with nary a trace of the dreadful London Eye. Am I the only one who thinks a giant ferris wheel on the bank of the Thames is just horrific?
  • A book on Spain published in 1992, so it's going to be very similar to what I saw in 1988. I can use it as a reference when I'm working on my novel from my first NaNo.

Not to mention a bunch of kids' fiction for the boys to enjoy, like Super Diaper Baby, by the same author who brought us Captain Underpants. Totally silly, but fun. And of course, some classic fiction for use in school. I even picked up a first grade math workbook from the FREE table - so there's next year's curriculum for the 5 year old!

((Sigh)) - I heart book sales.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

WCW - Turn yourself in and nobody gets hurt

This week's Wild Card photo is something I got in the mail which amused me. Take a look.

Apparently the previous occupants of this house needed to renew their pistol permits. But that's not what caught my eye. Look at this:

I'm wondering how many calls they get from sending out these cards.
"Hello, this is the Sheriff's Office."
"Um, yes, I got a card in the mail that says you're going to arrest me?"
Sheriff's Office worker scrambles for a pen. "Can I have your name please?"
"Sure, it's Thiefy McThieverson."
"Hmm, yes, Mr. McThieverson, I see you're wanted for armed robbery. Where are you right now?"

And of course, if they know where to send the little postcard, why don't they just go arrest the guy?

So there's my W for the week - Warrant!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Ode to British television

Lost had ended, Heroes finished,
Summer stretched before me
With only a few reality shows
And reruns left to bore me.

Then BBC America became
My new nighttime sensation.
Robin Hood and his band of thieves
Brought endless fascination.

Oh, the adventures, the intrigue, the fun!
A favorite legend of mine, redone,
With new twists and turns to thrill my heart,
Now I want the second season to start!

But old BBC had more tricks to show me.
Gordon Ramsay's nightmares enthrall me.
Restaurant owners can be so clueless
But Gordon's there to help them through this!

British humor (or humour) is always a hit,
And BBC America has plenty of it.
Whether reruns of Coupling, The Office or Whose Line
An evening of laughter leaves me feeling fine.

And lately there's Jekyll, another old story
Redone for today in all of its glory.
Will Dr. Jackman's dark side foil him?
I've not watched the finale - don't spoil it!

BBC America, what will you show next?
Maybe I'll have to catch reruns of Hex.
Until Robin returns with his merry men,
Or Lost is finally on again.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Here's the deal

Individually, nobody's idea seemed totally right. But I am formulating some possible titles based on ideas y'all gave me (that's a little Southern speak left over from my years in Virginia and Louisiana). So here's what I'm going to do:

Later today, I will draw a name to win all of the fabulous prizes pictured below, plus some extra ones I didn't have a chance to post. If you gave me a name idea, I will put your name in the drawing twice. If you commented, I will give you one chance. Then I will draw a name at random and award said prizes to the winner.

Then sometime this week, I will have a poll with some names listed. If you would be so kind as to vote for the one you like best at that time, I will most likely go with the majority. And yes, Hubby, I will have a choice for keeping the same name I've always had. Turns out he likes Going Places. And I would lose about 20 hits a week by changing the name, so I guess he has a point!

Friday, August 24, 2007

And the new name is...

...still undecided. I gave until noon to get those ideas to me. Come on, people! I know you're a creative bunch out there. Where are those prize-winning ideas? I'm going to extend the deadline until this evening at 5 (that's Eastern time). And if I still don't see one I like, the winner will be decided by random drawing. So even if you think you have a lousy idea, or no idea at all, leave me a comment and I'll put you in the drawing. What do you have to lose? Nothing. C'mon, let's hear those ideas!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Help me and win stuff!

This is a sticky post! Scroll down for new posts from 8/20-8/23.
It's been two and a half years since I started this blog, and in all that time there's been something that's bothered me. The name. When I was filling out the form to start with, it asked for a name for the blog. I glanced next to me on the desk and saw a travel magazine called "Going Places" and I thought, yeah, that's a good name. But ever since then, I've been trying to come up with a better name. And I just haven't.

So I'm turning it over to you. Going Places is going away. But what will the new name be? I want something that reflects who I am, without being too wordy or cutesy (though I can at times be both wordy and cutesy). What I'm going to do is take suggestions, either in the comments or through email. I will take submissions from now until next Friday the 24th at noon. Then I will decide by the following Monday which new title I like the best. If you haven't been reading me very long, peruse some of the archives to get a feel for what I write about.

And what do you get for all your efforts? Well, I'm putting together a prize package. I know I'm going to put a couple of books in there. What I'll do is make this a sticky post and as I add prizes to the list, I'll put up pictures. I want to make it worth your while.

In the meantime, spread the word! The more suggestions I get, the better. Snag this button and tell people about it! Oh, and in the event I can't find a suggestion I like a lot, I will randomly draw a name to win anyway!

EDIT: Here are prizes #1 and 2, novels I have recently enjoyed, that I would like for someone else to enjoy!

Prize #3: This lovely autumn-themed candle holder, with candle.


We got home from soccer practice last night, and I went to make my evening coffee. As I poured water into the coffee maker, I felt a drop hit my arm. Figuring the water had splashed off the edge of the reservoir, I straightened my pour and continued. I reached into the cabinet for a filter and set it in place. Another drop hit my arm.

"Where is this water coming from?" I looked up. "Oh, no, the toilet!!" On our way home, we had debated stopping at the store for a new handle for the toilet. It flushes fine, but if you don't hold the handle until it's done, it runs. On and on. Forever. We decided not to stop last night because it was out of the way, we didn't need anything else, and we were tired. As soon as we walked in the door, the five-year-old used the toilet. It apparently was clogged and began overflowing. Only it didn't stop, because of the broken handle.

Hubby instantly jumped up and ran upstairs. I shouted for the boys to bring all the towels they could carry and we all ran up. It took a bit of time, but we got all the water cleaned up. So I came back downstairs to assess the damage.

The water still ran down the wall and the fronts of the cabinets like a river. Plus, it was raining about two feet out. Raining in the kitchen. Not good. Hubby got a bucket and a screwdriver and poked a hole in the ceiling over the cabinets, to let the water drain. It worked pretty well. Then we could go about cleaning the counters, which had turned into a small lake. Not fun.

I think we'll be going to the store tonight.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Congrats to Terry Fator!

I have been watching America's Got Talent, and was rooting for this guy all along. The multi-talented Terry Fator does impressions of famous singers. But he does them through his puppets with ventriloquism! He is simply amazing. Look him up on YouTube and you'll see what I mean. Well, here, let me show you.

Congratulations on your win, Terry! You totally deserved it!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Frizzy hair day

Remember that episode of Friends when they're all on some tropical island (Jamaica?) and Monica's hair gets all frizzy from the humidity? Yeah. That's me right now. I look like I should be doing an ad for Aqua-Net circa 1985. Or like I'm from Dallas. One or the other.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Diaper countdown!

Last night, I opened our last bag of 78 diapers. I am fervently hoping that this will be our LAST bag of diapers. The two-year-old has been telling me when he needs to go for about a week now. He wears underwear most days, though he still has two or three accidents a day. But I've been trying not to put diapers on him during the day unless he wets all of his underwear. He's doing really well.

Since my first and third sons both waited until they were well past their third birthdays to be fully trained, I'm excited! At this rate, he'll even beat my second son's family record of two and ten months! And Hubby's excited because he won't be paying for diapers anymore!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Open letter to Movie-Going Idiot and His Wife

Dear Idiot,

I am sure that your Nirvana t-shirt means a lot to you. It's probably one of your treasured collectibles from the days when you used to sit in your bedroom at your parents' house, listening to "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and hoping your parents couldn't smell what you were smoking. You could probably sell it on Ebay for a decent profit. But you, sir (and I use that term loosely) did not use what little brain the weed didn't kill when getting dressed yesterday morning. And I did not appreciate having to stand in line behind someone with eight different obscenities written across his back, when I have two children who can read. Exactly what were you thinking when you decided to wear that to a "Family Friendly Movie?" Did you not realize there would be children there?

So please tell your wife/baby mama that despite appearances we were not trying to get in front of you in line. I was just trying to stand between my kids and your highly offensive article of clothing. If I'd stepped in front of you, that would have left them wide open to it. I hope you really enjoyed the 20 minutes of the movie you saw before your screaming child forced you to leave. Next time you go out in public, dress appropriately to the situation. If it's a choice between that shirt and no shirt, leave it off. Assuming you have nothing even more obscene tatooed on your skin.

Thank you.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

But what was he happy ABOUT?

We seem to have fallen right into the swing of school this year. That's definitely a good sign. I think all my preparation paid off. Even on a day like today, when we went to the last free movie of the summer at our local theater, we still came home and got all our work done. Excellent.

The movie was Happy Feet. All I can say about this movie is that it was cute. There were a couple of laughs. For the most part, I just kept feeling like the plot meandered in too many directions. I mean, what's the conflict here? It seemed there were three or four things that all could have been the main conflict, and the plot kept moving around those things without making any of them the most important. I really liked the combination of live actors with the animation, but other than that, I don't think I'd watch it again.

Free movies are a good thing.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

I've got shelves!

I mentioned a while back that Hubby was going to build me some shelves in the schoolroom, but I hadn't gotten a chance to show them to you. This first picture is the amount of shelves I asked for:
Just those two shelves under the window was all I really needed. But Hubby pointed out that it would be just as easy to add a few more on either side. So now I have this:
And this:
And see the shelf around the top? That goes all the way around three sides of the room! Let me tell you, this is a homeschooling mom's dream! I had a couple of homeschooling friends over and they were so jealous! Thanks for doing this for me, honey! I love it!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Kill the chicken!!

The last couple of nights have reminded me of an episode of Home Improvement. One in particular. (And no, Hubby, I'm not talking about the fiasco with the car repairs). Tim tells Jill he will teach the boys to sit down and have a quiet, civilized, polite dinner. I think there was a bet involved. Anyway, the only way he can get them to sit quietly is by wearing them out beforehand. So they run like wild men through the house and yard, screaming the whole time.

And that, my friends, has been my house the past few days. The clock strikes 6 p.m. and it's like somebody flipped a switch and they go berserk. All four of them. Which is 33% more than Tim Taylor had to deal with. There are invisible monsters chasing them, so they scream and run. One brother is trying to bite the other, so he screams and runs. We send them outside, but they keep coming back in for another lap.

At least it usually gets nice and quiet at bed time.

Friday, August 10, 2007

School starts Monday

Since we're planning on taking three weeks off at Thanksgiving to go to Disney World, I thought it would be a good idea to start school on Monday instead of waiting two more weeks. I can't say anybody but me is excited about it, but that's the way it goes. I was always the weird one who wanted to go back to school at the end of the summer, and I guess I still am.

I'm not going to say homeschooling has gotten easier, exactly, but we've certainly got into a pattern that works for us, for the most part. I rarely have to deal with a child who just sits there with his arms crossed refusing to answer me. More often than not, we get through our entire day of lessons by 2 p.m., and the house looks only slightly less damaged than if a tornado went through it by that point in the day.

I think that's the hardest thing for me - I work all morning and into the afternoon with the boys, and then I have all this housework that needs to be done. It's exhausting. But I think we'll be okay - we've implemented this new points system around here that has my oldest two doing extra chores without even being asked! This is a good thing!

So, I've got my schedule all written out in detail for week one. Any bets as to how closely we'll follow it?

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Here's how it is.

I have a two-year-old screaming in my ear right now. Is he injured? No. His older brother won't let him play with one of his trains. Apparently, being told that Henry does not belong to him and he's not allowed to play with it on Thursdays is a fate worse than death.

You know, this kid is pushing his luck. Does he really think I care about a stupid toy that's not even his when he doesn't care that he woke me up at 6 a.m. climbing all over me and requesting Thomas videos, drinks, and Goldfish? Sorry. I just don't.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007


Today's random letter is "R", brought to you by the lovely and talented TKW. So, here's a picture from camp last week.
This is me Relaxing on the swings after a Really long day at camp. Hubby and I were in charge of nine 7 and 8-yr-old boys, which you might think would be a piece of cake for me. Okay, I pretty much didn't have any trouble, but it still wore me out! Also notice my Really big dress, leftover from the fat days. I have since pitched it in the Goodwill box. You know, a year ago I couldn't comfortably sit on one of those swings.

So, did you play?

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Home again

Who picked the most humid, miserable weekend of the whole summer to go camping? {Waving hand in the air} Yeah, that would be me. The heat was bad, but the humidity was a killer. Still, we had fun. Mainly because my parents were also there in their RV, which has AC, even though it isn't very cold. At least it took the moisture out of the air. So we slept in our camper, but we hung out in their coach the rest of the time.

We made another three visits to the Creation Museum, as well. I know, we were just there, but this time I got to take my brother and his girlfriend with two of my guest passes. We also finally had time to see the last few rooms of displays which previously went by in a blur as we were dragged through by screaming children. Not that we didn't have screaming children with us this time. But we traded off so we could each look at the stuff we wanted to look at. I am more impressed with the museum now than I was after our first visit. Now if only I could get out of their bookstore without buying something every time!!

The worst part of the weekend was the drive there and back. I won't go into details, but let's just say that pee spilled on the van carpet, followed by vomit a couple of days later, does not make for the most pleasant travel experience.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Teenage mating rituals

It's pretty fun sitting up on the creek bank watching the "push boat" operators. The Junior Counselors are two 13-year-old boys, and one boy who is older, maybe 14 or 15. They are all cute (and I say this strictly in a parental "aren't those kids adorable" sort of way and not in a weird way at all), but there is one who is definitely a future hunk. Yesterday we had one 13-year-old girl come by to ride in the boat. As if that was actually why she came over.

Today, we had a whole flock of girls. Now, keep in mind, the girls are supposed to be doing other stuff while the boys are doing water activities. And yet, for some unknown reason (-->hot guy(s)), they are dallying around the boat. Giggling. Squealing. "Oh, don't splash me!" Giggle, giggle. And the boys, because they are boys, splash them even more. And then the girls throw the boys' towels in the creek. And so it goes.

Oh, this boy's parents are in for quite a ride.