Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Last week, Part 3

Even though we called to see what we needed to bring to the DMV, once Hubby got there, he didn't have the right things. So he was on the phone to our insurance company trying to get things straightened out.

Meanwhile, the kids and I were at the house of the people who sold us the van. The mom was a very nice Ukrainian lady who spoke good English, but still spoke Ukrainian, or whatever their language is called, to her children. She said she loved kids and didn't mind us staying. I'm not sure how long we were there, but it seemed like forever once my three-year-old started screaming at the top of his lungs.

We had a nice visit, while the older boys jumped on their trampoline and watched tv in the basement. And they left us good feedback, so I guess we didn't bother them too much.

After finally being able to leave with the van, we went back to the hotel and checked out. Everyone was hungry, but we decided to wait until we got closer to Niagara to have dinner. Oh, if only we had known...

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Last week, part 2

So, when we left Pittsburgh, we drove up through Erie, past Buffalo, and then the trouble started. We had planned to check into a campground that night, but we couldn't find out their policy for checking in late. No one was answering the phone. So we headed toward the town where we'd be picking up our van.

Turns out, we got on a toll road. The rather poor map we had didn't mention this. Grr. Five dollars later, we pulled off and tried to get an internet connection to get a hotel room. Hubby's got plenty of bonus points from business trips, so we figured we'd use a free night somewhere.

First, the internet connection was flaky. And when we tried to move closer to it, it went away altogether. Then, Hubby's computer just flat out refused to even try to connect. We got back on the road and drove another exit. This time he used my computer. It took a while, but finally he managed to reserve a room. We checked in around 11 p.m.

The next morning, we ate at the hotel and then headed for Brockport, NY. This time, we found back roads to avoid the tolls. We had no problem finding the house and after driving the "new" van around the block a few times, Hubby went to the DMV to get transport tags for it.

And that was too much fun for this post... More tomorrow.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Part 1 of last week

Last week was really crazy. It seemed like such a good idea to tag along with Hubby on his business trip and then go pick up the "new" van. And we did have fun at the hotel. Except for the phone call from the manager telling me we were making too much noise and people were complaining.

Of course, when Hubby checked with the night desk person to make sure we were being quiet enough, we discovered that the only room below ours was the office. So the manager was pinning his annoyance on "the room below yours," which was actually just him sitting at a desk. Why couldn't he just say that?

We spent three hours in the indoor pool and spa. The boys jumped and splashed and screamed and had a grand time. I mostly just sat in the shallow end with the three-year-old. They only got out because they got hungry.

The next day we left the hotel, dropped Hubby at his meeting in Pittsburgh, and drove into the city to go to the science museum. The boys loved it. They always enjoy science museums, as do I. This one had an added bonus: a genuine Cold War-era submarine, open for tours as part of the admission price! That was a big hit, let me tell you!

Then, we made our way into New York. And that's when the "fun" began...

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Back home

Fake Quote of the Day:
"It's nice to be home." -W. Nelson
We are home! Last Thursday we made a last-minute bid on a 2001 Honda Odyssey on Ebay, so then we had to figure out a way to go get it - it was located in upstate New York, about six hours away.

First, Hubby had two business meetings, one in Ohio and one in Pittsburgh. So the kids and I tagged along for that. Then we drove from Pitt to NY, about four hours, and picked up the van Thursday morning.

And then, just because we were so close, we went to Niagara Falls. I will share all the fun details later, I just wanted to stop in and say hi!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Out of the office

Jana is out of the office until Friday. If you would like to leave a message, please wait for the beep.


Monday, April 21, 2008

The buzzing in my ear

There is a mysterious presence in our house. It manifested itself last night in the form of a high-pitched whine. Hubby called me downstairs to see if I could help him find the source.

At first I thought it was some electronic alarm - the freezer got left open, perhaps, or the smoke alarm battery was dying. It seemed loudest in the kitchen, and not audible at all from upstairs or downstairs.

We searched the entire first floor. Nothing could be pinpointed as the source of the sound. It was 1 a.m. and we were getting freaked out.

Hubby went downstairs and turned off each breaker, one by one. The sound never stopped. It never even wavered. Finally, we decided to just go to bed.

This morning, the whine is still there. Have you ever had a continuous high-pitched whine in your ear? If I'm extra-irritable this morning, there's a good explanation.

This is ridiculous!!!!! What is that noise?????? When the boys come down, I'm sending them on a hunt. Maybe they can track it down. Argh!!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Why Tina Fey is my IBFF

(that stands for Imaginary Best Friend Forever)

- she wrote Mean Girls, which was a revelation to me and explained so much about my high school years
- and apparently she and I had similar experiences in high school
- she is wickedly funny
- she writes 30Rock, which has got to be the funniest show on television right now
- her best friend on the show is Jenna - my name is Jana. Coincidence??
- she was born the same year as I was
- and therefore, I get all of her references
- she talks about Star Wars a lot
- she mentioned the Monkees once on 30Rock (she did the Davy Jones dance)
- and she likes Annie, also one of my favorite movies
- she has the same coloring as I do, so we could totally share clothes

Tina, if you ever come across this, drop me a comment. We need to hang out.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Going green

Fake Quote of the Day:
"Actually, it's not all that difficult being green." - K.T.Frog
I am not what you would call an environmental wacko. I actually believe the people who say that global warming is a crock. BUT, I also believe that when God put humans on this earth, He charged them with taking care of it. Check out Genesis 1:28 if you don't believe me.

Anyway, over the years, our method of stewardship of the planet as a couple has developed. We have used compact fluorescent bulbs since long before they were cool. In fact, you'd be hard pressed to find an incandescent around here. Even our nightlights are energy-saving.

We insulate everything. If there's a gap, we'll fill it. If there's a breeze, we'll stop it. We are relentless.

We don't turn on the electric heat or the air conditioning until we really can't stand it any more. I will let the house get below 65 before I go around turning on the heat.

We throw our kitchen waste out in the field, either for scavengers or to decompose. It doesn't go in the landfill. Sometime this spring, I want to learn how to compost it.

Likewise with our paper trash, which we burn. I'm planning to start separating the corrugated for recycling, but we don't have a recycling center nearby, so it might stack up for a while.

We have several appliances which would otherwise be drawing power on a switched outlet. When we need them, we switch them on. Otherwise, they remain dormant and don't use electricity.

We donate all our used clothing to Goodwill or similar organizations. I think everyone should recycle their clothing, especially since then I would have a better selection to choose from!

When a rechargeable device dies, I find a place that will recycle the battery. I recycle my old printer cartridges, too.

And I joked with Hubby yesterday that we shouldn't cut the lawn this spring. After all, we'd be using gas to do it, and it would have to be done constantly to stay looking good. What's the point? And what could be greener than an uncut lawn?

We're even discussing the idea of getting a windmill. There's almost always a breeze where we live, and how great would it be to generate our own electricity?

So there you have it. And I'm always looking for simple things to add to my routine. I didn't start doing all this at once. But every little bit helps! What do you do to be green?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

AI Top 7

I have to admit I was a little worried to hear it was Mariah Carey week. She’s not known for easy-to-sing little ditties. But I think overall the Top 7 did a good job with her songs. It’s really a toss-up as to who’s going to go home.

David A. – Beautiful! He should have done this song for inspirational song week instead of “Angels.” I was much more inspired this week. And he’s so cute, you just want to pinch his cheeks. SAFE

Carly – I was a little worried she wouldn’t be able to pull off a Mariah song and, well, she did okay. She still doesn’t do much for me. But look at her this week – she actually looks good and you can’t see her hideous tattoos! DANGER

Syesha – This girl really has a fantastic voice. So why do I find myself falling asleep in the middle of her performances? It doesn’t seem to matter what she sings. Snore. She needs to find a personality to go with that big ol’ voice. DANGER

Kristy – Um, ouch. Pitchy doesn’t even begin to describe it. She looks good, though. And of course, if the VFTWer’s have their way, she’ll get through no matter how bad she is. POSSIBLE DANGER

Brooke – Not too bad. I liked that she stuck to the piano the whole time, no band. She has sincerity in her singing that is lacking in the more powerful singers like Carly and Syesha. I think that’s what’s keeping her there, and I’d love to see more of her. POSSIBLE DANGER

David C. – Amazing. He reminds me a lot of one of my favorite singers, Scott Leonard of Rockapella, in that he can take a song that’s not his and make it original. He also reminds me of Scott in that I can’t understand a lot of his lyrics, but I don’t really care. SAFE

Jason – Started off shaky, but overall not bad. He has such a distinctive sound, it doesn’t really fit when he has to sing songs like that. It might have been better if he’d played the guitar, but still it sounded nice. SAFE

I agree with Simon that the guys won the night, probably because they didn’t suffer by comparison. My favorites were the Davids. I’m going to say Syesha’s in trouble again this week. Like Ramiele, if I keep predicting her, eventually it will happen, right?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


Yes, we went to the circus! The pictures are: the crowd, an elephant's foot, the ringmaster's sparkly vest, a tiger's tail, and horses.

The boys really enjoyed it. I think they liked the tigers the best. One of the white tigers looked like it really wanted to injure the tamer. Seriously. I was pretty impressed when he actually got one of the tigers to kiss him!

I could have done without the big musical number, but other than that, I enjoyed it.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Mystery post

See if you can guess where we went this weekend. No fair guessing if you already know the answer! Here are your clues:

Thursday, April 10, 2008

PPL - Spring haiku

Mid-month Every Month at PENSIEVE
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This month's poetic form is the Haiku. I like haikus. They are hai-cool.

Spring has come to town.
Summer can't be far behind.
I want one more snow.

Flowers, birds, and buds
New life is all around me
Nature showing off.

Dusty corner shelves
Cobwebs along the ceiling
I need to spring clean.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

C'mon rain!

I have a headache.

I don't want to go to soccer practice tonight.

It's supposed to rain before then.

C'mon, rain!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Fun with scrapbooking

Fake Quote of the Day:
"You cook like a three-year-old!!!" - G. Ramsay
Ever since I discovered digital scrapbooking, I've had a lot of fun finding free downloads of kits and elements and then matching my pictures to them and creating layouts. I have yet to pay for any of the things I've used, there are so many free things available. But the other day, I wanted a specific background and I couldn't find it. So Hubby helped me design the background and then I made the page. I present to you my adorable son making his cooking debut:

Monday, April 07, 2008

Marriage: For Happiness or Holiness?

1st Monday Every Month at Chrysalis
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It's time again for Marriage Monday, hosted by e-Mom at Chrysalis. Just click the picture above to visit her and find links to other participants.

We all want a happy marriage, right? No one goes into marriage thinking, "I hope we can just tolerate each other for the next fifty years." I was very fortunate to grow up with two parents who loved to be together. In fact, they still do. My dad won't even go to the store without my mom. They'll be celebrating their 43rd anniversary this year. So I have a wonderful role model of what marriage should look like. And I'm happy to have found someone who feels the same way about me.

So what did I learn about happiness from my parents?
- It's okay to disagree. I remember my parents arguing, certainly. But disagreements should never be deal-breakers. Usually their arguments turned into good-natured teasing, which is always fun to watch!
- Find something you can do together. My dad started a photography business, and my mom went to weddings with him, helped with his equipment, did videos when that new technology appeared, and then assembled the albums. They were a team.
- Share each others' interests. My mom has really gotten into genealogies lately. My dad is into computers. They've combined these two interests to the point where Mom actually got her own computer and is at least as good at using it as Dad is! It's not unusual to find them both sitting at their computers working away.
- Show a lot of affection. The more, the better. It's rare to be around my parents without seeing them touch in some way. They kiss a lot. I'm not going to speculate about anything beyond that, but I know they enjoy each other. ;)
- Share the responsibilities. Agree on who does what, but don't be rigid about it. Both of my parents understand their finances, both of them visit their doctors together. They share knowledge, they stay informed, and they stick together.
- Celebrate your relationship. My dad keeps track of every anniversary - the first date, the first kiss, and of course the wedding. Everything. I think that's incredibly sweet.
- Keep Christ at the center. My parents are strong Christian examples who pray together, worship together, and share their faith. And that's probably the most important example they could ever give me.

Thanks, Mom and Dad. You've given me a wonderful example on which to base my own marriage. I'm sure I just made you cry with this post, but tough! I love you!

Friday, April 04, 2008

SPF - Triangle

Stuff Portrait Friday restarted a few weeks ago, but I am just now jumping on board. If you'd like to play, too, hop over to Random and Odd and tell everyone you played!This was taken last summer when we watched the John Smith shallop come into Vienna, MD. Notice the triangles formed by the rigging?

So, did you play?

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Sci-Fi fix

Those of you who know me know I have a very strong affection for science fiction and fantasy. Some of my all-time favorite television shows have been sci-fi. This season, there were several new ones that I was particularly excited about, because we seem to have hit a dry spell science fiction-wise. Unless you count LOST, which is seeming more and more science-fictiony.

The newest one is New Amsterdam, on Fox. The premise is that this guy from 400 years ago is made temporarily immortal by some sort of Native American curse. Until he finds the one woman he's destined to be with, he will remain immortal. And after 400 years, he's pretty anxious to do that. To pay the bills, he's a police detective. All his many years of experience help him solve the cases, of course.

Now if any of this sounds familiar, that's because it was all done before. Back in the early '90s, there was a show called Forever Knight. This show was about a vampire who wanted to be human again after many hundred years of being a vampire. He was also a police detective whose immortality came in very handy. You might not have caught this show, because it was on late at night, but for those of us who loved it, we were disappointed to have it end after three seasons.

Back in the fall, there was Journeyman, which I now hear will not be renewed. Too bad, because it was a fascinating time-traveler story. The main character was suddenly thrust backward in time to help average people's lives come out right and fix "mistakes" in the past. He didn't know why it was happening or how to stop it.

Again, this should sound familiar. A little all-time-favorite of mine called Quantum Leap springs to mind. Sam is a time-traveler who created the experiment that sends him leaping through time but can't figure out how to stop it. Along the way, he "puts right what once went wrong." One of the greatest shows EVER, it ended disappointingly with the revelation that Sam never returned home. I, of course, had to write an alternate ending explaining that.

And finally, a show which won a Golden Globe this year, Moonlight. This is another vampire show. This is also about a vampire detective, only he's a private detective. He's in love with a mortal woman and desperately wants to be mortal again, even though he's only about 80 years old. Shades of Forever Knight, but with an interesting new angle. I like this show a lot and hope to see new episodes soon (it's on CBS).

How about you? Are you a sci-fi fan or does the whole thing just go over your head? If you are, what are some of your favorite shows?

Wednesday, April 02, 2008


Since I want to blog about AI, but Julie's already pretty much covered it, I'm just going to show you a cute picture of a cat:
Visit Stuff on My Cat for more great pictures of stuff and cats.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Dancing recap

Fake Quote of the Day:
"It's amazing what a little makeup can do." -T.F. Bakker
I'm not sure what happened to Priscilla Presley's face, but she looked better last night. So much better, in fact, that I was able to watch her dancing instead of gawking at her mouth. BTW, Hubby found an article talking about how PP was tricked by some phony doctor and had poor quality silicone injected into her face. So I actually feel a little sorry for her. Anyway, her tango last night was amazing.

The Gute was also quite impressive compared to his past two performances. I'm not sure it will be enough to keep him around, but he was good. Not so for poor Marissa, who seems to get worse each week. I love her energy and spirit, but she needs to step up her game if she wants to stay in this.

Kristi Yamaguchi remains my favorite. She has that gold medal winner attitude, you know? It's like the first time I saw Apolo Anton Ohno and and I said, "He's going to win this." It wouldn't surprise me at all to see Kristi win the whole thing. It could finally be a woman's turn again!