Thursday, December 30, 2004

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

Only one more day in 2004. How did the year go by so quickly?

Jack and I have been very busy this past month. School ended on December 17, and we left for Orlando on the 19th. We spent a week at Rose and Chuck's, visiting, painting, and just relaxing. Well, sort of relaxing. With all the change in scenery and presents looming in the future, Jack was quite a handful, but we survived. He got to spend a bit of time with Josh and Josh's family, so that was nice.

My friend Jenn travelled to Orlando to visit with her mom and dad on the exact same day as us, even the same time, but out of different airports, lol. Rose, Jack, and I went to the Florida Mall to visit with her and another friend Sherrie who lives in the area. This was the first time Jenn and I had seen eachother in a year or so, and it amused us to no end that we had to travel to a different state in order to visit.

We celebrated Christmas Eve there, then travelled home on Christmas Day. We made it home, unpacked a bit, then crashed. The week of not being home had taken its toll. The next day, we were on our way to Peoria for Christmas with my family, much to the cats' disappointment. They were very upset with being alone so much.

Our family Christmas was nice because Aimée and Craig were home with their boys, as well as Michael. The next day was Cameron's baptism, and Aimée and Craig asked me to be his godmother, so I accepted and attended the service. Ethan has grown up a lot since we saw him this summer, and Cameron is just too cute. A very happy baby.

Although Jack wasn't thrilled with the idea, we went home later that day (after a stop at mom's to visit with her, Aimée, and Craig some more). I drove about 175 miles that day. Add the 50 from Bloomington the day we came home and the 95 back to Peoria the day after, and I was tired of driving!

We've been home spending time with the cats and getting the house in order the last few days. Today we have a birthday party to go to for Luke, and then we will be heading back to Peoria.

I lost half my update just then because of a bad connection or something. That's no fun, but I can't rewrite it all now. It's hard to even remember what I wrote and in how much detail, so I'll abbreviate with this.

I redid the bathroom floor yesterday. Here are pictures. I have a huge list of projects to do before March so the house won't be a construction zone when Jack's birthday rolls around, as well as Rose and Josh visiting for it. I plan on getting the TV out into the livingroom and making the third bedroom a guest room. I am so mad that post got eaten. Argh.

Before.
..
During.
..
After.


Also, here is a video from the Holiday Recital on December 7, 2004 at Jack's school. It's not quite 3mb. He is in a red turtleneck in the front playing bells on the first clip, and he is in the back row on the second clip. Look for his little "penguin" move halfway through the song to spot him more easily. ;-)

Friday, December 03, 2004

Volunteering

I have been volunteering at Jack's school all this semester with the second graders during Investigative Learning. They spend about 40 minutes, 3 days a week, covering topics like cooking, science, writing, etc. The kids get to choose the topic they want to attend each 3-week session, so they are shuffled out of their normal classroom and teacher. This time, I have been with a different second grade teacher than when I first started. We have been talking about stories and creating books. Yesterday, they volunteered to read their books in front of the group. It was just amazing how some of the kids could barely write simple words and some couldn't read what they had written. It wasn't sloppy, they just didn't know what it said. Not even from remembering what they had written while someone helped them write it down.

These are second graders. No one has taken the time to teach them phonics, so eventually they may "get it" after years of being told what and how to write, but it is going to be so much harder for them. Granted, a couple of the kids were able to write out some full sentences with hardly any misspellings, but there were maybe three of those in a group of twelve. When I compare that to the kids in the first grade in Jack's room? It just reinforces why I go to work with them.

I wish people would take more time with their kids, give them credit for being able to learn something. Instead, we have kids at the school who aren't taught anything at home and have no consequences for any bad behavior they perform as a result of no guidance. Then they bring that behavior to school, and it becomes the teachers and schools responsibility to keep them in line. Not exactly fair.

Someone told me today that Urbana's school district was going to lose a large amount of funding because the school didn't pass the minimum for a test. The reason? The kids who really needed to be there for the test chose not to come to school. Way to go parents! The public schools are getting killed of by NCLB. I have a feeling it is going to become much worse before it gets better. Especially considering Margaret Spellings is now the education secretary.

Okay, done with that vent. Time for lunch, then back to work.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Christmas Lists

I am always very bad about making a list, so here goes:

Dana's List
U2's new CD (Aimée I think has "claimed" this one.)
Wonderfalls DVD complete series
Lowe's, Target, Barnes & Noble, or Jo Ann Fabrics (Michael's?) gift certificates
Any CD by Remy Zero, Frou Frou, or Zero 7 (I don't have any. Details by Frou Frou, Simple Things by Zero 7, or the Garden State soundtrack are good ideas.)
ETA: We went to the store, and I remembered a few more things ...
Bathroom rugs (cream, one big one or two smaller ones)
Jem CD
Damien Rice CDs - "O", or "Cannonball." (harder to find)

Jack's List
Spiderman Web Blaster (Aunt Trudy has "claimed" this one.)
Magic Tree House books (Any over #25 now because he has #20 and will probably get through a few more before Christmas.)
Aladdin DVD (I think Mom "claimed" this one.)
Monster's Inc. DVD Collector's Edition
khaki or navy pants, size 7/8
paper for crafts (blank of any kind would be good because he is always creating something, usually stories or drawings)
Legos (but only small sets, not huge ones because he has quite a few already; Jack Stone is still a winner.)

If you need more ideas or have questions, just let me know. :-)

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Happy Thanksgiving!

I am a few days late, but that is what happens when I am away from my computer, at family with dial-up (and other family members online instead of me), or without a connection entirely.

Thanksgiving was pretty quiet this year. Frank and David were back. Amy is settled into her house for the most part, and mom and Dave were up for the meal as well. Jack and I drove up on Thursday morning since the houses were pretty full already. The roads were completely fine, but we saw plenty of cars/trucks still in the ditches from the storm the previous night. It was raining all day Wednesday, it turned into sleet around noon, and by the time I picked Jack up from school, it was snow. It was very wet though, so it wasn't the kind you could really play in. And now it is already all gone.

We got to stay in Amy's new place for the first time Thursday night. It is already coming together very nicely. Jack stayed up late to watch the Grinch with Amy while I went and watched movies with Matt and his brother, Todd. We watched "28 Days Later" which was okay, but I was expecting more for all the fuss I remember about the movie. After the gore though, we needed some fluff, so we put in "Daredevil." That was the worst movie ever; so bad, it was fluff light. ;-)

Friday morning we headed out to Bloomington to catch our flight to Orlando. I actually didn't get pulled aside in security this time. It's every other time, so I guess I should expect to be pulled aside on our Christmas trips. The flight was pretty uneventful. The weather was all clear, so we had no problem getting out on time. We got to Orlando right after 5pm, and Rose and Chuck met us outside of the airport.

Our quick weekend in Orlando was spent moving a few things from their old place to the new one and rearraning/unpacking things that were already there. The new place is just around the corner from their old complex, and it is very nice. They are around the corner from the parking lot, which is less fun because of the walk, but nice because they are away from all traffic and have the pond/lake on that side. Friday night we got to see Nita, Teresa, and Margie briefly, and then got dinner at the usual spot. Josh was heading to work, so he stopped by for a while there.

Saturday morning was the usual breakfast with Dale, although the crossword puzzle got left behind. Oh, because the newspaper had messed up the delivery schedule, that's right. We went to the old place to get a few more things, then Chuck had to take poor Keely to the vet, so Rose and I got to work in the new place. During that day, we got the bookshelves in the diningroom, the computer desk and other furniture in the livingroom, the daybed and desk in the spare room, and the kitchen stuff sets up. The cable also got all figured out, and I got the computer set up, but the DSL wasn't working because of the phone jack. Nothing ever goes 100% smoothly, but that's okay. It was good just to get that stuff started so they could get settled into the place after all the moving. And there is still a load or two of things at the old place, but hopefully that will all be taken care of tomorrow.

We went to dinner Saturday night, had a slightly late night, then crashed since Jack and I had to head home somewhat early on Sunday. This morning, we just took our time, had breakfast, then went to the airport. The line at security was very long, but somehow it moved extremely fast, so we ended up at our gate with one hour still before our flight. Jack hadn't been feeling well all morning, and slept off and on almost the whole flight home. We made it back from Bloomington with no problem. The car was still there, although someone with a turquoise car was nice enough to share their paint with my passenger side door. Grr. The house is still here, as are the cats, although slightly noisier than usual. Jack is out playing with the neighbors, and we have to figure out dinner. I didn't take pictures this weekend, so nothing to share there.

Okay, better go check on the boys. :)

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Halloween and Thanksgiving

It's almost time for Thanksgiving, and my host has finally worked out the bugs (that they said weren't there) in publishing my blog. Phew!

Here is a picture of Jack from Halloween. He was a mad doctor. :-)


Mad Doctor Jack.

For Thanksgiving, we will be celebrating with the family in Peoria and then in Orlando. Yay! However, the weather was rainy today, sleeting when I went to volunteer at the school, and is now snowing. It is supposed to be clear/sunny on Friday and Sunday, so here's hoping our travel plans don't get sideswiped by the weather. Good thing we have direct flights. Connecting anywhere, but especially Atlanta, would've been terrible this weekend.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Election 2004

It's just about 1am, and it looks like Bush will be re-elected. Ohio still hasn't been called. Florida has a bunch of contested absentee ballots.

When I went to vote this morning, I waited in line for 30 minutes. Previous times, I was always done in 2 minutes. So many people were out this year. Almost everyone had something to say and was going to vote. How is it possible that the country is still so completely divided? How is it possible that taking the division into account, people don't consider that maybe it's time to go on a different path?

You can be consistent, but it doesn't make you right. I honestly don't know what the next four years will hold for us and the rest of the world if the results hold. If Kerry wins, I wouldn't know what the future would hold, but I also wouldn't be absolutely ill thinking about it, either.

Like so many other people I have been talking to, I just don't get how we had this chance and now it's gone.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Marathon Photos

I snagged some photos the professional photo people took during the race. :)


Patti and I beforehand.
Marathon.

Patti and I beforehand.
Marathon.

Still able to smile.
Marathon.

Still able to smile.
Marathon.


Marathon.

Mile 22-23?
Marathon.

Yay, I'm done! My chip time was 5:29.
Marathon.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Chicago Marathon 2004

So, here is my update on the marathon. Pre-warning that I do jump around a lot. :)

Well, I survived! I actually felt pretty good afterwards (energy-level-wise), but before I get ahead of myself, here's the recap:

For those who only care about results, 5:29 I think is my official time. Now on to the juicy details! It was a beautiful day, but our team was plagued with bad luck, except for Patti. Yay Patti for making her goal!

The race was actually pretty fantastic for a first marathon. My only goal was to finish, and I did that. Our team was just having a bad day though because I slipped on banana peels (har har) towards the end where they were handing food out at the water station too, and my knees started hurting around the halfway point, and they had never bothered me before. In fact, according to the updates I had emailed to myself, I was on course for a 4:40 time, which I would've been happier with, at the halfway point, but I had to start walking in between running, so that slowed me down. Even walking though, you pass other people. The coaches tell you, you will get passed at every mile, and you will pass people at every mile, and it's true. For a while I was walking with this guy and as we passed a girl walking, she told us we were walking too fast, lol.

Another person on our team slipped on a cup and twisted her hip, so while she did better than me (4:30 I think), she didn't meet her personal goal, as this wasn't her first marathon, and I think her goal was to improve on her other time.

One member of our team (Patti) did reach her goal, which was to do better than her first marathon since this was her second. I am very proud of her because we all got bumped, tripped up, or shoved throughout the race. There are so many people, it really didn't thin out until about 17 miles. Even then, you are going in and out a little, it was hard to maintain a straight path. I got an elbow to the back of my arm at one point, at least that is what it felt like although how someone got the back of my arm with their elbow I don't know. I know it is bruised today though. We tried our best to walk through the water breaks, but it was still hard not to trip. Patti said she saw a number of people go down. I got a number of feet under mine that made it hard to stay standing, but we survived.

The course was pretty flatland friendly. Only some mild hills when going over the bridges, and one killer hill at about mile 26. You turn right to go over the highway, and it's a nice long incline - a hill more than any others in the course, then you turn left and have a slight downhill to the finish line.

My knees were killing me, but I was determined to run that last stretch, so after I got up the hill, turned left, and ran. I had the energy to run, but my body just didn't want me to. Despite that, I did, and it does feel like everyone lined along that finish stretch is cheering for you. It was great. Over 35,000 people finished the race. Over 1 million spectators lined the course. Pretty cool.

It was a great day. I was sore, I iced, and I am stiff today, but I am already thinking about the next one because I want to do better. ;)

And yes, the weather was perfect, between 50-65 the whole time, but sunny and I got sunburned. *L*

My mom and Jack were there, so I got to see them as we crossed the starting line, and then they got to the bleachers at the finishing stretch, and they yelled so loud I was able to spot them then too. I guess Jack was getting worried that I was hurt since it took me so long to show up, lol.

Hopefully, I will have pictures from the online place or my mom soon. :) Actually, Heather just emailed and she has some pictures online, so look for those at the bottom here. Yay!

We had dinner with the members of the team who stuck around, then drove home last night. It only takes about 2.5 hours, but boy did I ever want to speed so I could just get home. I had today off work, so I got Jack to school, got ready for my day, grabbed a book, and went to the bookstore and had some coffee. Then, I go wander to Target to walk a little so I wasn't too stiff. It's freezing down here this morning. Oh, and one other good thing about yesterday - no headache! I almost always got headaches after our long runs because of dehydration, but apparently, I did a good job of hydrating beforehand and during the race because I didn't get one. Yay!

Okay, so I am alive. You are all officially notified. Thanks for all of your support along the way!

ETA: I forgot to mention that Team in Training had 650 participants in the race alone, adding in coaches, mentors, spouses, family, and friends that ran or supported, made over 1000 people there. And, those 650 participants raised over 2 million dollars in their fundraising!

Also, my one outward injury was a blister on my right foot, which is fine because at least I didn't lose a toenail, which is very common, and it is where I always get a callous (side of my big toe, I know, TMI), so I knew it would happen. Still!

And another good story I forgot:

It was an experience just by being in that crowd. So many different people (met some from Long Island, right in Illinois, and all over the States), and about 5 minutes before the start, everyone started shedding their outer clothes they were wearing to stay warm. This was right after the National Anthem, and it was just hilarious to see clothes flying over a crowd of people like girls throwing their underwear on stage at a rock concert. If you weren't careful, you'd get hit with them! And this guy behind us starts saying in an Irish accent (although I don't think he was from Ireland or anything):

"They sang the national anthem, and then everyone started gettin' nekid. What a country!"

*L*

And now for the pictures. Just a few. I can't wait to see what my mom got. :) Links go to bigger versions. I also uploaded them to the gallery.

The elite runners.


The preferred-start runners. And the other 25,000 of us hadn't turned the corner yet apparently. ;)


I think this shows the right-turn up the hill on the last half-mile that I was talking about.


Patti, Heather, me, and Jack at the victory party dinner. You can tell I got some sun, oh yeah. Jack was eyeing the dance floor. ;-)



That is all for now. Good night!

Friday, October 08, 2004

Marathon Days

Okay, an update before the race:

We are heading to Chicago tomorrow morning around 9am. We will get to town by noon, go to the hotel to park, hop the shuttle over to the Expo, pick up our packs, and then just wander the rest of the way through our day.

Our team is meeting at 6am at the hotel lobby to bus over to the race start area. The forecast is for sunny (no rain, please!) and cool temperatures. This should be a perfect day for running.

My bib number is 22965. You can sign up for text messages or email notifications of my status/finish here. I'll tell you right now though that I won't be a speed demon. ;-) For this one, my goal is to finish respectably. We'll see how this one goes before planning a goal for the next one.

Thanks for all of your support so far. You helped me raise over $1400 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Our team mentor lost his dad to leukemia last week, so we will all be running in honor of him too. This will be a very special race for him and the rest of us.

Okay ... time to get mentally prepared. The plan is pasta tonight. They say it's the meals you eat two days before that really count. I *must* get lots of sleep tonight. And I *must* do some serious stretching.

I've got my shoes, shorts, shirt(s). I have some Gu. I'm ready. XD

Miles: 295
Hours: 75
Funds: $1435

Saturday, September 18, 2004

We're Still Alive

Honest. Things have just been insanely busy. Between marathon training, Alice in Wonderland, school starting back up, fundraisers, family events, and life in general, we haven't had a down day in quite a while.

Alice in Wonderland opened last night. Jack is the Dormouse. His costume has the teapot lid on his head, and then the rest of the time he is either wearing the teapot or sitting inside it and popping out to say his lines. It went very well last night. They will have two weekends of shows, and then that is one activity I can scratch off our list.

Jack in costume.

School is going well so far. Jack is back at the after-school program and doing fine. He is going to the tap classes again, and I think they are trying to schedule an event already.

Today was the 20-mile run for the marathon training. My fundraising is over $1000 now, but I have a little ways to go to reach the $1400 minimum. Hopefully the last events we did will bring that in. I am not too worried though because at this point I am pretty close.

So, only 3 weeks until the marathon. We will be going up on Saturday with one of the other runners, Patti. That day we go to the expo to pick up our packets, then there is a pasta party that night. The race doesn't start until 8am, but I think we meet downstairs to go over as a group around 7am. Once the race is over, we have to check in at the Team in Training tent, there is a celebration party at 5pm I think, and then we are driving back home because Jack has school on Monday. Rats. But I won't make him miss school.

Work has been going well. We have two new people on our staff, and the extra help is nice.

Of course, it was a major hurricane week (or two), so we were always trying to keep tabs on the family down in the Orlando area. Thankfully, nothing too serious happened at their homes, although power was lost and most of the city was closed down for a while. I hope we are able to get down to visit soon!

Aimée and Craig started their school year now. She said that is going pretty good. Ethan will be four years old soon. Yay! :)

I guess that's it for now. I have to try to wrangle Jack in. He's outside playing with the neighbors, and we had to make a deal because he didn't want to come in for a bath or lunch, lol. I guess I was crazy about playing with my friends when I was young, but I am pretty sure I stopped for food or something!

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Summer is Over!

Well, it was fun while it lasted. Summer is almost over for us, and it has been a very busy summer indeed.

Jack and I took a road trip vacation out to Pennsylvania to surprise Aimée, Craig, Ethan, and Cameron. We could only stay a day because we were on our way to Fredericksburg, Virginia to a family reunion for the Boutwell family. We spent 4 days there with Rose and all of her family. We missed Chuck this time around, but we will see him soon. We also got to take a day trip into Washington, D.C., which was a first for me too. There is so much to see, I don't think one day is enough time. We took a tour around the capital mall, saw Arlington Cemetary, and most of the other monuments. We didn't have time to do any of the museums except for the Air & Space museum. Jack had a good time though, and taking the train is always a plus for him.

I am still training for the Chicago marathon. Only 50 (give or take) days left! Work has been busy, but good. The students move in this weekend, so the craziness level is about to increase. The house has been sitting there all summer getting nothing done to it. The cats are needy and strange as ever. I did manage to make the covers for the cushions like I wanted, but other than that, I really haven't done any house projects in a while.

Jack starts first grade on the 25th. We have "Meet the Teacher" night this Thursday. I am really excited for that. They only had two first grade classrooms last year, and this year they added a third. Jack ended up in the third room with the new teacher, but he is still excited because it's someone new. ;-)

He auditioned for "Alice in Wonderland" a few weeks ago and got the part of the Dormouse. We have rehearsals for 4 more weeks, and then the play opens in September. It is a very fast turnaround this time compared to "A Christmas Carol." It should be a very cute play, though.

I need to redesign Mike's site. I would like to get a better (read: true) design going for my design site. I want to revamp this one, and maybe get Jack to use his more too. So many things to do and not nearly enough time!

Oh, this weekend was our family reunion. It was a good time. I was pretty tired after the weekend because I was up early on Saturday for a long run with the marathon group, drove to Peoria, was up until 1am, then back up at 7am to get down to the reunion site. We had to move the tables and get things set up ahead of time. Then, we were there until 5:30pm and had to drive home right after. That was a long day! Jack actually fell asleep in the car right after we went through Bloomington, which he hasn't done in forever. Poor thing was totally wiped out. I could tell he was overly tired too because he was up two times that night, but last night was better even though we got to bed late because of rehearsal.

Jack had a good time at the reunion playing with Grant and generally getting dirty. I made the mistake of giving him a bath that morning, and the first thing he did was plop down in the sand and dig tunnels under the playground equipment. Oh well. :)

Time to get some work done!

Sunday, June 27, 2004

Videos

 took a video of "the Ring of Fire" in Montréal and the Basillica of Notre Dame. Also, some video of Joni's performance at Aroma Café before that.

video
video

Today I took video of Jack riding his bike for the first time. He has a friend in the neighborhood who was letting him practice on her bike, and now he was all set to try out his. Yay! First swimming, now his bike. He is conquering a lot of things this week. :D

video

video

video

Friday, June 25, 2004

Montréal

I am so tired, I don't think I can make a summary post right now, but I did manage to get pictures put online.

Montréal Pictures

In short, the presentation at the conference went well. The rest of the conference was very enjoyable. I met some great people from U of Texas @ Austin, Concordia, Clemson, etc. Jack had a great time with Gma Rose. He went from mostly scared of the water to swimming on his own. We saw Old Montreal a lot. We took the Metro around to see other sites like the Botanical Gardens and the Olympic Park from 1976.

What else?

Traveling was not that bad. Customs was odd, but not painful. The cats were slightly neurotic when we got home, but they are settling back down. There were some big black ants (carpenter ants?) in the kitchen yesterday, but I think I got them all. Why on earth they had to show up while we were gone, I don't know.

Jack met a French-Canadian girl named Kelly who was on her way to Italy with her family. He gave her his email address, lol. I forgot to try to look up the Cunninghams who had been in Mexico with us for the summer program before. Oh well.

Now I am trying to get back into work and marathon training. That's all for now!

Thursday, June 10, 2004

It's June Already

Where has the year gone? Jack's last day of kindergarten was Friday the 4th. He is attending camp through the park district all summer. He knows some of the kids in his camp and has already made new friends. The instructors all seem really nice too, so it's working out well.

I launched a new web site for a local artist last night. Joni Laurence is an independent folk-rock artist. She had her cd release party tonight at Cowboy Monkey, which thanks to it being at 5:30pm and smoke-free, Jack and I both were able to attend. He bopped along to the music, as you've all seen him do I am sure. It was a great night. Huge crowd, tons of people from work (Joni worked at the University too, until she left this year to pursue music fulltime), and KC's boys were there too, so Jack had some buds to sit with. :D

Now it is just storming! The radio was talking about tornados up around the Peoria area earlier, and so it seems it took about 3 hours for it to make it's way down here. I doubt we will have tornado warnings, but it sure is going to rain and thunder. This is good because it's been in the 90s and 100% humidity. I was hoping the dam would break and pour on us to end this spell of breathing liquid air.

I am still training for the marathon. I am on the tail end of week 3 now, I believe. I started out with 21 weeks, so I will have to modify the 18-week program a little. It was pouring at lunchtime, so I couldn't run then. I ran out at 3pm so I could get my run in and still have time to clean up for Joni's show. I got sprinkled on, but nothing major.

Nothing else is new that I can think of. Once I post this, I am sure I will remember something huge and wonder how I could've possibly forgotten. ;)

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

It's May!

Time sure flies when you are busy and stressed and the like.

My birthday was great. I did nothing at the time, but we celebrated it at Mother's Day last weekend. We went to mom's house and cooked out. Grandma and Aunt Amy came down, and it was the first time Grandma got to see mom's new house. We spent most of Saturday afternoon/evening working on moving things around and preparing for company. My arms were surprisingly sore the following days.

Thanks to mom and Aimée/Craig/the boys, I have some Lowe's gift certificates to use. I wish I had been carrying them both last night because we ran to Lowe's quickly to get a support bracket thing for a window air conditioner, and the only one they had was $30. Sheesh. I was expecting to spent $20, and yes $30 isn't much more, but still that was all of my one gift certificate right there. It is a very nice product though. I only had to drill a couple of holes, and you can install it from the inside of the house - no stretching and reaching outside, no extension cords, and no drilling into the outside of my house.

This means I now have a window A/C in my bedroom window. I decided to put it there because that was one of the windows that didn't have a screen anyway. I can cool that room down, then use one of our fans to push the air out. Jack's room always stays cool, and he has a ceiling fan and box fan in his window for at night if he needs it. I debated putting it in the kitchen, but the cats probably wouldn't like that, and I really didn't like the idea of the eyesore there. It's much less conspicuous in my room. I just hope it doesn't get too hot that we need to use it a lot. It's the most efficient on the little yellow tag all appliances seem to come with these days, but that doesn't mean I believe it. ;-)

It seems like last year I didn't hardly use the old one Porter had given us in the computer room, so maybe this year will be a mild summer too.

Speaking of the summer, it is fast approaching. Jack will be finishing up kindergarten in only a couple more weeks. The first school year, already done. Amazing. I already have him signed up for summer camps with the park district. Unfortunately, he couldn't get all five weeks in the same program as his friends, but he does get 3 weeks (I think) at the art camp with his friends, and it's a max size of 25. The other two weeks he will be in a science camp with a max of 50. I am thinking that camp isn't as full, so hopefully the size will be smaller than 50. Still, considering the general camps take 100-125, I will gladly take 50.

Oh, my friend Deb graduated from UCLA law school this past weekend too. Congratulations, Deb! :D

And, Happy Birthday Aimée!

What else? The cats are still crazy. My cushion covers project is going well. I have three of the six covers made so far. I have enough material to make 4 sets, but eventually I may need 5 sets. Aunt Amy still has the other two-seater thing in her truck. If I had that to the collection, my livingroom will be super crowded, and I will need the extra set of covers. So, I think I am going to go look for some material that would go with the one I have used up. The one right now is a purple with a swirly pattern in it. I have little throw pillows that are violet. So, I am thinking I will look for a solid purple/violet material. Then, I can make two sets and swap out which chairs use the solid and pattern covers. Once this is done, the livingroom will be almost done with the decorating kick I have been on. I want to take the tall stack of shelves that were in Jack's room and put them in the livingroom somewhere though. I need to strip it of the paint I put on there when he was born. I know, I know ... but I took pictures! Nothing can last forever. And the paint peels to a certain extent anyway. Those fake laminate whiteboard things are not really meant to be painted over or something.

I want to put it in the livingroom so I can put photo albums on it. I have so many, and no decent way of displaying them. I really have no shelving for knickknacks right now. I refuse to buy any though because I don't want to put holes in my walls to hang shelves, and I am still planning on building the built-in shelving.

Okay, time to get back to work. They are moving my office this morning, so it's time to shut down the computer. Ack! ;-)

Monday, April 19, 2004

Birthday Time

Okay, a real birthday list then.

I think I am going to have to go the gift certificate route this year because I just can't sit down and think of any physical items that I can squeeze into my house. I am constantly trying to get rid of things and organize, so adding more to the collection just isn't appealing. Plus, now that the weather is nice, I am project girl again. So, that means ...

Lowe's
Menards
Target

are three great stores to receive gift certificates from. This summer, I have planned to finish the refinishing on my dining set chairs; maybe paint 1-3 of the rooms in the house, redo the floor in the bathroom, and maybe the kitchen floor. Then, there are the outdoor projects which include tearing out the rest of the bushes and weeds from the back property line and installing a fence. I also have this grand scheme deck idea, but that will probably take longer. I don't see a down time from work until July. Scary, I know.

Okay, life update. We spent the weekend at mom's again. Jack had his usual grumpy at bedtime routine since we weren't at home. That was unenjoyable. We spent all day Saturday out and about at the state fairgrounds at the lawn and garden/craft shows. Jack did pretty well, and the lunch picnic/play time helped. I got a couple of plants for the front flower bed, and they are in the ground now. Saturday night, a transformer decided to go boom in mom's neighborhood, so about 5 minutes after our movie ended (8pm), we had no power. I was just getting ready to read HP to Jack for bedtime. Oops. It took about 2 hours for them to get it fixed too. We were outside watching the truck work a block down, when we heard the transformer blow a second time. The bucket was up at the top of the pole too, so I am surprised the worker didn't get hurt.

Jack eventually fell asleep, and on Sunday we went in search of a lawn mower. We were trying to find an electric cordless one like mine, but almost no stores were carrying it, and the one we did find was still $375. I had gotten a good deal on mine apparently, because I don't remember paying more than $250 for it. We also got a canopy to go over the deck, and the installation was very amusing.

So, another weekend of projects. :-)

The cats were of course all crazed when we got home. Thyme kept flopping herself down in front of my feet with her belly in the air for attention. Fulgie of course waited by the water bowl for fresh water. I have come to the conclusion that Thyme thinlks she's a dog. Fulgie is a person. ;-)

This morning was so funny because I had the window in the computer room open, but it doesn't like to stay open so I prop it with a little metal ruler. Well, apparently Fulgie knocked it when she jumped up because I walked back in there looking for something and I see this smooshed cat between the window and screen. She went "mew?" *lol* I let her out and just laughed. Doofus cat. Needless to say, that window is closed for the day so I don't come home to a trapped cat.

Work is stressful. What's new. I'd better get back to it.

Sunday, April 04, 2004

Scooter Pics

I took a few pictures of Jack on his scooter tonight when we got home. He got it during the week, so the last of the birthday presents have rolled through. There are a few pictures in the gallery. :-)

We spent the weekend at mom's house helping her settle in and sort things out some more. Jack spent most of his time either in the tree or on his scooter, lol. But, we got quite a bit done, so that's good. We also watching "It Runs in the Family" on Saturday night. That was a good movie. Who knew a movie full of the Douglas family would be so entertaining.

Time for dinner and bedtime soon, thank goodness. I am tired!

Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Done!

Okay, Jack has his own place to talk to everybody now. And he has an email too. Same as his old one, I just hadn't recreated it yet. :-)

Just in case ...

You were wondering. Yes, that last update really was from Jack. :-)

I let him "sign-on" the other morning to post an update. He was playing with his tinkertoys in the morning and decided he needed to ask for more for the next gift-giving event, so I showed him where to type on the blog and where to click when he was done. Ta-da!

So, I need to set him up with his own name so when he posts, it says posted by him.

In other news, I hung some vases w/ roses on the last wall in the livingroom the other day. They look pretty cool. Trying something different since the opposite wall has the big mirror on it. The long wall has my framed comet print, a small mirror, and a big empty space. I think the mirror that was broken (and I recently had cut and sanded) will be going there. Eventually though, that would be the wall that I would put shelves in though.

Here are some pictures of the vases/flowers (1, 2, 3, 4). The neat thing is I can change what I put in the vases depending on the season or my mood. The beads in the bottom are pearlized and copper to go with the copper hangers and the copper I used for my curtain rod. I never thought of copper as an interior design metal (always more of a brushed silver or pewter type person), but I like it in here.

Time to read/update other sites/or go to bed. Happy (early) April Fool's Day!

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

From Jack

dear santa i wold like some more tinkertoys.

Saturday, March 27, 2004

Birthday Wish List

Okay, I am getting started early this year so I can actually tell people something useful when they ask me what I want for my birthday, lol. Also, I added some more pictures to "Trinkets."
:-)

Dana's List
Clinique Gift Certificate
Netflix Gift Subscription
Memory for my computer
DVD-RW/CD-RW drive for my computer
Hard drive for my computer

Of course, with all the computer related things, one might say "Why not just get a new computer?" but I don't want to have 3 computers at home. Right now, I have mine and the one from work. That's enough already! Jack uses mine, and I want to be able to use it more, so I need to update it.

I will keep working on the list to add some more normal things too. ;-)

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Gallery

I have moved almost all of my old photos into the new gallery. I am going to work through my old posts to change the links, but if you find a broken one, just click "Trinkets" instead. :-)

Thursday, March 11, 2004

I am an Aunt again!

Congratulations to Aimée & Craig. They welcomed Cameron Alexander into the world today! :-D

(9lb, 3oz -- 22in -- 12:11pm)

Friday, March 05, 2004

Phew!

Sites are finally both moved. I think everything is done. Now comes the nitpicking and extras things to add that weren't there before.

And, of course, work is super busy. Oh, and there's the birthday party to plan. Gah! Everyone's been asking (not me) -

Birthday List:
Remote Control Motorcycle (No really, he asked for one, lol.)
JumpStart 3rd Grade (I think he would love to get this one. :))
Freddi Fish computer game (he's been playing it at the library)
Lion King 1 and 1/2 DVD
Monster's Inc DVD

*think think*

"Sorry!" board game
Cranium Cadoo
sneakers (size 1)
glitter glue pens

And please remember, I don't like violent toys or toys that promote violent role-playing. Thanks.

Time to get some more work done...

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Things Are Moving Along

My personal site is mostly back up. I would like to add a forum or guestbook still, but that's not critical. I am going to be changing all of the pages that are pictures to be in the new gallery (click Trinkets). Then, if I am still alive, I would actually like to do a redesign.

Mike-Uhler.com is another story. I transferred the domain because of a good deal at godady.com, and it is taking forever to get transferred! I wonder if stargateinc.com just holds on to them til the last second as punishment to clients who leave? ;-)

Cruel punishment. So, Mike's site still isn't back up. Soon, soon.

Time for bed, as I have three days of project management training in front of me. With roughly 20 other people from my job who, for the most part, I haven't worked directly with or even met. It's bound to be interesting.

Warning

I am in the process of moving this site and MU.com over to a new host, so things will look seriously weird for a few days.

Sorry!

Friday, February 20, 2004

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

And We're Done

So, theWB is a horrible, evil entity because they've decided to cancel Angel after this season. They are announcing it now before any other ways of pursuing the storylines are finalized just because, apparently, according to their press statement. I think it reads like a bunch of posturing - for what, I can't tell. To keep in David Boreanaz's good graces? To keep Joss on board for future projects? Well, the first one, I suppose is reasonable, but the second one they can forget about since they dropped Buffy and now Angel. I guess the next few weeks will really tell what's going on. It was a total surprise to all the people at ME too. What a fun Friday the 13th that was for them.

But, on to me and my living room. It is 100% done being painted. Now, I just need to get furniture in their places, maybe make room for a few more pieces, add some shelves, then get rid of some clutter. I will probably be tackling the hallway next - then the kitchen/bathroom/small room/my room depending on how much energy I have left after helping mom move next weekend. :-)

Sunday, February 15, 2004

Painting, Just call me the ... Painter

Jack's room is done. Before, during, after, after, and after. :-)

The livingroom is well on it's way to being done, so here's a picture of the front window wall. I used a copper pipe to make the curtain rod and took down the blinds because I just don't like those.

Everything used to be white, white, and more white. Now, the trim is this redwood kind of color, and the main areas are this grey/green kind of color. Hard to see in this picture, but I will have more later. Back to painting I go!

Saturday, February 07, 2004

Busy Days

As Jack told my mom on the phone this morning - we're just having one of our busy days. ;-)

And really, we kind of are. I was vacuuming, doing dishes, laundry, etc. The house really needed a cleaning - once over type of deal. It always makes me feel a little bit better to pick things up. Clutter does bother me, even if I am an "organized pile" type of person. Once the piles aren't organized, I get bothered and it is classified as clutter. :-p

Yesterday was an interesting day. We've had a week where the temperature was as long as -25F with the wind chill, but for the past 5 days or so, it's stay up closer to +20-30F. So, when my toilet and bathtub started acting funny - air escaping, not draining properly - I really didn't think it was frozen pipes or anything.

But(!), yesterday, morning routine involves a shower, and I decide to start laundry too. Well, silly me, the rinse cycle apparently started while I was rinsing shampoo out of my hair (irony, you are not funny), and since the pipes decided they were on strike that morning, the water had nowhere to drain to. It decided to flow back up my bathtub's pipes.

So, suddenly I am standing in very cold water, blueish-blackish water, because it has nowhere else to go. It also tries to come up through the toilet I think, but thankfully not so much. I had to hurry out of the shower and turn off the washer so it didn't dump two washer load full water into the tub. As it was, my tub filled to within a few inches of the top. Gross!

I called the city, they came and checked the pipes, supposedly the drain flow was pretty low, so they did some kind of "courtesy" cleaning, and hopefully this will be the last of it. Hopefully it isn't something blocking the pipe on my side of the sidewalk, or else it will be my cost, even though the city owns the pipes.

Of course, the water drained slowly over the day, and I have the ring of disgusting goo around my tub to prove it. For those with strong stomachs, you can click here to see it. Blech!

Now, it's time to clean that up so I can take a shower. We've done some valentines for Jack's class this morning. He's been practising jumprope for a fundraiser at school. He read a selection of poetry last week for the kick-off of Black History Month. They are celebration African-American Authors during the after-school program, so a number of kids chose readings to recite at an assembly of sorts. I guess Jack even went first. :-)

Next week, he has Thurs/Fri off, and I would like to take a trip somewhere, but I don't know if we can. I need to get my taxes done and look/make a budget. I have to plan for a trip to Florida over spring break, and I would like to go out to LA soon to visit Lael and Katrina. Of course, there's also the plans for improving the house that I would like to do too. I got a piece of snail mail the other day from some heating/cooling place in town that's running a special where you get a new furnace for $500 if you purchase some cooling unit, or the other way around, I forget. I just know these next 3 months are the crunch time for those businesses, so I'd like to take advantage of that if I can.

Okay, better finish because Jack's wanting to play a computer game. Of course, the library has better games, lol. Oh well. As soon as we have something other than dial-up for my desktop computer, he can play online games. Add that to the list of things to do too.

Sunday, February 01, 2004

New Year

It's been over a month since I updated because of a few things. My web host was being difficult again - claiming this small, personal web site was using over 5gigs of bandwidth per month (and this was only 18 days into January!), and just life keeping us busy.

But, I wanted to post quickly to say that we are still alive despite the freezing(!) weather, etc.

Hopefully I will have the time to write a real update in the near future.

Oh! But I should say, Congratulations to Shelly and Mike as Erin Paige was born on January 5th! :D