Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Crosswalk Guard

I don't want you guys to get the wrong impression. I'm not a Suzie Volunteer kind of person. And maybe you're thinking, "But you've been a volunteer Meals on Wheels delivery person for nine years" and that would be true, but I do that for my own selfish reasons. What happened was, back in the day, I somehow became a crosswalk guard at my daughter's school. I seriously don't even remember how it came about. And that's not me in the picture above. As usual I stole that from Google Images.
The picture below was taken from Google Earth, and the school has not only changed its name but added a bunch of buildings.

But the grey central U-shaped part was the elementary school when my daughter was there. I was the crosswalk guard for a year or two. My main spot was where it says "My Spot" although I sometimes took care of spots two and three. You can actually see the crosswalk marks in the picture. What you can't see is that the road there had severe drainage problems. Heck that whole city had severe drainage problems. And by city, I mean tiny little DFW suburb. It's probably one of the smallest DFW suburbs.
Whenever we had a crazy rainstorm, that whole little road there would be under several inches of water. I did not know that when I signed up for the thing.
Over time, I experienced some rain there and just felt sorry for the little kids, but one day it was really bad. I mean really bad. It was probably 6 or 7 inches deep that day. So every little kid that walked up to cross, I would actually pick up and carry across the street. The water was really deep! After about 10 or 11 kids, my back was starting to say, "Stop that!" The rain was pouring and the water was rushing, but I kept slogging on. After a few more trips I returned to the school side. I turned, ready to grab another kid and there was a boy standing there expectantly with his arms out ready to be picked up. He came almost to my nose and was very chubby. I just looked him over and said, "I'm sorry. I can't pick you up." I felt terrible and he looked crushed. We're standing there in the pouring rain and there was nothing I could do. So I said, "You're almost a man now. You can do this!" He smiled and ran through the wash.
That was the very worst day of being a crosswalk guard. I hope I didn't make that little kid feel fat. Or feel bad that I didn't pick him up. I hope he turned out okay.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Special Treasures

Because I keep that bracelet in a very special place, I do not often see it. I keep it in a special place because it would be unbearable to me to have it stolen. It was a very special gift that I received 36 years ago and having been burglarized before, I know to keep it somewhere safe.
I mentioned Miss Lane and this bracelet just briefly in a post I did last June about teachers. I think I accidentally called her Mrs. Lane in that post but I'm pretty sure she was a Miss. She's the teacher in the photo below:

I'm the third kid to the right of Miss Lane, sitting the closest to the teachers desk, which is right behind me.

I adored Miss Lane. I was always hanging around after school offering to help do anything. One time she let me help her in the storage room and she gave me outdated textbooks including the teacher's edition with the bright red text with the answers. I was thrilled and they were great for "playing school." My friends were so impressed that I had a teacher's book.
After second grade, I would continue to visit Miss Lane after school. When I was in fifth grade or so she asked me to help her grade some projects and I felt so grown up. I always loved to spend time with her and she always seemed glad to see me.
Nowadays, or maybe it's just a Texas thing, elementary schools have graduations, which is pretty silly, but we didn't have anything like that back then. On the last day of school when you were in the sixth grade, you were just done. Done with sixth grade and done with elementary school. On my last day of sixth grade, Miss Lane found me somewhere and told me to come to see her at the end of the day. Everyone ran out of the school like crazy monkeys the way we always did every year on the last day of school, but I took the other direction, to walk back to the old first and second grade building.
Miss Lane was there waiting for me and gave me a little gift box. I opened it to find that little bracelet. I thought it was the most beautiful thing in the world. She hugged me and said some things, which I so wish I could remember exactly, but I imagine she told me that I was a smart girl and to study hard and have a great life. Because that's the sort of thing a teacher would say.
It's not real gold and I imagine, or at least I hope, that it was not very expensive, but it has held up very well because I never wore it. It was always too special.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Pop Culture Musings

That picture was taken down the road this morning at the new Cowboys Stadium. Today are the "American Idol" auditions and people have been lining up since 4:30 a.m. I hope none of them die of heatstroke. When that episode airs next year, you will get to see just how hot it really is here.

Michael Jackson and the Viral Spread of Info: More fascinating than the odd death of Michael Jackson was watching how the news spread around in a public place. I had just left the doctor's office after an appointment to have some skin things looked at and although I had been dreading a possible shot to the face and some cutting, all I got was some "freeze and squeeze." I won't tell you about the squeeze part, but he froze a "mole" on my clavicle and one on my back. Fortunately, the thing by my nose was pronounced "an age spot." I guess that's good anyway. But it was all stressful and I stopped in at Logan's Roadhouse for a few beers.
So I'm sitting there and my phone rings. My husband says, "Did you hear that Michael Jackson is either dead or in a coma? He went into cardiac arrest." I told him I had not heard that. The TV in the bar was on ESPN. Just a few minutes later, the bartender girl asks one of the waiters, "Is it true about Michael Jackson?" I told her about my husband's call. Then a lady dressed in scrubs who was waiting for a "to go" order, said, "He's in a coma." I guess because she was dressed in scrubs, we took her pronouncement as official. Slowly more waiters and waitresses began to trickle down to the bar and she changes the channel to CNN. And there it was. The main pic was of a crowd gathering at the hospital, but the bottom section said, "L.A. Times reports Michael Jackson is Dead." Meanwhile, I get a text from my daughter at work asking, "Is Michael Jackson dead?" I texted back, "Dead or Coma" just as the bartender finds the channel and I see the bottom so I added, "L.A.Times says dead." So then I imagine my daughter is telling everyone around her, "Mom says the L.A. Times said he is dead." Then I suppose, they started texting people based on my text to my daughter.
I started thinking how the cell phone spread that news so quickly. I suppose in the past, someone would have walked into that restaurant and said, "I just heard on the radio that Michael Jackson may be dead." Then the TV would have been searched and I would have known, but that would have been the end of it on my end. I just thought it was really interesting to see how this piece of information jumped around so quickly.
No one in the bar was really a Michael Jackson fan and it was more of a "good riddance" feel. As we watched the crowds gather on TV, I said, "I don't get who these fans are." And a young girl, a waitress that was maybe 18 or 19 that I hadn't noticed standing to my right, said very defensively, "I LOVE Michael Jackson!!" And she was all sad and gloomy. I was just perplexed thinking she wasn't even alive when he was normal and making good music. In the years of her young life was his baby collecting and baby dangling and masking and face cutting. I didn't get it.
As I got up to leave, I turned back to the bar and in a sarcastic fake sad voice, I said, "I'll always remember where I was the day I heard the news." And everyone laughed.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

How To Make a Footstool out of Something Else

I have a chair that is too high to sit comfortably in and decided it needed a footstool. I mean, what good is a chair really when it's uncomfortable? We went to the Goodwill Thrift Store near our house and I scouted the possibilities. The first thing that caught my eye was a small wooden step stool. I actually thought it was a sound choice and then this ugly vanity bench caught my eye:
It was $5. The legs were wobbly, but on close inspection I could see that it was just because the screws were loose. An easy fix. I could also see that the seat was attached to the base with 8 screws, so I knew it would be easy to remove. Or so I thought.

The very first step in this project is to decide on a finished height for your footstool. I decided on the height of the footstool by measuring an old duraflame box that I used to test for height comfort. I then turned the whole thing over and measured from the floor up. I marked one leg with masking tape. I then removed the legs to take down to my neighbors house. I measured the leg from the top to the tape and it was close enough to 6 inches that I picked that number because it was a nice solid round number. I carried two in each hand and as I marched down the hill, I imagined that if any of the other neighbors saw me they would yell out to their family, "Look! The crazy shy lady has come out of her house and it looks like she is about to start juggling!" Xup asked on the last post how I got the legs even and to be honest it never occured to me as I would be using the stool on carpet. So I just now placed the stool on the hardwood part of the floor and it does have a teeny tiny rock to it, but I imagne that would be evened out by thick felt pads, much like how the carpet does it. So in the future when we get our nice bamboo floors to replace this carpet, I will use the felt pads, which I actually already have. So anyway, Carole's husband cut off the legs for me in just minutes because he has the stuff. I suppose, if I had had to, I could have done it with a hand saw. If you have to do it with a hand saw invest in a miter box. You can get a simple one at Lowe's for 5 to 16 dollars or buy the fancy one with the clamp for $45. That way you will get a nice straight cut. I have a miter box, but I also have cool neighbors with a table saw. Thanks Carole! Thanks Carole's husband!

Back to the base: the 8 screws popped right out with my handy electric drill:

Unfortunately after I removed the 8 screws, nothing happened. That's when I realised they had glued the base to the seat. I got a pry bar and a rubber mallet, but all I did was put a giant bruise on my leg. Plus I was afraid I would break the wood. I pondered on this for a while. I came up with the idea to use a giant semi-serrated butcher knife to saw out the glue. After a long talk with myself about knives and safety, I found a place to slip the knife between the seat and base and began a slow and careful sawing. I eventually got it off and was left with these parts:

As you can see, there were a million staples holding the cloth to the seat and there was a bunch of cloth still stuck to the base. This part was the hardest part of the project. To get all that junk off the base was very tedious and I used needle-nosed pliers to grip the little pieces stuck after ripping the main stuff off. For the staples on the seat, I used a hammer and a tiny screwdriver to chisel under each staple and then the needle-nosed pliers to pull them out. That was a bitch:

After those two fun things, my hands were so sore, I took a few days off of the project. See that little yellow part sticking out in the bottom right corner?:

That was the original cushion foam and it was in good shape so I was able to reuse that. You can also see in that photo above that they applied their fabric right over the seat board and foam. Well that's wrong. For a true professional look, you want to use batting under your cloth. Carole, my always helpful neighbor, told me she had an old roll of batting that I could have. I did have some batting left over from another project (which gets so many internet hits I'm not going to mention here so that people won't come here instead of the actual post) but the piece of batting I had was not quite as large as I would have liked so I decided to use Carole's. Thanks Carole!

Meanwhile, since I did not have the energy or inclination to fully sand and strip and stain the base, I bought some paint that was as close as possible to the color of the woodstains in my living room and painted the base:

I took that photo after the first coat, but I ended up doing three coats. It's a small project so that hardly took any time at all. Then I took a pencil and drew lines between the screw holes of the seat board, so that I could keep track of where they were after I covered them with the batting. And then I applied the batting.:

If you have not done anything like this before, always put your first staple in the center of the long side. Then pull and do the same across, then on each end. Then pull and fold your corners. I used just eight staples on the batting and eight on the fabric. Why did the original manufacturer have to use 900 staples?!? I mean you're going to have screws going through it after that! Why all the staples? Sorry, but my hand is still sore from pulling all those stupid staples out.
Okay, then I applied the fabric, which I already had and as a matter of fact I made my two couch pillows from years ago. It's a nice thick tapestry which I found on clearance a long time ago and bought the whole roll. Always take advantage of stuff like that because you never know what you might think to do with it years later. I certainly wasn't thinking "footstool!" when I bought that fabric. And I still have plenty left.
After applying the fabric, I used an awl to search out the screw holes using my pencil lines as a guide. As I found each hole, I inserted a toothpick:
I then placed the base over the toothpicks. I then replaced the toothpicks with the original screws one at a time. Start with one screw to each side and screw them in manually to start. Then I used my drill to really push and tighten each screw down through the fabric and batting. Then I flipped it over and I had a footstool:

Yay! I really love it and have used it every night. Unfortunately, I also ended up with this on my library floor:

I should probably go in there and take care of that

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Breaking News

We interrupt the regularly scheduled post to bring you this:
What is this, you ask? Well this is that:
Which used to be this:

Deatils later. We now return you to your regularly scheduled post which you will find below.

Postcards From The Edge

I was going to do a post about zoos and was looking for an ancient picture of myself as a small child at the D.C. zoo when I ran across a batch of old postcards. Daryl over at on the M104 occasionally posts old postcards and I think they are way cool so I thought, hey! I'll post these. And by these, I mean two postcards that my brother sent.
To put these in context, my brother had just gotten out of the Air Force. He had been stationed in Denver. Apparently his old high school friend Jay met him out there after he was "released" and they traveled west. If I remember corrrectly, they actually walked and hitchhiked. I was in college at the time at UNC-Greensboro. I was 18 and my brother was 22. I notice he started out with my college city on the first postcard and then changed it and sent it to Dad's house, then somehow got my college address for the second one. I hope you find these as amusing as I did.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Being Dense Makes Me Older

We finally set up our Wii Fit today and you have to stand on the thing and go through all these steps to get it started and it asks you questions and weighs you and then you are supposed to do these balancing things. I could not understand what it was asking me to do for a while and finally My Sweetie was able to explain it to me and it was easy. But because I was really bad at the beginning, it said my Wii Fit age was 63. SIXTY-THREE!! Just because I can't understand simple directions.
I have directions dyslexia. Sometimes when I'm watching "Jeopardy!" I will totally misunderstand the clue. For instance if the clue was "This famous children's author has been criticized by the logging industry." I might yell out, "What is The Lorax?!" But clearly they were looking for the name of the author and not the name of the book. And now you can probably see why I don't use recipes. And that time I rewired that lamp? Man, that nearly killed my brain because with wiring? You HAVE to follow directions. And when I do have to follow directions, I have to read them out loud several times. Like eighteen. So with the lamp, I was sitting there all, "Thread the wires through the (whatever)" so many times, I think My Sweetie had to leave the room.
And I've been that way all my life. So if I had had a Wii Fit when I was twelve, would it have said my Wii Fit age was 23? Who knew that not being able to easily comprehend directions makes you older? It seems like it would be the other way around.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

More Unrelated Topics

I just wasted almost a whole hour of my life looking for this ruler:
And, no, that's not where I found it. That's where it should have been. They always publish reports about how much time we waste in traffic and doctors' offices and checkout lines, but no one ever talks about "looking for stuff." Because I always like to look at the bright side, I figured I must have burned a few calories walking all through my house 18 times.
It was by the back door. I remember taking it outside a while back for some reason, but I don't know what it was. And even more annoying is the fact that I actually have TWO of those rulers. I wonder where the other one is?
I stumbled upon a really sweet movie today called The Education of Little Tree. It's one of those movies where you feel like you're reading a book. Well, I did anyway. Maybe that makes no sense to some of you. And it stars James Cromwell, so that's a big enough selling point right there.
I got my Dorothy costume on Thursday and not only did the dress fit perfectly, but I think the "ruby slippers" look even better than the catalogue picture:

I bought them a little large so I could stuff them with Dr. Scholl's gel things since I will be walking all over Bourbon Street. I wonder how dirty they will get?
For years now whenever I'd look at stuff under the microscope I'd alway think, "I wish I could take a picture of this!" And then the other night, I thought, "Hey! Why not try it?" I was looking at this pretty rock:

It was really beautiful and it looked like it had teeny tiny geodes in it:

It was a little tricky getting that picture, but I was very happy to see that it can be done. And of course the picture is not half as pretty as what you actually see under the microscope.
I'm going to get the paint this weekend for the footstool project. I was going to use some that I had, but I decided to go in a different direction. I will probably be done at the end of the week.
The whole reason I was looking for that ruler was to cut out all the art pictures for my daughter's project. And now I don't feel like it. So now I'm going to do something fun. Either watch the "Buffy" musical again or play Mahjong. Have a great weekend and don't waste any of it looking for stuff.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Niche Humor, My Day, New Plans

I had a huge laugh today and laugh every time I think about it, but I realized it would only be funny to people who cook. So I told Mom and she didn't even laugh. Now I think it was just funny to me. Here's what it was: My daughter came into Italianni's, sat down and said, "I tried to make cream sauce last night and it was horrible and I had to throw it out." I asked, "What did you do?" She said, "Well I thought making cream sauce was like making gravy." I told her, "It is. It's exactly like making gravy. Walk me through what you did." She said, "Well, I started with the cream..." And I burst out laughing. Oh my, that still cracks me up. hee hee started with the cream. Okay, I'll stop.

I also get a big kick out of typos and missing letters and was behind a car today that looked like this:
I couldn't take an actual picture because I was just turning into the gas station and after taking that 1957 Chevy Bel-Air picture last week out of my back window while I was driving and turning left, I've become a little shy about taking pictures while driving. But that's a reasonable facsimile of what I saw.
Speaking of reasonable facsimiles, the girl I had to train today (I think I forgot to mention that) was almost a duplicate of my daughter's stepmother. Well, maybe from 15 years ago, but I haven's seen the SM since 2002. And she was seriously directionally impaired. When she dropped me back at the new pick up spot to get my truck, I said, "I'm really worried about you driving on your own and finding everything." She was all, "I'll be fine." I gave her my cell number in case she ever needs help and then as I was leaving (a few minutes behind her), I saw her ahead of me. She crossed the street she should have turned on, stopped and turned around. It didn't surprise me a bit.
The new pick up spot was nice and open and will have a "helper" there to help us collect the foodstuffs. But all they did was get in my way. After 9 years I can do that in just a few minutes. They were all over me, "What are you doing?" "Oh, that's smart!" "She's really organized!" Well, duh.
After a lot of thought and anxiety, I realized that no way in hell was I going to my high school reunion. But I also realized that I had been really looking forward to the road trip with my daughter to see Mom part of the trip. So we made a cool new plan. We will leave that Wednesday, drive to Memphis, Tennessee and stay two nights to explore Beale Street:
Beale Street is like an upscale Bourbon Street and is one of the birthplaces of Blues. Like New Orleans is to Jazz. I've never been there, but I've heard of it and read about it. They also claim to make the best ribs. So we will explore there and then leave Friday and drive the rest of the way to Mom's mountain place. We'll spend Friday, Saturday and Sunday night there and then take our time driving back and exploring Urf. I mean the country. We'll take it easy and stop at roadside inns Monday and Tuesday night. I think it will be a blast. And man did I feel better after deciding not to go to the reunion. And no, we are NOT going to Graceland.

Monday, June 15, 2009

My Weekend

Saturday night we were going to stop in at Papa G's for a few drinks, then eat, then go to the grocery store, but we ended up staying there until after 10:00. We went for Mexican food at the Tequila Factory, came home and My Sweetie went straight to bed. I was still wide awake and being the crazy wild party animal that I am I watched The Wizard of Oz.
Speaking of that, today I ordered my halloween costume for my Halloween New Orleans trip.
I was going to make my own shoes but went ahead and ordered those, too. I might add red glitter to them or something. I'll see. Oh and at the bar we ran into my daughter's high school best friend. She was celebrating her 25th birthday. Which was really awesome considering she almost died at age 18 from ITP. I guess we really got closer to her than my daughter's other friends because we spent so much time visiting her in the hospital back then.
I also finished my first batch of this year's beach rocks:

I had so many this year, I divided them into three groups by size: small, medium and large. Those were the large. I'm going to start the mediums next, but I'm giving myself a few days of quiet time. The tumbler is in the one room in the house where I can smoke when it's too hot outside and sometimes the noise gets on my nerves.
I also spent some time working on a school project for my daughter. If you are rolling your eyes and thinking "Oh, she's one of those moms" then you would be wrong. I'm only helping her because it is ridiculous busywork, does not pertain to her degree, she works full time and it's a summer class. Oh and it sounded fun. I'll tell you about it in a minute but let me first say that in her whole life, I only helped her with one other project. When she was a senior in high school she asked me if I had any old pantyhose. When I asked why she said she had a project for physics class to design a container that would keep an egg from breaking when dropped from a certain height. I was all, "Me! Me! Can I help?!?" because it sounded fun to me. This current assignment was to pick 50 of 75 art vocabulary words and find a piece of art to represent them. I picked 17 words that sounded interesting and had a nice time looking at all the art. I used a lot of Renoirs, some Picassos, Matisse's and Rembrandts. I discovered a Rembrandt that I am in love with. It's called "The Evangelist Matthew Inspired by an Angel." I used it for "Analogous Harmony." I could look at that all day. For the first time, I actually want to go to The Louvre.
My Next Project: I bought this hideous stool at the Goodwill store for $5:

I'm going to cut off the legs, paint the wood, recover the top and make a cute little footstool. That's my plan and if you are reading this on Monday afternoon, I am probably working on it. And as always, there will be pictures to come.

Friday, June 12, 2009

A Must Read!

You have to go visit Naomi's post today about meeting Picasso! It's part 10 of her France visit series, so you will probably end up wanting to read them all. Wow, just wow.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Change Be Coming

I was a little grumpy driving to the church today to pick up the food for my delivery because I knew it was my last time there. This church is my second pickup spot since I started, but next week I'll have a new and out of the way place to pick up my meals. And they've changed the time to about a half hour earlier.
That's a diagram of my route today. It's all to scale, but for privacy reasons I deleted the map behind it. And my house is 12 miles east of the old pickup spot. That's to your right if you are not a map person. The numbers represent my stops. I had 4 doubles, meaning 4 places where I was delivering food to two people, so I actually had 14 meals. Yeah, I was a little freaked when I walked in and saw the dreaded staple. When you have a staple it means you have two pages. You don't want two pages.
I walked into the church secretary lady's office and told her thank you and goodbye. I don't know her but we've spoken a few times and she's the person that has to take last minute cancellations and pass them onto us and she's lent me a pen once or twice. Just after I left the church, my grumpiness was slightly chipped away when I saw this car:

I love old cars. And then at my very first stop, I saw that one of those feral cats that lives under their trailer had had kittens. There's nothing like little feral kittens to chip big chunks from your grumpy:

Another positive was that the mother (that has cancer and that Carole made the hat for) and daughter that used to be on my list were back on my list - I had lost them after that last change. They were both so happy to see me and gave me hugs. And best of all, the cancer is in REMISSION! YAY!! Her hair is growing back and was about 1/8 inch long and so soft. I had to pat her head. Just a little later after my last stop as I was driving to my bar for my two beers, I really felt like a heel for having felt grumpy at all.
Yeah, next week I'll have to get up a little earlier and drive a little farther, but I promise not to feel grumpy, because all I have to do is think about today.
The roasted zucchini I said I was going to try? It was so delicious. Doesn't it look yummy?
And the chicken was good, too:
I told My Sweetie, "I think this zucchini will be the new basic side dish." He agreed.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

On Meals and Mountains

Since you guys seemed to be starving for meal ideas (yeah, ouch that was bad), I will share tonight's meal with you:
I've been making cold pasta salads about once a week since it got hot, but I wanted to do something besides ham or tuna. At first I thought of a BLT pasta salad and looked that up and it does exist, but once I started thinking about bacon, I remembered something: Before Ruby Tuesday's closed, I was addicted to a broccoli salad that was always on their salad bar. One day as I was oohing and aahing over it, the bartender said, "You can make that at home. It's only four ingredients. It's broccoli, bacon, cheddar and cole slaw dressing." I added twirly pasta to make it a whole meal. I discovered that Hidden Valley Ranch makes a very good cole slaw dressing:
If you're a natural foods person you can make your own cole slaw dressing. And if you are a vegetarian, you'll need something salty to replace the bacon. Maybe a smoked stronger cheese instead of cheddar? And the broccoli is raw fresh broccoli. It was delicious and I didn't add anything else, not even salt or pepper.
I've also got some drumsticks marinading in Allende Hickory Smoke marinade to which I blended in a little olive oil. Marinade, in my mind, is supposed to have some oil in it and this did not. I'm going to grill (or barbecue as some people call "cooking out") those on Tuesday night (tonight if you're reading this during the daytime) and serve that with roasted zucchini. I have never made roasted zucchini, but it seemed like a good idea. I'm going to toss the sliced or chunked zucchini (I haven't decided that part yet) in melted butter and sprinkle with salt, pepper and herbes de Provence. I'll let you know how that turns out. I also have some parmegian reggiano in the freezer which I should probably grate over that.
And now for something completely different: After changing my mind two thousand times, I think I am going to go to my high school reunion. It just happens to fall during the time that my daughter had taken off to visit Mom in the mountains. When they bought the house by the beach in April, they decided to give up the mountain place when the lease expires in November, so this would be my one chance to visit them there and probably my last trip ever to the N.C. mountains.
The tentative plan is to fly into Raleigh/Durham on that Thursday (Aug. 6th) spend two nights with Lo, go to the reunion on Saturday with Kate as my "date," drive to the mountains on Sunday (about 4 hours), and stay until Tuesday night or Wednesday morning, then drive back to the airport. But I haven't done anything yet. We'll see.

Monday, June 08, 2009

A Really Nice Weekend

I really enjoyed my weekend and even had that free-floating euphoria this evening that I get every so often and wish I could bottle. I guess it's only fair that I get that sometimes to counter-balance my free-floating anxiety.
Friday afternoon I walked down to Carole's and we looked at my beach pics and videos on her humongous television. I always enjoy my time with Carole. She is sweet and kind and fun and seems to relax me whereas most people make me tense. And we are a good pair because we always seem to know the stuff the other one doesn't. If I am Q she is A and vice versa.
The bad part of Friday was My Sweetie came home with food poisoning but he was determined to work through it and insisted I make the dinner I had planned. He held it down and didn't feel great on Saturday morning but insisted we carry on with our plans for a seafood dinner out that night. I knew he was fine today when he suggested we order pizza for lunch. But back to Saturday.
We went to a ridiculously expensive place downtown and both ordered meals from the bottom of the menu that said "market price." And we didn't even ask the current prices, so it was rather shocking to see the check, but we played it cool. And I just had to have crab legs. This is me in my bib:

My Sweetie is not the best photographer in the world and took pictures of me while I was talking so I looked really bizarre. That's why I "cut off my head." That crab claw on the plate between the butter and the wine was HUGE! I brought that and another piece home and recycled those tonight with sherry and butter and ladled it over a piece of cod.
Our table was beside a big window and there was always stuff going on. I remarked, "I didn't realize it was dinner and a show." Some guy walking a pretty lab stopped next to us and kept telling her to stay, then he stepped inside. Then some other fellow came by carrying a "doggy box" which made the lab go crazy. The owner had to run back out.

Then an employee brought out a cup of water and she drank like she had not had water in three days.

Our next show was a youngish mom with a kid on her back, piggyback style, and another lady and kid, and that lady, in a short dress, squatting down to get that kid on her back and they could not figure it out. So the lady already with the kid on her back was leaning over and lifting the second kid onto the other lady's back. They were finally successful and as the mom in back straightened up, the boy on her back noticed us and flashed the biggest, cutest, gap-toothed, freckly grin. I think he even gave us a thumb's up.
We stopped at Papa G's on our way home and played some trivia games. We hadn't been there in quite a while and it had been all remodeled. I saw the whole new section which had been My Sweetie's dry cleaner and looked horrified and asked, "But where are your clothes?"
I also did something else this weekend that I had not done in a long time. I read a book. I'm always reading our magazines, the newspaper and the internet, but I haven't read a book in a while. It was a Mary Stewart book, Rose Cottage. I first discovered her when I was in high school and read Touch Not The Cat. I've always found that after reading these British romance mysteries that my English improves. See. I wouldn't have used the term "I've always found" if I hadn't just read this book. It was a light easy read and I read it in the wing chair in the library. That's my new favorite reading place and doesn't make my left shoulder ache. For some reason, reading books was always causing pain in my left shoulder, so that's why I had stopped. It's good to know I can read books again without the pain.
Today was pleasant. I watered my flowers and read and hit the grocery store with My Sweetie. I'd been in a cooking slump but came up with some fun ideas today for meals, so the grocery store wasn't as bad as usual. It's far worse to go to the grocery store when you can't think of anything than when you have some fun plans. Wish me luck on my dinner experiments this week. And I wish all of you some good ole
free-floating euphoria like I've had today.

Friday, June 05, 2009

I Love Google Earth

I really love Google Earth. While my husband was in L.A. earlier this week, I could see where he was and the walk he took to go to the thing he was there for. Sometimes I look at Mom's house. Sometimes I look at my beach cottage or the French Quarter or NYC. While I was looking at L.A. I took a little cruise along the Pacific coast.
I also checked my house yesterday and they have finally updated the picture. It shows my "new" deck and my little red truck. Both are over 4 years old, so even though the picture is new, it's not new. And if you're wondering how I know that, it's because a building that has gone up in the past 6 or 8 months near here has not even begun in the picture.
While I was cruising the area, I checked out the old "cracked house."
I've mentioned this house many times, I think. When My Sweetie and I got together we rented this house because it was next to my daughter's school and had three bathrooms. That's all the positives. This thing had been slowly and oddly "remodeled" over the years by drunken monkeys and had a terrible foundation problem. But I couldn't help but laugh as I looked at it. And I was laughing at my daughter. She was constantly asking for a ride to school. I know!? And when we'd walk out after a volleyball game she'd look at the parking lot and wail, "You didn't drive?" I am not kidding.
I remember a few times when I was out mowing or edging and Kate's P.E. class was running around that track and all these girls were yelling, "Hey Kate's Mom!!" and Kate looked mortified. And once a CareFlite helicopter landed right there under the word school when a kid got knocked out playing football. That was loud. He was okay.
There used to be a baseball field in the corner right across from the house, but it looks like they moved the track over. If you notice, you can see the outline of the old track just to the left of the current track. And I just noticed it is no longer marked for football. Anyway, kids used to play softball in that corner in the evenings and on weekends and the ones that knew Kate would come over and knock on our door and ask to use the bathroom. That was kind of annoying, but I always said okay.
It was a really weird house and we were glad to get out of there after Kate finished middle school, but it still makes me laugh that she always wanted a ride.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Stupid Bathtub Tiles! And Grey Stuff!

Is there a rider on Murphy's Law that says something like "75% of the time you start a simple home project, the rest of the iceberg will pop up and bite you in the ass."?
I try not to look at my husband's bathtub, but when I do I always shudder and clean it. Recently it had reached that point of no return where no matter how much X-14 you sprayed on that caulk between the bathtub and the tiles, there was always some grey left. I hate grey caulk spots. Yuck city. It can smell clean and you intellectually know it's clean but when you can see the grey, it just doesn't seem clean.
My Sweetie left Monday morning to go to L.A. on business so I thought it would be a good time to strip out that gross caulk. When I was working in the front corner, two tiles were loose, so I thought I'd popped them out as it would be easier to clean them. Oh my!
The "dry"wall behind those tiles had obviously been wetwall for quite some time. I was met with a big oddly colorful mess of mushy weird yuck falling out of the wall. After I knocked out the loose fluffy stuff, I still had this left:
I worked for some time getting that stuff out and found out there was wood back there:
That was good. I had some random pieces of drywall left over from when the plumber rerouted our hot water pipes after the big leak a year or so ago and cut some out and put those in:

And if you wondered why I used the plural just then, it's because that wood back there was two drywall thicknesses away so I had to do layers. A lot of that weird colorful moldy old wallboard goo was stuck on the back of the two tiles I pulled out so I soaked them for several hours in soapy water. The smaller tile cleaned up nicely but the larger tile had a thin layer of what seemed like cement on the back. I had extra tiles, but when I pulled out a nice brand new, non cement covered tile, I realized that the one from the wall had been cut. The new tile was too big.
I spent several hours today with a hammer and small screwdriver. I used the screwdriver as a makeshift chisel and bit by bit, pounded that layer of cementy stuff off of the back. I realise I could have figured out a way to have a fresh tile cut to fit, but I figured out the chiseling was good honest labor. And I pretended I was an archeologist finding a rare ancient treasure. Those guys must have hand muscles that I didn't know existed, because my hands are killing me.
After I got that stuff off, I replaced the tiles and then several hours later grouted them:
It will need some touching up and cleaning, but the grey is gone and that is good. I hate that grey stuff.