Friday, September 10, 2010

Thanks, Lynette!

Hey, I received an actual comment!

OK, maybe a more substantive post is called for. Like, where did I go?

I'm still knitting, but the advent of Ravelry really revolutionized knitting interaction on the web. The forums are truly a godsend if you want knitting input on, well, anything. It's also rather an enabler, because my yarn purchases went off the charts last year! So, I took the summer off from Rav as well.

Bean is now a third-grader! So, the summer was filled with softball and swim team and trips to NYC and Iowa to visit Dr Pig's family and attend the Iowa State Fair.

My volunteer work has ramped up to psycho levels. Honestly, I'm such a sucker. I teach adult ESL every Tuesday. I'm the Cookie Mom for Bean's Girl Scout troop. I volunteer at church. I am on the board of two local charities. I'm in charge of a committee on two different major fundraisers. It's NUTS! But I have fun.

Still knitting, although I took the summer off. Knitting and swim team in 100+ weather is not a happy combination.

The most fun thing I have learned to do in the last year is bake bread. It's now only in the 90s here (cough), so I will be getting out my bread stuff and baking again and post pictures. I received Jim Lahey's My Bread for Christmas. Lahey is the guy who pioneered the no-knead bread craze - he was the inspiration for Mark Bittman's article in the New York Times. All prior attempts at bread baking had produced something more akin to a softball bat; so this is a revelation to me. Actual bread! That you can eat!

I had read a couple of other no-knead books, but all Lahey's method needs is a big bowl, plastic wrap, and time. I have all of those. Dr Pig bought The World's Biggest Roll of Plastic Wrap, so I'm set for the duration.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Is this thing on?

I know everyone has unsubbed, but what the heck. I'm starting again.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Bean Of The Week

Dr Pig usually takes Bean to school. Everyone who walks in parks in the Luby’s parking lot next to school and then cuts through on this path that floods when it rains.

So, he sends me this email:

“Dinosaurs do not swim.

I was informed of this by the child. I was carrying her across the large puddle coming out of the Luby’s parking lot, and I told her that the puddle was a moat full of Dinosaurs.

She told me I was crazy and that dinosaurs do not swim.

I stand corrected.”

Thursday, December 04, 2008

It's beginning to look alot like...


Every year it starts around Thanksgiving and continues through the end of the year. I'm beginning to hate the holidays with a deep and abiding passion.

Last year, Bean spent Thanksgiving well on her way to a second case of pneumonia which the doctor wanted to "wait and see" about after a week of illness and two visits. We decided to switch to a pediatrician that actually practices medicine rather than practices racking up co-pays.

Then we had to buy a new electrical panel for the house. We'd been having a light flickering and I joking told the electrician, "Well, it's not like it's going to burn the house down." His response? "Well, ma'am, actually it might." He showed me the incredibly shoddy work which made me wonder what the hell the inspection process actually accomplishes because we'd been living with a time bomb for about 9 years.

This year?

At least everyone waited until the day after Thanksgiving to get sick. Dr Pig came down with The Cold of Doom and spent two days in bed doing little but sleeping. Then Bean got it and had to miss school on Monday.

Tuesday, I'm all set for a day of Getting Stuff Done. I go to the store and, when I return, I notice the dog limping on her back leg. Badly limping and in obvious pain.

Bottom line: the dog has torn her ACL. Right now, we are treating it with meds but I see very expensive doggie knee surgery in my future. She's going to be 8 in February, so she's young enough that it's better to go ahead and do it and improve her quality of life and also protect the other knee so hopefully she doesn't mess that up as well. But it's a repetitive stress injury rather than a single, traumatic event. Knowing my luck these last few years, we'll fix the one this year and have to fix the other next year.

Next year, I'm considering going to bed the day before Thanksgiving and not getting out until after New Year's.

Think of the knitting time!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Ten on Tuesday it is:

10 Ways You Can Save Money

1. Make a budget. Be realistic. The best way to do this is save all your receipts and bills for a month. Make that your starting point and then trim from there, rather than picking arbitrary numbers you have no hope of achieving.

2. Balance your checkbook once a week. That way, if you've had unexpected expenses, you are reminded to adjust your spending.

3. Get your furnace/air conditioner checked up twice a year (before the heat goes on and before the AC goes on) - really helps keep everything working well. Change your filters regularly. We change them when the time changes. Easy to remember.

4. Caulk windows, make sure doors seal properly, and add insulation. Insulation isn't cheap, but you'll get the money back in savings on your heating and air conditioning bills remarkably quickly.

5. Plan your week. Again, be realistic. If you regularly buy a week's worth of food and then toss half of it because your plans changed, then adjust your shopping and go twice a week. Sure, you have to make an extra trip, but that's cheaper than tossing food. Really look at what food costs. And how much is convenience food vs going out? If I'm tired, I'll buy that roasted chicken because $6.99 is far cheaper than dining out!!!

6. If you hate leftovers, learn how to cook precise portions.

7. Patronize your local library. My library has an internet catalog so I can sit in the comfort of my own home and request the latest bestsellers. It may take a month or so for me to get them, but books are horribly expensive these days and most of them I don't really want to own.

8. Join the Borders email thing. I forget what they call the program, but it's free and they send out coupons almost every week. Today it's 40% any DVD boxed set. Most of the time the coupons are 20-25% off, but every couple of months they offer 40% off any book in the store or online.

9. Don't buy things because you have a coupon or because it's on sale, unless it's a product you normally buy. Grocery coupons save money, but only if it's on stuff you actually need. Don't get a Sam's or Costco membership if you won't use it. Often, you'll find a bunch of things you would not normally buy and end up spending a bunch of money you wouldn't have normally spent because "it's a good deal".

10. Unsubscribe from store emails unless you regularly shop at that store. Less temptation! Put things is your online shopping cart but don't buy it immediately. Often, that have to have item becomes less attractive a day later.

And a bonus tip:

Put money into savings at the beginning of the month rather than waiting to see "what's left over" at the end. In addition to regular savings, have $25 or $50 automatically go into a savings account and DON"T TOUCH IT. At the end of the year, you'll have enough for a trip!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

A win win

Last night the Cheetahs held the top-seeded team in the league to a one-all tie, despite the other team appearing as if they were 3rd graders. There was one girl on the team almost as tall as I am! Not that that's saying much, but I was pretty proud of Bean going head to head with a girl who was easily over a foot taller! Bean did get whacked pretty hard in the hand with the ball resulting in her nail being pulled back. Lots of blood and some green faces on the part of the other moms (seriously, it was a squick injury), but no tears and she got right back out there.

Afterwards we went to a little Italian joint called Tony's Pizza and Pasta. Tony's is rapidly becoming my favorite "red sauce" Italian place. First, it's BYOB, None of this 6 bucks for nasty chianti that tastes like drain cleaner smells. Nope, you bring what you like.

They bring out baskets of garlic knots and a big bowl of gorgeous thick marinara for dipping. And they give all the kids a big hunk of pizza dough to play with.

We had eight adults and eight kids and the bill came to 20 bucks a family including a really generous tip. The waiter could not have been nicer and was totally unfazed by a booth of loud six-year-old girls. The rest of the place was loud enough that the girls didn't annoy the rest of the world. It was heaven.

A large meat-eaters special pizza is ten dollars! A house salad is $1.49! You want pasta dishes? They have everything you could ever want and most of them are under $8 and are huge portions. The pizza is thin crust and excellent. The tomato sauce isn't distinctive - which is fine. The toppings are very fresh. I enjoy gourmet pizza, but sometimes I just want a regular, American-style, stringy mozzarella pizza but done on a better level than the delivery guys.

It's not gourmet Italian fine dining. This is a neighborhood joint that specializes in good quality freshly made Italian food that doesn't break the bank. Frankly, the world needs more places like Tony's. And did I mention the BYOB? Because it's BYOB!

I looooooove BYOB!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008