Thursday, December 17, 2009

Row for Water

I had a good 'driveway moment,'(staying out in the car until the interview/show is over), coming home from work this afternoon. Talk of the Nation on NPR interviewed Katie Spotz, the youngest (22), and only American who will soon attempt to row solo across the Atlantic. What's better, is that she's doing it to provide clean drinking water to at least 1,000 people for life. One awesome girl! Go check out her site and maybe give some consideration to supporting her cause. She'll be leaving on New Year's Day, and will blog and tweet as she rows 10-12 hours a day until she reaches the Americas in March. Awesome awesome awesome.

Moo

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Can't Sleep (or don't want to)

A typical night with me and The Rock. (can you guess which one I am?)



The Rock feigned incredulity that he was the "grumpy one." (because, in spite of the fact that I wake him up almost every night with kicks and shoves (and that doesn't even account for the general racket I make before I fall asleep), he always makes the best of the situation).

P.S. I stole the video link from Moo's email to me. She didn't post it fast enough, so I beat her to the punch.

Monday, December 14, 2009

From Sam the Missionary in Mexico

We bought ice cream one night and on the wall it says ''Banana Spleat''

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Good Idea / Bad Idea?

Sometimes I get in the So-Super-Cheap-It's-Comical Christmas mode.  (you didn't know that mode even existed, did you?)

The latest thought:  Giving someone library books.  Wrap them up all nice and pretty with a big bow and they can read them and then get rid of 'em.  Very practical for the minimalist on your list.  And also for us tightwad gift givers.

In my family it was (is?) entirely acceptable to give secondhand gifts to someone else.  In fact, because we gave second hand gifts we were contributing to a Greener Earth actually got quite a few Really Good presents on a tight budget.  Garage sales, thrift stores, our own closets (har) are a few sources.  I don't know that anyone's gone for the dumpster dive finds, but it would have been cool if they did.   My favorite example is the year Moo gave me an Uno Card from our very own Sesame Street Uno deck.  (Don't worry, she spiced it up by hiding it in the freezer.)

My friend in Tucson said her kids would often come up with goofy things on their wish lists because their family was so poor.  Things like World Peace and One Bag of Pizza Pockets were not unheard of requests.

What are your tightwad gifting ideas/requests? 
--Lu

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Weather Outside Is Frightful

Living in Arizona, those words have rarely held much meaning for me.  Frightful, eh?  Yah, if you call 60 degrees and sunny "frightful"--then I'm with ya.    But last night, I got a small taste of what those words really mean. The wind moaned and howled around my house, an unusual bumping was heard repeatedly from one side of the house, rain lashed against our windows, and my neighbor's tree gave up the ghost in an amazingly ferocious winter storm.  The storm began yesterday morning with rain, then fog in the late afternoon, and culminated with hurling of water and ice and wind all night long. 

It made me really appreciate my house--no chinks in it and a nice heater plugging away come rain, sleet, or snow.  I remember reading the Little House on the Prairie book The Long Winter.  I hated that book because it made me feel so cold and dark and forlorn.  In contrast, last night, a warm glow filled the house: I had the heater, a few blankets, and my trusty rice bag to keep me warm.  I really do feel blessed.  --Lu

Monday, November 30, 2009

Loser




I lost NaNoWriMo (as I said in my P.S. a post or so ago).  BUT!  I would happily sign up for it again. (especially if it didn't take place in the month of November.  I'm thinking January or February would be better months for writing nonstop).  




So, do you want to know why you should sign up for NaNoWriMo no matter what? .... Wait for it....THE EMAILS!  Can any of you non-nanowrimoers say that you have an email from Gail Carson Levine in your inbox?  What about Robin McKinley? 

Yeah.  I have both of them in my inbox. 


My theory is, if you are a writer, you should sign up for NaNoWriMo just for the email pep talks from other (cool) authors.  Cuz that's just AWESOME to have people telling you that they struggle with the writing process too, even though they are Big Name Authors.


So here's to NaNoWriMo Losering.

--Lu

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Not too early for a Christmas Song and Dance

I love this song and the video and everything about it.  If you were with me last year, you already know that, though.  Just pretend we're having a YouTube sharing party at my house.  This is my contribution.



P.S. I'm not going to win NaNoWriMo.  I'm around the 30,000 word mark.  Better luck next year.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Favorite Things Add On

3. Psych.


(I know, I know. Megan and Matthias are shaking their heads and saying, "We told you so."  And all I can say back is...you were RIGHT!  It is stinkin' funny.)

(Psych side note: The Rock's sister says that since she's been watching Psych, she's noticed she's been more observant.  And just tonight (a mere three days after seeing my first episode EVER) I too noticed that I'm getting a tad more observant.  As in, we were picking up a key from our neighbors, and from my position outside their back door I observed that there were homemade chocolates on the kitchen table.  And in my mind, the little Psych glowy light zoned in around the chocolates as if it were an important clue.  Mostly, it was just important to my stomach.)


Watch yourself an episode and let me know if you like.

That links to the second show of the series because...

NOTE: the pilot episode is hilarious and worth watching, but does have the only makeout scene I've encountered in the series so far (though I'm not really an expert on the series, I have it on good authority it's the only one).  It's mild, but I'm warning you because I was annoyed by it and you might be too.  Also, it happens at the beginning of the show, and I didn't want you to get the wrong idea about the whole series from that one blip of stupidity.  And also, these shows are crime mysteries, and sometimes there is some violence, which I didn't find offensive, but I get overly worried that my scale of tolerance is not your scale, so--there ya go.

--Lu

P.S. In case you were wondering, my neighbors did give us some chocolates even though I was Very Good Mannered and didn't make any kind of suggestive comment at all.  Patience paid off...and the fact that they know I have an unquenchable sweet tooth.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Favorite Things

Alright, now that my long silence is over (apparently), and while we're talking about favorite things, I'll tell you two of mine:

1. Sonic Cherry Limeade Chillers.  (take a cherry limeade and add icecreaminess AND whipped cream on top.)  (sigh.)




2. Chocolate covered altoids (cinammon preferably), esp. good when eaten DURING church.  (gasp!  That's practically contraband!  And it's all the sweeter for being such.)




--Lu

What are some of your favorites from 2009?

Most Useful Thing I've Made This Year

The winner is: an improvised rice bag foot warmer.

You've probably heard of/seen/used one yourself.

I have perpetually cold feet (except on the day of my wedding.  And I'm plenty braggish about that fact.)

Cold feet isn't really a problem for most of the year in Arizona. But, when the weather turns cold(er), and me being a night owl, sometimes by the time I hop in bet my tootsies feel like icebergs.

On one of my late night stay-up-a-thons I was really dreading the Iced Feet of the Dead, so I took matters into my own hands. Not wanting to sew that late at night, I grabbed an old pillowcase, scooped in a few cups of rice, then tied the opening of the pillow case in a knot. I stuck the whole thing in the microwave for 1.5 mins and VIOLA! No more cold feet, no more laying awake in bet for an hour till they warm up enough for me to go to sleep.

I carry my rice bag around with me all the time when I'm at home (I'm using it right now, and my feet are blissfully warm, whereas moments ago they were on the verge of turning blue).

This makeshift rice bag foot warmer is working so well, I don't know that I'll ever sit down and make an official one. 

--Lu

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Every Moo Needs a Studio

YES! I have a STUDIO now!

I always did kind of sort of have it, only, it had all of my paintings and a (I love it when in mid-sentence I glance up and google is advertising "Feline Pine Cat Litter" with the explanation that "Your cat's litter is important--more than toys or treats." Nice try google. Not buying today.)

Anyway, I had a whole bunch of stuff in the corner, and the University Library has the Famous Artist Course books in the oversized section, and my new goal is to go through all of them before we move in August, or December. And the very first part before Lesson 1, which I could have told you myself, but it's More So coming from Norman Rockwell and Bernie Fuchs (two of the famous illustrators who wrote the books), that before you begin, you need a studio space.

So on Saturday The Geologist mopped the whole kitchen floor and we took all of the big paintings and things I'm not using to his house, and then borrowed my in-laws other card table, and ta-da! I have a studio!

I'm really excited about this because now I can make my painty messes and I don't have to clean them up before dinner/lunch/breakfast/snack because it was all over our kitchen table.

The Geologist has heard lots about this between Saturday, and yesterday like you get to hear now because I'm really excited, as I just said two sentences ago.

The End.
--Moo

From the Old Stomping Grounds

This is The Rock's contribution to the blogosphere.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Slumpish

Dear November Challenges,
People who do NaNoWriMo have it 1,000 times harder than those who do NaBloPoMo (or however that's spelled). 

Sincerely,
Lu

P.S. I'm just below my word quota, coming in now at 15,000 something words.  My "novel" is progressing poorly, but as we NaNoWriMoer's like to say, Quantity, not quality.

Friday, November 6, 2009

You would think that after a ten hour car ride I'd have thought of something to tell you--AND you'd be RIGHT!

If you come to Moo's house this is what greets you:





(Smitty drawn by Moo.  I told you she's good.)

And also, your camera will attempt to infect her computer when you start to download pictures.  But that's ok, because you can use my computer, which apparently, didn't even know it was infected.)

--Lu (the wannabe NaBloPoMoer)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Overheard

"Lately my burps have been really powerful.  Don't you love it when they make your eyes rattle?!"

--Lu

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Loosing of the Bird

Someone nick-knocked on our door tonight (see video below, entitled Hamish and Andy 3 step hiding).  Coincidence???

Best of all, just after I opened the door to find no one on my doorstep, a frantic looking sparrow flew through my open doorway and INTO my house!  (which precluded further investigation to see if there was a three step hider in the yard.)

After some moments of yelping, much fluttering of wings and panicked bouncing off of light fixtures (yelping by me, fluttering and bouncing by sparrow), the poor little bird resigned itself to its fate and held relatively still while we put a bowl over it, slid a magazine under it and deposited it outside. 

The most pressing question now is: Was it intentional?  Because, isn't Set A Bird Loose In The House a thousand times better prank than just knock and run!

--Lu

Can You Guess What This Is About?

The papercut is entitled: Mother Said This Would Come To No Good  (click the link to find out...).


You can see the artist's blog here and the rest of the pieces in the gallery here.




Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Youtube Party at Our Blog

If you lived around here, I'd invite you over to watch these.  But since you don't...



Ghosting 2.0 (slightly more PG-13 content)


and this (as if you didn't already have Ghosting to keep you occupied):



Mucho thanks to jamila for alerting me to these (and Patrick for finding them in the first place). --Lu

Monday, November 2, 2009

Because What's November Without a Little Writing?

The rumors are true...I'm doing NaNoWriMo.
(and so should you).








--Lu

Friday, October 30, 2009

Halloween Construction Paper Drawings

The extent of my decorations this year...






The cat with the spiky tail and the robot are my favorites, though the ghost's eyes are the inspiration for my upcoming Dead Bride costume.

Have a great Halloween!  --Lu

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Poof you're a frog!

For the FP's Halloween carnival last night, I dressed up as a Fairy Godmother.  Five yards of tulle, one yard of silver mesh, 2 yards of satin ribbon, a poofy white skirt, a sparkly necklace from an estate sale, and a bunch of glitter eyeshadow...now that's my idea of a great costume!

The shoes, however, were my pride and joy.  And now, I share them with you.  Sadly, there are no "before" pictures, so just imagine with me that there is a pair of Very Pink high heels before you (straight off the shelves at Goodwill).  And with a wave of my tinfoil covered cardboard and dowel wand....




















These shoes are the results of silver screen print paint, copious quantities of silver glitter, plastic "jewels" and modge podge.  (And that's the wand making an appearance there at the top of the photos).

In a stroke of I'm-trying-to-sleep-but-my-brain-won't-turn-off inspiration: it came to me that I should hand out "wishes"--gifts I might bestow on people if I really were their fairy godmother.


"Broccoli will taste like candy to you."

"Your bike tires will never go flat."

"You will find buried treasure."

"Your breath will never be stinky again."

"You'll never have to cut your toenails."

"You'll never be kidnapped by pirates."

And if you were here, I'd bestow just such a wish on you.  POOF!  --Lu

Monday, October 19, 2009

Yet another reason why watching the Food Network during workouts is such a good idea


This is the Barefoot Contessa's Easy Cheese Danish. (I would have included a picture of the ones I made, but my camera is hiding from me and only the burned ones are left. Which reminds me: if you have two cookie sheets in at a time, watch the bottom one Very Carefully.)

I thought I had orange zest in my freezer (to substitute for the lemon zest) but I didn't, so I used a teaspoonfulish of orange juice instead. So, so, so delicious. The consensus was that adding a bit of jam to the filling would have been a good idea, though I think they taste wonderful plain too.
--Lu

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

typophile


I happened to run across this video that makes use of squash, jello, cool aid, incense, ham, and purple fur...wow. (note: "Everything in the film is real – no CG effects!")

(image from byu.edu homepage)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

In which I wonder, "Did he just threaten to shoot us?"

And I quote The Rock:
"Our bike ride today was somewhat typical of our rides. We explored new territory, exhausted ourselves, returned the people who came with us in no more than two pieces, and ran into machine gun toting militias. Maybe it's the first time we ran into machine gun toting militias."

Let me explain. We rode out of the FP along a Very Rough dirt road for many miles. And then there was a gate. With the sign: Private Property, No Trespassing.

I'd heard there was a group of gun happy, compound loving types out along some road, and I joked that maybe this was the place. Turns out, I was right.

The Rock and his coworker had the guts to approach the compound to ask permission to cross their land. They called out as they approached the Bunker (for lack of a better name), upon which a man exited with a Large Gun in hand and cocked it. (also, the Bunker did have a large amount of weaponry inside it. Just FYI).

At this point The Rock was thinking, "Great. Now we're going to get yelled at."

No joke.

I would have been thinking, "Great. I'm going to die."

That's why he was sent as the liason, not me.

At this point another man exited and was quite friendly, saying, "We don't want you riding back the way you came, you'll just get lost. Sure, you can use our road."

Wasn't that nice of him?

We got a ways down the road (it was smooth, smooth, downhill) when The Rock's tire blew. He was all for walking the rest of the way ("I want to get off their land as soon as possible") but somehow he ended up changing the tire.

At this point we heard a vehicle approaching, which raised my heart beat a little because, well, the Gun People were coming.

A man in a Ranger pulled up next to us, asked what the matter was, listened to our tale about the flat tire, then with no prelude, lifted up a sleek handgun with a silencer attached to it (I knew what that was before he told us because, thank you, I haven't been watching Jason Bourne all these years for nothing.)

He held the gun up and out, pointed directly away from us so we all could see and said something to the effect of, "Ever seen one of these before?" in a voice that conveyed that probably this was more than just an idle question.

Imagine now the moment of awkward (and tense) silence that followed, because, hey, we've all been watching Jason Bourne for years now, and we know what happens when the silencers are on. And it's not deer hunting.

At that point I wondered, "Is he actually threatening us?"

Then he fired it. (away from us, thankfully.)

It was plenty quiet, I'll tell you that.

He must have sensed our discomfort because he made some comment about how those silenced guns are extra dangerous around kids who don't think they're harmful because they're so quiet. (which, also, sounds like an indirect threat.) Whatever, man. I just want out of here. Now.

Then he joked about blowing things up (such as a refrigerator) and the tension broke.

Then the real show and tell began: he pulled out a Big Gun. This time no fear inducing question accompanied the presentation of the gun. Our eyes goggled at the Fully Automatic M16 with sweet laser scopes, etc. And I will tell you, it is too heavy for my weakling arms to hold upright for very long.


(p.s. Go me for picking the cheesiest pose imaginable when holding a gun like that. I was happy to crop it for your viewing pleasure.)


So, what started out as a semi-frightening situation turned into one in which all the members of our party wondered, "Can we come out here and watch you blow up refrigerators, shoot your sweet sweet guns, and maybe even take a ride in your helicopters?" Because it turns out we all have a little bit of the Gun Compound Militia gene in us. --Lu

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Skulls, Tombstones and Graveyards


Halloween totally justifies my morbid love of graveyards, especially old ones. And while Boston wasn't quite the Fall Paradise I had hoped, it did provide a lovely graveyard.

I was quite taken with the skulls that adorned many of the tombstones. They are a stark contrast to the cutesy decorations and the sugar loaded candy in every grocery store that mark the oncoming celebration of Halloween.







--Lu

Adrenaline Rush

We hiked Indian Head Trail starting at the trailhead at Flume Gorge Park, New Hampshire. The entire trail is encompassed by trees that block the view of the valley below. That is, until you reach the summit. Once there, the trees suddenly clear and there is nothing but you, a monstrous granite rock beneath your feet and a View.

With no guard railing to stop me, and with a fresh breeze whisking away all the condensation that had accumulated on my skin (because surely that wasn't sweat? Even Arizona doesn't produce sweat like that!) I couldn't resist the urge:



New Hampshire in the fall beats Boston every single day. Look at those fall colors. Love you NH!
--Lu

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Monday, September 21, 2009

End of Summer Book Review

It's been a while since I posted a long book review. And since you're dying to know whether you should read some of these, here's my take on 'em:

Mable Riley: A Reliable Record of Humdrum, Peril, and Romance
by Marthe Jocelyn


The jacket design for this book is exquisite (because who doesn't love an old fashioned book cover?). This is the story of Mable Riley who accompanies her sister (the new school mistress) to a different town to board with complete strangers. Mable is a daring sort of girl who becomes curious about a neighbor woman who rides a bicycle, wears bloomers instead of dresses, and thinks quite highly of women's rights. (She also has a cottage named "Silver Lining" because her "little cottage is a spot of brightness in a dark world"). Set in Canada in 1901, this book nicely encapsulates how people learn to live with each other's differences, while still maintaining their own opinions. Not everyone is converted to the ways of women's rights, and the solution to the problems doesn't come about in a fairy tale wrap up. Which makes it refreshing to read. I do love Mable's take on boring primers--she twists the dull rhymes into new ones of her own.

Smiles to Go by Jerri Spinelli
This is the story of a boy who takes the world very seriously. He's worried about what will become of him after he dies, he has a twelve step plan for his life...he's serious about becoming something in life--he's a planner and a thinker and a worrier.

But his best friend isn't like that at all. He's carefree to the point of driving the protagonist to worry that his friend won't get anywhere in life. And at the edges of all things in the protagonist's life is his annoying little sister (who, for the record, is cool times ten (in an annoying little sister sort of way), e.g. she refuses to eat dinner with regular utensils, instead she uses play tools: a plastic screwdriver and pliers...)

I love how Spinelli creates these characters who are Very Real. They have quirks, they have interesting personalities with depth. This book looks at the question: How do people who think that life has to be lived according to a 12 step plan respond to people in their lives who don't have plans like that? How do you love your friends for what they are instead of picking at them for what they are not? And for those of us who too often saw our siblings as a annoying pests rather than friends to be loved, this book sends a powerful message.

This book is at times philosophical (think Star Girl), but really, for those of us who don't see the world that way, it's good to be reminded that some people out there do.


Lucky Stars by Lucy Frank
Kira's dad makes her sing for money in the subways of New York which is embarrassing in some ways but good in another: she has an amazing voice. It's a gift she loves, but not enough to overcome her annoyance at having people laugh at her for being a panhandler.

Jake stutters, and it consumes his life and the way he sees himself. He can't get past that barrier in his mind, that is, until he meets Kira and wants to be her friend.

And Eugene...well, he's overweight and funny and doesn't care what people think...and he's Jake's best friend and right hand man, stepping in to help out when the words won't come.

Somehow, all three of them end up thinking about joining choir at their school.

I love this book for it's characters and for it's realistic look at being a teenager. Teenagers have tough decisions, have sincere and very pressing concerns that aren't always drugs, sex and cliques at school. And on top of that, they have parents and teachers and all the restrictions and responsibilities that come with living in a world controlled by adults.


Evil Genius by Catherine Jinks
How do villains learn what they learn? How about in a school for villains!
This book goes so much beyond being another boarding school story. This is the story of a boy genius (Cadel Piggot) (and I think the author does a fabulous job of making him into a believable genius) who finds out his father is one of the most dreaded villains in the world. And his father is doing everything he can to ensure his son is well equipped to take over the family business when he grows up.

Cadel loves that his talents are not only appreciated, but encouraged. He likes too that his dad has a plan for his life. But parents' dreams and ambitions aren't enough to fill their child's need for a dream of his own.

This is a unique twist on a coming of age story. I love that the author recognized that everyone, genius' included, need love and to feel wanted. I also loved reading about systems, numbers, math...the references were very much over my head, but the story was still very readable (and enjoyable) in spite of it's "genius" material. Also, the "bad" things Cadel does are funny and fun because they are actually clever and not stereotypical dumb bad guy stuff. I would peg this as a book for older teens.


Montmorency: Thief, Liar, Gentleman? by Elenor Updale
A prominent thief is seriously injured while trying to escape from a job. A doctor wanting to prove his theories about surgery operates on the thief and saves his life through the use of groundbreaking medical techniques. The doctor uses the thief as a model in his lectures, continues trying new techniques on the thief.

All the while the thief thinks of the day he'll be released from prison, and he decides he wants the life of a gentleman. And because of the lectures he's "attended" as an exhibit, he's been introduced to the newly constructed sewer system in London. And he realizes that it is the key to his success as a thief. And so, upon his release, the thief, now calling himself Montmorency, embarks on his mission to become a gentleman.

This is a young adult novel without any young adult characters in it. It's a great adventure read, though I would also recommend this book for older teens. Both this book and its sequel deal with adult situations and dilemmas, though nothing is particularly sensual or objectionable for a mature reader. Also, this book works very well as a stand alone novel, though there are two other books about Montmorency.
--Lu

Late Bloomers

I planted some flowers earlier in the summer and so far they've only managed to grow some green leaves about four inches high. That is, until last week, and then this popped out:

Nice, eh?!

Some little shoots had popped up in our hydrangeas so The Rock replanted them and last week this little guy showed up:


It's like spring, except it's almost Fall, but I'll take flowers whatever season they think it is.

--Lu

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Ode To Mrs. Consoli, or Some Amazing Ribs

Oh boy. This is the one. (for me anyhow)
Country style ribs were on sale last Friday at the Highly Esteemed and Marvelous Buy Low, and I bought a pack. Then during class today, I googled 'quick bbq ribs' and we now have Mrs. J. Consoli to thank as we eat and weep over her "Quick and Tasty 3 Step BBQ Rib Recipe."
Mm. Mm-mm. Watch out though, them thar ribs are super addicting, and I think you could get your month's worth of cholesterol if you eat the whole recipe. See the nutritional facts to the right.
I only had three tiddly little pieces and that was enough for me (although I think I would have eaten myself to death if I wasn't the Unselfish-Thoughtful-Soul-Who-Thinks-of-Her-Husband and her right aorta)
Note: We don't have a real grill as yet, and so I used the George Foreman grill instead and it worked marvelously.

Corn Colors

We grew two special types of corn this year and they are quite beautiful, so I'm sharing pictures with you.

This is Sweeheart corn (good for popping, not eating)
It's really small. About the size of a racquetball. It's the perfect color combo for fall, though, don't you think?

This is our Blue Hopi corn:

And, no, it did not taste that good. Because we left it on the stalks too long, or something, and it was quite firm and not super edible straight off the cob. I'm thinking we need to grind it into cornmeal (blue corn chips anyone?). Maybe that's just the way the corn is supposed to be...we're novices over here, in case you forgot. So, if you know the answer to why our blue corn isn't soft enough to eat, let me know!

In case you haven't gotten the picture...

If you come to visit us, we will take you outside to play. The Rock's friend from school visited this weekend and, you guessed it, we did some of this:

It totally looks like the cactus is poking me! (it's not. But not to fear! I'd already been stabbed by a few poky plants.) (also, if you enlarge the picture by clicking on it, you can see my intense concentration...or consternation).

Just another plug for the FP being the BEST PLACE EVER. (or, maybe just the Pokiest Place Ever. Hard to say.) --Lu

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

When Em came to Town

My good friend Em visited this weekend and she brought the rain with her, just like last time. She's a brave girl so she opted for mountain biking even though rain was threatening. The threat was fulfilled in the form of DOWNPOUR and FLASH FLOODS!

I can't adequately tell you the thrill of riding through rushing water where just an hour before there was none. The brown water splooshing up over your handlebars, all over your legs, your poncho only barely noticeable because you were already soaked when you put it on...

The adventure didn't end after we'd gotten back to the truck. The Rock later said, "I know about flash floods, so before I drove through the wash I looked up it..." What he said to Em and me was "Look at that!" There was a two foot wave of water rolling down the wash! We were 5 seconds too late to make it across safely so we waited 20 minutes for the water to get a little more manageable. Then we waited 20 minutes again when we had to cross the same wash half a mile down.

On Monday I secured proof of The Rock's love of animals/crawly things:




(we nicknamed this the Pool of Wonders because it's a cool little pool in the rocks, there's an 'island' in it, AND there was a beetle (shown), a snake in a crack on the back wall AND! a dead tarantula floating in the water).


I vote this one of the Top Weekends in the FP. Thanks Em!

Friday, September 4, 2009

The Grand Potato Experiment

When we converted our dirt plot backyard into a garden, I insisted that potatoes--Red Potatoes--be included. This led to me also insisting that tires be used to increase our potato yield. Being the romantic he is, The Rock returned from a mountain biking excursion with a present for me--a truckbed full of used tires. (and I must note that he carried each tire up a hill to his truck! Now that's love, people.)

For several weeks (or was it months?) we used those tires to increase our liklihood of being voted Best Redneck Front Yard--but when no award was forthcoming, The Rock stacked the tires neatly in the backyard until our potato plants grew tall enough to need additional tires.

Eventually each grouping of plants had 3 tires as shown here:


Because some of the plants started dying we decided it was time to harvest the potatoes. (Which was convenient because my roast recipe this week called for 2 lbs. of red potatoes).

Eagerly, I set out to dig up the left tire stack. Later that day The Rock dug up the right tire stack.

This was our total yield:
Note the AA battery for scale.

[also note me wincing because the ONLY potato in my entire stack of tires was the size of a pinto bean. It isn't pictured above...I threw it away in frustration.]

However, our Ugly White Grub yield was significantly higher. I don't have a picture to verify this--and you might be glad for that. They were quite...well, grubby.

After smooshing a few grubs, I found a better method of disposal--the black ant superhighway running just behind me.

Ironically, we'll proably be trying to ward off those very ants come spring, and they now have extra strength to fight back because I made it rain grubs one fine September day.

The Rock and I had a pow-wow and we agreed that next year we're going to grow potatoes the old fashioned way in light of this year's results.

We haven't decided yet what to do with the tires...we might recycle them back to the front yard. Or maybe we'll get a little more creative...

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Cowabunga Cowgirl

One of my friends in the FP has horses. Seven to be exact. And last week she offered to let me go riding with her while she trained one of her young horses. (I don't know horse lingo, so I'm writing this in layman's terms...and poorly constructed ones at that).

Note to my 10 year old self: riding horses is still as cool as you thought it was, except better because you actually fit on the horse and can even swing yourself up into the saddle unaided on the first try.

Thanks to my friend, I didn't just get to be cool and ride a horse, I got to look cool (a rarity) too. She brought boots for me and I found a pair that mostly fit. I've had trouble before with cowboy boots: while hypothetically the boot is the right size for my foot, I can't get my foot into the boot. I attribute it to having high arches (though it could be incompetence, me being a city slicker and all), which make it practically impossible for me to smoosh my foot down into the foot-space because I get jammed up in the ankle-space (layman's terms, remember.)

Somehow (read: with much tugging and grunting and pulling) I managed to get the boots on my feet. And then I got to walk around all cool and cowgirl like and ride all cool and cowgirl like. My cool and cowgirl like self deflated though when I went to remove the boots. My friend had to get out of the car, kneel down in my driveway and physically pull the boots off my besocked feet. She was laughing at the idea of my neighbors watching the event, so it took a little longer than expected to yank the boots off (that, or the fact that she had to squat on a practically vertical driveway and pull with all her might while trying to not fall hard on her backside when the boot finally flew off). I, meanwhile, was giggling and offering words of encouragement such as "Pull HARDER! YOU CAN DO IT! GO, FOOT, GO!"

So much for my cool and cowgirl like image.

--Lu

Monday, August 24, 2009

Playlist Update

Last week I started listening to music at work. It's the first time I've tried it on a regular basis. Until now, I've avoided music altogether because I didn't want to have to veto most of the songs requested/brought in by the tweens I work with.

It all started in one of my desperate forays into our little town library. I found four CDs that I couldn't resist.

Billboard Top Hits 1975 -- 1979 (I know that's 5 CDs, but, actually, 1977 is awol so it wasn't really an option)

I checked them out on a whim more than anything else.

And...I've loved listening to them! For instance, right now Abba's Take a Chance On Me is playing. And I just sang along to Dream Weaver by Gary Wright and I Go Crazy by Paul Davis.

Oh man. What about Reminiscing by Little River Band?!

More surprising than my own enjoyment is the fact that the tweens recognize and LIKE some of the songs too. When pressed, they'll say, "Oh, it's on a commercial," or "It's in that one movie."

Maybe I like the CDs so much because because I grew up listening to those songs. To be frank, on most days you'll catch me avoiding 70's music. I hardly ever dredge it up from the depths of my ipod playlists.

But this time...
It's just, once I started listening it brought back, well, not really memories per say...more a feeling. The songs feel comfortable, familiar, safe--like an old friend.

P.S. Um, the music videos, well, they don't convey that same feeling. The Abba one made me snicker and possibly roll my eyes at the awful 70's clothing and the hazy lighting (does that really make women more attractive? I've gotta ask The Rock about that). That doesn't change the fact that the song is AWESOME! --Lu

Note to Self

1 and 2/3 cup of oil cannot be substituted for 2/3 cup oil. Even the delicious goodness of brownies cannot overcome such an error.

Better luck in the future.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Another Email from Moo

AHEM:

Lilo: [pulls a strange looking rag doll from her backpack] This is Scrump.
[other girls gasp in horror]
Lilo: I made her. But her head is too big, so I pretended that a bug laid eggs in her ear, and she's upset because she has only a few more days to...

***

Lilo: [Sitting at a table with Stitch] David! I got a new dog!
David: Auwe... You sure it's a dog?
Lilo: Uh huh... He used to be a collie before he got ran over.


And this is a picture of the shnazy Stitch humidifier!!!


Love,
Moo

Monday, August 17, 2009

Annual Seattle Weiner Dog Races!

They briefly featured this on the news tonight. It looked so funny that I just had to let all y'all know about it (scuze the y'all---Pure Country happens to be on CMT). The video file seems to be kind of large, so it's best to just wait for it all to download before watching.

Moo

Monday, August 10, 2009

Cooking Fun with Julia

Hi Friends!

NPR has an interview with the screen writer/author for the new Julie and Julia movie, along with a few clips.
The clips don't give away the plot, they just dish out good characterization. And they're really funny----ESPECIALLY the meltdown one.
I think all of us can relate. I was guffawing up my sleeve over it. Real life and all that.

Enjoy!
Love,
Moo

P.S. This is Lu: watch the "Meltdown" scene (found on the left side of the NPR story page). The crying is so funny because haven't we all Been There?!!!

Can't Wait

I just finished reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. The book is wonderful!

I'll quote the jacket blurb because it's much too late to think of a coherent summary myself:
"January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she'd never met, a native of Guernsey, the British island once occupied by the Nazis."

The book is written as a collection of letters which makes for difficult reading at first, because the characters reference things you know nothing about, but...stick with it. All will be explained.

The post script to the first letter told me that I would almost certainly love this book, so I'll share it with you. The letter is written by the heroine, Juliet Ashton: "I'm reading the collected correspondence of Mrs. Montagu. Do you know what that dismal woman wrote to Jane Carlyle? 'My dear little Jane, everybody is born with a vocation, and yours is to write charming little notes.' I hope Jane spat on her."

A heroine with that kind of personality gets bonus points! And I can't write about my favorite parts of the book without revealing too much. We'll just have to discuss them after you've read it.
--Lu

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Because I won't leave this subject alone.

I'm not going to mention the name of the movie/book I'm talking about in this post because the Rock would banish me to another part of the house (Just kidding, he's asleep already. I wait till now to do my subterfuge. All the while he blissfully travels through dreamland, unaware.)

Even if you don't like Twilight (oops, I said I wouldn't mention it, oh well), you might get a kick out of this short post.

And in case you want to banish me for even mentioning the T word, I'll give you this fresh from my garden to restore good feelings.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Dealing With Dragons


I think I've avoided this book before. Because of the title. I'm not particularly fond of fantasy literature that is enamored of dragons. But, I have a wise friend who, before telling me the title of the book, told me the gist of the story, and that made me want to read the book.

I'll list a few of the chapter titles for you so you can get a feel for the story:
"In Which Cimorene Refuses to Be Proper and Has a Conversation with a Frog"
"In Which Cimorene Receives a Formal Call from Her Companions in Dire Captivity"
"In Which Therandil Is a Dreadful Nuisance and Cimorene Casts a Spell"

Dealing with Dragons is the first of five books in the Enchanted Forest Chronicles. Hooray that the series is complete, and that copies are readily available because it was published a while ago.

Dealing with Dragons opens by introducing us to Princess Cimorene. "Cimorene was the youngest daughter of the King of Linderwall, and her parents found her rather trying...As for the girl's disposition--well, when people were being polite, they said she was strong-minded. when they were angry or annoyed with her, they said she was as stubborn as a pig."

Cimorene doesn't want to be a simpering, bumble head the way a princess is supposed to be. So, to avoid her fate, she runs off and volunteers to be a dragon's Princess. The dragons are impressed by her ability to make Cherries Jubilee and one agrees to accept her as her princess.

You can (and should) find out the rest of the story by reading the book yourself.

--Lu

Princess Bride, the short version


I've been holding onto this little treasure for a while...or, rather, I found it, then lost it, then found it again. So. Here you go.
You're welcome.

P.S. Remember how when I went to the BYU and told friends back home that quoting the Princess Bride was a requirement for admission? And they believed me. Right. They must have known enough BYU freshmen to realize that it is one of the most over watched movies at the BYU. (I wonder if it still is?)

P.P.S. I haven't watched the movie (or read the book) for years now because one summer I watched it so many times in a row that I maxed out my taste for it. We got to the point that we'd watch the Fast Forward Version, which meant that chunks of the movie (if not the whole thing) was fast forwarded while my friend Sar summarized the dialog. Except the Inigo Montoya part where he says, "And he gave me this, and this." That had to be said verbatim.
--Lu

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Internet Box of Chocolates

Moo and The Geologist came to the FP to visit us today. Woohoo!

I gave her a "hard copy" of this card (which I purchased at Walmart, in case you need one of your very own to hold and love and cherish).

In return she gave me a hug and showed me a blog in which a very crafty woman makes beautiful things, such as a gown, and then gives them away (e.g. Musette Bracelet GUEST GIVEAWAY!!!!) Mostly we were oooing and ahhing over the thrill it would be to have a gown like this, especially when we were kids and had plenty of occasions for wearing such a dress.

In other news, my friend Jamila and her brother also made a detour to the FP and stayed the night with us. They showed me this comedian, and I in turn showed them this one.

Then my brother sent me this link to the Cars Toons (as short films about the characters from the Disney/Pixar movie Cars).

And, because I'm sharing all my internet loves right now, I'll throw this one in too. This wonderful man has taken the time to make videos of himself playing popular songs, then breaking down the fingerings so that you can learn how to play the songs yourself. I'm not much of a piano player, but I can pick up songs when someone shows me the fingering. And thus I did a little dance when I found out I could have my very own private tutoring session for Freee. Now if I could just find a piano....

Friday, July 24, 2009

Two Firsts, Both Involving Vehicles

1. I got pulled over.
On official Young Women business (Young Women: the organization at my church for teenage girls. I was playing Camp Leader for the Young Women in my congregation) But, it's not as bad as it could have been (such as the time that I turned into oncoming traffic, again, on Young Women business, because how was I to know that the street was divided what with Tucson refusing to provide streetlights!)

This is how it went down. My car's headlight was out, which, no big deal, right? People get to call out "padiddle"and I cause much joy for those people. And since I was on my way to Town for said Young Women business, I planned to get the light fixed the next day anyway.

But, nooo. The Town I went to is in the middle of a budget crisis, or else their police officers are extra-enthusiastic or bored (or all three). So, there I was, in an unfamiliar part of town, trying to find my way in the dark, my google map printout in one hand, my steering wheel in the other when I notice (and thank heaven I noticed!) flashing lights in my rear view mirror.

I guessed that my headlight was the reason I was being pulled over. (One can never be sure until the officer tells you why, but my dibs was the headlight). I was annoyed by this because (a) aside from the headlight, I was being a model driver (b) I was on the verge of being lost as it was and was already plenty tense (c) I've managed to get this far in life without being pulled over and, he was wrecking my track record over a HEADLIGHT?!.

So, in good news, the officer was pleasant, though somewhat nosy.

Now. This is the part my law school self is slightly conflicted about. As he's asking me what my destination is, and I'm hurriedly trying to remember the name of the people I'm going to see (I'd only chatted on the phone with them once)... I'm also furiously trying to remember the state of the law on this point.

Was I free to tell him to get lost, none of your business, just give me my ticket/warning or whatever and leave me alone, OR was I obligated to answer? (Now that I'm in a non-stressed state of mind I'm pretty sure I could have told him None of Your Beeswax Mr. Officer, Sir. But, the world of Reasonable Suspicion and attendant questions is a Very Mushy part of the legal spectrum and, understandably, I didn't want to run afoul of it.)

Anyway, I was too worried to tell him to get lost...which leads to my next point: I didn't KNOW my destination, having never been there before, having no idea what the address was. I said, "Actually, I'm going here." And handed him my goolgle maps print out.

At that moment I realized how sketchy any answers I gave him after that were going to sound. I didn't really know the names of the people I was going to see, I didn't know where they lived, I'd never met them before...this sounds just like the kind of answers that criminals make up, ahem, I mean, "give" all the time when questioned by police officers.

Believe me, statements such as, "I'm going to see a friend whose name is Friend, and sometimes Jack, but mostly Friend, and who I can't give more information about as I just met him today, but I promise, he's my best friend. Oh, and this is his car and so is anything else in it," are highly suspect.

Also note how I have a teenage girl in my car who looks nothing like me (she's darker skinned and has a Brazilian accent). Also note that her name has also conveniently slipped from my mind as soon as the questions started.

This is my story: we're going to spend the night with people from church. Right, the same church even though we live in a completely different and distant town. We've never met said people before, but it's ok, because I'm staying there too. And the reason we're staying the night is so that she (note I didn't use her name) can go hiking tomorrow. Hence the gigantic backpack in the back seat. And no, I'm not going hiking too, I just came to drop her off.

If you know anything about Mormons and/or girls' camp, the story doesn't sound all that implausible. But, viewed with an impartial, non-mormon eye, if someone told me that story I'd be skeptical.

And, of course, my out loud version sounded much less concise and there were a lot more "ums" and "errrs" and pauses and blinks, while I tried to assemble coherent sentences while my unhelpful brain was firing off things like: now he's looking around the interior of the car for open beer bottles and drug paraphernalia, now he's smelling for any odor of intoxicants, now he's looking to see if my eyes are watery and bloodshot.

Then a second officer (because I'm the kind of stopee that requires backup) pulled up and came around to the passenger side (while the first was still talking to me) and began shining his flashlight in the windows.

At this point, my sense of worry maxxed out and I almost said, "Look, I want to leave now. And if you pull the old, 'Can I just search your car really quick before you go' routine, my answer will be, ABSOLUTELY NO YOU MAY NOT. And I hope you spend the rest of the night wondering what it was you would have found had you searched my trunk. Byeee.")

But, I was hyperventilating, and he only issued me a work order and let me go on my not so merry way.

And thus, I have officially been pulled over. The one good thing about the event is that the family we stayed with turned out to be AWESOME times TEN! I had a wonderful time with them so much so that all bad feelings of being pulled over were canceled out.

2. I was in a car accident. Not serious, thankfully.

In fact, all that is broken is The Rock's truck's taillight. And it totally wasn't my fault at all! (huge sigh of relief).

The girl who backed into the taillight said, "I'm so sorry! I thought you had left [/moved] already."

Blink, blink.

Are you joking?! You weren't looking as you backed up because you thought I wasn't there anymore?!!! WAH!

So, she gave me her info, and we did not call the police, because, it's a taillight.

Famous last words, right? At the autoparts store they quoted it at $170! Thanks to the internets, I found one for $70ish. So, either I misheard the guys at the auto parts store or else their store is a total ripoff.

So, now I'm wondering, what if she wants her insurance to pay for it, but they won't because we didn't get a police report? What then? Never having been in an accident (which, technically, does this qualify as an accident since mostly it was someone being careless. I mean, she didn't say, "OH I accidentally forgot to look behind me." No. She chose not to look behind her. Hmm.) I don't know this sort of thing. And, also, the thought of dealing with an insurance company fills me with dread. Hours of phone calls and paperwork...no thank you.

Well, it's a little too late to do the police report thing now, I hope it all works out for the best.

Oh, and that also means that officially, I've been in a car "accident" live and in person. My very first.

Check those two firsts off my list. I think I've had enough of those kind for a while. The next one I have lined up (note that I'm instigating it of my own accord, which already makes it more desireable) is to cook BBQ chicken...bone in. (gasp!) That's more my kind of First.
--Lu

Thursday, July 23, 2009

This is What I Get for Excercising

Because I've been sitting in front of the computer tonight for hours the Rock suggested (kindly, mind you) that I maybe do something that did not involve sitting in front of the computer (he can say things like that because (a) he's so stinkin' good looking (b) he is amazingly athletic and was on his way to racquetball even as he made the suggestion, so he is in no way a hypocrite (c) he almost never makes suggestions as to what I should or should not be doing (d) he knows I'll hate myself later for all the time I spent glued to the computer).

And so, in a fit of goodness I first tackled some laundry and then, inspired by the adrenaline rush that is Folding Clothes, I up and hied myself over to the track to do a little jogging.

It was such a lovely night out, what with the stars and the breeze and the not 115 degree weather that I seriously considered twirling the whole length of the football field. But, alas, there were other people present, and I didn't relish the idea of spectators.

So, after panting around the track for a while I hopped in my car (which, can I tell you...I left the window down and my keys on the front seat and NO ONE STOLE MY CAR! I love the FP!) and on a whim decided to go for a short drive (with the windows down and the music up, of course).

What I hadn't counted on was getting a FLAT TIRE (boo, hiss). Unlike other times when I've gotten a flat, I actually wasn't an hour from help in the middle of the summer, nor was I on my way to a job interview, nor did the flat occur on one of those single lane ramps that cross over the mess of other freeway lanes below. So. I counted myself mostly lucky and got home just fine on my now Very Flat Tire.

So, I get to keep up my Workout Enthusiasm by riding my bike to work tomorrow. (and, truth be told, it's a sad, sad thing that I don't already ride my bike there everyday because, (don't hate me for this) my workplace is less than a mile from my house).

The moral of this tale is: ride your bike to work from the start so your car won't have to harm itself to make it's point about Going Green. --Lu

Sunday, July 19, 2009

I SAW IT!

Check these off my list of Fun Things to Do This Year:

See HP6 (why was I one of the only people in the theater who thought it was FUNNY? Oh well.)

See Wicked. (sigh)

Next up: Go to Boston in the Fall.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Surprise!


HP6 is in THEATERS! WHAT?!


Yes, I was the girl who blocked off the day in my planner for the opening date of HP6 when it was in November (remember that debacle? And how Twilight tried to supplement the loss by moving into the old HP date?). I was the girl who sighed over how far away the movie was when it was still scheduled for that Novemeber date, and I was the girl who was Very Upset by the shift all the way to JULY! (are you joking?! That was an eternity away.)

I was the girl who asked that my birthday present be tickets to see HP6 even though I would have to wait 3 months to get them. And I was the girl who started asking for that birthday present 6 months before my birthday. And I was the girl who drove her husband crazy with HP talk (though it was a cheerful road as he got plenty of good teasing time in).


And, yes, I am the girl who just now realized that Harry's latest flick has been out in theaters for a few days now...and I didn't even know it. In February I could tell you the exact date the movie was coming out. I could tell you how thrilled I was to see it. How I was going to make a paper chain to count down the days (not really, but I was that kind of excited).

Somewhere in the mess that has been the month of July, I lost track completely of HP6 and just now as I was looking up something completely different on YouTube, I saw an add for The Movie.

It felt like the time I slept through my first class of the day, but didn't realize I was late. I got to the hallway of my class and saw a few too many of my classmates walking in the wrong direction and then, in a moment worthy of a movie, I glanced up at the clock and stopped dead in my tracks. Twilight Zone music played in my ears and I thought for a small moment that time had flashed forward an hour instantaneously.

And when I realized what had happened, I was filled with an overwhelming sense of indignation. I had been gypped out of a WHOLE HOUR of my life! (except that I had been asleep during that hour, so technically I had gotten a much needed benefit, unintentional though it was).

So now that my indignation at HP6's audacious sneaking is wearing down, I've got to figure out when I can make it to Town to see The Movie... I can hardly wait!

--Lu

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Bartimaeus

Want a funny and enjoyable summer read? Check out the Bartimaeus Trilogy by Jonathan Stroud.



I read the trilogy earlier this year, and now I'm reading it aloud to The Rock (I like reading aloud and he's sweet enough to indulge me). He likes the books enough to regularly request that I read to him. It's hard to leave the characters in their predicaments not know what's going to happen (hence, I pulled a few late nights to finish the books quickly because my sense of Patience is not as strong as his). Plus, the books keep us laughing.

The books recount the adventures of a young magician, Nathaniel, and the djinn who serves him, Bartimaeus. Bartimaeus (whose name should be said to the tune of Rock Me Amadaeus), is hilarious and slightly cynical and makes the books a delight to read. The books are also wonderful because despite the silliness, the underlying issues are serious. What are the consequences of revenge? How do you deal with the consequences of your choices when the results far more serious than you imagined? How do you change the world when it seems impossible? What do you do when the cause you're fighting for turns out to be ineffective, or worse, is corrupt?

I love too that the characters are flawed: they are all (usually) struggling to do what's right, even though they don't always succeed. They're learning as they go, and as a reader, you see their progression, cheer them on, get fed up with them...all without the author shoving a moral down your throat. In short, these are fun stories that delve beyond mere entertainment. I heartily recommend them.

--Lu

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Apartment Review

Once upon a time we lived in an apartment in complex that was well taken care of, whose managers we liked (and were even friends with) and in which we were neighbors with several close friends.

The apartment also had some down sides.

Such as the 1970's furnishings that came with the apartment (and had to stay in the apartment unless we wanted to spring for a storage unit). The couch (it's the plaid thing in the background, and while you're looking, also note the ugly lamp and the stack of bikes...yes. They lived there for a year in the front room, then they moved to the kitchen):



Not only is it ugly, it's uncomfortable in just about every possible way: namely, your back has to be straight (no slouching) while your bum sinks toward the ground because there isn't much seat support. Every time our friend Dave would come over (Dave is a Big Boy) we would ask him to not just sit on the couch but to also bounce on it, in an attempt to break the couch so we would have an excuse to buy a new one. (he was never successful. I guess the couch's sturdiness is another of its faults).

Then there was the heater. It sounded like the engine of a small airplane, which meant that we couldn't have it on when we had company over (unless we didn't want to converse with them at a polite volume) nor could we have it on while we slept because...we wouldn't have slept.

Then there was the lack of insulation between our apartment and the one above it. The first tenants had a baby who seemed to squall only when I was on the verge of sleep. I used to think that I had inherent maternal instincts that would emerge in such situations: the only "instinct" I discovered is that I can go from sleep to full wakefulness in the matter of moments upon hearing a baby's cry. Doesn't even have to be my own child. My actions (and words) after waking are far from motherly, though.

Those tenants eventually moved, and a single male moved in. Sweet relief. Until he started playing video games IN HIS ROOM at 3am. Why couldn't he have played them in his living room? Why did he position his speaker directly above our bed? At that point, I started speculating on conspiracy theories.

The apex of my frustration on this point came one day while The Rock and I were enjoying lunch together. We were eating in silence, probably tuckered out after a mountain biking excursion. No neighbors could be heard. Sweet, sweet silence. Then, with perfect clarity we heard our neighbor start to cough then proceed to throw up in his kitchen sink. I know it was his sink because his kitchen is directly above ours and I heard his footsteps as he ran above my head to make it to the sink in time.

And let's not forget the mysterious Fly Infestation of 2007, in which I killed at least 20 flies in an afternoon, then had as many, if not more, to kill the next morning. Where were they all coming from? I checked corners, potential holes in the wall, I even looked behind my fridge. There was no rotting food in the fridge or garbage can, our dishes were done, our counters clean.

As recorded in my journal:
"Dude. My stomach is all tense because I'm upset about the disgusting number of FLIES in our main room--thankfully not in our bedroom or bathroom. Tonight I killed 15 and there is still at least one more flying around. I don't know where they are coming from and I've been killing them since yesterday. It's gross. (But I'm getting better at killing them. And, yes, I am using a rolled up magazine as the killing stick. [side note: Made me wonder what the upstairs neighbor thought was going on in our apartment, because, remember, there really isn't any insulation between us. I'm sure he could hear me banging around and yelling such quaint epithets as, "I'm going to KILL you" and "DIE! DIE! DIE!"] I bought fly paper and hung it up. (so far only ONE fly has fallen for it). That's why (after waiting 30 seconds to see if more would join their comrade) I went on a rampage."

Five days later I wrote this: "The fly problem was solved. I'm not certain of the cause, but I am grateful for the absence of flies. The Rock and I both prayed for the flies to be gone, then I patched the holes in the window screen (with Masking Tape--ah, the wonders of tape) AND ran the cooler all day. And there are no more flies. Which is good because (and this is only one reason) the electricity no longer works in our bathroom/bedroom--so I wouldn't be able to hide in there anymore--at least not without turning into a mole man."

Har har.

Alright. I've got one more thing about the apartment, then I'm done.
Our front room usually looked like this (note the beige blanket covering the couch...my solution to the plaid problem):


One night (and this happened two or three times while we lived there) we saw this:





The first time it happened, the couple with the baby lived above us and I thought they had finally taken their fights to a whole new level. I was mad about it because it damaged a picture frame and mat...but I was too chicken to say anything about it.

Then, we got photographic evidence that we weren't crazy. The night we took the picutre we realized that it happened when there was rain. As in, the rain from the outside of the apartment soaked through the bricks to the inside of the apartment. Very harmless, but creepy looking nonetheless.

The End.

I know this really isn't that bad of a housing situation (as demonstrated in Bridget's post, see next sentence). I'd like to thank Bridget for her post on her current housing situation for setting me to reminiscing about my days in a crummy apartment. Her post is quite funny in a painful sort of way. --Lu