November 2002

Nov 30 — We went out for milk and zip ties, also got Dan’s car washed and waxed, and went to the craft store for more pipe-cleaners for Henry, and some embroidery floss for me and new rulers for Dan.Yesterday Dan made the CF card reader work in linux for me, so now I can unload photos off thedigicam without bugging him! So now I’m really inspired to set up my crafts page (inspired byKC’s Craftbox. So after the digicam battery charges upI may go take a bunch of photos of my crafty stuff — maybe. Or maybe I’ll sit around and watchold movies. Or play my banjo! Who knows… (later) Ok I got my crafts page up! It’s very much unfinshed, but at least it’s a start. I also added a few pictures to the photos page. Ok time to do dishes and go to bed!

Nov 29 — Henry and I worked on our long paper christmas chain for a long time, and listened to the “Over Sea, Under Stone” audiobook that we got from the library. I’m glad he likes it, ’causethat’s one of my favorite books, and maybe I can read the whole series to him soon. Our chain is getting really long! We’re using my good artist-quality spectra fadeless colored paper. If you want to makea chain like ours, just cut a lot of circles out of folded paper — make sure about 1/2″ of the edge of thecircles are on the fold. Cut the center out like a donut. Then link them together like this. Then chain ends up to be very flexible and drapable, and you can coilit up into a nice flat pile when you want to pack it away, and you don’t need any tape or glue!I practiced my banjo a lot today, and played the piano, and cleaned the kitchen very well and the livingrooma bit too, and read to Henry, and played rummy and spyfox with him. At night Dan and I watched the rest of “It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World” and laughed and laughed :)

Nov 28 — Happy Thanksgiving :) Henry and I watched the Macy’s Parade together. Lotsof fun! He liked the Rockettes :) I made apple pie and stuffing and green beans and cranberry sauce (well Henry helped me make that a couple days ago) and turkey and gravyand mashed potatoes today and Dan said everything was really good. *whew* It’s the first time I ever made a traditional-type Thanksgiving feast so I was nervous. We had such a niceday, all together! Dan took Henry out for a while to drive Dan’s old RC car, and Henryloved it, and we played Rummy together, and Henry and I played a Spy Fox game, and we hung around.And I sorta cooked on and off all day and then when everything was done we ate and then we walked around the apartment complex. And now I’m terribly sleepy so I’m going to go reada little Dick Francis (large print! no headaches!) and then go to sleep :)

Nov 27 — Another fairly good episode of Enterprise tonight! I started teaching Henry howto play Rummy today. We play with our cards down on the table, so I can help him with hisstrategy and he can observe mine. He’s catching on fast. I realized it was time to teach himto play rummy while we were playing zelda one day — he was guiding me around on the world map,telling me where I could buy a special shield or whatever, and I thought, man, this kid’s got a good memory! Time for RUMMY! Oh, and speaking of zelda, I’m nearly to the end of the game.I just need to rescue zelda AGAIN, and then fight the Big Boss — “ganon” is his name I think.

Nov 26 — Antiques Roadshow — yay! Just imagine owning a mourning maternity dress wornby your great-grandmother in 1850. Man. Sensei Paul gave Henry his orange belt at class today.I’m so proud of my little boy! I fixed him pancakes for dinner, and we watched a little moreof The Music Man while he ate. Then we did the Teeth Routine (I floss and brush his teeth, andhe yells) and then the Bedtime Routine (we scrape the toys off his bed, I read to him ’til 8,then we put on one of his audio-books, and check to make sure he has his brown monkey, his graymonkey, his spiderman doll, my old german shephard toy, and Mary Doll. Then we give each othera million kisses and hugs and then I turn out the light for him :) And then I made cheese blintzesfor Dan and me, and now I’m watching the Roadshow and writing my blog! I’m tired of this layout.

Nov 24 — It’s Sunday — the house is quiet, I’m listening to NPR and cleaning the kitchen.Sounds like Prairie Home Companion is starting up — neat, I haven’t heard that show in a couple of years! Last night I watched the Ken Burns’ American Experience biography of Mark Twain –I guess it was part two of a three-part series. Bummer that I missed the first part, but part two was fascinating. And after that I finished watching a Nova episode about Venice.Venice is sinking, the ocean is rising, and poor Venice is flooded an awful lot of the time.Great show. Yay PBS! Yesterday we spent hours and hours out at the flying field, and I tookmy Spencerian Writing stuff and worked on it for ages. I’m getting a lot better! I reallywant Michael Sull’s book, though — I think it will be more useful than the books I have. Oh, and a few weeks ago I started teaching Dan to play the piano. He loves to play,and since he and Henry both wanted to be able to practice at home instead of driving to Sally’s,we decided to rent a piano. So we found a nice Yamaha, and it was delivered on Friday! Wemade room for it in the bedroom by packing away my trains (I never worked on my layout after we moved, for some reason… I think I do better with hobbies that are portable, such as knitting,writing, beadwork, needlework, etc.) and shoving all the servers into a corner. And now ourroom is less cluttered and we have a lovely piano in there! OK, I guess I’d better get back to the kitchen ;-)

Nov 22 — I slept really well for about a week, but the last two nights were bad. I woke up atexactly 7:41 both mornings, with that “impossible to fall back asleep” feeling that I haven’thad in quite a while. Oh well. And last night, while I was doing the dishes, I breathed wrong,choked, and coughed for ages — now my throat feels all messed up. Bleah. Ok, that ends thecomplaints section of the blog :) Yesterday I made room on my deskfor the scanner, so I can scan some examples of my Spencerian writing copybooks for KC. I had a horrible time finding drivers for the thing. Umax doesn’t seem to have them available for download anymore. But I eventually found them on someRussian site. And then I realized I didn’t have the power supply! Heheh. But I’ve got it now andI’m going to see if I can make the thing work before everyone else wakes up.

Nov 20 — It’s hot. We just watched “Enterprise” (the episode entitled “Singularity”) and I’d say it was the best episode so far. It was very tense and not entirely predictable, plus we got to see a Vulcan Neck Pinch and the invention of the “Red Alert” system :)Yesterday Henry had his Junior Theatre performance! Heplayed the Lord of Night and was adorable. He sure does love that class. We’ve been playing withthe digicam and I have a few photos that I’ll put up soon — a couple of our Tiny Bird ™ playing in her birdy bath, and a couple self portraits that Henry and I took of ourselves :)I photoshopped the thumbnails tonight but I’m too tired to ftp them and fix up the html and everything, so come back tomorrow :)

Nov 18 — I cleaned the back bathroom today — YAY! I hate to sound like a commercial here, butOxyclean is really good stuff. It cleans well, and doesn’t remove the skin from my hands or cause my eyes and lungs to burn. Henry has been dying to watch Star Wars Episode II with me, so werented it today and I watched it with him. Yes, I watched the whole thing. I am a good mother.Henry says it is the best movie ever, but actually it is possibly the worst movie I have ever seen…I’m trying to think of a worse movie… Oh yes there was that one in which Patrick Stewart played asenile paranoid spy or something. That was also very very bad. Oh, Waterworld was also comparablybad. But back to Star Wars. I would like to mention to moviemakers everywhere that special effectsare not enough. A movie requires a plot. A movie requires decent dialogue. A movie requires at leastone main character about whom we can care, even just a little bit. Actors who can ACT are also a plus. (Samuel Jackson and Christopher Lee were the only ones, and they weren’t in it much)Ok, ok, it’s just a movie. Henry loved it. I endured it. Yick!

Nov 16 — It has been hot lately, in the mid-80s much of the time, and dry dry dry. Crazy. Where is WINTER? We were out at the flying field for hours today. Dan flew 5 times and was ecstatically happy.I played lemonade tycoon for ages. Great game,but now that I have all the useful upgrades (ice freezer, juicer, cash register, fancy stand) I’m wishing there were more. And I also worked through the fist two of my Spencerian Copybooks! I learned all the “short letters” plus “d” and “t”. I need a finer pen for the third copybook, though. My medium Shaeffer was good enough before but the lines are ruled much closer together in the next book. Hmm… I may finally get around to making a pen out of the feather I have here. We saw Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets tonight. It was pretty good! Quite enjoyable. Kenneth Branagh as Gilderoy Lockhart was absolutely perfect and a pleasure to watch. They did a fine job on Dobby, too. I was afraid they’d make him too cute, but he was perfect. Henry was with Matthew — we wanted to see the movie first to see how scary it was. Definitely too scary. We’ll let him watch it at home if he wants to see it, so we can warn him of scary stuff ahead of time and fast-forward if he wishes. Oh yes, I would like to mention the previews. Yeah. Ok. Well, there was one which we found quite shockingly bad. It seemed to be about a black guy and a white guy, friends, both disgustingly stereotyped, who go to Australia for some reason and encounter there a talking kangaroo who fouls up their plans in some way. Wacky hijinks ensue. I really can’t describe to you how truly dreadful this movie looked. It seemed as if they had gone out of their way to make a movie that would be offensive to pretty much everyone who saw it, whether they be man, woman, or kangaroo. After the preview was over, we just stared at each other in horror. Who came up with this idea? WHO IS RESPONSIBLE?

Nov 15 — We joined a few extremely nice homeschooling families at our local ice-o-plex for a morning of ice skating! Henry said it wasthe most fun he ever had, so we’ll definitely be going back soon. I have three tunes memorized on my banjo! I tried “Soldier’s Joy” tonight without looking at the music and was amazed to find I remembered almost all of it perfectly. My Spencerian Writing books arrived today, but I’m too tired now to learn anything new, so maybe I’ll take them to the heli field tomorrow. Oh, my brother (a.k.a. King of the Freaky Websites) gave me this url, which should be entertaining for anyone who has ever fiddled with a Rubik’s Cube — astronauts and rubik’s cube (you’ll need flash, and it’s perfectly child-safe)

Nov 14 — I took my banjo along to homeschooler park day today, and practiced for about an hour and a half! My fingers are so sore now. Henry dug in the sand with his friends and had a great time. :)I thought I had lost my little pile of needlepointing stuff, including my current project, but I found all at Sally’s house! Yay! I thought of a MySQL and php project I want to make (a movies database)and Dan says he’ll help me with that soon. I need to get out my big red php book and remember what Iused to know… It’ll be a LOT easier than a comments system for my blog, so it’s less dauntingto get it started.

Nov 12 — Emotion Eric goes on adventures! I’m tired today,and it took me WAY TOO LONG to figure out that there is more than one picture in each adventure :)I just practiced my banjo for ages, until my fingers hurt too much to continue. I have “Hop HighLadies” and “Red-Haired Boy” completely memorized, and I’m working hard on “Soldier’s Joy” whichis a super-nice tune. It’s the hardest one I’ve worked on, and I have to play up high on the neckin one place, and in third position for a while. It took a lot of work to get my fingers to find just the right spot on the neck, but I can do it almost every time now. Tomorrow I’ll probablywork on memorizing it, and then I’ll have three tunes memorized! I recently became interested in learning to write with beautiful penmanship, so after doing a lot of online research, I decidedto order this set of instruction books from an extremely christian site. Hey, they had the best price :) It’s nearly impossible to find good examples of Spencerian writing online. spencerian.com has a small example. Pretty, huh?

Nov 11 — Nice day. I finally got the neckline of my plaid flannel dress lowered. Big job, took forever, turned out nice. I still haven’t decided if I should shorten the sleeves though.They’re so pretty long, and they were tricky to make, and they have elbow darts and little zippersat the wrists (I made this dress from a 1963 dress pattern), but it’s almost never cool enough towear long sleeves all day, and they bother me if I have to cook or do dishes or anything like that.So I don’t know. I’ll probably end up chopping them short.

Nov 10 — I slept until 11:00 — YAY! I think today I will finally alter these two dresses I made. I made them with a rather high neckline and I think I’d like them a lot more with a lower neckline. It’s a little tricky to change a neckline after a dress is finished… but I can do it. I’ll just have to be very careful. I think I will also turn the long-sleeved dress into a short-sleeved dress. Looks like it’s sunny out there today, which means Dan can fly his new heli again! I made some really good soup last night — a little sauteed onion and green pepper (in lots of butter), some chicken stock, a can of black beans, and a can of italian plum tomatoes, with a lump of cream cheese flung in at the end. Mmmmm!

Nov 09 — it rained all day again, plus heavy fog at night! Very unusual. I drove Henry downto Matthew’s house (the new place he rented is really nice!) and it was raining on and off the whole way and my left windshield wiper decided to freak out. It flips itself off the edge of the windshieldand gets stuck, and I have to open the window and push it back onto the glass, and keep my hand thereso it doesn’t flip off again. LOTS of fun.

Nov 08 — Little Henry felt much better today, but we stayed at home and had a quiet day justto make sure. We cuddled on the couch and I read to him a lot — some Harry Potter, and some ofa neat book we got from the library called “The Secret Garden Cookbook” which has recipiesinspired by “The Secret Garden” and also LOTS of information about Victorian foods and cookingand meals and stuff! It rained all day today — amazing! I literally can’t remember the last timeit rained for more that a couple of hours. It was so nice to get to stay home and be lazy andlisten to the rain. Hmm, which founding father are you most like? I am similar to Alexander Hamilton, it seems… Oh I played Zelda for a while today. I conquered the wizardbut he sent Zelda to the Dark World so I’m there now, looking for the 7 princesses or something :)

Nov 07 — Henry’s sick today, poor fellow. So we’re hanging out on the couch. He’s nappingright now. Earlier we watched an episode of Mr. Rogers and one of Leave it to Beaver (thank youTiVo!) and then I read him the next chapter of Chamber of Secrets. We’re about to start Chapter 6. It’s been a while since I read the Harry Potter books, and I had forgotten how funthey were. Yeah there are plot holes and inconsistencies — but the author is so creative andimaginative that you can just ignore the little annoyances and just enjoy the fun. In othernews, Dan has finished building his Freya helicopter! He’s planning to fly it for the first time today. Cool :)

Nov 06 — Um heh I was going to write something but I’m too tired to think of anything. Bedtime!

Nov 05 — Election day. I voted — did you? Took Henry down to JT this morning, hung out, came back, went to bank, deposited money, transfered money, came home, paid bills, etc. Taught mystudents this evening, and during a little break I installed zsneson Sally’s computer, and found roms for Zelda, Super Mario All-Stars, and a couple other games.So now we can play SUPER NINTENDO over there while I wait for students or Henry waits for me :)Matthew dropped Henry off while I was still teaching, and Henry discovered SUPER NINTENDO onSal’s computer and figured out how to start it and get Zelda running and was playing happily whenI went to check on him — even though we have no gamepad over there. He figured out how touse the keyboard instead. Last night we read the first chapter of Chamber of Secrets, and tonightwe read the second. Those chapters go by pretty quickly, compared to Tolkein. :) … Heheh I just found the rom for “Donkey Kong Country”. It’s thecutest game I have ever seen and it’s FUN!I think Henry will love it. I’ll show him how to play tomorrow, after his piano lesson :)

Nov 04 — Played Zelda all morning, then Henry and I went out to do errands — groceries, water, etc.He’s a good little helper. Oh we went to the library too, and got Harry Potter and the Chamberof Secrets, so I can read it to Henry before the movie comes out. We have about 10 days…

Nov 03 — I got the second Pendant in Zelda today! Dan had to kill the awful sand-worms for me. He’samazing! We had a nice lazy relaxing day today… Dan worked on his Freya all day, and I practiced my banjo(worked on Red-Haired Boy, Arkansas Traveller, and Bill Cheatham), made apple turnovers, and playedwith Henry-Pie. We made a neat carnival-ride thing out of K’Nex, and played Zelda for ages, and watched a good episode of “Nature” about deep-sea exploration.

Nov 02 — Happy birthday John! We just finished watching “The Farmer’s Daughter” (1947, Loretta Young, Joseph Cotton, EthylBarrymore). Super-good movie. Today we spent most of the day out at the helicopter field. They’re holding a Fun-Fly out there this weekend, so there were dozens of pilots flying all day. I sat,watched the flying, and worked puzzles in my latest GAMES magazine. Henry played with the other littlekids who showed up, and Dan hung around with the other pilots :) After it got dark and the other little kids went home, we all sat together and watched the night flying, which was neat. People put light-wireand glow-sticks and stuff on their helicopters and they look amazing! And one crashed HARD into a million little pieces which sucks of course but is still entertaining (Schadenfreude). We sure had a great day :)

Nov 01 — I decided I could maybe stop being lazy and actually use capital letters once in a while ;-)We’ll see how long it lasts… I had a nice day today! Henry and I played Zelda this morning and he cheered me on while I obtained the Pendant of Courage and was rewarded with another heart and the Pegasus Boots. Yay me!! And then we went to Circuit City to buy a new little tape recorder. Henrylikes for me to tape myself reading his bedtime story every night. We have four tapes of me reading “Fellowship of the Ring” so far, and he listens to them again after I’ve kissed him goodnight andturned out the light. He says they soothe his soul. ;-) Anyway, last night the motor in his oldwalkman finally burned out. The thing was about 4 years old and had been used fairly constantly all that time — it’s a wonder it lasted as long as it did. So, since I understand how truly important it is for Henry to be able to record my reading, we went to Circuit City and got an old-fashionedtape recorder. That’s all it does — it records (and plays) cassette tapes. It’s pretty much thesame machine we had in 1978, and it has an AC adapter so we no longer have to worry about batteries.Yay! Henry and I had a great time kicking around in the store too, playing with demo models and looking at software and stuff. And we poked around in a craft store called Value Craft too –it’s nearer to our house than Michael’s and it’s way better too! They even have fabric and sewingsupplies!

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