June 2006

June 2006

30 — Henry finished Eregon last night, so this morning Kirsten and I took the boys to the bookstore so Henry could buy the next book in the series (Eldest). He was tremendously eager, but it turned out that they didn’t have the book in stock, due a reprint problem of some kind. Henry was most upset. We put his name on a list for when they do get the book in stock, also called the library to put his name on a list for one of their 8 copies (all of which are out). Went home and let the boys swim til Henry’s dad came to pick him up at noon, and then I drove Fargo home. He planned to lend Henry his own copy of Eldest but couldn’t find it… Henry called at 9:30pm to let me know they’d finally tracked down a copy of the book in San Diego! Yay!

29 — Kirsten and I took the boys to the dollar kids’ movie at the Krikorian this morning. We got there nice and early and got the perfect seats. The movie was Wallace and Gromit: the Curse of the Were-Rabbit, very adorable and funny.

28 — Henry was busy reading when it was time to go to art class, plus he was tired. So I went by myself :) Also I recorded two more chapters of Byways Around San Francisco Bay this morning. And this evening Fargo came for a visit! He’s staying until Friday morning. The boys are having a wonderful time swimming and playing and reading.

27 — Tonight was Preview Night for family/friends of the cast and crew of Seussical, at the moonlight Amphitheater in Vista.. Henry and I went and had a great time!

23 — Here’s a lovely blog post outlining all the reasons you should not use Real Player: Real Obnoxious. I bumped into it when looking for an alternative to Real, so I could view some stuff on the BBC’s website. No luck, though. Anyone know an OSX alternative? I can’t bear to install the disgusting thing on my lovely macs.

22 — Kirsten and Marcos arrived sometime in the middle of the night last night, so we had a great time hanging out with them today! I wasn’t feeling very well (still didn’t get enough sleep, also anxiety) but after I did some absolutely necessary errands, I spent the rest of the day on the couch. Dan stopped off and got groceries after work. My hero! :)

21 — Rather difficult day. I woke up at 3:30am, and lay there til 5 before deciding to take some benadryl and try to get something like enough sleep. So then i slept until after ten and had a hard time getting my act together in time to leave for Bayshore and Art at 11:30. Couldn’t find the acrylic paints I’d bought, so had to stop and get some more. Grr. Then we went to Bayshore and picked up Henry’s yearbook, and hung around with the kids while everyone signed yearbooks. Nice :) Then to Art, which was really very fun. We looked at Peter Max’s dreadful artwork and then made posters inspired by his style. Henry did a terrific one of fruit laid out on a purple checked background with “Eat Your Fruit!” as a message. I did a librivox promotion, with an open book in the forground and a Peter Max sunset behind it. Looks nice, actually. I’ll try to get our posters scanned in chunks and stitched together soon so you internet people can see them. Henry came down with a headache while we were there and felt all droopy, poor boy, so when we got home he lay on the couch and watched cartoons for the rest of the day. And I felt pretty crappy and not-enough-sleepy too. Bleah.

20 — Henry’s Karate DemoThe fair, the fair! Henry and I got up early and left the house before 9:00. Got to the fairgrounds at about 9:45, and, since we had a performer pass, were admitted before the fair officially opened at 10. Fun to be there before the crowds! We strolled through an animal barn and saw guinea pigs, calves, rabbits, and a little pen full of baby chicks and ducklings. By then the fair was open for real, and there were a lot of school groups, since Tuesday is Kids Get In Free Day. One kids spotted a dead duckling in the pen, and suddenly that was the most popular exhibit in the barn. Nothing cooler than a dead duckling. Henry and I preferred the large furry cow with the red tag in his ear. :) So we made our way to the Ralphs Stage in the infield, and took a look in the Kids’ Best tent (right next door) where Henry’s Purple Knitted Belt was on display with its blue ribbon. Yay Henry! We also spotted Brooke’s lovely painting of a Blue Chicken, which also won a blue ribbon! Way to go, Brooke :)

Henry’s purple knitted beltThen at about 10:30 all the kids started showing up, so Henry helped me choose a spot to sit in the audience where I’d have a good view, and went to mill around and warm up with the rest of them. And at 11, the demo began! The kids (and adults) did a wonderful job. I think it was better-organized than last year. It went very smoothly, and was very entertaining! They didn’t have a dedicated photographer so Michelle asked parents with cameras to take as many pictures as they could. I filled up my sd card and killed my battery, pretty much, and got several very good photos. Henry was in the middle of the group so it was hard to get a clear shot of him in action, but I got a terrific photo of Sensei Michelle tossing Sensei Paul through the air, also of Jackie and Blake in midair kicks. Henry did a wonderful job, of course. After the demo, we found a place for him to change into his regular clothes and went off to enjoy the rest of the fair. We looked at goats and dairy cows, sat in the shady arena and watched the horse show through the hottest hours of the day, and drank lots of lemonade from the lemon-shaped “Squeezers” stand (refills are only $2.50 so I brought along the cup Dan and I bought last weekend heheh). We spent some time looking at slicer-dicers and things in the big commercial buildings. I bought a miracle fiberglass ironing board cover. Well, our old one was shredded anyway :) Henry is SO much fun! We had a blast watching the pitchmen giving their demos. We also saw the gemstones display and especially enjoyed the dark room filled with flourescent minerals! When we walked through Design in Wood, we stopped to talk a nice old gentleman, Wendell, who was demonstrating woodcarving. We admired his wooden chains (finished, and in progress) and he gave Henry a little stylized carved owl! Henry was ecstatic. And then we bought some Mackinack Island Fudge (a box of chocolate with nuts for Dan, and a box of Plain Chocolate for ourselves) and headed home. Boy were we tired. But we had a wonderful day at the fair together!

Oh, yeah, Dan brought home two Nintendo Ds Lites and a handful of games to play. We’re all enjoying them a LOT!

19 — Henry’s Karate Demo at the Fair is tomorrow, so, after his karate class tonight I thought I’d better wash and iron his uniform all nice. So I tossed it in the washer with… the green plaid pants I made him. Which had already been washed TWICE in hot water. You guessed it… his gi turned an interesting pale lime green. GAHHHHHHH. This was at about 9 at night. Dan ran to the store for bleach while I hunted up Henry’s old, outgrown gi and washed, dried, and ironed it, just in case I couldn’t get the green out. When Dan got back with bleach (after the little gi was finished in the washer) I put the green gi in with rather more than the recommended dose of bleach. *nervous waiting, time passing* When it was done washing it looked more yellow than anything, but after going through the dryer it looked *almost* perfectly white again. And after ironing it looked fine, if just a trifle “off”. *Whew*

18 — Tired and headachy, blah. Watched the second DVD of The Forsyte Saga. Great stuff, nice and soapy, but with substance. We had a sudden problem on LibriVox but Dan came to the rescue and fixed everything for us. I started a book called The Mennyms, which I found in the children’s section of the library, and it was so good I read the whole thing by bedtime. Looks as if the author has written more about The Mennyms, hooray!

17 — Saturday. Karate rehearsal for Henry at 9. Cleaned the upstairs bathroom and kept Dan company while he cleaned his wood shop (huge job), making it ready to be a guest bedroom next week. I think the sawdust got in my eyes and lungs or something ’cause i started feeling really bad right after we were done. We went out and got a pizza and ate while watching House and The Soup. Also tried to watch Sleeping Murder, which is one of my favorite Marple mysteries, but the writers butchered the story. Um… Helen was not an ACTRESS. Dr. Kennedy was not Gwenda’s mother’s brother!!! I gave up before it was over and decided to re-read the book instead, casting Geraldine McEwan as Miss Marple in my mind, of course :)

16 — Recorded chapter 11 of Ulysses… it was long so I divided it into 25-page chunks — the first was 45 minutes and the second was 55. So then my voice was too tired to record anything else.

15 — Busy day! Took Henry to the ice rink for Brooke’s 10th birthday party. The kids skated for almost four hours, round and round and round. I read and did sudoku and listened to Loveline on my iPod. What was I reading, you ask? “The Christmas Guest” by Anne Perry. Not, um, my style of mystery, but better than nothing. After skating, Henry and I picked up a couple of burritos and headed for the Moonlight Amphitheater in Vista to meet up with some more Bayshore friends and watch the kid’s performance of The Wizard of Oz. We got a great parking space and hiked down to the gate, met up with Stacie (science teacher, she set up the group), waited around a bit for the gates to open, then charged down and staked out a great spot for everyone to sit. The Moonlight provides low lawn chairs for the people with lawn tickets now, very luxurious! So we sat and ate and waited for more Bayshore friends to show up — Tawni and Raven and Brooke and Adam – and then the kids ran around and waited for the show to start. Oh and Sal came too! The show was excellent, excellent, excellent. So many talented kids! Dropped Henry off at his dad’s after the show, then came home to Dan. <3

11 — International USB Condenser Microphone Research Day. I read every review of the Samson C01U that I could find, and in the process bumped into a mention of the Blue Snowball mic, another USB condenser mic. So, I read dozens of reviews of each. The Snowball costs a bit more but looks infinitly cooler. Also, it seems to get fewer negative reviews. Also, the manufacturer, http://www.bluemic.com/ has a support forum where they seem to actually answer questions and help solve problems. Also worked today on EQing the dozens of “scratchy” sounding files I’ve recorded with my Logitech headset. The trick is to lower the three highest frequencies, dragging the highest one down furthest, in a sort of curve.

10 — Opening Day for the San Diego Fair! Dan and I went and had a great time. It was super crowded! We had to park in the middle of nowhere in a dust farm, but there was a nice tram to take us to the gate :) First we sat in the blazing sun and listened to the Dixie Hasslers — a wonderful band of old men who’ve been playing at the fair for 52 years. Seriously. Then we walked through one of the slicer-dicer buildings (nice and cool in there), then went to the Home and Hobby building to see if my shrug was nicely displayed (I wasn’t expecting a ribbon) and when we found it, we saw that I’d won third place in that class (hand knitting, women’s slip-on sweater with sleeves)! What a nice surprise! It’s very loosely based on knitty’s “I Do” shrug… I did use the same lace pattern and general proportions, but other than that I changed it a lot. Anyway, then I looked at every single thing in the Home and Hobby room while Dan rested his feet. Then… let’s see… I think we went to look at animals, and then over to the arena to watch sheepdogs herding sheep! We sat there for ages, and then we went to see the hypnotist. Then looked at the Design in Wood building, and then headed home. Oh yeah, and in between all that we ate fair food and got Dan his special lidded lemonade cup that he’s been waiting so long for! When we got home we were BEAT and collapsed on the couch and watched House. Oh, House, wonderful House.

09 — Microphone misery today. I finally got fed up with that “scratchy” or “prickly” sound that my logitech headset makes. Grrrrr. So I spent hours online researching alternatives. Dan suggested an Mbox (USB audio interface dealie) and a regular old condenser mic. I REALLY like using my headset, but I guess I’ll have to go back to a desk mic to get the better audio quality that I long for. But I can’t buy anything right now, so Dan fiddled with one of my dozens of “scratchy” files and showed me who to use the 10-band equalizer to make them sound about a million times better. I was soooo frustrated before, but after EQing my files they sound Good Enough that I don’t feel I need to record them all over again with a better mic, thank goodness. But I still think I want a good condenser mic. Anita suggests the Samson C01U. I’ll have to do some research.

08 — Today was Henry’s last Bayshore Day until next fall. Like last week, he decided to stay the whole time (9-1), so I came home and recorded chapter 50 of Sense and Sensibility — had to record it twice, actually, since I guess my mic wasn’t plugged in properly the first time and I got a crackle through my entire file — then edited and uploaded 49 and 50. And signed up for another two (37 and 38). And then I went back to pick up Henry. He had a great morning, and told me all about the things he’d done — bottle rockets in Science, signature and memory books in Writing, and an accordian-book in Art! Oh, and he took the artwork he did yesterday at Margaret’s to show to his Bayshore Art Teacher and she knew right away that he’d been inspired by Mondrian, so he was very happy :)

Then I took him to his dad’s house to spend the weekend, and I came home for MORE lovely quiet! I recorded chapter 37 of S&S but somehow my input got turned all the way up so the whole thing was peaky and nasty, so I’ll do it again tomorrow. Tonight Dan and I watched the first dvd of the 2002 miniseries The Forsyte Saga. It was AWESOME! I loved every minute of it. Dan was also playing Civ IV, but I think he enjoyed what he saw of the Forstyes, too :) Pretty funny — I recognized a great many actors from other wonderful British literary adaptaions: Mister Robert Martin, from the Kate Beckinsale “Emma”, Aunt Gardiner, from the BBC “Pride and Prejudice”, Miss Browning, from “Wives and Daughters”, and of course sad-eyed Anne, from “Persuasion.” I can hardly WAIT to get the next DVD from Greencine.

07 — Geoffrey Chaucer hath a blog! http://houseoffame.blogspot.com/. Alex linked to it in our Canterbury Tales thread. I nearly fell out of bed this morning, I was laughing so hard at the TOPPE FACTES AND DEEDES CONCERNYGE THE MIGHTI KYNG RICHARD (step aside, Chuck Norris!) Whoever writes this blog is brilliant! In between chores this morning I managed to read a bit of Idea for a Poeme of the Tales of Canterburye and fell apart laughing again.
“-The Wyves Tale of Bath: stele sumthynge litel from Boccaccio? None of the chambre knightz and merchauntz do reden of italien ficcion, so ich am soooo yn the clere”
BSL, all the comments are in the same style. O wonderous internette! Thank you, Geoffrey, for the blogge!

Art Class at Margaret’s today! Very very fun. We had barely gotten started when Henry told me he was already looking forward to next week’s class :) We looked at some of the works of Piet Mondrian, then created two art projects — first using cut paper squares and thick black markers, then using primary color acrylics and simple shapes. It was extremely fun and relaxing.

06 — At Bayshore today my beloved Zire 71 slipped out of my purse and hit the carpeted floor. It has a sturdy aluminum case, so I wasn’t too worried, although it hit hard enough to knock the SD card out of its slot. At the grocery store (trying to use Minder to record my purchase) I realized it wasn’t accepting screen taps — ugh, I thought, frozen. Needs a soft reset. Got home, did the soft reset — still not recognizing screen taps. UGH, I thought, ok, time for a hard reset, good thing BackupMan does a backup every morning. Did the dreaded Hard Reset. Got the “Please use your stylus to tap the screen” screen. Didn’t recognize stylus taps. So then I thought somehow that impact knocked the digitizer connector loose, or something. Emailed Dan, who said he’d look at it when he got home — maybe he could take it apart and reconnect whatever got disconnected. But when he got home and picked it up to see how it came apart, he noticed that SQUEEZING it made it act as if the screen had been tapped. HMMM. Digitizer not broken after all. So, brilliantly, he peeled off my screen protector — and the problem was solved! All back to normal! WHAT YOU SAY??? Yes… somehow an edge or corner of my vinyl screen protector got wedged under the edge of the screen, causing great confusion for the poor digitizer. We restored from BackupMan, carefully re-applied my screen protector, and my little Zire 71 is back to its normal cheerful self. And so am I. :)

05 — I noticed that sections of Denny’s “Good things to Eat” project were going fast, and it looked like fun, so I signed up for the “sauces” section and managed to record, edit, tag, and upload it today! Yay me! Maybe I’ll have time to record my last two chapters of Sense and Sensibility tomorrow. Henry’s Zire 22 arrived today and he is overjoyed to have his OWN little pda! He spent hours loading demos of Astraware games onto it and of course playing them. I went out to the fabric store for screen-protector vinyl and found some more lightweight cotton plaid stuff on sale for $2/yard so I picked up enough to make Henry another pair of pants, so I can finally wash the ones I made for him last week. He never wants to wear anything else. I invented a new dinner for Dan and he loved it! (chicken, red bell peppers, grated cheese, sour cream) also had time to work a couple of sudoku puzzles. I’m sure they’re good for my brain. I’m way better and faster at them than I used to be. OH! After Karate we stopped at the bookstore and Henry used a mystery Barnes and Noble giftcard that he found under his desk to buy the new Junie B. Jones book — Aloha-ha-ha. He read it until bedtime, and then I read the first two chapters to him all over again for his bedtime story, and then he took it to bed with my booklight. I’m sure he’s finished with it by now. We love Junie B. Jones! Another wonderful day in the Happy Life of Kayray :)

04 — Henry played Grandpa Joe in “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” today. He did great! Remembered his lines, spoke up loud and clear, sang and danced so nicely :) I took lots of photos which are still in my camera. Yay Henry!

03 — A few days ago I read a review on Julie’s site of the Macally FM Cup, an FM transmitter for iPods. I read several other positive reviews of it, and decided to splurge and get one for my Scion XA so Henry and I can listen to our iPods while we drive around. Dan and I went to Fry’s today to get one. Tested it in the parking lot and all the way home, and it works really well! I have an iSkin case, so I just kind of pull the case up around the bottom of the pod and it works fine that way! The sound is nice and clear, works great even though we’re in a city with a radio station on almost every frequency, AND it charges my iPod while I’m driving.

02 — Rockola played at a parish festival down south somewhere. Dan and I went and had a great time! It was so nice to see Chloe again.

01 — Julie shipped Henry’s z22 today, so he should have it in a few days. He’s so excited!

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