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July 2006

July 31st, 2006 — 6:17pm

July 2006

31 — Dan had Lasik eye surgery this morning, down in La Jolla. We left the house around 8:30am and arrive a bit after 10:30am. It’s a 30-mile drive. That’s right, it took 2 hours to drive 30 miles. When do you suppose the developers will stop building new communities? Anyway… his surgery wenrt fine (you can read about it on his blog, IT Obsession. Then we drove over the Thornton Hospital for my 6-month pulmonary check-up. We got there a little bit early and hung out in the car, Dan just resting with his eyes closed, and then I went in and got examined. They say I’m doing ok. The 6-minute walk seemed more tiring than usual but my doctor didn’t seem concerned about it, so that’s good I guess. In addition to the Tracleer that I take twice a day, he wants me to try Viagra (scroll down to “other uses” heheh) three times a day to see if that will reduce the arterial pressure and *maybe* someday make it possible for them to close the hole in my heart. Stopped by the pharmacy to get my prescription filled and Howard the Dear Pharmacist said my insurance wouldn’t cover Viagra, which at $10/pill, 3x/day comes to quite a total. But he’s going to contact my doctor and see if he can convince my ins. people to cover it. I’m sure they will.

Now we’re finally finally home. What a long day. Dan’s asleep and I’ve been catching up on librivox and webstuff, but now I’m hungry. What oh what shall I eat? Oh, last night Annie pointed out that her, my, and librivox’s podcasts were on the iTunes “Featured Podcasts” page! I don’t feel like posting an actual thumbnail here, so a link will have to do: Kara, Annie, and LibriVox are Featured!

30 — While Dan and his friends played music, I worked through an online traffic school, what FUN! But it only took a few hours. Now I just have to take the final exam to a notary and fill it in in front of her. Funny. Bought Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town (used) for Dan to play on the DS, since he prefers handheld games and was dying to play some harvest moon :) Tired, tired, tired, tired, so Dan bought us a frozen pizza from Trader Joe’s and cooked it for us. So nice to have someone bring me dinner!

26 — A discussion of quilting came up on librivox, and I realized that I didn’t have any photos of the quilt I made for Dan. So, I took it out to the lawn and took some photos. And while I was at it I took a picture of the purple cotton Nautiloid I made for Baby Wastrel. (pattern at Isn’t he cute? He has a charming smile. Let’s see, what else… Oh, Dan’s Cool-or-Heat seat pad (which he sleeps on) died last night. I called the company this morning and spoke to a friendly and helpful woman about it. She’s going to send a new one out right away! Apparently there’s a known problem with the pumps, so she’s sending me one that might be fixed (so Dan can have one right away), and then if that one goes bad she’ll send us one from the next batch which will definitely be fixed. Hooray for Cool-Or-Heat!

25 — A bit little cooler today. The house was quiet (Henry’s off rock climbing) so I got a lot of librivox work done. Recorded a chapter of Limberlost and a couple of Our Island Story. In the morning I did errands, took back Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Harvest Moon: Magical Melody, checked for a used copy of HM:MM (no dice), bought groceries, picked up medication, etc. When I picked up Henry he decided to use his own money to buy HM:MM (he loves it as much as I do) so we went back out to Gamestop. Henry had enough for more than half and I made up the difference. Now we can continue farming and fishing and raising livestock! He’s courting Maria, the librarian (good taste, Henry) and I’ve got my sights set on Alex the doctor.

24 — Today was Henry’s much-anticipated first day of Karate Camp (9-3:30, no “camping” involved). Today they had a Newaza seminar in the morning, then bowling and laser tag. After I dropped him off I came home and waited for a fellow to call me for another phone interview about librivox (of course). This guy is going to pitch his article to the NY Times for Librivox’s 1-year anniversary. If they turn it down, he’ll get it published elsewhere. I’ll let you know :) He was very nice and easy to talk to, and I felt more comfortable that I’ve felt in any other interview. His questions seemed more interesting than usual, too, and were a little different from the usual questions. For instance, he asked if my husband was supportive of my librivox work. No one else has ever asked that! And of course the answer was a resounding “YES!” :)

It was hotter than ever today. So hot that even I felt a bit uncomfortable and turned on the AC in the bedroom in the late afternoon and took a little rest.

23 — Hot, hot hot, and humid too. Mostly I like it, as long as I don’t have to be out in the sun, but it makes Dan miserable. It was realy too hot to do much this weekend, but we have a great time just hanging around reading, playing videogames, trying to keep cool. I played Harvest Moon: Magical Melody for hours and hours and hours. It is a superb game. There are always so many fun tasks to work on, and a lot of choices to be made. Should I hoe up some land and plant some onions? If I do that, I’ll be low on stamina so if I want to fish afterward I’d better find some food to eat… Ok, maybe that sounds dull, but trust me, it’s a fun and charming game. I can find fault with nearly anything, but HM:MM is nearly faultless, unlike Harvest Moon: It’s a Wonderful Life, which we also rented but found to be nearly unplayable and no fun at all. HM:MM is more like a descendant of the wonderful Friends of Mineral Town. I do wish I could turn off the music but I have Known Issues with videogame music.

20 — This morning I took the boys over to the Krikorian Theater for the dollar kids’ movie, which happened to be the new Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Johnny Depp, Tim Burton). It was, most surprisingly, excellent! I was thoroughly entertained. Every facet of the movie was superb — casting, directing, visuals (dark and surreal, as they should be) screenplay (stuck very close to the book, added elemements were non-jarring and actually added depth to the story and characters), and especially the soundtrack. Good job, Hollywood, you made a non-sucky adaptation of a favorite book! Dropped Henry at his dad’s, drove Fargo home to Laguna Niguel, went home for a quick rest and then off to dentist to have four cavities filled. Ugh. He’s a nice good dentist, but still. I amused myself with “Fanny Hill” in my ipod. Dan was at the dentists office at the same time, for a checkup :)

I thought Dan would really enjoy Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and I wanted to see it again, so we we went out in the evening to rent it :) I rented Harvest Moon: Magical Melody, too, and we got some take-out dinner because I was feeling ill from all the anaesthetic. So we lazed about and watched Charlie (which was even better the second time, and Dan loved it) and ate. Such a nice evening.

19 — The boys played all morning, I tried to catch up with LibriVox work, the little neighbor girl came over to swim with the boys. OH and I discovered an insanely useful little OS X utility:
GrandPerspective is a small utility application for Mac OS X that graphically shows the disk usage within a file system. It can help you to manage your disk, as you can easily spot which files and folders take up the most space. It uses a so called tree map for visualisation. Each file is shown as a rectangle with an area proportional to the file’s size
I ran it on my iMac and discovered about ten gigs of garbage! TEN GIGS!!! Then we went to art class and looked at works from Picasso’s cubist period, then tried to emulate cubism ourselves. Tricky. But we all had fun.

18 — This morning after Henry helped with the Tiny TIgers karate class we went back to our dentist for a Braces Consultation. We saw Dr. Modi, the owner of the practice, a sweet middle-aged woman. She looked at Henry’s mouth and recommended that he get remoable appliances to expand his little jaws, so his teeth will have room to fall into place and his jaws will align properly. Sounded like a good idea so they took an impression of his mouth and gave us an order to go to a special x-ray lab for special x-rays, heh. IN the afternoon Fargo arrived for a visit, and the boys played and played all the rest of the day. while I read a book from cover to cover — “As Hot as it Was You Ought to Thank Me” by Nanci Kincaid. When I started it, I thought, hey this is really good. I should stop reading it now and buy a copy to take on vacation… but it turned out that I COULDN’T stop reading it, and read all 355 pages in one day. So, on reflection, I guess it’s good that I didn’t try to take it on vacation ’cause it wouldn’t have lasted long ;-) I loved it, obviously.

17 — Henry and Sally are swimming and playing and laughing and shrieking and having a great time :) I went to the library today and got a lovely new stack of books, and I recorded my lines for Hamlet (I’m Rosencrantz), and I did the laundry, and I read one of my new books, and I sewed a pair of shorts for Henry, and I listened to Loveline, and I did librivox work. Busy day, very fun. Dan beat New Super Mario Bros (DS) last night!

16 — Lovely Sunday. Dan had some friends over to play music and I sewed three more pairs of green velour underwear while listening to Annie’s Huck Finn and Loveline. Now Dan and I are hanging out in the cool bedroom. We watched a Robot Chicken and a Family Guy, and now he’s playing New Super Mario on the DS and I’m catching up on my blog. And we’re listening to Loveline. I adore Loveline. It’s so soothing. I’m pleased with Stryker as the new co-host. He’s not trying to be Adam! When I rented Pirates yesterday I took a quick look at the Gamecube shelf to see if there was anything new and interesting. I saw a new Harvest Moon game called, I think, Magical Melody. I loved “Friends of Mineral Town” but “Another Wonderful Life” left me cold. So I did some googling today. MM gets great reviews, and I think it would be fun to try! And I also found out that there’s a Harvest Moon game for DS coming out in August. So that’s very tempting, more tempting that the gamecube version. Portable is good. So here are the DS games I’d like to own: Princess Peach, Harvest Moon, and of course Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass (when it’s out).

15 — Henry’s with us today! He and Dan ran ethernet cable up to his computer so he’s got wired instead of wireless internet access now and the microwave won’t knock him off anymore. It was a big job and they had a drill a hole in the house, very exciting :) And of course they took a lot of breaks to sit in the bedroom and cool off in the air conditioning. While they were working, I went to the fabric store to see if I could find fabric for some more pants for Henry (I recently made a pattern for elastic/drawstring-waist pants with nice deep pockets for him, and made him two pairs already which he wears every single day). The fabric store had all the clearance fabrics at 60% off (so I only paid $.80/yard for some of it, and $1.20 for some!!), so I found some good and very cheap stuff! Got two nice plaids for Henrypants, some strawberry-print flannel for comfy pants for me, and some lovely ivy-print lightweight cotton for my stash. Maybe a blouse? Also got lots more elastic for more underwear for me and for the waists of Henry’s pants.

And Dan and I cleaned the bedroom today! Well, Dan did most of the work but I helped get him started. We filled Canny the Helpful Trashcan half full with bedroom garbage! And our room is all nice and uncluttered now, So peaceful and nice. After dinner we all watched Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl (or whatever it’s called). Henry’d seen it a hundred times but Dan and I never had. It was entertaining enough, but long, jeebus. Lots of eye make-up and skeleton swordfights. Too many skeleton swordfights for my taste. But it was fun anyway :) I don’t understand the appeal of Johnny Depp. Whatever.

14 — More lovely quiet today, mostly. Sal taught piano lessons all day but now Dan’s computers go to sleep when they’re not being used so our bedroom is quiet enough for me to record in! So I recorded the first letter of two brides, which was long, long, long and contained a lot of French. Ugh, I’ve never studied French and I find it very difficult to deal with. Just from being observant and watching foreign movies I have an idea of how it should sound, more or less, but I’m terribly insecure and I know I pronounce things very badly a lot of the time. Give me German. No silent letters, everything is pronounced exactly how it looks :) Well, I did my best, and i posted the file in the Help Wanted section to see if a French speaker would check it for me and give me some tips. And I finished the last few chapters of Our Island Story and started the big upload! Jim wrote me a great little summary, too. Oh, and all my underwear is old and wearing out (I made it all about two years ago, after I got my Pfaff) so I found the perfect pattern I made by cutting apart my favorite store-bought pair and cut up an old pair of green velour pants to make some new ones. Love that Pfaff!

13 — Henry had karate this morning, and afterwards his dad picked him up so I went home and had the whole house all to myself! I did a lot of LibriVox work. We’ve finished the Pride and Prejudice podcast so I set up the xml file to send Country of the Pointed Firs out next. I’m nearly finished with the first half of Our Island Story (54 chapters) so I put the completed chapters up for proof-listening. Should be able to record the rest tomorrow! Dan and I have been watching Survivor Africa every night before bed. So very very entertaining!

12 — Our World of Warcraft guild held a meeting tonight on a branch in Darnassus. They’ve been planning it for some time and Henry was really looking forward to attending but they scheduled it at a time when he’s usually at karate, so I let him stay home from karate this evening. Our guildies are really nice, and they know he’s a youngster so they look out for him. One of his RL friends is a new guild member (one of the items on the agenda was to promote him from newbie member to real member) so Henry phoned him to invite him to the meeting, and he showed up! Fun :) (Yes, I know it sounds nerdy, and not every parent would let a kid skip karate to attend an in-game guild meeting… but our guild members are a pleasant bunch and the meeting was very important to Henry. So, y’know, once in a while…)

11 — The little kids didn’t show up to class this morning, so Henry had a half-hour private lesson. Pretty nice! And then we went to the dentist to have his cavities filled. He survived. Very nice dentist. In the afternoon we watched The Sound of Music. I wanted him to be familiar with the music for when we go see it live at the Moonlight, so I was prepared to fast-forward the boring talky bits, but he really liked it so we watched the whole thing.

Goodbye, Roger Keith Barrett.

10 — A guy who writes for Wired called me for an interview about LibriVox. We must have talked for an hour. Look for our article in the October issue!

08 — Last night Dan and I took our two Nintendo DSs to bed and played 40 rounds of Tetris against each other! Not 4, not 14, — 40! It was so much fun!

06 — Henry and I went to a new dentist. It had been a few years since we went, so we were pretty nervous, but he and his staff were really nice! Henry has three cavities and I have four. So it could have been a lot worse.

05 — We were just about out of water so I loaded up all the bottles and bought more (28 gallons), came home, Henry and piano student Laura helped me unload them, then I drove down to the fairgrounds to pick up our Fair exhibits. Traffic was horrid, surprise surprise, but I had Loveline on my iPod so the time passed pleasantly. I really enjoy dropping off and picking up exhibits from the fair. Driving around on the fairgrounds, watching the workers setting up or tearing down, it’s really neat. In the afternoon Marcos took a look at one of my recordings and advised me as to the best post-processing techniques! Yay! And some of the librivoxers decided to do Pirates of Penzance and I grabbed the part of Ruth. Heh. Not at all sure if I can sing it well enough but I can sure try! And Henry wants to be in the Pirate Chorus.

04 — Marcos came back for a few days and Kirsten had the day off, so we all hung around. Henry and Marcos swam in the evening, and then we went out to the beach to see fireworks. Stopped at Los Tacos for delicious picnic food, yummy yum yum, then over to the beach by about 7. Sat on our comfy chairs (which Henry and MArcos carried for us), ate, read. Henry found a nice out-of-town family to play with, who shared their noisemakers and glowtubes with him :) There weren’t as many illegal fireworks as last year (sigh) but there were some, and we were able to see the official show being shot off near the end of the pier at 9.

03 — Dan took the day off! YAY! We hung around and did not much :) Very nice. I recorded two more chapters of Our Island Story (41 and 42), and asked Jim if he wanted to split the second half of the book with me — and he said yes so that’ll be really fun! Reading “Dragonsinger” to Henry for bedtime. He seems to like it as much as I did at his age (and still do).

02 — Dan and I started watching Survivor Africa (3rd season) tonight. Did I mention that we watched the first season over the last couple of weeks? It was entertaining but pretty rough and low-budget, not the slick helicopter-shot-filled show we’re accustomed to. But Africa feels more like “real” survivor. It’s edited better so there are no boring bits.

01 — I got my hair cut! I got my hair cut! i called Vanity Salon, or whatever it’s called, and Dee had an opening this afternoon. She did a great job as usual. I love my shortyshort hair! Henry came home for a while this afternoon so we played our mages for a long time. His, Teldarin, is only lvl 10 but mine, Glorin is lvl 16, so Glorian helped Teldarin with a lot of quests in Elwynn Forest. Fun :) Dan and i went grocery shopping at night, which was really nice. He carried everything and it was pleasant and cool outside. Oh, and then before bed I took my laptop onto the porch and recorded a couple of chapters of Manfield Park. Very luxurious. Did I mention that yesterday I watched the last dvd of The Forsyte saga? Irene finally ended up happy, thank goodness.

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July 5, 2006

July 5th, 2006 — 4:10pm

Oops. Well. If you’re subscribed to my podcast feed, you’ve already heard the end of the book. If you depend on downloading the chapters from this page, well, I apologize for forgetting to update here! Instead of my pasting a dozen links here, just click this link: Heidi, by Johanna Spyri. You can get all the chapters you missed there.

I’ve been working hard on recording my next book for you. It’s a children’s history of England, told through little stories. A little fact, a little fairy-tale, a little legend. It’s old, of course, written in 1905, but still mostly relevant and very entertaining! There are 111 short chapters, and I’ve just recorded number 45. I’ll be splitting the book in half — the first half read only by me, the second half alternating chapters with my LibriVox friend, Jim. I’ll start podcasting and posting chapters here in a week or two.

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