Sunday, August 31, 2008

Tracking Gustav

I've been following the projected path of Gustav fairly closely here the last few days.  I'm glad to see that it has weakened some, but I know how much damage and misery even a minor hurricane can bring.  We weathered hurricane Andrew in Baton Rouge, probably 100 miles from where it came ashore, but still we experienced category 1 hurricane winds.  It was enough to scare me.  It was also mighty unpleasant dealing with no electricity or phone for days on end in south Louisiana heat.  especially in a house where the windows were solidly painted shut!

D finally went about an hour out of town to get us some ice to try to preserve some of our fridge/freezer food.  It took going that far to actually find ice!

But there's a crazy kind of feeling that I hope the hurricane doesn't weaken so much that all those people who took the safe route and evacuated end up feeling silly and over-reacting.  Or that the people who didn't evacuate end up feeling like they did the right thing.  Unfortunately I saw that happen several times while we lived there and since.  I guess I hope that the damage is minimized while people are still aware of just how big a miss they got.

Time will tell, as it looks like we will know where it hit and with how much strength by this time tomorrow.  Meanwhile I'll be praying for all those in the way of Gustav.


Saturday, August 30, 2008

Maxing out the card

In this case it was the library card.  Our library shut down recently to prepare for construction work - they moved the stacks downstairs preparatory to adding more space upstairs.  So they encouraged patrons to check out lots of books (so they wouldn't have to cart them down themselves) and gave us a very generous 6 week check-out period so that they wouldn't be swamped with all the books at once.  That's all well and good, but the 6 weeks is coming to an end and we haven't read all the books we had checked out - and yet M was itching to go to the library and get some new reading material.  I had taken some books to the book drop yesterday, but they hadn't been processed back in yet.  So today when we went I asked the librarians to please check in our books right away so we would have space on my card.  They checked in a bunch and said I would be in fine shape - I had 34 books still on my card, and thus space for 16 more.  Hah - they don't know M.  He found 20 books he wanted to check out (and only stopped there because I knew we were hitting the limit).  He wasn't too happy having to choose 4 books to leave behind today...


Friday, August 29, 2008

End of the Week

TGIF  I don't know why this week has seemed so long.  Maybe it was the book report project that A was spending so much time on.  or maybe it was M trying to come up with a social studies fair project at the last minute.  or maybe the various tests that were being squeezed in before progress reports come out next week.  Whatever it was, its been a long week.  We're all tired.  goodnight.


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Where the ark?

We've had 4.4 inches of rain since 10 pm last night - and there's a 90% chance of more rain tonight.  Probably significant rain still.  I know we need the rain, but it would really do better not to have it all at once.

The cats have not been happy today.  Pounce, who usually takes the opportunity to go out any time we open the door, would look out and then wander off to go lie in front of a window.

Yep, here comes the rain again.  I think it will be off and on all night.  Thanks Fay. - that bit was another 0.4 inches.  Up to almost 5 inches in just under 24 hours.



Monday, August 25, 2008

Back to a normal evening routine

Now that the Olympics are over, our evenings are back to a more normal routine.  I think I read more tonight than at least all last week combined, maybe more than the whole time of the Olympics.  I don't know how I would get anything done if I watched several hours of TV every evening!

A is still having a bit of trouble with the routine of what to bring home from school.  He has only forgotten homework once, but has forgotten his folder or his agenda several times.  Tonight it was his agenda again.  The teacher says I can write a note, but tonight I made A write the note and then I signed it.  I seem to remember M had a similar problem at one point, where I threatened to put a big note in his backpack of what he needed to bring home.  Maybe I should suggest that to A?...  It might work or he might be horrified enough at the thought to figure it out on his own.  I suppose I shouldn't really care since it isn't really inconveniencing me, but it may.  He's currently working on a book report, but he can't finish it up because he turned the book in last week - and then couldn't check it back out because he forgot to take in his current book.  He did some of the report, but its rather hard to get quotes when you don't have the book in hand!

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

My latest projects

I had hoped to work on some hand quilting during the Olympics, but so far it isn't happening.  I have a Bargello top that I was planning on working on, but when I got it out, I realized that I hadn't put the borders on yet.  So, off to find a border.  I did finally get the inner border attached, but then when I was trying to lay it out for the outer border, I had a bit too much help from Shadow.
Now, I'm trying to figure out the backing, since once I cut the borders the width I want, its wider than the backing fabric, so I will need to piece the backing.  Silly me, though, I don't want to just sew 2 pieces together.  No, I feel the need to do something fancier.  Thus the backing is not done yet.

Meanwhile, I have been working on another project.  I had a bunch of animal prints leftover from my bag project and I wanted to make a lap quilt with them.  But just stripes didn't appeal.  So I played around with ideas and came up with this:
This is all the squares on the wall, not in the order they will end up.  I did most of the sewing in the afternoon, then did the ironing and trimming on the dining room table while watching the Olympics.

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Sunday, August 17, 2008

Early Adopter Anguish

M seems to be (or at least wants to be) an early adopter of electronics.  He has one of the newish iPod videos (bought it newly refurbished in March), but he has now decided that he "needs" an iPod touch.  He was quite dismayed to discover that while he paid $169 for his 4GB iPod in March, it now goes for only $99.  Which means that I won't let him charge A that much to buy the "old" iPod.  M was hoping to recoup more money to put towards the touch.

This newfound need for a touch is quite new, coming this weekend, but he has been quite busy strategizing.  He has worked several hours for my mom, earning himself $13 this weekend.  Since his early money counts had him trying to earn $15/month, he is doing quite well.

I think M is going to find that an 8GB touch will fill up awfully quickly (as his 4GB iPod has) and that he will wish he had waited and saved just a bit more for the 16GB.  Or that he had waited for another drop in price.  But its probably going to be another "live and learn".

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

My TV is getting a workout

When I went to turn on the TV a few weeks ago, I discovered it was unplugged.  I'm not sure how long it had been unplugged, but we think at least since sometime this spring.  This week though, major workout as we watch the olympics.  It's probably a good thing we don't have cable as that would just give me more hours to need to check out the olympics coverage (not that I want to watch hours of boxing, but I saw that there was some coverage I'd be interested in on channels other than NBC).

I'm actually rather impressed with how good our reception is at the moment, considering no cable and an old TV.  I realized the other day that our TV is now old enough to drink!  I guess we need to think about getting that converter box for the TV so it will continue to work next year (even though we might not notice for months...)


Monday, August 11, 2008

2nd 1st day of school this year

Does that make sense?  Today was A's first day of school for the year.  He's still working on making up his work from last week.  And getting a little confused - he brought home the wrong workbook for homework tonight - he was remembering that the math workbook was blue last year.  Well, this year math is some other color - how dare they??  Hopefully the teacher will let him do the math page in the morning or for homework tomorrow because we didn't go back to get it.

Then tomorrow A gets to go to his first day of gifted classes - he has classes in intro to Algebra, Discovering Engineering (building bridges and such) and Out of this World (space/astronomy).  Can you tell what sort of things A is interested in?  I'm sure A will come home with yet more school supplies he needs.  I'm really looking forward to being done with school supply shopping! - maybe by this weekend.


A sees London

They still have some of these old phone booths.  And there's a double decker bus in the background too.

A being silly.  With something in the background - houses of Parliament??
In the British museum.
Big Ben.  Looks like he got crossed with the leaning tower of Pisa today...
A didn't want to get too close to the horse - I guess maybe he read the sign.
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Sunday, August 10, 2008

Harry Potter on A's trip - more photos added

A's trip to London/Oxford included a good bit of Harry Potter. They had a talk from the Dumbledore stand-in from the first movies. He said in the first movie the only lines he had were "Welcome to Hogwarts" as the students went up the stairs.

Here's Dumbledore with A:

They also got sorted into various houses - A became a Billywig:

They played a rousing game of muggle quidditch:

They ended the week with a Hogwarts banquet, where they ate such things as witches broth, supreme of dragon with lizards' tails, blast-ended skrewts, mixed mandrake and finished off with fortescue sundae. A says it was all delicious. He did wish that we had packed his Harry Potter robe and wand, but he was able to borrow one of each from a fellow student (and not everyone had HP gear anyway).

* Finally got photos to post. Enjoy

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Thursday, August 07, 2008

A's home

It's good to have him back home. I picked up A and my mom at the airport this evening - almost perfect timing - I got there less than 5 minutes before they came up the escalator from the "secure" area. We had to wait a bit for A's luggage to come through (stupid system - you have to retrieve your luggage, clear customs with it, and then recheck it through to the main baggage claim - all because they now have international flights coming in at the far terminal, not the older "new" international terminal, where it used to work smoother). Anyway, I was there less than an hour, so not too bad - we got out of there about 2 hours after their flight landed.

I can't wait to hear more about the trip, but A was exhausted - it was 2 am London time by the time we got back home and he hadn't slept on the plane. I'm looking forward to spending some time with him tomorrow and letting him catch up on his sleep.

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Wednesday, August 06, 2008

The One Kid Summer

While the temperature is still definitely summer (way too definitely for my taste, high 90's today and still 85 at 9pm), summer as the kids and the school system define it - is over. Done. Finis. It's been a rather odd summer because for much of the summer there has only been one kid in residence - I can only count 3 full weeks (other than our vacation) with both kids here full time - and those weeks were spread out.

Week 1 - both kids here
week 2 - A at day camp 8-3 everyday
week 3 - M at overnight camp
week 4 - A at overnight camp for 3 days
week 5 - both kids here, getting ready for vacation
week 6 & 7 - vacation
week 8 - both kids here - everyone recovering from jet lag
week 9 & 10 - A off with my mom

Either because they didn't see as much of each other much of the summer or because they are growing up or because we are dull and boring, the kids actually wanted to spend time with each other on vacation. They sat next to each other on trains voluntarily and without fighting! Amazing. Wonderful. It meant that D and I could have our own conversations.

A is coming back home tomorrow and I'm ready to see him again. It hadn't struck me when they were planning the trip, but this is the longest I've gone without being with one of the kids - 16 days. I would have expected M to be the one gone longer first, being older - but that's not how it worked out. D and I went off without the kids a few years ago for 10 days - but this is almost a week longer. I think its hitting me more since I have to keep explaining to people that no, A is not here to start school this week. I'm going to go pick him up tomorrow evening (and hope that the forecasted afternoon/evening thunderstorms don't delay the plane) - and then we'll play it by ear for school on Friday. I'm thinking of keeping him home to recover from jetlag, but we'll see how things go....


Monday, August 04, 2008

First Day of School - 2008

Well, at least it was the first day of school for M (and first day with students for D).  Since A is still gone, his first day will have to wait.  

I can tell the kids are getting older as I didn't even think to get a photo of M this morning (not that he would have wanted me to).  He was happy that he would get to show off his Japanese dragon t-shirt and necklace and his Japanese manga book - but he would be the first to point out that it doesn't mean he was happy to be back at school.  

M is still a bit shaky on exactly what he needs for each class, since despite my request that he write down what each teacher wants in his agenda - he left the agenda in his locker all day and didn't write down much of anything.  So this evening we found a few folders, covered a few books and I wrote a few (more) checks.  The only thing I know that he needs that we don't have is a compass.  

It was a very quiet day at home today - just me and the cats from 7:45 til 5:45.  M had an after-school class today, so D picked him up on the way home.  M signed up for a "video game design" class, but he says it is really going to be more like a club, discussing games and playing games.  Why can't they say that??


Sunday, August 03, 2008

School starts tomorrow

It's hard to believe that its that time already, but here we are - one more night before school starts.  

We've had open house for both kids.  M's was rather a whirlwind as we were trying to get through quickly so we could go pick up Shadow from the vet.  In all that, I forgot to take notes of what he needs for various classes.  I have lists from some teachers, but not all.  And, of course, he doesn't have a schedule yet, so we have no clue which connections (art, PE, technology, etc) classes he has this 9 weeks.  M is supposed to write down what all else he needs in his agenda for me.  It's also a bit confusing as to what he is supposed to have as some classes want individual 3 ring binders, but not others.  And he has been told he is NOT to have a zippered binder (which he was required to have last year).  Confusing!

Then there was A's open house - interesting in that A wasn't there.  I had to explain numerous times that no, he wasn't there and wouldn't be there at school on Monday.  He's still in jolly olde England for another 4 days.  He will probably not go to school on Friday due to jetlag, but we'll leave that up in the air.  So A has a few papers he has to sign once he shows up at school.  I think I know what all he needs for his 4th grade class.  

Oh, and A's class looks like a great class.  He has a bunch of good kids and good students (and involved parents) in his class this year.  The school is doing an accelerated math program for the 4th graders (where theoretically they will do 4th, 5th and 6th grade math during the 4th and 5th grade years - making them ready to start 7th grade math in 6th grade).  They chose to implement this by putting all the advanced math 4th graders in one class.  Leading to one great class of kids.  Now, all the kids in his class aren't going to be doing the advanced math.  There are at least 6 I can pick out and maybe up to another 6 who will be in this group - out of a class of about 25 kids.  I think they are still working out exactly how this will work, but they will do some work as a whole class and then another teacher will come in and work with the advanced group as a whole and individually also.  I'll be interested to see how it all works out.

A has another open house that he will be missing also - his Challenge open house for the gifted center.  They have open house Thursday night, as A is flying back in.  D will go to that and turn in forms (at least one of which A will have to sign next week) and get A's schedule, while I head to the airport and pick up A and my mom.  Busy day.

M is theoretically ready for school - supplies bought, open house visited, backpack packed, etc.  But he says he is not ready to go back to school.  Maybe because summer was longer when I was a kid, but I was always at least mostly ready to go back to school and see my friends.  Ready or not, though, school starts.  in 11 hours.


Saturday, August 02, 2008

Snake bit

It appears that Shadow got snake bit.  Or at least that is the vet's best guess.  He seems to be well on the mend now, after 3 trips to the vet, including one overnight visit (with 2 postponements in my picking him up).  It's been a long week for poor Shadow.  

Monday morning when we got up Shadow was napping in the closet on the laundry.  A bit different - he's never chosen that place before, but ok.  But then I noticed that he hadn't moved in several hours.  Hmmm.  I brought him some food and he ate it, so that was good.  Finally around lunchtime I saw him walking and noticed he was limping.  Huh - not so good.  I couldn't find any obvious problem, so I initially thought we'd just wait and see.  A few hours later, it seemed he was limping more, so I called the vet.  No appointments that afternoon, but I got an appt for the next morning.  Nothing seemed urgent at that point - I thought maybe he had sprained his foot.

Tuesday morning, he was limping even more.  Good thing we were headed to the vet.  I made M come along to help corral Shadow.  The vet pokes and prods him.  His left foot is swollen and sore.  The vet thinks it is either a broken bone (probably from jumping off something too high) or an infected cat bite.  She prods some more and thinks she finds a wound on the bottom of his foot - so she takes him off to shave his foot and get a better look.  She comes back with the option of sedating him and draining the pus from his foot or having us do hot compresses at home.  She thinks either would work, but that the opening another wound on his foot would be more painful for him.  So, off we go with antibiotics and anti-inflammatory meds.  I do hot compresses on his foot 6 times that afternoon/evening.

Wednesday morning I can't tell if his foot is more swollen or not, but we do the hot compress.  By lunchtime, though, it is clear that his foot is more swollen, so I call the vet and they tell me to bring him in and drop him off.  So off we go again.  After dropping Shadow off, M and I head to the library.  I was hoping to be able to pick Shadow back up on our way home, but instead I get a call that they would like to keep him overnight.  They sedated him and drained out a good bit of pus, but they want to keep an eye on him.  They tell me I can pick him up after 9 am on Thursday.

Thursday morning, I decided to call and see if Shadow was ready.  They go off to check and I'm told that they would like to do another compress on him and can I wait to pick him up until after lunch.  Hmmm.  Slight change on my plans for the afternoon, but ok.  We're about to head out to get him around 2 when I decide maybe I should call and check again.  Nope, they want to keep him until after 4pm.  Urrggh.  That's going to be tight.  We have M's open house at 4:30 - on the far side of the county.  M and I dash through open house, talking to his teachers but bringing home all the paperwork to fill out and get to the vet's a few minutes after 6.  I had called ahead to tell them that I was on my way and to please wait for me.  Shadow's foot is still quite swollen, but not nearly so badly as before.  We're instructed to give him warm water foot baths and massage his foot.  They say he doesn't mind this.   She wants to recheck him on Saturday morning.

Hah! - Shadow certainly doesn't like warm foot baths at home.  It takes 2 people - one to hold his front and one to hold his foot in the bath (and keep the other rear foot from gaining purchase and scooting him out of there).  

This morning M and I took Shadow back to the vet, for his 3rd visit (our 4th trip out there).  She is quite pleased with how well the swelling is going down - says there is still edema, but no more pus.  We have to continue the hot water baths on his foot through the weekend, but can then stop them (which is good since M and D will both be back at school fulltime then).  And, of course, finish out the course of antibiotics.

Shadow is clearly feeling better.  He is jumping up on things again, including the counter (ahem - not supposed to be up there!).  It's very good to have him back home again and feeling better!

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