28 August 2006

Things That Make Me Crazy: Volume 2

I've been thinking about Volume 2 of this little series for awhile. Writing down things as they make me crazy, then losing the paper they're written on. That in itself makes me crazy. So, here we go with today's list of things that make me crazy:

Grammar thing: Ish. Have you heard this? Ask a teenager a question, and you may get this answer: "Ish." Now, what the heck does this mean? Generally, it means "kind of" or "sort of" or "to a certain extent". It can also mean "I don't know" or "so-so". Exact meaning may vary depending on content. If you're new to this, here's an example:

"How was the math test?" asks mom.
"Ish," responds teenager.
Translation: Brace yourself, mom.

Fashion thing: T-shirt tails. Have you seen these? If you have a teen-aged girl in your vicinity, no doubt you've noticed that they have t-shirt tails these days. It is no longer ok to just wear your t-shirt loosely hanging over your shorts or jeans. You must gather up any excess fabric and secure it (either in the back or on the side: your choice) with one of the 10-15 multi-colored elastic hairbands you have worn around your wrists since last June. After securing the fabric, you may then tuck the resultant "tail" up under the shirt, or leave it sticking out. Hence the name: t-shirt tails. While picking my DD up at school the other day, I observed that every girl was sporting one. (Special note: Moms apparently should NOT wear t-shirt tails.)

Life thing: The rain droplets that accumulate on your windshield in between swipes of the windshield wipers. Know what I'm talking about? I can't stand it! For this reason, I always run my wipers on the "spastic" setting, even during the gentlest of showers. No drops! No drops!

So do I feel better now? Do I feel relieved of the stressful Things That Make Me Crazy, Volume 2? Am I ready to let go and move on?


25 August 2006

Three Things That Are No More

On the way home from the LSS where I teach today, I was contemplating events of the week. Three things that did exist are no more, as of this week:

  1. Bazzill Tanner has been discontinued. I thought my world had come to an end when I got this call. Not only is Tanner one of my personal favorite colors, it is heavily featured in at least two of my upcoming classes for next quarter. Nothing can take the place of Bazzill Tanner, in my book, er...scrapbook.
  2. The planet Pluto is no longer a planet. Of course, Pluto is still out there, as far as I know, but it has officially been de-classified to something else of lesser status. Our planetary models are now out-of-date. Little children learning about the solar system will now have to put a blank sticky label over any mention of Pluto the planet in the science book. Pluto-huggers unite!
  3. Our waterbed is dry. Sprung a leak and had to be drained. I have no place to sleep, except in the cavity of the plastic liner. Or the couch. Or the unbelievably hard "guest bed". One night in the guest bed gave me a clearer understanding as to why most of our overnight visitors never return.

What does all this mean? Where will it lead? What's next? One can only wonder.

Please, Bazzill, not Leapfrog.

22 August 2006

Fair 2006

My family camps at the fair. This means that we go to the fair for at least a portion of 11 days. My DH and I don't have time to go every day, but my parents and DD do. People often ask what in the world we do for so many days. My answer is this: the longer you stay, the more there is to see and do. As much time as I've spent at the fair, I still haven't begun to see it all.

One of the little gems of going to the fair for so many years is captured in this photo. For nearly 10 years, DD has had her arm or face painted by the same gentleman, and it seems like he's always wearing a plaid shirt. Sometimes he brings other people with him to help with the painting, but she always waits for him. She goes to see him almost every day of the fair, and on the last day he always gives her a free design. Visiting the same artist every fair is a little thing, but it's one of things that makes the fair special to us.

The sum of a hundred little things like this one is why we love the fair. It's why we get excited each year deciding which contests we'll enter. It's why we love the chug-chug-chug sound of the campground shuttle tractors starting up at 8:00 every morning. It's smelling the giant cinnamon rolls, walking up to the campground store to buy a jug of milk with Grandpa, and watching the draft horses pull their carts on the last Saturday night of the fair. It's why no matter how hard we try not to, we always cry when the fair is over each year. It's part of us, part of who we are.

The fair is over for this year. We cried. But we've already started our list for next year's fair. And just for fun, we'll be adding a new challenge to our list of entries: Household Cat Competition. Preparation begins today!

16 August 2006

Top 10 Reasons to Visit the Iowa State Fair!

Haven't been able to blog much lately because we're right in the middle of the Iowa State Fair! Most everything comes to a grinding halt around our house (well, at least we put off a few things) for 11 days each August. Camping at the fair is a tradition in our family, and DD has been camping with her grandparents she was a toddler. She also competes in the open class divisions at the fair and this year is bringing home a blue and red ribbon. More about competitions later!

DD wrote this list of Top 10 Reasons to Visit the Iowa State Fair a couple of years ago, and I think it's still pretty accurate!

10. Midway - rides, games, and more!
9. Camping - home on the hill...
8. Cinnamon rolls - bigger than life!
7. Free entertainment!
6. Corn Dogs - the official fair food
5. Over 200 food stands - mmm!
4. Check out the sand sculpture
3. The famous butter cow - moooo!
2. Cows and pigs and horses, OH MY!
1. IT’S THE IOWA STATE FAIR - the best in the nation!

Enjoy a few snapshots from the week, with many more to come. Posted by Picasa

09 August 2006

Ok, is this a bad idea?

I picked up this book at our public library last week. The title just grabbed me. What do you think? Lily seems to be spending an inordinate amount of time in the bathroom these days (see previous post). Perhaps she should be using her time more productively while there.

The author presents a fool-proof method for toilet training your cat. This does not mean litter training. It means actually having your cat use the toilet. Except for flushing. Cats apparently don't have the paw strength to flush.

The basic concept is this: You place your cat's litter pan next to the toilet and over the course of 21 (not 20, not 22) days, you raise the level of the litter pan using stacks of newspapers until it reaches the height of your toilet. Kitty gets used to jumping during this period. Then you move the pan to sit on top of the toilet seat. Next you replace the litter pan with a film of plastic wrap, duct-taped to the outside of the toilet seat and sprinkled with litter. (Oh, be sure to remove the plastic wrap before company comes.) After a few days, you cut a small opening in the plastic wrap, using less and less litter and a bigger and bigger hole in the plastic wrap until very soon, kitty is using the toilet. Except for flushing.

The advantages of this method are countless: ridding your house of the litter pan and resulting germs, eliminating the territorial issues associated with litter pans, and making your cat more comfortable in travel situations, to name just a few. Apparently trained kitties will use most any toilet, be it at Grandma's house or the mall. How handy is that?

Yes, you're right. It could be somewhat inconvenient for the family during the training period. So here's my idea for a sequel: How to Litter-Train Your Husband.

07 August 2006

Toilet Paper Bandit Strikes Again!

Authorities are seeking the public's assistance in stopping The Toilet Paper Bandit. Shown here in her first strike, she has committed at least three similar crimes in the past two days. With each strike, The Bandit appears to grow more bold, sometimes pulling entire rolls of toilet paper into the adjacent room.

"We're very concerned," commented the homeowner. "The Bandit even appears to be eating small pieces of toilet paper at the scene. A diet rich in fiber is important, but we feel she is taking her veterinarian's advice too literally."

In an effort to discourage The Bandit, the homeowners have taken to squishing all toilet paper rolls. This effort has had little effect. In addition, the family has spent considerable time re-rolling the unrolled toilet paper, only to find it unrolled again a short time later, presumably the work of The Bandit.

The Bandit has gray stripes, an innocent look on her face, and reportedly wears white tennis shoes and gloves. Anyone with information about how to stop The Toilet Paper Bandit is urged to contact the homeowner immediately.

Posted by Picasa

02 August 2006

Organizational Tip: Scrapbook Your Planner

I'm a very organized person, but I've been struggling lately with making the transition between digital and paper organization systems. When I worked in corporate America, I was absolutely wed to my Franklin planner. Never left home without it. My slow spiral downward began a couple of years ago, when I put away my Franklin planner with the idea that I would totally convert to Outlook, even for task management.

Outlook has worked well for our calendar, but not for my to-do lists. I've found myself using sticky notes and writing on scraps of paper, which is not how I like to function.

So this week I've been reading a lot about the new Memory Dock system, which is a complete organizational system for scrapbookers. One component is similar to a Franklin planner, except that it has sections specifically for scrapbookers. I considered purchasing the planning tools, but I don't need the calendar sections and the other sections didn't seem to totally meet my needs. I've also been reading on 2Peas about some people who've altered their Franklin planners. I started thinking about both of these things and wondered...What can I do with the planning system I already have?

So I ran to the Franklin store and picked up 24 blank tabbed dividers and lined paper. I made clear labels for each month on the computer. I created additional labels for scrapbooking (page ideas, journaling notes, etc.), for my work and volunteer activities. I made a little sketch template for the page idea section as well as my own to-do list templates, divided by work, family, scrapbooking, etc. The lists can just be moved ahead in my planner, and when I run out of room (or finish everything!!) I'll just print new ones.

Once I finished setting it all up, I covered the front of each divider with my very favorite patterned paper, and now I have my own little customized planner. I think I have come up with a system that will actually fit the life I'm living now. I already feel more organized and in control! And that's a very good thing, indeed.
Posted by Picasa

01 August 2006

Fun with Really Old Fabric Paint

There was a time a few years back when lots of people were using fabric paint on sweatshirts, tee-shirts, and tote bags. (Well, maybe not lots of people, but I was, anyway.) Do you remember this? I painted seasonal sweatshirts for me and for my daughter (some were even matching), and I even gave a few to lucky recipients as gifts. One year I was particularly daring and took a set of matching painted sweatshirts to the state fair in competition. Even got a blue ribbon and red ribbon, thank you very much.

Then the craze ended and suddenly I stopped decorating sweatshirts (and, to dd's relief, also stopped wearing my creations). But what to do with this large tub of fabric paint which I stumbled upon this morning?

It occurred to me: Can you use this stuff on paper? Answer: Yes! The applicator tip is very tiny and lends itself quite nicely to the little doodley-type dots which are popular now.

So if you have a stash of fabric paint, pull it out and dust it off. Then see what you can do on your scrapbook pages and cards. Remember: drying time is required, preferably in a cat-free zone.

And even though the instructions say fabric paint is washable, I don’t recommend putting your layouts in the laundry.