Saturday, January 31, 2009

Another Week, Gone!

First off, to answer a couple of questions.

Whim: Tired of hockey? HELL YES!!! I'm so freaking sick of hockey right now I think I'd personally like a year of NONE! However, that won't happen OR work. Tay's rather burnt out right now as well, which is weighing heavily on what team we decide to let her try for next year. The comp(etition) team that she'd really excel on, has 5 skates a week, not to mention "dryland" (conditioning) and "chalk time" (strategy talks with the coach). There's NO WAY we're going to manage that. And Tay feels overwhealmed right now, this year, with as much hockey as we've been dealing with. It'd be abso-freaking-lutely impossible to manage 5 skates a week, plus conditioning, PLUS "chalk talk" times, AND do anything else, such as have friends, do schoolwork, etc. I don't see how any of the parents manage it, either. Esp. those who have multiple kids on ice. Anyway, the over-abundance of ice-time this past month has also led Scott and Tay to decision to NOT participate in Spring League this year. While they've both said that a part of them will miss doing that (it's all games, no practices, twice a week), they've agreed with me that we need a couple of months off this year between hockey's end and soccer's beginning. So, we'll end hockey in March, have April and May off, then soccer starts in June and runs 2 months. Busy, yes, but not as bad as this past year's been.

Peter: Yeah, _I_ did better than 1 zucchini here at my house this summer, but those almost all got promptly eaten. (I shredded the largest one for casserole-usage this winter.) However, the FIL wanted a loaf of zucchini bread made out of HIS zucchini. *grin* He doesn't bake, so he turned the zuke over to me to shred and freeze and bake for him. Ok. I got a smaller loaf out of it for Tay and I, as well. *chuckle* Really though, NOBODY did terribly well with zucchini this year, around here. It was too dang moist. Too much rain was causing the zukes to rot on the stem before they got big enough to eat. *shrug* The fact that we (FIL and Myself) got 2 zucchini large enough to shred, and the 4 or 5 smaller eating-size zucchini _I_ got, means that WE had a pretty decent harvest this year, comparatively. (MOST of the gardeners at my work love zucchini and always have an overabundance to share. I think only ONE other woman at work reported ANY harvestable zukes, and she had only 1! Just too moist this past summer!)


So, an update on how the past week has been. Um, the past week..... I'm not really sure I recall. *chuckle* Just so busy with such normal "stuff" that I don't even recall most of what happened this past week.

Really, the only thing out of the ordinary was the eye dr. appointments Tay and I had at the end of the week. Thursday was Tay's appointment. She's still got "eagle eyes". This means that her educational issues are not due to being unable to read either a chalk-board OR the letters in a book. Even her past issues of "transposing" her letters has decreased, mainly with practice reading and being more aware of her need to "slow it down" when she reads. The Dr. didn't think there's any basis there for dyslexia. Good! Kinda wish the result HAD been as simple as Tay needing reading glasses, but it also means a definitive answer to that part of the question at least. (This coming week Tay has her hearing check, just to make sure it's not her ears that are unable to hear what's being said.)

Friday (yesterday) I had MY eye check-up. It's been 4 years since I've been to see an eye dr. It went well. My eyes have changed only fractionally. The right eye got fractionally worse, the left eye stayed the same (it'd gotten fractionally better 4 years ago, from the appointment prior to THAT). Therefore, the dissonance between my two eyes is closer now than it has been in a long time. (To put it into contact-lense prescription terms, I use a -425 in my left eye, a -250 in my right eye. 10 years ago, it was -450 in my left and -225 in my right.) I've ordered a new pair of glasses, and the Dr gave me a trial pair of contact lenses to see if they'll be comfortable for me. I go back in on Friday to confirm or change the contact lenses. So far, so good.

In the past I've always gone with colored contacts. I usually chose "evergreen" contacts because I wanted green eyes. I decided that as I've stopped coloring my hair, and am finally getting to like my natural hair color (probably JUST in time for it to start going gray), I may as well try to get to the point where I like my natural eye color as well. *chuckle* After all, it's been the eye color I've been seeing in the mirror for over 4 years, covered over with glasses. Maybe seeing them in the mirror WITHOUT glasses will allow me to finally accept them as they are, instead of always wishing they were different. (Besides, when I think analytically, my eyes are pretty cool in that they change color a bit with my moods, from gray when all's calm and quiet, to nearly-green when I'm really torqued about something. Blue is the average middle. Aqua when I'm sad.) Once my glasses come in, I'll try to get a couple of new pics taken of me, to share: with my old glasses, with my new glasses, with contacts. *chuckle* Esp. since I didn't do a "birthday" picture this year.


Things have been pretty quiet at work this past week, for which I'm grateful. We'll see if the coming week is as quiet.


It's the end of the second quarter/first semester today. Grades are supposed to be in. Tay's supposed to have finished lesson 80 and taken the corresponding test. She's only finished through lesson 65 so far. Which means the grades for this quarter will end up being an Incomplete. Her "teacher" said that this is ok, as long as I get the grade to her when Tay DOES finish up the lessons. But, we're going to have 3 non-lesson week days this coming week. The 5th and 7th graders all have testing to go to on Tuesday and Wednesday which will take up all our schooling hours for those two days. Then on Friday Tay's got her hearing test, her next meeting with her therapist (L.), and then I have my contact-lense follow-up that afternoon. It's going to be so busy that we won't be able to fit in any schooling. Which leaves only Monday and Thursday for actual lessons. *sigh*


On top of the busy-ness (which, other than my eye appointment yesterday morning, I actually sat around and watched TV all day and didn't do anything else as I was too tired from lack of sleep), I was up at the University today to work at the concession stand selling ball-game food for the duration of the U's women's basketball game. Scott worked the Concession stand on Thursday, I worked tonight, covering for another team-mom who's not had any other chances to see a wrestling match for her oldest child. (She's got 3 kids, the oldest is in wrestling through his HS and his team leaves tomorrow for state, or something. This was the ONLY match she's NOT been so heavily schedualed for that she couldn't make it. Then the concessions were schedualed and she was going to have to miss it. I volunteered to take her place.) ANYWAY, there were supposed to be 6 of us working the concession stand tonight (from 2 pm, to start setting up, to 7 pm for closing down). Only 3 of us showed. The 3 of us got along well, and had a good time, and brought in LOTS of money for our team, but we're all rather disappointed in the other 3 people who apparently felt themselves above the needs of the team and didn't show up to help out. (Oh, and we finished clean-up by 6 pm, no less!)

It was made clear to us by the Team Manager that with 17 girls on the team, every girl would need ONE parent to pull ONE shift, and ONE girl would need a parent to pull 2 shifts (or both parents to pull a shift each). One of the other girls wound up with BOTH her Mom & Dad working Thursday's shift with Scott. Really, there shouldn't have been ANY problem for one parent from every other girl to pull a single 5 hour shift (the remainder of the shifts are March 7th). BUT, some people just can't seem to wrap their minds around the fact that this is fundraising FOR OUR GIRLS! This is money we're working for in order to have LESS we've got to pay for out of pocket. That means, this money we raised tonight will help cover ice-time for our girls. And ice-time has gotten REALLY expensive! But again, some people seem to think they're above all that. (And, they're the ones who gripe loudest when a money-call goes out, because fundraising efforts weren't sufficient.)

So, somewhat peeved with a couple of parents from our team, tonight.


Weather-wise..... Things have cooled down a bit again. It's been ranging from about 15 deg. ABOVE zero to -20 at night. But, since that cold-spell we had at the beginning of January, I don't think we've seen colder than -25 again. And that's just fine!!! Most everybody I've talked to (esp. those of us who've lived around here for a good long while) agrees that we'd love it if temps ranged only from -25 to +20 this time of year. Any warmer, the roads are too slick. Any colder, it's too cold to be outside for more than the absolute minimum. But, February is still to come. It COULD get cold again. We're not REALLY "out of the woods" as far as extreme cold goes, until March.


We never DID find the seeds, so as of now I'll be ordering more seeds blindly not knowing what we may find left over from last year. *sigh* I already told Scott that this coming summer, as soon as we're done planting, I'm bringing the leftover seeds home with me to keep track of. I haven't yet made the order, though, or even written up what I'm going to order.

Ok. I think that pretty well covers it. I've gotta get off here and help Tay with dinner. (Pre-made, frozen pizza; salad; maybe some garlic bread.)

Have a Blessed Day!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Birthdays, and other Events of a Week...

So the week started off with the MIL's birthday. She turned 60. We called, hoping to go over and give her the birthday card we got her, but she wasn't home. We DID go over Monday evening, just for a bit.

We had a LOT of hockey last weekend, as well. It was the "MLK weekend tournament" 1 game on Saturday, lost. 2 games on Sunday, lost. Monday, we had practice in the evening. Tuesday I had to return to work. Spent Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday dealing with a return of the work-stressors.

Thursday was also my birthday. The "big" 30. I don't feel any older. That's fine. Some days I feel MUCH older, regardless of my actual years. *wry smile* Scott and Tay each got me a card, Tay's was funny, Scott's was sweet. Scott also got me the first season of Stargate: SG1 on DVD. *grin* I LOVE that show!

Friday, we had the first REAL appointment with Tay's therapist. She's pretty cool, and though Tay was very nervous about going and talking to this "complete stranger", she felt much better about seeing L. AFTER the appointment. We're going to take Tay in every other Friday, at 1, to meet with L. Eventually, as things hopefully improve, we'll reduce the frequency. Having Tay see L. regularly will also put into motion the behavioral side of getting Tay enrolled in the "YESS" school. That is the school (essentially a public school) run by the Family Centered Services of AK program there on their "campus". It's for kids who have some major behavioral issues, as well as educational issues, that don't allow them to "fit in" to the traditional public school environment. Tay's behavioral issues aren't so major in and of themselves as to allow for her admittence, but possibly, along with her educational issues (which I really need to set up some appointments for this week), will be sufficent to get her admitted. They'd pick her up via bus in the morning, and she'd have breakfast at the school, she'd do the schooling, have lunch at the school as well, then some likelyhood of after-school activities including regular appointments with L. Then the bus would bring her home in the evening. There's a part of me that feels that handing her over to the school this much of the time may be wrong, but I also realize that what we're going through right now isn't exactly "right" either. When it comes to the point where an entire household "hates" each other on a regular basis because of some depression issues, and school troubles, then help is needed. And if that means handing my daughter over to a smaller specialty "public" school a little more often, knowing that they can help her work through her behavioral issues AND school issues, then so be it.

Friday night, we went out to dinner for my birthday. We went to Lavelle's Bistro. It's downtown by the courthouse, on the ground floor of the Merriot's Springhill Suites hotel. DAMN! That was GOOD food! Scott had prime rib that was an inch thick and probably roughly 10 inches in diameter, cooked PRECISELY how he likes it best! Also a baked potato, the best ceasar salad he said he's ever tasted, and a shared dish of fried calamari. (He and Tay had never tried calamari, and the one time I tried it as a teen, I found it gross. Evidently it was simply over-cooked and over-flavored that time. This time it was delicious!) I had Alaskan halibut with coconut basmati rice and a mango salsa, and for the "first course" I had fresh-made cream-of-broccoli soup (the soup of the day). Tay had a chef salad for start, and a half-"rack" of roast duck with a raspberry glaze over roast garlic mashed potatoes. All 3 meals also included a yummy mix of LIGHTLY steamed fresh veggies. (Even Scott liked them, and he doesn't usually eat cooked carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli. That's what this was, and it was good!) Scott and I each took a bite of Tay's duck and almost wished we'd ordered that instead of our own meals. Ours were certainly delicious, but that duck...... Dang! Melt in your mouth incredible! Tay and I also each had dessert: the special of the day, Apple Pie creme brulee.

For me, Creme brulee is THE dessert I want most on my birthday. Not birthday cake of ANY sort, not even really cheesecake. I crave creme brulee! I've had some incredible creme brulees, and this one TOPPED the charts! Just...... WOW!

Saturday, yesterday, we had 2 MORE hockey games. Lost both of them. Today, Tay's got another hockey game. We don't expect to win. It's not that Tay's not doing her job in the goal net, but the reality is that she's about the ONLY one on the team who DOES do their job with any consistency. At any given game, one or two other girls may "bring their A game" but, the whole team doesn't come out prepared to kick some butt and take names. Tay, consistently, is the ONLY team-member to play at the level needed for any success. Scott and I have kinda lost count of how many shots she's taken on her in this season, but suffice it to say, yesterday's second game saw over 50 shots on her (we're not sure how MANY over 50, but at least 50) and she saved all but 8. She's got an over all save average of about 92% (give or take 1 percent). That's right up there with NHL goalies save percentages. If she keeps it up, in a couple of years she's going to have college scouts watching her closely for the possibility (likelyhood) of recruiting her for their school's women's hockey team. (Now if we can only get her to keep on top of her schooling as well! Really blow the scouts away in a couple of years!) Anyway, unfortunately because the rest of the team either doesn't have the experience, or doesn't have the heart to play well every time, we have little chance of winning this season. Tay's still hoping for ONE shut-out this season, though. And she's got the skill.

Today, ending a week, is my FIL's birthday. He turns 62. He's officially eligable for Social Security now. *wry smile* I made him a loaf of zucchini bread with the ONLY zucchini to come out of the garden at his place this year. *chuckle* (No, it didn't "keep" all this time, I'd shredded it, labeled it, and frozen it.) That's the sort of thing he likes for his birthdays. He's not a big fan of them. *wry smile*

Anyway. I'd better get off the computer. I've gotta start getting ready for work.

Have a Blessed Day!

Friday, January 16, 2009

What A Difference A Week Makes!

Wow.... So this time last week, it was starting to warm up a bit, but it was still pretty cold. And as of last Thursday, it was still ice-foggy as hell.

Today, I went out at just before 11 am, and it was 45 degrees ABOVE zero, Fahrenheit. That's a difference of 90 degrees in a week's time. The snow's melting off the roofs, there's a constant dripping sound in the back of the house as the water drips down the downspout. (In fact, I need to find out from the hubby where the bottom half of the downspout is, so we can keep any more water-dug ruts from forming along the back of the house.) The outside freezer has been plugged back in for the duration of this warm spell. It's also windy as hell. The christmas lights are tapping against the front of the house constantly. The roads are slicker than snot on a doornob. Really, it's a good thing I've not gone to work this week. Scott said he's glad that I'm not out on the roads with them in this condition.

The oddest part of it all though, is to step outside you'd think it was March. And yet, I haven't had my birthday yet. My middle sis hasn't had her birthday yet. This just isn't normal. It's really unnerving. To let the dogs out needing little more than a jacket (and only that, today, because of the wind). It's a definite Chinook blew in, and as nice as it feels, and as nice as it is to be able to get back outside after that long cold-spell, it just doesn't feel "right". It feels odd, and wrong.

But, the dogs and kid are loving it. This means they can go outside and play and stretch their legs again. *sigh* Pros, and Cons. Always pros & cons.


Speaking of pros & cons, here's a list I've written up in my head, the past couple of days:

Pros of going back to work:

* I need to pay off my car
* still making enough money to make it worth my while to work
* will get to apply for the NP job again if it opens, as an "internal" applicant
* Should something happen to Scott or his job, I'd have at least SOME funds to fall back on, and a job already in place.
* It does give me at least the appearance of some minimal financial self-security.

Cons of going back to work:

* I realized that the reasons I STARTED working all those years ago are gone or changed. (I started because I had little other way or reason to leave the house and be around other adults, I needed a break from my child.)
* I'm getting stuff done around the house here that I haven't had time to do in a long time.
* I'm not feeling stressed, my back doesn't hurt, my head doesn't hurt.
* I'm getting to sleep in every morning, therefore I'm well rested, FINALLY.
* I'm enjoying getting to do "optional" things, like cooking real meals for dinner, baking goodies and bread, and planning for my garden BEFORE it becomes a "must do now" stressor.
* Tay and I have time to work through her school work at a more leasurely pace. (She's still fighting me somewhat, but that's just Tay, not the school work.)
* I'm not constantly upset and bitter over the politics of the workplace. Not ranting every night to the hubby about "You wouldn't believe what so-and-so did today!"
* My insurance through my work is now pretty much worthless, with Scott's co insurance being so much better than mine.
* If/when prices go higher again, it will eventually come to the point where I'm spending more to go to work than I'm actually bringing home every paycheck.
* I will have to drive to & fro every day again, on often-nasty road conditions.

What it comes down to is that I realize that if I have the chance to quit, I think I'm going to take it. The Pros of staying home, being a SAHM again, far out-weigh the Pros of going back to work. I DO still want a job over here at North Pole Branch. That would be ideal for me: 20 hours outside of the house every week, close enough that driving time is nil (or, even walking time for that matter), and less co-worker angst & politiking to deal with. But, at this point, I'm wondering why I don't just say "fug it" and try for a position there as a 10 hour page again, if the possibility comes open to me again. We don't need my insurance, it's close enough I can forgo the car for all except shopping and dr's appointments, and it's light enough hours that I could return to being the mostly-homebody that I am.

Of course, the reality is that we DO need to get my car paid off first. And even WITH my car paid off, I'm still making enough right now that it's almost infeasible for me to quit my job. That loss of approx. $800 a month WOULD set us back a bit, and it buys some of the nicities that Scott, Tay and I have gotten used to having.

But..... This week have definitely opened my eyes to my change in priorities. I still don't thoroughly ENJOY homeschooling Tay. But it'd be nice to have the actual time to do a truly decent job at it, as I have this week. I DO still enjoy working around other people, but that doesn't mean I "need" to spend 30 hours a week at it, with another 10 spent driving on often-nasty road conditions. Now, I'm realizing that yeah, I don't want to quit working altogether, but a definite decrease in hours would be fantastic, and much appreciated by those who matter most (my family, my home).


In the mean time, what have I gotten done this week? Not a lot, and yet a couple of large-ish (for me) projects that have sat un-done for quite a while now as I didn't have a good, solid block of time to focus on them.

I have, since last winter, wanted to un-pack one of my biggest kitchen cabinets, and shift the 2 shelves, making space for a third level of shelving, and refill the 2 shelves, tossing what isn't needed or wanted, and getting some of my counter-top "clutter" up onto that third shelf. I did that yesterday.

For a good long while now I've wanted to go through the 8-foot-tall cabinet outside Tay's bathroom and clean it out. Tuesday I did that. The top 1/5th was full of a mish-mash of old toys, crafting materials for Tay (play-dough, watercolors), some cleaning rags, and old school pages and activities that got thrown up there for some odd reason. The next 2/5 were full, one shelf with my candle and incense supplies. (*grin* Those jar candles take up a lot of room!) The next shelf had an old box full again of odd crafting bits & pieces, a ball of crochet thread, some spools of sewing thread, buttons, a string of decorative foam apples (don't ask), just odds & ends. That shelf also had a mix of bath towels and hand towels for Tay's bathroom. It was a mess. Except for the shelf with my candle-stuffs (that gets reorganized about twice yearly anyway), I unpacked that section of cabinet and organized, and tossed, and folded and got it looking nice and orderly. The last 2/5 of the cabinet are where I've usually kept the bulk of my yarn and fabric crafting supplies. Now it's where most of my fabric crafting supplies are, as most of my yarn crafting supplies are in the shrenk here in the computer room. I went through, tossed some stuff, reorganized it altogether. It's much neater now, and has room for some of my crafting patterns, as I'll hopefully get those better organized today.

Today's plan is to go through my cookbooks. I've got far more than I'll ever use, and some I don't know why I bother with. Mom and Dad and Scott have given me some cookbooks in the past couple years that I know have recipes that I CAN and WILL use more often, but I also need to weed through and get rid of the cookbooks that I've never used and have no real intention of ever using. I also hope to go through my crafting pattern print-outs and hole-punch them and get them into one of the 3-ring binders I have, and put them into my crafting cabinet for storage.

This weekend, I'd LOVE to disassemble a bookcase in my room, weed out what's there (and all that's piled in front of it) and re-stabilize the bookshelf itself before re-filling it. (The shelf needs a new backing to "cross-brace it" as Scott years ago removed the backing to use that shelving unit as a TV & entertainment stand. It's about ready to fall over, at this point. But with a stabilizing piece of ply-wood or such will be sturdy enough to be safe again.)

Then, Tuesday it's back to work for me.


Since I haven't talked much about food lately, I'll spill on what I'm making for supper tonight.

Great-Grandma's Chicken "Noodle" Soup. It's really more like Amish style chicken & dumplings. Scott's Grandma (Tay's one remaining Great Grandma) used to make this all the time, from what I've been told. I know it'd be an easy way to feed a family as large as hers was on relatively little. One chicken carcass makes a VAT of chicken noodle soup. And she made the noodles from scratch on her kitchen table. Anyway, she stopped making it about a year or two after Scott and I got together. She just became too frail to deal with lifting the vat and straining the chicken from the stock in order to remove bones and such, and roll out the noodles..... (She only became too frail to do any cooking at all in the last 2 or so years. But this soup takes more muscle and strength than Grandma's had in a long time.)

And that's really all it is. One chicken carcass, placed in a big ol (3? 5? gallon) stock-pot. Covered with enough water to gently float the pieces. Maybe a bay leaf or two. (I add them to mine, Grandma had nothing but chicken and water in hers to start. I now know also that a dash of vinegar helps to draw necessary calcium from the bones, for added nutrient to your soup.) Simmer till the chicken is falling off the bone. Strain the chicken from the stock and set the stock to cool, making the fat more easily collected off the top. Once the meat cools sufficiently, seperate the meat from the bones & skin. Toss or dispose of the bones & skin in whatever way seems most appropriate to you. Shred the meat reasonably well by hand, and put it back in your vat, ready to have the chicken stock added back in once it's had the fat strained off. While the stock and chicken ar cooling, make your noodles.

Literally, Grandma would just add flour and egg and a bit of water to help bind, and mix it together till she had a workable dough, then she'd roll it out on her kitchen table. No oil, no salt. Just flour, egg and water. She'd slice the noodle dough into reasonably thin noodles, but she had a deft hand for getting consistently sized noodles with her pizza cutter. *grin* I can't cut a straight line to save my life. I've found that domino-shaped rectangles are a good compromize, and they don't wind up all "rat's-nest of noodles in the stock pot" when they're stirred about. These noodles also absorb QUITE A LOT of the stock, and become more dumpling-like anyway. So less, noodle-shaped and more "domino" shaped, it is.

Once you have the chicken and the stock back in the vat together, you can add diced carrot and celery and onion, if you'd like. I know Grandma would occasionally add come celery or a bit of onion if she had it to hand, but she didn't ever put in carrots. I'd prefer carrots myself, but Scott doesn't like cooked carrots at all. So I don't add them. (Once or twice, Grandma had just the chicken, the "stock" and the noodles, no veggies what-so-ever.) I prefer a bit of veggie in mine, but this isn't a "brothy" soup. It's really much sturdier, and thicker. Simmer the soup a good bit with the veggies (if you do add them) before you put the noodles in.

Don't add the noodles till about 20 minutes before the soup is done. The noodles thicken the stock quite a bit, giving it a real heft. Also, try not to stir the soup too much after you've added the noodles.

And seasoning wise, Grandma only ever used a bit of salt & pepper. I've added a bit of sage, a bit of savory, some thyme if I've got it, and those couple of bay leafs. But, it still shouldn't be STRONGLY flavored. (Ok, so Scott occasionally adds a dash of Tobasco sauce to his bowl for a bit of heat if he's in the mood. Tay likes a dash of lemon-pepper, as she doesn't like this soup much and thinks lemon-pepper makes EVERYTHING taste better.) Should be good old fashioned comfort food at it's best and sturdiest.

Anyway, those are the directions, as best I can give them, for Grandma's Chicken Noodle Soup.


I think that pretty well covers it for today. Gotta get back to school work.

Have a Blessed Day!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

NOW I Feel Sorry for Y'all!

Saw THIS article in the news this morning. Ok, now y'all can start whining to me about how cold it is. *chuckle* I'll believe ya.

And, FWIW, on the Great Plains where there's tons & tons of snow..... Part of me feels great sympathy (especially for the snow-plow workers), the other part of me WISHES we were getting that kinda snow fall. If nothing else, 60 inches of snowfall, as Bismark ND reports so far this year, is GREAT insulation for our houses. Keep the windows and doors and walkways shoveled, and let the snow insulate the rest of the house, I'd say. One wonders why an Igloo can be deemed appropriate winter shelter, until one has had the experience of climbing inside one. At which point a person realizes how beautifully insulating snow really is.

Anyway, Connie, Robin, Barefoot and Gina..... Y'all stay warm and bundled. Don't wanna hear any incidence of frost-bite from any of ya! Whim, I know how easily you get cold. Bundle up, sweety!!!! I hope you've got plenty of snuggly blankets to keep ya toasty. And a good supply of tea or cocoa or whatever other is your warm drink of choice.

Also FWIW, the temps here this morning (at 10:30 am) are 20 deg. ABOVE zero. Dang near warm enough to go out without a coat. ALMOST. Not quite but ALMOST. (I DID get a chuckle over the guy in that article in Florida, taking a walk at 40 degrees, geared up as warmly as I do at -40. THAT struck me as funny.)

Blessings. --Kati

Monday, January 12, 2009

"Hi's" and "Low's"......

So, there are some definite shifts going on. The high: the temperature has increased. This morning, we are up to (yes, I say "UP TO") -15 deg. F. That is -26 to you Brits. *grin* So, it was nice to go outside this morning and NOT feel like my nose was going to freeze off in 2 minutes while the dogs did their business. Instead, it took 8 minutes while I chased them down from a neighbour's yard and herded them home after they ran off. *chuckle*

Another high: I'm taking the week off work. The car trouble last week wound up with my car in the shop. It appeared to have a fuel leak, and the dealership recommended HIGHLY that I bring it in rather than risk an engine fire. Um. YEAH! Thing is, they told Scott that they wouldn't get my car INTO the shop till at least THIS Thursday (the 15th). Wow. That means a week without a car.

However, they got it into the shop almost immediately and called Friday evening to say it was done and I could come get it. I didn't have a way to go get it on Friday, so I went Saturday (when Scott could take me in) and picked it up. The "damage" ended up NOT being covered by my 10-year, 10,000 mile warrenty because it wasn't anything about the engine itself, or manufacturer's F-up. It WAS simply that last Saturday I'd left my car unplugged for almost an entire day, and that was sufficient to cause the already-shoddy (ready to fall apart at the seams) block-heater, oil-pan-heater, battery-pad, whatever-the-hell-else to quit working. So, Scott Ok'd the dealership to replace the block heater, said he can do the oil-pan-heater himself, and had already purchased and had on hand the new battery pad and battery. So, it was a "mere" $250 dollars to get my car back. (Also turned out that the fuel leak wasn't a fuel leak at all. But that the last couple of times I've had my oil changed in the car, the Jiffy Lube -or whomever-the-hell it was that Scott had do the oil change- didn't bother to replace the gasket between the oil filter and wherever it connects to. Apparently that little $.52 (52 cent) gasket has to be replaced EVERY TIME! So, from now on Scott's going to take my car to the dealership for oil changes. (The dealership also charges $10 less per oil change on cars they're qualified to sell, than do any of the chain oil-change places. So, it's simply more cost effective to have the dealership do the oil changes, than to take them to someplace like Jiffy Lube.)

Well, as I'd already told my boss that I wouldn't have my car back before probably Friday of this week, and maybe even Monday of next week..... *Shrug* To hell with it. I've already been cleared for the time off, I'm going to TAKE the time off. I've been stressed beyond belief with work lately, and I need a chance to do the "small" things around the house here. Things like organizing my crafting materials, weeding through my bookshelf, and some basic cleaning. Things like finishing up a crafting project or two. Things like some adolescent discussions with the kiddo.

And that's where the "lows" come in. Without going into any "embarassing" detail, Tay has reached another stage in puberty. At which point it is necessary to explain to her some more "skills" that must be learned. She's adamantly against growing up because she seems to think it means the abrupt end of her being who SHE is, and the abrupt beinging of her becoming a "girly girl". *shaking head* She's been yelling at me and freakish all weekend. And right now she's on restriction to her room till she elects to uncover her ears and listen to what I have to say on this most recent change. She's now been in there for 3 hours, refusing to listen to a damn thing I've got to talk to her about. Like it or not, I'm going to out-stubborn her on this. And I've got all week to do it in! *wry smile*

Anyway, so that's where we're "at" right now.

Hope y'all have a great week. Hopefully I'll get in another post sometime later.

Have a Blessed Day!

Thursday, January 08, 2009

We Made National News, Again!!!

So, it appears that the interior of Alaska (Fairbanks actually being mentioned) made national news again. It was on the main Yahoo News page this morning. I'm glad that this time the article was about "Extreme Alaska Cold Grounds Planes, Disables Cars" instead of the couple of times recently when it's been attempted shootings or bomb threats that made the news.

Anyway, this morning it was -47 at my place when I let the dogs out at 8:20 am. *Looking on online calculator really quick* Tori, Toasty, -47 F equates to -43.88 Celcius. So, really not too terribly different numbers, where the two are concerned. Just for laughs, -30 Fahrenheit is equal to -34.44 Celcius. SO yeah, if y'all in Britian start having temps in the -30's, I'm willing to sympathize completely. *grin*

My car wouldn't start at all yesterday. One of the things that simply MUST be done with vehicals around here is to "winterize" them. That means we may adjust the antifreeze and lubrication oil for the colder temps. We also put all these little specially made heating pads in our cars, one for the battery, one for the oil pan, one for the engine.... And those are plugged into a main electic receptical under the hood of the car, which is then plugged in to an extension cord reaching out from the car to a home or business electricty outlet. These heatting pads stay warm while the car is plugged in, keeping the necessary components of the car somewhat warm. Then of course, we run the car for a little while before we ACTUALLY take off, in order to let the engine come up to real running temperatures. Anyway, we'd been having some problems this year with the battery on my car going dead. Scott went on Tuesday and got me a new (REALLY good quality!) car battery and installed it. THEN we found out yesterday that the battery pad was defunct on my car and needed replacing. So, yesterday I didn't make it to work because the BRAND NEW battery had frozen up because the battery pad didn't work. *sigh*

I did get some stuff done around the house, though. Besides getting a full lesson done for Tay's schooling (and catching up on the previous day's lessons which WEREN'T completed), I washed the dog's blankets and bathed Jenny. (She'd vomited on her blanket, then was laying on the blanket even so. So she and the blanket were both rather ripe.) It's the first time in maybe 2 years that Jenny has had a bath. She wasn't terribly pleased, but she actually did ok. (No, she didn't look filthy either!!!! Her fur, for all that it's white, was only slightly dingy and off-white colored. It has a tendency to shed dirt and such pretty quickly though. Which is why it took me so long to actually need to give her a bath.) If I wasn't going in to work today, I'd be giving Puck a bath.

(My next-door-neighbour offered to give me a ride to work, and as time-sheets have to be in today, I accepted.)

Along with bathing Jenny and schooling Tay, I also got a load of dishes run, and organized (or, BETTER organized) 3 boxes of yarn that are sitting here in the computer room. Scott's been after me for quite a while to do something with the four boxes of yarn. I got rid of one of them all-together by organizing them into "Works in progress", "Full skeins" and "bits & pieces". The bits & pieces bin is the largest, with the full skeins box being next in size and the works in progress the smallest box. (NOT all my WIPS are in that box, though. At least one of them is in a plastic "shoe box" in my "crafting cabinet" which is just outside Tay's bathroom. Another is in a literal shoe box (from an old pair of Scott's boots), sitting behind my rocking chair in the living room. A third is in a tote bag, as that's the one I'm currently working on. And the box containing my unused skeins of yarn doesn't contain ALL my unused skeins of yarn. A good lot more are in the German cabinet I've shown in other pictures here. And I've got a couple tins of cotton kitchen yarn in the living room, as well as a basket containing a couple balls of cotton thread and a couple of uncompleted thread projects. BUT, with all that, I at least freed up a BIT of room in my crafting cabinet and got rid of one extra box (not a cardboard box, but a wierd shaped white basket type box) of yarn here in the computer room. I've got hopes of soon getting some of the yarn in these remaining boxes stored into this same cabinet as my other yarn and my fabric stash.

So, that's what I did yesterday. I feel like I actually got a good bit accomplished.


Just a small update on the baby. Scott talked to the Dad's Step-mom on Monday and she said that the little girl's name is Aliya (not sure how it's spelled). The baby was 1.6 pounds at birth. As of Monday, she was being taken off the ventilator/respirator thingy they had her on. Apparently (according to one of my coworkers who worked for years as a respritory therapist), the preemies are given some sort of drug/hormone that hopefully drastically speeds up the developement of their lungs. Once they've had all the dosages of the drug, if they respond well, they're taken off the ventilator/respirator. So, being taken off the thing on Monday was a good thing! (Also apparently, at birth the baby had been given a 10% chance of survival. That has increased considerably, from what I understand.) Last but not least, my coworker also said that the baby will not be sent back to Fairbanks before she reaches 4 pounds. Even then the Anchorage NeoNatal ICU may send her to the Fairbank's hospital's Pediatric's department for further care before she's actually released to go home. So, all in all some GOOD news, but she's obviously got a long road ahead of her. (Oh, and one OTHER "last bit". My coworker ALSO said that girl preemies have a lessened risk of prolonged medical issues as compared to boys. Boy preemies statistically have more medical problems through-out the course of their lives. So little Aliya appears to have some benefits on her side.)


Another little quick-bit. Mom just called and told me that there were apparently two fatalities on the Richardson Highway this morning. That's the highway I drive to town for work every day. Yes, the ice-fog is THAT thick. I'm hoping to hear from Scott soon, as I haven't yet talked to him this morning. Hearing about that sort of thing scares the sh** out of me, when I haven't had a chance to talk to him to know he's ok. I'm sure I would have heard from the cops by now if Scott had been involved in that accident, but even so. The pins & needles feeling isn't a good one. And as for the two people that DID die, there's a reasonable enough chance that I knew one or both of them, that I'm worried in a more general sense as well. We have approximately 80,000 people in the Fairbanks North Star Borough, from up in Ester and Fox, to out in Salcha, and everywhere in between (including Ft. Weinwright and Eielson AFB). But even with 80,000 people, it's still a "small" town. And the fact that the accident and deaths occured on the Richardson Hwy at rush-hour this morning means that it was quite possibly somebody who lives in or around North Pole, increasing the odds that I knew one or both of the fatalities. So yeah..... It's not a comfortable thought to hear of 2 deaths like that.

Ok. Enough morbidity and worries for this morning. I've gotta get a move on with Tay's schooling for today.

Have a Blessed Day!!!!

Sunday, January 04, 2009

A Quick Prayer Request....

So, for those of you who pray, please do. Some friends of ours got married this summer and promptly got married (that was the wedding where Scott was a complete ass). Anyway, this is the hubby's second child (the older one was the subject of a post of mine a couple of years ago when his Mom took off with him unbeknownst to the dad). This is the first child for the new wife though. Anyway, the baby was due in April. She was born today. She's been flown to a Neonatal unit in Anchorage. Please pray for her health and their safety as the new parents travel to Anchorage to be with their new little one.


Still Here, Still Cold.....

Only a moment to post this morning, and that because my car wouldn't start, so Scott's gotta warm up his truck to take me in to work. Anyway. It's still REALLY FREAKING COLD! I mean, it's not abnormally cold for our area, but it IS cold nonetheless. (Don't get me wrong, I'm no saint. I'm sitting here thinking Hawaii sounds really freaking good right about now.)

Anyway, it really hasn't warmed up much at all. I think we had about -35 the other day, but pretty much it's stayed at about -45 and colder. We had -50 here yesterday. At least one NP-er has reported -59 at their place. The closer you live to any of the rivers or sloughs, lakes or ponds, the colder it gets. I imagine the inlaws, living between a flight-pond/gravel-pit and a slough are sitting about -55 or so right now. Sucky. Of course, one of the other Dad's from Tay's team (and a guy that Scott has worked with at a former place of employment) was complaining yesterday that his place got down to -30. The coldest he's ever seen it at his place. I kinda snarked "let me cry you a river, it was -50 at my place this morning!!!" I know, it's "all relative", and there are places that this past week got down into the -70's, but, dude..... In the fairbanks area, when the rest of us are sitting in the cold bowl of the river-valley, don't whine at me when your place gets down to -30!

(Those of you in Minnesota or Maine that get down to -30 can whine to me, those of you in Alaska, suck it up! *wink* Those of you in anyplace south of the Mason Dixon, if it gets colder than -30 at your place, then we can probably safely assume that I'm esconced in a cube of ice this far north and whining to me about your cold temps will do NEITHER of us any good as hell will have officially frozen over. *wry smile*)

Anyway, doing our best to stay warm, and drive safe. I think that honestly, the driving is probably the worst thing about the temps dropping this cold. The ice fog is miserable to drive in, and not only does it make the driving dangerous, but it's that much worse if you DO have a breakdown or an accident, because then just being in a cold, un-heated vehical can kill ya.

Ok. Other than that, New Years didn't go QUITE as well as Christmas. The older nephew wound up at the ER because he stepped on a toothpick, driving it into his foot by 1/2 inch. His mom took him to the ER to have it removed and cleaned out, and it didn't even phase him after that. (She would have taken him to a regular ped. but this was after hours on New Years Eve, the ER was the only option open.) Anyway, that put her in a foul mood. MIL was in a foul mood as well. (MIL had "control" of the younger nephew and had brought the niece and SIL's boyfriend over to the inlaw's house for supper. But when they got there, they found that the diaper bag had been left at SIL's place, so MIL and the younger nephew went back for it. She really didn't have any excuse for being in a foul mood, she just was.) Anyway, Dan (the boyfriend) helped FIL make the crab, and everything was going well till SIL and MIL came back from their respective excursions. Then they sat at the table stuffing their faces and yelling at everybody and everything.

Tay got reamed because she DARED get a little peevish when she asked for the scissors for a fifth time before being listened to. MIL started yelling at Tay for DARING to get snarky, when Tay'd just asked NICELY 4 times while the MIL completely ignored her. SIL got pissy with those of us who dared to chastise her children for rolling their toy motorcycles over the table (where we were trying to eat) and the walls of the house, not 5 minutes after she'd yelled at them for the same thing. Then SIL sat there and was pissy with her older son all evening because of the toothpick, treating him as though he'd purposefully driven it into his foot just to inconvenience her, and lavishing affection on the baby and the younger nephew.

Mind you, both boys can be pills, but honestly the older of the two is less so at this point. And you could see the hurt on his face a couple of times when he was yelled at for something (asking if he could have more crab) while his younger brother was being praised for the same, or griped at for that un-planned trip to the ER. (Is a trip to the ER EVER planned???) I gave the kiddo a couple of extra hugs just because I could. And besides, I honestly like him better than his little brother at this point.

Anyway, so I could have done without all that on New Years. Well, then we left the inlaws early because FIL had to work the next morning. Scott and I came back here and sat watching hockey games all evening till the last 3 minutes of the New York Square countdown. Stayed up till 2, watching more TV before heading to bed. Tay spent till 1 am over at her best friend's house, shooting off fireworks. We all slept in the next day, but Scott did have to go in for almost a whole day of work. It just started later than normal, and ended later than normal.

Other than that, the weekend has been pretty much normal. Cold weather, a lost hockey game, a friend sleeping over last night, some cabin-fever-ish dogs, lots of hockey watching on TV, a decent movie or two......

Ok. Gotta go get dressed for work.

Have a Blessed Day!