Friday, February 27, 2009

A Ride and a Climb


We live next to a creek, a creek that occasionally has some water in it. I've seen it running up over bridges before, and there are enough plastic bags in the trees, and sideways saplings to show that floods do happen. However, Austin has been in a drought for years now, so it's not too dangerous to explore some neighborhood culverts...

Here's Janey checking out a stash of oranges and romance novels in the tunnel. She was unaffected, but I don't think I've seen many sadder things. Chase's comment, "The last thing we want is homeless with scurvy."

And here's Ramona, briefly registering excitement and engagement with her human companions, before her inevitable return to glum indifference. Twenty seconds after this picture, she wandered aimlessly away to poop on a rock.

A Fall

Thursday, February 26, 2009

On the table tonight...

While Chase blogs and listens to "Girlfriend in a Coma" which I think of a the soundtrack of living with Richard...

"Gully-gull" (that's Wren speak for "girly-girl") purple and pink house fabric, all cut and ready to be a school bag.

Some actual homework- Change, Academic Libraries, Change! And some parenting homework- school registration, waivers, and shot records. I haven't ever talked about immunization debates much, but I'll say that LA was a significantly different parenting community in that way. Austin will be laid back about a lot, but not immunizations apparently.

I am anti-deadly diseases, in general (Oregon Trail training) and I'm so grateful that these medicines mean I don't have to worry about diphtheria. However, I don't think it's so insane if I want my doctor to talk to me for a minute, work out a spaced out schedule, answer some questions. Hey, this government mandated handout says to let you know if my child has a seizure, non stop crying for 3 hours, a 105 degree fever, or you know, permanent brain damage, after these shots. Can we talk about that for a minute?


I don't like to be blown off, bullied and bullshitted by my doctor, so we're looking for a new pediatrician, if anyone has any recommendations.

In happier news, there are more babies with due dates approaching, and so I'm revisiting this whole cloth quilt again, to see if I can make it look any better. I like the brown and red together, and I like the look of the red on white for the back. Maybe some redwork embroidery would spice things up?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Birthday Tote

My sister-in-law had a birthday a couple of weeks ago, but due to a series of mishaps, including the barfing flu, we haven't been able to get together and celebrate until this weekend. We went to CPK, home of the child friendly menu and adult friendly full bar. Eating out with four crazy kids is always more pleasant when you can maintain a slight buzz.

Sarah is a giver of fantastic gifts, and is therefore kind of hard to buy or make for. I can always get her books, and be pretty sure she'll love them, since according to her book club she's always the one who "LOVES" every book they read. And since she's been known on occasion to give hours and days and months worth of gorgeous intricate petit point cross stitch away to friends and family, I know that a specific amount of usefulness is not something she requires in a gift.

So I took a chance with a tote bag.

This was my practice bag (made of old tablecloth) to figure out how to put in a lining.

Sarah's bag has a lining, and a pocket, and a GUSSET! And was also supposed to be full of books, but I had a book buying fail. They're ordered, at least. The bottom is oilcloth, which I bought on accident long ago for I don't remember what purpose. I have A LOT more of it. There just aren't that many projects that require something stiff and semi-waterproof. I guess I'll be making a lot more tote bags.

Monday, February 23, 2009


Hey does anybody remember back in early November when I first started talking about making some legwarmers for Wren? I found this pattern, Wren picked out some yarn, and I talked about my progress again here...

Well I guess a three month+ turnaround for the simplest project ever isn't bad. Right? Anyway they're done now. Just in time for what will probably be one of the last cold snaps this year.

And obviously Wren is pretty happy with them. Of course my current project on the needles is a pair for Jane. I'm sure she would like stripes too, but I put my foot down (since she's still mostly nonverbal) and went with a solid blue.

I say she's mostly nonverbal, but in the past week or see we've seen an explosion in her vocabulary. She almost always seems to understand when we ask her questions, for instance, if I ask her to bring something to Wren, or Daddy, she'll do it. And she says Mona now, in addition to general "DOOOOOOOOGGGGG" whenever we see another dog. She's also saying eye, ear, nose, hair, mouth, bye bye, HI!, please, thank you and you're welcome (sort of. those last two are more about syllable and inflection at this point). Of course she's been saying 'banana' since she was a tiny baby, as she eats about 3 or so a day. She has some animal names and sounds, the best of which is her noise for elephant, which involves holding her hand in front of her mouth, looking up, and simultaneously spitting and trumpeting. It's awesome.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Mississippi Mud Pie

Although sort of a cheaters version- since I just used a store bought graham cracker crust, painted over the top with melted chocolate, instead of an all chocolate cookie crust. And the worst sin- I didn't have pecans so I used walnuts instead. I know! walnuts!

The pie was a hit anyway, as you can see. In that picture it was on its way out the door to Grandad's house, for dessert. If there are leftovers, I plan to eat them for breakfast.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Roll that beautiful worm footage

First batch of compost from my under the sink vermicomposting operation. I can't tell you how less-than-enthusiastic Chase was about this whole idea, and I'll admit there have been some awkward moments, like when the HOA plumber testing hot water pressure in our kitchen asked "What the hell is that?!"

Nonetheless, Wren (the other pro-worn member of the household (Jane is so far neutral)) and I persevered, and now we have lovely compost for the garden, and a worm population explosion that's finding a new home in the hopefully soon to be vegetable garden.

For Christmas this year my dad gave the girls a little bag full of garden tools and a big cardboard box full of flower and vegetable seeds, as well as some compost from his own awesome garden. Wren has asked once every 11 minutes since Christmas if it was time to plant the seeds yet, and in just another week or so it will be. I am hoping that we will be able to figure out some way to get some more sun in our very dark little smidge of yard, someone suggested hanging up shiny insulation? I think the HOA might have a problem with that as well.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Parent Teacher Conference Fun

Here's a picture of Wren's class, in a little chapel production from last week. When asked to stand, everyone but Wren complied. She was also the only one to refused to speak her lines. Her teacher, in the Parent Teacher Conference today, said in massive understatement, "Wren has off days..."

Well yes she does. But she is also just completely her own person, and often is not that interested in what anyone else wants her to do. This can be challenging (another understatement) if what you want her to do is put on her shoes, or stop hitting her sister. But it's not that big a deal if she doesn't want to participate in the chapel play. I am taking this whole obstinate streak as a strength, because Wren will, please God, be the junior high girl who doesn't care what the other kids think. Maybe she is like her dad, and this obliviousness will be a little shell of protection for her intensely sensitive and otherwise easygoing personality. It better have -some- sort of payoff, because otherwise I swear I am just stapling her shoes on her damn feet.

The teacher also told us that when asked if she knew her doctor's name (why?) Wren said "Oh I know my doctor's name! My doctor's name is Dr. Seuss."


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Daddy's Work

That's what Wren calls the UT Tower, represented here in blocks.

This weekend Wren went inside the tower for the first time- she had to go to the bathroom while we were visiting the turtle pond, and since the tower is home to the mystical and wondrous ladies tower bathroom, I took the chance to show her what her future could hold, if she decides to go to UT.

I'd tried to describe it in the past to Chase, who just flat out didn't believe me. Now though, I've made him walk in the door and look around, and I'm vindicated. Tile work, full length mirrors, marble stalls with oak doors... but the most important part is the door in the middle of the room.

The door opens into a dark narrow room, lined on both sides with couches and pillows. The windows are the kind that crank open, without screens, and they're always cracked a bit into one of the interior tower courtyards, full of pigeons flapping around. I've taken some of the best naps of my life in that room. Bless UT for its antiquated and slightly sexist take on what the lady undergraduette needs. Give her couches! Her uterus will be overset by book learnin'. It demands rest!

Technically, "daddy's work" is actually in the Gearing building, which is also very nice, and was also built with undergraduettes in mind, since it's the old Home Ec building. Other outstanding ladies rooms on campus include the all marble, two chambered one outside the old auditorium in Rainey Hall, and any ladies room in Benedict. ACES is nice and new, and also usually pretty low traffic (not that many girls majoring in CS). Avoid the Union, and any buildings with girl dominated majors, for instance Parlin was always packed and when I was there, and would run out of TP in the middle of the day on weekdays.

After a nice retrospective on bathrooms, I should get back to trying to get Janey to take a nap. Argh.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Babies in Laundry Baskets

It's raining and there's no school today. No park, no dog walks and your little sister is always messing with the computer when you try to play games. What to do?

First dump the clean laundry out and stick your sister in the basket.

Then fill the basket back up with clothes.

Then call your mom to come see.

Rescue your sister when she gets REALLY tired of being in the laundry basket.

And decide one sister shouldn't have all the laundry basket fun.

And yes those clothes are still on the floor of their room. One thing at a time... I have a feeling this is going to be a long day.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


Wow I wish these pictures were better. Somehow taking low light pictures of a roiling puppy heap does not get the best results. The girls Grandad has asked for a puppy, and he's expressed a preference for daschunds, and so the hunt is on.

Initially I pushed for rescue dogs, but Grandad has a fever for which PUPPY is the only cure, so now I'm trying to sift through breeder (hur) websites and eliminate the obvious puppy mills. Oh what's that? Your 'Mom and Pop' breeding operation involves a warehouse and 14 different AKC breeds? And there are no dogs post-breeding age on the site, or in your home? You don't actually have pets? Um... no thanks. Also, you're probably going to hell. I mean I don't know for sure, but... maybe?

These folks had an adorable website, with no music (immediate +5000 in their favor) and very firm rules about how old puppies have to be before they go home. Their adult dogs were all obviously loved pets, with a big yard and run of the house. And they asked serious questions about what life would be like for a puppy who came home with us.

Jane is at the age (15 months to 30 months) where setting her down in someone else's house is an invitation to all kinds of disaster. If that house is also full of puppies... well it's a miracle we got out of there whole, forget about good pictures. And now the decision is up to Grandad. Jane and I are headed over there to show him the terrible pictures and I imagine that although I will push for Sammy, my favorite, he will pick a "red" puppy, just like Flash- the dog they had when Chase was little.

I am aware that this situation is more or less my family getting a dog on layaway, but that's okay. Grandad should have a puppy if he wants a puppy, and Ramona can always use a friend.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Making Valentines

The only way to make Valentines is in a tutu, obviously.

It also helps if your sister can inspect the completed product. Although it's even better if the Valentines are firmly sealed up first.

And it's even better to get all the glitter and glue washed off in the tub. There's no picture of Wren post-bath because she is inevitably screaming her head off about the indignities of hair washing.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Baby Shoes

These are Japanese Alligators Baby Booties by Jennifer Ladd on Sew Mama Sew. Seeing those this morning sent me on a baby shoe hunt. There are lots of adorable handmade shoes out there:

Patterns like this one (so tiny!) and this one I have to try, as soon as I amass some secret stash of wool felt because I know it's not a LOT of felt, but still, have you seen how expensive wool felt is? AH!

And then there is this woman. I want to be a tiny baby so I can wear those shoes. Or maybe a tiny tiny little person so I can live in them. Picking my favorite pair was impossible, so I just went with the blue. Her etsy shop is currently empty, but maybe she's just taking a break?

Anyway, that's what I've been doing today. Looking at baby shoes on the internet and making negative progress on homework, housework, and crafting. The girls both have colds, and so I do too. Wren and I have been working on some valentines for school that I'll be able to show soon, but we're not done yet. There's a grocery store trip in my future for glitter and glue, among other things. But oh well, it's pretty outside and maybe eventually I'll change out of my pajamas and we'll go for a walk.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


So this isn't my usual blog fare, and I don't normally have a temper, and I certainly don't usually take stupid marketing decisions personally, but after I saw this ad, I accidentally broke a glass with my hands.

I mean. I don't even know what to say. I was holding it and then it was broken and my hand was bleeding. I don't know what happened. I'm like the Hulk. Or Buffy.

This ad gives me the same feeling I've had after a weird confrontation with someone I really don't like. Or talking to a drunk family member. Or being involved in a minor car accident. Just that racing pulse kind of confused anger. Probably not what Pepsi was going for.

I was trying to explain to Chase, who was sort of shocked by my reaction, but everything I was saying sounded so naive and lame. I just watched the ad again, to try to pinpoint and describe all the problems, but now I am dealing with more residual shivers of disgust.

I don't have a problem with, or skateboarding or Alias or whatever. Ladies can kill people too now! Go 2009! You know, when you think about it, "Blowin' in the Wind" doesn't specifically say anything about the US military, and maybe we should have taken "God on Our Side" literally. Thanks for clearing that up, Pepsi.

Chase suggested an alternate ad, what the late 60s were like through a less nostalgic lens (hint: less groovy). Perhaps someone with some skills could make one? Possible themes- being a minority in the 60s really sucked, and your chance of being shot with a fire hose was a lot higher! Truman Capote- what's with that guy?! The Cuban Missile Crisis was fun! Remember when everyone cool got assassinated? And also, war is always fucking awful. No matter what Bob Dylan says.

I didn't love the Victoria's Secret ad, but I also didn't really care, because he just looked like a scaggy old lecher bankrupting his cultural legacy. This is a lot worse to me. Anyway. That's all.

Monday, February 2, 2009

weekend breakfast

The sticky rolls, from the Artisan Bread book I love so much. The didn't rise as much as I thought they should have, but they went over pretty well anyway...

as you can tell from the visible drool on Jane's face. Except that Jane is pretty much always drooling, so that might not actually be that great a gauge for deliciousness. Honestly though they were good.

Rhody continues to be loved by everyone, visiting cousins included. He is so bizarre, and seems kind of vaguely menacing to me and Chase, but nobody else seems to have a problem. This would be the point in a horror movie where the water moves in the cup, or the leaves rustle or the floor creaks or whatever, and the audience goes "WHAT IS WRONG WITH THEM? WHY DON'T THEY REALIZE THAT TERRIFYING TOY IS A TOOL OF THE DEVIL AND WILL COME ALIVE AND KILL THEM ALL??!!111"

Just kidding! Ha...ha.