Monday, March 28, 2011

Step Right Up! Welcome to the Carnival!

Another carnival! We have rides that don't appear safe to the ordinary mom, pickpockets lurking in the crowd and carnies with more tattoos than LA Ink. Watch your wallet and meet me at the food tents later.

Step right up and I will try to guess your weight before you eat. And if you're eating a hamburger, well, let me know when you're, um... done. PB Lecron has The Last Bite at A French Education. 

At My Marriage To God, we get the highlights and lowlights of a day in the life of...a dedicated runner! After watching Run Fatboy Run last night, I can really appreciate that sort of dedication. It's not like I'm going to run a marathon or anything, but still - you can really admire people who run before 6:30 in the morning, let alone just get up that early.

I wonder if Randy Howard at ChinMusik likes Billy Joel as much as I do. I was just thinking that The Stranger is Desert Island album* and I should probably get a copy. And I can't believe I don't already have it. In Not Cool: Chuck Klosterman, he calls out a critic who can't appreciate The Piano Man.

MadKane is back with the trials of owning a motorboat. Her husband really shows his pluck and stick-to-it-ness. And good luck with the sailboat! Perhaps y'all can man the Tunnel of Love cruise for me.

I had a few different entries from ChinMusik and MadKane. I was originally going to plug them all, but I got my foot caught in the cotton candy machine and I had fuzzy sugar all over my leg. I just had to eat it off and the by the time I was done, it was my shift at the hot dog cart. I just got finished with that one and I couldn't pass up a couple of funnel cakes. You understand if my laziness busy-ness kept me from doing more - right?

Thanks for joining me. A carnival just wouldn't be the same if y'all weren't here. And don't forget to stop off at the dime toss before heading home. It's a real money maker for me. ;)

* Do I really have to tell you that it's an album you'd like to have on a desert island because you'll never grow tired of it?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Call For Submissions - Blog Carnival

Hello Folks!

I'm going to be hosting another Blog Carnival here. I was looking for a reminder email to tell me that it was coming up, but realized that I never set the deadline. This will be the third one here and by now, you know how much I love carnival food!

Submissions due by 3/25/11
Carnival Post by 3/28/11

Submit Here

When I first started blogging years (and years) ago, I used to submit to carnivals as a way to get my readership up. As I've changed my site a few times and to some degree my subject material, I thought I'd try it again, but this time as a host. The thing is, though, that I'm very busy these days, which would explain  my intermittent blogging. Perhaps consistent posts and topics that weren't so random would be attractive, too. But anyway...

I'm going to lay some ground rules for this Carnival - think of me as the Carnival Commission and I'm doing an inspection.

1. The subject is Non Sequitur, which means "does not follow." It could be about anything, but I'm going to throw in the added assignment of being humorous. Make me chuckle, please.

2. One entry per person. I've gotten several from a few posters and while they are enjoyable to read, don't be greedy. Make a decision and submit just one. Multiple posts this month will be "grandmothered" in, however I reserve the right to pick my favorite and only link to one of them. We'll see how adventurous I'm feeling.

3. It would be lovely if your blog is featured on my site if you could link back to it from your own. It's all about developing a readership, right? (For both of us.)

That's enough. I'm going to save my rule-making for my kids. I think they could use more of them.

Monday, March 21, 2011

It Must Be Monday

It's Monday. Just back from a ski trip at Lake Tahoe where we drove seven-hours there and five-hours back for a whopping four-hours of skiing. My husband claims they were the best powder conditions he's ever experienced. Me - what do I know? That's a lot of time in the car. 

I didn't want to be the grouch and put the kibosh on the trip, knowing full well that it would be crappy to get there, so I went along and didn't complain one bit. We stayed at the Hyatt, which was lovely, as usual, and they even started us (me) off with complimentary champagne at check in. (I got two glasses ostensibly for my husband and myself, but drank both of them.) What's not to love about that?

We swam in the heated outdoor pool in the snow then roasted marshmallows and made s'mores at the fire pit next to the snowman after that. (Fully dressed, not in wet bathing suits!) Everyone except me went to the arcade, while I watched TV shows about the dangers of tides and box jellyfish. 

In all, it was a nice trip. After working every weekend for over a year, it was nice to feel like a normal human being and spending good quality time with my family. Nice. Definitely nice. 

We were supposed to come back in time to get my dog last night and didn't. My youngest daughter is still in bed and it's nearly noon. I wonder if my dog sitter is wondering where I am. 

And so now that we're home and I'm working on my second cup of coffee, I have an entire house full of chores and my work is cut out for me. My oldest daughter decided she wants to go race go-carts* and I had to say no. This is not what she wanted to hear and suddenly, I've plunged into Meanie Status. If this isn't proof that life continues to move forward, I don't know what is. We cannot rest upon our laurels and past deeds, we must constantly work to stay Top Dog. Me - I'm at the bottom right now. What can I bribe her with to move up the ladder? (Besides go-carts, that is!)

*Did I forget to mention that the kids had a day-off for a "teacher workday" that I only found out about during the seven-hour drive up to Tahoe? (Note to self: put teacher workdays on calendar.)

Monday, March 14, 2011

The New Violin

I got a new violin today! I'm so SO excited!

When I rented my violin, I thought that one possibility was to actually buy it at some point. I didn't know what to look for and it sounded fine to me. Since I've been playing, I've come to dislike the sound quite a bit. That horrible reputation that new violinists have for screeching really is true. Sometimes I didn't even want to practice because I didn't like the way it sounded. At the beginning, of course, you don't know if it's you or the violin - perhaps both.

At some point very recently, it got to be too much to bear. I spoke with my teacher about this and she said that it meant it was time to upgrade. My options were to purchase a violin and the more I could spend would get me a better violin, obviously, and the other option was to rent a higher quality. I decided I was going to rent the next tier up until I was ready to buy.

Somewhere in the middle of the conversation with my teacher, she mentioned that she had already vetted out a couple of violins (from a field of at least 15!) with another student. She found two that sounded great and her other student bought one of them. She made notes on this one in case she could recommend it to someone else.

For me, that was good enough. I didn't really know how to make this decision and while she offered to come with me, I was looking at doing the same thing she did with her other student. I decided to buy the "other" violin. Ready to just purchase, sight unseen, based completely on trust, I went to the violin store today. This place was amazing. And beautiful. And the service was fantastic.

The woman who helped me at first brought me the violin that was reserved for me ahead of time, and five bows to try out. My rental bow was uncomfortable to use. It felt heavy and I had a hard time keeping my grip in the proper way. I felt that finding a bow was probably more up my alley than finding the right instrument. I closed the door to a private room and played the violin with each bow. This is probably really stupid, but I didn't want to play any tunes because I was embarrassed at my skills. I really just wanted to pick out three of the five and take them home to try. Two of the bows were clearly "no's" and I couldn't tell the difference between the other three.

Rather than let me buy the violin right then and there, they suggested I check it out for a week with the bows. They even let me check out a brand new case, that I will buy when I go back. The thing is, that if I buy the whole outfit together I get a discount so she didn't want me to buy any parts separately. Is that cool or what? After such a lovely experience, I drove away with the biggest smile on my face.

At the first opportunity, I got out the violin and played. It's beautiful. It sounds beautiful - not squeaky or harsh - but mellow and powerful at the same time. The three bows that I couldn't tell apart in the store were very different at home and one of them clearly stands out as superior. It didn't take long to figure that out.

It feels like I was driving a 15-year-old beater car and upgraded to a luxury model. The thing about being a beginner is that you don't have the experience to know the difference when you're driving the beater, but you certainly know the difference when you drive the luxury model!

I'm just thrilled. I'm on cloud-9 and I want to play and keep playing. I'm so happy!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Jumping Into Spring/Into My Sink

I finally set about to do our taxes for this year. I dread doing it. It's just so complicated. It seems wrong to me that doing taxes should be so complicated. I know we have lawmakers to make laws, but maybe they shouldn't be making so many of them. And we get a refund - I can only imagine how I would dread it if we had to pay.

So I usually do the taxes on the PC in my office - that I've mentioned before is actually crawl space. Since getting this laptop, I spend MUCH less time in there, which is nice. Though, it used to be my sort of "woman cave." I should just give it up and convert it back to storage. My sewing machine is beginning to live on the kitchen table anyway.

To make a short story long, my whole point was to say that when I was getting my taxes going, my cat was snuggled up on my lap. When I shut it all down, I went into my room and then in to my bathroom for some water. My cat followed me in and jumped onto the counter where I keep her water bowl. (It gives me shivers just typing this next part.)

There was a spider ON HER BACK. It was a medium-sized, light brown bugger and I think they're pretty harmless (in other words, the scary factor is low.) But ON HER BACK? Yikes! Before I could really do anything, it JUMPED into the sink and I turned on the tap. Down it went into the drain.

I think that the jumping part is one of the scariest parts of spiders. It freaks me out that they're so mobile. And active. And unpredictable. (More shivers!) If I could jump as far as they do in relation to my size, I'd be able to jump the kids to school without having to get into my car.

When I said that spring had sprung the spiders, well, let's just say the amount I've vacuumed up/exterminated in the last two-days makes that statement wrong. NOW spring has sprung.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Happiness is...

Feeling overwhelmed? Stop doing so much!

That's my "lesson learned" this week. I had plenty of opportunities to take on yet more obligations but resisted the urge. And in the meantime, I've calmed down quite a bit. Which really is great. I highly recommend it.

Today I even had one of those glorious days when you get a million things done that you've had on your to-do list forever. I spent the day with my step-dad sealing up the house from those damned rats. I pulled out my dishwasher and garbage can from under my sink and sanitized everything with bleach. Then I even anchored the dishwasher back, which I failed to do last time making the cabinet next to it virtually impossible to open.

I've also made a special hot-pepper concoction that I put into a spray bottle and sprayed at all the openings in my under-sink-area where the rats are coming in - and in the garbage can - to make it very unattractive to forage for food in there. At least for now I'm clean and protected. The theory goes that now they'll get stressed and go for the traps. We'll see.

Besides that, my step-dad and I put together a couple of loft beds for my girls. We live in a pretty small house and the bedrooms are tiny. Getting them up in the air makes the rooms look so much bigger! And you just gotta love IKEA for the puzzle-like quality of putting together furniture. It gives me joy. When I'm not swearing, that is.

Wine. Girl Scout Cookies. The only thing missing is the man I love, who doesn't happen to be here right now. I'll settle for a good book and the knowledge that I'm getting a new violin on Monday. You do not know a happier woman right now. I guarantee.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011


I feel like I'm going to hyperventilate. My dog is digging in my planter to bury a stolen bone and it's only a minor distraction in the chaos I'm feeling. Jokes on him, though, because that's where the cat has been doing her business.

The whole thing reminds me of when I went to see a performance with one of my kids on a field trip. One of their classes went to the Civic Center to watch a couple of men juggle. They juggled all kinds of things, including the most memorable to me - ping pong balls - with their mouths. It really made me uncomfortable because it seemed so incredibly unsafe. But imagine the reality of being able to juggle multiple ping pong balls with your mouth. Amazing.

I have quite a few balls in the air right now and I keep panicking about missing balls. Where did it go? Oh there it is, get it in the air! And my girls keep throwing new ones out there: How come you haven't ordered a hot lunch for me yet, Mom? Can I have a play date with G? Can you do this for me right now? Can you do that for me right this very second? Can you...?

Today is a challenging day because I've got my schedule so tightly crammed that I guarantee it's impossible for me to make it on time to a couple of things. If I don't miss them entirely, that is. One appointment I have is my violin lesson. I have missed for a few weeks because of scheduling conflicts and haven't practiced because my violin is a bit out of tune. I can't stand when it sounds bad. My teacher will whip me back into shape as she usually does, but we always go over-time and I can't today because I'm going to miss my next appointment: driving a bunch of kids from school to the Playhouse for dress rehearsals for this weekend's play.

It's all good, right? After this weekend passes, the dust will settle and all will be fine. Probably. I just need a bit of focus and concentration and perhaps a little more loft to keep the balls from hitting the ground.