Friday, November 30, 2007

Rainy Day People

Our house is two streets in from the open desert. As a result, we get lovely views of the mountains from our master bedroom. Usually.

It's been raining all afternoon, and the clouds have mostly obscured the mountaintops.

Here's what we see on a clear day.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Great Day!

I had a good day today.
This morning, I was able to enroll for classes at Scottsdale. Earlier in the semester, I had decided that I was going to transfer colleges. I just can't deal with that harpy CDT instructor, who will also be teaching two classes I need for next semester.
I had found both classes being offered at Scottsdale, but by the time open enrollment started, the Modern Architecture class had been filled up (perhaps with other refugees from the GCC design program). But last night, I was nosing around the SCC website and found the Modern Architecture class has been reopened! Woo Hoo!!!!! I went ahead and enrolled in the Interior Materials class, too.
The commute will be a bitch--30 miles each way. But it's only three days a week. And it will be more than worth it not to have to deal with Harpy.
I still need an elective, however. There's an upholstery class that I have my eye on at GCC. The class is only offered at night, and I was trying to avoid having to take night classes. But it just might be worth it if it means I'll get to graduate in the spring..
I should have known today would be a good one. When the alarm went off this morning, Jefferson Starship was playing on the radio. The only crimp is that JS was followed by Edie Brickell, whose voice--in my opinion--is the audio equivalent of bad breath. What the heck is "cereal box religion", anyway?
Other good things that happened today:
--We had perfect convertible weather this afternoon.
--Harpy was in a pretty decent mood.
--I got 96% on my color scheme project.
--I had a good hair day.
--There were no dirty dishes in the sink when I came home.
--Kyle wore a sweatshirt without my having to ask him to (it was a little chilly this morning).
--I went the whole day without getting a headache.
--I finally got to go to Hobby Lobby! A few of the ladies in my CDT class swear by this place. And I can see why. That store is like Michael's on acid! Problem is, we only have one location in Arizona, and it's almost 20 miles away in Avondale.
--Hobby Lobby had the 3/16" Helvetica-style rub on letters I need for an upcoming project. I had searched every scrapping aisle in the northwest valley for those things!
--I'll have to go back to HL during one of my husband- and child-free afternoons. There was no browsing allowed tonight. Once I found the rub-ons, the guys were ready to leave. That store has lots of cool wall hangings and small accessory furniture. I hope they build a one in the Glendale/Peoria/Arrowhead area.
--After we left HL, we drove to nearby Goodyear to this organic pizza place I read about in the paper. It was VERY tasty.
--We were treated to a very cool sunset that looked like orange, pink, and purple flames shooting into the sky.
Yep...good day.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Nowhere To Hide

I started my Christmas shopping last week. So far, I've bought almost everything online, and the packages are starting to roll in. Three packages came in Saturday's mail, three more came today, and I'm expecting almost a dozen more in the coming weeks.

Now, I have the daunting task of finding clever places to hide everything from the prying eyes of Lucas. I know that boy rummages through drawers and cabinets. I am no longer able to hide chocolate from him. He always finds my stash, sneaks a few pieces, and leaves behind an empty Hershey's bag.

So, where to hide everything. Hmmm... Sock drawer? Nah...too common. Anyway, my sock drawer is bulging to within an inch of its life. I have my mother-in-law to thank for that!

Under the bed? Up on the high closet shelves? In the trunk of the car? Locked in the spare room? Again...too common. Too boring. Too obvious. Besides, a suddenly locked bedroom door would arouse suspicion among the youngest members of the of whom has trained himself to pick the interior door locks with a miniature flat-head screwdriver.

I want to hide everything well, but not too well. We have watched National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation five times since Thanksgiving. And I am reminded of the attic scene where Clark is hiding presents and he discovers a forgotten, dust-covered Mother's Day gift that Mom apparently never received. That could easily happen to me. I could hide the presents so well that even I forget where I put them.

Case in point: I was thinking about concealing the smallest items in the pocket of a jacket that never gets worn. Or I could jam a few things in an empty VHS sleeve, or in one of the boys' old lunch boxes that no longer gets used. But the trick would be to remember which jacket, which tape case, and which lunch box holds the Christmas cache.

A bigger chore is finding adequate hiding places for the large gifts. I ordered a few such items that are due to be delivered any day now. How am I going to conceal those oversized cartons? Stick them in the corner of the closet under a heap of old clothes? That just might have to work.

Common sense dictates that gifts should be hidden in areas where the recipients never go. Around here, that would be the cleaning supply cabinet. I hope the boys don't mind if their new goodies smell like Lemon Pledge.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Holiday Traditions

Every family has their Christmas tradition. At one point, my in-laws were passing around a Chia-Pet as a gag gift (I wonder who ended up with that thing). And when we were little, my sister and I would ask our dad what we're getting for Christmas. His joke answer would always be the same: "a box of Jell-O". So for many years, I would gift-wrap a box of lime Jell-O and give it to him.
And some families have no tradition at all...which really is a tradition, if you think about it.
One of our holiday traditions is the post-Thanksgiving viewing of National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. Watching the Clark Griswold debut his garish outdoor light display never gets old. And then there's the subtle humor. Like the when Clark and Eddie are shopping at Wal-Mart. If you watch closely, you'll notice that Eddie plunks a 30 pound bag of dog food in the cart right on top of Clark's light bulbs. One of my favorite movies, indeed.
But perhaps our most loved holiday tradition is the wrapping paper fight that ensues right after all the Christmas gifts are opened. We've been doing this since the boys were small, and we all have a blast. Just as long as we're not using mylar wrapping paper. The fight was a bust the year I bought that stuff. It doesn't wad up as good as the thin wrapping paper from the dollar store. Also, the best throwing distance is achieved with tissue paper.
This year, we're trying a new tradition. Everyone has been assigned a family member. And armed with a $20 budget, each one of us will buy, find, or make, all the stocking stuffers for our person.
I brought this idea up last night at dinner. We even assigned names right there at the kitchen table: we will each fill the stocking of the person to our left. Very scientific, indeed.
The ideas began flowing immediately. Kyle has already asked me to take him to the dollar store. Lucas and Q were having a very hush-hush conversation. And I spent a good part of the evening on eBay.
There's only one rule to this project. Everybody has to do their own shopping. Nobody can ask for help in buying stuff for their person. The only exception is that rides to the store will be given to those who can't legally drive themselves. I will also allow for help in locating a specific item. But that's it. This is supposed to be an exercise in individual creativity.
In the past, Santa Claus has done the stocking stuffing duty for our family. And for the most part, he's done a pretty good job. Every year, his goodies include those chocolate coins from Cost Plus World Market. When frozen, those things are downright addictive.
Everyone seems excited about taking on this task. Santa may no longer have stocking detail--he has enough on his plate--but he may still bring coins. After all, they have become a tradition in their own right.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Super Mario Galaxy Review

Today's guest blogger is Kyle. He's writing a review of Super Mario Galaxy, as requested by new Wii owner, Christopher. Please give him the same courtesy you give me.

Let me tell you now, Mario Galaxy is worth the money. If you played the prior 2 games (mario sunshine, mario 64) it is the same type of gameplay. You try to collect 120 stars across many galaxys. Since Nintendo did whatever they wanted, you never know what to expect. You also get a handful of fun power-ups. The real fun part is trying everything out, there is so much to do. You will have fun playing it. Overall I give it a 10/10.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Super Mario Runaround

Today was the official release day of Super Mario Galaxy for the Nintendo Wii. Kyle had been anxiously awaiting this game (he says) for two years. He'd been socking away his allowance, and he even put a $5 deposit on a reserved copy at Target.
Since Kyle had school all day, I offered to stop by Target and pick up his game so he would have it when he got home. After all, it was roughly on the way to the college, and down the street from the Jamba Juice I always stop at on the way to class.
When I got to Target, the guy at the electronics counter didn't seem to have a clue where anything was. He radioed his buddy to ask if he knew of where the Mario games were. The guy on the other end of the walkie-talkie said "those came in on Monday and we sold out."
I just about blew my stack. I holding in my hand a Target-issued reservation card that plainly reads "Release Date 11/14-07". If I don't produce that video game, I'm going to have to bear the wrath of a 13 year old Mario fanatic.
Then the first guy told me that the department manager would be coming on duty "in a few minutes" if I wanted to wait for a more concrete answer. No time. It was already 10, class starts at 10:30 and I have to stop for my smoothie first. I said I'd be back later.
Around noon, I called the store and asked if the game had been located yet. The guy I talked to said they just got a shipment and "there might be some in there" and that they'll know "in a few hours". Great! I spent the rest of the class period seething.
When class ended at 1, I called Target again. This time, they were able to confirm availablity of the game. FINALLY! I drove right there, bought the game, and everything was good in the world. Except that we probably won't be hearing from Kyle for three days...
Also today, we filled out performance reviews on our CDT instructor. I think you, dear readers can guess what I wrote...or didn't write. :-)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Shameless Plug

After a bit of a dry spell, Lucas has resumed posting to his blog. He has posted videos of himself playing drums, and is writing a daily rant. Feel free to stop by Standard Stunt 99.

Any comments left may not show up right away. They must pass through Mom's prying eyes before I deem them post-worthy.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Sunday Dishes: Fall Color

A few weeks ago, I rearranged the kitchen cabinets to display only the Fall colored Fiesta. Colors represented here include Scarlet, Persimmon, Tangerine, Sunflower, Evergreen, Heather, Plum, and Cinnabar. Looking at this display makes me wish Homer Laughlin would come out with a dark brown.

The sunflower rectangular baker that Q got me for our anniversary is on the top shelf.

Mugging for the camera

Friday, November 09, 2007

Thanks For Stopping By

I use a site meter to keep track of blog visitors. Among other things, I'm able to see where readers come from, and which websites referred them here. I can also see what Google searches bring people here (there have been some pretty odd ones), and how many hits I get per day. Right now, I'm averaging about 20.

Below are a couple of maps indicating where readers of this blog come from. I had no idea so many people were interested in what I have to say! On the other hand, many of those dots could be representing people searching for fluffy pink office chairs, or purple dishes. But I'd like to think its the former.

In any case, thank you for taking in interest in my family, our house, school, dishes, lists, and the trivialities of life about which I often gripe.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

So Long, Persimmon!

This afternoon, I got a call from friend and fellow Fiesta collector, Denise from New Mexico. When I answered the phone, she uttered those fateful words: "They're retiring persimmon".

Bad news, indeed. Aside from being my favorite Fiesta color, persimmon is one of those few colors that goes with everything. It works equally well with pastels, jewel tones, and brights. It can be used on both an Easter table and a fall-themed Thanksgiving table. And when mixed with sunflower, chartreuse, turquoise, persimmon creates a fun summertime motif.

I also find persimmon to be a suitable stand-in for pink when Rose isn't available. And it did a pretty good job of filling the red void before scarlet was introduced.

Denise also informed me that the flower pot, bulb candleholders, Monarch Vase, and--another personal favorite--the Royalty Vase will be discontinued as well.

On the bright side, the discontinuation of these items means clearance prices on remaining stock. I guess I'll be watching for sales at Dillard's and the Homer Laughlin China website. Maybe I'll pick up a persimmon Royalty Vase for my double retireds collection.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Yeah, DUH!

I was passing through Macy's the other night when I had to make a little detour. I found this sign hanging in every stall of the ladies' room:

Is this really necessary? Now, I do realize that this is one of the few multi-stall bathrooms around here that hasn't adopted that nifty motion sensor flusher technology. And I realize that much of the general populous has grown used to said sensors. But do we need a little paper sign reminding us that--in this particular public bathroom--we have to do the flushing ourselves?
Besides, most of us still have manual flushers in our homes. So we don't exactly need to be reminded as to when and how to use them.
This sign is akin to something one might find in a nursery school bathroom reminding children to wash their hands before returning to class. And when I'm shopping in a major department store, I don't care to be treated like a preschooler. I get enough of that from my color and design instructor.

Monday, November 05, 2007

What's Wrong With This Picture?

Earlier, I was doing some early Christmas shopping on I was looking for Arizona reference books for a certain family member when I found this little oddity:

I'm quite perplexed as to how a publisher could see past such a glaring error--and on the cover, no less! This is more than a simple typo.

But then, I suppose not everyone is as big of a geography nerd as I am. Except for maybe my dad. I'm quite certain I got it from him. And now, I'm passing it on to Lucas.

Anyway, I'm thinking of buying this book for the comic relief. I can get a used copy for $.01, plus shipping, and I'm sure Luke will get a kick out of it. He might enjoy the subject matter, too.

Mark G. posted a similar goof on his blog about a week ago.