Friday, May 30, 2008

Upholstery Class

When I finished upholstering my chair, there was still several weeks left in the semester. I needed to come up with an additional project so I decided to redo this ottoman:

The ottoman took three weeks to complete. And when it was done, there were still two weeks left in the term. I probably could have knocked off early, but I didn't want to risk losing out on an A.

So I redid this bench. I decided to cover the cushion in an indoor-outdoor Sunbrella fabric so it can be used inside or out. The frame, which was silver was repainted in a semi-flat black.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Thursday 13: Foods That Suck

Last week, I posted a list of my favorite foods. This week, I'm doing the opposite. Below is my list of foods that suck.
1. Warm, flat soda

2. Pasta that is so ovecooked and mushy that it's almost slimey.

3. Pizza with soggy, greasy crust

4. Miracle Whip

5. Sushi from the mall food court

6. Chewy steak

7. Dried out marshmellows

8. Airport salsa

9. Anything with lumps...especially gravy or pudding

10. Ketchup

11. Coconut

12, Bread that isn't absolutely, perfectly fresh

13. Veg-All

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Family Jargon, Part 3

Special Recipe: The way Lucas makes microwave popcorn. He basically adds more melted butter and salt.

Mom's Special Recipe: Same as Lucas', but I add a dusting of garlic powder.

Fiesta Trained: This is how I describe Lucas. At age 10, that boy knows vintage Cobalt from Post-86 Sapphire (the two colors are very close). And when I take him to the antique mall, he can spot Ironstone Fiesta at 30 paces.

Dead Smoothie: A really foul odor. So named after the time I left an empty smoothie cup in the car. The combination of hot stagnant air and rotting mango residue made the whole interior smell bad. I didn't notice it--my sense of smell is rather scant. But Q and Lucas sure did when they used the car to run an errand. When they came home, Q implored me to throw my empty Jamba Juice cups away after I'm finished with them. Lucas cited that my car smells like "a dead smoothie".

Toy Cry: The really loud, low-pitched howling meow Jango makes when she has a toy in her mouth. She sounds like she's in excrutiating pain, but she just has a plastic milk jug seal clenched between her teeth.

The Overheater: It's what we call my last car, a Ford Explorer (please don't lynch me, was very handy when the boys were babies). Kyle started calling it The Overheater because it was doing just that. We sold the car shortly thereafter, but the name stuck. Now, that's what we call any mid-90s model Explorer we see on the road. My overheating incident occurred at:

The Death Corner: The intersection of 67th Avenue and Bell Road in north Glendale. So named because it is at this corner where I've had a disportionate amount of car trouble. Dead batteries...overheating (see above)... There may have been a flat tire or two. I was once at a store at there when the car just wouldn't start.

Impulse Chocolate: Example: You're standing in the checkout line at Linens 'n' Things armed with some washcloths and a soapdish. You also have a coupon for $5 off any purchase of $15 or more. The total comes to $14.38. You need just one more cheap item to be coupon eligible. You impulsively grab the nearest under $1 item and add it to your order, bringing the pre-coupon total to $15.22. Impulse Chocolate is so named because the hastily chosen item is usually chocolate, but it can be anything from a BIC lighter to a magnet ribbon.

The Bank of Lucas: This child hardly ever spends his money (he must get that from his dad). Except for the occasional candy purchase, most of his Christmas gift cards and birthday money have gone unspent. As a result, Lucas tends to step forward when Kyle needs a few extra dollars to afford that new video game. I once went to the B of L to break a twenty-dollar bill.

Wet Bed Head: This is a more disheveled version of regular bed head. WBH is the hairstyle that results when you take a shower then go to bed without first drying your hair.

Family Jargon, Part 1
Family Jargon, Part 2

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Wii Got It, Part 2

Ever since Kyle got his Wii console last year, he's been adding to his video game collection with great regularity. He saves his allowance with a degree of discipline not typically seen in 13 year-old boys. Even so, he sometimes has to get a sales tax loan from the Bank of Lucas. But once Release Day rolls around, Kyle usually has enough money to buy his own copy of Super Mario Whatever. He then asks me or Q to drive him to Blockbuster to right when the store opens.

Kyle’s favorite games usually include the Mario character, but not always. And for the most part, stock is quite plentiful. But that wasn’t the case for Kyle’s latest gaming conquest: Wii Fit.

Wii Fit is an interactive athletic game on the same vein as Wii Sports and Wii Play. The game retails for $90 (it includes the game disk and a Balance Board that looks like those plastic boxes from an early-90s step aerobics class). That’s considerably more than the usual $20-$50 price for Wii games. As such, I agreed to pay for half if Kyle made the Honor Roll. And he did.
Wii Fit was released on May 21. On Thursday, I visited two Target stores in search of the game. No dice. Apparently this thing was going to be as hard to find as the original console was.
On Friday morning, I did a few online inventory searches. I looked for Wii Fit at Amazon, Best Buy and GameStop, but I found it locally at Wal-Mart. Bad enough, but it wasn't at just any Wal-Mart. It was at
Ghetto Wal-Mart! AND we had to drive there (30 mile round trip...just over a gallon of $3.75 gas).
Oh, the things I do for my kids…
But it was all worth it. Kyle thanked me over and over during the ride home. His show of sincere gratitude truly made me cry. Later, he continued to display his appreciation by cleaning junk mail and empty water bottles out the car.
And then I showed Kyle this news article. I don't think the title of "Best Mom Ever" is out of line.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Not So Fast...

This past Monday, the temperature reached 111 degrees here in Peoria. And today:

Wearing a sweatshirt in late May just feels wrong on so many levels...

Lucky Wheels, Part 2

Back in February, our Dodge reached 77,777 miles. Today, it was the Mustang's turn.

Later, I checked my girliness at the door and got my hands dirty. With the help of some guy's homemade YouTube instruction video, I managed to replace the burnt out headlight bulb. *Use caution if you choose to watch the video. The guy uses a few cuss words.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Thursday 13: Favorite Foods

1. Peanut Butter and Chocolate ice cream from Baskin-Robbins. I lived on this stuff when I was pregnant with Kyle.
2. The Mango Mantra smoothie from Jamba Juice.
3. Birthday cakes with whipped cream frosting
4. Avocados
5. Ice cold Pepsi. It's best when the bottle is left in the freezer just until ice crystals form and it gets slushy. Mmmmm...perfection.
6. Pretty much any variety of sushi, but spicy tuna and spicy yellowtail are the best.
7. Any pizza that includes mushrooms, black olives, yellow peppers and caramelized onions.
8. Frozen chocolate coins
9. Girl Scouts Thin Mint cookies. Again...frozen.
10. Sunday brunch at Cantina Laredo. Their huevos rancheros with warm salsa on the side are the best.
11. Waffles served with warm strawberries and lots and LOTS of whipped cream.
12. Roast beef sandwich on garlic herb bread with extra mayo from Cousins Subs
13. The Oreo Speedwagon shake from Keva Juice. It's even more fun to order: "I'll take it on the run, Baby."

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

From The Yard

Mexican Evening Primrose

Blanket Flower
African Lillies



Pink gardening tools. I found these in the dollar bins at Target.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

We Have a Winner

For the past few months, Lucas has been participating in his school's Mileage Club. In this program, the students run laps during lunch recess. They were issued stamping cards that kept track of each lap. Each filled card equalled five miles ran. Lucas filled five cards and part of a sixth.

This year's Mileage Club ended a few weeks ago. At which time, each filled card was entered into a drawing for a new bicycle.

And look who won:

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Heat Is On

Let the summertime indoor hibernation begin.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Sage Advice

The following item appeared in yesterday's Dear Abby. I could have written it. In fact, I could probably write an addendum regarding phone calls.


DEAR ABBY: I have just returned from visiting a close friend in the next town. She was exhausted from caring for her husband, who has terminal cancer -- but even more so from the many visits from loving friends and relatives around the country.

I experienced the same thing a few years ago, so I'm hoping you will help me to inform people of some basic rules for visiting families going through this profoundly trying experience.

Don't go for a "vacation," but rather to lend support -- and only if there is no objection.

Go healthy. Remember, the patient has no immunity after chemotherapy.

Provide your own transportation. Stay in a motel unless the home is large and the hostess has asked you to stay.

Keep visits short and positive. Long conversations are exhausting.

Provide food, preferably ready-cooked for simplicity, and do the cleanup.

Leave the house for periods of time (even a day or two) so the family can resume their medical routine.

Change the bed if you stay in the home. Remember, there is no maid service.

And last, require nothing of the family. There is nothing left for them to give.

Thank you, Abby, for letting me speak for so many.

DEAR GOT IT: Well said. I particularly like your recommendations to stay someplace other than the home, to keep visits short so as not to deplete the patient, and not to expect to be entertained in any way. In life-or-death situations, the normal rules of hospitality do not apply, so ask not what your hosts can do for you, but what you can do for them -- and abide by what they tell you.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Thursday 13: Big Geek

1. No matter what time of the year it is, I'm always on the lookout for new and interesting places to hide Easter eggs.

2. I download songs I hear on TV commercials. My latest iTunes purchase is Feels Like Heaven from the Reese's ad.

3. I am fascinated by the letter combinations on license plates.
4. It's been on the air for more than ten years. It jumped the shark after five. But I still find King of the Hill funny.
5. If I find a comfortable pair of shoes, I buy a pair in every color. Not much variety here.
6. My favorite movies are all from the '80s.
7. I have a habit of overbudgeting my time. As a result, I'm early for everything.
8. I listen to Jefferson Starship. Not Jefferson Airplane. Not Starship. Jefferson. Starship.

9. When we had our house built, I insisted we choose a lot that had the master bedroom windows facing north.

10. I keep a small tape measure in my purse.

11. My favorite thing about going to downtown Phoenix is getting to see all the cool skyscrapers, historic buildings, and other interesting architecture.
12. I reset the trip odometer after every gas stop.

13. All my shirts are color-coded.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Arizona Rain Dance

It doesn't rain in Phoenix very often, but it did yesterday. The showers were unexpected and very brief, but I did manage to get caught in a downpour. Here's how to ensure that it will rain:

--Carry a suede purse.

--Have a really good hair day.

--Wash your car. Rain chances will more than triple if you go to the auto spa and spring for the VIP Platinum service instead of doing it yourself at home.

--Set a few newly washed cashmere sweaters outside to dry, and forget about them.

--Leave the convertible parked with the top down.

--Wear your favorite leather sandals.

--Forget to close the windows before leaving for the day.

--Accidentally leave your umbrella in your husband's/friend's/sister's/boss's car.

--Run the sprinklers and water all plants.

Additional ideas would be appreciated. We could sure use more rain here.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Flip That Dish?

One of my favorite Harlequin items is double egg cup:

It is my goal to acquire one egg cup in eleven of the twelve colors produced (I will never have medium green...too rare and WAY too expensive). And I'm almost there. Last night I won an ebay auction for one in gray.

While the gray egg cup is not a rare piece, it is far less available than the rose, spruce, and blue ones pictured above. The final price (before shipping and handling) was $9.99. That's certainly less than I anticipated having to pay.

Shortly after discovering the win, I noticed a new message on my ebay watch page. I thought it was a seller's invoice. Nope! It was another buyer wanting to buy the gray egg cup. And she was willing to pay $30 for it. Apparently, she didn't get home in time to bid against me.

I had never encountered this situation before, and didn't know how to respond. On one hand, a 200% return on my investment sounded quite attractive. But on the other hand, it might be awhile before I find another gray egg cup. And I definitely won't find one for $10! I didn't reply to her offer right away. Instead, I decided to sleep on it.

Early this morning, I received a second e-mail from her. It seems I wasn't moving fast enough for her liking. I wrote back, declining her offer. But I added that if I decide to sell the egg cup, I'll give her first crack at it.

How Rude!

Yesterday, the boys' school had their end-of-the-year awards assemblies. There were two ceremonies: one for the elementary grades, and one for junior high. And since both boys were receiving awards, we attended both.

At the start of the 3rd-6th grade ceremony, it was standing room only. By the time it ended, only a few dozen people remained. The 7th-8th grade ceremony ended with less than that. Apparently, parents saw no problem with exhibiting poor etiquette and leaving immediately after their kids received their awards.

I realize some families may have had prestanding commitments. The principal even deviated from the written program and gave awards to a group of kids who needed to get to soccer practice. And then there was the family with a cranky toddler. But I truly find it hard to believe that so many people had other legitimate plans. Most likely, they just wanted to get home in time to watch TMZ.

I feel bad for the kids who got their awards last. In this case, it was the band students. They got far less applause than the honor roll students, who were announced at the beginning.

I know that it's difficult to sit on hard laminate cafeteria benches for long periods. My butt was numb after an hour. And I realize that these ceremonies can get drawn out and boring at times...especially if your kid isn't the one getting his name called. But if the adults can't show good manners, how can we expect an entire generation of children to do the same?

BTW, both Kyle and Lucas got awards for Honor Roll, and Lucas got the fourth grade citizenship award for Band. He let me hang his medal from my rear view mirror.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Semester Roundup

Here are a few highlights, lowlights, hints, tips, gripes, and other useless information I learned this semester:

--You will not save money by reupholstering a piece of furniture. By the time you have bought fabric, foam, Dacron padding, cording, springs, and other materials, you're already down a few hundred dollars. And that doesn't even count the basic tools. If money's an issue, you're better off buying a new couch at IKEA.

--The only time reupholstering is worthwhile is when the item is an antique or family heirloom. Or if you need the class for elective credit towards a degree.

--A good quality upholstery staple remover is worth its weight in gold.

--For the Interior Materials class, I had to compile a resource file of different product vendors and tradesmen. Categories included flooring, lighting, window treatments, and green products. This assignment was completed in one afternoon by gathering business cards at a home and garden show.

--Home shows are teeming with some very agressive salesmen. If you make eye contact, they will proceed to talk your ear off. Give them your phone number and you're screwed. I just told these guys that I'm an interior design student and they usually backed off. Translation: college girl has no money.

--I have become enamoured with Mid-Century and Post-War architecture and design. After a lecture in Modern Architecture, I went home and took my Butterfly Chair out of the bedroom. It now sits proudly on display in the living room.

--Paul Klee was an art instructor at Bauhaus. I have one of his prints hanging in the front hall.

--$14.99 per yard for middle-of-the-road upholstery fabric is considered a very good price.

--After 6:30 PM, the faculty parking spaces become fair game. This came in handy for Monday night's upholstery class when I had to lug my furniture and supplies to and from the classroom.

--My commute from home to SCC is 33.5 miles, and takes me through 4 cities--Peoria, Glendale, Phoenix, and Scottsdale.

--Both of our cars get roughly 25 mpg. It was costing me about $10 PER DAY for gas to drive to and from school. OUCH!

--During a lecture on Art Deco, my Modern Architecture teacher mentioned Fiesta ware. I didn't even try to contain my glee.

--Thanks to upholstery class, I mostly overcame my fear of nail guns.

--Two words: Green Design.

--My old preschool--First Christian Church--was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

--Brazilian cherry hardwood flooring darkens over time. I guess I won't be putting an area rug in the living room.

--I memorized the locations of all six speed cameras on the Scottsdale leg of the 101 freeway.

--Never try to hand draft a custom entry door when you can use AutoCAD.

--I got A's in all three classes.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

He's Back!

The Adam Carolla Show is back on Phoenix radio! Now I can listen without being chained to the computer. The show can be heard locally on KEDJ 103.9 FM from 6 to 10 am MST. This will come in really handy in the fall when I'll be commuting to SCC at 7:00 in the morning.

And speaking of school, I have finals in two classes this week, and both should be quite easy. One is open-note and the other is Modern Architecture. For me, the MA class is more of a leisure activity than scholastic drudgery. In fact, I'll be bummed out when it's over. I want to more of this stuff! Maybe I'll skim Amazon for books about Bauhaus, Frank Lloyd Wright, Scandinavian design, and Post-War architecture.

Oh, and by the end of this week, I will have earned a CCL in Home Furnishings and Materials. YAY!!!!!

Monday, May 05, 2008

Pick a Book...

I got this from Mark's blog:

1. Pick up the nearest book.
2. Open to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.

From Interior Design of the 20th Century by Anne Massey, 2001.

His decorating work was a marginal part of the business which he shared with Morant, the traditional upholsterer. Their London showroom was situated in a Palladian house, and was used to display English antique furniture from the sixteenth to mid-eighteenth centuries, when, it was generally considered, the production of 'good' furniture came to an end. Twentieth-century interior decorators consistently worked within the styles of the past, and until the First World War decorating was almost synonymous with the antique trade.