Saturday, February 27, 2010

Bug Emporium

Okay, I have already posted twice today, but I am cracking up! It's currently almost 11:00 p.m., and I just now had to take Trinity's laptop away from her, because instead of sleeping, she was sitting in the dark creating a website. She is absolutely obsessed with bugs, stating over and over again for the last year that when she grows up she is going to be an entomologist. She wants to use her knowledge of bugs to open up what she calls a "bug emporium," which according to her is like a zoo, but with bugs instead of animals.

So she created a website called "Trinity's Bug Emporium," and I am not kidding when I say that I did not help her with this project at all. I guess this is the price you pay when you buy your nine year old a laptop for Christmas (but just to clarify, it was a used laptop from e-bay--we don't spoil our kids that much).

You know, it just occurred to me that my sister recently did a post called "Bug Infestation," my nephew did a post called "Cute Buggies," Trinity did a post called "Bugs! Bugs! Bugs!" and now I'm publishing a post called "Bug Emporium"...all in the same week. Interesting theme there.

In the future, can someone please send me a memo with the current weekly theme so I can better prepare?

Never-Ending Monopoly

At my GATE training, we had a presenter who came up in front of us teachers for a half hour and discussed the benefits of playing Monopoly, as far as sharpening your math skills and such. He also discussed all of the various strategies that can be utilized within the game (Monopoly actually can involve strategy--who knew?) and the various mathematical statistics and odds integrated into the game. Although it was strange to listen to a lecture about a board game, everything the presenter said was extremely interesting, and left me with a desire to start playing Monopoly with Clint and the kids. The only problem though is that from my personal experience, Monopoly when played to completion can be a three or four hour game. There is simply NO WAY that we can spare that kind of time. But again, I really wanted to start playing it with the kids, so we came up with a plan that we enacted last Wednesday.

Our plan was to start a game of Monopoly, but we committed ourselves to only playing it for about 35 minutes. Of course at the end of this time period we weren't even close to being finished, so we took plastic sandwich baggies and put all of our money and property into them, and then labeled each bag with our names. I also took little stickies and marked on the board where each person left off in the game.

Today we pulled out the game again and continued exactly where we had left off. Again, after about 35 minutes, we packed up the game and filled up our personal bags with all of our goodies (which now included houses and such).
This is such a simple concept, but it is so much fun! It turns one game of Monopoly into this tournament that spans days, maybe even weeks, but without ever taking up more than 30-35 minutes of commitment. And now that houses have been put into play, we are all so excited to pull out the game again later this week and see who is going to squash who in realtor land. The only downfall is that I'm losing miserably. I negotiated with Elijah what seemed like a great deal (for me) to acquire the whole St. Charles Place group of three, but then Elijah gave my trade of Indiana Ave. to Trinity, who in return gave him New York Ave. To make a long story short, the two of them now own a whole corner of the board and Clint and I are screwed. Not to mention that Clint owns Park Place and Boardwalk, and his last move was to put houses on both, so really I'm the only one who's screwed.

Nothing like getting creamed by the six year old. Why did I want to teach my kids how to play Monopoly again?

My Loser-esque Decision

I've been avoiding writing a post for the last few days because I knew if I wrote in my blog, I would have to confess that I quit kickboxing. But it's inevitable that I am eventually going to want to blab in my blog again, so here it is: I quit kickboxing (that wasn't that big of an announcement though since I just said it above). My reasons for dropping out of the class aren't anything original or unique; they are pretty much the same reasons I have given in the past for wanting to quit. Clint and I tried our plan of partnering with each other in order to help improve my technique, but this past month Sensei Brandon has refused to allow us to work together. Clint's theory is that Brandon doesn't want to see me get hurt due to our vast difference in size; my theory is that Brandon recognizes how skilled Clint is with kickboxing and doesn't want me to drag him down. But either way, without being able to work with Clint in class, I simply can't seem to improve.

I feel terrible about quitting. I've been in kickboxing for eight months now, and I have really formed bonds with the other students. Again, if I could just go to class and do the work-out, I'd be thrilled and more than willing to stay enrolled until I was a grannie using a walker. But the fact that the second half of the class is devoted to techniques that highlight all of my weaknesses and makes me feel like the village idiot is what I can no longer swallow. I wish I were a more secure person who could just have fun with it without worrying about whether I look foolish or not, but I can't seem to do that.

What's worse is I didn't even tell Brandon in person that I was dropping out of the class. I knew that if I told him face-to-face, he would make it impossible for me and convince me to stay. So I had Clinton drop me from our contract on Tuesday. Since then, I've still been working out. When the kids go to their karate class, I head over to Teri's house and use her elliptical. I have to admit, even after all of those grueling kickboxing classes, the elliptical is a pretty good workout. It's not nearly as fun as my class was, but as long as I bring my i-pod, it's not too bad. Over spring break I hope to find an aerobics class of some sort at one of the local gyms, but until then, I'll just keep using the elliptical as my default. That's the one silver lining in this whole thing: the class wasn't a complete waste. Not only did kickboxing up my energy level, but I'm now at the point where I can never NOT work out. Being in the class for eight months pretty much ingrained within me a lifestyle that includes staying active in one way or another.

I have more to write about, but I'll go ahead and finish this entry so I can see Clint off to work. :)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Do Opposites Attract?

Today was a good day! After a series of three two-day training sessions, I am finally certified to teach GATE kids! I have my official certificate--both a "pretty" one for display, and the not-so-pretty one that they send to credentialing for their permanent records. The training was very enlightening. I feel much better-equipped to teach not only my GATE kids, but my proficient students as well. I actually felt little pangs of disappointment that the training was over. Only teaching three days a week was making me feel very lively and fresh with my students. But I'm definitely not going to miss creating all of those sub plans every week! Tomorrow I'm officially back to work, and I'm nervous as to what condition I will find my room in, but for the most part I have a good group of kids, so I'm sure it will be fine.

I found a post under my drafts that I had written on November 29th, and I'm really surprised it was never posted. Maybe I thought at the time that I still needed to read over it for grammatical errors or something...I don't know. Anyway, I'm going to go ahead and post it now with this entry, so everything that follows is that entry.

Clinton and I are what most would consider polar opposites. I'm an extrovert; he's an introvert. I thrive on confrontations; he avoids them like H1N1 (I was going to say "the plague," but thought I'd modernize it). I am talented academically (almost a teacher's pet of sorts); he is not. I love writing; he hates writing. I have no sense of direction and often struggle in the common sense department, whereas he is loaded with a natural ability to troubleshoot and problem-solve. I am what one would call naive--I'm overly-trusting and tend to give people the benefit of the doubt, generally assuming the best about them until I am proven wrong. Clint, on the other hand, is wary of others and has a general mistrust of people until they have shown otherwise. I am cheerful and full of nervous energy, he is mellow and calm. I can't seem to say "sorry;" he has no problems apologizing or admitting he was wrong. I like warm, sunny weather; he likes cool, gray weather. I like kids; he doesn't. He loves to cuddle; I'm about as cuddly as a disgruntled hedge hog after falling into a cold puddle. I'm a dog person, he's a cat person. And the list goes on.

But after eleven years of marriage, obviously something is working. So I guess this just begs the question: do opposites really attract?

You would think that after the list of opposing characteristics I listed above, that I would be a firm believer that opposites do indeed attract. But I'm not so sure. The thing is, even though Clinton and I are complete opposites on practically every little issue, we do actually share the same beliefs on what some may argue are the two biggest items: religion and politics. Sharing the same perspective on these two big ones not only makes conversation between us very easy and natural, but it also makes it nearly impossible to have really huge fights, because based on our values, we both already know what the "right" solution is. Somehow all of our differences just seem to balance each other when we're in agreement with issues of spirituality.

So at this point, I'm leaning toward opposites not attracting. Just take a look at the people you hang out with; they tend to share the same political ideologies and religious viewpoints (or lack thereof) with you. Most of my friends, for example, are right-wing conservatives. I never set it up this way on purpose, it just seems that life has a way of bringing like-minded people together. And on the other side of this, I nearly permanently lost a friend recently because her and I were so different on our beliefs about the world. Her and I are about as opposite as they come, and I think it's only by sheer willpower that we make some semblance of a friendship work. And if it's this hard to sustain a friendship with someone who is your polar opposite, imagine a relationship. Sure, there might be an initial attraction to that person; that exciting allure, but any kind of enduring relationship with that person would fizzle out quickly, because ultimately you and the object of your desires would have no common ground by which to build a relationship.

I'm glad that Clinton and I are so different on so many issues, because this adds color and life to our marriage. But I'm also glad we have enough in common to meet each other in the middle when it comes to the really important things.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Saturday Skating

Today is one of those "blah" sort of days; about 58 degrees, partly cloudy, breezy. Clint no longer has the weekends off (we figured that gig wouldn't last long), so it was kind of depressing waking up this morning to a gloomy, quiet, messy house. After about an hour of being awake, I was feeling restless and really wanting to do something active, so I decided to take the kids skating at the Power Play Center. We haven't been since this summer, but after today I'm really thinking we need to go more often. It is such inexpensive entertainment! The Family Skate session is four hours long on Saturdays, and is only $2 admission. I have my own skates, but the kids have to use rentals because we won't invest in skates for them when their feet are still growing so fast. Still, the rentals are only two bucks, so for ten dollars even, the kids and I got to skate to our hearts content.

While at the rink, I ran into two of my students from last year, Chelsea and Allison. I was so happy to see them! I had such a good rapport with these girls last year, and they also happened to be in one of my all-time favorite classes. I still miss last year's students terribly. I had fun reminiscing with the girls, and they were thrilled to see their English teacher out on the floor, skating. Over the summer, I had started to teach myself to backwards-skate. Today, I decided to keep trying, and although I'm still very slow, I'm actually doing pretty good. I can turn now without falling, so that's a plus.

I alluded earlier to the house being messy, and man-oh-man is it messy. The countertop project is so much more time-consuming and difficult than the backsplash was, and what was supposed to be a one-week project seems to taking over the month of February. Our kitchen is completely torn apart with grinding dust and old grout chunks coating every possible surface. Everything that is normally in the kitchen is stacked on the dining room table, and our carpet where the bar stools normally sit looks absolutely wrecked. At this point about 2/3 of the counters have the granite tiles installed, but now the whole project is on hold because Clint discovered that everything for his online class is due this Monday, when he had previously thought it was due next Monday. So now not only is the house destroyed, but there's no hope for order being instilled any time soon.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Haze of Alcohol

I don't believe in the whole concept of being drunk. Or maybe I should say I don't believe in the concept of being mentally incapacitated due to intoxication. But I also recognize this is completely egocentric on my part, because the reason I don't buy into true drunkenness (as it is portrayed on TV, or by the co-workers who come swaggering into work late holding their foreheads in agony) is because I have never experienced it before.

I should probably clarify at this point by saying that I'm not exactly a prude when it comes to drinking. Yes, I tend to fall into the category of the "good Christian girl," but I also fall into the category of a social drinker. I don't ever crave liquor, but if it's around, I'm generally more than willing to oblige by downing a drink or two (or three, or six.....). And although I can never compete with my sister's drinking binges (sorry Sho), I have definitely had those nights in the past that should have left me completely toasted. For example, on our 29th birthday, Shan's roommate took Shannon and I out for a girl's night out. We began drinking during dinner, and never quite stopped for the rest of the night. I remember bar-hopping a couple of times until we ultimately wound up at Dimpsies where we drank shot after shot. Men at the bar kept buying us drinks, and of course I didn't want to be rude by not drinking them. ;-) But even after a dozen drinks, I still was not drunk. Okay, physically, I was wasted. I couldn't walk straight, I was acting very silly, and my reflection in the mirror looked really strange. But my mental capacities weren't impaired whatsoever--that is, my ability to make reasonable decisions. At one point during the night, I was asked to dance by a relatively good-looking guy with sandy blond hair and cute dimples. We danced, and had some lively conversation. But the entire time we were dancing and talking, I was keeping a good eye on that "line" in my mind to be sure that, in my intoxicated state, I didn't cross it. Who does that? Who has 18 drinks (arbitrary number) and still gives even a fleeting thought to some moral "line"?

I am 116 pounds, and I can NOT seem to get drunk. By anyone's standards I should be a lightweight who topples after two wine coolers. But I can down six whiskey and cokes and still have all of my wits about me (even though I can't balance on a toilet). Why why WHY can't I get drunk? The plus side is I have never had a hangover, either. And this includes the time I went to Billy Bob's in Texas--the world's largest bar (or honky tonk, as Texans like to call it)--and drank so many White Russians that I lost count.

So based on my personal experience, I think people tend to use liquor as a kind of avatar. "Teacher" me or "Mommy" me or "Wife" me might not be incredibly interesting. But "drunk" me? She can do anything she wants. Alcohol gives people not only the freedom to loosen up their inhibitions, but also to make decisions that they would never make sober. I think when people are drunk and getting ready to do something tempting and stupid (such as cheat on their spouse), they actually do hear that little voice in their heads telling them that this behavior is wrong, but they are allowing themselves to use intoxication as a scapegoat. Being drunk is that proverbial Get out of Jail Free Card. If you do happen to get caught for your drunken acts of stupidity, you just play the card (and of course drive it home with the follow-up "I don't remember anything" card). Being drunk allows you to live out your fantasies, in small degrees.

Admittedly, I do get more touchy-feely when I've had a few. Not emotionally, but physically. My natural personality is also touchy-feely, but it's more exaggerated when I've been drinking. It's the kryptonite to marrying my high school sweetheart--I have never exactly explored my horizons, and I'm not going to lie--the casual touch of another man can send sparks shooting through my flesh. But even in a so-called drunken stupor, I would never in a million years sabotage the sanctimony of my marriage just for a few fleeting sparks. Again, there is a very blindingly bright line that I would never cross, sober or drunk.

Thus, I don't buy into the whole "I cheated on him because I was drunk" phenomenon. For those who have used this excuse, I think you knew exactly what you were doing and are trying to cover your shameful sin in the over-used blanket of intoxication. Morality can shove it's way through even the blurriest haze of alcohol.

Tag, I'm It

I was tagged by my friend Sarah to take this little blogging survey, so here goes:

The rules:

1. Copy and Paste the rules of the game at the beginning.
2. Each player answers the questions about themselves.
3. At the end of the post, the player then tags five people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read the player’s blog.
4. Let the person who tagged you know when you’ve posted your answer.

Note: Please keep
this link in your rules so the original poster can see how far the Meme goes.

•What is your favorite word?
Catawampus. It's not only a fun word to say, but it does a good job of describing me on an average day.

•What is your least favorite word?

•What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?
Music. When that awesome song comes on, it has the ability to lift my spirits like nothing else.

•What turns you off?
Hyenas (hehe). Okay, I'd have to go with shallowness. One example would be those individuals who define their existence by their material possessions.

•What is your favorite curse word?
I've been trying not to cuss because I'm going broke (see
Resolutions for 2010). But my favorite has got to be the entire barrage of big ones, fired out all at once in one long, satisfying strand.

•What sound or noise do you love?
The bell ringing at the end of 8th period.

•What sound or noise do you hate?
The bell ringing at the beginning of 1st period. =) Or the sound of styrofoam screeching when it's rubbed together.

•What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
I'd love to be a writer. I wouldn't mind being a veterinarian, either...I still have my childhood love for animals.

•What profession would you not like to do?
I wouldn't want to be the person who euthanizes dogs in the pound.

•If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
“I know you."


1. Clinton @
A Man of Unclean Lips
2. Kristyn @
Pretty Pessimist
3. Cassidi @
Night Time Wishes
4. Dylan @
Clay Pots
5. Ryan @ Archaic Written Journal (cuz it wouldn't be "cool" to type it--haha)

*Cassidi and Dylan, you are not allowed to answer the cursing question. ;-)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

So Now I'm a Hyena

Yesterday I took a quick nap and had a dream that Clint and I had entered into a karate/kickboxing-type tournament somewhere far away. Before the competition began, there was this ancient guru woman who was supposed to read all of the competitors' "animal spirits" (like in Clan of the Cavebears). She began with the first competitor; a big, strong opponent. She declared to the audience that his animal spirit was a tiger. This was good news for him, because tigers were fierce competitors. But she warned him that he would have to be careful, because tigers could be impulsive and make quick, foolhardy decisions. Next, she read Clinton, and announced he was a horse. This was also good news, because even though horses were somewhat slower, they were very disciplined, steady, and obedient.

Next was my turn. She read me, but then I had to go to the bathroom, so I dashed off before she could tell me what animal spirit I was (stupid wimpy bladder). As I ran off though, I heard the crowd groan, and I heard the woman lamenting about what a shame this spirit was. Once in the restroom, all the stalls were occupied, save for one, which had a big rustic copper toilet with a sign that said "out of order." I remember feeling panicky because I was running late for the tournament, plus I knew that the old woman was probably upset that I had run out in the middle of her reading.

I finally gave up on the restroom, but ultimately refused to go back to the competition because of my embarrassment over being late. Instead, I returned to a restaurant-like booth where two men were sitting, watching the tournament from a small television set. I asked them what animal spirit had been assigned to the third competitor. They told me that the third competitor had run off in shame, because that person had discovered that they were a hyena. According to the men, this was the most disgraceful of all the spirits. I wasn't too thrilled about it, because I kept picturing those mangy, slobbery hyenas in The Lion King.

Okay, so I obviously have some unresolved security issues with kickboxing, but seriously...what the hell? Animal spirits? Where did that come from? What am I, a Shaman? And rustic copper toilets?

For the record, I did look up hyena animal spirits, and they're not all that bad. Here is the description:

People with a Hyena totem have the ability to discern, to be clearer on what to do, whom to trust, what to believe, etc. They trust “what smells right” and what doesn’t. Communication is very important to Hyena people but they need to be careful with their words. (
See? I don't know what that dream audience was groaning about. What a bunch of drama-queens.

By the way, when I woke up from my nap, I still had to go to the bathroom.

The Love Pavilion

For Valentine's Day Clint gave me the traditional heart-shaped box of chocolates and mini-roses. Of course, as mentioned last entry, those were last minute "Oh crap" gifts due to the fact that he found out I got him something. But I don't mind. :)

The best part of our day was about two hours ago. Clint cooked us a really nice dinner, and we had the kids serve us, as if we were in a restaurant. The dinner was delicious: shrimp scampi, rosebud potatoes, veggies, blackberry merlot, and strawberry shortcake for dessert. And the kids were so darn cute. They took their role very seriously, even giving our so-called restaurant a name: "The Love Pavilion." I was cracking up when Elijah came up to our table wearing a little clip-on tie, ready to take our order with a giant green crayon. When he left the table, he and Trinity bowed, like waiters might in a formal restaurant. Then Elijah complained, "Trinity, you're a girl. You're not supposed to bow, you're supposed to tootsie." We laughed so hard.

Now Clint and I are playing Quiddler, but his turns are taking so darn long that I am typing this entry while waiting for him to lay down a card. Yaawwwwnnnnn.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Yet Another Story Butchered

We went to the movies today to see The Lightening Thief. I was really disappointed. Any time I watch a movie based from the novel, I am always prepared to deal with the producers' artistic licensing in tweaking the storyline to make it more suitable for the big screen. But this movie was such a loose translation of the book that it might as well have been a completely different story. The producers excluded major characters, deleted important scenes, and dumbed down the storyline to the point where it was nothing more than a generic remnant of the original. They also made Percy too powerful, which took away a lot of his appeal as a "normal" kid that just happened to have a god for a father. On the plus side, Annabeth's character in the movie has a lot more personality than the book-version-Annabeth, plus Grover offers a lot of comic-relief throughout the movie. I think the movie might be entertaining for those who have never read the book, but it pretty much just ticked me off the whole time.

The rest of today has been pretty uneventful. After the movie we went to lunch, then to Newbie's for frozen yogurt as a reward to Trin for getting good grades. Once at home, Clint began working on the kitchen countertops, and I did his homework. We have a nice bribery system going on; he'll continue to work on projects as long as I chip in with his homework. So today I created a concept map of "curriculum," and then a pictograph collage of "effective teaching practices." Meanwhile, he busted up some tile. I think I got the short end of that stick.

Tomorrow's Valentine's Day, but neither Clint nor I are romantic-types, so the holiday has always been a bit lost on us. Plus Valentine's Day falls a week after Clint's birthday, so I'm generally burnt out with shopping by the time this nuisance of a holiday arrives. Nonetheless, I decided to pick up some chocolate-covered peanuts for Clint, and a card, just in case he happened to get me a gift. I didn't want to feel guilty if I woke up tomorrow morning and he presented me with a gift, but I was empty-handed (I know, such a noble reason to get someone a gift). And if he didn't get me a gift, I was okay with that...we could just share the peanuts. Well, Clint found out that I got him a gift, so then he had to run out to get me a gift about an hour ago, which is just ironic because if I had just left everything alone, we both would have never bought each other anything and would have been perfectly content.

Stupid little holiday. *sigh*

Shaking Bed Syndrome

My bed has this bad habit of shaking at night. It's been doing this for about two years now; not every night, but about two or three times a week. In the beginning, I used to think it was an earthquake. In our old house, there were several times when I ran upstairs into the living room (back when Clint worked swing shift), sure that we had just had an earthquake. Clint would insist that there had been no earthquake, and at times, would even resort to going to USGS's website just to convince me.

The shaking isn't always earthquakish though...sometimes it's much more subtle, just like a small jolt. It often feels like a cat has jumped onto the mattress, or a person has just rolled into the bed. But added to this is the sensation I get from time to time that something is actually putting physical pressure on me.  Last week, for example, I felt a cat jump on my bed and put it's paws on my back. I was certain that it was my cat Pharaoh, but I was perplexed because I remembered Clint putting him in the garage (our cats sleep in the garage at night because I'm a light sleeper). I rolled over to grab the cat, but there was nothing there. I went to the garage to see if Pharaoh was indeed locked in, and he was.

The thing is, I don't believe in the paranormal. Well, I shouldn't say that. I do believe that there are things out there that we can't fully comprehend; it would be naive for humans to assume that we know everything there is to know about the universe we live in. But I am extremely cynical when it comes to ghosts and that sort of thing. If you try to tell me your little ghost story and insist that it is 100% true, I'll nod along and ooh and ahh at all the right places, but inwardly I will think that you're full of crap. Sorry.

So, being the skeptic I am, I have come up with a theory as to why my mattress won't sit still at night, and why I occasionally feel tactile sensations.  I have always been an insomniac. It doesn't seem to matter how tired I am, the second my head hits that pillow, my mind starts buzzing like crazy with this thought and that thought and I can't seem to turn it off. But it's almost becoming this thing that I do to myself. What I mean is, even on the nights that I go to bed feeling very relaxed and stress-free, I will slowly begin to drift to sleep when my brain suddenly announces, "You're about to fall asleep now, so don't screw it up by thinking about pointless things!" And of course that's like telling a small child to not touch the hot plate...naturally her rebellious nature is going to take over. And WHAM, now I'm up all night. I screw myself over like this constantly.

So how does this relate to the shaking mattress? Well here is where I would need my sister's psychological expertise, but I think that all of those vibrations and jolts are actually hallucinations. Not of the "seeing" kind, but of the "feeling" kind. Do those exist? I almost always feel the shaking when I'm on the brink of falling asleep, so I think that my sadomasochist brain might actually be creating these tactile manifestations to keep me up at night. A sort of insomnia to the Nth degree.  I can't think of any other way to intelligently rationalize what I am experiencing, so I think I'm going to stick with this theory for awhile.

Friday, February 12, 2010


I'm trying an experiment to see if I can create my own blog background, so you might see weird changes in the next hour or so...just ignore them. :)
Update: It's an hour later and I did manage to apply a new background, but there are still way too many kinks to work out, so now I'm back to my old template. I think I'm going to have to wait until summer break to really play around with it. At least now I know it's somewhat doable. :)

Update #2: Apparently I'm a glutton for punishment, because I'm going to go back and try some more. So again, expect weird crap all over my page for a little while...or a long while if my stubborn-butt refuses to let up on this lovely time-wasting endeavor.

Update #3: I got my background to work! Clint had to help me, because I am clueless when it comes to editing HTML. I'm not going to stick with this template forever...I'll get bored again in a few months, I'm sure. But at least now I know that I can put in my own graphics and am not limited to the already-created templates makes it a little more personal.

P.S. It's interesting to observe the domino-effect of blogging. One person changes her blog's appearance, then shortly after everyone on that person's blogroll is doing it too. It's a cyber "keeping up with the Jones's" phenomenon. Hey, I'm not claiming to be immune to this--I'm constantly feeling inspired by other blogs and itching to try new things.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

One Weekend Warrior and One Grunt

We finished our kitchen backsplash a few days ago. It took much longer than I had anticipated, but it came out cute! Overall the project was a bit time-consuming (grout has to cure for three days before being sealed, etc.) and very messy, but it wasn't difficult at all. Of course, Clint did most of the actual labor...I just did grunt work (like filling buckets with water and doing his "Diversity in the Classroom" homework). Now that we're finished, I feel so eager to start the countertops, because the new backsplash is making the tile on our kitchen counter look blinding white. Luckily, we already have the supplies to start the countertops. About two years ago, we purchased soft gray granite tiles to install in our kitchen, but then wound up moving before we got around to installing them. So we're going to begin installation of those tiles this weekend. I'm thinking it's going to take us at least three weeks to finish, since we really only have time to work on this project over the weekends.
It's frustrating because when we first moved into our house, I took lots of "before" pictures, but now I can't figure out where I stored them. I did find two random pics that "sort of" show what our kitchen looked like before we began renovations, so here they are:

Unfortunately Elijah is taking center-stage in that second pic, but it was the only photo I could find that shows what our our kitchen looked like before we started attacking it with paint, etc. The kitchen cabinets used to be an oak-brown color, and there was a long row of cabinets blocking the view between the kitchen and the living room. Since we've moved in, we have torn out that row of cabinets, installed an island light, painted all the cabinets a cream-white color, installed pulls and knobs, installed a microwave over the range, and now, finished the backsplash. We still need to do the countertops and replace our sink. Here are some pics I took yesterday to show how everything is coming out so far:
The flash on my camera made the kitchen look a lot whiter than it actually real-life it's not as blinding. Plus the gray granite tiles, once installed, will soften up the room. We still have a lot of work left to do, but I'm so proud of what we (and by "we," I mean "Clinton"--LOL) have accomplished so far, and I can't wait to see the end result!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Basket Cases

I recently complained in a previous entry that Trinity and Elijah refuse to be normal kids who sleep on real beds with pillows and blankets, and all that good healthy stuff that is generally associated with sleeping. Well, the good news is that last night, my kids actually slept in a bed! Woo hoo!

However, this is how Clint found them in the middle of the night. Yes, they are sleeping with their heads shoved in laundry baskets. *Sigh*

The Sea of Monsters

I'm discovering that I have no issues whatsoever reading novels for the Bookworm Challenge; it's posting the reviews that I'm slacking on. I still have not written a review for Kite Runner, but at this point I doubt I ever will. I sort of consider including this book as "cheating," since I pro-rated the book toward the challenge when technically I had finished reading it two days before I signed up. I'll probably wind up adding one more book to my list to compensate for this.

I finished reading The Sea of Monsters about two weeks ago, but of course still have not gotten around to writing a review. So I'm going to write one right now, but I'll keep it short.

The Sea of Monsters is very similar to The Lightening fact, in many ways, they seem almost like the same book, but with different quests and a few more added characters. Like the first book, it's enjoyable and easy-to-read. However, it is missing some of the character development and self-discovery that makes the first book so appealing. Furthermore, some of the quests, although interesting and fun to read, seem like they are thrown in there just to take up pages, and don't really contribute to the overall theme. I still am disappointed with Riordan's lack of character development with Annabeth...two-and-a-half novels now and she still bores me (in the movie trailer for Lightening Thief, Annabeth seems to be full of personality! Go figure. Maybe the author just couldn't figure out how to create a colorful, interesting heroine).

On the plus side, while the novel is not incredibly deep, it is unquestionably entertaining. And Riordan does give this particular installment a great, cliffhanger ending. He also does a great job of tying loose ends at the end of each book, while constantly weaving that underlying theme-thread that will continue through the rest of the series.