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Archived Entries from August 2006


Apply Directly to Wallet

As one who is oftentimes overly critical of others, I feel it fair to admit when I do something so completely stupid that I almost can't believe it.

So I've been having these awful headaches for a while, right?

It isn't from my blood pressure which was an amazing 122/80 on Monday when I went to the doctor. My doctor says it isn't from a sinus problem either, even though sinus medication sometimes makes them go away.

And the problem is that only one thing regularly works to get rid of them--and that's ibuprofen. LOTS of ibuprofen. Five, to be exact. Whenever I used to get a headache I'd take five ibuprofen and in about fifteen minutes there would be no trace of the headache--usually for the rest of the day.

Which was all well and good until a hole was worn into my stomach and I started bleeding internally. Bleeding so much that by the time I went to the doctor for it (after several days) I got woozy walking up stairs or standing up after sitting for a while. The doctor then put me on Nexium, which fixed the stomach problem, and then I had an upper GI--I've already blogged about all of that already.

So I'm not allowed to take ibuprofen for the rest of my life. Never again. Ever. But we have a problem. I still get these headaches. Tylenol doesn't work. Aspirin can, but it has the whole stomach thing associated with it like ibuprofen (and taking too much ibuprofen never made my stomach "hurt" but taking too much aspirin definitely does).

Now I'm on muscle relaxants. They aren't helping much either. And I was given a "range" of how many to take during the day and I'm already at the upper end of that range, and it still isn't helping.

So guess what I did today? Yep. I bought a stick of "HeadOn."

It feels almost like a weak version of Icy Hot. My skin is all tingly (and then I touched it and rubbed my nose and now the right side of my nose is numb...). But the headache is still here.

What did I expect? But that's how desperate I am. Just on the off chance that this stuff works (or even that I could trick my subconscious into making the headaches go away a la the placebo effect...) I wasted eight bucks. Fortunately I got some buffered aspirin as well, so that's next. Sheesh.

And as we left the drug store the cashier said "your receipt is in your sack." As the redhead and I got outside we both started laughing like fifth-graders. "What if you bought cashews?" she said to me. "Uh," I replied in my best Butthead voice "your nuts are in your sack." Totally infantile. And of course we beat the joke to death for a few more minutes, laughing so hard that we almost cried.

So if anyone wonders why some people grow apart and end up divorced after five years, and other people grow old together, I think the answer is jokes about body parts. Or something. "My receipt? That's not all that's...." Okay, enough.

We've been carpooling for a while now, which has been really cool. Even cooler now that gas is going back down. And cooler yet that we've been taking the Aurora so her new car has stayed in the garage. And today was the fourth day in a row that we've both brought a sandwich for lunch instead of eating out.

We ate at a picnic table at Hessel Park in Champaign today (as we often do) and I said something about how much money we've saved this week by not eating out and by driving together, and the redhead noted aloud that it is interesting that we have more money/income than we ever have in our entire lives together, and now we've decided to become tightwads and bring our lunch and carpool. Interesting, eh?

Okay, I think the Bulletin notification thing just finished, so I can get back to work....

Posted: Thursday, August 31, 2006, 7:06 pm
Mood: Relaxed | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


Sleep

So I got up at 5:30 or so, had some breakfast, unloaded, loaded, and started the dishwasher, checked on some baseball scores (Sox win, Twins lose--perfect), and now it is just before 6:00 a.m. I don't need to be up for another hour or so. Do I go back to bed? I can't see that I'll be able to sleep for an hour....

This is the second day in a row I've woken up really early. I would have expected that the muscle relaxers would make me sleep longer. Maybe it is just that I'm sleeping better and hence don't need as much sleep? Who knows. I don't feel tired right now. Of course I don't necessarily feel overly relaxed either.

College football starts this weekend! I'm soooo ready for football and chili and colder weather and sweatshirts and tasty beer.

Okay, I'm going to go back to bed. I need to finish up re-programming the electronic grants thing today when I get to work....

Oooh. I wonder if my new server will show up today. What fun!

Posted: Thursday, August 31, 2006, 10:59 am
Mood: Happy | 1 comment| Article URL | Post a comment
 


Waitin' for the Redhead

We've been doing a great job bringing our lunches and carpooling, but the redhead realized that she was going to be in need of an auto this afternoon so after we ate lunch together she took me back to the office and kept the car so she could run errands.

Now I'm sitting here waiting for her to finish up at work so she can come get me and we can go home.

I think the muscle relaxers are working, but not all the way. I have a damn headache right now, and if I had ibuprofen in my desk I'd probably already have taken some. We'll see. Maybe on the ride home I'll loosen up and this pain will go away.

Anyway.

I went to one of the (three!) bookstores on campus today and stocked up on some Illini-wear. I got three t-shirts, two long-sleeve t-shirts, and two sweatshirts. And all of them feature the big bright Chief Illiniwek logo. The very small vocal minority looks like they may win this fight at the end of this year, but they can't prevent me from wearing a Chief shirt to work every day for the rest of my existence here. I've thought a lot about liberal vs. conservative stuff lately, and I may be way out of whack but it really seems to me that (if you can believe this) I consider that I'm more open-minded than most people I know that are left-of-center (and I'm not way right-of-center, but I'm definitely right-leaning for a lot of stuff...). Maybe that's part of the reason I think gay people should be allowed to get married. I actually took the time to listen to all the arguments, did some thinking about it, and now I think I am on the correct side of the issue. And I think I could have a logical discussion with people further right-wing than myself and it wouldn't devolve into yelling and screaming and fit-throwing. They might never agree with me, but we could speak nevertheless. Now I also happen to think that the Chief is in no way meant to be a racist symbol. But oh my goodness, try having that discussion with one of the anti-Chief fanatics. They wouldn't listen to a word I'd say. Would you consider for a moment that there are many Indians out there that aren't opposed to the Chief (at the very least, there are tons of them who just don't care about the whole issue and don't see what the big deal is). But the anti-Chief people have their opinion, will scream and yell about it, give me dirty looks for wearing Chief merchandise, and not for a minute consider the other side of the story.

Anyway. I think I'm still getting fed up with the long-haired grad student that keeps writing "Bush should be in jail" on the wall of the bathroom downstairs. You know what, I don't like the job the President is doing much either, but I'm hardly going to deface public property. Notice that nobody is writing nasty things about (Dem.) Governor Rod Blagojevich all over the place--and he's 100% for sure screwing over every University employee in the state with his plan that borrows money from our retirement funds (that are supposedly protected by the Constitution of the State of Illinois) to pay off other state debt. And hiring friend illegally. And all sorts of other sordid stuff. I don't see his name written on bathroom walls anymore. Maybe the hippie grad students have an easier time spelling "Bush" than "Blagojevich." I don't know.

I'll just be happier when we go back to having a corrupt Democrat in the White House instead of a corrupt Republican.

Okay, the redhead is on the way. Good time to quit with the ranting.... ;)

Posted: Wednesday, August 30, 2006, 9:40 pm
Mood: Happy | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


Oh, Right...

So my doctor decided to put me on muscle relaxers. And boy was I ever relaxed last night....

I have noticed today that I haven't been clenching my teeth. And I've even been spending most of my day fighting with my cheapo Epson scanner (scanning SLIDES of all things....). I think I finally have it wrangled into a situation where it is behaving itself somewhat (shutting off the auto-preview thing helped....). And yeah, there's nothing more boring than scanning slides but having it expand them into a four-inch wide image at 300 dpi. Bzzzz......

So hopefully these new pills will make me stop having so many headaches. So far, so good.

I still need to lose 40 pounds. Maybe this fall. When it isn't 100% humidity anymore. Gross.

Ooop, a slide just finished. Gotta go...

Posted: Tuesday, August 29, 2006, 6:40 pm
Mood: Relaxed | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


Pills

I'd express some frustration, but I don't know if I can express frustration at this point. Or something.

I went back to see the doctor today for a one-month follow-up. Dr. Lee had put me on the little purple pill when my stomach was bleeding way back when, and I was out of refills, and I had to go see him to get more (last month) and he wanted to take me off of them because I was "fixed." Until, that is, I told him I was still taking ibuprofen against the strict instructions of the gastroenterologist that did my upper GI endoscopy.

Phew.

So we had talked about my headaches, and the fact that they were only on one side of my head, in a certain place, etc., etc. (And no, Arnold, "It's not a tumor....") I told Dr. Lee (last month) that I was under some stress--knew I was getting a new job, refinancing the house, buying a new car, etc., and that I needed to lose weight and he gave me some samples of some prescription headache stuff and told me to see if it helped.

It didn't.

I mean, not at all. Goofy headache? Add narcotic pill--nothing happens. Add second narcotic pill (as instructed)--nothing happened. I went to bed, or dealt with it or whatever. Next day? Goofy headache. Five ibuprofen. Five minutes later? GONE. I'll take the ibuprofen and be on the little purple pill for the rest of my life if I have to.

Where was I? (Sorry--the wife just ordered a bunch of movie channels and some movie about a guy who was in that Pacifier movie last night called "Riddick" is on and it is mildly entertaining....)

So I got my boss' new computer installed at his home, along with the hard drive from his old computer.

What was the point of all this?

Okay, back to this silly movie....

Posted: Tuesday, August 29, 2006, 3:00 am
Mood: Wheee..... | 1 comment| Article URL | Post a comment
 


Freelancing-Free Weekend

Well, I was right--even after quitting freelancing for good it still looms over my head. There was something I needed to do this weekend. But no, there wasn't. Nothing. No plans.

I hardly spent any time this weekend down here

I spent a bunch of time on Saturday canning tomatoes. I made a baker's dozen cans of salsa (that's going to be hotter than hell because I had very, very few bell peppers and I wanted to use them in the spaghetti sauce so I only used jalapenos and cayenne peppers in the salsa...). Then I did six quarts of spaghetti sauce, and finally five quarts and a pint of just plain canned tomatoes.

I have over 3 dozen jars of salsa now, which is lots more than I even had after last year (and I ran out of my previous supply in early Spring, which sucked....). And summer isn't over yet. It's going to be a challenge to keep up with peppers, but the tomatoes are still growing like crazy.

Being the total dork that I am, I even made labels and then didn't cut them out well....

Last night some of our friends came over and my pal Darren and I ran uptown and went to a couple of the crappy local bars (which are gross--but the whole thing is funny to me somehow). I had a lot of fun, but probably had a few beers too many. Funny how it works like that sometimes.

Today we took the kidders out for breakfast and then spent a good part of the day in the backyard where the redhead yanked out all the now-dead plants from the containers, and pulled weeks, and I mowed the way-too-long grass. (When it is so damn hot out I tend to try to keep the front yard neat and trim but I kinda let the backyard get out of control...) So mowing took forever, and I sweat my butt off, but the yard looks a ton nicer than it did before we started. I'm so sick of crabgrass. Yuck.

Okay, I think I'm going to go to bed.

Posted: Monday, August 28, 2006, 3:12 am
Mood: Happy | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


Friday!

This week has seemed eternal. But hey, it's official--I'm no longer a freelance typesetter! Which is a very good thing because I have a ton of tomatoes to can this weekend, and a crapload of weeds to pull in the back yard. And I need to trim the bushes in front of the house, and mow the back lawn, and clean out the pool, and suck up all the leaves from the stupid green ash tree, and clean out the water garden, and, and, and....

Maybe the kids and I will go catfishing again. Hey, speaking of catfish, I meant to post these pictures earlier this week....

Last Sunday we had the in-laws over for fried chicken--the redhead promised the kids she'd make it for them for, well, I'm not sure what the reason was. I told the kids that wouldn't it be fun if we could catch a catfish from the old reservoir and have fried fish too, because Papa loves fried fish (and since we were already going to be making a huge greasy mess in the kitchen...).

Well, Sunday morning the kids and I walked over to our special spot at the old reservoir and plunked a chicken liver into the water. And after 20 minutes or so, success!

I didn't weigh it, but that's the front section of the News-Gazette unfolded, so the fish was right about 17 inches long. I cut filets off of both sides and then took the skin off. I haven't cleaned a fish in a while, but I think I did a pretty good job. I cut the filets up into bite-sized chunks.

Normally I would have just dipped the fish pieces in egg, then in flour or corn meal, and then plopped them into the fryer, but I decided to try something different and made my own beer batter mix. I mixed up a few eggs with some flour, a can of beer, and some pepper and seasoned salt. Then I semi-dried the pieces of fish on a paper towel hoping that the batter would stay on them better than if they were soaking wet. Finally I plopped them into the little fryer thing that my mother-in-law was nice enough to give to us (actually, this is the second one she has given to us--she bought two of them way-back-when and we had a little, err, malfunction with ours about a year ago and had to pitch it, but she said recently that she never uses hers so she gave it to us...).

It was awesome. Even the redhead thought it was really, really, good, and she doesn't like catfish because she thinks they "taste like mud." (After we caught the fish I put it in a cooler of water hoping that the clean water would clean it out a little bit and make it less mud-like....). Well, I didn't manage to get around to cleaning the fish, etc., until after we had the in-laws over for chicken, so I did the frying later in the afternoon and then brought some out to Papa.

He loved it as well, of course. There obviously wasn't that much when all was said and done because it was only one (albeit somewhat large) fish. I told the kids that we need to go every weekend and try to catch one, and then after we have three or four in the freezer have the in-laws over for a full dinner of fried fish. Mmmm.

Anyway. Thank goodness it is Friday. I have lots to do this weekend, and I'm very, very thankful none of it involves sitting in front of a damn computer.

Posted: Friday, August 25, 2006, 1:42 pm
Mood: Happy | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


Calming Down

Well I took the plunge and sent an e-mail to one of the higher-ups at my old employer that I still do freelance work for, letting her know that I was wrapping it up after this project and would not be available for future projects.

In other news....

My boss brought in the new motherboard for his computer, that had arrived at his house yesterday afternoon. I installed it without a hitch, hooked everything back up, and thank goodness the machine booted. I had a few dealings with the BIOS to tell it which hard drive to look at and what to boot from first, but after a few restarts I was good to go and we booted into Windows.

I said "Woohoo!" when the Windows screen finally appeared and let the new grad students in the lab know that I've never been happier to see a damn Windows machine boot.

I showed the boss, who was quite pleased. There was still a concern about his home network, that I was sure was fried as well (his power supply was okay, so I'm guessing that he didn't get fried by the power cord, he got fried by the network cable plugged into the back of the machine, which means that the network devices are probably not really happy either....). After dining with the redhead for lunch I headed out to my boss' house and parked at the street because the plumber and the guys from one of those big electronic places had parked in the driveway.

Once inside, my boss informed me that it wasn't working now. He had booted it up, then tried to use the mouse, realized that it wasn't plugged in, and then plugged in the keyboard and mouse and restarted.

And it wouldn't boot properly.

I tried it with just the keyboard. Just the mouse. Both. Neither. Multiple attempts. "Keyboard Controller failure."

While I never would have assumed this would be a problem, I asked him if he plugged the keyboard in while it was running. He had. "Did I screw it up?" he asked.

(I mean, surely. I know that old Apple desktops with ADB tend to blow up if you plug in a keyboard or mouse to the bus while the machine is running, but that was like 15 years ago--surely this Dell wouldn't be that way...).

ABC were green, D was yellow. I'm no Dell tech. But I was pretty sure this motherboard was fried now too.

He's just going to get a new computer and let the insurance company pay for it--what any normal person with a normal "advisor" would have done in the first place. Replace the motherboard? That's for hackers.

So I use my laptop to check his router and cable modem (I think the cable modem is shot, but the router might be okay--I can talk to the router but without the cable modem working I don't know if the cable modem's WAN port is working... So I report to him in the foyer of his house where he's watching the guys from the big electronics place hook up his new television and stereo. We chat for a bit. He had already told me he was just going to get a new computer, etc. Well, as I was putting my shoes on I said something about not realizing that hooking up the keyboard would have done that but I knew of systems (uh, like Quadras) that would fry if you plugged in a keyboard while it was running, and that I was sorry that I didn't tell him at the beginning to just go get a new computer.

Well the guys from the big electronic store start talking to one another about how "they've never heard of plugging in a keyboard frying a motherboard" loud enough for me to overhear them as I'm talking to my boss. Okay, sorry. I'm not a Dell tech. I don't work on PCs for a living.

So I get home and chat with my friend who is a PC/Dell expert and he assures me that yes, plugging in a keyboard should not be a problem while the machine is running. "I wouldn't be surprised if you couldn't use it until you rebooted, but it shouldn't screw anything up."

The guess, at this point (and my friend agrees), is that the keyboard is fried as well, and plugging a fried keyboard in while the machine is running did the damage.

Because even without the keyboard and mouse plugged in, the computer still won't boot and gripes about the keyboard controller.

But again, I'm not a Dell tech. I used to be a pretty good Mac tech, but not so much anymore. (Mostly because I don't have Mac problems either at work or at home....).

I don't know. So I was wrong and the guys from the big electronics place knew it. If only my personality would let stuff like that roll over me and go away.... They can joke about it between themselves in the future and I'll just be happy that (okay, bite tongue HARD).

Did I mention that I quit doing any more consulting? No freelance typesetting. No web sites. No computer repair (heh--obviously I'm not that good at it to begin with...).

Now I can mow my yard. Pull weeds. RELAX.

Okay, the kids just went to bed. I'm going to go up and kiss them and then spend the rest of the waking evening on the couch with the redhead. And I'll be calm, dammit.

Posted: Thursday, August 24, 2006, 1:41 am
Mood: Worn Out | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


Overdrive

I feel like I've been going 500 mph lately. And it's exhausting.

I think the problem is that I just got so worked up about some things that now that they've happened I'm still having a hard time calming down and catching my breath. It's like when you graduate high school or college and for days or weeks or months afterwards still feel like you have an assignment you need to be working on. Only this anxiety is different. Or something. Anyway....

Well, it's official--I'm quitting freelancing. I've wasted far too many nights and weekends working. My yard is a mess. I hate telling the kids that I can't do whatever because I have to work. You know when Harry Chapin is on the radio singing "my son turned 10 just the other day--he said thanks for the ball dad, come on let's play" and you start crying that that's probably a good indication that this situation has gone on long enough. My wife and I both got five-figure pay increases in the last six months--there's no need for me doing this anymore. And part of me feels bad, like I'm leaving an ex-employer in a pinch, but this needs to be about me and my family, and not about them. And part of me wants to say "well, but if you have an emergency..." but I'm not doing that either. Because then everything I used to typeset will then become an emergency and I'll be right back where I was. I'm not burning a bridge, but I am closing a door. And locking it. And then putting a couple of wooden benches and one of those tall metal cylindrical trash bins on top of the benches.

And I feel like I still have something "looming" now? It will be interesting to deal with that feeling for the next few weeks after I finish up my final typesetting project.

Again, anyway. Sorry to be rambling but the redhead bugged me yesterday about why I hadn't updated my blog lately. Too tired. Too anxious. And much too melodramatic too. Sigh.

So somebody explain to me why every time a hotel blows up in Jakarta gas prices go up 25 cents (and like I have always said--why should that matter when 75% of our oil comes from North and South America....) but when the major oil pipeline from Alaska has to be shut down, effectively cutting off a full 8% of our crude oil supply, gas has been plummeting, from around $3.25 a gallon locally to now under $2.85 a gallon. Something that I would have expected to make gas go up to $4 a gallon happened, and gas prices have instead gone down, and gone down a bunch. Until the next car bomb in Indonesia. (Does Indonesia even export oil?) I just don't get it. Oh well.

Well I drove separately from the wife today because I wanted to get here bright and early because I thought my boss would be showing up with the new motherboard for his computer (that I have to replace this morning). But he's not here yet. I have my wife's purse though (that was in my car), at least. Ooops. I guess I'll get to work on something other than his computer...

Posted: Wednesday, August 23, 2006, 1:00 pm
Mood: Exhausted | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


The Forest

I'm working on seeing the forest "for the trees."

New job--done.

Mortgage refinance--done.

New car--done.

Quitting freelancing--uh, close?

Being done with debt--really close.

A culmination of much stress and much effort has taken place, and I think we're finally, finally ready to jettison the first stage rocket and enter the orbit of hopefully-worry-free existence.

Will the worry end? We'll see. I'm still anxious.

I hope that feeling goes away soon. I had this all figured out. And it has all come to fruition.

Anyway...

Posted: Saturday, August 19, 2006, 4:11 am
Mood: Relaxed | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


The Stinkpots Have Landed

Our children are home.

Everyone arrived safely. (I suppose I should have called Budge earlier this evening and told him that his parents were getting home a day early--oops!).

The drawbridge has been closed, the portcullis lowered.

Time for bed.

I don't know how the kids slept these past eight days, but I know for sure that I might actually get some damn sleep tonight.

I'm so glad they're home.

I love the redhead to death, of course, but there isn't much point to this big house and (stupid) pool without the kids around.

We'll delve into my more awful psychotic-feelings later, now that this is all over with and they are home safely and "what's the worst that could happen" didn't happen.

I think I'm going to cry...

Good night.

Posted: Wednesday, August 16, 2006, 5:47 am
Mood: Relieved | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


On Their Way!

I called Papa's phone 15 minutes after Flightaware said their plane had landed and said "according to the Internet you've landed in St. Louis..."

"Take a nap," he said. "We'll be home in three hours..."

Yep. The original plan has been scrapped (which, if I forgot to blog about it, was to get to St. Louis, stay a night in a hotel there, get up the next morning and go to the State Fair in Springfield, and come home tomorrow night).

I'll see my stinkpots again in about two and a half hours. Woo hoo!

Posted: Wednesday, August 16, 2006, 2:42 am
Mood: Happy | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


The Kids\' Amazing Race

Well the final flight leg of the trip has ended. The children are now at St. Louis airport, according to Flightaware. Phew.

And being able to view their progress as they flew has greatly helped me not worry as much as they were traveling. I know, it's bizarre, but still.

Hopefully Papa will be calling from the St. Louis airport momentarily.

I'm so ready for the children to be home.... One more day....

Posted: Wednesday, August 16, 2006, 2:14 am
Mood: Calm | 1 comment| Article URL | Post a comment
 


Lorenzo Goetz

Well the children are still in Colorado. And I think I'm really getting ready for them to be home. Hopefully they'll skip the State Fair after they get back and just come straight home so they'll be here by Wednesday. Dang kidders.

So because we are temporarily kidless, we took the opportunity to go down to Charleston, Illinois, home of Eastern Illinois University, and Molly and Coley-Goofus. We had a few drinks at their place (which was definitely much cooler than the first apartment the redhead and I had way-back-when...). Then we went out to dinner at an Italian place. And it was very good. We even had a nice bottle of Chianti.

And then we finally got to see our pal Larry Gates and his band Lorenzo Goetz play live. They played at a dinky little bar called "Uptowner."

We got there about a half-hour early so we could get a booth right up front. Here's Cole and Molly before the show started, with a couple of the guys from the band in the booth behind us.

Lorenzo played two sets. And it was really neat to see the entire band play.

Here's my soon-to-be brother-in-law Coley-Goofus and myself.

Molly and the redhead:

Another picture of Cole and Molly:

Here's me and Larry after the show was over. I hesitated to post this photo because I look really, really cheesy.... Let's just say that it was a long night, and pitchers of beer were only five bucks.....

We stayed the night at Molly and Cole's apartment (figuring that driving back to Villa Grove after all of this would probably not be a very smart thing to do...). We sat up for several hours and talked and, well, we had a bottle or two of red wine. And I guess I should qualify that they stayed up for several hours--I stayed up for not quite that long...

It was a lot of fun and we had a fabulous time.

But now I'm really, really ready for my children to get home.

In other news, I canned 12 pints of salsa yesterday and 11 1/2 quarts of spaghetti sauce. And I still have tomatoes left over. And I'm sure there are a ton more ready out at the farm right now. I have a feeling I'll be canning at least every other night this week. The problem at this point is that the green bell pepper plants aren't producing many peppers, so we have a tomato-heavy ratio right now. Anyway.

Posted: Monday, August 14, 2006, 2:19 am
Mood: Exhausted | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


Canning Season == Started

Phew. So much going on lately.

Yesterday, for some reason, the redhead was reading about Scientology on the Internet. At some point I asked her what she wanted to do about dinner (dinner has been sort of weird since we don't have to consider what the kids will or won't eat, or how long dinner will take to make, etc.). So I asked her if she wanted clams (you know, because of Scientology...) and she said "Hey--yeah! How about linguini with white clam sauce?"

Well, as it turns out, I make a pretty mean white clam sauce. So that's what we did!

I made a red sauce for myself (well, I took some garden vegetables and tomatoes and chopped them all up in the food processor, cooked them for a while in olive oil, and then added a jar of regular old spaghetti sauce) with meatballs, and we had a salad and bread and a bottle of Chianti (and the rest of the bottle of white wine I had to open to make the white clam sauce....).

I miss the kids dearly, but we've been having an okay time of it.

Grandma predicted that the tomatoes would all start ripening while they were gone, and she was right. We've had just the right amount of rain and sun to put them over the edge.

And even though it was wet and muddy, I went out and picked five bags full of tomatoes and peppers, etc. I'm going to be a canning fool this weekend.

I didn't can tonight, but will probably let them sit and dry off (I had to wash the dirt off, etc.) and ripen a little bit more and do the canning early Saturday morning.

So we called the kids tonight--they're in Cheyenne, Wyoming. They went and saw Mt. Rushmore today. Alex said "it was pretty cool, but it wasn't as big as I thought it would be..." WHAT? Dang kid! All kidding aside, they are having a lot of fun.

I think we're going to happy hour after work tomorrow with a bunch of our friends.

I'm actually only moderately half-worried about the in-laws and the children traveling back here next week (not because I'm afraid of terrorism, but about their hassles at the airport, etc.). At least they have a direct flight back and aren't connecting in Dallas (like they did on the way out to Colorado Springs).

Anyway. Had a nice Cabernet made by Robert Mondavi with my meatball sandwich tonight (leftover meatballs from yesterday).

I'm definitely quitting freelancing after I finish up the Directory that I'm working on now.

I think I'm starting to be less tense. Time will tell.

I'll be happy when the kidders are back home.

Posted: Friday, August 11, 2006, 2:08 am
Mood: Happy | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


Chicago

I almost forgot.

I finally got around to writing the descriptions of the photos from our trip to Chicago.

Enjoy....

Posted: Wednesday, August 09, 2006, 8:55 pm
Mood: Happy | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


I Can Talk About That Thing Now....

I just got back from the offices of the Dean of our college. I had to drop off a letter to him in response to a letter that I received from him earlier today. A letter that I've been waiting for with utmost anticipation.

I have a new job. Starting August 16th I'll officially become the Web Project and Database Specialist for the entire Crop Sciences Extension group here in Champaign-Urbana.

Same office. Same boss. Some different responsibilities (more servers!). And the really important part--a bunch more money.

Whew. I apologize to anyone who was expecting something much more earth-shattering, but this really is kinda earth-shattering to me, and because of some of the circumstances behind all of this, it really wasn't something I should have been talking about (not that any of this matters to any of the, oh, three or four of you that read this silly, sad excuse for a blog....).

Okay, back to work...

Posted: Wednesday, August 09, 2006, 7:35 pm
Mood: Awesome | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


Yay, babies!

Our children have made it to Colorado Springs. We followed their progress along the way using Flightaware. I'd be more than willing to buy "them folks" from Flightaware a few beers. (Maybe the next time Nugget visits Indy....) ;)

Okay, too drunk to type. GREAT DAY today. More details tomorrow...

Posted: Wednesday, August 09, 2006, 5:53 am
Mood: Awesome | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


Random Thoughts

Paul Shaffer isn't funny. He's never been funny. I feel sorry for anyone, including Herr Letterman, that ever thought he was funny.

My letter didn't come in the mail today. I'm anxious to get going on That ThingTM. Tomorrow, maybe?

I'm sick of freelancing.

Our babies leave us tomorrow. The redhead is having a not-so-good time with it. I think I've done a good job of keeping myself otherwise occupied so that I can sleep at night. They'll have fun. They're going to Colorado with Papa and Grandma. Nothing will happen to them. I'm a total control freak. I mean, really. Total control. But if there were one single person in the world I would trust the lives of my children to (other than myself and the redhead, of course) it is Papa. When the redhead was still doing daycare and we lived at our old house, there was a tornado warning one day, and Papa came over and parked his big red truck in the driveway and stood out in front of the house watching the sky, as if he would personally stop a tornado if it came toward our house. And I'm not religious, and I don't believe in goofy crap, but I promise you that if Papa decided he was going to stop a tornado in its tracks, I'd put my money on Papa.

I talked to my daughter tonight at length about airports, and what it is like to be on a plane, and how she won't need to worry about losing Papa and Grandma in the terminal. I just hope they have fun. I bought them a new digital camera (grrr.... and a 2 GB SD memory card and it will only read 1 GB cards so I had to go to Circuit City and get another card on my way home this evening...).

I just hope they have fun. And that the redhead survives all of this. The kids will be fine. Even I have a glass-half-full attitude about the whole thing. The kids will have fun. Honest.

I'm looking forward to starting my new job that isn't really a new job. Ooops. Was I not supposed to spill those beans yet? More details to follow, I guess. I have lots of ideas that I want to get going. It's so convoluted that my keeping any of this secret was probably silly to begin with--I just hope that letter shows up tomorrow.

I'm going to miss my children this next week. :(

They're such good kids. They're so smart. And I know, I'm just their dad--I'm not trying to brag too much, I'm just saying. I love the dang stinkpots. ALL of this is theirs. The house is for them. The pool is for them. I work for them. I have their college planned. I have how to pay for it figured out. I don't know. I'm just rambling.

Okay, I'm going to watch Senator McCain on Leno...

Posted: Tuesday, August 08, 2006, 4:05 am
Mood: Fair | 1 comment| Article URL | Post a comment
 


Ag Days!

This past weekend our small town had their yearly festival, "Ag Days." We usually go up long enough to eat lunch and let the kids ride a few rides. I was quite dismayed that we blew through fifty bucks in about an hour.

Here's some photos.

A certain piece of mail that is related to That ThingTM didn't arrive over the weekend as I had expected. Maybe it will come today. My boss is out this entire week so it really doesn't matter anyway (nothing "official" will happen until he gets back, a week from today). At least I'm not worrying about it quite so much anymore. I'm just ready for this to be over with....

I'll be interested to know what our house appraised at as well--hopefully that news will come today too.

The kidders leave on their big vacation with Papa and Grandma tomorrow. The redhead isn't having a real good time of it. We've never been without the kids for more than a day or so, and this will be over a week. I'm sure everything will be fine, but if anyone can sympathize with being overly worried about something, it's me.

I'll try to post the photos from our Chicago adventure later today if I get a chance.

Posted: Monday, August 07, 2006, 1:40 pm
Mood: Anxious | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


Drat...

And I thought I could feign my way through this part...

"Can an atheist become a Mason?
Since we require that each prospective member profess belief in a Supreme Deity, which atheists refuse to do, no atheist can become a member of the Masonic fraternity."

Dang it. Oh well.

Posted: Monday, August 07, 2006, 4:44 am
Mood: Amused | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


Pickles!

Well, I would have thought that I'd be canning salsa and spaghetti sauce by now, but apparently the goofy weather is affecting our tomato output (which has only just now started). On the other hand, we have cucumbers coming out our nose.

But you can only eat so many cucumbers (and we have like a ten foot by twenty foot section of vines at the farm--we have a lot of cucumbers...).

So I asked my mother-in-law yesterday about how hard it was to make pickles. She started talking about "crocks" and showed me some recipe from some old book that required scraping brine off daily for three days, and letting them sit out for a week with a towel over it, etc., etc. I noted that I watched Alton Brown make pickles (with his evil twin!) and that he didn't make it seem that complicated...

So I went to Food Network's web site and sure enough, I was able to find Alton's recipe for pickles.

And they will be ready in only a couple of days after being in the fridge. Alton Brown rocks!

Our new digital camera arrived yesterday. It's tiny. I ordered a 2 gig "secure digital" memory card for it (and a USB card reader) and those should arrive today (like Alton, NewEgg rocks too!). The camera is factory refurbished and I got a totally great deal on it through Overstock.com. I don't know that I've ever knowingly bought something that is refurbished (although I used to buy stuff at Best Buy and who knows what the heck you're getting from them....) so it will be interesting to see how this affects my opinion of refurbished stuff one way or the other.

With the 2 gig card, and using the highest settings of the camera, Em should be able to take over 900 pictures on their trip to Colorado. I don't think even she can take that many pictures in a week.

I got a camera that uses AA batteries instead of a rechargeable battery because I figured that would be one less thing they'd have to hassle with on their trip. So I went to Dollar General last night and bought 3 24-packs of AA batteries. This morning when I took the picture of the pickles the batteries in the camera were already dead, so I hope that Em was messing with it a lot last night and that they don't just wear out after taking a few pictures...

Anyway. Too late to go back to bed so I guess I'll get in the shower and go to work....

Posted: Friday, August 04, 2006, 10:40 am
Mood: Pleased | 1 comment| Article URL | Post a comment
 


Bacillus thuringiensis

My damn blue spruce has bagworms again. I must have plucked thousands of those things off it last year. And I sprayed Bt like three times.

I guess it is a good thing that I have freelancing work (last project, we hope?) to drop off tomorrow, because they are on the same side of town as Prairie Gardens. I wonder if Bayer Tree and Shrub Control affects bagworms? I need to just order a 50 gallon drum of that stuff at the rate I'm going.

What's the deal? This is ridiculous.

And it's too late to spray this year--I needed to do it a month and a half ago.

How the hell did I not notice?

I am not pleased right now....

Posted: Thursday, August 03, 2006, 10:12 pm
Mood: Aggravated | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


Back to Work!

It's actually good to be back to work, I guess. A return to normalcy, if you will.

I had a blast over the weekend, despite the few mishaps that we had along the way.

I fully expected to be able to spill the beans today, but my boss is out rating corn roots and won't be back into the office until tomorrow. Oh well.

We get our house appraised tomorrow. We're refinancing (we have an adjustable rate mortgage now--I think I went over all of this a number of posts ago...). Anyway, I was looking up real estate values for some of the houses around our neighborhood. Holey moley. I had no idea that houses around us were selling as high as they are. And our last house is up for sale again and they are asking a ridiculous amount of money for it. Good for us, though. Tee hee.

Anyway. I'm sorting through e-mail today and putting out a few small fires. When I get home this afternoon I need to re-paint one of the walls in our front hallway (I had to fix a hole a while back and just never repainted it--it will only take a half hour or so) and mow the back yard. Other than that, I'm not worrying about the state of the house. At least the pool is open--when the appraiser came to do the house when we were buying it from the in-laws it was the middle of winter and he almost stepped onto the pool tarp because he didn't know there was a pool there. Whoops.

Okay, back to the inbox...

Posted: Wednesday, August 02, 2006, 3:28 pm
Mood: Refreshed | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


Aaargh!

I have more to add about our mini-vacation (we got home last night) but I need to just gripe for a second to make myself feel better.

Hands down, QuarkXPress is the worst program on the face of the planet. I don't care from what country the programmers come, this thing is awful. I mean, really. Quirky crap was okay when we were all using quirky, goofy, proprietary OS 9 (and down), but there is no excuse for things to run incorrectly on OS X. NONE.

It is slow on my Quicksilver 733 (with 1.5 gigs of RAM). And yes, this machine isn't a Spring chicken by any means, but most things run just fine. Processor-intensive maneuvers in Photoshp? Yeah, not quite as fast as my dual G5 at work.

BUT TYPESETTING IN QUARK shouldn't be processor intensive. The reason that it is slow leads back to SLOPPY programming.

Anyway. End of rant. I'm quitting this freelancing crap soon, hopefully.

And hopefully tomorrow I can spill some beans. Assuming that a last minute glitch was taken care of while I was out of town...

Posted: Tuesday, August 01, 2006, 11:43 pm
Mood: Frustrated | 2 comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


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