To our fellow PATCO riders:

Yes, that was my son exclaiming with each horn blast in the tunnels, "OH! There must have been rat people on the tracks!" Also, the Delaware River Dolphin and Schuylkill Beluga are nocturnal if we're on the train (crossing the Ben Franklin Bridge) by day, diurnal if we're on the train after dark. This is how he justifies never seeing them. I intend to describe the term "crepuscular" to him tomorrow.
Ronan: Did you know that if you don't wear a jacket, your hands fall off?
Me: Who told you that?
Ronan, looking very surly: Dad.
. . .
Ronan: It's not true, but I didn't want to tell him.

Dance time

Nov. 18th, 2010 08:49 pm
There is a benefit to being a fan of industrial music and a parent.

See, my kid used to be scared of the vacuum cleaner and the carpet spot bot. A few months ago, the manbeast pointed out to the wee urchin that both machines are actually creating music not unlike some of his bathtime music. Kiddo bought it.

The downside to this?

Now my child runs into whichever room I'm attempting to clean and shouts "Vacuum cleaner dance party!". And then we dance.

Rrrrar!

Oct. 28th, 2010 07:26 pm
Ronan waffled between wanting to be a superhero (red and orange colors) and wanting to be a horse. Given his propensity for epic meltdowns, I figured it wouldn't be that hard to just have both costumes on hand. This was wise--two weeks ago, he said he wanted to be a superhero horse. And he's remained firm in his resolve.

We bought the horse costume (the step-in kind, not the bodysuit kind) at Target. I figure he'll get LOTS of enjoyment from it (he already has) and I've already had a friend ask to buy it off me when kiddo outgrows it.

Finding matching red shirt and leggings. Harder than you'd think. See, girl's collections are typically primary paired with print. So they may have all print leggings and all primary (or primary with print trim) tops. Or the other way around. It's next to impossible to find the same cotton knit red in one store. This makes dyelots really freakin' hard to match. Orange reds, pink reds, scarlet reds, purple reds . . .

I finally found leggings at JC Penney which matched (close enough) a well fitted long-sleeve tee from the activewear girls section at Target. It was three inches too long, but that's okay. Old Navy DID have red leggings and red cotton (boy) shirts, but the leggings were stretch and the boy shirts were boxy and brushed cotton, so they didn't quite match--and weren't available in his sizes in store.

That was a few weeks ago. I meant to go shopping before vacation, but didn't get around to it. Instead I found myself at home this week, too fatigued and achy and brainfoggy to drive. I finally got out to Joanne's on Wednesday.

Today I have:
•drafted, cut, bound a satin cape (orange satin with red binding). Every time I buy cheap satin, I swear to myself I will never again mess with it. Then it goes on sale for a buck fifty a yard and I forget all those promises.
•hemmed the shirt (turned it up three inches) and stenciled on a gold target. Yes, he wants his logo to be a target.
•cut gauntlets out of fun foam. Must either punch holes or buy electrical tape.
•cut out fusible and two pieces for his mask. Pirate cotton lining>fusible>satin. I need to figure out if I want to buy fraycheck for the eyeholes. Also thinking about binding the outside edges. I might hate myself forever if I do that.
•dyed undies (and dingy socks) bright orange

I think that after I finish this mask, I'll actually be DONE three days early!. Won't feel so guilty going to DC this weekend. Will probably do a total copout myself on Halloween and dress as a witch. You know--add a pointy hat to my everyday attire.
rootofnewt: (cooking)
Ronan and I just returned from a trip to Florida. We flew to Orlando, rented a car, and drove to Melbourne. We stayed with my brother for a few days, then returned to Orlando, dropped off the rental, and got on the Amtrak headed south.

At West Palm Beach, we transferred to the Tri Rail (regional rail) and went one station south to meet my MiL and her sister.

Tom's grandma Mary turned 90 Saturday. Her daughters decided the best surprise would be a visit from Ronan. They kept it secret until we walked in.

Anyhow, it was a lovely visit. The night before we left, I was up late and found myself paging through a random freebie booklet cookbook. I found a chicken with cranberries crockpot dish. It was pretty much this recipe, though it called for a quartered/skinned broiler (about 3.5lbs) and used a beurre manié instead of a slurry. I copied it out by hand (crampy, I rarely write these days) and brought it home.

I just made it today, using 3.5lbs of boneless skinless thighs.

Yum.

It's really good. I might up the cinnamon next time.
Crabtree Falls, Labor Day weekend and today:
Crabtree Falls Crabtree Falls
Cold sores make me whine like Caillou.

Do not want.
Exhausted. Just plain exhausted. Summer is not kind to me.

We're attempting a refi and the lender needs an inside/outside appraisal. Fine and dandy, but this means finishing the kitchen (it needs paint) and spackling and attending to some paint issues elsewhere, leaky faucet there, exterior cleanup, etc.

It's good to have an excuse to get this done, but I'd rather do it when it's not hot and mosquito-nasty outside, y'know?

One reason we've not been eager to repaint (despite hating the existing paint) is all the trim. The trim is all painted, so we have to attend to it because we don't typically choose colors which work well with cream trim. Bah.

I've been slowly trying to sort and make order in the front room so that I can rent a rug doctor and just make the visible carpet less nasty-looking. I think that would help considerably.

No energy.

RIP Neal

Aug. 21st, 2010 12:05 pm
My parents lost their second scottie last night.

Neal had the best life ever with them. His combination of health problems would have led other owners to euthanasia years ago, but my parents took him in from a breed rescue and have loved him all these years. The time finally came. Liver and kidney failure are just not good things and he was an old dog.

My mother's blog:
http://skoolzoutforever.blogspot.com/2010/08/neal-1996-2010.html

Neal in need of a bath, when he could still walk somewhat:
http://explodingcat.com/krasota/ind_vi_2004/nealie2.jpg

Last summer, enjoying the yard:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/jocelyndale/3796110521/

Neal being protected from Ronan:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/jocelyndale/2431804515/

Neal smiling five years ago:
http://pics.livejournal.com/krasota/pic/00020p5z/g15

Hiking!

Aug. 14th, 2010 09:11 pm
Today's forecast high was 83F: overcast with a chance of rain. It felt awesome most of the morning--I went to the market and then helped a friend rip out her garden.

So we headed to the mountains after lunch. The earlier rain and persistent heavy fog kept the pollen down. Temps were nice and low up there--possibly below 70F. Also, I'm glad there was only one cyclist on the parkway--the fog was pea soup most of the time.

We just hiked a bit south on the AT from Reed's Gap on the Blue Ridge Parkway. About .8mi to a spot that apparently has great views when it's not in the middle of a cloud. It was breezy and slightly chilly up there--I was grateful for the sweatshirt I threw in. Kiddo wanted his jacket, too. Poor manbeast finally had to admit he was cold and wanted Ronan back up in the Ergo to keep him warm.

It was nice to be able to hike. Only one spot of asthma threatened, but it was after i moved a giant spire of ragweed away from my head while trying to keep a hold on Whiskey's collar as we passed a sodden boy scout troop. Albuterol helped, fortunately. I know some folks don't like the new propellants, but the old ones triggered my reactive airways. It's nice to have asthma rescue meds.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jocelyndale/sets/72157624601090235/
rootofnewt: (car)
I'm not sure why I thought the Zoo wouldn't be mobbed today. I mean, I knew it would be mobbed, but what possessed me to go on a pleasantly warm-not-hot day with a breeze right before a holiday weekend for what is one of Philly's BIGGEST holidays? And why did I have to come home during rush hour?

We survived.

Thank goodness for WPRB.

Ronan didn't actually want to see any animals once we got there, so we just treated it as a nice walk away from cars.
rootofnewt: (car)
After a loooong day of driving (and a week of lots of driving), we arrived home last night around 10pm. In less than five hours, we'll be heading north to NJ for the weekend. MiL kindly dogsat Whiskeydoodle for us, but I need my dog back, so up we go.

So do not want to pack the car again and drive for five hours. I'll be fine once we get there, though.

I had grand plans for today, but have scuttled them in favor of resting in bed or on the couch.

Anyhow, last Wednesday was spent at Warriors Path State Park in TN. [livejournal.com profile] melanie and her family (minus L, working as a teen slave laborer) came out to see us. It was great to see them all, even if we planned poorly for our fire (no hatchet, no kindling).

We drove (with the rest of the Bonnaroo traffic) West the next day, then cut South and West before Nashville's rush hour could catch us. We stayed at David Crockett State Park that night, just outside of Lawrenceburg, TN. I didn't realize that area had an Amish settlement. Sadly, we were driving through too late to check out the cheese shop.

We had a short drive down the Natchez Trace on Friday. We stopped at a few of the pullovers and then zipped over to Piney Grove on Bay Springs Lake. It was hot. Stormy. My folks have AC and we took full advantage, lazing about on their comfy furniture. Saw a cousin and his wife (up from LA) and their converted Prevost tourbus. That was cool. They will likely never fish out of Grand Isle again, so they were paging through my folks' guidebooks and planning some trips which don't involve giant oil spills. My mom kindly Ronan-sat so that Tom and I could run into Booneville for provisions.

The reunion was Saturday. It's always fun to go up to someone and ask how we're related. (Who's yer gran-daddy?) Tom thoroughly enjoyed being immersed in a very, very different dialect. We had some good conversations about the difference in word play and word use between the deep South and the MidAtlantic/Northeast on the way home. After the reunion wrapped up, my great-uncle Bob asked us to come over, so we went to visit with him. I like Uncle Bob--he's my grandfather's younger brother (grandpa was the eldest in their batch of kids) and we stayed with him five years ago. I hope he wasn't hurt that we didn't stay with him this time. We had originally planned to take Whiskey with us, but I couldn't find any place which could accommodate him for a few hours on Saturday without boarding all weekend. My MS relatives aren't really dog-folks, so I didn't even bother asking Uncle Bob, I just made reservations for the campground. Now that I know MiL will dogsit, we will definitely stay with Uncle Bob next time.

Mississippi was lovely, but hot. Very hot. And humid. Heat indices up around 105-110F. We were tent camping, but my folks were just a few sites away and kindly lent us a box fan and extension cord. Our site had electric, so we were able to sleep with a breeze on us. Still, it was so hot and humid that I gladly took cold cold cold showers. Cold showers normally give me a killer headache, but they just felt right while we were down there.

After MS, we drove through Huntsville, AL, and visited the US Space & Rocket Center. We were just going to go look at the rockets outside (visible from the road), but Ronan asked to go inside. I could tell Tom really wanted to go in and I'm never one to turn down science museums of any sort--especially this one. I also knew that our local museum membership would get us free entry (ASTC reciprocity). Ronan was impressed by the Saturn V and also enjoyed looking at bits and pieces here and there. I was just happy to get some Dippin' Dots ice cream--several flavors are safe for me.

Later that afternoon, we set up camp at Rock Island State Park in Tennessee. Before supper, we went to the local swimming hole--a natural sand and gravel beach on the Caney Fork River in the Great Falls Gorge. It was cold, as any stream draining the Cumberland Plateau would be this time of year. Brrrr.

Monday morning, we broke camp and then went on a hike in the river gorge, hopping boulders and scrambling over large flat areas of rock. We then drove to the Smokies. Elkmont campground was booked solid, so we went over to Smokemont. We wanted to see Elkmont's synchronous fireflies, but we'll just remember to make reservations for that another year.

Smokemont is a lovely campground and we spent two nights there. There are no shower facilities (typical for a national park campground), but it wasn't so hot up there. On Tuesday, we drove down into Cherokee and on to Sylva for some provisions, stopping back at the Tribal Grounds coffeeshop and the dancing fountains. Ronan loves the fountains, I love the coffee. It was storming heavily off and on that day, but our tent was just fine. I did notice a couple very slow drip spots--I'll need to seam seal the tent for the first time in five years.

Yesterday we took the long way home. We wanted to drive the parkway from Oconoluftee to Asheville, but there's an impending landslide/rockslide/mountain cleavage north of Pisgah, so we detoured down through the National Forest. The available detours took us out of the way either direction (151 was closed for repaving), so we opted for one (215) that would drop us on the West side of Asheville. We then headed up and around Asheville and on toward I-81 for the long, slow haul up through VA. It took forever, probably because we spent time at the Oconoluftee visitor center and at Waterrock Knob visitor center . . . and because the Parkway mostly heads east from Cherokee/Oconoluftee, not north.

Anyhow, home is nice. I'm resting and doing laundry and soon will start packing for the weekend up in NJ.
So last summer, kiddo refused to sleep in the tent. If we so much as mention it, he has started screaming or crying at the thought. We knew he had some sort of fear manifesting itself, but he wouldn't explain why. Finally, he told us that there are monsters outside at night and monsters are scary. I tried telling him that the raccoons in the mountains pack serious firepower, but that just made him fear raccoons.

Anyhow, we want to get one with our camping lives. Putting it on hold because kiddo was being a kid just wasn't gonna cut it. We went camping this weekend.

The first night, he told us he had to go home to get dressed and to nurse. I convinced him to nurse in the tent (we have a light! it's cute--a baby hanger wrapped with a battery-powered LED string! look at that and nurse and daddy'll change your diaper!). He fell asleep very quickly and slept through the night. He was thrilled to wake up in the tent, thrilled to see Whiskey next to us, thrilled to see the campsite outside when we unzipped a window.

We had to come down the mountain for Tom's voice lesson (which ended up cancelled), so we spent most of Saturday daytime at home doing dishes, doing laundry, and watching kiddo play in his pool. We went back up for the rest of the weekend, though. Kiddo really enjoyed the tent and whatnot.

We were going to chill around the campsite and do some hiking yesterday, but it was unbearably sticky and our suitably shaded site in the afternoon and morning was blazing bright at mid-day. The dog refused to hike and kept searching for one smidgen of shade. There are no easily accessible/safe swimming holes in SNP. No showers. And both Tom and I were getting very cranky at our hot, sweaty, itchy, sunsick selves.

So we did what any other American family would do--we piled into the car, turned on the AC, and went for a ride. And yes, it involved going back down the mountain, but the other side. I found a Starbucks in Harrisonburg. After some caffeine for me and a smoothie for the boys, all was well. We were just going to go and drive around to different overlooks, but we've seen most of them multiple times and it was hazy and once I mentioned finding some coffee, Tom latched onto that idea (well, I think he wanted a smoothie, he's not a coffee drinker).

We're home today. Ronan enjoyed watching us break down camp. Whiskey likes being where we are, but he eagerly got into the front seat and then went to sleep once the AC hit him. I'm back to the post-vacation (yes, that other week) laundry marathon.

We have plans to drive to MS next week, but that might not happen. The car needs new brakes and our Smokies vacation went overbudget. We'll see. I hate to miss the reunion. I told Tom we'd just go and eat hot dogs and marshmallows all week, but that made him feel woozy.
So in 1999, Tom's folks gave us a week from their vacation share program for our honeymoon. We could go pretty much anywhere--they usually use their yearly week at the shore, but have gone elsewhere (Sedona, Bahamas, etc).

Well, the last week was up this year and we never actually took our honeymoon, so we had to choose a place this year. So we looked around for national parks within a day's drive. And that's how we opted for Gatlinburg (up above Gatlinburg, actually). It's a nice condo and we've gone hiking in Great Smoky Mountains National Park almost every single day.

Anyhow, we ended up with a 2br and ended up sleeping in the master bedroom because the toilet is close by and it's bigger and has more drawer space. Well, the bed sucks. It's like sleeping on a board. It didn't occur to me to test the other bed until this morning, as I was hobbling about all stiff and sore after yesterday's 5mi hike and the bed-displeased myofascial doom triggers.

It's a pillowtop mattress. Not firm. Seems comfy enough for me--not too soft, not too hard. Wish I'd tried it a few days ago. Oh, well, we'll sleep in here tonight and be well rested for our drive home tomorrow.
[livejournal.com profile] paquerette is looking for a Pennsic nanny. She has incentives and details. If you're interested and can pass her stringent sword-handling requirement, please go chat her up. Or leave a note here and she'll chat you up.
Ronan turns three tomorrow. I can't believe it's been three years already!

He's under 30lbs, somewhere between 27 and 29, I think. Right around three feet tall. He's a munchkin with long blonde hair. He doesn't want to cut it and neither one of us can argue with that.

He talks, he laughs, he runs, he coasts on his runbike. He can reach the counters easily. Driving
I still wear him in the Ergo frequently, though we take his bike more often than not. He gave up his nap over the last year and started sleeping through the night recently--all on his own. We still love our family bed. His bed is a cozy reading nook when it's not covered in clean laundry.

He is still breastfeeding and can articulate just why that is so awesome. ♥

His sense of humor grows by leaps and bounds daily. He is destructive. He builds subways when his train table is full. He throws fits over the tiniest infractions according to his young child's warped logic. He openly rejects most strangers, though will include some in his own way and in his own time. His voice is almost constantly making a fire truck siren--klaxons rule my day.

He loves the dog. He can name several songbirds. He steals baby kale from the garden and tends his mint with care.

He's full of love and wildfire.
[livejournal.com profile] explodingcat: "I'm holding out for the RealDoll praying mantis, with realistic biting action."
So this morning I said, "Hey, kiddo, we're gonna take the train into the city!"

Cue screaming and histrionics and wailing and whatnot.

Child is now terrified of riding on PATCO, because it's "loud and underground". I said, "No, biggie, we'll ride the River Line and take a bus." But no. No quiet river line light rail. No trains. He got so worked up that he needed to nurse to calm down. And then he fell asleep. Over an hour ago. o_O

So no trains today. It's too late to get in and back before rush hour starts. When he wakes up, we might drive over to the Garden State Discovery Museum.
rootofnewt: (car)
Nj is lovely. Weather's been great.

Trying to decide what to do today. We'll go outside, for sure, just dunno whether to the Zoo (madhouse, I bet), a playground, or something else. Going over to Valley Forge would be nice, but it's a long time to spend in the car on such a nice day.
rootofnewt: (car)
The Gotta Travel to Jersey, Gotta Clean the House Marathon!

This drives Tom nuts. You'd think he'd be used to it after what, over a decade?

•laundry
•laundry
•laundry
•laundry
•laundry
•laundry
•laundry
•plant some stuff
•build a couple more bean towers
*enlarge garden slightly
•pack
•fold Mt. Laundry
•repack

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