Thursday, October 13, 2011

Wetting My Pants

I am SO excited!  Actually, the whole family is so excited we are all about to wet our pants.  We are getting real internet service on Monday.  Real, high speed, unlimited internet.  And TV!  No more going over our limit and being charged double.  No more waiting 30 minutes for a page to load.  No more having the internet disconnect because it thinks it's gone dormant when in fact, it's really just taking that long to load a page.  We'll get to watch youtube videos!  And videos of knitting demonstrations and friends'  kids' recitals and school plays and all the other stuff friends send me in video format that I can't currently watch.  And let's don't forget the TV.  We've been living with "free TV" for over a year.  Which basically means we get one channel if, and only if, the sky is clear and the humidity levels are just right.  I'll finally get to find out what all the hoop-la about True Blood, The Office & Mad Men is all about.  Of course, those shows may not even be on TV anymore, but that's ok.  I'll get to discover my own favorite shows.

Real internet and TV!  I seriously may wet my pants.  And, the two combined will be $30 cheaper than what we've been paying for our slow speed, ridiculously limited internet.  Real, high speed internet, TV and money saved!   I really might wet my pants!

I'm a little worried though.  Currently, I knit while I wait for the screen to change.  Recently, I knit a shawl, start to finish, in three days while I sat waiting on the computer.  High speed internet may seriously cut into my knitting time.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

72 Hours

72 hours without shampoo and all is well.  I'm having a hard time believing the changes that I can already see.  First, I'd expect to be a greasy mess, but I'm not.  I would also expect my hair to be fairly flat by now but it's actually much more wavy and the waves start at the top of my head instead of the middle of my ears.  And although I'm wavier, I don't have triangle head.  Somehow, I have a lot more wave, but my hair is hanging straighter.  Which sounds impossible, but apparently, isn't.  Before, my hair would hug my head until it got to about my cheek bones, then it would suddenly triangle out away from my head Rosanna Danna style.  Today, not a triangle in sight.  Now, if I could only get that one section of bone straight bangs to curl....  And if said bangs would ever grow past the tip of my nose...

Oh, and if anyone is curious, instead of my normal $6+ bottles of Pantene shampoo & conditioner, I'm now using 84 cent Suave Naturals.   84 cents!  Apple something scent.  If this experiment actually works, I may end up saving enough money to pay someone to dye the 'old age blond' out of my hair.

On a totally different note, I'm sure the kiddo's are excited.  Their school books finally arrived today.

I shouldn't say they "finally" arrived though.  It makes it sound like we've been waiting and waiting.  It's only been 9 days since I placed my order.  Which is really not bad.  Nine days for what I'm sure is a very busy homeschooling company (Rainbow Resource) to take my order, gather the books, box them, ship them and for the snail mail folks to deliver them to my door step.  Not bad, not bad at all.

Have I mentioned how much I like Rainbow Resource?  Well, that's a whole other blog.  Or more like a blog series.  I Love Rainbow Resource.  If you are reading this and are new to homeschooling, stop reading immediately and go order yourself a catalog.  And if you are some kind of freak of nature long-time homeschooler that doesn't know about Rainbow Resource, well, you should stop reading too.  Their catalog is something like 1,500 pages.  And yes, that's fifteen hundred.  The decimal is not in the wrong place.  And in addition to the massive quantity of products they carry, 99 times out of 100, they will have the lowest price.  And best of all, when you get your package in the mail, the box will be covered in cute little stickers.  Totally homeschooler style.  The phone number to order their FREE paper catalog is 888-841-3456, or at least it is as of this writing.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A New Adventure

I’m off on a new adventure.  A shampoo-free adventure.  We’ll see how long it lasts.
A friend from my Monday night knitting group lent me a book, Curly Girl the Handbook.  Basically, it’s for anyone with curly hair.  Curly hair tends to be much dryer than straight hair.  That dryness tends to be one of the main causes of curly hair’s frizz.   One of the book’s recommendations is to quit using shampoo.  Instead of shampoo, you “wash” with conditioner.  A second recommendation is to leave the conditioner in your hair without rinsing it out all the way.   
I’ve heard these recommendations before and while my hair dresser (can I even call her my hair dresser if I only visit once a year?) has suggested many times that I leave a normal conditioner, not a “leave in” type but a “real” conditioner, in my hair.  She’s also suggested I apply olive oil to my hair.  I tried the olive oil trick for quite a while.  Some days were better than others.  There seems to be a VERY fine line between why bother, and coating your head with so much oil it looks like you’ve bathed in Vaseline.  At least that was my experience.  Also, while the olive oil did absorb into the hair within about 30 minutes at which point I stopped smelling like an Italian sub sandwich, those 30 minutes were pure torture.  All I’d be able to think about was Italian food.  My stomach would actually grumble from hunger due to my hair’s smell.  Not a good thing.
So, as of this writing, I find myself looking at 56 hours without shampoo and so far, I’m liking what I see.  Or at least not hating what I see.  I’m not expecting Exxon to build a pumping station on my head anytime soon.  Actually, I’m not oily on top at all, in fact, I’m still a bit frizzy.  Ok, so maybe I was a bit paranoid about the oil factor & rinsed out the conditioner from the top of my head.  But the rest of my hair is.... better.  It seems wavier and less frizzy.   The waves are starting at the top of my head instead of at ear level.  Mostly.  One side of my bangs are still rail straight while the rest of my hair waves & curls.  The triangle-head thing isn’t happening quite as badly as usual either.   
All in all, so far, so good.  I would love to hear from others who have gone shampoo free.  What were your experiences?  Did it really work and turn your frizzy hair into something a super model would envy?  Or did you have to call in Exxon to remove the oil spill?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

First Day Blues

Today was to be our first day of school, homeschool that is.  Every day, every stinking day over the summer, I woke up between 6:00 and 6:30 a.m.  Today, I woke up at 8:49 a.m.  Two hours behind schedule before we'd even started.  Sheesh.

And it's raining.  As in pouring buckets.  We've already had way more rain than we received in the recent hurricane.   It's really hard to wake up and get excited about 'back to school' when it's pouring buckets of water outside and the house is all dark and cozy on the inside.

Another drawback to the first day of school this year - I realized my little bitty baby girl is officially a high schooler this year.  Ouch!  How did that happen?

The majority of our text books haven't arrived yet.  All we have on hand is spelling, history & math.  Guess which two subjects are everyone's least favorite.  You got it, history & math.

It's only lunch time & I'm already seriously jonesing for some knitting time.  There's also a book sitting there on the coffee table screaming for me to finish reading it.

Maybe we'll just start school next week.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Hurricanes & Yarn

Yeah, I was pretty late to the "let's blog about Hurricane Irene" party, but here it is.   My hurricane adventure got posted on my knitting blog because I seem to be doing everything backwards today.

Speaking of doing things backwards...   Here's my knitting report.  Have you seen the new Wendy Knits Lace book?  O. M. G.!   I want to knit every single thing in there.  From the whole book, there's only one item that I didn't immediately want to start knitting and that's a circular shawl big enough to cover a couch.  While I like to knit circular shawls (round and round and round, no icky purl rows typically) I'm not a big fan of wearing them and I don't often find a pattern that I like enough to justify that much yarn.   I am however in LOVE with the True Love scarf/stole.  I wanted that to be my first project but since it's graded as being an "advanced" level project, I thought I'd cut my teeth on an "intermediate" level shawl first.  I ended up skipping dinner so I could cast on the Stacy Shawl. So far, so good!   I'm too lazy to get up and find my camera, so here's a bad Photo Booth picture of it.

So, back to knitting.  And uh, running.  It is September.  I'd promised myself that on the first of September, I'd start running again.  Today's the second.  I better get on with it.  I'm having a little trouble getting excited about it.  I know that once I lace up my shoes, I'll be itching to go.  I also know that I will feel like a million bucks when the run is over.  But I also know that I  haven't run all summer and I've gained a bunch of weight.  It's going to be a painful and depressing slap of reality.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Hurricane Preparedness

Hurricane Irene is baring down upon us East Coasters.  Our family is pretty good at disaster preparedness.  We've been through our share and have learned a little from each experience.  Mostly what we've learned is that if we super-prepare, the storm will suddenly dart away or fizzle out completely before it ever gets to us.

As usual, the forecasts for Irene vary greatly depending on the channel and from moment to moment.  Rain accumulation reports vary from 4 to 20 inches but 6 - 8 inches seem to be the most used numbers.  Everyone seems to be saying basically the same thing about the wind - 40 - 50 mph sustained with gusts of 80 mph.  Of course that number is MUCH higher closer to the coast.  Those lucky enough to be on the beach will be looking at 100 mph sustained winds.   And of course, everyone is in agreement that the worst of the storm will be hitting our area tomorrow night between midnight and 3:00 a.m.  Why does the worst always have to come at 3:00 a.m.?  Always!

I think we are prepared though.  We have plenty of charcoal and propane.  We even have matches this time.  We have candles, flashlights and this time, we even have batteries for those flashlights.  We have 2+ weeks of drinking water on hand.  We've got a ton of food that can be cooked on the grill and a bunch more that doesn't need to be cooked at all.  I did notice we don't seem to have any potato chips.  I'm not sure how we'll make it through a storm without chips, but we do have lots of potatoes.  Maybe we could make our own.  We have 4 cases of soda, 6 bottles of wine and the liquor cabinet is stocked fairly well.  The cars are full of gas, we have several cans of gas on hand, and the generator is full and ready to run.  We have some cash on hand in case the ATM's aren't working later.  Our phones, ipods, Kindles & computers have all been charged up and are ready and waiting.  I've got crates of yarn waiting to be knit, several books from the library and quite a few library DVD's waiting to be watched.  I also have my stack of storm movies to watch - Twister, Storm of the Century and a Perfect Storm.  I'll have to make sure I watch those early on so that I'm wound tight as a tick long about 3 a.m. when the rough stuff hits.  Oh and ice.  Good grief, do we have ice!  Coolers full!  I'm not sure what either of us were thinking.  I suddenly got it in my head that we'd need ice.  I instructed Hubby to buy a bag and he, for once, followed directions without asking why.  But he didn't buy just one bag - he bought 3!  And I've been making ice like crazy for a few days in preparation of the storm.  So we now have 4 bags of ice that don't fit in the freezer, the three Hubby bought and the one bag full that I've made over the last few days.  Of course, by the time the power goes off and we are in need of that ice, it will have become toilet flushing water.  And speaking of toilet flushing, after everyone gets up in the morning & takes their showers, we'll fill the tub just in case.

As for out doors, the flags have been taken down, the potted flowers & plants have been brought in as well as the porch furniture.  The wind chimes and hanging/swinging bird feeders have been taken down.  The trash cans have been bungeed to the fence.  The grass has been mowed.

I think we may be ready!  Now for the hard part, waiting.

Stay safe East Coasters!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Earthquake Part 2

I apologize - I know everyone is sick of hearing about the East Coast's earthquake.  I'm even sick of hearing about it, but I wanted to write down my experience for posterity & rather than handwriting it somewhere, I figured I'd type it here.  Plus, talking about it helps me to grasp what happened.  Visually, it was so wrong my brain has had a hard time accepting it.   I'd also like to say that those aftershocks everyone has been feeling aren't aftershocks.  They are my parents turning over in their graves after hearing the words that flew out of my mouth while the house rocked & vibrated.  And that is my warning for what's to come.  This post won't be exactly G-rated.

I was sitting on the front porch drinking coffee, knitting and enjoying a gorgeous, non-humid day and thinking about the coming fall weather.  I heard what sounded like the door from the garage to the house slamming shut.  Sounded like Hubby had come home from work, but I knew he hadn't.  I wondered if the dogs had knocked something over.  I decided when I got to the end of the row in the knitting I'd go check & see what was up.

A minute or so later, I could hear the washing machine going crazy as though it was out of balance.  I thought, "Cr*p!," started to get up to go deal with it and realized, I wasn't doing laundry.  (A first!  LOL)  I sat back down and the noise got louder and louder and louder.  The entire house had turned into an out of balance washing machine and the sound was amplified by the size of the house.

What the F***?

The front door was violently vibrating, so much so that I could see daylight between the door & the frame. The glass panel was going crazy & I had that instant thought of, "It's going to blow!"  Meanwhile, there's a distinct rumble coming up from under the house.

"Sh*t!  F***!  The house is exploding!  The thought ran through my head that at any moment, a giant fireball was going to be blowing out the glass in the front door & I should probably move.   I started to get up but was rocked back into my chair.  I noticed that while the front door was violently vibrating at a very high rate of speed, the walls were moving in slower waves.  My 4 legged deck chair had suddenly turned into a rocking chair and the floor felt like it was falling out from under me.

I had the,"Its an earthquake!" thought and looked up at the porch ceiling which was moving all over the place.  But that can't be.  Ceilings don't move!  And walls don't wave.  What the F*** is going on?  The house really must be exploding and I need to get away from the door where the fireball is going to come blasting out of at any moment.  I got up and lurched down the 3 porch steps, holding on to the railing and still almost falling.  "Sh*t! "F***! Piss!"  (A particularly fun saying that's reserved for true emergencies.)

I stood out in the yard and felt the ground move.  It was like trying to stand up in one of those fun house round tunnel things that spin and move up and down at the same time.  It was very disorienting.  I was still waiting for the fireball and still repeating, "Sh*t! F***! Holy Cr*P!  What the F*** is happening?" over & over again.  I could hear one of the neighbors screaming like crazy.  I'm still not sure if it was a child's screams or an adult's.

I looked up at the house and ....  I can't describe it.  It was like if you look at an object then close one eye, then the other.  You know how your perspective changes & it looks like the object is moving?  Well, that's what the house was doing.  One minute, the roof line was straight, the next minute it was at a weird angle & blocking out that little puffy cloud, then it was straight, then tilting away from the cloud....  Meanwhile, the house was leaning in one direction and the porch was tilting the other way.  And the walls were pulsating.  Like they were taking super deep breathes.  My darkest fear has come to life.  The washing machine has gone berserk, come to life & taken over my entire house!  (Thank you Stephen King for my slight fear of washing machines.)

Meanwhile, the noise continued to get louder & louder and higher & higher pitched.  Imagine that out of balance washing machine spinning at about a gazillion rpms and the sound amplified to house size.

Sh*t!  F***!  What the F*** is happening?"

And then it stopped.  Total quiet, total calm.  Except for the neighbor who continued to scream for a few more seconds.

I felt a bit nauseous and laughed at myself for being motion sick.  It was probably more like shock, but, my tummy did have that icky, "get me off this rocking boat" sensation to it.

I pulled my phone out & started dialing Hubby.  I have no idea what I was going to tell him.  I still hadn't come to grips with the idea of an earthquake.  I was still convinced that something in or under the house had exploded.  Honestly, I was still waiting for the fireball.  Of course, the phone wouldn't work.  No service.  All circuits are busy.  Great!  My house just exploded and all the freaking circuits are busy.  

About that time, the idea of an earthquake started sinking in.  I decided I had to go into the house & see if there was a fireball or not.  Besides, the dogs were in there.  The dogs were in the house with the fireball!   They were probably scared witless and peeing on the floor.  I have to admit though, I was still thinking that when I opened the front door, a gigantic fireball would blow my face off.

I sucked up my courage, opened the door and was greeted by one whimpering dog.  Minnie was coming down the stairs whimpering and carrying her "baby" - a very dirty pink teddy bear that used to be Sarah's.  Once Minnie claimed it as her own, there was no taking it back.  Anyway, Minnie came on down the stairs & promptly heeled, although she has no idea what heeling is.  I peeked into the living room and didn't see anything wrong.  Unbelievable!

Max came down the steps and joined our search party.  We went room to room and saw no damage.  We went upstairs and found nothing wrong.   Nothing damaged, at least.  Just about everything in my son's room was on the floor, but I'm not sure I can blame the earthquake for that.  I'm pretty sure his book case & CD rack hadn't been empty previously though.   Came back down and checked all the water sources.  I just knew there had to be busted pipes somewhere.  Nope, all looks good.  We went out into the garage and there was one unknown object (some mysterious Man-Thing of Hubby's) laying in the middle of the floor and Hubby's level was still swinging back & forth in a rather wide ark.  Other than that, nothing.  We went back inside and I noticed that all the cabinet doors were standing wide open.  Don't know why I hadn't noticed that the first 2 trips through.  I think I'd been too busy looking for fireballs.  A few things had tipped over inside the cabinets, but nothing had fallen out.  The dish soap & hand soap had fallen into the sink and several things were a lot closer to the edge of counters & ledges than they'd been before, but nothing was on the floor.  Freaking amazing!

I went outside & checked to make sure we still had a roof & a fence.  Yep, still there.   And of course, the leaning dead tree that refuses to fall & scares the life out of me is still leaning.  It hasn't changed a bit.

About that time, Hubby pulled into the driveway.  I started psycho-babbling to him about the experience & he walked around the house looking for damage.  He found one small crack in the foundation but that was all.  Inside, the only damage he noticed was a few nail-pops.  They'd already been noticeable, but the earthquake had forced the nail heads all the way out of the drywall.  

Hubby instantly started trying to call his family to make sure they were okay while I immediately got on Facebook and joined the crowd of quake survivors.

Later, we noticed that the fireplace door had shifted a bit and the gas logs had toppled over.  And my brand new can of air freshener had fallen into the toilet.  That was the height of our quake damage.  The thing that I'm the most amazed by is the things that didn't fall.  I hate to publicly admit to it, but there's a pile of precariously stacked books on top of a bookshelf.  Normally, if you don't tiptoe through the room, something falls off the pile.  Naturally, the earthquake did not disturb a single one of those books.  And my yarn pile in the living room....  I have a few (thousand) knitting projects going on and there's a dangerously high pile of yarn on top of a shelf.  It too is one of those piles that tends to fall over if you look at it funny, but as the laws of gravity would have it, not a single skein hit the floor.  Amazing!

As much as I complain & fuss about my hubby, he sure did build me a good  house.  Nice and tight without being too tight.  Now, let's see how it likes the hurricane that's headed our way.