Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thanksgiving Sales

I've never really gotten into the Black Friday thing. This Christmas, however, there was something I wanted that was going on deep discount (a little cheaper than ebay) at Michael's.

Carol and Jim bought me a Cricut for my birthday this year. It's essentially a programmable machine that cuts shapes out of card stock. We've been cutting out letters and shapes, giving them to Dalton with a glue stick, and he has been making cards for the grandparents. For Dalton, it's mostly about the glue, but he enjoys the letters and shapes as well.

Given how much Dalton enjoys arts and crafts, I was thinking that we would have him make our holiday cards this year. Cricut has a couple of different cartridges that facilitate the cutting of holiday shapes. I wanted to acquire one of these for our card making experience.

So Cricut has a real racket going. First they charge you an arm and a leg for the original machine. Then they continue to hit you up for pricey accessories and consumables. The worst of these are the font and shape cartridges. These things are basically software upgrades for the machine. They list for $90 each. The sell for $90 at Michael's most of the time and they are excluded from most sales and coupons. They run $65 at Walmart and $30-35 on ebay. I'd been dusting off my ebay account to purchase a holiday cartridge, but hadn't yet put in any bids when Cathy suggested that Michael's would have some sort of sale for Thanksgiving.

It turns out that Michael's first sale was on Thanksgiving with the doors opening at 6pm. The cartridges were running $30 each. I arrived at 5:50pm and was 7th in line behind young to middle aged women all talking about Cricut cartridges. Over the next ten minutes, the line extended behind me into the parking lot. This led to a building nervousness that I might not get that holiday cartridge. I was definately wondering how orderly the entire process would be.

As it turned out, everyone was good natured and friendly. While I did end up with a bloody nose, it didn't bleed all that long. They had plenty of the cartridges and I did get one with holiday shapes as well as one that does animals and one that has a font with lower case letters for teaching Dalty.

If you read this post, you're likely to recieve a card hand made by Dalty (with some help) in the near future.

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Saturday, November 29, 2008

No comments?

So one of our "numerous" readers told me today that she'd tried to make a comment on the blog and had gotten an error message. I've changed the blog settings for comments, although honestly, not having to deal with random errors is part of why we moved the blog over to Blogger, so I don't know what to say. In any case, her email has me wondering - are we getting no comments because (1) no one is reading, or (2) no one cares to comment (not even "aww, cute!"), or (3) everyone who has tried to leave a comment has concluded that it is broken.

So which is it? Use the comments section to answer, ok? ;)

Dressed like a traffic cone...

Dalton and I were in Joann fabric yesterday, mostly to look for paper for making cards, which is a current popular activity. (Mostly he likes applying the glue, but sometimes he even puts some Cricut cut letters in the glue. You'll get to enjoy his output when it comes time for us to send Christmas cards, some time in mid January.)

They had fleece and patterns on sale. We were admiring some cute fleece that I thought would make a cute sweatshirt. We bought a pattern (I wasn't sure I could do a hood freeform) that included a pattern for overalls. So then Dalton wanted overalls. OK, I said, let's pick out some fleece for making overalls. He chose orange. Really really really orange. The label said "tangerine", but tangerines aren't this eye popping bright.

You can tell that we live right nextdoor to Hokieburg. There were no issues whatsoever in finding bright orange thread to match it, nor in finding bright orange buttons, nor in finding bright orange seam binding.

I made the overalls in a 3T size. Brought them upstairs for Dalton to try on before I did the finishing and discovered that (1) they were too long (no surprise), (2) they were much too wide, and (3) our son is all torso, as evidenced by snugness in the crotch.. If I make him another pair, I'm going to use the 2T pattern and just extend the torso part a bunch. I took this pair in a bit (and extended the straps) before finishing them, but Dalton is going to have to eat quite a bit more pie before he'll be in any danger of outgrowing these overalls in width before height.

So as near as I figure, Dalton's ready to go work for VDOT. He's got the overalls, he's got the bright orange, he's ready to go!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Visiting with Gram

Dalton has had a wonderful visit with his Gram. Today they made miniature apple pies, one with a teddy bear on top. All was good until it became time to EAT it, when he became hugely upset because poking it with a spoon caused it to become "broken". Hugely upset. So upset he couldn't eat it. Tim says the title of this post should be "Dalton learns that you can't have your pie and eat it too." He's probably right, but it is too late now. Better luck next time, Tim.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Remembering Sam

Sam joined my household in late summer, 1997. I thought TY (then 1 1/2 years old) was lonely and would enjoy a playmate. I found Sam at the Pasadena pound, where he'd been for 6 weeks already. He was 45 pounds and scrawny. They thought he was a year old and about done growing.

Based on his initial behavior and what little I heard from the pound, I suspect Sam was mostly a lawn ornament for the first year (?) of his life. He certainly didn't seem to be acquainted with the whole idea of living in a house, although he got over that in a hurry. Later in life, he made up for it by refusing to go out in the dark, in the rain, in the cold... In his last winter, he drove us (mostly Tim) just about to the edge by refusing to go out and running away and hiding if it was so much as mentioned. The last few weeks were actually better. Given that Tramadol has some anxiolytic effects, I wonder if last winter might have been easier on all of us if we'd tried treating for anxiety last year.

So Sam came home, and for the next year, every time we went to the vet, he was younger, and bigger. At one point, he tipped the scales at 75 pounds, although more recently we'd been holding his weight at about 60-65 pounds to reduce the wear and tear on his arthritic legs. We went to the vet again and again. Pan osteitis, lumbar sacral something or other, arthritis. Long before Sam got cancer, he had plenty of reasons to limp. He had an awful lot of X-rays, none of which ever showed anything correctable.

Sam was always convinced he was a lap dog. He was also a huge klutz. He'd just about knock you over, trying to get all four of his feet (not to mention the rest of the dog) into your lap. When I had my bed in Altadena against the wall, Sam would wedge himself in between me or Tim and the wall and then PUSH with all four feet against the wall, the better to minimize the possibility of even a single air molecule between himself and the human. Although TY generally liked to sleep on feet, Sam's preference was definitely for full body contact. He was by far the most reliably affectionate of our dogs.

TY and Sam never became the good friends I'd hoped they would. They would play some when it was just the two of them, but once we became a two human and three dog household, they mostly ignored each other.

Sam was always in motion. I vividly remember him and TY running circles around the living room. Sam would take a flying leap and land sideways on the BACK of the futon with his feet, take a few horizonal steps, and then be back on the floor and going for a second lap. In the yard here in Virginia, he'd pick up a tire toy and run nervous circles with it in his mouth while TY played fetch. (Sam never really mastered fetch. Getting the toy was fine, but giving it up, not so much.)

Once, taking the dogs for a walk in Seattle, we walked through a lot where they were getting ready to do some construction. Although TY and Modi managed to jump over the narrow trench (perhaps 12 inches wide), Sam managed to fall into it. He didn't just fall in, either, he managed to fall in and land on his back with all four feet flailing in the air while he tried to right himself. (He was fine.)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The end

Today was Sam's last day. Although the Tramadol bought him a few good weeks, he was no longer getting good pain control even on double doses, so I chose to end his life this morning.

There's no good time to make this sort of decision. Sam seemed to enjoy cuddling with both Tim and I last night, but he'd gone from being eager to go for a walk to being willing only to walk a house or a two down the street, limping badly and panting on the return trip. We could have waited longer (days? weeks? a month?), and he would have had some more good times, but it seemed like the bad times were starting to dominate, and it seemed selfish to keep him alive but in pain while we tried to atone for some of the "demotion to dog" that all of our dogs have experienced over the past couple years.

So Tim took Dalton out for a tour of the coffee shop, mall, and pet store, while I made Sam (and TY) scrambled eggs (a favorite) for breakfast, and then took him for his last trip to the vet.

We scattered Modi's ashes in the back yard last week. I expect we'll do the same for Sammy.

I told Dalton last night that Sammy's leg was hurt (which he knew) and that Sammy was going to die. D hasn't asked about Sam at all today. I'm not sure if he hasn't noticed (possible, Sam never came upstairs), or if we're all just avoiding the subject.

It occurs to me as I type this that I haven't said much about Sam's life. That'll have to be the subject of a later post.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

And here we go again!

We had a nice visit with Gail and Walt (a.k.a. Bana and Papa) this weekend. There'll be pictures later. (They're not on my laptop.)

Then on Sunday night, our baby gate broke. Again. Tonight we pry the knobs off and tomorrow they go back to the company. Meanwhile, we'll be prying the gate open every single time we go up and downstairs, something that is impossible to do without two free hands. Bah.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Vote Early Vote Often

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Oh Jeebers, what the heck is this stuff?

So I was busy turning off my Amazon Prime free trial today, when I noticed a "what sort of mom are you?" link. And I figured ok, they're going to sell me stuff, but maybe they're selling cool stuff, and my free shipping is still good until Friday, so let's see.

You get several choices. You can be a "green" mom, in which case, Amazon will try to sell you baby bottles. Uh, hello? Green moms breastfeed, thank you very much. Now granted, they were BPA-free bottles (which is good, and there shouldn't be any other kind), but still. There were also crib sheets. Organic cotton crib sheets, but still crib sheets. (We know what cribs are for in our house. Cribs are for drying underwear when the clothesline is full. They're certainly not for housing a baby.) There was a baby wrap/sling as well, but it was way down the list.

Then I tried "intellectual" mom. OK, that sort of fits. I've probably got the only toddler in Christiansburg who declares he's going to college at least once a week. So there were numerous so-called educational (loud and blinky) plastic toys, and then there was a gizmo that you could use to keep the baby on a schedule. Yuck. I mean, yeah, we were sleep deprived, but I remember how it went: nurse (or finger feed) the baby all the time, change when wet, nurse or pump when full, walk around the house when cranky. Schedule? What schedule? What the heck is a schedule?

OK, ok, so I figured I had to be the "classic" mom, right? I mean, nursing and co-sleeping are old as the hills, right? Nope. Classic moms need bouncy seats and car seats and play pens and cribs and other places to put the kiddo, apparently.

Apparently I should stick to shopping for books.


We had an explosion of pretend games this weekend. The focus has mainly been on pretend cooking. It involves putting play food into boxes and shaking it back and forth. In the picture at the right, the bears are helping. The game also involves running around our upstairs and finding imaginary ingredients. One of Dalton's favorite ingredients is bacon. I find this interesting as he has never had bacon as far as I know. In fact, we don't even talk about bacon at home. That is, we didn't talk about it before this weekend when we began cooking with it all the time. I guess it's just one of those bad words that Dalty learned at school.

I've really enjoyed the pretend play time. A parent must also cook and if both Cathy and I are in the room, only Dad will do. It's a great toddler led activity.

When the cooking started, I said to Cathy, "we have to buy him a toy stove". Keep in mind that we currently cook on a table in the top and bottom of a puzzle box. The box is apparently magical. In the last three days it has been a pan, a bathtub, and a boat. Last night Dalton lined three boxes up, placed a bear in each, and declared it a train. He then removed a bear and sat in one box.

I fear the boxes are not long for this world. We'll have to buy some more $30 puzzles to keep a backup supply.

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Sunday, November 2, 2008

Another picture

I hope you liked the last picture, because apparently we're going to take it over and over again. D has been taking 5-8 "friends" to bed with him most nights, and they also apparently like to pose for photos with him in the playroom. I'm guessing this is a leftover from taking school photos a couple weeks ago?