kcobweb: (Default)
Okay, my week has finally turned around. :)

* I had two concerts this weekend, and they are now over! (There was nothing wrong with them, I just wasn't in the mood, and this wasn't my favorite music ever. Except 2 short songs by Holst, and that's not enough to propel me happily forward, apparently.)

* Yesterday, we bought a new dining room table! Just like that! I am given to understand that normal people go shopping and sometimes spend money, but we usually have to agonize over purchases for MONTHS before we allow ourselves to spend. We ventured out to a couple of antique stores in Pittsfield, and at the second one, we saw a gorgeous gorgeous table, and I think we both fell a little in love on first sight. And the price was so so so much lower than what one would pay for a new table!!!!! So. We'll get it Tuesday. And then we need to get new chairs too. Now we can actually have people over and have somewhere to seat them! We can reciprocate for all those people who have had us over for dinner! \O/

* An actual Girl Scout came to my door this afternoon selling cookies. Need I say more? No more having to hope that I will stumble upon them hawking cookies at the grocery store or the mall! \O/

* For those of you not following [livejournal.com profile] galagan's status updates on Facebook - we just got Rock Band 2. I can sing, no problem, but I suck at the instruments. (Even on Easy - I'm sort of pathetic.) Yay, what fun! \O/

* My daughter is absolutely hilarious. If this is a preview of what 4-years-old will be like, it's going to be a fun year. :) Tonight she drew a picture of "the step-mother, Anastasia and Drizella" and another of Cinderella with most of the planets around her. Her own special spin on the fairy tale. Yeah. If she's not asking constant questions, she's singing made-up songs or racing around the house like crazy. It's a riot. Also, exhausting.
kcobweb: (stormcastle)
So, I finished my grad school applications this afternoon. The online parts have been sent through the tubes. The paper parts are packaged up and addressed and ready to be taken to the post office in the morning. It feels just a little anti-climactic, and now I get to do more waiting.....

Then, we took Elena up to bed right after a torrential rainstorm, only to discover water on the floor under a suspicious spot on the ceiling that we had been keeping an eye on. [livejournal.com profile] galagan was able to get up into the attic, and put a temporary patch of sorts into place, but...... Man.

I'm now eating my favorite ice cream (Friendly's Butter Crunch, which is tres tasty), and watching the rerun of Project Runway (which is better than ass volleyball). *Breathe*
kcobweb: (red dress)
Elena was really resisting taking a nap this afternoon, and at one point, she started crying again a bit. I went upstairs and found that not only had she thrown everything out of her crib onto the floor (very standard - used to be a daily event around here), but she had also taken off all her clothes and was just standing there wearing a diaper. Totally cracked me up. I dumped everything back in the crib, pulled her T-shirt over her head and left again. She's quiet, but I don't think she's asleep..... *sigh* I really want her to keep napping - I'm not ready for her to give it up. (I don't think she is either, but don't think I can convince her of that point.)

hallowe'en! )

Meanwhile, I'm in my usual frenzy of housecleaning the day before I have houseguests. Laundry, sweeping, picking up junk off the floors..... (My dad's coming for a few days.) This is good, though - I need incentive to tidy up, apparently.
kcobweb: (Default)
more books! )

There's a mouse bird in one of the gutters along the front of the house. You can hear little feet running back and forth, and then occasionally a little nose beak will peek out to check (nope, still 8 feet up!). I assume eventually it'll climb down the downspout. ETA: [livejournal.com profile] galagan got it out by bending the upper edge of the gutter (which keeps out the leaves and stuff) up, and then leaving so it could fly away. He's a hero.

In other news, I mentioned the other day that I had instigated a family drama - it's all resolved now. We are staying home for Christmas and my mother is coming here. (Christmas is very important to my mother, but we're giving up a lot of family traditions that would happen if we were in Montana.) My sister will go home with her boyfriend for the holidays (she never would have done that if I hadn't started the whole thing). So, I'm happy that I don't have to travel with a toddler at the holidays! Yahoo!!!
kcobweb: (Default)
Rainy day. Fall weather has finally caught up with me. Aaahhhhh.

I forgot to mention how truly satisfying it was to come back home to a house that is really quite bright red. The painters have almost finished (a few sections need another coat; clearly they can't do it today). It's very striking, and I'm thrilled to pieces every time I go outside or look out the window. Before and after pictures will follow, as soon as they are really done.

Having just left Canada, it seems appropriate to mention that today is Canadian Thanksgiving! I will be making [livejournal.com profile] galagan's favorite Thanksgiving food (green bean casserole - we're so pedestrian) for dinner in honor of the occasion.

book meme! )

Yes, there are a few that I both finished *and* found completely unreadable. If you'd asked me 5 minutes after closing the book what it was about, I'd have said "dribble dribble hilxcuik hkjnaso", or something to that effect......

*gulp* I have a long to-do list. I should really attack it now.

ETA: Vacation pictures here
kcobweb: (reader)
On Royalty: A Very Polite Inquiry into Some Strangely Related Families by Jeremy Paxman - I saw this somewhere, and thought it looked fun. It is a clever kick in the pants, with plenty of dry British wit and chock full of interesting little details. He basically assumes that you know enough about the current British royal family to keep up (you know, you're a well-educated adult who reads the newspaper) - but also talks about a lot of other European monarchs. If you're at all interested in royalty, you'll like this one.

Virgin: The Untouched History by Hanne Blank, a.k.a. [livejournal.com profile] misia. I've been reading [livejournal.com profile] misia's LJ for years, so I read a lot about this book during its writing. It was great to sit down and read the whole thing - it is thoroughly researched (and chock full of clever details), with her typical wit to spice it up. Just as excellent as you think it should be.

********

My mother's here, so I'm not online much. Painters are here, painting the outside of the house very very RED. We leave for a week's vacation in just a few days. Aaaahhhhhh.

Coolness

Sep. 6th, 2007 08:52 pm
kcobweb: (onions)
We were out for a little while this evening, and when we came home, there was a whole bag full of tomatoes and peppers hanging on the doorknob. Presumably from our neighbor who we got veggies from yesterday. I'm going to make gazpacho tomorrow - yum - but what can I do to thank her? I was thinking about making some cookies to take to her. All I know is that she's an older woman, and married, and has a garden to keep herself busy (that's what she told me the one time I met her). Cookies? Or something else?

Meanwhile - gazpacho!!!!
kcobweb: (Default)
It's been a lovely weekend. )

And now I'm *still* trying to decide what to make for dinner. Any suggestions? Must be veggie-friendly. Major points if it's made from ingredients that are already in our possession. *grin*
ETA: It's gonna be Chickpea Stew. Why o why do I always have such difficulty deciding what to make? I'm a looooooser.
kcobweb: (red dress)
So, I was standing in the bathroom, when I saw something move out of the corner of my eye, and I look down and it's a mouse, wandering along the wall. I get between him and the door, and then tried to get [livejournal.com profile] galagan's attention.... okay, so I was dying my hair, so I (a) was totally naked (as one is, when one is dying one's hair, no?), and (b) had head and hands covered with staining goo. So I didn't want to run the length of the house in that condition to fetch him. He heard me, thankfully, and came to assess the situation. We managed to herd the mousie with the toilet brush to run behind the toilet, where we set the empty garbage can on its side to trap him. The big strong man took it outside and said goodbye and let it run away. I wonder if there are any more? (I haven't seen many conclusive mouse signs, so we're probably okay. But I'll be imagining/seeing/hearing mice everywhere for a while.)

So, I've been playing Scrabble on Facebook (against several of you). And I'm really bad. I'm not just saying that to be self-deprecating; I'm *really* bad. I was complaining about this in an email to my sister, and she proposed a theory: as a child, she would never play Scrabble with me, because I was too good. Due to my resulting lack of experience, I'm really bad. I like the circularity of her argument - I had to read it several times over at first, and then found that I agree with her. Anyway - if you wanna play Scrabble, you can come find me there and trounce me, giving yourself a good win record, and myself some much-needed playing experience.

I have a to-do list a mile long. Fortunately, I got some good things crossed off it today, like the car inspection, and a long-delayed phone call.
kcobweb: (red dress)
More funny toddler things - she's obsessed with a certain book right now, which she insists on calling "Green Eggs OR Ham". Weird funny thing: she will occasionally grab my arm, sniff it loudly, and say "So good! I eat!" and then giggle. Lately she's been doing this to [livejournal.com profile] galagan's head when he carries her on his shoulders: "So good! I eat!" He responds: "oh no, don't eat my hair!" And then she does it again and again, cracking up the whole time. It's really bizarre, but also bizarrely funny.

Did I mention that we have walnut trees here at our house? Since we got back from our week away, the walnuts seem bigger than ever - slightly larger than eggs, and bright green. I really want to try to harvest them when the time comes (fall harvest, basically) - it is not supposed to be easy to crack the outer hulls (according the internets, there are a variety of ways, but you can resort to driving over them with your car) and they stain badly as well - but I've never had nut trees before, and I gotta try, just to *see*, just to do it. If anyone wants to help with this near-certain fiasco, I'll let you know as the time gets closer to harvest.

Random thought: I realized I know nothing about any Australian writers or literature thereof. Huge blank spot in my knowledge. Anyone have any recommendations, or anything they know about this?

Also, I wanna know more about the Gaulish/Germanic tribes/people in the early medieval period - Merovingians, Visigoths, Gauls, etc. - any recs there? Historical fiction welcome, but other sources would be great too. No particular reason, just idle curiosity.
kcobweb: (Default)
Having said goodbye, of course (oh-so-predictably) I'm back. First, because I had to share this amazing map-or-poster-or-drawing. Just too cool for words.

Secondly, all my painful agonizing phone calls have proven victorious, and we have someone lined up to paint our house! (He is the only person - out of 4 painters - to call me back, and show up when he said he would to do an estimate. The rest just can't be bothered, apparently - so screw 'em. They don't get my money. I'd rather hire someone reliable and punctual, frankly.) And I *haggled* on the price, and he agreed. I'm so cool.

Now, about that packing.....

Berries!!

Jul. 9th, 2007 02:40 pm
kcobweb: (Default)
This is just from today, in our yard:

raspberries

(Obviously, mostly black raspberries, with a few red ones mixed in.) I got eaten by bugs and nearly fell down a slick wet slope, but it was worth it. Actually, there were a few more that I just couldn't reach - they were entirely enmeshed in a ticket of thorns. And there were plenty that will be ready tomorrow or the next day. This rocks!
kcobweb: (red dress)
Searching for Mercy Street: My Journey Back to my Mother, Anne Sexton, by Linda Gray Sexton. I've always liked Anne Sexton's poetry, but didn't know much about her life except that she killed herself. This book leaves no holds barred, and was one of the most disturbing books I've read in a long time, I think (I don't disturb easily). Anne was depressed, of course, but she also had absolutely *no boundaries* and had to be the center of everyone's attention - fine for her, but she obviously was incapable of thinking about the effect that had on her children. It's amazing they turned out as well as they did. Linda Sexton talks a lot about how her mother was one of the confessional poets and believed in 100% honesty in all things. As her mother's literary executor (and in this memoir), she felt she had to honor that honesty and openness, even when she didn't want to, when it was painful, or when it hurt other family members. So you get a fairly complete picture here - drawing not only on Linda's memories, but also on the papers and records Anne left behind (including records from her therapists). Really powerful and moving, to be sure.

The Boy Next Door, by Meggin Cabot. This was [livejournal.com profile] journeywoman's suggestion when I said I liked chicklit. And it was pretty good: light and fluffy. It's all epistolary - but via email, because this is the 21st century, right? - but better done than most books that employ the told-through-email trope. There is a somewhat silly/contrived set-up situation, but with clever likeable characters, and a really good revenge scenario.

In other news - what a lovely day! We went to the playground this morning to play with Elena's friends - she went on the big-kid swings, and then wouldn't get off because swinging was so fun. (And we got to see a 10-day-old baby that belongs to a friend of a friend. So *tiny* - it's just amazing! Even when you've had one of your own, you can't believe later they were ever that small.) This afternoon, I finally got to visit the local quilt store, which was very nice, with many many temptations. I'm going to be doing a quilt block swap soon, so this was sort of a scouting mission.

We've also had the news that our house does not need to be re-sided after all - someone came and looked and said that our siding is cedar and would be insanely expensive now and is some of the best we could have, so it just needs scraping and painting. Woohoo!!! (We got a good chunk of money knocked off the purchase price of this house based on the condition of the outside of it and the assumption - at the time - that it would need complete re-siding.) So now I have to call some painters instead. Because we'd be crazy to try to do it ourselves, right? Or not? Anyone have much experience with house-painting? I only know from watching my father paint our house growing up, and he always bitched about it, and took several years to actually get it finished.
kcobweb: (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] galagan has been gone for a few days, cavorting in the nation's capital for some work-related meetings. I'm pleased to say that my brief stint as single parent has gone pretty well. I decided that instead of being lazy and eating crappy food while he was gone, I'd go all out and make yummy food that I wouldn't make while he's here. So I've eaten rather well, and that is pleasing.

The only dim spot: Elena has come down with a cold, so we didn't go to story hour at the library today, and she spent all day wiping her runny nose on her sleeve before I could reach her with a tissue. Now I can hear her coughing in her sleep. Having just been in that situation (having a cold), I really feel for her. Poor girl - she's been incredibly healthy till now and really hasn't been sick (like, EVER), mostly because she just hasn't been exposed to stuff. So this is probably a bit of a shock to her. But it's good for her to start building up that immune system, right?

I watched American Idol tonight, and it was about 50/50 - half of the guys were really good, and the other half, it was like WTF? I'd keep Jared, Chris, Chris, Blake and.... who was the other one? Ah yes, Sundance. Everybody else can go home now, as far as I'm concerned.

I did not have to work today (see above, re: husband out of town, me on deck for child-care 24/7). Unfortunately, I do have to go in tomorrow. Assuming he comes back. :)

It's just over a week till we close on our house!! The agent called with a list of details, about heating oil, and the walk-through, and permits and approvals for the wood stove (finally obtained). Today I made a list of all the artwork / posters / maps / framed stuff we have - and oh man, oh me oh my, do we ever have a lot of stuff. How did we acquire so many pictures to hang on the walls? [livejournal.com profile] galagan is hereby forbidden from buying any more Peter Max prints.

Yes, I said "wood stove". *bounce*
kcobweb: (santa hat)
Dinner conversation turned to Christmas shopping, and [livejournal.com profile] galagan revealed that he has bought *nothing* yet.

Me: But my birthday is five days away! Five!
Elena: Sit! Sen!
(we laugh)
Me: Yes, and eight days from now, it will be Christmas!
Elena: Nun! Ten! E'ven! Telv! Siddoo! Ot-doo! Mmm-doo! Uh-doo!

She cracks me up.

**************************************************

We leave tomorrow. I should really think about packing. I did make pesto - I have a basil plant I bought in summer, which has somehow survived all this time (usually, I kill basil in this span of time). I am sure it wouldn't have survived us being gone for 8 days - so I stripped all the leaves and made yummy yummy pesto. I also cooked most of the remaining veggies from our fridge, and had a lovely dinner. Now we truly have no food in the house.

*************************************************

I rarely bake at home for just us. We don't *need* all that stuff, or I'm too lazy, or whatever. But Christmas is the one holiday my mom really goes nuts for, and I've always enjoyed helping her. She has promised to put me to work once I get there - she claims that she'll watch Elena and I'll cook/bake. I have a few ideas of my own of things I want to make - some almond lace cookies we did last year that were unbelievably scrumptious and irresistable, the cream caramels we've done the last few years (so! much! stirring! but truly yummy), and perhaps candied orange peel (I tried to make it a few years ago and it turned out weirdly, so I'd like to try it again). Plus there are the usual standards - candy-cane cookies, buckeyes, wreaths, etc. My sister arrives Tuesday night, so she'll be able to help too. I do love baking (and candy-making), so this should be lots of fun.

**************************************************

Of course, tonight we discovered a leak from the kitchen sink that seems to be penetrating the floorboards and dripping down into the basement. Why do these things always happen right before you're headed out of town? But we put a bucket under it and called our landlord, and he seems to know about it (I guess that spot's been a problem before) and promises he'll take a look at it. So we won't worry.
kcobweb: (santa hat)
So, in case you missed [livejournal.com profile] galagan's post (it was locked), we have a (commitment to a) house!! We bid, they counter-offered us, and we countered that, and they took it!!! It's so very exciting, and still a little overwhelming too. :) Key points: a GARAGE, dishwasher, guest room, deck, mountain views, over an acre of land (with neighbors on two sides, and nobody on the other sides of us). We'll close in March - which seems very far off, and then immediately near.

In other news, we have a stubborn tantrum-y child, which is incredibly frustrating. She won't do *anything* this week without a fight. Going to Montana for Christmas might unsettle her even more - though she'll have extra doting from Grandma and others, so maybe that will make up for it.

And I only have two more workdays, and then we go to Montana next Monday!!! Eeeep.
kcobweb: (Default)
The small: I am personalizing a Christmas stocking for the EB. Everybody in my family has stockings that were knit by my grandmother - our names are on them and everything, and each is different. (Actually, [livejournal.com profile] galagan's was store bought, because she wasn't knitting anymore by the time he came along.)

I bought a red velour stocking - it's a gorgeous deep red. I have cut block letters out of white felt, and I'm going to sew them on, and silver metallic thread will be involved. Yay for craftiness!

The big, nay, huge: We have a verbal agreement to sell our house! Our former roommate is interested, and we had a price estimate done - and after careful consideration of that, he has accepted!!! I'm thrilled - on every front. Financially this is nice, because we won't be officially listing the house on the market, so expenses are cheaper (the realtor will get 1% for her fee instead of 6%, for starters). He will buy it as-is, so no worries about painting or fixing up. (He's an architect, and already has big plans for the place. Measurements have been taken. I can't wait to see what he'll do with it!) This is also wonderful on an emotional level. When I first moved back to Billings, he was the person who *found* this house to begin with, and I lived here with him and our friend Mary (who died last year). This feels appropriate - like we've come full-circle. He belongs in this house, and now it will happen!

Okay.... back to the stocking.
kcobweb: (pengy)
I have a lengthy to-do list in front of me, detailing which tasks go on which day for the rest of the week. I'm pleased to say I've made today's phone calls (I hate the phone so so much). We're both up and dressed. I'm having lunch with a friend today, plus running a few errands while out. Tomorrow we each have appointments (a 9-month check for the EB, more birth control pills for me, woo!). Friday the weather is supposed to be waaaaay better, and I'm thinking about going *shopping*. (I've done a lot online, but there are things that mustbe gotten at bricks-and-mortar stores. It has to be done at some point, and I'd rather go on a weekday.) Monday the furnace gets inspected.

Last night, a friend came by - actually, a former roommate - and he has expressed interest in buying our house!!! I pointed out to him that, much like it was for us, if he bought this house there would be no surprises - good or bad. We've lived in this house for 5 1/2 years, and he lived here for.... 3 years, I think. Anyway, it's exciting - I like the thought of him living here, and he would fix it up and make it pretty (he's an architect). This house has so much potential, and frankly, we've been lazy bums and have not gotten off our asses to paint, or strip woodwork, or do the floors..... My mom has a realtor friend, and I'm going to see about asking her about a market analysis of similar houses in the area, and then determining a fair price for this house. We bought it three years ago (for a song) - even with no fixing-up work done on it, the price has probably risen a little bit.

Okay, I'm a little bit boingy. I wish it weren't a bazillion degrees below zero today.
kcobweb: (Default)
Just got an email from this weekend's houseguest:

> Your house is just so
> cozy and comfortable, it just wraps you up in itself
> like a favorite old sweatshirt or something. I
> always feel good being there.

I just love this, and told her so. I don't think I've ever aspired to having a magazine-perfect house - but this is infinitely better, by my reckoning. We have such a messy house, much of the time, that I'm generally not too comfortable with people seeing it. And yes, we cleaned up for the weekend of visitation. But it's still a nice affirmation.

([livejournal.com profile] kassrachel, you're no doubt used to this - I think a lot of people feel this way about your house - but it's new for me.)

Meanwhile, it's been a crappy week at work. Just miserably overwhelmed, and never quite sure how to tackle the immense pile before me.

Plus I'm tired tired tired. To all the women reading this: if you ever get pregnant, see if you can plan it for a time when you can take lots of naps. That would make it so much easier on you. Several older co-workers asked me today if I was past the "tired stage" - and my reaction was "you mean it ends?" Oh yes, they chirped, about the end of the first trimester. Well, I'm easily past that and into my second trimester - and still tired tired tired. More alert, to be sure, than I was those first 13 weeks. But oh man, I could use a nap at any given time of day, even first thing in the morning. Which sucks.
kcobweb: (Default)
Well, today has been another sucky day, but I don't even want to get into it, so instead I'll talk about books.

The Jane Austen Book Club, by Karen Joy Fowler, seemed like an obvious book for me to read. And it was just okay. She tries to do nifty things with narrative voice that just come across weirdly (the occasional shifts into first person plural narration were especially awkward and irritating. For one thing, there wasn't enough group cohesion for me to believe that anyone was speaking for all the assembled characters). The Austen stuff was mostly fun, though it remains superficial (i.e. if you really want to know what the deal is with Frank Churchill, don't read this book, read Emma - but maybe that goes without saying).

It does have a kickass prologue. In part: )

It's just a very clever way of introducing Austen as well as all her own characters. I like it a lot.

As far as the sucky day goes - I would like to amend a statement I wrote the other day. Our landlady used to tell us "never buy a house" - the new version would be "never buy an old house" - because when stuff breaks, as it inevitably does and will, you are doomed because you can't actually buy replacement parts because they are so old, and the new-fangled "standard" replacement parts don't FIT. Doom doom doom.

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