Tuesday, March 27, 2007

A picture can say 1000 words but it can also inspire you to write 1000 more. (Jason Mraz)

While getting ready for bed last night, I jumped online to quickly check my emails. Before I could get back off, my daughter had IM'd me. "How many miles can you go after the fuel light comes on in the car?" she wanted to know. This was a really strange question, considering that she doesn't drive and is at school right now with no reason to be out driving. (Plus, how in the world is she sending me instant messages if she's in a car about to run out of gas?)
So I asked her, "Why do you need to know?"

It turns out that she is writing a story for one of her classes, and the main character is about to run out of gas. My first answer, that it really depends on the car, wasn't helpful. She needed to know specifically for a Cadillac Escalade, which is what the character was driving.

Just as quick aside: I have no idea how she selected the Cadillac Escalade. I've never even heard of the Escalade, and no one in our family has ever driven a Cadillac.
After a few minutes of quick research (I love the internet!), I was able to tell her that the Escalade has a 3.2 fuel reserve, and averages 14-18 mpg. Her story was saved, and I remain the internet queen of the family.
Fast forward to this morning...after I dropped the boys off for school, I stopped to pick up laundry soap. When I came out of the store, the first vehicle I see is an ugly pink pickup truck.

As I walked past, I discovered it was a Cadillac Escalade. In my research for my daughter, I never once realized that we were talking about a truck.
(So of course I had to pull out my camera to take a picture of it, hoping the entire time that the owner couldn't come out and catch me. Trying to explain why I was taking pictures of a stranger's car in that neighborhood would not have been easy.)

Monday, March 26, 2007

You live and learn. At any rate, you live. (Douglas Adams)

Macro Day

I'm not sure what type of plant this is, but they're common in the local nature trails. I like the "fan" pattern.

I took the kids to the boat show yesterday. We had a really good time trying to decide on just one boat to buy. Actually that started out as a game, but by the end of the day I think that the kids forgot that we weren't really buying anything (there's no way I can afford a boat). It was fun thinking "Someday, when I'm rich...", especially since we got to tour some of the really big yachts. (Did you know that some of those yachts use 50+ gallons of gas while under sail? Even if I could afford the 1.7 to 3.5 million dollars to buy a yacht, I don't think I would ever get to take it anywhere!)

Actually, I liked the Porta-Bote much better. It's a small fishing boat that literally folds up so you can carry it around. It's amazing! It can be rowed, or use a small trolling motor, or you can even get a sail kit for it. I am totally in love with this -- it's perfect for the kids and me to use to go fishing, and take camping with us.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

That's the secret to life...replace one worry with another... (Charles M. Schulz)

I woke up tired this morning.

It may have been because I woke up at 6:30 am. On a Sunday morning, when I'm allowed to sleep late. But the puppy woke up and wanted to play, and there was no way she was going to let me sleep while she played alone. It's like having a 2 year old in the house again!

In addition to the puppy, I have an extra teenager in the house again. I don't know how long he'll be staying with me this time. Hopefully things will work out quickly this time.

Friday, March 23, 2007

If you were going to die soon and had only one phone call you could make, who would you call and what would you say? (Stephen Levine)

And why are you waiting?

I finally made it to Friday, after a week of Mondays. I wish I could just lay back and enjoy it, but as usual my task list is greater than my weekend. I'm not complaining, not much anyway, 'cause most of what I have to do is for fun (like volunteering at Share on Saturday and taking the boys to the Boat Show on Sunday). It's just that I always plan my weekends with about 40 hours worth of activities and chores, and then spend the rest of the week wondering why I didn't get it all done.

And this weekend is not going to be any different, considering that I haven't even made it to Saturday yet I'm already behind.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

It is not a bad idea to get in the habit of writing down one's thoughts. It saves one having to bother anyone else with them. (Isabel Colegate)


I live an interesting life. Not interesting, as in having really good stories to tell. More like in the ancient curse "May you live in interesting times."

I just took a moment to google the origin of that curse. I use the phrase all the time, but I can't remember where I first heard it from. I vaguely remember it being Irish. Or maybe from a Mercedes Lackey novel. I thought it might be nice to have the actual reference, just in case I'm using it wrong. (Remind me to tell you the story of Miss Jabberwock sometime.)

Anyway, I found out that it was used by Robert F. Kennedy in his Cape Town speech in 1966. I was just a child then, so I don't think that's where I remember it from. (By the way, Kennedy attributed to an ancient Chinese proverb.) It was actually first written in a science fiction story by Duncan Munro. It was part of a three-part curse, each part being more severe than the previous:

May you live in interesting times.
May you come to the attention of those in authority.
May you find what you are looking for.

It makes you think, doesn't it. Especially the last one.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

If you look good and dress well, you don't need a purpose in life. (Robert Pante)

Poor Millie; she just didn't have a chance at a normal puppyhood. At least, not while she's got both Becky and me around. Becky has discovered that Millie is (almost) the perfect size to fit into her old doll clothes. And of course I just grabbed the camera and shouted, "What else can she wear?"

Monday, March 12, 2007

About the most originality that any writer can hope to achieve honestly is to steal with good judgment. (Josh Billings)

It's very tempting for me to post another adorable picture and story about Millie. I feel like a new mom: I'm totally convinced that my "baby" is the cutest one ever, and that everyone is just sitting around waiting their chance to hear about her. But if I'm honest with myself, I have to admit that while others may enjoy an occasional story about my wonderful child, the only one who is really obsessed with her is myself.

So I thought I would borrow an idea from Generation Exhausted. I'm not sure where the book list started, but it was fun to see how many of these "new classics" I've read.

Books in bold have been read.

1. The Da Vinci Code (Dan Brown)
2. Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)
3. To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
4. Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell)
5. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (J.R.R. Tolkien)
6. The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (J.R.R. Tolkien)
7. The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (J.R.R. Tolkien)
8. Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery)
9. Outlander (Diana Gabaldon)
10. A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry)
11. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (J.K. Rowling)
12. Angels and Demons (Dan Brown)
13. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (J.K. Rowling)
14. A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving)
15. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)
16. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (J.K. Rowling)
17. Fall on Your Knees (Ann-Marie MacDonald)
18. The Stand (Stephen King)
19. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (J.K. Rowling)
20. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)
21. The Hobbit (J.R.R. Tolkien)
22. The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)
23. Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
24. The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)
25. Life of Pi (Yann Martel)
26. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)
27. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)
28. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis)
29. East of Eden (John Steinbeck)
30. Tuesdays with Morrie (Mitch Albom)
31. Dune (Frank Herbert)
32. The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks)
33. Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)
34. 1984 (George Orwell)
35. The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley)
36. The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett)
37. The Power of One (Bryce Courtenay)
38. I Know This Much is True (Wally Lamb)
39. The Red Tent (Anita Diamant)
40. The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)
41. The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel)
42. The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)
43. Confessions of a Shopaholic (Sophie Kinsella)
44. The Five People You Meet In Heaven (Mitch Albom)
45. Bible
46. Anna Karenina (Leo Tolstoy)
47. The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)
48. Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt)
49. The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)
50. She’s Come Undone (Wally Lamb)
51. The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)
52. A Tale of Two Cities (Charles Dickens)
53. Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card)
54. Great Expectations (Charles Dickens)
55. The Great Gatsby (Scott Fitzgerald)
56. The Stone Angel (Margaret Laurence)
57. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (J.K. Rowling)
58. The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough)
59. The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood)
60. The Time Traveller’s Wife (Audrew Niffenegger)
61. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
62. The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand)
63. War and Peace (Tolsoy)
64. Interview With The Vampire (Anne Rice)
65. Fifth Business (Robertson Davies)
66. One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
67. The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants (Ann Brashares)
68. Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)
69. Les Miserables (Victor Hugo)
70. The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)
71. Bridget Jones’ Diary (Helen Fielding)
72. Love in the Time of Cholera (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
73. Shogun (James Clavell)
74. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje)
75. The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett)
76. The Summer Tree (Guy Gavriel Kay)
77. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)
78. The World According To Garp (John Irving)
79. The Diviners (Margaret Laurence)
80. Charlotte’s Web (E.B. White)
81. Not Wanted On The Voyage (Timothy Findley)
82. Of Mice And Men (John Steinbeck)
83. Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier)
84. Wizard’s First Rule (Terry Goodkind)
85. Emma (Jane Austen)
86. Watership Down (Richard Adams)
87. Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)
88. The Stone Diaries (Carol Shields)
89. Blindness (Jose Saramago)
90. Kane and Abel (Jeffrey Archer)>
91. In the Skin of a Lion (Michael Ondaatje)
92. Lord of the Flies (William Golding)
93. The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck)
94. The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)
95. The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum)
96. The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton)
97. White Oleander (Janet Fitch)
98. A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford)
99. The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield)
100. Ulysses (James Joyce)

Sunday, March 11, 2007

The great pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him and not only will he not scold you,

but he will make a fool of himself too. (Samuel Butler)

Miss Mildred Rose (aka Millie) has definitely made a place for herself in the family. It's amazing how quickly I've become attached to her (especially considering that I really don't like animals). Millie sleeps on my bed, gets fed before myself or the kids, and takes me for long walks twice a day.

Taking the walks is the worse part. George is very slow and resentful -- he just doesn't see the point of going outside when there is a perfectly good kitchen floor he can use to pee on. Millie, on the other hand, is excited to be out exploring. She's a true Neuhaus; she's always trying to find shortcuts along the way, and will sudden decide to go off in a different direction because something has caught her eye. Since I'm holding a leash in each hand, I find myself literally pulled in two directions, when I'm not being tripped by a puppy racing between my feet. Every five minutes I have to stop and untangle the three of us. And I won't even try to explain the difficulty of pooper scooping while hanging onto the two dogs. On the plus side, I'm getting to know all of my neighbors. It seems that we're an amusing enough sight that nobody can resist laughing and saying hello.

It's easier when the children are home to help me. We take turns chasing Millie to take away whatever it is she's chewing on that she shouldn't be. We rotate kitchen clean-up duty. There's always someone nearby to distract Millie from chewing on George's ears. And the children can take Millie away when I have to use the bathroom so that she doesn't sit outside the door and whine. Unfortunately, the children are at their father's this weekend so I'm trying to handle it all by myself. It's like being the mother of toddlers again -- the first time around (with my children) was fun, but I'm getting too old to handle it now.

Oh well. I better go see what the dogs are up to. They're being too quiet and it's making me nervous.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

When you feel lousy, puppy therapy is indicated. (Sara Paretsky)

We've spent today getting to know each other. Millie has already acquired the nickname "T.T." which stands for Terrier Terror -- her favorite game is attacking George's ears. She'll come up from behind, sneak underneath his legs and then pounce on his ear. Poor George just stands there, totally bewildered as to why this adorable yappy creature insists on tormenting him.

Millie's second favorite game is finding paper to chew. It's amazing how many things she can reach, considering that she's on about 6" tall (and she weighs only 3 lbs). Taking her on a walk is even worse, since she will try to chew on every leaf, stick, worm, and blade of grass along the way! It got so bad at one point that even George got tired of waiting for her to move along. He went up to her, swung his head to fling his ears in her face, then took off running so that she would chase him!

The writing is on the wall, though -- Millie is already well on the way to being the spoiled princess of the house.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

The more things change, the more they remain...insane. (Michael Fry and T. Lewis)

I have nothing to say in my defense, other than look at how cute she is! I just couldn't help sneaking her home.

Her name is Millie, she's 12 weeks old, and she's now my little girl.

George, by the way, is very relieved that he doesn't have to fight against being dressed up by Becky and me. Instead, he is happily hanging out with PJ, playing ball.