Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Open Thread - What have y'all been up to lately?

This is my second attempt today, so I'm less than cheerful that I lost my first attempt by closing out a window that closed out EVERYTHING after a final review of HTML, but I'm gonna just bite my lip and forge forward and attempt a repeat. [sigh] No. 2 sent me more pictures of the Chicago vacation from her phone, so those of you unfamiliar with Hostels, here's a photo of maybe 1/3 of the hostel kitchen in Chicago's HI downtown:
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That's me in the back making a cup of tea. I brought tea (and those little sugar bags offered by fast-food places) and No. 2 provided me with some raspberry tea, as well. Got so "into" tea, though (particularly in the evenings after long days) that I needed to spend $1.62 on a store-bought tea-bag my last day downtown. Lots of folks cooked lots of meals for lots of people in that hostel kitchen during the 5 days I was there. I was one of those folks. No. 2 sent TWO photos that I want to present here from Cloud Gate. Cloud Gate is basically a giant stainless steel "bean seed" sculpture set down in the AT&T Plaza. Here's the official propaganda: "Inspired by liquid mercury, the sculpture is among the largest of its kind in the world, measuring 66-feet long by 33 feet high. It sits on the AT&T Plaza..." The author has this to say about his goal: "What I wanted to do...is make something that would engage the Chicago skyline so that one will see the clouds kind of floating in, with those very tall buildings reflected in the work. And then, since it is in the form of a gate, the participant, the viewer, will be able to enter into this very deep chamber that does, in a way, the same thing to one's reflection as the exterior of the piece is doing to the reflection of the city around." - Anish Kapoor.
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It's kindof like a Salvador Dali painting at first, dontcha think? If you're unfamiliar with Dali's surrealistic paintings (some of which we saw during a tour of the Art Institute), Virtual Dali is a start.
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Here we are, to the right of the green shirt; see No. 2 with the camera to her eyes? See me in the same clothes I wore in the Hostel Kitchen photo above? No. 2 was on a frog quest during our trip; [maybe too much Sesame Street as a young child], so she wanted to attend a frog exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry (which she read about as our luggage thumped into the terminal at Midway). Did I mention that our flight was 45 minutes late in leaving DFW because the plane needed to "take a test run" first? LOL. Guy next to me on the flight was ALREADY afraid of flying without hearing THAT! So, No. 2 ended up parking at Midway because driving around and around got to be more expensive with gas prices as high as they are and then moved into the terminal to survey the propaganda on Chicago (one of which included a frog exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry). Long story short, we went to the Museum of Science and Industry (because there wasn't a bus coming to take us where we'd really wanted to go), but it was about an hour from closing, the free days in every museum in Chicago had been cancelled during August, 2006 (in an attempt to make everyone money during tourist season, I guess), the cost to enter was something like $18.00 each with the frog exhibit $5.00 on top of that, and I was just too damn cheap to spend something like $1.00/minute. But, we went to the acquarium the next day and No. 2 paid $46.00 for the two of us to see everything they offered. We got there as soon as they opened. She was so afraid that the cost would be too high for me that she had her money whipped out and in someone's hands before I even knew we'd reached the counter of entry. LOL. (I love you, Sweetie!). Anyway, she took many frog pictures at the Acquarium, including:
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In other news, Em had a great vacation in Chicago, as well, golfing with his son three days, attending the PGA one day, talking to his grand-daughters (now aged 9 and 12) 4 days or nights, and visiting with old friends 1 day. Back to our weekly habits, our Monday cinema choice this week was "Snakes on a Plane". It shoulda been a "made for the SFC movie, because those snakes growled and everything just like the stuff we usually watch on Saturday evenings." I kept wondering about where I'd seen the young woman with the dog on TV, but neither Em nor #1 could offer any help even though I'd said, "She plays a cop in uniform, doesn't play a big role in the series...". A little research this morning shows Rachel Blanchard as Kevin's partner on Seventh Heaven. Neither Em nor #1 watch that show. Just goes to show I'm not as crazy as I look, though. :-) I don't play golf and I don't WANT to play golf, but retired people need more "move around" stuff, so Em and I are considering the thought of tennis again as something we could do together that benefits us physically in the exercise department. I've gone so far as to find a place where we could play, but I haven't gone so far as to buy tennis balls. [I'm CHEAP; I need a SALE on tennis balls before I can buy some!]. Gonna get into some more "dead-tree" reading after discussing some things Silly-O has read lately. Gonna try and manage my time in ways to incorporate more "little bit of this and little bit of that" each day versus the "slide down the rabbit-hole" time management technique I use currently. The problem with this is that I really think that Marie Montessorri had the right idea. Her Philosophy for children. "Montessori believed that children learn what they are ready to learn, and that there may be considerable differences among children in what phase they might be going through and to what materials they might be receptive at any given time. Therefore, Montessori individualized her educational method. Children were free to work at their own pace and to choose what they would like to do and where they would like to do it without competition with others." <-- that's been my retirement goal, but I'm gonna expand it to include other activities that may/may not take me down rabbit-holes. That's it for me this week, I think; what's up with YOU?


No. 2 said...

Notice I only sent you one of the frog pics. I wasn't sure everyone else would enjoy them as much as I did, but I was especially proud of that close up of the blue one. If you remember, some of those poisonous frogs were absolutely tiny!

Other than that, I've been spending a fair share of my time apartment searching. I've noticed that I can't have all the luxuries I want for $800/month, and I've realized that I had a VERY good set up and price when I lived in Oak Brook which is normally a pricy area. I've even thought about calling them back to see what they have to offer now.

Well, gotta go to work for now.

Oldnovice said...

Tiny as in only about 1/2" across, IIRC. I'm, personally, impressed with ALL the pictures you took on my vacation trip to Chicago. You didn't use a camera; you used a damn phone! Em went to Walgreens for some things today and I asked him to check out a digital camera keychain they have on sale for $10.00. I thought, "If a phone can take such great pictures, imagine what a keychain can do!". Heh. He forgot to check it out, though.

I've even thought about calling them back to see what they have to offer now. Let Nike be your guide and just DO it. You have nothing to lose in a phone call. Use your shoe phone. :-)

Send the frog pics if you still have them. Might be a day this winter when frogs could constitute a thread on their own. BTW, my "unidentified uncle" thought your Chicago pictures were GREAT.

I need to add something here about how Bob and Judy offered me great hospitality and how th3ungin and Silly-O spent almost two full days with me, but I need to get a handle on all those thoughts first. I tried earlier, but one thought led to another and I fell down a rabbit hole.

Working on a Thursday? [I feel so out of touch with your life!]

Diane said...

I know nothing about hostels but would love to hear more about them one of these days when you're bored.

Blue frog--cool pic! I'm deathly afraid of frogs, toads, birds, and moths, unfortunately. Basically anything that hops or has wings. The kids use that against me far too often.

Metal blob thing? Is art? Hm.

I've been sitting here, nose running, tears streaming. I have a dehydrator packed full of shredded/diced onions and garlic. Holy crap, this place stinks! Got the rest of my garlic harvest in bags and hanging along the wall now. Dehydrated more peppers yesterday. Think I'll do some banana chips tomorrow since I overbought those last week.

Within the next 2-3 weeks, we have 2 kids with birthdays who want separate parties, a well going in with much labor provided by us to save on the bill, a visit from my mom from Illinois (wait until you hear what she's bringing me this time!), I'm making a plank table, the front door needs to be in, and the bathroom walls *need* to be up (for Mom's visit). Then there's the fridge which STILL needs to be replaced/repaired and the freezer that still needs to be replaced. Bathtub needs to be scrubbed, repaired, and brought into the house (will soon be too cold to continue hose showering on the front step) , plus everything plumbed for the well. Gotta read up on and buy a water heater.

Okay, now I'm just whining. I've had (and still have) a cold for a few days so my moaning and bellyaching has reached the point where I'm annoying even myself.

Oldnovice said...

Hostels are places to stay where you pay for the bed and have other amenities available to you for use. In hotels and motels, you pay for the ROOM. With a family the size of yours, motels are probably financially more desirable. Motels/hotels for a single traveler, however, can be boring or lonely, and maybe even more costly than a night in a bed at a hostel.

Rooms are shared with strangers in hostels. Rooms are called "dormitories". MOST of the time, dormitories are single-sexed, but Em and I stayed in one in San Francisco this year that was coed. [It's a bummer for the guys who wake up with a woody...not to mention those of us who noticed.] MOST of the time, dormitories don't include bathrooms or showers, but the HI in Chicago provided both in our dorm of 6 females.

Outside of the dorm, hostels always have common areas where travelers meet, most of the time have kitchens where travelers cook, eat, and meet, and rarely have TV rooms. HI Chicago had ALL this stuff.

Other things offered: Group activities. Again, if you're a single traveler, all you need do is sign up to go along with whatever's going on. I signed up for a free breakfast offered by a girlscout troop. I would have signed up for something else, but No. 2 thought we might not want to commit ourselves to be back by a particular time that day.

US hostels are different from European hostels, but I haven't quite got a handle on the differences yet. [Hint...Hint...for one of my kids to interject something useful here on this subject].

I fell down the rabbit-hole again today looking into two things: 1) My car might need replacing and 2) I need to offer more formal meal offerings to keep Em from getting skinny. *I*'d noticed him getting skinny, but when No. 2 mentioned it I realized that I should make a better effort to keep some protein on the man. He doesn't like to eat an early breakfast, so I'm concentrating on brunch, an afternoon snack and dinner around 7pm. Of course I want them all to be "complete" meals, as in the right amount of carbohydrates, proteins, sugars, blah blah. That takes some effort if you don't want to repeat the same offerings...so that's where I've been today.

Back to the week of my Chicago trip, though, I really enjoyed my time with th3yungin and Silly-O. Thanks very much for the memories of that, you two. I also enjoyed my time with Bob and Judy. Get three liberals together and you've got discussions that could last late into the night if we weren't so damned old. Thanks very much for the memories of that, you two. Thanks to Anna, as well.

It could take a while for me to thank No. 2 for everything SHE did on my Chicago trip, so I don't think I'll even entertain that thought here; couldn't even do it without tears sliding down my face. Love you, Sweetie!

Hope that cold's past you, Diane. There are few things worse in life than being so annoying that you can't stand yourself. [I HATE when that happens! I want SO desperately to blame someone ELSE, but...the buck stops HERE!] Damnit! Heh.

I didn't know how I felt about that witcher who came out and witched your well, but then I read about how he did it for free, so whatever he wants to do for free would be alright with me (and I'm sure YOU). The one thing I don't understand is: If he saw water at XX feet HERE, why would you want to make the well THERE when the indication was that water would be at XXX feet? Does location override expediency in these things?

Want to mention, as well, that I DID buy the keychain camera. Took five photos, but I can't see them because my monitor is FUBAR. Sent ONE to Diane and her opinion of the one photo sent resembled what my monitor displays. Heh. The reviews led me to believe that I needed a whole lot of light, not to mention being extremely close to the subject in the photo. That'
s not the case, apparently. Being too close with too much sun just makes the image look like I was too close with too much sun. If the shots weren't so stupid, I'd post one here. Cute little thing, though; might offer it to No. 1 eventually just because she can see better and I can't really see when I'm taking pictures. My glasses clang on the back of the camera, causing me to probably jump a little.

Th3Yungin said...

If you are looking for a digital camera on the cheap, I read about a hack of the CVS disposable phone. I haven't mustered up the gumption to try it, but time is an issue, too.

It seems like the unread books, and unfinished projects are not going to stop stacking; I should probably manage my time better as well...

I had a nice little lighter-phone that worked great...until it got wet. Once i took it apart and reassembled it, it worked fine again...until I lost it. :(

Diane said...

Thanks for the hostel info. I knew in general what they were but didn't know the details. Good to learn even if you'll never catch me dead in one. I couldn't stand sharing a room with someone not in my immediate family. *shudder* And cooking in a group kitchen open to strangers? *double shudder* Group activities? Holy crap! That's the stuff of nightmares!

That sucks about the car and the skinny hubby. The car will at least be easy to get replaced. Not cheap but easy. Easier than fattening up a skinny hubby. We certainly don't have that problem in this house. In fact, if ya need some spare fat on the cheap, let me know. I'll get out my electric bread knife and the suction tube on my FoodSaver and do some home lipo to donate to you two.

The one thing I don't understand is: If he saw water at XX feet HERE, why would you want to make the well THERE when the indication was that water would be at XXX feet? Does location override expediency in these things?

The place where it's 75 feet is in the driveway. Not such good placement for a well. The other spot is in a PERFECT location and only another 25 or so feet further down, according to his figuring. It's also a shorter distance from the perfect spot to the house and (future) shop which means less trenching and piping, less $$ and time) to get going. I figure it will all work out about the same $$ in the end but we'll have a much better location with the good spot. By the way, the water is not just in spots, it's a continuous stream/river underground so we could pick anywhere along that line. We just picked the spot that worked the best for us.

Unread books and unfinished projects? It never ends, does it? I've had to start making lists to keep everything straight. Or maybe it appeals to the 4th grader in me to be able to check things off of a list when I'm done. Not that I've actually finished anything lately.

Craisins!! Man, have you guys tried these?? They are the BEST EVER!!! I bought a bag a few months ago--expensive but oh so good! Broke down and bought another bag tonight--still expensive and still oh so good! I'm not sure I can afford this 2 bag per year craisin habit I have but, dang, I wish I could afford more! *snarf*

Oldnovice said...

By the way, the water is not just in spots, it's a continuous stream/river underground so we could pick anywhere along that line. We just picked the spot that worked the best for us.

I still don't understand. If it's a continuous stream/river underground, why might it be as much as 25 feet higher or lower at a given point? I can understand a stream/river underground and finding water at 75 feet at one point, but is the suggestion that the river then drops off 25 feet to 100 feet, or that the underground terrain is so varied that there's a gradual decline?

Color me confused on this. Drill it down to 600 feet. Judith Anne says that's a cheap solution. Heh.

I'm not a fan of cranberries OR raisins, unless they're involved in a recipe I'm using, so I can't comment on your indulgence. Did try to buy some dried mango this past week, but the Walgreens we went to didn't have them and the stores we checked after Walgreens (where they were presumably on sale) had a regular price cheaper than the Walgreens sale price. I hate when that happens. I'd bought some dried mango at Fiesta last year and could never cut it successfully to add to dishes. Thought the Sunkist stuff might last longer without drying out to the point where a knife bounces off the stuff. Heh.

I think you're mixing up phones with cameras, thyungin, but that's easy to do these days. My appointment with the hygienist this past week was only $87.00, and I'd budgeted $100 because the cost is really $96 without the cash discount, so I've added $13.00 to the "fly my kids down for Thanksgiving" account. We've got $58.00 now.

No. 1 and I took a bunch of bags of stuff yesterday to the mission. It was all stuff that I got either for free or for not much money. Em came in here one day this past week [I keep the charity bags in my office] and said, "Why not keep that for OUR use?" I said, "Because poor folks need that, too, and we can afford it." We CAN afford it (if it's free or close to free). MOST folks can afford it if it's free or close to free. I guess he agreed, because he nodded and left the room.

Football season is upon us now. Em's grandson is playing and Em takes him to practice on Friday evenings and attends games on Saturday afternoons. The two of them will even attend a Notre Dame game in Chicago with Em returning the day before we leave for Albuquerque.

He'll need to request a few days off from his part-time job at the race track for that week, as racing starts at the same time. Somebody smarter than me once said something about "all or nothing" when it comes to life. Ain't THAT the truth.

I still haven't ordered the spices I need to make the seasonal cookies that I'm hoping to send my family members. I thought I'd be "knocking out" that task this month, but the month is already a third of the way through and I still don't know what spices I need to order, so I haven't ordered ANY. I'm gonna order from Penzeys, but their shipping expense requires me to check every spice in my cabinet to determine if it needs replacement. It behooves me to send ONE order for anything I might need in the next year.

So, y'all might not get your cookies this month or next month. Just sayin'.

Diane said...

Love cranberries. Hate raisins. Love craisins. Think I'll go get some to munch while I figure how to 'splain the water thing.

Holy cow. The kids have attacked the craisins. At least they left me some. We've had a bag of raisins in the fridge for months now and no one eats them. Only my friggin' craisins. And, yes, I'm now claiming sole ownership of said craisins. Ha! Take that!

The depth can vary because of:

1) The underground stream isn't a level thing. It goes up, it goes down, following the path of least resistance. You know when you drive through mountains/hills that have been cut for the road? And you see that the layers aren't always level, but are sometimes at an angle? Same type of thing can happen underground with the layers of rock and dirt types. Some types are easier for the water to travel through, some are more difficult. Water, being a lazy creature like me, will choose the easiest path, no matter how crazy, no matter how deep or shallow. (Yes, you already know most of this but I went into teacher mode and kept typing. I'll leave it so I can show my kids. We're learning about water and wells starting Monday since that's what's happening in real life.)

2) The surface is not level. Our property runs (north-south) from a valley up to the top of a ridge and over. You have points A and B underground. You dig down to a line running between the two, grab your handy dandy bubble level, and see that it is perfectly level. Go to point A, which is down in the valley, and dig down to the line. It takes about 20 feet. Go to point B, which is at the top of the hill, and dig down to the line. You now have to dig 800 feet to reach the line.

So, between the underground sream going up and down and the top lay of the land going up and down, all kinds of depths can be needed to reach the same stream. Kids, there will be a quiz tomorrow. And, if you should happen to eat all of my craisins, I will make your lives miserable. I know where you sleep. I'm watching you right now. I'm thinking evil thoughts. Be afraid.

Diane said...

Oh, and Judith Ann is a moron. :-D

Oldnovice said...

Okay. Can't say I understood all that, but if the land has peaks and valleys, I suppose it makes sense that under the land has peaks and valleys, as well.

Cousin Jim (of ballooning fame) sent me something to translate last night. I got really involved in the translation when I should have been making dinner, so Em sent No. 1 to the store to buy a frozen pizza that we like, but No. 1 ate half of it before Em and I got any. Heh. I think we need to realize that one frozen pizza only feeds two of us. I had a whole dinner planned and everything, but fell down the rabbit hole on the translation thingee. Jim didn't appreciate the effort, but my uncle did, so it wasn't time wasted, although time wasted is sometimes good, IMO.

Jim's a big Walmart fan, so after I send the Walmart movie to you, I might send it to him, or YOU could send it to him and we could keep the thing circulating throughout the country for a while. Good thought. I send it to YOU, you send it to Jim, Jim sends it to our unidentified uncle. That's a start.

No. 2 said...

Well, dang. I finally got caught up on the comments and now I don't even know what to say. I think I'll wait for the next thread. I'm already way behind on this one.

Oldnovice said...

now I don't even know what to say.

First off, you could 'splain to me why the message you sent to me yesterday from your phone had a different address than the photos you sent from your phone. Yesterday's message went to my junk folder. The difference in the addresses is "mms." before the "mycingular." (from the photos) and NO "mms." (from yesterday). Does the sender address change due to attachments?

How's the apartment search coming? I heard a complaint of how you were only taking one class this semester. How do you expect to finish school in my lifetime if you only take one class/semester? Of course I ALSO heard complaints about how thyungin hasn't gotten to some things considered important by others while he's taking three classes this quarter. Funny how that works, isn't it?

We decided not to go to a movie today. For MY part, I don't want to move. For Em's part, nothing was really playing that he wanted to see.

Diane said...

I thought of you last night, No. 2. We were stuck in town so went out to a cheap Chinese place--one of our faves. Last time we were there, the waitress kept reaching over my dishes and glass. I finally went off on her but in a very polite, restrained way. Last night, she did it again so I started moving my plate back when she got near and she very snottily said to me, "I KNOW, ma'am!" and then proceeded to reach over all of my dishes and glass. Gah!

I thought, "Ya know, if No. 2 were here, she might talk some sense into the snot. Or not."

I'm never going back. Ever.

No. 2 said...

I really need to check this thing more often. Had a very crazy weekend!

Mom: Not sure about the addresses. It should have came thru the same one, but maybe the pictures go thru a different way than just the text messages.

Also, we did find an apartment. Move in is Oct 1st. Kind of small 2 bdrm, 1 bth. and no laundry facitily. But very well maintained and very cute. Now I just need furniture and other misc. accessories.

Diane: Some people just don't get it. I have to train 2 new waittresses this week on my days off. Apparently the newer ones were doing pretty bad, so my boss declared that only myself and one other girl are allowed to train new waittresses. I will be sure to include that as one of my lessons!