Saturday, October 30, 2010

Weekend 3-way: photo project

Well, let's see what my luscious little lambie co-bloggers have come up with for this weekend's featured photos line-up!

Beth starts us off with one of my favorite shrubs, which grow rampantly around here yet boast a tropical asking price in many parts of the country:

I like to call them "da boids." I'm super classy like that:

Birds of Paradise

And our Ellie is ensconced in the bounty of nature that her corner of the country boasts, which Beth and I would surely find tropical if you think of tropical as meaning rare and elusive. I don't know why you would do that, though. Because that is not what tropical means.

Yet still:


I say it like it rhymes with "college". Again with the classy

Finally, my own submission. I didn't want the world to think that we were turning into some tree hugging nature blog, but I did capture an elusive beast in his natural habitat. If you define habitat as the place where a kid can be a kid*.

Flying Monkey
*I need a new dictionary

Friday, October 29, 2010

Day of the living dead

Well, here we are--  the Friday of Halloween weekend. We know there are all sorts of ghoulish, scary shenanigans going on over at Jacquie's house. And my crew will all be transforming into pirates come Sunday (with the exception of little miss C, who will be my trusty parrot).

But in truth my look today is much more apropos for the 31st than is my flouncy pirate garb.

I'm not feeling 100% today, or even 50% for that matter. I'm tired, and have a cold, and so truly need a few consecutive good nights' sleep. But this reasonable requirement is  proving impossible.

Wednesday night, a crucial night in the I-can-kill-this-virus plan I had for myself, I found myself on the top bunk of the girls' bunk beds, cleaning up the regurgitated remains of my middle daughter's stomach. It was dark and I was drowsy, and did not know just how copious the chunder was. Turns out I was sitting in it while cleaning (blech), and that not only her quilt, but her sheet, two other blankets, and her pillow were somehow all puke splattered. Not to mention the wall.

It was a three washer-load clean up. With plenty of chunk scraping to do before the items could even be placed in the washing machine. It was not the night of rest I required.

But I was hopeful last night. My husband even slept out in another room so that I could have the bed to myself. The baby awoke at 12:15 am, but only briefly, and I drifted back to sleep effortlessly.  But at 1:30? Well at 1:30 she was awake again. And when I say "awake," I mean wide. You would have thought it was 7 am.  She was laughing, and standing, and babbling, and generally being a pain in the arse. I rocked her, I gave her milk, I took her into my big empty bed. She was not impressed with any of it.

After an hour of this nonsense, I put the little stinker back to bed. Not without protest, but she did go back to sleep.

As did I.

But somehow I still woke up looking like this:

I hope all of you are feeling more rested and healthy than I as you head into the frivolity of this hair-raising, horrifying, Halloween weekend...

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Cutting The Cord

This past summer the unthinkable happened.

I was trimming Mumsie's forsythia with my electric hedge clippers and bzzzzttttt.

I cut the cord.

Now, this was not the first time I've cut the cord, no siree. In fact, my sister Julie and I used to email eachother after doing yardwork in our respective cities when we successfully did not cut the cord.

This, however, was the first time I cut the cord without Dad around to fix it.

But, as Julie so eloquently eulogized, Dad taught us how to fix things, and taught us how to figure things out. Maybe those hours and hours I spent with Dad in his workshop when I was a kid -- watching and helping -- counted for something. And I have been through this once before when Dad wasn't around -- Mistah and I were in Oregon, in 2003 by the looks of it:

Our Westy's electric system got overheated and our plug-head (that's the technical term) melted and I called Dad and he talked me through replacing the plug-head with a new one.

Thankfully, I took notes:

So, a few days ago I set about replacing the plug-head on Mumsie's cord with enthusiasm and confidence. And a camera.

To start, we need these two things. A new plug-head, and a pair of plier-things that cuts the rubber around the wire, but not the wire itself. Ingenious.

First we cut the cord all the way through. No, I am not left-handed, but I can't take a photo left-handed, not on our camera. Actually, I never thought of that. How do lefties take photos one-handed? They actually physically couldn't on our camera. Unless they held the camera upside-down.

Anyway, I can't take a photo left-handed, but I can fake cutting a cord left-handed.

Voila! Cord cut and orange rubber outside coating peeled off to expose 3 lovely little components. Green, black and white, just like Dad told me 7 years ago.

Another fake lefty shot
Next we have to get the green, black and white rubber off the meat of the cord -- the pith of the whole operation, as it were -- the wire.

And look! My plier-thing even has a gauge, so if we mistakenly cut through the wire itself, like I did the first time, we can adjust it so it can cut only the outside rubber part, and not the crucial inside wire. Ingenious.

You with me so far?

Now we need a screwdriver. Since this is a Dad-centric project I decided to use one of the screwdrivers I recently got from his shop. Sigh. I love having some of Dad's tools, but I really would have preferred he kept them himself.

Ooh, The Claw. I like the sound of that.

Now we rest The Claw upon our knee while we pretend to unscrew the plug-head top. Where is my photographer??

That's the inside. Isn't it pretty?

Okay, now we have to get the 3 wires, wrapped in the big orange coating, through the bottom part of the new plug-head.

Oh dear. Perhaps we should have pushed that bad-boy through first, while it was still all in one piece.

No worries. Successful push-through.

And now we twist each little bundle of wires, and bend them, so all three of them together look like a claw. Well, to me they do.

Now we screw the claw-shaped wires under the appropriate-colored screws (while triple-checking notes from 2003) . . .

. . . and viola!
Man, I just love the way that looks.

We connect the top of the new plug-head to the bottom of the new plug-head, screw it together, and . . .

. . . oh look! Mistah's home!

Perfect timing. Because it would be entirely too geeky to take a self-timer of myself holding my fixed cord. And clearly I am not a geek.

And now? The moment of truth.

But Mistah thinks that since the Sangean has back-up batteries, it would work even if the plug didn't.

Fine. We'll try something with no batteries.

Mistah assembled a shower chair for his Mumsie at her house the other day. Mumsie was on the phone with her sister in England and Bill said, "Tell Sylv how handy I am, putting your shower chair together."

Mumsie said to Sylv, "Billy wants me to tell you how handy he is for putting together my shower chair..... Oh yes, I know, he's a good helper...... But if you want anything really complicated done, you've got to ask Ellie."

Thanks, Dad.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

cooking with cdog

When life gives you rotting bananas, there's really only one thing to do...
Pull out the tried and true and tasty recipe that first came from Beth

Then find yourself a weirdo helper chef and suit her up 

She remembers that her grandfather always sported a towel on his shoulder when cooking

First, measure the butter carefully, and make a precise cut

eh, close enough. Something was distracting her....

Hmmmm. Look what's being erected in the next room....     

Nevermind that. It's time to measure the sugar! With a gravy ladle.
Again with the precision!

Busted in the act of "cleaning up" the sugar.

Ooooh, this is getting really tall.
And look, there are prisoners! And intruders!

But never mind that, it's time for the best part!

Details, details.

Now the second best part!
Hmmm, this reminds me of another recipe....

Meanwhile, this thing is almost to the ceiling!

And this bad boy is almost to the oven!

Missions accomplished. Now for a grand finale:

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Masterbath masterpiece

The master bath in our home needed some attention. It's a nice space, with lots of windows, a stand alone shower, a full size jacuzzi tub, and all the other bathroom staples (you know, a toilet and a sink, and a built in TV. [I kid you not, but that's a post for another day.]). But it was all white (okay, T, a very light off white that appeared white) when I moved in, and just seemed echoy and barren.

While I was in the hospital last summer I picked out a coral color that I thought would tie together the bedroom and the bath. It was a complete swing and a miss. Terrible, in fact. I comfort myself in the fact that I was picking the color from a color wheel from my hospital bed, not there matching the color to the room itself, but the truth is, it was a major faux pas, and I could not wait to get rid of it.

After a few months of looking at the pukey coral/salmon walls, my husband, the accomplished painter that he is,  agreed to repaint. He even agreed to do so with another color that I picked.

The result? Fabulous. It's perfect. If I do say so myself.

A much better space for my trusty mermaid, Celeste, to reside. She's happy. And I was too, but there was more to do. I had to attend to the open shelves above the bath. They had a sad assortment of bric a brac cluttering them up and more or less bringing down the space in general.

I have a shell theme going on in there. Cliche for one living at the beach, perhaps, but I love them. They're beautiful, are they not? I mean, we've got very little tree porn going on here in southern California, but we do have beach porn shells.

So, in keeping with my theme, and spending a mere $24, here it is, my masterbath masterpiece:

Let's take a closer look, shall we?

The two lower shelves
Okay, closer

The bottom shelf

The middle shelf

And the upper shelf, which I found very difficult to photograph...

Do you see them in there? Let's take a closer look...

Yes, people, that there is shell in my baby's hand.

And that other photograph that you cannot make out above? Let's take a closer look at that one...

 Yes three shells. (And, no, I will not be leaving the little one home alone.)

So there you have it. Can you see me giving myself a great big pat on the back? Well I am.

Let's just take one more look...

Be glad you don't live with me, or you'd be forced acknowledge
the genius of these shelves every single time you entered the room.