One New Thing Every Day

From the day I turned 29, I tried to do one new thing a day... it took a few extra months, but I did it! Now I'll post new things randomly as I try them.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

#365 - Local Library

This afternoon, I took TLG to the local library branch near our house. As an avid reader, I spent tons of hours reading books from libraries in Sacramento, so I was really looking forward to today's new thing. It turns out that the daycare has taught TLG many of the rules of the library, including being quiet, and borrowing books and having to return them. The branch near our house has a great kids' section with tons of books and videos to choose from, though TLG's method of choosing books is totally haphazard (whatever he touches first, basically). Though I don't know the exact titles, TLG's first five library books ever are: 1) The Bernstain Bears' Road Race, 2) Garfield at the Circus, 3) Bob the Builder Learns Shapes, 4) Some Things Go Together, and 5) Amelia Bedelia. I can hardly wait to share these with him over the next three weeks, and I'm already looking forward to our return visit.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

#364 - Sneaky Snacker

Sometime last night/this morning while my hubby and I were sleeping, we believe TLG snuck downstairs and helped himself to four (4!) cheesy biscuits, leftover from dinner last night. This was his first time sneaking food during the night, and at first we thought it might have been one of our doggies. But, rationally, we figured the dogs would have eaten them all instead of leaving a few behind - and certainly they would have not been so neat with the crumbs. TLG woke me around 3:00AM and asked for a drink of water, and at the time I didn't know why... This morning, neither of us adults really knew what to say about this to TLG, once he woke up for good and admitted that he had eaten a snack. TLG did say that his tummy felt a little funny, and I thought that was probably enough deterrent to not eat so much next time. I don't really care if he finds himself a snack when he's hungry, I just wish he would show this independence with other tasks (like going to the bathroom by himself in the middle of the night).

Friday, December 26, 2008

#363 - Wii All Had a Good Time

My wonderful family gave us a handful of new Wii games for Christmas, so last night and this evening we taught some of my family members to play with the Wii remotes, and we tried a bunch of new games: Wii Music, Dancing with the Stars, Star Wars Force Unleashed, and a Namco Arcade game (which includes Pac Man and Dig Dug, two games I grew up with). A few thoughts on the games: 1) The Little Guy loved the Wii Music game. If you know any three-year-olds, I'd recommend this one to try, since a good portion of it doesn't require any ability to point the controller at the screen - just wave it around to "play" an instrument or conduct an orchestra. And, I hate to brag, but TLG was really getting good at matching pitches and answering questions about music in the Pitch Perfect game. 2) My husband is a better "Dancer" than I am... he insists that this means he is a better video gamer than me, but I think that's a silly excuse to get out of dancing with me in person more often. 3) I only observed the Star Wars game, which apparently lets the player become Darth Vader, swinging a light saber and searching out a Jedi knight. But my hubby thought it was great, and I do believe that I'll be hearing Darth's funny breathing more and more around our house. 4) As for the Pac Man game, I hate to say it, but some things are better left alone. We need to go buy some "traditional" controllers to make this one more palatable for me. I used to be really good at Dig Dug but the controllers really held me back. 5) I think my favorite part of this session was during the Wii Music game last night, when we all got the giggles because we were "conducting" so poorly. What a crack-up.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

#362 - Santa Replies

Today's mail brought a letter for The Little Guy with a return address from the North Pole. Inside was a typed poem by an elf named "Maria", who signed the letter, which promised that Santa was busy making toys. It also said that if TLG was good for his parents Santa would try to bring him some special treats at Christmas. I've never heard of getting a reply to a letter to Santa - I certainly don't remember getting a letter back when I wrote to Santa myself - so this was just the coolest thing to see in the mail! It just made me love Christmastime even more.

Friday, December 19, 2008

#361 - Becoming an Aunt!

This morning at 1:01AM, I witnessed the birth of my niece. What an amazing thing to be a part of: the miracle of birth. My sister is my new hero... she made it through 25 hours of labor with no epidural (!) to introduce the world to her daughter. My brother-in-law, my mom, and I were all helping, especially for the four or five hours leading up to the birth. Our precious new family member weighs 7 lbs., 10 oz. and is so beautiful we could hardly stand it. I was the first photographer on the scene (and will need to get permission from my sister before I post anything here). There were tons of family members in the waiting room, but being able to be a part of this was an honor I wouldn't trade for anything.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

#360 - An Exciting Drive

I've lived in Reno for over twelve years, and I have driven over Donner Summit to northern California by myself many times... but never has it been as exciting drive as it was this morning. Shortly after midnight, I received the phone call from my sister that her water had broken and she was on her way to the hospital. (YAY!) So I quickly packed my suitcase, left my house at 1:30AM and drove over the mountains by myself in the middle of the night. I was pretty wired about the prospect of becoming an aunt today, so I wasn't sleepy, and I had my ipod on shuffle and sang most of the way (as I often do). The traffic was light, and there was no ice on the road (thank goodness). I wouldn't recommend stopping at the Donner rest area at 2:30AM by yourself... a little spooky for a woman travelling by herself, but I was pleased to see the CHP officers driving by as I was walking back to my car.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

#359 - A Little Cake with My Alcohol

Someone at work gave me a loaf of homemade Jamaican fruitcake, so that made an easy new thing to try today... when she handed it to me, she explained that her friend who makes it soaks the fruit "all year" in rum and port wine, so it really would be "a little cake with your booze" (her words, not mine). So I brought it home at lunchtime and cut myself a tiny slice to taste. I should mention that before I even unwrapped the package I could smell the alcohol - and I was surprised that the cake looked like a loaf of chocolate brownies needing to be sliced. Upon tasting it, I was blown away by the strong alcohol taste - she wasn't kidding! - I couldn't even tell you what type of cake was surrounding the fruit. I admit I only took three bites before I became overwhelmed, and since we don't keep alcohol in our house, I re-wrapped it to take outside. Wow.

Monday, December 15, 2008

#358 - Letter to Santa

For the past three Christmases, TLG has been too little to really ask questions about Santa Claus, and he certainly hasn't been able to ask for anything specific for Christmas. But today, TLG dictated a letter to Santa, which I wrote down and helped him mail. We used a regular envelope and put a stamp on it in the hopes that the USPS knows how to send it all the way to the North Pole. The two things TLG really wants for Christmas are a flashlight and a big letter "J". I do hope he will stop throwing nightly tantrums and saying "I don't want to!" all the time... I've explained many times that Santa only brings gifts to good boys and girls, but I have a feeling Santa was watching how good TLG has been all year. I suspect he will probably receive the gifts he's asked for, and then some. I love Christmas!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

#357 - No (Beauty) Sleep for the Weary

During the past year, I have tried a few new products to attempt to look less like a sleep-deprived mommy and more like a put-together young lady. Today, I tried Clean & Clear's Morning Burst Shine Control Facial Cleanser. This clear liquid soap has blue and yellow specks ("bursting beads") in it which are supposed to "burst with energy and vitamins" while the smell wakes me up. I didn't get this product to lather very well while I was using it, but after rinsing it off I did notice a tingling sensation on my face that lasted for a few minutes. I did like the fragrance, which had a hint of lemongrass in it. While I didn't notice any diminished shine during the day, at least it wasn't worse than normal (I do have very oily skin). I'll probably try it for the next week or so and see if I notice any other changes before making a final decision on this soap, but so far I like it.

Friday, December 12, 2008

#356 - Third Birthday

The little guy turned 3 today, and we took the day off from work to have a leisurely day with family. Early this morning, we drove to Sacramento to have lunch with my mom and sister. After a nice nap and a little afternoon shopping, my sister had an amazing "Handy Manny" party ready for TLG, complete with streamers, balloons, plates, napkins, and toys emblazoned with the cartoon handyman. My terrific family all gathered for a dinner from The Old Spaghetti Factory and chocolate cake, decorated by my dad ("Poppy"), just like he used to do for me when I was younger. And, oh, the toys! Did I mention the toys?!? The highlight must be his very first two-wheel bike (though for now it has training wheels) with a Lightning McQueen bike helmet. He took to it right away, and even rode down the driveway before getting a little afraid of not being able to stop. (I'm sure he'll get the hang of those pedal brakes before long.) Thank you, family, for a wonderful party and some great memories.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

#355 - A Jury of TLG's Peers

This afternoon, my wonderful hubby and I played Christmas carols at the daycare center's annual family Christmas get-together. I will admit, I don't usually get nervous before I play trombone, but today I felt some little butterflies before we began playing. One of the office managers there plays baritone, and she joined us to make a trio for the first three songs (which was nice). And later in the party, we played a handful of duets. The funniest thing was the little guy's reaction - he stood between us while we were playing, hardly moving at all, even though he could have been doing art projects, playing with friends, or eating a snack. I love that he is respectful of live music already, thanks to Grandma and Grandpa for bringing him to our regular band rehearsals and gigs and teaching him about this. Of course, we played fine, and there was certainly no reason to be nervous... all the other kids and their families seemed to enjoy the music as they partied hearty. We were overshadowed by the cute kindergartners singing carols during our break, but who wouldn't be?!?

Monday, December 8, 2008

#354 - Almost Like Peanut Butter Soup

My family has a joke about the time, long ago, that my mom tried a new recipe and made peanut butter soup for dinner. It was so bad we all remember it as a special event. Well, tonight we tried a new recipe at our house from a Cooking Light cookbook: black bean chili over white rice. It was so spicy we threw it all out and ordered a pizza. I wish I could describe just the spicy smell in our kitchen - almost enough to bowl you over without ever tasting the food! The recipe had black beans, diced tomatoes, sauteed onions and garlic, a bunch of spices including chili powder and cumin, and 1/4 cup of chipotle sauce. Yes, there was water and a tiny bit of sugar, and we were instructed to put fresh cilantro and light sour cream on top, which we did --- but it still melted the make-up right off of my face. The Little Guy liked helping to make this dinner, since it involved pouring out cans, measuring ingredients, all sorts of jobs he enjoys. In fact, he was eating black beans straight from the can and seemed to enjoy them. But once dinner was ready, TLG and my wonderful hubby took about two bites each and declared they didn't like it. (I took a few more bites, until I thought my stomach was on fire.) I hope we'll try this recipe again someday, since I liked the idea of it, but it will need to be doctored a lot to fit our family's likes!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

#353 - Memory

One of the great birthday gifts TLG received from a friend yesterday was the game Memory. I haven't played it in eons, so I was very excited to try it. It turns out my hubby had never played it before, so today our little family played our first real "board" game with TLG. (OK, technically Memory doesn't have a board, since you just spread out the cards and find the matching pairs, but since it comes in a box and is sold in the game section, I'm calling it a board game.) The little guy didn't completely understand the rules about taking turns, but he was trying. He just got so excited when he knew there was a match to be found, well, it was hard to enforce the rules! I can't wait to share more games with him, I just hope he likes them as much as his parents do.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

#352 - Birthday Party!

Today we held TLG's first-ever birthday party with his friends. We went to a local bounce-house place, Jump N Play, and had about 20 kids total for a two-hour party. In the photo, you can see the backs of all our heads as we watch TLG try to scale a giant bouncy ladder to go down a big slide (which he could do with no help from anybody). It was actually a joint party with his best friend, who also had a birthday just a couple weeks ago. He had an amazing party, jumping and sliding and climbing and racing around. After about 90 minutes in the bounce areas, it was time for pizza, ice cream cake, and singing happy birthday! Having the party jointly was great, since our two kids have mostly the same friends, and each family only had to pay for half a party... and at this time of year, it was nice for the other friends' families to only have one party to put on the calendar. We loved this birthday and we all left feeling like it was a total success, and lots of fun.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

#351 - Air Museum

This morning, we visited the Aerospace Museum of California, located next to McClellan Air Force Base. TLG loved seeing the planes up close, especially the ones that you could climb inside (like the one shown in the photo). They had tons of 'em - most were outside, though, so we were lucky to have good weather to enjoy them all. We got a private tour from a volunteer who showed us all around - fortunately it wasn't a busy day at the museum, so our volunteer even opened a specially reconstructed Coast Guard plane to show it to us. TLG got a little tired of all the descriptions of stuff once he had seen the inside of all the planes, so my wonderful hubby and TLG took off, exploring the other displays indoors and re-visiting all the open planes. It was amazing to see the planes up close and personal, since I've only ever seen commercial planes. This museum is not very old, I believe it opened in 2007, and they could use some more visitors, so if you've never been, give it a try.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

#350 - Uh-Oh

On our way to California for Thanksgiving tonight, our family was in our first car accident together. My hubby and I have both been in them before, but never together, and TLG certainly has never been in one. Before I describe any more, let me tell you that we are all OK (my back is a little sore, will probably get checked out soon). Even our Jeep is pretty OK, we'll probably need a new bumper and hitch, but compared to the other guy's car, we are doing much better. Now for my ranting and raving: the guy who hit us, a non-English speaker, had no ID of any sort and was waving around some insurance paperwork but never wrote anything down for us... no name, no insurance info, no license plate, or anything. The CHP officer told us it was a "good thing" we have uninsured motorist insurance. So what, this jerk hit us and we have to pay for it because he's an idiot? Great. That's EXACTLY what I want to do with my disposable income in the next month. Birthday and Christmas to pay for? Too bad, now you have to pay for getting your car fixed and your back looked at. *sigh* I was a tiny bit glad his car was totaled and he was probably getting arrested that night. I hope you all don't think I'm a bad person.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

#349 - Preschool

Today, the little guy had his first day in the preschool room at daycare. I dropped him off as usual in the toddler room, where apparently after an hour they had some sort of exciting procession to take TLG and his best friend down to preschool to spend the rest of the day. We talked about preschool all weekend, and how much fun it would be, and so I was pleased to hear that he had a mostly good day. He slept in the new preschool nap area OK, and played with the new toys and in the new playground. In the past, when things at daycare change, he hasn't had the best time with transitions, but I hope this one will be OK.

Monday, November 10, 2008

#348 - Donate What You Can

I've always been a believer in the motto "donate what you can." I am a regular blood donor, and we are always giving stuff to the local MS society when they come by the house. And of course, my work with the website keeps me busy too. Well, today I completed the sign-up process to put my name on the National Marrow Donor Program list as a potential donor. I actually tried to sign up once, years ago, when there was a local drive to sign up people at one of the local casinos. They turned me away for my recent back problems. But the website sign-up asked if I'd had any problems in the past two years, and I am proud to say that it's been many years since my last real back problem (maybe I've finally learned to lift with my knees?).

Anyway, for the month of November, the NMDP has received an unrestricted grant to cover the cost of all the donors who sign-up online like I did (this usually costs a little over $50 to the donor!) It was really easy - I just answered some personal contact questions, some health/medical questions, and hit "enter." Then today I received four cotton swabs in the mail to use on the inside of my cheek and mail back for them to "type" me. I may never get a call that I could be a match, but I feel good knowing that I've at least volunteered if there is someone in need. There's still time this month to register for free, so if anybody reading this is in good health, I'd urge you to put your name forward. Just go to

Sunday, November 9, 2008

#347 - Wii Mii

Today, our family bought a Nintendo Wii. We have it all set up downstairs but haven't had much chance to play with it yet... however, we did set up our "Mii" avatars, these are characters that look like us to show on the screen while we're playing. We giggled like crazy - TLG included - as my hubby set his up with crazy eyes, a beard, and dreadlocks. So now we have Mii's for all three of us. That took us so long, that when we were done we only had time to play the first game, which was a lot like the old Nintendo "Duck Hunt" with the point-and-shoot clay shoot. I can hardly wait to try some of the other silly games we got with our controllers... I think we're really going to like this! If you're in the neighborhood, come over and play with us, OK?

Saturday, November 8, 2008

#346 - Air Hockey

When my hubby and I were first dating, we played quite a bit of air hockey. I don't know how it happened, but many of the places we went, there were tables, so we always stopped to play. (Maybe this is a sign that we are just kids at heart?) Today, while we were at the movie theater waiting for the movie to begin, I took TLG into the game room and decided we could try to play air hockey, just the two of us. I showed him where the puck came out, and we slowly batted it up and back on the table a few times, until it went into the slot on his side of the table. He thought that was lots of fun, so he picked it up and immediately put it back through. Ummmm, yeah. He knocked it up the table once or twice more, but mostly he just put it through the slot on his table a bunch of times, and then the game was over. It cracked me up that I couldn't explain the game better, but come on - I was way at the other side of the table in a room filled with noise and kids and games and neon. My wonderful hubby came back just in time to see the game ending, so I have a witness for this silly new thing. Next time we'll double-team him and try to explain it a little better!

#345 - TLG's First Movie

Today, we took TLG to his very first movie theater! As much as he loves movies and TV at home, we were pretty sure he would love it... and we were right! We took him to see Madagascar 2 (he loves the first movie, and as you probably know, the first movie quote he ever learned was from the first Madagascar). He sat quietly throughout the movie, entranced by the new story and his old favorite characters. I brought an empty brown paper bag so we could put some popcorn in a separate bag for him, and he thought that was great. We also brought along a couple of pieces of Halloween candy to share at the movie, too (don't tell!) As for the actual movie, I thought it was not the greatest plot line, but seeing TLG enjoying it so much more than made up for that (in my book). Something tells me we'll be going to see plenty of movies in the future with TLG! A spare thought: Since when do child movie tickets cost upwards of $6?!? Insanity!

Here's one more photo of us with the Madagascar display in the lobby of the theater:

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

#344 - TLG's Election Day Adventure

I've pretty much voted in every election I've been eligible for, including ones by absentee ballot long ago, and the ones where I was required to mail in my ballot because my precinct was too small to have it's own polling place. But today I was proud to go to our new polling place and I did something I've never done before: I took the little guy to the polling place with me. Now, this doesn't seem like a big deal, maybe, to many parents who take their kids everywhere. But the people at our polling place made it special for him, including letting him have his very own "I Voted" sticker when we were done at the electronic voting machine. I doubt he'll ever remember this small new thing, but when he's grown up he can tell his own children that his mommy took him with her to vote for President Obama.

On a side note, I watched Obama's speech this evening with a great mixture of pride and relief - I do hope that he will keep his word on some of his campaign promises including health care, the war in Iraq, and fixing this economy that's so broken. Yay!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

#343 - Scheels Ferris Wheel

This afternoon, our little family visited the new Scheels sporting goods store and rode the indoor ferris wheel. The line for the ride moved very slowly so we were very excited when it was finally our turn. This ferris wheel goes up at least three stories in the air, and being inside you can definitely get some perspective on how far up you are - my hubby got a little queasy at the top, and I'll admit when TLG started moving a tiny bit in his seat, I asked him to stop because he was making me nervous! TLG and I played a rousing game of "I Spy" while we were stopped, trying to pass the time and not let on that I was feeling nervous. (We actually play I Spy all the time, at least twice a day and often in the car, so TLG is good at it.) You could see downtown Reno out the window from the top of the wheel! All too quickly, our ride was over. Then we explored the store a little, particularly the coffee shop (hubby), escalators and pet section (TLG and me). Honestly, TLG loved the escalators (we rode up and down about 4 times each) and we would have saved a little time and money if we had skipped the ferris wheel and just rode the escalators up and down! Ha! The store also has two huge aquariums full of beautiful fish, which we looked at for a minute or two. Scheels is quite a distance from our side of town, so unless we're desperate, I don't see us journeying back there any time soon, but it was a nice new place to visit today.

Friday, October 31, 2008

#342 - Trick-or-Treating for Real

Tonight, we took the little guy on his first neighborhood trick-or-treating adventure (which was also our first time going as parents). Since we practiced TLG's "lines" the other night (including "Trick-or-treat!" and "Thank you,") he took to them pretty quickly. We only went to houses that had lights on, but I was disappointed that even at some of those houses, nobody answered the door. We walked around our street, down an adjacent street to the corner, crossed it and looped up a court, and then headed back to our house. We are grateful to Grandma, who answered the door at our house for 45 minutes while we were out on the prowl. And we're also thankful for our great neighbors who ooohed and aaaahed appropriately over TLG's cute dragon costume and gave him a huge stash of treats!
After we finished our "rounds" of the neighborhood, we stayed up late (for TLG) and ate candy, answered the door for other kids coming by, and sat around being silly and giggling together. After a quick bath, we read some Halloween books that I've had since I was a child, and then it was time to turn off the lights. It's nights like these that make me feel so lucky to have such a great kid.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

#341 - "I Want to be Little!"

Our little guy is growing bigger every day, there's no denying it. Two nights ago, he said matter-of-factly, "Mommy, I don't use a pacifier for naps at daycare anymore." Which was a perfect opening for us to discuss how he shouldn't use them at home, either! But we decided to give him until tonight to get used to the idea. So tonight, for the first time, we insisted that TLG go to bed without his pacifier. It was just me home tonight at bedtime, so when he started looking for the pacifier after his first bedtime story, I reminded him that he's a big boy and that he doesn't need it... and that's when he started crying and said: "I want to be little!" (So cute, and yet so silly!) Fortunately, my wonderful hubby came home about 20 minutes after bedtime, and so for the past hour or so, we've been taking turns answering TLG's requests (he wanted music on, he needed to go potty, he needed a stuffed animal from downstairs... you get the idea). My hubby finally had to threaten to close his bedroom door if he didn't stay in bed, and we think he's finally asleep. Whew!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

#340 - Strip Mall Trick-or-Treating

Growing up, when we went trick-or-treating, I remember it always being at homes in our neighborhood or at the elementary school carnival. So tonight we put TLG in his dragon costume and attended the "Safe Trick-or-Treating" at the Raley's shopping center near our house. All the stores in the strip mall had people outside their doors handing out candy, and the place was pretty busy with families and kids in costumes everywhere! We fit right in, and we did practice saying "trick-or-treat" in the car on the way over there. TLG came home with plenty of candy to enjoy over the next few days until it's Halloween again and we can do the old-fashioned trick-or-treating at least at a few houses on our little street. He seemed a little overwhelmed at the stores, I don't know if that was from all the people, the costumes, the new-ness of trick-or-treating (since he has always been too little to go, this was his first real experience with that). He loved the candy though. We let him eat a mini Twix bar on the way home from the store, then after dinner he chose a Tootsie Roll Pop which took forever for him to finish (how many licks DOES it take to get to the center of the Tootsie Roll Pop?!?) All in all, this was a neat neighborhood activity.

Here's a photo of us standing in line near a neat decoration outside one of the stores:

#339 - Carving Pumpkins

I have only carved a couple of pumpkins as an adult, and it was quite a few years ago that we did one at our house. So tonight, TLG helped us carve a pumpkin. He has been learning about jack-o-lanterns at daycare for a week or two now, so he knew all about it. I was surprised that he didn't want to use his hands to get all the gooey mess out of the pumpkin (in my mind, that was a natural boy thing to do!) so we ended up using pasta forks to scrape everything out. (He called it a "rake.") My wonderful hubby did all the carving, to TLG's specifications, and we think the jack-o-lantern turned out great. The one mishap we had was we burned all the seeds we were trying to cook so we could eat them... guess we'll have to carve another pumpkin and try again.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

#338 - Pumpkin Patch!

Today, my dad joined our little family at the Pumpkin Patch in Sacramento, where we had lots of first for The Little Guy (including his first hayride, haunted house, corn maze, and pumpkin patch in general!) I didn't remember that this particular pumpkin patch had so many great things to do --- TLG also got to go on a pony ride, play on the hay bales, climb through a long tunnel, and of course pick some pumpkins to bring home. We easily spent two hours exploring all the great things to do, and could have stayed longer if TLG hadn't gotten tuckered out and in need of a nap. Thanks, Poppy, for spending the morning with us. TLG and both his parents had a great time and really enjoyed exploring all these new things!

Friday, October 24, 2008

#337 - Dark new eatery

OK, today's new restaurant is only new to me - practically everyone in town has been there before... I had lunch today at a place called Rapscallion's. The interior surprised me, since it was very dark for being the middle of the day. High-walled booths gave everyone lots of privacy (and also blocked out some of the sun). Upon arriving, I found I was walking very carefully because my eyes hadn't yet adjusted to the lack of light and I was afraid of falling down! Food-wise, everything was very tasty. I had a cup of clam chowder, a piece of bread, and a salad with angel hair pasta, sun-dried tomatoes, pine nuts, bacon, and basil. It was really very good, though I'll admit I was expecting the salad to come in a bed of lettuce or something (this meal was a little too carb-heavy for me). The prices seemed reasonable for a place that is so famous in town, though I could see how it would be pricey if you were ordering a full meal with drinks.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

#336 - Raining Gifts

Today I threw a really fun baby shower for my sister, who as I reported in an earlier post, is expecting her first baby in a couple of months. As part of the excitement, I tried two new games, including a "Price is Right" type of game, and a cartoon-character recognition game... both of which seemed really good with the group of ladies who attended. My sister's friends are really nice and it was so nice to see them all together after a long time apart. Everyone brought such wonderful gifts for my niece-to-be (who I can't wait to meet!) and it was an all-around great afternoon.

Friday, October 17, 2008

#335 - Bistro Seven

Today I went to a new restaurant: Bistro Seven, which is on the south side of town. I'm sure I've driven by there plenty of times over the years, but I don't think I've ever noticed that entire strip mall before! B7 (as the sign said) had a dark and hip interior with a curtain of gold beads and neat lighting fixtures. One of the ladies at lunch had been there plenty of times before, so she had some good recommendations on the food - and she knew all the waitresses/hostesses by name. I ordered a tomato, mozzarella and watermelon salad and I was not disappointed - it was very tasty! This salad would have been even tastier in July or August when tomatoes and watermelon were fully in season, but with the drizzles of dressing and seasonings, I really enjoyed this meal. I did notice some yummy-looking "sliders" (tiny hamburgers) going to a nearby table, and there were plenty of other good-sounding temptations on the menu. If I ever get to go to B7 again, I will try a different meal even though my salad was good.

Monday, October 13, 2008

#334 - Wordle

I stumbled on today, and so of course I had to make a "wordle" from this blog! What is a wordle? Well, to quote the website, it's a word cloud that gives prominence to the words that appear more frequently in the text. I tried to make this image larger, but it just won't work, so you'll just have to visit wordle, type in my blog address (or any address you like) and see what happens for yourself! You can change the colors, font, directions of the words - it's like an art project with words! I think it's pretty neat!

#333 - Hawaiian Food #2 (Local)

Back in June, I tried Hawaiian food at a place in Salt Lake City (New Thing #228). So today I stopped in to try another new Hawaiian place: I had lunch at L&L Hawaiian BBQ. I asked the cashier what the best thing on the menu was, and she directed me to the teriyaki chicken mini-meal, which included two pieces of chicken, a scoop of white rice, a scoop of macaroni salad, and some cabbage (garnish?). I have to say... I didn't enjoy my meal at all. It came in a styrofoam box and was lukewarm to begin with. The chicken was oily and fatty, and I actually gagged on one bite (ewww, I know, right?). The macaroni salad was warmer than it should have been, and the rice was... rice. It's hard to mess up rice. This restaurant replaced an Alaskan fish place on the south side of town, and I remember having delicious clam chowder at the old place, so I am doubly sorry that the Alaskan eatery is gone. I will not be going back to L&L.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

#332 - Home Improvement Project

My wonderful hubby and his dad have been working on a big home improvement project, and today it was time to paint the walls. The little guy has never been allowed to paint on anything except a piece of paper, so when I suggested that TLG be allowed to help paint the walls, WOW! You'd have thought I suggested we go to Disneyland! So we found some old, mis-matched clothes for TLG and sent him in to learn how to use a real paintbrush and a roller brush. He did seem to really enjoy working with his daddy and Grandpa, being a part of this special project. This big project is coming along amazingly well and I can hardly believe what a great room this will be when it's all done (and it won't be long now!). Thank you, everybody, for all your hard work on this room.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

#331 - Water Baby

The little guy (TLG) loves water, and anything having to do with water, as I've mentioned in the past. Tonight, my bosses asked us to bring home some volunteer work to try: we have a ton of zipped-up canvas bags that need to be unzipped, soaked in a bunch of water in the sink, then dried in the clothes dryer on high heat. I am proud to share that I helped TLG do his first-ever volunteer work by helping me with this project. He quickly figured out how to unzip the bags, but even more exciting was pushing the bags down in the sink-full of water. And best of all was taking the bags out, one by one, and letting them drip all over the place in the kitchen. Of course, he didn't realized this was "work" because he just loves to help.

Monday, September 29, 2008

#330 - Map O' Readers

Many, many posts ago I tried to install a blog visitor counter, which never quite worked properly. So today I installed a new widget: the Feedjit Live Traffic Map. This suggestion came from my friend and fellow blogger, who was part of our mini-reunion over the weekend, since she enjoys the map on her blog. I found it on the web easily, downloaded and had it installed in two shakes of a leg. Now I'm interested to see where all of you are located (since I hardly ever get any comments from anybody, maybe this will give me some perspective on who's keeping up with us!)

Saturday, September 27, 2008

#329 - Mini-Reunion

After an already-exciting morning, our family had a mini-reunion this afternoon with my two best friends from high school and their kids. We'd never met the kids before, and when they last met TLG he was only 3 months old! It was an entirely new experience seeing my child playing with strangers like they were old friends themselves. We had a pool party, and TLG was even holding hands with one of the girls as they paddled on their floaties around the pool. I highly enjoyed seeing my friends and only wish I got to see them more often - since we all moved away from "home" so many years ago, it's unusual for all of us to be in town. Ladies, let's not wait so long for another reunion, OK?!?

(Since I didn't get permission from my friends to post a reunion photo, you'll have to make due with this family shot they took of us.)

#328 - Braille

After breakfast (see below), we trooped off to Fairytale Town for a repeat visit with The Little Guy (TLG). They were having a free-admission event today with booths from many local groups, and so I got a personal demonstration of a Braille machine. My maternal grandfather started losing his eyesight around the time I was born, and while I don't remember him reading in Braille, I do remember feeling a little helpless when it came to helping him. The Braille alphabet is made up of only six dot positions, and the gentleman who gave me the demonstration typed a card up for TLG that had his name and a quote about Fairytale Town. He also explained raised "illustrations" for visually impaired people still have to be explained - yes, it's a picture of a horse, but since he's never seen a horse, someone needs to tell him that is what a horse looks like. It was eye-opening (no pun intended) to think about what that would be like.

#327 - Eggplant for Breakfast

This morning, we joined my dad, sister and brother-in-law for breakfast at a place in Sacramento: Crepes Escape, where I tried a crepe filled with eggplant, spinach, walnuts, mozzarella cheese, and topped with marinara sauce. I'm not a huge crepes lover to begin with, usually I stick with the dessert types, with strawberries or other fruits. This one was savory and had good flavors, but you must be in the right mood to try something this out-of-the-ordinary. If I ever have the chance to go back, I would try an omelette (my hubby's looked delicious) or a dessert crepe before being this adventerous again.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

#326 - The Big 3-0

Happy Birthday to Me!
My wonderful family gave me an amazing birthday to start off a brand new decade. The fun started this morning when my wonderful hubby let me open my first birthday gift, a beautiful sapphire-and-diamond necklace. Once I got to work, the deliveries began... first some flowers, then balloons, cookies, more balloons, more cookies, more flowers, and finally a great little candle to keep in my office long after the flowers and cookies are gone. (Here's a photo of me in my office with all the wonderful gifts.) After work, we took TLG to Grandma and Grandpa's so we could go have a delicious romantic dinner out. We had carrot cake and ice cream with TLG and Grandma and Grandpa, and opened a couple more wonderful gifts. I am so lucky to have such amazingly supportive family and friends... thank you, everyone, for a fantastic day.
This past year has been so full of fun and new things. I had intended to review the total sum of my year's experiences, but I didn't quite finish the project on-time. I have received a couple of comments/requests to keep up this blog, and I have decided to keep this up until I reach new thing #365 (which should have been yesterday, but who's counting?!?) I may not do a new thing every day, but since I haven't exactly done that so far, you won't be surprised, will you?

Monday, September 22, 2008

#325 - The Lone Eagle

Tonight I attended a work function at The Lone Eagle Grille at the Hyatt in Incline Village. There were about 80-ish people there, and we were served a four-course meal. My choices included a seafood trio first course, caesar salad second course, beef tenderloin with grilled green beans third course, and a mixed berries-and-cream dessert with a butter cookie shell for the end of the meal. I enjoyed my meal, though the beef was a little raw for my taste. The ambience was very nice, and the staff worked hard to make sure we were all served in a timely manner.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

#324 - Make-Up for Novices

I'll admit that we took it easy at our house this morning. So when it got to be time to get ready for our band gig this afternoon, the little guy was right in the mix of things, wanting to know what we were doing. So, I showed TLG all my different kinds of makeup and let him choose which colors I was using all along. He thought it was funny when I dotted on some makeup under my eyes and rubbed it in, and giggled when I "painted" purple eyeshadow and black liner. Once we were all dressed, we hopped in the car and headed out for the gig. TLG sat with Grandpa the entire three-hour gig, and I was so proud of him for being so good.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

#323 - Loooong Drive, Good Day

Today I drove to Stockton, CA with two friends for an annual meeting of area chapters for a group I'm very involved in. Yes, I have been there before, but I've never done the driving - I'm usually a passenger. It takes about 3 hours from Reno to get to the school there, and the time passed very quickly in the morning as we discussed the presentation we were going to make. After the final concert ended in the afternoon, we packed it up and began the drive home. We played a couple rounds of the alphabet game to loosen us up, stopped for dinner and a fill-er-up, and made it home after dark. Yes, it was a long day, but it was great.

Friday, September 19, 2008

#322 - Shot-sized Desserts

I won't kid you, our family loves to eat desserts. But we find in a restaurant, we aren't usually hungry enough to try one after a delicious meal. Tonight, though, we found the perfect restaurant dessert: tiny cakes served in shot glasses, courtesy of Chili's. They had a bunch of yummy-sounding flavors, and were less than $2 each so we each got one: I ordered Key Lime pie, my wonderful hubby ordered red velvet cake, and we chose strawberry cheesecake for TLG. When they arrived, TLG decided Daddy's dessert looked even better than the strawberry one, so he "stole" it, leaving Daddy with strawberry (which he doesn't really like, but since it was mostly cheesecake, he "forced" it down). Everybody enjoyed theirs very much, and TLG ate every last morsel, even the crumbs that fell on the table... they were a great size and a wonderful finish to a great meal.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

#321 - "Stick" With What You Know

As you know, I play trombone. For many years, on the advice of a band teacher when I was young, I have used plain ol' Ponds facial cream on the slide of my trombone to make sure it slides when I need it to. My hubby is also a trombonist, and recently we ran out of the kind of oil he uses on his trombone, so I visited our local music store to buy more. Of course they were out of the kind he likes best, so instead I bought a synthetic kind from a company named Aisyn. Tonight at rehearsal, we both tried the new synthetic trombone slide oil, and we both hated it. We even followed the store clerk's instructions to take off the old oil before using the new one, and within five minutes we were both having serious problems just playing our music because the slides were sticking so much. We made it for an hour, grumbling the entire time, and at break time we removed as much as we could and put good ol' Ponds cream back on. We have a gig this coming weekend, so I hope we get this fixed!

UPDATE: 9/18/08 My dear hubby visited a different music store and bought yet another new kind of oil called Slide-O-Mix. I do hope we have more luck with this one!

#320 - Dentist for TLG

The little guy and I visited a pediatric dentist this morning. If I ever went to a pediatric dentist as a kid, I sure don't remember it - this office was more tricked out than I've ever seen! There were 4 different video games to play in the main waiting room, 2 more in the back waiting room, and all sorts of prizes and drawings as incentives for keeping your teeth clean in between visits. The staff was very friendly and fast with cleaning TLG's teeth and taking x-rays (they were actually surprised he would sit still for those). The dentist was very friendly and non-threatening, and I liked his scrubs with the race cars all over it! I'm proud to say that TLG had no cavities today and we only got a couple of pointers for brushing better... and I think he had enough fun that maybe next time it won't be so scary to go see the dentist.

Monday, September 15, 2008

#319 - Birthday Wishes

My birthday is almost here, which means I need to decide what to do about this blog. I had originally intended to do one thing every day, which didn't quite happen - but for somebody who is as busy as I am, I did pretty well. Anybody reading this want me to continue a blog in some fashion after my birthday? Drop me a line and let me know your thoughts, OK?

But I'm off topic. Today's new thing also has to do with my birthday. I've started getting asked (by family members) if there's anything I'd like for a gift. A few weeks ago, I wrote a list of interesting-sounding things down for birthday gifts including a book, a couple DVDs and some silver-toned earrings. But the truth is, I don't want for much at this stage in my life - I'm very lucky that whenever I need/want something I usually just go buy it. So today, I made an executive decision: I am asking anybody who was thinking about getting me a gift to instead donate the same amount you were planning on spending to is a non-profit organization, run totally by volunteers, and struggling to stay afloat financially. They hope to raise $70,000 by November 1 and are well short of their goal. If you've read this blog for a while, you know that I enjoy corresponding with the soldiers through this website, and I would be very upset if it shut down. Yes, I could use or one of those other sites, but I like how matches you directly with the soldiers from the get-go. At this point, every $10 helps, so if you were one of those people asking for a birthday idea for me, please click on and hit the Donate button. You could also send in a check, the address is listed on the website. Thanks, everybody!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

#318 - Late Summer Celebration

We live within an hour's drive of Lake Tahoe, and yet I have never driven up to spend a day with my family there, then driven back home again. The closest I've come is going there to visit a tuba-playing friend when he and his university marching band were in town... and that was a long time ago. So today, our little family of three spent the afternoon at Lake Tahoe, playing in the water at Kings Beach, eating dinner at a new place (The Lodge at Galena) and driving back home. The water was perfect for a splash and TLG was loving every minute of it. I thought the water would be too cold, so I didn't bring his swimsuit but we just let him go in anyways. We met lots of water-loving dogs, including a Great Dane which was the biggest dog I'd ever seen! Our dinner was delicious too, I'd never been to this place at the base of the mountain range but my ravioli was terrific. What a wonderful end-of-summer day.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

#318 - Soccer

The little guy and I went to an indoor soccer facility and took a one-hour soccer class today. My fantastic mother-in-law came along for support and to check the place out too. Background information: a week ago or so, we got a postcard in the mail about this place, which I'd never heard of, that has weekly soccer classes for kids as young as 18 months. Today's trial class was to see how TLG (and I) liked it. And I would say, generally, that it was a hit. We arrived early, and there was a bounce house that TLG enjoyed while we were waiting for class to start. They put him in a class of 3-and-4 year olds, so he was a little young. For the first 30 minutes, he did super: he was paying attention, kicking the ball like Coach was telling him, playing all the games. Then they took a quick water break, and a few minutes later when Coach started back up, TLG was acting tired and uncooperative. We stayed until the end of class, and we ran with them but he made me do all the ball-kicking. I think TLG's favorite part of soccer was getting his hand stamped at the end. I do have to say, though, for being in a class with older kids, he did great - he was paying attention more than some of the others, he was definitely the same size as all of them, and before he got tired he was kicking the heck out of the ball. I hope when he's a little older we can try this again and see if it holds his interest better.

Friday, September 12, 2008

#317 - The World of our Other Dog

Yesterday, on top of throwing the ball too-vigorously-and-too-long for our other dog, Ellie, it seemed as though Penny was biting at her legs. So last night she was limping around, not putting any weight on her back right foot. This afternoon, I took a dog to the vet. My wonderful husband usually handles this chore at our house, and growing up it was always my parents who did this. The visit went fine, Ellie's leg has a sprained muscle but she got an anti-inflammatory injection and some pills for the next five days. I think the hardest part about the take-home instructions will be the part about not throwing the ball for her until we run out of pills! She loves to chase a ball.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

#316 - Economics Astound Me

We went to the bank today to learn about how to refinance our house. My fantastic hubby has been through all this before, but I'm a "newbie" so I was interested to learn what all this might entail. The good news is we can refinance now as long as we stay within our own bank. The bad news is that because of the economy being the way it is, it would cost us thousands of dollars to refinance now, and while our payments would go down in the long run, it's an unattainable amount of money that they want. So we will just have to wait for now.

Monday, September 8, 2008

#315 - This Dog Will Eat Anything

For the past few days, I've been conducting a test: how many days will it take our dog Penny to eat (and destroy) a professionally-recommended rope toy? The answer: four days. My sister and I visited a pet-themed booth at the Rib Cook-Off a few weeks ago, and I asked for a professional's opinion on toys for my dog that can eat through anything. This toy came with a strong looped rope handle and then a large red mop/pom-pom looking piece. The woman in the booth said her five dogs had theirs for a long time and hadn't destroyed it yet, so I paid something like $12 for it (because hey, if it will make her stop eating my porch swing and destroying our grass, then it's worth it). To make a long story short, I gave it to her on Friday night, and today at lunchtime I came home to the mess seen in the photo. So much for getting a professional's opinion. The other toy she recommended is a rubber toy that you put treats inside, so we'll try that one next.

#314 - Do-It-Yourself

I've never been a girly girl. Over my lifetime, I've never really liked wearing skirts or dresses, I hardly ever vary my hairstyle or makeup choices, and I've worn two perfumes consistently in my entire life. So this morning, I gave myself a real do-it-yourself pedicure. After having two pedicures this summer, I was ready to imitate what they did, except that it is a work day and I had limited time. I let my morning shower substitute for soaking my feet, and I skipped the massage/lotion step altogether. But then after assorted trimming and filing (again, never tried to file my toes - that's tricky!) I was ready to paint. I ran out of time this morning so now that it's evening, I finished the job by adding flower stickers, a gift from a good friend who reads this blog (and knew of my unhappiness with my last professional job). The hardest part of the stickers was making them even on my toes... here's a photo of how I did, but keep in mind that the red lines on my feet are from the cute (but highly uncomfortable) shoes I wore today.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

#313 - Reno Balloon Races

This morning we took TLG to his first Balloon Race. We did set the alarm for 4:00am and at that time discussed whether or not to go at 5:00 for the Glow Show and Dawn Patrol, but decided sleep was more important. So we headed down at around 8:45am and parked in a lot across the street from the park where the event is held. TLG had seen the balloons in the sky for the past few mornings, including a breakfast balloon party at the daycare on Friday, so he was really excited to see them a little closer. As it happened, one balloon had already set down on the other end of the parking lot so we walked closer to see it. (See photo taken on my hubby's camera phone - that's me in the pink, with TLG and the balloon we saw!) They invited TLG to go stand in the basket with a bunch of other kids and the owner, but he said no. So instead we got up right next to the basket and looked up into the giant balloon. It was humongous! We stayed and looked at the balloons in the air for about half an hour, and made an appointment on next year's calendar to go to the Races on purpose.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

#312 - Old-School Birthday Party

Many of TLG's friends from daycare are starting to turn three. We attended a few parties last year when they were turning two, and the parties were a little intimidating to me as a parent: expensive-looking parties at bounce house gyms with lots of food... looks expensive, even if it may not be as much work as an "old school party" where you hunker down with your friends for an hour or two to hang out, eat some cake and open presents. Well, this afternoon, TLG (and us parents too) attended an old-school birthday party in Idlewild Park. I've never been to the playground at Idlewild before, it was very large and had tons of fun equipment to play on, including a giant lion's head you could walk through. The party was small, just enough kids to keep track of easily, and they had a blast taking wagon rides (pulled by a parent, obviously) and running around everywhere. TLG helped his friend open his presents, which nobody seemed to mind, and was pretty cute. A good time was had by all.

Friday, September 5, 2008

#311 - Halloween is Coming!

The little guy doesn't remember his past two Halloweens, and both of those someone else chose his costume. (His first costume was Batman, when he was 9 months old, and last year his Auntie chose a cute pirate for him.) So tonight, we let TLG choose his own Halloween costume! He fell in love with an adorable red dragon costume at Old Navy. We tried on the top half in the store to make sure we had the right size, and he immediately wanted to try the rest (impossible with all the tags attached, etc.) The costume is nice and warm, perfect for going trick-or-treating... which he doesn't remember either. We have some Halloween work to do before the big day arrives.

UPDATE 9/6/08: TLG bragged to Grandma all about his dragon costume, and insisted on putting it on to show her the whole thing. He left it on for about 90 minutes even though it was warm in the house, before volunteering to take it off. It was the cutest thing to look downstairs and see Grandma and a dragon playing with the train table!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

#310 - New Shampoo #2

In the continuing quest of the perfect curly hair:
This morning I tried Garnier Fructis Fortifying Shampoo Curl & Shine. And I have to say... I wasn't all that impressed. I liked the smell since it smelled like apple, but it didn't really do much for my hair. On purpose, I left all the other products I use on my hair the same. It seemed like my hair was stringy and crunchy all day and that's never a good look, so I will have to cut back on everything as I go through this bottle of shampoo.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

#309 - A Good Deed (with a little help)

Recently, there was a fire near where I live and work that destroyed seven family homes. As it happens, one of those homes belonged to a man who works in the cafeteria where I work. I heard them saying that he was left with only the uniform he was wearing that day - his house is completely gone. So last week, my wonderful sister came to visit and she gave me $30 in gift cards to the store where she works (a national chain, so he can use them locally). Today I wrote a note wishing him the best, and delivered this small gift to his department. I do hope that I will get to meet him someday just to say I'm sorry about his house... can you even imagine how terrible it would be to be hit by a disaster like a house fire? Scary.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

#308 - A New Family Meal

This afternoon, we ate lunch with my stepdad. We wracked our brains but can't remember having a meal with my stepdad without at least one other family member around (though my hubby acknowledged that when they were fixing our fence, that almost counted). He took us to a cute place in downtown Sacramento named Suzie Q's, a burger and hot dog joint that also served hoagie sandwiches. TLG loved the french fries and even ate 1/2 a regular-sized hamburger (a new record for him). But mostly what I will remember about today's meal is the wonderful time we had just talking to my stepdad outside of our family get-togethers. I am very glad we were able to have this time together! Thanks, PaPa!

If you are a friend or relative, you probably remember that TLG has had some surgeries to correct some problems he had at birth. Today was also a follow-up appointment at UC Davis, where the Dr. says he looks great and we have one more surgery to go before he is done with surgery all together. So next February is scheduled to have TLG's final surgery (we hope) and it won't be as big a production as the last two have been. Hooray! If you want more details, please e-mail me.

Monday, September 1, 2008

#307 - Eat It

This evening, my sister and her husband played a new board game with me and my hubby - a snack and dessert-trivia game called Eat It. This was a birthday gift to my hubby, who does enjoy a snack and dessert once in a while (OK, often...) It was kind-of like trivial pursuit in that there were categories of questions and you had to gather things when you answered correctly in a certain area. Some of the questions seemed easy (What is the snack that smiles back? Goldfish!) and a good number were very hard (How many stripes of chocolate on a Keebler's Fudge Stripe cookie? Five!) I came in last at the end of this game, having only collected one card for mastering a category... and my sister took home a gold star for winning the game. Thanks for the fun game, Mom! We enjoyed it!

#306 - Funhouses are Fun?

After the pony ride, what could possibly be exciting to do at the State Fair? Amusement rides, of course! We purchased a $40 ticket (which was good for approximately 10 rides in the kiddie area). After trying the flying elephants and the helicopters, TLG decided to try a funhouse attraction. Being the big boy that he is, he wanted to go alone like all the other kids, so we stayed on the ground watching him as he navigated through his first funhouse. He did great on the first two levels with the punching bag maze, the rope ladder, the creaky swinging bridge to cross. But as he made it to the top of one side of the funhouse (two stories off the ground) he suddenly got a little spooked and he started to get upset. From the ground, we yelled encouraging words and started to panic a little when it looked like he might be stuck there, unwilling to move forward onto the next bridge. Finally, he followed some bigger kids across the second bridge, where an attendant was waiting to help him go down the two-story slide where I was waiting at the bottom. What a relief I felt when he was on the ground again! Of course, once he came down, he acted like the whole thing was no big deal...

#305 - Pony Ride for TLG

The little guy loves animals of all kinds. He loves our dogs, he is fascinated by Grammy and PaPa's cat, and he is always watching for birds, rabbits and other creatures in our backyard. Today we took him to the California State Fair and saw all sorts of animals, including horses, cows, pigs, fish, chickens, roosters, geese and an alpaca. But his favorite part of the day, bar none, was taking his first ride on a pony. The pony was wearing a saddle marked with the name "Tex" so we are STILL talking about riding on Tex and how great it was. The ride was set up like a merry-go-round but with four live ponies, and though it cost $5 (an astronomical cost if you ask me --- thanks, Poppy!) I'm so glad we decided to let him try it. He wasn't scared of the horse at all, but he did ask me to walk next to him the entire time and he held my hand while we were moving. Maybe he was just scared of falling down, not so much of the animal itself? When the ride was over, we patted Tex goodbye on our way out the gate. I wonder if TLG will grow up to be a veterinarian?

Saturday, August 30, 2008

#304 - No Fear

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know that TLG loves to swim. Tonight we were visiting the pool at my aunt and uncle's home, and he was in his favorite green lifejacket/suit with his inflatable fish ring. All three of us were in the deep end, and he had been watching us jump into the pool. So imagine our surprise when he got out of the pool, then turned around and jumped back in with no help from either of us! OK, this is stretching the "new thing" factor, but the kid has no fear of water... while we were right there, neither of us had a hand extended to catch him like we'd been doing previously, and it's a very good thing he landed just so (perfectly on the inflatable fish so he didn't topple over into the water). Scared the bejeebees out of both of us, but he loved it. We won't be letting him do that again until he gets some swimming lessons!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

#303 - Remedy Magazine

Today I received a copy of Remedy magazine in the mail, addressed to me, and since I have never heard of it, I gave it a try. And you know what? I am definitely not part of the target audience. Based on the stories and ads within, I think their target audience is women age 50+ who have health issues or are worried about their health. The tagline on the cover says "Health & Wellness for Life" but I counted eight (yes, EIGHT) fold-out cards that could be torn out to return for more information. The tally of return cards is:
- diabetes products: 3
- osteoporosis drug: 1
- rheumetoid arthritis drug: 1
- blood clot reducing drug: 1
- blood pressure reducing drug: 1
- peripheral artery disease drug: 1
The stories included an interview of a young diabetic athlete, a handful of "eating right" tips and ideas, and a story about different types of pain. Based on my hubby's long journey with his pain, this was the only story that held my interest for very long. I will probably invite him to look at this article just so he can see some other options outside of the ones his doctors have offered.

I have no idea how I got on the mailing list for this magazine, though there is a circle on the cover advertising a free subscription available online so I don't expect to get any more. Generally, I'd say this isn't my new favorite magazine, but perhaps that's partially because I don't like to be reminded how unhealthy I actually am sometimes.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

#302 - Stuck on a Plane

Today the FAA had some sort of software malfunction and I got stuck on a plane at O'Hare Airport. I've certainly been stuck on planes before (most notably in Logan International at Boston) but this was the first time I called someone to check the news to see if my plane would be able to take off! (In the past, it's always been a malfunctioning plane and it wouldn't do any good to check with anybody else.) As it turned out, my wonderful hubby was in the middle of lots of work and couldn't check the internet for me. The others I called either didn't answer or didn't know what was going on, either. So this time around, this plan didn't work for me. Maybe in the future I'll have a cell phone that can check the internet, but for now that's always seemed a bit excessively "wired" for me. Anyway, long story short, I was only delayed about an hour and I was able to run and catch my second plane back home with a few minutes to spare.

#301 - Lox and Bagels

For breakfast today, I tried lox and bagels. I wasn't even entirely sure what lox was (thinly-sliced raw salmon, apparently) and by "entirely" I mean, I thought it was cooked. It arrived on my plate, shown here, with cream cheese, capers, cucumbers, tomato and onion. (I had to ask what the capers were, too: tiny olive-like things.) A good friend from the east coast also ordered this dish and showed me how to make an open-faced sandwich. My first bite or two were pretty "fishy" but once I got the hang of all the other ingredients it was tasty. Not something I'd eat often - probably more an acquired taste at this stage in life - but I'm glad I got to try it, and even more glad that I had a friend to show me what to do!

Monday, August 25, 2008

#300 - Touring And Planning

While I'm in Chicago, I am excited to hear about our national convention that will be held next summer at this resort. Today, a staff member took us on a tour of all the rooms where the convention will be held throughout the hotel. Of course, I've helped plan special events in resorts before, but never of this magnitude and I've never needed a formal tour of so large a property! My good friend (who was mentioned in the previous post) works at a hotel in southern California, and I wished she had been on this tour so she could have provided some insight... but she had to stay home from this trip. Instead, I observed the large tents, ballrooms, hospitality suites, meeting rooms, restaurants and the theater with our group of ladies making the plans. I think it's going to be a great convention.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

#299 - Faux Treasurer

A good friend of mine was supposed to be on this trip to Chicago. Alas, she is not, and she is the treasurer for the group that is meeting. As many groups and exec boards as I have been on, I have never been the treasurer of anything. (I've done almost everything else, including: president, recording secretary, editor, VP programs, committee chairman, committee member... I don't know what it is about me and money, but nobody has ever asked me to be in charge of the money.) Anyway... today I gave my first-ever treasurer's report (with a budget and notes from my good friend). And you know what? Being a treasurer is HARD WORK. Everything going on at our meeting has an impact on the budget, so I had to keep going back and adding notes as we discussed everything. It's not like I could just present the budget and be done with it. I have always respected treasurers for doing their jobs, but now I understand how difficult it is!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

#298 - Chicago, That Toddlin' Town

After the show ended, as we were waiting to pay for our parking, I stood on the corner of a downtown intersection and I watched the train go by, marveling at its speed and efficiency. I believe this is the famous L train, though I don't know what that stands for and the Chicago Transit Authority website doesn't have any info either. We don't have a passenger train or subway or anything like that in Reno, so it was amazing to watch the train go by so frequently. (Of course, Reno does have Amtrak downtown, but it's not used for getting around town, so it doesn't count.) Just another amazing thing to watch after an incredible evening in downtown Chicago.

#297 - Dancing Through Life

Today I traveled to Chicago, and this evening I saw my first musical in it's home theater (i.e., not a touring production): Wicked. Having read the book "Wicked" a few months ago, I was especially excited to see this show, which I've heard rave reviews about - but something about seeing it in Chicago made it extra-special. Here's a photo of the outside of the Ford Center for the Performing Arts Oriental Theatre. The show did not disappoint: the music was great, the story was enjoyable and had lots of in-jokes regarding Oz and the original story and movie. The actresses playing Elphaba (the wicked witch) and Glinda were fantastic singers. My favorite part of the show was watching the sets... our seats were high in the balcony, so I couldn't see the actors' expressions too well, but the sets were amazing. It makes a big difference when they are permanently built into the stage. The Oriental Theatre was pretty amazing too, ornate scrolled architecture throughout but still very classy and well-kept. This is how I looked pretty much the entire evening:

Friday, August 22, 2008

#296 - Sprinklers At the Park!

My hubby didn't believe me when I told him there was a set of fountains at the nearby park that are available for playing in from Memorial Day to Labor Day. (He thought it must be only on those days, since the City of Reno would never pay for something like that.) Regardless, after months of me trying to get our family to go check it out: tonight we went to the local park and TLG ran in the play fountains, which were pretty awesome. This is the same park that has the skateboard ramps I wrote about in a much earlier post. There are four fountains, two on poles and two that shoot out of the ground, and the entire area is covered in that squishy rubber playground covering stuff. You step on a circle on the ground to turn them all on, and they go off by themselves a minute or so later. TLG was just wearing regular clothes so it took him a minute of watching another child running in the water before he decided to go in also. But he got soaked and ran around quite a bit before the wind got to him and it was time to bundle up in a towel and head for home (and a warm bath). We'll definitely have to keep this in mind next summer when it's so hot all the time!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

#295 - You Put the Lime in the Coconut

This evening, for the first time in a very long time, my two best college friends came over for dinner, drinks and a good chat. Seeing as they both live very far away (Elko, NV and New York!) it's incredibly rare for us to all be in the same place at the same time... but as always, it was like old times again. Who would've thought that 12 years later it would seem like just yesterday that we were moving into a dorm and getting to know each other? Time flies when you're having fun. But down to today's new thing: I tasted a Bud Light Lime. Yes, I know, I only took one sip. I'd never heard of this product before tonight when one of the girls suggested we get some. I thought it tasted a lot like a Corona with a lime in it, and considering I don't like beer, it wasn't bad. Regardless, the highlight of my evening was visiting with my amazing friends and marveling at how fantastic they are. I am a very lucky girl to have friends like these.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

#294 - Hubby Update

If you're reading this blog, you must be a friend of ours, and you probably know that my amazing hubby has had some pain issues these past 4+ years. Today, my hubby had some surgery that will block the nerves in his spine from telling his brain about the pain in his side. Yep, that's the best way I can describe it because I'm just not that certain about the specifics. I only know they did four injections in his spine and he's pretty stiff and sore this evening. They told him to give it a few days for the pain to subside before he knows how this all worked, so for now he's settled on the couch with some ice. Keep you fingers crossed, will you please?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

#293 - Do You Play Croquet?

TLG has a book called simply "Summer" that arrived a few weeks ago from his book club, and he loves it because it features many of the things he's done this summer: going to the beach, picnics outside, watering things with a hose, riding a ferris wheel, eating watermelon - you get the idea. One of the things in the book is the game of croquet, but he's never done that. Today he noticed that we have a croquet set in our shed, and so today's new thing is: the little guy and I smacked a croquet ball around the backyard with the hammers. OK, so we didn't set up the metal hole-thingys, and I didn't explain any of the rules, and we only had one ball between us. He was fascinated, and I have to say it was extra cute to see him trying to hit this ball (only to have him hit it straight on, like a hammer on a nail, which of course does no good).

Monday, August 18, 2008

#292 - Weeds, Weeds Everywhere

My amazing hubby does the lion's share of the yard work around here, but tonight I learned how to use the weed-killer sprayer tool. When we went to Branson a few weeks ago, the lawn went unchecked for longer than usual, and these terrible weeds sprung up all over the front yard (not to mention the dandelions running rampant in the backyard). We had a professional hand-pump type of sprayer for weed killer, which I purchased last week. Once my hubby filled it up for me, he turned me loose. Of course, TLG wanted to help too, so he grabbed on to the handle of the bottle and together we toted it around the front yard while I was spraying. I do hope this stuff works, because these weeds have been bugging me.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

#291 - Beijing Trance

I do remember watching the Olympics as a kid, particularly the winter Olympics and the ice skating competitions in the early '90s with Paul Wylie, Nancy Kerrigan and the like. Good times. But I had not had any desire to watch the Beijing Olympics until today, when my friends starting talking about them at lunch today (see post, below). I read about Michael Phelps, the women's gymastics team, and the debacle with the opening ceremonies having a young girl lip-syncing, so I was able to talk about it all... but hadn't seen a single minute. Tonight, after a great date night with my hubby, I retreated to our room and turned on the 2008 Summer Olympics - and couldn't turn it off! I watched in a trance for a couple of hours, marveling at the swimmers, the women's marathoners and short distance runners, whoever came on the screen. These athletes are pretty amazing, and hearing their back stories adds to the greatness.

#290 - Bad Things Happen to Good People

This afternoon, some friends and I drove to a rural part of Nevada to visit a friend who is sick with an incurable disease: cancer. All things considered, my family has been fairly lucky to avoid this disease (though my relatives have other types of diseases, don't get me wrong). Not really knowing what I was getting into today, I was actually kind-of nervous for today's visit. Would he still have his wonderful sense of humor? Would he be strong enough to pass the time with us, have lunch, and visit for a few hours? Would he want to talk about what he's going through? The short answer is yes - his sense of humor is delightfully intact, he was more than strong enough for a visit (in fact, he was in a parade this morning!), and he told us all about how they detected the cancer and how they are treating it. I shouldn't have worried, because our friend and his family were very welcoming and are doing everything they can to fight the cancer through treatments and looking into research. I breathed a sigh of relief at that, and I pray that my friend's doctors can help him continue to live, laugh and love.

#289 - What a Deal!

This morning, some of our neighbors were having a massive garage sale, and lo and behold: there were tons of age-appropriate toys for little boys like ours. So my fantastic mother-in-law and I took TLG to his first garage sale. He was in hog heaven with all the great stuff, and Grandma had to go get our wagon to bring our final choices back home with us. One toy that I picked for him (because it was in a big box and he couldn't play with it at the sale) was a Thomas train track toy, complete with engines and cars. We've had the train table (see photo) for months but it's mostly just stored his other toys... until now. We set up the train track and it is DEFINITELY his new favorite toy! I think if we just let him go, he would play non-stop for a week. We also got some large Tonka trucks, some wooden train tracks (for when he tires of Thomas), a toddler-sized basketball hoop, two DVDs, some die-cast airplanes, and a partridge in a pear tree. Best $25 I've spent in a long time!

Friday, August 15, 2008

#288 - NFL Sunday Ticket

My wonderful hubby celebrated a birthday today, and my gift to him: I signed us up for DirecTV's NFL Sunday Ticket. (I told him that the "real" present wasn't the actual gift itself, but the fact that the little guy and I will give up talking to him each Sunday during the football season. Ha!)

I'd never really heard about this service in-depth, but apparently you pay a fee and they broadcast each NFL game every week for your enjoyment. We could have paid $100 extra to get one HD station and one station that would show you all 8 games and let you choose which one to listen to... but that just seemed like overkill! Then again, for a non-football-lover like myself, the entire thing seems a little like overkill. Anyway, you'll know where to find our family once the football season starts for good: in front of the TV.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

#287 - New Blog for Band

Last night I started a new blog for the band we play in, and today my wonderful husband spent some time making a slideshow presentation with some of our music to post there. This is our first web project together - and it's looking very nice, if I do say so myself! The idea is to have a website where people can find information about when and where we are performaing, but also where they can find out how to hire our group, etc. Hey, if you're looking for a 14-piece big band to play anywhere, let me know - I'll send you to our website! Hooray!

#286 - TLG's First Movie Quote

I am always quoting movies and so it is with great pride that I tell you: the little guy has quoted his first movie (with no prompting from either of his parents). Currently, we are watching "Madagascar" every morning with him, and as much as we all like "Cars" it's a nice break to watch something else. So it was pretty funny when he quoted the following lines:
King Julian of the Lemurs: "Welcome to Madagascar!"
Marty the Zebra: "Mad-a-who-ha?"
King Julian: "Not who-ha, As-car!"
He actually only quotes the last two lines, but MAN is it cute!!!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

#285 - Dinner Out with A Friend

I mostly spend my evenings at home with my family, or on Wednesdays, going to rehearsal. But tonight, I went to dinner at Denny's with an acquaintance who I've never spent much time with. She brought her son who is close in age to TLG, so when we get together again I will make sure to take him along! When we were done eating, her little guy got a little antsy so we treked over to a nearby park so he could run around a bit while we kept visiting. I'll admit I don't see my friends nearly often enough, so it felt good to have a little "girl time" and I do hope it won't be too long before we get a chance to visit again.

#284 - Where the Heck Is My Polling Place, Anyway?

The Nevada primary election was held today in Washoe County, and on my lunch break I ran home to get my ballot that arrived in the mail. I have voted before, of course, but since moving into this house we've lived in a mail-in only precinct. So today I had to call the county voters office to get directions to my new precinct, which was listed at a community center I'd never heard of (but was presumably near my house). The woman who answered the phone was very helpful and gave me specific instructions from the closest large intersection to my house and told me to call back if I got lost! It was right where she said it would be - not far from here, but in a mostly uninhabited part of the city where I'd never been before. (There was also a nice looking park at the community center, so we may have to go back and check that out sometime soon.) Anyway, I got to vote on the new electronic machines and it didn't take all that long to complete. I was a little weirded out that I was the only voter there in all that time, and I know there were more precincts than just mine meeting there. Poor voter turnout is a sad part of our civic pride, but a big reality.

Monday, August 11, 2008

#283 - Undies Firsts

The little guy had two wonderful firsts today: first, he woke me up in the middle of the night last night to go potty, and second, he wore underwear to daycare (and more importantly, had no accidents all day long!) Until you're a parent, you have no idea how exciting these events are. And if you are a parent, you probably know the wonderful feeling of freedom from the shackles of diapers! Aaaah, that feels good. The photo is TLG posing in front of the page where he's been putting his stickers each time he goes "tinkle" in the potty - doesn't he look proud? As well he should!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

#283 - Flowers

My sister talked me into getting flowers on my big toes at my pedicure this weekend. This is an indulgence I've never taken - mostly because I've worried they'd wear off too quickly and look yucky on my toes. At least if I have plain color it's not so noticeable when they chip... well, I was half-way right. My left toe continues to look very cute with the red sparkle in the middle of the flower! But my rebel of a right foot, well, the sparkle first moved around, denting the paint, then fell off. It's not noticeable unless you get up close to my feet (and who's going to do that?) but I know it's there. If I ever get flowers again, I'm sticking to no sparkle.

#282 - Girls Weekend

This weekend, I stayed at my wonderful sister's house and, along with our mom, had what I hope will be the first-annual girls weekend. The basic outline of our weekend included pedicures, shopping, healthy (but yummy) meals, seeing a show (My Fair Lady) at Music Circus in downtown Sacramento, and another musical movie (Mamma Mia!). I had the best time - I'm not sure I even remember the last time the three of us just sat down and had hours to be together without interruption. The show and the movie were good too, but it was being with my mom and sister that made the weekend special for me. Thank you both for everything this weekend!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

#281 - Statue Installation

Have you ever wondered about engineering marvels such as large buildings, bridges or amusement park rides? As I watched a 1,000 lb. bronze statue being installed today, I found myself thinking about engineering, and how people going through school must study very different topics from me in order to do their jobs successfully. The statue was on its side on a wood pallet when we arrived, and five construction guys had the unenviable task of turning it upright, then using a huge crane to lift it to the second story of a plaza, and setting it down/securing it to a 4' concrete base. The whole process took about an hour, but the crane was already set up, the pallet was already on the machine to drive it where it needed to go, and the concrete base was dry. It made me nervous to watch this huge statue being hoisted by his armpits into the air! Fortunately, everything went as planned and the statue looks great.

Monday, August 4, 2008

#280 - Office Pranks

My coworkers have pretty good senses of humor, or so I thought. This morning, upon my return to work, I found I was the victim of an office prank: a snack drawer full of shavings from the shredder! They got my two bosses, also (they were both out of the office parts of last week, and suffered from shavings in their personal fridge, and all over their desk). Gee, as if it wasn't hard enough to go back to work...

Sunday, August 3, 2008

#279 - A Nighttime First

TLG had his first nightmare last night. After a long day of traveling home, he went to bed late last night (very late, considering the 2-hour time difference). He woke us up, screaming and shaking, around 4:00 a.m. Try as we might, we could not get him to go back to sleep. So after I laid in his room for an hour, my hubby took him downstairs to watch his favorite movie. He promptly fell asleep on the couch for 4+ hours. I really hope we can sort this problem out, and soon.

Friday, August 1, 2008

#278 - Overpriced, But Necessary

On our last day in Branson, we used the last of our 4-day park hopper passes to re-visit White Water park. While we were standing in line for one of the family slide rides, the neck strap on my favorite bathing suit broke! (How embarrassing!) My hubby was able to tie it up for me for long enough to get down the slide, but once we got back to the main part of the park, I insisted on buying a new bathing suit from the gift shop and changing into it pronto. I would normally never dream of spending so much moolah on a suit, much less buying a suit without trying it on! *sigh* It's an interesting souvenir of our last day in a wonderful city, where we had so much fun.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

#277 - TLG's Adventures in Rides, Part 2

After visiting the other local amusement parks, today we finally visited Silver Dollar City. Some friends who moved from Reno to Arkansas years ago drove up and brought their wonderful kids to spend the day with us, exploring this park. Again, TLG was fascinated with the rides (the photo shows us on the hopping frog ride, but he also liked the ladybugs, the butterflies, the teacups, the elephants, etc.) Everyone's favorite ride was a family ride called Lost River of the Ozarks, where six people at a time float down a ride and get all wet. This park has lots of craftsmen and shows, but we spent most of the time visiting with our friends and waiting in lines for rides. We skipped TLG's nap in favor of staying with our friends all day, and eventually he fell asleep in the stroller (at which time the two of us snuck off to ride a roller coaster, leaving him peacefully snoozing with our ice-cream-eating friends). Thanks, Grubbs, for driving in to see us - what a wonderful day we had!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

#276 - Bring on the Wine

Branson has a couple of local wineries, and tonight I sampled a whole new kind of wine I've never heard of: Stone Hill Winery's Pink Catawba. This dessert wine was extra sweet, and a cotton candy pink color. Not being much of a connoisseur, it was too sweet for my tastes and definitely much better chilled than lukewarm straight from the store!

#275 - Feeding Stingrays

After our Ducks adventure (see below), we headed to Predator World, a zoo/aquarium that had a great assortment of mammals, reptiles and aquatic life to see. The photo shows TLG getting up close with a leopard! But the most exciting part of this visit was that we fed some sting rays! (Note: my hubby thinks they might have been mana rays, but I can't find any info on their website to confirm this?) In any case, the helpful employee explained where his mouth is (well under a flap that looks like it should be a mouth), and how to hold a piece of fish for them to retrieve. TLG just dropped his piece of fish in the water, but my hubby and I both got to feed fish directly into the ray's mouth. It was very smooth underneath his chin, and a pretty amazing experience.

#274 - Ride the Ducks

This morning we rode in an amphibious vehicle, based on the WWII DUKW, as part of Ride the Ducks, a local tourist attraction. This tour of town took us up into the Ozark mountains, showed us some other WWII vehicles, then went driving into Table Rock Lake and out into the water quite a ways. It's amazing to think that this vehicle/boat is 60 years old, and it was lots of fun to learn about them. The tour guide graciously let TLG "drive" the boat while it was in the water (see photo), which he loved... but his favorite part about this tour was getting a souvenir "quacker" noisemaker that does sound remarkably like a duck. It looks like a duck's bill and we all got one to take home, which was fun and will make for a nice reminder of a fun morning.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

#273 - TLG's Adventures in Rides, Part 1

After doing more driving around and relaxing today, we visited Celebration City (an amusement park also affiliated with Silver Dollar City) and took TLG on his first amusement park rides. This photo was taken before the carousel began moving on his first time around - we went on it three or four more times before we told him it was time to find another ride to try. He loved the rides, he went on all the smaller kiddie rides we could find, plus the giant ferris wheel with both of us. He was sad that he was too short for the bumper cars - our only meltdown of the day - but fortunately he's tall for his age so he met the 36" requirement for most of the others. When it got towards closing time, we high-tailed it across the park to see the laser and fireworks show, which was pretty spectacular. Since he'd seen fireworks on the 4th of July and knew what they were, he was doubly impressed to see them so big, and so high in the sky!