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.

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?