Tuesday, September 30, 2008

September 2008 Round Up

Blinkie by: Brandy's Blinkies

Monthly Round Up idea borrowed from Katie the Scrapbook Lady.

What books and/or magazines did I read this month?
Same as always. Flipped through a ton of catalogs, though, and even spied a few potential Christmas gifts.

What movies and/or tv shows did I watch this month?
New TV Show Attempts: Fringe - pretty good, but not for me (X-Files fans should love it); The Mentalist - has potential, will stay in the rotation for a while; NCIS - not a new show, but new to my rotation this year. Returning TV Shows: Dancing With the Stars, Chuck, Heroes, CSI: Miami, House, Criminal Minds, CSI: NY. That's everything that has started so far. We had to drop Sarah Connor Chronicles because it conflicted with both DWTS and Chuck. We keep meaning to get caught up online (they stream full episodes), but we haven't yet. The rest of our regular television rotation (CSI and Numbers, plus we'll try Clone Wars) doesn't start until October.

What special days did I celebrate and how?
We visited my my brother's new house and his new office as professor.

What gifts did I give and/or receive?
None, because they're all still sitting in my house instead of having been mailed.

What illnesses or health concerns did I have?
Luke ran a fever for 3 days near the beginning of the month. No other symptoms, besides fatigue and lack of appetite, and he got over it pretty quickly. A few allergy symptoms for him and me, but nothing we can't handle.

What fun things did I do with my friends and/or family?
Redecorated Luke's room. That's about it. Took Luke to the Mall of Georgia for the first time, but I can't say that was much fun (he didn't behave very well).

What new foods, recipes or restaurants did I try this month?
Turtle Pretzels (see original post for recipe), and Gumbeaux's, a Cajun place my boss really likes. Good Cajun food, at least the three bites I had before my mouth caught on fire! LOL

What special or unusual purchases did I make?
All sorts of home improvement stuff; definitely unusual in this house! New kitchen knobs (that don't work), a new overhead kitchen light, a new dining area light. Also art to decorate Luke's room (I've had the bedding for months). Oh, and party decorations! And some new clothes for Luke and me. I'm sure the KFC thinks we've been rather "over-spendy" this month. And Christmas shopping will start soon. Oops!

What were this month's disappointments?
Luke has been *so* frustrating this month, much worse than usual. DH and I are both rapidly running out of patience. The gas shortage has also been really frustrating. And I managed to get some kind of virus on the desktop that I haven't managed to fix.

What were my accomplishments this month?
Getting the kitchen spiffed up with the above home improvement items, and decorating Luke's room with a new Star Wars theme. Bought my first Christmas gift. Oh, and our "log jam" of projects at work has broken loose. They were mostly done, but we couldn't turn them up for service until the software was approved in late August. It has been so great to watch as many as 5 projects turn up every week. Normally, we're lucky if we get 5 or so a month done, so 5 per week has been pretty impressive. We should be back to "normal" with 5-6 a month by January.

What were Luke's accomplishments this month?
Luke drew his first family picture, which was very sweet. They have been talking about imagination at school, and I really think it has helped him expand his. Oh, and he moved from a car seat to a booster seat (guess that should have gone under purchases as well). Had a little trouble the first time he used it with him wanting to "push the button" (read: unbuckle the seatbelt) while the car was in motion. He's been fine since that first day, though.

Anything else noteworthy to record?
My best friend's "baby" turned a year old! Happy birthday to Miss S! And we all survived more than a few hurricanes, Hanna and Ike in particular. Sure made us sweat there for a bit, though. And I joined Facebook, which kept me busy for a week or so, but I've really started slacking off. Probably because someone introduced me to the Bubble Shooter game (WARNING! Bubble Shooter is a *huge* time suck. Click at your own risk! LOL)

Currently feeling: bubblicious

Monday, September 29, 2008

Stupid computer virus

Well, the desktop has caught some kind of virus or something. I wasn't visiting any site that I haven't been to tons of times over the past few years, but I hear that this particular site gets hit once a year or so with someone sneaking in something new, and apparently, we now have it. It's only on the desktop, which is old and creaky anyway. I backed up everything last night. But it is also the only computer that we can get the original Lego Star Wars to run on (won't load on the Vista laptop, and the XP laptop is having trouble reading the controller correctly). I've spent hours (and hours and hours) trying to get it fixed, but it's still there. I have a few more things to try, but I'm ready to give up. Only got about 4 hours sleep last night waiting for some of the new scans to run. Just so tired and frustrated!
Currently feeling: aggravated

Friday, September 26, 2008

A Little Sheepish - A Webshots Follow-Up

Well, I have to admit, I'm feeling a little sheepish and slightly speechless (but only slightly; you know me!). First, I would like to say hi to Jessica, in case she comes back to read my blog again. And I will assume that it is okay for me to quote the comment she left, since she did indeed post it publicly. So, here is her comment on my Webshots post from Tuesday (and I would use the quotes thing, but it honks up the formatting for anything posted after it):

"My name is Jessica, and I am the Webshots editor who wrote that "been busy" email. I am sorry that reading it gave you a guilt trip as I was only hoping to remind you to upload your awesome photos, such as those of Luke, so you can share them with your friends and family. That said, I know we all have a hard time uploading because we are *so* busy, so maybe I will rework the email to speak to that. I also wanted to remind you that we are having a Grand Opening Special at the new Webshots store right now: 50 FREE 4x6 prints! Just enter coupon code NEWSTORE at checkout, where the discount will be applied, and all you pay is shipping. The offer is good until 9/30/2008, so perhaps you'll have some time this weekend in between changing lights (for me, it's hanging pictures!) to get some prints. Cheers!"

I wanted to be sure and quote her entire comment, so I am leaving the bit about the offer (which I just might avail myself of) that I might normally remove.

Jessica, I don't know if you'll actually see this, but I'm going to post it anyway. Thank you for leaving me a comment, and thank you for caring so much about your customers. Let me say that I love my Webshots accounts, all of them (I think I have 3; one in regular use, one with infrequent use, and one I don't remember touching in ages). The account in regular use is a pay account, the other two are free. I love the service and the ease of use, and I routinely recommend them to friends when people ask about online photo hosting sites. So no worries! I am a very happy customer.

I also think the reminder email that I referenced is just fine, so please Jessica, don't change it just on my account! I was, to a certain extent, joking about the email making me feel guilty. What actually happened is that I was (am) *already* feeling guilty about not having taken many pictures lately (I am a wannabe "wannabe photographer," if that makes any sense). I've had intentions to take Luke to the park for weeks now, both just to let him play and in the hopes of getting some good pictures, and somehow the weekends keep slipping away without any photos or trips to much of anywhere. Photography sites are always extolling the virtues of just picking up the camera and taking pictures of your everyday life, but unless something "noteworthy" happens, it doesn't occur to me to photograph it! (Which I guess makes me a very lousy wannabe photog, LOL!) I just don't have the "eye" to make good photos out of random everydayness. Yes, I know you have to do it to develop such an eye. I'll get to it one day....

Anyway, my point is that the email didn't make me feel guilty. I was already feeling guilty. What the email did was make me realize just *how* long it had been since I had uploaded pictures (I've taken a few, but not many, since my last upload session). So instead of just saying that, I used the email as a platform to express my guilt about being so busy that I haven't bothered taking any photos worth uploading lately.

Rereading my post, I can definitely see that it can sound much more serious than I intended for it to be! Jessica, I can only imagine what it was like to do a search on Webshots, something you clearly care about, and have *that* title pop up. I am so sorry if anyone thought that I was truly upset! Just another lesson in "be careful what you say and how you say it, especially online." It is so easily to misunderstand things without tone of voice and body language to rely on. I *know* that. I've been part of an online community for years; I know how easy it is for that to happen. I didn't think anything of it because most of the people who read my blog actually know me, and (I think/hope) most of them know I was being a little sarcastic and self-mocking. Nothing I said is really inaccurate. I was feeling guilty at the time, and the email did make me feel just a *smidge* guiltier, but it would not have bothered me if I wasn't already feeling guilty when I received it. Am I making any sense, or just babbling? (Never mind, don't answer that.) Anyway, so, to Jessica, everything is fine! Really, the email is fine. In fact, I have received that very same email more than once (bad mom, LOL! (I'm kidding, I'm kidding!)), and never had a second thought about it. My friend Christine commented that the emails do make her feel guilty sometimes, too, so I'm not completely out of my mind. But Jenny said it had never occurred to her to feel guilty when she received the email, and like her, it had never bothered me until Tuesday in particular. ::shrug:: Just some interesting points to ponder.

And can I just say that it is really awesome that Webshots does searches on the web to see what their customers are saying about them to try and improve service! Jessica, I don't know if that is officially part of your job or just something you do on your own, but it's really an incredibly astute business practice. People are a whole lot more likely to make comments about things (good and bad) on their blogs and such than they are to actually contact the company. It's just such a good idea! So, well done! I hope Webshots continues to rely on customer feedback, both formal and informal, to keep improving their already fabulous service.

So, definitely feeling a little sheepish that the author of the email felt I was upset by something she wrote, when I really wasn't. So sorry about that! But also feeling rather amazed that she would both leave me a comment and consider changing the wording just because of something *I* said.

Isn't the internet amazing!!
Currently feeling: *who* left me a comment?!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

School Portraits - Fall 2008

Actually, I do have pictures! Just not pictures I took. And I just got them, so Webshots is going to have to live with being neglected for a little while longer. Here are Luke's school portraits for Fall 2008. I still can't believe he's going to be 4 in less than two weeks.

Currently feeling: where did my baby go?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Webshots makes me feel like a bad mom

So I check my email, and I see the following email from Webshots: "Somebody's been busy! We bet you've been busy: spending time with friends and family, jetting off to foreign locales, perhaps even trying out a new activity. Now it's time to upload to your Webshots account and share all the great photos and videos you've taken."

Well yes, actually, I *have* been busy, which is precisely why I *don't* have any photos to upload. It's all been boring stuff like replacing the kitchen light, replacing the dining room light (apparently shiny gold-toned fixtures are very out of style, so we now have a brushed chrome one that matches *nothing* in the house), and cleaning. Not much picture worthy there.

We did take Luke to the Mall of Georgia this weekend on the great long-sleeved shirt hunt. I got a few shots, but not many, and I haven't had a chance to upload them yet (see earlier post re: Facebook). Those were taken before the mall opened, and he was so ill-behaved from that point on that no additional photos were taken, primarily because we spent the rest of the trip separated. DH took Luke to walk around (and gee, go figure, they stopped in a Game Stop to see if they were demo-ing The Force Unleashed (not for Luke)) to try to both keep Luke busy and keep me from strangling him, with the occasional stop into whatever store I was in when paged via text message for a "drive by try-on session." (I love consistent sizing; he wears anywhere from an XS to a M, depending on the shirt.)

So yes, Webshots, we have been busy! And no, that hasn't yielded many photos. I understand you're feeling a little neglected, but stop with the guilt trip! I'm doing the best I can.

Currently feeling: out of focus

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Virtual Gridlock

Well, I definitely think that was the worst traffic I have ever been in in my entire life. I don't know what happened really, but Atlanta's world-famous Spaghetti Junction was shut down this morning. Not the whole thing, I don't think. There was a truck overturned on I-285 North/West (something about chicken and a fire is all I know), just after the merge with the I-85 South ramp. So, 285 backed up past my house (that's 8 miles at least), and I-85 South backed up to 316 (not sure how far that is, but it's pretty far). It had been shut down since about 6 AM.

DH thankfully called me this morning to let me know. We don't take the interstate to school, so other than just being a little slow, it didn't occur to me that there would be a problem. I figured an hour to get there instead of the usual 30-40 minutes. Ha ha ha! Captain Herb, the helicopter traffic guy for WSB 750 AM, said to also avoid a bunch of back up roads. He named Chamblee-Tucker, the road Luke's daycare is on, and Henderson Mill, the road we use to get there. There is literally NO way to get to the school from our side of town without taking Chamblee-Tucker or Henderson Mill. His center is literally 1/4 mile from the bridge that crosses over the I-285/I-85 interchange, right in the heart of the chaos this morning. Traffic was moving pretty well, until I tried to get onto Henderson Mill. I wasn't even *on* Henderson Mill yet, and I wasn't moving at all. Okay, that's not true. I quite literally moved 3 car lengths in 8 minutes. I moved 2 car additional car lengths in the next 10 minutes. I "only" had half a tank of gas, which I knew would not be enough to get us to school at that rate!

It wasn't worth it. I turned around and came home (once I got to a good place to turn). So, Luke is home for the day, once again the day I have 3 conference calls. Guess one more day of rotting his brain with hours of television won't kill him. It's better than being stuck in the non-moving car with me for hours!

Currently feeling: going no where fast

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Shirt Pile Grows

Thanks to Charisse for suggesting Old Navy. I don't know why I never think of it! I guess because I don't shop there, it just doesn't occur to me to check there for Luke. (Same with Gap, Kelli, but just the thought of shopping there grates on my nerves for some reason. Maybe because it was so "in" back when.) Old Navy had a good selection of the type of thing I was looking for. The problem is that he is in between boys and toddler sizes there. Not all of the styles are available in XS (or they were all sold out, which I suppose is possible). I did find a couple of good ones, though. I should have some items coming in to Wal-Mart to be picked up this week (car seat boosters; free shipping if shipped to your local store for pick up), so I'll check there as well. Sometimes they have good stuff.

So I've done all the usual suspects: JCPenney, Sears, and Target. I also checked The Disney Store (out of his size for the two things I liked), The Children's Place, and Gymboree. Those last two made my head swim with some of the prices, but having hit so many places with only 8 shirts to show for my efforts, I might have to rethink my price point. (I am considering Land's End jeans to see if they will last longer in the knees, and trying not to faint at the thought of spending more on jeans for him than I do on jeans for me or DH.) The guy at The Children's Place said they would be doing a large "floor move" in the next week or so, so they should have more long sleeved selections soon. Even he admitted that it was pretty late in the season to have such little selection in long sleeves, and most of the others were so similar to what I already have that it wasn't worth it.

Anyway, the hunt continues! There's still time. We're at least a few weeks off from having to wear both jeans and long sleeves. We are at the stage where it is a big decision whether to have him wear shorts or jeans with his short sleeves, and does he need to wear a jacket? Lows around 60F/15C, but highs above 80F/27C, and he gets hot pretty easily. Decisions decisions!

Currently feeling: confused with the weather

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Fonts and Facebook

Fonts: Can someone please explain to me what happened to my preferred font on my blog? I haven't changed the code, as far as I know. I exported it, then thinkered with it, then re-imported the original settings, so nothing changed. I don't know if the font change happened before then or not; I don't know what made me suddenly notice it. The timing could just be coincidental. Anyway, it is now displaying New Times Roman, which is so boring, and even thought I tinkered some more with the font thing, I can't make it display the Georgia again. I noticed that it happened on another blog that I designed (not mine, belongs to someone else, but uses the same "font-family" settings), so that makes me think it might be a browser problem, not necessarily a coding problem? I have the problem on both the WindowsXP and the Vista computer, so it's not necessarily a platform thing. I use IE on both (I know, I know!), though. I should check it with Firefox. Maybe I will, but not right now. It's late.

Okay, never mind, I was thinking of the wrong font. Clearly, I am tired.

Facebook: And it's late because I joined Facebook. I know, I know! How could I not be on Facebook yet? Well, I can't say it's the most user friendly thing I've ever encountered. I feel like I have no idea what is going on. I'm sure I'll get the hang of it. I don't even remember what I was doing that prompted me to sign up after 10 PM this evening! But I'm there now, should anyone want to friend me or whatever. I'll work on it tomorrow. Right now, I'm going to bed!

Currently feeling: I did what?!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Worse than shopping for toddler clothes

Can I just say that I am having *the* worst time finding fall clothes for Luke? I remember complaining about the lack of choice when it came to buying toddler clothes for him, but at least I could get a good 10-15 shirts for him in any given season, even if it took 3-4 different stores to do it. Summer had similar problems, though I did eventually manage, but now, for fall, I can't seem to find *anything.* After hitting two different major department stores today (having already struck out at Target), I have exactly 6 long-sleeved shirts. That's not going to cut it! Most of the shirts on the shelves are SHORT-sleeved. Hello, it's going to get cold soon! Heck, it was cold this morning. He can't wear short sleeves all winter.

There were some of those "layered look" shirts, the ones that look like a t-shirt over a long-sleeved shirt (but really aren't), but 1) I don't really care for that look and 2) most were inappropriate subject matter for a 4 year old (skulls and such), so I wouldn't buy them even if I liked the look. It just shouldn't be this hard! The Boys Size 4-8 section should be larger than my living room, I'm just sayin'. (Okay, it is larger than that; it's actually about the size of my living room and kitchen combined.) Plenty of baby stuff, a fair amount of 2T-5T stuff, and tons of Boys 8-12 stuff. What, are there no boys his size in the world? I know that can't be so because last year, I had the hardest time finding 5T stuff in stock; it was all sold out! I don't think he's the only one who grew, so the others have to be out there somewhere (apparently running around only in short-sleeves). The stuff I like, naturally, is like Land's End stuff, which runs $20-25 a shirt. I can't afford that! I want $10 or less, please, preferably on the less side. Apparently, he'll either have to have cold arms or wear last year's shirts that look like bare midriffs on him (they're not too "small," they're just too short). ::sigh::

Sorry to post two rants in two days (man, I've been chatty lately), I'm just really starting to get discouraged. I intentionally started shopping for fall clothes early this year so they wouldn't be all sold out of the size he needs, and I can't find anything because there doesn't seem to be anything to find! I feel like I just can't win.

Currently feeling: left out in the cold

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

But I didn't hear the doorbell....

As I hopped on my home computer to take a quick peek at my personal email, I saw a message from FedEx indicating that a recent internet order was delivered at 10:19 AM this morning. I am skeptical, seeing as I have been home since not long after 8 AM, and I have not heard the doorbell ring. Just in case, I go to the door, and sure enough, a box is sitting on my welcome mat.

Seriously, FedEx, how hard is it to ring the doorbell after you put a package on my doorstep? You were already standing *right there* on my porch. Reaching out those extra 12 inches would have been so terribly taxing, I'm sure. I'm not saying you had to stand there and wait for me to answer. The UPS guy just puts down the box, rings the bell, and flies back to the truck (seeing as it is usually pulling away before I can even get to the door), but at least he lets me know something is there. Good thing they sent that email! No telling how long it would have sat out there. Since I ordered it over the weekend, I really wasn't expecting it to arrive before Friday. We virtually never use the front door, so it could have been days before we noticed it. Really, try the doorbell next time, I don't think it will kill you.

Currently feeling: irked

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Not so well begun, not even half done

"Well begun is half done," says Mary Poppins. And half done is probably about the *best* I can hope for at the moment. I realized that I am now at 101 days left and counting in the 101 Things in 1001 Days process. I'm only at 40% complete right now, and I'm not even sure I can make 50% by the deadline. How sad is that! Funny how completing a single item on that list (#15. Rejoin the workforce) managed to wipe out any small amount of momentum I may have had. And I'll admit, some of them were overly ambitions (and I knew that at the time, but it was worth a try). Several are so far gone that even if I tried, I couldn't complete them (#71. Read one of Shakespeare's sonnets every month; I've read exactly 1).

It is very interesting to see how my life and priorities have changed since that list was made. Most obvious is Luke; he was 18 months old when I wrote it up, and he will turn 4 next month! I asked on my BB how everyone else is doing on their lists, and several people mentioned that they felt the need to revamp their list due to changes in their circumstances or life focus. Personally, I think that is part of the point, to look back across the nearly three year time span and see what still matters and what doesn't. I think it will be interesting to see how my next list holds up. Oh yes, there will be a next list! You'll just have to wait for its debut in 2009.

Currently feeling: counting down

Monday, September 15, 2008

How is a two-tuner not enough?

As you probably know by now, we have a DVR and we utterly adore it. I do not have any idea how we ever lived without it. I promise you it is THE best $5 we spend every month. It is also a 2-tuner DVR, which means we can record two shows at once (or record one and watch a second in real time, or record two and watch a previously recorded program). So please explain to me, then, why the networks are conspiring against us?

By moving the Sarah Connor Chronicles to Monday, we now have *three* 8 PM shows on Monday nights, with Sarah battling Chuck (not started yet, but will soon) and Dancing With the Stars (starts next week; thank goodness this week is the last for The Closer!). Sorry Sarah, I think you just got bumped! Good thing you can watch full episodes online. We may yet be forced to become regular online viewers just for Chronicles. I don't like watching television on the computer! The desktop is in the computer room, which only has folding chairs to sit in, and the laptop screens are way smaller than what I am accustomed to (53" projection HDTV). But they're not leaving me much choice.

Currently feeling: unhappy in my total spoiledness

Sunday, September 14, 2008

First Christmas Gift of 2008

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I have purchased my first official Christmas gift of 2008, and it's for my husband even (who I usually have trouble buying for). I'm usually the first one complaining that the malls are putting up Christmas decorations before Halloween, but these were special circumstances. It was something I stumbled on accidentally, and I knew if I didn't buy it right then, I'd never find it again later. He's going to love it, and I truly hope that it is a surprise.

Currently feeling: momentarily Christmas-ish

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Speaking to the future

Or am I speaking from the past? Guess it depends on your point of view.

Can I just say how much I love the advance posting feature? I know some other blogging services have had this for a long while, and Blogger has even had it for a few months, but I've only really gotten into using it the last couple of months. It lets you type a post now and then set some future date and time on it, and it will automatically post at the appointed time, without you having to be online. I usually keep whatever the current time is, though I may change it to AM or PM if I feel the time of day matters. I know it seems silly, but I like for them to at least *appear* to have been posted on the fly. (But for the record, this post was written and published in real time.) I haven't used it a whole bunch, maybe for 4-5 posts so far. But I already have a few of significance coming up, set to publish on their appropriate days, such as my 5 year blogging anniversary (though it will be revamped a smidge between now and then). Now if I could just get into the habit of keeping some things written and ready to post for days/weeks when I'm having trouble coming up with content, I'd be doing well.
Currently feeling: futuristic

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Over the fever and off to school

Actually, he was over the fever yesterday and went to school. Thank you all for your good thoughts for him! It really wasn't that bad. Just a fever of 101-102 for the better part of 2 days. No other symptoms (besides the lack of appetite and general grumpies produced by the fever), so I guess it was just some viral something. It was just frustrating trying to work and keep him entertained at the same time, without feeling guilty. He is mostly back to himself, except that he gets to the meltdown stage much quicker, due to still being tired. Happened last night and this morning. I figure that will correct itself in time.

Currently feeling: happy he's healthy

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Blessed are the Animators

... for they keep mothers sane when trying to work with sick children home underfoot.

Yes, we are on day 2 of "home with fever." He's sick enough that he's not eating or playing as vigorously as usual, but not so sick that he'll just sit. Today is the worst day of the week for me to have to try and keep him entertained, since I'll spend the majority of the day on the phone (and I actually have to pay attention). I already have 3 conference calls today, and a fourth was just scheduled. (Thankfully, my 10 AM was short.) So, a 10 AM, 11 AM, a newly scheduled 12 PM, and 3 PM call today. I am so glad I no longer have to attend the 9 AM and the 1 PM, or I just might go crazy today. (My splitting headache isn't helping things any.)

If not for Little Einsteins, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Scooby Doo, and animated movies (currently The Land Before Time, Toy Story will probably be next), I would never make it through. I hate to use the television as a babysitter, but I really don't have much choice at the moment. I'm interacting with him as much as I can between calls, but that isn't much today. Besides, he's getting more rest this way, which is definitely a good thing since he keeps waking up between 6 and 6:30 in the mornings (unusual for him). If he's fevered again tomorrow morning, I'll take him to the doctor.

Currently feeling: tired of fevers

Monday, September 08, 2008

Evil new "easy but awesome" dessert

Easy But Awesome (TM) Desserts, those are my specialty. Actually, Easy But Awesome (TM) foods/meals in general are my specialty! LOL And I have a new one to add to my collection:

Turtle Pretzels. That's not what this recipe calls them, but that's surely what they taste like, and it is a much more useful descriptive name. Actually, a quick search of the site shows me this same recipe listed elsewhere and called Rolo Pretzel Turtles, but Kelly's recipe is the one I found first, so I'm giving her the credit. BTW, Rolos are small chocolate covered caramels, a little larger than 1 cubic cm each, for anyone who may not be familiar with them.

I decided to test these out before Luke's birthday party, along with two other variations (using M&Ms in place of pecans to press down on melted Hershey Kisses and Hugs). This one was by far the best version, IMO. (As in, I'm not even sure I'll bother with the others at the party.) And I'm going to have to send the rest of the test batch I made to work with DH, because I surely cannot keep my hands out of them. I have to tear myself away from the fridge every time I walk in the kitchen! LOL Hope you enjoy!

Turtle Pretzels
Source: Recipe Zaar Recipe #107408, modified slightly by Erin Gaston


small pretzels (original recipe called for mini-twists; I like grid-style)
bag of Rolo chocolate candy, unwrapped
pecan halves, one per Rolo


1. Preheat oven to 250°F
2. Place pretzels in a single layer on a parchment lined cookie sheet (as few or as many as you like).
3. Put one Rolo on each pretzel, as centered as possible.
4. Put the Rolo/pretzels in the oven until the Rolos soften and start to melt (about 4 minutes for me). Note: Rolos will retain their shape, even when soft enough for the next step.
5. Remove from the oven and push one pecan half down in the middle of each Rolo.
6. Let cool. (I had to put them in the refrigerator to get them to set properly.)
7. Remove from the parchment and store in an air tight container. (I keep mine in the fridge.)
8. Best if removed from refrigerator a few minutes before serving to warm up slightly.

(Updated with photo; they looked so pretty all lined up in rows in my refrigerator.)

Currently feeling: yummy yummy

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Mommy, I sleep now?

This is what I get for complaining about not having much to blog about.

You know your child is sick when... you are watching your ritual pre-bedtime cartoon and your child turns to you and says (in a very pitiful voice), "Mommy, I sleep now?" He was ready to go to bed less than 10 minutes into Gummi Bears tonight. Him turning down bread at dinner should have been another clue. I thought he felt a little warm this afternoon, but he'd been playing hard and he was acting fine, so I didn't think much of it. He ate fine at lunch, but hardly ate any dinner (don't know if that is simply because he isn't feeling well, or because he didn't want to try the spaghetti). Thermometer says 101.5. He's shivering some and complaining that his feet are cold (note to self: "my feet are cold" = fever). We've dosed him up on Children's Motrin, and DH is putting him to bed right now.

I hope it isn't an ear infection. I forgot to mention on my blog that the ENT removed his tubes at his 1 year follow up appointment on Aug 19. That's actually how his sinus infection (that required the nasty medicine) was diagnosed. We already had a previously scheduled ENT appointment to check his tubes; the timing of the sinus infection was just coincidental. She said the tubes were just sitting in the ear canal; if his ears weren't so waxy, they'd have fallen out on their own. She just reached in with teeny-tiny tweezers and plucked them out. He held completely still and didn't wiggle (apparently, most children make quite a fuss when they do that). She said he was so good that he deserved a sticker *and* a lollipop. We will go back in six months, but if he doesn't have any trouble (i.e. no unexplained ear infections) between now and then, we're all through. I really want to be all through! We've been messing with this for almost 2 years now, I'm so ready to be done. I know it is minor, and if you had to pick an affliction for your child, this isn't a terrible one. That doesn't make it much fun, though.

Maybe it's just a virus that will be done in a day or two. Yeah, that's it....

Currently feeling: bad for Luke

Not much to tell

"On the molecular level, I'm really quite busy"

This quote has been running through my head this week. Work is still quite busy with us turning up all those projects that were on hold for weeks/months. Most are going smoothly; a few have even turned up early, and a few are giving us tremendous headaches. Just plugging along as best we can.

Consequently, I'm pretty tired when work is over and I don't feel like doing much. However, I have been thinking a lot about all sorts of things, like up-coming events, planning Luke's birthday party (way behind there), trying to get a jump-start on the holidays, determining what home improvements need to be made before we can move, etc. So I am mentally very busy, even if it looks like I'm just sitting here.

So not much to tell, really. Instead, I thought I'd throw out a meme I saw on Krista's blog several months ago (I keep them bookmarked for occasions such as these).

1. What time did you get up this morning? around 9:30 AM
2. Diamonds or pearls? diamonds
3. What was the last film you saw at the movies? Hellboy II
4. What is your favorite TV show? Hard to say. I'll go with CSI.
5. What do you eat for breakfast? Cheerios (on the occasions I eat breakfast)
6. What is your middle name? Marie
7. What food do you dislike? Veggies! LOL
8. What is your favorite CD at the moment? Awake by Josh Groban
9. What kind of car do you drive? Toyota Camry
10. Favorite sandwich? hot turkey and cheese
11. Favorite item of clothing? kitty jammies
12. Person dead or alive that you would like to have a conversation with? my great-grandfather
13. If you could go anywhere in the world for a vacation, where would you go? The Vatican
14. What color is your bathroom? beige (just like every other room in the house)
18. Favorite Sport to watch? regularly - baseball; specialty - curling
19. Farthest place you are sending this? No where in particular; just posting on my blog
20. Who do you expect to send this back to you? no one
21. Person you expect to send it back first? don't know if anyone else will pick it up
22. Favorite saying? I have no idea! (that's not my favorite saying, but I don't know what my favorite saying is)
24. Are you a morning person or a night person? night!
25. What is your shoe size? 8 Wide
26. Favorite food for Dinner? restaurant
27. What did you want to be when you were little? astronaut
28. What are you doing today? being lazy, need to clean
29. What is your favorite candy? probably Snickers
30. What is your favorite flower? carnation
31. What day are you looking forward to most on your calendar? meeting my niece in October
32. What are you listening to right now? Jack-Jack beating up on Syndrome (The Incredibles)
33. What was the last thing you ate? corn on the cob
34. Do you wish on stars? sometimes
35. Do you believe in Angels? Yes
36. If you were a crayon, what color would you be? I really hate that kind of question.
37. What is your pet peeve? too many to list
38. Last person you spoke to on the phone? my mother
39. Do you like the person who sent this to you? Yes
40. Favorite soft drink? Coke Clasic
41. Favorite restaurant? Fuji Ya (special occasions), Golden Corral or Zaxby's for "everyday" eating
42. Siblings? 1 brother
43. Favorite day of the year? Christmas
44. Favorite day of the Week? Saturday
45. Spring or Fall: Fall
46. Hugs or kisses? both
47. Chocolate or vanilla? chocolate
48. Do you want your friends to e-mail you back? anyone can play if they want
49. What is under your bed? nothing
50. Who is the friend you've had longest? Kelli
51. What did you do last night? designed a beaded scissor fob
53. What are you afraid of? disappointing people
54. How many keys on your key ring? 4
55. How many years at your current job? 0.75
56. Favorite city to visit? to relax - Brunswick (my parents); for fun - Boston
57. How many towns have you lived in? 11 if you count all the different Atlanta suburbs separately; 7 if you just count "major" areas
58. Do you make friends easily? usually

Currently feeling: tired and boring (not bored, but boring); a deadly blogging combination

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Happy Birthday, Daddy!

It looks like your present from Mother Nature might be to *not* have Hanna deposit ocean water in the living room. Wouldn't that be a nice gift?

More and more of the models are tracking towards the SC/NC area, per the 11 PM advisory. I would never wish a hurricane landfall on anyone, but it sure does make me worry less about my parents (but more about my friends in that area). Of course, no one can really say until the bloody thing decides to MOVE! So move already! This whole drifting/stationary thing is killing us. And even if we dodge this one, there's two more out there heading this way.

I hate September.

Currently feeling: trying not to fret (and failing miserably)

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Hurricane Hanna - we're worried

The Warren-Gaston clan is in the process of formulating a possible evacuation plan for Hurricane Hanna. This is the first truly serious threat facing my parents in nearly 10 years. Did I mention they live about 200 yards from the marsh? As in, the marsh that backs up to the ocean? On a low-lying lot? Yeah. No help for the furniture. All we can do is get the portable things out. I may have to head down there Wednesday night to help. If they issue evacuation notices Thursday, they won't be letting anyone in, so I'd need to be there Wednesday might. We'll finalize the plan tonight. Let's all hope we don't have to implement the plan.

Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers. We've been dodging bullets all these years, with only one serious threat in the 18 years we/they have lived there. The 100 year flood is at least a decade overdue. It's only a matter of time, and we all know that. This one has us pretty worried. We'll know more tomorrow.

Currently feeling: anxious