Just another day in Paradise.

Just another day in Paradise.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Winter Recital

We just got back from a lovely two hours spent listening to beginning violin students.  Each time I look forward to these performances and then each time I am reminded that there is indeed something worse than listening to your own children trying to tame the strings...and of course that is listening to other peoples children.  I had to do it, now so do you.

Avery will will playing an 'Ode to Joy' remix for you, followed by Miles with a Norwegian childrens song 'Klokken Atte' played with a very out of tune E string for your enhanced listening pleasure.

I personally like this snippet of Miles enjoying the other performances.  The music is actually not half bad on this one. 

Friday, February 22, 2013

DIY Week



I am confident that I learn at least one new thing everyday.  At least.  This week was particularly enriching.  I picked up some awesome new skills.  Nothing I can put on my resume just yet but small victories nonetheless.

Project #1 - Radiant Heat repair.  Our radiant heat mat shorted out about 2 years ago.  I thought it might be time to remedy this.  I did not locate the short and repair it.  I hired someone who had really fancy equipment to come in and do that.  It was pretty cool.  But he identified some potential trouble spots where the wires crossed over so we were going to have to pull those up and rearrange them if we wanted the repair to last.  So using some tools that I hadn't touched since a sculpture class in college (I know it probably seems like yesterday but it was oh, 13 YEARS AGO!!) I took up the remaining tiles. 

Unfortunately in the process one of the wires got mangled in the process. So I got a quick phone course in splicing wires and I was off to Radio Shack for some butt splice connectors (The fifth-grader in me was embarrassed to ask for them by name - and the fifth grader in the cashier snickered at me when I did.)
The primary insulation contained three teeny tiny wires which each had to be spliced individually.   They were too small for the smallest divot in the wire cutters so I had to use an exacto-knife. This was probably a job for a surgeon...but as Avery said "mom, it's so sad you had to do all of this work and dad just watched t.v.")

After exposing the six wires, I used the connectors to get them all joined together.  This wasn't easy either.  The wires were really hard to clamp down on due to their size, eventually they all got connected and voila when I turned on the juice the floor heated up.  I then put a heat shrink wrap on and hit it up with the blow dryer to get on there nice and snug.  Then we tiled over it and so far so good.  (I know it looks like this was all done in one setting, but it really was a process over three weeks time)
Project #2 - Highlights
About every fifteen years or so I get the urge to give myself highlights at home.  Even though this did not turn out well last time I did it, after watching a few YouTube videos I was pretty sure I could do this. We didn't have YouTube last time I tried.  I am needing to go in for a cut anyway and I figured I could either pay $100+ to have my boy Jose sunkiss my locks or I could try to highlight them myself and if I messed up I could either do an all over permanent color or pay $100+ to have my mistake professionally fixed.  A few months ago Chelsey had taken me darker and let me have a little ombre fun which I really liked, but Chelsey lives too far away to have her touch it up. 
After an intellectual conversation with the girl from Sally Beauty I had the confidence and the equipment to go for it.  All for under $10, and that includes the conditioning repair pack she upsold me.    So, with one package of Clairol peroxide powder, some 30 developer, a sheet of foil, a plastic bowl and a disposable toothbrush courtesy of my local dentist, I was in business.
I thought I might have to deposit on a blond to get what I was going for and I was really expecting orange but I was totally happy with the results.

Also somewhere in this week I successfully represented myself in court against an unwarranted speeding ticket.  I don't have any pictures of this project but I learned some things about requesting discovery and raising reasonable doubt that I hopefully don't have to use in the future.
And, if you have a Brother printer and want to know how to get those ink cartridges to last longer, I have a hack for you that I will post when I get back from being a mother.

January/February Recap

This picture doesn't have anything to do with anything...except that maybe it does.  I get online in the morning to check real estate listings, or to blog... and then what happens...I end up getting sucked in to either horrible horrible news stories and link after link of awful things that humans are doing to each other or themselves, then that eats at me all day or, on a good day I end up looking at videos of girls burning their hair off while curling, Asian guys playing the violin (this is my particular favorite) or pictures of people being blown in the face with a leaf blower (more @ demilked.com  - while there check out the pics of people with their faces scotch taped (we are totally doing this sometime) or amazing design ideas or these pics of the sun, whoa!).  Humans are brilliant and awful and hilarious and cruel and everything we do is on the Internet.

If I'm not on the computer I am cleaning.

Or trying to be a better human/parent/wife/daughter/sister/friend/...human covered it didn't it.

But I want to be a better recorder of life.

So what's up with the Westies lately?  February isn't over yet but I'm just gonna get a jump on this recap thing.

Me:  I wore contact lenses last week for what might be the very last time.  I'm getting either Lasik or PRK in a couple days, so if you have any advice for me either way, tell me now.  I'm pretty excited to see.

I have four part time jobs. 

Ben:  Has one very full time job and does it very well.  I debated over whether to share this email that he was forwarded, but it makes me so proud of him and if people scotch-taping their face is worth recording, then this definitely is:

Subject: Patient comments (UNCLASSIFIED)
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Caveats: NONE

There have been many wonderful comments on the new patient satisfaction survey but I had to share this evaluation of Dr. Westbrook from the parent of a special needs child:

You know what, it's aggravating at first to wait, but we're military and we're not waiting for fast food or anything. This young man is fantastic. Very good bedside manner. Has a sweet way when patient/patient's parents are breaking down due to scary news. I would wait two hours to be heard and understood like this. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Dr. Harsha...wonderful.

Absolute trust in their abilities

I got this email the day after Valentine's Day when Ben went to work at 5am, got home at 10:30pm and went back to work on a call at 4am the next day.  For him to have any kind of bedside manner on this type of schedule is beyond me. 

At the moment Ben is at a work-related training course in Las Vegas and apparently he's doing a fair job in his hobby as well. 

The kids - I can't think of anything specific about what they have been up to the last few months so I will just comment on their general personalities and behaviors at this point in time.  Avery still loves to stay up late (reading, watching movies on her portable DVD player or folding paper) and she remains agreeable and easy to get up in the morning, although she is starting to take a long time to put her hair into a ponytail because she strives for perfection.  You would think that someone who wants to have every hair in place would not want to wear the same outfit everyday.  I don't know where the perfection thing comes from (actually I do but I am protecting the innocent) but I am pretty sure that I wore my hair in a ponytail everyday along with the same black stretch pants and rotated camp t-shirts.  She is also like me in that she is a money saver and takes excruciating care in how she spends it (excruciating for everyone else).  She about killed me at Chuck E. Cheese (I know) last week when it took her 2 hours to spend 15 tokens, deliberating over every game and every possibility of how to spend those darn things.  At the end I was even taking tokens out of her cup and just sticking them in random games just so we could be done (and it takes A LOT for me to be wasteful like that).  Miles on the other hand... Miles spent his tokens in about 10 minutes then went to his wallet and bought another 20, bam bam bam, GONE.  The best part is that he wore a fanny pack that he bought at the AWANA store with his AWANA bucks and he had his tokens in there, easy access, then he would stash his tickets in there too.  He would also wear the same thing everyday to school if I let him.  It has to have an elastic waistband.  And it always comes back home filthy because he loves playing tackle soccer at school.  And he hates to eat.   Cruz on the other hand...when I asked Cruz if he wanted to go the park the other day when we were walking Chambers Bay, he said "YES!  Is there food there?" (And he just now as if on cue, came into the office saying "mom, I'm hungry!" so pause, I have to go get him something to snack on, which will likely be a yogurt (have you tried the choibani kids chocolate chunk greek yogurt - so good!) a big carrot (he doesn't do baby carrots, an ethical issue maybe), an apple, a string cheese or a pb and honey (he doesn't wike jewwy) or whatever it is that you're eating.  He is also generally nude and/or on the iPad. I don't think I celebrated this before but he is 100% potty-trained as of last September, so I don't really feel like I have a baby in the house anymore.  And while I should be excited that we don't have the diaper expense anymore, he uses about a half a roll of toilet paper per trip, so I think we're about even there.  Here he is taking a business call.

To balance out the trip to Chuck E. Cheese, we got some culture at the MOHAI grand opening in Seattle where our friend Meka works.  We also got some Serious Biscuits while in the neighborhood. A couple pics of the kids enjoying this outing as well as some fabulous moustachery can be seen here.  We also took the kids on a family date (Miles didn't want to go on a family 'date' because he was worried that there would be kissing.) to the Glass Museum in Tacoma.  I forgot my camera but the visit was inspiring.