September 30, 2010

Not too Shabby

Life around here has been pretty mellow.  A lack of immediate friends will do that.  Also, DS has been scarce because teaching has swallowed him whole.  I'm just happy if he's home by 7 and not completely catatonic.  It's a good thing those notes he's making can be used in future classes...

So I've been celebrating little things.  Why not?  Tuesday was DS's birthday.  I didn't give myself time to make him a treat, (and honestly, after the birthday cupcakes I made myself which were so nasty that we threw them all away, that's probably a good thing) so I picked him up a little cake and two of his favorite ice cream flavors.  Well.. I'm guessing he'll love that Baked Apple Dumpling.  He does love apple pie like crazy.

He got all kinds of sweet presents, including a new lens and flash for his fancy pants camera.  I'm told he took cool pictures at Maker Faire, but I have yet to see them (see above).

My most recent sewing triumph is this new cushion for the window seat.  It's corduroy, so it's super soft.  I even put a zipper on one end in case it needs washing.  Felix has claimed it, which is to be expected.

She's a little confused at my coming near and not loving her...

I love this set up, because it's the perfect length for me to stretch out and lean back against the pillow and read books.  And thanks to a helpful tip on Facebook from a family friend, I picked up some shelf liner to keep the cushion from sliding.  And also the couch (thank god, for real; hardwood floors are slippery), and the craft station table top.  Finding that in the grocery was way easier than dragging myself to someplace like walmart...

September 28, 2010

Six Flags Great Adventure

DS and I spent the weekend with our friends Matt and Sam.  The Matt who married us.  They live in NY, which had its first Maker Faire.  It seemed smaller than the SF one we went to last year, and DS and I got there late in the afternoon so we didn't have a lot of time.  Still though, it was cool to go, and ARC Attack was AWESOME!  I recommend finding some video of the dudes themselves, because it was so cool.  Though maybe you've heard of them?  Apparently they were on America's Got Talent?  I have no idea, I don't watch TV...

Anyway, we had a lovely dinner, delicious chocolates, and good conversation.  Then on Sunday we drove Sam out to Six Flags Great Adventure in NJ.  It's been at least six years since I've ridden a roller coaster.  I have a serious fear of heights.  Well, not so much of heights, but of falling.  If I think I'm safe, I have no problem whatsoever being high in the air.  Roller coasters were something that took me some years of concerted effort to be comfortable with, to trust that they wouldn't kill me and accept the fear so I could enjoy the adrenaline rush.  It's a skill that requires practice to maintain, and so I was excited about Six Flags, but also horrified...

There were six of us altogether, and we split a Flash Pass so we wouldn't have to wait in line.  (so worth it!)  We started off with the Batman coaster, which looked about on par with the types of coasters I really enjoyed back in the day.  I've looked up some point of view videos on YouTube for you to ride along.

Not too high, not too fast.  Easy peasy.  Also, shoulder harnesses, which are an important part of me feeling safe.  So then they all insisted we do Nitro, which is the second highest coaster in the park, with the first downhill going past vertical.  Yowza.  According to Wikipedia, you can see Philadelphia on a clear night from up there.  There aren't even shoulder harnesses.  I was freaking out.  I closed my eyes for the lift hill, because contemplating falling to my death is less forceful when I can't see it laid out before me.  Surprising myself, I opened my eyes as we crested the hill and let go.  It was exhilarating.  Watch.

That horizontal helix is just the right length so that you just start to feel your vision fading, then those little snake hills would have me giggling from the blood still stuck in my head.  Probably not good for you to do all the time, but several times a day once a year seems like a good plan.

Other notable experiences:

 El Toro, which I think is supposed to make you feel like you're riding a bull. And as such, there's little to hold on to, and I was lifting out of my seat quite a bit.  Also, those rails always freak me out, which is oddly one of the reasons I love wooden coasters so much.  And hooray for banked turns!  That's something wooden coasters have seriously needed.

Kingda Ka gave me a panic attack just looking at it.  DS loved it, and I sat and tried not to think about him failing to come back to me...

Superman would probably be a lot of fun for me, except that the cars invert you so you face the ground like you're flying.  Staring straight down at the ground as I plummet towards it was a little too much for me visually.  Though with my eyes closed, it didn't feel all that crazy movement-wise.

Bizarro is actually a fun coaster, but it has this music that plays right in your ears the whole time that's loud and static-y and completely annoying.

Skull Mountain reminded me of Kentucky Kingdom's old Starchaser, and as such had me laughing through the whole thing.  Also, they put a giant foam jack-o-lantern at the bottom with a spotlight on it.  SCARY!

After at least six hours of this, we were exhausted.  DS and I made the short trip home (about an hour, and some of that was because we took a wrong turn; though we ended up getting home toll free because of that wrong turn, so I was happy) on our own.  We made a frozen pizza, checked the interwebs, and then crashed as the pitiful hour of 8:30.  Even me people.  Me who is currently up at 3am.  I slept 14 hours last night!

This was my third separate theme park, the first two being Kentucky Kingdom and King's Island.  I have to say it was a lot of fun.  Sometimes terrifying, but overall, fun.

September 24, 2010

Apartment Tour!

I kept thinking I would do this when everything was neat and pretty.  Then I realized that would probably never happen, at least not up to my expectations.  So here it is!  The apartment in all its glory, and mess, and lived-in-ness.  Enjoy.

If you're seeing this note, you either need the flash player, or you need to visit the actual blog site. Get the flash player here:

September 14, 2010

My Husband is a Professor!

Here is the photo that will soon be adorning the faculty website!  I'm so proud. :)

Birthday update to follow soon!

September 08, 2010

PSA: Laundry

This post has some nasty images in it, so move along if you don't want to see them.  No blood and guts though, just what came out of my washer.  It is meant to serve two purposes.  
1. To let the previous tenants of my apartment know that I will punch them in the face if I ever meet them.
2. To warn the rest of you about things I've learned the hard way when it comes to washing clothes.

So you know that piece on the washer that says "Liquid bleach only"?  Yeah, they mean it when they say that.  Apparently the previous tenants didn't care, or couldn't read, because they put other things in there.  Nasty things.  Things which I discovered with my nose, because I couldn't figure out why my washer smelled like mold after using it.

I pried the little cover off the bleach thing, and to my horror, discovered the entire compartment full of moldy, caked in detergent and fabric softener.  Or maybe just fabric softener.  It had that really horrid smell that liquid softener has.  (Did I really use to like that stuff?  UGH.)

What you're looking at in that second photo is the top rim of the drum part of the washer, with mold on it.  In the bottom left corner you can see where the caked in detergent is all the way up to the rim of the bleach compartment.  GAG.

I spent over an hour today scraping that stuff out with a butter knife.  A knife I might have to trash....

Yeah, that's nasty stuff.  And just think, when you use liquid fabric softener, that crap is in your clothes.  All the time.  Maybe not moldy, granted.  I'm not sure that makes it any better.  This is why your towels smell nasty and no amount of washing them fixes it.  It's partially why you have sweat stains, but that's also due to antiperspirants in deodorant (something else we've given up, and been the happier for it).

Even if you don't agree with me on the fabric softener thing, please don't use the bleach compartment for anything other than bleach.  The drain holes it has are super tiny and clog very easily.  And you're likely to cut your hand on the metal washer casing when you clean it out, because I did twice.  If you have a mold smell in your washer that you can't seem to get out by running an empty cycle with bleach, check in there.

Winston is Angry, but we are not.

Before we left Santa Barbara, we had to take the cats in to the vet for official health certificates.  They were behind on the FCL something or other, I don't know.  It's a shot they need yearly.  So we paid the check up fees for each cat, the cost of the shots, and a small prescription of "chill out" medication, just in case.  Then we find out that for the vet to sign the piece of paper saying she looked at them was extra.  To the tune of $37 EACH.  So yeah, that wasn't a cheap trip.

So when the vet told us Winston would need oral surgery to fix his bulging gums to the tune of $700+, we were not happy.  Then she told us that we needed to do it as soon as possible.  Double not happy.

The move meant that wasn't really happening though.  We had to wait until DS's paychecks started rolling in and we were a bit more settled.  I found a vet nearby with decent reviews.  When I called to schedule the surgery, they let me know that they couldn't do it without a normal check up with them first, which was another $52.  *sigh*  The things we do for these kids...

Today we took him in for his check up, which actually went really well!  Whew!  After all that stuff that happened above, I was sort of dreading this.  Don't get me wrong, Winston yowled the whole way there, frightening the guys that work in our garage, and then growled the whole time he was being examined.  But he didn't swipe at anyone, or try to bite anyone.  He just sat there and let the vet stick her fingers in his mouth, around his lymph nodes, and over his tummy.  Well, sat there and growled, but he let her do it!  She was super nice, answered all our questions, and was really good with him.

To top it all off, their estimates for the surgery are a LOT cheaper.  We also learned that Winston is in good health, probably shouldn't eat grapes anymore, and has lost 4 ounces.  Hooray!

Monday we take him back for the surgery.  He can't eat after 9pm the night before, which is going to be hard, since when he's hungry he finds plastic somewhere and chews it loudly beside the bed at 3am.  He'll be there all day, but will thankfully be sedated.  I can't really afford to pay for some vet people to get stitches.  Oy.

Oh!  And we got the cat food Beth suggested, the Natural Balance, Green Peas and Duck.  Well, the wet is that.  The dry is Green Peas and Chicken, because the didn't have big bags of the duck.  The cats are now going on a half wet, half dry diet, at the recommendation of the vet.  They got their first can tonight, and are now sleeping happily.  Here's hoping Felix stops dropping bombs all over the apartment soon...