Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Hit 'Em Right Where It Hurts

Hey there kiddos. It has been a short aeon since I last wrote. Like election day. Sorry 'bout that. See right now we are living in two half houses. And let me tell you, in this case, two halves do not make a whole. Midweek we're at the house with the internet connection, but then its midweek, with all the contingent work, early rising, hot plate cooking, and day care shuffling. Weekends we are at the house with the clothes washer and full sized bed, but alas no internets.

So far the park service has given us the verbal approval to continue with the "new old" house construction (that super extravagant plan to install that crazy foundation and all) but we can't actually start until some computer account thingy is set up. As we watch the weather move in to winter... We did replace the back door on the new/old house. It was actually a half rotted interior door, used as an exterior door for some 30 odd years. (Dude, they must have been some really odd years!) The carpeting and tiling are finished in our two usable rooms, one staircase, and one short hallway, and we even have nice toasty heat pumps. (I kid you not, they really work!) But at this point we still don't have a living room, a kitchen, or anywhere for our dog to sleep other than in the middle of the chilly tile hallway floor.

And we sold the Ranch. For a $45,000 loss. And that hurts. It is a beautiful, beautiful place, and I am sad to see it go for such an undervalued price. We have until the 15th of January to vacate the premises. Excuse me while I go mope for a bit.

Happy Thanksgiving though. And rest comfortably in the knowledge that I have made it through another year, and now reside at 38 years of age!

Monday, November 03, 2008


I'm not going to kid y'all. I am agonizing over this election. I can't even believe that it isn't a done deal. Here we have two men. One was a community organizer and congressional law professor, the other chose Palin as a running mate. How on earth could you be undecided?

So as any good election agonizer would do, I have spent all day on the internets looking up propositions and local elected officials. And here is the fruit of my labor...

First of all we don't have a democrat running for our Congressional Representative. Well, we sort of do, but he's a write in candidate, with a funny name. So we don't expect much, but doesn't he look like a nice guy? All democratty and stuff? All earthy crunchy, wants to save the worldy? So if by any chance you happen to be in the California 19th Congressional District, write in (and x the box) for Peter Leinau! Yay democrats!

Now moving on to State officials... It seems that here in the 25th Assembly District, we have a Republican currently in office (Berryhill, I believe). But that could change! Maybe. Iffin' this adorable youngster gets his way, that is! OMG, he's so dreamy! I feel like the naughty housewife secretly watching the shirtless highschooler cut the grass! Tee hee hee! Scroll down to the bottom of his official website. Do you see it? You can join his Facebook group! Tee hee hee! Best of luck wee little budding democrat! May you make it to the State Assembly. Or out of Junior College, whichever comes first!

Now on to some CA Propositions...

Just so's you know, Prop 7 and Prop 10 sound like good environmental measures in the wee little blurby format. But some pretty respectable folks are against them: California League of Conservation Voters, Natural Resources Defense Council, the Environmental Defense Fund, and the deal breaker, the Union of Concerned Scientists. I feel like the UoCS motto should be "We know more than you. Yes, you."

So anywhoo, they are against Prop 7 and Prop 10, and their arguments make sense.

So read up my earthy crunchy hipsters. Find out exactly who and what you're voting for. And get to bed, for heaven's sake! Its late and you have to vote in the morning! Tee hee!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Hallways, Hungarians, and Halloween

So my Dad's visit came to an end last Sunday. Tank boy still can't stop talking about taking Grampa to the airport to go on the big airplane. But the true icing on the cake of Dad's visit was the gorgeous flooring we got installed last Friday and Saturday. So the master bedroom has gone from this...

to this...

Furniture gets moved in this weekend! Whoo hoo! (Mind you this is only for two bedrooms and one bathroom, the rest of the house is still completely uninhabitable. Seriously. Like no back walls, and no subfloor. Yeah, really.

Anywhoo, to accomplish this there was much cleaning, taping, and painting by my tireless dad (even the stinky dog pee subfloor got painted!). And then a day and a half Pergo push by Pops and I. To start we had to carry all of this...

Up these...

Good thing they build us Hungarians hardy! So wish us luck in setting up a temporary kitchen in the hallway and making due at the new place for a few days next week! (We even have hot water now!)

Looking forward to tonight, I was getting Tank in the mood for some costume wearing...

He bids y'all a Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 20, 2008

In The Words of Dory the Fish...

Grampa has been here for more than a week now, and we've been working him to the bone on the new/old house remodel. (And utilizing his skills as a toddler book reader.) But before we wore him down too badly we took him into the park for a look see and a short hike around. Here is Tankster showing us the way to go...

Honestly the last week has been rather a blur of work (both in and out of the home), toddler care, laundry for four, meal preparation, driving, shopping for food and home remodel supplies, and coordination phone calls between all the various and sundry folks putting different pieces of our house together. I had a bit of a hissy fit on Friday and the Hub graciously granted me a whole day to myself on Sunday. One luxurious obligation free day! So I finally got out to see the fire damaged area, attended a yoga class, hiked by the river with a friend and her dogs, and stayed up late for a girlie craft night. All in one day! I feel much better today.

But alas, each member of my immediate family had a hit of bad news today, so I think we're all reeling a bit. Lets hope that things like this come in threes, meaning that we're all done with bad news for now! Just keep swimming...

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Jeepers Creepers!

Seeing as our "new" (old) house is no where ready for us to move into yet, I am still doing the 1 hour + work commute each way, three days a week. Which is okay if the Hub is on the same schedule, because then he drives halfway and I can knit or nap as I please. But sometimes he has meetings elsewhere and I drive the whole way my self, bleah.

Enter the podcast. Whoever invented these things is a genius! (For those of us who live in the middle of nowhere and don't get ANY radio reception.) Even after an hour of driving, sometimes I want to sit in my car and finish the current 'cast...

So anywhoo, last week I was listening to NPR's "This American Life", and this segment came on about parenting. It was engagingly told and wonderfully inspiring and also the perfect reminder about what our job is, as parents. I HIGHLY recommend popping over and giving it a listen if you have a few minutes.

And on a semi-related note I'd like to share some of the irresistibly cute words Tank Boy uses these days:
He is getting very good at remembering his "Pweeses and Tank You's"
He loves to watch the "bummy bees" in the garden.
Whenever we slow down in the car he says "Is dat a deer?"
He hopelessly mangles the words "grocery store".
We stopped the car on our dirt road the other day to watch a tarantula creep slowly across, so he is now very into "stiders".
He really wants to add tons of "stalt" to all of his food.
And I nearly die every time he says "Bye bye, wuvs you!"

So thanks Dad, for reading to my sister and I every single darn night. Little did I know what a huge gift you were really giving us! So, while I may not want to correct all of Tank's cute mispronunciations right now, I am rededicated to daily, nightly, and nigh-on constant book reading to my kid. It really is that simple!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Big Money, Big Money!

So I think I mentioned a few weeks ago that I had entered some knit items in the Mariposa County Fair. And I may or may not have mentioned that I was blessed with third place ribbons for both of my entries, yay me! And here they are in all their prizewinning glory,

a hat

and a pair of socks

And not only do I get bragging rights, I actually get a cash money prize! Sort of...

Yep, siree. One dollar! Tee hee. They probably spent way more in time, effort and postage, poor things. Now I just have one question for y'all.

Is the mascot on the above ribbons a butterfly wearing ruffled bell bottoms?

I thought so.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Not For The Faint of Heart

Dudes. Do you wanna see some scary stuff? Well grab your teddy bears and safety blankets...

The house that we bought was pretty bad to start with...

Then the termite repair started...

Bathroom before and after...

And just the post destruction picture of my future craft room...

Um, yes. That is our house up on jacks. Our contractor had a nasty health issue that needed to be tended to last week. So we were a bit more open to the elements for a little longer than desired. I guess they patched him up for now, and supposedly he's back to work this week. Eeek. Send him some nice healing thoughts, we promise we'll take it easy on him, and hopefully we'll all come out the other end of this process none the worse for the wear...

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

A Week Late, But A Month Early...

I've gotten a bit behind on the old bloggy here. So here is a quick recap from two weekends ago... The highlight was the County Fair, of course. Tankster loved seeing all the animals, we saw sheep, pigs, cattle, bunnies and all manner of fowl...

Its funny that he looks so mezmerized by chickens here, as they have two at his daycare that free range among the kiddos. But the turkeys were taller than him, and many of the pigeons were above eye level, so chickens it was!

Here he is checking his line while driving a tractor through the fair crowds. I tell you, its the best way to get to the front of the line for the choo choo train ride...

And here he is NOT displaying any of the joy or glee that the train ride actually brought him. He LOVED this thing. Wanted to ride it all night. They make you buy tickets to ride the rides, so somehow it seemed less like money then. So we actually ended up spending WAY more on this silly thing than we should have. He's also too small to ride alone, so one of us got to go each time, doubling the cost. Eeek. He rode one other roller coaster-y kid ride, but he really didn't like it, and kept asking for the choo choo again. So we caved. Big softies.

There was one more highlight to the fair, that I forgot to get a picture of. I had entered socks and a hat in the crafts part, and they both won third place in their division! Woot woot!

Sunday we had planned to actually do more agricultural (and knitting focused) exploration, as I thought it was the "Mariposa Agri-Nature Trail/Weekend in the Country" weekend. So we drove out to the local alpaca farm. Just as we got there, I actually looked at the pamphlet in my hand and noticed that it was supposed to take place at the end of September, not the end of August. We were a whole month early. Oops.

Karen and John couldn't have been any nicer about our mistake, and gave us our own personal tour anyway. I hope to be able to return the favor and maybe get a group of local knitting ladies to come out and peruse her fiber wares during the regular tour weekend!

Next up! A wedding outside of LA, Tanks first ocean visit, and kicking the ball around on a college football field...

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Honk Honk

So when you wake up in the middle of the night to hear your wee son honking and barking like a performing circus seal, you will soon come to know the joy that is croup. A quick call to the Blue Cross advice nurse landed us in the lovely rural John C. Freemont Hospital at 11:30 Friday night. Whoo hoo, party weekend.

On the plus side there was no line and no waiting. On the down side we had to physically restrain our (strong!) little tot to administer the vaporizer medicine. The nurse kept assuring us that it was a completely normal reaction for a two year old, but somehow that didn't make the fat tears rolling down his chubby cheeks, the balled fists, and the raw two year old anger any easier to take. Eventually he crumpled into a resigned and sweaty lump in Poppa's lap and let the Horkasaurus do its job.

Then he forgot it all and gleefully downed a cup of steroids diluted with grape juice. And asked for more. Ah, that's my boy. Won over by the sweet allure of fruit squeezin's, the little juiceaholic. And then we were sent home with advice to keep a close eye on him for the rest of the night. So momma got to sleep on the floor with her thrashy little tot, who did stupendously the rest of the night. And now we are the proud owners of a new cool mist humidifier. And the Tanskster is doing awesome, with nary a honk in the last 24 hours.

Oh, hey, and did I mention that last week Tank and I were snuggling on the couch after an especially traumatic splinter removal when things went a little wrong? Tank was coming in for an exceptionally vehement snuggle and accidentally head butted momma square in the schnozz. Crunch. Spurt. Instant double-nostril nosebleed. Wow. I've never had one of those before. I can't imagine being a boxer, because, dude, that was a deal breaker! Momma was pretty much done for the day!

So cross yer fingers that we all make it through this next week with our bits and pieces still attached. We really like our bits and pieces!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Got Sledgehammer?

Hello there! So things are moving forward here, I've started my new (old) job, back in Yosemite Valley for three days a week. I will be doing construction inspection on some sewer line replacement. Fun, huh? And now to get totally geeky on you, I will tell you why some if this will be especially interesting... The contractor will be doing directional drilling! Whoo hoo! Meaning instead of opening a gigantic long pit in the ground and laying pipe in the bottom of it, they will be drilling horizontally through the ground and hauling the pipe through behind it. Neeto, and less damaging environmentally! I knew you'd be just as excited as I!

I will mention here that it is very sad to leave my old job, they were nothing but wonderful. But the new job will be much closer to the new home. And speaking of which...

We are also starting some stuff on the new house. We meet with an electrician today to try and make it less of a spontaneous-bonfire-house potential, and then we will be seeing the lead paint inspectors in the next week or two. I'm not gonna sugar coat this at all. This house is a pit. It is disgusting. It needs a new roof,

new electrical,

new foundation, new flooring and an entirely new kitchen. There is a 2 foot by 1 foot hole in the floor of the bathroom. It stinks. (Um, literally, like really smelly.) But let me enumerate the benefits to you (so that I don't forget them myself!)

We will be living in El Portal, right on the border of Yosemite, closer to all of the fun things that we all love to do!
It is a wonderful neighborhood to raise kids in!
It is scads closer to The Hub's office, and Tankster's daycare, and with gas prices that is significant.
It is right next to a fire hydrant, and in this flammable state, that is significant.
It has city water and sewer, no more worrying about dry wells and overflowing septic systems.
It has fast internet. (If only it were in time for these fabulous olympic days!)
It has a better elementary school. (A few years down the road, but not too far!)
It has four(!) bedrooms, so we will have a guest room for all of you! (Maybe not all at once though...)
We already have friends in the neighborhood.
It has a mother-in-law apartment for monthly income or future housing of The Father-In-Law.

The house will be walking distance to the river, post office, community center, and when they get it rebuilt (after its own spontaneous-bonfiring earlier this year) the new community market. (Photo by B. Popp, not Potts like they list it!)

So it will be a good thing. But right now its a scary thing. An expensive, time consuming, dusty, dirty, smelly, and scary thing. So I might need your help in the future, if not actually toting that bale, then just mentally helping me stay in the game here. Just tell me that this thing has potential, okay?

All pictures from Ken Card of Advanced Home Inspections.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

From Flashes To Flames

So three weeks ago I got to go on that wonderful all gals climbing trip to the East Side of the Sierras. Despite living on Advil for the aforementioned persistent headache and then breaking a chunk off of my car, I had a really fabulous time! The company was amazing, the climbing challenging yet satisfying. So without further ado, here is my standard MO, a slide show of fun...

And then we came home and there was this pesky fire thing, and even peskier evacuation thing and then before you know it your hard earned calloused fingertips are peeling off...

But we are back in the old homestead now, with nothing more damaging than ash on the back porch and spoiled food in the freezer. Can I just mention here how much we LOVE OUR FIREMEN!?

(Hmm, the slide show is looking a bit iffy on the preview, I'll deal with it tomorrow if it isn't working right...)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Hum hum hum, la la la...

Hey folks, we are fine, though still among the fire refugees. My husband has been much better at updating about this thing, so feel free to pop over there to check out his super duper telephoto pictures and insider information mappage.

I'm feeling a bit like hiding my head into the sand right now, so here are the long promised pictures of some finished knitting projects...
Tadaaa, the Reid sweater from the Spring 2006 knitty.com

and the Spring Forward socks from the Summer 2008 knitty.com , and of course a little sneaker who popped into the shot!

I've also made yet another Foliage Hat because a woolie knit hat is just what one needs during 100 degree fire weather. No pictures yet, seeing as I don't really know where my toothbrush is, let alone my camera...

Up next, pictures of climbing from two weekends ago!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Lessons in Materialism

Oh crap kiddos, we've been evacuated from our house. Tank, Hub, dog, cat, and I are all out of the area, safe at a friend's house for now. There was an engine stationed in our driveway when we left. Our house was still standing as of 5 pm. I'll do my best to keep you posted.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Its All In My Head

I am still around, and have oh so much to share with y'all, from housing and job changes, to knitting accomplishments, and an all girls climbing weekend. Except for one tiny thing. A six day headache. The CT scan says I'm fine. Funny, I still don't feel it. Be back as soon as I can.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Doing Things And Makin' Stuff...

So the fourth was wonderful here. Well, not here actually, but in Tahoe where we went. We got to stay in our usually rented house for the first time in 5 years or so, which was wonderful, despite the fact that there is no furniture, cooking utensils or other housewares. We got to see bazillions of friends, and their kids, so big and so wee! Tank boy got to go kayaking on Lake Tahoe with his Daddy and got to see his first fireworks, which he loved! (Which started an hour and a half after regular bedtime, eek!)

It all started out rather quietly for me, as The Hub took The Tank up two days earlier in the hybrid, while I logged in another two days at work. The quiet nights at home were a nice treat, taking full advantage I; battered and sauted up some local organic eggplant (yum!), did my new yoga video, and of course knit.

Then I caught the bus, to the train, to another bus, to yet another bus, to finally meet the family Truckee. Though this sounds complicated, it was all really UNstressful, as I was not traveling with a toddler, nor was I having to do the 5 hours of driving. So it was nap and knitville for me!

Truckee then was a whirl of Fourth celebrations (parades, picnics, open houses and lake splashing) and home improvement preparations. (The rental house master bath has been hurtin' for certain for years now.) But the Home Despot delivery should arrive there today and the contractor (slash old mountain biking buddy) starts work tomorrow! Aside from the cranky shouting match I initiated with the husband after wiping out in the Home Depot parking lot, skinning a knee, losing my son's helium balloon and flashing my panties to the general public, it was an awesomely fun AND productive weekend! Hope y'all had just as much fun, but slightly better traction!

Oh! And if you want to enter the easiest contest ever to win some yarn, go give KnittyK8 a book recommendation!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Out Of My Comfort Zone

Last weekend right as the thunderstorms hit CA, we took Tank Boy camping for the first time. I'm not a big "car camper", I admit, it seems silly to me to drive somewhere relatively close and pretend you don't have a house with a kitchen and a bathroom at your immediate disposal. (Backpacking is different, and so is camping as a cheap method of lodging...) Anywhoo, it was actually quite pleasant (after the quick rain, lightning and thunder passed) as we were camping in a Redwood grove with loads of other families that we knew. And Tank Boy loved it. One of the highlights for him was definitely this:

a lady bug swarm.

I did enjoy this:

and this:

Which was basically sitting on my rump with good friends and knitting. And speaking of knitting, I'm almost finished with this cute girlie sweater for my niece, shown here on a reluctant Tankster...

And backtracking to those thunderstorms, the Hoop family is lookin' into a move. I'm frankly a little freaked out by the fire danger here, the Hoop Ranch quite a ways from the nearest fire hydrant, surrounded by 6 acres of dry grass and brush, and at the top of a steep uncleared ridge. Eeep. We'll keep you posted, but send wet rainy thoughts our way in the mean time. Thanks!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Bears, Bikes, Bums, and Bidding Adieu

A friend of mine sent me this little awareness test thingy. You gotta give it a try and then come on back...

All I gotta say is its a good thing I'm on the bike! And speaking of bicycles, I've got some catching up to do! Two weekends ago I got to go on a girlie's weekend trip, for some road biking in the SF Bay Area. No one was more surprised than I to find out that the plan was to bike 80 miles in two days. 80 frickin miles!

And, unlike some of the other gals, this was pretty much "off the couch" for me. Which makes for a rotten sore bum. AND a great jump start on the bicycling season! So now the bike is out, she's tuned, air filled and ready to go, therefore I've started in on the once a week challenge. (Which I read about somewhere online, but now cannot find for the life o' me.) Anywhoo, I have officially biked to and from work one day a week, for two whole weeks! Woot woot! Its very good motivation to get out the door early, as it has been hitting the 90's here by midmorning. Phew!

And speaking of getting out the door, and therefore leaving, we are facing a sad day tomorrow. Tank Boy's best friend, T Man, is moving across the country. Poor Tankster has no idea what "moving away" means yet.

We love you, T Man and send you off with best wishes but heavy hearts.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Since Y'all Know All My Answers Already...

Today's post is the result of a) way too much time farting around on the internet, b) being way too big of a geek, and c) the Blue Garter knit blog...

Using fd’s Flickr Toys,

a. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
b. Using only the first page, pick an image.
c. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into fd’s mosaic maker).

The Questions:

1. What is your first name?
2. What is your favorite food?
3. What high school did you go to?
4. What is your favorite color?
5. Who is your celebrity crush?
6. Favorite drink?
7. Dream vacation?
8. Favorite dessert?
9. What you want to be when you grow up?
10. What do you love most in life?
11. One Word to describe you.
12. Your flickr name.

Meme Mosaic

1. Suzie Q, 2. The strawberry incident..., 3. Isengard, 4. Orange Explosion, 5. ani difranco 13, 6. Tropical Lime Smoothie (1/2), 7. knitting grafitti, 8. Creme Brulee, 9. Green Roof Model, 10. Being outdoors, 11. She'll Try Anything Once, 12. 5hulahoop_kl3

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Climbing: Off To A Rocky Start (heh heh)...

So the plan on Sunday was to go climbing. I woke up an hour before I had to leave, plenty of time to gather the few remaining things and add them to the pack, kiss the family and go. Then the suspicious intestinal rumbling started. An hour and a half, a few hasty trips to the loo, and three Immodium tablets later I finally had the car packed. Thank goodness for the wonder of modern medicine!

Then, at long last, I'm on my way tootling down the road (on a nearly empty tank, but heading toward a gas station) when I come upon the traffic light regulating cars through the one lane area around Ye Olde Landslide. To be sure to save every drop of gas I turn off the car. Then the light changes, I mash the Prius start button, and... nothing. A light or two comes on on the dash board, but no engine, electric or otherwise. Hmm. Repeated button mashing, key fob fondling, and arm out the window waving traffic by... Phooey! I'm really late now! (Fortunately the intestinal distress seems to be completely in check, thank heavens.) No cell phone service in the river canyon though.

A nice couple stops and tries their hand at mashing the start button, to no avail. They get out, I get in, and Voila! Starts up like a charm. Hmmm. Drive straight to climbing partner's house to find that indeed, he has not given up on me and left for parts unknown. Yay! We take his car.

And go do this:

Looking up the third pitch (rope length) to Climbing Partner Bill up there...

CPB working through the crux of the climb on pitch five... (He's 6 foot something, so we definitely did it differently!)

Requisite self portrait. Note the incredibly beautiful day behind me!

Job well done CPB!

I wanted to post a contrast photo of the young whippersnappers who came up behind us, with their shirtless, helmetless fancy freeness, but evidently I'm over my daily quota for blogger photos or something, so you'll have to use your imagination. I just have one word for them... Sunburn! No wait, two more... Skin Cancer! No wait, another two! Head Trauma! Okay, done now. Enjoy your day!