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It turns out that when you sand the finish off a tabletop, and the finish is rather worn polycrylic (= water-based polyurethane, and which, please note, is entirely unsuitable for the finishing of a dining room tabletop to be used & abused by small children, hence the sanding off), as I say, when you sand off the polycrylic the sanding block produces hilarious little sort of noodly things, which turn out to be the polycrylic all rolling up on its plasticky self.

Note the fact that I am doing this project means the weather has turned; we've got lows in the upper 60s at night and highs only in the upper 80s - what passes for fall!
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We had tornado watch #3 - nine months into living in GA - tonight. This was not in the advertisements for beautiful Georgia. I don't think we ever had a warning in NC; I recall one in Cincinnati once and I was terrified then, too. And at least there I lived in a brick building with a basement.

We seem to have evolved into big booming thunderstorms now; there's a tornado warning maybe 15 miles south right now but the storms are running pretty dead west to east. Casper managed to fall asleep about 30 seconds after an enormous crack of thunder. Before that we talked about how even if lightning stuck our house we would probably be safe (I think that's true, anyway), and if something happened to our house we would go next door to S.'s house and call 911, and S.'s family would let us sleep there if our house was destroyed, and I explained insurance. And then we talked about mummies and vegetarianism. The wide variety always amuses me!


Mar. 1st, 2009 01:49 pm
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On chocolate-covered dates, a gift from a neighbor just back from Dubai: Dillo, "It's like a giant raisin!"

We've got about an inch of heavy wet snow over two days' worth of steady rain (there's a small lake in our back yard.) It's still coming down steadily, and it's not supposed to get above freezing until mid-day tomorrow, so all bets are, no school tomorrow.

This is how Casper feels about it:

The weaning has occurred. Casper was a whining mass of jealousy at the mall yesterday, and covets and appropriates Dillo's new bunny. Dillo has asked to nurse multiple times, and cried angrily at several times (including the middle of the night) but we made it through okay.
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We just had a tornado warning in the middle of dinner - sirens, radio announcement, UGA calling my cell phone, the whole thing. I was genuinely scared in a way I haven't been for some time. We got the kids and their dinner plates and settled into the mostly enclosed hallway in the middle of the house. mr. flea thought I was being a bit silly, but there you go. He looked online and the most severe weather seems to have been mostly about 5-10 miles south of us - not clear yet if a tornado touched down or not. Shudder. i think I might have a little drink to unkink my shoulders.

I did manage not to scare the kids, who are being wild animals. In addition to the antics mentioned earlier in the day, Dillo has been throwing things and just so LOUD. mr. flea got Casper a copy of Harry Potter 1 in the used bookstore today; I think she's a bit young still, but we'll see. She's excited about it anyway (amusingly so, "Where did he get this???") She brought home some nicely written stories ("Butrfly are Hatch egg. Butrfly come in any color.")

We brought up the weaning plan and at this point Dillo seems excited (he wants a purple animal, too!) and Casper loved the idea. She said when she grows up and has babies, when they stop nursing she will also have a party for them.
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I had sort of missed the fact that we were having a cold snap. You can take the girl out of New England... I mean, I guess the fact that Casper has worn a winter coat twice in the last couple of weeks might have clued me in. Dillo doesn't actually own a winter coat right now - I send my poor little son out into the world in just a long-sleeved t-shirt and a hoodie sweatshirt, even when it's actually below freezing in the morning! (It's not like he's going to die on the 2-minute journey from the house to our car, and they don't let them play outside at day care when it's cold. Their definition of cold may vary.) The kids wore mittens yesterday, though they don't usually.

Our neighbor tells me he usually watches the entire football season from his porch, and hasn't done this year (we've had plenty of weekends with daytime highs only in the mid-40s.) I did realize we'd had an unseasonably cool September and October, because it was really nice and not stinkingly hot, but I guess my automatic "winter actually exists" genes kicked in.
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It's 9:30 on a Saturday morning, and cool and lovely on our shaded front porch. Mac thermometer says it's 73 degrees.

Casper walked out onto the porch and said, "It's soooo cold out here! Is it starting to be winter?"

I have indeed birthed an alien Southern child. Oh well, I guess she'll deal with global warming better than me.
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This is my sixth southern spring, and I still am shocked by how fast they happen. Last week we were bud and bare twigs, and now we're leafing out.

My yard:
ipheion, grape hyacinth passing
daffodils full, starting to pass
turkish tulips full
redbud full
azaleas coming out
dogwood tiny tiny blooms (looks like it will bloom this year! yay!)
iris not yet in bud
lilies showing shoots
peas 1: 5 inches
peas 2: 2 inches
peas 3: planted yesterday

Broader world:
daffodils passing
tulips full to blowsy
cherries in FULL bloom
bartlett pears losing bloom, starting to leaf out
wisteria early to mid bloom
azaleas early to mid bloom
pin oaks in danglers and starting to leaf out
freak early iris at my neighbors bloomed a full 3 weeks ago!
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Not sticking yet, but soon I hope.

Phew. If we got no snow, there was going to be one disappointed kid. She has been explaining how she plans to make her snowman all day. (We have accepted that it may have to be a *miniature* snowman, like Calvin makes.)
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We have been to the Kroger, the Home Despot, and the PetSmart. There was plenty of bread, milk, and batteries (and we actually bought all three) and it was not notably more crowded than usual. We plan to make "frosting cookies" (Casper' choice) and peanut butter chocolate chip cookies (mr. flea's choice) and spaghetti and meat balls (their collective choice).

Casper was worried that it might start snowing while we were out, so she suggested that we bring her shovel, just in case. The three-foot garden shovel was duly stowed in the trunk. Luckily, we made it home safely, without having to dig ourselves out from anything. (It's not even raining yet.)
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Last Thursday we had our first hard frost, killing the impatiens on the front steps. We bought stew beef at Whole Foods, thinking it would be a good weekend to stay in, decorate the tree, and cosy up.

We decorated the tree and made beef stew all right, but in our shirt sleeves. Today it was officially 78 degrees; I think we were warmer. Casper went to school in a singlet, shorts and flip flops, and this was actually reasonable. Same expected tomorrow and Wednesday.

Yet they have an inch of ice in Oklahoma. I'm not sorry we've dodged this ice storm; I well remember ours of Dec. 2002, since it got us Casper. But still, I could stand a *little* winter.

8:45 pm, we've got the door open, 67 degrees. December 10. Sheesh.


Oct. 4th, 2007 10:19 am
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We're now officially in "exceptional drought," which makes it all the more galling that it's been insufferably humid the last couple of days. Turn that moisture into rain, please?

Also insufferable is the fact that some people are continuing to water lawns. The sprinkler system at the Looni's Catholic Student house (by which I walk on my way to work) had been on this AM, although the water regulations allow watering only on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Mostly the Looni is letting the grass die (or go dormant, I hope), which I applaud.

I've put a Rubbermaid bin in the sink and am using grey water to water the garden (such as it is; I planted a bunch of fall crops, including kale, lettuces, and the last of the bean seeds I had, in hopes that the rabbits would have forgotten about me. The rabbits remembered. Casper keeps finding little piles of rabbit poop in the lawn). I should have been doing this long ago - it's a little awkward but not too bad and I get TONS of water. I can also empty the tub out after the kids' bath with a bucket if I need more.

yay; boo 2

Aug. 4th, 2007 06:22 am
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1. Dillo slept from 7pm, woke up but went back down with a couple of pats on the back at 9:30 when Casper was screaming in rage because we wanted her to go to bed, and then slept though until 5:30!!!!!1!

2. It's going to be 98 degrees and incredibly humid today. Ick.
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How about you? Yep, I came back and once again we are in mid 90s and orange ozone alerts. The garden survived my absence and Casper and I ate 4 beans the other night. I have blooming sweet peas (not wildly thriving, but living, and blooming: http://www.flickr.com/photos/casperflea/566311845/) and set tomatoes and generally things are ticking along. Must be vigilant about watering, though.

The Dillo's eighth tooth is through. He is so energetic - will climb on anything. Favorite toys include the doggy xylophone and putting shapes in the shape sorter (without the shape-sorting lid - we are at basic levels of skill here!) Has slept until past 6am the last couple of days! Still very chubby.

The kids transitioned back to school just fine yesterday. On Saturday Casper had her Tap & Tumble recital, which was darling if very very long. The twos were funny as hell and all over the place; the young threes were a combination of tragic and funny - Zoe stood with maracas on hips, the opening pose of their routine, for basically the entire song, and Harrison made horrified tragic faces; and the older threes and fours (including Casper) were pretty much with-it, if not exactly smooth dancers. Casper was one of the clumsier ones, but not outstandingly klutzy (she is also one of the younger ones, and was wearing sneakers that made her stumble, whoops.) I can report that I am such a sappy mother that I got weepy when she came on 'stage' - maybe it was sleep deprivation? http://www.flickr.com/photos/casperflea/566754595/

We also had father's day festivities at Elmo's. Casper was not best pleased about the whole idea of the annual ritual of the photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/casperflea/566311797
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Damn, must run out and start sprinkler. Am in underwear. Wait one sec...

Okay, back, clad in housecoat, rather damp, especially about the left arm (the faucet sprays, and I had to reposition the sprinkler). I suprised a rabbit which went bounding off into the neighbor's yard.

Today harvested the last of the peas, pretty much, and pulled most of them out. It was a sorry spring for peas, in contrast to last year. Too dry, and bizarre cold/hot fluctuations.

We've also been eating a fair amount of decent lettuce. It's a greenleaf, heading lettuce. A little bitter. I do love butter lettuce, but we have the wrong climate - this is a stout heat-tolerant variety.

Progress of other things:
Sweet peas seem finally to be showing some initiative, though I am worried about the heat.
Petunias blooming, doing okay.
Tomatoes up to 2 feet tall, a couple have set small fruit.
Cucumber blooming.
Zucchini flourishing but not yet blooming.
Beans doing well, have 3 sets of leaves and working towards blooming.
In tiny sprouty stage: lettuce set 2, kale, carrots, beets.
Planted today: more beans, carrots, beets, canteloupe.

In flower news, the roses and clematis are blowsy and on their last legs. The first lily is blooming, and I should really dig and divide a lot of the iris this year but doubt I'll get to it.

Herbs: lemon thyme is spreading, new wooly thyme doing okay, mint surprisingly docile, chives and lavendar in bloom.

It's gotten hot - we've had the AC on all day and the forecast for the forseeable future is 90 degrees. Insert ritual annual "I hate summer in the south" plaint here. With added "I forgot how annoying the noisy AC unit is; how I wish we had central air."

Today to Duke Park, farmer's market, home and gardening + sprinkler play, grocery. Tomorrow we're off early to the lake, plan to swim early, have cookout lunch and then go home before it gets too hot/crowded. We hope, anyway.

I have also booked plane tickets for Boston for 2 weeks from today. I haven't asked for the time off from work yet, oops. Also, we get back at 10:30 am on the 16th; at 11:30 am Casper is supposed to be at some church in Cary for her gymnastics class recital. We'll see if THAT happens. The booking of the tickets has consumed my whole energy for the day in stress (nonstops only please, but price is an issue, and trying to work out who needs to be where when). I am going with just the kids; mr. flea will stay here and produce a thesis proposal by June 15. We will have at least 2 nights and possibly 4 at the Cape, and the rest with Grandma and Auntie Vee. I am feeling rather doomful about it at present, which is a sorry commentary on me as it is really YAY FUN BEACH VACATION.
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It's huuuumid - 71% humidity in the house, due to morning thunderstorms, so the AC has gone on for the first time this year. We needed the rain, but feh anyway.

I need to do some garden work this weekend. We have been havesting peas, which didn't do that well this year. It has been dry and hot alternating with dry and really cold. Last year we had a long cool moist spring and happy happy peas. I've eaten some lettuce, mostly from thinning the larger head lettuce. Everything else is doing appropriately but not thriving unusually. So far, my first planting of peans is uneaten (this is very unusual.) The climbing rose and clematis are both in full bloom right now, but the thunderstorm meant a lot of petals off the roses. The iris are mostly gone by, many gone to mush in the rain.

I am still sick, Dillo is coughy and very annoyed (an hour of crying, unsoothable, in the night), Casper is still pushing my buttons in an extraordinary fashion and making me marvel at her focus and will. Last night she asked for an extra cup of milk every 30-90 seconds for nearly 2 hours straight. We said no every single time, and explained out rationale (lots of bed-peeing lately), and withstood torrents of tears, whining, screaming, and demanding. She got up at 7 am and said, "I want some milk now!"

We are now 1 minute late for our lunch date already, but the Dillo just fell asleep half an hour ago, poor noodle. I guess I should call them and say we'll be late.


Nov. 22nd, 2006 09:48 am
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It is beastly out and has been for nearly 24 hours - cold, raining, and very windy. I did two 20-minute walks with the Dillo strapped to my chest yesterday afternoon and arrived home soaked to the skin. mr. flea similarly after picking Casper up at school.

But - we now have car, and a good thing too as we are approaching diaper crisis levels. Massive grocery shopping to occur tonight. They cleaned it very thoroughly on the inside, which is nice, since it needed it.

I am haunted/earwormed by the Helsinki Complaints Choir, and none of my coworkers seems to find it that interesting.

Yesterday was mr. flea's birthday and I gave him Madhur Jaffrey's Qucik and Easy Indian Cooking and made a chicken, red lentil and green bean stew from it for his birthday dinner. It was a great success, even though we didn't have any green beans.

Looking forward to the 4-day weekend, the Macy's parade, the dog show, possible shopping (Target?), hopeful napping, and the complete lack of holiday travel. Although I tend to be lonely, I am still glad we don't travel at Thanksgiving.


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