Friday, December 10, 2010

May the force be with you girls

As you all know, I am a geek. I feel no shame in admitting, as a girl, that I love Star Wars, Star Trek, and especially Lord of the Rings. Not that long ago the writer of a blog I read posted about a 1st grade girl who'd been teased for taking her Star Wars water bottle to school because Star Wars is for boys, not girls. Well, screw that I say. What's not for girls? Princess Leia kicks just as much, if not more, butt than anyone else thank you very much. Here is a link to the CNN story about Katie, and a link to the Facebook event page:

CNN Story (video/text)

Facebook Event

Anyhow, in honor of the Wear it/Share it, the rugrat wanted to wear her Princess Leia costume to school. That's who she chose to be for Halloween this year. Instead we picked up a Star Wars Lego shirt that she's had her eye on for some time. I figure it's a good reason. Especially because she was so upset on behalf of Katie. I explained what had happened and she felt bad. She knows how it feels because she's been teased before for having a "boy haircut"... by no less than the woman cutting her hair at the time. Yeah, I was not happy and told her so. We no longer go there. She always says that it bothers her, but that she's not going to stop wearing the clothes she likes, watching the shows she likes, and liking the toys she likes. She said it was stupid to say things were for boys and other things were for girls. Anybody should be able to like anything that they want.

I don't know how I managed to impart this sense of self and comfort with being who she is so well, but I like to think it's because I like myself and she has that example. I just hope it lasts when she hits those teen years. I hope she gets enough years in that it becomes habit and she doesn't lose it, but I'm certainly going to continue backing her no matter what.

This morning I took a picture as I was dropping her off at daycare. She told me that with her short hair and the shirt everyone would probably say she looked like a boy, but that was okay because she likes her hair and the shirt and she'd be able to use that to tell people about the girl that got teased and maybe then they could learn something too. Oh man, I love this kid!!!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Book Review - Machine of Death

Yay, another book review!

Machine of Death: A collection of stories about people who know how they will dieMachine of Death: A collection of stories about people who know how they will die by Ryan North

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

First, I have to say that it wasn't what I expected, but it was better than what I expected. For whatever reason I expected more stories dealing with the actual death of people. Instead it was more about the reactions of people to the concept itself or their particular reading.

My two favorites in the book are very very different, yet at the core have the same sort of bias towards the machine. Torn Apart and Devoured by Lions and Miscarriage are those two. Neither of them actually contain the death and one is both completely accurate for the story it titles, yet isn't the way someone dies or is slated to die.

The stories are so varied and there are even several from the point of view of the "creators" of the machine. None of the stories in this collection take away anything from any of the others and they all seem to fit very well together. I went in only being familiar with the work of two of the editors and one of the writers in the collection as they all write webcomics that I love and read whenever there is a new one available. Those three webcomics (Dinosaur Comics, Wondermark, and xkcd) showcase the variety of perceptions, views, and entertainment type you can find on the internet and that really translates into the entire book.

I'm very impressed overall with not only the variety of stories, but the collection as a whole is very well put together.

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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Book Review - The House on Durrow Street

I decided that since the majority of what I spend my time on is reading, I should share some of the books I've read. So I'm introducing a new "feature" of sorts. This is really a Kelly only adventure, but it's my blog, so deal. =)

The House on Durrow StreetThe House on Durrow Street by Galen M. Beckett

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really liked this book. I actually liked it a lot more than the first one, but I think that was mainly due to being more familiar with the setup of the world. I still had a hard time getting through the book, but I think that's really more my own issues with Jane Austen style of story-telling. So slow and most of the time I had to go back and re-read because I skipped things in my desire to move along in the story.

Also, I disliked the massive build-up over the course of the book and then everything resolves in like 10 pages. Again, it's the style of writing and not one that I prefer, but I did love the way the differing story-lines came together at the end though. I was curious throughout the book how the two main ones of Ivy and Eldyn would connect, but I knew that they would. That is one thing that I love the most about this series is that the most disparate seeming story-lines end up being so intertwined. I did figure out one of the bad guys early on, but the story still drew me in and made me want to continue to the end.

All in all I like the book and look forward to more stories in the series/world.

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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Screw you stomach flu, I wanna take a shower

Today I saved myself about $150 by manning up and doing some home plumbing. I did not want to do this plumbing which is how I discovered that it would cost me $175 to have someone come and do it. Of the 3 plumbers I asked to get estimates from, $175 was the cheapest, one was over $200 and the 3rd dude didn't even bother showing up for the appointment he made with me.

I've gotten ahead of myself and should give some explanation. Over the past few months, the cold water tap in the shower has become increasingly difficult to turn on and off and the handles been loosening. Awhile ago I thought it was done for, but I managed to finagle it and didn't have to fix it back then. Unfortunately my luck ran out last Thursday. Not only did it stop working, but it loosened to the point that I couldn't get it to tighten and shut the water off all the way and the screw head broke off in the stem. That was the end of showers. Because I knew I wasn't going to want to spend the money for an emergency fix and the water was only leaking a little bit, I just put in the plug and let the cold water build up over night, then added hot water the next day to have a bath and the rugrat and I were washing our hair in the kitchen sink. Yeah, I know, I'm ghetto, but at least I didn't just let it drip and waste all that water.

So, after waking up Monday morning feeling as though I'd been hit by a truck, I got a hold of 3 different plumbers to come take a look and give me an estimate because I didn't want to deal wit it anymore. After they all left I sat down to decide what I was going to do. I looked into how much the parts would be and it was about $25. I just needed to let go of my fear of dealing with plumbing and replace the stem and other sundry parts. So I went and got the new parts with the plan to fix it tonight after getting home from work.

Those plans were thwarted when I spent the rest of Monday night and early this morning in the bathroom as it became apparent that I would not be going to work. The "hit by a truck" feeling was apparently a prelude to a 24 hour stomach flu bug thingamajig and I wanted to die by about 5 this morning. I got the rugrat to daycare and came home to spend some more time in the bathroom. It occurred to me that I since I was going to be spending the day in the bathroom anyway, I should go ahead and fix the tub tap while I was in there.

Now, I must take a small break here to remind you all about my tendency to mix brilliance with complete idiocy. I believe I have covered this in depth on this blog. I wish that I could blame today's instance of this on drugs, but since I'm pretty sure that Pepto and Advil don't cause stupidity, that's not really an option.

Anyway, it wasn't until about 5 minutes after I shut off the water and I was wrestling with the stem to loosen and remove it that I realized that the reason I was in the bathroom in the first place was my frequent need of the facilities available in the bathroom. Luckily, and I'm still not sure exactly why I did it, I had filled a bucket of water prior to turning off the water so I could refill the tank on the toilet. Yes, I'm an idiot. Luckily it wasn't a very difficult thing to fix so it only took me about 20 minutes total to take out the old and put in the new. I think if I'd not been sick it would have only taken about half that.

I then used up all the hot water in the house taking a shower. =)

That's not the best part about the whole thing though. The best part is that this is the first home repair/project I've completed without injuring myself. I don't know how I managed it but it appears that I'm less apt to injure myself when I'm half out of it because I'm ill. Eh, whatever the reason, I have no injuries and I'm fine with that.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

I've angered the rugrat

We're having this contest at work relating to purchasing items online. Well, I decided it was a good opportunity to help my team win by starting on my Christmas shopping. It's really only about a month early for me. I usually start in September and am completely done by Halloween at the latest. What? I hate people. I especially hate crowds shopping. I have significantly decreased my personal interaction by taking most of my present shopping online, but that little bit I need to do in person has to be done before everyone else is there. Frankly I'd rather pay $2 more for a stupid toy than have to wait in line for 3 hours to buy it later. Sometimes my patience (or lack thereof) trumps my cheapness. Which is impressive because not much trumps my cheapness.

I digress, as usual.

So, I found a sweet deal on some Science and Animal reference books in a lot. I bid on them and won. They arrived earlier this week and when Malia saw the package she asked what it was. I told her it was one of her Christmas presents because I started my shopping already. She got down and was looking at the box reading the side panels. The person obviously recycled the box because it was labeled "Rope of Sausage". She got all sorts of excited because she thought I bought her an entire box of sausage. When I explained that it wasn't really a big box of sausage the look of disappointment on her face was priceless. She looked so dejected for about an hour before she got distracted. I know she'll love the books I got her and the other items I have planned, but apparently I should get her sausage of some sort for her stocking.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

My mom was eaten by a shark

So, Malia and I are sitting around watching Shark Week. It is the most wonderful time of the year and I'm very glad that she enjoys the shows as much as I do. And no, I don't let my almost 7 yr. old watch the shows with the reenactments of attacks and whatnot. She likes the scientific research ones like Ultimate Air Jaws. She's also quite happy that she's got another loose tooth and like the first two, it's being pushed slowly out as the adult tooth comes in. I'm really starting to wonder now if all her teeth will do this. She loves it because she has "shark teeth" in that she's got two rows of teeth temporarily. I believe I have discussed this before so sorry, I tend to repeat. Especially things that I find super entertaining.

Anyway, we're watching some show with cage diving and we have the following conversation...

RR: When are you going to go cage diving with sharks?
Me: I promised your Grandma that I wouldn't go until you were 18 so she didn't have to raise you.
Me: (laughed so hard I snorted)
RR: Fine, go, then if something happens and you die, could it please be because you were eaten by a shark?
Me: What?
RR: How cool would it be if people asked me why I didn't have a mom and my Grandma was raising me and I could say "She was eaten by a shark"? That would be pretty sweet.
Me: Thanks, good to know my being eaten by a shark would be a conversation piece for you.
RR: Well, you have to die sometime, I'm just saying being eaten by a shark isn't something that you hear every day. I'll be really sad when you die, but at least this way it would also be a little funny and I wouldn't be as sad.
Me: Point taken. Let's not discuss my imminent death by shark though please. Just watch the show.

Is it any wonder I love this child? Good times at our house.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

More fun with water

Well, it's been awhile since I last had to do a home improvement project involving plumbing. You may recall the Great Toilet Repair of 2008 where I got to replace the entire innards of my toilet and only got one injury. Well, I'm going to be doing another one after this long weekend. Why not now? Well, because I'm going to the parents tonight to stay through the weekend, so it'll be a project for when I get home.

The fun begins when the rugrat and I got up this morning to get ready. Got all our stuff together and I went in to get the shower started. I turned the hot water on first (as is my habit) and then went to turn on the cold water to blend them nicely for a fantastic way to start off the morning. Much to my chagrin, the cold side knob just kept turning and turning and never turned on water. It seems as though the inner portion teeth have worn to the point that the knob grabby things (technical term - I'm a professional) are no longer grabbing anything. I will need to replace this faucet, which means I might as well replace both of them. I do like matching some things.

As a result of this, and because both the rugrat and I needed to not be fragrant for the day, I had to fill the tub with hot water, then add cold water from the sink faucet until it was bearable. I had to do this twice, because frankly, I'm not using the rugrat's dirty water. I swear that child turned the water gray. Anyway, NOT a fun morning and it took twice as long as usual to get going. Which means I didn't get packed as I'd planned, so I have to do it after work. Which means I'll be heading up to the parents even later and probably won't get there until they've gone to bed. At least I have a key. =)

So, stay tuned for the fun as I'll be fixing the faucets upon my return next week. Should be a good time, and I plan on showering at the parents right before I head home so that I have a little leeway.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Man, I love the rugrat sometimes.

Conversation I just had with Malia:

Me: We'll watch Life and then there is a show about Hawaii and how it was made.
Malia: I don't need to watch that.  I already know.
Me: Oh yeah?
Malia: By volcanoes Mom, duh!  I can't believe you didn't know.
Me: I did know.  I did not know that you did.
Malia: Sure you did.  I love you, you don't have to pretend to know stuff to impress me.

That's right, my 6 1/2 yr old patronizes me.  I'd be angry if it weren't so funny.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

I learned something new today.

Malia and I headed to the store this morning to pick up some knitting supplies. She's learning at her daycare, so she wanted some stuff so that she can work on her own projects rather that sit around and watch a movie in the afternoon. She's been hard at work since we got home, but I can't show you anything because she's crafting with specific people in mind and I promised not to give anything away. I'll make sure and keep track of her progress and show it off after she's presented her gifts. Keep in mind that some of them are months away so I apologize in advance if I forget some.

Anyhow, after leaving Walmart, we headed to Denny's for some breakfast. Yeah, sue me, I eat at Denny's. Their coffee doesn't suck as bad as it used to, and the rugrat likes that she can get grapes with whatever she eats. Anyway, we're eating and I had finished and was just relaxing and we had the following conversation:

Rugrat: Well, this chicken has finished laying her eggs.
Me: (confused look)
RR: That means I'm done eating mom.
Me: Oh, okay then. (still slightly confused)
RR: It's a figure of speech mom, I don't really lay eggs. I'm a mammal.
Me: That's unfortunate because we could save a lot of money if you could lay eggs.
RR: Gross mom, I wouldn't eat an egg that I laid.

As you are no doubt aware, this is a pretty good example of most conversations we have. Educational and absurd. =) Well, when she's not arguing with me like she's a teenager. An example of that really entertained my cousin Jess and her husband at my Grandpa's 80th birthday party last weekend where this occurred:

Rugrat: Mom? (asked something, but I don't remember what)
Me: No, you can't
RR: Moo-oom, when are you going to treat me like a young adult?
Me: When you are one.
RR: I am.
Me: No, you aren't, you're not even 7 yet
RR: You never let me do anything. (said under her breath as she stomped away.

Jesse (husband of Jess - yes, it's fun) was cracking up and I don't blame him. It is funny, even though it worries me to think about what her teenage years will be like.

Anyway, back to today. After we left Denny's, Malia pointed out that the clouds looked really low and I told her that we could drive through them if she liked. She told me that wasn't possible, so I set out to show her that we could. We headed south and up Little Cottonwood Canyon. Not too far up the canyon, we hit clouds and drove on through. She was pretty quiet and eventually asked if we could just turn around and go back down. So, I turned around at Snowbird and we headed back down. I snapped this picture just before we headed back into the clouds on the way back down.
When we got almost to the bottom she let me know that she'd rather not do that again. Apparently, driving up in the rain and being on the side that looked down the alternately steep tree-lined cliff, or abrupt drop into the fast moving creek made her "nervous" and she didn't like it. So, while I am sad that she was upset and wish she'd said something sooner, we did learn that she's not a fan of heights. Not something we knew before today. She did think driving through the cloud was cool because it "rained" even though it wasn't raining.

So ends today's adventure, if only because my new door isn't here yet. They are scheduled to be here at 2. WOOO!!!! My fingers are almost healed from the fiasco of a week ago.

EDIT: Before anyone yells at me, I did come to a stop to take this picture. There were no cars behind me.

Monday, June 7, 2010

I promise, I had a plan...

About a year ago, my sister Kami and her husband replaced their front door. When they did this, they gifted me with their old screen door. I have enjoyed having this door, and have been planning since receiving it to fix it up and replace the hard golden plastic inserts with screening to allow for air flow. Especially when one side of them broke a lot and the lack of symmetry has pestered me. So, Saturday morning, bright and early, I started my attack. First things first, I had to remove the aforementioned hard plastic. Here is the pre-starting picture of the door and you can see on the right where the plastic is missing.

I learned the hard way that the plastic in there is very sharp when it's broken. It took me only about 30 minutes to pull it all out, but oh did it end up being a painful half an hour. Here is a picture of some of the larger chunks. If you really want to look closely, you can see some blood drops from the second of the injuries I sustained. Just as an FYI that's as gory as this post gets. I didn't take pictures of the actual injuries because I was to busy bleeding and cursing.

After all the fun of tearing the door apart and waiting an hour for my injuries to stop bleeding through bandaids, I began to attempt to screen the inserts. Holy crap was this frustrating. After 2 1/2 hours of trying every way I could think of, I threw in the towel. The rugrat and I jumped on in the car and headed to Lowe's. I have a guy coming to measure this week and I should have the new door installed and the old one hauled away by mid next week. In the interim, this is the view from inside. The upside is that it gives me fantastic air flow, but the cotton and blossoms blowing in mean I have to vacuum more often.

I also learned something after injuring myself. I managed to cut the pads of my left thumb and pointer finger. The pointer finger is the one that dropped blood all over as it was more of a deep stab than a cut. Anyway, what I learned is that I don't open anything right-handed. I do most things with both hands, but there are a few things that I do with one specific hand. Apparently opening anything in a wrapper or a jar or a bottle, I only do with my left hand. Unfortunately I would forget this every time, so whenever I opened something, I ended up having to change the bandaids because I'd start bleeding all over again. My poor fingers!

So, I learned three things.

1. I should never try to screen anything ever again. I do not have the patience to do it. Nor do I have the ability to do much of anything without injuring myself.

2. I learned that I open things solely with my left hand. Because of this, I should be more careful when I decide to try something that I don't have patience for.

3. I also learned that if I try really hard, I can just curse in my head instead of out loud. Yay for the rugrat because I'm pretty sure her ears would have burned right off.

Thus ends my adventure in screening. I hope to remember to post pictures of my new door when it's in.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Odd bits

Two things:

1. The damn hamsters got out last night. I'm pretty sure that it's because I apparently didn't completely secure the cage after I cleaned it out last night and they were high on the feeling of freedom they had had while I was cleaning. I let them roll around in those little balls around the kitchen and down the hallway. Dodgers managed to escape the ball, but instead of running and hiding, she decided to climb on my foot and nibble on my toes so she was easily recovered and placed back in the ball... which I then taped shut. Apparently that was not appreciated because they later jimmied up the side of the cage and pushed the door open and got out.

Again, Dodgers lives up to her namesake in that she's not very bright. Where does she head? My bedroom. I was awakened at around 5:15 to sounds of her starting to chew on one of my books. Nothing else is going to wake me from a dead sleep without touching me than my books being messed with. Unfortunately, she got away and after 20 minutes or so I just decided to get ready. About the time we were getting ready to leave, I went in my closet to get my shoes. There was Dodgers who, when I put my hand down on the floor, climbed on in and let me take and put her back in the cage. Finding The Cadet is on my to do list for when we get home. Preferably before she starves and starts stinking up the place. Or eats my books. Oh hell, she better not eat my books. Now I'm going to be worrying about that all day long. I now have a horrible picture in my head that I'll get home and she's created a nest out of my favorite smut novels (with pirates of course) and is all settled in. Aaaaaarrrrrrrgggghhhhhhh!

2. While stopped at a red light this morning, I had this conversation with the rugrat and it almost made me cry.
RR: Hey, that store over there sells notebooks and backpacks.
Me: What store, and I don't see any sign.
RR: The Chinese one over there. Those characters mean notebooks and backpacks for sale.
Me: Oh... Okay, we'll check it out on the way home.

This is the first time it's really hit me that she's learning CHINESE and is accessing that knowledge almost subconsciously. It's like when I see a sign in Spanish, I just read it, but Chinese, I just pass over it because I don't know it. She sees the Chinese and stops to read it. I am assuming it will be the highlight of my day because really, does it get better?

3. So, I'm sneaking in a third one. I had to share that the rugrat had green macaroni and cheese for dinner last night and then we watched "Darby O'Gill and the Little People". Happy St. Patrick's Day to us!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Chinese New Year

Rugrat's first grade class doing a ribbon dance. Rugrat is in the back left corner with the yellow headband and pink ribbon.

Friday, February 5, 2010

The re-naming of the rugrat

Apparently the rugrat renamed herself when moving to the new daycare and invented the most hilarious reason how she came to be called "Maria" but her name is spelled "Malia". The only people at her daycare that know her name is actually pronounced "Malia" are those with whom I have regular contact.

Apparently a couple of conversations I had with her last summer inspired her when she got to start at a fresh daycare where no one knew her ahead of time. In one, we were discussing names and I mentioned that Malia was the Hawaiian version of Mary and that Maria was the Spanish version of Mary. Apparently she decided that since she looks like Dora the Explorer she should be using the Spanish version. So, she introduced herself to all the kids and teachers as Maria. Until a couple weeks ago, not many noticed, they just thought they'd misread or misheard depending on where they fit into things. I had spoken with a couple teachers and so I knew she was calling herself that, and they knew she wasn't really Maria.

I went in a couple weeks ago to pay for February and got chatting with the girl manning the front desk. It was the first time I'd encountered her there and she looked all sorts of confused when I told her I was there to pay for Malia. She asked if I meant Maria and kind of had a pitying look when she pronounced the name. I told her no, I meant Malia and that apparently she was one of those who Malia had confused. It was then that she told me the story that rugrat came up with.

Apparently she told several people that the couple of years of Japanese I took in college had confused me on my Ls and Rs and I had spelled it Malia, but pronounced it Maria because of this. My reaction to this was, of course, to laugh. I laughed for quite some time because frankly that's just about the funniest damn explanation ever. I'm not sure what entertains me the most. The fact that rugrat came up with it, or the fact that people at the daycare totally BOUGHT it as valid. That explains the pitying looks that I receive from some of the teachers whenever I asked for Malia by name, or when I jokingly called her Maria.

In case you hadn't guessed, the other conversation we had last summer was about how there is no L in Japanese so in my class, my tutor called me Kerry most of the time because he had a REALLY hard time with Ls. Once again, I'm amazed at what she picks up and remembers from our conversations. Just like with the shark teeth.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Bits and pieces

I have a lot of little things going on so this probably won't be a very cohesive post, but you all know cohesive isn't really how my mind rolls anyway.

The holidays were great and it was fantastic (for me) to spend nearly the entire 2 weeks I took off at the parents. Rugrat was beyond excited to spend that much time up there, I think because she didn't have to worry about me harassing her to clean her bedroom every night. There was food, there was fun, and we even all got to chat with my brother JC and his family over Skype Christmas Eve. My family, after several years of me touting it, finally started giving it a try and they are all believers. I also think it's hilarious that my nephew Zenock now thinks that we all live in the computer. It was so fun to see how excited he was to see us all even through while I was trying to get some settings, he kept hollering that he didn't want to talk to Kelly and to put Grandpa back. Then as soon as I did that he wanted to talk to me. Cracked me up. It was fun to also see how excited Malia and her cousins were to talk to Zen. I totally rocked at picking Christmas gifts for the rugrat this year, but now I have to play all the games she got. Battleship isn't too bad, but I'm more looking forward to some 2 person Lego Star Wars on the Wii. Given her love of the Indiana Jones Lego game for the DS, I figured the Star Wars would go over well. Despite not noticing that it was rated for 10+, the rugrat is a holy terror at that game. She'll probably beat me at that just like she does at Mario Kart.

Home Improvement
I've really only started on step one here. I finally got the storage bay and we begin moving crap into it this evening. I am moving stuff that just sits in bins and boxes because I don't have room for it in my condo. That way, it's easier to start on the improvements I plan to complete before selling the condo. Yes, it's mostly books, so when I buy a new house, I need 3 bedrooms, just so I have one for all my books to go on bookshelves. I plan on doing flooring in the living room and halls first, then I'll do each of the bedrooms, and eventually the bathroom and kitchen. I'm going to be re-doing the bathroom and kitchen, so I'll do those floors as I'm doing those rooms. I even already picked out all the stuff for each of the areas and I suckered some friends into agreeing to help me, so as I have the funds, we do each project. I'm really excited to get started because it means I get to paint again. Don't worry Grandma, I'm painting over my crazy color scheme with something more neutral so maybe you can come visit. :) I am not, however, painting any walls white. I'm sorry, but I just can't do it.

I'm getting a meeting set up next week to figure out the specifics of heading back to school. I know, you've all heard that before, but this time I will finish if it kills me. I believe that I can finish in a year and a half. Once I find out the specifics, then I get to hunt for a sitter because it'll be evening school, so the daycare is closed. Man, coordinating this crap is hard.

There you have it. That pretty much sums up what's happening right now. I know, it's exciting. Hey, at least for the first time in more than 6 months I actually care enough to do something instead of just thinking about planning to do something.