Thursday, June 30, 2005

My Sentiments Exactly

You've gotta read this rendition of the Three Bears if you want to understand what my life has been like recently. Link via Basil's Blog.

Light The World On Fire!

This weekend, we've got the flag, we've got the fire... we're just not putting the two together. Instead, the fire will be used to light sparkly things that go boom, somewhere near flags. (Actually quite far away from any flag because that could cause a disaster.) Still though, fireworks are more than just fun or danger (or dangerous fun). Fireworks also symbolize that American ability to come up with an idea that lights the world on fire, as our unique form of government has done and is still doing. But there's no time for deep thoughts like that now! I wanna go see the sparklies!

Yay for sparkly things that go boom! Hiss on sparkly things that go eeeeEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEeee! Those squealy things (commonly known as "Piccolo Petes") baffle me. I really don't know why anyone would want a firework that sounds like an overtired toddler, let alone would want it at 1 a.m. in a residential neighborhood. I want fireworks that make lots of pretty colored sparks! I want fireworks that blow up and remind me of "bombs bursting in air"! I do NOT want fireworks that whine like politicians!

Fourth of July would just not be Fourth of July for me without ground blooms, sparklers, and great big fountains that go pfffftt and weren't worth the money we spent on them. I let each of the kids choose the firework they couldn't do without. Sonshine chose a box of tanks, and Princess picked "poppers" (those little paper drops that you throw on the driveway in hopes that they explode with a "pop"). They usually do go "pop," but only when you drive over them with your car the next day. But the very best fireworks will be Friday night, when the annual fireworks show lights the Logan sky. Every year they outdo themselves with this show, and it seems like the grand finale is just 20 solid minutes of nothing but "ooohs" and "aaahs."

What's your favorite firework?

You Read Now

I meant to post a much lengthier post on this topic, since I've posted on it before, but Bill at INDC Journal has two really nice posts about China that I've been saving in Bloglines for quite some time now. Since I don't have much time and am not likely to be able to compose my desired post in a timely manner, I will summarize it in three words:

You read now.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Happy Birthday To Bagel

Bagel turned 1 year old on Monday. I would have blogged about it then, but I've been so busy getting ready for the Virtual Tour, where they take pictures of every room in our house as an online selling tool, which means that every room in the house has to be clean at the same time, a virtually impossible task with three kids living in the house.

We scheduled his party for last night because the Virtual Tour was supposed to be yesterday. We figured the whole house would be clean, and we'd be able to party with as much abandon as you can with a one-year-old. Unfortunately, the realtor forgot to let the photographer know it was supposed to be yesterday, so he's coming today. I am really cheesed about that. I had carefully choreographed the cleaning so that everything would simultaneously be clean-- there are some rooms, like the kitchen, that are only perfectly clean at certain points in their use cycle-- and this completely threw it off. Now the laundry bins are starting to be overfull because the laundry cycle usually takes me a couple of days to get everything washed and folded, and I couldn't start a new laundry cycle until after the V.T. because it would leave bins of clean laundry lying around. The kitchen floor was freshly washed yesterday, but today it'll be day-old, which makes a big difference when you have a baby and white linoleum (for the record, the white linoleum was not my pick and if I'd ever had money, I'd have gotten something more cleanable). If I have time this morning, I suppose I could wash the kitchen floor again, but I doubt I'll have time because I have to go to work. And worst of all, the kitchen will now be cluttered by leftover cake and such. The fridge is already full and there's nowhere in the house that I can stow things.

Anyway, Bagel's birthday party went well. I didn't have time to cook so we just bought everything. We served rotisserie chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, a veggie tray, and cheese and crackers. The cake was tasty, but the frosting got all over everything and wouldn't come off. We fed Bagel his cake over a plastic dropcloth, but that didn't stop him from pulling himself to stand up at my shoulder, encrusting me with cake and frosting. We gave him a bath and he got more cake and frosting on the bath mat, which means I have to wash and dry the bath mat after FH's shower but before I leave for work (the V.T. will be happening while I'm at work).

FH didn't have such a good time, though. After the party he lost everything he had eaten in a dramatic barf-fest brought on by his constant coughing. I really wish he'd quit insisting that coughing till you puke for months after every cold is "just allergies," and go see a doctor.

Flog That Dead Horse Just In Case It Gets Up And Can Pull The Cart Again

It's been a very, very long time since I've watched the Today Show. Mostly that's because, having kids, I either watch no TV in the morning (school days) or watch nothing but PBS (non-school days). But this morning my kids slept late and I couldn't really do much of anything because the virtual tour is today and anything I do would make a mess, so I watched a few minutes of the Today Show. I was promptly reminded why I'd actually rather watch Barney.

They started off with the day's headlines and the "epidemic" of shark attacks (note: more people are killed by bears than by sharks, but somehow there's never an epidemic of bear attacks, and by the way two in one year is an epidemic). Then, even though they'd already had a headline about Bush's speech last night, they launched into "hearing from his critics" to see if they'd been convinced by his arguments.


By definition, Bush's critics (or anyone's critics for that matter) are those who are critical of him. Does ANYONE honestly think that a person's "critics" will be convinced by anything they say?

Not only that, but the particular critic they decided to interview was...

John Kerry

Yeah. Keep on flogging that dead horse. If you don't flog it, it'll be dead, but if you keep on flogging it, it still has a chance at getting up and walking.

Now THAT'S optimism. Kind of like the line from I-forget-what-movie where the woman says there's a one in a million chance she'd ever go out with the man, and the man says dreamily, "So you're saying there's a chance then?"

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Bring On The Torture!

Evidently, having a Harry Potter book read to you is the latest form of torture at Guantanamo. (Link via INDC Journal)

Only 19 more days until millions of people worldwide will be afflicted by the world's most massive torture session! Surely Amnesty International will want to do what they can to stop the horror...

Our Trip To Lagoon

FH's employer paid for us to go to Lagoon, a local amusement park. I had several observations about Lagoon that I wanted to blog about.

First, Lagoon is no Disneyland. It's no Magic Mountain either. However, it does cost quite a bit to get in ($32.95 for an adult pass). Not only that, but when you do get in, the gouging doesn't end there. It costs $5 to rent a locker, $5 to rent a flotation device for the waterslide, etc. etc. ad infinitum. If you go to Lagoon, in addition to the entry fee be sure to carry at least $40 in cash for every man, woman, and child you bring with you.

Second, Lagoon (much like California) offered a fashion show of the worst of slutty dressing. And I'm not just talking about the women either. I observed several males who had their swim trunks sagging down below their butt-cheeks (with a pair of boxer shorts thankfully clouding the full moon). The only thing I could observe holding the trunks up was, well, their built-in coat rack. Besides being full of slutty dressers, Lagoon was also heavily populated with plus-size people. The most unfortunate aspect of this was that the two sets of people were not mutually exclusive, and their intersection was actually quite... sizeable.

Third, Lagoon is doing a great public service by hiring teenagers who would otherwise be out on the street futilely attempting to find their own butts with two hands, a flashlight and a topo map. I had to ask three people where the nearest bathroom was before I got an answer that didn't presuppose that I was intimately familiar with the locations of all of Lagoon's landmark rides. As it turned out, the first two were actually directing me to some of the farthest bathrooms, even though they could clearly see that I had a five-year-old doing the potty dance by my side. The third one pointed to a nearby building, and said "It's right over there," and the first two slapped their foreheads.

On the subject of Lagoon's bathrooms, I would add that while the women's rooms were clean, they were miserable for people with small babies. I doubt it would cost much money or effort to install one of those fold-out diaper changing shelves, but sadly that wasn't done. Fortunately there was some counter space I could use for diaper changes (trust me, it's truly miserable when you have to do them on the floor). Unfortunately, some well-meaning soul had installed a motion-sensitive hot air hand dryer above that stretch of countertop, so that every time Bagel waved his arm he got a blast of hot air full in the face, unless I turned him sideways which meant that either his head or his feet had to be in one of the sinks. I had to do two consecutive diaper changes on that same stretch of countertop. Not fun. You'd think that a park that advertises good clean family fun would make some basic accommodations for us family types.

Last, if you have small children, you should never attempt to go to an amusement park. Amusement parks are for teenagers-- people who are old enough to navigate the park by themselves, but young enough be thrilled by the prospect of vomiting up a $10 hamburger. If you attempt to go to an amusement park with small children, you will find that there really is not much you can do. The kids are too short to go on the rides, and too bored if you go on one by yourself. Some crucial piece of gear-- a bottle, a shoe-- will inevitably fall out and get lost. And they will complain and complain about how bored and tired they are, until you take them back to the car, when suddenly they will become enthusiastic about going back in. (Do not take them back in; they will immediately resume being bored and tired.)

UPDATE: Lagoon writes back to me to say there is a pull-down diaper changing shelf in every bathroom. Maybe they've been conned by the diaper-shelf installers, because if there was one, it was totally invisible.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Mouse Update

We caught the mouse last night. I found him this morning in one of the glue traps. I've given Sonshine the assignment of checking all the mousetraps every morning, but I always check them first before he gets up, just in case what he's looking for turns out to be a bloody mess. I mostly gave him the assignment to make him feel important, because he gets so jealous that Princess gets to do more "advanced" chores like watering the plants and emptying the dishwasher.

The location where we finally caught him was our "Mormon closet*" (the closet in Bagel's room that is used for food storage). It's probably the most attractive place in our house to a mouse after the wheat grinder, because there's sometimes spillage from the storage bins, and I haven't had a chance to vacuum it up in a long while. The day before yesterday I put two conventional traps in there, and the mouse ate the bait off of them. Yesterday I pulled out the bins to see if there were mouse droppings, and there were, although not many. I swapped out the conventional traps with glue traps yesterday, and that was where we caught him. I had put one trap on each side of the doorway, but when we found him, they were both together and the tip of his tail was stuck to the one that had been moved. Since FH didn't move the trap, we suspect he caught the tip of his tail in the one trap, then dragged it over and got stuck in the other.

He was still alive and twitching when we found him, but at least he didn't scream. I've heard mice can scream when they're trapped in a glue trap. I double-bagged him and put him and his traps out in the garbage can. I hate to do that while he's still alive, but at least suffocation will be a non-violent death. It's him or me, and this is war. If I release him, he'll just come back with ten of his friends. We're trying to sell our house and we can't have a mouse infestation, not to mention that they'll spread disease to my precious kids. The traps are also a danger. Already Sonshine got his finger snapped in one of the traps (although in all fairness, I did show him why not to touch the traps and he deliberately went and touched it anyway as soon as he thought nobody was looking).

So here are the lessons I've learned from this mouse caper:
  1. No matter how much stress you are under, it can always be much, much worse.
  2. If you are me, it probably will be getting much, much worse very soon.
  3. Use glue traps, because while they don't kill instantly and thus are less humane, they are more effective and less harmful to kids, and kids matter more than mice.
  4. It pays to stay up until midnight waiting for the mouse so you can see which direction he's running.
  5. We need to find a way to cure Sonshine of his insatiable desire to do whatever he's told not to do in order to find out for himself why we said not to do it.

* My non-Mormon grandparents coined the term "Mormon closet" to describe a place where food is stockpiled. They thought it was a good idea, especially since my grandma didn't drive (and now my grandpa doesn't either) so they took a leaf from our book and stored some food and called the location their "Mormon closet."

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Biopolished Wool vs. Superwash Wool

I wrote to the lady quoted in the article I linked to below about the new biopolishing process for wool. Commenter Miriam had asked why we needed this process if we already had Superwash. I thought that was a good question, so I asked her that. She responded that Superwash is a "chlorination" type process which is not legal in the U.S. That is why Superwash wool is so expensive-- it's all imported from countries with less stringent environmental regulations. The biopolishing process uses less harsh chemicals, lower temperatures, and shorter processing times, so it is a more environmentally friendly process, as well as being easier and cheaper.

She also said that the wool still won't dye with Procion MX fiber-reactive dyes; it would still require a wool dye (e.g. acid dye) to color biopolished wool. However, she did mention that the dyeing temperature would be lower (for acid dyes it's at least 180 degrees) and the dyeing time shorter, which makes me wonder if biopolished wool would be able to be dyed using adapted low-water immersion techniques that would produce results similar to those I'm getting on cotton with Procion MX.

This biopolishing process sounds really cool. Wool is a great fiber and it's about time that a new technological advance brought it back. I feel my tax dollars have been well spent in developing it. I'm eager to get my hands on some and work with it!

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Mouse In The House

We have a mouse in our house. I suspect he hasn't been there very long, since it's only been in the last couple of days that I've seen droppings, and there are not that many droppings around the house, so I suspect it's just him. I think he must have been displaced when we had our flower beds by the house completely stripped of its thick vegetation in order to plant some petunias that I thought buyers might like better, because that's about when I started noticing the droppings. We actually saw him last night, though, scurrying across the living room, headed for Bagel's room. I first saw droppings in Bagel's room near the heating vent, but I've also seen them in the utility room near the door, which is the closest entrance to the flower beds in question.

We've had problems with mice before, because we live near open fields. Last time, we saw a mouse inside the heating vent in the bathroom and set a trap for it, but I don't think it ever went inside the house because we found no droppings. I still had one trap left over from the last time. It was a bit rusty but I put it out anyway and baited it with peanut butter. This morning the peanut butter had largely been eaten, but the trap hadn't been tripped. Today I'm going to buy more traps and put them out. Hopefully the mouse's experience with the untripped trap will make him more bold-- and more dead.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Today At GotMilk Prison Camp

This post is devoted to documenting the atrocities occurring at GotMilk Prison Camp, located on the secluded grounds of the Organic Baby Farm (itself located in a trailer park in Utah). Bagel is being held prisoner there against his will along with two other children, and torture is performed upon him daily.

For example, on this typical day he spent thirteen hours last night in his crib an isolation cell with bars. He had no human contact during that time, and his initial cries went unheeded. Finally he gave up trying to get the attention of his captors, and fell asleep. During the night he soiled himself and was forced to spend the night in his own urine and feces.

Upon awakening he was made to drink breastmilk directly from a lactating woman. He kicked and punched, but to no avail. The forced feeding was only discontinued when he bit the woman. After that he was strapped into a chair and given mushy canned oranges to eat, while his older siblings ate cereal and crunchy fresh fruit in front of him.

After feeding time he was stripped completely naked and his captors made him wash. His screams went unheeded by the world as his bottom was cruelly wiped with wipes that sting when he's rashy. All his efforts to roll over and crawl away from his torturer were stymied. She placed her legs across his arms so that he couldn't move while she did her business on his nether regions. He was carried naked through the hallway, past open windows where anyone could have seen him, had there been anyone out there to look.

He was released for a few minutes, only to be restrained again, this time to have his fingertips tortured with an instrument ominously called a "nail clipper". This metal device has, on occasion, drawn blood from his fingertips, so he never knows when it will clip just his fingernail, or when it will bite into the soft flesh beneath. Resistance was futile as the evil lady torturer ironically called "Mom" pulled his arm out to its full extent, held his hand still, and went snip, snip. (This fingernail torture is repeated at least once a week, sometimes twice a week.) He was then dressed and allowed a half hour of exercise, followed by another trip to the isolation chamber. He was sent there this time because he was crying too much. His captors said he "must be tired and ready for his morning nap."

Thankfully, Bagel's will hasn't yet broken, even though he has been treated this way for nearly a year now. But the most shameful aspect of GotMilk Prison Camp is that this sort of atrocity is perpetrated even on year-old children.

We only know about this torture at OBF because some brave journalist has bravely filled out a FOIA request and braved surly post office employees to send it in-- even licked her own stamp-- and bravely waited several long days for the government to send the prison logs back! In this way we have exposed the cover-up that OBF's owners have been conducting, with the help of both the government and a metal front door with a dry-erase markerboard stuck to it. The markerboard, we should notice, is ominously blank, and the marker is nowhere to be found, its loss blamed on the very children who are daily tortured in that horrible place. It's just another indication of how the powerful can hide their multitudinous sins and inhibit our freedom to express ourselves.

Stop, oh stop the cruel torture! Where is our decency as a nation, that we allow innocent children to be treated this way? Because they are innocent, at least until they're proven guilty in court.


My point is, with enough rhetoric you can make anything sound like torture. I don't condone real torture, but so far nothing I've seen out of Gitmo qualifies. Maybe I'm not privy to the right information, but it seems to me that neither are many of the people condemning temperature changes and sleep deprivation as torture. And I've seen way too much preening about "speaking truth to power." It denigrates real "speaking truth to power" to pretend that you're exposing some government cover-up with the information given you by the government itself, which you got only by enduring the sort of hardships that not being able to just Google up the info entails.

"You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

Bagel now has a new word, "uh-oh". However, I don't think he quite understands what it means. He keeps using it when nothing's gone wrong. I think he just likes the way it sounds and the way people react when he says it.

I'd Take It

Legislators and school officials are being invited to take the UBSCT, Utah's new high school exit exam. I'd take it. I'd also be interested to see them all take it. If it is, as its proponents claim, a decent test of very basic skills that any high school graduate should have, then they should have no problem taking it; and if it is too difficult and full of esoteric specific knowledge as its detractors claim, then the massive failure rate among legislators would serve only to highlight this.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Will Work For Wife

This guy wants to find a wife. If you're eligible, check him out.

Link via Basil's Blog.

The Amazing Non-Shrinking Wool!

A new process has been devised to make wool un-scratchy, easier to dye, and disinclined to shrink. (Since it'll be able to dye at a lower temperature, I wonder if that means it'll take fiber-reactive dyes better.) The Army wants it to make underwear. Cool stuff!

Link via Moe's Woes.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Just A Little Overwhelmed...

Summerfest is sucking bigtime. The wind picked up yesterday and nearly destroyed my canopy. I hate this cheap eBay thing. I wish I hadn't been so cheap and had bought that used EZ-UP someone offered me for $100 plus shipping. It had sidewalls, too. I'd been hoping to make enough money to pay booth rent and supplies for my next show and put what's left toward the down payment on the house, but now I'm just praying I make enough to replace this cheap piece of crap so that I can sell stuff at the Gardeners' Market to make enough for a booth fee at another show.

The PVC rack I had so cleverly designed kept coming apart and falling over. I bought a jar of PVC glue to prevent this, but I couldn't get it open and neither could any of the men I asked. Finally some kind soul went and found me a pair of channel locks and we got it open. I started gluing it back together, but there was a piece missing. FH kept trying to prop the uprights of the rack against the canopy, and because the canopy was blowing in the wind, they kept getting knocked over. I asked him to quit standing them up because they would only fall down, but he didn't listen to me (does he ever??) and one knocked over the jar of PVC glue as it fell. When I wasn't fixing PVC racks or holding my canopy against the wind, I was resetting my display. The hats kept on blowing away. I gave up entirely on keeping the styrofoam head models out.

In addition to necessitating repairs and improvisations, the wind blew pollen up my nose. By evening I was completely disabled with allergies. I could hardly keep my eyes open to read my kids a bedtime story. I was so miserable when I got home that I just wanted to crawl into a corner. I couldn't even properly take care of my kids, so I just put them to bed.

There are some good things, though. For one, the scarf displays kept the scarves from blowing away even in the high winds. That was a plus as I was over on the other side of the canopy trying to hold it up, and would not have been able to chase down any scarves that blew away. Another good thing is that I checked out the competition-- there's another tie-dyer at Summerfest this year-- and her merchandise is scary (not to mention priced higher than mine). Most of her tie-dyes are very, very dark, and the colors seem to have been selected by throwing darts at the Procion color chart. She's got turquoise right next to fuchsia and green, and the effect is, ahem, less than stunning. Much less, in fact. No wonder people were commenting on how nice my colors were! I'd thought my palette was amateurish, too pastel, and way too dependent on cobalt blue, but looking at this lady's merchandise changed my mind. Also, the cobalt blue is very popular and is selling well.

Most of what has sold are hats for kids, and baby onesies. People like the soybean technique that produces the little rings; I do pink things with a yoke of the soybean rings, and they sell. I sold a couple of ponchos after I put out a sign that said "It's cold and windy! You need a poncho!" but I had to sell them at a discount to move them at all. I don't think I'll be doing ponchos in the future. I marked up the onesies because they were selling so fast and I was afraid I'd sell out before Saturday, the big sales day. I've had a lot of requests for cobalt blue spiral tees in larger sizes, so I'm making some of those this morning. I might get a special order to do matching tees for a family portrait.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Torture And Parenting

Frank J. linked to this article. I know I'm the very last person to post about Senator Durbin's recent comments, but hey, I'm doing a really big show this week, so please excuse me.

The article says:
Among the descriptions, the report noted one case in which a detainee was held in such cold temperatures that he shivered, another in which a prisoner was held in heat passing 100 degrees, one in which prisoners were left in isolation so long they fouled themselves and one where a prisoner was chained to the floor and forced to listen to loud rap music.
Gee, then by that standard I'm torturing my kids. When they make poor choices of clothing in wintertime and won't change, I make them go out in the clothes they've chosen and they shiver. Heat passing 100 degrees? Everybody in San Antonio, Texas must be laughing right now. Left in isolation so long they foul themselves? That's called "naptime" in Bagel's crib; he has a clean diaper at the beginning of each nap and a dirty one at the end, and it happens every day. Chained to the floor and forced to listen to rap? How about being stuck inside an apartment that you can't leave because your kids are trying to sleep while the neighbor plays his bouncin' stereo?

Get a grip, Senator. All of the above is just annoying. It's certainly not torture.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Luck, Be A Lady Tonight

I sure hope my luck is waiting to meet me at Summerfest, because it isn't with me today. I couldn't run all my errands this morning, the gardening crew arrived just after I bought the flowers but right as I was starting work and couldn't return home to drop them off, the parking office gave me the wrong bus schedule making me 10 minutes late to class, and my baby is teething (I am typing this one-handed while being kicked, pinched, and punched by a screaming Bagel who is trying to simultaneously grab my glass of water).

And then there was the mail. I put my mail on vacation hold online, and checked the box that said I wanted my mail delivered to me at the end of the hold. The helpful website neglected to tell me that my particular branch post office doesn't provide this particular service, so I didn't receive my packages which included a tagging gun for attaching my price tags. I discovered this after Bagel had just gone down for a nap and Princess out to play with her friends. I had to leave the kids in the neighbor's care and run down to the post office and get my mail.

Also, since our hard drive crashed we are limping along on a neurotic old hard drive that has to be coaxed into booting up and forgets everything you just installed the minute you reboot it, so I've reinstalled Word Perfect twice now. I had to find and install the font I use separately because for some reason this font wasn't showing up, and then when I opened the file to print out my tags, it permanently changed this font for a much more comic-looking one and I had to change it all back. When I finally got the file straightened out, I went to print the price tags and discovered the printer is out of ink. I dug out our old printer which takes the same cartridges and swapped out the cartridge, only to discover that it too was empty. Not to worry, we have a laser printer-- which, unfortunately, this neurotic little computer can't find, because it's a network printer. So I'll have to go over to my mom and dad's and maybe reinstall my font, and print these things out.

I'm having a fun day. I sure hope tomorrow goes much, much better.

UPDATE: I shouldn't have said anything because it just got much, much worse. As I was bringing out three quarts of dye, Sonshine wouldn't get out of my way and I tripped and spilled it all over the living room-- the large area rug, the stereo equipment, my pile of merchandise, and a bunch of socks I had just matched. Hoping I could salvage some of the stuff that got dyed, I immediately threw it in the washer with Synthrapol hoping the dye wouldn't have had time to set. I also threw in the clothes I'd been wearing. Then I went to e-mail the file to my friend, and realized to my horror that the last place I remembered putting my thumb drive was in the pocket of the pants that got covered in dye and were currently in the washing machine. I have not eaten all day and I am so, so hungry. I've been going nonstop for days, working from dawn till dusk, packing boxes and cleaning, and my house is even messier than it was when I started.

MORE: The thumb drive miraculously survived the wash load and did not short-circuit anything when plugged into the computer. Taking this as a sign that the Lord had not totally abandoned me, I stayed up until midnight overdyeing the ponchos that had been destroyed by the dye spill, and they turned out well (but a little shrunken). The rainbow oven mitts and such that were spilled on also survived the attack of the gray dye, but only because I washed them, and now I can't sell them as first quality and will have to sell them as seconds. The matching rainbow scrubber, however, was not so lucky; the dye washed out of the colored and nylon parts, but stained the white border. The socks are permanently damaged, but socks are cheap and during the summer my kids scarcely wear any anyway.

The Statue of St. Joseph

I ordered a statue of St. Joseph. This is supposed to help you sell your house faster. You bury the statue upside down and facing the house, with the intention to dig it up only when the house sells. Then St. Joseph will be so uncomfortable that he will do anything, including storming the heavens on your behalf, to help you sell your house. When the house sells, you dig up the statue and put it in a place of honor in your home.

Many people around here look askance at an LDS person doing something so... well, Catholic... but I don't care. I don't really believe that St. Joseph will be made uncomfortable by turning his statue upside down, but I don't think it can hurt to bury a statue. If it's just an ineffectual statue, then it's no more than the horseshoes people around here put up over their garage doors for good luck. And if it makes St. Joseph more inclined to intercede for me in selling my home, well then that's just one more person I've got praying for me. Nowhere does it say that only the living can pray for us! Let's not be prejudiced against St. Joseph just because he's gone on to his eternal rest!

Look Ma! I'm On The Internet!

I'm on the list of vendors for Summerfest! Yay!

I already knew I'd been accepted, of course, and I don't usually go looking to toot my own horn, but for some reason I've been really wanting to see my name up on that list. Ever since I got my acceptance letter, I've been checking back on that website waiting anxiously to see my name on it. And now there it is!

Summerfest starts tomorrow, and I'm getting really nervous. I need to sell a lot of stuff in order to make it worth my while to have gone, and to raise the money for another big show and maybe some extra to put toward the down payment on our new house. I don't know what's going to sell, though, and so I'm casting desperately about for ideas and inspiration. I did a bunch of T-shirts for toddlers yesterday, and I also overdyed the kids' T's that I had previously dyed in red, orange, and yellow. I spiraled those and overdyed them in black, and they came out so marvelous that I want to rush right out today and buy some more T's to dye like that. The black dye I have dyes purple on the edges, so when it mixed with the red, orange, yellow, and white, it produced greens and blues and purples as well. The effect is quite stunning. I'd post a pic, but our hard drive crashed yesterday and nothing's reinstalled yet. I don't usually go out for tie-dye myself, but I took one look at that shirt and went "WOW! I want one!!" I'll be up really late tonight trying to get them all done since they have to be done in two phases, but they are so gorgeous that I think it'll be worth my time.

I dyed some tote bags, on the advice of someone from the Craft Show Crafters list. The ones I did with low-water immersion came out quite well; the patterns are interesting and look almost floral. Just for fun I got a pack of 5 teeny tiny tote bags, and they are so cute that I think they might sell well, so I'll go get some more today. My brother-in-law says muslin photographic backdrops would be cool, so I got some 120" wide muslin and I'm going to try to dye one today.

I'm not really happy with the rainbow stuff I did yesterday, although FH says he likes it. I may re-dye it today. Rainbow stuff sells really well for some reason. I don't particularly like rainbow stuff, but I enjoy the challenge of making it. (When I was a kid I used to dye rainbow eggs at Easter time, just to see if I could.) I also enjoy the money it brings in.

My tagging gun, which I ordered before I left on vacation, still hasn't arrived. Whether that is because the postman just didn't bring it after my vacation hold expired, or whether it is because it was not shipped in time, remains to be seen.

UPDATE: Today's Herald-Journal has a Summerfest program in it, and my name's in that too! Yay!

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Bagel's Teeth

Bagel, now almost 1, is getting some teeth. He got his first lower incisor at ten months, and his second last month. He is now getting a third tooth, but it's not one of his upper incisors like most kids get-- it's one of his upper canines. Those really hurt, because unlike the incisors that only hurt at first, canines cut the gums all the way out. He's been spiking a fever at night the whole time we've been out here, and we've had to pick up some more medicine for him because he's gone through all the medicine we brought for him. During the few times he's permitted me to inspect his gums, I've noticed that the next largest lump in his gums is right behind the canine, where the cuspids will be. So he may be in quite a large bit of teething pain.

The Vacation

I'm actually still on vacation, although not for long. Today is my last day in California; we leave very very early on Sunday morning. Because we got the tickets with frequent flyer miles, there were only so many flights available to us, and I have to start work on Monday morning, and the only flight out that we could take on Sunday was the 6:30 a.m. flight. It's going to be a royal pain dragging all those sleepy kids through the airport at oh-dark-thirty, so I need to make sure I get lots of rest today.

On Tuesday we arrived in the early afternoon and just kind of flopped around the house. The kids pestered us non-stop about when they would be going swimming in Aunt D----- and Uncle V----'s pool. I made them apologize for giving their aunt and uncle the distinct impression that they came to swim, not to see their relatives. D----- and V---- were not offended, of course, but the kids needed to apologize for their own good.

Wednesday we ran a few errands. We forgot to bring the cooler full of cheese curds, so we had to pick up a cheap styrofoam cooler so that we could bring goodies home from California. We went out to our favorite dim sum place. I wish we could get dim sum like that, but I don't think Logan is ready for dim sum yet.

Thursday we took a day trip down to San Diego to see my grandparents, Nana and Boopa. Whenever we travel out to California, we inevitably spend more time with Favorite Husband's relatives; this is by design, because these are the kids' closest relatives. Why should the kids forego seeing their aunt and uncle and first cousin to go visit their first cousin twice removed on their mom's side? Still, though, I just had to take time out to visit Nana and Boopa. They are getting on in years, and they hadn't seen Bagel. Nana is quite a bit skinnier than she used to be before her bout with stomach cancer (which, thank goodness, appears to have been cured by surgery to remove the tumor). I don't think Boopa recognized me or really knew who I was. I must have looked familiar to him because he kept looking at me like he was trying to remember where he knew me from, but he was definitely lost. He gave a full "Portuguese hug" (a hug with patting on the back and/or buttocks) to the hostess at the restaurant, but was hesitant to hug me when we left. Nana knows the time is coming when he'll have to be put into a home, because her health is failing. She worries about what would happen if she were all alone with him and had to go to the hospital, a very real possibility since she recently was hospitalized with low potassium levels.

We also made our annual pilgrimage to IKEA. We weren't able to get much because of financial and luggage constraints, but we checked out a bunch of organizational options, and decided that once we're in our new house, we'll save up a bunch of money and make a huge IKEA run. We couldn't resist getting a hanging pot rack that was on sale, though; we've wanted one like that for a long time, and we are still entitled to take one more piece of luggage on the plane.

Yesterday we went out with Lola (FH's mom). She always takes us to an Asian market and buys us stuff we can't get out in Logan, like ube powder. This year, because of the upcoming move and because we flew out instead of driving, we couldn't take much home. Still, we loaded up on shrimp chips, pan de sal, and hopia. Lola made us her famous homemade lumpia, which despite her insistence that the recipe is simple, still make mine taste like cardboard in comparison. That'll go in the cooler of goodies for sure. Then we went out to a Japanese restaurant, one of those teppan-yaki types with the chefs who turn your dinner into a show. The kids were quite impressed and kept insisting that their father should learn to cook like that. Bagel made quite a fuss there, throwing everything we tried to feed him on the ground, but once I took him out of the restaurant, he was just fine. I thought he might be teething since he's been teething all week. But he was an angel as soon as I took him out, so he was just way too overstimulated and wanted a break. Bagel's a very private person who needs his "alone time". He is very jolly around other people, but only so long as he can also get some time to himself. So I took him home and put him to bed, while FH and the kids went back to Lola's and had fun at her parish's annual fiesta.

Today is the party for my niece's 2nd birthday. We'll get to see a lot of the relatives on FH's side that we had to skip out on seeing earlier in the week, and also some old friends from high school. V---- and D----- went to the same high school as FH and I did, and in fact V----'s brothers were friends of mine, so our circles of high school friends overlap by quite a bit. I wish we had time to see all of my relatives and friends who live around here, especially since I've missed three cousins' weddings in the last year, but it would take a few more weeks of vacation.

Since we're arriving so early in Salt Lake tomorrow, we thought we might spend some time there before going home to Logan. We might drive by some of the houses we've looked at online to check out the neighborhoods, or go to the Children's Museum.

Thoughts on Michael Jackson Trial

Evidently the MJ trial is very much bigger news out here in California than it is in Utah. There's more media coverage of it. They even had the obligatory interview with one of Jackson's diehard supporters. This guy spoke of how he had quit his job and come down to sit in front of the courthouse every day supporting Michael Jackson. He said (paraphrasing) "Some things are just that important." What I want to know is, what planet were his parents on, that they didn't teach him that of all the things you can do with your life, one of the least meaningful is loitering around in front of a courthouse to support a guy you don't even know?

My advice to anyone who can afford to quit his job and take off for four months to go do something important: Actually do something important. Volunteer at a hospital. Talk to the elderly. Feed the hungry. Knit hats for premature babies. Campaign for a politician that you think can change the world. But don't sit on your lazy butt outside a courtroom waiting for a trial to be over.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Going on Vacation

I'm going on vacation for a week to visit relatives in the Los Angeles area. They do have computers there, but I may or may not decide to blog while there. There are just too many good stores and seafood places. So much sushi, so little time...

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Star Wars III: My Review

Everyone in the blogosphere who has seen this movie has reviewed it on their blog, so now it's my turn. FH took me out to see it last night.

I must say, it was spoiled for me by George Lucas' public political rantings. I mean, it was bad enough that he named the evil character Nute Gunray after Newt Gingrich and Ronald Reagan and then told everybody so, but then he had to go and tell everyone that he thought Palpatine was George W. Bush. What?? Bush doesn't even have a light saber, let alone the ability to produce electric shocks from his hands!! Seriously, though, FH and I agreed that anyone who thinks Bush is taking over the country the way Palpatine took over the Senate needs a proctologist to do their dental work. If Bush had been voted out in 2004, he would have had to take the very un-Palpatine-like action of stepping down from office. He has no power to take over our Senate or our House or to make his party do so-- we the people did that by electing Republicans. Lucas doesn't have to like Bush nor want him in office, but between Lucas and Bush, I think Lucas is the one with less respect for the democratic process, because he just cannot accept that Bush is the guy who the public elected, rightly or wrongly.

I don't know about anyone else, but I like my universally-appealing epics completely free of contemporary political references, so that they remain untied to any particular era or situation. For an example of this I keep on pointing at J.K. Rowling, who is clearly on the port side of the political ship, but has refrained from publicly identifying any contemporary political figure (not even Hitler!) with Harry Potter's nemesis Lord Voldemort. Tolkien did the same with his Lord of the Rings series. Evil is evil, no matter what its political stripe, and good literature will respect the reader's ability to make his or her own allegory according to his or her own beliefs.

Politics aside, what else is there to say? It's a Star Wars movie, with its trademark bad acting, unusual costumes, boffo special effects, and a plot that's fully comprehensible only to people who already know the backstory. I was particularly affected by the fact that I already knew who would live and who would die; that spoiled a lot of it for me, because there was no suspense in the fight scenes. When Palpatine fought Mace Windu to the death, you knew who was going to win since only one of those characters appears in future episodes. Maybe if I watch the episodes in order when this one comes out on DVD, it will make more sense to me.

The special effects, of course, were special. I thought it was particularly ironic that the female Jedi with the navel-baring hippy costume died on this trippy mushroom flower planet. I'm getting really sick of this trend of trying to outdo every previous movie's special effects. In previous episodes we'd seen battles with a double-ended light saber; now we had a duel with a being wielding four light sabers. If Lucas were to remake Episode 4, he'd have to work in an eight-saber fight just to keep up the geometric progression.

Still, though, despite all its flaws, I will probably watch it again when it comes out on video, and I would like to see Lucas totally remake episodes 4, 5, and 6 (or at least the low-budget 4, maybe) so that the series has some artistic continuity when watched in its intended order.