Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Rain, rain, go away (at least till I get to my car)

This started out as a response to Helens comment on my last post, but was becoming too wordy, so I thought I'd give it an entry of it's own.

I agree with Helen, apparently God has saved up, and is now seeking his payment. Just as I had picked the girls up and stepped off the porch to go to the car today, the heavens let loose. Heavy, heavy rain, wind, AND hail. I was soaked (literally) by the time I got them in the car. (For those of you who don't know, my car is less than 20 feet from my door.) We headed off on our merry way, a little more rain, but then it slowed down and the sun peeked through...until we reached our destination, then it let loose again while trying to get them out of the car, into the stroller, and into a building. As I was in the building, I noticed it had slowed again, I went about my business, made my purchases, and proceeded to exit the building at which time, you guessed it, mucho rain and wind again. It went like this all morning till I finally came home to put the girls down for their naps.

Now rain away. (Of course you know it's clear cuz I'm safe and sound inside a dry house.) I still blame Steve and Helen.

Monday, February 27, 2006

I blame Steve and Helen

They are most definitely responsible for sending Eurus (Greek God of Rain) down here to torment us. Apparently they just wanted to share their misery. The picture does not do justice to the rainfall here right now. It is alternating between a moderate rain to buckets of rain pouring from the sky at quite an angle due to the wind here (which is not too bad.)

Actually, truth be told, I like a little rain. I just wish I could have a fire right now as well. Sitting in front of it, curled up in a blanket with a nice cup of hot chocolate and a good book or movie.

Of course, puddle stomping would be fun too, but I need rain gear for the girls to make that happen. Maybe next year.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Some days I LOVE my job

For those of you who don't know, part of my job is to go out to other hospitals and pick up sick newborns that can't receive the level of care that they need where they are at. Normally we go by ground ambulance to pick them up, but sometimes we go by fixed wing (small plane). We've never been able to go in the helicopter because our transport isolettes wouldn't fit. Our hospital has had a more compact one for a couple of years, but to get it fitted with a ventilator, evaluated, rebuilt, etc. has taken quite some time. In any case, it is now up and operational and we got a call to go last night, and I was assigned transport, so I got to go in the helicopter. Yeah me. This was the 4th trip in the helicopter that our team has been on.

(Just so you all know, I am VERY excited about my experience, but it is tempered by the fact that I had to go get a sick baby. The good news is that the baby has a very good prognosis for a totally normal outcome.)

Anyway, we went up to the helipad on the roof (how cool is that?), I got my flight suit, helmet, and a helicopter briefing, and get this - I GOT TO FLY IN THE COCKPIT WITH THE PILOT!! It was so cool!! There is glass all around you and the night was fairly clear, so I could see all the lights of the valley. We took off and flew over the Stanford Stadium which is under construction and has been blocked from public view - Hah! I got to see it, from the air. We also flew over my house, so I had to wave to the babies and Bill.

For you geeks out there, our flight time was 30 minutes, Our top speed out was 135 knots with a cross wind of 40 knots. On the trip out we flew at 5500 ft. and on the way back we climbed to 6500 ft. On the other side we landed on another helipad (this one was on the ground, not on the roof like ours), and headed into the hospital in our flight suits. It was kind of fun to watch the looks on everyones faces as we walked down the halls.

In any case, this was one of the most awesome things I've been able to do at work. Can't wait to do it again. The only bad part is that I didn't have a camera to document the experience.

Friday, February 24, 2006

No more lint

Bill claims I have to stop collecting lint. Seems he thinks my little photojournalistic documentation has gotten out of hand. Sigh, bye bye lint.

On another note, the girls love the quilt. They have been filling up the pockets, hiding under it, putting it on a table to make a "fort" that they can play in. Who knew a simple quilt could be so much fun?

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Quilting, deathly boring to some, hilarious to me

Well, I finally finished the jeans quilt I was working on. It was suppose to be a quick and easy project, it was neither. Overall, I believe it took me about 24 to 30 hours to complete, but complete it I did. I finally got all the rows sewed together (the thick parts where the pockets are, were a bitch to sew), and then it was down to the clipping. That probably took about a third of the time required to make this quilt. You have to clip every 3/8" on every seam. Just so you know, that's about 2262 inches to be clipped, or more accurately 6032 clips, many through 3 or 4 layers of jeans material plus 2 to 3 layers of fabric. Can you say major hand crampage and pain? In any case, after you clip it, you have to put it through the washer and dryer to get a nice fluffy/fuzzy seam (see pic). I had been forewarned that I should do this at a laundromat, but did I listen? Nooooooo. The attached pictures are of the inside of my washer, the utility sink it drains into, and what was caught in the lint trap of the dryer. The tall 2" pile was all from the first round, the second smaller lint gathering was from the second run, and the smallest pile is what was collected from inside the dryer drum. This does not include all the lint that was set free outside when I took the quilt out to shake out even more debris. I would have never guessed that one jeans quilt could produce so much lint.

So, if I ever do this again (and the tendonitis in my wrist is saying no), then I will definitely haul my little butt down to the pay-to-break-someone-elses-machine place to do the laundering/fuzz step of the project.

Other than that, I also painted this week. Here's an updated photo since I haven't posted any beyond the primer stage. The red is actually much deeper than it appears in the photo. Those are the shelves on the floor. That's my orange tree outside the window.

Hopefully we'll be getting the shelves on the walls this weekend. Then I just have to paint the closet and the doors, paint and install crown molding and base molding, install blinds, rip up the carpet, and move in. Whew!! That's a lot to do, and not much time to do it. I have to have it done by March 20th. Anyone out there that wants to come play? I'll feed you. You'll have my eternal thanks. It's fun? Come on, it worked for Tom and Huck.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The Early Alzheimers is setting in.

This morning I made the girls breakfast (one of their favorites, oatmeal), put them in their seats and let them have at it. Afterwards, I cleaned them up and removed their trays to let them go play. They are use to climbing up and down to get in and out of their high chairs so I thought no more about it. After a bit, I noticed Sam was still sitting in her high chair and Riley was bringing her toys to play with. I thought to myself, "What brought on the princess treatment?", so I checked it out. Seems I had forgotten to take off Sam's seatbelt. She hadn't complained at all, and Riley was apparently quite happy to entertain her.

Friday, February 17, 2006

A Quilt and the Magic Pan

Today I made great progress on a quilt that started as a small experiment. It's a jeans quilt that is being made nearly cost free. The jeans I have received from friends, family, and free cycle, so no cost there, and the fabric was from an exchange of squares I did about 10 years ago, all from scrap so again no cost. It's a two sided quilt, and I currently have all the squares sewed into rows, but the rows still need to be connected to each other. There are many difficult parts to putting this quilt together. For instance, I totally randomized the top, just pulled fabric out of a bag and sewed. This means you have to tweak it a little bit to make sure the same pattern or color are not next to each other. Sounds easier than it is. The second thing is that you can't see the other side. Some of my jeans squares still have the pockets on them (Damn you Rich), and for some reason they were all ending up on the top half of the quilt. In rearranging them, and trying to avoid the previous mentioned color/pattern confusion, I somehow managed to get most of them on the bottom half of the quilt. Oh well. So, here's the progress so far.

On another note, when my oldest daughter was a toddler there was a restaurant in San Jose called The Magic Pan. My sister-in-law Debbie and I would go there for lunch (The Spinach Divan Crepe was too die for)with Stacey, but they didn't have any highchairs, so we would tie her into a regular chair with cloth napkins (no paper napkins at this restaurant). I was reminded of this because when Bill and I took the girls to dinner this week, the seatbelts on the highchairs only had velcro closures. It took Sam all of 2 seconds to figure out how to escape, so what did I do? You got it, used cloth napkins to tie her into the chair. Brought back some great funny memories.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Bill humors me

Ok, it's been requested that I post since it's been a week (unless you count the little hack job I helped the girls with). Not much has happened, plus I'm in a bit of a funk, a little writers block, etc. Bear with me, or I guess I should say dog with me since it is the Year of the Dog.

Anyway, the last week in short has been playgroup, quilting, painting, nailing cleats to the wall, painting, hockey, playgroup, pictures, and now we're up to date. Last night (Valentine's Day) we (Bill, I, and the girls) had a belated anniversary dinner of sorts. 7 years ago on Feb 13th Bill proposed to me (after secretly asking Stacey first). He does not believe in Valentine's Day. That's a bit inaccurate. He doesn't believe he should be encouraged to share his love and feelings on one specific day a year, so he sort of boycotts it by celebrating all year, but not Valentines Day. I think I like his way better - I don't have to wait, and I'm very impatient. Anyway, back to the story. He proposed the day before V-day because he knows I like silly holidays and that way I could wake up and be engaged. That was very sweet of him. Every year since then he has indulged me by celebrating the anniversary of when we got engaged - we go to the same place, and just have a nice time. This year we missed it because he had to do some prep work for an important work related matter, so we went on V-day instead.

So, that's it, until I can crack this writers block, this foggy blue funk, whatever it is. Happy belated Valentine's Day to all of you out there.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Happy Hollow Petting Zoo

Today I took the girls to Happy Hollow with their twins playgroup. for those that don't know, this is an amusement type park with a small petting zoo which is geared towards toddlers/preschoolers.

The girls had a grand time. Since it was midweek noone was there which meant we could let the kids run free, and run they did. We started on the petting zoo side and let the kids walk the entire loop, feed the animals, and hang out in the goat pen. They were so mesmerized by the leopard, it was quite surprising. Afterwards we headed up to the amusement side where they have some small rides for the kids. The last time (and only other time) we took the kids, we only took them on the merry-go-round. They looked terrified (white knuckles and all), but apparently had a great time as they cried each time we tried to take them off. This time was not much different for Sammi, but a couple times around really loosened up Riley. She started making silly faces, laughing, and finally she started waving with one hand to all the people as she went around. It was quite hilarious. After that they went on the police car/fire engine ride where they started on the police cars but then got to move to the fire engines which had bells that rang very loudly, and ring those bells the girls did. After that it was on to the ladybug ride. Sam must have been worn out by this point, because despite the fact that the ride was quite fast, she put her head down and was almost asleep. We got them off the ride, went and had a picnic lunch, headed home where Riley napped for 2 hours and Sam napped for 3. What a full day, and so much fun.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The Much Awaited Root Beer Rumble 2006 Results

After much tasting of root beer in the last weeks, the judges have come up with a preliminary winner. However, we have decided to do a side by side taste comparison of the top 3, maybe even the top 5 just cuz we like root beer.

All the root beers were officially judged in 3 categories: Sweetness, Carbonation, and Flavor. Other factors that were not judged, but found to be interesting were the method of sweetening (cane sugar vs. corn syrup), carbonating (water vs carbonated water), and odd ingredients (we recycled the bottles, so I'll have to get back to you on what exactly they were.) We found that we definitely preferred the corn syrup varieties to the cane sugar varieties, and that the cane sugar was always paired with the water while the corn syrup was paired with the carbonated water. One category not officially judged was color - this was because I didn't notice/think about significant color changes until 1/3 of the way through. If my aging memory serves me though, the better root beers were those that were a deep, dark brown as opposed to the ones that were more amber/yellow in color. The price of the root beers ranged from .06/oz to .14/oz though that didn't really seem to make a diffence in the results (ie: More expensive was not necessarily better).

Without further Ado, the results are:
Disqualified for not tasting like a root beer - Boylan (cane sugar, .11/oz)
12th - Dad's Root Beer because it was just plain awful, tasted like Dad had made it with his own two feet, literally. (cane sugar, .09/oz)
11th - Rat Bastard (the only one with caffeine) was an abomination of odd herbal ingredients that resembled root beer strained through a dirty sock. (corn syrup, .12/oz)
10th - Briars was a fairly flavorless cane sugar root beer, a little too sweet. (cane sugar, .07/oz)
9th - Sea Dog was fairly flavorless, flat, and too sweet. (cane sugar, .09/oz.)
8th - Dr. Brown's was definitely not on call. His prescription was a little too sweet, flat and had a moderate root beer flavor. (cane sugar, .09/oz.)
7th - Frostie was our middle of the pack selection. Again, it was a little too sweet, and one could almost say it had too much root beer flavor, enough so that it had a bit of a mediciney after taste (this must be why Germans don't like root beer.) (corn syrup, .08/oz.)
6th - Thomas Kemper came through with a strong root beer flavor however it had a little too much anise in it to rank any higher. (corn syrup, .09/oz)
5th - A&W. I'm so sorry Rich and Cathy, but it really didn't live up to it's tradition. It was slightly flat, and a little boring. I would have expected a much lower price point from the thinness of the taste. Instead it was our most expensive brand. (corn syrup, .14/oz)
4th - Weinhards. I was truly saddened by this as this was the root cause of this entire rumble. I had to concede and say that there was better out there. While it had a nice smooth root beer flavor, it did finish a little weak and had a bit of a cream soda after taste.
3rd - IBC shocked me. I had avoided it previously thinking it was a cheap beverage which equated to poorly done. I was pleasantly surprised that our least expensive brand finished in the top three. It had a robust root beer flavor, was well carbonated, and not too sweet. I could definitely drink more of this in the future. (corn syrup, .06/oz)
2nd - Jones Root Beer came out of no where and almost swept the number one position, but not quite. This root beer made you immediatly think of root beer floats with it's slight hint of vanilla, it was refreshing and different. Also a definite on my shopping list in the future. (corn syrup, .11/oz)
Ok, drumroll please...

#1 and unofficial winner of the Root Beer Rumble of 2006 is Stewart's. They had the best balance of sweetness, carbonation, and flavor. It was robust, but not overpowering and finished nicely. Also a fairly good bargain. (corn syrup, .07/oz.)

I found it interesting that the two least expensive root beers finished in the top three.

So, there you have it folks.

Monday, February 06, 2006

What do you do with 2,250 Q-tips?

I don't know, but ask me in 2.05479 years. At our current rate of useage, that's about how long it will take us to go through them all.

How did we end up with 2,250 Q-tips you ask? Through some coincidental buying between Bill and I.

If anyone needs Q-tips, let me know.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

My Sweet Girls

Today Sam ran into her play house and bonked something. She sat down and was crying, but I couldn't figure out what was hurt. They haven't quite gotten to the point of being able to verbalize that for us. However, when Riley saw Sam was hurt she walked up to her, and in Riley fashion said, "Where hurt?" and patted Sam on the head (their universal sign for feel better.)

On another note, Stacey called last night. She misses us and asked if it was ok if she came by to hangout tonight.

I love my girls.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

RBR Late Entries

Hubby went to yet another store today and came home with 6 more bottles of root beer, thus we have these late entries:

The only one that had cane sugar was the Boylan, so we tried that first which means that the tasting of the corn syrup varieties has been delayed. As for the Boylan there is something of note. It is made by the Boylan Bottle Co., not bottling company. Apparently they weren't making enough on the empty bottles and so they had to branch out into filling them. This root beer does not make it to the top of the list because of one glaring problem - it didn't taste like root beer. It has the same kind of thin sugar water base, slightly more carbonated than the others, but the flavor was that of cherry cola mixed with cream soda. Tastey, but not root beer. Of course this makes it difficult to rank, I'll have to contemplate that one for a bit.

RBR Day II update

Tried yet another cane sugar root beer this afternoon, Dr. Brown's Original Root Beer. I was sadly disappointed as I tend to like Dr. Brown's beverages. Again, sweet water though this one had more of a true root beer taste than it's 3 predecessors. I had saved it for the last of the cane sugar tastings because I had the most hope for it. Now we're officially off to the corn syrup tastings although I have heard there may be some late entries into the contest. So, if you're keeping track, the ranking thus far (from best to worst) is: Dr. Brown's, Sea Dog, Briar, and the shouldn't even be ranked Dad's.

Root Beer Rumble Day II

Ok, last night we tried two more samples from our root beer collection, and while I originally thougt Briar would place lowest, this is proving to not be true. Last nights fare was Sea Dog Old Style Root Beer and Dad's Classic Draft Root Beer. Sea Dog appears to have been another version of Briar, sugar water with a just a splash more root beer flavoring. Don't get me wrong, these are both tolerable though nothing I would seek out in the future. The third sample was Dad's. I'm telling you, Dad should have washed his feet before stomping those little root beer berries into juice. This pick was so bad, that I couldn't even finish (nor make a dent in) my 6 oz. sample. So far I'd have to rank this one the bottom of the barrel, and I'm hoping and praying that none of the others takes that place. I just couldn't take another sampling like that. On a scale of 1 to 5 bottles, this was a serious 10 bottles down.

An interesting note in this taste test is that 1/2 the samples are made with cane sugar while the other half are made with corn syrup. I have only tasted the cane sugar samples to date, so I'm really hoping that the corn syrup samples fare better.