Geek. Pirate. Mom

The Life and Times of Whitney Drake

Archive for September, 2010

Starbucks and Art

TheBoy was running late from work and wasn’t answering his phone. This wouldn’t normally be a problem, but right now- we share a car. Normally I’d have been tearing out my hair wondering how I was going to get my kids to school, but my mother-in-law hadn’t driven her SUV to work, and that has carseats in it. I was just worried about TheBoy! Thankfully, nothing was wrong and I didn’t have to take my MIL’s car (am I the only one who feels odd driving someone else’s car?) TheBoy was just running late and his phone was acting up.

After the Oldest Kidlet was dropped off at preschool, the little guy and I drove back over the hills and stopped at Michael’s. I was struck by an idea yesterday- one that I really want to do. I got the greenlight to buy supplies, and so I decided to go for it. But we were still early for Michael’s, so I took the Younger Kidlet to Starbucks. I got a Chai Latte and he got an iced water. I’d forgotten about this trick- when we used to live next to a Starbucks (our apartment complex was next to it, anyways), we’d walk over to the Starbucks on the weekend and TheBoy and I would get our drinks and we’d get a tall iced water for the little guy. It doesn’t matter what’s in the plastic cup, it’s enough to make the kid feel special. (And best of all, it’s water- that won’t trigger his allergies)

Here’s the proof. As soon as he got the cup (they gave me a grande), he sat in his chair as though he was a grownup and quietly sipped his water. He didn’t drink very much- but that cup is permanently attached to him, I think. I might have to get the reusable cup they sell just so that he can feel this excited all the time.

Right now he’s sitting at his little table while I watch this week’s Iron Chef America, eating rice and some turkey breakfast sausage- and yes, nursing his cup of water.

I have to say that I really enjoy the time I spent with him. He’s coming out of his shell (or maybe just his brother’s shadow) and really is showing his personality.

So this idea. It’s for a series of collages, all with a Dia de Los Muertos theme.

This is what I bought.

  1. Metallic tissue paper
  2. Tropical color paper pack
  3. Black & White Paper
  4. Autumn color paper pack
  5. 12″ x 12″ plywood squares (and some 12″ x 4″ rectangles)
  6. Foam Brushes

Not pictured: Mod podge & ebony stain.

I’ll be taking pictures as I go along- it’s going to be a bit of a slow process. I have to stain the boards, let them dry/cure. Then I have to start layering the paper, bit by bit. Before I even stain, I’m going to start working on some sketches.

But expect to see some pictures pop up here and on Twitter!

Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s nearly time to get the big guy from preschool!

I’d forget my head if it weren’t attached…

I used to be organized. Amidst the clutter of my desk, I always knew where everything was. I would remember everything- my phone, keys, etc. etc.

After the Oldest was born, not much changed. After the Youngest Kidlet was born, everything changed- especially once he was diagnosed with allergies. Suddenly I had two sets of diapers to bring along, two sets of clothes…. not to mention allergy medicine, epi-pens, specialty formula. Having to remember all of that, suddenly everything else I used to keep track of fell by the wayside.

Why do I bring this up? Picture Day. Last night, I put out my son’s clothes so that I could grab them in the morning when he got out. I wrote the check for the photographer, filled out the packages and put it in my purse.

This morning, we went through our typical routine, got dressed… and then I remembered shopping bags. In the time it took for me to stop to get the shopping bag, I got distracted. And forgot that I’d pulled the envelope out to show my mother in law that I’d already filled it out. So when we got to school, I reached into my purse and discovered that I’d left the envelope behind.

Thankfully, I realized that they always have a few extra slips, so I got a new one from the photographers and filled it out with my credit card into. Crisis averted.

Now the shopping bags- it was hot yesterday, as I mentioned. When the little guy and I went to pick up his brother from preschool, I set him in the seat and didn’t even think about the fact that there’s black leather on part of it. He screamed, I felt horrible… so while it isn’t supposed to break 100, I cut up a couple of old shopping bags to cover up the seats to keep them a little bit cooler. Though we’re heading in to fall, I’ll be making some better ones. We usually have some good hot days during the fall, and I want to be prepared!

Quick little post

Just a quick post before we head out to start our day. I’m told it won’t be as hot as yesterday. Which would be welcome. It was horrible.

The Guardian had this lovely story: This is a news website article about a scientific paper. As someone who reads about science news on the internet, this is a fairly accurate send up of how they treat papers. And made me giggle to boot.

Today is picture day. I lamented over what my son would wear- he doesn’t have anything remotely “nice” in his clothes size right now. He just moved up a size and mostly we just have t-shirts and shorts. Then I realized, he’s in preschool! Who in their right mind dresses up a 4 year old boy for a school picture, especially when it’s supposed to be in the 90s today? So we’ll be rocking our nerd today, with an R2D2 t-shirt. (We don’t watch Star Wars that often, but he loves the Star Wars shirts I selfishly got to brainwash him into joining the Geek Side)

Last night I got the boys into bed early and watched a little TV. I finished Sunday’s Simpsons, and realized that I still had some summer series on my DVR. Now, the last few weeks have been so busy and stressed that I kept up with a couple shows and didn’t have much time for the rest. While I enjoyed the few Covert Affairs episodes I saw, I fell behind and never caught up on their season. Glad the show was renewed, but like other shows I adore (like In Plain Sight), I might just have to urge others with more free time to watch it.

Why am I bringing this up? I watched the season finale for Rizzoli & Isles. The episode was tense, with a standoff and ending with RIzzoli (Angie Harmon) shooting through herself to shoot the bad guy. Now, I knew the show had been renewed- which sort of takes the stress off of wondering if she’d survive. But TNT aired two separate promos during the finale that announced it was renewed for another season and would return next summer. I get that they want to build excitement- but a move like that from networks kills all the anticipation that the show has built up.

USA does it with Burn Notice- though really, you know that Michael Weston can’t die, because if he did, that’s the end of the show. TNT did it with Leverage at the end of last season. Though they showed clips from this current season, which sort of spoiled the tension built up by Nate being arrested.

Perhaps we can just do a end card ala James Bond? “Rizzoli & Isles will return” “To be continued” Is that so bad? It gives you the information without destroying the story.

Isn’t it ironic?

So, the man who owned the company that makes Segway died in a freak Segway accident. While it isn’t ironic, Alanis, it’s tragic. And sadly, it is a little funny.

Just like discovering what feels like the missing piece to the puzzle that is a novel when I know I don’t have any free time to write. Oh well. It goes into my notebook, and hopefully wins up somewhere useful.

We survived the weekend. For those who didn’t know, we live with our wonderful in-laws. They added on a second story to their house so that TheBoy and I could save up for a house- since even with the dire status of the housing market, things are still pricey here in Southern California. To a lot of people, this would be horrible. But I lucked out in getting in-laws that remind me a lot of my parents. While they aren’t as into the arts as my own parents are, they share a lot of the same beliefs about religion and child-rearing… and best of all, I’m the daughter they never had, not the girl who stole their son.

While there is a bit of a lack of privacy, I have an amazing community under this roof. They let the kids invade their room when they come home from work, to give me a bit of breathing room. They watch the kids so that TheBoy and I can go to dinner, and on one occasion, kicked me out of the house when TheBoy was working so that I could have a little fun. (I was told to go out, get some food and to go see “my movie” – aka Scott Pilgrim vs The World. I did! And I had a fabulous time by myself)

The downside is that I’ve gotten used to this. So this weekend when the in-laws took a trip to Palm Springs… I found myself alone, and exhausted after a long week of sleepless nights taking care of The Kid with The Cough. Well, not entirely alone. TheBoy works nights, though, and so he slept through most of Saturday. The youngest brother in law was there, but he keeps similar hours to TheBoy (ah, the life of a college student).

But we survived! The kidlets took naps and went to bed earlier than usual. In fact, I think I’ve got them used to the earlier bedtime… which would make my life much easier. (Downside to having lots of people in the house: the kids get easily excited and want to spent lots and lots of time with them. So they try to stay up later and become grumpy)

The saddest part of all is that it’s hot. Over 100 degrees here. While not entirely unusual for fall in Southern California, feels much worse than it is because we had a pretty mild summer. I can’t remember a single brown-out warning.

I’m going to get back to melting, and helping the Oldest Kidlet (who has regained his voice and only coughs occasionally) rebuild a train track.

You’re kidding right?

It can’t be Saturday already. It seems like it was just Monday, even though that was one of the longest weeks I’ve had in ages.

The rundown- my oldest started the week with a cough, after a total of 7 days at preschool. It seems like it should be a record. He never spiked a fever, he’s just been coughing. Of course, it didn’t help that on Tuesday night he started clearing his throat. It was almost like a nervous tick- he wasn’t really aware that he was doing it. Of course, that did more damage to his throat than the coughing. So from Wednesday on, he basically had no voice. I didn’t pull him out of school- other than having a tiny squeaky voice, he was completely fine. His teacher agreed with me (especially since he was only there for a few hours).

I also didn’t get much sleep. The coughing would wake me up (though it didn’t wake my sons up). And if the coughing didn’t wake me up, then the nightly 3 am meowfest from Zorro would. It was worse than usual, and last night it dawned on me that Zorro was concerned about my son, so he was trying to wake me up so I’d check on him. I’m serious! When I got up to get my son something to drink, the cat would follow me downstairs to get the drink, then up to my son’s room then back into my room. All while doing an odd meow. I swear, he’s more dog than cat.

Just so this isn’t a bunch of whining, here are the things that made me laugh/smile this week: Read More…

Midweek blahs.

Well, it was bound to happen. The oldest kidlet has started preschool, and he has a cold. He’s coughed his voice into oblivion- not because there’s a drip or anything, but because he starts trying to clear his throat, which irritates it and makes him cough more. So he clears his throat. Seriously, he seem to think that clearing his throat will stop the coughing.

So he has almost no voice right now, and I got him to take a nice long nap. We’ll be seeing how he’s doing tomorrow to see if he goes to school, stays home to rest, or stays home to go to the doctor.

I tried to get him to have some soup, but he refused. Silly picky eater. Soup will help!

Somehow I’m managing to keep it together. I know, a sick kid isn’t much. The youngest is coughing, and has a runny nose- but he’s fine, honestly. But since Monday, I’ve been battling a wicked migraine. It comes and goes in intensity, but it’s still back there… waiting.

I’m sure the moms at our school think that I think I’m too cool. With my big sunglasses that I wear even when it’s overcast. Sadly, it’s when it’s overcast that I have the hardest time. With the migraines I’m extremely photosensitive- and while there are somedays where it’s dark and overcast… the majority of overcast days here in Southern California are bright and overcast. So bright it’s almost like someone stuck a piece of paper in the sky.

Here’s to hoping we all make it out of the week in one piece! Someday I’ll share the tale about the pit o’ frosting and the awesome cake that accompanied it.

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

The latest effort to end Don’t Ask Don’t Tell stalled in Congress today.

Conservatives and anti-gay groups will tell you that Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is vital to the safety of our troops. Gay soldiers isn’t the biggest threat that our soldiers face- politicians are.

They want you to believe that gay people are inherently different than heterosexuals. They aren’t. They’re people, just ones who are attracted to the same sex. Not only that, gays in the military joined because they wanted to protect their country- not because they wanted to get in bed with soldiers.

Those who are against it, tell you that it’s a moral issue. It isn’t. Whether or not you believe that homosexuality is moral- soldiers who have been discharged under DADT weren’t behaving immorally. Most became discharged after they aired a legitimate grievance against another soldier, and were outed in retaliation. It didn’t matter how long they had served their country, or whether or not they had behaved impeccably for all those years. Simply by being known as gay, it rendered them unable to serve.

This isn’t right. Especially not at a time when enlistment is at a low, as well as re-enlistment. Tours are being expanded and soldiers have been sent back with little time away from combat. Specialists and translators are in short supply, yet some of those discharged under DADT were just that- individuals in already understaffed positions.

How are gay individuals a threat to the safety of our military? Isn’t removing qualified personnel a bigger threat?

Don’t let politicians and pundits dehumanize gay Americans and convince you that simply because someone is gay it makes them “less” of a soldier. If you care about our military, talk to your senator. Tell them that you’re interested in a military that focuses on a soldier’s capabilities, not on their sexual orientation.

This is America. Our Declaration of Independence says that “all men are created equal.” Not that all heterosexual men are created equal. But everyone. It’s bad enough that women face a rough time in the military- but honestly? Could you imagine if someone tried to say that African Americans couldn’t serve in the military?

Serving our country is an honor- one that all capable individuals should be allowed to do regardless of gender, race, sexual preference and religion. Don’t let politicians convince you that this is about safety. This is about discrimination.

Guilty Confession time

My youngest son still uses a bottle. Yeah, he’s had teeth for awhile and yeah… I know we should have gotten him from it. But he’s out and out refused every cup we’ve tried with him. Every couple months we try. But today, he bit through the last nipple we’d had, so I’m forcing him. He has two different cups he can choose from (a disposable sippy cup like the old school tupperware ones and a SIGG kid’s bottle). He either drinks from his cup, or not at all.

I’m not looking forward to today at all. I predict there will be plenty of freak-outs.

Another guilty confession- I bought myself new clothes. A pair of skinny cargos from Target, and a couple of new tank tops. Most of the clothes I own were bought shortly after either one of the kids were born. So most of them are a little too big, and several years old. While they’re in decent condition, I do worry that any day now they’ll fall apart in the wash. I’m going to keep myself from ordering these boots, though. Well, unless TheBoy okays it. Honestly, I have 7 pairs of boots that I can think of off the top of my head. Not including my pirate boots.

Fire, no sleep, and someone needs to get fired.

Right now there’s a fire burning up in the hills between Whittier and Hacienda Heights (they’ve dubbed it the Colima Incident). It started yesterday afternoon and is apparently contained- of course, I had to wait until this morning to find that out. I wish that local news would keep up with these things around the clock. At least for the community nearby. The weirdest thing is that it’s along the I drive daily coming back from the preschool, so it’s a little odd to think that we were just there hours before it started. Today, we drove back the way I usually drive there, as I wasn’t sure if the road was open at all- since it was just below the road.

I should apologize upfront for the rambling. Most mornings I wake up around 3 am when our cat Zorro decides that he wants to talk to me. Sweet cat. Loveable cat. He’s almost like a dog. But he’s a talker. So while he sleeps during the day, he wants someone to pet him and talk to him at 3 am. Usually, I’d just kick him out of my room. But this morning, just before the meowing started, my oldest son came into my room and said that he wanted to sleep in my bed. I asked if he wanted to go back to his, he said no. He petted Zorro and climbed into bed beside me. Unfortunately, the more Zorro meowed, the more awake my son became. Finally, I told him he’d have to go back to his bed and I’d give him some milk to get back to sleep. Which he did, and I sort of drifted back to sleep. Read More…

It’s Tuesday already?

You know, nothing makes me laugh more than comment spam. Seriously! Sometimes it’s the typos, sometimes it’s that it was obviously translated from Russian to some other language and then English. But mostly, it’s that my blog has plenty of posts that these comments might apply to- but not on the post it was submitted on. Case in point, today’s gem:

Thank you for such a fantastic blog. Where else could one get this kind of info written in such an incite full way? I have a presentation that I am just now working on, and I have been looking for such information.

Barring the “incite full” typo… this could be a real comment! Except that this was posted on my post for Oven Fried Chicken. I suppose that someone could be doing a presentation on chicken recipes… but yeah. Not likely.

Yesterday was the 25th Anniversary of Super Mario Brothers (in addition to the birthday of TheBoy). There were plenty of tweets about it, but Wil Wheaton’s made me laugh. Then today, he blogged about a Twitter exchange that made it even better.

Now believe it or not, I started this blogpost to share that my oldest son is in preschool 5 days a week now! When we signed him up for preschool, we had him in for 3 days a week, half days. It boggles the mind that there are full day preschool classes, really.

But on Friday, I was told by his teacher that the preschool director wanted to talk to us. As we waited for her, I worried. Had they lost our check? What was wrong? Ultimately, it was that the teacher felt that Drake wasn’t ready for their pre-K class and they wanted to put him in a regular preschool class. When we were signing him up, I had been told that the pre-K class was for older children. I wasn’t told that essentially it was for the kids who’d already done preschool- so they knew letters, numbers… and could write already. So obviously, I agreed. Had I known that? I never would have put him in it.

He started with his new class yesterday, and seems to be doing well. The teacher seemed surprised he couldn’t use scissors. I explained that he hasn’t used scissors before, since he has a little brother who’s only 2 and both of them tend to do everything together. But she’s going to work with him and I’m going to get him some of those safety scissors that don’t cut anything, so we can practice at home.

Things sure have changed since I went to preschool. I don’t remember anyone expecting that I knew how to do anything, except sit still, play nicely and that I could use the bathroom!

Tomorrow: Summarizing the schedule. What it used to be and what it is now..

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