Monday, May 26, 2008

A Little Gold Mine

Before my mammogram on Friday I had enough time to hit one of my favorite thrift shops and I hit the jackpot! My son is a challenge when it comes to pants. He needs a 3T for the length but 24 month size fits in the waste. Needless to say I have to buy pants with an adjustable waste to fit him, so I rarely find them used. This time I found a pair of Children's Place jeans and two pairs of khakis - all with adjustable wastes and all for $1.50 each! I also found two pair of shorts and two shirts for S, two pair of jeans and two bathing suits for K, a pair of shorts for my husband, a child-size kimono / robe for the dress-up box, a tractor pillowcase (story another day,) and a set of vintage sheets. But the best part is - all of it cost a grand total of $12.00!
Aren't these great sheets? I've been looking for a set like this to use for a pair of Amy Butler's lounge pants. I didn't get them made this weekend since I was working on another project - the cutest little dress made out of a onesie... more on this when I get the tutorial done.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

I Just Had to Share...

My daughter broke my nose... Can you see it? Don't feel too bad for me - it happened the day after Thanksgiving, and aside from a small bump (that my husband says only I can notice,) I am completely healed. Actually the worst part of the whole thing was about three days later when the ENT doctor put his thumbs on each side of my nose and pushed the fractured piece back into place... Youch! Try preparing yourself for that. Three-fourths as painful, my ass! Anyway...

I was at the hospital for a mammogram on Friday and I thought I'd look into how much it would cost to get a copy of the X-ray so I could put it in K's baby book. "If you can give me 10 minutes," the lady said, "I'll burn it for you." The hospital doesn't charge for copies and now I have the two X-rays as jpeg files on a CD. How cool is that?

Also cool - Mars Phoenix has successfully landed on Mars. The science geek in me is very excited. We are watching the landing live on the NASA channel...

5-26-08 Edited to add the "Back Story:"

It was totally innocent... Grandma, Grandpa, S, K, and I were all snuggling in Grandma and Grandpa's bed the morning after Thanksgiving (as we often do in the morning since the house is chilly until Grandpa can get the fire going to warm up the house.) K was happy and bouncy and just happened to jump down and smack the back of her head into my nose.

Blood went everywhere... Grandma swooped in and removed K while she covered my face with paper towels - after she took off my glasses. She was worried that the the glasses' nose piece had cut my eye (since it was filled with blood - I couldn't see out of it,) so she took me to the emergency room. Luckily it was just blood in my eye - once they cleaned it up the doctor could see that the eye was fine. Thank Goodness for happy endings.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

It's Time...

for morel mushrooms!
Yummy... Each day when A and I are out this time of year we keep our eyes open for these little beauties; they are hard to find but so worth it when you come across a patch. A made the most delicious asparagus and morel risotto the other day. Mmmmmmm so good. Spring is the only time we get to enjoy morels unless there is such a bumper crop that we end up with enough to dry, which unfortunately hasn't happened in a few years. A few black morels are up on the island right now, though it's been really cold this spring so there aren't very many. These little mushrooms are so tasty a friend of mine actually got yelled at by someone who mistakenly thought she picked a few on his property. People pick loads of them (in the hundreds) about an hour south of here, but we never find that many. We just enjoy the fleeting few we are lucky enough to get...

Seven Things

Image borrowed from

A couple of weeks back I was tagged by Michelle over at The Mama Chronicles for a Seven Things Meme. I was so engrossed with the senior trip I had to put it off for a while, but I am back so here goes...

According to Michelle these are the rules:
1. Link to your tagger and post these rules on your blog.
2. Share seven facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.
3. Tag seven people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.
4. Let them know they are tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

Seven Things About Me

1. I am a total science geek. I love knowing how things work and why things are the way they are. I'm a math geek too, but not as much as science. I guess it is good that I became a math and science teacher... I try really hard to pass on my love of learning to my students.
(Deer heart awaiting dissection in my classroom)

2. I know American Sign Language. I met a deaf girl while I was in college and decided I wanted to be her friend. With her help I learned to sign. I used ASL with both my children before they could speak and it was amazing; it cut down on their frustration so much. Plus now I can cue them to say "please" and "thank you" and 99% of the population does not know it and think they are very polite children. (You'll keep my secret, won't you.)

3. I'm 38 years old and I have never been drunk. Really. I guess I'm just kind of boring... though my friends liked always having a designated driver around.

4. I’m afraid of color. Yep – a quilted who is afraid of color. I have to see the combination somewhere and like it – because I can’t match things on my own. Due to my fears, my entire house is painted off white. That way I’ll know the curtains, etc. will match the walls. Though, I must admit I am getting better in this area. My friend Julie came over and picked paint colors for me this winter. We went through he house and she picked colors that went with the things I already had in the rooms. I’ll post pictures after things are painted…

(Some of my completed quilts)

5. I am an auditory learner. Like amazingly so... In college I would, much to my roommates dismay, record all of my notes and listen to them as I studied. I constantly amaze my husband because I can pick out actor's voices when I only hear a couple of words, I can quickly mimic accents, and I can pretty much remember anything set to music.

6. I love to travel. I've been to Canada, Spain, France, Gibraltar, Ireland, England, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Austria, Puerto Rico, the Bahamas, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the British Virgin Islands. My mother was a firm believer that traveling to other countries was important. She made sure both my brother and I saw as much of the world as we could.

7. I can sing a children’s song about almost any topic. I use to teach preschool and kindergarten and being so auditory myself, we sang a lot. My friend, Katie, use to challenge me by looking at me and saying a word, like cirrus cloud, and I had to come up with a children’s song about that topic or containing that word. 95% of the time I could do it… I can sing all the nations of the world, too. One summer my friends Michelle, Katie and I decided to learn the Animaniacs song. It took a lot of practice but we managed to do it – back in about 1995... I can still sing it. (Did I mention I was an auditory learner?) Whenever my students complain that they can't memorize something I have assigned , I break out into song. By about the third time in September, they stop complaining...

I am tagging Maggie, Shannon, Katie, Jada, and Lesley. I'm hopeful that ya'll will be willing to play... if not I sincerely apologize.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Senior Trip - Day Four: Old San Juan

Fort El Morrow
I'm a big history buff, so I would have been content walking around the 425 year-old forts and a 400+ year-old city all day... but alas, the seniors were not interested, so we spent very little time in Fort El Morrow and didn't get to Fort San Cristobal at all. (We also wandered around the old city for a couple of hours to shop and eat dinner.) I guess I am just going to have to get back to San Juan again. The weather was kind of overcast the day we spent there, so the pictures really won't do the place justice.

plants growing out of a bastion wall
doorway within El Morrow
cannon touch holeOld San Juan at night
I just loved the city's street lights!
That brings me to the end of my Puerto Rican adventure... The next day we turned in the rental car, hopped on the shuttle to the airport and flew back to Michigan. Despite my worries about the trip, (have I ever mentioned that I am a rather anxious person?) it turned out to be wonderful; the kids were great, the activities were a blast, the other chaperone was super, the weather was fantastic (the kids slept through the only rain we had,) and all the hitches worked out in our favor. Though I must admit, it is good to be home with my family again...

Monday, May 12, 2008

Senior Trip - Day Three: Rainforest

Are you ready for an adventure?
Get your helmet...
don't forget your harness...and lace up your hiking boots, too.Remember to check out the orchids as you hike through the rain forest...the bromeliads are worth noticing, too.
Turn on your light for the first of three caves...
watch your footing...
and climb out carefully.Phew, that was a long morning.
Stop at Jorge's self-sufficient farm for some Puerto Rican home cooking.Be careful at the compost toilet.
You better use it too, because...soon you'll do five zip lines to get back down the mountain.Remember to open your eyes as you zip over the Tanama River...
don't worry if you forgot, we'll cross it again later...
Remember that high school Spanish class? It was useful after all...cross one at a time...Of all of our days in Puerto Rico, this one was, by far, my favorite -
thanks to Raymond and Roqui, our Acampa guides.
Thanks guys! We had an amazing day.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Senior Trip - Day Two: Snorkeling

Off to snorkel on a catamaran in the city of Fajardo, which is about an hour east of San Juan... We discovered that some of the roads - even the major ones - are not very well marked in Puerto Rico, so we were glad we had budgeted an extra 30 minutes or so to get there. We went out with East Island Excursions on their power cat The Island Flier. I was so glad the sailing cat had been booked that day, since there was no shaded spots aboard. The Island Flier had a shaded cabin - which was a very good thing after the sunburns from the day before. (For some reason the kids wanted nothing to do with my SPF 50 sunblock, choosing to fry instead.)
We were suppose to go to Culebra, but the winds weren't favorable, so they took $20.00 off each ticket and we snorkeled / swam at three different spots instead: Icacos Key, Palominos Key, and Palominitos Key, though some maps refer to them as Isla Icacos, etc. The $20.00 off really added up since there were seven of us. Best of all, the kids were thrilled to go swimming at different spots.
It was a spectacular day, despite the second layer of sunburn. If you are headed to Puerto Rico and you want to snorkel, I would recommend East Island Excursions. We were very pleased with them.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Hitch #2

If you are traveling in the near future and happen to need a rental car, I'd like to suggest that you choose any rental company other than Hertz. As you can see, we ended up with a flat tire. I called Hertz and after 15 minutes on hold and then another 10 minutes arguing with the lady on the other end, Hertz agreed to send us some road side assistance... which never arrived. Luckily, these guys did...
They were the most amazing guys. They helped us take off the tire and put on the spare. Then they took the tire over to their shop, on the construction site, where they "plugged" the hole with a rubber plug. (I had never heard of plugging a hole in a tire. I thought people usually patched the hole in the tube.) This repair method was so fast. They also found two other plugs in the tire, but I suppose that is beside the point... Anyway, Maxi (on the left in the photo above) used soapy water and an air compresser to locate the hole. Then he used a tool that looked a little like a latch hook to push a pencil-sized rubber thingie into the hole. A quick slice with a razor blade to cut off the excess and the tire was done. They finished inflating it and put it back on the car as the seven of us just watched; our mouths open in amazement at how nice these perfect strangers were being to us.

After we thanked them profusely and tried to give them some money, Maxi asked us where we were headed. We explained that we were just out looking for a beach since our snorkeling trip had been canceled due to poor weather in Fajardo. (Yet another hitch.) Maxi told us that there were great beaches over by his house, which was about an hour away. "I'm heading home in about 10 minutes," he said, "Why don't you follow me. I can show you the beach." Crazy as it sounds, we did. And it was so worth it, too. Maxi took us to the most amazing beach in Manati, which is on the northern coast of Puerto Rico. Before he left us, he gave us his phone number and told us that if we had any trouble all we needed to do was give him a call and he could be back in 20 minutes. What a stroke of luck to have that flat. We met Maxi and he (and his buddies) took our misfortune and turned it into an wonderful day.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Hitch #1

We made it to San Juan on time with only one small (OK, BIG!) hitch...

When we got to the mainland, my car wouldn't start. So there I am, standing with the jumper cables in my hand trying to look pathetic, hoping that someone will take pity on me and stop and help. K, the other chaperone, had gone to get gas before giving me a jump for fear he would run out. It ended up being a good thing he left because...

Soon N and F arrived and offered to help me jump the car. F hooked up the cables and we waited but nothing happened: no clicking, no turning over, nothing; just silence... So N looks at me and says, "Why don't you guys just take my car."

"We're going on the senior trip and will be gone for like, a week," I say. "No problem," she says, "I won't need it before that. Just let me get my car seats out."

No where else in the world would someone I know (but not really well) just offer up her car to me for an entire week. Yet another reason living on the island I do with the people I do is wonderful. THANK YOU N!