Thursday, March 31, 2011


Oh, my email inbox.

I am drowning in my email inbox (4,491 messages right now).  I really just need to do a massive purge and "Oh well" they're gone. I just keep thinking there's something important in there not labeled yet I'll need.  In an effort to curb my obnoxious inbox, I decided to "unsubscribe" myself from a lot of emails that I don't need.

What an experience.  I was getting probably over 50 emails a day, and most of them from things I didn't care about. 
Dear Carnival Cruise Line:  I've never been on your ship. I have a preconceived idea that it is for younger, drinking types, party cruise, so I will probably never go on your ship.  Why do you send me an email every other day?
Dear Vacations-to-go:  I'm a firm believer in you.  I've used your products in the's becoming the distant past.  I do not forsee my traveling continueing any time soon.  I love you, I know where you are, I'll call you back.
Dear Pottery Barn/Williams Sonoma/Target/Lands End/et cetera:
Again, Love You.  Wish I could be with you - but it's just not happening right now.  The mere fact that you dump an email a day into the inbox will not change that fact.  
Dear Avantec Software:  I don't know who you are or why I get your emails.  I'm sure I downloaded some program of yours along the way.  Your emails were only occationally, but this year you've ramped it up to every-other-day.  I don't even know who you are and now you're constantly in my face.  P.S.  IT WAS NOT FUNNY that when I unsubscribed from you, you sent me emails in german for a couple of days just to play with my mind. 
Dear Republican Party:  You've made me increasingly frustrated the last five years.  And you gave my email address out to the County, City, candidates, every conservative organization; I was getting 5-10 emails from various people on any given day.  We're done.  If you spent half as much time getting decent candidates as you do sending out emails, we'd all be doing better.  I will continue to vote.  Can't guarantee it will be along party lines.

But by far the most irritating offender:

Breaking News...
Let's just say that my definition of breaking news is: Something that is major, perhaps life changing, an emergency, something I need to know about now - it can't wait until the 4,5,6, or 11 o'clock hour.

Channel 8's definition:  Every little nit picky story out there.

It's only 2:27p.m. and this is what they've sent me today:
  1. Body outside of bar
  2. police have been called to the scene
  3. Repeated with - more on our 4 a.m. newscast
  4. The body has been identified
  5. Pictures of a suspected kidnapper (from a crime 5 days ago, mind you)
  6. Family releases pictures of the slain person from 1,2,3 & 4 above
  7. Accident closes 95 at Ann Road.
  8. Pictures of a suspect released from a crime earlier in the week.
If I was driving away and noticed the accident on 95, that would be helpful.  N.O.N.E. of the other emails matter.  All of them could have waited until the newscast tonight.  To get the occassional 9.0 Japan earthquake, I have to wade through 10 useless emails a day.  KLAS, as much as I love you, we're done. 
Dear KLAS:  I have been a fan of your news team for over 30 years.  But your "Breaking News" emails have got to stop.  They are clogging up my inbox.  I would gladly "Unsubscribe" but that takes me to a form to fill out asking my email address, password, and something else.  What the???  I don't know my password, I just know I DON'T WANT YOUR EMAILS ANY MORE.  Perhaps you could put George Knapp's investigative team on this breaking news item:  People can't unsubscribe from you.

Everyone else: I look forward to your emails.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Dear Carson:
Oh, how I hope you are the pianoman of my future.  You must convince your parents at about age 7, that your life will not go on if you do not have piano lessons.  You will promise to do well in school, continue practicing your free throws (because we all know that the game can be won on good free throw averages, and to be honest, not to hurt your feelings, but just from observing the last 12 months, I don't think your height is going to get you a slam dunk shot on the team - but if you can out manuever and always make a swish, you'll be a real asset.) So to repeat, convince your mom that you can do your school work and play sports and read your scriptures and learn to play the piano. 

This you must do because in about 10 years, on a Sunday evening I'd like to find myself fixing Sunday dinner as usual and you can play lovely hymn arrangements in the background.  And I will smile.  And when you come over on the off days, you can rock a mean Amadeus.  And I will smile.  And you can learn Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin songs and Uncle Scotty will sing them. And I will smile.  And maybe we could talk your cousin Charlie into playing too, and you two could do duets.  And I will smile.

See all of the grandma smiling that is in my future?  o.k.?  Deal.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Bathroom Tile

Scott wanted to learn how to tile.  Ron likes to do everything himself because he thinks he's knows he's Superdad and nobody else can do things as well as he can.  So I say, "Superdad, you have to remember that Scotty is a Superdad in training.  How will he ever become Superdad if you don't teach him?"  So, Ron stood back and let Scott do the tiling.  It was probably the hardest four hours of his life.
 Getting started.
 Matt was a great help scraping the popcorn ceiling off of the bedroom. I think he was glad not to be in the way of the tile experience.
 Not bad.  5 courses up then the border and continuing upward.
 Next wall.
 Classic Scott concentration shot.
 After lunch, Scott had to leave.  He and Matt went out with friends shooting.  This was probably great timing because the 3rd wall had some circles that had to be arranged to fit around the plumbing.  Ron finished up this wall.  My assignment all day was to open the boxes of tile, spread them around and mix and match the colors so they went up 'randomly' on the wall.  We put up multicolored slate.  Some boxes had almost all gold, some had almost all green.  So it was necessary to shuffle them a bit.
 Then we added a border around the edges.  Today's project done.  It took all day.  Ron did great letting Scott help.  I heard the 3 boys discussing the floor tile. We bought a pile of travertine with a couple of buckets of random cut pieces off of craigslist last summer for next to nothing.  I was wanting to do the bathroom and kitchen/family room area.  As they were doing the math, we were 16 pieces short of being able to do that.  Ron had picked up 17 pieces of another shade of travertine from a lot he was hired to clear all the junk off of and grade.  So the boys decided to put smaller amount, which was a lighter shade in the bathroom, and put the main amount in the main room.  You following this?  I love how they get together and pow-wow and think they've solved the problems of my universe.

So while I was shuffling the bathroom tile, I kept looking at the other tile.  After Ron reached the end of the bathroom, I announced our next tile project.

Ron looked at the floor and knew he was in for a lot of time in front of the tile saw.  I would like it on the diagonal, from the new front door, making an L shape for the kitchen area, and into the bathroom.  Leaving a space for carpeting in the main sitting area.  Bordered with 4" strips.  I had my arguments all ready on how I know it would be easier just to lay them straight, less cuts involved, etc.  But it would look 100% better laid on the diagonal...  Ron just dreads making all the cuts.  And he took a piece out to his tile saw and sure enough it's not big enough to do this size tile on the diagonal.  In Ron's words, "I'll have to cut it half way, then turn the tile around, trying not to break it, and cut the rest of the line."  Me, "but it will look so much better on the diagonal.  I'll stand here one morning and make all the cuts for you, then you just have to lay it."  That offer didn't go over too well.  My new assignment is to take a straight edge and mark diagonals on half the tiles.  And take the buckets of extra pieces and mark off the 4" strips for him to cut. 

When all is said and done, Ron even invited Scott back to help with the floor tile, "You know it's easier to tile a floor than a wall."

Before we can tile the floor this is what needs to happen:
  • Grout the shower tile
  • Finish installing the new front door.
  • Take out the old door and frame and sheet rock that hole in.
  • Move the travertine tile outside
  • Remove popcorn ceiling from the main room.
  • Retexturing (ceiling, around where the windows were installed, etc.)
  • Primer new texture areas.  Paint whole thing
  • Then we can tile the floor.
I'm excited.  I think it will all pull together so nice. 
I'm also excited about the tiling costs.  The bathroom tile was on sale with a 15% off coupon, so we were able to purchase the bathroom tile, grout for both bathroom and floors, plus the mortar, and the travertine for under $500.

Friday, March 18, 2011

St. Patrick's Day
Family BBQ

Mmmm, Mmmm, Mmmm.  These are green funeral potatoes.

 The family gathers.  Ashley braided a shamrock in the back of Charlies hair.  So cute.  Shout out to Parker on the right - He's 1 today (3/18).  He looks bald.  But he's not.  Ashley was buzzing Drew's hair and decided to buzz Parker as well.  He just has such fine blonde hair, you can't even see it.
Kruger is always near the table waiting for something to drop. The backyard is far from finished - I think you could say it's not even started - but I go ahead and set up table and chairs and we have a fine time eatting and visiting.  When the kids are done, the backhoe becomes their make-shift fort.

 Andrew and Hallie playing tick-tack-toe.  Charlie getting ready to burst into tears because she wants to play too.  And with the girl set, not the extra spiderman (boy) set that was also on the table.

Dish up.  On the menue:  bbq chicken, lime jello w/cubed pears, green salad, green potatoes, green brocolli, german chocolate cake (not green).  We got together tonight because Brad & Kara were heading back to San Diego.  It was nice to have them in Las Vegas this week.

 Sunset dinner.
Family visiting.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

When Grandma Tried To Be a Photographer and Instead Became Snippy Mean Grandma
Brad and Kara are in town visiting.  It is Brad's "last spring break, ever."  I've been wanting a picture of the 5 grandchildren together all year.  So today we met up at the park.  Let's just get it out there - I am not a photographer, and I am not a patient kind grandma when trying to get 5 little ones to all look one way.  Somehow I thought that the 6 year old and the two 3 year olds would just stand there always looking the right direction and smiling and we would just have to deal with the babies.  All five were all over the place.  I don't like becoming the snippy mean grandma.  I've been on to YW activities tonight and the grocery store, and 7-Eleven because the grocery store didn't have any ice, and now I've had time to calm down.  Looking at the pictures was pretty funny.  I set my camera on high speed action shots so that I have a string of 50 frames of the same shot.  It's pretty funny to watch it in action and what they were all doing those few seconds.

Here are some 'out takes' where we just couldn't get them all together.
 The cast of characters are, backrow:  Hallie, Charlie, Andrew.  Front row:  Carson & Parker

If you give them balls and tell them to throw them up in the air - they also turn and chase after them.
If you tell them to throw up their balls on the count of three - someone will throw it up on the count of two.

Oops - where's Carson?  He would cry every time he got sat down on the ground.  Kara was trying to talk him into participating.  Hallie was swinging her arms around making all kinds of poses.  Charlie was holding tightly to Drew's hand yelling at him to cooperate and stand still.  Parker was just hanging out.  He was quick to crawl away from the set.
 Carson sitting down crying.  I have 35 pictures of Drew smiling at the camera as he grabbed hold of the top of Carson's head and turned it toward the camera.
 It's finally looking the right direction, but he's having no part of this.  Hallie and Charlie are looking great.  Extra points go to Drew for keeping his smile up the whole time as he helped with Carson.  Parker was looking all over the place but remained stationary.
Not bad.  Capri Sun's and cookies kept them all still for a few minutes.

Next time I'll show the better looking group shots.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

What My Garden Looks Like
March 12

The peas are coming up
The radishes are poking through the surface

The tomatoes are planted and caged

A lot of barren ground
Now the waiting begins.  I planted 3 different varieties of tomatoes just to see which ones we like better.  I also planted eggplant.  I've never been successful in growing eggplant, but I keep trying.  I also planted anaheim chilis.  Another plant I've never seen through to fruition.

This year, just for Matt, I planted okra.  I was raised on okra.  I hate okra.  But I decided I could fry it up on Sunday dinner for Matt this summer - if it grows.  My dad asked me how many seeds I planted, I said I bought two packages, but only planted 1/2 of a package.  He laughed and said I'd have enough okra for the whole town.  "Make sure you cull those real good, you probably only want one or two plants."

I've yet to see any lettuce or spinach from my earlier planting two weeks ago.  there's a whole row of corn planted.  Two varieties of yellow squash.  The normal crooked-neck that I've been successful with in the past.  Then I bought a package of heirloom seeds for yellow squash.  My grandparents always "put their garden to seed" at the end of the season, and that's how they got seeds for the next year.  I'd like to do that but the seed packets at the store are almost all hybrid - which means their genetically engineered to do well, and sterile, so you can't save the seeds to plant again.  I've read up on heirloom seeds and looked at several seed providers, but I wasn't ready to take it on this year. I think you have to work a little harder with the seeds to have them come up, etc.  I'll read some more about it and perhaps start with the winter garden to use some heirloom seeds.

The garden is 24x12.  The fencing around it came from a demolition job site Ron did last year.  I am excited about my jumbo colored tomato cages.  I bought them at Habitat for Humanity Restore (they sell construction related items for cheap) last January.  They were $2 each.  Star Nursery is selling them right now for $7.99 each.  Deal.

We'll see how many seeds germinate, survive wind storms, hot sun, crickets, ants, and all other creepy crawlies to produce some vegetables this year!
What My Garden Looks Like
March 12 - Part II

Upcoming Projects

To prove that pictures can be angled to show all the best in life, I present to you my projects around the yard to take on the next two weeks or so.

First up:  Repaint the back wall to remove all graffiti.  We came over here in December so that the loser teenagers would stop using our property as the hangout and canvass for their boredom.  It has worked.  We haven't had any issues since we've moved in.  It wouldn't be so bad if it was 'real' in the hood artwork, like maybe for instance something like this:

but no, we have bored teenagers just trying to figure out how to spell their names and curse.  So the back wall needs to be painted.

Next up:  This is the area where the chicken coop is going.  It needs to be cleaned out.  that is a big rusted metal something or other in the middle of the picture.  There's lots of trash on the ground to clean up.  We've made several trips to the dump already.  I could walk around today and fill up Ron's trailer, but he has it at a job site.

Finally, this one is really bugging me:  We've done a lot of dead-tree clearing in the last two months.  A lot of cutting up logs and breaking up branches for firewood.  Most of what we've done so far, we burned as our winter warmth.  There is a pile of logs that were a live tree we trimmed that are stacked for next year.  This tree happens to be one Ron dragged home from a demolition site.  it's smack dab in the middle of my backyard and I want the pile gone.  Then see the tree trunk in the upper right corner?  That's a huge dead tree that has to come down.  Oh, man.  This is a lot of work.  But it must get done.

But wait, there's more: 

The fence around the garden needs to be painted black.  I had a lone can of spray paint with a little in it and I check it out and yep, it will look good.  So before the corn grows I would like the fence to be painted.  I'm also on the hunt for a cute old-fashioned garden gate.

I'll report back in a couple of weeks and let you know how I'm doing in the project department.

Monday, March 07, 2011

     Not to be confused with Ketchup or Catsup

1.  I have a twitter account.  That I never really use.  But you better believe I was person number 1,240,001 to sign up for charliesheen.  Just in time for him to tweet that he was an "unemployed winner" 

2.  The garden ground is ready.  Some cold-weather items were planted two weeks ago.  The first little signs of green are sprouting up.  The end of the week, all the other summer vegetables will get planted.

3.  I ordered chickens.  Pretty excited.  Five of each. 

Americaunas - tiffany blue pastel eggs

Barred Rock - brown eggs

Rhode Island Red - brown eggs

4.  I haven't been updating much and didn't know blogger had made it way easier to add picture.

5.  Ashley - not to be confused with Ashley Your Cousin, Lisa's Ashley, or Ashley Noel - posted the funniest blog.  We're still laughing about it.  If you don't think it's funny, well then, we just have different humor.   And when you take a look at it - overnight it seems like, Parker has changed his look.  he's gained a little weight, and man he sure looks like Drew now. But I'll stop now, because really, it's a funnny read, you should go over there.

6.  Matt went on a date with Charlie.  He called to say there were headed to CiCi's Pizza and had no idea what to do after that.  I suggested if he had $10 to go to Claires and let her pick out some cheap jewelry.  She loves that stuff.  An hour later he sent me a picture text message of her getting her ears pierced.  Nooooo, that wasn't my suggestion.  Luckily he checked with Ashley first for permission.

7.  Ron's working now.  The wind is blowing like crazy at our house.  Things are happening.  Slowly but surely.

I think that just about covers my exciting life.