Monday, 30 June 2008

things that make me go hmmm

I got an email yesterday that gave me pause.
It claimed to be from an American woman who had found my blog via search engine and wanted to know a couple of specific (seemingly innocent) things about the military base. #1, I couldn't get to my blog by searching for what she was searching for. #2, My blog doesn't give my email address anywhere (as far as I know). #3, Some information is best not given.

So I'm posting for a couple of reasons. If it really was a legitimate email question, sorry but I won't be answering you in case you aren't who you claim.
Also, I would like to know if any internet savvy people can get to my email address by my blog.

Makes me wonder if I ought to blog so freely... On the other hand, given #1 and 2 above, I wonder if the email was totally Phishing and had nothing to do with this blog at all. On the other hand, maybe it really was just a lonely American on foreign soil. And as Bob says, that's already more hands than any one person ought to have. :-) If you ask for my opinion, I'm likely to give you all of them.

Saturday, 28 June 2008

Fun fun

(A little catch-up.)
Bob did not get promoted to Master Sergeant this year. We were kind of hoping he would (more money), but as we've been thinking about it, we realized that there's no real reason to want it. We have enough money now, and promotion would be more responsibility/headache/work. So we're okay with it.

A new guy at Bob's work wants to buy his Honda, so we are getting the water pump replaced and then he will (hopefully) buy it. We are undecided about a replacement car. I want a vintage Jaguar; Bob said today maybe we'd better get another van to have transport in case our van breaks or needs servicing.

Bob took out Riah's stitches Wednesday night, and he's doing well.

Wednesday a lady that we met at the BX (I wrote about it at the time) brought her family over for lunch. I made blonde brownies and fruit salad, and we had sandwiches and chips also. They were here about 2 hours and we had a nice visit. Maybe we will get together for July 4th. (They have 4 children and seem to be on the same page as us on many issues, but we didn't talk too much doctrine just yet.) She told me about a Pick Your Own farm in Isleham.

Today we didn't plan too much because Bob was pretty tired and stressed from work. I'd seen a sign for a "Togs and Toys" sale in Newmarket, and there was the PYO, so...
We drove into Newmarket and parked at the Waitrose (grocery store) which is next to the Catholic Church where the sale was. We got out and realized we didn't have any British money. (duh!) So we went into the store first, thinking we'd get cash back on our purchase. We bought bread, cookies, and Nutella, and didn't get cash back since the card ran as credit. There was an ATM outside, so we got cash there.
We took our stuff to the car and walked over to the sale. It was pretty small; about 10 tables. We got one cute dress for Ella.

Then we went to Mildenhall for lunch and shopping. I signed up to get a gift for the biggest loser in a blogger weight loss group I'm in, so I wanted to look for something, and we got a couple of other things. Ran into one rude (British) employee, but I think I'm over that now.

Then we drove out to Isleham (not far from Mildenhall) and found the PYO farm. Strawberries are in season and were selling at 1GBP per pound. (Though the cartons the man gave us to pick into hold about a kilo each... one day they will figure out which system they are using.) William was asleep so we put his seat on the stroller, and out we went. Riah and Ella came with me and Cedwryck went with Bob (who also took the stroller); the girls were more or less on their own.
I showed Riah how to pick, and he spent the next 45 minutes saying, "Is this one good? ... This one isn't good... This one is good." Ella tramped back and forth across the rows and ate the ones we tossed out for being overripe. She also picked a few and put in my basket. We got 5 baskets full - about $20 worth. They are very delicious. I don't think we'll be freezing them, if you know what I mean.

So that's that. Sorry if this post isn't well written; I can't think straight today.

Thursday, 26 June 2008

Chocolate Gravy

Monday at lunch Taryn mentioned chocolate gravy, and Lorella, instead of the normal "ewww" reaction, said, "How have I lived x years and never heard of this?"
So, Lorella, this is for you. (posted rather than emailed in case someone else wants to know)

In microwave safe 2 qt bowl, combine:
1/2 c sugar
2 heaping Tablespoons of cocoa (probably close to 1/4 cup)
3 heaping Tablespoons flour

Gradually whisk in (keeping the mixture smooth):
2 c milk.

Microwave on high 2 minutes, whisk, repeat. Continue to microwave, stirring at 1 minute intervals until desired thickness.
Serve over hot buttered biscuits.

1, biscuits are basically scones.
2, this can be made with all or part water instead of milk, but flavor will be lost. Use whole milk for best taste.
3, this can be made on the stove, just stir constantly.
4, some people [meaning Bob] like to crumble the biscuit in a bowl, spoon in a dollop of butter, and then pour the gravy over it, stirring to melt the butter. Other people [meaning me] prefer to split and butter the biscuit, then pour the gravy over, and cut off bites with a spoon.)

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

The love of God

For some reason this came to mind today.

You know the story of the pearl of great price, right? Jesus said the kingdom of Heaven is like a man who sold all he had to buy a pearl. I had always assumed the pearl was God and the man was me and the moral was that I needed to give up everything to follow God. But we have a "Donut Man" video (sing along for children), and on it the donut man explained it this way: You are the pearl. God is the man, and the price he paid for you cost him Jesus - everything He had.

Also, the same thing from another angle:
We have a video of a play about Pocahontas. John Rolf was talking to her about God and the devil. She told of the Indian god who demanded human sacrifice, and how horrible it was, and how she was glad to "renounce the devil" as the catechism taught. And then John Rolfe said, "The true God doesn't demand that you die for Him; The true God died for you."

I could go on moralizing a while, but I think I'll leave it with those two stories.
God bless.

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

the visit

My cousin Chris and his wife Lorella celebrated their 15th wedding anniversary this year by spending 15 days in Europe. This concerns me because the last day of their trip was at my house. :-) Chris has done a good job of telling about the rest of their trip, but for me things started Sunday.

We straightened the house Sunday morning and left for church about 10:45, which gave us time for lunch at Burger King beforehand. After church we stopped at the commissary for ice cream, since I forgot that Saturday, and then on home to relax a minute before making supper. I had just started on the salad when the children all started shouting "They're Here!"
Chris came to the door to ask where to park (good question). When I opened the door, Ella looked up at him and said, "Daddy." No, Ella, that's Chris, not Daddy. So they got parked and we had a visit while William nursed and Taryn made the salad. Cedwryck had previously decided that he wasn't going to talk to 'those people,' and it turned out that we wished he hadn't. While we were all sitting around chatting, he pointed at Chris and said, "You're fat!" Mortification! They took it kindly, but I'm feeling the need for some refinement in our life. Not like we normally go around commenting on people's body shape, but maybe we do talk too much about the unimportant things.

All the children took up with Chris and Lorella right away, and we had a good visit. They were very generous guests, and brought gifts for each of us, as well as buying us dinner on Monday (but I get ahead of myself), and sharing with the children. They've definitely set the standard high for future visitors - and there had better be some future visitors!

We had chicken enchiladas for Sunday dinner, with chips, beans, and some vegetables. For dessert there was Taryn's cake with ice cream. yummy

Monday we got up pretty early and had breakfast of sausage, scrambled eggs, and homemade cinnamon rolls. William decided to take a nurse-and-nap after breakfast, so that gave us time for more visiting and relaxing. Lorella packed up their bags, and we generally got ready to go. We were out of the house by 9:30 or so, and they led the way to Orford Castle, following directions of their in-car GPS. It took us a different route than Google maps, so we got to see the outskirts of Ipswich for the first time.

Taryn didn't think Orford had a lot of stairs, but it is on 4 floors altogether. It didn't feel like a lot, but my knees are a little sore today. Anyway, we got the audio tours and wandered around looking and listening. When we started up the last flight of stairs, onto the roof, we noticed Chris wasn't with us. Lorella said he'd probably gone looking for a bathroom, so we went on up. There are two guard towers that have rooms inside, kinda dark, and the children discovered that the doors were open (I think they were locked last time) and started in one. There was a big noise, and everyone screamed and ran out laughing. Yep, Chris was hiding in the guard room to scare us. Cedwryck almost cried, and didn't like being scared. Guess what the children spent the rest of the visit doing.

It was this incident that reminded me of what an ornery boy Chris used to be. He was the one who got an extra dinner roll at a family dinner, took it to his place and stuffed a napkin inside before "deciding" he didn't want that many, so he took it back to the serving line. He got into a bit of trouble when our grandma ended up with the false roll. It was Chris who would stand outside the bathroom window in the evenings and make funny noises at my cousin while she was in the shower. And Chris was the one who "laid hands on" the burnt-out light bulb in our Great Grandma's "old house" and commanded it to come on, "in the name of Jesus," in classic televangelist style. I'm glad he's settled down some. ;-)

Anyway, after Orford we went to Framlingham Castle, about 30 minutes away and explored it's museum, curtain wall, and gift shop. We were getting pretty hungry by this time, so we walked toward the village and the first pub we saw, just outside the castle grounds, had plenty of seating so we went in. It was about 3:00. Lorella easily remembered what everyone wanted and ordered at the bar. Bob had fish and chips, which he said was much better than what we'd got at the pub in Orford last time, I had a sandwich and salad, and most of the children had chicken nuggets (Riah had fish). Then we had dessert. Each child had an ice cream scoop, and Bob and I shared a "caramelized apple tart with ice cream." It was VERY good. Lorella also had a tart, and Chris had strawberries and cream - which all the children made eyes at, so he gave them each a strawberry in addition to their ice cream.

After lunch we walked down to the church and went in. A man was playing the big pipe organ, and a few other people were wandering around. In the back of the church is the tomb of Henry 8th's illegitimate son and his wife. It was about 5, and we each had a little driving to do, so we said our good-byes in the parking lot and we went home while they went toward Heathrow.

Today I am feeling quite tired, but I got a boost when Misty, the lady whom I met at the BX a couple of months ago, called and we decided to get together tomorrow.

The weather was very nice yesterday - blue sky with white puffy clouds, about 65*, a little breezy at first but calming down later.
We didn't get lost, but did have a couple of incidents. #1, Taryn and Naysha rode with Chris and Lorella in their rental Audi. Halfway to Orford, on the highway, Taryn's door came open! Turns out she was checking to see if the car had child safety locks. #2, on the outskirts of Framlingham, a bee flew in Bob's open window and down his shirt, stinging him on the chest. OUCH.

so I guess this post is about long enough.

Who's next?

Saturday, 21 June 2008


Today Bob was on standby for work, so he was picked to meet a new guy off the bus from the airport, to take him and his wife to their hotel, some 20+ miles from the base. He didn't have maintenance work, so he was home till about lunch time, when he left to meet the guy.

We ate lunch, and as I was clearing up, and Taryn was starting to make a cake for Chris and Lorella (my cousin who will be here tomorrow night), the boys started jumping around on the couch. I told them to stop, so they switched to jumping OFF the couch. There was a thud and a yell, and Riah was crouched on the floor holding his head. I started the lecture as I lifted him up onto the couch to get a good look at his injury, but when I did, he moved his hands and I saw the blood. Breathing a quick prayer, I ran to the kitchen for a bleached rag and the ice pack.

I pressed the rag (wrapped around the ice pack) against the cut on his forehead. After a minute I lifted it to see how it was, and blood was running out of a cut about 1 inch long, and not TOO deep looking. More pressure, still bleeding. So I called Taryn to hold the rag while I got the phone to call Bob. Only I couldn't find his cell phone number. I looked in a couple of places, and then remembered that it was programed into my cell phone. Only, I couldn't find it. It's still in my coat pocket from last Saturday in London, and the coat is in the back of the van, with Bob.

So I called 999 (England's version of 911) and requested an ambulance. I kept holding the rag/ice pack on Riah's head, and Taryn looked for the phone numbers. She found it, so I called Bob, too. Riah wanted Daddy to be here, not "soon," but "now." So he said he'd come home. A little bit later the ambulance showed up, finding us somewhat calmer now than we had been, and the children all very interested to see what sort of ambulance would come, and whether the people would be men or women, etc. I pulled back the rag and they saw the gash, and said it would need glue or stitches, which they couldn't give. They cleaned it and applied a bandage, wrapping Riah's head up so he looked like he'd just come home from war. One guy was calling the hospital in Newmarket to see if they were in, but no one answered. So they were suggesting the hospital in Bury St Edmunds when Bob showed up. We figured we'd better take him to the base hospital, since we know we are covered there, and it might be complicated otherwise. We called to make sure they had the proper gear to take care of it. So the guy filled out some paperwork and they went on their way.

Bob looked around and said, "Are we all going?" May as well - I needed some groceries anyway. So as we hunted socks and shoes (Ella ended up with unmatched socks, because I wasn't willing to put in the time looking for a pair) Bob called someone from work to meet his guy for him. Then the new guy called, having just arrived, and Bob explained things to him. Then we were off.

Naysha chatted with Riah on the way so that he didn't fall asleep, and then I took him in to the hospital while Bob went over to meet his guy and see that he was all right. The emergency room was empty, so as I walked up to the check-in window the nurse said "You called earlier."
I said, "My son scratched his head." They all looked up and saw the bandages wrapped around his head and said it looked serious. It was about 30 seconds and we were checked in and headed to the room. Operating room sounds too serious, but I guess that's what it is. It was big and bare and in need of paint.

The doctor and nurses were pretty rude - talking more to each other than to Riah or me, and when they did talk to Riah they were very condescending. But they got the bandage off, saying the wrapping technique was "textbook." The doctor pulled on the cut a little, to see if glue would do, or if it needed stitches. He opted for stitches. Riah cried, the cut oozed a bit. So onward! First an injection to numb the cut, then some serious scrubbing and rinsing to clean it. Bob came in about this time to let me know he was there and offer to stay with Riah (Riah wanted me). As they swabbed him he complained about the pain, so the doctor gave him another injection of numbing whatever. Riah got to thinking he'd rather have Daddy with him after all, but we were already getting started. Then they put a towel over his head, leaving only the cut exposed, and stitched him up. Just 3 stitches with thin string, and it isn't puckered or anything.
They brought me some penicillin to give him (never said why), and we were free to go. Riah wanted his bandage back on, but we made do with a band-aid.

Then we met the family in the waiting room where Bob expressed a desire for some lunch (it was about 2:30). So we ate and then went to the commissary for a few items.

Home at 5, and Riah is full speed again, with the occasional gripe about pain. Of course, if it wasn't stitches in is forehead, he'd complain about a scrape or a long toenail or something. :-)

What a day! Taryn finished the cake and we are about ready for bed now. (I've had 5 hours of sleep the last two nights.)

Looking forward to better things tomorrow.

Wednesday, 18 June 2008


Can I just say that I know how to cook? I *know* how to cook. I have been in the kitchen since before I can remember. One time Dad and I were home alone and decided to make sugar cookies. He could read and I couldn't yet (probably age 3), but I knew we should use baking powder instead of baking soda. He didn't think I knew what I was talking about, but the results proved me right. (yuck)
I've taken ribbons in the county fair.
I've had friends express jealousy over their husbands' eagerness to eat my cooking/baking.
I experiment and substitute. I bake and cook and stir-fry. I've made bread by hand since I was 10 at least.

So here we are. I started off this morning feeling domestic, so first thing I measured my favorite bread recipe into the breadmaker. I've made it a dozen times and it's delicious. Then I figured since I had the stuff out, I'd go ahead and mix up some dough to keep in the fridge for cinnamon rolls this weekend. I was also making a snack, getting Naysha set up to wash dishes, and watching the boys, so at first I thought it was the multi-tasking, but that is my normal MO (modus operandi). (Did I spell that right? it isn't underlined...)

I've made this recipe before, and it is always yummy. First thing, I'm supposed to mix the liquids into 1/2 the flour, salt, etc. It was so thin it was splattering everywhere, so I added more flour. Taryn wanted to help, so I let her hold the mixer for awhile. Then she said, "It's acting funny." Sure enough, the dough was climbing the beaters. So we turned it off and went to scrape down the beaters, but the stuff clinging to them was more like silly putty than dough. It stuck tight, stretched, and flopped around. Taryn got most of it pulled off, and we tried to mix it in, but it immediately jumped back on the beaters in even bigger clumpy strings than before.

I took a break. I have no idea what caused this.

I went back and left the gloop on the beaters and mixed the rest of it by hand. I think it will be okay.

Then the dough in the machine was done, so I went to divide it and put in the loaf pans, and it was totally sticky and non bread like. So I kneaded in about a cup of flour and it was still soft, but we'll see...

If it was just the hand mixing stuff I would think it was responding to my hormonal state or something, but how could the bread machine know?

I don't know what happened in my kitchen today. I'm still deciding whether I should try something else or just give up for the day. But I know how to cook.

Feels better to get it out. Hope the retelling made you smile.

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

technical support

Yesterday, Bob made a DVD of some pictures and wanted to check it before he deleted the pictures from his computer, so we popped it in my new laptop, and nothing happened. Well, maybe it doesn't have auto play. So we clicked on "Computer" (My Computer in windows older versions), and there wasn't a DVD icon to open! Bob went to device manager and saw it there, but there was a problem with the driver. huh.

Bob uninstalled and reinstalled the DVD player with no change. We tried to run System Restore, but it didn't go through. Still nothing. I went to Toshiba's website to look for updates, and looked at Microsoft as well. Nothing really fit the problem.

So last night after the children were in bed I called Toshiba's toll free technical support number. After a brief menu and a recording about how great the website was, I was connected to a person. He answered the phone right away, and though it became obvious later that English was his second language, he spoke with very little accent. He had me go through some of the steps that Bob had already tried, and then found a solution. I had to go into the registry and delete two things, and then it worked beautifully. Yea!

So I'm a little peeved that it didn't work from the beginning, but I am very pleased with the tech support. The guy was polite, professional, understandable, and the problem was resolved in a reasonable time.

I've heard it said that people are more likely to talk about a bad experience than a good one, and that is mostly true, but I do get tired of complaining ALL the time, and wanted to share a good experience. ;-)


I feel like I left out a lot of details from Saturday, so here are a few nuggets.

We spread it out through the whole day. Apples while waiting for the parade, sandwiches afterwards in front of McDonald's, chips in the park beside the river, and candy as we walked along.

Speaking of sandwiches, while we were eating them the Air Force did a fly past for the Queen, and the planes went right over our heads. Bob snapped a few pictures, but as they came from behind one building and went directly over another one, it was a matter of guessing where they'd be.

While we were in the park the children played while Bob and I sat, and the first thing Cedwryck did was find a stick and play soldier. He held it up like the guards we'd been watching, turning and stomping his feet, and marching back and forth. It was really cute.

While crossing the bridge over the Thames, a man stopped beside us and asked me to take his picture with Parliament in the background. While sitting at the fountain in front of Buckingham, some Arabs sat down beside us and took pictures of Ella and William. I guess it won't hurt anything...

It was right at 8pm when we got home, so we were out for 12 hours.

Friday while we were out driving, the sun shone down through the clouds, and Riah said, "That looks like a sign from God!"

Naysha has been writing, and she will ask Taryn how to spell things, writing each letter as it is given. So a couple of days ago, Ella started doing the same. She will sit with her paper and pencil and call out to me "A!" repeatedly until I give her another letter, then she'll squiggle on her paper and look up for the next letter. She is very adorable.

That's all I can think of for now.

Saturday, 14 June 2008

The Queen's Birthday

I just added it up using Google maps, and the actual ground we covered is about 5 miles, but that's assuming we were walking in a straight line, which we weren't. It also doesn't take into account the stairs up and down, and all the standing in one place.

So here's my version of the story.

The boys woke up at 5:30 this morning, so I promptly straggled into their room and told them they'd better go back to sleep, and did the same myself. At 6:30 William was awake, so I got him up and opened the other bedroom doors as a signal to anyone awake that they could get up now. (The boys actually had gone back to sleep, so that was good.) We did our morning routine, and were out of the house right at 8:00. We had the double stroller, my backpack/diaper bag/purse, Bob's camera backpack, a sweater each, a lunch (two grocery bags full), and over a gallon of bottled water.

Bob bravely drove us (about an hour) down to Epping, which is a nice town at the end of the Underground line, we paid for parking and got on the Tube. One of the many neat things about getting on at the end of the line is that the cars aren't very crowded, so we all got seats. We changed lines one time in London, which means everyone gets up, off the train - mind the gap - down some stairs and up others (the way to do stairs is I go in front of the stroller and hold it up while Bob holds up the back end, and we hope the other children follow us as they've been taught), make sure you're at the right platform, and quick! squeeze through the door before the train leaves. Then down some more stairs and up a LONG flight, and we were out in the sunshine. Yes, sunshine! It was a very nice day, though the patchy clouds did make it hard to keep the settings right on the camera.

So we got our bearings on the street, walked all down the Mall to get a good view on the parade, only to find out that THAT side of the street was for ticket holders only. So we walked ALL the way back up the street, across, and all down the other side. People were about 10 deep all along the road, so we didn't stand a chance of seeing anything. Bob held Taryn up on his shoulder, and I stabalized her, and she snapped some pictures with Bob's camera. Then she yelled, "There's the Queen!!" And I had to remind her to take pictures. I don't think they turned out very well.

Um, I think I'm ahead of myself.... Today is the Queen's official birthday, and there's a big ceremony called Trooping the Colours that you can get all the facts on if you google it. :-) To us, it mostly meant that the Queen and her household guard and horse guard and a band were going down the road.

So they all trooped by, and Taryn got to see it. Then people all started walking away. So we looked at each other and wondered what to do next. Cedwryck had been moaning about needing to use the toilet ever since we got out of the tube station, so I asked a policeman where the nearest one was, but he didn't know. So we got to thinking about what time it was, and which way the parade went, and how many people were still standing beside the road, and we realized that the parade would be coming back down the road later. Everything I read about this thing said there was the ceremony inside the horse guards - ticket holders only - and then the parade back to Buckingham Palace. Nothing ever said the parade went both ways. So anyway, we found a spot with only one row of people against the fence lining the street, and set up camp there. The children played in the dirt and we watched the guards march back and forth across the road. Everybody had an apple.

Finally they came back. First the cannons, heading to Green Park to set up for a 41-gun salute. Then the mounted band. Then a bunch of marching people, then a carriage - not the Queen, but a Prince or two. Some more marching people, and then Queen Elizabeth II. People cheered, and she waved but didn't smile. Taryn said she looked tired. I held the video camera over my head the whole time, and all I could see was what was on the 2" screen. Bob could see, but didn't have a clear camera shot, so he snapped blindly.

Well, now that was over, what next?
Having been warned by a newspaper that there was to be a bike rally in the area - a group of people going on a 6 mile bike ride, stark naked, to protest cars - we wanted to move away a bit.

So we started back up The Mall, and were almost to the end when Cedwryck wet himself. You can't blame the boy - he'd held it for over an hour. So we remembered seeing a McDonald's somewhere, and figured they had a toilet. I had a change of clothes for Ced in the diaper bag, so he and I went inside, down stairs where it was very hot, and got in line. London has maybe 6 public toilets, and each of them only have 2 stalls. 20 minutes later we were in there and got him wiped down and in clean clothes. Then Bob and Riah went down, but that was quick because the boys' room didn't have a line. Then Taryn and Naysha had to go. So Bob and I started making peanut butter sandwiches, and we stood in front of the McDonald's and ate our sack lunch. When the loaf of bread was gone, we walked on.

Through a park, down the side of the Thames, then across a bridge, up the other side of the river, back across another bridge. We passed Big Ben and Parliament, Westminster Abbey, the Horse Guards, and some other famous buildings. The route we took wasn't terribly crowded, but as we headed back toward Buckingham there were just hordes of people.

Yes, we went to the Palace and looked around a bit, then across another park to a Tube station. Down more stairs, onto the train for two stops, then a line change. We got the right line, but the wrong train. So we got off again, at the same place as last trip down, got some sandwiches at the Subway, and went back on the Underground to Epping.

Whew! It doesn't sound quite as bad as it feels. ;-) Bob pushed the stroller the whole way, the children lined up behind him, and I brought up the rear, keeping everyone in line and holding Ced's hand. He likes to hold my hand and walk behind me, so I was more or less pulling him the whole time. William was pretty good, but he did have to be nursed a few times. Ella was terrific, and did take a short nap. Taryn was helpful and carried William for me once while I helped lift the stroller.

Twice, at different places, a man offered to help Bob with the stroller so I didn't have to. When we were at the shopping center (where we got Subway) the man at the fruit stand gave each of the children an orange. People waiting for the parade were very friendly and chatted with us quite a bit. We didn't see the nude cyclists. So all in all it was a good day, just very tiring.

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Happy Thursday

fooey. I keep thinking of things to write about when I'm doing dishes, but when I sit at the computer my mind goes blank.

Yesterday I made some quesadillas from scratch (blogger doesn't recognize that word, so I don't know if it's spelled right), and I was gonna post the recipe, but when it came time to cook them, some split and the cheese leaked out, so I don't consider that a successful endeavor.

William got his 5th tooth yesterday - he has 4 on bottom and 1 on top. He is 8 months old now, and is really starting to like eating at the table. He's not fond of texture yet, but we are working on it. Lately, when we try to sit him up on the floor, he just stiffens his legs to stand up rather than sit. He has the strength to stand, but not the balance. Even holding on, he wobbles a lot. Speaking of sitting up, he will sit fine, but if he sees something he wants and cannot reach, he is very careful of how he goes to get it. He remembers that when he just dove for things he fell on his nose, so now he sits and thinks about it for awhile. If he really wants it, he slowly slowly moves down to his belly and then scoots over to the desired object. Many times he decided it's not worth the risk.

Bob passed his PT test yesterday. They are talking about having the BMI as a litmus test. In that case, he'd have to lose 30lbs before he could even take the PT test. Not that I'd mind us both being a bit thinner, but I would mind a dishonorable discharge from the military just 'cause he isn't skinny.

Anyway, it's time to get my day sorted out.

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

just stuff

Yesterday I was outside with the children and thinking about what to fix for supper, when I thought how nice it was outside, and maybe we could have a BBQ. So I pre-cooked some beef ribs, knowing that if Bob worked late I could always freeze them for another time. About 4pm I needed to know if I should make something else for our dinner (sweet and sour pork) or not, so I called Bob to ask about it. He thought ribs sounded fine, and would be home before too long. He was home by 4:30. I think his brain went into hungry mode and whatever work needed to be finished up just got set aside. :-) So we had BBQ ribs, biscuits, salad, pineapple, and green beans. The children had hotdogs instead of ribs, and they all knew they got the short end of the stick. To sweeten the deal, we moved the table and chairs out onto the patio and ate outside. It sure was fun.

Product recommendations:
I do not recommend The website is hard to navigate, and though you can redownload a game you've bought, you cannot make a copy of it or play it without an internet connection. Every 2 minutes you have to sign in again, and half the time the sign in page won't load.

I DO recommend Crisco brand pan coating spray. I grew up with Pam, and it's okay. I tried Mozolla and that was awful - stinky! Then I got Crisco and it doesn't smell at all; doesn't effect the taste; works great.

What else?
Oh, I mentioned pineapple with last night's dinner... When we were at Tesco the other day they had pineapples for 1GBP each (about $2) so we bought 3. They aren't the best ones ever, but they're okay. We also bought the store brand nutella (chocolate hazelnut spread) and it isn't anything like Nutella brand. I'm still in awe at the bread prices. A large loaf of whole wheat bread costs 39pence ($0.75) - in the States you'd be hard pressed to find a loaf for under $2. I also discovered that the canned fruit is a lot cheaper at Tesco than on base. I haven't eaten them yet, but they are also in juice rather than heavy syrup, which is hard to find and more expensive in the US.

We filled up with gas Sunday and it was about $85. Yikes!

Time to get the boys to work.

Monday, 9 June 2008

Laptop conclusion

So Sunday before church we went back to the BX. It took us a little longer to find an employee this time, but he did seem a bit more knowledgeable and willing to help. We had him put his password into all 4 of the small laptops they had and checked the scores. Compaq was 3.1, Sony was 3.5, Toshiba was 4.0. Hmm, I can only remember 3 of them now. Anyway! Bob pointed to the Toshiba and said, "I'm getting you that one." It was cheaper than the Sony in spite of being a higher rating and a larger screen, and much better than the cheaper Compaq. (Plus, our first laptop was a Compaq and we saw why the nickname for "Presario" is "pretty sorry, oh.") He also got more memory for his computer.

Then we had lunch, went to church, and then I dropped Bob and the children off at the playground while I went to the commissary. Yesterday started off very foggy, but the sun popped out about 1pm and it was a beautiful afternoon. So I went after a few groceries... took my time walking through, trying to remember everything we might need, and ended up with half a cart full - not a huge amount. Then I headed up to the checkout line. At military commissaries worldwide, the custom is to form one line, and the person in front will just go to the next available cashier. Pretty effective way of doing things, if you ask me. But, there were about 50 people in line and two cash registers open. So I tool a good look at my selections and decided I really didn't need that stuff after all. I picked out 15 things, left the rest in the cart, and went to the self-checkout 'express' line. There were about 4 people in that line, and all 4 registers open, so it only took a few minutes. The discount cereal had to be entered by an employee, so I called him over and he eventually figured out how to do it, and then I had to call him back to do the coupon, but I got it done and was FREE to leave. Back over to the playground where the children were very thirsty and *not* ready to go home.

We made it home about 4pm and I started to set up my computer and fix dinner. We just had fruit salad and sausage mac 'n' cheese.
I think I've got it going okay now, with some unwanted pre-installed software removed, and Firefox installed. Now I just have to get my favorites and some programs going and I'll be in there.

Sunday, 8 June 2008


Thursday night Bob's nerves were on edge a bit. We sat together, doing stuff on our laptops for a while. Then I turned mine off to knit, and when the noise of the fan died down, Bob said, "I'm going to buy you a new computer." Oh? This old clunker is just too noisy to live with.
So we both looked online a little, and then we went to the BX Saturday to see what they have. All I know is I want a 15" screen instead of the current 17" so it will be lighter and more portable (also cheaper). Yes, I'll mis the number pad, but not having my shoulder pulled out of joint every time I go to lift it on my lap will make up for it. :-) The BX had one "cheap" one, so we looked at it some, but were unable to find some information. The "help" didn't know anything about it, and was unwilling to find out any information (like maybe getting the box out to at least see what the manufacturer wanted us to know). There were two more under $1000, but we didn't look at those at all. So far we have found that 1. you get what you pay for, 2. most US companies won't ship over here, 3. the BX isn't the greatest place to shop for computers.

Let me tell you about my current laptop. This was the replacement for the one that got stolen from Bob's car while on base in Texas. (No, we never got any kind of reimbursement for that theft.) While it was still fairly new, two years ago, Bob and I were outside building a storage shed at our rental place. The children got hot and bored, so we let them sit inside the empty house and watch a movie on the computer. About 1/2 way through, Riah (age 2) took what was left of his drink and deliberately poured it over the keyboard. The screen went black. It wouldn't respond to commands. We just knew it was finished. But Bob took it apart and dried it out and put it back together and it worked just fine.
The power cord that came with it has been cut with scissors and pinched in the recliner mechanism of our couch. Then it wore and became frayed at the base of the big square thing that I don't know the name of. I finally got worried enough about it that I ordered a new one, off Ebay since HP won't ship over here. (Oh, yeah, it would also just fall out of the back of the computer without cause or warning.) The new one was not branded, but it worked. Then one day when it was unplugged, William got hold of it. I grabbed it from him and plugged it back in. Click. Apparently he'd got it in his mouth and it was still wet when I plugged it in. Bye-bye new power cord, and Bob has forbidden me to plug in anything ever again. ;-) So I'm back to the old plug.
And then there was the crash when I tried to download a parental control program.
It is very noisy, very hot, and very heavy. When typing, "M" skips a lot. The built in mouse touch pad thingy will stop working at random times. But it still works. And I recommend HP to anyone in the market for a laptop, because they have some good features, and it can take a licking.

I wonder what I'm gonna get.

Thursday, 5 June 2008

the conclusion

Well, well. When Bob got home last night, I showed him the letter/bill, and laughed. He was quiet for a minute, and said, "My flesh wants to throw a fit and let them know just how wrong this is, but my spirit says 'just pay it.'" Knowing how it was bothering him, I read to him my thoughts on the matter, and he said, "Let it go."
So I'm proud of him for doing the right thing.
And I wonder if my talking about it is "doing my alms before men" ... if so, I guess I'll do without the reward... I'm not here to brag, but to: 1, work through it; 2, be transparent that it doesn't come naturally to me to do the right thing; 3, maybe even be an encouragement to someone else.
Now I'm actually gonna have to call the people to find out who to pay (them or the guy), and it's gonna be hard to not at least say something, but I guess it would mess up the whole point if I did. All those years of not saying anything will serve me well, I hope. (For my new friends, I talked very little as a young person.)


Last night William ate a big bowl of (infant) cereal at dinner. After dinner we went to Tesco because Bob is out of Nutella and William fell asleep on the way home. We left him in his car seat while we got everyone else in bed, and he snored away. Finally I went to get him, just sure he'd wake up and nurse, but he stayed asleep through the unbuckling and the trip down the hall to his room. So he went to bed without nursing. I don't know whether to dance or cry. My baby is growing up! He sure is a sweety. Got a video of him sitting up saying, "Dadadadadada pthhttt."
(We also got a chocolate-filled croissant each. How great is that for my diet? I didn't eat much dinner...)

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

post script

I think this is a test.

Last night I read Ganeida's blog about peace.
This morning I read
Matthew 5:39 But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.
40 And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also.
41 And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.
42 Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.
43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?
47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?
48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
Then I got the bill from Elvins. Humbug.

I don't mind forgiving people, but I want them to know that I know they did wrong and I'm forgiving them because I'm a good Christian. haha.

So you know I'm struggling with the issue, but either way I have an easy 'out' - I'll see what Bob says. Sometimes it's good to be a woman. :-D

trouble with the rental thing

Some of you may remember the oil tank/pipe leak drama...

To recap:
1. We had the oil tank filled.
2. The next day I noticed a dripping on the valve, and turned all the knobs I could find to get it to stop.
3. I called our rental management people.
4. 4 or 5 days later they sent out someone to fix it
5. The heater wouldn't restart.
6. They sent someone to bleed the line and re-light the heater. (3 days later)

7. They sent me a bill for the line bleeder guy, because it was my fault the oil got turned off and thus necessitated the guy coming out.

What else was I supposed to do? If I hadn't turned off the oil flow, instead of a drip (which soaked the ground as it was) the whole tank would have leaked out in the time it took them to get someone out here! I guess that would have been my problem, too, since I'm actually paying for the oil in spite of them saying they would pay it.
See, the asking price for the house was 1000GBP per month. We are allowed up to 1200, but we only get up to the price (we can't get a cheap place and pocket the difference), so we offered 1200 with heating oil included. They wouldn't write that part into the contract, claiming we wouldn't get our utility allowance if they knew about it, but we do have it in writing on another paper. Only, last time we filled up the tank, they sent us this lovely letter with the check saying how we paid in 200GBP per month, and we had spent 40 more than we'd paid in, so we couldn't charge them for more until we'd caught up a bit. Also they included in the tally some oil they'd put in before we moved out here. So basically, instead of them covering the cost of oil, they are just holding a set amount towards the cost. We decided to let that go since it would probably work out anyway, seeing as we were over only 40GBP in the winter, and we'll use a lot less in the summer. But this!

I guess I'll either let this go, too, or else try to find the number for the base housing office and find out what I ought to do.

Pity the company works in this underhanded way, as we really like the house. Mr Elvin seemed so nice, too, when we were out looking for places. I should have gone with my first reaction when they didn't have the keys for the property they'd made an appointment to show Bob, and left him standing on the curb for an hour not knowing if they would show up or not. When they offered to make another appointment, I said, "Why would I? How can you manage a lease if you can't even show a house?" I was right.

Anyway, it's not like the price would break us, it's just WRONG.


For some reason I was unable to sleep last night. I finally got up at midnight and lay down on the couch (keep in mind it's a 2-seater and I'm 5'10"), where I rested fitfully until 4:30. Then I returned to my bed, waking up Bob, and tossed and turned till 6:30. ick

On other news:
Bob may be able to go to Iceland for 3 weeks in September. That will be exciting for him if he gets to go.

Everybody is talking about prices going up, so I guess I'll join in. :-) Bagged salads at the commissary have gone from $2.10 to $2.79. I'd sure like to find some lettuce seeds.

William finally likes to eat at the table. He likes baby cereal, tolerates applesauce, and drools a lot at yogurt. Other foods are spit out, and water sure gets a reaction.

We bought Othello from and we are learning to play it properly, instead of on the computer. We also got some shoes for Taryn and me and a dress for Naysha (it's almost too small).

The neighbor girl says she wants to come live with us. :-)

Taryn has finally learned to write in cursive. She's doing A Reason for Writing - the same book I used when I was in homeschool. She finished her Science and History, and is now doing handwriting, Math, and English. Guess which is her least favorite.

I think that's about it so far this week.

Sunday, 1 June 2008

Parental rights

I'd have quite bit to say on the subject if it weren't bedtime. Maybe later.

But anyway, check out this story at Do parents have the legal right to teach their own children? Oy! At what point will we have to have state permission to let the baby sit up on his own? Can I have a conversation as we walk along? What if he asks about a color, or the name of a bird? Do I have the right to answer his questions? I'm not a professional...