Thursday, January 29, 2009

Snow Day Fitness

I mentioned that last week the cable guy was here making things brighter and faster. Unfortunately the very next day our cable started acting wonky. Like no HBO wonky. Like no Boomerang wonky. Bad, bad wonky.

I called up the cable people and got stuck talking on the phone to some guy in Calcutta. I'm not making that up. He told me he was in Calcutta. He made me unplug the cable box, wait ten seconds and plug it back in. It was going to take about five minutes for the whole thing to boot back up, so we chatted about the weather. He wanted to know about ice and snow. I'm actually not that curious about weather in India, so I let him ask most of the questions.

In the end the unplug it/ plug it back in technique didn't do a thing to fix the wonkiness. A real live cable guy would have to come back to the house 8 AM the next morning.

At 8:05 AM, the cable guy arrived. He poked around, tested, called people on the phone and had nothing at all nice to say about the guys in India and their unplug it techniques. He blamed all our troubles on the cable box, the people at the main office who messed up our account, our remote which was programmed wrong and a possible problem with the quams. (Oh yeah, Mom, we talked about quams. He tried to explain it. I didn't understand.)

The main thing that came out of his visit was a very thorough tutorial of how our OnDemand works. Now I knew we had OnDemand and we had used it occasionally. But I actually never really looked around on it. He showed us where all the shows were and how to get to them. There's a huge karaoke part. Free movies galore. Kids shows. Home shows. All kinds of stuff. But what I really thought was cool was the giant number of Fitness shows.

Yesterday for the snow day we all took an eleven minute Yoga class. Later the Girl and I did an eight minute abs class. Yoga was fun. Abs killed. There's a show called Bootylicious Buns that I think we're going to have to watch just because of the name. I mean really! Bootylicious?

Monday, January 26, 2009

A Newberry for Neil!

As someone who has read every Newberry Medal winner (and quite a few of the Honor winners), I hope I can say with authority that this book most definitely belongs on this list. It is magical in that Neil way that I'm just ga-ga for! (Oh dear, did I just write "ga-ga"? This must be big news!)

First you should read his description of how he found out the news. He's on a press tour right now promoting Coraline. (Another insanely excellent book, of course.) Right after The Graveyard Book was published, people started saying that it should be the Newberry Medal winner, but there was a problem. One of the chapters of the book was previously published in an anthology of short stories. Did this exclude it from the competition? No one was sure and many thorough readings of the rules ensued. But since the book has won, we can guess how that debate ended up.

The Man and I have been able to hear Neil read only twice. The first time was at this big fancy pants dinner put on by the Plain Dealer. The evening was very posh. We were served a nice dinner along with the other patrons of this event most of whom were... extremely mature. This was ten years ago, so we were mighty young to be there. Luckily, there was a balcony of cheap seats, for those who just came for the readings and dinner. The crowd that started to fill up that balcony made the two of us feel much more comfortable. The balcony scene seemed to have the opposite effect on our table mates though.

There were two other readers, can't remember who they were, and then Neil did a lovely reading. I remember that he read Nicholas Was which made everyone squirm in their seats, but I felt like I was going to float away.
But it was at the book signing part of the evening where the Man and I really made a big impression. Let me set the scene:

Here's the two of us, nervous as can be, creeping up in line, getting closer and closer to an author we admire above all others. As the last person in front of us melts away, there's nothing between Neil and us but a long table. Somehow I was able to hand our copy of Stardust to him.

Who would you like this signed to?

We can't move. Can't talk. We are pathetic. But before he can ask again, The Man blurts out-

Calliope. Sign it to Calliope. Our daughter.

Oh, Calliope! That's one of my favorite names!

Ours too! I think I said that. Maybe we said it together. Did I mention we were a little giddy?

He writes "Calliope" at the top of the page, then stops and looks at us both.

Calliope... Not because of me, is it?

This part I remember embarrassingly clear. We both just start grinning and nodding like complete idiots. I think we also started saying "Yes" over and over again.

Now I really am scared. He said right to our big smiling goofy faces. Then he wrote this:

Congratulations Neil! Keep the wonderfulness coming!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Making the Most of a Day

We had to have the cable guy come over and do some upgrades around the cafe. I picked yesterday, purely arbitrarily off the calendar as a good day to get this done.

Then the furniture people called. The new chair we ordered back in November was finally in and needed delivered. Could they deliver it the same day that the cable guy is coming? They sure can.

Then I remembered that it's been a year since our massive and stinky flood which washed away all our basement appliances. We got a deal on the yearly maintenance check-ups so how about the washing machine guy comes out that same day as well? It's a go!

Then a Girl Scout leader called. She needed me to go to the bank with her to open her troop account. Could we manage to go the same day as the cable guy, furniture guys and washing machine guy? Works for her!

So now we have broadband Internet, a new chair, a perfectly performing washing machine and a happy leader. I figure if I have to take a day off work, I'm going to make the most of it. I ran around like a mad woman tidying up the house, paying bills and organizing junk drawers while the service people did their things. It was a most satisfying day.

But today I didn't get called in. And I didn't have a damn thing to do. I'm going to go play Wii.

Monday, January 19, 2009


It's the last day of our unexpected five day weekend. They cancelled school Thursday and Friday for extreme cold. Today was off for Martin Luther King Day.

So how did we use this gift of time? I always have a list of things I would like to get done around here so I tackled a few of those. One was my bedroom closet which was beyond bad. The only way to deal with a closet this cluttered was to pull every single thing out and start over. As I was shifting through clothes and shoes, I found my safe tucked in the back.

I don't remember how old I was when I got this safe but I do remember that it was a Christmas present. The left lock is fake and spins easily. The right one is an actual combination lock and is so crazy stiff to turn that you end up with indents in your fingertips.

The Girl was hanging around in my room watching me unload my closet. When the safe came out she gave it a healthy shake. Everything in it rattled loudly.

Do you even remember what's in here?

Yes I do. There are three $2 bills, a little piece of metal with my name stamped on it, a slug of nickel and another weird piece of metal that looks melted around the edge.

Those are your treasures?

I wouldn't say that. That's just what's in there.

How long since you opened it?

Twenty-five years at least I would think.

You don't remember the combination at all?

The last number is 23. That's all I've got.

You should try again.

So I tried again. I closed my eyes, took a deep breath and cleared my head. I'll just put try the first number that comes to me, I thought. The knob turned stiffly. Another number came to me and then I finished on 23. The little bell of the "burglar alarm" rang as the door slowly opened.

We were both in shock but The Girl came out of it first.

You opened it! That was amazing!

It was amazing. I guess I knew the combination all along. And what was inside? I was almost right.

Three $2 bills, a piece of metal with my name stamped in it, THREE slugs of nickel and the melted piece of mystery metal. There was also a horseshoe nail that Mr. Wooster got everyone as a souvenir from Hale Farm and Village when we went there for a field trip in the fourth grade.

I closed up the safe and tried the combination a couple of more times to make sure I really had it right. All those things are so strange the only thing to do with them is put them back in the safe, so I did. Then I copied the combination down so this won't happen again!

Mamacat says: I knew the combination all along. You should have asked me!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Yeah, I am Batman

Here's my favorite Kramer moment. I just saw it on TV the other night and I'm so tickled that someone put him this story on You Tube. Enjoy!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Something to smile about

Friday was the big day around here. The Girl got her first round of braces on.

For now she only braces on the top. Once they pull back her overbite then she will get the bottom ones. If she got the bottom ones now, she would bite them off!
She took this picture of herself. Got to love those pink bands.

PS: We've finished all of Lost last night. We can now safely talk to people. We can't wait for the 21st!

Thursday, January 08, 2009

My Cheerful Eight

As requested by Nance, I present my eight reasons to be cheerful. (The first two are not going to be Earth shattering news.)

1. Lost. See previous post. Especially observe the photos. There is just something about that show that makes it hard for me to look away. I'm going to toss in here that I am also in love with Netflix. We are concerned that we've been using it so heavily lately that they are going to start slow playing us. Please don't Netflix. We'll cool off soon.

2. My new furniture. Also, see previous post. My parents were over last night and stretched out on the couch, put their feet up and played wii. The only word to describe that scene is cute.

3. Jack's belly. He's not too fond of getting it rubbed, but once you see it you cannot resist.

4. The YWCA where the girl dances has opened the fitness center to waiting parents for an insanely cheap fee. The girl dances on Tuesdays from 6:30 until 8:15. I'm so there!

5. Hot cocoa. I love it. I drink a mug everyday. I used to take it with me to work, but being around zombies ruined the taste. I have to be home in my...

6. Pajamas. Soft and comfy. That's all I want to wear. I figure we have to wear "real" clothes while we are out and about just to appreciate the PJs more when we change.

7. Weaver and her crew moved to Michigan yesterday. This is the closest they have lived in years. I can't wait to see everybody!

8. The Man's winter break. These past few weeks have been a great time, babe!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Lost Together

Family Togetherness. It's a beautiful thing. Since November we Andersons have been brought together by our new favorite show, Lost.

For some reason, The Man and I let this show slip off our radar. Neither of us had ever seen an episode. But we had heard the buzz about it, of course. A few of our friends were completely taken with it. They convinced us to give it a try.

Netflix promptly and reliably sent us the first few discs. By the end of the first episode, the four of us were completely sold.

How much do we love Lost? Our furniture situation had been grim for some time. Being almost four grown adults, our one couch wasn't big enough for all of us anymore. Someone always had to sit on the floor. It was getting to be a sore point on whose turn it was to take the floor. Since we knew that many, many hours of Lost were forthcoming, we finally took the plunge and bought enough furniture that we all have a comfortable place to sit...and recline...and put our feet up. It's almost like we bought beds for the living room. We all cuddle up on the couches, cover up with blankets, get a cat to sit with us and then become perfectly still until we run out of episodes to watch.

An episode of Lost is forty-two minutes long without commercials. In an average sitting, we watch three episode back to back to back. New Year's Day we watched three in the afternoon and then another three later that night. That might sound crazy, but what the hell else is there to do on January 1st?

But without a doubt, the thing I'm really loving about Lost is watching it as a family. We don't watch unless we are all home together. After the show we share theories and debate what we think is going on. We talk about it over meals. We talk about it in the car. If you see one of us staring off into space, we're probably thinking about something Lost related. The Boy and I completely confused the checker at the grocery by discussing whether or not a grenade could really kill you underwater.

Season five starts on January 21st. We have nine more episodes and then we're caught up. Back in November, when we started this, I said there was no way we would be able to watch them all in time for the season premier. Shows what I know.

The one thing we don't do is talk to other people about Lost. I might mention it, but if someone even looks like they are going to ask me a question or say anything I shush them up quick. I don't even want to see the reaction on some one's face if I tell them what part we saw last. No. Keep it to yourself. We'll be caught up soon and then it will be safe to talk.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Winter Break Recap

I guess when it's winter break, I take a break from doing everything. Let's back up a bit.

We had school right up to the 23rd which sucked eggs. Christmas Eve we went to the big party at Grandma's house. It was another big night.

Treasure hunting...

And gambling.

There was also a ton of food but I was too busy shoveling it in to take a picture. Probably better that way.

Every year I promise myself I'll take more pictures than zero on Christmas Day. This year I succeeded by taking two!

I like this shot. Look at all the gadgety fun! The Girl with her DS training her Nintendog, Grammy bowling on the wii and The Brother programming the GPS. Yay Christmas!

Marco got a giant Busybone that was supposed to keep him occupied all day. It last maybe half an hour. I kept waiting for him to barf it back up. He didn't.

But even without the pictures, I can report that Christmas was a lovely day. Our yearly puzzle was completely ignored because of the wii. That thing is huge fun. It will have a post of it's own coming up soon.