Friday, November 30, 2007

World of Warcraft, Art

As with many new activities that I have embarked on in the past, playing World of Warcraft is currently consuming a large amount of my free time. I've forbidden myself to play during the day except on Saturdays for the month of November, and should probably renew the ban for December.

This post isn't about how much I'm playing World of Warcraft though. It's about Blizzard's World of Warcraft fan art section. (By the way, that link is not for those of tender years, nor for anyone that does not like seeing scantily-clad females. Also, the following observations will not make a whole lot of sense to anyone that does not play WoW.)

1) Tauren are not sexy. They are huge bovines that walk upright. Cow /= sexy. So why, why! did some woman decide to draw a picture of her Tauren character with a sexy body and the flirtatiously smiling, winking head of a cow? This image was painfully seared into my brain.

2) What is up with the "I'm undead and that's hot!" fan art? I've looked through the character options for the Forsaken. They are rotting corpses. The flesh is literally falling off their bones. Rotting flesh - again, not sexy. If the artists in question had ever actually come into contact with a rotting corpse, they would find themselves less enamored with the concept of undead.

3) The Warlock's succubus pet is a very popular subject for fan art. Gee, I wonder why that could be...

4) Getting a tattoo based on the online multi-player RPG you play does not make you look cool, no matter how well designed the tattoo is. It's just a permanent homage to what a big dork you are!

5) The night elves look a lot better in the fan art than they do in the game.

6) Rotting corpses and walking cows are not sexy. Stop that.

Well, there it is, a post to show that I am still alive and even still managing to blog - a little.


Sunday, November 18, 2007

Quick...

I'm alive. I keep wanting to post and then being too lazy to actually do so (besides having started playing WoW). In any case, seeing as how I've had this Tolkien post here for ages now, I may as well throw in something else to do with Tolkien...something that made me shriek out loud with laughter for quite some time. It may not be as funny to non-roleplayers, but here we go...

The DM of the Rings

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

You Suck, Peter Jackson!

And I hope that you get crushed by a giant stack of Tolkien's novels.

I wanted to enjoy the Lord of the Rings movies. Truly I did.

But I didn't, and don't, and I blame Peter Jackson for this.

What do you call someone that believes they can improve on someone else's masterpiece? A masterpiece that was lovingly crafted by someone that poured a lifetime of work into it?

I call them obnoxiously arrogant. Pestiferously presumptuous. I call them Peter Jackson.

Admittedly, some of the aspects I most disliked were simply a matter of personal taste. I found many members of the cast to be distasteful, or miscast, and felt that many of the actors failed to capture the essence of the character they played. I do not blame Peter Jackson for the failure of his actors.

I understood that Tolkien's trilogy was simply too long to include every scene the way it was written. Some needed to be shortened, others left out altogether. Even so, why, Peter Jackson, did you feel it necessary to cut certain pertinent scenes in favor of scenes that were NOT pertinent? Why did you cut out good material in order to insert your own stupid material?

Even these outrages were not what left such a loathsome stench in my nostrils, the stench of Peter Jackson.

It was the way in which he altered some of Tolkien's characters in fundamental ways that changed them from who they were into someone else entirely.

Let me give you an example of this - the human brothers Boromir and Faramir. Each of these brothers has the chance to take the One Ring from Frodo. In the book and the movie, Boromir falls to temptation and tries to take the ring. However, in the book, Faramir recognizes the danger posed by the ring and rejects it of his own volition. His choice, influenced by nothing but his own good character and his knowledge of right and wrong.

In the movie, Faramir, like his brother, gives in to the temptation to take the ring. He is on the point of sending Frodo and Sam to his father, the Steward of Gondor, when Sam manages to emotionally manipulate Faramir into making the right choice and letting Frodo continue his quest to destroy the ring.

Peter Jackson destroyed the nobility and wisdom that Tolkien had imbued Faramir with.

And this was not the only time that he did this. In several key scenes, rather than make a rational choice based on their own good character and knowledge of right and wrong, someone is instead emotionally manipulated into doing the right thing.

Treebeard is emotionally manipulated into attacking Isengard. Elrond is emotionally manipulated by Galadrial into sending Elven forces to Helm's Deep to assist the people of Rohan, etc.

If this had happened once, I might have overlooked it. But it happened again, and again, and again.

So to reiterate - in Tolkien's novel, certain characters are confronted with temptation, with choices good and bad. Because of the good character and wisdom they have achieved in their lifetime, they make the right choice.

In Peter Jackson's movie, people are confronted with temptation, with choices good and bad. Because someone makes an emotional appeal to the person's better nature, they make the right choice. Eventually.

Thank you, Peter Jackson.

Because of you, Tolkien's noble heroes are reduced to being wishy-washy people that do not do what is right because they KNOW it to be right, but because someone else makes them FEEL that it is right.

You suck, Peter Jackson!

And I hope you get crushed by a giant stack of Tolkien's novels.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

And here I thought I was beyond outrage....

Well, I'd become so jaded nothing really seemed to make me angry enough to write about... but I saw this article and the anger came boiling into me.

Two of the Jena 6 present BET award

"By no means are we condoning a six-on-one beat-down," Williams said during his introduction of the teens

That's EXACTLY what you are doing.

"... But the injustice perpetrated on these young men is straight criminal."

Well, I certainly do see injustice in this case, but it involves allowing five criminals to escape the just consequences of their actions.

"They don't look so tough, do they?" Williams joked as the teens stepped up to the podium.

Perhaps that is why it took SIX of them to beat up on ONE white kid?

I don't care how many nooses are hung from trees. It does not justify a six-on-one beat-down that probably would have ended in murder if not for the intervention of other people.

All the blacks out there that want us to feel outraged for white racism? You better start expressing some outrage for black racism.

Here's the obligatory "I'm not racist" disclaimer - but I am, in fact, a culturalist, and the "black culture" showcased at the BET awards is loathsome. Forget deporting the Mexicans, deport EVERYONE involved in supporting these psycho thugs - including anyone that participated in the standing ovation.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Musing

My blog has been nothing but fluff for months now. I remember when I used to write posts that had some substance to them, that at least made me seem vaguely thoughtful - now, well, I'm pretty boring. I sure appreciate the people that still pop in to read and leave comments. I still read the blogs on my list pretty frequently, but I'm not nearly as good about leaving comments as I used to be - sometimes I have something typed up and then decide it sounds stupid or trite, so I just close it out.

A number of factors seem to have had a hand in the deterioration of my blog. A second child, a new house, taking online college classes, my summer sleepiness. Those are some of the more mundane factors - I've also been going through a spiritual winter. That's the best way I can describe it. I'm not losing my faith or altering my beliefs, but I just don't feel like I'm growing spiritually right now. It's not a comfortable state to be in. I was a little comforted when I read a post of Heidi's in which she mentioned the Hebrew practice of allowing the fields to lie fallow every seventh year. Perhaps I'm just recharging right now.
Read this.

It should put a smile on your face!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

My latest silly obsession

A while back, Birdie had linked to a site with a superhero avatar generator - well, I recently revisited the site, found they had updated, started tinkering around... and I have now wasted hours there, busily engaged in designing different avatars. And just to further the geek factor, the one at the bottom is the character I play in a friend's D&D game.






Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Blargh!

Well, I needed to put something here. This is not exactly a random thoughts-style post, just blather.

My husband had a rough night at work, so I grabbed the kids and headed out so that he could get a few hours of quiet sleep today. I did something I've always wanted to do and just drove around, exploring. Oh, I stopped and did a little shopping, too - a thrift shop, Payless (where I discovered that a pair of shoes I'd really liked a month or two ago are now on sale for $7 - yay!), another thrift store, which I thought was a children's thrift store, but turned out to be a thrift store run for the benefit of a missing children's center, which was unfortunate, because the only reason I went there was because I was looking for children's items! Lastly, the mall, because I thought they might have the nice bathrooms with chairs or a couch to sit and nurse Benjamin. They did not, but we wandered around a little none-the-less, got ice cream cones and then looked at the animals in the pet store. On the way back home, the kids both fell asleep, so I kept driving for a little to give them a longer nap. I did not drive as long as I would have liked, though, because I was on a very rural highway and did not know when the next gas station might appear. Would not want to end up stranded on a warm Florida day with it being just me and the two little ones!

After I got back, I looked over the map to see where I had driven. I discovered that I had passed near what appears to be a large cemetery out in middle of nowhere (for all intents and purposes) and that gave me the idea of planning a minor road trip to visit cemeteries in the area. Though our town is small there are several cemeteries within the radius of a few miles. Our town has been around for over 100 years, and was apparently at one point something of a rough & tumble Old West-style town. I'm hoping the old cemeteries are still around.

I probably haven't mentioned that I really, really like cemeteries. People might think that is morbid, but it is not - it is actually the result of happy childhood memories, from a time when my family lived near a very old rural cemetery where my sisters and I went to play from time to time. I could swear I remembered Mom picking wild asparagus from that cemetery, but she swears she only picked from a patch that grew near there. I guess I'll give her the benefit of the doubt on that one. =P

So I still like cemeteries, but only if they are not the modern variety, which have no headstones, only flat plaques for easy lawn maintenance. They're very soulless and boring. The old ones are fun though, because you can look at all the old-fashioned names and epitaphs and the wide range of gravestones, from the simple slabs to the elaborate statuary.

I'm going to have to find one or two friends that don't mind the idea of spending a day wandering around cemeteries.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Civil Literacy Test

I found this over at Vox's, and thought it was pretty interesting. I'm posting it here because I know my friends and family members usually do not read Vox, but would probably enjoy taking this test.

Take the test. Come on, you know you want to!

Take it!

It's pretty sad that I only answered 44 out of 60 correct - a dismal 73.33%. Of course, what's even worse is that I beat the average score of Harvard seniors, 69.56%. Worst of all, Harvard seniors ranked highest out of the 50 colleges that were tested! Nice to know these are our future business leaders, lawyers and politicians, eh?

UPDATE:

America’s Founders were convinced American freedom could survive only if each generation understood its founding principles and the sacrifices made to maintain it. (emphasis mine)

In fall 2005, researchers at the University of Connecticut’s Department of Public Policy (UConnDPP), commissioned by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute’s (ISI) National Civic Literacy Board, conducted a survey of some 14,000 freshmen and seniors at 50 colleges and universities. Students were asked 60 multiple-choice questions to measure their knowledge in four subject areas: America’s history, government, international relations, and market economy. The disappointing results were published by ISI in fall 2006 in The Coming Crisis in Citizenship: Higher Education’s Failure to Teach America’s History and Institutions. Seniors, on average, failed all four subjects, and their overall average score was 53.2%.

This report follows up on The Coming Crisis in Citizenship. It is based on an analysis of the results of a second survey of some 14,000 freshmen and seniors at 50 colleges conducted by the research team at UConn in the fall of 2006. The results of this second survey corroborate and extend the results of the first. Seniors once again failed all four subjects.

From Brainiac6: "You know I passed both of my American History classes with A's last semester and I only got a 60 something on this. Many of the questions I got wrong were things we've never covered in classes."

Exactly. The only reason I managed a score of 73% was because my American history teacher would not tell us which parts of each chapter she would be choosing from for the multiple choice questions on her exams - thus, I read each chapter at least twice and some of it managed to stick! I believe that my history textbook failed to cover a few of the questions that were on the exam, though.

The school system is so focused on teaching about racism, sexism, socialism and the slaughter of the Noble Savage that they cannot be bothered to teach about what white men accomplished. After all, who needs to know anything about what a lot of fusty old white men did and thought?

Monday, September 17, 2007

Hmmm


NerdTests.com says I'm a Cool Non-Nerd.  What are you?  Click here!


I think that may just be a kind way of saying that I'm an ignorant moron.


First noticed on Pebble Chaser

Monday, September 10, 2007

Lines composed while having my mouth stuffed full of popcorn by my toddler

Sorry, I've been having my head forcibly stuffed with Romantic-era poetry.

Despite not being overly fond of said poetry, my British lit class has provided for mild intellectual musing.

My reason for disliking, or being bored by, a lot of poetry from that era is that it is often overly emotional, narcissistic and obtuse. I prefer poetry that either beautifully describes scenes from nature:

A great storm from the ocean goes
shouting o'er the hill,
And there is glory in it and terror on
the wind,
But the haunted air of twilight is
very strange and still,
And the little winds of twilight are
dearer to my mind.


Excerpt from "The Little Waves of Breffny" by Eva Gore-Booth


Or that tells a recognizable story (for example, see Erik's selections of manly poetry, located in his sidebar), or that simply has a lovely way of expressing scenes through words:

Pulling the dead sun's weight
through County Meath

We cycled through the knotted glass
of afternoon

Aware of the bright fog in the nar-
row slot of breath

And the cycles' rhyming, coughing
croon.


Robert Greacen "Cycling to Dublin"

Judging by the myriad inanities spewed forth by many of my fellow students, they have even less appreciation (or understanding) of poetry than I do. It was a little painful at times. One woman said Wordsworth's poem I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud made her picture Wordsworth dancing, standing on his tippy-toes and feeling the breeze on his face. THAT was hilarious!



William "dancing on my tippy-toes" Wordsworth

Monday, September 03, 2007

Eek!

At age 20, I measured 34-26-36. Now, at age 26, I measure 35-30-39. I gain four inches around the waist, three around my hips, and only ONE around my bust? What a gyp! I suppose this will give me some incentive to start exercising and eating healthier, though. I know my figure will never be what it was pre-childbirth, but I could certainly by much trimmer and toned than I am right now!

Ugh, exercise. ><

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Always worth a look

The Global Report From Down Under previously known as Jamie's Blog Archives

A giant hole in the Universe is devoid of galaxies, stars and even lacks dark matter, astronomers said on Thursday. The team at the University of Minnesota said the void is nearly a billion light-years across and they have no idea why it is there. Tom Cruise informed them that it was an excavation site cleared on the orders of Xenu.

A Japanese man arrested for making 388 prank phone calls to the local fire station between May 2006 and July this year said he did it because he was lonely. That broke the record set by Al Gore before he discovered global warming.

The navies of India, Japan, Singapore, Australia and the United States will hold war games in the Bay of Bengal next month, the first such joint exercises by the five nations. In the war games India is attacking the hottest curry, Japan is taking on Megaman and Wario, Singapore is hanging drug smugglers, Australia is fighting in a pub, and the USA is trying to deport Mexicans.

Congratulations!


To Beth and her crew on their newest member, Savannah!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Aimless Brainwork

Apparently my brain is pretty aimless these days.

Brainiac6 and I are in the same British literature class, as is my husband (he and I have doubled up on a few courses in order to save on text book costs). We are starting with the poets William Blake and Robert Burns. If Blake's brief biography is any indication, I may have to add poets to the list of Usually Fruity and Egotistical. This list already contains actors and popular musicians. Am I the only person that finds the lines "Tyger, Tyger burning bright, in the forests of the night" to be screamingly funny?

Speaking of the entertainment industry, here are a few things that have entertained me recently:

Hot Fuzz
From the creators of Shaun of the Dead - even funnier, in my opinion. It does have some moments of graphic, over-the-top violence that won't appeal to some viewers (like my mother =P).

The Chronicles of Chrestomanci volume I
by Diana Wynne Jones - children's fantasy - enjoyable and gently humorous

Pitch Black
Starring Vin Diesel - sci-fi horror, but not of the terrible "sci-fi channel original movie" variety

Nine hours of driving (plus 1 1/2 hours combined stop time) is surprisingly tiring. Thank goodness both of my boys do well riding in the car. Actually, considering that I was driving through Georgia and Florida in August without A/C, it's not that surprising.

Update:

I may enjoy reading poetry after all - this is the funniest description of being born I've ever read...

"My mother groand! My father wept.
Into the dangerous world I leapt.
Helpless, naked, piping loud;
Like a fiend hid in a cloud."

Comparing a newborn infant to a fiend hid in a cloud? Hilarious!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Aimless Brainwork

I know, two of these in a row, what gives?

It is very fun to watch what entertains young children. I was washing a load of laundry at my mom's house in her front-loader washing machine and my 10-month-old thought it was just the coolest thing. He stood there and watched the clothes and water churning for a surprisingly long time.

I like my family. I don't just love them; I don't just spend time with them from a sense of obligation. I actually enjoy spending time with them and feel as much at home with them as I do in my own home.

I am greatly looking forward to winter.

There was something I had thought of earlier that I had wanted to put in an Aimless Brainwork post, and now I can't remember what it was...

I love thrift stores. I acquired a handful of paperbacks and a skirt and a shirt that were only fifty cents apiece. Of course, that's a thrift store in my mom's area, in my area they're more expensive.

Motherhood has made me bossy.

Hmmm - still can't remember what I'd been thinking of earlier.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Aimless brainwork

I've been wanting to post more material, but (having reunited with my muse, who seems refreshed after her vacation) I now find myself with writer's block. Words refuse to come out the way I want them to.

I went to my dad's on Saturday and had some of the best hamburgers ever. Grilled and seasoned with crushed garlic & bell pepper, with a light coating of teriyaki sauce and a sprinkling of salt & pepper. I'm going to try that myself.

Every now and then I have rants which I hesitate to post, because I think the subject matter might be too risque. On that note, my mom thought the the uppermost romance novel cover spoof to be almost going to far. My sense of humor does tend to be a bit bawdy (okay, I was gifted with a t-shirt with the slogan "dirty old man" on it), though it gets far less exposure here than in real life.

One of my sisters once told me - meaning it to be a compliment - that I could write romance novels. It was a devastating blow. I still feel a little sting when I think about it, because there was truth in what she said. Even if I were willing to exploit that "talent" I could never become a successful romance novelist, though, because I wouldn't include sex scenes.

Blargh! I hate summer SO MUCH. The heat makes me become lethargic, depressed and vaguely irritable. I just keep telling myself it's only a couple of months until I start to see a hint of fall... Florida does not have winter or spring, only fall and summer, with a brief transitional period between each season.

Classes start again this week. I'll be taking early American history and British Literature (1800 to present, give or take fifty years). Britain seems to have produced several of my favorite authors, including J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Jane Austen, E. Nesbit, Agatha Christie and Douglas Adams. Unfortunately, none of them are on the reading list for the class.

I can't really think of a "closing" paragraph, so this will have to do.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Prayer request

It's not my story to tell, so I can't go into detail, but if you feel led to please pray for Joelle (Crazy Jo) and her son. They could really use the prayer right now.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Saturday, August 04, 2007

family blog update

For those of you with links to Serena & Rick's blogs, please be advised that they are no longer accessible. Rick has a new blog that can be linked and Serena will have one again in the future.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Since you asked...

Well, at least a couple of you inquired (a few weeks ago, I'm terrible about timely responses...)

I am going to school for a liberal arts AA. If I get the chance to go for a BA, I'll major in history. This way, I'll be studying something I find interesting. If my husband continues his plan of sending our children to public school, it will also give me a degree that may be useful in obtaining employment at my children's school.

Monday, July 30, 2007

For the record

For those of you that visit Serena & Rick's blogs, please be advised that they are not closed pending a legal investigation - I won't go into details, but suffice it to say that the person that had been hosting their blogs is being spiteful.

Anyway, if anyone needs to get in touch with either Serena or Rick (and does not already have their e-mail address), just leave a message in the comments on this post.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

If attending a comic convention






You might see some nice cosplay costumes...

Unfortunately, you'll see a lot more of this






Do your eyes burn now?







Saturday, July 14, 2007

Finally, a break

Both my summer courses are over, so I will have a few weeks before the fall semester starts and things get hectic again. Yay! Though of course I'm sure they'll pass all too quickly.

Here's one of those things that's probably too much information (for everyone except Wonder Woman =D), but I have something else to celebrate - having finally reached that stage where our two children are old enough to start playing together, allowing mom & dad to sneak off for some alone time! It was starting to feel like squeezing it in once a week was going to be permanent...

Today, after sneaking off for some alone time with the computer, I found Benjamin crying in the midst of a carpet of crushed red pepper. He had apparently spilled the whole bottle on the floor, then tried eating it, and also rubbed it in his eyes, so he had a red little face for a while. Vincent had been eating it too, and was complaining that it hurt his mouth. I had no sympathy for him and just laughed at him. I'm pretty sure that my spice bottle had not been sitting low enough for Benjamin to have gotten into it on his own!

I really miss my muse. My busy summer either drove her off to Tahiti, or put her into a catatonic state. Even though I seldom did anything with my fits of creativity, I still enjoyed thinking of story ideas and daydreaming up little worlds and characters. I just feel very flat and dull right now.

Well, I guess that's enough rambling for the moment!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

It's alive! ALIIIIVE!

One whole month since I've posted - I think that has been the longest unintentional gap between postings since I started this blog. Okay let's see - I aced my sociology mid-term. In the month following, I spent a week in Tennessee with my family in order to see my little sister while she was on leave from her second tour of duty in Iraq. It was the first time in years that all of my mom's seven children were together in one place. This was an extremely noisy visit - there were many children present, aged 8 months, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 10 and 14. They sure had fun, but the chaos nearly drove us mad. Fortunately, my little sister gifted my little brother with a large trampoline for his birthday, and that helped keep the kiddos occupied. After the week was over, I drove back home, bringing my sister and nephew with me for a visit. They were here just over a week, during which I unfortunately had to spend a large chunk of time studying for two tests - one for my criminology course, the other my final exam for sociology, while helping to mediate between two toddlers that each wanted to be top dog and in control of the toys. At the end of my sister's visit (which was a little over a week), the household was struck with a very nasty flu virus, which I have had for a week now and which still has me pretty wiped out. Thank goodness it happened AFTER my final exam, because otherwise I doubt I would have been able to complete the class. This stuff is NASTY and I sincerely hope that none of y'all have to suffer through it (my family in TN already experienced it a few weeks before my visit, so they know what a rotten experience it is). Well, anyway, that is the explanation for why I have been largely absent from blogger lately! Hopefully I will be able to return to visiting my blog friends sometime soon!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Grrrrr

I sure wish I were Godzilla stomping Tokyo flat right now. Not that I have anything against Tokyo, but hoards of people running from me, screaming in terror and occasionally being squished between my giant toes would make me feel a whole lot better! And if a certain anal sociology teacher were among them, well, so much the better!

The last day to take my sociology midterm is tomorrow. In the meantime, I've had hardly any time in which to study, and I've got 10 ******* chapters to review/read and take notes for. Just for the record, that's me swearing right there, I'm just not writing it since I know Mom & Aunt C don't like reading profanity. Profanity sure would be therapeutic right now. I was sorely tempted to make a post that was nothing BUT profanity. I'm still tempted, but I'm resisting.

Aaaarrrrrrrrgggghhhhh!

GGGGGGRRRRRRRRR!!!!

*sigh*

Friday, June 01, 2007

This is painful, isn't it?


You know what else is painful?

Trying to juggle one husband, two little boys, home renovation, a friend's wedding and two tests for my summer courses all in the space of a few days.

Ugh.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

This Past Saturday

I went horseback riding Saturday with my husband, our friend Corey, Brainiac6 and her boyfriend, whose birthday we were celebrating. What a great idea of Brainaic6's! I have always wanted to go horseback riding but never had the opportunity. They put me on a pretty little paint mare named Sadie that turned out to be even more obsessed with eating than I am. I spent the entire two hours fighting her over whether she'd keep moving or stop to graze for a while. I think she could tell I was a novice and was trying to take advantage of that.

After the first 45 minutes, our guide turned back and allowed us to forge ahead on our own. Due to a miscommunication, my husband (whose horse was leading the group for the majority of the ride) ended up taking us off the main trail and into the woods. It was a narrow trail and for us, ended at the large fallen tree lying across it two or three feet above the ground. Trying to get everyone's horse turned around was an adventure, but we did eventually succeed and managed to have the horses back on time.

I really want to go again. I know, at this point, the guys are shaking their heads and thinking "what is it with chicks and horses?"

Been meaning to do this for a while

I have finally added MikeT of Code Monkey Ramblings to my blog list.

Mom, I also finally updated your link. =P

UPDATE:

Justine's blog link updated as well.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Announcement

Happy Birthday to a couple of my favorite old farts here in the blogosphere, and to my mother, one of my favorite old farts offline or online! ;)

Roland, Morris and Mom aka Serena

Anyone else care to admit to a birthday this month?

Now if only I knew a few good over-the-hill jokes...

UPDATE:

Happy (Belated) Birthday to Birdie too!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

El Cucaracha



Living in an older home in a semi-tropical climate means that not all the former residents of our house moved out when we bought the place. The American cockroach, also known as palmetto bugs here in the South, left several representatives to greet us during the time following our arrival.

I like snakes, toads, frogs, beetles and spiders (even if I view large, skittery specimens of the latter somewhat uneasily). I have casually handled all of the above with my bare hands. El Cucaracha "the crazy bug", on the other hand, has traditionally been my mortal enemy. These are bugs that I associate with dirt and filth and traumatic childhood events.

There was the time when I woke up and shook a small (1/2 inch) cockroach out of my nightgown. The time when my sister Rachelle and I heard one in our room, and when we flicked on the light, it turned out to be an enormous specimen that proceeded to fly crazily around the room, sometimes directly at us. Our terrified screams reached the heavens (and also our parents, who probably thought we were being murdered). The time I woke up to go to the bathroom and in the dining room there was a big one on the floor, and another big one on the wall, and in the kitchen at least three more and I had to destroy them all. I actually woke up my sister Lael to beg her to help me squash them. She was not pleased and promptly squashed my hope of aid. The time I was riding in the car of family friends, whose car was none too clean, felt something on my hair, reached up and came back with a cockroach. This bug later attempted a return to the scene of the crime via my leg, and my shrill scream from directly behind his head nearly forced the driver off the road for the second time. The time my friend Debbie & I offered to help clean out the old storage shed behind the house because it was a chance to root through old junk from previous residents. We had heard the skittering and seen a few cockroaches after we'd pulled the first few things out into the light, but the true magnitude of the situation did not hit home until we both stood inside the dimly lit shed which smelled of years of decay and heard the skittering of hundreds, perhaps thousands of cockroaches as they ran up the walls around us...

At that point, the cockroach escalated from mortal enemy to arch-nemesis - it is not until the last two or three years that I have steeled myself to the point where I no longer jump, scream and run away as quickly as possible upon being surprised by the presence of a large cockroach. Anyway, returning to the residents of our new house... after moving in, I found that I was too tired and overwhelmed with what needed to be done to feel much animosity towards the large palmetto bugs I noticed that held residence in the bathroom and the kitchen. In fact, I named them all George. As long as they run away from me, I am usually content to let them live - for now - although George 1/2, 1 and 2 all had to be dispatched; the squashing of George .75 this morning was what precipitated this post. (The number designations indicate size - a whole number for the largest cockroaches, a fraction or decimal for smaller critters).

I had met George .75 (a rather handsome bug for a cockroach) last night as he explored the bathroom, but had spared him his life. This morning, I would have done the same when I found him exploring near our bedroom, if not for the fact that he tried to run inside our bedroom. The second time he tried this was while I stood in the doorway and I actually had to kick him away as he tried to scurry between my feet. This did not discourage him from making a third attempt, which is what brought on the wrath of Arielle delivered via sandal.

Adios, el cucaracha!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Congratulations!

To my cousin Lisa & her husband on the birth of their firstborn, a boy! Congratulations to my aunt & uncle as well, as this is their first grandchild.

He was delivered two months early via c-section but is over five pounds and breathing on his own, which is very good news. Prayers are appreciated both for the baby and for Lisa; she is a type I diabetic which caused the complications which necessitated such an early delivery.

May G-d bless the new baby and the new parents!

UPDATE

Pictures of Ian! Apparently, he managed to spray 4 out of 5 doctors while getting a diaper change. Way to go Ian! =D

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Aimless Brainwork*

Home renovation is hard. Much harder than I would have thought. I am enjoying it, though, and would rather rip up carpets and pry anchor boards off the floor than wash dishes!

Trying to get anything done, much less home renovation, is difficult with two young children to care for.

I'm refraining from buying any dessert-style food for a week. Hopefully, I will find the willpower to continue cutting back on sugar.

Back in 2004, I got all fired up about politics and would read the news and political blogs on a regular basis. Now, I mostly avoid thinking about it.

My husband and I are probably going to get cell-phones. We must be a couple of the last Americans in our age bracket not to already own one!

I hear sounds that indicate I should probably go check on my little stinkers.

Fortunately, it was just legos being knocked together.

I comment a lot less than I used to on the blogs I read. Half the time I'll start a comment, then decide it's too much work. Of course, that's either because I've got one hand tied up holding the little one, or am too tired to form coherent sentences.

I just met one of our new neighbors. Definitely a redneck. That doesn't have to be bad thing, though. According to the stories he tells, our police department has too much time on its hands and the officers tend to be too big for their britches. The ones I saw did remind me of Farva from Super Troopers!

*This has been another shameless knock-off of Pablo's Random Thought posts

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Blargh!

We are moved - kinda sorta. It's still in that transitional phase where boxes are everywhere and you still have a couple of things left to do at the old place. In this case, I've got at least three hours worth of unpleasant cleaning such as the refrigerator, oven interior and washing the kitchen and bathroom floors.

My father-in-law, three friends and a friend-of-a-friend showed up to help us move, wonderful people, all! Though only one of them is likely to read this, I will say "Thank You" anyway. =) Thank you!

Now that we are here, we are realizing that there is more work that needs to be done than we had originally realized - the home is a solid little block home from the seventies, very sound architecturally, but in need of a lot of cosmetic work. The list so far:

Windows
Interior paint
Flooring
Kitchen cabinets
Bathroom
Minor drywall repairs
A few new light fixtures
Some electric work

Most of this we had planned on doing anyway, we just hadn't realized how quickly we would want to change things! The carpet in the living area is probably 35 years old and it is FILTHY. It is SO INCREDIBLY DISGUSTING! Benjamin managed to wiggle his way on to the carpet a couple of times, and ended up with black hands and knees. I've been wearing shoes indoors just to avoid stepping on that carpet.

Fortunately, between our current savings and my husband's opportunities for overtime, we should be able to get the majority of what we want done without having to wait too long for it. In the meantime, we're going to rip out that foul, hideous thing that once was carpet, because a cement floor with a throw-rug over is the preferable option right now!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

This is pretty cool




Aquatic Gardening

These are a sampling of the top ten from the International Aquatic Plants Layout Contest 2006

If I were filthy stinking rich, I would hire a personal aquatic gardener and have several of these throughout my mansion!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Reader meme

I seem to get most of these from Birdie

Hardback or trade paperback or mass market paperback?
I prefer hardback but will collect any of these options

Amazon or brick and mortar? Internet sites if I know what I want, brick & mortar for browsing

Barnes & Noble or Borders? Both, but only for their coffee & desserts, otherwise used bookstores, library sales, etc.

Bookmark or dogear? Neither, I try to remember the page number

Alphabetize by author or alphabetize by title or random? Neither alphabetized nor random - they're divided up into categories (adult, children, classics, favorites, etc.) and then usually grouped together by author within those categories (but not alphabetized in any way, shape or form)

Keep, throw away, or sell?
The rare book that is not kept is usually donated to a thrift store

Keep dustjacket or toss it? Keep

Read with dustjacket or remove it? with

Short story or novel? Both

Collection (short stories by same author) or anthology (short stories by different authors)?
Both

Harry Potter or Lemony Snicket? neither, really, though I do own one Lemony Snicket book - I got rid of the Harry Potters

Stop reading when tired or at chapter breaks? I usually aim for chapter breaks

“It was a dark and stormy night” or “Once upon a time”? Both

Buy or Borrow? Both - if I really like a book I borrow, it gets added to my "buy eventually" list

New or used?
I prefer new, but usually can't afford it

Buying choice: book reviews, recommendation or browse?
Browse, followed by recommendation, never really read book reviews

Tidy ending or cliffhanger? Cliffhangers are okay, as long as there is a sequel with a tidy ending. ;)

Morning reading, afternoon reading or nighttime reading? Any time I can squeeze it in, which is usually not until after the boys are in bed (though my preference would be quiet morning reading)

Stand-alone or series? Both

Favorite series? The Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien

Favorite book of which nobody else has heard? The Continent of Lies by James Morrow

Favorite book read last year? I don't remember

Favorite books of all time? The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien

Favorite children’s book? I couldn't possibly pick one favorite

Least favorite book you finished last year? I don’t remember

What are you reading right now? My history textbook, everything else is packed

What are you reading next? Whatever I feel like?

What book are you embarrassed you ever read? Any modern romance novel, even the "good" ones

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Dr. Librescu: A REAL HERO

Amidst the morass of news coverage of the school shooting in Virginia emerges one story that actually made me care, one event that brought tears to my eyes.

As Jews worldwide honored on Monday the memory of those who were murdered in the Holocaust, a 76-year-old survivor sacrificed his life to save his students in Monday's shooting at Virginia Tech College that left 33 dead and over two dozen wounded.

Read the rest of the article here

(MSN's home page does not even mention this man's sacrifice, though they've seen fit to include a link about US "gun culture" being criticized - I hate the mainstream media!)

Friday, April 13, 2007

Friday the 13th

The more important an appointment is, the later I will be.

This morning we were scheduled to be at the title company at 9:00 to sign the closing paperwork for our house.

This was my plan - be out of the house by 6:30 in order to meet my husband after his shift ended at 7:00. Drive to my in-laws and leave Vincent with his grandfather, then drive to the title company, which, if all went according to plan, would have us there on time or even early.

The first snag happened as I was leaving the house. My key jammed in the lock. It had turned just far enough that I could not pull it out again, and no amount of jiggling or attempts at brute strength would free it. Eventually, already running late and with no way of getting back inside to call maintenance, I simply pulled the keyring off and left the key in the lock.

I arrived at the agreed upon point of rendezvous, the left side of the J C Penney's at the mall close to my husband's work, only to discover that my husband was not there. No big deal, I thought, his shift-relief probably arrived late and he's a little behind because of that.

The minutes piled up and still no husband in sight. When I asked a man unloading a truck nearby what time it was, I was informed that it was 8:47. As my mouth dropped open in shock, the man corrected himself and said that it was 7:47. Shortly afterwards, my husband arrived, surprised to find out that I had not yet dropped off Vincent. He had misunderstood and thought I was taking him to his grandparents first, so my husband had gone to breakfast with a co-worker since he thought he had time to kill.

We decided that since we were signing our portion of the paperwork several hours before the seller would come in to sign, that it was better to go ahead and drop Vincent off and be late, than to try and sign important paperwork while keeping a three-year-old quietly occupied. I guess the universe just wanted to make sure that I upheld my reputation for being at least fifteen minutes late for any appointment.

Fortunately, everything went well, and it took only thirty minutes to go through the paperwork instead of forty-five minutes to an hour, which had been our real estate agent's estimate.

Well, in my long, drawn-out way, I have reached the pertinent conclusion to this story - (as long as a meteor did not fall on the sellers before they could sign their share of the paperwork) we now owe the bank a lot of money in exchange for the privilege of having our name on a document that shows we have the right to live on a certain piece of property. =D

Yay!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

meme

I first saw this on Birdie's blog


1. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE? My middle name is the same as my mother's middle name and my grandmother's first name

2. ARE YOU AN ONLY child? nope

3. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING? No, but my printing sometimes looks nice

4. IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU? Probably

5. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP? nope

6. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL? rice crispies

7. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF? I usually wear sandals

8. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG? Physically, no - that's why I keep a man around the house ;)

9. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM? Mmmm, ice cream!

10. WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT PEOPLE? posture

11. WHAT IS THE LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOURSELF? selfishness

12 . WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST? my family that live too far away to visit regularly!

13 . WHAT COLOR PANTS AND SHOES ARE YOU WEARING? blue jeans, no shoes

14. WHAT WAS THE LAST THING YOU ATE? casserole last night, I have not eaten breakfast yet

15. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW? whoops, that's a baby crying...

16. IF YOU WERE A CRAYON, WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE? Spring green

17. FAVORITE SMELLS? new babies, the coffee aisle, lilacs, baking bread, freshly cut grass, the breeze before a storm

18. WHO WAS THE LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO ON THE PHONE? my husband

19. DO YOU LIKE THE PERSON WHO SENT THIS TO YOU? I like the person whose blog I plucked it from

20. DO YOU HAVE ANY PETS? no, but sadly I'm sure that won't last

21. FAVORITE SPORTS TO WATCH? none

22. HAIR COLOR? blonde

23. EYE COLOR? green

24. DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS? glasses

25. FAVORITE FOOD? my Mexican casserole, Mom's cheesecake, my oldest sister's rolls

26. SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDINGS? both!

27. LAST MOVIE YOU WATCHED? Hoodwinked

28. WHAT COLORS SHIRT ARE YOU WEARING? green

29. SUMMER OR WINTER? Fall and Spring! (Same as Beth and Birdie)

30. HUGS OR KISSES? both, provided they come from my husband, children or mother - hugs from family or friends of the huggy variety, and everybody else better be remaining at arm length!

31. FAVORITE DESSERT? mmmm, dessert!

32. MOST LIKELY TO RESPOND? women

33. LEAST LIKELY TO RESPOND? men

34. WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING? my modern American history textbook and my Dungeons & Dragons rulebooks (I feel the weight of my geekiness pressing down on me now)

35. WHAT IS ON YOUR MOUSE PAD? the mouse

36. WHAT DID YOU WATCH ON TV LAST NIGHT? I don’t watch TV either

37. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE SOUND(s)? my babies laughing or cooing,

38. ROLLING STONES OR BEATLES? beetles, especially those ones with the shiny green carapace

39. WHAT IS THE FURTHEST YOU HAVE BEEN FROM HOME? Ireland

40. SO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL TALENT? I'm naturally talented in a couple of areas, but I'm too lazy to make them special talents

41. WHOSE ANSWERS ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO GETTING BACK? anyone whose blog I read

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Perfect


Is it bad that my first thought upon seeing this t-shirt was "but if she's headless, how will she---?"


Monday, April 09, 2007

I can't think of an appropriate title

That chocolate brownie I just ate was totally my husband's fault. Now, you might think "uh oh, they had a fight, and she's been driven to comfort food" but no, my husband does not drive me to chocolate in such a prosaic way.

Our son Vincent tends to be a little - curmudgeonly - when he first wakes up in the morning. He was lurking just inside his bedroom and my husband decided to lure him out by telling Vincent he was going to eat all the chocolate cake. Well, the lure worked - the problem was that we did not have chocolate cake. Having performed his mischief, my husband went to bed for the day. Have you ever tried to convince a three year-old that there is no chocolate cake when Daddy made it sound as if there were?

I had to go to the store anyway, so we came back with a couple of small frosted chocolate brownies that resembled cake. Obviously two was too many for a three-year old, so I graciously took on the burden of eating the other one.

Mmmmm.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Happy Birthday Vincent!


My firstborn is three years old today. He's just as much of a blessing now as he was when he first joined us, though definitely more of a handful! ;) Becoming a mother has definitely been one of the best things that ever happened to me.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Everybody's doing it

Random thought posts, that is - Pablo has started a trend! I'd link his name, but I'm too lazy right now. Just go to Evel Squirrel's Attitude Central in my side-bar. =P

I would like just fifteen minutes of uninterrupted time now and then, to drink a cup of coffee, eat my lunch, write a blog post - I'm betting that within five minutes, however, my oldest will have run out here to interrupt me once again.

I ran out of croutons for my home-made ceaser salads, so I'm using Crispix cereal pieces instead. Tastes pretty good!

Blogger does not recognize the word 'croutons' as a legitimate word. It's suggesting I change the spelling to 'mouton'. What the heck is a mouton? Popping over to dictionary.com now...

Mouton: sheepskin that has been processed to resemble another fur, esp. seal or beaver.

Yes, clearly more people are going to use the word 'mouton' than will use 'crouton'.

I've typed the word 'crouton' so many times that it no longer looks like a real word to me.

Wow! Five minutes and no interruption from my offspring! It's almost a miracle!

Hah - here he is now. Mommy, mommy, mommy....

And now the interruption from offspring #2. Boy, does this kid have regular bowels. A poopy diaper follows almost every meal. I must change an average of five poopy diapers a day, if not more!

Offspring #1 gets jealous when I nurse offspring #2, so he'll sit or stand next to me and hang on to my braid. Most children have security blankets or stuffed animals. My hair serves that function for my son.

I have an overdue library book. Buying a House for Dummies. It was very helpful.

Offspring #1 in bed for a nap. If only offspring #2 would go to sleep, too! Oh well, I suppose it's time for my daily effort at doing something productive - which will no doubt be thwarted.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

My favorite blonde joke

Three pregnant women are sitting near each other in the doctor's waiting room. One is brunette, one is a red-head and the third is blonde.

The brunette and the red-head strike up a conversation.

"What are you having?" the brunette asks the red-head.

"A girl, because I conceived using the woman-on-top position."

"I guess I'm having a boy, because I conceived using the missionary position."

The blonde looks at the two women and then bursts into tears.

"I'm going to have puppies!"

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

I need help

Not that kind of help.

I have heard that mac computers do not require anti-virus software, because they're innately much more secure than a PC. Is this true? If any of y'all are mac users, I'd love to hear what you think of them.


Monday, March 19, 2007

300


I went and saw 300 last night. That is one naked movie. It took a little for me to get into the drama of the movie because I laughed out loud the first time I saw the Spartan uniform (an invention of Frank Miller's, not historically accurate). A red cloak, leather briefs and boots! How is that not funny? After commenting on it afterwards, my friends seemed to be under the impression that I was excited about so much male skin showing, but nothing could be farther from the truth. There were a lot of nice-looking men with great bodies on display, but those leather briefs, well, to me they were almost as silly looking as speedos! Of course, male skin was not the only thing showing - there were plenty of breasts on display, too. If nudity in movies offends you, this movie is not for you.

This is not a gritty historical drama. It is a grand, theatrical bardic tale. The heroes are Heroes and the villains are Villains. Frank Miller is lucky - so far, the people responsible for bringing his graphic novels to the screen have succeeded in turning them into cinematic art. Stylistically, 300 is very different from Sin City, but equally impressive.

I can see how this movie will appeal to a wide range of audiences - just about anyone can watch the movie and apply it to the context of their own life and personal beliefs. A democrat might watch it and see the Spartans as the insurgents in Iraq fighting against the tyranny of President Bush, while the Republican sitting next to her sees it as the fight between Western democracy and Islamic terrorism, while the Constitutionalist sitting in front of him will see it as the downtrodden citizen versus the corrupt and powerful government. The atheist will see it as science versus religion, the socialist as the poor workers versus the rich businessmen, the feminist will rant about the oppressive patriarchy and how wars would never happen if women were in charge, then go home and pull out her favorite toy while thinking of all the firm, sweaty man-muscles on display.

Certain elements of the film lead me to believe that either the film-makers or Frank Miller are biased towards the science vs religion application of the story; I am not familiar enough with the historic information to know if it was already a part of the story or if it was added in. Stripping away any political agendas and statements which may or may not be present in the movie, at its core, it is a true story of three hundred men who willingly went to their deaths to protect their country and their families from slavery or worse. Their courage and their sacrifice are something that should be admired in any age.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Arielle's town - explanation

I have to confess, I'm addicted to looking at pictures of pretty houses. I had this addiction long before we started house-hunting. Stone, brick, frame, farmhouses, bungalows, Spanish-style, Victorian, log cabins, cottages - I have an eclectic taste in houses but definitely favor older, historic homes.

I have decided to make a virtual village, for which I have already chosen houses for various family members. This is an activity in which my blog friends can participate as well - pick a picture of a house that you like (castle, mud hut, or anything in between, as long as it is a picture of a real dwelling) and either e-mail it to me (aja_hobbit @ hotmail.com) or link to it in the comments, and I will add it to the virtual village.

For interested family members, I propose a game - I will list the family members that I have selected houses for so far, and you try to match each house to the person I intended it for - it will probably prove pretty easy, but I thought Mom & Jo at least might get a kick out of it.

And, after I reveal the house I chose for them, the family members that read my blog can submit a picture of a house they'd rather have for the virtual village. =)

The posts below contain the pictures of the houses for Mom, Aunt C, cousin Lisa, each of my sisters (including the youngest), Jared, Dad, my niece, one for myself and a guest house. Husbands & boyfriends' likes, dislikes and personalities were not taken into consideration - they just get to share with their woman. =P My youngest brother also does not get his own house just yet.

UPDATE

Arielle's Virtual Village

Brainiac6, Pablo aka Paul and Birdie all have houses there now too!

It would seem that the game was harder than I thought. Mom, Jo & Lisa each got six out of 12.

Blue house - Mom
Over-water bungalow - Lael (Lael is more of a party girl than the rest of us, and she likes to fish)
Faux-rustic - Joelle (I know you like The Blue Castle but I've never heard you express a fondness for blue castles, or even castles in general)
Spanish-style - Rachelle
Ornate gingerbread - Dad
Yellow house - Aunt C (apparently there was some confusion as to which Aunt C I was referring to - this seemed obvious to me. Only one Aunt C actually visits my blog!)
Front facing pink house - Gaelyn
Second pink house - Brianna
Castle - guest house (C'mon! Castles are more fun to visit than to live in!)
Antler house - Jared
Green &amp; white with ivy - me (I went to Ireland, too)
Green & white with unusual design - Lisa
(I thought the quirky architecture would make this one easy)

Arielle's town III


Arielle's town II





Arielle's town







Wednesday, March 07, 2007

House hunting update

After several days of wrangling over the details, an agreement has been reached and we should be signing the contract for our new home this evening.

Yay!

Of course, it's still not 100% certain that the sale will go through - written into the contract is the contingency that we can opt out if we do not like what turns up during the home inspection. I doubt anything major will show up, though.

As long as everything goes smoothly, we should be closing on our house April 13th - which I just realized is a Friday. Hah! It's a good thing I'm not superstitious.

Monday, March 05, 2007




Your Personality is Very Rare (INTP)



Your personality type is goofy, imaginative, relaxed, and brilliant.



Only about 4% of all people have your personality, including 2% of all women and 6% of all men

You are Introverted, Intuitive, Thinking, and Perceiving.



Taken from Pablo who took it from Heidi

If only the 'brilliant' part were true. Oh well, 3 out of 4 isn't bad. In this case, at least. 3 out of 4 tires would be bad. Can anyone else think of some instances in which 3 out of 4 would be bad?

Only in Infancy

Only in infancy will women fawn over you and exclaim how cute you are, even though you're fat, drooling and inarticulate.

The Wolf in Sheep's Clothing

This is the title of an e-mail I received regarding presidential hopeful Barack Obama. This e-mail details Senator Obama's Muslim background. I might be concerned - if I thought he even had a chance of making it through the Democrat primaries to emerge as their candidate. As it is, I can't help but feel that anyone forwarding this e-mail has unwittingly become Senator Rodham-Clinton's stooge (yes, that means you, Rick =P). Honestly, I think if Senator Obama were unlucky enough to take the lead in opinion polls prior to the primary, that we would shortly be 'discovering' something far more unsavory about him than a mere Muslim background!

Hillary - wise as a serpent, gentle as a cobra.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

House Hunting, part II

We may have found our house. It's a block home from the 70's, but fairly well cared for and not hideous to look at. The location seems to be a quiet family neighborhood. Unfortunately, it appears that we cannot afford a nicely kept older home (maybe someday). The block home is probably a better investment anyway, since they are less likely to be smashed in a hurricane.

And since my family will probably be interested in the details - it's a three bedroom, one bath, with 1318 square feet. It's got a living room and a family room, a nice open kitchen/dining room combo and an inside utility room (older Florida homes sometimes have detached utility rooms). The yard is large with a couple of mid-sized trees in the front. The backyard is already fenced. There's a tiny children's park across the street and a Super Wal*Mart just up the road (yes, the presence of Wally World is a plus, as it's where we do a lot of our shopping). Mike's commute should be comparable to what it is now, though he will no longer have the option of hopping on a toll road to cut the commute in half. Our living expenses will increase sharply, though not beyond what we can handle, and we will still be able to put money into savings monthly. It does need cosmetic work - new interior paint, flooring, a couple of closet doors and new kitchen cabinets - but otherwise seems pretty sound.

I hope to obtain a copy of the CMA (comparative market analysis) and the seller's disclosure later today. As long as nothing significantly wrong turns up, we hope to put an offer on the house sometime in the next few days.

It still saddens me that I could get twice the house and land for the money up in Mom's or Jo's neck of the woods in Tennessee. At least they both can take comfort in knowing that when they get around to purchasing a home, they'll be able to do so while shelling out a lot less than I am!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Update on House Hunting

Well, my first day of looking at houses is over.

It got off to a bad start with the very first house - which just happened to be my favorite of the ones we planned on looking at. My husband nixed it before we even saw it because of the neighborhood it was located on. I agreed with his decision. Working for the sheriff's office, you don't want to move your family to a neighborhood where a) there's a good chance the local residents don't care for the police and b) you're a racial minority. It was certainly disappointing though - it was a beautiful home inside and out. (Now I know why it was so affordable!)

One more house was nixed because of the neighborhood. Another is an old fixer-upper - unfortunately, with my husband's work and school schedule and my responsibility taking care of two young children, it does not seem feasible to tackle a project that big. It certainly could be turned into a beautiful home, though! The last house was fairly roomy and had a wonderfully big fenced in yard, unfortunately it was also a foreclosure, and from the sound of it the bank that owned it was inclined to make the closing process difficult and expensive. The second house we saw was the one my husband liked best - I, however, hated it. The rooms were small and the kitchen was TINY. If I'm going to purchase a house, I don't want to feel like I'm still living in an apartment. It made me claustrophobic!

The best thing about the afternoon was the real estate agent that showed us around. He seems very forthright and honest - he made sure to let us know of anything about the house that might be a problem. Even better, he was not pushy at all. I plan on continuing to work with him.

Right now, I've compiled a list of more potential houses - to avoid what happened yesterday, I will take a tour of the neighborhoods the houses are in. The ones in acceptable neighborhoods I will ask to see. I think I may bundle the kids into the car and take that trip today. It'll give my husband some peace and quiet, at the very least.

At least we are not on a deadline and can afford to take our time looking! I still hope that we will find something which is comfortable, affordable, and reasonably appealing to both of us.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Milestones




My husband has grown tired of apartment living and recently decided that we are financially stable enough to buy a house. We have now been approved for a home loan (yay!) and are going to see a few houses Wednesday afternoon. I'm very excited! I would love to have a yard and a laundry room.

We're going the starter home route - something small and affordable that we can live in for five years or so, then hopefully upgrading after that. Our eventual goal is to own land and have a house built where we can raise what my husband refers to as his 'clan'. I favor purchasing a dome home kit and building it ourselves, but we'll see how things turn out. Land is very expensive in this area of Florida.

Right now, my favorite potential homes are older homes from the early 1900's. Older homes have an architectural warmth and charm that many later decades lacked (see my post below for examples). The block homes from the 60's and 70's were some of the worst offenders, in my opinion, though the bulky, ostentatious waterfront homes being built in the 90's and 00's were pretty bad as well.

Of course, with an older home we have to be careful of what we're getting into, especially in the area of plumbing and electricity. Fortunately, my mother and my father-in-law have both been giving me tips about what to look for. It is also fairly easy to find rehabbed older homes with central air conditioning - I hate wall units.

The house pictured at the beginning of this post is my current favorite possibility, followed by an example of the hideous block home style of the 70's, followed by an example of a dome home. I need to teach myself how to incorporate photos throughout the text!

Older homes






Some of the beautiful homes for sale in the areas we are looking at. All of these were built before 1930, and sadly, most of them are very much out of our price range!