Tiny Cemetery

Posted on 7/30/2011 11:18:00 AM In:
One of the great things about living in a section of the country that has a long history is all the old stuff.  Seriously, where I grew up, in what we referred to as the "historic" section of town, the oldest building there was from around 1950.  Not that the city didn't exist before then; they just tend to knock stuff down there rather than to try and restore it. 

But even out here, progress (or what counts for progress) marches on too and old farms make way for new strip malls like evolution says they must.  But since old farms often also have family cemeteries attached to them, not everything can go. 

Monica and I happened upon an example of this one day a couple of weeks ago as we out foraging for computer parts and free Slurpies. It might be the tiniest cemetery I've ever seen, with but two headstones.

Just a few yards to the right of this frame is a Starbucks.

Armistead T. Thompson was a Southern soldier who was captured and held at a Union prison camp.  He died of typhoid and was buried there but in the 1880s, his father went to Point Lookout and brought his body back to be buried in the family graveyard.   

In memory of Armistead T. Thompson
Son of
Lawson T. & Fannie A. Thompson
A member of Co. C, 5 Regt. Va. Vols.
Who died at Point Lookout MD, a prisoner of war, Nov 23, 1864
After an imprisonment of 17 months
Aged 27 years
Mouldering though thy body be
Yet in our dreams thy form we see:
Our tears in torrents duly fall
O! thee we would but can't recall.
Thou art gone to Christ thy God
He who bought thee with His blood
Enabled thee to run thy race;
Raised thee now to see His face.

It was harder to find information about the second stone, Amana Abigail Tobin. 

Amana Abigail Tobin
Apr 4, 1876
Feb 1, 1904
The lost in sight are to memory dear


I did a little research and came up with this story about how the cemetery ended up in the parking lot of a Starbucks and a Safeway.

     No one knows for sure how many bodies are buried there. Sources mention anywhere from nine to 70. Today, there are only two headstones visible, one for three members of a branch of the family known as the Tobins, the other for Armistead, the Civil War veteran. Other graves might have been marked with simple fieldstones that were taken by vandals or used to fill depressions in the road.
      We can't say for sure when the first body went into the ground at the Thompson family cemetery. It might have been a veteran of the War of 1812 named Ethan Allen (not that Ethan Allen). What's clear is that when Lawson Turner Thompson died in 1886, his will left a half-acre of land to his heirs for use as a cemetery.
      After that, it's a familiar story: What had been rural slowly became anything but. Various members of the Thompson clan sold bits of their land to developers. In the 1920s and 1930s, Lee Highway was widened, nibbling away at the cemetery. In 1973, construction started on the Pan Am Shopping Center. Developers wanted to disinter all the remains and move them to another cemetery to make way for the parking lot.
      The Thompsons fought back, persuading a judge to block the shopping center's action. Twice since then, the Virginia Department of Transportation has wanted to encroach on the graveyard to add lanes to Lee Highway. In 1979, 63-year-old Alfred Thompson was arrested after sitting in a lawn chair in the cemetery to block a bulldozer. He vowed to be buried there when his time came.
      The last recorded burial was in July 1918. That means the lawn chair-sitting, bulldozer-defying Alfred Thompson must be buried somewhere else, right? Nope. He isn't buried anywhere. He is 95 years old and living in Falls Church.
"I did want to be buried there," Alfred told Answer Man. But he changed his mind. "I just thought it would be kind of lonesome down there." Most of Alfred's contemporaries are buried at Fairfax City Cemetery. That's where Audrey, his wife of 68 years, was buried just last year. And that's where he'll go.
     Alfred said he knows some might wonder why his family has gone to so much trouble over a bunch of dead relatives, but he likes the result. "What it is is a little green oasis floating in a sea of asphalt," Alfred says of the graveyard in a shopping center.

I kind of love Alfred, you know?



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Emergence

Posted on 7/25/2011 05:08:00 PM
The Big Work Thing (or as it's known in my house, The Reason Momma's Been a Bitch This Year) I've been toiling at and complaining about without naming names or getting myself fired for the last... nine, ten, eleven months finally happened last week.  I took three minutes to breathe a sigh of relief and imagine taking a day off, then all my hopes for a few weeks of stress-free, post-project bliss were dashed into the rocks below when I realized that any new project means change and if there's one thing about human nature I should have taken into account, it's that PEOPLE HATE CHANGE.  And now, thanks to the Internet?  EVERYone who hates change can, with very little effort, email to tell you exactly how much they hate change and exactly what changes they hate... and if you're lucky, they'll also tell you how incompetent you are and how much they hate you too.  I'm lucky like that. So until the general public becomes more reasonable (unlikely), until all the perceived problems with the Big Work Thing are fixed (unlikely), until the furor dies down (not gonna happen this week), or until my faith in humanity is restored (SUPER unlikely) posting is probably going to continue to be light around here.
 
Instead, please to enjoy this photo of The Caterpillar turning into a Beautiful Butterfly.




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Jalapeño Ice Cream, No Seriously

Posted on 7/18/2011 07:05:00 AM In: ,
I was telling a friend in Arizona the other day about my jalapeño-growing project and how they are the best thing on earth but mentioned that sadly, I can't eat enough salsa to use them all. Which is a complete and total lie, by the way - I can eat that much salsa, I just shouldn't. She told me a story about having dinner at one of those fancy schmancy resorts near where she lives and having jalapeño-infused ice cream there. She challenged me to come up with my own version.

Now, I'm not much of a cook and I've never been the type of chef who creates his own recipes, but two things intrigued me about this challenge: One, I am a master of one-offs and improvisation. No matter how little food we have in the house, I can generally find a way to put things together to make a meal, but I'm probably never going to repeat it again if you liked what I made. I once had a roommate who swore that I could make banana bread without bananas. And two, the only thing I love more than cheese (and now I know why I love it so much) is ice cream.

Challenge accepted.

I started by quartering a single jalapeño.


In my first attempt, I used two jalapeños. But if you'll remember from past days, home grown jalapeños are hottt. That was fine if I wanted ice cream that only I would eat. (Which is totally okay because... more for me!) But the final result was a bit too spicy for anyone else in my family... or the world... to enjoy. The Dormouse kept begging for a taste of my first batch and I told her no, that it was too spicy and she wouldn't like it. Finally, after about the thirtieth repeated request, I nodded my head toward my bowl and said, "Fine, have a spoonful." I turned my back and then looked over a second later to find her running down the stairs.

"Did you like it?" I called after her.

"Yes," she choked out.

"Want a whole bowlful, then?"

"NO!"

The kitties, who appear like cockroaches out of the walls whenever we're trying to eat something, were also unwitting test subjects and I let them lick the bowl after I'd eaten some. The bad news is they both learned you can't shake capsaicin out of your head after you've eaten it. The good news is they might stop begging for food for awhile.

So I'm telling you to only use one jalapeño. (But I shall continue to use two.)

I dropped the quartered jalapeño into three cups of milk and/or cream.


I know that some people really believe in using heavy cream to make ice cream. I'm not a purist. I actually like ice milk and I think that it's a bit smoother taste without all that milk fat in it. Plus, I almost never have cream in the house. So I tend to use any combination of 2% milk/whole milk/half and half/cream that I happen to have on hand to equal three cups. For this batch, I splurged. I bought a pint of half and half which I poured into a measuring cup. Then I added whole milk until I reached the correct amount.

I sealed this mixture in a Tupperware container and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight. I am 95% certain that this step is completely unnecessary, but I got distracted and had to come back to it later. It worked, so I didn't mess with success and will just always do it that way. Like constantly wearing the same pair of underwear or rubbing the hair of a red-headed boy for luck.

The next day, I added three-quarters cup sugar (no picture, but I'm sure you can imagine that one) and heated the milk and jalapeño mixture in a saucepan.


Here's the important part: do not let it boil. It has to heat slowly and over a long period of time to infuse the jalapeño flavor. I heated mine for about fifteen or twenty minutes. So put on your patient hat and turn the heat way down. But remember that it is milk and will burn if you don't watch it. I am terrible about this kind of thing because I leave the room, forget what I'm doing, and don't come back to it until I start to smell the charred remains of my dinner. If you, like me, don't enjoy stirring constantly and have the attention span of a three year old, you're gonna have to use very low heat.

Heat the milk/cream until an almost-boil and then turn the heat down even more. Eventually, turn the heat off entirely. You're going to start letting it come down to room temperature... again... slowly.

When it cooled off mostly (I don't know how your ice cream maker works but if I put liquids that are too warm in mine, it won't set up), I added about a teaspoon of vanilla. I know this looks like I'm pouring some sort of brown vodka into the pan, but it's really homemade vanilla, I swear.


Next I poured the mixture through a strainer into my ice cream maker's freezer bowl to remove the fruit parts and seeds. I have one of those fancy cuisinart ice cream makers that makes ice cream in twenty minutes, but I would guess any kind of ice cream maker would do.


When we were kids, we used to make ice cream in old coffee cans - a smaller one inside a bigger one filled with ice and rock salt - and then we kids had to roll the cans back and forth on the back porch for what seemed like hours before the ice cream was ready. It was a lot of work to go to for ice cream, let me tell you. And then I'm pretty sure that the adults ate most of the ice cream on the back of the children's labor.

By the way, am I the only one who vividly remembers this scene from the movie Gremlins every time someone says the word Cuisinart?

Yes?

Never mind, then.

Basically, the gist here is to follow whatever the directions for your ice cream maker say to do.


When it's finished, you have a lovely jalapeño-infused ice cream, which you may serve in a lovely bowl,


or if you're too impatient for that, you can just pour it directly into your mouth from the freezer bowl. Which I did.

Actually, if you want to get super fancy, it's nice with just a drizzle of chocolate sauce.


I'm not a big fan of chocolate, but it adds a dimension that kinda works with the spiciness. It's also interesting that even though you're eating something that's spicy, its delivery system is milk, so the milk counteracts the capsaicin that burns your tongue. Which means that you can eat more of it than you ever thought possible. Either that or one of my two working taste buds just stopped working.

My Tucson friend claims I could sell this for $12 a bowl and now I've given the recipe away for free.


Oh bother.

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Tales from Weepy Acres

Posted on 7/16/2011 08:51:00 AM In:
Each year, there are several plants that don't make it into the prime gardening space that is Hectaro Lagrimoso.  And each year many of those plants are entrusted to me to grow in the North Forty.  

Here's how it basically goes:
  • Monica drives over with a flat of tiny seedlings, carefully planted by hand and each marked with a planting stick that displays what food and variety that seedling will become.
  • I leave them in the window and forget to water them until the voice of thy plants crieth unto me from the ground.
  • Appalled (well not so much appalled, more worried what Monica will think of do to me), I pour a gallon of water over them and drown all seedlings.
  • I finally get sick of kids knocking them over/cats trying to dig in them/just generally having them in the window and put them outside.  This generally happens a full two weeks before the last frost.
  • Somehow, the seedlings miraculously survive my abuse and grow much too big for their tiny pots.
  • I ignore this until the plants are rootbound and nearly dead, then I repot them to whatever is on hand, which is generally just a slightly bigger pot. Repeat several times.
  • Somewhere in the process of the repotting step, I forget to put each carefully-labeled stick back with the appropriate plant and so I now know that I have eight different varieties of tomatoes and four peppers, but I have no idea which plant is which. Make a mental note to write them all down.
  • Clearly, I never write them down and I leave the pile of sticks outside.  The Shortlings run off with several; the wind blows others away.  Eventually I forget everything.  Now I no longer know if the plants are destined to become tomatoes, peppers, or something entirely different.  Personally, I'm hoping for money.
  • Because of my maltreatment, I manage to get maybe three tomatoes from my harvest and more Thai peppers than I could ever imagine, which I will never use because I only cook Thai food once a year and Thai peppers don't make good salsa (which I make approximately thirty times a year).
This year, I followed the same basic procedure (why mess with mediocrity?), but one thing I did do was to forgo re-potting to a third-generation-larger pot and instead I put the tomatoes in the ground in the front yard, next to the fence, replacing several of the hedge row plants that didn't survive the winter.   It's the only really good sunny spot on our property and I figured I could stake the plants up to the fence. So now I have a hedge row of tomatoes.  Sure hope those jerks in Oak Park don't drive by my house.

This week I harvested the first round of fruits and veggies (they turned out to all be tomatoes and peppers... sigh... disappointing) and managed to identify most of my items.

These are a kind of currant tomato.  They are each about the size of a small marble... and they are incredibly tasty.

Tomatoes, but if you can identify the variety, you are a better man then I, Gunga Din.  I spent about twenty minutes with a seed catalog the other day and I still don't know.

White peppers.  Hot, but not too hot.  Good for my family members, who unlike me, have more than two working taste buds.

Jalapeño peppers... mmmm.

Interesting story about these jalapeño peppers.  Paradoxically I, being a lover of all things spicy, have never been a big fan of the jalapeño.  My opinion is that it's over-used and under-flavored in American cuisine today and there are way more interesting peppers readily available in American markets that are hotter and tastier... like the habañero or the chipotle.  Plus when you get something with jalapeño at most restaurants, you get that crappy canned/pickled pepper where all the flavor has been systematically removed through processing.  But whatever variety this is that Monica gets is unlike any other I've had.  The flavor is amazing.  This, and the Jamaican Hot Chocolate habañero, were the only specific requests for plants this year that I made when Monica offered to bring me some seedlings. 

Last year when I first started to use the jalapeño peppers from my yield, I naively didn't think to put gloves on before cutting them up for a salsa I was making.  I never bother with precautions such as that, because... I am not a wussy.  But, as it turns out, jalapeños ripened in the sun and picked right off the vine are hotter than any greenhouse pepper picked under-ripe and purchased weeks later in the grocery store.  I got chemical burns over 80% of my hands and couldn't touch anything wet for days without experiencing a new resurgence of burning pain.  If I forgot and rubbed my eye two days later, no matter how many times I'd washed my hands in the interim, I'd need to run for the Visine.  In fact, just to get through the first couple of hours, I poured myself a shallow dish of milk and stuck my hands in it.  

You'd think that would teach me, right?  Well last night when I cut up a couple of jalapeños for salsa, I did the exact same thing.  The stinging pain from my hands woke me up every forty-five minutes throughout the night, just so that my hands could remind me that I have a shorter memory capacity than a goldfish

On the downside, I've learned that Neosporin makes an excellent, but extremely expensive, hand cream.  On the upside?  I have this to look forward to:

Bring on the chips!
Totally worth it.

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Enough Said

Posted on 7/14/2011 11:01:00 AM In:
As a companion piece to my new years post, please allow me to present my SECOND favorite Dilbert cartoon of all time:

Dilbert.com
(you may have to click on it to embiggen; it's a bit small to read)

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Sharing

Posted on 7/13/2011 03:45:00 PM
It's nice to have a pillow of your own, but it's also nice to provide one for a friend... even if that friend doesn't require a pillow of her own.

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A Logical Progression

Posted on 7/12/2011 12:19:00 PM
Caterpillar:  "Momma, what's on my back?" *turns around and points to her naked back*

Me:  "Nothing, honey."

"No.  There's something on my back.  Look!"

"Nope, baby.  There's nothing on your back."

"Look closer."

*I lean way over and put my nose up next to her back*  "I don't see a single thing on your back.  What am I looking for?"

"Blood?"

"Nope, no blood."

"Scratch?"

"Nope."

"Boo-boo?"

"Nope."

"Elephant bite?"

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Art Appreciation Day

Posted on 7/11/2011 06:06:00 AM In:
The problem with Camp Sweatshop this year is that the subjects I chose to focus on aren't easily photograph-able or even tell-able.  No one really wants to see pictures of me reading the same alphabet book over and over to The Caterpillar and The Dormouse is sitting at the table doing math problems.  So anything I would have to say about that would be something like:

6(2+5) = 20 - 5 + 22 
True or FalZZZZzzzzzzzzz?

See what I mean?  

I'm really going to have to reevaluate the educational needs of my children vs. the content needs of my blog next year.  

We do get around to doing a few actual activities every once in awhile though.

A couple of months ago, I bought a wardrobe for The Dormouse's room so she could keep her clothes in her own room, rather than crammed into the closet in The Caterpillar's room.  This is how our house works:  I take a rocking chair out of the living room for some more space upstairs.  The only place it fits is downstairs in the extra bedroom, but then the coffee table downstairs has to move to the studio to make room for that.  But the door to the studio is blocked by the coffee table so I move a desk to the computer room.  But then you can't walk around in the computer room, so I move the smaller desk to The Dormouse's room.  But then I have to move the chair in her room upstairs, and suddenly I have a chair in the exact place where I'd taken a chair out just hours earlier.  If furniture enjoyed playing the game of musical chairs, my furniture would be the most entertained furniture on the planet.  

Anyway, we've always had an extra freezer and food storage in what counts as a closet in The Dormouse's room.  Since I wasn't about to start moving that stuff around, I bought her this wardrobe from IKEA (I still hate that place, but I've learned to accept its existence when it serves me) to avoid the issue of the closet entirely. Originally, I wanted to buy her the chest of drawers that goes with it, but this was one of those "systems," which I'm convinced is Swedish for "we can charge you individually for each and every screw or nail used to put it together."  You have to buy the frame... and then the drawers... and then the faces of the drawers... and then the hardware to hang the drawers... and then the feet to put the frame on.... and when I was done, I had stacked about $500 worth of pieces in my weird shopping cart that you can push sideways. I got it about halfway toward the cash register and then came to my senses...  I turned around and put it all back.  

Instead, I bought a little unfinished three drawer chest for $20 to go alongside the wardrobe and told The Dormouse she could paint it.  Cheap AND it counts as a summer camp activity for the kids? Sign me up.

I hauled the unit out into the yard and let them loose with some kid-friendly paints we had around the house. No clue how well these will last over wood, but I did know that they would wash off skin and out of swimming suits and that was good enough for me.



While we painted, we had art appreciation day.  We started by painting a base coat on all the sides.  


And then we talked about different artists and how we could paint different things on the unit like some of the artists we'd seen or heard about.

The Caterpillar asked me to paint a mermaid on her side.  My style is a reminiscent of the pre-raphaelites, a la  J. W. Waterhouse.   

This, folks, is the extent of my artistic abilities.  You see why I generally stick to digital arts.

The Dormouse started off with an homage to Robert Indiana. She never quite forgot her visit to Love Park in Philadelphia, I guess.

We talked about Jackson Pollock and his paint spatter technique.  Both the girls were eager to give that one a try.

I tried explaining Picasso and cubism to her and this is what came out of that discussion.

Then The Dormouse wanted to know about Leonardo Da Vinci and what his artwork looked like.  She asked me to paint something that looked like Da Vinci.  Knowing that my Waterhouse tribute was somewhat lacking, I didn't even attempt to paint the Mona Lisa.  Instead I went for the Vitruvian Man:

Almost a dead ringer for the original, yes?

The KnaveofHearts suggested we try for some Bob Ross.  Given my childhood obsession with him, I couldn't let that challenge stand unaccepted.  So we added a happy little tree. 

The Dormouse was inspired by Van Gogh and declared Starry Night her "favorite painting."  So she decided to add her own version on the back.  I'm amazed at how close she got to the original.


This was my favorite part of the whole project.  She painted it completely from memory having seen the painting in a cafe we visited quite some time ago.  Sadly, because she painted it on the back of the unit - the one that faces toward the wall - no one will never see it.

Have I shared with you the near-omnipresent obsession with fairies that exists in our house?  You could pretty much bet one would appear somewhere on this project.   

They may or may not have painted a few non-furniture-related items before they were finished.



But it was all good because once they were done painting, I sent them in the back where the car kid wash sits and told them to wash off.  That thing has come in handy more than once already.


Art appreciation day:  success.

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Mother Tongue

Posted on 7/09/2011 09:20:00 AM
There are several things I'm going to miss as The Caterpillar gets older.  

I'm not a huge lover of baby talk and I've not ever really been one of those motherese kinda moms, but I will definitely miss some of the speech substitutions we've all come to think of as adorable in children with newly developing language.  (The Caterpillar is my last bastion of childhood since The Dormouse no longer says "drifferent.")  We've always been kinda blasé about teaching our kids correct pronunciation when they were little.  It's hard enough to get all those thoughts into words and words out the mouth, so we seldom correct them when they pronounce something wrong; we just say the word correctly when we use it and move on.  We don't tend to join in pronouncing it wrong as well.  Unlike how some families have only grown adults and still call it pasgetti because the youngest one said it that way and no one has been able to drop the affectation in two decades. 

Last week I noticed that The Caterpillar has, all on her own, stopped saying fr for the th sound.  She still sometimes says it, but she corrects herself if she hears it.  So, "I'm free years old" is now more like, "I'm fr...thhhhrrREEEE years old."

I know it's inevitable.  I know it's a good thing that she learn how to say these adult language sounds because when you are thirteen, "Let me axe you a question," and "I gotta go bafroom" doesn't sound quite as cute.  Also: Momma has not budgeted for speech therapy.  

But even so, the loss of the fr saddens me like I've lost a beloved pet.  Well, not a totally beloved pet... it's more like I lost a goldfish... or a salamander.  You hardly notice that it's gone until something makes you think of it and then you think to yourself... Oh yeah, I kinda liked that fish.

Here are a few more things I'm going to enjoy while they last:
  1. "The astronaut took off his face clothes." (translation:  He took off his helmet.)
  2. "I don't have new breath." (translation:  I'm coughing too much and can't breathe.)
  3. "I accidentally broke my eyelash."
  4. "I turned you into a frog.  Boop!  I turned you out of a frog again."
  5. "Look Momma, I'm tall inches."
  6. "Get in the car, for the lump of feet, Daddy!" (I believe she was trying to say, for the love of Pete.)
  7. "Take it out and stay it out!"
  8. "Can you show me how to shot a gun?" (Only if you have a time machine.)
  9. "These pants is choking me." (And then clarification when some snickered:)  "My pants are choking my belly."
  10. "Let's play pizza." (This is a game she made up one day where everyone has to put their hands in the middle and then say, "One, two, three, pizzzzaaaaaaa!" Repeat ad nauseum for twenty minutes.)
  11. Thinks all TV shows are cartoons, but when Momma and Daddy sit down to watch TV, they watch commercials.
  12. "That's my toy.  She sole it from me!" (translation: stole it from me.)
  13. "I want to wear my sfarkely pants." "I use a sfoon to eat." (Oh, how, I shall miss the sf for sp substitute.  That one will be more like losing a cat.)

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Manners

Posted on 7/08/2011 09:14:00 AM
Caterpillar:  "Sister, can you hand me a chip?"

*Important to note at this point:  she does not say please.*

*Daddy hands her the chip because he is much closer.*

Dormouse: "Well....    What do you SAY?"

Caterpillar:  "Nevermind, Sister."

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The Sky's the Limit

Posted on 7/06/2011 07:14:00 PM In:
I find it interesting now that The Caterpillar is able to express herself more fully, the number of conversations I have with her that throw me into déjà vu-land. And now, thanks to the wonders of keeping a running blog of navel gazing for the past five years or so, I know why. I probably have had this conversation before... with another three year old.

Consider this:

Caterpillar: "Momma, what do you want to be when you grow up?"

Me: *stumped, really* "Well, I guess I am all grown up now."

"But what do you want to BE when you grow up?"

"I don't know, honey. I guess I'd like to keep playing music and doing creative things and I guess I'm a momma and that's probably the best thing I could be." (Can't you just feel the apathy I have about my job right now?)

"That's not good enough."

"Uh... OK... why's that?"

"I think you should be a tractor."

"Well, what do you want to be when you grow up?"

"The Statue of Liberty."


I suppose it's better than a flagpole.

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Daylily

Posted on 7/03/2011 02:28:00 PM In:

I've been having trouble with my computer machine the last week or two. Still trying to resurrect it like Lazarus after the third day (which might be even more of a miracle) because, well, I know it's weird but I don't want a new computer. I'm fond of mine and I had it all set up just the way I like. Going through that beginning-of-the-relationship stage with a new computer makes me kind of break out in hives just to think about it. Even now, the computer that I'm using has the PgUp and PgDn keys in a different place and it is DRIVING. ME. CRAZY.

It has really put a crimp in my style, this not having a computer of my own, not that I can't get access to another, but because I have software on that machine that doesn't come standard with new machines and let's just say I might not be able to find all my original disks to reinstall everything. Plus if I can fix the machine, I don't want to bother moving all my files somewhere else in the interim. So until the part I ordered arrives, the jury is out.

What I've learned the last two weeks is that I've become immensely dependent upon two things: PhotoShop and iTunes (don't worry, I actually own both of those). Though I think I might actually be experiencing something known in the clinical world as "Podcast Withdrawal" (OK, maybe I'm the only one so far who knows it but I'm proposing an addition to the DSM V so just you wait), being without PhotoShop has actually forced me to go back to SOOC (straight out of the camera) shooting and that's maybe a good thing.

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Camp Sweatshop, Weekend Edition

Posted on 7/02/2011 07:54:00 PM In:
I thought quite seriously about getting one of those half way disposable, above ground pools this summer.  But I hemmed and hawed because I heard pool-setting-up causes divorce if you're not careful and I wasn't looking to spend that kind of money.  Oh and also:  I'm lazy and it seems like a lotta work.

But then my kids whined and whined.  "When are we going to the pool?  I'm out of school, entertain meeee!  Or if you can't entertain me, at least let me interrupt what you're doing every five minutes.  Wah. Wah. Wah."  OK, maybe they didn't say exactly those words; it's just what I heard. 

So I just decided to send them outside and turn the hose on them

But even that got hard after awhile.  You have to, like, stand there and hold the hose, you know?  That's too much like work.  I needed something with a little less physical investment to keep my children busy.  Perhaps a microphone stand to attach the hose to, I theorized. 

Fortunately, The KingofHearts had some PVC pipe leftover from the last plumbing fix-it project he did and with a couple more pieces purchased from Mecca, I mean, the Big Box Home Improvement Store, along with a little bit of time on his hands, he came up with this brilliant contraption:


I know what you're thinking:  "Practice Cage for a Future in Go-Go Dancing.  At least they can help contribute to the monthly bills."  But you'd be wrong (although that does make me think creatively about ways to add to their college funds), because you missed this little attachment at the bottom:


Once that was set up, The KoH had to make but a few adustments.  That's a drill inside that plastic bag.  That plastic bag is necessary because once you drill the first hole:


This happens:


I suppose we could have turned off the water first, but at least this way, we know it works.

So does The Dormouse, but she had other ways of determining that fact:


Once you drill enough holes, you have something resembling a car wash:


But still, something was missing.  So I found an old shower curtain in the basement that we'd been hanging onto to use as a drop cloth for the next paint job.  And I started about the job of cutting it into strips.  I began trying to just eyeball straight lines on a non-patterned cloth but after cutting the first strip and spreading it out to admire my handiwork, I realized I'd cut a strip that started out five inches wide and ended up about an inch wide.  Basically, I'd just cut a very long triangle.  "If only I had a device with which to measure the width of something," I thought to myself.  But, since it was too late in the day to schedule a tattoo appointment and since I really didn't want to leave the comfort of my chair on the deck a second time to look for a ruler in the house (see what I mean about my being lazy?), I decided to just not worry about it.  Suddenly, I remembered that a few months back, I'd had The KoH build me a template for just such an eventuality.


It worked out nicely.

We tied the strips on for a more-car-wash, less-stripper-cage-like appearance: 


Then we turned on the hose and let The Shortlings spray water on themselves for a change:




Now, I'm gonna need to purchase a hammock.



*by the way, if you want to build one of these contraptions yourself, we got the idea from here.  There are instructions online and everything.  We did not, however, follow any of the instructions or even, you know, look at them.  I would imagine that their plans work a lot better than ours, so go there and print them out for your very own.  And then when our rickety old struture comes crashing down before yours, you can gloat.

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Washington, D.C. Metro, United States
Married, 40ish mom of two (or three, or four, depending on how you keep score) who stepped through the lookinglass and now finds herself living in curiouser and curiouser lands of Marriage, Motherhood, and the Washington, D.C. Metro Area.

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