Wednesday, August 29, 2007

pink pussycat

8 oz. milk (whole, if you can afford the fat)
2 T. strawberry quik
2-3 oz. vodka (monopolowa kicks much ass)
stir. drink ice cold, preferably with a hot pink umbrella in it. this is the perfect it's-the-end-of-the-day-and-i-need-both-something-sweet-and-some-form-of-alcohol-and-i-can't-decide-which-one-to-have-first drink.


Tuesday, August 28, 2007

rapper g

conversation at my house this morning:
gus: i want to be a rapper.
me: okay.
gus: i'm going to wear my hat sideways to school today.
me: no.
gus: i want to be a cool guy! all the rappers wear their hats sideways and they're cool! i need a jean jacket, a black shirt, jeans, rapper shoes [chuck taylors] and a sideways hat! i have to wear my hat sideways!
me: you can wear your hat sideways in the car only.
gus: FINE.

conversation after pick-up from school:
me: why are you wearing your hat sideways?
gus: because it's cool. i look like a rapper.
me: it makes your head look misshapen.
gus: good!

conversation this evening after rich got home:
gus: i'm going to be a rapper!
rich: what's your name going to be?
gus: no cent
me: no sense? cool!
gus: no, no cent. i'm free.
rich: pigment free?
gus: no i'm free like i'm no cent. like 50 cent.
me: no sense?
gus: NO MOM, no cent. i'm free.
rich: how about rapper g? or grandmaster gus? or rapping paper--no wait, paper rapper! white-as-paper rapper!
gus: no, i'm no cents. i mean no cent. i'm free.
rich: gum rapper!
gus: mom, please don't put this on ebay.
me: on ebay? i promise and swear i won't put this on ebay.

Monday, August 27, 2007

the too-high-cost of bush's visit to NM

a motorcycle police officer, germaine casey, died today escorting bush back to the airport after his appearance here in town for pete domenici's fundraiser. this is an absolute tragedy--an officer's death as part of a presidential motorcade because of bush's private actions to help raise money (by using public resources) for a political ally is inexcusable. i am sickened and disgusted by this. it should not even remotely be considered acceptable for the president to jet off, use public resources and shill for other political officials. how tragic for that poor man's family.

domenici allegedly raised $434,000 at this event--is that equal to the amount it cost to fly bush here, use 200+ officers to ferry him around, pay for the lunch, etc.? and of course you couldn't put a price on the human life lost in the process. domenici claims he will repay all of the president's expenses from his campaign coffers. doesn't that make it a zero-sum situation?

please write your congresspeople about this and ask them to vote to disallow these bullshit fundraisers at the taxpayers pecuniary and corporeal expense. they probably won't listen, but i truly believe it is better to act than to not.

for new mexicans:

click here to contact sen. jeff bingaman
click here to contact sen. pete domenici
click here to contact rep. heather wilson

bush menor invades our little piece of paradise

bush is here, right now, just a couple of miles away from my house at a ridiculously-priced fundraiser for the fossil pete domenici. for $1000, you can choke down some seriously bad new mexican cuisine with him in your general vicinity; for $5000 you can get a photo taken with the president. or, you could pay me $5000 and i will gladly and artfully photoshop you into any picture you like with the president--your choice!

he is at 7205 rio grande blvd. NW in the lovely los ranchos de albuquerque if anyone wants to run out and see him...or the fossil. make sure to bring your protest signs and ask domenici why the hell he refuses to support alternative energy in new mexico. i find it alarming that our self-proclaimed "independent" mayor of los ranchos, larry abraham, is hosting this event. more alarming is that the going rate for air force one is about $60,000 an hour, and we as taxpayers have to pay for bush's visit to raise money for a man that should have been out of office long ago. (and, lucky me, as i pay taxes to los ranchos de albuquerque and i'm sure the fire department and, uh, OUR MAYOR aren't exactly working in my interest right now, so i'm getting hit twice.) bush isn't even making a token public appearance whilst in town; just here for the canned green chile fundraiser. if we were all libertarians, we could legally refuse to pay taxes for this kind of pomp (but then we'd have other problems, i guess).

say cheese!

for cindy (i wish i had thought of this!)

UPDATE: i just drove down the street to see the goings-on (that all of us are paying for) and all i can say is ¡dios mio!--if ever anyone was planning a major crime spree in albuquerque, now would be the time to do it. i think every albuquerque police, bernalillo county sheriff and several other law enforcement from municipalities that i couldn't even identify are here with their vehicles. i mean, there were like over 100 police cars, and we do not live off of a big street. they were just beginning to close rio grande so i guess the prez is leaving soon. couldn't he have at least made an appearance at an elementary school to attempt to make this look like something other than what it is? even a visit to kirtland air force base would be better than just flying to town for some face time with the faithful. and the cadre of pasty portly white folks flowing from the mayor's premises after lunch really looked like they needed to take a powder after hoofing it to their cars--yikes. i am so not voting for our mayor to get re-elected.

Friday, August 24, 2007

my frugality is showing

sophie bunny has jumped from a size 12-18 month to a 2t in like a week. maybe overnight. in any event, she completely skipped the 18-24 month size stage and now she has maybe two dresses that aren't resting up around her hipbones. sexy toddler is just not the look we're going for, so i hit ebay and started bidding like mad for some new clothes for her. and i love ebay--i would so much rather find something used in excellent condition than run out and buy something new (and that goes for just about everything). underwear, socks, shoes, bathing suits and exercise clothes are the exception to the ebay rule, but that's what target and t.j. maxx are for.

so, i am bidding on about a dozen "excellent used condition" things and i keep getting outbid, which i expect on most of them anyway (my maximum bid for sophie clothes is usually $14.01), but when i go to look at the final sale price of some of the pieces i am totally shocked. for example, this (cakewalk by oilily--actually, this one is new, not used)
went for $60.56;

this (also cakewalk by oilily)
went for $45.55;

this (by shilav)
went for $52.00 (and i even upped my bid to $24.99);

and this (also by shilav)
went for $103.50.

i know i am kinda thrifty, but i don't think i have spent over $50.00 on something for myself in i don't know how long, and there is no way i am going to do that on clothes that might fit her for 6 months if i am lucky! who is buying this stuff at these prices? these are used, people--they aren't new! anyway, i did win a couple of really cute things, most for less than my usual maximum:

$5.99 (ralph lauren)

$9.99 (cakewalk by oilily)

$15.50 (hanna andersson)--i went a little over on this one

i figure sophie is going to look cute no matter what she wears...competition is fierce for little girl's clothes on ebay!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

why you don't mix nail polish...

...and two-year olds!

this is caroline, my friend starr's youngest, and i bet i know what they spent the evening doing on this day. caroline is part of the reason we have sophie--i spent some time with starr and her family in summer 2005 and after being around caroline (who was one of the sweetest, easiest babies i have ever met) i went back to iowa thinking that of course i could have another baby... and then we got our own sweet, easy baby with miss sophie! i think caroline and sophie would be great playmates. sophie had a wonderful playdate today over at tracy's house with sam, peyton and a pair of twins that are just a couple of months older than she is--she is starting to get a little less shy with others now. at least she no longer screams when someone looks at her; now she only clings onto my neck like some kind of homicidal vine. it is an improvement. thank you starr for the picture(s)!

Monday, August 20, 2007

what not to do to brick floors

i should probably call this post "worst. remodeling. idea. ever." but i didn't want to repeat myself so soon. actually it is the second worst--smashing the fan into the vigas is probably the worst.

i have been grinding down the bricks in the bathroom to make them match the rest of the house and to satisfy my compulsive swiffering (i can't swiffer over bumpy bricks), and now i really want to back out of this job. it sucks, it is heroically messy, and the payoff is minimal. no one will notice this but me and my swiffer.

anyway, i am halfway through the job and i see some striking parallels to the arguments i made for finishing my dissertation (another job i got halfway through and really wanted to back out of)--"you can't quit now because you've done all this work," etc. so here i am, covered in god-only-knows-what kind of toxic debris, giving myself mesothelioma or something, grinding down bricks that only i will care about. but i will finish the job--i have to now, as there is a giant demarcation between where i've sanded and where i haven't. clearly, i learn nothing from my experiences and have entered the realm of jackass...

i wondered why the previous owner of the house didn't do this himself; now i know... also, my mask was stark white and brand new before this round of grinding. and no, rich isn't using mood lighting in this picture--the air is that full of orange dust. rich coughed and sputtered dramatically after shooting these pictures.

this is what rich saw when he walked into the playroom--i should mention that i had the playroom door to the rest of the house shut, the bathroom door to the playroom shut, and the vacuum attachment running on my orbital sander when he came in. and there was still this much dust floating around the playroom. and even though i thought i cleaned everything up last night, the dust didn't settle until this morning so i got to clean it all up again (good lesson learned, though--i'm all for waiting to clean something).

i think the dust is absorbing into my skin and, probably, my brain. rich is singing, "she's a brick...HOUSE" in the background.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

best. goodwill. find. ever.

gus, august 2004

sophie, august 2007

why anyone would want to get rid of this bouncy-horse thingee is beyond me, but i (and sophie and gus) am so glad they did! it came from goodwill of eastern iowa, in coralville. best goodwill find ever.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

gus is back in school!

gus, after an exhausting first day of 2nd grade

the biggest boy is back at school, and there is much rejoicing. he is in the same class as his best friend george so every day is just like one big giant playdate in his mind. and, he is right next door to another best friend, max. gus' teacher seems super nice and really sweet--i know he is going to have a great year this year.

since gus is back in school, i have taken on yet another remodeling "opportunity" at the house: i am trying to grind down the bricks in the playroom bathroom so that they are smooth and even, like the rest of the house. it seemed like such a good idea before i started doing it. right now there is a layer of orange, brick-colored dust coating everything from the living room to the driveway. it's kinda gross, and kinda hard for me to breathe. and i so don't want to know what these bricks were coated with. anyway, it will be cool when it is done, which at this rate will be sometime in october. maybe if i just shoot for the 33 day mark like the plumbers did with the sewer lines...

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

our brett favre connection

today would have been my grandfather's 104th birthday. happy birthday, pop! i was so lucky to live with him (and my grandmother) when i was little, and i miss them (both) terribly. but, it has been a long time since he died--29 years, in fact--and since gus is named for him i do get to think about him quite a lot. he was a formidable character but was a wonderful grandfather in every sense. i loved him very much. this picture was taken to commemorate his presidency of texas eastern drilling and transmission in the early 1960s. and no he didn't die of lung cancer, even though that cigarette might suggest otherwise...

all that being said, let me explain our brett favre connection. my grandfather's name was herbert augustus hemphill, as was his father's name and later his son's name (my uncle bert stopped that particular tradition--he hates the name augustus, but not, of course, our gus). pop's father married a by all accounts wonderful woman named carrie favre who was, as he was, from hattiesburg, mississippi. (all of the favres in mississippi seem to have descended from a jean favre who came to america from royan in the poitou-charentes region of france in the late 17th century.) and there they lived for a while and there my grandfather was born. so, not a terribly strong relation but a relation to the mighty brett favre nonetheless.

Monday, August 13, 2007

deep sea sophie

Friday, August 10, 2007

katie and barry's southwestern adventures

katie and barry on top of sandia peak

HAPPY BIRTHDAY KATIE! (can i tell everyone how old you are?)

katie and barry came to visit us for a few days last week, then went up to colorado, and are now in the process of driving back here to spend one more night.'s katie's birthday! we feel honored.

on their first day here, gus and i went with them to the top of sandia peak:

katie, shooting a rainbow; barry, turning to shoot katie's legs

katie on top of the world; barry just noticed the rainbow

my big boy gus

they should really make this sign a little more prominent--especially since it was raining and lightninging up there

somewhere out there is my house, and it isn't getting any rain, damnit.

and the next day we all went hiking at tent rocks:

gettin' ready to tackle tent rocks

gus tries to scramble the tangle tree

you just think rich is smiling at sophie in that mirror

the slot canyon at tent rocks is just stunning

a quick rest for everyone

¿quien es eso?

cave dwellers

birthday party pictures tomorrow!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

"i fought the lawn and the, the lawn won..." what those sewer guys are singing right about now! welcome to day 31 of assault on the backyard, and i think the lawn finally beat them down! after digging up cottonwood roots (which broke their little backhoe), then trying to attempt to hand dig the location of the missing kitchen sink pipe, then locating said pipe, THEN and ONLY THEN did they cry uncle. why? because the kitchen sink pipe, which they erroneously thought would be cast iron (which they also erroneously thought to be part of a greywater system) was, in fact, asbestos.

after much cursing and wringing of hands the guys thought better of calling the EPA (apparently, when they run into asbestos pipes they are supposed to shut the job down and have the entire thing removed by asbestos removal people) and just donned heavy-duty air filtration masks and cut that sucker up. then, of course, they connected it to the bored pipe, and now we can actually use our kitchen sink and dishwasher again.


but our lawn looks like shit.

really like shit.

at least i don't have to worry about gus falling into the septic pit anymore!

Monday, August 6, 2007

assault on the backyard, day 29 (how much longer will this go on?!)

to answer a very funny and very apt question from cindy: no, the sewer generals have no exit strategy as of yet. we are clearly being liberated somehow. behave or the sewer generals may come liberate you next! i'm gonna let the pictures do the rest of the talking today:

this is not what you want to see in your backyard

(neither is this)

while he wasn't able to find the sewer lines he was looking for, he did manage to find, and bend--

--the gas line.

this is where kitchen sink water now goes

violence, so much violence being done to well-established cottonwood feeder roots. the only good thing i can say about this is that the roots were so tough that they actually broke this machine. yay nature!

Friday, August 3, 2007

assault on the backyard, day 26

i had a really nice talk with the previous owner of our possibly cursed house today, and i now have the total picture of what is going on with the sewers. and no, he didn't randomly install a kitchen sink disposal onto a greywater system--he had a huge new septic system built for it that i, the plumbers, and the EPA suits missed. while talking to him we also realized that i could have hired him as a consultant and flown him round-trip to albuquerque and back for less than what i am now going to spend on fixing this mess...major life lesson there. anyway, now things make sense, although nothing in the middle of the house works, and i so wish i had called him sooner. c'est la vie.

we have a repair plan for next week that unfortunately includes digging up our brick floors and cutting through our foundation to get to the pipes. that sucks. on the plus side katie and barry are coming tomorrow morning to stay with us for a couple of days! i got the sewer guy to open up the release trap on the kitchen sink line, so now all our water that should be going into the septic just releases onto the patio. lovely. it's just from the kitchen sink and the dishwasher, so it isn't as bad as it sounds. here's hoping that neither sophie nor gus decide to cram anything down that open hole on the patio...

hope your weekend is more sanitary than ours!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

assault on the backyard, day 25

i'm starting to think this applies to my house

this morning i naïvely got my hopes up and thought that maybe, just maybe, today would be the day that the assault on the backyard would end. how very, very, very wrong i was. the gigantic corral pit is filled (site of septic #2) and the construction debris is largely cleaned up; all that remained was to pour a massive amount of concrete slurry into the one extant septic tank. so this morning, thousands of gallons of cement, sand and water were pumped into the pit and we allegedly just had to wait about a week for the thing to cure and then the guys would throw some topsoil (probably imported from iowa) on it and a layer of sod and we'd be done. so during the day i go about my business as usual, rinsing some dishes, running the dishwasher, etc., and then rich came home and ran the kitchen sink for about 10 seconds...and it didn't drain. and it still hasn't drained.

the concrete slurry not only filled our now abandoned septic tank but also blocks what we oh-so-wrongly believed was an independent greywater system. there is no greywater system, and now there is no drainage from the middle of our house where the kitchen and laundry room meet. there ain't nothing going nowhere because what may have been a greywater system at one time was diverted into the big, now abandoned, now concrete-slurry filled septic tank. so it was bad enough trying to figure out why the hell the previous owner installed a disposal on the kitchen sink then sent the waste to a greywater system, now we have to reroute all of the plumbing in the middle of the house either from the inside (tearing up walls--which means a new blog series entitled "assault on the interior of our-awesome-yet-possibly-cursed house") or by assaulting the outside even further.

i would cry uncle if i thought it would help, but i'm totally afraid we aren't finished with this saga even yet. this is going to cost a fortune to fix...i feel like we're being punk'd by our house.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

this one...not so much

i liked rich's first ad that the Corporation ran a couple of months ago; i have a couple of friends that refer to it as his "playgirl" ad (as in it needs a lists of turn-ons and turn-offs to complete the package). this one, however, is kinda tacky. and ineffective--this poor girl has badly applied makeup, is maybe 20, and is really unlikely to have had a brow lift, ptosis repair, etc. and she is (obviously) not one of rich's patients--this is just some random stock photo that the advertising team had at the office. they do send him mock-ups of the ads before they go out, but i think rich only looks at them for accuracy before he approves them.

what do you think?