26 August 2015

Adventures in Preschool Pickup

Jane started at the university preschool five mornings a week. It's in the heart of campus and not affiliated with the university's lab school (K-12) or the day care center (0-PK). Anyway, this is the middle of week 2. I had a lot of feelings and am still having a lot of feelings, but I hope things will become routine and less angsty for me. I thought I wrote about my feelings last year when she started the TWO morning/week class at another school, but I can't find them here. I wasn't quite as dramatic this year, but still. Big steps.

Background needed for this story: Shawn and I have gate-opening wands to get on campus and get into the lot where we drop her off/pick her up.

OMG. Today pick up was TERRIBLE. At 12:30 it's right at class changing time or class going to time or something so kids are EVERYWHERE and they are looking at their phones/not paying any attention/walking in the streets and it's awful.

AND THEN the arm wouldn't go up on the gate by the school. I got out of the car and waved my wand like a maniac and moved the car around too. NOTHING. A few college kids made snide remarks ("higher, higher"), which didn't do anything to help.

Finally I pulled away to let someone else try (and backing up into a horde of college kids was awful - but I did it three times all together). That driver got in no problem. But when I came back my wand still didn't work.

The director saw me and came out and said another parent had the same problem. She called the "if you have trouble with this gate" phone number on the gate, and they said "they'd send someone out." I wonder if they'd send someone quickly if I'd just parked in the bus lane and gone to pick up Jane on foot (another parent parked elsewhere on campus and walked).

SO the director brought Jane out to me while I'm stuck at the gate, I put her in, buckle her up and back up so another parent can get to the gate (I don't think it worked for them either, which was a small comfort). Luckily the swarm of kids was less now - they'd mostly made it to class or other parts of campus?

It was just horrible, nerve-wracking and the worst. The wand let me into campus no problem, so I don't know. I hope they fix it, but knowing LSU it will be a regular problem. Gah. Hope more kids start skipping school soon. (College not preschool.)

21 August 2015

Tailgating Maniacs

I just got back from a quick jaunt to the post office. I have to drive down College, which is pretty heavily congested. Today I had someone right on my tail from just after I turned onto Lee from our street until past Perkins. She was SO CLOSE to my bumper, it was scary. I was going the speed limit and didn't think much of it. People here love to tailgate -- ALL KINDS of tailgating. Geez.

Then as soon as we cross the railroad tracks I notice how close she's getting AND that the lane next to me is stopping. There's a one-legged man in a wheelchair crossing the street in the middle of the road. (This is a four-lane, busy busy road!) I honk my horn, mainly to alert this lunatic behind me to slow the EFF down and not hit me, as I slam my brakes to keep from running into the pedestrian. (Are you a pedestrian in a wheelchair?)

Then my adrenaline was running and I was so upset I just stayed stopped until this woman would go around me. She had ample opportunities, but she just sat there, inches behind me. If I inched up to give her space to get around she just creeped behind me. SO AWFUL.

I was terrible too, in that I was backing up traffic. But it was a crazy thing. FINALLY she went around me, and she was racing to get to ... STARBUCKS! She had her LSU stickers and stuff on her giant silver SUV. Typical typical typical. (She was still in line in the drive through when I came out of the post office.)

My heart has pretty much stopped racing now that I'm back home and everything is OK. I wish I'd thought to get her license plate number or something because she was really driving recklessly (I guess I was too by stopping in the road and impeding traffic).

I should probably just stay home!

17 August 2015

Crochet: Aqua, Coral & White Chevron Baby Blanket

Here's a baby blanket I made a few weeks ago for a former coworker expecting her first baby, a girl. I snooped on her Pinterest account to select the colors. Chevron patterns are still pretty popular, plus they're easy to crochet, and you know I love a zig-zag pattern (my initials make a chevron pattern you know!).

The mom-to-be was very appreciative when I sent the blanket. Surprise packages are the best packages anyway too.

I used Red Heart Soft yarn -- I bought them online, so the coral isn't at all what I had in mind. This was a little more orange than I expected - or something. But it still looked good as a pop between the white and turquoise (which I think was called deep sea or something).

Happy crocheting!

26 July 2015

Brain Decay

I don't think my brain is really decaying, but the crazy stuff I did this week could make a case that it is!

On Tuesday Jane and I went to a local pool and I forgot to bring towels! It was hot enough that we drip dried to get back into clothes. But the changing room/bathroom was so gross I'm still traumatized.

As an aside, the pool was less exciting than expected. It was also unshaded and shallow. The water was as warm as bath water, so not refreshing at all. I was the only adult there, save the lifeguards who seemed to be all teenagers or early 20s. It was only $2.50 to swim, and not SO far away, but it's not in the best part of town -- you can see the Interstate while you're in the water. The pool closed this weekend, so we went the last week possible. Who ever heard of summer ending in July?! It's going to be 90+ here for at least another six weeks! We've got to figure out some better way to go swimming next summer (or the rest of this one!). Maybe join the Y?

Forgetting the towels actually seems minor compared to what I did next. When we got home my computer wouldn't turn on. It just stayed black, although sometimes the Dell start screen would come up. Eventually I got to an error screen, and it gave me the option to restart, shut down, etc. I tried both and still wouldn't turn on. Finally it said "want to refresh?" I was desperate and upset and didn't read closely. YES, just turn on.

Major mistake.

It refreshed and wiped out all programs that had been installed. That meant Office, Creative Suite and a ton of other things. Shawn came home, was baffled that I would do such a thing but a big help and spent a couple hours reinstalling. Even though he was in the middle of a big work project, and I was a big freak out mess.

The computer is almost back to normal. There are a few programs that still need to be installed -- backup systems and such. I am trying to go more slowly and THINK through, and I'm glad that these two brain blips didn't have lasting consequences other than my annoyance and some time.

21 July 2015

Aqua Aerobics

For the first two weeks in July Jane had "water exploration class," i.e. play in the pool and learn a few water safety skills. At the same time I was able to do water aerobics. (The cost of her class and mine together was less than the going rate for private class lessons - so hooray for our local parks & rec for enabling my cheapness!)

I loved aqua aerobics, and I think I wrote about it last year too when I did it for the first time. Jane loved her class much more this year - no tears or anxiety at being separated. The set up was a little different, in that there was no drop-off before class started, so a couple times I was scrambling to get to my class (and didn't get the biggest weights available most days because they're also the most popular). ANYWAY...

The Good: NO BURPEES! (And staying cool during an outdoor workout/not just waiting on a bench in the 90+ temps during Jane's class.)

The Bad: Still plenty of bounce (if you know what I mean).

The Ugly: I shredded the bottoms of my feet on the pool before I started wearing my water shoes. They are still scratched and hurtie. How do I fix that??? I think a pedicure would be a bad idea with small open cuts on the bottom of my big toes. TMI? No problem from me! I might try lots of lotion and socks to let it soak in. The pumice doesn't seem to make much difference...

The classes varied by instructor. The main teacher missed a couple classes, and the subs were much more by-the-seat-of-their-pants, so on those days it was less of a good workout. 45 minutes at a time is a little longer than I usually workout with videos at home, although I'm trying to increase my time investment when I can. And when we did lots of cardio with strength training against the water resistance I could really "feel the burn," so to speak. My muscles were never that sore (I've got aching thighs today from lots of land-based squats, so I know sore!). But it felt great and I certainly sweated a lot, all while staying cool in the pool.

Highly recommend, and I wish I could find an affordable class to take this fall. It is hot here until October!

12 July 2015

Crochet: TARDIS Blanket

I made this blanket following this Blue Police Box pattern from Sandra Petit. It makes a really tall/skinny throw, and I think adding some background to keep the finished product rectangular and a little wider would be a good idea. The light at the top seems off to me too, and a background edging or something would fix that right up. Otherwise maybe leaving out a few of the rows in each box to make it a little less tall and seem more properly proportioned.

I added Moogly alphabet letters for the POLICE BOX part - I can’t cross stitch very well. I used cotton thread and a small hook to make the letters to fit.

I used a darker blue than suggested in the pattern (mainly because it’s what I had on hand to start with.) All of the worsted weight yarn is Red Heart, and the white thread is something I had on hand that no longer has a label.

It took me a few months to finish, mainly because of the monotony of double crochets so I would put it down for a while. I also had trouble keeping the yarn tangle-free, especially in the "window" sections, when I had three colors going. I did not cut yarn at every change, so the blanket is probably even thicker than normal because of carrying yarn on almost every stitch.

When I finally give it to Gingie (it's a present for my mom) I think she will like it! I did tell her it was done and showed her a picture of it before I wrote this post.

(I should really clean up around my guest bed before I take pictures to post on the internet. Good grief!)

07 July 2015

1K Before K

Colorful Books Stacked (Blender)
by FutUndBeidl, on Flickr
We read Jane 1,000 books this summer. Starting in mid-March our library began a program called "1,000 Books Before Kindergarten," in an effort to get parents to read more to their kids. We signed up and didn't change our reading habits, other than writing down every-single-book as we read them.

We finished up in late June, so 1,000 books in less than four months. Woah.

Extrapolating we are probably averaging 3,000 books per year, so we should definitely read 10,000 books before she actually starts Kindergarten (in two years). She loves books -- not sure if it's because we've always read to her or if it just worked out that way.

She wasn't the first kid to complete the log -- not by a long shot. Some people with younger kids were able to finish 1,000 books in two months or so. That makes sense, as board books tend to have less than 20 words in them! That will definitely rack up the titles quickly.

We read a mix of book lengths, although I think most tended toward longer picture books and a few "readers" (which usually have fewer words than picture books). Sometimes a board book would sneak in too, although they aren't her favorites anymore.

Here are some book series we have loved: Ladybug Girl, Fancy Nancy, Pinkalicious, Amelia Bedelia and Freckleface Strawberry. I'm always looking for more strong female character books. Jane also loves Arthur, Curious George, Thomas the Tank Engine and Franklin books. (Not girl characters but still good stories.) Oh and George and Martha books are the BEST. I wish there were more of them, and I want to get Jane the complete set of her own, although we've checked out the library's copies at least three times each. So good -- not too long and charmingly goofy.

The prizes for our hard work were a drawstring backpack (at 250 books read), a decal/sticker (at 500 books read), a poster (at 750 books read) and a book (at 1000 books read). She also got her picture on the library's kid Facebook page as having completed the program. Apparently there will also be a party for all who finish, but they haven't decided when that will be.

Read on...