The most requested thing for dinner around here? Noodles. With butter.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014


That's pew as in bench, not pee-ew as in stink.

Bought this 7' long old church pew from craigslist last fall.  It actually fit in the back of my mini-van, but it was quite a chore to get it to the backyard. Abby and I and the hand truck managed to wrestle it there where it sat under a tarp for months until the sun showed up today.

First I chiseled the fossilized gum from the bottom of the seat.  Then I figured out where the water might pool on the seat if it rained. (I used marbles.  When they stopped rolling, I knew I had the low spot.) I drilled holes in the low spots so that rain wouldn't pool and then I sanded the seat a bit.  Might need to sand more later.

Tomorrow I will brush on the protective stuff that I bought at Home Depot and then wait a couple of days and it will be ready for seating!

Gum.  Really?  Your mother didn't have an old tissue in her purse?  You had to put your gum under the pew?  Ew.
That lady that sold it to me said it came out of an old church in Seattle.  I love that it is solid and not too ornate and it has that curved back and seat.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Gnome Sweet Gnome

Our new backyard is small- that is why I bought this house.  But it lacks interest and has too much grass for my taste.  So on the non-rainy weekends, we have been digging up stuff, putting in landscape rocks, and gathering interesting patio furniture on craigslist.

Here are a few "before" shots- taken last summer while we were waiting for the bank to decide if we were worthy enough to buy this foreclosure:

This is the fence with a dog-sized gap underneath.  We had to fill it in with pavers and 400 pounds of red lava rock.
That gate also has a gap- this is the one the dog escaped through the first night we were here.
View from my bedroom window.
I took out the strip of grass between the patio and the fence and put in more red lava rocks and some planters that will hold my boxwood, George, and some herbs and maybe carrots and small pumpkins.
I think the hanging planter will get a full planting of Million Bells, or something that is easy and doesn't need dead-heading.  It's the only part of the yard that gets a good amount of sun, so it can handle a wide variety of plants.  The builder installed an automatic drip system for the hanging baskets which I thought showed a lot of foresight (as opposed to some of his other ideas which are nonsense...)

I also put in a shepherd's hook with two bird feeders and a candle lantern.   It's nowhere near being finished, but I thought you would want to see our newest resident of the garden- our gnome, Gunther.

Abby named him and as you can tell, he is very serious about his duties as head gnome. I think he will keep a watchful eye on the place and on the flowers and birds.

More "after" shots as we get things together this week of spring break!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Pranksters UNTIE!

Before you read this, there are some background details that you need to know:

1. The art teacher at our school has her students make tape art all over the halls with blue painters tape.
2. The security guard at our school looks a lot like Mr. T- only about 4 inches taller and bald.
3. My daughter loves a good adrenaline rush.

We must be clear on these facts or the following story might sound really, really mean.

We got to school early in order to put all the mustaches on the creepy clay faces.  Abby helped a lot after I reassured her 47 times that we would NOT get in trouble for what we were doing. Took about 30 minutes and then we went to my classroom and I got my iPad and sent her back to take pics of the faces.  She came back grinning- apparently just taking the pictures made her happier than actually sticking blue tape under the noses of the creepy faces.

About 40 minutes before the end of the school day, I walked past the stairwell that housed the clay faces and came upon our security guard.

You had the same idea just now, right?

Yup.  I told him I thought it would be funny if he pulled Abs out of class and told her she was in trouble for defacing school property.  (The man looks scary but he has a heart of gold and the kids just love him.) He giggled and said he thought he had time to do that.  I went back to my classroom, all smug because I had finally pulled a prank worthy of the best of them.

And when I sat down at my desk, I sort of regretted the prank.  I mean, what if she really believed him?

So I got up to go find Mr. T and then he walked into my room- half laughing and shaking his head.

It went something like this:

Mr. T (after putting on his best menacing scowl and talking on his radio to the pretend cops) - you know we have cameras all over this building?

Abs- yes.

Mr. T - we have an image of you doing something to vandalize school property.  Did you put tape all over that artwork in the stairwell?

Abs- yes.

Mr. T- well it's going to cost over $250 to clean it up which is a felony and I need to call the cops.

At this point, he tells me that she is crying and of course, I felt awful and he felt awful...  (but wait- it gets good.)

He then tells her she is not really in trouble, it's an April Fool's prank and he lets her back into class.  And then I asked him the $64,000 question-

Did she rat me out?

Nope. Not one word about how it was my idea to do the tape or that I helped her or anything.
Nothing. Nichts. Nada.

THAT'S MY GIRL!!!!!!!!!!

Later, when she retold the tale (not knowing I had instigated it), I asked her if she tattled on me. She said that she only answered the questions he asked- she didn't offer any information that might be new. Huh.  Not only did she protect me, but she has the makings of a great lawyer!

When I fessed up about sending Mr. T to prank her, she didn't get mad at me all.  Thought it was pretty funny and she was relieved that I wouldn't lose my job.  I guess she needed that adrenaline fix.

I took her out to dinner to the inexpensive restaurant of her choice.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Pranksters UNITE!

So my school has this "art" installation in the stairwell that has been there since the floodwaters receded off of Mt Ararat.  I have to pass by it every day and I don't really understand it.  It's two collections of faces made of clay - 40 faces in each set.

I think the faces were made by students because each individual face has some initials carved in it in some inconspicuous place.  None of the faces are smiling.  They all look rather grim- creepy, in fact.  Each one would be ok on its own- maybe displayed at home along with some sports trophies and gold-sprayed macaroni art, but in a grouping the effect is just... ew.

During the latest style fad, I got the idea that maybe these things would be less creepy if they sported some sort of facial adornment.  I wanted the adornments to be fuzzy and black, but I had no budget to buy anything.  Then, I got the idea to use blue painters tape (no damage to the "art") and just cut my own.  And then April Fools' Day came along and the timing seemed right.

I mustache you a question...

But I'll shave it for later.

The staff enjoyed it, many of the kids didn't even notice it, and it spawned another prank that I will tell you about tomorrow...