"Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of. but do it in private
and wash your hands afterwards." --Robert Heinlein.

We've moved!

For the next two years (Summer 2014-Summer 2016) I'll be blogging our family's adventures in China at www.chinesemileposts.wordpress.com

Friday, July 29, 2011


So... due to crap neighbors (ARGH!) who left suddenly a day before an eviction notice appeared on their door, we had to move all of our belongings 2-3 feet from the exterior walls so pest control could come spray bug killer of some sort.  And the basic set-up of most rooms is to have stuff along the walls, right?  And on some of those walls are our books.  Hundreds and hundreds of books.  Like this:

To move the bookshelves without breaking them, we'd have to unload them. And if I was unloading the books and packing them up, we should just move.  Like that line of thought?  We've wanted to anyway, and this, among other things, pushed me over the edge and caused me to jump on board with Jed, in his great desire to move out of here.  Our lease is up Sunday (but all the potential places to rent we've set up have fallen through so far, the main one being a landlord that wanted to charge us $50 for phone calls regarding maintenance, which I'm pretty sure is illegal).  We're now on a month to month lease.  And packing.  Now I'm a bit busy, because this, among other things, takes time.  Plus, I think we're going to cancel our internet so they'll beg us to come back and offer us a reasonable rate.  So... this may be it for awhile.  Although, having said that, I'll probably have wonderful blogging ideas all weekend and week because of it.

Long Last Names

I love finding super long last names.  When they flash across the screen at a sporting event on the back of a player's jersey I quickly count the letters.  Usually the really long ones are 12 or 13.  Ben Roethlisberger (quarterback for the Steelers) has 14. 

When we went to Arlington National Cemetery last November, I took these two pictures so I could remember to tell Jed about these long names. 

15 letters!

14 letters
I was thinking about this today as I counted up the letters in my insurance guys' name, Toczydlowski: 12.

Sunday, July 24, 2011


I started running last week.  I figured since I failed to achieve my goal last year of running a mile straight without stopping, and it was already July, I better get a move on.  I tried a few months ago when it was still cool and my self-diagnosed asthma didn't do well with the cold.  This week, I walk/ran four times, each time just under two miles (never running a mile straight) and then it got too hot to go outside... maybe ever again.  Those four times I went in the morning when it was still in the 80s.  I'm not sure the 80s have existed in the past four days and if it did, it was probably three in the morning.

Right now, it's 94, feels like 102.  And sadly, today is the coolest of the past four days.  This is my ten day forecast.  At least it is better than last week.

This is my mom's ten day forecast.  Sometime next Monday she'll probably complain to me about how hot it is... at 78.  But we're headed here soon, so I hope the 70 degree weather holds up!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Time Passing

Last week seemed like it went Sunday - Monday - Sunday. 

Just a minute ago, for a split second, I was pretty sure today was Friday.  But it's only Tuesday. 

So, last week went by too quickly.  And this week isn't passing quickly enough. 

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Snow Cones!

The American Girl of the Year... or whatever, right now is Kanani.  Princess Sparkley is obsessed.  We've been having Hawaiian parties and pretend snow cones for a few months now. 

Buddy LOVES shaved ices.  Whenever we go to our local ice cream shop, he gets a shaved ice.  I don't think he's ever gotten an ice cream there, while the rest of us have never tried the shaved ice.

Buddy decided last week that he wanted to buy a snow cone machine.  We looked into it, he had enough money but I'm one of those mean moms who usually doesn't even let her kids spend their money on what they want.  I wanted him to save it up for something big, or possibly for our upcoming trip to California and Disneyland knowing that he'll be bugging me to buy him souvenirs as soon as we get off the plane.  Then we happened to be at Target and we priced the snow cone machines.  This one is $19.99 and currently 50% off (it's on the seasonal summer stuff aisle). 

So... he bought it and is now the proud owner of a snow cone maker.  He's LOVES it.  And it's super easy (and cheap).  You put in 5-6 ice cubes and press the lid.  And we made our own syrup (thanks for the tip, Erin), although I think I'll try just juice or root beer next to be a bit healthier than Kool Aid and sugar.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Greatest Sugar Cookie: Cookie 10

For the end of the season T-ball party the coach ordered pizza and asked parents to bring a side dish or a dessert.  I figured the parents would all be bringing healthy side dishes, and desserts are my favorite anyway, AND, my mom had just sent me this link showing how to decorate sugar cookies to look like baseballs.  So I brought sugar cookie baseballs.  They joined two other kinds of cookies and a cake.  The only other food there besides pizza was a bag of carrots with ranch dressing and a bag of chips. 

I followed a new recipe because even though I'm to the point where every recipe (except a choice few) tastes delicious, I still have several more I haven't tried yet.  On first taste, I wasn't super impressed with these.  But then I had tons leftover because of all the other desserts and the party so the leftovers stuck around for a few days I ended up really liking them when they were a day or too old and softer.

Notes: Watch the cooking time.  I had to take some of my batches out early because they were getting to crispy on the edges and I'm not a crispy cookie kind of girl.  And the frosting... the recipe with the cookies didn't work for me at all.  I left out the egg yolk (!) and the 5-6 cups of powdered sugar seemed outrageous.  I added three and it was so thick I ended up adding more milk.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Book Reports: 84, Charing Cross Road and The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street

Today I read this again:

84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff

And then read the sequel:

The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street by Helene Hanff

I first read 84, Charing Cross Road a few years ago and loved it.  It's under 100 pages and entirely made up of letters, mainly between the American Ms. Hanff and Frank Doel at the British bookstore, Marks and Co., that keeps her supplied with the secondhand books she requires.  Over more than 20 years, a great friendship is formed between not only Ms. Hanff and Mr. Doel but with his family and the other staff at Marks and Co.  It wasn't until recently that I found out a sequel to this book exists where Ms. Hanff finally travels to London in support of the British release of 84, Charing Cross Road.  The second book is her journal during her month plus stay in London.  Both books are quick and charming.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Back Again

We've been out of town for almost two weeks.  We started in Richmond with family while Jed attended an economics thing at the University of Richmond.  Then we headed to Ohio to visit Jed's parents.  During our trip we saw: Jed's sister and her family, Jed's parents, Jed's younger brother and his family, Jed's maternal grandparents and an aunt and uncle.  Not bad.  We also:

Wright Patterson AFB Museum
Made it on the Jumbo-tron at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati and saw some great fireworks!
Raided Grandma's basement for Star Wars paraphernalia.  Meet Darth Little Guy.
Visited Grandma's city pool where the big kids had a ton of fun going down the slides.  There was even a little slide for Little Guy (but he was still grumpy some of the time).   
Highest Point in Indiana: Hoosier Hill
Went on a fun family walk Sunday evening along an old canal towpath.

Visited the Ohio High Point.
Stopped in Pittsburgh on the way home and took a ferry over to Jed's grandparents' island cottage to say a quick hello.

This isn't even counting all our new counties (I'm sure Jed will get around to that on his blog) and the fact that Jed and I finished West Virginia... meaning we've now been to every county in West Virginia.  And the other good news, we've run out of exciting ways to travel to and from Grandma and Grandpa's in Ohio so either they need to move, or we get to go there the normal way from now on.
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