Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Every six or seven months, when I look in the mirror, I dislike what I see. My hair, you see has gotten really long again. This would be fine if I had pretty or interesting hair, but I don't. I have boring hair. It is medium brown, fine and straight, there is a slight wave and if I'm not careful I get hilariously awful colics. But other than that it is uninteresting. It hangs there and then when it gets too long, it becomes even frizzier than usual and is hard to make look nice when I need to.

So, every six or seven months, I decide it's time to do something new. Lately this is precipitated by hearing that my friend Jules is getting her hair cut. I don't know why, but she tells me she is and then I think "that sounds like a good idea." (Sorry, Jules, Nathan will probably be mad at you for this.)

I reached this critical stage last Friday and, after spending the day substitute teaching English, I drove to the Hair Cuttery in DeKalb. Going to the salon always comes with a slight feeling of mischievousness since Nathan hates even talking about it.

When I left the Hair Cuttery that day, I had shoulder-length hair with a few cute layers and I was happy. I much prefer my hair at this length it looks healthier and it's easier to do things with and, truth be told, I just don't like having really long hair.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Much love and support to Bonnie and Travis. I love you both and your beautiful family, and can't wait to see you in October!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Who Knew?

Actual conversation at the vet's with Hyperion this morning:

Vet Tech crouches down and unlocks cat carrier, looks at Hyperion and says "Come on kitty," then looks at me.
VT: Is he deaf?
ME (taken aback): No, he's not deaf...he responds to...loud noises.
VT: Oh, because most white cats are deaf.
ME: Really?
VT: Yep, white dogs too. But Hyperion has yellow eyes instead of the blue, that might have something to do with it.

This next part doesn't have anything to do with the post title, I just thought it was funny.

VT then lifted Hyperion to take him to the scale. VT: Oh, my gosh. He must have some Maine Coon in him.

Maine Coon cats can get to be 35 lbs. And Hyperion's much-postulated weight actually is: 18.9 lbs.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Mrs. Rice

On October 21, Nathan and I will be married three years. Despite that, I am rarely, if ever called Mrs. Rice. My father did it once as a joke shortly after my wedding when we went to my grandma's. He walked in the house before me and said loudly, "I have brought Mrs. Rice." My good friend Bonnie got married shortly after me and there were a few phone calls in which we referred to each other as "Mrs. Rice" and "Mrs. Engstrom."

After that it didn't really happen until this year. I was speaking on Facebook with my friend Pippa, whom I haven't really had any contact with in a few years. She commented that she was not seeing anyone and followed it with "Not like you, Mrs. Rice." Which made me giggle.

In spite of my affinity for my maiden name, I do like being called "Mrs. Rice." So today, I got my fill of it for now. I substitute taught for a fourth grade class at Waterman Elementary for half the day. Conveniently, I live a block from the school. So I spent the morning hearing "Um, Mrs. Rice..." It was kind of nice.

I hadn't realized though, how much babysitting even fourth grade takes. I always thought that by that age they are out of it a little bit. Oh well, it was still fun.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Hemmed in

I'm not afraid of mice or rats or snakes or any animal of reasonable enough size to inspire fear. Instead, my biggest problem is spiders. I'm not really afraid of them, per se, I just don't like them at all...even a little bit.

This wasn't so much a problem when we were living in Tinley Park, I think our apartment has been inhabited since it was built and the spider count was relatively low. This is not the case in the house we live in now. It sat empty for close to a year after the previous tenants moved out. In that time, many spiders seemed to have decided that the ceiling corners of nearly every room were the best places to build webs. I can't even tell you how many I've killed painting just the sun room and living room. But, I started to feel like I was winning the battle against them until...I went into the garage today and saw these two...
I knew the first one was there, its web is absolutely massive and hangs above the outer part of our garage. The second is new to me and has made its web over a window in the other garage door. There was a third that was actually in the house for a brief period of time while I was washing the walls in the foyer before painting the living room. It went outside and Nathan wouldn't chase it for me. Because here's the kicker...Nathan absolutely refuses to kill them.

He says as long as they're outside and they're not doing me any harm. He dosen't seem to understand that they are in my space and, being spiders in my space, that means they must die. I can't kill them because I'm not sure I'm big enough to take them, so for now I think they're safe. But if they come inside, they will be penned in and executed when Nathan gets home. I take no prisoners in the Arachnid War.

Saturday, September 12, 2009


First of all, a very enthusiastic congratulations to my very good friends Bonnie and Travis on the birth of their son Bennet Mark on the fourth...I can't wait to meet the little guy in October.

Bonnie, I took a suggestion of yours from a while ago the other day and watched the movie "Heartlands." I thought the movie was okay, to me it wasn't really memorable for anything but the music. I LOVED the music. I can't get enough of listening to Kate Rusby these days. Her thick Yorkshire accent reminds me of my friend Pippa, who was one of the girls I lived with in England. It feels like I'm sitting back in flat 18.

I'm starting to discover myself as a cook, which means I'm starting to cook more complicated things. My basic method is to find out what kind of meat we have in the freezer and throw it into a frying pan with whatever else we have on hand and some herbs. Today I made Cheerio chicken, which meant I peeled the skin off some chicken thighs and cut the meat off the bones and tossed it into the frying pan with some olive oil, minced garlic, lemon juice, and crushed Cheerios which had been mixed with poultry seasonings, garlic salt, fresh rosemary and oregano. It was much better than I was expecting. Tomorrow I'm trying salsa pork, which will be baked rather than fried, so we'll see how that goes. I rarely ever use recipes...I'm not sure yet whether or not this is a hindrance.

On Wednesday I had my very first substitute teaching gig, for high school art at my old high school. Ironically enough, the class is taught by my best friend from high school's mom. It was only a half day and the students were all right, but the fact that it was high school had me totally terrified of them before I went in. Next Wednesday...fourth grade.

Nathan has just about finished stripping the paint off our front door. I will be so excited when he's done with that. We've picked out a really pretty deep green color for the door and it will look lovely.

I've saved the biggest news for last. I'm an auntie! My wonderful and lovely sister-in-law Janelle (whom I hope will not mind me posting this on the blog) is going to have a baby in February. I am so excited and so happy for her and her husband.

2 down...6 to go...

For the last week, I've been devoting just about all my free time to repainting my living room. Before I got to it, the ceiling was peeling, the walls were a dirty blue-green, with patches peeling and cracked buckled plaster.

I rather loved the color and wanted to keep it the same, but I couldn't get more than a quarter size chip from the walls and when I took it to get a sample made, the color was so light that the sample they gave me was white.

So, I matched it as best I could with a color sample from Menards, but it turned out to be bluer than I wanted. The old color was much greener. Oh well, it still looks nice and clean. I finished today and moved all the furniture back in. The plaster is still buckled next to the fireplace, but at least it looks neater and I still have to take a bottle of paint remover to several places around the room. We took the curtains down and they need to go back up, but I've actually hung things on the walls finally, and it looks so much better.

The living room proved much more difficult than the sun room because it is so much bigger and there is more intricate wood work to get around, and I also had to do the little foyer. Also I did almost all the work myself and when I was taking the tape down from the ceiling it peeled off from underneath and in some spots took the wall paint down with it.'s done.

Just imagine how nice it will look once we actually get the floor redone and regrout the tiles around the fireplace...

So that makes the sun room and living room done; the office, both bedrooms, both bathrooms, and kitchen left to do...oh, and the stairwell, hallways and breezeway. Up next: the office.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Under the knife

We really hoped we wouldn't have to do it to him...

We got Hecate's claws out when she was six months old, because she used them on us....mostly me. But Hyperion has never clawed us and we thought we could just let him keep them. It's true, it makes his fights with Hecate a little one-sided, what with his being twice her size as well. But after what Hecate went through, and what we went through because of her, we thought it would be better if Hyperion could just keep his claws.

Then, he started using them on the furniture. He very nearly ruined one arm of the couch I bought for the sun room. We've given up on the couch in the living room, and he claws the wooden furniture as well, making troughs and puncture marks. Now, it's worth more to us to have the claws out, than to let him continue to ruin things. So, next Thursday, he's going to the vet and having his front claws taken off. Poor little guy.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

New project

Earlier this month I got the okay to start working on the living room. It's turning out to be almost a bigger chore than the sun room. This past week I washed the walls and ceiling and scraped the flaking paint off a few spots on the walls and ceiling. I taped and moved most of the furniture out and covered the rest of it up and then spackled the few holes that were left. Hopefully, tomorrow, I'm going to get to start painting the ceiling.

I'm hoping we can keep the room the same color, but it's a very strange light blue-green color that, when I took a chip of it to get matched, the paint sample they gave me was white. I may just have to match it as closely as I can. Hopefully I'll be done with the room by the end of the week. I'm really looking forward to having two rooms done.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Oh, happy day!

Today, September 1, is my favorite non-holiday day of the year, and yes, I consider my birthday a holiday. This is the day I allow myself to decorate for fall, my favorite season. I love everything about fall decorations: the non-jack-o'lantern pumpkins, the deep bright colors, the leaves, the Indian corn. It all makes me want to take a hayride, wear every sweater I own at once, and watch Charlie Brown.

This was the first fall decoration I received, as a wedding present from Pam's boss. It used to hang on our front door in Tinley Park. It is simple and lovely, I love it.

The leaf rope was draped from the head table at our wedding and the green ribbon in it was the same kind we used on pew bows. I love the pumpkins on the mantle, too, Pam gave us the one on the left for our first anniversary, Mom got me the one in the middle for Christmas, and I bought the one on the end.

I absolutely love these blocks. I saw them while shopping with my mom before Christmas last year and they ended up under her Christmas tree with my name on them.

Ever the fan of fairy tales, this is my pumpkin coach. The ribbon I tried to weave ribbon through it and make it look nice, but I'm not good at things like that, and I just think it looks sloppy. I bought loose fake leaves and sprinkled them over the book case and the sofa table in the previous picture, and put some in the pumpkin coach.

So, even though officially, the autumnal equinox is still weeks away, I will take this opportunity to wish you a happy fall, my favorite season.

P.S.: to someone who loves the season less, decorating the living room may have seemed silly since I have to take it all down tomorrow. Because...I'm going to start working on the living room tomorrow!