Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Finally back online at home

The router at home had trouble just before we left for Thanksgiving, so we weren't able to get online until yesterday. Recent highlights:

1. We went to Steph's grandparents' house in Brighton, Iowa, for Thanksgiving. Steph has a very large family, and I've always wanted a large family, so it's especially fun for me.

2. When we got home, I took Steph on a carriage ride around downtown (neither of us had ever done that before and we both wanted to), and I asked her to marry me. She said yes!

3. I rented my house! The tenants take possession Friday.

Monday, November 20, 2006


I just found out that Crisco has introduced a shortening without trans fat. I can make my M&M cookies again!

However, it's odd that the nutrition label pictured says that the shortening is not a significant source of calories from fat.

Over the weekend, I looked at the nutrition poster at Wendy's and found out that their fries have no trans fat, either. (I had a side salad instead of fries on Saturday, but now I'll know where I should get fries in the future.) The nutrition section of their site says that fries have half a gram of trans fat per serving, though. I'm not sure which information to believe.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

My Basic Skills class

I've been teaching Basic Skills skating to kids on Wednesday evenings this fall through Winter Club. (Many skaters join clubs; it can be a cheaper way to get ice time, and it's your link to USFS.)

I teach Basic 4, which consists of forward edges on a circle (inside and outside), forward crossovers in both directions, backward stroking and glides on one foot, back snowplow stops, backward pumping on a circle, and forward outside three turns (left and right).

Teaching is extraordinarily difficult. Now, I have never been under the impression that it wasn't, and I'm not a natural teacher, but I've really been having trouble explaining some of this stuff to the kids. Unlike me, they don't ask questions during class, and sometimes I can't figure out what they're doing wrong or what they need to know.

The kids have been interesting. I have a little girl who's about nine who doesn't talk much and two girls who are both about twelve who are friends and like to push each other around. One of them is really happy and enthusiastic and the other one is a little quieter. No-Talker Girl is very focused, and she's been having a hard time with three turns. The other two like three turns quite a bit and picked them up more quickly -- for them, it's just a matter of learning a little more body control.

I'm happy to say that all three of them passed my level last week! One of them even gave me a hug. No one is ready to move up into my level next week, so I'll be helping to teach the adults, which I find much easier.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Silly Beetle

Phoebe's check engine light went on in June in the midst of moving. I had just bought gas (and yes, I tightened the cap enough -- I always count six clicks), and it was my first over-$40 fillup, so I foolishly told Phoebe that she was expensive. Silly me -- I know better than to talk to her like that. Her light was on in less than two miles.

I haven't driven her nearly enough since, but today I finally managed to take her to Advance Auto Parts to have the code checked. The guy helpfully plugged the scanner in, and it directed me to start the car, which I did. The light went out. Then it wanted me to turn the car off for ten seconds and restart it. After I did that, it produced an error because it couldn't read the code. We repeated the scan and got the same error. The guy asked if the light was still on, and I told him it wasn't. Turns out it can't read the code if the light isn't on anymore. Whatever it was, the light has gone out.

I suspect Phoebe just wanted a little attention.

I'm a sucker, but it paid off

I am such a sucker for games like the McDonald's Monopoly game. I love collecting the pieces, seeing what I need in order to win, and imagining what I might win. Steph and I collected a fair number of game pieces this time around, and I have been entering the codes online, which gives you an additional chance to win. Until today, we'd been winning crappy things like free games and cell phone ringtones, which aren't really prizes because you have to let the company market to you on your cell phone. We didn't redeem those. However, today I was entering the last four game pieces and I landed on Go and won a $200 American Express gift card! It won't arrive for a while because it takes time to verify everything, but I'm looking forward to the $200!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


I voted over lunch today. There was only a short line, and I was in and out in a very reasonable amount of time. My ballot was paper, and I fed it into the machine and watched as the number of ballots changed from 93 to 94.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Blogging at the Abbey

We decided to come down to the Abbey to have some tea and some dinner (Chef's Signature Portabella wrap! Yum!) and use their wireless. (Steph is participating in NaNoWriMo, so she needs to get some writing done.) The Abbey moved to Pennsylvania St. in the last year or so; I'd been going to the old location since 1995 or so. The new one is nice, but I liked the charm of the old one, with its funny triangular shape and the tables against the wall with wingback chairs that you could pull close enough together that the wings prevented you from being seen.

Earlier today we took the recycling, and then I skated. I came home and Steph had raked several large piles of leaves, so we bagged some of them and then it started to rain.

Yesterday I showed my house four times, and all four took an application. We'll see how that turns out.