Monday, December 31, 2007

NYR 2007 wrapup

1. Floss: I succeeded in making flossing a habit.

2. Lunch: I was not as successful in going out for lunch only once per week at work as I have been in the past; however, some of my excesses in this department were attributable to the changes we experienced at work and the need we felt to go out together to discuss what was going on. Although I could have been more conscientious at times, I wouldn't say that I failed at this goal.

3. On time: I'm just going to have to start getting up earlier.

4. Flip: Because my loop has been so fickle, we've only worked on my flip maybe twice. I spent a lot of time on edges and turns, which will make my jumps much easier when I do start landing them consistently.

5. Save: This year we spent a lot, but we have a lot to show for it (gutters, balcony, fence, TV, truck cap, Route 66 trip, cruise, and server, among other things). Although our savings didn't increase, we didn't borrow money for any of these items, and we paid off the truck almost a year early. Although we didn't achieve this goal either, we certainly didn't fail.

6. Recipes: I'd like to make several of this year's new recipes again.

7. Trans fat: I was pretty conscientious about reducing my trans fat intake, and I did well for the most part, with a few slipups.

8. Perfume: I achieved this goal about two and a half weeks ago. I've been enjoying using my other perfumes since then, and I'll choose another three bottles for next year.

9. Compact: Well, I bought plenty of new things this year, but most of the time I did so thoughtfully, which is the point.

Overall, I feel pretty successful about my nine resolutions. I think I'll make fewer resolutions for 2008.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Books I received for Christmas

I received several books for Christmas. Here they are!

From Steph:

Four to Score, Janet Evanovich

How to Talk About Books You Haven't Read, Pierre Bayard

Death Drop, Alina Adams

In Deep Waters, Volume One: Cruising the Seas, by Karin Kallmaker and Radclyffe

Ultimate Lesbian Erotica 2007, ed. Nicole Foster

Coach's Manual: Choreography and Style for Skaters, by Ricky Harris (I have the companion volume for skaters already)

Conditioning for Figure Skating, by Carl M. Poe (I've wanted this book forever)

The Ultimate Guide to Weight Training for Skating, by Robert G. Price

From my mom:

Mr. Pig and Sonny Too, by Lillian Hoban (in the first story, Mr. Pig goes skating, with hilarious consequences)

American Band: Music, Dreams, and Coming of Age in the Heartland, by Kristen Laine (features the Concord High School Marching Minutemen, one of the bands we competed against when I was in the Trojan Guard)

From Steph's mom:

Stitch 'n Bitch: The Knitter's Handbook, by Debbie Stoller (I still want to learn to knit)

Saturday, December 01, 2007

A site for Patrick

This link is for my co-worker Patrick. It's a site about the game of cornhole, and it even tells you how to build your own boards. Patrick is apparently the cornhole champion of a certain group of his friends who tailgate -- his story about the game (complete with reenactments of some of the throws) is entertaining.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Art car progress -- sort of

I further researched the decoupaged quotes art car idea and didn't find a good sealant that I thought would work, so we're on to Art Car v3 -- covering the car in bottle caps. When I was little, I collected bottle caps, and my dad found them in the garage attic this summer and brought them to me. I was very excited to sort through them and think about what I could make with them now, and we have plans for further bottle cap art after the car is complete.

A week and a half ago, Steph and I went to dinner at Ralph's Great Divide with Dan and Douglas. While we were there, we thought to ask them to save bottle caps for us. Our server gave us about 200 that were still in the cap catcher under their bottle opener, and I stopped in last night and picked up another 330. A box of 4000 caps from eBay should be arriving soon.

The bottle caps are sorted by color, although I haven't figured out yet what design I want to make on the car. The caps are divided into containers of blacks, golds, whites, greens, yellows, blues, silvers, and reds.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Quote of the day

Scene: Pizza Ranch, Washington, Iowa. We are there with Steph's family for dinner.

Riley: ...and my science teacher, he's...

Todd: Does he teach biology?

Riley: No, he's bipolar.

Todd: Oh, so he teaches geography.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

NYR update 8

1. Floss: Still flossing consistently.

2. Lunch: Doing a little better recently, although this is directly related to a sale on Healthy Choice and Marie Callender's frozen dinners at Marsh the other week.

3. On time: I have been leaving the house a little earlier.

4. Flip: No flip appearances, but I landed my loop doing a section of my program while my coach was watching last week.

5. Save: Truck is paid off! Now to save for the replacement for the Honda and pay extra toward the second mortgage.

6. Recipes: I made some garlic cheese biscuits from scratch a couple weeks ago. Unfortunately, I picked up the wrong measuring cup when I added the milk, so they were three times as wet as they should've been. They turned out very, very flat, but they were tasty.

7. Trans fat: Steph found Crisco with no trans fat (I blogged about it last year, but I hadn't been able to find it anywhere yet). I can make my M&M cookies again!

8. Perfume: The third bottle is almost gone. I think I'll be able to start on a new bottle in a week or two. Or I might use a variety of perfumes until the end of the year.

9. Compact: Yesterday Steph and I went to several antique stores, including Midland Antique Mall, which is one of the places we went on our first first date in September 2000. I got an old coffee pot to use to heat water for tea -- I'd been wanting one for several years, and this one was only $6 and is very heavy. I also got a book and a vintage winter coat, which solves my problem of wanting a coat that doesn't look like a ski jacket to wear to work. I'll still wear that one when it's really cold out, but I can wear my new one the rest of the time. Last week I found an ad on Craigslist for several bags of business and casual clothes in my size; I ended up with 45 items of clothing for $50, and three of them were new with tags still on. Most items fit; I'm taking many of the ones that didn't (and some others that did but that I didn't think I'd wear) to work to share with some co-workers who might fit in the clothes. I'm also saving a few items for a friend's daughter, and I've put aside one particularly unusual piece of clothing for a gag gift or a white elephant exchange. (Yes, it's that good.) I wonder if the new-with-tags items fall under Compact guidelines or not.

Reason #1007 why I love my girlfriend

She likes the same kind of toilet paper I do. (We found this out early in our relationship, but it still makes me happy. Plus it makes the shopping easier.)

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Strange dream

I had the strangest dream on Monday night. In the first part of the dream, I was at the rink (it looked different, of course) for a lesson. There were several very good skaters on the ice with me. In my lesson, my coach reminded me that my free leg should be higher before I cross it in a scratch spin. At the end of my lesson, I remembered that we hadn't gone over the end of my program, which I had recently learned and then forgotten.

Then my dream changed, and I was riding to work with Steph, who was driving a maroon Blazer. We must have worked in the same building, as she wasn't dropping me off. It was snowing, and the lines in the parking lot were covered up, so everyone was having trouble parking. The cars in the back half of the parking lot were lined up in rows parallel to the front of the building, and suddenly everyone re-parked in rows that were perpendicular, so we did the same.

At work, there was a drawing for four prizes. The biggest prize was some sort of weeklong fishing trip, which I wasn't interested in. I figured that if I won it, I could try to trade it to the winner of the second-largest prize, which was a weekend trip to Japan. I ended up winning the trip to Japan, so I didn't have to try to trade for it. We left immediately. (Steph went with me. Somehow we weren't worried about packing or about who would take care of the pets -- all this seemed to be taken care of.) When we landed in Japan, a man met us at the airport, and he was going to show us around. We brought our luggage to an apartment where we were going to stay, and we met the man who lived there and his dog. The man had to take a phone call, so we sat in the living room and petted the dog. At some point we realized that the dog probably understood Japanese and not English, so it more than likely hadn't understood anything we had said to it. Then the man brought the phone to me and told me that it was my friend Veronica and I should talk to her. She was asking how to use the correction feature on her typewriter, and I couldn't believe I was talking to her from Japan. Then I woke up.


I don't usually remember dreams that are this long. Most of my dreams have been bad lately, so I was happy to have one that was fun. Plus I got to ponder the idea of a weekend trip to Japan all day.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

NYR update 7

1. Floss: Still flossing consistently.

2. Lunch: Trying to do better, but going out about twice a week. Things have been really busy lately, but they're starting to calm down, so I should be able to make some things I can freeze and bring for lunch.

3. On time: I got to work early once this week.

4. Flip: I haven't been working on flip attempts much because my loop disappeared and reappeared again. I need good technique on the loop before I get a flip.

5. Save: Doing well this month. Instead of putting any extra money that comes in into savings, I've been throwing it at the truck payment. Looks like it'll be paid off ten months early!

6. Recipes: I haven't tried any new recipes lately, but I might get ambitious this weekend.

7. Trans fat: Doing pretty well. Out of microwave popcorn at work. I did eat at Arby's today, though, which was bad.

8. Perfume: The large bottle is done now, and I'm working on the small bottle. I think I'll achieve this goal before the end of the year. I'm so confident about it that I've chosen several more perfumes to concentrate on next. I know that I'll always have several scents; I like variety and I have several favorites that I don't think I could choose between. However, I don't need as many as I have today, and having too many causes trying new BPAL scents to seem ridiculous. I want to be able to try new scents within reason.

9. Compact: I haven't bought anything new since... hmmm... it's been a little while. The books at Half Price Books don't count, but the chain and S hooks for the Sky Chair and the new toilet seat do.

Monday, September 10, 2007

I really need to update more often.

Lots of stuff has been going on; I just haven't managed to post about it.

My new tenants moved in just over a week ago. They were very excited about the house, and I think they will take care of it well.

We went on a Western Caribbean cruise for Dan's 40th birthday. I liked Key West a lot and would like to go back sometime and see more of it. The Mayan ruins in Mexico were also amazing. My photos are still on my camera -- I'll get them up on Flickr sometime soon. We had an entire free day in Miami before our flight home, and we got to see Heather and Sara and the twins. It was so nice to spend time with them again -- I had only seen Heather and Sara once since they moved to Miami five years ago, and it was so much fun to meet the boys! They are five months old and very cute. Booboo is doing well at 15, and she seemed to remember me. Heather and Sara visited Indianapolis last weekend, and we got to see them then, too. The babies traveled very well.

Steph and I are having a garage sale on Sept. 22. Please come buy our excess stuff!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Long time no update.

We've been busy getting the rental house in shape, trying to find new tenants, and getting ready for the cruise we're going on for Dan's 40th birthday next week.

Last week I started playing at a new games-for-cash site called Moola. Basically they give you one cent and you use it to play one of three games. If you win, you get two cents, and if you lose, you start over with one cent. You can risk more as you win more or you can continue to play for low amounts. It doesn't cost anything, and the games are pretty fun -- my favorite is very much like the old game show Card Sharks. If you sign up under me, I get a bonus equal to 4 percent of your total winnings.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Long week. Already.

Recent happenings:

Kicked my tenants out. (Going to court next week.) Am having to do a lot of cleaning and stuff at house, plus taking many calls from prospective renters. Also letting in gas company and various other services.

Got in accident. Was turning in to McDonald's parking lot and a guy driving out of the parking lot didn't look and ran into me. Then he left. Driver's side rear door of Honda is bashed in pretty good. Fortunately, it looks like there's no structural damage, and I'm hoping to maybe find a door at a junkyard and have it painted and such.

Went to friend's wedding in Kentucky. Very nice!

Am watching a lot of cats this week -- four cats in two separate houses. One cat in each pair is shy.

Am tired. Have lesson in morning.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Garage sale finds

Today I spotted a garage sale at my former neighbor's house. I've been to two of her previous garage sales, and at each one I found pants and/or shorts that fit me perfectly. (It's fairly difficult for me to find pants and shorts that fit. The things I found at my neighbor's sale fit me like they were made for me.) This time, I purchased more -- in all, 4 tops and 11 bottoms. I got one striped T-shirt, two long-sleeved shirts, and one short-sleeved sweater (it'll be great for work). I also got a skirt, a pair of khaki shorts that are a little big, and nine (!) pairs of jeans shorts that all fit well.

I love jeans shorts because they go with just about everything. Plus I don't have to worry about what color underwear I'm wearing like I sometimes have to do with khaki shorts. This year I was worried that my current two pairs of jeans shorts would wear out eventually and I'd never be able to find another pair that fit me, because I found both of these used -- one at a thrift store and one at a previous sale of this former neighbor. Six or seven of the new pairs of shorts are pretty cool, and the others will be good for wearing around the house at the very least. The ones I'll wear around the house are still worth having, as I'm currently very low on that category of clothing. Plus now I can give a couple more pairs of shorts that don't fit right to Goodwill!

The best part: 15 items of clothing, three of which I can wear to work on a regular basis, for $7.50.

Monday, July 23, 2007

The problem with Twitter

The problem with Twitter is that I don't have anything to blog about anymore because I Twitter it all.

We have just moved to a new building at work. My space is less than half the size of my previous space. I barely have room to turn my chair around. I was extremely happy with my previous space, which I occupied for more than five years. Our new building is very nice, and it is in a convenient location.

This weekend we went to the Barnes and Noble in Noblesville for the Harry Potter release party. The trivia questions were fun. I finished the book on Sunday afternoon; I hadn't finished rereading Book 6 by the time we got Book 7. I liked the book. I won't say any more than that so I don't spoil anything for people who aren't finished yet.

As of yesterday, I've read more books so far this year than I did in all of last year.

I will finally get to skate on Wednesday after more than five weeks off the ice. I haven't been off the ice for this long since I hurt my back in 2002. Getting back on the ice then was difficult because I was so afraid I'd hurt myself again, but I don't think I'll have that kind of trouble now.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Phoebe's map of visited states

Create your own visited states map.

Phoebe hasn't visited as many states as I have. In addition to my goal of visiting all 50 states, I have a goal of driving Phoebe to all 48 contiguous states. We're almost halfway there!

My map of visited states

Create your own visited states map.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

And we're home.

We arrived home around 7 pm this evening. The drive was pretty uneventful today except for a severe rainstorm in Illinois. The rain was so heavy at times that I couldn't see the car in front of me (and it had its lights on). I seem to encounter that kind of rain on almost every return trip from Roswell on that particular stretch of road (although it's usually closer to Indiana). The animals were all happy to see us.

Today is Phoebe’s ninth birthday. She has 81147 miles, 21000 of which have been put on while driving to Roswell, NBeast, and other VW shows. This was her fifth Roswell and my sixth. (She doesn’t know that we missed two; she tends to break things when she finds out she didn’t go.)


17 days
5126 miles
9 states
3 check engine lights (read by Howie, John Steele, and Rich)
1 window regulator
1 mass air flow sensor (installed by John Steele)
1 vacuum hose (courtesy of John Steele)
1 new tire (changed by John Steele and Jerry)
1 dog and 4 cats who are very happy to see us!

Test photo

Test photo
Test photo

Monday, July 09, 2007

Saturday, July 07, 2007

On the road back

After lots of exciting travel, we reached the end of Route 66 yesterday. We walked around Santa Monica Pier for an hour or so and then drove up the coast on the Pacific Coast Highway towards Earl's house. There are parking spaces along the road at some points where people can pull off to visit the beach or surf. We stopped at one and climbed down the rocks to the beach. I had never seen surfers in real life before -- it was really neat to watch. We walked on the sand and waded in the water, and I called my dad to tell him that I was in the Pacific Ocean. (I think he's enjoying hearing about my trip because he took a similar trip with my mom in 1971 in their '67 VW Bus. He has a story from several of the places we've stopped.)

We continued on to the tiny town of Ballard and Earl and Syd's house, which is adorable -- Syd is so creative. After looking at Earl's VW collection and inspecting the travel trailer he insists is his next project, we drove into Solvang and ate at a Danish place. My dinner included cucumber salad and red cabbage, two of my favorite Czech foods from childhood.

This morning as we were leaving the hotel in Lompoc, John pulled up next to us and tried to clear Phoebe's check engine light. The cable between the car and the computer wasn't working, so we drove down to Auto Zone with John and with Rich and Kathie, who happen to live in Lompoc. The machine there read Phoebe's code as P0171, which is a somewhat generic code that may indicate a loose gas cap (which I'm sure is not the problem, as I always tighten it four clicks or more), a vacuum hose, or many other things. John pulled my engine cover off and spotted the worn vacuum hose right away. Auto Zone didn't have any 3.5 mm hoses, but John had some silicone hose in his tool box. It took him all of two minutes to replace it, and Phoebe ran better right away. (Mark G., you were right.) Her light hasn't come back on yet, so I hope everything is fixed now.

I should mention again how wonderful John has been. He not only changed my vacuum hose, changed my flat tire (in 107-degree heat), and replaced my mass air flow sensor, but also worked for an hour and a half in very hot weather to get Earl's car back on the road yesterday after a similar hose problem that ended up melting parts of the spark plugs. I believe he also helped change Rich and Kathie's fuel pump at the VW dealer in the Albuquerque heat. Without John, many of us would still be sitting by the side of the road waiting for AAA and trying to figure out how to find a competent mechanic in a strange town.

Tonight we're in Kingman, AZ. Our goal is to make it to Santa Rosa, NM, tomorrow evening in order to be home on Tuesday at a reasonable hour. We should be able to get on the road earlier tomorrow morning (the vacuum hose took a little time this morning), and the drive will all be on I-40, so we won't have to worry about California traffic. Off to the hot tub....

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon
Originally uploaded by stephsk8r

Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon
Originally uploaded by stephsk8r

View from train to Grand Canyon

View from train to Grand Canyon
Originally uploaded by stephsk8r

Tues. night

After standing on a corner in Winslow, AZ, I ran into a curb (also in Winslow, AZ, although it wasn't featured in any songs, which is probably why I didn't know about it, but I digress), which caused a flat tire. I am planning to get a new tire in the morning before we go to the Grand Canyon.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007


Originally uploaded by stephsk8r

Monday, July 02, 2007

Monday afternoon

We're at Sue Isley and Aaron's house in Albuquerque this afternoon. They fed us really good food, and we're currently using their wireless connection to upload Flickr photos. My uploads are going significantly faster today, and I may be able to get all of my photos up.

When we got to Albuquerque, we stopped at the dealer and I picked up Phoebe's mass air flow sensor. John might put it in tonight. Her check engine light came back on about half a mile before we got to the dealer.

This morning before we left Roswell, I tried to lower my driver's side window and heard the all-too-familiar crunching sound. Yes, it was another window regulator. Fortunately, this time the window was only open about three inches, and I was able to raise it with the switch. I put tape over the switch so I won't forget and try to use it, and I'll take her to the dealer when I get home. I think they're still covered under some sort of warranty, as VW knows that the part is bad. The last time I had a window regulator go out, they replaced both sides, so I thought they had designed a new part, but maybe not.

Tomorrow we head for Williams, AZ, and the Grand Canyon, which I've never seen.
Phoebe's driver's side window regulator broke this morning AGAIN. Third one. At least the window wasn't open much and I could close it.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Sunday night

Catching up, as we have had very little opportunity to blog. I haven't had a real Internet connection in a couple of days, and Steph has only been able to connect by cell phone/Bluetooth.

The Sky Watch party was a lot of fun. We got to see people I've known for a number of years and meet new people, too. Karen Talley showed us her beautiful new limited edition platinum gray and maroon convertible (complete with stuffed dancing dachshund).

I also ran into Joe, who used to own Firebug. After the first R2K, I drove to Tucson for a few days to visit friends before driving home. On the way home, I stopped on a whim at a Route 66 museum in Elk City, OK. As I drove into the parking lot, I noticed a red NB parked there, and as I parked next to it, I realized that I knew the NB -- it was Firebug, and I'd talked to Joe and his ex-wife for quite a while. I caught up with them on my way through the museum, and they told me that they'd been traveling through Colorado for a few days before returning home to Texas. Over the next year or so, Firebug developed engine problems, and VW ended up buying him back from Joe to investigate what was wrong. Joe no longer had a Bug, and we missed him in Roswell. At the Sky Watch party a few years later, Joe walked up to me and asked if I remembered him. I did, and he said that he missed having a Beetle so much that he came to Roswell. Joe went out and purchased a dark blue TDI upon his return from that trip, and it's a really pretty car. He's added subtle dark blue flames and a bunch of sirens and sound effects for his job as a firefighter. Joe grew up in the Indianapolis area, and we're going to have dinner the next time he comes back to visit family.

The food at the Sky Watch party was good this year (for anyone keeping track, potato salad, chips, baked beans, Polish sausage, hot dogs, and barbecued beef sandwiches were served). A mariachi band from the local mariachi school played as we ate, and we made our way outside to light up our cars for the Pod Glow cruise. Some of Phoebe's glow sticks were old and didn't work, but we had enough that I could wind them through both of her front wheels and put them around her mirrors and antenna. At the deglowing spot, John started tinkering with Phoebe's engine and deduced that her check engine light is indeed a mass air flow sensor, so I called the dealer in Albuquerque on Saturday morning and they set aside one for me to pick up when we stop there tomorrow. I also talked to Rich from Colorado, who has a raised off-road yellow TDI (and used to have the same wheels I do). His NB has extra bumpers; they're very cool, and I got some ideas from him about how to implement my dad's bumper idea for Phoebe, which will look quite a bit different from his but will probably be attached the same way.

Afterwards, we went back to the hotel and watched a couple of episodes of Futurama (including "Roswell That Ends Well") with Britt, Marie, Lisa, and Jason.

On Saturday morning, we drove over to the convention center and set Phoebe up for the car show. She looked pretty good despite being a little streaky from her wash the day before. We created an aliens versus dinosaurs war on the dashboard (no winner has been declared yet) and had an inflatable alien in the back seat. Jason counted 59 cars, which is fewer than in previous years, but the creativity of the owners and variety in the cars is still there. I'm having a lot of trouble with my Flickr uploads right now, but I'll get all my photos up eventually.

After the car show was the parade. I'm always surprised at how many people from Roswell come to see it. Our section of the parade engaged in a little precision Beetle driving (such as doing the wave with an entire line of cars), and we circled the route twice before going back to the motel to rest. We ate at Farley's, which we think might be a chain. The food was good, but it was very loud.

At night we attended a drive-in movie (Herbie the Love Bug) in the convention center parking lot. It was projected on an inflatable screen, which was really neat. We also saw the Car Crazy episode from last year about the Roswell2K show.

This morning we did a bunch of laundry before heading out for the rally. (I should mention that Jerry forgot that his clothes were in the washer -- it was obvious that they were his because his shirt with a patch of his car on it was on top -- and I was kind enough to dry them for him, so I know what kind of underwear he wears, and I can be bribed for the information.) A road rally, for those who haven't been on one, is a kind of scavenger hunt on wheels. You receive a sheet with questions interspersed with directions, and the idea is to answer the questions about various signs and attractions while following the directions correctly. Steph and I won first place in the quiz portion! This rally also compared the distance you drove with the distance the directions actually covered, and we didn't even come close in that portion -- we backtracked for almost 10 miles of the 14.6-mile route -- but we were happy that we'd answered so many of the questions correctly. They were tricky.

Tonight we joined the Head Alien for dinner at a Chinese buffet, and now we're at McDonald's because they have wireless. We leave for Albuquerque at 8 am tomorrow.


Relaxing at the motel after the rally. We won first place and got a cool trophy!

Sunday morning

Waiting for the laundry to finish drying so we can leave for the rally.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Friday, June 29, 2007

Mariachi band

Mariachi band
Originally uploaded by stephsk8r

Friday afternoon update

We're hanging out at Not of This World Cafe in Roswell this afternoon after going to Target for car wash supplies (couldn't fit them in for the trip out) and washing Phoebe, which is difficult with the water here. She's very streaky -- it's more obvious on a black car.

Last night we arrived in Roswell around 6 pm after driving from Tucumcari. The Blue Swallow Motel was great, and we walked to a little diner for breakfast with Lisa and Jason and then went through the dinosaur museum before getting on the road for Roswell. We had a really nice drive and stopped for a late lunch at a shiny silver diner that resembled a railroad car.

Phoebe got incredible gas mileage on the way here -- if she's completely full, she usually goes 100 miles with the needle on Full, 200 miles at 3/4 tank, 300 miles at 1/2, and 400 miles at 1/4. There are three dots between each quarter of the gauge. Steph snapped a photo at 167 miles and the needle had not even hit the first dot under full. I'm hoping for another 500-mile tank, but we'll be doing a fair amount of in-town driving this weekend, so that may not happen.

We unloaded the car at the motel and walked over to Tia Juana's, a local Mexican place where everyone who arrives on Thursday usually goes for dinner. (I've never arrived on Thursday before; the Eastern caravan traditionally arrives on Friday.) A nice time was had by all. I got almost nine hours of sleep last night, so I've been feeling a lot better today. Tonight is the Sky Watch party and the Pod Glow cruise. I realized today that I might be able to weave a glow necklace or two through the holes in Phoebe's wheels.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Hwy 40 in NM with Spacepod

Hwy 40 in NM with Spacepod
Originally uploaded by stephsk8r

We're here!

Made it to Roswell about 45 mins. ago. Yay! 1501 miles.

Vaughn, NM

Vaughn, NM
Originally uploaded by stephsk8r

Thursday morning

We made it to the Blue Swallow Motel in Tucumcari, NM, late last night after stopping at the Big Texan in Amarillo, TX, for dinner. The motel is really cute -- our room has a section with a wood floor and a bathroom with vintage fixtures and tile. There is a garage next to our room for Phoebe, and she's sharing it with Spacepod, as Lisa and Jason are staying next door. Other stops yesterday were the Rock Cafe in Stroud, OK; a collection of Route 66 memorabilia; the Round Barn in Arcadia, OK; and the Route 66 museum in Clinton, OK.

I haven't been getting enough sleep, so we elected to stay here a little longer this morning, sleep in a little, and see the dinosaur museum and some of the other old motels and attractions in Tucumcari. Oh, yes, and breakfast at a diner somewhere. I'm glad we're arriving in Roswell today; having some free time tomorrow and a chance to sleep in a little again will help.

Yesterday I kept ending up near the end of the caravan, which is a difficult place to be. The traffic wave effect that's present in nearly all large traffic formations is much more evident at the end, and often the people at the front can't understand why the people at the back are complaining about trying to catch up all the time. The rain made the drive harder, too. Phoebe needs to have one or both of her wiper arms replaced because the springs don't hold them against the windshield strongly enough, so my wipers skitter around at higher speeds a little more than other people's do.

Today we are traveling with Spacepod and the pumpkin (Britt and Marie's Snap Orange color concept).

Wed. night

At Blue Swallow Motel. Very cool! Phoebe is sharing a garage w Spacepod!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Tuesday recap

Internet not working 4 me now. Blue whale yesterday!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


Too tired to blog by phone. Going to bed.

Rainbow bridge

Rainbow bridge
Originally uploaded by stephsk8r


Originally uploaded by stephsk8r


Originally uploaded by stephsk8r


Originally uploaded by stephsk8r

Monday update

Still not able to get online on my own computer for various reasons. I spent an hour on the phone with Bright House last night trying to troubleshoot my dialup connection, which appears not to play well with a certain Windows update.

We started out with 12 NBs yesterday in Joliet, IL, and picked up three more along the way. Lots of photo ops, including the Joliet Historical Museum, which opened especially for us. We also stopped at the Gemini Giant, an old gas station, the Paul Bunyan statue in Atlanta, the Dixie Truck Stop, Cozy Dog (very greasy), Chain of Rocks Bridge, and Ted Drewes' Frozen Custard.

At the motel in the morning, we found out that Howie had a scan tool, and he was able to turn off Phoebe's check engine light. It came back on at the frozen custard place, and Chris thinks it's a mass air flow sensor. It's a part that can be taken out and cleaned to see if it's the problem, and everyone assures me that she'll be fine until we get home unless the light starts blinking. In fact, there are three or four of us with check engine lights on now.

Our 15 NBs: two black, two silver, three red, two white, two bright blue, two orange, one Harvest Moon, and one yellow. Three TDIs. No convertibles. Only one 2006 or later, but four '98s! Highest mileage: 192,000. Phoebe's mileage: 76,4xx.

Today we're off to see Meramac Caverns, the blue whale, and a couple of other things I can't remember at the moment.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Cozy dogs

Cozy dogs
Originally uploaded by stephsk8r

Sunday recap

Apparently I can blog only a certain number of characters from my phone. Anyway...

Lisa and Jason arrived in Indianapolis very late Saturday night, and we had breakfast at the Canary Cafe with them and Britt and Marie. They came to see our house. Lucy was happy to see her Lisa, and she even made friends with Jason. We got on the road to Chicago a little after 3:00, and after lots of traffic, we arrived at Summerfest around 7:45.

Unfortunately, Phoebe's check engine light came on while we were waiting to get on I-90. It had been off since she went to Tune Tech, so I had hoped that the problem that caused it had been solved. I immediately called Susan Hester to see if anyone had a VAG-COM tool, but she didn't know of anyone who'd brought one, so I called the ever-reliable John Steele, who had of course packed his. We'll meet him in St. Louis tonight and see if Phoebe's still throwing the P3191 code. She's had lots of fuel injector cleaner lately, so I don't think it's a clogged fuel injector -- I suspect an oxygen sensor or maybe a mass air flow sensor (though she doesn't feel sluggish at all).

In Chicago, we parked in a garage that had curved ramps going up to each level. I had to turn the wheel almost to the full lock to get up the ramps, and it was only after we got to the top that I learned that the ramps were two-way -- if you meet another car, one of you backs up (!). Coming down was equally scary, as I came close to bottoming out at the end of each ramp. Steph has a picture.

I got to drive a Smart Car! It's much bigger inside than it looks, and I didn't feel like I was driving a tiny little box. You can set the transmission in automatic or manual mode (and even switch between them on the fly). The shifts were a little clunky in automatic mode and somewhat smoother in manual mode. The Smart Car guy who went with me on the test drive said that he treats it like a manual even in automatic mode and lifts his foot off the accelerator when he wants it to shift. This helped. The engine is not particularly powerful at 72 horsepower, but the car could keep up with traffic. It has a small cargo area in back with a tiny pull-out cover.

After having dinner outdoors at a local restaurant that seemed to have every kind of food, we made our way to Joliet. There are 12 NBs here! We start off at 9 am.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Test drive

I drove a Smart Car! It felt larger inside than it looked. You can shift it manually or let it shift automatically, and you can

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We are off!

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Thursday, June 21, 2007

Blogging on the go

Looks like I have mobileblogging set up too!

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Alien NB

Alien NB
Originally uploaded by stephsk8r


Originally uploaded by stephsk8r

2nd try

2nd try
Originally uploaded by stephsk8r

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

National Drive Your VW to Work Day

Friday, June 22 is National Drive Your VW to Work Day. Phoebe will be looking pretty, as we washed and waxed her this past weekend with my dad in preparation for our Roswell/Route 66 trip.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Radish serving

Radish serving
Originally uploaded by stephsk8r
The radishes are ready to eat! That's salt in the middle of the plate.

They were the most intense radishes I've ever had. I wonder if they lose their intensity as they're shipped around the country to grocery stores. Seriously, they made my nose run. They were very tasty, though.

Radish preparation

Radish preparation
Originally uploaded by stephsk8r
Here they are after washing and trimming.


Originally uploaded by stephsk8r
I pulled six actual radishes from the ground. There are more, but I thought we'd leave them in the ground until we were ready to eat them.

Radish plant

Radish plant
Originally uploaded by stephsk8r
The package said they would have 22 days between planting and harvest, so I thought I'd check them out tonight. Some of the radishes were peeking out of the soil!

Radish plants in garden

Radish plants in garden
Originally uploaded by stephsk8r
We planted radishes for the first time this year. I was hopeful that we would grow a few.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

AfterEllen's Hot 100

After reading the AfterEllen Hot 100 list and Maxine Dangerous's response, I had to blog my favorites. Here, in alphabetical order by filename of the picture, are my top ten from the Hot 100. (Sorry, numbers 11 through 19. You're hot too.) I did not base my choices on the particular photograph AfterEllen had (although those were the ones I used); sometimes I didn't like their photo at all. In any case, here they are.

Kristen Bell

Deanna Casaluce

Guinevere Turner

Jennifer Beals

Lauren Graham

Lucy Liu

Maggie Gyllenhaal

Amelie Mauresmo

Salma Hayek

Tina Fey

I have to say that I'm surprised at some of the choices. Only one athlete? What happened to Annika Sorenstam? Maybe the whole TomKat debacle has prevented Katie Holmes from making the list. And has everyone forgotten Mary Stuart Masterson? I haven't.

Monday, June 11, 2007

New places to recycle corrugated cardboard in Indy

Recycle Indianapolis has added two dropoff locations for corrugated cardboard:

Sam's Club, 3015 W. 86th St.
Eastgate Consumer Mall, E. Washington St. and Shortridge Rd.

Find more information about places to recycle various items at Keep Indianapolis Beautiful.

We've found Indianapolis Recycled Fiber at 1775 S. West St. to be the best option for most of our recycling. They take paper and cardboard as well as plastics 1 through 7 (the Keep Indianapolis Beautiful locations only take 1 and 2), and you don't have to separate the plastic anymore! We take glass and steel to the recycling container behind the downtown O'Malia's, and we're still in search of a non-scary scrap metal place to sell our aluminum.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Steph's birthday

It's Steph's birthday today! Happy birthday, honey!

If you like, you can visit her blog and wish her a happy birthday. She hasn't decided yet whether she wants to go out to eat or eat at home tonight.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Caturday; or, I am queen of the chair.

I am queen of the chair. I will push you out.

I am queen of the chair.

OK. I am queen of this chair, then.

I am queen of the chair.

Ha! I am queen of the chair!

I am queen of the loveseat.

No! I am queen of the loveseat!

I am still queen of the chair.

Friday, June 01, 2007

NYR update 6

1. Floss: Still flossing consistently.

2. Lunch: Went out twice this week.

3. On time: I got to work early once this week.

4. Flip: I haven't been skating enough recently. Moving to the new rink has been a challenge because it's farther away from home and work and because the rink is usually really cold.

5. Save: Our upcoming Route 66/Roswell trip is going to put our savings on hold for a little while.

6. Recipes: I haven't tried much in the way of new recipes lately.

7. Trans fat: Doing pretty well. Almost out of microwave popcorn.

8. Perfume: The level in the large bottle is going down fast!

9. Compact: I'm having to buy some new shoes because I have to wear orthotics now and they don't fit in most of my old shoes. It sucks -- I have one pair of shoes I can wear to work in the summertime. I had just gotten to the point where my shoe collection was almost perfect, and now I can't wear most of my shoes most of the time. Unfortunately, I still need to keep most of them for the times when I don't wear my orthotics because otherwise I won't have any shoes that match most of my clothes. I'm supposed to wear the orthotics 90% of the time. It's going to be difficult to find shoes to take to Roswell.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Electric mower

I have a Ryobi cordless electric mower that has served me well for the past eight years and is still going strong. Unfortunately, they don't make it anymore, but here's another option: the Neuton. It provides only a 14" cut rather than the 18" that my mower has, but it has several desirable features that my mower doesn't have, such as an available extra lift-out battery.

Either mower (as well as a corded electric mower) will pollute significantly less than a gas mower does. Mowing with a gas mower for an hour produces the same amount of pollution as driving a car 50 miles.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Funny discussion

While looking for another article, I came across an MSN discussion board thread on the topic of best and worst wedding gifts. Some of the worst gifts are hilarious, and many of the best gifts are touching. It's adding some levity to the whole wedding planning thing.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Dadblogging: Articles and brochures

Instead of mailing me stuff, my dad brought it with him last weekend.

* Brochure from Anthem on physical activity
* Chicago Tribune article "A lot rides on damaged alloy wheels"
* A diagram he drew of something that may have to do with water pipes
* A printout of a Yahoo article on Constellation Energy Group
* A Jim Mateja review of the 2007 Saturn Aura Green Line hybrid
* Some Toyota promotional material from England
* The official guide from the Chicago Auto Show
* A savings card from the auto show for 10% off at Firestone
* A CD sampler from Scion
* A cool metal Scion keychain (mattindy77, it's yours if you want it)
* A GTI pen holder (like the Beetle ones) complete with a set of stickers to customize it
* Honda, Toyota, and Scion promotional material
* Chevy Volt and Corvette promotional material
* Saturn and Chrysler promotional material

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Sour beef

When I was growing up, my parents would sometimes make traditional Czech foods. One of them that I enjoyed was sour beef and dumplings. We only ate it a couple of times per year because it's pretty time-intensive to make.

My dad came to visit last weekend and brought me a couple of servings that he'd frozen. (He makes it a lot more often now that he's retired again.) I was more than a little concerned that it might be the kind of food that you had to eat while growing up in order to stomach, let alone love, but Steph liked it a lot. I didn't take a picture because, well, it's not the most attractive-looking dinner.

I don't have my dad's recipe yet, but I Googled the phrase last night and found a few, none of which look like they're the one our family uses. I also found information about some restaurants in Baltimore that serve it. The Czech word for dumplings is spelled knedlicky; it's pronounced KLED-neek in my family. Most people seem to make small individual dumplings, whereas we make large ones and then slice them.

My Czech vocabulary is very small, and I have difficulty locating the correct spellings of the few words I do know because they aren't phonetic. A number of years ago my cousins and I compared the Czech words we knew from our dads, and we discovered we knew different ones. They know the word for mashed potatoes, for example, while I know the words for facial hair, pacifier, and tail (as in "dog following you around," not "appendage on the back of animals."

Monday, May 14, 2007

Art car v2.2

My first and second visions for turning my 1993 Honda Accord into an art car have proven to be unworkable, so I have a new implementation of an old idea: I'm going to decoupage quotes onto the car and seal it with some sort of acrylic or polyurethane sealer to make it waterproof.

My second plan was to use letters cut from bumper stickers to make the quotes, but there just aren't that many free bumper stickers out there, so it finally occurred to me to cut the letters out of magazines, ads, and other found objects and decoupage them onto the car. The background for each quote will be a different piece of colored or patterned paper so that observers can tell the quotes apart. Last night I bought some scrapbooking paper at Costco, and then I came home and started cutting out letters. I'm sorting and storing them in a many-sectioned tool organizer. I've been collecting quotes for some time, although I'll probably need more than I think I will. Feel free to suggest your favorite quotes in the comments.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

long time no blog

That day of silence turned into a week and a half somehow. Oops.

Monday, April 30, 2007