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Friday, November 30, 2007

Back in business.

Ode to the G4.

It took $73.53 (plus $5 to park in downtown Pittsburgh), but we are back to where we were around 6:00 on Monday. We decided that, given our Power Mac G4 was seven years old, there was really no point in spending money to attempt to repair it. So on Wednesday, Mark won another G4 on eBay from a local seller. He picked it up at a downtown office on Thursday, switched out it's hard drive with the old one (which was thankfully unscathed from what ever took out the computer) and all is well once again.

It's specs are slightly laughable. It's 400MHz processor is about the equivalent of a hamster in a wheel by today's standards (Our old one was a later model that was closer to a somewhat respectable 1 GHz.), but with 1 GB of memory and a 80 GB hard drive, it's really not such a bad little computer (Cue Linus: "It just needs a little love."). It's doing what I need it to do, and that's all that matters to me.

Tomorrow, I will be spending some time organizing and backing up my photos. Lesson learned.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Just then, things went from bad to worse.

The evening started like any other. We ate dinner. Lauren watched Scooby Doo. After I finished eating, I decided to check on a few eBay auctions that were ending soon. Suddenly, the lights began to flicker. Then, there was a crash. Mark mumbled something about Lauren knocking over a wine glass. After that, darkness.

Once again the power was out. Mark cleaned up the broken glass as I entertained Lauren. Then, we searched around the house to find the big package of matches that we bought the last time the power went out. Once the candles were lit, we sat down and waited.

The electric company was really on top of things this time around, and our power was restored in about an hour. Shortly thereafter, I decides to return to what I had been doing. I went into the den and hit the power button on the computer.

Nothing happened.

I pressed it again, because, you know, maybe I didn't apply enough pressure the first time.

Still nothing.

I opened the case to see if there was any visible damage, but there was none.

I plugged the power source into another outlet (which I knew was futile, since the lamp plugged into the same outlet was shining brightly.)


So, I guess I now have to resign myself to the fact that my computer is dead. I'm not so much sick over the loss of the computer itself, as it's an older Mac. What I am sick about is the loss of data. Over 1000 photos. Mp3s. Scooby Doo episodes.

Lucklily, i've been somewhat prepared for this. Most of my photos have been uploaded to various photo sharing services. However, I hadn't been as viligent recently, so some, like the Christmas card photos that I took yesterday, maybe lost for good.

At least it wasn't the TV.

P.S. I typed this entire post using my Ipod.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Just one of those days.

I was debating writing about today's events, but I suppose you have to take the bad with the good.

I would not characterize Lauren as an easy going kid. She's probably not as bad as I think she is, but sometimes, I just wish she would be a little more cooperative.

Today I had planned to take her to see Santa Claus for the first time. Now, my expectations of her were already quite low, as I was fairly confident that she wasn't going to get anywhere near Santa's lap. And I was okay with that, because I wanted the experience to be on her terms and not because I am a psycho mother who come hell or high water must have her child sit on Santa's lap each year. I even commented to Mark last night that it was going to be disaster. Little did I know how much so.

I had it all worked out. We were going to go into the city to the downtown Macy's department store. This was a no brainer for several reasons. One, my parents took me to see Santa there when the store was Kaufmann's. Second, instead of having him out in the open where everyone can gawk, they have Santa stashed in a private corner of the 6th floor. Lastly, no one goes shopping downtown on a Sunday, so the line would be minimal.

The morning started out uneventful. I even got her to sit down and eat her cereal without complaint. All was going well until I caused a meltdown by refusing to go upstairs with her to play because I was finishing my breakfast. At this point, I was still optimistic, so I thought one little meltdown wasn't going to ruin the day. But I was wrong, as the meltdown pretty much set the tone for the rest of the day.

As I was getting dressed, I could hear her downstairs whining and crying at her frustrated Daddy. So what did I do? Cancel the plan? Heck, no - I decided that since the weather was decent and she was going to be dressed up in her holiday finery anyway that it was a great time to have the annual Christmas card photo shoot.

Once she was dressed, I scooted her outside. All was going well once again, until she tripped in yard and landed on her knees. Was she hurt? No, it was worse. She had grass stains on the knees of her tights. Then, the wailing began: IT'S DIRTY! IT'S DIRTY! WIPE IT OFF! WIPE...IT...OFF!

I took her inside and consoled the inconsolable as best I could. Her spare pair of tights were in the wash, so I resourcefully took the soiled pair off and put them on her backwards. Santa would never know the difference.

It was then, we decided to stay home. Just kidding - we strapped her in her car seat, cheeks still wet with tears, and off we went.

As expected, we arrived at a deserted parking garage and easily found a spot complete with a view of a homeless man sleeping in an alley. No time for fooling around, we went straight to see the man of the hour.

As expected, the line was short. Bordering the line, was a cute display of bears. Lauren was immediately drawn to them, and we encouraged the distraction. Only one thing that we didn't account for: getting her away from the bears and over to Santa.


I know when I've been licked. We made a hasty retreat to the elevators, where I then had a meltdown of my own and began to cry.

There's always next year, I guess.

Lauren and those cursed bears.

Friday, November 23, 2007

The Day After.

View from the kitchen.

Instead of referring to today as "the day after Thanksgiving," I think that government should declare a national holiday and call it The Day After. Imagine how much retailers would save in printing costs!

We were good little capitalists today and participated in some holiday shopping. We didn't leave the house until 11:30 a.m., so although there were no door busters thrown our way, Mark did manage to get a new coat for 50% off at Old Navy as well as a really big pizza for lunch, which he and I almost finished just between the two of us (As Lauren merely subsists on milk, cheesy poofs and oxygen.). After dinner, we shopped at the mall and Home Depot. No one was maimed during either of these trips, so I think we can call them a success.

Speaking of dinner, isn't this the most glorious sight:


I think I look forward to Thanksgiving leftovers more than the dinner itself. There's nothing like turkey with a little mayo on a dinner roll. Yum!

As a side note, you may have noticed that I finally changed the blog banner. This was something that I meant to do periodically, but in the end never got around to doing. Hopefully in the coming year I will make good on this. If not, then everyone will have to enjoy red and evergreen in July. Anyway "There's No Place Like Home for the Holidays" is one of my favorite holiday songs (along with "Sleigh Ride") so it's more than appropriate for our new title.

Thursday, November 22, 2007


Watching the American Kennel Club Dog Show.

Daisy is thankful for a warm couch and the American Kennel Club Dog Show.

Scooby Doo love.

Lauren is thankful for Scooby Doo episode downloads on iTunes.

Steamfresh love.

I'm thankful for Steamfresh vegetables, Nikon, and the fact that I don't have to go to work tomorrow.

And Mark is thankful that our 6 trees are almost finished dropping their leaves.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

This Old House.

Haven't done this for awhile, so enjoy!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Saturday doings.

Christmas cottages.

Today's big outing sent us to K-mart for some new shower curtain liners (I know, I know - if only you could lead such a glamorous life as ours!) . While we were there, we checked out Martha Stewart's Christmas decor offerings for this year. Martha's people came up with some really good stuff, like these cute little Christmas cottages (The Chinese who made them were a little glue happy, but they're nice just the same). Lauren immediately claimed the green one for herself. She even took it to bed with her during her nap! I had to pry it from her little hand to take this photo.

Holiday fireworks.

Today was our town's annual Light Up night. We had contemplated attending, but since it was pouring down rain this evening, we decided to stay home. Which wasn't a hard decision to make, since we can clearly see the fireworks display from our porch. I don't understand why the threat of rain can cancel 4th of July fireworks, but these fared perfectly fine during a downpour. Anyway, this was the first time Lauren saw fireworks. She wasn't terrified, but she wasn't thrilled with them either.

Lastly, our friend Melissa made it through surgery just fine, but since her recovery took a little longer than expected, she wasn't released from the hospital until today.

I had an interesting experience waiting at the hospital while she was surgery. First, I accidentally walked in on a woman in the bathroom. Then, I sat next to an affluent divorced couple who was waiting for their son to come out of surgery. For the duration, they discussed (in very formal tones) every aspect of their son's life, from his grades (3.75 GPA, but his mother is concerned about his lack of motivation. There were many mentions of Ivy League schools nonetheless.), his unpaid summer job (helping autistic children at the YMCA), his learning to drive "a vehicle", and of course, his sex life or hopefully lack thereof (He is definitely looking to have "sexual intercourse" with a girl, but they don't think that it's happened yet. His mom, however, had caught him surfing porn on the internet and posting suggestive photos of himself on his My Space page.).

It was both fascinating and frightening. And it definitely served as a wake up call for what Mark and I are going to have to face as Lauren gets older.

Here I thought that Lauren's insistance on watching the same episode of Scooby Doo over and over again was cause for concern. Apparently, I ain't seen nothing yet.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Our dirty little secret.

The other Melissa.

Tomorrow, our good friend Melissa is scheduled to have surgery. She was recently giving me grief about the fact that, although she is always hanging out with us, she never gets mentioned our blog. I told her that it's because she's our "dirty little secret."

Anyway, please keep her in your thoughts tomorrow.

Special Bonus Feature, Part 2! Things Overheard at the Ross House This Evening:

"Slow down, mommy. You give me questions!" - Lauren (Apparently, she didn't appreciate me interrogating her about day.)

"Daisy go to Giant Eagle. Mommy, you stay here." - Lauren

Sunday, November 11, 2007

It's a mod, mod, mod world.

This past week, I've been really feeling the effects of the time change. Been going to bed early and just feeling generally lazy and unmotivated. I'm feeling perkier today though, so maybe the fog is lifting.

Yesterday, I was searching for a box of sweaters stored in our spare bedroom's closet. Also stored in this closet is part of my doll collection, including my small stash of vintage Barbie stuff (mostly Francie and Skipper dolls and clothes). So when Lauren came into the room to see what I was up to, she immediately spotted Francie's House. Since there was no use in explaining the concept of a "valuable collectible" to a two-year old, I, of course, let her play with it.

Playing at Francie's House.

And she, of course, loves it. She made a beeline for it as soon as she woke up this morning.

Girl #1 to Girl #2:  This is one groovy pad!It's a mod, mod, mod world!

The pink chair in the closet has been designated as the bathroom. The dollies must drink a lot because they visit there frequently (I think this may be a sign that we're ready for potty training!). And the green haired doll? Well, what mother other than me could instantly produce a doll with tresses the same color as Lauren's favorite hue?

Coincidentally, insider sources tell me that if she's a good girl, Santa will be bringing Lauren a doll house for Christmas. But until then, it makes me happy to see Francie's House get some use. Forty years later, it's still fun and cool.

Special Bonus Feature! Things Overheard at the Ross House This Weekend:

"I don't need my bangs trimmed. No thank you!" --Lauren (Her stylist thought otherwise and trimmed them anyway.)

"This is a good show." --Lauren, upon viewing The Brady Bunch for the first time.

"There goes an airplane!" --Lauren, in reference to the Starship Enterprise (We've been watching a lot of TV this weekend.).