Friday, September 24, 2004 in I Forgot To Pick A Category

Thank God the week is over


This is Tinkerbell. I told you my mom can find all the good stuff at the second-hand places.

In between all the other stuff I already mentioned, (and I’ll probably repeat myself anyway) there was a night when I went over to my Mom’s house to show her how to use my tomato machine thingy. Half-way there I realized it would be easier and less stressful (for me) to just do them myself when I got there and she could entertain Emma. Which is pretty much what happened.

I handed my mom a pot full of tomato pulp with no seeds or peels and she then asked me how to cook it. I know she knows how to cook tomato sauce. I think when Carl is not home, some of her brain goes with him. “Mom,” I asked her in frustration, “I know you can put on a fancy dinner for twelve with 24 hours notice, so how come boiling sauce is eluding you?”

She looked at me, lips pursed. “Yeah, so? What’s your point?” Yep, that’s my mom. She was just making sure the process of sauce making was the exact same and didn’t want to assume different. I guess that’s how she learns. Somewhere in the middle of this, I let fly with a full-fledged rant that Carl would have loved to hear. Since my Mom does not have a table or counter top suitable for clamping the tomato machine on, I clamped it to a *chair* which I then had to hold down with one foot while using my two hands for cranking and pushing.

“You’re such a good daughter,” she said to me while watching. “Yeah,” I muttered not quite under my breath, “How come *I* have to be the good daughter? How come Julia gets to be all world-travelling-college-student-cool and vegan and trendy and not to mention taller and skinner than me? How come I have to be the one with the kids, who has to come over and help you cook?”

My mom is wise, “Someone’s gotta do it.”

And while we were there, Ron had the van over to my mom’s neighbour’s place, who is our friendly mechanic. At some point, he had quietly entered the house to see what we were up to, heard some of the above and decided it was just safer to stay in the garage with the men.

This was after we picked up our new-to-us couch, but before I went and bought slipcovers that cost more than the couch did. Did I mention I got natural colored cotton duck ones? They look fabulous! But five minutes after someone sits on them, they don’t. I give up. The couch slipcover now has, since yesterday, a crayon mark and two splotches of ice cream. That’s the marks I know about. I also walked into the room to discover that Emma had figured out how to take the slipcovered completely off of the couch. When I put it back on for the third time that day, it was even more wrinkled.

I can see now how I am at risk of becoming one of those women who eventually have a living room that no one is allowed to sit in.

We had new business checks come in, that I had to send back. Why? Because they spelled our name RAASM SOSFTWARE. Now, I could see them messing up the RAASM part, but “software”?

Speaking of business, you know all the computer web type stuff I was doing frantically and ASAP? Well, I asked the boss, and he tells me we don’t actually *need* the info till after Christmas. There’s a large dent in my monitor.

Sarah did schoolwork maybe two days this week. The rest of the time, she could be seen curled up in the chair reading Clan of the Cave Bear. “Good book?” I aksed her. “Eh…” she shrugged, “It’s okay.” The next time I looked, she was two hundred pages further. Every night this week, she had her lights out after mine. It has taken her four, maybe five days to finish. Today we have to go to John’s to see if he has more (which he probably does, especially considering I sent back The Mammoth Hunters by mistake). But back to the schoolwork for a mintue: I know she’s done a week’s worth.

And one night I was sitting here working on a new layout with a picture of sunflowers. I wanted to have the layout up when I told this story, but alas. I had just figured out a nested boxes problem in CSS, when I knock came at my door. It was CAROL!!! And she looked FABULOUS! “Want to see my baby?” she asked me. Of course I did! I even squealed! All the girls fawned over him for a minute. Ron wasn’t home, or Carol would have had a hard time leaving. Derek said something to us about the sunflowers in our yard, and that’s what I thought so funny. I was working with a picture of them! So when I get the new layout up, it’ll be just for Derek for his birthday. 😉

Later, I asked Emma what she thought of Carol’s baby Lincoln. She sighed. “He’s beauuuuuuutiful.”

Thursday, September 23, 2004 in I Forgot To Pick A Category

Get your outrage on

If you don’t have enough to be irritated about today, check out this article, which showcases a test of the Muskegon County school districts emergency response teams. The scenario? A mock terrorist attack from (I am not making this up) Wackos Against Schools and Education, a group “who believe everyone should be homeschooled. ”

I can’t believe someone thought this was a good idea. You can read the follow-up over here. Considering this is the first I head of it, (the story ran on Monday in Michigan) us homeschoolers work fast when we network. 😉

Wednesday, September 22, 2004 in I Forgot To Pick A Category

Got blog?

If you’re like me, and dream up big websites in your head and design content management systems (here my Mom’s eyes are glazing over as she reads, and she’s muttering, “But what about all the stuff we did last night? When’s she gonna write about that?”) then you may want to check out The CMS Matrix, where they have the hugest list of CMSs I have ever seen, and the ability to compare as many of them as you like.

Drooling. My inner geek is positively drooling.

Today I am taking the day off anything resembling work, except for the above. Haven’t quite got to looking over school though. And to please my mother, because I am the Good Daughter, I shall mention I went and bought brandy-new cotton duck (fabric, not print. They are natural colored.) slipcovers this morning for our new-to-us couch, which was an awful floral but better than the blue nubby plaid.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004 in I Forgot To Pick A Category

How to monopolize in business and drive out burgeoning competition without really trying

I spent an incredible amount of time yesterday on the Internet looking stuff up, and it was ALL business related! I spent 20 minutes looking at a couple message boards, and if you’ve been involved in message boards anywhere, you already know that is NO TIME at all.

So I was surfing around trying to find technical information and specs and pricing guidelines and How Other Companies Do It Without Piles Of Money. We’re trying to set up our own web server. I mean, we *know* how to set up a web server, (and when I say “we” I really mean Ron The Incredibly Smart Computer Guy I Married) but we need to know how and where and, more importantly HOW MUCH it’s gonna cost us to connect it to the big fat Internet pipeline (previously known as the Information Super-Highway). Because our company? Part of what we are doing is making web applications. Programs you run over the Internet. Programs that need honkin’ bandwidth the same speed in both directions, because you don’t want visitors with incredibly fast connections all visiting your site at once, only to be throttled down to a comparative snail’s pace.

At least from what I understand. And I admit, some days it’s not much.

So here’s what I found out, and I am too lazy or whatever to link to or name each company because the beurocrateeze phrazing on their websites also makes my eyes glaze over and I get the urge to wear skirt suits with sensible heels.

Company A: a big company, but not one that provide phone service to the general public. They are all about business, baby. They are big time, and you can tell by the snazzy-looking website (so slick) and the massive amount of pages and content that doesn’t really say anything. I even downloaded pdfs that promised they held the information I wanted on Getting My Business Connected. Inside those pdfs? Very slick, full-color illustrated (and probably glossy) 6 page presentations that basically told me to call this number (right now! Customer care specialists were standing by!) and they would be doing me a favour by helping me. They promise! And they’d give me technical specs, honest, if only I would CALL NOW.

Bzzzz! NEXT!

On to company B: I admit, they are giving the main people here a run for the money. They are all about giving away cell phones and high-speed connections and heck they’ll toss in long distance, cable tv and movies too! All for a low monthly price! They have package deals! Combo platters! But your company NEEDS digital cable! Really! At least, according to them. And, if I ask really nicely, they can host my business website on 10 MGs! They’ll even hold my hand, register my domain, and for a measly little teensy bit extra, I can even have my own custom dot com emails.

I wiped my eyes, stopped shaking from the giggles and moved on to the biggie.

Company c: I admit, me and Brian at the call center (wherever it is) are tight. I mean, he even sent me emails with technical specs. I bet he likes me, even if we are both using the same kinda words, but somehow are still speaking a different language. “Brian,” I ask him sweetly, after I tell him I’m glad his Evil Company overlords decided to give him a raise finally and he doesn’t have to picket in the streets anymore, “What’s the difference between your high-speed connection for residences, and the one for business?” He goes through his menus, his keys not even clicking audibly. “Oh, about $37.50,” he tells me airly. “A month. Plus install fees.”
I sigh, but not deeply, because I don’t want to depress him. “My boss wants a T-1 connection, what’s that going to cost us?” He then tells me an amount that is roughly equivalent to the paycheck I haven’t yet written for myself. Per month. Plus double that to install.

When I told this to Ron over lunch, he started choking.

Later, Brian sends me emails with more technical specs and pricing for various acromyms. I think I’m going to save them for after dinner. See how glamorous this work-at-home stuff is? And meshing it with homeschooling! And housework! hahahahahaha! In all the excitement yesterday, remembering this, fixing that, phoning here and there, I actually forgot to eat my lunch. Which, if we were to follow the example of the companies I was in contact with yesterday, would be fine – since they eat little guys like us for breakfast.

Monday, September 20, 2004 in I Forgot To Pick A Category

Tomato Sauce: an entry in pictures

(Yeah, I’m late today, and yeah I coulda put this in the photo gallery, and yeah, this is all about Sunday morning, and nope my mom didn’t cook Sunday dinner. Today was Monday with a capital M. Maybe I’ll get it all out tomorrow. For now, let’s just say some ISPs sucketh mightily.)

See the lovely tomatoes? Don’t they look happy? Little do they know what is in store.

Oh no! What is the toddler doing? Do her parents reallly let her play with knives?

AHH! Tomato carnage! What kind of horror are these people up to? With children in the room, even!

I love this machine, the Victorio Strainer. I have owned it for a few years, and it still works like new. Making sauce is stupendously easy with it. See how easy it is for Ron to turn the handle AND smoosh tomatoes while I take the picture?

Mmmm…a pot full of sauce. No seeds, no peels. Note the time.

It simmered all day. See? (okay, four hours later, but still.)

Yes, it was as good as it looks.

Sunday, September 19, 2004 in I Forgot To Pick A Category

Like my layouts?

Well, now you can have a copy for yourself. Go here! More to come.