Friday, January 5, 2007

My favorite Christmas present for 2006

A roomba! It is just the best. My floors have never been so clean. And it definitely is entertaining; makes my living room feel like Mars, with a little robot zooming around exploring. Vacuuming is my most detested regular chore, especially as the noise drives me crazy and this roomba is not so noisy as a regular vacuum.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

New Year, New start

I decided to draft some resolutions for 2007, mostly because I didn't in 2006 but this is an odd year. : )

1. Be fit: I hereby do solemnly pledge to get myself in gear and be fit, and I'm starting off by walking. I'll try this year to log 6,000 steps at least 5 days a week, and try to keep my daily average above 10,000 steps. I started tracking this during the holidays, so I feel like this is do-able, but I want to revise and revisit this at the end of the 1st quarter.
2. Information is meant to be free: I commit to keeping up with my page-a-day average on Project Gutenberg's Distributed Proofreading project.
3. Read to me: The boys are finally moving out of the tedious cat-in-hat books into material that resembles literature; I want to spend more time reading with them in 2007.

I'm tempted to list all of the usual self-improvement stuff I hold myself accountable for, but am resisting the temptation. Sure, I want to read more - to be a better wife, friend, daughter and mother - but that's a given.

Wish me luck with my resolutions with a post here, and I'll return the favor.

Monday, January 1, 2007

Xmas 2006

In the words of Franz Liszt, "Merry Christmas, y'all." (Bet you didn't know he was from SOUTHERN Hungary, did you?)

It's been a busy year at Burton Manor, home of the Burton-Lyfords (or, if you prefer, Lyford-Burtons). The boys are both doing very well at Montessori School. E has started kindergarten at The Big School and is learning so much that in two years he'll be overqualified for management. O is now one of the older kids at The Little School and is starting to develop leadership skills. However, I don't know if I like his plan of annexing Ohio first. Kentucky seems a better target, but you have to let kids learn.

The boys have also started tae kwon do classes, to help with their coordination, concentration, discipline, and appreciation of old Bill Cosby bits. "Now he only picks on jello and whipped cream."

Richard has tried to give Eva and the boys distinctly Hoosier/Indianapolis experiences, like doughnuts from Long's, a dinner at Shapiro's, a trip to the museum at the Soldiers and Sailors monument, and so on. However, he has not stooped to a monster truck show yet.

Richard took Eva to her first Indy 500 this year. What a finish! What a first race! Not only was it one of the best finishes ever, it was great for her to see another Andretti loss in her first race. She wrote about the Indy 500 in her blog in June, so you know it's huge if it's been blogged. She may not be too interested in going again, especially on such on a hot day, but it is something everyone should try once.

We took two trips to Brown County State Park this summer. The first was a day-trip to go hiking, with a side stop at the Oliver Winery, which we've been asked if we own now that we wear the Oliver hats. While on the hike, O spotted a bullsnake that E had passed and wanted to step into poison ivy-laced undergrowth to check it out. From a distance, it looked like it might have been a rattlesnake, and that hiss sounded close enough to a rattle. Richard, fortunately, did not need his spare set of boxers, and the boys got a nice lesson: nature is not all Disney. We also saw some wild turkeys in the park, which nearly inspired the adults to crack open the wine on the way home after a day of kid-herding. The second trip was in late summer, right before the boys went back to school. We stayed at one of the Abe Martin Lodge cabins in the woods. It was neat for Eva and the boys, but Richard, having grown up listening to Waylon and Willie, didn't find it quite as fascinating. This didn't involve too much danger, except for short but steep climb at the end of one hike. There was also a huge scary-looking spider near the cabin that inspired all sorts of Tolkeinesque stories, some from the kids.

During the summer, Eva and Richard went to southern Ohio to visit his mother's relatives, the outdoor toilet side of the family. Oddly enough, Eva did not run screaming to the horizon, though that does make sense given the local snake population. That she didn't immediately file for a divorce/annulment is a good sign, though we shouldn't expect her to wear a Git'r'done belt buckle with Daisy Duke shorts any time soon.

One of Richard's highlights was taking the boys to their first Colts game, a pre-season affair with the Bengals. The Colts do know how to do pregame introductions, with both boys' eyes rivetted to the field. A big motorcycle on the field! Fireworks! Cheerbabes! Popcorn! It was the coolest thing in the world!

You may not have heard, but there has been an addition to our family. On that fateful day, Richard called his father to let him know that he was about to become a grandfather again ... of a bouncing baby beagle. As soon as she came into the play area at the Humane Society, we were all sold. Eva dubbed her Perl, after Richard's favorite programming language, and she has become the center of our family life. Eva and E took her to a few basic obedience training classes, and Richard took over when Eva got sick. (Too bad the place only works with dogs, not kids.) Perl is an absolute sweetie, though there are days when Eva is accurate in saying she is "slightly less trouble than she's worth." She still has a lot of puppy in her and has charmed everyone she's met. Our house and life is suddenly very dog-oriented. Seeing how Perl and the boys interact, Eva and Richard are now wondering why they didn't get a dog earlier.

Here's hoping for a better new year than the end of this year was. Eva has been sick for four straight weeks and counting, O and E have been sick off and on, and after holding it off for so long, Richard has finally succumbed to general annoyance with it all. Eva wants to call a "do over" on November, but Richard's knowledge of physics and time says that this is unlikely to happen. On the other hand, Richard is considering a correspondence course to be medicine man, starting with the "You Too Can Speak Sioux in Twenty Lessons or Less" cassette series.

Here's to a happier, healthier New Year for all.