Saturday, January 31, 2009

No more library books for kids?

I've been following the coverage for the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act that has been in the news lately. Basically it is a new law, that was on it's way to being fully enforced, that will mandate lead testing for all toys, clothes and other products that are made for children.

I started hearing about it when I saw fellow Etsians that were selling their hand-made baby clothes & toys for several thousand dollars. Jill told me that they were making a statement ... saying that they would have to up their prices if they had to go through all the official lead testing before they could sell their items. The lead testing isn't a problem for multi-million dollar companies that should be doing the testing anyway ... but for the small business owners, they would have to shut down, unable to afford the required testing.

Yesterday, there was an article in the Kansas City Star stating that this new law would mean that all children's books would need to be tested for lead before they could be on the shelves in public or school libraries. Are you kidding me?

Reading in the Etsy forums this morning, it looks like a one year stay was granted for the testing. Hooray! Oh wait. What does that mean? It now means that they've put off enforcing this law for just a year. Many Etsy sellers that were very worried, already closed their shops. Many are realistic and know that this doesn't mean they will be able to afford the testing next year. Yikes! I think it's a big, old mess. What is really scary is that the article states that the stay was granted by a unanimous vote of 2-0. TWO PEOPLE ARE IN CHARGE OF THIS LAW!?! I can't believe it.

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Monday, January 26, 2009

This made me happy

Very cute video about two unlikely friends.


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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Run, don't walk

This afternoon, Mom and I went to the Glenwood Theater to see Slumdog Millionaire! I always love to go to the Glenwood because they show the small, indie films, the theaters are small and the seats are the most comfortable in town. They took them from the old theater at 91st and Metcalf and they lean back and have soft seats, which I like.

The only thing that is bad about the comfy seats and non-stadium style seats is the close proximity to the other movie watchers. Mom missed it, but I was constantly annoyed by Mr. & Mrs. Chatty McLoudersons sitting right behind us. They felt the need to provide commentary for the movie that EVERYONE IS SEEING AT THE SAME TIME! "Oh Look! There's the bad guy!" "Is he going to die?" "What is he doing with that money?" "Watch out!" "I know the answer to that question!" I tried to turn around a few times to let them know that there were other people there to WATCH the movie, but they didn't seem to get it. They finally stopped when the credits were rolling (stay for them if you go).

A few people had told me how great Slumdog was, and I'm happy we went today. The movie is about two hours long, but goes very quickly! I think this is the only one of the movies that is up for a bunch of Oscars that I've actually seen.

For those of you that haven't heard much about the film, here is the plot summary from imdb:
A Mumbai teen who grew up in the slums, becomes a contestant on the Indian version of "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?" He is arrested under suspicion of cheating, and while being interrogated, events from his life history are shown which explain why he knows the answers.
The movie is so much better than you would think. It gets better and better as the flash-backs go on. It is funny, it is sad, it is full of suspense, and the film has a lot of heart.

The other part of the movie that I thought was amazing was the beautiful scenery. Not all of the settings were beautiful in a conventional way. Much of the movie was set in the slums of Mumbai like this photo and the aerial shots were amazing! Scenes also took place in the landfills, city streets, markets & even in front of the Taj Mahal (which of course was beautiful)!

You all should run, don't walk, to go see Slumdog! If you are in Kansas City, here is a site that shows where and when it is playing, but of course, I recommend the Glenwood! Let me know your thoughts if you go now, or if you've already been!

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

My niece is sooooo cool!

Go check out Life With the Lunds to see just how hip Ellen is!

Here's a sneak peak!

There is a video, too, so you know it's gotta be a great post!

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Monday, January 19, 2009

Monica Geller says:

"That's not even a WORD!"

Saw this beauty while grading papers yesterday on my long weekend. There are a few mistakes in this answer, but "chocolater chips" is my favorite one!

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Excited to face my desk in the morning!

After much whining over the past few weeks (uhhhh months, no wait, years) about my messy desk, I had some help tonight!

The IT guy wrote me an e-mail last night telling me that I'd have to do some rearranging of my computer and desk in order for the new SMARTboard I'm getting to be hooked up correctly. Well, this would be a great reason for me to actually clear off the piles and get things looking nice again. You've all seen the worst from last year AND the best from this year. With a LOT of help from my good friend, Elizabeth ... it looks better than it's looked so far this year! She currently has a SMARTboard and is great with technology, so she knew exactly where all the cords needed to be and would be in the future when things got set up.

I stayed until 6:30 to get things organized and cleaned (yucky dust). I still have two giant stacks of papers on the floor that need to be filed, but things are definitely looking better. My desk might even be cleaner than Jill's desk right now. I know it won't last long, but at least I'm not dreading going to sit at my desk tomorrow.

Here is my beautiful new corner! We basically swapped my large desk and my tiny computer desk. The space now looks so much bigger! You can see that I still have a cord issue with one draping across the "walking" space to my corner, but I think that can be fixed.

Yep, you can see the piles to be filed there on the floor. That might be my least favorite "chore" at school. It takes hours! AND YES, I do know that if I just put the papers away once I was done with them it wouldn't take hours ... but I'm not wired that way!

Look! My desktop! It's been missing since the first week of school. The way my desk is now facing, I don't think I can have a bunch of stuff on this end of it, because it will fall off the back and onto the floor. That is a good thing. If you look closely, you can see my CuteOverload page-a-day calendar on my desk. It is one of my favorite Christmas presents and puts a smile on my face every day when I turn the page!

Had to share the exciting (maybe only to me) news! Hope everyone is doing well and staying warm. It's strange not to post every day, and I can't figure out how I did it every day! Just one picture a day is turning out to be a pretty good deal for me!

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Saturday, January 10, 2009

A week makes such a difference!

I saw Ellen last Friday and then I saw her again on Sunday, but she was sleeping, which means me no touchy. :) On Thursday I was in desperate need for some Aunt Betsy/Ellen time, so I asked when I could come play and Friday after school it was!

Thank goodness Molly & Erik have started a blog, so even on the days I don't get to see Ellen in person, I can read about her and see cute pics! Go check it out ... yesterday's post was about how much she's grown! Life With the Lunds! Oh, and I just checked today! She has so much hair that she gets to use a hair dryer. How lucky?

Ellen was eating when I got there, but then I got in my cuddle time. She likes to sit up and lean forward on your hand. I hold her up high like this so we can go look in the mirror. I'm not sure if she knows she's looking at herself, but then I can see her, too!

And two more just for good measure. Erik holding his little burrito. This seems to be the best way to get her to fall asleep. And then once we set her down, she was all smiley in her sleep. Pretty cute!

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Wednesday, January 7, 2009

1 resolution down, 1 resolution to go.

Last year's resolution was to start a blog to keep in touch with friends and family. I did great with my resolution, and it might be the first one I've ever kept! Even though I posted 372 times last year, I wanted to have something else to do this year, in addition to The Bets Week Ever.

I love to take pictures, but I wanted a way to work on my photography skills this year ... using my new, fancy, PINK camera!

This year's project/blog is all about photography. 1 picture a day. Well, actually 2 pictures a day. I pitched an idea to Jill for us each to take a photo and post them to the blog each day. I thought it would be fun and we'd get to each have a chance to play around with our cameras each day. I sort of stole the idea from 3191: A Year of Mornings/Evenings. During the end of winter break, it was sort of the race to see who would post their photo first. Now that we're back to work, I can tell that they might come later in the evening.

Soooo ... January 1st it was. Jilly came over so we could get the new bloggy blog all set up. We had a few name ideas, but unfortunately, some yea-hoos stole the blog names first and haven't posted since 2002! Finally, we came up with the name and set up the site.

We are now one week in and we've been doing well. The pictures can be of anything we want, I guess. We didn't really talk about it. Mom asked if I could be in the picture, and I assumed yes. However, after looking at many, many pictures on my computer, I've realized that once you become the photographer in your group, there are very few pictures of you on the other side of the camera! The title to each of our posts will serve as the description for the photo. Look carefully for the labels for extra info. We'll see how long we are both able to stick to a picture a day, but I figure that if I can WRITE 372 posts in a year, surely I can deal with just putting up a single picture!

We'd also love to read your comments! Let us know what you like. What you don't like. What you want to see more of. Mostly, just enjoy!

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Monday, January 5, 2009

Picture post catch-up

Just a few pictures since the beginning of the year. I'm working on my photography skills. Some are better than others, but I like them all!

Minnie girl, resting in her spot. She loves that corner of the couch!

Laptop/Crafty afternoon at Betsy's! Hmmm ... I wonder what we were watching.

Cool building next to The Mixx. Is it the library? I'm not sure.

My sweetness! She was all bundled up and slept like this through a party for a few hours.

Part of the large painting in my living room. I was trying to cheer up my crummy day.


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Saturday, January 3, 2009

A New Year = A New Start

I've been feeling guilty about not posting the last few days. Today I actually had something exciting (?) to write about. I've lived in my lovely home (today, it's nickname is "money pit") for just over 5 months and I've already had to replace 3 major appliances.

Already replaced and working wonderfully are the new dryer (that actually dries clothes) and the new dishwasher (that actually washes dishes). I've also installed a new digital thermostat. KCP&L will come out and install it for free if you own your home! It can be programmed to warm up/cool down before you wake up, while you are at work, before you come home and when you go to bed. You can also change the temp on it from your computer elsewhere if the weather changes!

So here are a few pictures of the mess that took place today in the condo.

I noticed that my hot water heater started dripping a few weeks ago. Well, the drip turned into a puddle and the puddle turned into a rusty mess. After a few calls and prayers that it would just stop on it's own, the plumber came today for a full replacement. During the removal, I heard a lot of "Oh no"s and "Well, this is broken"s. Not what you want to hear a plumber say.

After he got the tank drained as much as he could, he started removing the pipes. It became apparent that the flooring below the tank was old and rotted and disgusting. The rust had piled up and made a mess.

It was at this point that I heard him say, "This water tank is so heavy and full of sediment, I'm surprised that it didn't fall through the floor!" To you, that might not be a problem, but I have a neighbor that lives below me, and for all I know ... there is water damage & the tank could have dropped through her ceiling at any point! He could barely get the tank onto my back patio a few feet down the hallway. His dolly would barely carry it. NOT a good sign!

This is the lovely sub-floor after we pulled up the crappy, old linoleum that was on the floor. It was completely soaked and started to bow from all the water damage. I have no clue how long it had been like this, but I have an inkling that the previous owners knew there was some damage, which pisses me off! At this point, I just kept staring in disbelief that my already pricey day was turning into a giant mess! I couldn't get ahold of Mom & Dad and Molly & Erik were home, busy with Miss Ellen. There also wasn't much they could do over the phone.

Thankfully, Mom & Dad called on their way home and I convinced them to come over and help me make some decisions. Even though I wanted everything installed quickly and the ability to shower and do laundry, I knew that if I wanted to feel good about this in the long run, I needed to fully replace the floor. If in a few years, I want to sell my condo, I want to fell good about the way I'm leaving it. Long story short, Erik's handy man is coming over early tomorrow morning to pull up and replace the floor. It won't be anything fancy, it will just be done. Then, I will call the plumber back and he will return with the new shorter tank that will be able to stand on a riser so if there are drainage problems in the future, it can actually drain into the pipe that is there.

There is good news to this situation! Jill was smart enough to figure out that once this hot water heater is replaced, I'll have practically all new appliances! The only things that will be old are the washer and my fridge, which still seem to be in great working condition (knock on wood!). I'll be sure to take more pictures in the next few days, even though they aren't the most exciting pictures!

Everyone needs to be crossing their fingers that all goes as planned the next 2 days! I would like to be back in a fully working condo soon!

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