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I've got....

1 min read

funky toe ingrown toenail.  I had poked around at it but it wasn't getting better.  So, after asking a few people here, I gave up and called our surgery for an appointment.  I wasn't hopeful, but after talking to people, I thought they would numb my toe and take off part of my otherwords, I wouldn't waste my time going.

So, I went yesterday.  And then came home with.....antibiotics....and instructions printed off the internet about how to soak the toe and push the skin back.  The odd thing about this is that as a general rule you won't get antibiotics if you turn up with a sinus infection or something, but I got them for an infection in my toe.  crazy.

While there, I asked about things you could buy at the chemist (aka drugstore) like outgrow.  The dr said the closest thing she knew of was iodine liquid but you couldn't get that any more here.  ARG.  So, For the next 5 days I'm taking my antibiotics and using a cotton bud (aka qtip) to poke around at it.

Image from ksbuehler via flickr

Synthetic Fuel

2 min read


I was reading this article on Fox News about alternative fuel.  Towards the bottom, I saw this

Wood chips can be used to heat your home, but why not use them to propel your car? That’s the idea behind the Wood Powered SUV, developed by Beaver Energy. The company’s converted 1988 Isuzu Trooper turns wood chips into an organic fuel, and can drive about 20 miles on 25 pounds of chips. The truck uses a process called pyrolization, which converts any organic compound (including wood chips, grass clippings, and even garbage) into hydrogen and carbon molecules. The fuel, produced in a contraption on the back of the SUV, is then used in a modified internal combustion engine.

I then thought of the video below I had seen a couple of years ago.

Direct Link 

There are 2 more parts to the video linked above.  Part 2 and Part 3.

Why not make the car just run on woodgas?  Sound crazy?  Read the whole article....there were about a million cars converted to run on the stuff during WW2.  My guess is that woodgas isn't popular because it burns the wood.  And then you have the whole deforestation thing.  But we can farm trees just like any other crop (corn, wheat, etc...).  When you cut one down, plant a new one.  Then, in 10 years you can cut that one down too.  Burning wood is also carbon neutral (the carbon released when you burn it is the same carbon it absorbed when alive).

[Update 2012-12-26 15:33:45] The videos were taken down so I've removed the dead links to youtube

Image from moosicorn via flickr

If anyone says they can't be married...

1 min read

...speak now or forever hold your peace.  Would have been funny if someone actually spoke up.  Why do I say this?  Not funny for Kate and William, certainly.  But, for the same reason I say that I like sports teams loose.  For the crazy fans.  Sometimes other people make way too big of a deal over things.

[Update 2011-04-29 21:09:51] I've thought about this today and wanted to comments here were directed at the people who watched NOT from countries within the Commonwealth.  Those in the Commonwealth should be some point in the future, the child of William and Kate will be their king.

Image from edwin11 via flickr

A Hotter Pepper

1 min read


Cyndi tells me that I've killed my tastebuds because I put hot sauce on my food.  I'm sure the guys at Subway think I'm crazy when I ask for more jalapenos on my sub 3 times.  I just like my food to taste.

When I moved to the UK, my view of British/English food was that it was fairly bland.  That was reinforced when I went to an indian takeaway for curry.  I asked for it to be made hot...Isaac could have eaten it and not batted an eye.  It was so not hot at all.

Today though, the BBC has an article about a new record-breaking chilli.  And it is grown in the UK.  I can't believe it!

Image from graibeard via flickr

Mac Annoyances

2 min read



I got a Mac (a 13" MacBookPro) about a week before Christmas.  Before you ask, no, I didn't buy it...I've got to support Macs at work so they got me one.  Prior to this, I'd only spent about 30 min messing with a Mac.  Overall, I like it.  Although, I have problems with the way they lock their hardware and software together...I'd love to run OSx on other hardware.  I've also come up with some minor tweaks....little things that drive me crazy.  I thought I'd blog them here and see if anyone has suggestions:

  1. Touchpad.  The guestures are great, but why do I actually have to click it? Why can't I just tap it like on a PC touchpad? And don't get me started on the click noise.
  2. Keyboard.  The keys feel farther apart than on a standard desktop keyboard.  I feel like I have to move my hands 10 miles to type.
  3. Hover.  There's no hover functionality.  In a PC, I could hover my mouse over the icons in the systray--that area down by the clock--and find things out.  Like how much more battery is left.  On the Mac, I can't just hover over the icon...I have to click it.
  4. Quit.  Why doesn't the red x actually quit the program.  I don't want the thing to just hide...I want the app to quit running.  To do this, I have to hit command-q.

[Update 2011-01-17 19:29:58] I found out how to make the mac touchpad act like a pc touchpad.  This means you don't have to depress can simply tap it.

[Update 2012-12-26 15:36:37] My original picture was removed from flickr.  I've updated it to another image

Image from Dexter Panganiban via flickr

What is this guy talking about?

2 min read

Take a guess what this guy is talking about below:

From the very first time he asked, I have promised him that I would teach him. But that promise always comes with me enforcing respect and understanding. Thanks to this consistency, my children can by rote say that a xxxxxxxxx is not a toy and that hey are not to touch one unless I am there handing it to them.


That same xxxxxxx is actually hanging within a long arm’s reach of me as I type this, along with several others. And yes, my children have noticed them.

What should be in place of the xxxxxxx?  Well, if you were me, this is EXACTLY what I got taught about firearms.  It was the case in our house with firearms when I was a kid.  They were readily available.  It is EXACTLY what I will teach my kids about firearms.

Go read the original article (first seen here) and come back.  Swords.  They are talking about swords.  Oh, and how old is the kid?  5.  FIVE.  Let's think about this for a second.....

I doubt anyone would say boingboing is conservative.  I actually think they are quite liberal in many ways.  But here they are praising this guy for teaching his kid...his FIVE year old kid...about swordplay.  I'm sure that most of the editors at bb would think me crazy for teaching my kids about guns.  Certainly, the comments would reflect it.

Riddle me this....what's the difference?  Why are swords ok and cool but guns are evil?

Our Weather

1 min read

Our weather forecast for the past 3 days and the next 15 is going to be crazy. 2 days ago, it was in the high to mid 30s (celcius). Over the next few days that is supposed to dip down with lows into the single-digits...then go back up. Here is a vew of what I saw today when I looked (you'll probabaly have to look at the original view for the full detail):


19 Months!!

3 min read

I can't believe how big she has grown!  Lydia is running and climbing and "talking" up a storm.  She has such a cute little way of standing on the balls of her feet and bouncing through the house at top speed.  Our brave girl has also conquered the couch and is fast on her way to getting onto the bed.  It's only a matter of time before I catch her on a chair and on the table.  As for language, she has always been vocal and she continues to make crazy noises and gabber unintelligibly at random intervals...however, she is expanding her vocabulary daily!  She understands tons of things, both English and Serbian, but most of her words are English at this point.  Mama, Tata, nana (banana), cup, cracker, cheerios, yes, no, teeth, eyes, nose, puppy, cat, etc...   Some things are clearer than others, but she is able to say so many things and makes cute sounds, too.  She does this crazy grunt when you ask her what a pig says and does a pseudo howl when you ask her about dogs.  She has also mastered the vroom-vroom needed for playing with cars.  We're working on baka (grandma) and deda (grandpa) and other simple Serbian words while continuing to encourage her English vocabulary :)  Ona je vrlo pametna, tako naucice brzo (she is very smart, so she will learn fast)!  Much faster than Mom and Dad!! 


We have managed to get some cute pics and vids of her doing "Lydia" stuff.  Some of her favorite things are reading, eating, climbing, playing with/in cabinets and drawers, pulling stuff off of the table/counter/towel rod/drying rack, turning her cup upside down to shake water out and play with the newly formed puddle, finding Mommy or Daddy's glass and dipping stuff in keys or the remote, changing the channel, finding odd places to stick keys, and pulling laundry out of the basket and wearing it over her head while she wanders around making silly noises (playing "ghostie").  She also likes to help me clean by running around with the dustpan or shoving the broom around.  And she hands me the pillows when I make the bed.  The trash can has been mastered, so she will happily throw things away, even when we don't ask her to :)  She is such a happy thing, always ready to climb on (aka "waller") you and she loves to sneak up behind you when you sit on the floor with your back to her.  She screws up her little eyes and holds her arms up in a posture of great excitement (she's practically shaking with giddiniess) before she darts toward you and throws herself on you back.  And, of course, you simply must hold her hands and lean forward so she can get in a little flying practice.  She's one crazy, super-sweet girl and God has blessed us tremendously by allowing us the privilege and challengeg of being her parents!!

"ludi" Americans

3 min read


Lydia is growing so fast, but she had a rough couple of weeks.  We were in Greece for a week the end of June and had a great time.  But Lydia definitely had a hard time getting back into a good eating/sleeping routine.  A couple of weeks after we got home, she started with the up and down cycle of good and bad days (diarrhea, not eating, whiny) that would eventually lead us to the dr.  Thankfully, our friend and tutor, Marijana, went with us and everything turned out fine.  Lydia just finished 10 days of a probiotic to get her little digestive system back on track and this week she has been so much better...happier, eating like her old self (oink, oink), and no more tummy issues!  She's certainly starting to gain back some of the weight she lost.  Thank You, God!!  Even though it was a tough time, it is so neat to see how He takes care of us:) 

Now for the "ludi" part...which translates to CRAZY!  We have 3 friends, college students from the US who came for 2 months to work with a summer English program, who left for Belgrade at 2 AM to catch an early AM flight back to the States.  One of their favorite places to eat is this fast food stand in the centar that has chicken sandwiches and french fries and happens to be open 24/7.  They were planning to meet some friends at the "chicken stand" at 1 for one last meal in Serbia.  So Matt and I thought it would be cool to go see them off.  He went to a concert in the park and hung out with friends by the river drinking coffee for hours and I was home with Lydia.  Around 12:30, she started fussing so I went ahead and got her out of bed to get ready.  I really thought I could slip on long pants, socks, shoes, and her jacket over her PJ's and she'd go back to sleep as soon as I put her in the stroller and we started walking.  Was I ever wrong!!  We got down there and she was ready to mingle...especially when she saw the french fries!  Jelena (our friend who watches her when we go to language class) was there and held her and fed her french fries the whole time :^)  Poor Lydia, at first the french fries were really hot and she scared herself with one, but then she got so mad when we made her wait for them to cool off more.  And by the time we walked with our friends back to their apt. (which is only a block from ours), she was positively punchy.  She kept squinting her eyes and giggling randomly as we walked down the street!

We had a great time giving our friends a proper send off and Lydia doesn't seem to be feeling any ill effects today, but I sure am tired.  I must be getting old...maybe I'll join Lydia for naptime today:^)

Lydia and Chicken Pox

3 min read

I'll have a picture to post later on; however, we think Lydia has Chicken Pox. What's good about that? Well, now we have a reason the doctor will like for us not giving her the chicken pox vaccine.

 DSC03885  DSC03866

Cyndi here...

I'm still trying to come to terms with this unexpected turn of events.  Lydia has had skin issues off and on since birth.  I always think of it as her "crazy" skin, as often as it's red, blotchy, eczema-y.  She's been pretty blotchy since we were gone for Thanksgiving last week, probably because it's so dry lately.  I try to keep her lubed up with Vaseline and the occasional cortisone for really rough, irritated places.  On Tuesday or Wednesday, I noticed a couple of red spots on the back of her neck and thought...that's different...  She had one or two others on her back, but she's so often bumpy and broken out that I didn't really think much more about it.  Then this morning (Thursday) she had a few more spots on her trunk, and a funny spot at the nape of her neck.  It was enough, and enough of a change, to make me start thinking about chicken pox, but surely not, when would she have been exposed, I'm just being "hyper mommy".  I talked to Matt, and Dave and Judy, my mom, and Ronda...  At first it was relax, just wait and see, but this afternoon she clearly had more spots on her back and on her head.  A couple even looked a little crusty.  Between talking to everyone some more and a call to the dr., it seems unavoidable that she has somehow gotten chickenpox :( 

I hate it that she's sick, especially since she's getting over a cold and working on a tooth.  I also feel terrible that I might have unwittingly exposed people at church last night.  My family keeps reminding me that there's no way to know before they start breaking out, but I still feel bad.  I know chickenpox isn't the end of the world, and you can't live in a bubble to protect yourself or others from exposure, but it's hard not to feel guilty.  Did I take her out too much?  Clean too little?  What if someone catches it from her?  Or caught it from her before we knew what was going on?  These thoughts have been running a wild circle through my mind all evening. This mommy stuff is hard!  I'm just thankful that I'm not in this alone.  God is in control and He knows all about this situation, and He has blessed us with loving, supportive family and friends.

We'll post more updates as the situation unfolds.

 [Update 12-03-2007 07:17:44]  It looks like her fever broke last night .  Thanks to all who were praying.

[Update 07-09-2008 14:11:41] I posted a few more pictures in this post .  If you want to know why I came across them now, go read that post too.