New Jen's Horde

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Far out!

Check this out, Anousheh Ansari is blogging from space! And to think I was all impatient for when we get our wireless router and laptop, so I can blog from the john. That doesn't seem nearly so exciting now, does it? ;-)

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Friday, September 29, 2006

Round and round, go round and round...

We have our own roller derby team here in Denver! You can find out more about them here: Rocky Mountain Rollergirls

They're having a bout tomorrow night, between the RMRG 5280 Fight Club and Duke City Derby from Albuquerque, NM. I'm thinking of going and taking the kids. I think we'll be skipping the after party, though. First of all it's at a bar, and secondly, even though we're not very prudish, I just can't see taking the kids to see a band called Lyin' Bitch and the Restraining Orders as being appropriate.

We actually got to meet some of the women earlier this year at a Girl Scout function. They showed the girls some of their skating, then helped the girls skate. It was really pretty neat!

Are you going to be there?

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Thursday, September 28, 2006


The latest news is that the gunman was sexually assaulting the hostages.

We've heard a lot of talk about how the schools are safer now that we've learned lessons from Columbine and other school shootings. But, school violence statistics aren't any lower than they were before, and apparently the new guidelines are not consistently enforced.

This man, a homeless person living in his car, not a known parent or affiliate of the school, walked right in and was not stopped or questioned by anyone. He didn't have to show ID or sign in, which is pretty standard practice in most schools post-Columbine. Furthermore, he himself was the first person to report the hostage situation, was the school still unaware at this point that this was happening in one of their classrooms? Then, according to a student's report all of the kids were routed inside the school, yes, INSIDE, you know, where the gunman was stating he had a bomb, to wait for 30 minutes before evacuation.

I understand that there is no way to keep a person out of a building if he has enough weaponry, planning and desire to cause damage to the people within. My concern is that it's apparently still awfully easy to attack students in our schools, regardless of what we want to believe about the safety of our children.

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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

What the hell is going on around here?

Nothing like turning on the TV and seeing your old middle school getting evacuated because of a hostage situation...

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Tuesday, September 26, 2006


I was looking for a picture of a guinea pig to use in the kids' art lesson, and while searching I found this. It's a picture of a guinea pig, yes it is, but it just kind of made me urpy to see it. Click at your own risk...

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Monday, September 25, 2006

Pony Bead Art

Here is a picture of a couple of things I've made by melting the pony beads.

Pony bead art

If it's too dark, go ahead and click here to see a bigger picture. I took them in my back window so you could see the light through them, but it turned out kind of weird.

The round one is the one that I burned myself while making. I took a picture of my owie today, almost a week later, so I could share it's peely ooziness with the world!

my owie

Mmmmm, tasty!

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Friday, September 22, 2006

Melted Pony Beads

After explaining my injury in yesterday's post (which is much better already, yay!) a few folks questioned why I was melting pony beads. I thought I'd explain...

I got the idea, like so many cool ideas, from Craftster. You can see a bunch of melted bead projects here if you want. She did a fabulous clear version of Van Gogh's "Starry Night" among other things. I am thinking of trying to make some funky soap dishes for Christmas presents. Oh yeah, don't read today's post if you normally get Christmas presents from me!

Anyway, you just take the plain old pony beads that are a buck or two a bag at Wal-Mart, and arrange them in a way that's pleasing to the eye on something that's safe to heat. I was using a large metal bowl when I burned myself, but I've also used stoneware covered with aluminum foil. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, and give it 15-30 minutes. The time can vary depending on how many beads you're melting, what kind of beads they are (the glitter ones seem to take longer), and what kind of container you're melting them in. Obviously, you want to open a window or turn on the hood fan or something while you do this, but the fumes really aren't that bad.

Check every 5 minutes or so, and when they're melted to your satisfaction remove them from the oven. If your container will stand it, you can run cold water over the hot mess to get them out faster. I wouldn't do that if you're using your stoneware, but it worked well in the metal bowl.

Oh, and I haven't tried this myself, but I read on Craftster that the shiny metallic looking pony beads create really noxious fumes while melting, so I'd avoid those.

When I have a few projects done, I'll take photos and post them for you!



Thursday, September 21, 2006

I got nothin'

It's been a deadly dull week here at House Horde. Well, except for my crafting injury (burned my arm while melting pony beads.) That just sucked.

What are you all up to, today? It's got to be better than here (we're watching TV and trying to avoid cleaning...)

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Monday, September 18, 2006

It was GREAT!

As you know, we went yesterday to hear the Dalai Lama speak here in Denver (no, not in Tibet, Cube).

There was a Tibetan group performing when we got there. Then Nawang Khechog played several traditional instruments from all over the world. There was even one he'd created himself called the Universal Horn (it was really neat, the program says it is a "combination of Tibetan long horn, Aboriginal didgeridoo, and American trombone.") To give you an idea of what it looked like, I'll just say that when he prepared to play it my brain (which has been ruined by popular culture) immediately wondered if his first tune would be "Ri-co-la!" I know, I'm a loser. He also did some overtone chanting which was fascinating, seriously amazing!

Then, the Dalai Lama was introduced, and began to speak. He started off by making sure everyone understood that there were no special blessings attached to seeing him in person, nor did he perform miracles. He assured everyone that he's just a regular human, and that any of us could do what he is doing.

He was very funny, and down to earth, and when he didn't know the answer to a question he was very up front about it.

Honestly, his message wasn't really complicated. It was very practical and basically came down to "do unto others" and "play nice," but I believe that these are lessons that need some refreshing in today's climate. Plus, when he explained it all, it seemed to be common sense, and like it would be easy for anyone to manage. When asked what was the single most important thing we could do, he replied that we should all cultivate warm-heartedness. Sounds simple when he says it, doesn't it?

If you get a chance to see him speak, I would definitely recommend it. I would go again if I had a chance.



Sunday, September 17, 2006

Hello, Dalai!

Today's the day, and we're off to see the Dalai Lama! I'm so excited!

Have a great Sunday, and I'll tell you about it soon.



Friday, September 15, 2006

What a mouthful!

This is what Tiernan tells me when he's asking for his regular breakfast:

I want butter bread,
cutted up like pizza,
with synonym sugar.
I'm trying to tell him that he can just say, "cinnamon toast," or even "cinnamon toast cut in triangles," but he insists on going through the whole routine with the pauses between lines and everything. No wonder he's tired in the morning!



Thursday, September 14, 2006

Christmas is coming!

Didn't mean to freak anyone out with my Christmas Countdown. I know folks have complained about it in years past.

But, this year I'm hoping to make a lot of my Christmas gifts for people, so I need to put the heat on myself early and I thought this might be a good plan...

'Tisn't the season yet, but it's on its way!!!!!!



Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Snapshots from 9/11

This site is worth taking a little time to check out. It's a listing of the sorts of things people were using the Yahoo engine to search for on 9/11/01. It's interesting to see the divergent questions people had, everything from "Is this the end of the world?" to inquiring about making blood donations.

What information were you search for that day? I remember not being familiar with Osama bin Laden, and wanting to figure out who he was and what the history was there.

PS-Happy Birthday, Mom!



Monday, September 11, 2006

I remember Sharon Carver

Sharon Carver
Sharon Carver, 38
September 11, 2001

As I read through Sharon's guest books online, over and over I saw that people remembered her for being kind, supportive and friendly. And, of course, everyone mentioned her fabulous smile! Who could miss that? Her smile made ME smile when I first saw her picture, and not many things have made me smile today.

By reading what those close to her have said, I can tell that Sharon could brighten up a room, and could make people feel comfortable just by being around. These are qualities I wish I possessed, and it's terrible to know that she's gone. We all truly need more people like Sharon around, and we were robbed when she was taken from us.

There are still those of us out here who think often about those we lost that day, and their families are always in our prayers. We still remember Sharon.

To read more tributes, please go to the 2996 Project.

Please also stop by my other tribute, I remember Anna Williams Allison.



I remember Anna Williams Allison

Anna Williams Allison

Anna Williams Allison sounds like she was a very astute and capable woman. A successful software developer, she went on to create her own consulting company in Boston. On top of all that, she was busy as a writer, trainer and speaker in her field.

Nearly every place I looked to research her life has this same sentence, "When Anna Allison and her husband flew together, they held hands on takeoffs and landings, just in case." I can see them doing this, what a sweet and poignant testament to the relationship they'd shared.

I didn't know Anna, but from everything I've read I can honestly say that I wish I had. She seemed a promising mixture of can-do determination with a down to earth sentimental disposition. She made the most of her abilities, and helped others to do the same. She is the kind of person that I would feel blessed to count among my friends.

It's hard to wrap my brain around the idea that a person with as full of a life, and as much potential as Anna could be taken from us all. Then when I consider the 2,995 others that we lost on the same day, there's just no way to even comprehend it. I don't have anything wise, helpful or witty to say on this subject; I am overpowered by this circumstance.

I do want to let Anna's family know, though, that there are still those of us out here who keep her and the others in our hearts, and who think about them still. You are in my family's prayers, as always.

I remember Anna Williams Allison.
American Airlines Flight 11, World Trade Center
September 11, 2001

To read more tributes, go to the 2996 Project.

Please also stop by my other tribute, I remember Sharon Carver.



Sunday, September 10, 2006

Never fear!

I got the vacuum situation sorted out. Apparently, of the 60 bazillion kinds of beads I suck up all the time, there is one kind that is the perfect size to get jammed in the vacuum's belt. I know it's the exact right size, because it happened to me TWO TIMES yesterday! Garrrrrr!

Now I know, and as G.I. Joe taught us, knowing is half the battle...



Saturday, September 09, 2006


My vacuum cleaner is broken! I've pulled the family room apart in order to vacuum everywhere, and I have people coming over in 20 minutes.

Calgon, take me away!



Thursday, September 07, 2006

TT-Anya's Birth Story


Thirteen Things about Anya's Birth

Warning! Some of this might be TMI...

1. If you've been reading here a while, you know that my oldest daughter, Anya, was a preemie. She was born 16 weeks early, weighing exactly one pound, eight ounces.

2. I had been planning a low-intervention hospital birth with a nurse midwife. I'd been reading stuff like Spiritual Midwifery, and felt like I had a good handle on what I'd need to do when the "rushes" (ie contractions) started. Since the contractions started early one Saturday morning only 24 weeks into my pregnancy, I didn't recognize them for what they were. I figured I had diarrhea cramps or something similar. After about 2 hours of constant cramping with no poo, I called my midwife. She had me come right in.

3. On my way in, she told me to drink 3 or 4 big glasses of water, in case I was dehydrated. I didn't fully understand, so I gulped down 4 32 oz. cups of water. That was the most unpleasant car ride I've ever taken. Between the water, the bumpy road, the contractions and my growing worries about what was happening, I was miserable. When I got to the hospital, they determined pretty quickly that I was in labor, but they didn't know why. They hooked me up to an IV and started giving me magnesium sulfate to stop the contractions. And, they inserted a catheter so that I didn't have to get up so much to go pee. It was WONDERFUL! I never thought I could be so happy to have tubing shoved into my bladder.

4. After an hour or so, my midwife used a speculum to check out my cervix, peeked in and said, "Oh!" and left the room. The nurse took a look, said, "Oh!" and ran out after the midwife. In a couple of seconds they came back with another woman, whom I could only hope was a doctor. She also took a peek and said, "She's got a bulging bag, she needs to go." By that, she meant that my cervix was open and the amniotic sac was bulging through. They explained that it was much less likely that they could stop my contractions and put a stitch in my cervix to keep this baby in, as the sac was being stressed and could rupture easily. At this revelation, there was an intense flurry of activity, I received steroid shots and had to sign some paperwork so they could move me to another hospital. The hospital I was in didn't have a 3rd Level Nursery, so if I delivered there they'd have to move the baby to another hospital right away, and I'd be stuck at the first one until I was discharged.

5. They wanted me at the 2nd hospital FAST, so they put me on a helicopter! It was a nice flight, I got to see the gold dome of the Capitol Building and everything. I'd like to take the same flight on a day when things aren't going quite so dreadfully wrong, though! At the second hospital, they rolled me right in to an ultrasound room and did an amniocentesis to check and see if they could determine why I was in labor. Davin came in during the middle of the test, having already had a pretty rotten time getting there. Poor Davin wasn't allowed to come on the helicopter with me, so he'd had to fight traffic to get to the second hospital. In addition to that, in his stress he'd misunderstood where they were taking me. He went to the wrong hospital, and I wasn't there. So, he tried to call the first hospital, but since they hadn't admitted me, the person who was answering phones didn't have any way of figuring out what had happened. Fortunately, they eventually sent his call up to the high risk OB ward, where he was able to talk to someone who knew where I was. So, after all that, he walks in on the doctor sticking a giant needle through my abdomen and into the uterus. He was NOT well for that, poor guy! (I couldn't feel it, so it wasn't a big deal for me.)

6. The amnio showed that there was bacteria in the amniotic fluid, a condition known as chorioamnionitis. The baby would have to be born right away, because of the risk to both of us from the infection. They stopped the magnesium sulfate, and started up some pitocin to guarantee she'd be out soon and some phenobarbatal to hopefully ward off intracranial bleeding. Then they sent in the neonatologist to talk to us.

7. The neonatologist sat down on the edge of my bed and said that the odds weren't good. At 24 weeks gestation, he said, the baby's chances of survival were less than 10%. And, if the baby DID live, there was only about a 10% chance that she'd end up being relatively normal. By that he meant that she would most likely die, and if she didn't, she would most likely end up with severe brain damage as well as the multitude of developmental problems that are common among micropreemies. He explained that these statistics were actually on the high side, because she would be compromised at birth because of the bacterial infection and wouldn't have the same chances as their usual 24 weeker. Then he asked if we wanted them to resuscitate her.

8. Between the stress of the day, and the narcotics, I didn't understand. What did he mean, "Resuscitate?" I had to ask again and again what they were saying, and even then it didn't sink it. I never did answer the doctor. Later, I found out that what he was asking, was if we wanted them to even try to keep her alive. I could choose for them to do anything at all that they could, to do some things but not others, or to just give her to me after her birth and I could hold her while she died. I'm glad I didn't know that's what he meant, I don't think I could have handled it then. I'm much stronger now.

9. The pitocin caused me to feel like I was breaking apart, and I started to panic. The nurses kept offering me an epidural, but I was freaking out about the amount of stuff they were already filling me with and I didn't want any more medication. Plus, they'd told me she would be under 3 lbs, and I figured if I couldn't handle THAT I shouldn't be in the baby business! I pushed her out quite quickly, and her records said that she cried. I didn't hear it. When they cut her cord, the end of it that was attached to the placenta snuck back inside, and they were yelling at me to push and deliver the placenta so I could avoid the risks of massive blood loss. We didn't hear her cry until she was about 6 weeks old.

10. They announced that she was a girl, and inserted an endotracheal tube into her mouth and down her trachea, and secured it with tape to most of the lower portion of her face. Because of all of the medications, I couldn't see her, even though she was only about 3 feet away. I didn't get to see her face without the tape. To avoid heat loss, they wrapped her in a warm blanket. All of this was done in what seemed like 30 seconds. They brought her to me, and one of her hands was out of the blanket. I touched her hand with my fingertip, which was as big as her hand, and said, "Hi Baby!" I was crying. I'd been crying for a few hours at this point. I cried all through her birth, and for a few days afterwards. She grasped my fingertip, and then she had to go. A nurse rushed out the door with Anya in her arms, rolling an oxygen tank behind her as she left. I was stuck in the bed until the bleeding stopped, but Davin went with her.

11. I got my humor back pretty quickly. My sister, who'd worked labor and delivery as a corpsman in the Navy, had been on the phone with me on and off all day. I called her to let her know that Anya had been born, and was doing well so far, and I added, "You know, if this works out OK, I'm going to have them all this early. That was a pretty easy delivery!" I didn't mean it, but I have to say compared to the others, it WAS a pretty easy delivery!

12. Again, 10 days later, we got another chance to lighten up the situation. There was a problem between the insurance company and the hospital, and they needed to transfer Anya to another hospital, right across the street. The day of the transfer? Halloween! So, we told everyone that we were taking Anya out trick-or-treating, and that she was going as a premature baby. Mostly they didn't get it, but we thought it was HILARIOUS! The ambulance ride to the second hospital was a story in itself! Suffice it to say that it took over an hour to get her from door to door, and part of that time was riding in an ambulance with a flat tire!

13. Anya spent 105 days in the hospital. She was on a ventilator with an endotracheal tube for 6 weeks. We took her home on oxygen and with an apnea/bradycardia monitor. She spent most of the first two years of her life in therapies; occupational, speech, feeding, play, etc. After that she was in a special preschool program for kids with global delays. She caught completely up developmentally when she was 4, and she's never looked back. Now she's totally, 100% fine. No trace of any delays, jeez, she doesn't even need glasses! (preemies often have visual problems, and can end up blind, that's what happened to Stevie Wonder.) She's funny, smart, sensitive and more than a little twisted. But, the other kids are twisted, too, so I think that may be a parenting issue and not one related to her prematurity ;-)

I've often been grateful to God that my preemie was my first. It was hard to leave the hospital without her, but in a way I didn't know any better. And, I had no where to be but with her. I'd get up, pump, shower and head in and stay until 7pm or later every day. There were moms there with older kids, and it was very hard for them to balance each kid's needs. We were fortunate, all the way around, with Anya.

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Wednesday, September 06, 2006


Wow! I've been surfing Hillbilly Housewife all day, and I'm pretty impressed. She gives all sorts of frugal living tips, including this fabulous recipe for Magic Milkshakes that we had to try RIGHT AWAY!!! (It was good, even though I don't have any non-stick spray.)

Well, I'm going to go back to reading the Housewife! Thanks, Aimee, for sharing this with me :-)



Monday, September 04, 2006


After working with just about every deadly animal on the planet, Steve Irwin was killed by one that's apparently pretty hard to get killed by, a stingray.

Stingrays have a serrated, toxin-loaded barb, or spine, on the top of their tail. The barb, which can be up to 10 inches long, flexes if a ray is frightened. Stings usually occur to people when they step on or swim too close to a ray and can be excruciatingly painful but are rarely fatal, said University of Queensland marine neuroscientist Shaun Collin.

Collin said he suspected Irwin died because the barb pierced under his ribcage and directly into his heart.

"It was extraordinarily bad luck. It's not easy to get spined by a stingray and to be killed by one is very rare," Collin said.
We have always enjoyed Steve Irwin's programs, and his infectious enthusiasm for animals. He will be missed at my house.



Sunday, September 03, 2006

No words

Are you just hanging around your computer today? You may want to go check out Radio DavidByrne, he's got a neat collection of instrumental music on his playlist right now. We've been listening to it while we clean and decorate.

I usually don't like instrumentals, because they tend to be boring and because I like to sing along. But, these are pretty interesting and even the kids are getting into it.




Friday, September 01, 2006


I saw this over at MFH, and it seems like the perfect photo to post on a lazy Friday...




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