children, life

Field Trip!

This week the kiddos and I decided to go on a field trip to the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir and it was completely amazeballs.

From the parking lot.
From the parking lot.

I was looking for things in the area to do with the kids that wasn’t crazy expensive -and- was somewhat educational.  When I came across information of the mandir, I couldn’t pass it up.

I don’t subscribe to any specific religion and I’m not converting to Hinduism anytime soon.  What I know about Hinduism comes from mythology and the only Hindu that I know, Apu Nahasapeemapetilon.

Classic.
I need the Kwik-E-Mart.

The campus is huge, gated, meticulous and incredibly beautiful.  We stayed outside looking around at every little detail before going inside to attend the midday Rajbhog Arti ceremony.  We were in the way back as to not get in the way of people praying.   The detail in the hand cut marble, inside and outside, is really awesome.  The kids were losing their minds at how big it was and how it was like a castle.

I would have called it a palace, but whatever.
I would have called it a palace, but whatever.
Artsy shot of the architecture.
Artsy shot of the architecture.
ELEPHANTS!
ELEPHANTS!
Reflecting over the reflecting pool.
Reflecting over the reflecting pool.
This is the closest picture I could get of the Mandir. No photos after that point.
This is the closest picture I could get of the Mandir. No photos after that point.

Now, while I know very little about Hinduism, I do know to be respectful and follow the posted rules.  One of the rules that stood out was the restriction on photography/filming inside and outside of the mandir.  I even emailed to inquire if we could bring sketchbooks (we could) because I didn’t want to be an asshole.

One of the best parts of our tour was a woman visiting the shrine.  She was blatantly shooting video on her phone which really aggravated me.  When the staff/volunteers began to approach her, she quickly put her phone away and made the “it’s okay” gesture at the men.  They made her delete the photos and videos.

Best. Day. Ever.
Best. Day. Ever.

We had a great time, though to no one’s surprise the kids were not fans of Indian food.  Too spicy or too bean-y or just too out of their comfort zone.  I actually wasn’t much of a fan either, but maybe it was simply because it was prepared in a snack bar/cafe instead of a restaurant…which really doesn’t make sense because the snack bar/cafe food is usually super good in these out of the way places.  No matter, a good time was had by all.

Did I mention I'm a child?  Yeah, every time I say the word, this pops into my head.
Did I mention I’m a child? Yeah, every time I say the word, this pops into my head.
entertainment, health, life

Brain Dump: Surgery

I’m going to have surgery!

Not this surgery, though it’s urgently needed.

I’m getting my stupid ass carpal tunnel fixed!  I’ve complained about it from time to time.  Started during my first pregnancy with very, very light swelling.  Apparently, it just focused on that one spot.  If you are not familiar with carpal tunnel, maybe check out this video of open carpel tunnel release surgery -or- just look at this picture:

Just some information for you.

Outpatient, local anesthesia, cut open your hand, find the transverse carpal ligament and cut it.  Stitch it all up and get the fuck out.

FYI, I made the kids watch that video.  This could be the thing that pushes them into medicine.  Or therapy.  Whatever.

It has been getting worse and worse and worse.  Swelling, pain, numbness all the time.  Yes, my finger tips are numb as I type.  But I know how to type and I can still make my fingers move, so that’s how I’m still creating this magic.

I wish I could move my fingers.

It hurts to drive.  It hurts to go to the bathroom.  Sleeping is a pain.  Driving.  Buttons on clothing?  NAH let’s wear sweats for the rest of this blistering hot summer.  I have been trying to cook and freeze meals while I wait on a surgery date.  *sigh*

3 months of recovery?  On average, anyway.  Other people just ready to go a couple weeks after surgery.  Right hand first, then left.  I need to get both done before August because of my insurance.  I have a $500 deductible right now.  $500!  My last insurance was $4000.  PER PERSON.  $8000 per family, so basically, it was financially practical for all of us to get into a plane crash rather than just one or two people get hospitalized in a year.  It’s all about planning, people.

Co-pays don’t count against deductibles though, so all those $50 specialist co-pays are adding up.  It’s a fucking racket.

Every doctor, ever.  SMOKING.  HYPOCRITES. 

I have so much to talk about but my mind is very scatterbrained.  Hopefully I’ll get scheduled tomorrow so I can have a countdown.  In the mean time, I’m just driving my hands into the ground doing all of the things that I’m about not going to be able to do.

entertainment, health, home

Lousy Smarch Weather

The 13th month of the year is the *worst*.

Oy, heat and air heat and air heat and air.  My poor energy bill.  And then it rained too much.  It never snowed. Boohiss.

I’ve been cycling the ever living shit out of that new tank; it’s been just shy of a month and it’s been cycled for a couple of days now.  I may or may not have screwed it up, though.  We’ll see tomorrow when I test the water again.

First, I have excellent news.  Loach the Loach has three new friends that I picked up recently:  Coach Loach, Loach Approach, and Stagecoach Loach.  They’ve literally been celebrating ever since, swimming around the tank and excited for pipes and rocks and plants and stuff and other fish!  They dance all night (nocturnal) but still zip about here and there during the day.  They stack on top of each other when they take a break.  It’s truly amazing.  The best part:

Loach the Loach just comes out to hang around. No more hiding!

I also got two more swordtail, Haineko and Minazuki.  They’re not as big as the Grande Dame Benihime but they’re still new.  And for good measure, a nice picture of Otto:

NOM NOM NOM NOM NOM

I still need more of these guys; waiting to get Bot, Graph, and Matic.  Maybe a Bahn or a Bus in there, too.  We’ll see.

In full nerd fashion, I decided to experiment with lighting since I want to plant the new tank.  I am not interested in a CO2 set up right now because I’m poor and lazy.  Amazingly, more poor than lazy.  So I bought a properly watted and colored daylight bulb and started testing how it would affect the plants.

Day 1: I do not know how to properly photograph through glass.

On the driftwood are some generic anubias, micro sword, pygmy chain sword, and red ludwigia.

Day 6: New plants and new fish and most importantly, nothing is dead.

Same plants, but I’ve trimmed and replanted the ludwigia.  Water lettuce on top, new female betta up there, too.  Her name is Gabrielle!  She’s fine in the community tank but when I tried to add another female (Oscar) it didn’t work out.  Oscar was getting picked on a lot by the swordtail so I took her back.  So sad.  She was a beautiful yellow girl, very vibrant.  I’ll set up a sorority when I can afford to; until then, Gabrielle gets to hang out peacefully with everyone else.

NEW LEAF! 2/3 of the way from the left. The little curled up thing. IT’S BEING BORN!
Gabrielle inspecting the ludwigia.

Since I took pictures last I bought some anacharis and something called rorippa.  Amazingly, plants are more expensive than fish and I don’t particularly care if they die.  It’s only a pain to clean up.  I’ve gotten 50 lbs of blasting sand into the bottom of the tank and will hopefully finish adding the rock hardscape soon.  Then black flourite.  Then plants.  Then swordtails.  Then tetras and betta.  Then otos and loaches.

So, the important thing is that I’m having fun and have something to occupy my time.  Like washing sand and testing water parameters every day.  I really, really can’t wait to have something to show for my efforts.  More soon!

children, entertainment, life

Photo Dump: Random and Belated

1. Jasper
2. This rock in my aquarium

resembles the planet Jupiter.


3. Dandelions


4. Long shots always look like an album cover to me.


5. This makes me laugh disproportionately hard

6.  Magnus is now 7.4 lbs at 5.5 months. He was 2.4 lbs when we got him 3 months ago.


7. Josh’s birthday was in March and I didn’t say anything about it.


8. We went to Medieval Times for his birthday (but we waited until after tax season).


9. Summer reading challenge dinner. They read while we waited for a table but I made them put it away before food.  

10. Playing so many puzzles on Facebook.  Because I’m cool.

entertainment

PLAGIARISM!

My skivves are all in a wad over a sign I saw at my local chain BBQ place.  I passed it on my way to the restroom and ignored it until the last line triggered all the alarm bells:

Oh, you really said that Shane? REALLY? DID YOU REALLY?

I’m full on, fan-girl annoyed.  Did they think no one would notice?  Are you serious?

Nerd rage!

From the classic episode, Lisa the Vegetarian:

CORRECT QUOTE ATTRIBUTION

This line sparks this amazing and iconic song and conga line:

If you can’t sing this song we can’t be friends.

Seriously, is this even legal?  I’m overly anxious about quote from an animated character.  If it was your fandom being infringed upon, you’d be all up in arms, too.