17 May 2018

It's Like She's Trying to Win a Contest

I have an Office Space level coworker who is unfortunately located right next to me.  Fortunately, she isn't here every day because otherwise this would be unbearable.  However, the small pockets of time that she is is LONG.

Here's a little timeline:

  • Came in muttering
  • Took out breakfast from plastic bags and banging of spoon for what felt like ten minutes
  • More muttering
  • Wadding up paper while throwing it away
  • Oh good, the phone.  This probably is inferred but she is also a loud talker.
  • This person is an ice and gum chewer and a lick/scrape every possible bit of yogurt from a cup kind of person. 
Usually I have music playing but I didn’t start it today because I am leaving soon. This both amplifies and yet quiets her.  However, she will usually sing along to the music even though I have it on barely audible to anyone but me.  (I’ve tested, and asked, to make sure)

  • Oh, the yogurt scraping has begun. 
  • Moved onto apple slices in a plastic bag
  • Sad, tiny little angel baby came in with a teacher and she never even acknowledged them.  They were directly behind her.  Who ignores sad tiny humans!?!?
  • Muttering again…
  • Oh, I almost missed mentioning the haptic sound of her phone when she apparently sends novella sized texts
This isn’t happening now but will most assuredly happen:
She prescreens webinars for staff.  With.The.Speakers.On so all of us can hear it.  It’s usually birth-to-five based so imagine jenky-happy music and kids giggling.  Not disconcerting at all.

Why doesn’t she wear headphones, you ask?  Sometimes she does but then…because there’s always a But Then…she has a tendency to dialogue with the webinar or sing along or and I’m sooo not kidding: clap her hands.  It’s like the headphones forces the other parts of her body to be louder.

And the fact. FACT, I say, that every food she eats is wrapped in plastic and crinkly wrapping that apparently takes escape room level timing and skills to unwrap. (imagine opening candy in a quiet theatre)  Oh, and the fast food soda cups...sigh. She is not only an ice chewer but a slurper as well; accompanied by the ever soothing sound of the straw scraping against plastic.

In case you worry that I might be melodramatic, I must also mention the day that she was listening to music through her headphones and shall I say so were we.  It was so loud.  BUT THEN and I swear to gawd this is true: she began to sing The Backup Vocals.  The "Ooh" and the "Aahhs" and Whoaaasss" parts. 

Which then brings us to the slinky.  Yes, there is a slinky. Of course there is a slinky.

It was suggested to her to use a slinky (and we hate that person) when she feels herself stressed and/or overwhelmed.  One day, when she was unfortunately here all day, the slinky was employed throughout the day.

Oh, and most of the time during all this: I have earbuds in.  I can still hear her over the earbuds.

The slinky makes us all mental and this is where I realized I forgot to tell you that human is a mentor/instructor for the staff.  One would think self-awareness would be a required qualification, but what do I know.  I’m a data geek.

Anyway. The got.dammed slinky.
She begins to shhhlink….shhhlink…shhhlink.
This is not enough for our protagonist. 
She then stands and paces/circles in her cublicle.  12 foot square space at the most.
Shhhlink…. Shhhlink… shhhlink… shhhlink
Now add humming.  Shhhlink hmmmmm  shhhlink hmmmmmm
AND THEN
She begins to pace the entire office.  There are ten cubicles in this room.  Paces the entire office.
Shhhlink hmmmmm  shhhlink hmmmmmm Shhhlink Shhhlink Shhhlink

Then there is a decision made that it must be shared with the entire building. Out she goes, and down the hallway where you can still hear Shhhlink Shhhlink Shhhlink Shhhlink

This generated a very special sticky note:

Now I recognize that I have my own issues, I'm an alphabet soup of issues. I am far from perfect.  I realize this all could be overly noticeable by me just because of said issues.  

Until the slinky story.   The slinky story squashes any contrary argument.

It's like she's trying to win a contest.






13 May 2018

For the Not the Moms

Having been raised by wolves, as I've regularly described my childhood, other women stepped up to make sure that I was parented when my parents couldn't or didn't know any better.

As a very young kid, it was my mom's best friend.  As I was a trauma birth, she was the one who cared for me the first month plus of my life.  In fact, she made sure I was taken care of the first part of my young life. She sees me as the daughter she never had. 

My paternal grandma helped too while she was alive.  She died when I was five, but I still remember her babysitting and making sure that I was spoiled and had what I needed.

During grade school, my mom became a volunteer firefighter with a group of stay-at-home moms.  Those women also stepped up and made sure I was okay over the years. 

Mostly I remember my high school best friend's moms.  At sixteen/seventeen, I was working, going to school, paying bills, and driving.  I was an adult mostly but I still felt their watchful eyes on me. They made sure I got home, school, or to work on time, had what I needed, fed me, answered my questions.  Parented me when I needed it. 

So, today I'm giving a shout out to those moms who take care of kids who aren't theirs.  Not the foster moms or the step moms.  The moms who just take in the friends of your kids without a thought.  You might not think they notice but they do.  You  may think it's nothing or a little thing but it's not.

I appreciate every meal, every hug, every correction, every thing they did to step up and fill the gaps. 

12 May 2018

You're Not Invited

Tomorrow is Mother's Day, admittedly one of my least favorite holidays. 

I'm not close with my mom and Kevin's mom is super way not the same mom that I met almost thirty years ago.  This whole palliative care thing has changed the relationship to a caregiver instead of parental one. 

My mom did the best that she could but woo boy, the mistakes that were made were huge ones.  The older I get and experience with kids and grandkids, the more I see it.  Aging in this instance is not helpful.  "What the eff were you thinking?" is what mostly occurs to me.

I'm not motherless, but it kinda feels like it.

I'm usually okay with the not having kids thing.  However, I've noticed that it has bothered me more as I've aged.  We are not going to have kids and grandchildren to care for us when we are old.  It's going to be just Kev and I.  Sure there are a dozen nephews and nieces but we know that that is not at all the same.

In the weirder moments, I wonder about past relationships, all of which now have children, and wonder what that life would have been like. I've miscarried three times in my life.  Twice was a blessing because carrying Satan's babies was not something that should ever happen.  I shudder to think that I would have a 28 and 29 year old right now and would be forever tethered to him. 

But then I comment "Our luck we would have gotten sacked with a kid LIKE THAT." while watching Young Sheldon and I realize that perhaps it's for the best.

Then there are the folks who try to make it better. Bless their hearts. (shaking my head)  "You have a fur baby!  Look at all the kids you helped raise during your career.  You're a godmother."  These are all things that I've heard.

These are all things that make me want to punch you in the throat.  These are the things that makes Kevin verbally dive in front of to deflect whenever he can.  I understand that people are trying to be kind but just don't.  It's not the same and no perspective is going to make it the same.

Days like this are like not being invited to a classmates birthday party when you're in elementary school.  You don't know why, you're feeling left out, and you can't understand the experiences that everyone who attended had.  Their stories aren't relevant to you.  It's an inside joke, you had to be there kind of thing.
 My advice is to say nothing. Treat it like another day. Know that people like me are gutting days like this out.

So, tomorrow I get to sleep in and Kevin will bring me coffee.  We'll spend some time next door but that's not different than any other day.  We'll visit my mom while my siblings are there and hope it won't be awkward (it so will be, but we hope)   Kevin will offer to take me to dinner or buy me stuff or both.  He will markedly not comment if I choose to watch Grey's Anatomy all.damn.day. 

And he will probably post something horribly awkward, funny and inappropriate on social media. My favorite was"Happy You're Not A Mom Day!" one year.  Leave it to us to make it uncomfortable.



09 May 2018

Post Apocalyptic Hometown

It's been about a year since I started this new job. I know, right? A year that I envisioned would never end and that I would be miserable the whole time.  A year that I swore would be temporary.

Well, I just signed a letter of intent for the next school year so the second year of my contract is officially enacted.  It feels odd that it's been a year already and it feels odd to sign a contract to commit to another year. It makes me a little panicky but it's mostly good.

As you see, I still have hesitancy about this whole thing and I guess it boils down to the returning home thing.  I've mentioned before that I totally understand why writers have their protagonists return home so often in their storylines.  It's a thing.  A real thing.

I left town over 25 years ago and didn't really look back.  Sure, I drove through town or whatever but I really didn't spend any real time there. I left for two reasons: 1) my personal safety and b) new and more opportunities elsewhere. Well, three reasons: life.

During that time away, it seems I metaphorically sealed up this town and kicked it back to the dark, dusty corner of my memory to be forgotten.  Now I'm here every day during the work week and it's real. No avoiding it although I have been in absolute denial. Until recently.

The epiphany happened for me while Kevin was watching The Walking Dead:  I'm working in my Post Apocalyptic Hometown.  Everything looks similar but it's not the same.  People have changed,some people are gone or dead.  Everything is different yet in some ways the same.  I can kind of see what has happened during my absence but other stuff remains a mystery. Post apocalyptic.

I've had to acknowledge some zombies along the way and that hasn't been super fun.  Fighting zombies rarely is, from what I've gathered.

Yet for all the differences 25-ish years have made, there are still moments and memories attached everywhere. Every.Doggoned.Where.   I believe I'm mostly past the jarring "Oh that horrible thing happened there" and tend to focus more on the positive happy memories that do exist here.

I've kind of methodically visited different spaces, like testing the soreness of a bruise. The place where we all hung out before everything fell apart, the park where I used to sit and have lunch, houses of old friends who haven't lived there in years. These little field trips have allowed the happier moments to rise up and snuff out the ugly ones, mostly.

It's happy/sad now. There's comfort in some of these memories yet I need to not be sucked into a melancholy nostalgia either, searching for how it used to be and trying to recreate it. I have to adapt to this new place.

Yet, the invisibility still continues. I haven't told my friends who are still here that I'm back working in town yet. (Yes, I suck. I own this)  I haven't visited my family, but those have other reasons attached. I'm still a little vigilant about my whereabouts and probably always will be because a permanent restraining order still exists.

In the meanwhile, I will keep moving forward and pushing my boundaries outward until this Post Apocalyptic place becomes a new normal.  I continue to slay the zombies and rebuild.




06 May 2018

This Will Make a Good Story at the Memorial

Any time  that I mention that my homelife is exactly like the television show Everyone Loves Raymond I get one of two responses.  Usually it's an "awww, that must be so nice" or an uncomfortable chuckle.

I will say that on the whole, it is fine.  I've written about it before so I won't rehash too much.  It's like being part of the Witness Protection Program because your every move is noticed.  Late for work? Washing your car? Got a bill in the mail? Just bought something at the store?  Yep, they know. 

Last weekend was the first nice weekend the Pacific Northwest has had in, no word of a lie, eight months.  In the seventies, puffy happy clouds, if any, in the blue sky.  Perfect day.

On Sunday I just wanted to work in my garden in peace.  I wanted to pull weeds, rake, and assess what plants wintered over and which needed replacing.  Also, I had some flower seeds to plant.  What I'm saying is that I had plans.

Kevin was already working in his shop because he is active the moment his eyes open, bless his heart.  (I mean that in the most Southern way possible)  I went to our back door, which looks at the garden and you can see the corner of the shop.  I looked and sure enough, there is Kevin's dad and his brother. 

I literally muttered "Eff me."then closed the door and went back into the house.

Now, Kevin's dad has been working really hard in our yard this past week.  He's redoing the lawn and he's loving it because our house and yard is kept really nicely and we leave him alone.  Years ago, Kevin and I made the agreement that even if he does something we don't like, we are to SHUT IT and not mention it. The reasons for this are two-fold: firstly, he's 80 and loves to help.  Secondly, Kevin's brother is awful to him and criticizes everything his dad does yet doesn't lift a finger to help. So, he loves to work over here.  And Lucy is his favorite but I'm off topic. 

I gave it a few minutes and peeked out our bathroom window, which looks upon the entire shop.  See? Witness Protection.  Everyone was gone so I made a break for it, gathered my tools from the shed, and got to work.  At one point, I had to go back to the shed, next to the shop.  Kevin was returning from his parents house and sighed heavily, as he's prone to do these days.  I leaned against him for a moment and said "I just wanted five minutes peace.  That's all."   I looked at him and realized that I was Singing to the Choir. 

I decided to just quietly hang out around Kevin to support him and frankly, it keeps his brother away. (long story)  My work can wait. Kevin needs a buffer.  All of a sudden I can hear music from next door.  A good 200 feet and one house and one enclosed car trailer away.  "Apparently we're listening to REO Speedway this morning, Kev." 

He went into his shop and all of a sudden Luke Bryan is on blast.  Passive Aggressive Response, for the win.

Eventually, I got to work in the garden. I am the brother repellent so my work was done there.  Kevin's dad worked on the other side of the house from me.  I'm guessing Kev might have told him that I needed space, knowing I had ready access to gardening tools.

All in all it was a nice day, eventually we all got to do our thing in harmony.

Now, you're thinking "What's wrong with that? It sounds kind of nice." 

This is where I tell you that Kevin's dad doesn't always have good boundaries.  He has broken into the house WHILE WE ARE IN IT to get the keys to our truck. (we share it with him...another long story)

On Sunday morning, it turns out that while Kevin had returned to bed with me, IF YOU GET WHAT I MEAN, Kevin's dad had walked through our yard, past our bedroom windows to work in the yard.  Multiple Times.  Just kill me. 

I console myself with the thoughts of "Someday you're going to miss this" and "This will make a good story at the memorial"




01 May 2018

Gmorning Gnight - Poetry Month


It's Not About Holding His Hand


Many people watched in delight as He Who Shan’t Be Named was caught on video trying to get his wife to hold his hand at a state dinner.  Initially, I too found delight in the rejection and embarrassment.

Then someone on the twitter mentioned to rewatch the clip, but only watch her expression.  I wish I didn’t.  It was no longer entertaining to me.  It became heart-breaking and to sound like a Millennial, I found myself a little triggered. I now view her a survivor of domestic violence who is still unsafe. 

Now, this is where I say that yes, she has made choices that has put her into the situation she is now.  But there is no way that she could have guessed how she would end up in the global spotlight.  We also don’t know what prompted her to make those choices. And really, none of us are faultless in making choices that have landed us in unhappy situations.

The desperation and insistence that she hold his hand for appearances and not affection is something I’ve experienced.  It creates an emotion unto itself: frustration, humiliation, dread, and sadness all intermix.  It’s not about affection, it’s about ownership, control, and appearances. 

But what sent me over the edge was his nod when she finally acquiesced.  That nod gave me chills.  I’ve seen that nod. That nod meant “Good girl for obeying.”  It meant “There will be consequences.”  It meant “See? I still have control.”  It makes me nauseous, still, thinking about it.

So I have to give grace to someone whom I’d really rather not.  Sadly, I found that we are part of a kinship of being in an unbearable situation with little control or even hope of a different outcome.  

To make it so much more worse, he is the face of America right now.  That makes it difficult to get up in the morning, for sure.  Here's what I suggest:
Hold the hands of those you love. Make a donation to a shelter. Volunteer. Smile at strangers.  We're all in this together.  Find some grace.  That's how I get up in the morning.

Oh, and eff.that.guy.  I almost forgot that part.

20 April 2018

And Then - Poetry Month


You can find nearly anything on Pinterest.  Finding poetry was something I didn't expect.  I admit that I haven't researched the poet, which is unlike me.  I research everything.  But I guess I want to have a reaction to the poetry instead of to the poet or who they are.

The poems are predominately sad in nature, I think.  But I love the imagery. If you're inclined to sad, it can be good or it can be triggering.  





17 April 2018

I Found Bad Wolf

I am unsure if it's a regional thing or not but placing painted rocks around the community for folks to find has become a thing.  I've a few facebook friends who participate so that's about the extent of my knowledge.  I believe you're supposed to pay it forward if you find a rock, but it's okay if you don't.

I often see the painted rocks on social media and marvel at them. It's one of those things that one admires and thinks would be fun but then immediately forgets about. 

Anyway...

Because things have been stressful and unfun family-wise, Kevin and I have been doing random things just to break the stress.  Last Saturday was a trip to his work to see what's doing there.  (He's got new equipment, lots of projects, etc. It's more fun than it sounds and well, we weren't at home.)

Afterward we went to breakfast in town.  It's a very small town and one of those places that you go through on the way to somewhere else.   Not somewhere where it would occur to me to even look for such a thing.

We stopped at a cafe that had recently moved into an old Burger King.  We were wondering how it was going to look, going from a tiny cafe in a converted house to a fast food restaurant.  A fast food restaurant that was closed because it was so unsanitary, they lost their franchise.  YIKES.

As we were walking to go inside, something caught my eye.  I backed up and exclaimed "OH! That is SO COOL!" 

Someone had placed a rock to find on the ledge of the building. 

AND it was a DOCTOR WHO rock!  Thank you, universe.

I picked it up and turned it over to make sure that it was one of those and was excited to see it was. Kevin was skeptical though, "What is that? Wait, you're TAKING it?"

He was totally confused...why are you taking a rock? what is Bad Wolf (he's not a Whovian, obvs.)  Why would someone do that? Are you sure?  I explained to him but he remained skeptical.

I posted it on my facebook and thanked the group.  Now it sits on the end table where I can see it often and be happy.


Thank you random, kind stranger for taking the time not only to create art but to share it with the world too.  It made my day and continues to give me happy.

Allonsy!


14 April 2018

Not So Broken

I can't remember the quote anymore but it's something along the lines of bragging about a good deed lessens the good.  I normally wouldn't share a particular good deed that I've done but this one still sits with me and it's been months. 

There is a homeless gentleman who has a caravan made of a bike and attached trailer.  He also has about five cats.  They ride in the trailer and they are always with him.   I've heard that he's been offered housing but he has to reduce the amount of kitties he has.  He can't bear to do it so he remains on the streets.

The cats are very well loved.  I've heard that he won't accept help or donations for himself but he will for his cats.  You can tell because they are clean, groomed, and well-fed. 

One morning I stopped to get a coffee and he was in the parking lot.  I always feel a twinge of guilt getting something and not getting something for him. 

As we know, Lucy is the most spoiled dog in all the land.  We've tried many combinations of beds for her throughout the house and shop.  One we bought ended up being too small.  I put it in my truck with the intention of dropping it off at the humane society.   As intended donations often do, the dog bed was well-traveled, spending about a week in the backseat.

For some reason, it popped into my head that perhaps he would take it for the kitties.  I parked near him and got out of the car.  I'd been told that he is harmless, so I didn't feel hesitant and I've learned skills in approaching said folks over time.

I knelt down and said "Excuse me, sir?" It took two more times before he answered.  I'm assuming he was worried that I was going to tell him to move or pray at him or whatever he must experience from the general public. 

I explained "I have a little dog bed that I was going to give to the pound but I thought maybe your kitties would like it instead.  He quietly responded, "What happened to your puppy?" 

My heart just broke, here is a human who has nothing and his first response is asking about the well-being of a dog.  I laughed and explained that she was just a very spoiled dog and was just fine, cozy at home. 

I asked him again if he wanted the bed and he said yes.  I explained that I would be right back and got it out of the truck.  I approached him again and held it out.  The cats were out of their carrier and huddled around him.  He took the bed and smiled a big smile.  "Oh, it's nice..."

He set it down and the cats immediately made themselves at home on it.  I commented that they seemed very happy and loved. 
"Maybe they'll share it with you a little"   He kind of laughed and continued pet the cats.  I wished him well and retreated to the truck.  I heard a quiet, small, "God bless you" as I turned away.

Again, I was touched by his caring.  He's clearly broken and yet his first thoughts were of a puppy's well-being.  Maybe he's not so broken after all.

13 April 2018

The Guest House - Poetry Month

I can't remember who was being interviewed by Howard Stern but they mentioned this poem.  It struck me in such a way that I looked it up online as soon as I could.  Yes, a strange venue in which to learn poetry, for sure.

THE GUEST HOUSE

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

– Jelaluddin Rumi,
Translation from The Essential Rumi by Coleman Barks

06 April 2018

The Day is Done - Poetry Month

April is national poetry month and every April I have the best intentions to share some of my favorites.  Here it is the sixth of the month and I'm just now thinking about it. I know it's not everyone's thing but I think that putting any sort of beauty out into the world is important right now.

This is the first poem that I ever really connected with. It was in high school and I so wish that I still had that textbook.

The Day is Done 
BY HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW

The day is done, and the darkness
      Falls from the wings of Night,
As a feather is wafted downward
      From an eagle in his flight.

I see the lights of the village
      Gleam through the rain and the mist,
And a feeling of sadness comes o'er me
      That my soul cannot resist:

A feeling of sadness and longing,
      That is not akin to pain,
And resembles sorrow only
      As the mist resembles the rain.

Come, read to me some poem,
      Some simple and heartfelt lay,
That shall soothe this restless feeling,
      And banish the thoughts of day.

Not from the grand old masters,
      Not from the bards sublime,
Whose distant footsteps echo
      Through the corridors of Time.

For, like strains of martial music,
      Their mighty thoughts suggest
Life's endless toil and endeavor;
      And to-night I long for rest.

Read from some humbler poet,
      Whose songs gushed from his heart,
As showers from the clouds of summer,
      Or tears from the eyelids start;

Who, through long days of labor,
      And nights devoid of ease,
Still heard in his soul the music
      Of wonderful melodies.

Such songs have power to quiet
      The restless pulse of care,
And come like the benediction
      That follows after prayer.

Then read from the treasured volume
      The poem of thy choice,
And lend to the rhyme of the poet
      The beauty of thy voice.

And the night shall be filled with music,
      And the cares, that infest the day,
Shall fold their tents, like the Arabs,
      And as silently steal away.

These Moments are Fleeting

As described in previous posts, family can be stressful.  Yesterday was Easter and with seven children, most of them teenagers now, it gets a little crazy.

The littles, who will be twelve in May, still wanted to do an egg hunt.  We were a little surprised but assumed they were going to do it with Sweet Baby, thus "justifying" doing a little kid thing.  But no, they were totally into it.

Then the baby fell asleep.  To be fair, he's two and it was nap time.  And we were all a little jealous.

Because reasons, Kevin and I have become the grandparents in these adventures.  We helped the adults kids hide the eggs and helped coach the kids in their search.  Well, I helped, Kevin smack-talked, which the boys adore.  The highlight was when Kevin called  C2 - the 14 year old - "Bruh" and he burst out laughing, saying "Dude, did you just say...bruh?" in complete disbelief.  Anyone who has teenaged sons knows what an accomplishment eliciting laughter can be.

We had to hide them in more difficult places this year; up high and in places nearly out of their reach.  One was tied onto a tree branch, one was balanced on a stump in a watery ditch.  Oh, and Nephew usually hides a bug in one of them so paranoia was high upon opening the plastic eggs.  If you know me IRL, you'll see the photos on the facebook.

After the hunt, we returned inside and the kids went through their candy while we enviously watched.  Family Feud was on and it was interesting to hear the kids play along. They understood some of the racier jokes yet one of the Boy Littles were frustrated that contestants making the "X" sign wasn't how you high-five and "Nobody high fives like that"   Girl Little is actually pretty good at the game and it was fun to have them old enough to participate in things like that.

Once everyone settled down, Girl Little sat next to me and before I knew it, her head was on my lap and she was snoozing.  Like with the teenaged boy, these moments are so rare now.  I carefully took a snap with my cell phone to keep the moment forever.

We know the clock is winding down with the parents but it didn't fully occur to me that the clock is also ticking with the kids.  Soon they are not going to want to hunt for eggs or snuggle while waiting for dinner.

So five minutes peace with a sleeping kid and making a sarcastic teen laugh. These moments are fleeting.


30 March 2018

Don't Call Your Mother

In case you're wondering about what life with aging parents might look like...

Kevin received a phone call stating the title of this bloggitty about a month ago.  He phones his mom every morning to literally make sure that everyone made it through the night.  But his dad phoned him and said the above.

Like most things these days, it takes a deep breath and eye-roll before being able to respond like a reasonable adult.  "Why not? What's wrong?"

"Well, her phone won't ring."

Kevin tried to get more information but asking his dad questions is not unlike asking a five-year-old a question.  You're going to get details you don't need. This is a good visualization:
Image result for family circus billy map

Then Kevin phones me and immediately apologizes.  "Can you go next door and see what's happening?"  This is one of those moments when I wished I drank.

I walk over there and I have to leave Lucy inside because they take care of my brother-in-laws dog whom I dislike and is mean to Lucy.  So just entering the house is a thing.  I mention that they live in a Park Model Home, so it's 400 square feet.  Perfect size for two elderly people, a small dog and an ill-behaved boxer.  Anyway...

Oh, and imagine either sports, COPS, or CNN being on blast while you're there.  And that Kevin's dad not-whistles all.the.time (not whistling = randomly blowing air out of your mouth, making a shushing sound)

Then it's the five minute thing to figure out what is happening.  There are a few things: Kevin's dad will joke because reasons instead of just telling us what is happening.  Kevin's mom isn't a good reporter and will make something up if she can't remember or doesn't want to tell us.  So I've learned to just start from scratch with anything.  Make no assumptions!

Oh and it's been doing this for two days.  Kevin checks in every day, usually twice.  Two days and they don't tell us. We live next door.  They see us come home from work every day.  I get home at 3:00.  Two days!!

I sat down and dialed her phone with my phone. "Oh, we did that. It doesn't work."  Deep sigh, "Yes I know but I need to see what it does and hear what message I receive."  It's like they think I don't believe them and I kinda don't but we'll move on.

Indeed it doesn't ring and it just says that the customer isn't available.  I go through the settings to make sure that she didn't put it in airplane mode or whatever.  She's been known to shut stuff off then steadfastly deny it. 

Then I check my app to make sure that the phone is still active. (more on that in a minute)  Finally I turn it off and turn it back on.  It works.

So, now I'm magic.  I fix all the things.

Two weeks go by and Kevin's dad phones during dinner.  Kevin was literally, physically IN THEIR HOUSE twenty minutes ago.  "Your mothers phone isn't working again."

Kevin disconnects and tells me. 
"OFFS!" I exclaim. 
Our patience is so worn at this point. 

We trudge over there and again the phone won't ring.  BUT, this time the battery is also dead.  So we have to deduce which came first: the non-ringing, the dead battery?  It's a chicken/egg thing.

Oh, and she doesn't have a cord for it, because wait for it, the dogs chewed it.
Now there's the discussion of how they need to make sure the phone is charged in case she falls, Kevin's dad is gone, whatever. This is completely new information to her.  AUUUUGGGGHHHH.

We restarted the phone and it worked again.  Now we explain how we need to know this as soon as possible so she's not without a phone and so I can address it before I leave from work, in case I need to stop at the phone store for, oh you know, a phone charger.  This time it has been two days.

Now this is the other part: They also use our internet.  We momentarily tried to use Kevin's brother's but it didn't work because of course it doesn't.

After THREE DAYS of not having internet, they finally phoned me to come see what the problem was.  "Well, we didn't want to bother you..."  "We don't now what's wrong."

Now, all she does at this point of her life is watch CNN and play with her tablet so this is kind of a big deal.  But, they didn't initially tell me that it had been three days.

I do all the stuff I know to reconnect.  Finally, I had to call Verizon to see what has happened.  Well, I thought I had taken the suspension off her account when we discovered she couldn't use the other house's internet but I made a mistake and it was disconnected.  Five minutes later and it was back up and running.

I mention to them that it's been three days.  "Oh, no! It hasn't been that long!"  Yes, it has because Verizon probably doesn't have time to lie to me.  And it's both of them, they're complicit.  So we've had to coach Kevin's dad to tell us when something isn't right because Kevin's mom will literally lie about it. 

I used to say that it's like raising teenagers but this is more like four-year-olds who have actual cookie crumbs on their mouths and blame the dog for the cookies being gone.

So, there you go, in case you're wondering what it's like raising elderly parents.




27 March 2018

Silent Films

One of the last parts of the photo project for my mom has taken a long time for me to finish.  She had a few reels of 8 mm film that we weren't sure what was on them. They were from my dad and maybe from my grandma, my mother thought.

I took them to the local camera shop (yeah, I know right, there is still such a thing) who sent them off to be put onto a dvd.  According to the interwebs, the wally world and other chain stores will do it too but I had trust issues with that idea.

Heartbreakingly, one roll couldn't be processed because the chemical used to develop the film has been banned due to toxicity.  Whatever is on that roll is lost to history.  Instead, it is on my bookshelf until maybe technology makes development possible.

It took almost three weeks and now those films are now on one dvd.  Technology is amazing but it is expensive; over $100 for less than 30 minutes of footage.  And, there's no audio.  I was pretty disappointed about that.

I uploaded it to the youtube so it's stored forever somewhere.  Then put a link on the facebook for the brothers, nieces, and cousins.  It's one of those things that maybe something will be important to someone else someday.

The videos are all pre-my existence so we're guessing mid-1960's.  It started with grainy video of a parade in my dad's hometown.  I think maybe two of the people on horseback is my great aunt and uncle. It also looks like it's across the street from where my mom worked as a waitress before she was married.

Then it switches to video of my eldest brother as a baby, in one of those now illegal bouncy/rolly seats.  He's maybe six months old. I so wish there was audio.

My dad worked for the Washington State Department of Transportation for awhile.  One of the jobs he did was bridge inspection.  There is video of the underneath of Deception Pass bridge.  You can see that my dad was on the girders from the vantage point and he made sure to video the water rushing underneath them.  Then it segues into the Swinomish Slough bridge in the early 60's.  I can't tell if it's an inspection or not.  It's interesting only in seeing the cars drive by.

There is about a thirty-second segment of my brothers playing in the yard while my mom mowed.  They're about three and eight, maybe.  They look so happy; I remember mostly surly teenage boys because of the age difference.  That my mom was mowing while my dad was doing other things is a perfect encapsulation of their relationship.

The next reel is the home movies equivalent of vacation slides, from a fishing boat going to Alaska.  This happened while my mom was pregnant with me, I believe. (another shining example of my dad's commitment to family)  It's footage starting at the Ballard Locks and the ship name is Sea Comber. Then
LOTS of footage that was probably interesting to him but is boring af now, especially with no audio.

It finishes with another vignette of my brothers swimming on our old dock.  The dock looks just like it did when I was a child.  My brothers are older in this part so I'm guessing it was probably filmed the summer I was a baby, so 1969.

The discovery of this was interesting but a little disappointing.  I don't know what I expected but I kind of hoped it was more. I think it was a situation where the unknown was much more interesting than the reality.

So as to not end this on a bummer note, double-check with grandparents, aunts & uncles, etc. for these kind of gems.  While I was disappointed, there could have been something significant there that would have continued languishing unknown and undiscovered in a drawer.


24 March 2018

Enough

Image result for enough Time magazine

23 March 2018

They Make Paint Everyday

I love watching home reno shows.  My favorites are Fixer Upper, Property Brothers, and Main Cabin Masters.  Flip or Flop Atlanta and Nashville are contenders as well. However, I can't even with the househunter shows.

I'm not a fan of  the Tiny House movement, even though our house is smaller than most.  When I look at those tiny homes, all I can think of is that it is great if nothing ever goes wrong; because no one ever ages or gets sick or injured.

But here's some things that flip my switch (see what I did there?)

I'm not a cooker so kitchens are not important to me.  I can understand the want for the chef's kitchen but I think living space is more important.  So many times I see kitchens that are just fine but these people are all "Eeew, gross."

And really, everything is cyclical.  What is cool now isn't going to be cool in a few years.  So I'm always a little skeptical when people say the kitchen needs updating.  I mean sometimes just a coat of paint and new appliances will do the trick.

"Room for my shoes"  Cue: eyeroll.  This supersedes "I need my glamour closet" by fractions. You need bigger problems if that is a priority.

I don't understand the "Kids need a playroom."  When I was growing up that was called my bedroom.

I laugh every time I see people moving out to the country because they want a big yard.  Rarely do they look like folks who can handle a riding lawn mower, trimming trees, and other tasks that are required by large yards.  I just think to myself: budget for a landscaper.

Now let's talk about a phrase I could live the remainder of my life hearing again: Open Concept.  Anyone who doesn't have it and want it needs to listen to me, because Imagine:
watching television while someone is in the kitchen banging pots, washing dishes, etc.
Or when you make a particular pungent meal that now permeates the entire house.
Or being able to see that you didn't do the dishes from most vantages in your house.
Imagine having your phone conversation being heard through the majority of your home.
Or as someone on one of those shows pointed out: "I can't be naked in my own home because you can see everywhere."  You laugh but now think of all the times you left something in the dryer that you needed when you are getting dressed.

I agree that open concept looks nice and can be appealing. Our small cottage home is low key open concept with the kitchen and living room so this is how I know of which I speak. But open concept can mean no privacy also.

Garage conversion.  I will clutch my pearls when I see people turn the garage into something else.  We're back to the "You aren't going to be young forever" idea. And where is their storage going to be?

Now to the title of this bloggity post.  I want to yell at people who see a house or a room and state "Oh, it's...blue."  OFFS, they make paint every day. 

I know that the design of the show (again, see what I did there?) is to find folks the perfect home but in reality, there isn't the perfect home. Every house is going to take work to make it into a home. 

To me most of the fun is that work.  We've only been in this house twelve years and it looks very different than when we began.  That's the fun of it.

And guess what this summer's project is?  PAINTING.  So point me to this post when I'm complaining.


18 March 2018

Passive Resistance






It's difficult to feel like there is anything one can effectively do in this political climate right now.  The Parkland Teens have been Ah-MAZING and brave and they give me hope for the future.

I mentioned during the Christmas shopping post that I considered relocating the biographies of He Who Shan't Be Named to the trash bin aisle but just turned the covers inward instead.  Well, I've been methodically doing the same with a certain tabloid-publication-that-only-old ladies-buy-that-is-located-at the-checkout-stands.  I without fail, even if people are standing there, will flip it so the covers face inward.  It's a tiny thing but it makes me happy.

This morning I was waiting in the grocery store checkout and I scanned for that tabloid.  I didn't see it so I figured I was just on an aisle that didn't have it.  Then I noticed something:




The lovely Pacific Northwest is pot friendly so the presence of the magazine isn't a big deal. It's what it is on top of.  I LOVE whoever did this and they have given me inspiration.

Social media can be dicey these days.  I have close friends and family with very differing opinions so we have strayed away from making political posts out of respect.  But it's getting more difficult to do because that same respect isn't accorded to me and I'm getting pretty tired of being bashed.  Instead I will like all the "liberal" posts so I know they probably pop up on people's feeds.  They can block me or whatever, I don't care.  At this point, I don't know that I need friends who are standing behind what is going on right now.

So, I post on the facebook silly memes and puppy photos.  I use the insta for photography only. But my twitter has become semi-political, using retweets mostly.  I try to offset that with nonsense like Allison Winn Scotch's White House cabinet comprised solely of dogs. 

I signed up for Resistbot.  It sends texts to remind you to contact your legislators, either state or federal and helps you with topics.  It auto generates emails to said legislators.  I've received responses from my congresspeople so it does appear to work.

I sign petitions from MoveOn, Everytown, Human Rights Campaign, etc.  It is a little thing but it feels like you're doing something.  I will warn you: it blows up your email a little bit so a clever person (not me) might create a blind email box just for these. 

I've called Congress but that is a little intimidating and not for everyone. But once you're done, it feels pretty cool.  You just called CONGRESS.  The trick is to find a script online and then you don't have to worry about what you're going to say.  Believe it or not, FAXING is also a thing. You can fax Congress!

These are passive ways to resist that I mention because Marching isn't for everyone (but I fear we may be forced to) so this might help a little. 

What really kicked my ass was a tweet from a few months ago.  If this doesn't motivate and possible scare a person just a little...


17 March 2018

09 March 2018

Your Language is Offensive

One would think that because I've worked in Social Services and Early Childhood Ed most of my life that I wouldn't curse.  Oh, but I do.  I'm very skilled but unfortunately, it is not something one can put on a resume.

But in some settings I'm pretty creative.  "Sonofabiscuiteatingdog" was one that I've said since high school.  I have no idea of it's origin.  With my brain, anything is possible.

A thousand years ago I knew a child who used to say "Shootdarnit" and I find myself saying that a lot.  Almost without fail, Kevin will reply: "HEY! Language!"  which always makes me laugh.

Also a long time ago, I had a friend who was Christian but often dropped the gawdammit.  In Kevin's family that one is verboten.  Of all the curses, that is like the top one. I've infrequently heard the eff bomb dropped so it's probably #2 on the list but absolutely no gawdammit. 

The most popular one in my family? Yeah, the above.  It was quite a learning curve for me in the beginning.  So it was replaced with "God Bless America." 

My former husband was called Bonehead because I couldn't say prick to my mom. So there's that.

When we hang with our Canadian friends, all bets are off. It takes me about three days to re-acclimate to being American again.  They use "eff" like punctuation.  It's just not a big deal to them.  If it slips through, I usually apologize and say "My Canadian is showing."

"Go to Hell" is also not allowed, in either family now that I think of it.  The current situation in our government has forced me to be really creative.  "Die in a fiery plane crash" is often my go-to.  I've also wished them a "Very uncomfortable chair in Hell." 

Nephew says "Die in a fire" when he's super pissed at something, which is very rare.  I'm somewhere between wincing and laughing with that one.  Although "die in a fiery plane crash" is on par with it.

Kevin says "Mother Bear!" instead of mother-effer when I'm around and it makes me laugh every time.  Every once in a while he slips though and it's something I very much enjoy because dude never looses his cool. 

Two Kevin favorites:  we broke down in a SUPER CHRISTIAN town years ago.  (Blue laws still on the books, Footloose kind of SUPER CHRISTIAN town.) Kevin was under our trailer trying to fix something and he was cursing a lot ON A SUNDAY.  Finally, I ripped out of the truck and whispered/yelled "You are going to get ARRESTED!"

He dropped "C...sucker" once and I was laughing so hard I actually got out of the truck and walked away.  There's just something about Mr. Diplomacy busting out the big boy words that takes me out.

Finally, one phrase I've never heard anywhere but from Kevin is "Fight, Eff, or hold the light."  He picked it up from a family member who is a Vietnam Vet so I'm guessing there's a story there. When Kevin is getting frustrated with anyone being indecisive, (me, it's usually me)  he'll say it. It's like a warning shot.

In these stressful days, the need to curse is cathartic.  Unfortunately, we're not always able to so creativity is required. 


08 March 2018

23 February 2018

Offset the Horribleness

I, as others, are in a Everything Is Terrible headspace right now so I'm making a list of only things I love to offset said horribleness...

Things I love right now:

Johnnyswim  I listen to them at work and they're perfect.  I found them by following Joanna Gaines on Instagram.  They sing the opening song of Fixer Upper. Very chill music, not jazz and not country but a funky mix.

Main Cabin Masters...HGTV and DYI channels are soothing when you're home sick.  I enjoy watching this one because they remind me of our friends and I now really, really, really want a cabin in Maine.

Starbucks App...my obsession continues.

Flower seeds...I have flower seeds waiting for me to plant when it stops snowing.  I love the anticipation of planting them and hoping that a few of them actually grow.

The Pop Rocks channel on SIRIUS/XM.  Rock from 1990's - 2000's.  A little timewarp whiplash but I know all the words to the songs.

Socks from Goodwill...Now that isn't as gross as it sounds. The Goodwill near my work sells new socks and I bought a few pairs that are super cozy.  I don't know the brand name though and now they're not in the store anymore.

Ross Mathews Podcast and now Ross Mathews on Celebrity Big Brother

Semiahmoo Resort...Kevin and I were supposed to go on a roadtrip and we ended up here instead.  It is so unbelievably lovely.  It's not inexpensive so it was really a treat for us.  If you follow me on the Insta, then you've seen the photos.

The Parkland Teens (and all the protesting teens nationwide)...they are an inspiration and give me faith that the future is bright and not apocalyptic.

So, now go make your list. Focus on the happy, if you can.

19 February 2018

On This Day...


14 February 2018

Happy Valentines Day

It's not a made-up holiday.  Love is love is love.  Celebrate those you love today.


15 January 2018

On This Day...

I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality... I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.

14 January 2018

Looking Back Forward

I had high hopes for 2018 and then it had me run into two former boyfriends in twenty-four hours.  Two more and I'll have revisited my entire romantic history.  *thanks, universe* <----muttered gritted="" p="" teeth.="" through="">
I mean it's not awful, it could have been worse.  There was no/little baggage with these guys but still.

Both times I was scrubby because the universe has a sense of humor.  The first time it was raining outside and because I hate coats, I was not at my best appearance-wise.  Although comparatively the last time he saw me was at his father's funeral so I guess I have that going for me? *wincing*

The second time I was with Kevin, which is always a hoot.  This is the one guy that Kevin very jokingly says "And you slept with him!"  Way to make it weird, Kev.  

These interactions came on the heels of a new "friend" on the facebook that I made during the holidays.  It was a guy I knew when I was dating/married the first time.  We never dated but he was the only one who said "What are you doing with this guy?" before I married the first time.

He posted a photo that just kicked my ass.  It was a photo of his car (that he had when we knew each other) parked in front of a shop that I spent a lot of time at (owned by the family of the best man in my first wedding) looking at the store he used to work at, and overlooked by my former husband's family business.  It was a weird encapsulation of my history in one photo.

It was a very Sliding Doors moment. A glimpse of what life not only looked like then but a glimpse of an alternate future.  You're giving me whiplash, universe.

(he's a former FBI guy so Hi! if you image search your photos)

Why I Hate White Elephants...



One of my least favorite things in the entire universe is white elephant exchanges.  Invariably, and I mean every.single.time, I get the crap present.  I knew this but never said anything about it to anyone until Kevin mentioned it during the holidays.  I didn’t realize that he noticed but he did.

His work did a gift exchange at their party.  The difference being is that the owner bought all the gifts and they were not cheap gifts.  As we watched, there were a few things that we nudged each other and nodded approvingly.  There were others that I was like “Umm, no. don’t choose a present that is that shape.”  Those were the kitchen appliances, like mixers and toasters. 

Kevin ended up choosing an expensive multi-tool, a definite boy thing.  He was mildly excited about it but not over the moon. It’s not really something he will carry with him and use frequently. He has some of my gift exchange karma, I think.

Now, fast forward to my work party.  I’m in a room with twenty people, many of whom I don’t know.  I’ve worked here for just over ninety-days at this point.  This gift exchange was $10 gift cards so not a bad idea, really.  Until it was.

I bought a Fred Meyer/Kroger card because a) I forgot about it and 2) I went with practicality. 

Yeah, I totally chose my own card.  They were all in all the same envelopes so you couldn’t tell which was which.  I played it cool, figured that I guess it’s a win.  Then the boss stole it from me so I had to choose again. 

A coffee card…hooray! Except it was for a town fifteen minutes away.  (see? Bad karma)  Then someone stole it. (I know!)  I chose another gift card and it was for Itunes.   Sigh.  I’m not an Apple person, I hate their products, actually.  But I thought “Shiny side: I can give it to one of the kids for their stocking.” 

Then someone else who also had bad exchange karma and he caught my eye.  Silently we agreed to trade cards after it was all said and done.  Hooray!  We both worked it out.

It was a $10 gift card for wally world.  Not great and my first thought was like the Itunes card: I’ll just use it on the kids.  But then I didn’t.  Fast forward one month and I’m shopping for a mattress topper.  I spent a little more than I planned because I had a ten dollar gift card.

I swear to sweet little eight pound baby jesus this is true:  It didn’t work.  I know!

Now I mentioned in a previous post that my mother-in-law wanted to do a gift exchange at Christmas for the adults.  We were against it because there is a person in the family who is sensitive pants and ugh, just no. 

We agreed that the gifts should be $15-20 and to buy one boy gift and one girl gift.  I purposefully and thoughtfully chose gifts that people could use.  Something useful and not something off the sale rack.  Something I wouldn't mind getting myself.

Then my sister in law decided to look up games on the interwebs just to make it more awkward, I guess.  We all were given a gift then had to roll a die to see if we passed gifts left or right or kept our gift.  We did two rounds of this with eleven adults.  It was awkward and weird and we all hated it. (and totally effed the boy girl thing, by the way)

Yeah, I totally ended up with a gift I bought.  It was a gardening set so it wasn’t awful but it also wasn’t something I was excited about or needed.  Kevin got a Ten-in-One game set that we’ll never use. 

I returned the gardening set and spent the cash at the dollar store and second hand store.  I guess it was a win, other than just being annoyed.  the game set is just going to sit in a cupboard until I get frustrated looking at it and send it to Goodwill.

So, can we just not with the gift exchanges?  Someone is always unhappy, people are usually uncomfortable, and it rarely comes out fairly.  

Let's just give each other candy and move on with our lives.  No one hates candy, right?  I mean I'd literally rather have a white chocolate elephant shaped candy than endure a gift exchange.  Can someone make this happen before next Christmas?

01 January 2018

This Year...

Desiderata

Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story. 


Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. 



Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism. 



Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass. 



Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself. 



You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. 



Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. 



With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy. 



Max Ehrmann, Desiderata, Copyright 1952.

It's the New Year's Meme!

It’s tradition! The New Years Meme!

1. What did you do in 2017 that you’d never done before?
*thinking*  I'm sure there's something...

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?


I believe that I mostly did. I just can't even this year. 

My resolutions for 2018:
To be determined at a later date. Like, 2019.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?


Nope, no new babies this year. 

4. Did anyone close to you die?


Yes, a good friend at the end of 2016 and his father just a few months ago. An aunt we weren't close to.  It feels like I'm forgetting someone and isn't that awful?

5. What countries did you visit?


"Oh Canada, our home and native land.."
(This is not my favorite question...Let's try: What trips did you take?  Well, none but we went on a few fun roadtrips!)

6. What would you like to have in 2018 that you lacked in 2017?
Peace and contentment

7. What dates from 2017 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
The day I unexpectedly lost my job in March. I'm still not recovered from that experience and don't know that I ever will be.  The day of Kevin's procedure now with some time passed I can see the humor of it and not the initial worry.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?


Putting one foot in front of another each day. Not running away to Canada.

9. What was your biggest failure?
I'm grateful that I can't think of one but this year as a whole felt like failure.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Not this year!  I'm on a two-year spree!  Go, me!

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Although upset at the time because it was unplanned, my new-to-me Durango.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Anyone who has made it through this no good, awful, terrible year.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?


He Who Shan't Be Named and the people who support him.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Sigh...bills....life...

15. What did you get really excited about?
Dude, I got nothing.  I mean, I started a new job but i wasn't over-the-moon about it.

16. What song will always remind you of 2017?
In Case You Didn't Know   This is the ringtone Kevin has set for me.  Almost thirty years in and this song is still relevant.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
– happier or sadder? Meh
– thinner or fatter? Same-ish
– richer or poorer? Meh

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?


Read...where did all my reading skills/time go?  I suspect the interwebs.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?


Worry.

20. How did you spend Christmas?


Eve - at my parents with an excited four-year-old who has discovered the joy of Tag!
Day - Next door, immersed in children's excitement and food

21. Did you fall in love in 2017?
Every day.

22. What was your favorite TV program?


I'm rewatching the entire E.R. series and have fallen in love again.  Same with West Wing.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?


"No. I'm not a hater. It's a waste of time" is my standard answer but this year He Who Shan't Be Named is on the list.

24. What was the best book you read?
*scanning bookshelves*  I read a series by Nora Roberts that I wasn't wild about and put in the donate box.  See question #18...

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
The combination of Shazam and Amazon Prime Music. For example, I just downloaded Greatest Love Story by Lanco after hearing it on the Canadian country radio station.  Oh, wait. No. The Dear Evan Hansen soundtrack.  But if we're being honest, it's still Hamilton.

26. What did you want and get?
A job, even though it didn't turn out to be what I wanted.  Focusing on gratitude here because I'm lucky on that front and need to shush.

27. What did you want and not get?
I didn't go to Vegas this year and I was more disappointed than I thought I would be.  It's not that it's *Vegas*, it's time away and time spent with friends.

28. What was your favorite film of this year?
Batman Lego Movie, because I'm six.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I had birthday cake for breakfast, worked in the morning because new job (booo), went to lunch with Kevin then bought Christmas decorations I didn't need on clearance at Michaels.  I watched Doctor Who for the remainder of the day and had taco Tuesday for dinner.  This is my last year in the forties.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Peace and contentment, I'm saying it again because it's so rarely out of my grasp and I don't like it.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2017?
I'm going to quote an old coworker "I'd like to get as close as possible to wearing pajamas to work yet still look appropriately dressed."

32. What kept you sane?


 Kevin. Lucy. Mochas.Television.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
It's a tie this year: Patton Oswalt because he's amazing and Wil Wheaton because he is also amazing.

34. What political issue stirred you the most?


the whole gawdamned gawdawful thing.

35. Who did you miss?


My former co-workers.

36. Who was the best new person you met?


I am rebuilding a friendship with one of my high-school best friends after being separated for years by distance/life.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2017:
Everything I think of sounds trite or from a Dr. Seuss book.Let's go with this: Things are rarely what they seem, plan accordingly.

Me at the End of 2017                                                                      Me at 12:01 am 2018