29 July 2014

Just Be Happy

It's been two weeks since I stopped working.  It still feels weird.  I can't figure it out.

I don't know if it's because my job didn't seem finished and there's a small chance I'll be called back or what is going on.  I feel relieved that the mess that is my former work is no longer in my life but I do miss my friends.

I don't feel super anxious about finding another job, which seems weird to me as well.  I don't know if it's age or what but I'm all "Meh, whatever" about a new job.  I've been open to  applying just to see what happens to different kinds of jobs.  I have never gotten my hopes up for a job because I hate that kind of disappointment (like everyone else enjoys it, really)

Like I did when I was home before, I'm keeping myself on sort of a schedule.  Kevin still leaves for work at OhGawd-thirty so that doesn't change.  I make sure I'm showered, dressed, and chores done by 9:00 so that I don't develop bad habits that need undoing when I do return to work.

But that also leaves a huge gap of empty space in my day.  I've filled it with Greys Anatomy and books and small projects.  But the shiny novelty of this is going to wear off pretty quickly. (also, Dance Moms marathon..really? Talk about disappointment. lol) And I'm eventually going to run out of projects.

The puppy does keep me a little distracted as she's still a puppy and loves, loves, loves chasing rabbits, birds, shrews, etc.  So, I have to check on her regularly so she's not in Texas before we realize it.  I figured out that if I put her bed out on the deck and leave the screen door open, she sticks around a little more.
It's a dogs life, really
I guess what I'm saying is that I'm remarkably relaxed about this and that is making me anxious.  How messed up is that?  Kevin's not stressed at all, he's always happy when I'm home.  The puppy is happy I'm home.  I'm happy that I'm home but I know I need to return to work to achieve our goals.

And I totally acknowledge that I've little to complain about when others face much bigger challenges. I'm just surprised at how not worried about things I am.  I'm just going to work on being happy about what my life is right now.  Like the puppy is.

23 July 2014

The Future is Wide Open

I'm trying to embrace the Who Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up question.  I'm trying to embrace this new job situation in a positive light.  The last time I was unemployed was brutal; it was unexpected and on the heels of Kevin's diagnosis and our new house.  This time things are a little more mellow.

When I was child I wanted to be a teacher or a librarian.  I've done the teacher thing so I can check that off of my list. Librarian takes a degree and seems to be a job that doesn't become available very often. 

Then I was thinking about what else would be a job that could encompass these two interests.  Retail is not a choice for me as it's shift work, requires a lot of time on your feet, and it's retail.  (people, ugh)  Also, bookstores are a dying breed anymore.

Early childhood is no longer a choice as the pay is abysmal, finishing my degree in this field doesn't make sense financially and the physical demand too high.  Also, kind of over it as it is an extremely taxing profession.  Maybe I can just volunteer to rock babies or something instead.

I have registered at all the local school districts so I'm hoping maybe something will come up in that field.  It's kind of good timing as the school year starts next month. 

I could become a para-educator, which is fancy term for teachers aide but it requires testing.  You can tell me to stop being a baby about the test but MATH.  When I took the pre-test years ago, the computer actually Kicked Me Off because of my horrible performance on the math section. The remedy for this is a Math for Boneheads class and frankly, I'd rather have dental surgery.  So, this is going to require some thought and fortitude. 

But then, I'm really good at my job.  It seems silly to not stick with something that I'm really good at. But social services jobs are difficult to get into and now the job market is flooded with my former co-workers.

I was also thinking about just registering as a temp.  Lots of flexibility, change, and can be lucrative if you prove yourself valuable.  But I think I need consistency.

As you can see, I'm trying to keep an open mind and be adventuresome about this new situation.

So, pretend that suddenly your future is wide open.  What would you do?

Vacation, All I Ever Wanted?

Guess who's unemployed!?!!  *This Girl*

I was laid off last week.  It wasn't totally unexpected and has turned out to be relieving.  We were working in such stressful conditions so it was just a release of pent up emotions when we realized we were finally done.  We were working in the unknown as the temporary bosses were not communicating with the admin staff.  To boot, there was no budget, accounts seriously past due, and non-compliance with regulators.  Each time we tried to address and fix the issues, we were told no.  It's as if they're trying to burn the place down. So to be released from that hell-ish space was  not that upsetting.  I think I'm more sad about not seeing my co-workers and some of the clients than anything else.

It sounds like it might not all be a done deal but I'm not getting my hopes up about it.  I won't work for the temporary bosses (the board still hasn't found a permanent replacement and is steadfastly ignoring that the temporary executive director is in way over her head) and would only return to work there if very specific needs were met.

I felt immediately compelled to get busy.  I got all my paperwork in order: insurance, retirement, employment security, budget stuff.  I registered on all the job sites and made lists. Then I sat on the couch and watched Greys Anatomy all afternoon, for three afternoons.

I did find myself decompressing more than I anticipated.  I guess I knew I was wound up but I didn't know how much I was wound up.  This week, while still keeping on a schedule, I have found myself just watching television, reading the interwebs, and reading.  Kevin's been checking in a little more, which gave me a heads-up as well.  I just didn't fully realize how the last nine months have worn me down.

So, I'm just going to play it by ear.  I'm going to take some time to just (I hate to say the buzzword) breathe. I'm lucky that this has happened during the summer and concentrate that this will just be another opportunity to have an adventure.

06 July 2014

Somebody Realign the Stars

It seems like many people have been having drama in their lives, like straight-up drama. Job issues, relationship issues, financial trouble.  I'm sure if I consulted the stars and psychics, they would tell me that something was in retrograde or the moon was in the eleventeenth house or something.  This is not helpful.  Sh*t is going down, y'all.

My work has been SHAKESPEAREAN in its drama.  I go to work every day expecting either that the doors are locked or that I will no longer have a job.  I often pull in, and to quote the Interwebs, am disappointed that the building isn't on fire.

Friends have had health issues, one after and another.  Relationships that are usually steady are unusually strained.  What the EFF universe?

During a conversation, I mentioned that "they" say if something keeps occurring that it means we simply haven't learned the intended lesson yet.  As in something is to be gained by these experiences and they will continue in varying forms until we "get it".

Can we just all remain stupid in this specific situation and move on?  It's summer, we're supposed to be happy-go-lucky and be relaxed and carefree. Must all of learn these cosmic lessons at the same time? Can we just maybe take turns, or better yet just skip it altogether?

Until then I guess we just have to remain as zen as we can.  Turn our faces to the sun and relax when we're able.  Surely, this too shall pass.

Laugh Every Day

On the way to my parents for the fireworks, we stopped at Starbucks to get a drink.  (it's my equivalent to taking a shot of whiskey).

We also stopped to get gas and there is a bikini-barista stand in the same parking lot.  In case you don't know what this is, it's essentially strippers making coffee.  It's seven different kinds of yukky.

I was teasing Kevin that they have calendars now and we should get one. 

"Pull over there then." he says.

"No, because: gross." I say while pulling past the stand to leave.

Like a flash, Kevin reaches over and honks the horn then presses back against the seat so he can't been seen, making it look like I'm all "Hey baby" to the strippers.

Suddenly I'm sixteen, on a date with a cute & funny boy.  All I could do is laugh. Twenty-four years later and it's as if no time has ever passed.  Laughter every day, that is the key.

A New Kind of Summer

Usually we are immersed in racing during this part of summer; gone on the weekends, late nights working on the cars, taking time off work.  This year is different though, after wishing we could take a summer off over the past few years, we aren't racing this summer.  Our home track underwent renovations over the late winter/Spring and they didn't go well.  The track won't be open until the first weekend of August, all going well which hasn't been the case all summer.

We could go down to Seattle or Bremerton but we just don't want to.  The drive is brutal, the trip requires hotel stays, and our friends aren't there.  We've opted to just stay home instead.

With that, we don't know what to do with ourselves.  We're never home during the summer. Like bored eight-year-olds, we're wandering around trying to figure out what to do.  We've worked in the yard, we've organized the shop to Sheldon-like standards, we've organized the car trailer, we've relaxed, and we're bored. Bored.

We keep looking at each other "We should be doing *something* but what...?" 

A few years ago we would also be in the middle of our busy time with fireworks.  This would be one of those brutal years with three back-to-back shows. Now we're just lowly spectators.  We've only watched one show this year, the one at my parents.  The fascination is gone now that we're not the ones doing it. But a gap still remains.  It feels odd to not be busy and exhausted.

So, here we sit.  I've watched every episode and the movie of Veronica Mars.  We've watched movies we've been meaning to watch, our DVR is at a low percentage that it hasn't seen in years.  I've read one book and am in the middle of another.   My magazine stack is no longer towering toward avalanche, nor is Kevin's.  We're both bored with the interwebs.

I daresay we're going to resort to painting soon.  The exterior trim is looking pretty sad and everything is due for a touch up.  So far though, we haven't been *that* bored yet.  I'm not sure there is a level of boredom that precipitates painting.  I guess we'll see.

This is, however, making me a little nervous about our retirement years.  Surely we won't be racing then (who knows, though) and what then?  We best develop some sort of a hobby soon.  In the meanwhile, we're experiencing a new kind of summer. The kind that everyone else does; spending time not doing much of anything.  How do y'all do it? 

29 June 2014


I don't resent Father's Day as much as I resent Mother's Day.  This does make some sense as Mother's Day I do take a bit personally.  But I do find myself concentrating on not eye-rolling during both holidays. Some of my annoyance is the not having kids thing and some of it is the cynicism that not all families are Hallmark Channel families.

Conversely, I do enjoy seeing friends posts on the social media celebrating their parents. I know, it makes little sense. Welcome to my brain.  I decided to participate and posted a picture of Kevin's dad, wishing him a happy Father's Day.

Next I posted a picture of my dad on Facebook for my brothers.  It taken by me it a very, very long time ago with my brothers camera. He is ice skating on the lake in front of our house.

I've been scanning pictures into the laptop whenever I can.  I have three photo albums from my parents house that I brought home.  I've looked at it numerous times, even helped put some of them into the albums. Sometimes I notice photographs like I've never seen them before.

There's something about perspective.  I was disappointed with the photo when I took it but now some many years later, it is the perfect representation of my dad. Solitary.  Independent.

As I thought more about it: Me.

Like you do, as you age you realize that you are more like your parents than perhaps you're willing to admit. Specific to me, I was raised by alcoholics so the need to be different from them and/or put a distance between me and them is natural.  So it was with more than a little startling realization that I understood that I've become like my dad.

I'm perfectly content doing things by myself.  I'm content to not see people for days on end.  (other than Kevin, obviously)  I know that I've absolutely gotten the "I'll do it myself!" attitude from my dad.  My family says I've always been that way.

As much distance a person may try to create, sometimes genetics just overcome everything else.

A Legacy in Red

The dedication of the new fire department that my dad served as chief for many years was last Saturday.  It was a beautiful ceremony, with quite a few similarities to the firefighter memorial that they held for my dad.  For that reason, the ceremony was bittersweet.
During the dedication they did all the traditional stuff; the transfer of the flag from one station to the other, the speeches, the ribbon cutting. It was very Hallmark Channel.

Afterward, the crowd broke apart and we met the current fire chief, who is like a son to my dad.
He was teary, which always undoes me.  My mom broke down in tears as well.  There were just so many similarities, I'm sure it wasn't lost on anyone.  Also, to hear your family name referred to is honoring and a little strange.  There wasn't an inch of that fire department that my dad wasn't a part of and it was a big part of my childhood as well.

It's one of the first times that I've actually missed my dad.  He would have loved to have seen how everything turned out; what a great job Brett is doing, the incredible new hall, all of it. 

Brett did something that just undoes me when I think about it.  He had to stay out in the public space to greet everyone but told us to go look in his office first thing, before we saw anything else.  We did and it was just one of the nicest things that I think anyone has ever done. 

Prominently, the first thing you see entering his office are these:

The photo on the left is my dad in the old restored engine.  He was the marshal in the local parade shortly before he died.  He was so proud and happy that day.  The one on the right is before the parade, posing with Brett's sons who are nearly grown now.  Both of them were flag presenters at Dad's memorial and again at the dedication.

The dedication was just a really good example of two things: life goes on and that people do leave a legacy behind, whether they know it or not.

14 June 2014

You Know It's Ugly When

Your loving husband puts where you almost can't see it.

Kevin's mom brought home a god-awful planter that her sister made using sea shells.  To not hurt people's feelings, we kept it kind of out of sight at the corner of our house.  After an appropriate amount of time passed (two years) and it started to fall apart, Kevin finally moved it.

He's letting it return to nature, in all it's glory. 

Specific in it's ugliness
This is better

Return to nature ugly planter. Go toward the light. (hidden to the left of the misshapen rhody)

13 June 2014

May is usually our Happiest Month

I believe that things come in threes: deaths, disasters, etc.  The month of May was one of the more brutal and strange examples of that theory.

As we discussed, our friend Dale committed suicide.  My stomach still churns with this thought, it's just unbelievable.  The shiny side is that we've become closer with his brother so that's good.
Then on Mother's Day one of my childhood best friends dad died in a tractor accident. Ugh.  Just ugh.
And then this, the most brutal of them all maybe.  Our friend and track photographer (the one whose pictures I post here) lost his dog in the most god-awful way possible.  The dog walker he employed had a mental break and the dogs (six of them) died of heat stroke.

It's one of the few times that I've questioned existence.  What the HELL, Universe?

May is one of those cluster months: birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays are all clumped together within a thirty-day period.  I love May, usually.  Just not this May as much.

To offset the awfulness, we did have our annual birthday party for Kevin and the littles.  We counted 47 adults, 12 kids, 2 babies, and 3 dogs total.  Although it rained all day, we had a really good time. We ended the day exhausted yet pleased at how many loved ones spent the day with us.

We also celebrated our 21st anniversary. As the last two years were spent healing from injury and illness, this anniversary almost felt strange; as if we were unsure exactly how to celebrate it. We took an extra long weekend, spent a very rare weekday together, and just spent time together alone.

Then, Kevin's mom, whose health is already frail, contracted C. Diff.  For those of you who've been reading here a while, you will remember that I had this about three years ago and it had me home sick for two weeks.  (it jacks the chemistry in your stomach when you take antibiotics that either you don't need or your body doesn't enjoy.  The cure? Antibiotics.)  This resulted in a three day stay at the hospital, including a 11:00 at night ambulance ride.


It seems like we've had our three bad things, plus one. We've had two happy things so I'm fully expecting another 1.5 happy things to arrive any time now. Especially since it's June now.

11 June 2014

Lightening Rod

Work has still been all GAAAAHHHH!!!!  It's bad enough that when I come home I just sit down to watch reruns of Greys Anatomy and/or Veronica Mars because my brain is just FULL.  It simply cannot accept new information at this time.

I never expected that the ways things have played out in the workplace would ever have taken this direction.  I thought the last major change was going to propel us into a new, happier, shinier future. 

Yeah. Not so much.

The temporary new person is just as bad as my former boss, if not worse.  Well, probably a little bit worse as she is non-communicative and apparently doesn't like white girls.

This is the first time that I've been discriminated against (to my knowledge, I am blissfully unaware at times) and it's just not good.  There is simply no descriptor I can use that is appropriate there, "not good" is what I'm choosing as the least inflammatory.  (and if you're a person that is not white, please feel free to comment and  tell me to pipe the hell down. I accept that fully)

Now I'm not equating this person's nearly blatant hatred of me to the struggles of other races because I am well aware that this one person being mean to me is in no way possible, not even in the neighborhood, of being equal to blatant bigotry.

In fact, speaking of blissfully unaware, I didn't realize that was the problem until it was pointed out by a co-worker who happens to match the race of my new temporary boss.  It was pointed out that she treats the other staff  much more respectfully and while most of them match me, they are all older than me and some even older than the new temporary boss.  Age trumps color, perhaps.

So, if we're keeping score: I'm a younger, white, blonde person in a small pool of mostly older and more diverse backgrounds.   To add to the mix: I'm the last remaining staff member from the original organization and apparently that is threatening.

The fighter in me wants to just flip the table, yell, and demand to be treated better.  Fortuntately or unfortunately depending on how you look at it, the more mature part of me says "Don't make permanent decisions over temporary problems."  I can wait this person out and just hope that karma visits justly. I'm just focusing on doing my job, in my quiet little office, and waiting for the storm to pass.  The fighter in me also wants very badly to call her out so that she cannot go victimize anyone else.  This, sadly, is not my battle to fight though.

One of my co-workers described herself as a "Delayed Reactor"  (Swistle, I thought you'd like that description)  She processes things slowly and often finds herself having to circle back to a confrontation.  I, as sometimes an immediate reactor, wistfully stated that I wish I was more like that.  She disagreed and thought I possessed the more enviable trait.

But being a reactor means that I am sometimes a lightening rod.  Because I speak my mind and defend myself, it attracts others that, shall we say, don't appreciate that trait.  This is exhausting and why sometimes I wish I was a delayed reactor instead.  I can only wish to develop a meet in the middle sort of reaction.

It's complicated and this is why I have been coming home to see what Veronica or Meredith & Christina are up to after work.  Their lives are so much more simple. And they live in television.

08 June 2014

Put Me in a Bubble

I have a new allergy.  I'm so unexcited about this.  There are two weird things at play with this new allergy though:

I have two blisters on my ELBOWS randomly and without warning.  I think I also had a small one on my thumb but I just can't tell if it's a scratch or cut. It healed almost immediately but not so much the elbows. The elbows are obvious.  I look like I'm six years old and took a spill off my bike.

We thought it was strawberries because I've recently had some in both fresh, jam, and yogurt form.  I'm not a huge strawberry fan so it's rare that I eat them but I was just bored with eating the same flavors over and over.

When discussing the apple allergy with the doctor, she mentioned that strawberries are usually the culprit when it comes to reactions and to pay attention. Turns out: she wasn't kidding.

Today I googled the symptoms because I think Kevin's convinced my elbows are going to fall off. Also, the left elbow won't heal after three days.  We're having a disagreement over whether or not to use band-aids. Turns out I'm right: blisters should be covered. If this wasn't such a stupid topic I would be all "I was right, you were wrong" but Blisters on My Elbows.

(And no worries: I went to MayoClinic.com, which is a recommended site from Kevin's doctor.  No WebMD for me, thank you.)

It turns out that it might be cashews.  I've tried to implement nuts into our snacks instead of salty chips, etc. so I've recently eaten cashews; again something that I don't normally eat.  Maybe I'm just allergic to healthy foods.  My body is all "Nope, can't do it. I can readily identify the ingredients."

I swear if this allergy thing keeps up I am going to have to become a vegetarian and pray that I don't ever have to have medicine of any kind. Or I'll become Girl in the Plastic Bubble, that might be more realistic.

29 May 2014

A Shelf Fell Down

One of my only complaints about this house is that the shelving in closets are weak.  Each of the them have fallen now.  This last one was in Monica's Closet.  I ignored it for a few weeks because I knew it would be a much bigger job than I wanted to undertake. The shelf conveniently rested on stacks of totes so there was no emergency.

We had our annual birthday gathering for Kevin and the littles this past weekend so I knew I had to work on it, want to or not.  I had sorted and stacked what was on the actual shelf and left it outside the closet door, which the OCD hated but I told it to pipe down.  It did make me give a bunch of stuff to the eldest Niece, who was THRILLED to have it.  Some of it is still in the back of the 4Runner, waiting to go to Goodwill. 

The closet is the one space that I allow to be a bit messy yet it is quite organized. (my definition of messy, Kevin says) On the left are four totes of Christmas decorations and two faux Christmas trees.  Half of these are the in-laws so put down your plans for an intervention.

The center stack is stuff I use intermittently like a tote of gift bags and ribbons, a tall tote of wrapping paper, a tote of picture frames and pictures, and the bedding for the racecar trailer. This stack often gets random stuff piled on top of it; ignored filing, empty boxes, toys for the kids, etc.

Next row is decorations left over from when I worked at the school.  I used to decorate the office (and my house, actually) for each holiday.  I've pared this down quite a bit but it still exists.
This leaves the final row.  This row of totes are keepsakes.  Books, toys, and stuffies from my childhood, stuff from Kevin's childhood, and just random and I mean RANDOM keepsakes. Greeting cards, stickers, funny cartoons, correspondence, stuff you would probably find in any high school locker.

My intention is to someday put these items into scrapbook albums.  But someday keeps getting further away.  Some of it has lost it's meaning so I'm all "Why did I keep this" and some of it is stuff I can look up on the interwebs or scan into the laptop and be done with it.  I like how some "problems" are solved just by the passage of time.

The biggest challenge is greeting cards. If I could figure out how to remove signatures from greeting cards, I would have an entire Hallmark store inventory.  I just feel badly about tossing them into the trash.  I've kept a small collection of milestones but over time, all of the cards from all of the things have been thrown together.

Maybe I'm over-thinking this (don't say Hoarder) but I have difficulty choosing which cards to keep because people die and then seeing that signature is comforting.  But that doesn't mean keep them forever because people might die.  So, we're back to the milestones only.

Kevin thinks keeping our childhood stuff is a little silly at this point because we don't have kids.  We have grand nephews and nieces but I think they have very little interest in old stuffies and Hot Wheels. Some of the toys have value on the ebay but who wants to deal with that? Clearly not me.

So, in three totes in a far corner of a closet, sit memories of our existence.  Kevin said "Or you can leave them and the Nephew and Niece will have to deal with them." Nice, Kevin, you and your black heart.

For now, it's all reassembled and a little less crowded.  Some day I'll decide about those greeting cards and buy scrapbooks.  Someday.  But we all know that when I buy those scrapbooks, they're just going to sit in Monica's closet until the shelf falls down again.

25 May 2014

I Won Survivor

I really wanted to title this "Oh for Eff Sake" but I decided not to.  For once, I'm choosing to be a grown-up. This One Time!  The other option is The Cheese Stands Alone, which will make sense in a few paragraphs.

My work has been absolutely crazy cakes. (thank you, Swistle, for that word)   In October, we merged with another agency.  One that happened to be bigger than ours but had management issues.  We crammed four additional people into our offices and endured copious amounts of drama.

Momentarily, the dust settled.   And then.

The case manager decided that this merger somehow translated into "I don't have to do my job anymore" and she was eventually invited to work elsewhere.  Okay, now that leaves me as the person that has been employed by my agency the longest.  Okay.

Then, after a series of meetings and emails, the executive director was invited to leave.  Well, was going to be invited but she decided to leave ahead of said invitation.

I am now the only person who worked for the original agency.  I have won Survivor.  The Cheese Stands Alone. 

All of these changes brought a new co-worker who wasn't so new because she just came over from one building (same agency) to another.  Then it also brought an interim executive director who was  the board president just prior to my starting there. Then because this isn't confusing enough, it also brought an interim board president because the current board president had recent surgery and is taking leave.

Now you see why I wanted to title this "Oh For Eff Sakes"

So, if you're doing the math, we've added two more folks into our building which was already super overcrowded.

In the mix of all this, I moved my office.  Instead of being on the main floor, I moved downstairs.  It's very quiet and out of the way and I actually enjoy it.  I can open the windows, I can turn the music up, I can surf the internet freely. (joking, not joking) I can talk to myself and make noise without worrying about disturbing my co-worker. 

My office is also the bookkeeper's office BUT she is supposed to work in the afternoon while I'm not there. (there are two workstations)  Well, she has been appearing early and she is NOT AMUSED.  Not about the changes, not about me being in the office. NOT AMUSED.  (fast forward: she ended up quitting so there's that)

Example #2 of wanting that title for this post.

In about one month, I will most likely be moving offices again.  I KNOW.  Part of the reason is that my office is so detached and part of the reason is convoluted and complicated and would require charts, graphs, and a laser pointer.  Mostly is because my job title and duties have changed again.

My current office is a remodeled storage room and has piping for the sprinkler system.  It's kind of steam-punk but it's nice though. The walls are yellow and there are windows that let the natural light in without being glaring. We've decorated it nicely so the pipes just become part of the ambiance.

It was the office of the former executive director.  She left said office about two months ago, not because of her impending invitation to leave but because she decided that she didn't want to work down there anymore.

Instead of having a meeting and requesting for us to restructure our offices (again) she created a reason: it had mold and was making her sick.  It wasn't and there wasn't.  A) it was a brand new space and 2) we had multiple tests that told us that it didn't.  Yes, she imagined mold and illness.  But wait, there's more.  She squatted in everyone ELSES office until the social worker left us and then she immediately took that office hostage.

Now you see why she no longer works here and the optional title of this post.

In a few weeks this will most likely be all different again.  It's a good thing I pack light and that I enjoy my coworkers. 

Outwit, outlast, outplay: the reality reality show.

20 May 2014

I Can't Choose Soda

So, my next post will explain where in the world of Carmen San Diego I have been.  Let me tell you that everything is okay but my work. OHMYGAH my work.

This scenario sums up everything perfectly:

Kevin worked up here today so we met for lunch. We went to the ever so glamorous Taco Time (which I realize might mean nothing to some of you. Think, um, Chipotle)

I arrived first (I know! That never happens!) so I ordered our lunches.  Then I stood at the soda machine and waited for some high school aged girls to fill their sodas.  Standing there, I was annoyed. Not at the high school girls, although really one of them was dressed like a stripper and the other was dressed like Avril Lavigne so it made me wonder if I missed Halloween.

Finally, they finished and walked away.  I found myself just staring at the soda machine.  It is one of those machines with a touch-screen and approximately eleventy hundred options.  My brain was so full and busy that I just chose what remained on the screen after the last girl chose her drink.

I can't even choose my own doggone soda, my brain is so full.

Kevin looked at my drink a while later and asked "What in the Sam Hell is that?" (isn't he cute?)

"I know. I know. It's sad and pathetic actually."  

"What are you talking about?"

"I couldn't even consider what kind of soda I wanted so I just chose what the girl ahead of me chose."

"That *is* sad and pathetic."

My current life, as defined by a soda choice.

07 May 2014

Worry Just Enough

Work has been rough lately.  Seriously stressful (and I feel like that word is way overused so if I'M using it, some sh*t has gone down)

I often make the joke "I need to start drinking again" while at work.  It is intended as a joke but man, lately, I've felt like I'm not joking. At all.

And this, dearies, is why I don't drink. 

While I'm not an alcoholic and I don't feel like I've been in the neighborhood even, I keep a very close eye on it.  Having been raised by alcoholics and have grandparents who were also alcoholics, why would I even try to trigger whichever gene it resides in?

I've been "sober" I put that in quotes because it feels like me using that phrase diminishes someone elses struggle & I don't like that nor intend it.  Let's try again: I haven't drank in probably more than three years.  The last time I had double shot of Jack Daniels while we were in Vegas. It didn't do much for me and I felt like it was a waste of time, This Time.  However, the time before that I did get stupid drunk and I'm not even sure how it happened. (New Years Eve and I wasn't pouring but that's no reason)

The fact that the joke "I should start" has recently held some want to it is a bad sign.  If I think about it, I can picture it, I can taste it and I can want it.  So I try to avoid that.  I redirect myself, I acknowledge that it is a scary little street to travel down, and/or I go get an iced mocha which is a much "better" choice.

Kevin thinks I may over-worry about this.  He also tells me that I will know when I would be drinking too much because "You would come home to all your sh*t in the yard." But I think I worry just enough.  Just enough to keep me from buying a travel size bottle of Jack and relieving tension in not the best way. 

See? I readily came to that example above. That shows me that drinking is not a good idea for me.

30 April 2014

Random Drafts

Swistle did this when she was converting her blog over to another site.  As she went through her posts, she posted some of the the random drafts that were languishing around.  I think this is a brilliant idea, as many of hers are, and I'm borrowing it.

Here are some of my unfinished drafts:

This House is Clean
I've mentioned before that the building I work in is 100 years old.  It's always been a YWCA so I can't even begin to guess how many people have been through those doors.  It's always been a residence but it has also been a public swimming pool and public kitchen.  It was built to provide single women a place to live or spend time off the streets of the Wild West days of early Bellingham.

There has been mentions of ghosts and sounds and closing of doors since I started here.  I take it in stride because that stuff doesn't bother me. Also: 100 year old building.  I don't get to be bothered by such things and work here.  Someone said once that I work in a museum and I found that to be quite apt.

No title
I'm still on strike over camping at the racetrack because I'm 44 years old and that seems ridiculous. (the camping and the 44 years old thing, both equally ridiculous) So, I came home alone one night and both of us one night.  I like to drive so the trip back and forth is a treat for me. Crossing the border doesn't bother me at all.  I just have a book in case I ever get stuck in a back-up.  Some of the border guards say "Welcome Home" when we come back and it's strangely very nice to hear.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Just a link:
I meant to wax poetically about the city I work in.  Read this instead.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Phone Dependency:
After last year's adventure, having my phone with me has become such a habit that it's beginning to bother me. I don't like being that person that is constantly checking their phone or panicking because they can't find it.

But after nearly a year of having it constantly on my person so if I had trouble I could call, it has sadly become like a pacifier.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Just a list (some of which I *think* I wrote about and was originally intended as a recap of our Vegas trip..two years ago):
Schizophrenic or Bluetooth?
Forced to watch commercials (no dvr in the hotel)
Discussion of war (Arab Spring was starting and we were traveling with an international businessman friend)
Grand Canyon (I know I wrote about this)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

No Title (but two Christmases ago)
It's strangely quiet here today. After a day of chaos including six kids under eleven and eleven adults, I imagine an airport would seem quiet in comparison.

After stating that the truck repairs and new television were our presents this year, we both failed miserably at being grown-ups and re-enacted Gifts of the Magi. I am writing this on a Nook HD+ ( not quite a tablet but more than an e-reader) while listening to enhanced sound on the new television, courtesy of Kevin's new sound system.

Why, yes, we are both youngest children. Why do you ask?

Kid highlights:
We had one of the boy littles this year for present opening. Coincidentally, he and Kevin were both in full-OCD mode as they disposed of each wrapping after carefully inspecting each present then stashing it away in the assigned box.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

 I Want to Date:
Boys of this generation.

(that's it.  I know where I was headed. It was about how enlightened and verbal and more open boys are these days compared to the guys when I was young. One hundred and ten years ago.)
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

My Therapy is in a Grocery Store

I like to shop at the high-end grocery store when I only need a few items. For instance, their produce is remarkably better so I often stock up there. And their baked goods...mmmm....I can justify spending a little more when it's only a few items.

My first outing after throwing myself down the stairs was physical therapy.  It felt odd to be out in the world again after months of going nowhere and seeing no one other than family.  It was almost overwhelming. 

I had decided that if physical therapy went well, I would use a coffee gift card that was given to me at work prior to said stair adventure.  This store also has a coffee stand within it's walls. I know, it's nearly perfect.

The nice thing about this grocery store is that parking is close, level, and well-maintained.  As is the inside of the grocery store.  It's quieter and less people so one doesn't have to worry that you're limping and using the cart as a walker.

So, this store became my therapy.  I would stop and pick up a little something-something and do as much walking as I could stand after a doctor's appointment or therapy.

Well, it's become a habit now.  Even if I only need grapes and muffins, which are on the same side of the store and nearest the parking lot, I still walk slowly around the store as if touring a museum or flower garden.

It's not like I'm particularly interested in much of anything beyond the basics in a food store but that being said the music is always good.  The entry always has the most lovely flowers and plants and Christmas trees so it's like walking through a garden.

What more could a girl ask for from  therapy?  Baked goods, good music, pretty flowers, and coffee.

23 April 2014

Treasure Hunt

I grew up on a lake.  This sound glamorous and makes me sound like a rich kid but I really, really wasn't.  It was a tiny, two and a half bedroom, one bathroom cabin.  While it had its benefits, it certainly had its downfalls as well.  (being far away, relatively, from town, no kids in the neighborhood in the winters are two of the major childhood complaints)

We went out to the lake for my mother's birthday last weekend.  Family gatherings are always awkward and stilted and I dread them.  It was a little better with my dad's passing...go figure the absence of an alcoholic improves things...but it's still just weird.

Kevin decided to bring Lucy with us, which provided a natural respite from the awkwardness.  We took her down to the water and let her sniff, sniff, sniff, and explore.  This seemed to resonate with me as well because the next thing I knew I was looking for rocks to skip.  Being a lake kid, I nearly immediately reverted back to looking for treasures.

While looking for rocks to skip, I found not only my childhood but many treasures. I found two baby clam shells, a snail shell (also tiny), an oyster shell, fossilized wood, and two agates.  My inner six-year-old is over the moon with joy.  Kevin, meanwhile, is wondering what I'm going to do with this junk.  I'm not sure why but I felt compelled to keep these lovely items.

I Dream of Running

Two weeks ago was the 2 year anniversary of falling down the stairs.  In some ways, it feels so long ago and in others, it feels five minutes ago.  Sometimes it takes on a surreal feeling, as if it happened but it couldn't have been as bad as all that. (oh, but it was)

I've found, now that a few months have passed to absorb the information, that the disability rating of 9% is pretty accurate. I'm slowly coming around to the fact that it just IS and there isn't much to be done about it.  Yes, I know: DUH.

Let's play Shiny Side: Working part-time is required and I have a forever excuse to sit down.
Shiny Side for right now:  I get to wear sneakers forever!  My inner teenager is celebrating.
Not Shiny Side:  Cold weather.  However, it occurs to me that I will just become one of those little old ladies that spends winters in Arizona or Florida so this could also be in the Shiny Side Category.

Someone mentioned the other day that "You can't even tell anything happened!"  Kevin replied, without even thinking, "Yes you can.  She just hides it well." Um, thanks?
I also don't know how to respond when people ask.  I usually try for a non-committal "It's still there..." or "Getting better every day".  On one level, I'm tired of it being A Thing.  On another level I just want to be brutally honest and say "It sucks often, thanks for asking"

What I do find interesting is that I dream of running.  I dream that I can and that I do.  In my dreams I can run to the car or even *gasp* go running on purpose.  It's just like the amputees say: you dream that you're able bodied.  (this is where I say I am in no way on the same level as those brave folks)
Anyone who knows me in reals knows that I would only run if I was on fire and being chased by wolves and even then it's a strong maybe.

We Just Can't Ever Know

Dales memorial was Monday and it was equal parts sad and comforting.  It provided one of my favorite examples of fellowship in a non-churchy way. We spent most of the day with our friends, reminding me that these events are for the living and not necessarily for the dead. Although I do hope that somehow Dale saw that hundreds of people showed up in his honor yesterday.

Seeing our friends dressed up was really nice for a really lousy reason.  Everyone was so handsome! Our friends own suits! By the way, Canadians dress semi-formally for memorials, lots of suits and dresses.  (Us 'Mericans still looked nice but not in suits.)

The speaker addressed the suicide issue directly. It was jarring at first but comforting by the end.  He made the point of shining the light on it made it an easier burden for everyone to bear.  Also, how we have to talk about these things as humans so that the fear/pain/sadness doesn't win.  Finally, he talked about how people perceive suicide differently, either as cowardly, or desperate, or a decision of control, and that there is no right answer or perspective.

We were all struck by how often we just know a person in a certain setting or in a certain light.  In our case with Dale, it was at the racetrack. For others who knew Dale, he was an employer, or a childhood friend, or from his other hobbies (body-builder! who knew!)  It just brought into perspective how rare it is that we completely know a person; unless it's a spouse and even then there are surprises.  We were seeing many folks out-of-context instead of just at the track or track related events. We didn't know that Mig speaks Portuguese fluently until recently, for instance. No one knew that Dale was struggling as hard as he was.We can just never know everything about a person.

There was a gathering at his brothers house afterward.  We spent most of our time with him and other friends in the shop, talking cars, as would be appropriate if we were just there for a regular visit.
 If only...

Godspeed, Dale.

19 April 2014

In this episode of "You Can't Take Me Anywhere"

One of my childhood friends lost her dad the other day.  It was a farming accident so very unexpected.  He was in his late sixties so still considered young these days.  He leaves behind a teenaged grandson and a toddler grandson as well as his son & daughter.  I've known his daughter since she was twelve and I was thirteen.  We were roommates one hundred years ago.

Over time I've come to the belief that us mere humans are here until either our "jobs" are done or our presence is no longer needed.  Scoff, I know, that our presence is always needed but it's just how I see it.  Imagine a clock with all the moving gears and hands.  I imagine our lives like that: moving gears and every once in a while, everything lines up and the hands move.  Sometimes the gears line up, the hands move, and our time is finished.

Wow, that's more poetic than it sounded in my head. Totally unintentional.

Anyway, this is the first of two memorials I will be attending.  This one was at the American Legion and in my hometown.  Pretty casual yet redneck traditional. (i.e. drinks, flannel, and conduct bordering on rude if you're not redneck yet there was an Air Force Color Guard)

As I arrived, my friend's mom was greeting everyone.  She's British and kind of like a character from Absolutely Fabulous.  To give a clear picture: she says "You can hug me but don't spill my wine."  She was definitely doing the British stiff upper lip thing but was that unfiltered lady that I love.

Next came my friend.  I spotted her through the crowd and she was being hugged and manhandled by people.  I realized she probably was hating this a lot.  Not the loss of her dad because DUH but the whole having to interact with humankind part. 

Finally I reach her and we hug.  I told her that "There's nothing I can say.  There's nothing that will make this better."  I feel her start to break down so I continued "It will get better though. I promise you."  In the voice of a child I hear "No. No it won't." 

I hugged her tighter and told her "Yes, it will. It just doesn't feel like it RIGHT NOW."

Then this is where I should stop speaking but of course I didn't.  And this is where I tell you that Heidi is the one person that you can say anything to and she's totally down.

"Besides, Heid, you're part of the Dead Dad Club now.  Welcome."

I felt the weight of her head on my shoulder increase then she just started laughing.  Like loud laughing. Then I started laughing.  She straightened up, looked at me then just shook her head.  "This is why I'm here, To be irreverent and make you laugh inappropriately. My work here is done." I told her.

She just continued to laugh and shake her head. Someone approached us and she put herself in check - back into mourning mode and I moved on.

The service was nice.  The color guard procession and ceremony is always brutal.  Her elder brother, that everyone was in love with back in the day, spoke and did a wonderful job.  Heidi's son spoke and was very brave and eloquent.  Heidi said that Sam was speaking for her because "If I speak, there will be Eff Bombs."

And that's why we are still friends.

14 April 2014

Sometimes It's Okay

A text or call late at night is never good.  Kevin's phone chimed about midnight the other night and he didn't hear it.  I debated about checking it but decided that if it were an emergency, someone would phone.

It turns out that it was Kevin's BFF letting us know that another friend had died.  The next morning (5 am, which is too early for even good news) is when we found out.  Now I feel badly for not checking but really, our friend wouldn't have been any more or less dead.  But at least I could commiserate with Miguel and have some time to process.

Sadly, our friend committed suicide.  He'd been ill for almost two years and chose to take control over how he wanted his life to end.  It's heartbreaking that he was that sick and that miserable that it was a choice for him.  It's heartbreaking that he leaves his family and friends behind and bereft. 

However, I respect his choice.  He knew that he didn't want to live this way and that he didn't want to be a burden on his family.  I know that his family would rather that he didn't make this choice and I respect that too.  There is no right way, no right choice.

Regardless, we lost a friend.  They lost their husband, dad, brother, grandpa.  He lost the life he had planned for and the life he didn't plan for.  Either way: it's a tremendous loss and we are all heartbroken.

Godspeed Dale.

02 April 2014

Glimmer Part Two

It's been over a week since the Oso landslide.  The news just never gets any easier.  I will admit that I took a break from it for about 24 hours because a person can just endure so much.  As it is located just in a community I'm familiar and am one-degree away from someone whom is involved, I can only imagine that it is 100 percent more difficult for those involved.

Oddly though, it's not the pictures and stories of the lost that affects me the most.  It's the stories of support from the community.  Like I mentioned before, Rhonda has been one of the search volunteers.  She does it after working a ten-hour day and over the weekend.  She is just one of hundreds that are doing this.

It's the first responders during the press conferences.  One of them was a firefighter with my dad when I was younger.  This really is a small community...or state actually.  

It's odd  to drive through Burlington and see the reader boards reading "Oso Strong" and other messages of support.  Every store has t-shirts, decals, and other ways to give.  Facebook is full of "Oso Strong" pictures.

The kids that attend Darrington school are tasked with making sandwiches and snacks for the searchers.  They're also asked to write thank you notes or notes of support.  I thought that was a very well-thought way of letting the kids participate and process.

The search dogs are what will make me weep the quickest.  Everyone has seen the picture of the dog that is muddy & messy from the chest down.  The vets are collecting treats, toys, and blankets or towels just for the search dogs.  The dogs are being given a few days rest because they're showing signs of PTSD.  Is that just too much or what?

Finally, stories of heroism (in my opinion) are starting to leak out.  The locals that are/were searching vowed to keep silent about anyone they found or anything they saw until the families had properly been notified.  The moment of silence a week later at the exact time. The pictures of the searchers paused for a moment of respect when they've found someone.  The brothers that refused to leave until their sister was found and they indeed found her. The agencies that are stepping up to support in anyway. Catholic Community Services is paying for all the funerals, no questions asked nor faith required. The kids, oh my god, the kids.  Raising money with bake sales, donating their savings, and any other imaginable way.  As always happens it seems, the raising of the American flag that was somehow found and still somewhat intact in the rubble.

What the point of this post has absolutely nothing to do with me or how I feel though.  My point is that at the lowest of times, people step up.  People become the best version of themselves.  We've seen and heard it every day for the last ten days. It is not a cliche.

01 April 2014


Word Origin and History

Rude c.1280, "coarse, rough" (of surfaces), from L. rudis "rough, crude, unlearned," perhaps related to rudus "rubble." Sense of "ill-mannered" is from late 14c. Rudesby "insolent, unmannerly fellow" is from 1566. Rude boy (also rudie, for short) in Jamaican slang is attested from 1967. Fig. phrase rude awakening is attested from 1895.

Synonyms: abusive - blunt - boorish - coarse - crude - ignorant - impolite - insulting - intrusive - obscene - surly -
 vulgar - uncivil

Anyone who knows me knows that I am direct, clear, blunt.  A person never has to wonder what I am thinking or feeling about something. Just ask or sometimes asking isn't even necessary.  But be careful because I will tell you.  It's never meant unkindly and more often than I'm willing to admit I'm not necessarily thinking about how/what I'm saying something before the words are out of my mouth. This is why this graphic makes me giggle:

There are people who don't enjoy this personality trait.  I know, right?  Go figure.  I can appreciate that some people are more sensitive than others.  When I'm aware of someone like that I try to temper my thoughts and words accordingly.  If my words get ahead of my brain and I realize it, I will often apologize or just simply acknowledge to the person that I spoke thoughtlessly.  I do the best I can.

I looked up the definition of rude and found that it doesn't necessarily apply to me...or at least I don't believe it does, others may have differing opinions.  I looked up synonyms next and that list was a little more entertaining and informative.  There were, indeed, words that could be used to describe me from time to time.  Some of them make me a little cringy and some of them make me giggle. (I kind of love the word "surly")

Often I have found is that the people who have something to hide, are insecure, or have control issues Really Don't Appreciate It. Really. Don't. 

But I've never really worried what others think of me.  It's just never been important. 


Taking the Scenic Route

Lately I've been taking the long way to work.  The long way being defined as five minutes longer, at most. It requires taking the back road instead.  I eventually get onto I-5 but even that portion of the freeway is lovely.

Now that I've driven it a few times, I'm wondering why I haven't done this sooner.  My first guess is that I'm usually running late so it just didn't occur to me.  Also, during the winter these roads are rural and don't get any sort of sand or plowing.

Kevin has always said that he doesn't mind his commute. He turns up the radio, drinks his coffee, and chills along the way.  I've found that I am a little more relaxed when I get to work as well.  It's not such a brutal change: sitting cozy on the couch with the puppy one moment then wading into the social services insanity the next.

The other day was one of those ethereal, lovely Spring mornings so I made an effort to take pictures along the way.

Not getting on the freeway. I have a strange affection for this sign.

How pretty is this? And it's not fully Spring festooned yet.

I love how this turned out, water drops on the window and all

Another shot of the water because BEAUTIFUL

Sunbeams...after a long, hard winter these come with their own happy music

After the lake, the road travels uphill. I'm sure there's a metaphor in there somewhere.

26 March 2014

"I married a girl with a purse!"

I don't like purses. I think I've talked about it before.  I just find them annoying.  I don't like carrying things, I don't like things around my neck or shoulders, and I just can't think of a reason that I would need to carry something with me all.the.time.  Granted, I'm not a mother or hold a profession that would require me to constantly have something with me.

What do I carry with me? you ask.  I carry my phone and keys in my hand or pocket.  If I have to carry my debit card I usually put it in my pocket or carry a little bag that holds my id and stuff, that also fits in my pocket.

Normally I have a little backpack that holds my stuff.  It stays in the 4Runner or desk drawer just in case I need something.  For a long while I had a miniature doctor bag that I loved so much that I used it until it just wore out.  I've not found another one since.

I looked on Amazon from time to time or browsed in the stores to find a replacement but nothing. Finally I found a doctor bag style on Amazon that claimed to be small and will "Easily hold your phone, wallet, and small make-up bag"  It sounded perfect.

It was a purse. Sigh...

I can fit all my stuff, a book, glasses, water bottle, wallet, keys, phone, and any number of things in this bag. It's a purse.

And I do. Look at that.  It's appalling. 

To be fair, this is on a Friday after a week of stuffing everything I own in it.
The two black things are our checkbook and my phone cover.  There are the two gloves that I've since put away because it's Spring dammit. The white thing is my brace.  The brown next to it is a Clif bar that I keep on me always. A brush.  A random binder clip. A sheet of coupons that I only need one of. The white & multi-color bag is make-up and medicine. (it's the size of a mans wallet) The pink bag is the little bag that holds my id and stuff.  The white paper is a combo wad of paper consisting of a bank and grocery receipt. Oh, look: there are two Clif bars.  The last item I brought home from work because it was a pamphlet from the Church next door that uses C.S. Lewis quotes or stories for Lent & Easter.

Kevin just teased me.  "That's a PURSE! You have a Purse! I married a GIRL! A girl with a PURSE." Yes, you're very cute and funny Kevin. Now shut up.

So, obviously this purse is too big. (and it is, after all, a purse)  I need only half of that crap.  Clearly, if I have the space: I will fill it.

25 March 2014

Focus on the Glimmer

Once again the lovely Pacific Northwest has made the national news.  We're getting pretty weary of this.

This post is not about the tragedy per se but about other things surrounding it.

Kevin was working on Saturday when I noticed on the twitter that there was a slide blocking a highway that his work uses and one of his crew lives near.  I texted him on his work phone and asked if Rhonda was at work or home.  He said she was at home and that they didn't have trucks out there today.

I kept an eye on twitter and things began to post quickly and gained urgency.  I turned on the news then called Kevin.  He was just about to phone me to let me know that it was really bad.

Kevin's work provides truck and sand when there is flooding in the area.  He's been called into work before to work when the water is high.  So, this was our thought - selfishly - was that he was going to have to go to work.

Then the news started giving footage and stats of the disaster and we felt awful.  Awful because the massive loss and because we were worried about Kevin having to work.

A frustrating thing that we experienced is that we kept wanting to listen to the news so when we went to dinner we were distracted.  The people we were with knew what had happened, that it effected Kevin's work and that one of Kevin's crew lived up there.  They seemed annoyed that we kept checking the news, like we were distracted by a football game or reality television show.  I just felt like raising my voice and saying "You realize this is bad, right?  You realize that you're eye-rolling because we want to know what's going on and if there is anything we can do."  But I didn't. Oh boy did I think it though.

This tragedy also showed where social media has become essential in an emergency.  Twitter gave real time, boots on the ground, updates.  Because of the bridge falling, I began following Washington State Department of Transportation and one of the news channels. It's amazing the amount of information a simple tweet can disperse.

The officials have actually had to ask people to stop giving, stop volunteering, just stand down.  Most of these people are residents of Darrington (because, frankly, Oso where the slide occurred, no longer exists)  The officials also requested only Darrington residents to be search volunteers because they know the terrain, the people, and have the skills.  They also requested local loggers because of the previously stated reasons.

Rhonda is on Kevin's crew. She grew up and continues to live in Darrington.  She is a damn tough woman who hunts, fishes, takes care of her own house & vehicle and depends on no one.  I think she is an awesome human being.

She told Kevin that once news reached Darrington, the locals gathered and went to the slide.  They took four-wheelers, trucks, horses, whatever it took to get there.  Immediately, without thought of their own well-being, they began crawling through the wreckage.  Because of their actions, a mom and baby were rescued.  Doesn't that just give you the chills?  Neighbors going all Red Dawn and coming, literally, out of the woods & mountains to save their neighbors and friends.

Because of these folks, it turns out that a dog was also rescued from one of the houses.  Rhonda was there and video'd the rescue.  Like I said, tough as effing nails.  It is her brother that brings the dog out.

So, awfulness continues but it feels like everyone is trying to focus on the small little glimmers of hope and humanity.

Give a shout out to whoever or whatever you believe in for this tiny little community.


A couple weeks ago I helped an old friend of mine sell a few cars to a current friend of mine.  The fun part is my old friend is now American German (hasn't lived in the States since 1988)  and my current friend is Scottish Canadian.  Thank goodness they weren't together when we were communicating or I'm sure hilarity would have ensued.

My friend Mark was worried about being able to find my old hometown from the Canadian Border and then find his way around once he arrived.  I sent a screenshot map of the town and said "Not even."  This is the screenshot:

This the heart of the "city" Any excluded streets are more "roads", much less populated, and all lead out of town
As it turns out, he arrived before I did, he found it so easily.  Mark commented on what a nice little town it is.  "Welcome to my hometown" I told him.  (sorta, technically where I lived is twenty minutes away but the majority of my formative years were spent in this town)

It was interesting to see it through stranger's eyes.  The Cascade Range as a backdrop is normal and not really noticed if you live there.  Gorgeous and dramatic if you're not though. The quiet was unusual as well, I'd forgotten how quiet that town is. There really isn't a "bad part of town" as even the run down houses have charm and are few and far between.

It is a little redneck town full of lots of trucks, loggers, hunters, and camo.  But it's full of familiar faces and streets.  It's full of people that stop to ask if you need help or just because they're curious about what you're doing.

It really is a nice little town once you removed your own personal filter.

Being in his old house was a little strange.  It's been updated so doesn't have a time capsule feel  but more of a fever dream feel.  I've spent so much time in that house, that driveway, that garage yet it's been twenty-five years. Just the thought of that amount of time passed is enough to disoriented.

Then fast forward a few days and through the magic of the facebook I found the last remaining person of our high school group.  We messaged back and forth and he mentioned that it was "a good place to be from" which surprised me because he got the eff out of town as soon as we graduated.

Again, perspective has removed any filters.  Everyone has grown up and moved on and most of us are past all the childhood b.s. that has happened.  Sure there is always that guy or girl but most of my adult experiences in that town have been good.

Sometimes I think us humans just see things through certain lenses and never notice that things change or we change.  Or that the lenses need cleaning.

15 March 2014

Wouldn't It Be Nice

One of my favorite songs as a child was "Wouldn't it be nice" by the Beach Boys. I just always looked forward to when I would be old enough to be with someone like that.

This morning Kevin wanted to go to the Hardware Store. Bellingham has an EPIC hardware store that a person can literally get lost in.  I love going there too.  There is no just stopping in for a minute in this store.

Before we left we took Lucy to the coffee stand, like we do every weekend.  She gets spoiled by the girls with lots of treats and scritches.

Then off to town we went.  Sidebar: does everyone say they're "going to town?" or is that a regional thing? or a country thing?  Or am I the only one that says it?

We went to the hardware store then to lunch.  We went to a local's place in downtown that we like.  We noticed it was a little busier than usual but we also saw someone with a marathon number on their shirt so I assumed there was a jog-athon or something. 

Nope, it was a parade.  A St Patrick's Day parade. We had accidentally happened upon a parade. (Kevin said "And you know like one guy is actually Irish", which made me laugh)   The restaurant was right at the beginning of the route and we had front row seats. It wasn't a big parade but it had the requisite fire trucks, marching bands and costumed folks. 

The best part of it was watching a man with Down Syndrome who saluted all the fire trucks and fist pumped or drummed to the marching bands.  It was just so sweet to watch.  He patted Kevin on the shoulder and said hello when they passed on the sidewalk. (Kevin has that invisible sign that tells people he's a good guy)

Afterward we went home because you can't top happening upon a parade (and we were done, but whatever).  I went inside to finish chores and Kevin went out to the shop to play with his new toys.  As I was puttering around in the house, that song popped in my head.  It occurred to me that the wish had come true.  I'm hanging out with my best friend all the time. 

13 March 2014

Screen Time

I've been on a movie watching binge.  Not purposefully, just had the opportunity lately because I had a snow day, a comp day, and a few quiet weekends. I'm not complaining, it just feels a little strange. After being immobile for so long, I felt like I had to move it, move it, once I was well.  Now I'm trying to find a balance.

I finally watched Les Miserables.  Now I see why everyone loved it.  I've watched it, in parts and all the way through, numerous times and I'm always mesmerized.  I read the book in high school and liked it but remember very little of it.  Thankfully, some of it I recalled as the movie went on.  And seriously, you can't go wrong with Eddie Redmayne.  Hugh Jackman as well.  I'm not a Anne Hathaway fan so I was relieved she was in it only a bit.

To offset that Academy Award Winning Movie, I watched the last two Twilight movies.  What is it about those movies in the fact that they're total nonsense yet captivating?  A person ends up just sitting there mindlessly and helplessly watching it. I really hope that Robert Pattinson keeps acting because I think he's got more to offer than these movies. The other one: ugh. Just go away forever.

I also watched Rust and Bone, another Academy Award movie.  I didn't realize that it was subtitled so when I started it at 7:00 in the morning, all I could think was "Ain't nobody got time for that" but I decided to keep watching. I am glad that I did.  There is a difference between European movies and American ones in that they go further into detail than American film makers so I admit that I did hit fast-forward a few times.

TCM has a show about the Academy Awards that they've been playing.  It's about the movies, the actors, and the awards.  I was surprised at just how many I've seen and equally how many I've not seen.  I think if I ever get an attention span long enough to build a Bucket List, I'm going to have one of the items be "Watch all the Academy Award Winning Movies"

My new favorite movie is Beautiful Creatures.  It tried to capitalize on the supernatural movie trend but I don't think it did very well in the box office.  I don't know why.  It has Emma Thompson, Viola Davis, and Jeremy Irons and it features a few character actors that everyone will recognize. The main characters are two teens that are unknown actors though and perhaps that's why it wasn't more popular. The soundtrack is great as well.  It is the anti-Twilight.  The girl lead character has actual facial expressions and talent.

I've been testing out the new sitcoms as well.  So far, Mixology is the only one that I've liked.  I feel like I should like Brooklyn Nine Nine but I'm just not an Andy Samberg fan.

But really, I don't need more television to watch. Which is exactly what I'm binge-watching Veronica Mars now.

A Wandering Post About Writing

I read a post the other day about blogs becoming a thing of the past.  It talked about the ethereal nature of them and just how very few of them have staying power.  Also it talked how popular some of the blogs have become, even becoming a regular source of income which is a completely new and viable industry.

It made me feel a little badly because I've been so lax about writing here.  I am often thinking about it, it's just that follow-through and opportunity that I have lacked.  I have an actual list of items to talk about and an older list of random words written on a wrinkled old subscription card that must have meant something when I wrote it.

Some of the lack is simple time.  I come home tired still, which is just stupid.  I almost wonder if it's become a habit then I remember "Two plates, eight screws, five broken bones, nine percent disability, duh."

Also I have The Puppy.  She requires playing and love and attention that Missy Jo rarely demanded.  Y'all saw: she was standing on my desk while I was writing.  (Kevin said "Well, SOMEONE let her up there.")  There is also something about having a warm puppy laying on you that takes away any need or want to get up, ever.

I realized also that I just got weary of writing about how the Nephew was sick or my job sucks or this is what's wrong right now that 2013 brought us.  Other than the ongoing vehicle drama, 2014 seems more positive by far. *KNOCK WOOD EVERYWHERE*  With that though also takes away go-to subjects to write about.

You guys can only stand so many puppy pictures and I really don't want to be that girl anyway.

Related: While I was proofing another post, I realized that I still have a blog roll on this blog.  I know, I know, I need to update.  At least three of them aren't active anymore.  It's sad really.  Three of the writers just got too busy and couldn't devote any more time so have all but disappeared from my life. One is a far-away friend that I still keep up with.  A few are facebook friends now and I love that.

I have difficulty letting go for the names and links, even though they're not active anymore.  I will do it though.  I'm a little embarrassed at how long it has been since I've updated anything.

Writer burnout has become a real thing.  It used to be simply writers block and it was only for novelists and reporters.  Now there's this new niche of bloggers where the "rules" aren't defined and we're clearly making it up as we go along.  Many people just burnout but then eventually return.  This is always my hope when I click on an old link.

A thousand years ago when I was in college, a professor talked about choosing a career.  He made a point that "Do what you love" might not be the greatest advice.  His premise was that if you do what you love as a hobby then the pleasure is taken out of that hobby.  I was a little ambivalent about that premise at the time, actually thinking "Well, that's depressing."   Now I kind of see his point.

I write for a living now (argument could be had that I do that anyway so let's clarify: I get paid now) and by the time I get home, I'm exhaustified of looking at a screen and hovering over a keyboard.  I imagine that is the case for many writers.

I've never been worried about being on trend or even on task, really, and I'm not going to begin now.  I'll probably still be here typing away this just a bunch of silliness for quite a while and happily reading the friends that still do write.  :)

07 March 2014

Just Turn It & See if it Fits

We've lived in this house almost eight years.  I'm a little embarrassed to admit that I just realized that our garbage can fits under the sink horizontally instead of vertically.  I figured it out completely by accident.  I was trying to fit something behind it and voila! it fit.

This discovery is one of those "life hacks" that you see on the interwebs that changes your life.  It's one of those simple changes that makes you wonder who in the hell decided you got to be an adult.

Nerd vs. Geek

The biggest kid nephew had a birthday the other day.  He's TWELVE.  Twelve, going on twenty. He can sit with the adults and hold his own in conversation, he is kind of a nerd, and loves to write & read.  (you'd think we shared genes but we don't)

His mom mentioned that he took a test to determine if he was a geek or a nerd.  He was hoping for nerd, we don't know why.  I asked him about it and also asked "What's the difference between a geek and a nerd?"

He paused for about a minute, long enough that we were all "umm? dude?"

Finally he kind of sighs and says, (I SWEAR THIS IS TRUE) "It's kind of hard to explain because you need, like, charts and stuff..."

Enough said, young man, you've explained it perfectly.

Yes I Would Love a Cookie

Photo by Kevin's Mom...who probably gave her a cookie

18 February 2014

Out of the Box

This is one of those First World Problems that one feels a little silly complaining about but bothers me so much that the triviality of it is overridden by annoyance.

Kleenex boxes Y U so Ugly?

The past year or so, the kleenex boxes have been such soothing colors as Sears Tuff-Skins brown and denim. I think they're trying to represent a more masculine demographic but no. The other decorative options are overly girly with purple, pink or yellow flower blossoms. There appears to not be a gender neutral option. The other brands aren't much better either. The other brand seems to think it is 1987 with its metallics and bright colors.

If you're still awake, the point is that I've found a work around. I do like the yellow flower box so I figured out how to open the box without ruining it. If you've ever been curious as to how the tissues are configured, it was a tiny bit interesting. Clearly, I need to get out more

I can take out my annoyance by opening the ugly box, taking out the kleenex, and then putting it in the pretty box. A bit of invisible tape along the seam And no one is the wiser. Well, until now.

I took a picture to show the offending box but it looks nicer in the picture than in reals. As if mocking me for such trivial concerns.

17 February 2014

The Door to Happiness

I've always disliked how dark our laundry/mud room is.  It had a solid door and no windows so there was absolutely no natural light.  As a bonus, there were no extra outlets to plug in a lamp. 

I finally decided to buy a new door.  It's been on my wish list for quite some time and the other day, I just up and decided.  I phoned Kevin and told him I wanted a new door.  He suggested I look online and choose while he phoned his dad to get measurements. Then we would go get one.

Next thing I knew, my father-in-law had my new door in the back of his mini-van.  He said he was going into town anyway but I suspect that was a fib.  I rarely want for anything beyond books and simple things so I was surprised at how quickly Kevin and my father-in-law jumped into action.  A lesser person could take advantage. 

I assumed it would be an unhook the old one and put the new one in but not so much. Because things are never that easy in my world.  Luckily, one of Kevin's crew is a carpenter.  He came home with Kevin the next night and two hours later, we have a new door. 

It feels like it has changed the whole house. Suddenly we have tons of natural light.  Kevin asked if I was going to put a curtain on the window for some sort of privacy.  As it looks out at the rock garden and the road is ten feet above the door, I feel no need.  Also, we live in a secluded area, it's not like there are people walking by at all.

It needs painted. It turns out our old one did as well but we just didn't know.  It was fun to post on the facebook to see everyone's opinions.  Mostly, people said red.  I've always liked the look of a red door but we think it might look silly on a sage green house with white trim and shutters.  I'm leaning toward a glossy black, or maybe a pretty grey.  My sister-in-law and childhood bff said a dark green and I like that idea as well.  We have a few months to decide so that's good.

I just love how this door has improved the house and my mood.  Some of the best money I've ever spent.