30 March 2009

Family Ties

My family is quite small. I have two brothers and only one has children. Kevin & I can't have children so my family name ends with my brothers.

As I've mentioned, there is one brother that I am close with and one brother that I'm really not. Once my parents die, it is a safe guess that "the other brother" will fade from our lives. Perhaps he'll surprise us but I doubt it. The parents are the only reason we see each other anymore.

My nieces are 18 and 14, soon they will be grown and gone. We are close, as they are breaking the mold of no touch, no feelings, no sentimentality once and for all. They have not one second of hesitation about hugging and saying I love you. This doesn't happen in my family. These beautiful girls have given me "family."

My brothers and I have never had a template of what a healthy family (or relationship, but that's another topic) is like. We have no frame of reference. Brother Dear was given full custody of his girls, with no warning whatsoever. When that happened, we had to assemble some sort of a unit. And it's been good.

For reasons I've never quite understood, we didn't spend time with family: grandparents, uncles & aunt, cousins and such. It's not like there wasn't plenty there to chose from:

My father had one brother who had five children, between bio & step children. We spent time with them when my paternal grandma was alive but that ended when she died when I was six.

My paternal grandfather was married three times: divorced my paternal grandmother, widowed and then remarried. I should have cousins galore with that family dynamic but not so much. We saw my grandfather only on holidays.

My mother is originally from California. Her mother was also married three times and she outlived all three husbands. With that, there were eleven children total, also inclusive of bio and step children. Because of the distance, and again for reasons I've never understood, we didn't spend any time with those cousins either.

From both sides of the family, I have two cousins who are my age. Neither of whom I could recognize in a crowded mall.

While Kevin's family is much larger. His mother and father are each one of five children.
His mother's family is very close while his father's family is more like mine. In fact many of his siblings don't speak and there really aren't any family gatherings anymore. We bump into those relatives in the store during Christmas.

Kevin's family was quite overwhelming to me at first. Family holidays, barbecues, & reunions were busy, loud, & drama filled affairs. It could get very overwhelming for someone coming from a detached semblance of a family.

And of course, they didn't always understand me, having come from a small & non-communicative family. Like everyone, they think everyone's family is just like theirs. They couldn't understand the feelings of being overwhelmed and frankly, suffocation. It's as if I were raised by wolves and then suddenly thrust into a human environment. It's a funny analogy but it's, sadly, true.

We're now the age that parents, aunts, & uncles have begun passing on, leaving the cousins untethered. We noticed that we don't stay in touch as well as before. This last summer we simply didn't get around to having a family reunion. Everyone has heard the lament: "Once Mom passed away, we didn't see each other anymore." It's true.

It's sad, really, because cousins are an important part of your life. They knew you when you were little and while not siblings nor best friends, the bond is usually there. But it is kind of a strange relationship because you're essentially friends because of DNA, versus having the same interests. We're working on keeping those connections though. Facebook helps. Cell phones help.

I'm slowing absorbing my brother & nieces into my life. Dragging them into "my" family. It's easier that way. The nieces ADORE their uncle Kevin and call my BFF D "Auntie". We've created our own, healthier family unit.

I've come to the realization that is much as they making me freaking C.R.A.Z.Y, these people are my family. They are the only chance I am going to have at a nuclear family. And in a wacky turn of events, it's kind of fun.

Thus my belief of "Family is who you choose it to be, not whom DNA designates."

29 March 2009

Adventure at the Grocery Store

I see the weirdest things at the grocery store. Not items, but people & situations. I don't know if it's the county I live in or if I just notice random stuff that no one else notices.

This, however, was out of the ordinary even for me:
Yesterday, as I was checking out, I watched the store manager & another guy rush out of the store with panic in their eyes. Shortly afterward I heard the loudspeaker call someone to their car. I listened and heard it wasn't my car so I didn't panic. I had Kevin's car & if anything is going to go wrong: it's going to be while I'm driving it so I was relieved.

Turns out, a car caught fire in the parking lot, close to the entrance. By the time I was walking out, smoke was bellowing everywhere and you could smell burnt antifreeze. (only I would know what that smells like)

A person could hardly get through the exit for all the people gawking and it became worse as I went outside. (the store has a breezeway) Personally, I was more worried about being able to get to my car more than anything else as I parked far, far away from the entrance. I had already thought of just walking around the store to avoid the excitement but at this point, I was committed.

People are standing twenty feet away from a burning car. A. Burning. Car. FIRE.

As I hear the fire engines approaching, I am trying to weave my way through, skirting close to the building, AWAY from the burning car. As grade school fire safety week taught me: "If there is a fire, run AWAY."

I actually had to say "Excuse me, how about you move Out of the way? That would be great, thanks" with a sarcastic smile that confused them. They looked at me like I was interrupting the last five minutes of LOST. I mentioned later that if the store had passed out popcorn, people would have been happy.

As I'm nearly past the last group of (ahem, stupid) people, I actually heard someone say:
"Well, the gas tank is in the back of the car."

I had to will myself to keep walking. I SO wanted to stop and say:
"Really? How about the oil pan at the bottom of the engine? The fuel lines? How about the radiator? Or the tires? Have you NEVER seen an action movie, you bonehead?"

But, I would rather get myself to safety than to argue with an idiot.

I got to the car safely and they were putting out the fire as I left. I was a little disappointed that I couldn't use my experience for the next episode of Mr Pickles. Wouldn't that have been great? Sit Mr Pickles on the fire engine? Or next to the fire hose?

Luckily, unlike the bystanders, I have sense in my head.

28 March 2009

Grand Theft Auto


Oh No! Mr Pickles stole Kevin's car and headed to the casino!

27 March 2009

Romance is...

Did you see the proposal blog link of Bloggess the other day? OMG. I want to marry the guy! He posted that comments could include how we were proposed to or any marriage advice to share.

In February, there are always lots of articles about romance, love stories, etc. One that caught my eye...in Redbook, I think...was titled "Romance is..." and it featured short stories of women explaining how they knew their partner loved them.

I know Kevin loves me because:

He makes me laugh, every single day, purposefully.
He makes sure my truck has oil, gas, tires, and all things that it needs.
He sung "You had a bad day" when I lost my job.
He shoveled snow, repeatedly, this winter.
He turns on the closet light during dark mornings vs. the overhead light to wake me up.
He doesn't really care if we have breakfast for dinner.
He says "That wasn't awful" when dinner is something he likes or it turns out particularly well.

Kevin is rarely in a surly mood. He usually recognizes it in himself and goes outside to the shop until it subsides. He tends to go work things out and then come back in instead of inflicting whatever is wrong on me. Likewise, if I'm in a bitchy mood. He acknowledges it ("Are you grumpy?" which is really not a good question to ask a grouchy person), he asks if he can help - once, and then he lets me go on my own. He has learned that mostly I need to work it out myself and I have learned that if I want help: I need to ask.

Kevin is a pull your hair like a six-year-old boy rather than a gently brushing my hair out of my eyes romance novel guy.

Our proposal wasn't creative, or flashy or anything terribly remarkable:

It was Valentines Day in 1993. Kevin had sent flowers to work for me with a nice card. Valentines Day is a "No phone, no computer, no television" evening....as is our anniversary and birthdays. We always go out to dinner or bring dinner home. We were going out that night and I was getting ready when Kevin came home. He sat down tiredly at the kitchen table and gave me my card. This should have been my first clue. He never sits still, ever.

It was a big, flowery, prose-filled, fold-out card that took a minute to read. He wrote at the bottom:
"I love you very much. Will you marry me?"

Well. Yes! of course was the answer. He wanted me to choose a ring with him otherwise, he would have had one. (This was good, because we have very different tastes in rings!)
He went into the shower and asked me to come in. (get your mind out of the gutter!!! that was later...)

I asked him when he was thinking of a wedding. I was thinking of December... I know, everyone groans when I say that...Through the shower curtain, I hear "I was thinking May."
I remember standing there, literally counting on my fingers "March, April, Ma...Have you lost your mind!?!?!"

Once he proposed, it seemed, he wanted to get the show on the road. We'd both been married before & we both had church weddings. Kevin suggested getting married outside here at the house. Perfect!!! And so it was done.

So three months later, we were married! Now it's been 16 years in May. Many peaks, many valleys, sunshine & rain and a few dark & lonely roads later, we're still here.

Romance is: whatever you chose it to be.


26 March 2009

Oh No he din't!!!


Mr Pickles can't believe what Howard just said...he faints dead away...
poor Mr Pickles!

24 March 2009

The Wonder Years

We were given a DVD of the early years of our racing career...1996-2000 to be specific. It seems like forever ago now.
Watching it left me with feelings of pride but also of sadness. I feel old when I say those were the best days. I miss our friends and I miss being in the middle of it all.

In 2005 when I/we stepped out of the organization, I was relieved and so ready to be done. Now enough time has passed that I remember mostly just the fun & the good versus all the stress and hard work.

How it all began was we raced the last half of the 1999 season & realized we could do well. We made a little splash in a big pond and it was a little intoxicating. "We could do this" Kevin said.

I remember talking with Kevin at the end of the 1999 season. We had to make an unanimous decision as a couple for one of the first times in our relationship. Because we don't have children, we missed out on a lot of the couple-building milestones that most couples experience. The decision to do this was a big milestone for us. It was a huge commitment, physically, time-wise and financially. Whew! financially! (we put off a new house in order to race...not the most responsible choice)

So, in 2000 we set a goal and achieved it. We won the championship that year. Then we runner-upped the following years and won again in 2005, right before Kevin was diagnosed. He raced while sick and we didn't know any better. So, we could have killed him but luckily we didn't!

We took off 2006 to allow Kevin to recover. Then in 2007 we ran in a different series, in a different organization, in a different town(s). It's never been the same as those first years.

When we started, Kevin actually drove the car to the racetrack. Now we have an enclosed trailer with all the gear. We once were in awe of the Big Kids and now we're one of them. We even traveled to Vegas to race with the really big boys. It's dumbfounding.

And we're coming up on another decision soon: how far to go and when to stop.Unfortunately or fortunately, depending on how you look at it, finances will probably exclude us from going much further. Sponsors are difficult to come by and located in BFE isn't much of a help.

Anyway, it's kind of surreal to watch ourselves on the DVD. Those were indeed the wonder years. We are near the end of this video clip...the next DVD we're in A. LOT. It's almost embarrassing and trust me, we were teased.


Wicked Street of the West Vol 1 Intro





Kevin at the end of the track...slowing down from nearly 150 mph.
Yeah, he's that cool. (:-D

23 March 2009

Random Quote of the Day

I was just thinking I hadn't posted a quote in a while. I haven't happened upon one that grabbed me...until now. And you'll laugh at who it is:

Life is like walking through a funhouse. It's dark, people are pushing, and you can't turn around. You just follow the cracks of light. ~ John Mayer via Twitter

Positive Negative Rant

I have a list of sites that I check daily...some are newsy, some are blogs, some are Facebook.

I have a handful of stranger-friend blogs that I really enjoy reading. So, bored and hoping to add to the stranger friends list, I started randomly browsing for more blogs to read.

I am amazed at some of the stuff people will post. Seriously.

Blogs to some people are online diaries. I get that. But I wonder if they do. It's ONLINE. It's FOREVER. That means everyone can See it. Co-workers, exes, family. While many are anonymous, like mine, there is still a chance people you know & love but don't intend to read Can. It's just mind boggling to me.

While Kevin can make me C.R.A.Z.Y, it would never occur to me to rant/complain about him the way some bloggers do about their spouses/partners. We're not perfect and we don't usually fight beyond a snarky comment here & there.

And really, I'm trying not to sound pious, but really? do you really call your spouses names? I mean not silly names but names like curse words that I don't even want to type because WOW, I can't imagine calling Kevin that EVER.

Because, seriously, if you're calling your spouse names like that: do something about it. Clearly, you're miserable or really angry. And if you're not either of those things, piece of advice: stop calling them names like that. I can imagine their replies "But I don't actually *mean* that he's a &*#-wad...THEN DON"T CALL THEM THAT.

I realize that somethings are lost in translation. I know that I can post something that C, D, J, or K would laugh out loud reading because they can hear me say it. While others wouldn't get it because you don't know me for reals and can't hear the inflection of my voice/words.

Maybe it's because Kevin was extremely ill and I had to look at possibly losing him. Maybe it's because we've been together eighteen years, to go all Hallmark on you: I can't imagine my last words to him or about him being "I can't believe that effin' a**hole didn't put his dishes in the sink." Nor would I be able to withstand the look of hurt he would have if he read or was told about me saying it.

Also at risk of sound pious again: I know I drop the F bomb occasionally and I curse on the blog for sure. I am worse/better in real life...depending on the setting. But I try to keep it to a appropriate level - if there is such a thing. I try to write so, hopefully, you're not offended.

I've read the C word (male & female version) on a few blogs and found myself agape. And I live in Boy World. Boys don't even use those words regularly. I don't even call MICHAEL, the guy I have a permanent restraining order for, those names.

Sadly, I'm out. I can't do it. It's not that I'm a goody two shoes. (oh, really not, no!) I just find it unnecessary. Frankly, my opinion of the person drops.

I can't imagine getting to that place or being that person:
"I, firegirl, take you, Kevin to have and hold til death do us part, unless you leave your towel on the floor and then I'm going to curse you profusely to the entire universe in a way that will not only make you cry but want to kill me in return. I do."

The moral of this story, for me, is: it's okay to complain about your spouse/partner but don't disrespect them to entire world. Mmmkay?

And to my blogger stranger friends I don't mean YOU, at all!! This opinion was generated from randomly browsing blogs in no particular order or reason.

21 March 2009

Mr Pickles says OMG


Hallmark exploded!!!

20 March 2009

As You Wish

It's been a long week. Thankfully, we didn't have anywhere to go tonight so we're able to just chill at home. I got home before Kevin so I decided to use my ADD powers for good & cleaned the house from top to bottom.

While I was making dinner, I flipped on my favorite movie. As I scrurried about getting everything ready and finishing the last of my chores, I found myself reciting the dialogue as the movie progressed.

This is the one movie that I know by heart. Kevin can usually kick my ass in the "What movie is that from?" game but not with this movie.

It was still playing while we ate dinner. Kevin's favorite part "Inconceivable!" had already passed but his other favorite part was coming up. ("Drop your sword...you warthog faced buffoon")
Kevin stops at one point and says "But Fee's wedding was the best EVER." It took me a second to remember what he was talking about.

When Brother Dear got married a few years ago...since divorced...they had a fire department themed wedding. It was at my brother's department and the decorations were all red, white & fire oriented. They had an antique engine there to ride off in, it was great.

As the ceremony began, there was a moment of silence, just enough to catch your attention. Finally the pastor begins:

"Mawage. Mawage is what bwings us togever today. Mawage, that bwessed awwangment...that dweam of a dweam..."

We. Were. Rolling.

((It's from the Princess Bride, if you haven't guessed))

My parents were confused...as were some others attending. But most of us were ROLLING.

Brother Dear & Ann acknowledged to the crowd that the joke was on us, the pastor laughed, and he began again. This time without the speech impediment.

Kevin's right: that was the best.

His demands are simple:


Cookie and caffiene...that's all he asks for. It's simple really.

General Hospital

My m-i-l had surgery this week which required us to sit in a waiting room all day on Thursday.

The good/bad thing about being sick in this family is that Everyone is THERE. There were eight of us. Eight. And there could have been more, easily. We've become pros at hospital waiting: Snacks, water, books, magazines, crosswords, etc. We commandeer an area and settle in like squatters. The waiting room had computers and wireless internet so the Nephew & I alternated updating our Facebook status and checking emails. Thank God for technology.

As previously posted, you saw that Mr Pickles and the fam played poker...and solitaire... and...blackjack...and WAR. They even taught another person waiting how to play a specific kind of solitaire, as well as share knitting techniques. This family has never met a stranger, ever.

Kevin & I had the discussion about visitors while in the hospital. He said he'd like to have visitors or he'd have hurt feelings. I say "I want you and D there. That's it. Everyone else can piss off." Don't take it personally friends & family. Come visit me at the house anytime you wish, you don't even have to call. But if I'm in the hospital: love you but stay away.

Scenes from General Hospital:

#1:
Kevin's aunt & uncle are there. His aunt is my brother-in-law's age so she's more of a cousin than aunt. She mentioned that her ex-husband called to wish her happy anniversary. (they've been divorced five years & she's remarried) Our heads collectively exploded over this. She shrugged it off and said "Well, there's history there..."

#2:
We're standing in the hallway and this low-rent, redneck looking guy goes walking by. He says to his friend "And she thinks she wants money from me...F*&k you, bitch" Kevin & I broke out laughing.
"Nice!" I say "Because you're not in a public area and audible."
Then Kevin says "I wonder what she did to make him so mad?"
A few minutes later Redneck Boy goes past us again, this time with three women of varying ages. I leaned over to Kevin..."I wonder which one is the f*(king bitch?" Kevin says "I wonder if they know they're f#$king bitches?"

#3:
There was a baby in the waiting room in the afternoon. (did I mention that we were there for eight hours) The baby was about one year old. She was doing very well being in the setting she was in. She was babbling, as babies do. She let out quite a stream of babble and the Nephew calmly says "Don't Talk to Me Like That!" I was mid-sentence in a book and just busted out laughing.

#4
On the way home we stopped for dinner. I would have been happy with a happy meal in the car but Kevin wanted to stop. I went into the washroom and while I was in the stall, a little one came in. The door to the stall shook and I hear an adult's voice say "No, not that one, someone is in there."
"But I want to go in that one" the tiny voice says.
"No, you need to go into this one and go"
There's a moment of silence. Little one is pondering...
"But I want to see who's in there..."
I broke out laughing. It was just so doggone cute.

At the restaurant, Kevin had a club sandwich without cheese because "That's the way we make them" according to the waitress. I just figured it was Karma for making us stop to eat on the way home. (:-D

PS...the m-i-l has P.A.D. and they put artificial artery in one leg to restore circulation. It was a success, she's fine & will be home Monday-ish.

19 March 2009

The Gambler


Mr Pickles confidence & skill brings home with winnings!!!

16 March 2009

Becasue

Okay, we've been friends long enough that I can say this:

I mis-spell "because" regularly.

I'm tired of fixing it.

When you see "becasue" you know what I mean.

Thanks for your understanding...

Hallmark Outlet

One of the projects that arose from Monica's closet is a big bag of greeting cards that we've received over the years. In case you've forgotten: I am Suzy Save Everything.

I'm weeding through these cards as I write this...well, not technically, let's just say I'm writing it in my head as I sort through these and writing it later.

I'm keeping anything from Parents and anything homemade. Those are a no brainer. Anything from Kevin I keep. Especially when he mis-spells "much" because, c'mon, that's just endearing. (he doesn't read the blog, becasue if he did, he would straight up kill me for writing that ;-))

I am blessed with funny friends. I love looking back at the cards we've each received over the years & the notes handwritten within. I don't know where they get the funny cards...some of them are priceless. C gets funny Christmas cards, I didn't know they existed!!!

One friend birthday card addresses me by my childhood nickname, Punkin.
Disclaimer: Anyone in my real life that addresses me by that name will suffer the consequences so think wisely and long before using that nickname. Mmmkay?
Anyway...
When I first got my pyrotechnics license, my brothers impromptully gave me responsibility for the family show. As I am a giant stress ball trying to get everything finished, my dad calls out from the deck "Punkin! I need...."it really doesn't matter what he needed at this point...because the entire yard FROZE. I think the entire neighborhood froze.
I remember distinctly thinking "Ah....f&*k..."

Entering into my line of sight is W. Grinning like a devil. "Punkin?" he asks. UUUUGGGHHHH.
And I have never lived it down. And he's the only one that lives when addressing me as such. Not even Kevin dares to use that name. (:-D So of course, that card is in the keep pile.

Then there's the tough ones: Grandma, Uncle Don & Aunt Susie, Aunt Lynette...all passed. Which creates the question: Which ones to keep, really, because all of these people are going to pass eventually.

Friends I'm no longer friends with: gone. Old staff members that I can't remember anymore: gone. Old neighbors: gone. Anything that doesn't give me that twinge of "ahhh....": gone.

Then there's Brother Dear. Brother Dear has the skill of choosing Psycho Bitches From Hell as girlfriends and wives. So, I've culled through three girlfriends/wives thus far. They're in the maybe pile. And the other brother had a Psycho girlfriend as well so they go into the pile.

Friends who were single, married, divorced and remarried...that's a tough choice. Thank you cards for things I don't remember doing, another tough choice.


My family...sigh...does not do sentimentality AT ALL. It's actually uncomfortable if you break the mold and give a nice card. While Kevin's family gives sentimental cards AND adds a personal note. So there's a little balance there.

Then there's the spelling of my name... No, Kevin get's it right... The in-laws usually don't. They spell it with a "Y" or an "I" and it's spelled with an "E". I've never worried about it, because it just doesn't matter in the big picture of things.

And I think we owned stock in Hallmark for awhile there. Lot's of sappy cards from early in our relationship. I'm thinking about culling through those as well. I can't even guess what year they were given at this point, as it's been nearly nineteen years since we started dating.

I have a book with all of our wedding cards in it and those I think are the most important to keep. Kevin's not sentimental about keeping things so he's no help whatsoever in this decision.

Nevertheless, won't he be glad that I AM Suzy Keep Everything in the future and his parents are gone and he'll have notes from his mom to look back on. I will, of course, keep the "I told you so" dance at a respectful level.

Now I need to think of a better way to store these cards. Crammed in a clear sealable bag is a good start but not conducive to looking through at a later date nor very respectful to the givers, I suppose. Must think...


15 March 2009

Saturday Nights Alright

We had a great day yesterday, Kevin & I. It was one of those everything is just right days.

The in-laws are gone for the weekend so that instantly relieves some pressure. For four days, we are not part of the Witness Protection Program. We are not reluctant teenagers who feel obligated to check in every day. Ahhhh...bliss.

Kevin & I did Saturday morning errands together. This is a rarity. Usually Kevin is up to his elbows in projects & jobs but this Saturday we had to be together for a bit.

It started with a trip to the tire store. The big truck needs new front tires and I've been putting it off, which in turn, has earned me two snow days. Nevertheless, it was time. Kevin left then I left a few minutes later.

As I got nearer, I phoned him to let him know to meet me outside. He's recently changed my ringtone to Elton John "The Bitch is Back" so he was sheepish while answering his cell in a busy store. I heard him explaining as he answered "It's my wife", much to the amusement of others.

Then my brother-in-law phones with a riddle:
"80% of Kindergarteners can answer this correctly. Only 17% of Harvard grads can. What's greater than God, more evil than the devil, poor people have it, rich people don't and if you eat it you'll die."

Kevin's impulse answer was: "Vagina!!!"

So, we phoned a friend, D. She couldn't think of an answer either. Now there's five of us trying to figure out this damn riddle. We continued on to Target, mulling the answer.

Now Kevin is entertaining while shopping as he has no filter. As he was drinking a mocha and eating a giganto Starbucks cookie, I had control of the shopping cart thus keeping the public safe. (he turns into a ten-year-old boy when in control of a cart...skidding tires, sound effects, etc)

As we shopped, I asked him about various things. "You need paper towels for your shop?"
"Yes"
"They only have pretty girly ones, do you care?"
"With all of the chick calendars in my shop, do you think girl towels will really make a difference?"

Then, we discussed oatmeal. I got him the fruit & cream instant oatmeal last week. He didn't hate it but it wasn't his favorite. So he chose the regular kind. "It's oatmeal for God's sake, it doesn't need fancying up."

We discussed the merits of boxer briefs...we both deemed them probably uncomfortable under Levi's. I don't find them attractive, at all.

Then as we're checking out, I asked him about going to Freddy's next.
"I'm all about your happiness" he replies in a slightly sardonic tone.
Well, the woman behind us *swooned*"You have him trained right" she smiles.

Meanwhile, Kevin had wandered off, as per Kevin.
I decided not to burst her happiness bubble and let her believe he actually meant that he'd like to go to the grocery store because it makes me happy. Which, in fact, it doesn't, because we come home with candy, Captain Crunch, doggy treats, magazines, Cracker Jacks, and assorted crap we don't need.

Oh, I forgot to mention the anneurysm about spending bank on Milano cookies! He liked them much more when he didn't know how expensive they were. (:-D

I dropped him off at the tire store & went grocery shopping alone. I am commando shopper, so this doesn't take long. D calls with the answer to the riddle while I'm shopping, so I call Kevin & Kevin calls his brother. Meanwhile, my nephew phoned a friend (me) to get the answer to the riddle as well. I told him Kevin's answer, to which he laughed but then demanded the answer.

We finally get home and we each do our Saturday chores. We had a birthday party to be at that evening so we were hustling to get everything done. Turns out, we were done early so we actually got to take a wee nap and all that implies.

Off to the birthday party! It's D's 39th birthday. She invited a big group of us to dinner at a Japanese Steak House. It. Was. SO. Yummy. Just WOW. Yummy.
We sat with my brother & new girlfriend and the fam, of course.

D's husband, W, did a very sweet thing. He handed everyone an index card and instructed us to write a memory we have of D. Then she read them at the end of the party. Very sweet.

Then we went to a martini bar & listened to Spaceband. They are a 90's cover band and pretty doggone good. The Nephew & continued our long running "Who Sings this Song?" game.
It was fun to people watch, for sure. It's an university town so there are plenty of college kids. Mostly girls, strangely enough.

The boys aren't dancers but my nephew is. D and Nephew danced quite a bit. As the nephew is a good looking, strapping young man, it's fun to watch him in crowds like that...or rather watch girls watch him in crowds like that.

D & I danced to Hey Ya and it's been forever since I've danced so I felt like the dorky white girl that I am. Fun, all the same. And Hey Ya is now stuck in my head.

Oh, and there was a smokin' hot guy there...actually about our age I think...that made D & I want to be single for just a wistful moment.

My sister-n-law was asked to dance by a woman and my brother-in-law was asked to dance by a different woman. That was interesting to watch, for sure.
Kevin asked if I would have danced with the woman, had she asked me. ((we have a no dancing with opposite sex agreement)) I told him I wasn't sure but then said "No, because married is married, regardless of the gender of the person asking."

We finally left there about 11:30, just as the bar was beginning to get drunk-thirty. Always a good time to leave.

It made me miss being young & doing the bar scene yet also made me feel old. I could be most of those people's mom, for goodness sake. And it was nice to come home to our nice quiet house and be old people.

*Happy Birthday D!!!*



(oh, and the answer is "nothing" As in "nothing is greater than God, etc.")

14 March 2009

Hangin' with Mr Pickles

Oh No Mr Pickles! We're late to work!!
(speed limit is 70 mph in WA state, btw)




Mr Pickles enjoys reading blogs with me...



Mr Pickles considers embezzlement...then realizes he can't fly...



Mr Pickles isn't sure if this is the right color for him...(we're ignoring the fact that he's a Mr. and not a Mrs.)



Mr Pickles is ready to fly the coop...it's almost 5:00 pm!

13 March 2009

Let's Play Dress Up

Okay, today was once again the motherlode of clothing donations. In addition to regular clothing for the Boutique, there is also a free prom dress program here at the YW, adding a whole other level of entertainment to the sorting process.

The prom dress donations are some of my favorites. I think because such a large percentage of them are train wrecks. Some of them are fun little trips down memory lane. J was actually busting out "Like A Virgin" earlier in homage to a frothy white creation.

Today's donation was a mixture of prom dresses, tea dresses, and bridesmaid dresses.


The first is teal. Of course it is. It is an orignal Gunne Sax dress.
The second is a horrifying combination of pink & lace. It would make a great Halloween costume now.
The third is just so freakin' sweet, I'm in sugar shock.
Then there's the last one. Oh. My. God. It's like a size zero, if not pre-teen. It's like a grade school costume for The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Enjoy!!!



11 March 2009

Monica's Closet

The old house was small: two bedrooms with a laundry room that had these awesome big shelves. Storage was not a problem but nevertheless, we did have to keep an eye on what we kept. As there are only two of us, this usually isn't a problem. Not to say that we didn't each say, at least three times, as we were packing "Why in the hell do we have this?"

In this house, slightly larger but no laundry room storage, storage is still not a problem. I have two closets in the office. I am not sure why. There is no logic. I don't remember ordering them when we designed the house. And they're large closets too.

So, I have one closet that I keep extra bedding and stuff that I regularly use. Oh, and Kevin keeps tires in there during the off-season. (I've gotten used to it by now. In the old house, I threw a blanket over them & they became a table. I have pictures somewhere...)

And then we have Monica's closet. It's the larger of the two. It's has the stuff I rarely use and keepsakes. I've found about yearly I have to organize the closet for fear of loss of life and/or limb. You know: open the door gingerly, toss whatever you have in and swiftly shut the door lest it try to escape.

One would think that items wouldn't get added to it regularly but they do. Especially after Christmas when a certain mother-in-law buys new wrapping paper & bows, forgetting that we already have enough paper & bows for a small city. But whatever.

Finally on Sunday, I had avoided it long enough. I started by dragging out everything that wasn't already boxed up and then pulled out some random boxes to see exactly what in the hell was in them.

When we moved in the Malibu Barbie Dream House, I had everything nicely labeled. However, in four years, I've repurposed boxes and the labels no longer apply. One would think that I would fix this but I find it adds mystery to my life.

Did I find anything fun? Not really. A spider. A big thing of chocolate that we won at Kevin's work Christmas party. (it's not good chocolate, clearly, or it would be WAY gone by now)
A bag of Beanie Babies I was supposed to deal with two years ago. (my mother-in-laws. Does anyone want them? Seriously. There's like ten of them, I think) Empty boxes for Christmas presents. A KODAK digital picture frame that I just can't seem to figure out...for lack of want to more than lack of technical prowess...

I pitched everything that was garbage or Goodwill in the hallway. When I clean closets, I operate on the "You have to make a mess to clean a mess" principle. Much to Kevin's dismay when he came in and found the hallway impassable. Also to my dismay when I realized I needed garbage bags that were conveniently located in the kitchen. D'oh!

I found one last binder of paperwork from the school that I need to give away becasue I'm so over that job now. (early childhood administration random paperwork, anyone? anyone? Bueller, Bueller, Bueller.)

Christmas cards that I keep and then wonder why Every. Single. Year.

Oh, and I was in anti-filing mode last year so that created a fun side project: filing. UGH. I'd rather have dental surgery.

And yes, I did have the "Why Do You Have This?" conversation with myself periodically. But all in all, it wasn't too bad.

I unearthed St Patricks Day decorations to take to work so that's nice. When is Easter this year, anyway? I've got even more decorations for that holiday!!

I found the wall hangings my m-i-l gave me when we closed the Moody House. (*whew*!) I need to see about getting those framed.

And the 1968 tapestry calendar that my mother handed to me and said "I don't know what to do with this, it's no good."
Um, Mom? THAT'S THE YEAR I WAS BORN, but thanks. Yeah. Memories.

Anyway, I'm off-topic. Again. Go figure.

Monicas closet is now neat & organized. I have projects that were created from said project set aside for this weekend so that's fun. I found a "random thing from my house" to post that is so cool. So all well that ends well.

What? You thought I didn't take pictures? Have you met me? Srsly.

Monicas Closet Before:See the wrapping paper box? It's tied shut with twine because there's too much of it. The weird clear plastic bag on the top left? BOWS. BOWS FROM HELL. Sigh....

Monica's Closet After:


ahh...satisfied sigh...

Empty space!!! Organization! What? no, I didn't relabel the boxes, why?

Oh, and yes, that's the digital picture frame taunting me, yes.



((Monica's Closet is a Friend's episode, btw, for those of you keeping track))

15 Albums that Changed Your Life...

One of my friends from high school posted this on Facebook & I found it fun to think about. I constantly use music as a timeline.

Play along, if you wish...

Think of 15 albums that had such a profound effect on you that they changed your life or the way you looked at it. They sucked you in and took you over for days, weeks, months, years. These are the albums that you can use to identify time, places, people, and/or emotions. These are the albums that no matter what they were thought of musically, they shaped YOUR world.

These are in no specific order, by the way. Here goes:

1. Tom Petty - Full Moon Fever See: Petty

2. U2 - The Joshua Tree or Greatest Hits. It's like church to me.

3. 5440 - Casual Viewing - It took me FOREVER to find this album. It's my *sunny day* feeling good album.

4. City of Angels Soundtrack

5. Sarah McLachlan - Surfacing & Mirrorball. I have to be feeling STRONG to listen to these.

6. Boston - Poor Timmy had to list to this album on the way to school every single day. Reminds me of my brothers.

7. The Cars - this was the soundtrack of high school. It seems like it was never not playing in the background.

8. The BeeGees - when my brother returned from the Service in 1980 he set up his state of the art stereo system in the living room complete with headphones. I laid for hours on the living room floor with those headphones on, blocking out all the world around me.

9. Eminem - The Eminem Show "Two trailer park girls go 'round the outside, 'round the outside." The first hip-hop/rap album that I ever owned.

10. Alanis Morrisette - Jagged Little Pill - Michael should thank his lucky stars that this album was released after I was done being an angry girl.

11. Garth Brooks - No Fences - he was just becoming popular when Kevin & I met. I can picture Kevin laying on the couch after work with the stereo cranked. "Two of a Kind" is actually one of our wedding songs.

12. Melissa Etheridge - this album just literally struck a chord within me.

13. Simon & Garfunkel - Greatest Hits - This album makes me think of my mom. It's one of her favorites.

14. Natasha Beddingfield - Unwritten. I gave this to my niece when she was 16 years old with instructions to "listen, learn and love it" She sings about being strong and independent.

15. Pink Floyd - Dark Side of the Moon. Yeah, I was pretty dark in my middle/high school years. Think Daria from the MTV show.

Runners-up would be Rascal Flatts, Barenaked Ladies, Def Leppard, and Michael Buble.

I'm a huge music fan so I had to weigh and measure each album. I've changed my mind a few times and I bet if I consider this list further, there would be additions. I could go on and on and on. D and I played an email game about songs once. I'll dig it out one day & post it for all to play.

Oh! Alan Jackson: Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning. Honorary Mention. Seriously.

09 March 2009

Is My Nose Bleeding?

Have I mentioned how much I dislike the time change? It just messes with every fiber of my being. Thank God I had a snow day yesterday because I felt like poo all day. I am sure that it's psychosomatic but whatever. I hate it.

I celebrated my *snow day*/time change day by catching up with everything on the magical DVR. I don't know how I ever lived without it. It's been added to the top 10 inventions EVER. (cell phone, mochas, Internet, and five other random things I can't think of right now...because of the damn time change.)

I even fell asleep on the couch last night for about thirty minutes. Simply unheard of!!!

Then I was wide awake for about two hours.
Then we both overslept this morning. Ugh.

Luckily (?!?) Kevin gets up at 5:45 am and leaves by 6:10-6:15 each morning. That gives me nearly two hours to crash before I have to get up for work.
I have found that I sleep my best sleep in those two hours. I sleep on his side of the bed with his pillow and just ZONK. If it weren't for the dog & mochas, I could easily squeeze another thirty minutes in there. And trust me, I've had that debate with myself many, many times.

And on some days, I've managed to make both of our lunches, unload the dishwasher, and/or switch laundry and still get in another two hours of sleep. I am not implying consciousness during this time in any way. Don't be silly.

Also, Kevin has learned not to ask questions that early as there will be no rememberence of my response or his question. Poor Kevin, he's a morning guy. I hate him most mornings. It's not personal. I don't know what he did in a past life to get a grouchy non-morning person like me. I'm guessing it was because he was a morning person.

On the flip side, if it weren't for Kevin and the dog, I would probably vacuum at 10:30 every night because I am wide awake. I've been known to get up & do laundry or the dishes at 11 pm. But that's because I'm a night person/insomniac. In the mornings, I hate everyone & everything. They all suck. And the time change? Yeah, doesn't make it any better. Go figure.

Actually, I should clarify. I like the time change in October. I feel myself breathe a sigh of relief when it comes. I don't know if I kick into hibernation mode or what. But I don't like this one! This one is stupid! *foot stomp*

(The title is a reference to LOST, by the way....)

08 March 2009

I Am Canadian

When we began racing in Seattle, we were referred to as the Canadians. One of the racers still calls Kevin "Canada", much to my amusement. It didn't bother us much as we'd spent so much time up there that our friends designated us honorary Canadians. For awhile, I felt more comfortable up there than in my own hometown.

We were watching a DVD the other night of our friends and I realized how much that I miss them. (we don't see them in the off season) It also made me realize how much they've changed my speech.

I learned to say "washroom" instead of bathroom. I learned to NOT, NOT, NOT order "Canadian Bacon". Stickers are called decals ("dek-alls") They say "I'm going to phone him" instead of "call". I never could grasp using "Petrol" instead of gas.

And the freaking metric system, forget about it. But I can convert fahrenheit to celsius quite easily. And I was getting pretty good at determining speed limit conversions without using the speedometer.

And of course, there is "eh?" which creeps into your speech so insidiously that you don't even realize it. Hollywood, of course, exaggerates the use but it does become part of your vocabulary.

Other colloquialisms entered into our speech:

ending sentences with "right?"

Liberal use of "man"

Using the word f&*k regularly in a sentence, and in ways you would never dream possible.

"Good on you." (one of my faves)

"Right on"

"Gong show" - referring to something that is messed up.

"buddy..." This is derogative usually. "Buddy thinks he's cool."

"My friend" They also tend to label people. "I was talking to my friend Mark..."

My all time favorite is from my friend Miguel: "Give your head a shake." Which means "what the f*&k are you thinking?"


So, we'll see you soon eh?

07 March 2009

Oh look! What a surprise!


Mr. Pickles likes mochas too!

05 March 2009

Random Item of the Day - Lamps Edition

It occurred to me yesterday that all of our lamps, except one, were given to us. How did that happen, exactly? I am not sure. All of them are distinctly different.

First lamp...because it's simply the coolest...was given to me from Kevin for Christmas. It's funky and not a lamp that I would choose normally. But now it's my favorite and I heart it enough that I want to buy a mate for it. I thought I'd posted it before but I didn't see it so forgive me if this is a repeat.


Second lamp is from a set. We got these when we closed the Moody House. They are Kevin's grandmas. I wish I had a picture of them from when we first brought them home. They had the most awful, lacy, grandma-y, shades. Ugh. And it took three shades styles to get the right ones. Kevin likes these...he has interesting taste:



This set of lamps is from my mom's house. She had them for awhile after closing my great aunt's house. (it sucks being the organized one...I've closed two houses & helped pack a house/crime scene *fun*)

Anyway, they are clearly from the seventies but I washed out the green coating that covered the glass and Kevin spiffed up the metal base. This, too, took about three shade styles to get it right. Now I want to get two things for these lamps: cool finials and a light diffuser that screws inside the shade to diffuse (duh) the light that shines upward...



Finally, this one was a pain to get a picture of because of it's location next to Kevin's chair. First I had to straighten the ten million car magazines (I can't complain, I have just as many books) I found a telephone cord we don't need anymore behind his table and OMG frosted animal cookies make a mess...yes, I am married to a six-year-old) If I turn the light on, you can't see the design on the shade which is kind of ugly but yet fits with the room. This is also from the Moody House. I like the funky little genie lamp extension that you see extended on the left.



The other two lamps are in the office: a bankers lamp that isn't worth sharing and a little faux crystal lamp with the wrong shade. The crystal lamp will probably get the boot when I buy the mate to the funky lamp. It was from my great aunt's house and it's one of those "This will do for right now" items that we all have in our houses. Yeah, that was in 2000.



And *wow* can you tell that I had trouble coming up with a post today? (:-D

04 March 2009

Okay...I don't get it

I don't watch The Bachelor at all. Although, I was a little curious this time as he's from my beloved Seattle.

(oh and this is probably going to be a ridiculously long post...go get wine...)

If you have no idea what I'm talking about, just do a search about The Bachelor and approximately one gabillion results will post. Or you can do what I did and watch the last episode and the "After The Rose" episodes to get up to speed. In fact, I think that would be how I would watch it every season: just the last episode, if I were to ever watch it again.

Essentially, I don't believe in the show's premise: finding love on national television.
I don't think it's likely that you will find your true love under the glare of lights, cameras, and constant scrutiny. It is difficult enough to fall in love in real life, let alone add all the stress of being on television. Out of many episodes/series, there is only one "success story" and I believe that's just because the odds has to fall in someones favor at least once.

Anyway, I was fascinated with the huge dust-up about "What Jason DID."
I didn't and still don't get it. Why has he become a human pinata because he followed his heart? In my be-it-ever-so-humble opinion, he showed strength in changing his mind.

Now, preferably he wouldn't do it on national television but it says that it was the network/show's decision to do it that way. According to People, it wasn't a choice. AND...she chose to be on television. She chose that risk. So, not so much sympathy for her. (empathy - yes)

I love who everyone was *Swooning* over this guy but now he's an ass. Really? Two weeks ago, all of these women were jealously watching and wishing they were the girl.

I have to admit, I love him a little bit for making the hard choice. Whereas previously, I was a little "Whatever" about him because he did this show not once but twice.

I am such a little research nerd that I made little notes as I watched. I was fascinated at the two very different girls. I believe they were archetypes but I am not sure which ones. And I don't want to be judgmental or overly harsh.

But, me being the body language detective, watched the episode with my nose pressed to the screen. You can see in her body language that she knew something was wrong. I don't think she was surprised for a second. Embarrassed? Oh hell yes and as she should be. Hurt? hell-to-the-yeah. But surprised, however, I think not. I think she was more mad & embarrassed than hurt.

I don't believe that there are surprises in relationships when they fail. There are always signs. (standard disclaimer: of course, there is the exception for every rule and it's not fair to generalize. No purchase necessary to play.) But as he explained, everything changed once they were off camera. He couldn't have been the only one to sense it

One...Melissa...was all Me, Me, You, Me and the other...Molly...was all You, You, Us, You, Us, Us, Us. His family even liked Molly better. So I was a little WTF when he chose Melissa.

I think he was blinded by what most men are blinded by: she was sexy and flirty and fun. But in the harsh light of day, it seems, it didn't work. Even when he broke up with her she was "What did I do? Why does this happen to me? I don't understand!" Whereas when he broke up with Molly, she was all "You're making a mistake but I wish the best for you."

And OMG, how heartbroken was he when Molly left. I think he knew then that he f&*ked up.
Yet when Melissa left the set, he was appropriately sad but not in the fetal position. I think he felt badly for hurting her. And like he said "How long am I supposed to wait? weeks? months? Years? When would it be appropriate?" Yeah! what he said!

Oh, and he has a child! I liked how he introduced them as "friends" and kept it low key. I was prepared to hate him forever if he messed with his kids mind with the "This is your new mommy" bullsh*t. But he didn't. And he has a smart kid. He's three and he knows what's what. He warmed up to Melissa - she who got dumped- but if you watch, you can see that he was a little *whatever* about her. She was simply trying too hard and he saw through it.

Then along comes girl #2. (Molly) He doesn't warm up to her immediately and that makes sense to me. Two "friends" to meet in a day is a lot for a little kid. And he just experienced someone who was probably a little insincere. So of course, he would expect this person to be as well.
But he warmed up and seemed to like her better. I always trust kids & dogs when presented with judging humans so I called one for her.

At the end, I liked that he didn't propose to Molly (that always feels so contrived on television shows) and that when he thought the mikes were out of range he said "Let's get out of this place." I like that Molly expressed concern for Melissa and didn't immediately jump into his arms. It just seems like they are such a better match.

I still don't get it. Girls are always wanting guys to be honest and forthright with their feelings. This guy was and he gets pounded for it. I don't understand.

03 March 2009

Food Fail

I am continuing to try to be the grown-up and cook more. It has not come without some pretty good failures. See: Getting My Ass Kicked By Chicken.

Fail One:
The snow day brownies ended up chewy. I think perhaps I didn't mix the eggs in good enough.

Fail Two:
This one isn't my fault but bears mentioning all the same. I forgot to get a side for the salmon fillet the other night. My choices were macaroni & cheese or stuffing. Either would work but I knew there would be *comments* so I called next door to see if they had rice. I didn't think they would because my f-i-l doesn't like rice. But they did.

It was chicken & something Rice-A-Roni. Not bad, I don't brown ( fry, essentially) the rice first so although it's processed, I tried to be health conscious. I opened the package and the seasoning was a solid. I whacked it against the counter and no movement. Thus began the search for an expiration date. Yeah. October of 2003. My m-i-l is trying to kill us. So, stuffing it was. And actually, it was a pretty good combination.

Fail Three:
Good Intentions: 1, Planning Ahead: 0
I bought ground turkey, salmon fillet and chicken breast on Saturday. They stacked up nicely on the refrigerator shelf, waiting to be prepared in the next few days. I have been trying not to freeze things because that pushes a food dangerously close to the "not worth the effort" column.
Again see: Getting My Ass Kicked By Chicken

It was one of those weeks where we ended up eating next door or out so by the time I got around to dealing with the stuff, gross wasn't quite cover it. Yeah, it was an age old question: which went bad first? The salmon or the chicken?


Fail Four:
I tried to make meatloaf with ground turkey. I knew going in that this was going to be a stretch for Kevin. I knew while mixing it up that it was probably not going to end well.
And it didn't. Kevin just sat at the table and gestured toward it, much like the brothers in the Life cereal commercial. "You try it."

Firstly, it swelled. Secondly, it looked gray. Thirdly, it was spongy. Fourthly, it tasted like seasoning and nothing else. Kevin, to his credit, tried a few bites but tapped out fairly quickly.

But I persevere. I will not be defeated. But I am craving a really good cheeseburger...

02 March 2009

Sock it to Me

I am a little OCD when it comes to my clothing. Things have to match, and not just match but MATCH. I am not comfortable if my black shirt is darker than my black pants. I know, I'm a freak of nature.

So, it comes with not a little surprise from myself that I don't match up my socks in my sock drawer. Well, I kind of do, haphazardly. I have good intentions, let's say.

Usually they don't stay matched for long as I do the morning routine of "Where are those socks? Not those, the others ones..." that results in a jumbled up mess.

Also, I detest overhead lighting. Hate. It. So that makes discerning black socks from navy socks just FUN. Yes, I've worn two different colors to work before. Luckily, they're just socks.

In the old house, I even tried drawer dividers but those just stressed me out even more. After that failed experiment, I kind of went through an only white or black socks phase. Then I only had to worry about matching style to style until it became finding that short, navy sock and not the long navy sock that I'm not sure why I even keep because it's too long.

Back in the day, *ahem* 1987 *cough* It was trendy to match your socks to your shirt. And sometimes even wearing two pairs of socks to coordinate with a multicolored outfit. As I got older (i.e. out on my own & doing my own laundry) I decided that was, well, just stupid. But every once in a while I find myself still digging through random socks trying to find the pair that goes with that sweater. Old habits die hard.

And Kevin, the big jerk, just wears white athletic socks. This whole post is irrelevant to him. Boys are so lucky.

01 March 2009

Swiftly Thou Must Go

and purchase Taylor Swift "Fearless"




There isn't one bad song on the entire album. Trust Me.

Indecision

Last night, Kevin sat down on the bed and asked me to come talk to him. His tone was a little off so I was instantly curious and a little worried.

My worry increased as he was frowning. He began "I don't want to start an argument but..."

Well, WTF, I am thinking, worried. He's rarely this serious.

"I was wondering if you were ever going to just make a F&*king decision with the bathroom carpets and stick with it."

Funny. Real funny.

I am getting weary of green. The old house had lots of blue and the Malibu house has lots of green. So I wasn't terribly disappointed when one of the bathroom rugs binding came undone.

I bought, on clearance, at Target this rug:


This created the issue of replaced the sage green rugs that are around the corner. At first, I bought chocolate brown rugs but they were just too dark and I didn't like the weave of the rug.
Kevin was non-committal, which also tells me they weren't going to work. Usually, he will say "I don't hate those..." if he likes something.

I took the brown rugs back yesterday and now I have these rugs...also bought at Target.


Now here's my issue...the weave is not the same as the other rug and the color isn't exactly what I wanted. Crap....excuse the pun. But these are the rugs I wished I had bought in the first place a week ago. And I even had the first picture saved on my phone so I could compare colors.

They do, however, match the sheers & valances on the windows much better than the sage or the brown ones. But they're a little too big.

But, in the seeking of marital happiness, I will leave these rugs in place for at least a week before I make any further decisions.