27 December 2013

Quote of the Day

"You are everything that's ever been my favorite thing. You are my love song, my birthday cake, the sound of ocean waves, French words, and a babys laugh. You are a snow angel, creme brulee, and a kaliedoscope filled.with glitter. I love you and you'll never catch up, because I've gotten a head start and my heart is racing at light speed." Lisa Kleypas

25 December 2013

Whimsy Not Allowed Here

I've struggled over the past few years with decorating this house for Christmas. I've had the most difficult time figuring it out. Then suddenly a dawning realization:
This house does not tolerate whimsy.

The old house had tons of space in which to decorate. Boughs, lights, candles, all of it. This house, I've previously mentioned, seems to shudder with the mere placement of a Santa figurine.

My collection....some might say addiction...to ornaments has oddly become the solution to this decorating conundrum.  The house will deign to tolerate randomly scattered glass ornaments and bells. It will also accept subtle Christmas linens and decorated baskets. I've even managed to have it accept the hanging of ornaments on cupboard handles. (Although Kevin is not a fan of this, so it's kind of a wash)

So instead of the Hallmark store decorating method, it's more Real Simple or HGTV. Go figure.

A Most Happy Christmas to You


16 December 2013

You're Not in Trouble Until They Call Your Name

Believe it or not the craziest part of our trip didn't happen until we were at the airport.

I put the Expedia app on my phone before we left but then just haphazardly used it.  It was nice to have the itinerary on my phone, I must admit.  I think I will use it again and actually use it as intended.

We were scheduled to fly out of Las Vegas Monday at 11:55 AM.  We had breakfast with our friends like we do each trip then headed to the airport. (these friends are the ones who Kevin crewed for thus were driving home)

We were on task and on schedule, which always isn't the case with us.  Also, we were meeting five of our friends at the airport as we were all on the same flight.  As we pulled into the rental car return, I saw a notification about our flight leaving in one hour, in which case we were really late.  It didn't make sense to me.

We turned in the car and got onto the shuttle bus.  Shuttle buses in Vegas are always entertaining because the drivers are always engaging and not a little bit crazy.  This was no exception.  This driver had just worked the Rock & Roll Marathon the day before and I think might have been a little hung over.

She missed our stop, or rather, took us to the wrong terminal.  Apparently the only fix for this was to return to the beginning and then go the correct way. (Is it bad that I could hear a line from The Princess Bride?  "Vizzini said go back to the beginning so here I am, at the beginning."  Humph.  She assured us that we had plenty of time for our flight but seemed not confident in her assurances.

We eventually got to the terminal and checked in.  They billed three bags to the brother-in-law and charged us for only one.  Because of this, we had to go to the actual counter agent instead of  the kiosk.  She checked us in and assured us we were still on time even though we still had to make it through security.

We made it through security kind of easy.  I worry now because of the hardware in my leg but it hasn't been a problem. *knock wood* or metal, be it as it may.

We then stopped at the coffee stand to get coffee as we are from Washington and that's what we do.  Although we thought we could see the gate, we couldn't see our friends.  Kevin got a text from one of our friends, asking where we were.  This was making Kevin frown.
Kevin mentions to the barista that he was worried about making our flight.  "Oh, don't worry.  You're not in trouble until they call your name.  They haven't called your name, have they?"

They hadn't but we decided that my sister-in-law and I would go ahead just in case.  We just made it to the Jetson's walkway when we hear: "Johnson, party of four, please report to the gate."

Holy mother of sweet baby jesus.

This is where I say that my sister-in-law had been simply awful about getting around Vegas.  As for her recovery from the accident, she isn't doing any of the self care that she needs to do.  (example: she left her cane at home because it wouldn't fit in the suitcase and she didn't want to carry it.  YEAH. Rest my case.)

I don't run.  I can't run, the muscle control is just not there anymore. I can do a little skip/jog thing and that's what I did. 

We get to the terminal and I can't find my boarding pass anywhere.  What the Hell is going on?  They weren't worried about it at all, just asked for my license and reprinted one.  We pointed to the guys jogging down the terminal with coffee in their hands.  They just laughed and told us to take our time, as apparently we hadn't been doing so this whole time.

We check in and head down the jetway.  We are actually stepping onto the plane when we hear "Johnsons?  Johnsons?"  Kevin actually cursed and turned around.  We hear "Did you order coffee?"
We called out "Yes" and they replied "We have it here, come and get it."

We walked back up the jetway and sure enough, there is the barista (red faced and out of breath) holding two coffees.  He felt badly and ran them down to us!  How nice is that!?!!  And how nice of the airline folks to allow us to come get it. I love Vegas.

We were, of course, the last ones on the plane.  I don't think we made anyone wait but we sure did receive some envious looks as we walked down the aisle with iced mochas in our hands.

We got to our seats and we hear "What the eff, eh?  Where's ours?" from one of our Canadian friends.

13 December 2013

Sugar Pancakes

Again with the "I'm not a cooker" posts...I am also not a baker.

Kevin's favorite Christmas treat is Christmas cookies, or as normal folks call them: sugar cookies.

Our sister-in-law makes hundreds of cookies every Christmas.  No exaggeration: hundreds.  That being said, I have no need to know how to make cookies.  I mean, I know how to, I just don't need to.

Well, I apparently lost my mind because not only did I go to Wally World this morning, I also bought premade cookie dough and two cookie shaper things...sigh, sweet baby jesus...what the hell are they called? Cutters!  Cookie cutters.  Those.  (you may think I'm kidding or that I'm being purposefully comical but hand to God, I couldn't remember what they were called.)

I bought premade cookie dough because in my ignorant arrogance, I dared the universe by thinking "How hard can this be?"

Well, in my meager defense, I did google the topic to make sure that I had everything I needed.  Oven: yes.  Cookie dough: yes.  Cookie shapers: yes (ha!)

I did not have a rolling pin because HELLO, you've met me.   But that was not the difficulty.  Sadly, I still not sure what the difficulty was.

Here is Santa's cookie workshop:
Yes, that is a measuring tape. Shut up. I can't tell how much 1/2 inch is.



So, other than the lack of rolling pin...see that plate?  I improvised...this looks fairly normal.

THIS. DOES. NOT:

WTF happened, we don't know.

This is the perfect example of how no good deed shall go unpunished and how God has a sense of humor.   Kevin better appreciate these sugar pancakes.


08 December 2013

Is This Real Life?

As we know, I am not a cooker.  I've gotten better over the years and I will admit that I'm beginning to show a little interest in learning more.  That being said, my sibling-in-laws are both very good cooks.  They, however, do not cook healthy.  So there is a gap between my meager skills and theirs.

The other day they sent up turkey soup, leftovers from Thanksgiving.  Kevin put it on the stove in a pot with a lid then relayed the instructions for heating.  I followed them without lifting the lid and looking into the pot.

About ten minutes passed when it occurred to me that I should make sure all was well.

It was at a mild boil so that was right.  But there was something wrong. 

There was broth, noodles, and shredded turkey.

That's it.  Not vegetables, No spices. Nothing.  What. The. Hell?    Is this some kind of a test?

I opened the cupboard where I keep the spices. Dumped in garlic, lemon pepper, and onion flakes.  I didn't add salt because I am anti-salt and I hadn't tasted it yet.

Then I added corn, peas, and green beans.

I stood there, thinking of what else should be in a soup.  I actually tried to envision a bowl of soup.  I decided that I'd done what I could. I felt pleased with myself that I recognized a culinary problem and knew how to address it.

Then I discovered that it was SUPER SALTY.  Salt Lake City. Bonneville Salt Flats.  Deer salt lick SALTY.  To quote Swistle, "What fresh new hell is this?"

I stood there again, thinking "Something fixes salty.  What is it? Oh, potato.  But I am out of potatoes.  But if  I add a potato, then it's a stew."

Then I stopped.  "What the HELL is going on here!?!"  *I* am fixing someone elses soup. *I* know that a potato undoes over-salty. Is this real life?"

The mind boggles.

07 December 2013

My New (old) Job is Weird

I don't think I ever returned to talking about this whole job thing beyond feeling like a total dork during an interview.  (I didn't get it, btw)

I believe that said interview and resulting reference check did result in a "new" job here at my work as I suddenly received a job offer from the executive director.  I've since changed jobs internally and am making it up as I go along. 

I am the Communications Director now.  Doesn't that just sound so important?

It means that I can now legally and rightfully surf the interwebs while working.  How cool is that?
Somewhere my teenaged self is freaking out.  Hell, my adult self is freaking out a little.

I'm responsible for updating all the social media, managing the website, and writing newsletters.  I also do the correspondence for fundraising and might, maybe, begin participating in grant writing.  That last bit: not so much excited about because TEDIOUS.

It is the same 30 hours a week I was working but with a raise.  I am no longer essential staff so I can kind of come and go as I please.  I can work from home if need be. I am not in charge of anyone!  Hoorah! I'm no longer responsible for what-felt-like everything.  Huzzah!

As exciting as that is, it is a little deflating because I've gone from being busy and responsible for many things to not-so-much.  It's a bit of a gearshift.  I wonder if the lack of busyness and change is going to keep me happy and satisfied.

But a volunteer whom I hadn't seen for a few weeks said "You look really good."  I wondered aloud that it was probably just from the vacation but she was skeptical.  As it's no secret that I was so over the job, it was surprising that it was perhaps visible. 

The weird part is that my office is now the old bookkeeper's office.  She was "released" while I was gone, due to "budget cuts".  It's strange to be in her old space.  At least it's a new workstation and it's been nearly a year so any weird ju-ju is gone.  We'll know the ju-ju isn't gone when they find me taking naps on the floor at work.

The other weird part is that someone else is doing my job.  My old job that I observe every day.  I try really hard not to be around to make the person uncomfortable but it feels like just being in the building is uncomfortable for her.  (her issues, obvs, not mine)

So, lots of changes.  It definitely feels like a "Be careful what you wish for" situation.  I think it will be good though.  It's a good change, even with the weirdness.





25 November 2013

I've Nothing to Do!

For the past almost two weeks, I have been with people.  There was a big group of us traveling in Vegas and of course, there is rarely just the two us when we are home.

So over the weekend, I was feeling the need for a little peace and quiet.  Stretching space, if you will.  Kevin has to work through Wednesday then is off for the holiday weekend so I was focusing on the next three days of quiet.

Cue forward to 8:30 this morning.  I was showered, dressed, chores for the day finished and...

Boredom.

The dvr is full of shows to watch, there is a stack of books and magazines, there are projects that I want to finish, errands to run, Christmas cards to write.  It's not like there isn't anything to do around here.

Yet: total boredom.

I was suddenly every eight-year-old on summer break.  "I'm bored! There's nothing to do!"

What finally forced me to do something is that Someone Who Lives in This House Named Lucy began to get into mischief, including stealing a coffee mug from my office.  (souvenir from Vegas)

If I had to take her outside then I figured I might as well go do the two errands that were hanging over my head.  Yeah, it took longer to get to town than those two errands took.  Less than an hour later, I'm back at the house.

This is what I've done in the past two hours: Put one book away.  Take another out.  Switch the laundry from washer to dryer.  Watch Pitch Perfect for the twentieth  time.  Make eggs for lunch. Play one game on the computer.

What's that?  I only have three more hours until Kevin gets home.  AAAUUUUGGGGHHHH.

I do have to figure out how to connect the laptop to the television.  The dvr didn't record Scandal while we were gone and my life is ruined.  I do need to finish reorganizing our closet now that I can put my summer clothing away. 

So...there's twenty minutes.

Maybe it's because I had all those months of doing nothing last year that I've lost the taste for it.

Yeah, that's not it.


24 November 2013

Surprised by a Keepsake

One of the tasks on my list of things to do is to organize the cedar chest.  It's a mammoth thing, built by my father-in-law when Kevin and I were married.

There's some random stuff in there but I really try to keep linens in there as well as keepsakes.  Every once in a while, I cull through it to make sure that I'm keeping things that are important rather than keeping them for the sake of keeping them.

I have my baby clothes and artwork from grade school.  I have the curtain from Kevin's childhood bedroom, his favorite puzzle, and a special towel that was his.  His mother really didn't keep much stuff, partially as there wasn't much to keep (they were very poor when the boys were young) and they moved around a bit.

I have stuff that my nieces' made us when they were young girls.  I am tempted to give them back, especially now that the eldest has a baby son now but I think I'll wait a bit more time before I do.

There was a small box that I didn't recognize and to be honest, I don't remember ever having.  I don't mind admitting that I got a little teary when I opened it.  It was my grandpa's Christening gown with the "Welcome Baby" card that my great grandmother sent to me when I was born.

My great grandma's name is Amy and for some reason, I feel kind of a kindred spirit with her.  I don't remember her at all and I think she passed when I was very young.  I just love that she gifted this to me and wrote directly to me in the card, although I was a tiny baby.  The idea that she wrote "Love you" is astounding to me because I didn't hear that from any of my family growing up.  Yet there it is.



Now it's time to pass this along.  I'm going to put it in the mail for my niece, whose son is named for her grandpa.  He is the fourth Freddy in our family, the first being Amy's son.

23 November 2013

Stalker or Not Stalker?

Oooh, we had a disagreement!  Not a fight but a complete disagreement.  holy buckets.

Someone in the family put the Life 360 app on their spouses phone.   What's that you ask?  It's this:
Family Locator by Life360 is the most accurate and powerful family locator app.  Using the latest GPS tracking technology, Family Locator lets you create groups of family and friends so you can find friends and family locations on a private map and "get alerted when a circle member reaches a destination"

Oh.

Hell.

No.

That, in my not humble opinion, is what they call a stalker app.  It is what a parent might put on a teenager's phone.  (also: totally disagree with that) But this is not a child's phone.  This is an adult's phone. A married adult.  A Grown Ass Adult as the Nephew would say.  (it's not him, btw)

I can't think of one good single reason to have that app on my - or anyone's - phone.  Not that I have anything to hide as I'm perfectly capable of texting Kevin "I'm home" or "Made it fine" when the situation warranted. (snow, long drive, car troubles, etc.)   He doesn't need to know, or much less care, if I'm at the grocery store, credit union, or Target. 

And there's this thing?  It's called "trust", you may have heard of it?  Privacy is another one. Might want to look those up.

Kevin sees it as a benevolent thing.  "It would be nice to know that you've made it home safely" and thinks I'm insane for thinking it's a stalker app.  (Are you gas-lighting me, Kevin?)

So, what say you?  Stalker app or It Would Be Nice to Know?   I promise I will tell Kevin if you agree with him.


22 November 2013

Seasons Greetings from Who Now?

I just received our first Christmas card.  I know, right?  Who does that? 

Never mind that I have my Christmas card kit next to me right this very minute. You never mind that.
Who has their sh*t together prior to Thanksgiving to send a card?

Oh.  The grocery store.  Very well then.

Wait...the *grocery* store?  Yep.  It's the high end store that I've used more frequently since I fell and apparently they have recognized that effort.  I guess the slightly higher prices are paying off with a very nice Christmas card with a coupon for American Greetings cards.  (clever, yes?)

I guess I'm glad that it wasn't from a friend that would require to me to call or email to repeat the second paragraph of this post to them.

Time to get busy!

21 November 2013

Damages

I was reading something the other day and now, of course, I don't remember what it was but it gave me an interesting-to-me thought:

What stories do the damages you have in your house tell?  Everyone has something: a crack, a broken window pane, a scratch, something that has a story about it.

As this house is fairly new, I had to really think about it but I came up with three:

Scuff marks on the wall next to the door
These are from Missy because she would not allow a human to leave the house before her.  I would like to think that she was doing it for our protection but I think it had more to do with she had to make sure that the universe hadn't moved one single thing while she was inside.

Gouge in the drywall outside our bedroom
While I was in the wheelchair for those fun-filled months, the turn from the hallway into our bedroom was tight.  The axle of the front wheel scraped the wall as I turned.  In a fit of frustration I whined to Kevin "I'm ruining the house with this damn thing."  Ummm, no, it's a gouge in the wall where you can only see if you're laying on the floor.  But I still notice it, not daily, but frequently and it bugs me.

Broken blinds in our bedroom
As you may remember, I am not so much tall.  Nor am I a patient person.  We weren't in our house a few days when I broke the first blind slat.  Because of the not-tall, in order to close the windows I had to pull away from the window (not up because that's silly talk and inconvenient) the blinds to close the window.  Big surprise that there are now four-five slat-ends missing on each window.  Klassy.

So, yes, with each little bit of damage, there is a story.  What's yours?


18 November 2013

Shadys Back

We just returned from six days in Vegas. There was a huge group of us and we had a great time.

Kevin ended up crewing on two race teams so that was pretty damn cool.
While those two cars didn't win, two of our Canadian friends won. I felt proud to be an honorary Canadian for sure.

The trip had it's moments that I'll recap later. For now, I'm cozy in my house with everything unpacked, laundry started, and dinner being provided by the parents.

Life is good.

08 November 2013

His Ticket to Heaven

A way long time ago we were friends with the pastor of our church. Not just see-you-on-Sunday friends but wanna go for a ride in the racecar friends.

At the beginning of the friendship, he and his wife invited us over for dinner. We were nervous as we waited at the door.  Even though he was the guy that blasted the Beatles through the church, we were still having dinner at The Pastors House.

Two of the guys on Kevin's crew are new and it turns out very churchy. Kevin told one of them the other day that he had earned his place in heaven because he had dinner with the pastor. His guy was skeptical until Kevin further explained.

"I earned entry when I ate all my dinner. They made Everything I Hate. Pork chops, broccoli, and rice pilaf with cheesecake for dessert. And I ate everything."

I will admit it was if God himself guided their menu as a test. Especially since the god I believe in has a sense of humor.

05 November 2013

I'm Thinking About This Because People Tell Me Things

One of the girls at the coffee stand told me her romantic life story the other morning.  We're facebook friends and we've known her for a few years so talking about this wasn't unusual.  That being said, it always surprises me the things that people tell me. 

Micahla seems like a good person although a bit of party girl, which has been an issue from time to time. (showing up late to work, getting tossed from places, you know: the usual *eye-rolling*) She is one year away from finishing her degree and for the life of me, I can't remember what it will be.  I think it's an education degree, lending to the I think she's a good person description.

She has a boyfriend who is Australian.  He lives in Vancouver and works as a chef at a high-end restaurant.  His Canadian work visa expires in a month-ish so he's returning to Australia.  One of the other reasons that he's returning is his dad is ill. His dad owns a high-end restaurant that he will begin working at while his dad is having treatment. This seems like a tidy package but it also seems like there is perhaps more to his story than either she mentions or that he has disclosed. (like how he ended up in Canada in the first place) Once everything is resolved, he would like to return to the States or Canada.

They've been dating about nine months and are fairly serious. She has been purposefully dating a few guys over the past two years after being in a long term relationship.  She said she doesn't want to be a serial monogamist then regret it later in life.   She also says that she can see them go the distance but that, truthfully, they're both holding back because of the whole Australian thing so who really knows.

Apparently he has some issues regarding their relationship (insecurity, she said) as his parents never married (each other or anyone else), his dad lived far away, and he's always been surrounded by women.  In other words: he has no idea what a relationship even looks like.  She said that this doesn't bother her per se but that is an issue.  To me, it's a bit of a red flag but more on the pink side.

She's trying to decide at what level to pursue this relationship once he returns home.  She says that she's just going to "see how it goes" but it feels like maybe possibly in the back of her mind she's considering moving there.  She's saving for a trip through Europe for graduation but also saving to travel to Australia to see him.  Clearly, she's not discarding her plans because of this guy but it's on her radar.

If this were a movie, they would get married so he could become a United States citizen or she could become an Australian citizen once his family situation gets settled.  But this isn't a movie so that hasn't been an option for the two of them.

I was trying to imagine what choice I would make in her situation, at that age.  I think I would have probably been all Jane Eyre about it: melodramatic, we can never be together so would try to move on, all the while hoping something would change.  (and for Jane, it did.) 

In a fantasy version of my fantasy life, I would save up and move to Australia on a whim not caring if the relationship worked out or not because when you're in your twenties, very few things are permanent. And it's AUSTRALIA.

All said and done, I'm not even a little bit envious of her situation.  I would not want to repeat my twenties again for any amount of money.  This is coming from a girl that married, divorced, dated, and remarried by the time she was 25.  (to be fair: I was married when I was nineteen)

04 November 2013

Lights Out

The lights went out while I was shopping yesterday. The county was under a wind warning so it wasnt surprising. Other than not expecting to be in the dark.

It was just a little scary as I was at the way back of the store. Not only was it pitch black, I am not as familiar with it as the grocery section. Also the grocery has through aisles but not the merchandise part. I realized what a bad design this was just then.

I had a quick succession of thoughts:
"Eff"
"How do I get out?"
"Do I take or leave the cart?"(yes, I decided, because it would run into things before I would.)
"Why is it so quiet?"
"Don't panic"
"Where is my phone?"
"I want to tell Kevin about this"

I was completely surprised by how dark it was and for how long. I guess I assumed there would be emergency lighting but there wasn't. It took a minute for the generator to kick on then even then it didn't quite reach where I was. Again: back of the store.

Then the lights flickered on, went out, flickered on, the generator came on again, then finally the lights stayed on.

I was surprised at how rattled I was. I'm usually calm in an emergency but this freaked me out a bit. I grabbed a pair of levis for Kevin and hurried to the cashier. While I was checking out, the lights flickered again. I could not get out of there quickly enough.

So I can cross that off of my list of things to experience.



03 November 2013

Random Item from My House

Somewhere along the way and since we've moved into this house, I've taken to keeping our fortune cookie fortunes.  I don't even know why, I just have.

This is a bowl that I brought home one day (again, for no reason) that I keep them in.  Maybe for future reference (excuse the unintended pun).


02 November 2013

There Are Always Stories to Tell at the Racetrack

More racing stories...

It turns out that Kevin and his brother met in the final round during the last official CPSA race.  It wasn't as planned, we were supposed to go out in the semi-final.

Anyway, the Nephew helps with both racecars so it put him in a spot.  Help his dad or help his Uncle, who actually needs him on the track more.

In a show of faith in humanity, a guy we race with (I call him that because I wouldn't describe him as a friend) offered to work with Kevin's brother so that the Nephew could step aside. How nice is that?  Nephew helped Kevin and I after all. I love that about dragracers.

Then we test  & tuned (exactly what it sounds like) a few weekend ago. October is too effing cold to go racing, especially next to the Fraser River.

The boys kept getting in the same line in the staging lanes this time.  I would do my work with Kevin, watch him break-the-beams and stage then have to turn and pull his brother onto the track at the same time.  It was making me nuts, especially since a certain driver doesn't  always pay attention.  Anyway, I'm certain that this provided entertainment for anyone who was paying attention.

The last pass of the season happened past 8:00 pm and we really shouldn't have done it. It was too cold, there was dew, and it's freaking OCTOBER.  Well, sure enough, the car in front of ours had issues and leaked water down the track.

This is where I'm grateful for our friends. God Bless them, seriously.  One of the guys went stomping across the lane, yelling at the track guys "That M'er F'er does it every time..." and just let them have it.

Meanwhile Kevin is sitting in the racecar questioning every decision he's ever made.  I was standing next to the car and when I realized what was happening, I knelt down and pointed out to him:

"Pal, look at the track. Look at all those guys out there working to make you safe.  There's the Nephew, the track manager, the starter, your friends. They're all out there right now. They will not send you down the track unless it's safe.  How lucky are you?"

Because seriously, how lucky are we?  I guess after the year we had, I just appreciate our friends twice as much as I ever have.

Now we're headed off to Vegas soon.  Kevin is the crew chief on a friend's car and I'm so damn proud.  I can't wait.

And this is my new favorite picture.  Taken last month.



01 November 2013

Recreating Habits

I've been making more of an effort to sit down and write, like it's my job instead of leaving it up to when I get the urge.  It's cathartic for me and helps empty out a portion of my brain which is often over-full.

With that in mind, I'm scheduling myself to sit down and write during the weekends.  Kevin is usually outside and the puppy with him so the distractions are less.  I try to write in the afternoons when I get home but have found it only mildly successful.  I'm unsure exactly why (puppy) but the weekends seem better.

I've also reverted to writing in the office instead of at the dining table or my couch.  Something about the act of going into the office and sitting at the desk enables my brain to  click into writing mode. There's a little tinge of "Duh" about that but consider that I used to be able to write anywhere: work. racetrack, couch, bed, wherever.  Now, it just seems to take a more concentrated effort. I don't know why and I suppose it doesn't really matter.

I've cleaned up and out my desk, reverting back to how it was before throwing myself down the stairs.  This has taken a few Sundays but I think I'm to the place of "There are no more excuses." The drawers are organized, the surface is cleaned, there is no clutter around. Yes, I'm ignoring you stack of unread books! 

I settle in, usually, with a bottle of water or in today's case: a mocha, and music playing in the background.  I'd like to say that it's something that is soothing or fosters creativity but it's just the Canadian country music station.  I don't have my Sirius set up back here and I think it would just be one more thing to distract.  Also, Canadian radio makes me not miss my friends so much.
(And, the puppy.  Missy never cared about my writing other than to sigh and eye-roll because I was In Her Room whereas the puppy tends to be all puppy-ish and gets into mischief while I'm writing)

I alternate between laptops.  My old work one has zero memory so I use it if I'm simply writing without the use of pictures or anything and it is more comfortable to type on.  The new laptop is lovely but it has Windows 8 and anyone who has experienced that knows what I'm talking about.  (namely: don't swipe up on the pad or rest your left hand on the keys or unreasonable frustration ensues)

I'm still having separation anxiety from my keyboard and dinosaur computer.  I can type so much quickly on an ergonomic keyboard and the wheezing of the dinosaur was soothing.  Not to mention I still haven't gotten the hang of having my files on the cloud.  Sweet baby jesus, why I don't I just mutter about the good old days of banging away on a typewriter...

I am going to also try to write when I get home after work as well, kind of like doing your homework as soon as you get home from school.  This is a strange habit for me because if I had homework, I usually did it on the bus while riding home.  This doesn't seem like a transferable skill to use in adulthood.

I'm also going to post links on the twitter when I write.  Swistle does it and even though I read her every single day, I still get that little twinge of excitement when I see her post a link on twitter.  This will be an interesting habit to acquire.  I read the twitter during the day but I forget to actually post.  I'm unsure why that is.

So, as apropos during November's NaNoWriMo and NaNoBloPo, this is my new goal. 

31 October 2013

9 Percent

I've known this for about two months and I haven't written about it.  (take a breath, nothing bad)  I haven't written about it because I just didn't know what I thought.  I'm still a little Huh about it.

The final determination came in for my disability.  I am considered nine percent disabled.  Yep, there are charts and graphs for these sorts of things.  I fall in the nine percent category.

I was given a settlement and that was just weird for me.  A lump sum check (that went toward car repairs, yea me!)  I don't have the adequate words to describe it.   Hey, you're going to be gimpy for the rest of your life: here's a check!  Hooray?

The one thing that it did do was make me feel a little bit better about still being gimpy.  I did the math and working the time that I do works out to accurately reflect the nine percent.  I can happily let that go.

I guess the unhappy part is that I didn't get a letter in the mail that says "You're 100%!" I know that these letters probably are few and far between but I'd so much rather prefer one.

All in all, it's the end to an act of my life that I'm glad is over.  I'm grateful for the extra funds. I'm grateful that it wasn't worth.  I'm grateful that it's "only" nine percent.


28 October 2013

Factory Order

Kevin had a haircut this morning and the stylist (a friend) mentioned that she would like to see my hair color be a little darker, a medium-to-dark blonde.  Kevin was hesitant to mention this to me for fear of hurting my feelings. (so not a worry)

Kevin prefers the color that I refer to as "stripper blonde"  I don't particularly care for that color but I do wonder if that would be an interesting way to transition to gray.  Right now it's definitely light blonde with the ends lighter than the rest, as usually happens this time of year.

My hair started turning brown in my thirties and I don't like it.  I'd prefer that it just went directly to gray, seriously. The dark color is the only reason I began coloring my hair in the first place.  I did try to darken it over a few months but it took on a reddish hue that, while interesting, wasn't my cup of tea either.

I just have difficulty paying lots of money to have it professionally done.  Once began, then it feels like there's no going back and that's just not a priority for me to spend money.  Also, the time.  I'm just not interested in sitting still that long.

Anyway, this wasn't intended as a whinefest about my hair.

As Kevin and I were discussing this on the way home, he made a strange and interesting observation.  "So you came with, let's say, factory installed brown hair yet you feel that's wrong and changed it. You went against factory instructions."

How he gets ideas I have no idea but I really do love it.

I told him that I didn't come straight from the factory with brown hair but blonde hair.

"So, you have a recall. There is a recall and your hair is being corrected to brown."

Huh.


23 October 2013

An Interview

I had a job interview today.  It went well but I don't think I will get an offer.  I don't have super strong Excel skills (I hate it, frankly. It's the devil) The other reason is when I mentioned that we were leaving town for almost two weeks in November there was an almost imperceptible flinch.  I completely understand the hassle of that and if it didn't involve plane tickets & ten other people, I would reschedule if I thought it was that important.

I pulled into the parking lot early, which rarely happens in my life.  I sat in the truck and just relaxed for a minute.  I laughed at myself when I realized that I was listening to Howard Stern and that *probably* not the best impression to give.

Then I spilled a little bit of water on me.

I went inside before I could inflict any more self-damage.  They weren't quite ready so I had to wait.  It's a quiet office, on a side street, in a town near my hometown. It didn't seem busy or loud.  There was only one other person there, a woman who introduced herself then told me she used to do the job.  I wasn't sure how to take that. Encouraging? Discouraging?

Finally, the other woman reappears and takes me back to a back office. There were so many turns I was beginning to worry a little bit.  We approached a meeting room and I get a glimpse of two men sitting waiting.  Difficulty level increased.  Okay then.

They stood when I entered.  Stood up.  It completely threw me off and I began to laugh.  Then I had to explain why I was laughing.  "I'm used to drag racers. You threw me off with the politeness." To my benefit, they laughed.

The interview proceeded like most interviews do. They had a list of questions and took turns asking them.  Nothing that challenging so I guess that's good.

I was excused and I thought "Cake! I'm done."

And then she said "We just have a little test for you."

Ah, eff.

The little test was creating a spreadsheet from information that they provided.  The directions she gave were vague (one of the things I said I have challenges with: people being vague, so purposeful?)  Without thinking, I mentioned that Excel wasn't my strong suit but it seemed straight-forward.

They gave me thirty minutes.  I wasn't that worried about a time limit until I realized that I didn't look at the clock when I started so I had to estimate how much time had passed. Well done me.

I got it completed and I had an issue with how I laid it out but that was mostly cosmetic and could be changed if I could have asked.  I waited for a few minutes but no one came.  I was still within the thirty minute parameter.  I had to think about what was best: waiting for someone to come get me or going out and risking appearing rushed or cocky.

I went out to where I started and both women were there.  The one that used to have the job gave me a release to sign while the other one simply called out a "Nice to meet you, thanks!"

So, I have no idea.  I'm not terribly excited about it.  It's a good (state) job but it's full time so that's going to be a challenge. But it's more money so that would accelerate retirement plans.  It's also, as I mentioned, in another county so that means lots of changes: our credit union, schedules, where to shop, etc.  I haven't worked in this town in over twenty years.  It's not like it's a huge town but it's *change*

In a twist of irony, my old job at the school is available.  I can use the ad as a entry on my resume.  This is the 3rd person in six years. Heh, heh, heh.  If my former boss wasn't still there, I would seriously consider applying there again.  But: NO.

*shrug*

17 October 2013

Pesky

Twenty years ago there was always soda in the fridge, mostly coke.  I didn't cook much and when I did, I stuck to my redneck origins: fried food, prepared food, red meat. I hated cooking, still do, and I wasn't interested in learning how to cook anything different or new.

Then 2005 happened.  Kevin got really, really sick and a lifestyle change was required.  Not suggested but required.  Soda, sodium, red meat = all gone.  We had to watch his sugar intake but it wasn't a restriction and thankfully, still isn't. 

Gone was everything I knew how to make.  I could adapt a bit to using ground turkey but not everything is edible with it.  I had to learn new stuff.  Enter the internet.  I actually googled how to bake a chicken breast and a salmon.  Truth be known: I recently googled how to fry an egg.  I'm allergic so I never learned how.  I can scramble them though.

Now it's normal to us.  Now we feel sick when we don't eat the way we should.  Fast food is more of a treat instead of a regular thing and even now labeling it as a "treat" is a bit of stretch. 

There are two problems still.  The family still eats the old way.  Red meat, fried foods and tons of starch.  They don't understand that when we say we can't eat like that anymore that it isn't personal.  It's not a judgement.  We simply can't eat like that anymore.  It's about our well-being.  But it makes it awkward that we don't want to eat out or decline dinner because it's unhealthy for us.

Also, bonus for me: as I age food allergies are getting worse.  No eggs, honey, or apples for me.  Now we're beginning to add dairy to the mix.  This, I believe, might be the end of me.  Right now we only have milk at dinner and it's one-percent but it's *just* enough to mess with me.  Add a cheese to it and game over. 

So, not much left on the fun list of things to eat.  I'm not a fan of vegetables so it's not like I have this vast array of choices.  I'm trying to concentrate on proteins instead although increasing a peanut intake makes me a little nervous.

I did feel a little better about myself when I realized I've just about become a pescatarian. Somehow having some sort of a title to give it makes me feel a little bit better. But I tend toward eye rolling when people begin extolling vegetarianism or the paleo diet or Atkins or whatever.  Maybe this is karma.

Food is difficult. 

15 October 2013

He Makes Pies Now

Kevin's dad was gone for most of his childhood and a good part of his adulthood.  He regretted that for years and decided shortly after Kevin & I began to date that he was going to be involved in his boys lives.

He set his dream as once he retired he would be at his family's disposal. Everything he had was to be for his family.  He had plans to travel with his wife and sister & brother-in-laws but two unexpected deaths and his wife's failing health ruined those plans.

So, Plan B.  We moved them up here to live and this plan became his new dream.  Nothing makes him happier than to be helping.  Be it helping by working in our yards, fixing a stuck drawer, or giving someone a ride.  Call him at 9:00 at night from the Canadian border and he's excited to be needed. (true story)

Lately he's been cooking as Kevin's mom isn't able to do it anymore.  He can make a mean dinner, or lately applesauce and apple butter.  Yep, this 75 year old, functionally illiterate, retired long haul trucker is cooking, canning, and now baking.

He just brought us two plates of homemade apple pie for dessert after making us dinner.  I don't think I've ever seen him so happy or confident. There is very little resemblance between this man and the man almost twenty five years ago.  It's a wonderful thing.

07 October 2013

She Only Goes By Lucy Sometimes

As you've probably guessed, I often anthropomorphize animals.  I talk to the dogs like I talk to people and assign them a dialogue as well.  Why, yes, I do have an overactive imagination, why do you ask?

When we have Lucy in the cab of the truck with us, instead of riding in back like a mere dog, she always put her front paws on our legs to look out the windows. If she rides in the truck bed, she leans her front leg on the bedside like she's cruising the strip.

She has hound in her so she's constantly on the hunt, with her nose to the ground.  She loves to catch things like moths, spiders, bugs. She snatches them out of the air like a ninja.  It creeps the nephew out that she's such a cold-blooded-killer.

While getting ready to go racing, Lucy hunted and killed a whole bunch of zipties.  (those plastic slide ties)  She'd dive on one, pick it up, and with one chomp, bite it in half then spit it out like "Yeah, I did that."  The Nephew commented "She's so gangster".

That's why we call her Two Paws.  It's her rap name.

04 October 2013

Ranty

Oh where to start...this is a ranty one.

We had that momentary "Ah, everything's okay" time and now a cousin is in critical care in the hospital.  When I called Kevin to tell him, he just heavily sighed and muttered "Really?" 

I had my eye exam the other day and I've hit the age to begin taking supplements to ward off Macular Degeneration that I'm conveniently scheduled for in my elderly years.  This is not big news as I've been expecting it but like Kevin in the previous paragraph, there was a little "really?"

To add insult to injury, the supplements are apparently manufactured from kittens tears because Holy Mother of God, they are expensive.  And add to it the fact that I'm medicine-hesitant and I'm just all "Can't Want To!"

One celebrity rant: will a certain teenage celebrity please put her GD tongue back in her mouth?  I don't care about any of the rest of it but that makes me insane.  She's like a toddler that did something funny that made her mommy laugh so now she does it CONSTANTLY.

I lied, one more celebrity rant:  Why are the Kardashians a thing?

I swear I am going to get t-shirts printed for every single work day that say "Your failure to plan doesn't constitute an emergency on my behalf."  I get super frustrated with people who are unable or unwilling or both to manage their own schedules.

 Okay, rant concluded.  They were just building up a bit.


30 September 2013

Not Prime Time News

On the way home from work, I usually listen to TMZ Live. It's a one hour program that features the people who run TMZ.  It often veers more toward ethics discussions based on celebrity happenings rather than celebrity news. It's nothing like the television show, much to my disappointment.  The owner is a former lawyer and reporter who has worked in Hollywood forever.  Somehow in my head, it lends a little more credibility than the infotainment shows a person sees on the television.

An instance I can provide is that they were talking about Britney Spears stock portfolio, which on surface sounds like Tabloid News. What they were actually discussing was whether or not it was a conflict of interest in that she did commercials for Pepsi, yet had stock in Coca-Cola.  They decided that while it is a little wince-inducing for the Pepsi people, it wasn't an ethical error.  Also a point made was "Who thinks Britney actually  CHOOSES her own stocks?"

The other case they debated was the David Tutera dividing up his twins between he and his soon-to-be ex-husband.  The debate began as whether or not that was a good idea. (overwhelmingly no) and then turned into a discussion about the new challenge of divorce and custody in the gay community.

While reporting the most recent douchey thing the Biebs has done, they often veer into discussions like "Would his behavior be considered age appropriate if he was a normal kid?" and the long-lasting effects of being a Hollywood child star.

Something they often discuss is strangely & not without irony, the paparazzi.  Where I respect TMZ is that they fire photographers that disrespect, break the law, or otherwise harass people.  They also don't run with "news" (I'm in no way pretending they provide a worthwhile service) unless it is confirmed in multiple ways.

I just find the discussions they have as interesting.  It's frequently not about the star but the surrounding or resulting circumstances.  Often, I've mentioned a discussion to Kevin at the dinner table and we've debated it further.  (he agrees: it's impossible to believe that Britney chooses her own stocks)

(Not a sponsored post, although it reads like it.  TMZ Live is on Sirius/XM Stars #106, if you're interested)

29 September 2013

Career Opportunities

Lately I've been snooping around the job market.  I've known since forever that my job isn't my dream job.  It's a *good* job and I'm lucky but it's not what I want to do every single work day for the rest of my career.

My first choice would be, of course, a writer that stays home to work.  I did that for about a year and loved it.  But, I want to be able to retire someday so it's not a permanent option.  Even if I did somehow land some sort of a writing gig, it certainly wouldn't be enough to stop working.

My second choice would be to return to the Early Childhood Education field.  I'm afraid that option has passed.  Not only am I not physically able to do it anymore, I would have to finish my degree.  The education cost versus salary earned is in the Why Would You Even category.  There is no such thing as a good paying job in E.C.E. especially when I wouldn't want to return to an administration job per se.

My third choice is just as unattainable as the first two: I would love to work at the racetrack.  There are multiple impossibilities to this idea: a) it's in Canada b) it's part-time temporary and c) we wouldn't be able to race also.

One possibly viable option I need to look into more is becoming a para-professional, which is a teacher's aide for the school districts.  There are two concerns with this: the physical ability and that they are usually non-contracted jobs.  (like teachers)  The inconsistency of working for a school district makes me a little anxious.
 
So....what to do...  I like most of my job.  I don't enjoy working with a percentage of clients as they are often addicts or mentally ill and often: both.  This part of social services is not something I've ever been interested in, yet here I am.  Upcoming changes to my job will add women who've experienced domestic violence which is something I've always avoided.

With this change is the opportunity to move into a different office.  That sounds exciting until I tell you that it would mean sharing an office....with three other people.  Those of you who know me in reals just tutted and shook your heads "no", didn't you?  Yeah, talk about setting me up to fail.


The job market in this region isn't terrible.  There are opportunities to be made, it's just making the leap.  Do I stay in social service or change to civil service or try the private industry...all of them have benefits and shortcomings.  The nice thing about staying in social services is that jobs are consistent; contracts don't expire, economic changes don't usually effect them, and there is a flexibility that the private sector doesn't provide.

I am usually a Make It Happen person but I'm finding as I age that it's not always possible.  I'm reaching the age of being able to see retirement on the horizon. (a little over 10 years for those of you wondering...providing Kevin retires as scheduled)  I'm not longer in my twenties when throwing caution to the wind is easier.

I don't subscribe to the Oprah way of thinking, as in "If you want it badly enough, it will happen."  This is magical thinking that I believe sets people up to fail.  I've become a "Let's look into it and see what happens" person. 

So what's a girl to do?  Tough it out?  Find another "This Will Do"? Try something completely different? I guess we'll see.


22 September 2013

Measuring Cups

To continue an old conversation that Swistle had with us a while ago, I hate how manufacturers seem to be believe that if you're a certain size, you automatically enjoy and desperately need large floral patterns and most recently: sparkles.

However, it is the reverse with bras.  If you are a larger size, then you get to wear white or nude.  Nothing fun for you so don't even ask.  I just wear black (I know, you're shocked) and even that can be difficult to find.  It's not like I want or would invest in having every color of the rainbow but I'd like to have the option. Especially the option of anything else other than what appears to be a replication of a picture from the 1955 Sears Catalog.

To add insult to injury, the expense is twice. I understand materials and demand factor into the cost but looking around at regular 'Merica and I see quite the demand for the larger sizes that clearly isn't being fulfilled.

Also, there aren't many sports bras.  This I don't complain about because Just No.  At a certain size you forgo being able to do much of anything that requires a sports bra.  This I support.  (see what I did there)

Then we look at the "You Get What You Pay For" scenario.  If you get less expensive ones, they won't last as long and you don't get what you need. Don't even try regular stores. There's a reason that Oprah & Rosie O'Donnell go to that expensive bra shop in New York.  I've heard that Macy's does a really good job but perhaps not in having the larger sizes.

I noticed that the "How to Measure" had changed on a website so I looked into it.  Yeah, not so much.  I think they changed it to "How to Measure for Maybe, Close Enough, That'll Do."  I am a (are you ready for this?) a 36-G and the new measurement had me as a 40-DD.  Umm, NO.  Just NO. With that size, a really, really tight t-shirt would probably do the same task.

Also, if you're in the above size range, online shopping is your deal. Most stores don't stock above DD or DDD and certainly not when you're a 36 and need the bigger sizes.  Also, trying them on is on par with trying on swimsuits in a store.  Just kill me and then I won't need one.  I've found Amazon to be really helpful.  Some of the other sites swamp you with spam or want you to register or simply aren't as helpful.

I've found online shopping to be easier but a person has to be super careful when ordering to avoid the not-fitting scenario.  Luckily, I've only had to return one and it was via Amazon so easy-peasy. 

Swistle wondered about this the other day and this is my opinion:
If you need to wear a larger size like that, you need to wear it all the time.  Going without - even in the comfort of your own home - is not doing anyone any favors.  (think: delivery persons, in-case-of-emergency, unexpected guests, emotional scarring of the children)  Not to mention the wear & tear on your back & neck.  They're not joking when they say it makes all the difference. Like the sports bra, somethings are just not negotiable when you're a larger size.

So once you find the right size and style, order a million of them because there is a specific kind of panic and disappointment when a style is no longer available.

16 September 2013

His Name was Paul

I have been working on multiple family trees over the past few years.  The Ancestry site makes it so easy and it quickly becomes addictive.

I've mentioned before that my grandparents have been married a mind-boggling three times apiece.  Paternal grandfather: divorced then widowed then died, Paternal grandmother: married AT LEAST three times.  Her past is SKETCHY, wooo boy!  Maternal grandmother was married three times and outlived all of them.  The only reason my maternal grandfather was married only once is that he died young.

So, I found out in my twenties that my mother had been married before and it was a bit of a shocker to learn.  Not that the news was shocking but that why not say something anytime in the twenty previous years.

Turns out that she married a boy named Paul when she was SIXTEEN.  It was 1952, so not terribly unusual but still.  He was eighteen and went into the Navy.  (I knew he was in the service but not what branch.  It seems he was in the Korean War, as was my dad although in the Army) Sixteen, whew. I thought getting married at nineteen was too young.  I can't even imagine.  Going from second period Lit to married and living in Tennessee.

The State of California's records are incomplete. I can only find dates of the marriage certificate and divorce.  I like marriage certificates because they list the witnesses and I'd like to know WHO was there.Who in the world of Where's Waldo thought this was a good idea?

The marriage license gave me his name so I was able to look him up, including his senior yearbook photo.  How strange is that? 

Continuing the multiple marriages track was Paul.  He was married three times, once in Reno (like you do. haha) and the other two in California, my mom being the first.  He is listed as having died in 1988 but otherwise, there is no information on him whatsoever.  No obituary, no census records, nothing.  Perhaps he was career Navy but it almost feels like he just didn't accomplish much with his life. I find that very sad.

Because I have an overactive imagination I imagined if he had a family or where he lived or what he accomplished.  Did their paths every cross again?  According to the interwebs, none of that happened.  One could say that my mom dodged a bullet but I'm more thinking out of the frying pan and onto the ground next to the fire.

Not that I would have done anything if he turned out to be a pediatrician or city councilman.  It's not like his children would be my siblings in any way at all but wouldn't that be curious?

I'm not going to tell my mom what I found.  I might mention it to my little brother because I bet he would be equally as fascinated.  

Oh, the things we find on the interwebs.

15 September 2013

Yelling at the Gas Station

On the weekends we take Lucy to the mocha stand for treats.  Oh, and we get coffee for us too. 

This morning after getting treats for all involved, Kevin pulled in to get gas.

As he got out, he turned to tell me something then exclaimed "OH MY GOD, why don't you get your phone off the toolbox?"

I turned around to see that I had left my phone on the toolbox while playing with Lucy before we left the house.  It had ridden back there the whole 2+ miles from our house.

I got out to get it and Kevin was sassing. (I know: surprising) "I know you want a new phone but this seems extreme. I can't believe...."

Meanwhile, the poor gentleman on the opposite pump was looking a little concerned.  Because we're Talking Loudly to each other and this is Alger, where these things seem to happen.  I know he was thinking "I just need to get into the truck then I'll call 911 when I pull out."

Kevin noticed the guy and told him "She left her phone on the TOOLBOX. She's so lucky it didn't fall OFF.  I can't BELIEVE she did that!"

Now the guy is laughing. Now that he knows he's not going to be a witness to an assault.

Kevin continues when it occurs to me:

"WAIT, WAIT, WAIT!!! How did you  get your new phone?  What happened there? Oh, that's RIGHT! You left it on the HOOD.  THAT'S how you got a new phone!"  (true story...on Christmas Eve, nonethelesss)

"This isn't about ME," he shouts, "This is about you wanting a new phone!"

I am cracking up laughing as the gentleman gets in his truck.  Kevin looks over and reports that he's telling his wife, gesturing, and laughing.

We continue to stand there, sassing and watch the gentleman pull out of the gas station.  They're seemingly nervously laughing as they pull away.  They did wave though.

In all honesty: I can't believe the phone stayed back  there either.

14 September 2013

That's a Heavy Tote Bag

Somewhere along the way I developed the habit of carrying a tote bag back and forth to work.  Sometimes it's because I have magazines I bring to work, or too many things to carry, or whatever.  One of the items that is often in the tote is my bag of bills. 

It's an organized, small bag of bills like magazine invoices, doctors bills, or things that I am meaning to do. Stuff like call for appointments, make payment arrangements, or argue with insurance.  I don't carry bank statements or anything like that, just the little stuff that tends to get shuffled elsewhere or forgotten.

There was always a sense of frustration and disappointment when I saw that organizer. Again I would forget something or go to pay one of them only to have to wait, or not have stamps or checks, or whatever.

Recently I made the decision to just stop doing it. Break the habit, as clearly as it had become.  It wasn't helpful or organized, it was burdensome.  Swistle popped into my head "Does it bless or oppress?" she asked.  A resounding OPPRESS! was my response.

On the big scale of life, this is not a problem.  But it's just one of those habits that people fall into and completely forget why they started or continued to do.  They say it takes 21 days to break a habit.  I'm starting NOW.

How about you?


06 September 2013

I Like the New Car Smell But...

Some of you may know that I am super-anti-new-car.  As in: off the dealership lot new car. There are multiple reasons (my intense dislike of salesman and the accompanying guilt for said dislike, for instance) but my reason is mostly financial.

I just can't, can't, can't justify spending money on something that depreciates the very moment you sit in it.  It's a bad investment.

What really bothers me is the prospective of repairs.  Right now, my 4Runner is in the shop and the cost is going to hurt.  All in all, the cost of repair is still in the column of "worth it" versus getting something different.

But if this was a new car? Just kill me.  Replacement parts that are available from the dealer only, thus marked up a billion percent, complicated systems that require specialized tools and skills, warranties that require dealership mechanics versus our wonderful crazy smart mechanic. No thank you because  OF course, this comes not even a little bit inexpensively.

I've heard stories of repairs being so costly that the cars are returned to the dealership at a loss.  This would be my luck. 

When we rent vehicles when we travel, I certainly appreciate driving a shiny new vehicle just not enough to have a payment, increased insurance, and costly repair bills.  Required maintenance as opposed to Kevin doing the regular maintenance? Again: big, fat, No Thank You.

I'm just not sure what I'm going to do when they have cars that fly.  Because I'm in on that. 

05 September 2013

Ever Growing Wish List

With the culling of all our antique VHS tapes, I made a list of what needs replacing with dvds.  Some of them I won't bother replacing while others I can't believe I haven't replaced yet.

I went onto Amazon and found myself in a black hole.  One hour later "Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought" is KILLING ME.  The list keeps getting exponentially longer!  I haven't added all the movies needing replacement yet!

AND, AND, I know by the time I get through this list, some new technology will be created that will make this obsolete.  Hello Cassette Tapes > CD's > MP3's > Digital music.  And yes, I know about downloading movies but who has that time & memory space?

Some of the movies are older so they're not readily available so they're ridiculously expensive. I'll wait for the next version of dvd's for those, I guess.

My little brother uses my Amazon wish list for birthdays and Christmases.  Last year he won big time by giving me "A Wedding for Bella", a sounds cheezy on the surface movie that is absolutely wonderful.  He chose it because "It's been on the list the longest."

I can only imagine when he checks out my list in two months.


02 September 2013

It's Just Stuff

I set my intentions this weekend early last week.  I knew I was going to be sans vehicle so I tried to plan accordingly.  (Don't ask re: vehicle.  Out of 4, only 2 are working. Up from only 1. Gah)

There are a few tasks that I'm still getting caught up from after lazing about through 2012.  Spring Cleaning is one of those tasks.  Specifically: cleaning out random cupboards.

I began with the one in the bathroom that I dislike.  It needs one more shelf and not to be a lower cupboard.  I dragged out everything and reorganized completely.   It's still not my favorite cupboard but at least I don't growl at it when I need something. Also: epsom salts? 2 bags.  Need lotion?  I've got a stockpile going on over here. 

I also have a little plastic, three-drawer organizer under our sink where I keep my stuff.  It's the easiest solution for me as this bathroom looks nice but has a lack of storage.  Except that I have three things precariously perched on top that fall off with regularity.  The fix?  a plastic basket.  A $1 solution to something that's bothered me since we moved into this house.  (only 8 years.)

Then onto the kitchen.  There is one random cupboard next to the refrigerator that stores phone books.  Seven of them, as a matter of fact.  No, I don't collect them, it's a hassle to be rid of them.  Oh, and candles.  I told Kevin to tell the family: no more candles.  I must have a dozen of small canister candles plus three yankee-style candles. All new. Plus the random accoutrements that go with candles: lighters, holders, snuffers, etc.

Cupboard number two has our med bottles from the last year.  I haven't quite gotten the knack for recycling these.  Taking off the labels is nearly impossible and scribbling with a sharpie is tedious.  Also, sometimes Kevin uses the odd shaped ones so I have the tendency to hoard them a bit.

Next up: the movie/cd cupboard.  Gone are all the VHS  tapes. (I know, I KNOW)  I made a list of movies that I still need to replace to dvd while I went through them.  Surprisingly, it's not a long list.  Gratitude to Amazon for that.  Now I have one complete empty cupboard.

I still have to figure out what to do with our one gabillion cds though.  Kevin has the ones he wanted converted but I still have to do mine, which is the lion's share of the cds.  Rainy days are on their way, I suppose.

Next up: my office.  I didn't even try to organize Monica's closet again.  That is going to be a full day task.  It's not as bad as before but I've since downsized to one closet as I am the best wife ever and have a racecar closet that stores tires, boxes, gear, parachute, etc.

My desk is a mess, as filing hasn't been done in a while.  Enough time has passed that I just need to do another shredding party.  I hadn't reorganized from when the dinosaur computer died so I'm embarrassed to admit that the monitor was still plugged into an outlet.  Electronics seem to multiply during the night: earbuds, sd cards, cords, usb's. 

I have to go through our address book again.  Yes, an actual physical address book.  I can't bear to be rid of it, it's our history.  I need to update it from the random slips of paper and business cards.  I'm saving that for a rainy day as well. But hopefully before Christmas, when I really need it organized.

But I feel better.  I feel lighter.  Stuff has a habit of accumulating and I'm glad to cull through it.  The idea of empty cupboards is ridiculously pleasing to me.  (I realize that there was a chorus of gasps/shut-ups there: EMPTY CUPBOARDS!?!?! What is this that she speaks of!?!)

01 September 2013

Clearly She Aced Finishing School

I met a little girl today whom seemed as if she came directly from finishing school.  She should teach all of us how to meet new people.

"Hi, what's your name?"

"Surely"

"It's nice to meet you.  It's a nice day today!"

"Yes, it is.  It's nice to meet you too"

"My name is Leila"

She leans forward as if speaking confidentially "I like your shoes." 

"Thank you. They're purple, my favorite color."

"My shoes are pink, I like those too.  You have a pretty necklace."

"Thank you, I like it too. He (gesturing to Kevin) gave it to me."

"Ooohh" she says and smiles demurely at Kevin.

"This is Timmy, my dog, and your dog's name is Lucy.  She's fun!  They like to play together"

The conversation continued as such for a few minutes.  She's six - almost seven - and begins school on Tuesday.  She went to lunch with her great grandpa but they're leaving soon but wouldn't it be fun if they could stay. She got to go explore in the creek and she's looking forward  to coming back to do it again.

As we left, it occurred to me that she is at Pro Level Small Talk.  She just kicked the ass of most adults I know, especially myself.  In a few minutes, she found my name, shared hers, sincerely complimented me, and pointed out what was going on around us.  She even managed an introduction of someone else, even if it was just her dog. She even commented on perhaps seeing each other again.

I can only hope to become so poised.

26 August 2013

Use Your Inside Voice

We went racing this weekend. It's our last race for this super-short, late-start season. 

We started on Friday morning with what is called a test & tune.  We don't usually do these but we had the opportunity and took it.  It was just Kevin, me, and the Nephew.  So much fun!  So much less stressful.

We went up to make our first pass and off Kevin goes.  It looks good, nothing spectacular and we wait to see his numbers flash on the board.  Like a scene from Groundhog Day, it's the same exact numbers he's been running after multiple changes that shouldn't allow that to happen.

Forgetting that it's a test & tune and that there's no other cars running, spectators, or even an announcer in the tower, I stood in disbelief in the middle of the track and shouted:

"SERIOUSLY!?!?!?!"

There was an awkward silence for a moment then our friends just started laughing.  I should really pay more attention to my surroundings. 

Usually, anything I say can't be heard over the noise.  Although, usually I don't say much at all.  I don't like the overly excited reactions that some people display.  I just feel it's poor sportsmanship.  While yes, you may have just done very well, someone else? not so much.  I get it if you've broken a record or just won a race but even then.  If something goes well, Nephew and I do an awkward little fist bump and move on.  If we lose, we always congratulate whoever won.

Fast forward to the next day: same scenario but now racing is underway so lots of noise and people.  We watched Kevin again but the Groundhog Day curse was broken.  This time I smacked the Nephew in the shoulder (sorry, Monkey) who is videoing everything and shouted "FINALLY!!!!"

That will be great to hear back on the video, I'm sure.  As well as the footage of the ground and sky that occurred when I smacked him. Well done me.




21 August 2013

1,035th Reason to Have A Puppy

She's sleeping with her head on my hip while I was napping...err..watching television

18 August 2013

A Conundrum

How does one deal with a problem like this?


Does the red towel go in the middle?

Separate the stripes?  But then there's two red towels next to each other.

What is a girl to do?

17 August 2013

A Lovely Day

We went to an absolutely lovely wedding today down in Seattle.  It was the wedding of a friend of Kevin's, a car guy.  We had no idea if it was going to be a semi-formal or casual wedding and it was a lovely mixture of both.

It was at a private Catholic school, in the courtyard, outside of the chapel.  The weather was perfect.  I wish I took more pictures but I hate that new development in weddings: audience members taking pictures instead of being in the moment.

But here is one I took while waiting for the ceremony to begin:



The groom has been married before and has two young daughters.  They were bridesmaids with special matching dresses different than everyone elses.  As they came down the aisle, the groom stepped down, kneeled, and met them with a hug and kiss. I heard someone behind us say "The wedding just started and I'm already crying."

The bride arrived in a 57 Chev that the father of the groom drag races.  It was an absolutely perfect touch.

The ceremony's reading of scripture was actually a passage from The Velveteen Rabbit, which I found an interesting choice.

The Skin Horse had lived longer in the nursery than any of the others. He was so old that his brown coat was bald in patches and showed the seams underneath, and most of the hairs in his tail had been pulled out to string bead necklaces. He was wise, for he had seen a long succession of mechanical toys arrive to boast and swagger, and by-and-by break their mainsprings and pass away, and he knew that they were only toys, and would never turn into anything else. For nursery magic is very strange and wonderful, and only those playthings that are old and wise and experienced like the Skin Horse understand all about it. 

"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"
"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."
"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.
"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."
"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"
"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."

( I know, right?  I'm still unsure about the use of that)

My favorite part though?  After the announcement of husband and wife and the first kiss, Kevin leans over and says "Ours was better."

A lovely day, indeed.

12 August 2013

Mundane

Kevin and I had a kinda sorta date night last night.  I know! on a Sunday, such heathens. 

While we were eating dinner, by ourselves, in a restaurant we haven't been to 5 thousands times, near our house, Kevin looked up and said "I'm so glad we're not in Seattle right now."  It had just occurred to him that our lives have finally reverted back toward normal.

We had a normal weekend.  We did chores and errands.  We hung out.  We watched a movie.  We haven't watched a movie from start to finish since what feels like the advent of color television.  I finished a book.  I walked to the mailbox, twice.  We completed chores we kept having to put aside. We. Hung. Out.

Normal felt weird, foreign almost.  We could take a deep breath.  We could not flinch when the phone rang.  We could turn the music on loud without a worry.

Tonight, the kids were here when we got home.  Kids!  Kids in our yard, playing with the puppy and hanging out with "Gumpa"  (a hybrid of "Grandpa" and "Grumpy" from the littles)  The Nephew has muscle definition (took me to the gun show...hahahaha...lame joke) and is tanned.  He's standing up straight.  There was an actual hug in his hug.

We got to just hang, play, and having fun and what's that word again?  Oh: relax. Yes, that's it.  We haven't bumped into it in a while.

Mundane.  What a strange thing to enjoy.  I hope it sticks around for a while.

09 August 2013

Damn Crows

We were talking about Kevin's mom getting a puppy and about how in the country the little toy dogs can't be outside by themselves.  They can become lovely snacks for some of the more predatory animals in the woods.

For some unknown reason, Kevin's brother decided to tell his mother that he saw a video of crows attacking a small dog to emphasize the point. (I KNOW, RIGHT?)

After I was finished complaining about how stupid that is to tell to a 75-year-old woman, I wondered whether or not that was even something a crow would do. "Aren't they scavengers?"

Kevin exclaimed "They WOULD! Crows are ASSH*LES!"

It made me laugh out loud.  Now when I see a crow, all I can hear is Kevin.

(and they kinda are, it turns out. They're also very smart birds.)

Oh, and new puppy:

My name is Bella and I weigh 5 lbs

20 July 2013

19 July 2013

About Writing

I've borrowed an old laptop from my work and have it set up here in my office.  I haven't had anything back here since my old CPU died almost a year ago.

We have our laptop and now the tablet but I have found that I don't necessarily enjoy writing on either.  The laptop doesn't have a comfortable keyboard (I think it sits too high and the keyboard feels squishy) and I really don't have the eyesight required for touch screen. 

But this is a laptop that is similar to my very first one and it's like coming home.  Also, it's at my desk instead of balanced on my lap or sitting at the dining table.  It's just a better environment for writing, for me. I don't think I'm one of those writers that can go to Starbucks or the park and crank out chapters and postings.  Right now I'm facing a wall so there isn't a thousand distractions, there isn't a television and it's quieter sort of. (I can hear the family comings and goings and if Kevin is home...well, I can always hear him)

A bonus is that the puppy will lay back here quietly, unlike anywhere else in this house.  In here she doesn't chew or jump on the bed or drag all of her toys and blankets out.  (Yes, she's very busy being a puppy) Right now she's stretched out and sleeping nearly to the point of snoring. 

I've had a story formulating in my head for way too long.  I need to get it out to make more room on my brain's hard drive. I feel badly for ignoring "Shane" and the woman's character that I've yet not named.   I have the finished novel and an unfinished novel that I just lost the thread of the story.  I'm sure if I made an effort, I could pick it back up. I could send the finished one out again to see what happens.

But there's just always something going on.  Work, broken bones and pain meds that allow nonsense, and just the general goings-on of life.  One can always find a reason NOT to write, it's ignoring those reasons. 

Also, I just feel like if I start up writing for reals again, I won't be able to stop.  I'll be annoyed that I have to go to work, answer the phone, feed the puppy, etc.  I'm sure there is a balance that I would find but for right now, it's been a significant tumbling block.

Because for me, it becomes like another life.  It lives in my head and plays in the background while I'm trying to live my actual life.  It's not unlike being schizophrenic, I'm sure.  I just need to get over myself.

Oh god, the puppy has awoken and figured out how to duck under the curtain to look outside. So much for no distractions.  See? there is always a reason.



17 July 2013

Getting to the Canyon

We were watching the guy walk the tightrope across the Grand Canyon and it occurred to me that I never told the story of going to the Grand Canyon in November.

Kevin went because he knew the rest of us wanted to.  He even stated that he was worried that it would just be a giant ditch in the ground and he would be unimpressed.  To clarify, he is the pit boss of an excavation company.  He has seen what nature can do to the earth, daily.

It was the last day of the trip for us so we were over it and ready to go home.  It was the sixth day in Vegas and if you've ever been, you know exactly what I'm talking about.

I am Suzy Research Nerd so before we even left Washington State I had looked up the best way to get to the canyon.  There were two options: the tourist way and the "locals" way.  I was down for the locals way, even though I did have some trepidation because: you're in the desert.

Kevin asked the concierge what the best way to get to the Canyon before we left.  She tried to upsell us the tour packages then tried to get us to take the day trip to the main overlook, eight hours away.  We walked away figuring we'd just figure it out along the way.

This is where I explain that Kevin's brother is anxiety ridden, all the time.  And, to add to the fun, he doesn't trust signs, as in street & freeway signs.  He will argue with you about the direction you take even when the sign says "Freeway Onramp: turn left" and you're sitting in full view of the freeway.  It's insanity making.

I had my two sets of directions to the same place, I had my GPS on my phone working and we were on our way.  We are on the freeway two minutes when he says that HIS PHONE says to GO THE OTHER WAY.

We aren't even out of Vegas yet, we can still look across and see the casinos.  The racerack is on the north end of Vegas, opposite of where we're headed, and he knows that the canyon is not that way but OMG THE PHONE SAYS TURN AROUND!!!

I finally set the directions on the dash and my phone on the console and told Kevin that I'm out of being the navigator.  Kevin shoots me the warning glance of "Don't be a bitch" that I'm all too familiar with.  But I'm not going to argue with someone who doesn't trust mother-effing MAPS.

Even the diplomat, Kevin gets us out of town then pulls off into a gas station.  Leaving his brother to gas up the van, he took the directions into the store and asks the clerk.  The clerk is from Hollywood Central Casting: gravelly voice, clearly had a hard life, dyed hair, and chewing gum.  She confirms that the MAP is CORRECT and said we were idiots if we didn't take the locals way.

We get back into the van and Kevin explains that the clerk says the directions are correct.  "We can either go back to the hotel and do something else or we can keep going."  My sister-in-law says "Let's keep going!!" and the brother mutters in agreement.

Off we go.  You travel not far and you're clearly in the middle of the desert.  Now we live in the country but this is seriously unpopulated country.  One tries not to remember every movie you've ever seen about being stuck in the desert.

The way to Grand Canyon is clearly signed along the way (I KNOW) but quickly, our directions tell us to turn off.  It looks a little kitschy with "Come see the Indian Village!" signs and fake teepees in the distance.  We traveled past that and soon crossed into the Reservation.

Now, where we live we don't regularly travel on reservation land.  It's just not done.  It's not like there's true danger there but people like us clearly are not welcome.  It felt weird to be traveling through this area.  Especially since we were one of few cars on the road.

We came into a little town with a sign that said "Last Stop before the Canyon"  We decided to stop for one last potty break.  The "store" looked like an old fashioned Western store front but once you stepped inside, it was like a convenience store set up in someone living room.  The owner was a native Indian with beautiful skin, hair, and eyes; again with the Hollywood Central Casting.  She had a shaky voice as if she had a stroke but upon looking around we spotted a Relay For Life Survivor shirt and we learned that she was a cancer survivor.   (Kevin's never met a stranger in his life)

We went to the bathroom, which appeared to be her bathroom, bought water and postcards and were on our way.  She confirmed that the locals directions were good and we were halfway there.  She also said that beyond her town was nothing.  There was nothing but desert between there and the Canyon.

Off we went and she was right.  Within five minutes it was as if the town didn't exist and we were in the middle of a Western.  We saw wild horses, rabbits, and snakes.  One often felt like "Didn't w already pass that rock?" because everything begins to look the same.  Every once in a while we would see a house and each time I would wonder how in the world anyone would ever live there. 

We continued to travel and the road became narrower and less well kept.  It felt like we were going to travel off the edge of the earth.  Finally, signs began to appear that the road to the West Rim was upcoming.  Turning off onto this road, we had a choice to make: we could join a tour bus or continue to drive on our own.  Both ladies at the stores had suggested going it on our own because then we weren't stuck on a schedule and didn't have to pay extra.

So, with anxiety emanating from the backseat, we continued on.

Sure enough, the maintained road stopped and we were on gravel roads.  Now, Kevin as into four-wheeling when we met so this didn't deter him for a second.  Right until the sign that said "West Rim: 60 miles"

Wait, what?  60 MILES?  On THIS ROAD?  On a well-kept freeway that is one hour of travel.  On this wagon trail of a road, we feared for our wellbeing.  But we continued on because it would be stupid to stop at this point.

Stupid was continuing on.  Stupid was not taking the tour bus.  Stupid was not staying at the hotel and ordering room service.  Good GOD, that road was rough.  And dry.  We had to stop numerous times because Kevin couldn't see through the dust.  Our teeth were rattled, our bums sore, and our general health compromised by all the rattling around.  I could only think of the settlers coming through here in wagons and simultaneously being impressed and feeling like a wuss.

Kevin got to a point of "Eff it", which meant not slowing down nor minding the curves or bumps.  He and I got into the absurdity of it and just started laughing. It was a rented mini-van with insurance, let's beat the sh*t out of it. I'm fairly certain that his brother thought we were going to die. 

Two hours later, we reached the Canyon.  Or did we?  It turns out, after all that, we still had to get onto a tour bus to be taken to the observation point.  Sigh.  It turns out that at a certain point the reservation only allows guided tours to prevent damage to the environment. 

We bought tour tickets and crawled onto the bus.  Five much more comfortable minutes later, we were at the observation point. 


16 July 2013

This is Working in Social Services

My work is a mixture of busyness and absurdity.  A broken faucet, an overflowing shower, resulting water damage, coworker drama, weekly server crash, merging old fashioned database with newfangled interweb system. You know: the usual stuff.  Oh, and a paper cut across my palm because: why not?

This is my desk this morning:

Why yes, that is clothing on the floor.  Why wouldn't there be?  You don't have clothing on the floor at your work?

Actually, it's a silk pashmina, a fur vest, and a piece of fabric that I am considering re-purposing.  These all came in with clothing donations and we are considering possibilities for them.  Like I said, this job can be strange.

What I don't like is the unfinished bits (or perhaps in-progress) The lunch that is now cold, the unreturned message on the sticky note, the listing binders beside the monitor.  And yes, I did stop to take a picture AND write about it.  I can't imagine why things like this happen!

Usually at this point, I stop everything and start over.  Put the pens away, move the binders, stack all the papers back up.  Throw my cold lunch out.  Clean slate theory. Instead, I made the mature and reasonable response to write about this phenomenon.