29 September 2009

View from the Couch

This morning I had the audacity to tie my shoes & stand up. For my efforts, I was given a dislocated hip. I can't complain...much...because when you roll your truck down an embankment over a year ago, the occasional hip trouble is okay.

Although spending quality time with the chiropractor, couch, recliner, ibuprofen and ice was not necessarily on my schedule of events this week, I have to assume that it's the universes way of telling me to slow down.

So, I'm getting caught up on the DVR, magazines, laundry (not so much, but I made the effort) and look, I'm posting to the blog! And, my mother-in-law is making us dinner tonight. I considered brownies but as you see from the picture, I didn't get that accomplished.

Sometimes, injuries are blessings in disguise.

26 September 2009

Signs of Life

One of the more interesting...or perhaps weird...things I've wondered about since my Dad died is whether or not he would present himself in any way.

The answer is yes.

The day before his memorial I was home alone, writing on the laptop in the living room. The wind kicked up suddenly, unusual where we live, and the bedroom door slammed shut. The lamp next to the bed also crashed to the floor.

I didn't even get up to look. "Hi Dad" is all I said.

The light momentarily going out during the memorial service. It was in a string of fluorescent lights and only one went out. Not flickered, but off then on. And no one was near a light switch. I think someone even said "There's Fred" when it happened.

There are lots of legends about signs from the "afterlife". Pennies, we've discussed before. I haven't noticed any more pennies than before. Even my mom mentioned, during the ghost sighting conversation, that she hadn't noticed any pennies. "But leave it to your dad to do things differently."

25 September 2009


I use movies as a coping mechanism. Facebook just had one of those getting-to-know-you pass-alongs and the question was "Could you go a day without television?"

Umm, no.

I have the "luxury" of no children so television has become a companion. And it's not like I do nothing else while I'm home. I'm writing this blog, I'm writing the book, I'm reading magazines, I'm doing chores. Often all at the same time!

Meanwhile, cinematherapy is an actual thing. Here's the proof: Cinematherapy

Here are my movies:
If I can't sleep, I can put in Sabrina or You've Got Mail and I'm OUT, guaranteed.
If I am in a bad mood, Princess Bride or What About Bob?
If I need a good cry, Return to Me, Hope Floats or The Family Stone.
If I just need to get lost for awhile, Pride & Prejudice....well, any Jane Austen really.

Think about your movie collection, how would you categorize them for therapy?

24 September 2009

It's a Ghost, Scooby Doo

My mom called last night. She was just checking in and seems to be doing okay. Other than she teared up while telling me how well she was going.

Then she said that she had something to tell me that she'd only told her BFF. I held my breath, because really, who knows at this point?

She began her story and then stopped. She said "If I'm lying, I'm dying."
I busted out laughing at that. She's 74 years old.

Mom was sitting in her chair, where she normally sits to watch television or read. While where she sits remains the same, she moved where my dad's chair was...oh, the next morning....

I know, right?

She said she'd been reading a while when something caught her eye.

A flash of light was hovering over my dad's chair. Then it went to the end of the couch where she was sitting then finally lighted over where my dad's chair used to be. Then it disappeared completely.

Mom said she wasn't scared at all, her heart didn't race or anything. She is sure that it was my dad. She said that it was just like you see on the "Ghost Hunters" show.

I agree, I think it was Dad and in his Dad-like way, he was making it known that he's not happy she moved his frigging chair!

23 September 2009

Sh*t that Happens While I'm at Work

My nephew was waiting in the driveway when I got home tonight.

"So, Grandpa B shot himself in the hand today..."

"Of course he did. What happened?"

Grandpa B is my sister-in-law's dad and he lives on the other side of our house. He's like a dad to me. He is also accident prone, clearly.

I asked J what happened and he explained

"He called Grandpa a few hours ago because he shot himself in the hand and he didn't know what to do."

"Didn't. Know. What. To. DO?"

"Yeah, he said it wouldn't stop bleeding and spurting blood."

"It's called an effing ARTERY!" I interject.

"I know, right? So Grandpa tells him he has to go to the ER so his granddaughter took him."

"Now, wait, what? What was he doing with a gun?"

Grandpa B was working with his granddaughter and they were cleaning his bedroom. B had taken his gun down from the closet shelf and was emptying the chamber when the gun went off.
Of course it did.

J went back to his house and I went inside to do the laundry. A few minutes later I heard voices in the driveway so I walked out.

There stands B, my f-i-l, s-i-l, and nephew talking about what happened.

"I didn't have my finger on the trigger, it was just on the hammer." He insisted.

"Well, clearly you did or the gun wouldn't have gone off."

"I only had my finger on the hammer and I was starting to take the bullets out when the gun went off."

"But I didn't have my finger on the trigger, it was on the hammer."

"Was it a six-shooter? you had to have it on the trigger."

He blew the tip of his finger OFF. He is so freaking lucky that he only lost a fingertip.
"I don't have a finger print now. "

"Yes, now you can rob a bank undetected. Too bad you can't use a gun properly."

Yeah, this is SO not the family that you're going to get sympathy from.

He blew a hole in the wall of his house, it went clean through. "So, I'll have to fix that in the morning" he says, completely unbothered by the whole thing.

"Did you get blood all over the house?"

No, just on my clothes & the towel." He had a remarkably small amount of blood on his clothes so I'm guessing he's wrong. My s-i-l went down with him to check it out. She had instructions to take all guns & sharp objects away from him.

"A spork, you can have a spork." we told him.

22 September 2009

One Month

It's been one month already....

21 September 2009

Did you cut your hair?

What I have just recently noticed is how much stress had altered my vision. I've had a few realizations/discoveries...I can see again.

When did my windows get so dirty?
I can't remember the last time I filed.
I've noticed changes that have occurred over the past year that I just hadn't seen.
I can't remember the last time I shopped for the sake of shopping vs. basic needs.
Why can't I get through the stack of magazines next to my chair?
Good God I am sick of eating in restaurants!
People have aged, children have grown, life has moved on.

At first I thought it was because I'd finally gotten new glasses. I kept putting it off until I couldn't hardly see anymore. I literally picked up my glasses the morning after my dad died. (not my best idea, by the way) The sudden clarity, I assumed, was the new coke-bottle, tri-focal glasses. Turns out, it wasn't.

It is as if someone has let the air out of my life but in a good way. The tension is gone. My concentration has returned, my imagination has re-engaged. I can count on being on a schedule again.

And I can leave my doggone cell phone on the counter and not worry about it. I didn't realize what an anchor it had become.

Whew. I can breathe.

20 September 2009

Slate and Chalk

...would be easier than this, I would think.

In trying to get back into the whole writing groove, I found myself sitting with two computers and a disc, trying to figure out where I was six months ago. Only to find the document I need is on my work computer...I think...saved in Hotmail? Nope...well, sh*t....

Remember when computers & technology was going to make our lives So Much Easier?

(yes, that's car porn on both computers...in a house dominated by cars, I've given up & have all
my pretty pictures on my work computer...)

19 September 2009

This. House. Is. Clean.

Saturdays are usually my housecleaning day. This summer I haven't been on schedule so much but with living on the outskirts of OCD-ville, it hasn't been an Oh My God-like issue.

Today the house is clean from top to bottom. It hasn't been this clean in a while. I may not allow the dog or Kevin to enter. Good for them the family lives next door.

In fact, earlier my m-i-l asked if she could come over to have me order something online. Kevin told her "Firegirl is, er, *busy*, right now." Which is code for "Firegirl has the house torn up from the floor up and no one is allowed in until it is righted." Bless him.

In continued solidarity with Swistle, I cleaned every window in this house and deep cleaned the bathrooms. I feel so accomplished!

Swistle also asked how everyone folded their towels. I roll them, military style, which was a miracle because when we moved into this house, we discovered that the old house had a bigger linen closet. Yikes. However, rolling the washcloths have been a fail thus far. The drawer is so small that if you grab one, you get two and create a frustrating little avalanche of washcloths.

Funny how towel folding has bonded us all.

Cleaners...everyone has their favorites. I tend to use the old standards: PineSol, 409, Comet, and Windex. I've tried all the others and they just don't work as well; especially Windex. I've also tried the environmentally friendly cleaners & found them also failing. Along with the generic products, the e-friendly cleaners have to use twice as much in order to get the same results. Unlike the generics, I get to pay twice the price for half the use. Yeah. Fail.

I use rags instead of wipes. I cringe at the image of the landfills filled wipes and Swiffers. Oh, Swiffers! I just can't get behind them. I've tried them at the Mother-in-Laws and while I appreciate the principle, I've found a mop works better. Although the Swiffer commercial with the broom in the hot tub makes me laugh...watch it, notice that he drops his towel in front of the housewife at the end of the commercial.

The only disposable thing that I use is the Swiffer duster. I could simply never live with out my duster. As it's my least favorite chore, I feel somewhat justified spending the extra money and contributing to the landfill.

Now, Dirty Dancing is on ABC Family and I'm going to sit on my ass and watch it. Join me, won't you?

18 September 2009

He's Just Not that Into You

or is he?

In this age of romantic comedies and metrosexual men, I wonder if we have some high expectations of men these days? Or maybe I'm just seeing the differences between generations right now with watching my parents marriage and my nieces experience the dating world. For instance, the niece breaking up with the "I love you" in five days or less boy.

What really brought this topic up was the most unfortunate response to the first spoken "I love you." Ironically, it was along the lines of Patrick Swayze's "Ditto" response in the movie Ghost.

Once you glue yourself back together after that, what do you do?

When I posed this question to Kevin & my friends, the responses were varied:
"He's just not into her."
"That's all he has to give"
"Perhaps he's not ready, give it time."
"Be careful what you ask for"
"She needs to decide what she wants & how long she's willing to wait"

Having been raised in a non-communicative & non-affectionate family, I guess I might be more patient than most. Kevin was slow with the "L" and "M" word. He was faithful, I knew I didn't have to worry about that, so I was okay with the waiting. We were both so broken when we met, that it took awhile for us to mend and open to new possibilities.

Sure, I had moments when I considered where the relationship was going & how long I was willing to stay. In the long run, I was okay with the direction so I was willing to wait. So, glad that I did, now nineteen years later!

Kevin's not a huge affectionate guy but we say "Love you" at the end of each telephone conversation, before bed & before he leaves for work. I never heard those words as a child, or even as a teen (from boys, not the family) so even that was quite an adjustment for me.

Then I think of the old Westerns, those tough old cowboys. Men of a few generations ago were rarely sentimental, affectionate or romantic. The romance gene seems to be a result of evolution. Not that it is a bad thing but where does it leave the Old School guys? Or the ones from broken/damaged families such as mine?

While the "Ditto" response is never a good thing to hear, is it a deal-breaker?

17 September 2009

Random Items of the Day

A few years ago, we won a picture at Kevin's Christmas party. At the time we were all *whatever* but when we went down to the gallery to choose what we wanted, we were a little dumbfounded.

Jack Gunter is a local artist that has done murals in Stanwood, where Kevin works. He has a tiny little gallery in the Stanwood shopping center. His work varies from whimsical, featuring pigs either obviously or Where's Waldo style, or landscapes. If I had a million dollars, there would be no other pictures in our house other than his.

We both chose the same painting, to the amusement of the cashiers:

A few months later, we were given a signed print of Jacks by someone else that felt it would be nice if we had two for our house. My father-in-law matted & framed it for us:

16 September 2009


"If you see a penny pick it up and all day you'll have good luck."

How I know/remember this saying is it was a line in Grease. Said by Pinky at the drag race in the viaducts. I remember watching that with my mom & she telling about actually doing that when she was a teen.

For whatever reason, that little saying has always stuck with me.

Then Dear Abby published a bunch of stories of people finding pennies years ago and I kind of started paying attention.

Pennies do turn up in the oddest places. I often notice them laying around and always pick them up. It is also interesting how often they are shiny...not necessarily new but often shiny.
I don't know if they've brought me luck or not but at least I know that *I've* made the effort.

Not that I do anything altruistic with them. I throw all of our change into a big blue coffee cup that has become our Vegas Savings Account. It's a good thing that the trip doesn't depend on this coffee cup because we would be taking the Greyhound & sleeping in the station. It's the effort that counts.

Do you pick up pennies?

15 September 2009

Hijacking Facebook

Kevin is on Facebook as well. At first, I updated his account regularly but now he's doing it mostly himself. His friends are mostly car guys and family but there are a few old friends from our previous lives. (including the ex-wife)

The problem being is someone on his Facebook has completely hijacked Facebook. Updates are flooded with comments, their updates are anything from inappropriate to melodramatic, photos etc are posted without asking permission. It's kind of difficult.

It's not to the "unfriend" level because they are actually a good friend, contrary to the evidence presented. But it's nearly to the level of having to say something.

I've already "hidden" all the quiz results, gifts, and games so that he can at least read other friends updates without harassment. Thankfully, other people can't necessarily tell that he's been hijacked by looking at his profile.

We keep hoping that perhaps once the shiney-newness wears off that it will calm down. But history has shown that the moment something happens, everyone is peppered with comments.

Has anyone else experienced this? What did you do?

14 September 2009

It's a Small World

Firstly, apologies for putting that song in your head. Oh, you didn't have that song in your head upon reading that but now you do? Double-apologies.

Blogger world has gotten a little small lately:

Bethany recently posted a picture that I recognized and it turns out she was in My Town! What are the odds of that??

Swistle was just about one state away and don't think for a second that I didn't mildly obsess about going to visit her while she was on this side of the States.

Linda lives about two hours from me and she just twittered the lack of a babysitter this weekend. I wonder if she'd mind if we took her children to the racetrack? Just to clarify, I'm *joking*. Otherwise I'm a little scared I might find them on the 1-5 on-ramp as we go through the city. (:-D

13 September 2009

Powering Back On

It's been a week of "radio silence" and now it's time for life to return to normal.

So, what's been going on? *looking around*

Well, we just watched Kanye be a complete TOOL on MTV.

And I just heard the "rumor" that Lady GaGa might be a transvestite. Totally get that.

Our niece took our six-year-old nephew to his first concert. Katy Perry. I'm sure that's in the Top 10 Things to Do with Your Children, yes?

Coming home from work on Friday, there was a horse on the road. Yeah, the same human that allowed the dog to get loose that I subsequently hit with the truck had now managed to lose a HORSE. Clearly a responsible individual. The funny part of this story is I met Gretta, the dog I hit! She's fine but not-so-much pretty. There's a Frankenstein-like scar on her head and a droopy eye. Otherwise, she's a friendly dog. She seemed to hold no ill will toward me or the truck.

Swistle is on a cleaning tour through her home in prep for the visit from her monster-in-law. In solidarity, I cleaned out my closet and cleaned underneath the kitchen sink. I know, I should slow down, huh?

My fourteen year old niece kicked a guy to the curb because he said "I love you" after the first week of dating. GOOD GIRL. Way to avoid Future Stalker!

School has begun again and the weather has taken on a Fall feeling. My goal is to be on track and on task. Never accomplished that before but WTH, I'll give it a try.

Good to be back y'all.

06 September 2009

The Final Call

First, go get the kleenex...seriously. I'll wait.


Today was my Dad's wake. The fire department took care of everything, we just had to show up. I mean they took care of everything.

At 1:45, the fire department's chief's rigs pulled in the driveway to take us to the department. Eleven of us piled into four vehicles to be delivered in fire department style. They took us around the lake first, sirens silent and lights flashing.

As we pulled off the main highway, you can see the fire department. Everywhere there are fire trucks and two ladder trucks with ladders extended over the driveway in an arch. Along the way, fire fighters from all the local departments stood at attention in uniforms and the pouring down rain.

It was incredible, something that you would see on television. I was awed and touched, until I saw the Boy Scouts. Yes, Boy Scouts. These future little men standing at attention in their uniforms, shoulder to shoulder with the firefighters. I had to take a couple deep breaths before I could get down out of the truck.

We were escorted into a packed fire hall. There are pictures, plaques, and mementos of my Dad everywhere you look. They had enlarged three pictures of Dad sitting in the antique fire engine and smiling so big. We hadn't seen those pictures before. Deep breaths, again.

The service began with the reading of the obituary. It was read by the fire department chaplain, who knew & liked Dad even though Dad was the toughest of non-believers. He didn't attempt to saint Dad, but described him just as he was. A tough, difficult, contradictory old man who gave his all to the department.

Then he read the speech that Brett - current fire department chief & like-a-son-to Dad, wrote but didn't have the heart to read. Again, he talked about Dad as he was. It was perfect and heartbreaking. He too had lost Dad.

Oh, and mid-speech one of the lights went out momentarily, we're all sure that Dad was responsible. That and for the POURING DOWN RAIN.

Finally, one of the Fire Commissioners spoke. He told stories about how this "young kid" often butted heads with the Old Man of the Department. He finished it with "I know Fred doesn't think I'm a rule breaker. But today, if any day, is the day. I know the fire department is 'dry' but not right at this moment. I am breaking the rule. This is for you, Fred." He popped open a beer and took a drink. We didn't know whether to laugh or cry so we did both.

The ceremony part finished and we were able to see all the pictures and visit with every person I have ever met in my life. Former neighbors, former & current firefighters, old friends. Every where we turned, there was a friendly face. Everyone telling stories and getting caught up on the local news. We ate and watched the rain, making jokes that Dad's so annoyed that he's making it rain.

Finally, we are gathered together again. The family is asked to line up outside, in front of the fire department. In total silence, the fire fighters line up into formation. The six Boy Scouts (two of which are Brett's sons) march to the flag pole (that my dad built) and lower the still at half-mast flag. As solemn as pre-teen boys can be, they fold it and present it to Brett who then presented it to my mom.

Then, the firefighters are called to attention and we hear their radios go to static. For one full minute, all radios are open to static.

Radio Silence.

They quiet each radio systematically then we hear the Skagit County Emergency Services Central Dispatch voice come across the radios:

"This is the final call for Big Lake Volunteer Fire Department Chief Fredrick Moore. After 46 years of service, this is his final call."

Radio Silence.

The fire department chaplain then recited the Firefighters Prayer:

When I'm called to duty God
wherever flames may rage
give me strength to save a life
whatever be its age

Help me to embrace a little child
before it is too late
or save an older person from
the horror of that fate

Enable me to be alert
to hear the weakest shout
and quickly and efficiently
to put the fire out

I want to fill my calling and
to give the best in me
to guard my neighbor and
protect his property

And if according to your will
I have to lose my life
bless with your protecting hand
my children and my wife.

Dad's final wish was to go for one last ride on the antique fire engine. In the still pouring down rain, the firefighters load him onto the engine, we enter into the fire rigs again and proceed with full Skagit County Sheriff's escort around the lake for Dad's last ride. Lights flashing, sirens silent, and two firefighters standing guard on the truck with Dad for one final call.

Radio Silence.

04 September 2009

Worst Job Ever

After several attempts, I finally got a good picture of this job...

I can't imagine the grossness of this job as I think my body would physically turn inside out. Sweaty polyester that who knows how many people have worn. The person waves as if to say "I've abandoned all hope and yes, I'm aware of how stupid I look."

In case you can't tell, it's a giant pancake that stands on the street corner, encouraging people to eat at IHOP. Umm, yeah. NO.

01 September 2009

Fall is Here

And if I needed any proof, my Fall Preview TV guide was waiting for me in the mailbox today. It's my own personal "The telephone books are here! the telephone books are here!"
(Steve Martin "The Jerk")

Like a true kid of the 80's (-ish), I look forward to the Fall Preview every year. My life is simple.

The DVR is going to get a work-out, for sure. Ellen & Bonnie Hunt are going to be all new next week. I already record Craig Ferguson and surf the other late night shows, depending on the guests.

Add Bill Maher, Jon Stewart, and Stephen Colbert...and I'm considering recording Rachel Maddow. I never watch mainstream media news anymore even though I harbor a crush on Brian Williams.

I'm now addicted to Drop Dead Diva and Army Wives on Lifetime.

Right this very second, we're finishing the final two episodes of Rescue Me.

I just glimpsed an ad for So You Think You Can Dance and nearly clapped my hands in delight.

I'm looking forward to Brothers & Sisters too.

And is it bad that I was rooting for Izzy's death on Grey's Anatomy?

Oh, and Private Practice! WTF with the season finale and the crazy person stealing the baby. I don't care about the rest of the show but I Have To Know what happened there.

And LOST...need I say more?

Then there's The Mentalist & Castle...eye candy plus good shows.

Monday Nights on CBS is perfection as well. Big Bang Theory is one of the best comedies EVER.

It's going to feel odd not watching ER for the first time in what feels like my entire adult life. But I think Thursdays are going to be packed anyway.

I may have to use the trusty old VCR as a backup. And take a day off of work. And cancel any plans I may have scheduled, like Christmas.