28 June 2013

Cast of Characters

I forget that people don't know me in reals.  The lovely Lindsay commented the other day about The Nephew being the dad of the littles and it occurred to me that in this large, crazy family: it's confusing to know who's who.  Even if you do know me in reals, perhaps a recap is a good thing.

I try to give everyone pseudonyms by either their family title, initial, or middle name. So cast of characters:

Myself - Surely, formerly Firegirl. Surely is in honor of an aunt who died when I was an infant and whom I am told I am most like. (sweet baby jezus, that was quite the sentence)   Firegirl was a previous version of me that just didn't fit anymore.  I'm teetering toward middle age, married, and no kids.  We have our dog but that is not our child.  She is not our fur baby, she is a dog.

I work in social services with homeless women.  It is challenging at best and while not my dream job, a very good job.  My education and prior career was in Early Childhood.  I have found that both jobs have transferable skills. I'm also a writer with finely tuned procrastination skills.  Not published yet but the recipient of two very nicely worded, lovely rejection letters. This blog is featured on BlogHer from time-to-time.

Kevin - my husband of twenty years.  We met when I was 21 years old so the balance of time spent with him versus time without him is nearly evened out.  He is seven years older than me and Swistle swears that we are vampires. (because we appear to not age, not because of our diet)

Kevin is a pit boss for a multimillion dollar excavating company.  He grew with the family owned company to become in charge following the father and son.  It's the perfect job for him: outside, busy and ever changing.  He is also a racecar driver, which makes him beyond cool in my eyes.

When I refer to the in-laws, they are Kevin's parents. They live next door.  Well, about fifty feet away from our house.  My father-in-law is the whistler.  They have lived "with" us for about six years.

My brother-in-law is Kevin's brother.  He also lives next door, just a little further than 50 feet but not much further if measured as the crow flies.  My sister-in-law is his wife.  They have lived next door for about twelve years.

I have two brothers.  My older brother is indeed just that:10 years older.  My "little" brother is actually my older brother as well, by five years.  He has been called that since I was in my late teens when I was leading a more grown-up life that he was.

My eldest brother has two nieces, now "grown",  18 and 21 years old.  The eldest is married and expecting their first child.  Her husband is in the Army and they are stationed at Fort Bragg.  The youngest has just graduated high school and starts college in the Fall.  She wants to be a dental hygienist and we don't know where we went wrong with her. (joking, of course)

My little brother is unmarried, a lifelong bachelor I suspect.  He has a quirky on again, off again girlfriend and has Dr. Doolittle abilities on the former garden nursery where he lives.

The Nephew is my brother-in-law's son and he's like a son to us.  I met him when he was three years old, before Kevin and I were together. (long story)  He is engaged to be married to a wonderful girl who has five kids.  The "littles" came about to describe the seven-year-old triplets.  Yep, triplets.  They have two older brothers that I sometimes refer to as the bigs or C1 and C2.  (the bigs each have names beginning with "C", they're not robots)  The kids are his for all intents & purposes, just not by biology.

The Nephew has an older sister who is also married and has one child, a soon to be ten-year-old son.  He is our godson. They are not as active in our lives as the Nephew, not for any reason other than a bit of distance.

The Mom is my mother.  She gained that capitalized title when my dad was dying, which sounds cold-hearted but the martyr hat she wore was large and flowery.  She wore it for a few years after my dad passed from cancer in 2009.  Ours is a tenuous relationship. 

So that's everyone.  Whew! That's a lot of people!

21 June 2013

Pop Quiz

Now that life has resumed it's somewhat normalness, I've been searching for topics to write about here.  One of my fall-backs is the quiz/essay style posts.  I found this one because "Breckin Meyer" was attached to it.  Gotta love a guy that is the same size as me.  But not Tom Cruise.  I don't do crazy.

Anyway, I thought these were kind of fun questions:

The Entertainment Weekly Pop Culture Personality Test

When do you yell at the TV?
During Deadliest Catch mostly.  Although I've been known to mouth off when Real Time with Bill Maher has a particularly challenging (or challenged) guest.

Did you ever write a fan letter to anyone when you were young?
I don't think so.  I do remember sending something in the mail to JP Patches. If you're not from the Pacific Northwest then this name isn't familiar to you and boy, did you miss out.

The piece of pop culture memorabilia from your childhood you still have?
I believe I have the teen heart-throb magazines that you used to order through Scholastic, which actually seems inappropriate now.

What is your position on karaoke, and what is your song?
No, just no.  Not enough alcohol in the world. Trust me, people have tried. And you're welcome.

The movie you have to watch every time you spot it on cable?
Princess Bride. Grosse Point Blank. Pride & Prejudice.

The person or band you need to see in concert before you die?
I would love to see Elton John or Billy Joel.  I think I need to win the lottery first, tickets are bloody expensive.  The Red Piano Tour I would have happily sold my soul.

20 June 2013

Now You're Just Saying Words

Another sample of "poetry" that actually made me  put my head down...

I can only picture Joey when he wrote the letter in praise of Monica & Chandler using a thesaurus:

from "Primitive State"
by Anselm Berrigan
Thingitation righteousness for pre-avail to drive away the mighty

Put me in a room full of strangers and leave me alone

...cauldron in twine, disarray as fair game, keen ablution borne 

Forced into assertions by a lack of attention

...the warp we held out in readiness, taking wind off the table, the
   awe thus retrofitted
within the futility of cleanliness, that mere cost...

But I am not trying to achieve a general unity of impression, which
   anyway sounds like a
metaphysics of port authority

Clear-cut you are my enemy, alternate pen failing eternity

...bazaar residence, chatty folly, all perks, all codes...

If'n diffident glee

For the appearance of a glove, designed in wood to imitate a
   mama whooping crane from
the neck up, would prevent the little chick from being humanized
   by coming through a
hatch in the wall to commence feeding time

Where its nothing personal happens

Selling points envying the rim

The patter of claws as I upload Brahms in the dark

He demonstrated the location of his injury by touching the trainer's
   parallel area

...video courtesies, seeing the quiddity a five-headed eagle brings
   to light, in a touch...

A late run at respectability about to come up short

Mellow radiation lulls with rosemary


The window so far behind the what

...drums in the bleep, four savory flavors in mind, forgeries bloody
   coming after me...

It was indeed a terrible idea to lend a valuable book to a painter

Soon I must go to sleep and simulate someone at rest

Trilobite death wish to replace beer funnels downstairs with

She pours herself into recognition as if every moment is a new one

Should I hide the ointment from the truth

The industry of analyzing that which may

String straps suck

Should I gnaw on everything with my five pesky teeth

To sit back down still high amidst the aggro-squirrel set under
   amber street light, kid
asleep, paper catching drizzle, phone lurking in pocket

Standards, such as yours, don't exist

...risers tracking reliquaries, gradations of skill at filling a thirty-
   second spot...

At some point it became spontaneous to have a plan

A daydream that everyone speaks only in acronyms 

Copyright © 2013 by Anselm Berrigan. Used with permission of the author.

18 June 2013

Marriage Via Texting

It had been a long weekend for us and Monday Kevin woke up with a cold (thanks, suppressed immune system)  My job has been challenging (*ahem* coworker*cough*) so I decided at lunch time that we were having pizza for dinner.  Kevin's favorite pizza is called The Cowboy, which has provided some funny entertainment for us.

Me: Leaving work in a few minutes. I'm thinking a cowboy for dinner

Kev: Slut

Me: Yep

Kev: You knew it was coming

Me: That's what he said

Kev:  REALLY!?!?!

(and this is as close to sexting as we will ever get)

16 June 2013

Fathers Day

I just posted this on the facebook for father's day after seeing some really cool pictures of my friends dads.  It pretty much sums it up: beer, cigarette, lake, and if we're going to get all symbolic up in here: his back turned.

I've never enjoyed Father's Day because I have always felt cynical about it. Added now is a little wistfulness about it.  My dad has been gone almost four years so  there's a little of that orphan feeling.  Kevin and I didn't have kids so there's that gap as well. 

Yes, we have Kev's dad who is awesome (even with the whistling) but there's still not a lifelong connection there.  Kevin wrote a thanks Dad post on the facebook today and made everyone cry.  Well done, Kevin.  We bought him an Italian soda and a card because he doesn't want anything.  He fussed over the doggone soda.

I do have my eldest brother, ten years my senior.  After my dad passed, my mom gamely tried to have a fathers day celebration in his honor but that just felt awkward and weird.  My little brother doesn't have children.  I also have my brother-in-law as well but ours is so not that relationship. So: no.

I was sitting here, contemplating the day.  It occurred to me: the Nephew.  The Nephew is a dad.  Five kids, not his biologically but his all the same. His more so because he chose them.  Now that's a reason to celebrate Father's Day.  The light, joy, and pride that the Nephew and his kids have brought into our lives.

13 June 2013

This Guy

We can all breathe again.  The surgery was merely six hours long and was a success.  Now the clock ticks as we wait for the 7-10 day recovery period.

Then this guy can:

shower (yes, no shower since March)
walk freely
lay on his side and sleep
pick up his kids

Basically all the stuff that we take for granted every day.

Thanks everyone for the positive thoughts!

10 June 2013


As I was driving to work the other day I realised that it was my dad's birthday and he would have been eighty.

This is remarkable to me because, big surprise to follow: that means I'm aging.  It just feels weird to have elderly parents; my mom just turned 78 last month.  While it feels like they've always been "old" because I'm their child, it's just disorienting.  It feels weird that our nieces and nephew are "Grown Ass Adults" (my nephews description, not mine) with children of their own.

Oh, speaking of which: my niece is pregnant, did I tell you that?  She's five months along and HUGE.  We're wondering if there is more than one baby in there.

Her sister just graduated from high school on Friday.  It just doesn't seem possible. One minute ago, she was a squirmy little baby that just wanted to be nakey and laying on a blanket. (God, I assume she's grown out of that now)

My mom bought her very first furniture set that is completely her own.  My sister-in-law said she was like a giddy school girl, she was so excited. Her choices were pretty much what we had in mind until I saw the chair she chose!  Check out this snazzy chair!

My sister-in-law quoted my mom saying "Now its my house!", which is sweet and kind of heartbreaking at the same time.

So those are some big freaking milestones. 

The Nephew has his literally-life-saving surgery on Wednesday morning.  They've given us a comfortable window of "It should last at least five hours but could be for twelve hours."
As long as he comes out healthy, repaired, and able to eat: we don't care if it takes a day and a half.

One more milestone on Wednesday, then maybe we can take a break for a while.

02 June 2013

People Watching

Kevin and I went to dinner tonight just by ourselves. Just that is enough for a post. It nearly feels like that hasn't happened in forever.

One of our favorite things to do is people watch. I have two favorites that we've seen:

One was a couple on a date where the girl kept texting and he was annoyed. She went to the bathroom finally and he called over the waitress. Next thing we knew he paid the bill and walked out, leaving her there.

The second was two young guys on a date, one was trying super hard but the other wasn't interested as much. As a last ditch effort, the enthusiastic one offered to take him to his church. I swear I heard a record scratch after he said it. He replied "No, they don't like me there." which I thought was kind of a clever reply. Mr. Enthusiastic gamely tried to fix it with "No, they're really cool" but it was met with an eyeroll. From all of us.

Tonight we went to a cafe. There were two other couples there, one was bookish, watching Jeopardy and the other was rednecky and friendly. The redneck couple chatted with the waitress and Kevin as we waited for our order.

While we ate dinner Kevin said "Now that's a nice Camry" which of course made me look because who says that? The car had a broken side mirror, sooty trunk with
mold on the bumper and a body that looked like it has a few softballs thrown at it.

As we finished, the bookish couple left.  I wasn't really paying attention when Kevin started to laugh and said incredulously "I did Not see that coming".  The bookish couple got into the crappy little Camry, not the nicer Nissan that was parked nearby.

I told Kevin that I would had lost that bet as well then made the joke of that's what we get for being judgy.  Meanwhile, the woman of the other couple had impeccable table manners, like tea with the Queen manners. The man was reading the newspaper, and not just the sports or cartoons.

One just never knows what you'll learn when you people watch.