30 November 2019

What Kind of Underwear I am Wearing

I had an interesting discussion with my grown-niece on Thanksgiving.  She said that the principal of Gregory's school spoke with her about the physical affection Gregory and his best friend (a girl, lesbian, and transitioning) display at school.

Niece assured him that it wasn't an issue because he's gay, she's lesbian and transitioning, they are best friends, and all of that.   She has said this before, but then has also said that she makes them keep his bedroom door open.  So...hmmm.

This was my response to her:  "Not to be all Debbie Downer, but I am Team Principal on this one.  To me, it's not about what their orientation is, it's about what's appropriate in public.  They don't need to be all up in each other's business at school.  Because it's SCHOOL."

Gregory interjected to say that one of his friends were written up because he gave someone a piggyback ride.  This argument felt like all the facts weren't being given.  Remarkably, Niece also tried the "But others do it too" defense.  Wait, wut? No.

I explained that when I was in school one hundred years ago, none of that was allowed.  You could hold hands but making out or whatever wasn't allowed.  Yes, of course it still happened, because teenagers but it was not acceptable behavior.  I get it, times change but there are still boundaries.

Because prudish or not, there is a way to conduct yourself in public. I've seen with my own eyes the way they interact and it has given me pause.  I think there's a little denial or naivete with my niece.

It is acknowledged that with different gender types and roles being widely accepted and sexual orientations no longer hidden, that a new set of norms are to be expected.  That is very interesting to think about and to filter my bias through.

I still fall back on the "You don't have to be constantly TOUCHING nearly every surface of your skin" while in public.

Oh here, random example:  When I was an administrator at the school, low-cut jeans and g-strings were everywhere.  We constantly had to tell certain staff members to wear longer shirts to work; to the point of having extra shirts and/or sending one person home to change.  Finally during a staff meeting this was a topic.  I said "Like you don't want to know what kind of underwear I AM WEARING, we don't want to know yours."

The gasp, silence, then laughter was EVERYTHING.  Point made.

So, I would say the same to them:  You don't want to see me and Uncle Kevin all over each other, so why would you think anyone else wants to see you.  It's not about orientation, it's about etiquette in public.

Alternate Blessings

I am Chandler Bing when it comes to Thanksgiving.  It is my least favorite holiday, and that includes Arbor Day.  An old friend would refer to events like this as "Forced Family Fun" and that has saved my life a few times.

This is where I say that, of course, I love my family and my in-laws.  Please just don't make me spend the whole day with you.  Or have two giant meals in one day, one of which requires travel. I would much prefer a Friendsgiving.

I'm snuggled on the couch today, watching Doctor Who episodes and waiting for the Friends Thanksgiving marathon to stack up so I can start watching without commercials.

So, I've thought of a list, an alternative list of Things I am Grateful for:

My BFF's whole post about raisins today.

Which then prompted me to watch this clip:  "It's got...raisins in it"

Coworkers who make me laugh

The words "I'm here."

A puppy who lays on you when she thinks you need it

Texting/Snapchat/Social media

Friends who open their coffee stands on holidays

Christmas lights in November

Cozy sweatshirts


The fireplace in our bedroom

A three-year-old who says "Don't worry" and it always seems to apply

Our pseudo-kids, both grown and young  (aka nephews and nieces)

Sleeping in when your husband knows this is your second least favorite day of the year

(had to put a few sentimental ones in there, I am not a complete monster)

27 November 2019

Box Office Success

Kevin and I had a date night last night.  We were overdue; having not done it in a while and he just returned from a five-day trip. It was nice, but weird to do it on a Tuesday evening.

We went to the movies, which I normally do not do.  I don't enjoy movie theatres, it's one of the places that spin me out a little. I know, I'm super fun. But months ago, I told him that I would try. And he remembered.

I read about people like me and coping skills for those kind of settings. Of course I did.  Hi! I'm a nerd.

These were the suggestions:
Earplugs, or in my case earbuds.  It helps dull the movie noise (it's so loud, jeez) and the background noise. (people talking or so much worse: eating)

Sit where it's not so crowded, like on the aisle or down low or high.  I like to sit with people behind me, not in front of me.  We chose the handicapped section, where there are no rows directly ahead of us and most people were behind. There wasn't any one else sitting there and unfortunately, yes I can sit there.

Make sure your needs are met beforehand. This means don't go there hungry or go to the bathroom if you have to.  We had dinner early then popcorn and soda in the theatre. This seems like a no-brainer but it's not.

Go to the matinee.  We've gone twice to the early showing on a weekday and the theatre is not full at all.

Consider what kind of movie to see.  We watched Ford vs. Ferrari and it was really, really good.  But an action, superhero, horror movie would never work for me in that setting.

Here's three things I discovered about myself:  I rely on subtitles a lot, I like being able to rewind when I didn't catch something, and not having my phone to look up things was not fun for me.  I HAD QUESTIONS.

The other thought I had, because it was just discussed in my life, is safety.  Pay attention to people moving about during the movie, make sure you know where the exits are, and that you have a fairly clear pathway. Have a plan.

And how much does it piss me off that it's a THING.

We've figured it out a little, so that's happy.  There were a few previews that even made me consider going again.   And, maybe, hopefully, one of these suggestions will help someone else.

26 November 2019

Quest for the Hoodie

Kevin is home now and it's almost like he was never gone.  Other than now he's underfoot and the house seems loud. Maybe I acclimated a little too well to being on my own.

Anyway, a hoodie update is here. I know, you're excited.

 This is the hoodie Kevin bought me:

Of course there was controversy.  Is it blue or is it purple?  I say it's blue but others who helped him choose it say it's purple.  It is one of those strange colors that changes with light.  Why is nothing ever easy, is my question.  (Other than is it blue or purple?)

I'm not disappointed. It's soft and cozy. Years ago I wanted a Vegas hoodie in all the colors. Then I realized that I only wear a handful of them. In fact, I just sent two or three of them to goodwill not too long ago.

And my favorite all-time hoodie is the very first one I bought. So I'm just chasing the white whale of hoodies, at this point.

Kevin only bought t-shirts at the track and he thinks that other than one, he managed to get different ones than his brother.  You guys, this is a THING.  I'm telling you.  We'll see on Thanksgiving when no doubt, his brother will be wearing his brand new t-shirt.

And then, this is the hoodie I ordered when I realized Kevin didn't buy one at the race:

I saw this online before Kevin even left and asked him to get one.  Then he...didn't?  I'm not sure what happened.  Other than something sparkly went by.  It's okay, easily remedied.  By buying the t-shirt version also, there wasn't any shipping charge.  Now I'm just winning.

25 November 2019

Baggie Full of Hoodie

I have a bunch of unfinished content that I am uninterested in finishing.  So I'm just going to sit down and do a stream of conscience post until something generates.  Or you're reading a chatty letter from your friend.  Let's find out.

Kevin has been gone for five days.  I thought I was going to hate it but I actually leaned into it this time.

As discussed, I had a list of things I intended to do.  What have I done?...looking around...not much of anything at all.  Well. to be fair I did organize Monica's closet and the chest.  I found my Christmas cards and I bought some more. Didn't get stamps but I have cards.

I did the basic maintenance stuff, my chores groceries, etc.  Other than that...watched the Seahawks win, watched His Dark Materials (LOVED) and did some reading.

I did not paint.  I didn't even get the urge, really, which feels strange. I think mostly because the last two spaces are just too much for me to do alone.  As much as that pains me to say.

I haven't really checked in on the parents.  I just needed a break.  And as much as they would deny it, I'm sure that a few days without everyone up in their business was probably nice.  To my knowledge, no ambulance has been here, nothing is on fire, and everyone is alive.  In fact, I'm not sure they've left at all this week.

And I'm certain I'll hear about this once everyone gets home.  That's kinda fair, my job was to check in with them.  But I also don't think it needed to be every day.  Which means the universe is going to throw me a curve ball, for sure.

We've talked about how Kevin isn't very secretive when it comes to buying presents.  He had to ask what hoodie size I wore yesterday so I was kinda excited to see if he was going to bring me  a cool racecar hoodie.  Then this morning he texted:

"Will you wear pink?"

"I'd rather not...*cringe face and smiley face*...BUT I will be happy with what you choose regardless"

Then added "Purple is my jam"


He's a man of mystery.  And no cool racecar hoodie, I'm guessing...sigh...

Oh, here's a story about clothing and his brother:

Whatever Kevin buys for t-shirts and hoodies at an event like Vegas, his brother buys one too.  Like twinsies.  He sees absolutely nothing wrong with this. At all.  I think he thinks it's cool?  HE'S GOING TO BE 60 SOON.

The work-around for this is that I will buy hoodies, etc. on the down-low then he has no idea what Kevin has.  But I'm not there this year so Kevin had to figure it out on his own.

So, he phones to check in while he's searching for a friend of his at the racetrack.  I'm coaching him to buy stuff while he's on his own.  "He'll still know, he'll see when I come back."  I thought about it and said "Well, ask Mike to get you something. He'll understand."

"Yeah, and then we can hook up like in the parking garage and make the exchange." he replies, laughing at the ridiculous yet truthfulness of the statement.

This is yet another glimpse of my life and another reason why I did not travel with the brother-in-law.

24 November 2019

50 Minutes

I only talk to my mom about once every month or so.  Here's how the conversation always goes:

An announcement.  Like when she told me my ex-husband's wife died.  Usually it is a death related news item; because the obituaries are like headlines to her at this point of her life.  Today is an elderly neighbor has died.

Then it seques into whoever's birthday is next.  Today is my brothers, which we are celebrating on  Thanksgiving.

Then we "talk" (I would call it listening, she would call it talking) about how my aunt who has Alzheimer's. Lately, my mom has made the point that SHE does not have Alzheimer's but is just getting older.  We already know that her memory has faded so nice try, mom.

She also has COPD but she insists that she is always getting over a cold. It's an endless cold.

There is usually a weather or house update sprinkled in there.  Today was both: tree fell on the shop, there are maple leaves on the beach, and the lake has had ice.  And the chimney is leaking.

Then ping-pong back between any of those topics.  For an hour. Or more. Thank you sweet tiny baby jesus for speakerphone.

There is usually one "OMG" moment.  I think that's Kevin's favorite part of these conversations.  I'm trying to think of an example but I'm drawing a blank.  I will come back and edit if I remember one.

She suddenly just announced "I don't give donations to churches"  Umm, okay.  Don't, then?  This is something that my dad would usually say so I am a little surprised she said it.  I didn't ask why. No one has time for that.

There is never a question about how I'm doing. She'll ask about Kevin's parents but rarely, you know, her kid.

Oh, here's another topic: she's bent out of shape that her bills have addresses that keep changing.  We don't know why she's mad about this, she just is. Because 84-years-old.

She tends to call in the late afternoon and always ends it with "You probably need to get off the phone and start dinner for Kevin."  I always say yes, even if I'm not.  (Like today when he's in Vegas and it's 4:00.)

I know this could be filed under "Someday you're going to miss this" but I'm thinking: no, probably not.

23 November 2019

Annual Excavation

I made it a goal to excavate Monica's Closet today.  It's 10:40 am and I have gotten coffee and signed up (again) for a spotify account for the google speaker.

But I will persevere.  I can do this, probably.

For those of you who don't know/remember: Monica's closet is the only space that is allowed to be cluttered in all of my existence.  I go through this "ritual" about this time every year because I have to unearth not only my Christmas cards and decorations but the mother-in-law's as well.

Please send help if you don't hear from me after a few days.

It goes back about three feet on the left and five feet on the right.
It's a huge closet and that's not necessarily a good thing

I have been trying to break the habit of hoarding amazon and barkbox boxes but Christmas will be here soon and there are NINE children who require presents, not including Kevin.

And I tend to hoard electronical things.  I have a whole bin of cords, chargers, phone covers, etc.

And picture frames.  I find second-hand ones that I like then save them until I find the perfect photo for them.  Or don't.

Why do I have this weird angel, you might ask.  Kevin's mom gave it to me years ago "to watch over us".  Fun fact: it freaks Kevin out a little.  It's been hanging in my office for years but I took it down so one of our championship coats and team shirts could be displayed.  As one should.

My niece doesn't want it.  Do you? I'm serious, I'll send it to you free
Tiny bit blurry and I'm not patient enough to fix it. You get the idea

*long pause*

Actually, once I delved into the closet it was more putting stuff where it belongs. A novel concept when it comes to this closet.  I did take out two grocery bags worth of stuff to send to Goodwill though. So that's a win.

I didn't have much of the "What is this, even?"  Or the more popular: "Why?"  It was more putting things back into boxes and reconfiguring one of the boxes.
It went so smoothly that now I'm obsessing about labeling everything
I did detour through one keepsake tote and threw out some stuff.  It was a bit of a wormhole though and I forced myself to put it away for another day. That is a snow day kind of project, for sure.  And frankly, I need a scrapbook to put things into, and a xanax.

I went through the cedar chest as well.  I keep just valuable keepsakes in there. Like Kevin's wedding shirt and other t-shirts and jackets, a baby blanket, a poncho my grandma made for me as a preschooler.  Antique dishes and silver, toys. I questioned keeping them but the rush of nostalgia squelched that questioning right silent.

What do I have left?  Well, the fate of eight snowglobes.  Some of them have discolored water so I'm not sure what to do with that. I'm sure the interwebs will tell me.  And I just don't know that I need them.  Dear Swistle, I did indeed ask "Does this spark joy?" and the answer was "Meh".

I loaded the discarded stuff into the truck and took them directly to the goodwill.  No languishing in the back of the truck until I return to work.  I even had the forethought to grab the tote of Christmas decorations for my office.  What? Like you don't have a specific tote of decorations for your office. No? Only me? Oh, hmmm...

That's crossing off two items on my list.  Now that's left is the Christmas card project.

Guess who forgot to buy stamps AGAIN?  *this girl*

21 November 2019


I am without adult supervision for the next five days.  I know, right?

When at first I knew this was happening, I was all "I'm gonna get so much stuff done."

Now I'm off from work soon and I'm all "Meh"

I still have my regular chores to do, of course, but here's what I have planned:

Excavating Monica's Closet and the cedar chest
They are both overfull and I can't do one without the other at this point.

Go to the bookstore in my old city.
There are no new bookstores in all of the county that I live in.  There is one used book store and that is it.  This is unacceptable.  SERIOUSLY.

Christmas Cards
I told my bff that I am going to do my cards and get them out early.  So far, I have forgotten to buy stamps for many consecutive weeks and I can't reach my cards in Monica's Closet. So see item #1

Spend time with a friend
My old work has had PLENTY of drama lately and I haven't been able to see my friend for months.

Get a hair cut, FINALLY
After the whole catching me on fire thing in August (was it that long ago?)  I haven't made an effort to get my haircut.  Unfortunately, there isn't an appointment until next week when Kevin has returned.  Still, I can cross it off the list I guess.

Finish watching Firefly
I started watching in during the summer when I had a reduced schedule.  Then school started and I haven't watched it since. SAD.

NOT paint.
Usually I paint something while Kevin is gone.  (Once he came home to a pear green kitchen)
All I have left to do is the master bedroom and the hallway.  Both are projects too big for me, or so I keep telling myself.

The stack of magazines on my coffee table is ridiculous.  Also, you saw my bookshelves.  Those need attention too.

I was doing so well with this bloggity and then stuff just happened.  I've missed a few days so I didn't meet the goal I had set for November.  It was kind of an unattainable goal to begin with. I've met me.

Now, what do I think I'm actually going to get done?  I predict watching Firefly and the bookstore. Because priorities.

17 November 2019

This is Not Espionage, Sydney

One of Kevin's guys at work was fired a while ago.  This is unusual, the chance of getting fired is You Have to Try REALLY Hard.  I don't have the whole story of what happened.   It's not one of his guys that I know.

So then this guy filed a L&I claim (disability) against the company.  I don't understand how that can happen after being fired from the position but here we are.  If he were truly injured and had gone through proper channels, this so wouldn't be a thing.  But these circumstances are looking sketchy.

It turns out that he has been spotted working at his family's restaurant.  Working when supposedly he is unable to.

The restaurant was mentioned and it's one that our family goes to on the regular.  Kevin off-handedly mentioned this, not thinking anything about it.  The guy's supervisor wondered aloud "It would be good if we could get a photo of him working.  Do you think you could do that?"

*pause: read this with funny sarcasm *unpause*

"Oh, my wife is a sneaky bitch with that camera. She can totally do it."

I laughed so hard at this.  I have so many photos of him looking annoyed or surprised because he hates having his photo taken.  I have heard from all of our friends "How'd you get that photo?"  I AM a sneaky bitch.

We went to dinner last night and as I got out of the car, I said "Let's go do some spy sh*t"

Kevin replies "This isn't espionage, Sydney"

It's a line from The  American President and for the life of me, I can't find a clip or a meme or anything, which is beyond disappointing.  Unless you've seen the movie then it's relevant.

We went and as luck would have it, he wasn't there.  We were seated in the back of the restaurant and couldn't see the comings and goings of the staff.  I guess we're going to have to go again.  We live to spy again.

16 November 2019

Actual Downward Dog

A while ago I tried yoga and I liked it.  I just did it here at the house, using an app on my phone.  I don't think that there is a chance in all of the universe that I could successfully do it in an actual studio.

The first time I tried it I was alternately cursing and laughing and narrating to myself.  I chose a free app on my phone and even though I chose the beginner level, it was so not.  NOT.  It was like the instructor had just drank a 24 oz triple shot coffee then conducted the class.  I will also swear that apps like this or navigation have been programmed to speak in TONE.  As in "Do not use that tone with me, missy.  I will close this app and go eat a cookie instead."

Also, I tried to do it in the living room, where there are just too many distractions.  Windows, chores, television, the ever present family.

So that didn't work out as planned and as I am prone to, I was consistently inconsistent in doing it.

Then I bought a new tablet and while setting it up, it occurred to me that it would be a better platform than using my phone.  I know, I know, shush.  I learn by experience.

I set the tablet up on my desk, closed the curtain on the giant window and gave it a try.

It was a whole different experience.  There weren't the same distractions, the radio was on, I could see the app and the instructor hadn't just done a few lines of banned substances.

Oh, I'm certain it wasn't pretty.  I'm not tall, curvy, and have a foot/ankle/leg that doesn't work as they should.  So, I had to adapt.

For example: tree pose will never be possible for me.  I can't stand on one leg for a substantial amount of time.  I made up my own pose and here we are.

The timing of developing this habit is tricky.  I noticed that if I did it as soon as I got home from work then the meditation part just made me sleepy.  I can't do it in the morning because I effing hate everyone and everything in the morning. (yes, I understand it's supposed to make that attitude better. NO.)

Instead of using Kevin's 35 minute commute to finish chores and begin dinner, I do a twenty minute session.  ADD likes to race time and I've found that this timing works.

Doing it in my office is a winner because I can gaze at my bookcase or at family photos on the wall in the hallway.  The radio is playing so I sing along and it help pass the time instead of focusing on how I am not necessarily enjoying bending my body that way.  Also, it helps time out the meditation at the end. Unless it's a song I don't like then not so much.

It's been two weeks now and I've been pretty successful.  I have a goal of every day in November and that feels attainable.  I'm halfway there and Kevin will be gone for a week.  Thanksgiving will be the only true struggle.

Today though.  Enter Lucy.  First, she startled me by sniffing my hand when I didn't realize she had entered the room.  Then she took that as a cue to play.  I had to pause and get her settled then continue. She laid down next to me, disappointed that it wasn't play time.

Then, apparently there were dragons outside because she lost her sh*t and began to bark and run through the house.  Not the soothing recommended environment.

But I persevered.  Then my phone rang.  Welcome to my life.  Kevin was on his way home.  With the distractions, my timing was off. Regardless, I finished in time and can cross one more day off of the calendar.

A few years ago, I would have laughed myself to tears with the idea of yoga.  However, like the meditation, I have seen improvement and it's not something I hate.

I just have to remember to put Lucy outside or to bed with earbuds or something.

15 November 2019

The Long Haul

So, here's a positive story about my in-laws.  They're so few and far between these days.

But first, because there isn't a straight line anymore...

My mother-in-law is fading more every day. She's on the feeding tube only now, not even really drinking anything at this time.  While this has made some improvement in her overall health, her quality of life has diminished more.

Apparently there was drama next door. I do not have nor do I want the details.  Kevin just heard the tail end of it all.  He, too, did not ask.  Although they are old and failing, they still have a relationship and parts of that are none of our business.


While doing the nightly check-in, my father-in-law told her that "We are in this for the long haul, aren't we?  don't I keep telling you that?  If something bad happens to you, it happens to me.  We are in this together, for as long as we live.  We are in this for the long haul. Together."

So, yeah, totally cried standing in the middle of the kitchen as Kevin recounts this.

He just turned eighty-one, she is turning seventy-nine next month.  They've been married 63 years next month.

To quote one of my favorite Doctor Who episodes: "Together, or not at all"

They are in it for the long haul.

14 November 2019

Rules? What Rules?

If you know me in reals, you know that I'm not one for rules, following directions, or really any sort of directed path.  What fun is that?

And of course I am married to a Rule Follower.  Because the universe has a sense of humor.

Or the universe is trying to keep me safe, alive, and/or out of jail.

I was thinking about this the other day.  It does seem to turn out like that: people are paired with their opposites.

One of my best friends is wired very similarly to me.  They are married to a Rule Follower.  One of my other best friends IS a rule follower and is married to their opposite.  So, my hypothesis plays.

Well then now how would I define a Rule Follower?

Do you read the instructions to the game before playing?
Do you plan trips or just go and see where life takes you?
Are you completely spun out when things don't go as they should?

I don't *usually* do any of the above.

AND, and, A.N.D. this is not judgement, just speculative...

I've noticed the differences in my life most while traveling.  Kevin is a be there early kind of guy.  He is a have a map/navigation person.  He worries about things like getting through TSA.

I do not.

We're going to get there, regardless.  To me, the option being: do we have a good story to tell or not.

Example: we went through the border a few weeks ago.  It requires I.D. not matter what.  In this instance, I am METHODICAL about where our ID's are.  Until I am not.

Before the booth, I notice that I don't have his ID.  It's not in it's usual place.  "What do we do?" Kevin asks.  "We go through and ask them" I reply.

Against his better judgement because he was breaking the rules, he approached the booth.  Now, this isn't to portray that I'm all Suzy Calm and Serene.  No, I am going through any place I can think of.  I'm  telling the border patrol that we JUST went through six days ago.

The guard laughed at us. He pulled us in, but he laughed at us.

By the time we parked, I found it.  I put it on the opposite side of his wallet because I'm guessing: tired.

But we still have to go check in with the border patrol.  We went inside and they were all "Why are you bugging us?"  We went on our way.

See? A good story to tell.

However, it's most likely important that we are paired with our opposites.  Rule followers need adventures and stories to tell.  No Rules folks need the structure.  Otherwise we'd be in jail, or broke or wandered off somewhere.  There is probably some subconscious comfort in that, as much as we equally strain against it.

No point really, other than to wonder about it.  And to tell another good border story.

13 November 2019

Alternative Fun on the Interwebs

I know everyone is tired of the dumpster fire that is the interwebs right now.  Here are a few fun, happy things that I have found to perhaps give you back some faith in humanity:

New York Time has a weekly (?) page of tiny love stories that are fun to read.  Also, the wedding announcements are incredibly written
Tiny Love stories (link)

On the Insta, I follow Tom's One Hour Photo and it's a trip.  Here is the article of how he became an Instagram star:
Tom's One Hour Photo (link)

If you live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, you're probably aware of Eric Johnson's segments called Eric's Heroes.  He tells beautiful stories about regular people.  If you need a good happy cry, bookmark this link:   Eric's Heroes (link)

Chrissy Teigen is everywhere on the interwebs so just choose your platform and find her.

The Dodo...short animal stories if you need a good, happy cry.

Carolyn Hax is an advice columnist for the Washington Post.  They have a paywall after so many views but most folks know how to get around that.  (ahem*incognitiotab*cough)

Quinn Cummings on Twitter is very entertaining. She offers everything from biting sarcasm, kitty videos and self-professed bad advice.  And yes, for those of a certain age: she was a child star.

Finally, Thank You for stopping by and spending your time here. I hope it provides some respite.

12 November 2019

My Workbench

I am working on deadlines at work so my brain is full as I sit down to write content.  The fact that I just typed that sentence is proof enough of said brain.

So, I'm cheating today and looking at a list of prompts for this bloggity post.

"What's on your desk? How did it come to be?"

Well, firstly, my desk is uncluttered compared to some people everyone.  The A.D.D. requires that or it won't let me work in peace.

So, things that sit on the big, heavy, old oak desk that I love:

Left from right:

a large placemat? potholder?  I'm not sure but it's from my great aunt's house so it's likely well older than me.  It's a woven rag rug kind of thing.  It holds a picture that I like, two candles that I like the scent, a seashell I found somewhere with Kevin, two bird feathers, and two legit train engine keys that were a gift.

I have matching lamps that Kevin gave me years ago for birthdayChristmas.  They're very old world appearing and I love them.  Not at all what he would have normally chosen, he has a more mid-century modern vibe and I am more old Craftsman/farmhouse.

TARDIS.  Because every desk should have a TARDIS.  I bought this one in Vegas at a Magic shop.

Beautifully framed picture of a Dalek.

Tchotchke box that was made for me by a family back in my school admin days.  Upon which an angel sits that was given to me by my mother-in-law.

Lighthouse candle holder that was a gift from my staff at the school.

Brass sailing ship that was my former boss's.  I received it when she retired.

Driftwood.  Last year I went to a memorial for a friend on the beach.  I picked it up because I liked it and brought it home.  Fun fact: that act makes me a criminal here in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.  It's illegal to remove driftwood from the beach.

Mermaid.  It was given to me by Kevin's mom's crazy best friend.  There are three other dolls that go with it but they don't match.  Also: mermaid.

Now just don't ask what's in the desk.  It's not as exciting and not nearly as organized.  I have filing from Hell because I keep all.the.things.  I have another large drawer that keeps our bills, my things to do list and the family history project organized-ish.

Yes, I might have a pen issue.
An old friend of mine commented on the facebook that she loves looking at the background in photos.  I admit, that can be a favorite pastime for me as well.

Now it's your turn to play.

10 November 2019

I Can't Just Choose

My friend L tagged me in on a facebook post, requesting to list our seven favorite books.  At first I was excited, I would have no problem with this list.

Then time went by and I hadn't listed any books yet.  I have photos on my phone of three books but I hadn't yet chosen the remaining four.  Finally I posted "It's like choosing your favorite child" and a promise to follow through.

Now it's been EVEN LONGER  and I've only added one more book to the list.  Sigh.

Okay, *pushing up sleeves* I can do this.

My all-time favorite children's book. I still reread it from time to time

The very first "grown-up" book that I read. As you can see, it's been read a few times

This book I read with no expectations and it's one that I still think of from time to time.
It's become more relevant in today's political climate.

As Elizabeth Berg's book have a tendency to do, this one cracked my head open a bit.
I read it in one sitting and helped clarify perspective in growing up in a tumultuous family

I understand that Howard isn't everyone's cup of tea. However, he is the best
interviewer that I have ever listened to or watched.

BFF K recommended this book to me a long time ago.  
It's set here in the county where I live and made me a fan of Kristin Hannah

I love most of Maeve Binchy's books but this one is my favorite

The list of books I wanted to also list are below. I'm surprised at how many are non-fiction or not literature.  If you were to just ask me, I would say that I don't read non-fiction much. I based my above choices on books that I can readily recall, will read again and/or had some sort of an impact.

Honorable Mentions/I love these too/I had to only choose seven:

Any of Jenny Lawson books: Let's Pretend It Never Happened, Furiously Happy, and You Are Here.  I couldn't choose just one of her books.

Hyperbole and A Half is another good one.  More of a novelty book to me, though.

Calvin and Hobbes and The Far Side- any of those books, even though they're comic books.

Lin Manuel Miranda's G'Morning/G'Night.  I would read his grocery list and be happy.

Humans of New York and Love What Matters are amazing works of art.

Bird by Bird by Elizabeth Berg.  This book taught me more about writing than any class I have ever taken.

AND before this makes me sound all smarty-pants, know that I read anything that is written by the following: Nora Roberts, Jude Deveraux, Sarah Dessen, Alison Winn Scotch, Emily Giffin, Nicholas Sparks, Luann Rice, Sarah Addison Allen, Lisa Kleypas and a few more.  If it's a series, then I'm extra interested.

I know the MOMENT that I post this, I will think of other books that should be included.  I'm sticking with this list. Not only did it take a stupidly long time to decide, that lengthy process really did seem to narrow it down to the serious contenders.

Now you see what I'm saying?
(and it's one of five bookcases in this house) 

08 November 2019

That's Not My Name

Remember when I have talked (too many times, probably) about the ritual of going to get coffee and the punch cards and the routines?

I think I also talked about how nice it is when people know you and know your drink; that it's a strange kind of soothing luxury.

AND (I swear I'm getting to the point. Remember: there is no straight line anymore)  I think I mentioned that on the converse, when there is some anonymity when you go to the starbucks.

Yeah, until there isn't.

It's like they're working on customer service goals.  Now they know me by voice, my drink and while it's lovely...

She has my name wrong.

And I just can't bring myself to correct her.

A few things:
The name she uses is technically a derivative of my given name.  Not one that I ever use.
I use the app to pay, the app where my name is listed on the screen in bold letters
It's not important enough TO ME to correct her and cause her embarrassment.
But it's still a little cringey.

My options:
Continue with this incorrect name that makes me wince
Hope that someone notices the name on my app and the mistake
Wait until this barista quits her job and hope that no one else uses the wrong name
Be a grown-up and say something (seems unlikely)
Adopt an alternate persona

AND, AND, AND I just realized that the starbucks has a known habit of using the wrong name.  I have become a meme.

Image result for starbucks wrong name meme"

07 November 2019

Poison Pills

Over the weekend my f-i-l was bent out of shape because some of their pills drew moisture and are unusable.  He phoned the company that delivers them and he was unhappy with their conversation.

Because: of course.

So, I took photos of the meds and emailed the company.  They contacted me this morning via email and then phone.  They were LOVELY.  And obviously, they are used to this kind of issue.

The pills are from June and July.  They are considered expired.  We are in October (November by the time of this post) for those of you doing the math.

This is where I am aggressively tapping my head for not being more investigative and for accepting the problem at face value.

The company rep was actually more concerned as to WHY they were using, essentially, expired pills.  Was it a financial thing?  Did they make a mistake? These are Very Good Questions.  I apologized for bothering them, thanked her profusely for being so kind, and then called Kevin; who was equally frustrated.  I mean, c'mon.

I offered to handle it, instead of leaving it up to him. He is pretty much at his limit. The plan was to just go over as soon as I got home.  Then pulling up the drive, past their house, and I just couldn't. I just wasn't up for the task.  So I went into the house with the intention of going over once I changed my attitude.

Yeah, that didn't happen. Attitude remained intact and Kevin came home first.  Sorry, Kev.

We both went over there and I didn't bother with all the detail of the above with the parents.  I just cut to the chase - which they don't enjoy about me - and asked "Why are we using expired pills?"

If you're hoping for a satisfying answer, you're going to be disappointed.  It was because: reasons.

I think they were saying that they were using the packs that hadn't been used when she was hospitalized two hospital stays ago.  Because...I don't know why.  Because.

They signed up for this program because the pills arrive every month (prepackaged) and are paid for by Medicare.  We thought this was going to be a good medicine management plan.  Again: rookie mistake.  Man, you'd think we'd figure this out by now.

I guess I understand the not being wasteful part?
I do not understand using pills that are months old.

We clearly haven't learned our lesson about being organized and methodical with the meds. Apparently (said in dripping sarcasm) a nearly fatal stroke just wasn't a big enough lesson.

AND they don't need our help.

Except when they do.

05 November 2019

Why Do I Have Any of This?

My house is organized because I use my powers for good.  My brain can't handle clutter at all.  It will shout down anything else and repeatedly tell me "Did you know there's stuff over there? did you know that there is stuff over there? Stuff? Over THERE?"

Kevin is similarly wired but also confusingly will leave stuff everywhere then randomly "discover" it and put it away.  Key's are the best example.  We have a key bowl by the door where, as you may guess, all of our keys go.

Often though, he will come home or in from outside and leave his keys on the counter.  Well, one of two available counters.  Sometimes he'll even set them with his wallet and knife.  Randomly.  No reason.   Then I'll put them where they belong because one of my least favorite things is the Where are my keys song.  I am guilty of dropping my own keys in my bag because my hands are full then I sing the song ten seconds before I'm leaving for work.  I am not perfect, trust me.

Or hoodies.  We have coat hooks, also by the key bowl.  If I don't pay attention, every hoodie he owns ends up on those hooks and we're singing "I can't find my hoodie" song.  I sing the "Where did I leave my shoes" song.

So, anyway...not the point and off topic. Go figure.

I have two places in this house that are allowed to be unruly.  One is our version of a junk drawer.  It's a cupboard where in the early 2000's our landline telephone and answering machine lived.  (how WEIRD is that?)  First it held the telephone BOOK and office stuff.  Then we added tools.  Then we added batteries. Until finally there is the box of random stuff that a household accumulates.

Yes, I recognize that even the "messy' basket of junk is organized.
A short list:
Three nightlights
Hoodie strings
Filter for the old refrigerator
Coat hooks
Command strips
Wicks for kerosene lamps
Faucet handles
Random gaskets, screws and caps
4 foot long television cable (because every house has one)
Key rings and a carabiner
Door stop
Light switch covers
Toilet repair kits
Bracket for the new refrigerator that I don't remember where it goes
Non-skid fabric that I was looking for earlier this summer and couldn't find.

To  be fair, the junk cupboard is "organized" in the way that it's thrown into a tub.  If we end up with extra parts, in that tub it goes.  Because invariably we will toss something in the garbage then a week later we will need it. Kevin also has a way of buying two of everything because "we'll need it eventually."  As much as this used to make me crazy, it's saved us a time or two.

Basket 'o junk not pictured because it's waiting for Kevin to decide it's fate
Our tools are in a separate box.  Yes, we have household tools separate from the shop tools, truck tools, and trailer tools.  Kevin's OCD matches my own; specific tools for specific tasks and areas. Batteries are in another box because I hate not having batteries when we need them.

And yes, that is A LOT of candles.  Two things: we live where the power goes out so candles are good to have and they don't go bad.  (also: that's why we have wicks for kerosene lamps)  Candles fall into the category of "Oh, you like candles? Here are tens of them for the next consecutive birthdays")

So, as much as someone might look at that and be wistful that it's organized or that we have an empty cupboard that will allow for such a thing, know that this cupboard gives me the agita most days.

04 November 2019

For Use on Wolves

Remember during the summer when my childhood best friend sent us a caulking gun and caulk?  She works for the wally world in marketing and sent it for us to review.  We used it and I submitted an online review and moved on with our lives.  (it was a good caulking gun)

The other morning I got a text super early.  I was all confused because super early.  It was the friend again and she asked if she could send us another tool.  Well, yeah.  Of course.

Then I forgot about it.  Completely fell out of my brain.

Kevin got the mail when he got home from work today, something he never does.  (I usually get it because I'm home way earlier or walk down later)  Sure enough, there was a box in the mailbox.

Now I'm super confused, looking at the box and trying to remember if I'd ordered something.  It has a mailing label like from Amazon but not.  Then I remembered that I promised to do the thing.

I explained to Kevin that Laura had texted and asked if we'd do another review.  Now his interest was piqued.  "I just thought it was stupid books" he says.

It's a multi-tool.  It's like the dream tool for a guy.  It has 18 different things that it can do.  Saw wood, cut wire, screwdriver, knife, can opener. You get the idea.  Kevin was skeptical.  He was given a high-end brand one last Christmas so he didn't think this could possibly live up to it.

He's making all the parts move and do stuff.  It has an extension on it that does something that the other tool didn't have.  Now he's excited.  He pulls  out the saw part and touches the blade. "Sh*t that's SHARP."  (seriously, dude)

There was one part that he couldn't figure out so we looked at the instructions.  It's a pair of scissors.  Again, color Kevin impressed.

Now this whole time I'm listening for soundbites that I can use for the review.  I had a pretty good grasp on what I was going to write.  I asked Kevin what he thought I should write.  And I quote:

"We broke down on the backroads and were surrounded by wolves.  Using this tool, I was able to fight them off.  AND pull their teeth and cut their hair.  Five stars."

I know, RIGHT?

I texted Laura and told her what he said.  "Now that's a f%&king fabulous review!!!"

I asked her if she wanted me to post it then I would post a real review from a different account.  SHE SAID YES.

Now we wait to see if it gets cleared, because all reviews are screened.  To be fair, I wrote what Kevin said then added something like "No, seriously, it exceeded our expectations."

And I wrote a more reasonable review too.  Not involving wolves or their hygiene.

I can't wait to see what else she sends it.

03 November 2019

It's Just That Thing

One of the lovely residuals of breaking my foot off of my leg is not one I would have ever guessed. And, and, AND I recognize that people will say You've probably always had it and I don't disagree.


Not the panic inducing kind but the freezing kind.  The short-circuited brain kind.

It happened during physical therapy and I said words that I very super rarely say: "I can't do it."

I loved this therapist.  She was amazing at her job.  "Yes, you can. You just don't think you can."  I said something in response, I don't recall what now. Most probably sarcastic.

I do remember what she said though:  "You know what that is called? It's called anxiety."

When I demurred and scoffed a tiny bit, she asked "What did you think it was?"

I shrug like a teen.

"It's anxiety.  Why in the world would you think you WOULDN'T have it after having such a traumatic event?"


Because my life was full of traumatic events.  Because it was normal to me.  Because I was wired to react in a different way than perhaps "normal" folks.  Because don't be silly.  Anxiety.  Puh-leeze.

She just smiled and nodded her head.  "We'll see.  Pay attention." she says off-handedly.

It wasn't really mentioned again.  Except one time when I was having difficulty doing a task.  It was one of those using all the muscles, trying to wake nerve endings up, tasks.  I hesitated, which is not something I usually do and she knew it.  "Get out of your head. Just try."

I did and I couldn't do it.  BUT I couldn't not do it because my brain though. It was because that part just wasn't a thing that I will ever be capable of doing well anymore.  But it wasn't because my brain told me I couldn't.  It was separating those two things: I couldn't do it but there's a reason why.

So I've paid attention since then.  It's been six years (sweet tiny baby jesus) and I still can't do it well and never will be able to.  But it's not because my brain tells me.  It's because that part of my body is broken forever.

And during this last year or so, I've noticed when it's just my brain that's telling me.  I've tried to figure out the work-around and sometimes it's just stopping. It's just not going to happen. Trying it again another day.  Sometimes it's a series of breaths and refocusing.  Sometimes it's a little bit of cursing in my head. (and sometimes aloud)

And sometimes I just don't even realize it until much later.  I can be aware but not always.  Later I'll have a forehead smacking realization that it was just that thing.

That anxiety.

02 November 2019

Senior Social Media

It occurred to me the other day that I hadn't checked on my mother-in-law's facebook account lately.  This gives me a little twinge of panic every time.  We just Never Know with her.

To my astonishment, it wasn't bad.  Usually there are tens of notifications because she can't grasp that concept. There were no notifications, even game ones. There were two messenger notifications and I left those alone.

She had liked three pages that I immediately unliked:  Conspiracy Time, Humor for Men, and Hilarious Texts.  The algorithm was also feeding some suggestions that I was all "Oh, no. That is not happening."  So I blocked a bunch of ads and suggestions to recultivate that to something more elderly great grandma appropriate.

Her friends list was okay too.  I wonder if Kevin or someone has looked at it lately.  Usually there is one or two that she has friended and not known who they are.  There were two questionable ones.  One turned out to be a nephew whom we haven't seen in years. (a cousin to us)  He has the same name as our neighbor so I had to make sure she didn't friend someone because she thought it was someone else.

The second one is a little more sketchy.  He is the fiance of one of her nieces.  He looks like a gang banger and with that side of the family this is a possibility.  However, he has a great grandma on his friend list so there's that.  I left it and will just check in from time to time.  It looks like he doesn't use the account often.

She also had two friend requests, both spam.  One was obvious and the other one I had to click through to make sure before I deleted it.

I did hide a few topics, again.  Her sister-in-law is a huge Cheeto Hitler fan and even though I've blocked all things Fox news, etc. things still slip through.  I have this aunt hidden on my feed because I am exhausted by all the lies and hatred.  It's relentless.

I thought about updating her profile picture or something but it feels like that would just be overwhelming for her.  It will also generate likes and comments that are going to be ignored so I just left it.

Mostly why I think it wasn't so bad this time is that I believe she doesn't look at her facebook much anymore.  She's pretty exhausted most of the time and her mind just isn't the same. I mean, she has her moments of clarity but she spends her day napping and watching cable news.

My advice to anyone who is raising elderly parents is to treat their social media like you would with your kids.  Do periodic check-ins like above to make sure that there isn't anything untoward happening. I made her log in and password super simple (I used her anniversary date as the password, for example) and I connected our accounts so I can switch back and forth easily.  I did not share the info with the b-i-l or s-i-l because they tend to change things and not tell me. Like passwords or wifi connections.

I am not above parental controls on her devices if it ever comes to that.

01 November 2019

Ten Dollars

I talk to Kevin on my lunch every day.  Most of the time it's literally making sure he's still alive so it's like a one minute phone call.  Sometimes it's longer if there's something with the fam or the racecar or whatever.

Today was one of the longer ones.  We were talking about Trudeau's re-election when I heard a crunching sound.  I looked in my rear-view mirror and there was a car way too close to mine.

"Kevin, someone just rear-ended me, I gotta go.  I'm fine."  and I disconnect.  He must love being married to me.

I got out of the car and the gentleman who hit me also got out of his.  He was in his eighties.  FANTASTIC.  He had two little dogs in the car.  Super.  I'm certain they weren't a distraction AT ALL.

"You backed into me! Why would you back into me! Who puts it in reverse on the street?"

I actually laughed and thought "So this is how it's  going to go."

"No, I did not back up. I put it in park because you hit me.  *I* was sitting at the stoplight."

"No, you hit me."

"No, I did not." I just stand there smiling and blinking at him.

I notice that he's spun out like my father-in-law gets when he's upset.  What works on him is determined cheerfulness and agree-ability.

"Well, move your car so we can see the damage." he says.

I got back in my car and pulled it forward a bit then got back out.

"No damage done, really so that's good."  I say then I noticed his license plate FRAME is bent.  I pushed on it and said "Well that can be fixed"   He stands there kind of quiet.

"So, what are we going to do?" I ask determinedly cheerful.

He thinks for a moment..."Give me $10 bucks for the frame."

Again, I laughed.  "I don't have $10. I don't carry cash.  What else do you suggest?"

"Well, that's a fine thing" he says.  Is it early 1800's London? Did I time travel?

I try again "What would you like to do, because we need to get out of these people's way." And I gestured to the traffic trying to get around us...in a construction zone nevertheless.

He thinks for a moment..."Oh, just go on then."

"You just want to part ways and we're good?"

"Yeah go on then."

Immediately I says "Okay" then return to the truck. No second chances with me. I started the truck and went on with my life.  The light was green and I paid no attention to where he went.  I just got out of there before he hit me again.

I phoned Kevin back and explained what happened.  He's incredulous.  Firstly, that I didn't get the guy's information and secondly "TEN DOLLARS!?!"

He's incensed at the suggestion that the guy would just ask for ten dollars.  Then he's worried that I'm going to jail because we didn't exchange information.  There was ZERO damage to my truck and little on his so the risk was worth the reward of just getting out of there, to me.

Then he's back at the TEN DOLLARS thing. "Who DOES that!?" he asks.

Upon Kevin's request, once I returned to work, I texted my sister-in-law who works for the police department.  "Call me when you get a chance"

She responds "Should I be scared?"


Then I just texted what happened, she confirmed that there was nothing to be investigated and that I wasn't going to jail.  Actually she wrote "Calm down, KEVIN!"

So I'm not going to jail.