Thursday, September 7

Your death grip is loosened, IRS

You guys. There is a light at the end of my Internal Revenue Service tunnel.
Brian and I got a letter today telling us that part of our payment from last month was too much for our balance, and so they would use that extra amount to put towards our 2016 balance.
I read it a few times, because the meaning of it is pretty huge. That letter was telling us that we have paid off our 2012 tax bill, and can now focus on our 2016 amount owed.
Wait a tick... That means that Texas is paid off. That means that in every single way, Texas is in our rear view mirror. No more Texan, dark, rainy cloud hanging out over our lives. We've been paying this bill for five years, and finally, we're done with it.
Even though we have a balance still, it's not the same balance that has been a constant drain on our monthly budget, and that is pretty liberating. And if I can make it work how I want, I should pay off the entire balance in a couple months. And that will be very liberating!
So while there is still a ways to go, a huge weight has been lifted, and that's been enough to give me a spring in my step!

Wednesday, September 6

Does the blog count as a side hustle? I wish

ITEM!: I wish I felt as badass as this avatar seems to portray. I don't even know why I picked it, since I'm feeling so very UN-motorcycle chick lately. In fact, I'm quite bored, and seem to be searching for something new to do and get me going. No idea what that may or may not be.
ITEM!: I enjoy the idea of having a "side hustle." At the moment, I have a couple side hustles, including the book I've written and am still editing but have not sent to anyone, and another thing that may or may not help out the family.
ITEM!: Technically, autumn begins this month. Actually, I'll be living with summer temperatures for the next several weeks. I won't see autumn until well into October. I won't lie to you, I hate the thought of not opening my windows for another six or seven weeks or so.
ITEM!: I'm finally feeling healthy enough to move on with life again, hence the return to blogging, and soon, back to the trail. I swear, this particular cold was terribly brutal, but at least, I guess, the victory is in that Sydney only had it for four days, and Brian didn't catch it at all.
ITEM!: I just finished flipping through the pile of magazines that had grown during my sickness, and I'm glad to have them exit my house. The one magazine I will hold on to is, "Halloween Tricks & Treats," that Brian and I picked up at the grocery store a week or so ago. It has some cool ideas, for sure, and is making me excited to get to the Halloween portion of our program. But I hate decorating for Halloween in the heat.
ITEM!: I just want the summer to be over soon.

Wednesday, August 23

Bring it on, Powerball

Once again, we have invested totally in our family's future. Once again, we've made the ultimate sacrifice to do what's best for our child, and our own well-being. We have bought Powerball tickets. And we have a plan for when we win.
I'm not going to tell you the plan. It's just pretty exciting to have one. And at this moment, before we've checked the numbers, I could very well be $700 million up on life. At this moment, the sky is the limit, and it's all good. And also, I'll be moving back to California as soon as humanly possible.
AND ALSO, I'm watching The Defenders on Netflix, and it's good, and I'm pretty well sucked into it. So I'll be leaving this Powerball post as it is. Because I want to finish this one more episode before I go to bed.
And I'll find out tomorrow morning if I've won or not.

Tuesday, August 22

Donuts are the key to any happy existence

I have a happy obsession, and it is Krispy Kreme.
I ate my first Krispy Kreme donut when I was visiting my aunt in Virginia a whole bunch of years ago, and while I really enjoyed it, it wasn't really love at first donut. It wasn't until Kripsy Kreme made its way out to the West Coast that I really developed a love for the yummy confection. And when one is in Burbank, one stops at the Krispy Kreme. And there was a store in Oxnard for a while, but then it closed, and the sun went down. And then they were here and there while I was here and there. The most recently late stores, I remember, were in downtown Phoenix, and then there was one in a building that, if it was still there, would be right down the street. Like, walking and biking distance ... no joke.
As it is now, the closest Krispy Kreme is about 15 minutes and 6.5 miles away. It is perfect, actually, because it's the ideal distance that's too far to go on a whim, but close enough that the whim can be accomplished if the day calls for it.
Because they're Krispy Kreme, and because they're awesome, they have random promotions now and then. Yesterday, for the solar eclipse, Krispy Kreme made donuts with chocolate glaze. None of the regular clear sugar glaze, all chocolate. In fact, they made those donuts all weekend (but they were all out when we stopped by on Sunday). So, Sydney and I made our way to the store yesterday afternoon, and bought a dozen of them.
ASSESSMENT: They're super good. The first one I ate was still warm from the conveyor, so it was perfect. The second one, which I had for dessert a couple hours later, was almost as good, but not as yummy as my regular chocolate iced donut. So what to do with the rest of the dozen? I experimented with freezing them. Who knows, right? If they don't taste as good, I won't feel bad about tossing them. But if they are, then I've got something yummy to defrost and enjoy whenever I want.
RESULT: Sydney and I defrosted a couple donuts this afternoon, and I don't know if I'm super happy or super bummed that they taste exactly as they should. Still delicious. Still not as good as my chocolate iced, but definitely yummy enough to get me through the day!
My Krispy Kreme obsession continues.

Monday, August 21

Sometimes learning happens most outside of school

Obviously, what I saw today, in Scottsdale, Arizona, was not as dramatic as this. Our eclipse coverage was about 63 percent, which was still super awesome.
I had two pairs of eclipse glasses for my whole office to share, and we had a great time bopping outside regularly during the eclipse, and made friends in the building, as well.
Sydney was able to spend the day with her friend to watch the eclipse, and I'm super excited about that. She was able to check out the whole thing, which would have been stricly forbidden at school. School, in fact, changed the bell schedule so kids wouldn't be outside at all during the time of the eclipse. I have issues with that, of course, because an eclipse is interesting, and kids should learn interesting things at school. But it only takes one kid to stare at the sun to bankrupt a school district, so I guess I kind of understand their thinking. But still, it's a school. For learning.
At any rate, I was a hero at work for bringing glasses, and that's pretty cool. And I got to see the eclipse, which was even way cooler.

Colds are the worst now that I'm older

I get that this image makes it look all cute and everything, but this cold has been no joke. Here I am, about nine days later, and I'm still fatigued, snotty, and kinda coughing. I'm still going to bed at 10 or 10:30, and still waking up thinking about how nice it'll be when I get to go to bed that night.
Not for nothing, it feels like every year I get older, it takes longer to get over a cold. Like, for every year over 40 years I get, it takes two more days to get over a cold. Sydney gets over them in a matter of tick tocks (or only three days), and I'm rolling on nine days with this nonsense.

[Editor's note: I had this post ready for last night, but when I got to the tablet here, it was dead with zero power. I plugged it in, and after 20 minutes of charging, the thing still hadn't powered up enough for me to post. Having said that, I discovered tonight that I had to turn the tablet on to get to blogging. So I immediately wondert if the tablet just needed to be turned on last night, and then I could have blogged at a mere 4 percent or something.]

Monday, August 14

A long-overdue, and somewhat boring, ITEM! list

I've already taken my NyQuil tonight, so this blog may make no sense, or make all the sense in the world.
ITEM!: To the left is an image of a new book by the author Elizabeth Peters, who died in 2013. I thought I would never read another word that this author wrote, but as we were strolling through Costco on Saturday, this book was there. According to the liner notes, this is the unfinished manuscript Peters was writing when she died, and the author Joan Hess finished it. Of course, this could mean that it's somewhat not hers while being hers. But it also could provide the closure I need for these characters.
ITEM!: I have succumbed to the cold that my delightful daughter brought home from school last week. She had a sore throat on Thursday and Friday, and on Saturday I woke up with a sore throat myself. Sydney is feeling better, of course, while I am feeling decidedly worse every morning since. Like I said, I've already taken my NyQuil, so I'm hoping for a better night's sleep tonight than last night.
ITEM!: We have a wonderful sunflower growing in our backyard, and it's my favorite thing right now. Unfortunately, it's flower has gotten heavy with seed growings, so it's bending. I had to fashion a string brace for it and tie that to a tree so it'll stay standing better.
ITEM!: I got nothing else to tell you. My day was blah, because of the illness.

Thursday, August 10

This bathroom is super clean, and totally not mine

I've never enjoyed cleaning a bathroom. In fact, it's one of the worst things I can think of to have to do.
Tonight, I faced my nemesis, which is my bathroom floor. I hate the bathroom floor with a passion, but sometimes it just has to be done. You know, when it reaches that point. Also, the bathroom rugs are falling apart underneath and needed to be removed. So I folded those up to toss out. Underneath them was so much dried and cracked off plastic bits that I got grossed out. With that came the need to vacuum those pieces up, and of course, with that, the follow-up need to vacuum the rest of the bathroom. And then I had to scrub the floor with the cleaning wipes. Because I won't leave the job half-assed; I am pretty OCD about that.
And you know what I did? I made my kid keep me company while I did it. I didn't ask her to do anything, though she did volunteer and scrub a bit of it. But it grossed me out that she was anywhere near my bathroom floor, so I made her stop and wash her hands and sit on my bed while I finished. Anyway, she did a good job of keeping the dogs from "helping," and chatted me up while I was busy. She's a pretty good assistant in that way.
But I did take the time to tell her that as soon as I was able to afford a cleaning crew, we would have one, and I wouldn't have to clean my house myself anymore. Also, I explained that cleaning the bathroom is my LEAST favorite place in the house to clean, and because of that, I avoid it at all costs, and that's why the bathroom gets so bad before I break down and clean it. She's all, "Well, I don't like cleaning ANYTHING." And I'm like, "Preach, sister."

Wednesday, August 9

A home is a house full of projects

I'm on a tear lately about changing/messing with/moving things around my house. We just signed a lease extension for two more years, and having that stretch of time in front of us has motivated me to make this house a better spot, and to fix all the little things that are currently bugging me.
1. The cozy chair upstairs. -- If I'm going to keep the chair, and I've decided that I will, it needs to be reupholstered. It's all about the kiddo look right now, and that needs to be changed. I'm thinking about a nice gray floral print with maybe some pink, lavender and/or light green?
2. Hockey table downstairs. -- I've never been a fan of the hockey table in my dining room, and I think it would be cooler upstairs in the loft, where it would be better served as a play thing.
3. Server for the dining room. -- This nifty red piece of furniture (above left) is the server I'd like to get for my dining room, which will be placed along the wall in the space currently occupied by the hockey table. I'll have to come up with something clever for the windows, as I don't want everyone to see how insane my Christmas dishes or serving pieces packing is. Real windows is a poor choice for this piece.
4. Gray cabinet thing. -- Mom's got this nifty piece of cabinetry, it's like a gray distressed wooden cabinet, that I think is super cool, but I'm not 100 percent sure where I want to put it.
5. Coffee table. -- I need a new one, because I don't like the red anymore, and my real goal is to lighten up my living room by going gray. In so doing, I also want lighter wood in there, which means a new coffee table. I saw one I liked at Ikea, but it doesn't have the storage that I want, so I may actually end up changing my mind about that one.
6. Loveseat. -- I got a new sofa a couple months ago, and I'm pretty happy with it. There's a matching loveseat, and I want that, too. With that purchase comes some moving around of stuff and making the room prettier and more comfortable for more people.
7. Large living room area rug. -- Oh my god, do I need a new rug in my living room. Not only is it starting to wear super thin in many places, but the thing has seen FOUR puppies in its life, and it is certainly showing that experience. I told Brian that as soon as Elliot was potty trained, we'd be getting a new rug, and that time is now.
I think maybe that's it for now? So many changes, so little time and money, but I hope to tackle them a project at a time to get them done relatively soon. I mean, really, I've got two years.

Tuesday, August 8

My Jetta spoils me

Until today, I never realized how dependent I had become on my Jetta's delightful turbo engine.
As you know, the Jetta was in the shop because of the key not turning, and I ended up driving a newer loaner Jetta from the dealership all day today. The loaner Jetta did not have a turbo engine, and oh my goodness, was that obvious to me as I drove around today. The car would not go. I'd turn a corner, press the gas pedal, and the car would lag and rev and be all kinds of slow in getting up to speed. I tried to pass someone on the freeway, and the damn thing would NOT move fast enough. I punched the accelerator, and little to nothing would happen before the car just started to cry and whine at me.
I said to Brian, "I never realized how much I enjoy driving a turbo." His response: "I think anyone who's ever ridden in the car with you knows how much you enjoy a turbo engine."
That was funny, but so truthful that it was jarring. I love driving fast. I love having the power beneath my foot when I press the gas pedal. It's a weird sense of vulnerability when the car doesn't go how you want it to. I love having the confidence in knowing that whatever I want from the car, it will give me.
You know what this means, of course. Never again will I drive without a turbo engine. ... And seat warmers. ... And satellite radio.

Monday, August 7

Perhaps the dumbest thing to happen ever

This is my hand after uncooperative car keys. As you can see, I did not have a particularly good afternoon. Because after all, it's all fun and games until the keys won't turn in the ignition.
The ouchy there was way worse earlier in the day, but the benefit of hours have dimmed it and made it less painful in general. No kidding, the key wouldn't turn in the ignition. I muscled that goddamn key for so long it made me laugh and almost cry in frustration at the same time. I called Volkswagen and talked to Jon, who talked me through all the little jiggling and wiggling things that might work which I had already done. He told me that he had a car for me whenever I got there; it was just a matter of getting the car there. AAA was on the spot, sort of, in that they were quick to my phone call, and quick to all that, but the wait of 75 minutes wasn't working for me. I had a kid to pick up in 60 minutes.
One of my coworkers was kind enough to drive me to the dealership so I could pick up the loaner car before AAA even got to my car, so I was able to break out and pick up Sydney on time.
Fun potential issue with the car? A busted ignition lock. Something that Jon has seen before, so it's not an anomaly, but not anything that happens all that often. So here I sit, waiting for that shoe to drop. Here's hoping that once that is fixed that'll be the last of it for a while.
You don't know, because I haven't blogged, but the car has been a bit of a pain in the ass over the last year. But I love it, and I don't want a new car payment, so we keep throwing this shit on the credit card and hopefully, we'll get the whole damn thing taken care of at some point.

Sunday, August 6

Sitting squarely in the front row of the bandwagon

Back before the months of separation between the blog and I, there was very much writing about breaking up with several of my shows. The stories, characters, plots and whatnot had gotten boring, and predictable, or just simply went in ways I didn't like. I've cut back on a lot of television since then, and am happy with the lesser of many evils, by not spending as much time in front of the tube.
But let me tell you what show I hooked up with: Game of Thrones. I know I am incredibly late to this party, and I acknowledge that loudly and emphatically. I used to think that I didn't have space in my head for the mythology of the show, or that I just didn't want to add another obsession to my list of obsessions.
But let me set the record straight, I was so very, very wrong about that. This show is epic and awesome and brilliant on a level I've rarely seen before, and I'm thoroughly in love with it. Tonight's episode was so amazing that Brian and I actually sat and watched it a second time, just to be sure we didn't miss anything. You want to know something? We did miss some stuff! The second viewing was totally worth it!
I won't write about anything specific to the show here, because I hate spoilers, so I'll just say that I am so glad that Brian made me start watching this show, and that I am totally happy that I inadvertently made room for a new show in my brain by breaking up with a bunch of old shows that are in no way even as close to being as awesome.

Saturday, August 5

We may have to live life without pics, though

And may the blogging commence!
So I figured out what the problem was about the blogging, or lack thereof. I hate, hate, hate going to the desktop computer in the office to blog in the dark of night. The lights in my office don't light exactly how I like them to, I guess, and the chair isn't too comfy, and it's dusty, and all kinds of reasons. But the main thing is that I couldn't just sit on my bed and write.
That has been fixed, we think, with Mom's new freebie Samsung tablet, and the awesome little keyboard that connects to it. I now have internet and blog access from my bed again, and I think it'll work out well.
We'll see though! But here we are!

UPDATE: We may not have the joy of accompanying photos, though, as the tablet is making it difficult for me to place any of the corresponding artwork exactly where I want it to go. And you don't even know how particular I am about the exactness of my images on this thing.

UPDATE #2: I added this picture on the desktop computer. What may happen, is that photos may or may not get put up at the same time as the posts.

Thursday, January 19

But I still will drink my tea every day

ITEM!: As of yesterday, I am 44 years old. I am officially in my mid-40s, and there's no way of tiptoeing around that. As a reminder of how my body is aging, I choked on my hot tea at work this morning, and it took me no less than 10 minutes before I had recovered enough to have another sip, or to stop coughing. I'm not a quick recovery anymore, and that is super humbling.
ITEM!: Sydney and I will be attending the Women's March in Phoenix on Saturday, and I'm super excited. Why am I marching? What kind of injustice could I possibly be fighting? I fight the injustice that would force itself on those who don't have a voice, or who may be the object of said prejudice, actions and behaviors. I march because I want those who may try to perpetrate an injustice know that the people are watching them, and the people will be heard.
ITEM!: I've watched the movie, Now You See Me 2, no less than four times over the last three days, and I'm not especially proud of that, but there's been nothing else interesting to watch. What I won't be watching tomorrow is the inauguration. I'm sick to my stomach that this man is going to be president, and I won't be a party to any ratings numbers going towards his swearing-in. In fact, my televisions will be tuned to channels that couldn't possibly show the inauguration, even as they'll be off, so there won't be a hint of my viewing habits going to him.
ITEM!: I just finished the last of my birthday Krispy Kreme doughnuts as my late-night snack, and my body is not pleased. I've got the worst acid reflux right now.

Monday, January 16

A visual wormhole on A&E

I got totally sucked in to watching the Leah Remini docu-series about Scientology on A&E tonight. I watched three hours straight of it. I find myself super intrigued as to how this organization is a church, and how it can get away with being so horrible to its followers. Also, whenever people spoke about leaving the "church" lands and compounds, they used the word "escape." People would have to escape to lead normal lives away from this organization. That's frickin' scary in every way.
I'm morbidly curious in the inner workings of Scientology for some reason, and I find it motivating and inspiring to hear the stories of people who have left it to live full lives on their own. The stories about the leader and all the upper-level executives are chilling. I haven't gone so far as to record the show, but I am interested to see what happens next. If this time right now was a Saturday or Sunday afternoon, I'd be camped out on the sofa and watching this show all day.