Monday, April 23

Very in love with this chair, though

I continue to have a list of improvements and changes I would like to make to my home. Of course, the big stuff I can't do, since we rent and don't own the place. Sadly, that means the yellow walls, and terribly inefficient windows must stay. But my list is shorter than it was, as I've gotten Sydney a new bed frame, and there's a new sofa downstairs, as well as a server in my dining room.
What's left? Well, the seating situation in my upstairs loft is driving me crazy. Currently, the cozy chair is sitting in the middle of the room in front of the television, and the ottoman is awkwardly angled in the corner, not sitting the bear and pillows right. I saw a rattan arm chair that I kinda like, and I'm thinking I may pick it up just as a corner filler for the Bellagio bear and cool pillows. The cozy chair kinda has to go, and I'm lacking any good ideas to fill the space now that Sydney has vetoed the rattan chair for sitting in. I need something for her sitting in front of the television.
Also, I found a new rug for my living room at Home Depot the other day. And I think I may actually go for it in purchasing that one. I like it a lot, and it's got a bunch of colors in it, so it should do well with my finicky ideas in the room.
I also need a loveseat for the living room, but the matching piece to the sofa is no longer at Living Spaces. So I need something different that will still complement. Not sure when exactly that will get done, but it's on my list, for sure.
I think maybe that might be everything? I'm sure I'll get other ideas that will keep me changing my mind and driving my interior designer insane, so obviously, this whole situation is ... fluid.

Sunday, April 22

I'm not panicking, and this photo made me laugh

So last year, I finally went all in on the Weight Watchers plan. And through it, I lost 16 pounds. I was super pleased with myself, and continue to be proud of the strides I made. ... Last year.
I December this year, after I got sick after Christmas, I weighed myself and was pleased to see that my weight was at the weight I stopped at after Weight Watchers. And then my birth control pills changed. Not through my decision, but through Walgreens'. And with that shift in hormones, I gained all that weight again. In two months. And I am not happy about it.
Now, I've returned to my original pill manufacturer, and become a customer of the CVS in my Target, and have started and stopped on the Weight Watchers plan again a few times. I'm having a hard time though, and it's because Weight Watchers changed their plan.
All of a sudden, I don't have the 30 points a day I had, and was successful with. The plan now calls for more "zero point" foods, and thereby gives me fewer points a day. I've told myself a hundred times to just stick to the plan I had success with, and count my points on the app without care of the app's requirements, shaming and/or point totals and extras. But I'm struggling.
I'm thinking maybe to use the app for its counting abilities, but keep track somewhere else. But, like, where? Not a note or piece of paper. I really, really need to get over the app issues and just keep track there. Maybe I'll just try that again.
Tomorrow morning is my weigh-in day, so I'll just jump back on the train again, I guess. It's all about the afternoon snacks, I've found, and now that I've got a boatload of fresh, summer fruit in my fridge, it's easier to not snack on bad stuff. So maybe tomorrow will be the beginning of my next big jump into Weight Watchers.
... My jeans need to fit better again.

Saturday, April 21

Not my fave mouse, but it's a good one

I asked my supervisor at work on Friday if she had ordered the ergonomic mouse for me yet, and she had not. She said that she didn't have "enough" for an Amazon order yet, and was waiting for more to be needed before she put in an order. She said that she figured she'd make an order the end of next week or shortly after.
Um. No. That doesn't work for me. I'm hurting every day at my desk because of that ridiculously aesthetic Apple mouse, and she's all, "Nope, it can wait another week or so." Duly noted that I asked her about it 10 days after she said she'd order it. I was not impressed, to say the least.
So Sydney and I toddled off to Best Buy among our other errands today. We spent a good 20 minutes trying out a bunch of different mouses. I'm pleased to say that we got one for the computer at home, and I purchased one for work, too. Sure, she may be comfortable waiting three more weeks after I initially brought it up to her, but I'm certainly not. So I've been messing with the new mouse here, and I think I quite like it. Yay mouses!

Thursday, April 19

Can you age out of a television station?

I'm finding that I'm not watching as much television as I used to. I was an avid watcher of most things The CW, but since Flash got silly (I didn't even make it through the first season), and Arrow got so angsty (I gave up on that one two seasons ago), and The Vampire Diaries ended last May or so (which I watched religiously), I've been not watching.
But last night, the last of the CW shows that I watch, The Originals, premiered its final season. The show hasn't been on TV for like a year, so I was super excited about it. I made Sydney be in bed on time, and had my yummy cup of tea, and was ensconced in my bedroom with hopefully no distractions. It happens that I was lucky, and I was able to enjoy one of my awesome, televised vampire indulgences without any problems.
And while the show gave me some stuff I've been waiting for since last year (Caroline and Klaus! Yay!), I also was reminded how irritating and holier-than-thou and preachy Vincent is, and how much shows tend to suffer when there's an irritating teen. But I'm in it until the end of this season, which I believe is only 13 episodes? I need to check on that.
But in knowing that soon I'll remove The Originals from the list of shows I watch over there on the left, I'm noticing that I just don't have as much appointment television that I watch anymore. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but I wonder if I'm getting bored with the stories there, or if I'm getting too old for some of the stories there. ...
And in all this, I totally forgot that there is another CW show I love to watch, iZombie, but that show also is going a bit off the rails, kinda. Less a cop and zombie show and now more a social injustice crusade kind of thing since the zombies have been discovered by the world at large. ...
So, there's all that. Only two CW shows, when I used to watch a bunch of them. Huh.

Tuesday, April 17

I can, and I do HAIKU

Today is National Haiku Day. And for those of you who are and have been regular readers of the blog, you will remember that I am a huge fan of composing a haiku. I wrote one for you just a week ago, in fact.
I had a delightful morning reading haiku throughout the Twitter universe, and am here to tell you that there are so many people that write them better than I do. But having said that, they are dwarfed by the tremendous number who are terrible at it.

So. Today's haiku:

I should print a book,
with all my random haiku.
But who would buy? Mom.

No kidding, I love composing these little poems. Haiku are my favorite.

UPDATE: Also, obviously, I changed up the theme and look of the blog tonight. I'm a fan of the green stripes.

Monday, April 16

I looked it up; his last name is Okoye

I think I'm breaking up with The Rock. So, here it goes.

Dear Dwayne Johnson,
I swear, I've seen about every movie that you've starred in. And some, yes, I've seen multiple times. This past weekend, I continued my habit of seeing your movies by watching Rampage.
It was, I'm sorry to say, quite ridiculous. Bullet points follow:
• Your character, Davis SomethingSomething, was an ex-military ops guy, as is almost every single character you play, because Davis needed to have some reason as to why he was good with guns, could fly a helicopter, and oh yeah, is as big as a house.
• Like, I already have a hard and solid rule about Monkey Movies. (Check out the list of my pet peeves there on the left. It's listed.) I thought, maybe, because this particular monkey was a gorilla, my exception to the rule on Sunday morning would be a wise choice. It was not. My assumption about Monkey Movies not being too great was proved true again.
• The smart woman sidekick was well-executed, and I appreciate that, but she still got all moony-eyed at you throughout the film, which just kind of rolls with the aesthetic that the girl always has to fall for the hero. She can be smart and be an active participant in solving the problem, and then not get all coy and flirtatious at the end of the ordeal. Trust me, it's possible.
• Jeffrey Dean Morgan was Negan in a suit that can call and get helicopters to pick him up wherever he is, and that was cool. But I kept waiting for him to become a bad guy, like so many of the government suits are in these movies. But, having said that, I'm sure the sequel will include that laptop and rat.
• Sydney didn't like that the wolf died.
• Basically, there was just a whole lot of activity and plot contrivances that made me roll my eyes and think, "This is terrible!"

So, rather than just make a blanket statement that I won't go see anymore Dwayne Johnson movies where he is the sole draw, I'll just add a caveat. I will be discerning and trust that I don't have to see it in the theater. I can wait for iTunes.
So maybe I'm not breaking up with The Rock. I'll just be more careful and judicious in when we go out together.

Sunday, April 15

I want my frappuccino, and I want it now

ITEM!: My least favorite emotion is "mad/disappointed at Sydney." I'm in that kind of mood right now, and it bothers me a whole lot. The thing is, she's a good kid. Like, a really, really good kid.
So maybe I just expect too much, but really, when I say it's time to take a shower, she should just go take a shower. You know what I mean? Don't sit in a room and play games on the phone or Switch or whatever for 45 minutes until I holler up the stairs to see if you're done with your shower, and you haven't even done it yet. That makes me mad. And it makes me take the games away. And that makes me sad. Because it makes her mad and sad. And I hate it when she's mad and sad.
ITEM!: I am insanely preoccupied with whether Starbucks will offer the Midnight Mint Mocha Frappuccino during the summer again this year. I honestly think that is my favorite "drink, drink" and I can't wait to have one. In fact, it's my current motivation for Weight Watchers. If I'm good with everything else that I put into my body, I can splurge regularly on that drink. I can't remember when the company announced it last year, but I feel like we're coming up to that anniversary, so I'm hoping for some good news coming my way soon. Actually, it looks like it was announced right around the beginning of May. Fingers crossed!
ITEM!: Speaking of drinks, I think I may have to change my habit of having an iced tea everyday at work. My office is so cold that I find that drinking my iced tea is making me feel colder at work, and that makes me want to have a hot tea. And even though it's super warm outside, I may have to start drinking for being colder. Like how I bring a sweatshirt to work everyday because of the interior temperature. And since I doctor my tea, I'll have to make it at home and bring it with me. Because honestly, I look forward to the summer because the iced tea at AJ's is only $0.75 per weekday, while hot tea is at Starbucks is $2.85. (I don't like the hot tea at AJ's so don't ask me to not go to Starbucks.)

Tuesday, April 10

Finally, decent hair and nails on the regular

I've discovered the wonderfulness of the regular polish change at the nail salon. I mean, I always knew that a person could go into a salon and get a polish change, but it never occurred to me to do it regularly, in place of a manicure. And I've done it for the last six weeks.
Every two weeks, I've been heading over to the salon after work and getting my polish changed. The manicurist still will file the nails down, buff them out so they're smooth, and do the color nice and neat. And you also have the obligation of sitting there for the required five to 10 minutes of initial drying time.
Today, I chose a really pretty Barbie pink. (Last time, I picked a light lavender.) Of course, I dinged my middle finger on my right hand, the perfect place to bug me for the next two weeks. But that's the first nail I really messed up, and I'm pleased with all the other fingers, so we'll call it a win for the day anyway.
Also, the cost factor on polish changes is enough to make this a real habit that I can jump on board with. Eight dollars for the change, and a $2 tip. The whole thing is over and done with for $10. That's pretty magical, to be sure, and I'm feeling like I could very easily get addicted to it.
It's a Pretty Girl Habit. So I've got that, as well as someone who does a good job on my hair, so I feel like I can really get back to taking better care of myself and being happy about it.

Friday, April 6

Goodbye program; hello paper, pencil and calculator!

We spent a good portion of our afternoon and early evening doing taxes last night, and I'm in a much better place than I thought I would be. And the crux of my better feeling? The absolute and decisive break with TurboTax. It's official. The damn program just doesn't work well for us.
Especially in the state tax area. It doesn't give an option to take a standard deduction instead of an itemized one for the state, which, when we did our state taxes by hand last night, came to a significant difference. A difference that also was significant last year, but because of my perceived faith in TurboTax, I ignored, and it cost us a couple hundred dollars more we could have gotten back from the state.
So, here we sit, done with our taxes, and no longer dependent on TurboTax.
"I say, fu*k you, Jobu, I do it myself."

Wednesday, April 4

I like typing the word "mouses"

My place of work is going to do me the kindness of ordering an ergonomic mouse for my computer. I've had wrist and finger issues over the last couple months, and while the symptoms are not specifically carpal tunnel, they're close enough to worry me.
And I've narrowed my issue down to the very clean, very low profile, very youthful mouse for my computer at work. I actually have the same mouse at home here, but I sit at this computer so infrequently, and for not long periods of time, that this particular mouse isn't a problem.
I've already fashioned a wrist support for work, but the mouse itself is cramping my fingers after too long a time. And I hadn't realized how much time I spent with the mouse until the cramping began. Two of my coworkers have ergonomic mouses, though one mouse came that way with the computer, and the other mouse was purchased with her own money.
I just asked my boss about it, and she said to just do some research on Amazon, and then send her the information. Sounds like, as long as my new mouse isn't $50 or something, I'll definitely get one.
And I won't lie, I'm kinda excited about using it. However, I still haven't checked out any mouses at the store, so I don't know what will be comfortable, and I really need to do that. I doubt I'll get to it tomorrow, as Brian and I are tackling taxes tomorrow, but it will definitely go on my weekend list.
Time to go write down "Can't Use Normal Computer Mouse Anymore" under the list of ways I know I'm getting older.

Tuesday, April 3

There's such a thing as too many exemptions

A haiku about taxes:

I don't sweat paying taxes,
when numbers are right.
They aren't this year, thanks, Brian.

2017 will suck as much as 2016 did numbers-wise, but at least now I can be comforted with the knowledge that 2018 will be way better.

Monday, April 2

I did not look at all glamorous

So, lately I've been getting older, and I feel like that is most noticeable in the hollows and dark shadows under my eyes. It's quite obvious to me that I'm not happy with pictures of myself unless I'm wearing sunglasses, and because of that, I'm always wearing sunglasses in pictures (outside and during the day, of course. I'm not that person). It's become super bothersome over the last year or so, though, and I'll admit in the comfort of my own blog, that I've even considered getting them fixed professionally. But until there is the surplus income for that, I'll stick with sunglasses.
Having said that, I discovered something at Target the other day: Burt's Bees Rejuvenating Eye Masks. I bought two sets, and this afternoon, post-shower, I tried one. First of all, they smell and feel like they are full up of the rejuvenating oil that I've been buying from Burt's Bees for years and years. I know that it's super good for my eyes and the delicate skin, but the oil is so oily, that I can't always handle it around and in my eyes. Also, I just forget so much it's crazy. So I've not been consistent with that skin treatment, to say the least.
With the eye masks on, I could feel the oil seeping into my skin, and they actually felt like they were tightening, if that makes any sense. I kept the masks on for five minutes, per the instructions, and then gently massaged in the excess oil.
I think, maybe that my eyes looked a bit fuller, and less dark. How long would that last? Excellent question, for sure. I checked a couple hours later and they already looked darker and sunken again, but perhaps that's my imagination. We'll see tomorrow morning, I guess.
Would it be better to do the mask right before bed? But then I'd have oil all over my pillowcase, and that's no good. So I'll stick with an afternoon application, if this really works. My dark-circled, baggy eyes are bugging me. Logic states that I could probably just invest in some new tubes of concealer, and that might help a bit.

Friday, March 30

Random project that may or may not get done

Many, many years ago I bought a metal tree to display photos that hangs on my wall. It is, at this point, thoroughly covered in photos. So many, actually, that no one can even tell that it's a tree, and the photos instead look like a big blob of pics hanging from a wall somehow. Some of the photos need to be removed.
Here's the problem: In know which pics would make more sense to remove, but what does that really say about this moment in my life? Like, pics of beloved friends that maybe aren't as close anymore don't really belong there, when they're taking space from a pic of Howie and Sydney, or a pic of Gramps. There isn't enough space for pics of all of my dogs because there are so many pics of, say, just me and Sydney.
I get that to add photos, I'll need to remove photos, and to have space, I'll have to remove way more than I'll replace. It actually won't be too easy. ... PROJECT!

So you know, the photo tree wall hanging is so old that I can not find a single photo of it on the internet. I won't take a picture of mine because it's COVERED in pictures that I don't want to post to the internet. And the one that's not covered in photos is downstairs and I'm lazy. So what you've got for art is a picture of a pile of pictures that aren't mine.

Thursday, March 29

So this thing happened a couple weeks ago

It's been kinda weird to think about it, because knowing now what we know, it wasn't really a terrible, terrible, terrible situation, so much as a singularly terrible situation.
Mom, Sydney and I were eating lunch at The Cheesecake Factory when visiting Mom earlier this month. It was Sydney's choice for lunch, and Mom and I were all in, because Cheesecake is delicious. We were seated in the atrium section of the restaurant, which is a blocked-off area with about 25 tables in it, outside of the restaurant proper and in the mall entry area. We had already ordered, and in fact, had our food, though we were only about halfway done with it.
At some point, I distinctly remember hearing footsteps, a lot of them, and they were getting heavier and louder and faster as they got closer to us. And I remember seeing one woman, with blond hair, actually running toward the mall doors, and she was clutching her bags to her side. The man with her was holding her by the arm, and he was running, too.
Then we started hearing the calls, the shouts: "Gun" "Shooter" "Get Out" "Run" "Shooting."
... And then all the people started running. It was like a wave as people in the booths at the restaurant started jumping up, grabbing each other and hurtling toward the exit. I heard glasses and plates getting knocked over. I heard some screaming, I think, and more people shouting to get out, just leave.
Mom and Sydney were across from me, and in an instant, Mom had grabbed Sydney but the arm and was pulling her out of the booth. I slid out, too, and we crouched on the floor by the end of the table, as others around us were huddled here and there. I reached back into the seat to grab my purse and phone, and having secured them, I grabbed Sydney's other arm and we all made our way up a couple tables closer to the exit. People were still running and yelling, and for the moment, huddling where we were was the best way to assess the situation.
But then I was like, "No. Keep moving."
I gripped Syd's arm tighter and looked at Mom. I'm not sure if I said anything or not, but I knew that as I got more securely to my feet again, she would be right behind us. And we ran. We were crouched and keeping our heads down, and running to the exit.
Can there ever be air sweeter and cooler than what we breathed as we got outside? I'm not sure. In the parking lot, people were grouped into circles, and everyone was pretty obviously terrified. We stopped there, just as a car from the sheriff's department drove up. The officer jumped out of the car: "Have you seen anyone leave with a gun?" None of us had. A guy asked him what we should do now. "Just leave," he said. He cocked his own shotgun and made his way to the mall entry, taking up position just outside the door.
So we just left. We got in the car, and were stuck in traffic leaving the parking lot. And I was reading Twitter. All the reports there claimed an "active shooter" situation. We were panicked that we were there. I slid into the backseat to keep Sydney calmer as we left. I kept refreshing my Twitter feed, knowing that it was the only real source of information currently on top of it all.
What happened: A divorced guy walked into a store and shot and killed his ex-wife, who worked there, then turned the gun on himself, but lived. It was a "targeted" shooting.
This, in the grand scheme of things, makes the entire day easier to process because we, as a general populace, weren't in any real danger from this guy. But let me tell you, those few minutes, moments, seconds were among the most terrifying of my life. The powerlessness and helplessness of thinking that there's a guy with a gun roaming and shooting, and not caring who he hurt or killed, is the worst kind of horror.
Like I said, it's easier to process, but I vividly remember the fear of those moments, and the very real emotion in assuming we were fleeing for our lives, and it won't be anything I ever forget.

Wednesday, March 28

Three-leafed clovers in abundance

I've gotten pretty obsessed with gardening and plants over the last few years, and I'm almost considering myself something of a green thumb. I've had wild successes, and I've had failures that have crashed and burned spectacularly.
What I've learned: Berries absolutely will not survive a summer in Arizona. Lavender, surprisingly, does well in the desert. Repotting a rose bush won't always work out as well as you'd like, but at least the plant hasn't died, so there's hope still. I can grow an apple orchard.
My current little project is the shamrock plant over there. It looks terrible right now, but something that I've noticed is that it looks like this every single night. And during the day? Especially when the sunshine is coming in through that window in the afternoon? It is bright, perky, happy and full. This plant loves its sunshine. [Editor's Note: I've updated this post with a pic of the shamrock plant from this afternoon (bottom photo.) It's so happy right now!]
My plan for it this weekend is to repot it into a real plant pot so I don't have to worry about watering it every two days. The additional pot soil will keep it wet longer, and give it some room to spread out its roots. Of course, it'll stay right there on the dining room table for a while. Perhaps for the entire summer. I may or may not make room for it on the plant stand by the other window, but my main priority right now is to keep it comfortable and happy.
It's really a pretty awesome little plant. I'm happy to have taken it from my mother and brought it home.