Friday, October 31

Happy Halloween!

I hope that you all had a safe and fun Halloween!
We didn't get any trick-or-treating done tonight, though you wouldn't know it, since we did wander the apartment complex popping off with a decent two-year-old "trick...trea" for a while. Who wants candy, when all you really need is to get some fresh air, walk around in a costume, and be just too adorable for words? That, in a nutshell, was Sydney's third Halloween. Next year, have no doubt, will when canvas a neighborhood for the best candy and attack it with military precision. But tonight, while she still doesn't know any better and we're still in charge of the amount of candy she consumes, all is well with a decidedly tame Halloween.

Thursday, October 30

Thank goodness it's not the fat Elvis in Vegas

Every year, six months, or season, I decide to do something different with my hair. This past effort was going to be a long growing out, with some nice, romance-cover waves and subtle darker brown undertones. This, of course, was not to last, as I simply can not keep my hair long. I've tried so many times; I just get so ... eck! ... about it by the time it gets to be about as long as it was at the wedding, about five inches below my shoulders. Add to that the idea that I was going to grow out my bangs, too, to add to the nice wavy effect, and create some "pulling back from the face" thing.
Well, as of my last visit to California, I am back to the cute bob that ends about my chin; and as of tonight, I have my bangs again. Honestly, I don't know why I bother ever growing them out. Eventually, I see a picture of myself without the bangs (witness Sydney's birthday party), decide that my forehead really shouldn't be so prominently displayed because it adds ... drama ... to the size of my nose, and then rashly chop them off. As I did tonight. All by myself and while they were kinda too dry to cut. And they're a little too short, and definitely crooked. But at least they're bangs again, and I don't have to pull back the hair with a barrette anymore. It's free to rest on my forehead again. And once again, I look like me again.
Now, how about some purple?

Wednesday, October 29

Sometimes, I've got too much heart

Random stuff in my head right now:
:-) I don't care that the Philadelphia Phillies won the World Series. It wasn't my Red Sox hoisting the trophy, and I'm bitter about that ... well, you all know I am, so that's no surprise.
:-) I didn't watch the Obama 30-minute infomercial tonight. I've already voted, and now I'm ready for it all to be done. I can't wait for Wednesday morning.
:-) I actually played the part of the scarecrow in a Pinecrest-era stage version of The Wizard of Oz. I wore an old, baggy pair of Daddy's jeans, had straw poking out every pocket, sported a faded and holy flannel shirt, and a straw cowboy hat. Andrea was Dorothy. We rocked that production, you know. So of course, when this scarecrow outfit became possible, I jumped at it! I am, once again, the scarecrow!

Oliver is just awesome

Oliver had a visit to the groomers this morning, so now he's a fantastically puffy dog. And that is what I usually get when I pick him up: a fantastically puffy dog. But look what I got today! A fantastically puffy dog with a Peanuts-inspired autumnal neckerchief! I love it so much that I thought I would share it with you! Love, love, love it!

Tuesday, October 28

Look! I'm Sydney's mummy!

I've got a stack of magazines on my bed here that I really need to read through. I can't, however, find the time or inclination to sit and take care of it. The stack itself is about five inches high, and includes three months of Vanity Fair, an In Style, and several mail-in catalogs and parenting magazines. Even tonight, right now, I'd rather blog, read the Internets and watch Gladiator, then sort through this small mountain of paper ads, articles and images. I think it's because the mountain is so large, than I seem to fear it. I hate being afraid of magazines. They're so pretty.

Monday, October 27

"Meanwhile, at the Hall of Justice..."

A few things that made me stop for a moment today, in no particular order, except as I remember them:
1.) Target has removed all its Halloween decorations in the store, and Christmas is now in place. Upon entering the store, I was assaulted, visually and emotionally, by red and green paper decor, some holiday glitter, and of course, a Santa Claus image. This is just wrong. It's not even Halloween yet (we're still four days away, right?), and the store has already removed all evidence of witches, ghosts and goblins when a shopper enters, and replaced it with sparkly trees, elves and St. Nick.
2.) Dude! The Backyardigans Live! has canceled its performances in Tempe! I am so disappointed! One thing I can say is thank goodness Sydney had no idea that we had those tickets. I would hate to have to tell a little kid who was looking forward to the show that they weren't going to see the characters dance around on stage. Ugh. It was bad enough just telling Brian.
3.) I totally don't care about the World Series. I have no idea which team is leading the series, or on what days the games are being played, and even better, I don't care at all. It's not my Red Sox playing, so I'm out of it.
4.) I bought eight holiday-themed nightlights at Linens 'N Things this morning. Honestly, it was a very real blank spot in my holiday decor repertoire. I am now the proud owner of five Christmas nightlights, two Halloween nightlights, and one Thanksgiving nightlight. The Thanksgiving one could be considered more of an "autumnal" nightlight, because it's really just a pumpkin with green stems and vines off the top, but it was more Thanksgiving-ish than Halloween, certainly. And it's pretty, so I wasn't going to not get it. I also bought a new set of sheets for my bed; some corn cob holders that, brilliantly, store in pairs with the needles nestled into each other, so you can't stab yourself with them; and some small, mini Chip Clips, because they're better for cereal bags and candy sacks. Truthfully, I was disappointed by the store's going-out-of-business sale, but really, when walking out with the cool nightlights, it can't be considered a failed excursion.
5.) Finally, I'm tripping over the fact that my baby turns two tomorrow. I've been going through the last couple hours visualizing my life on this night two years ago. In a few words, it was: painful for a while, scary, amazingly calm, scary, filled with thoughts of the future, scary, and kinda sticky and smelly. So here's tonight's weird and creepy: Sydney's in her pajamas; I've just finished changing her diaper for the night; and we're trying to coax her into the bathroom so Brian can brush her teeth. She stops at her bookshelf to stall, chooses a book, pulls it out, and hands it to me. Then she scurries down the hall to Brian. What book did she choose? It's the copy of On the Night You Were Born that Auntie Donna gave her for her birthday last year. ... Really! I even made Brian look at what she'd handed me! On the Night You Were Born on the actual night she was born?! How creepily weird and honestly amazing at the same time!

Sunday, October 26

Oooo, ooooo ... witchy woman

Since I'm not actually going to dress for Halloween this year, I thought that I would live vicariously through my avatar, and wear a different costume every day this week until the big day on Friday. So, what's that? Six days? Yay! I'll try to come up with appropriately cheesy headlines to roll with, as well.

Sleepy pups equal a good weekend

I've got that good feeling of productive exhaustion going on right now. I hosted a perfectly lovely birthday party for my baby girl this afternoon, and had a wonderful time with friends and family. And right now, I've cleaned up my kitchen, organized all my leftovers, put my girl to bed, and Brian and I took out all the trash. The first run of the dishwasher will be dry soon, though I won't touch it until tomorrow morning. All Sydney's new stuff is still in a pile in the living room, too, and it too will not be touched now until the morning. I'm too tired to do much else tonight but finish my blog and get cozy in my pajamas. Oliver and Daisy are already sacked out, on the bed and floor, respectively. I always loved it when the doggies in my life had such active weekend days that they were crashed out on Sunday night. I think they may be lifeless tomorrow, too.
Actually, in retrospect, I had a pretty fantastic weekend. Between the pumpkin festival and the birthday party, it was an active, entertaining and fun time for all of us. I love it when my weekend ends with a camera full of Sydney goodness.

Saturday, October 25

We bought a significantly smaller pumpkin

This time last night, I was so tired that I decided that I would just close my eyes for a second or two before finishing up with my Internets and getting to the blog. Of course, the next thing I knew, it was close to midnight and Bad Boys was just ending. I get so mad at myself sometimes for falling asleep without actually changing into my PJ's and getting into bed. But alas, then I'm all, well, obviously, I was super tired.
I've finally uploaded all my pictures from the last two weeks, and have submitted them to be printed. I'm really very happy with them. Sydney's birthday party in California: I didn't take enough photos, and should have taken more earlier in the day, but on the whole, I'm pretty happy with what I've got. Today's visit to the pumpkin festival: Tons of pics to upload, though I would have liked a few more smiles from my favorite subject, if you know what I mean. Here's one of the typical images from today, showcasing little more than her nose, her hat and an arm. Still, it's the cutest bit of body parts ever, if I do say so myself.
And tomorrow I will be hosting Syd's Arizona birthday party, featuring the daddy side of the family, and of course, Auntie Donna! I'm feeling pretty good about my preparations so far, though we'll see what happens int the morning, as I'm sure that something will go ... not necessarily wrong ... but ... wonky.
I'm watching The Bourne Ultimatum. It's a good movie. I heard that Matt Damon has signed up for a fourth installment. I hope that his Bourne and Julia Stiles' character get together in it! I think they're cute together.

Thursday, October 23

Have you exercised your right to vote today?

Because of how small my voting precinct is at home in California, we are among the lucky few who receive mail-in ballots whether we want them or not. So my ballot arrived while I was out in Cali ... I paid attention to all the voting measures and initiative ads on television ... I listened to what my heart and conscience told me ... and I voted! Yay me!
And wouldn't it be great if, because of my vote, gay people were allowed to stay married and continue marrying whoever they wanted to marry? Or animals were able to stand up and stretch? Or new hospitals and all that were able to be built? Or that there would be no high school around the corner from my mom? Or that the country can start down a path of healing and better diplomacy?
Ahhh. I feel like, for the first time in a long time, that my vote is really going to mean something, will really count for something, this election year. And I like that. I may not be in Ohio or Florida, where the swing voters reside, but I am among the blue in California, and here's to my voting on it.
Now, you all go out there and vote, too, okay?

Baby tiger picture is unrelated to post content

Since it's been a week between blogs, and since I have given myself only 10 minutes to come up with something this morning, I shall run with a stream of consciousness thing, if you don't mind. I'll number them though, so there at least looks like some order.
1. I'm taking the car in ... again ... this morning. The "Check Engine Soon" light is on, and oh yeah, the rear driver window won't go up or down. It's stuck in a state of almost all the way up, and has been since Tuesday. Who knows what the car wants to have checked in its engine, but I'm hoping it's something lame and easy ... and cheap.
2. Sydney and I were out in California last weekend for her birthday celebrations, which consisted of an awesome party; a trip to Disneyland (yay Megs for meeting us for lunch); a lot of time in the car; and playing with new toys.
3. We both got over our colds, but I think we're relapsing a bit this week. I've woken up with a snotty nose the last two mornings, and Sydney's taking her time about getting up to her normal energy levels. Today, I'm sure, will be better. I just hate so much snorting and sniffing around the house. I have no idea what we'll do today.
4. I had a fantastic time with all my friends and family this past weekend, and I appreciate everyone who made any part of any of my days sparkle! You all rock!

Tuesday, October 14

I will win. I swear it ... just not today

Someone tell me what is up with my kid! Today is the second day that I took her to the photo place to have her 2-year (!!!) pictures taken. And again, today, she was so freakin' uncooperative that I had to leave there empty handed. She screamed! Consistently sometimes, and then would just cry a bit, but then would pretend she'd smile, and then would scream again. No kidding, I was going batty trying to get something out of her.
Here's the visual description, as best as I can do it: Child standing on photo space; child squats down to her haunches; child's face turns red while this incredibly loud and shrill "no" issues forth from her mouth; child stands up with her arms out to her mother; tears begin to roll down her cheeks; child gets a hug, acquiesces and stands where she's supposed to stand; photographer prepares to get a photo; child squats ... and repeat as many times as you can in a 20-minute time span. We didn't get a single photo of the kid today.
And that was my morning! Add to that the wretched night's sleep; Daisy being on my last nerve; Brian deciding it would be a good idea to stay home today; and this ridiculously inconvenient cold. I am just the least happiest camper on the planet. So I'm going to finish the laundry, and then go to bed. I see my mommy tomorrow, so that's a fantastic thing. Here's hoping a decent night's sleep is ahead of me. I will take NyQuil.

Monday, October 13

Go away, all you evil haters

I'm officially fighting the family cold now, and I've given myself only minutes to write something for the blog before going to bed with a nice dose of NyQuil.
1.) I've finished Breaking Dawn, the last of the Stephenie Meyer Twilight series. I am indifferent to how it ended. I had suspected I would be, but am still quite surprised that I wasted about 2,000 pages on an ending that just left me kinda "meh." I guess I'll Netflix the movie, just out of curiosity, but will no longer count myself among the series' legion of fans.
2.) Did I mention that I'm not feeling well? My goodness, I hate feeling sick. And it's entirely Brian's fault; he seems to be taking it like a man. I've accused him of licking my cup rims, using my toothbrush, and coughing into my pillow. I refuse to believe that my little baby rubbing her snotty nose on my cheek, or continuing to give me kisses, or allowing me to wipe her nose, or coughing all over the place, has anything to do with it. It's all Brian. Sick sucks.
3.) Tired, tired, tired.
4.) I love listening to my friends being all indignant and angry over the ballot resolution in California that wants to make gay marriage against the law. (Facebook is an amazing pulpit.) I love that they get just as mad about the ignorant, hating, scared jackasses who support this kind of discrimination as I. I love that it makes me feel close to them, knowing that even though I'm out here, I'm still a voter in California, and that, with my friends, we going to try to make the world a better place.

Saturday, October 11

An afternoon at the park

There's a very real feeling of satisfaction out of knowing that this is the happiest a dog can get, and that we made him that way. (See photo.) You can't come up with a better way to spend an afternoon than taking the dog to the dog park, and watching him run around like a crazy animal until he's so winded and exhausted that he looks like this. The dog park is such a wonderful treat for our little Ollie, and it's so easy to give him. We really should do it more often. Of course, now that the weather is getting decent again, we will.

As for Daisy, we left her home. She's still too young to be out and about in the dog park, and is certainly too out of control. Could you imagine that little firecracker running around that park without a leash? Yikes! It's hard enough just keeping eyes on Ollie and Sydney (she's but another firecracker that runs around without a leash). We'll need to enlist someone else to go with us when Daisy's ready for the public park.

Friday, October 10

Three down, 47 to go!

Connecticut is the third state in the nation to legalize gay marriage. Yay Connecticut! It amazes me that this is even still an issue. It's actually on the ballot out here in Arizona this year. it is in California, too. I can vote in California, but not here. I am subjected to the anti-marriage ads here, though, so I'll feel free to comment on both state's handling of the issue.
Can I tell you that I get physically upset and irritated every time one of the "Yes on Marriage for a Man and Woman" ads happens across my television screen? It's such an abomination to me that there are people in this country still so hell-bent on restricting another person's rights. It's so not their business who wants to marry whom. It's absurd that these things are brought to a vote, and that a majority of people can say to another group, "No, you can't marry your loved one. I'm only allowed to marry mine."
One of the best things about living in Massachusetts was being a resident of one of the few states that did allow gay marriage. The people were happy; the sky didn't fall because a man could marry a man, and a woman could marry a woman; and the Red Sox still consistently won the World Series. It's a win-win situation.
Sadly, I'm sure that Arizona will vote down the legality of same-sex marriage, since there are so many red-state, Bible-thumping, homosexual-fearing, desert-dwelling crazy yahoos living here. It's a shame. Someday, it'll be legal for anyone to marry anyone. I hope I'm alive to see it.

Oliver turns 8 today!

A big, huge, massive, amazing HAPPY BIRTHDAY to the best dog ever! My Oliver G. rocks the house like no one's business, and today, he's eight years old!
Some of the best things about my pooch:
He cuddles and spoons with me every night as we fall asleep.
He growls, whines and "talks" to me whenever he wants a treat.
He's super well behaved, and has infinite patience for Sydney.
I only get kisses in the morning when he wants me to get up for our walk.
He stares at me ... for a long time ... when he wants my attention.
He can eat food off a fork.
He responds to "psst" for everything, including behavioral modification, treat calling, and "don't tell Daisy, but come here so I can rub your tummy."
He knows to not chew on anything that's not his.
His favorite place to nap is on my lap.
He loves me as much as I love him!

Yay Ollie!

Encourage the love!

Here's the W cover with Angelina Jolie. Not that bad, huh? (Add to the cute factor the knowledge that Brad Pitt snapped the pictures.) I actually think it's quite tame, considering some other stuff that we've seen on magazine covers and on the Internets. But, as I predicted, there's already a story headline regarding this "controversial" photo. Click on the story though, and get nothing more than the informative article I read last night about the cover photo.
Sometimes, the media machine that must exaggerate and inflame every little thing just bugs the hell out me. Hey you freaks over at the Yahoo homepage! Stop trying to make a controversy out of this!

Thursday, October 9

Breastfeeders of the world, unite!

And yet one more reason to totally love Angelina Jolie: She appears to be breastfeeding on the latest cover of W magazine. On the November issue's cover, Jolie is photographed in a sleeveless top, open and revealing part of her left breast, as well as a tiny hand seeming to belong to one of her twins. You go, breastfeeding mama! I love this!
Of course, there will be those prudish weirdos who will pitch a fit about having a breast (gasp!) partially shown on the cover of a national magazine. Of course, there will be some ill-conceived uproar. And of course, some will take this opportunity to once again rail against Jolie as an outlet for their own issues.
But I applaud all women who breastfeed, whether they boast about it on a magazine and in a restaurant, or whether they prefer to be more modest and private about it. Most important to me is that the act of breastfeeding not be something that should be hushed, hidden or persecuted. I like that it's celebrated. I like more that it's celebrated on a magazine cover. Rock on, Angie!

Blah, blah, blah, money

Isn't it weird how sometimes one's horoscope can really strike to the heart of what is going on in one's life at that moment? Here's mine from this morning:
The best way to ensure that you have more money later is to start saving more of it, now! This simple rule seems logical, but logic usually flies out the window when you are standing in front of a new gadget you want. So today, start a new trend. When you are tempted by a new goodie in a store, just say no! It might feel like the entire gravitational pull of the earth is forcing you to plunk down your hard-earned cash, but it's not. You have the power to improve your spending habits.
It's almost as if the money gods knew that Brian and I are on yet another no-spending experiment. This one requires that we start off with a specified amount of cash every week, and try to keep to it throughout those days. In the beginning, it sounds like a great plan, one that I can hold to easily. In practice though, and a mere three days into this experiment, I'm failing grandly. Who knew that I really spend that much money throughout the day? Well, I guess I should have known. But until I put away the debit card, and do nothing but watch the cash leave the wallet, any other of our experiments wasn't really a good lesson. Still, it takes little more than picking up the dog from the groomers and going out to dinner to replete my daily ... I don't want to say allowance, or even quota, but you know, the number I'm shooting for. It's like the worst kind of game imaginable: let's see how little we can spend in a day.

Wednesday, October 8

The sky is falling!

I usually don't look at most of the e-mails that I'm forwarded. Come on, who has time for all those jokes, chain letters, prayers or political scare tactics in their life? Actually, it's not so much a matter of time, as it is preference. I prefer to not be bothered by them. But there are a few of you out there for whom I do take the time to see what you've forwarded me. You're special because you don't send me every little thing. I dig that.
And, so here is Auntie Donna's contribution to today's blog. This is the new dollar bill issued by the Treasury Department, designed to better reflect the state of the economy.

Tuesday, October 7

I need a hero ... to make this show good again

I think I may be done with Heroes. Am I the only one who is quickly losing all engagement in this show? A surefire way of gauging my interest in a show has become the excitement and necessity of watching the show on my DVR. Examples: I DVR Gossip Girl Monday night. I must watch it during Sydney's nap on Tuesday. It's a new, fantastic tradition. I record The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. I watch them during nap time, too. Last night, we recorded Heroes, as we were instead watching the Red Sox kick the respective asses of the California Angels. (I hereby refuse to call them by their farcical and shenanigans name, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, except for this one time in the blog, and that was just to make a point.) Tonight, with nothing of importance on television, I still was uninterested in watching Heroes, and we even procrastinated before starting it. Finally, now, it is done, and while I'm still intrigued by bits and pieces of the show, I'd rather be watching August Rush again, or The Mentalist, or last night's episode of Chuck. But now, I'm too tired to watch anything but the easy and uninspired Deep Blue Sea.

Sunday, October 5

Pine cone envy

Ack! What a weekend! So much to do and deal with!
1.) Daisy is doing much better. She's running around like she always has; is getting into Oliver's face like there's not a single thing holding her back; is eating, drinking and pooping like everything is in working order; and bites the shit out of our fingers when Brian and I are administering medication and changing bandages. Thankfully, Daisy a couple days after her surgery is none the worse for wear.
2.) Mom, Auntie Donna and I had a busy couple days, though especially Saturday, going through my grandma's house. It was a relatively serene experience, I think, with no fighting over who gets the ladles, plate and spoon collection, or pictures. Some treasures that I brought home today: her collection of little Waterford pieces, including a couple vases and a small candy dish; a hand-crank mixer; Tupperware measuring cups and strainers; some collectible Disney plates; and a couple pictures of her and my Gramps on vacations together, and they look really happy.
But one thing that consistently gave us pause was a collection or pine cones in every closet, some drawers, and most cabinets in the house. Does anyone get that? It must be some thing about keeping pests out of stuff, right? It must have been on some show like Oprah, or some random news story, or something. Someone help us out; we must have found a whole forest's full of them in the house. Which leads me to another question: where, in the desert, do you find so many pine cones?
3.) Finally, this weekend, it got somewhat cool here. Awesome. We actually had our windows open the last two nights. Of course, last night there was so much noise from the local bar around the corner that I was awoken at about 2 a.m., but oh well. It's nice to have a decent breeze. Now, just because it's cooler in the morning doesn't mean it's cooler in the day. We're still dealing with high 90s, low 100s. Ugh.

Friday, October 3

Daisy's day

I feel bad. Daisy had a rough day today. Since she was going to be anesthetized anyway, I had a laundry list of issues to be fixed on the dog. First and foremost though was the hernia repair and the cherry eye replacement. Of course, we had her spayed, too. With that, we had her dew claws removed. I mean, really, why not have everything taken care of at once?
While it was, yes, convenient, it certainly makes for a more sensitive and agitated puppy tonight. She's got two kinds of pain pills, one antibiotic, bandages to be changed, and one of those ridiculous collars to keep her from licking or chewing on any of her sutures. (She's only wearing the collar when we leave or while sleeping; any other time, she's able to move freely.) She's a bit lethargic, which is to be expected, and every once in a while, squeals and yelps when she gets up to move. I know, without a doubt, that I will probably end up sleeping on the floor with her tonight.
And so it's happened: the pup has officially wrangled her way into my heart. I've got such a soft spot for the little puffs when I have to take them to the vet, and especially when I have to leave them there. I remember the night after Oliver was neutered, and he and I spent the entire night of the sofa. I wouldn't even disturb him to answer the phone. Unfortunately, because of the circus that is my home, Daisy doesn't get the same consideration, but don't worry about her. She still has yet to walk from one room to the other, as I am compelled to carry her everywhere.

Wednesday, October 1

No Halloween cupcakes in my house ... yet

It's October 1, and I've decorated my house for Halloween. I swore this morning that I would not do any decorating because I had just too much stuff crowding the closet that houses the decorations. Cut to me figuring out how much stuff I have in the closet. Then I organized it. Then, I realized that the Halloween stuff wasn't that hard to get to, and that I really should get all that stuff out before Mommy gets here. And that, right there, is the road map to how my house is all festooned with witches, ghosts, pumpkins and the random skeleton. Oh yeah, and the jar of heebie jeebies. So here it is, the way my head works when I don't want to do something, but then do it anyway, having obsessively conquered the issue that was stopping me in the first place, and ultimately making my whole world a bit brighter.