Sunday, October 31

Mommy dinosaur seeks baby dinosaur

Sometimes I am reminded that a collaboration between Brian and I really can make for something wonderful. Sydney is, of course, my first example of a perfect collaboration, but so was tonight's trick-or-treat activities. The conversation, as we were in the car driving in a very general direction of north, went along the lines of me vaguely remembering, and spottily describing, a particular neighborhood we drove through months ago, and Brian remembering the correct street and the proper left turn to make. And there, in that random neighborhood, we found two streets full of decorated houses, people with candy, kids running and laughing, and moms and dads leading and following. It was beautiful.
Our particular neighborhood is an older one. Sydney is, by far, the youngest, if not the only, child on the street. They do not cater to trick-or-treaters here. It's like the grandparents' street where no one takes their kid because all the houses are dark specifically to dissuade children from ringing doorbells. And this is the neighborhood where we are raising an enthusiastic, engaging and excited toddler. Sometimes, we're dumb. But mostly, it's okay. Except on Halloween.
So, I checked around with our friends, and everyone had other plans, so it became Brian and I on the hunt for someplace to take our dinosaur to ask for candy. This is where the collaboration I mentioned really came together.
Sydney had a blast going from house to house, explaining to us how trick-or-treating works, forgetting to say thank you until we reminded her, and exclaiming, "Let's see what kind of candy they have for me!" I'm embarrassed to say that this was Sydney's first officially real, out-and-about trick-or-treat experience. But I'm proud to say that we made it a good one.

Saturday, October 30

Nice asp

In all honesty, I came up with the headline for tonight's post way before I even knew what I would write about. I knew the headline, actually, at the moment I dressed the avatar in the Cleopatra outfit.

You know what's awesome about having dogs? Having to clean up poopy butts. And I'm being so sarcastic there that the emotion is dripping out of the computer. But, as I told Mom this morning, there should be an award given to any mom who has to get up in the morning and clean TWO poopy butts right away. It's wrong. Also, cleaning various dingleberries throughout the day. Also, trimming back the hair on one doggy's butt so as to discourage any more dingleberries. Poopy dog butts are gross.
You know what's awesome about having a little girl who's growing up? She gets new and cool things. Sydney got a big-girl bike and a big-girl bed today for her birthday. She seems to be okay with all the room shifting that will happen to accommodate the new bed, and in fact, was eager to get the bed together tonight. Sadly, no linens arriving until Monday, so she'll have to wait a couple more days. The mattress and pillow are airing out though, so as to be ready for occupying on Monday.
You know what's awesome about spending the day with family? It just leaves you with a happy, content and tired feeling of warm fuzziness at the end of the day. And I love knowing that we'll have company tomorrow, too. I enjoy having an active social life. It makes me happy.
You know what's awesome about The Hangover? Everything.

p.s. When I spell-checked this post, the only words that triggered the checker were "poopy" and "dingleberries." I feel as though my day is complete.

Friday, October 29

Fear the Reaper! Grrr!

Stuff from today:
1.) Sydney, Brian and I carved our second pumpkin tonight. Well ... I cleaned it out, and did most of the carving, but Sydney chose the face design, and Brian did the final bit of random cleaning out, so I guess it could be called a group effort. But not really. I don't mind it though, I'm pretty proud of the pumpkins we've carved this year! See? I'm handy on the pumpkins ... with my scythe!! Grr!!
2.) We've got company coming tomorrow for the last of Sydney's birthday parties. Brian's family will be visiting! But as there will only be eight of us, I think we'll go to lunch instead of me ordering it in, and we'll come back home for cupcakes and ice cream. Sydney is excited to see everyone, but I do hear a lot about how the house is decorated for Halloween and not her birthday. I foresee a constant issue in the coming years, and perhaps the topic of her first therapy session.
3.) Also, my feet and nose are cold. I'm wearing slippers, which is fantastic. Also, I put the thick blanket on the bed yesterday. Of course, it wouldn't be the desert if there weren't a couple hot days before it finally cooled down, and we're dealing with those now. Really? Ninety degrees on the last couple days of October? Really?

Thursday, October 28

Happy birthday, Sydney!

It's weird how nostalgic I get on Sydney's birthday. I frequently find myself going over the events of that day, daydreaming about what happened, and how, really, I don't think I would have changed a moment of it. I had a wonderful pregnancy, and my labor and delivery were without complications. My kid popped out with 10 fingers, 10 toes, healthy lungs, and the bluest eyes I'd ever seen in my life. And I fell in love.
Once we got home, of course, she became remarkably more difficult -- and continues to be so, four years later -- but in looking back on that night, I get so warm and fuzzy. If I'm still, I can feel my heart skip a beat when I think about seeing her for the first time. If I'm quiet, I can still hear her first cry, and feel her weight on my chest when the nurse placed her there. If I close my eyes, I can see the delivery room, remember every detail about it, smile at the humor of Brian's amazement on how strong my contractions were, and feel the comfort in seeing Mom walk into the room right when this whole business was starting to get really serious.
I suppose the ability to conjure the entire sequence of events from the day never really goes away, does it? That's probably due to the life-altering addition to the family. Or because my priorities shifted in a blink. Or because she was awesome, from the second I met her.

I terminate any non-Halloween avatars

Today, I also begin my long-standing (started in 2008) tradition of posting Halloween avatars for the days leading up to the lovely holiday. I chose, for this October 28, to be a cyborg. I like the terminator leg. I like that, when it's dressed like this, I can fantasize that my avatar is in a relationship with Sam Worthington's cyborg/terminator in Terminator Salvation.

ARGH! My back!!

Okay. It's officially official. I am becoming an old woman ... not in spirit, by any stretch of the imagination, but definitely by body. My cold last week knocked me on my ass like no cold has in a very long time, which was the first sign.
Oh, and how youthful I was, frolicking and jumping around in the bounce house at Sydney's birthday party last weekend. How carefree I was as I leaped from one spot to another. How fearlessly I bounced from feet to butt and back to my feet. How ridiculously I peer pressured everyone else into jumping in the bounce house, as if my own joy would not come back to haunt me. I had such fun!
And yet, before the afternoon sun (or not sun, but fog-filtered sunlight) had grown dark, my back was already beginning to twinge. In fact, before the darkness began descending in earnest, I was hobbling around the house, using furniture to bear my weight as I lurched from step to step. The pain was acute, and so not cute, in my lower back. The perfect storm of a location: about a five-inch high, 12-inch wide swath of spasm right above my waistline.
It was incredibly unpleasant, and has made my last four days incredibly unpleasant as well. I'm not hobbling around as much anymore, and every day is getting better. In fact, the last two days have been medication-free, which is good and bad. I probably should still be taking plenty of Advil, but every time I think about it, I'm sitting, and the last thing I want to do is go through the contortions of getting up once I'm down. Like right now, I've got a twinge (this particular back issue does not like my living room sofa) but I don't want to get up.
Tomorrow should be a much better day.
Still though, this pain has made me feel incredibly geriatric in my body. And makes me wonder what other fantastically fun, but youthful, things I will no longer be able to do. But I think I know why I got hurt: not enough knee bending when I landed in the bounce house. Hmm .... A hypothesis to test. ... At next year's party. I should have forgotten this pain by then!

Friday, October 22

First iPad-produced post

Okay, I'm officially writing this post from a computer that is not my laptop or a desktop computer. I'm writing from the iPad. Weird. It's just feeling bizarre. Mom's got my laptop, and I thought, okay, I'll do this from the iPad, because if I remember right, I can post from an app on the iPad!
I really hope it works well, because I'd hate to spend so much time writing this ridiculous post only to have it not save or post to the blog.
I know I've been lax in posting to the blog lately, but it's always so hard to write something clever when one is sick, and then I have the added difficulty of finding a moment to write when I'm out here in California. I end up hanging out on the sofa, and getting too tired to do anything worthy of the blog.
As it is, I'm tired right now. I do find that I'm enjoying the typing on the iPad. I didn't think I would. And I've had minimal incidents of correcting.

Beautifully written via iPhone or iPad.

Wednesday, October 20

Even a DOUBLE rainbow!

I think I feel normal again, for the first time in five days or so. I've been hopped up on DayQuil all day, but even without that, my cold is definitely less icky today. Even having said that though, I'm having a hard time making sense of what's coming out of my fingers -- typing, that is -- right now.
I had berry pie for dessert tonight.
And pizza for dinner.
It's delicious hanging out at Mom's house!

p.s. we saw four rainbows as we drove out of town this morning. It was a trip blessed by leprechauns!!

Monday, October 18


Honestly, I can't remember the last time a cold has knocked me out this much. I'm so tired! Like, naps for the last three days tired. Tonight, my goal is to be in bed and drugged on NyQuil at 10 p.m. I will get eight hours of sleep. I feel like, once I do that, all will be better just be virtue of my mind saying, "YOU WILL GET BETTER ON EIGHT HOURS OF SLEEP."
I've got nothing else for you, and I refuse to whine about being sick. Because I hate sick.

Friday, October 15

I'd rather be here, and not sick

Jeez. I've got that taste in my mouth. You know, that taste that comes along with a sore throat and an increase in snot? Yeah, it's there. It set up camp about this time yesterday afternoon.
I caught it from my kid. She's awesome and everything, but she still doesn't understand the importance of "containing the illness," and so enjoys sticking her fingers in her nose when it's running, not washing her hands as often as I tell her, wiping her nose on my arms, and continuing to enjoy face-in-face interaction. I refuse to keep her from me when she's sick, so I know that any effort to keep myself from getting sick when she is, is ridiculous. It's a pipe dream. It's nonsensical. It's crazy talk.
So I know that when she gets sick, I get sick. The only thing now is to keep Brian from catching it.

Wednesday, October 13

The miners, the miners, the miners

Okay, I'm completely and utterly obsessed with the Chilean miners being rescued from their 69-day entrapment in a collapsed mine near Copiapo, Chile. I swear, my television has been on CNN ever since the rescues started last night. I'm so excited to know that the final miner will probably be brought up within the next couple hours. I had fears of having to stay up until 1 a.m. or 2 a.m. to watch the final miner saved.
The logistics of this rescue is amazing to me. Every time that capsule descends the drilled tunnel to the collapsed mine, my heart starts beating faster. I love watching the miners get into the capsule to be brought up to the surface. I get teary-eyed watching the family's await their loved ones, and hold back the tears when they get their first hugs with those who have been waiting for days and days to see them.
The fact that this rescue operation was even possible was amazing. That it is working is nothing short of a miracle of technology. It's fantastic that the whole thing seems to have gone off without a hitch. I love that the whole world seems to be as transfixed by this as the people of Chile.
I'm just now watching the 29th miner hugging his wife, having just come up from the mine. I couldn't imagine the relief these families are going through as they watch their loved ones emerge from what must have been a special kind of hell. How amazing. No kidding. I'm just fascinated, amazed and inspired by the strength of the human spirit.

Tuesday, October 12

Harry + Hermione = 4-Eva

I know that it might be considered blasphemy, but I really think that Harry Potter and Hermione would have made an incredibly good couple. At the end of the day, and when I look at it stoically, I believe that Harry and Hermione were too smart and cohesive a team to end up with anyone else. Sure, Ron's a cool guy. Of course, Ginny is a good girl. But honestly, I think the best couple is the one that did not happen. I thought that from the very beginning. I couldn't understand what Hermione saw in Ron that wasn't abundant in Harry. Certainly, a good and strong friendship is imperative, but isn't that also paramount in a romantic relationship? Shouldn't this have happened differently?
Look at this poster for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, and tell me different.

Monday, October 11

Also, she writes a shorter novel

Am I ruining anything for you when I talk about the end of The Count of Monte Cristo? Okay, I won't go into any detail, except to say that I didn't think it would end like that. Am I a romantic? Am I so convinced that everyone should end up living happily ever after? Am I at all irritated that I just read 600 pages of Alexandre Dumas to a romantically unsatisfying ending? Perhaps.
How to solve this .... hmmmm. How to solve this ...
On to Jane Austen!!

A new girl to wonder about

This photo has been floating around online the last few days. It's very pretty, yes? I was just struck by how lovely it must be to be one of those women that sits perfectly straight on a lovely chaise, has a gentle breeze blowing their gauzy clothing in the most flattering way, and is just out of focus enough to be stunning to anyone who catches a view of her.
I've got a whole scenario about her. I bet she dressed like this every day. She had a husband and two boyfriends, all three of which doted on her and bought her jewelry and clothes, and puppies that she loved but didn't have to pick up after. She wore gardenia and rose-infused cologne, just light enough that you'd smell it only when sitting right next to her. She sipped champagne with her lunch. She had her friends over every afternoon for tea and raunchy gossip. She spoke loudly, and with a quick wit. She never forgot a birthday. She loved to read. Also, she has a very intricate shrubbery maze in her backyard.
I feel like she has a name, but it's not coming to me. I can't think of one that's cool enough, but eccentric enough to fit her personality. She's my new, weird obsession.

Sunday, October 10

Happy birthday, Ollie!!

Ten years old on 10/10/10. That must be a sign, right?
A sign that he's AWESOME! Which I already knew.
Ollie got to snack on rib bones, eat some french fries, and even had a birthday cake. He had precedence over the wishes of every other person in the house. He was petted, rubbed, loved and cuddled at every moment he allowed it. He was sang to repeatedly.
He was a good sport about it, too.

Ducks on a pond

* What a lovely weekend! Brian's brother and sister in-law came into town for the day and night, so the whole family clan came together at our house for some food, laughs and drinks. They're such a fun group of people, and I thoroughly enjoy hanging out and visiting with them. Lost of food, lots of beer, lots of laughs. Good stuff!
* On the downside for today, Sydney's got an official runny nose, and Brian and I shall endeavor to not catch it. This will be easier for him because he doesn't spend every hour of every day with her. I will probably get it, but will fight it like crazy until then. I was hoping she'd lose it after her lengthy nap today, but at dinner tonight, she still looked like she's ill. Even slightly hollow and darkened eyes are not a good thing. We'll see how she's feeling tomorrow.
* Also, I used the Facebook "Places" application for the first time Saturday night. I was able to post the restaurant where we were eating, and tag all the friends that were there, too. I can see where this will become a small obsession: checking in at places -- not personal -- so it can look like my life is more glamorous than it is.
* I think I'm going to send all our Halloween candy to the office with Brian tomorrow. I can't stand having it in the house, and do NOT want to eat anymore. Like I told Trainer Dan the other day, I need someone to come to my home and forcefully remove the candy, because I don't have the heart or will-power to do it myself. Tomorrow morning, I'll pretend to be someone else, with no compunction for hurting my feelings or making me sad. I will be that cold-hearted bitch that throws away another person's candy. And I'll thank me for it.

Thursday, October 7

Reason #1 why Capt. Sparrow rocks

I have got to tell you, I love it when this kind of stuff happens:

Johnny Depp Surprises British Classroom With Visit From Captain Jack Sparrow
While Disney has created a very successful brand in its Princess line, at least one of the company's young female fans is passionate about another of its iconic characters.
Beatrice, a 9-year-old student at a school in London's Greenwich neighborhood, wrote a letter to Captain Jack Sparrow, the character made famous by Johnny Depp in the Pirates of the Caribbean movie series. The letter made its way to Depp -- who's in England at the moment, shooting the fourth film in the franchise, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides -- and he made a surprise visit to Beatrice's school, according to BBC News.
A 2-minute clip of his in-character visit has made it to the Internet, but reportedly he spent 15 minutes in all with Beatrice and her classmates. And though the reason for Beatrice's letter was to seek Captain Jack's advice on staging a mutiny against her teachers, Captain Jack went against his renegade principles, diplomatically recommending to Beatrice that a mutiny would probably get her into trouble.

The video was embedded with the article, but for some portions here and there, it wasn't easy to understand what Depp was saying. It's incredibly awesome that he did this for that little girl. Sometimes, there really is nothing better than a celebrity coming to visit a little kid -- IN CHARACTER -- and make their dream come true. Bonus to Depp for bringing along some additional pirates, too. This story is just too fantastic. Watch the video and read the article here.

Wednesday, October 6

Five statements for this Wednesday

1. I still haven't finished reading The Count of Monte Cristo. It's an incredibly long book. But even though, I'm still more than halfway through it. Let's hope to get through that before the end of the month. ... And the koala says, "What??!! You haven't finished it yet?"
2. I finally watched my free DVD of Robin Hood tonight. I liked it, as I do most every Russell Crowe movie, but it left a bit of a "to be continued" vibe at the end credits (as with Master and Commander). I am peripherally annoyed by this because the movie didn't do that wonderful in the theaters, which means there probably won't be a sequel.
4. Brian's car got all kinds of pockmarked in yesterday's hail storm. State Farm had so many reports and claims in the area that the company is sending a Catastrophe Team to do all the claim estimates. So now, the waiting game. And the inconvenience game. And the irritation game. And the get-the-car-fixed game.
5. I'm looking forward to our weekend. It should be a fun couple days full of family and good times.

Tuesday, October 5

Hail, hail, go away

Very rarely do I ever get nervous in the face of nature. The last time I was scared of the weather was on the drive to California from Phoenix, and Daddy and my kids and I got stuck in a rain storm that made the road invisible. Before that, it was a raging snowstorm in Massachusetts, where I had to travel the highway at 20 miles per hour because the road was gone and the world outside the window was nothing but white.
Today's series of storms didn't scare me, but they certainly did make me nervous of damage to the home. When the hail stones started falling on the skylight, I swore that the skylight itself might break. The stones hitting the windows were a real danger to the integrity of the glass. Some hail actually broke the glass globe over the light fixture in the backyard. The stones were, no kidding, about the size of golf balls. And hard. (I collected seven of the biggest bits of ice in the backyard and saved them in the freezer for Brian to see.)
The hail woke Sydney from her nap, which is crazy unfortunate because she just fell asleep, and after waking up, never went back to bed. Oliver, who has never been a fan of noisy weather, circled my feet and stuck to me like glue until I finally sat on the floor in the living room, and he quickly set up camp curled in my lap. Daisy, who has experienced very little weather in her life, didn't know what to make of the rain and hail, so she stayed close to both Oliver and me.

PHOTOS: All the hail in our backyard after the worst of the storm had passed (top). A tennis ball is only a bit bigger than the hail surrounding it (bottom).

Monday, October 4

How lovely it is being a tenant!

Here's some good news (sarcastically said): Our property management company has filed bankruptcy. We got our notification of its Chapter 7 filing in the mail today. This means, immediately, that our lease contract is now void. The homeowners though were quick about the rumors last week and sent us a rental lease addendum that continues our contract from the management company with the homeowners themselves. This also means that our deposit is tied up in the bankruptcy, which was listed on the notice we got today. Luckily, the homeowners acknowledge this travesty, and will honor our deposit when we move out. Still, weirdly random, yes?
I make it sound all nice and easy, but it wasn't all cute and kittenish. It's been taken care of, and all is civil now, but I'll just say that I am very ready to not be a "tenant" here anymore. I'm sure that they'll keep up their part of the deal, but they've fractured my trust in them as people who are looking out for our interest as well as their own, as was initially implied. So, when just a couple months ago, I was ready to sign a new lease for another full year here, I now am totally ready to vacate in March. Where we go from here is anyone's guess!

Sunday, October 3

Yay October!!

I just realized that the earlier post constitutes the first of the posts for October. I do not like for the first posts of the month to be whining about being tired! That is off-putting!! We celebrate October around here! It's a good month!
So, what going on this month?
First, Brian's brother and sister in-law are stopping in Phoenix on Saturday for a 24-hour layover on their way home from a trip. That means that the family will be having a good visit this weekend, and it'll be a good few days. I need to get our lunch ordered up though. I'm thinking deli sandwiches.
Second, Oliver's birthday is Sunday the 10th. I can not believe that my baby puppy is going to be 10. My goodness a decade goes by in a blink, doesn't it?
Third, it wouldn't be the beginning of Sydney's birthday month without the necessary trip out to California for festivities. Woo hoo!
Fourth, lunch with Julia! I also can't believe that it's been almost two years since Julia and I had lunch. She's got so much going on right now, and I can't wait to sit with her and catch up on everything.
Fifth, good times for the kid's birthday!! And she'll be FOUR! I am blown away by how much has happened in the last four years. She's not a baby, and now, no longer a toddler. She's a little girl, with all the awesome and frustrating that comes with it!
Sixth, of course, Halloween. Love, love, love Halloween! Got all the decorations up, and even the candy is out and tempting. Actually, not much tempting, as I have no will power when it comes to fun-size Twix and 3 Musketeers. It's more of a succumbing on my part.
October is a good thing, but at the end of it, I'll need a day at the spa!!

Pretty pictures of rocks

Okay, I'm exhausted. It's not been the days at all, it's the three-foot terror that comes cruising into my bedroom anytime between 5:30 a.m. and 6:30 a.m. for the last four mornings. Add to that her penchant for getting up a couple times a night when she's excited about having her grandma visit, and you can see why my sleep cycle has been off a bit lately. I knew that Sydney was as tired as I, or more so, but I didn't think that she would actually fall asleep on my bed while watching cartoons tonight. I was able to get her into my arms, but she wanted no part of changing into pajamas. So, she sleeps now in her bed, still dressed from the day, and I am getting ready to hit the sheets, too.
How beautiful is this photo of El Capitan at Yosemite? I love it!