Monday, January 31

I'm all over the silver lining

I sent out the e-mail telling everyone about our move to Houston, and really, it's gone better than I feared. Aside from, and including, the "Houston's farther from California" shrieks, everyone's been pretty enthusiastic and supportive. I wasn't really ready to send out the e-mail, but with the whole moving into an apartment for a few months thing going on, and my incredible propensity to talk and post about every little thing going on in my life, I knew that I needed to spill the beans earlier than I thought. Besides, it'll make me feel better to talk about it all. Especially if random shit like being tossed out of the house prior to when we wanted to be keeps happening. But then, I did some astrological reading. Here's today's horoscope:

Right now there are no insurmountable problems in your life. Sure, there may be conflicts or challenges that make it tough for you to stay smiling all the time, but in reality, they aren't that bad. Try to see the silver lining in all the clouds that have been hovering over your head lately -- if you try, you can do it. Open yourself up to the idea that things happen for a reason ... and trust that you'll know what the reason is in good time.

It's positive!! It's incredibly vague, as horoscopes are. But yay!!

Moving to Houston ... after a fashion

So, we had this great opportunity fall into our laps not too long ago. Brian's friend, Jon, whose dad is a prominent dentist in Houston, is looking for a dentist to staff a second, smaller, satellite office in Houston. The whole deal went down quite a bit more complex than that, but I give it to you all in a nutshell. This means, of course, that the family is moving to Houston this summer.
Our lease though, in the house we're in now, is up at the end of March. In a perfect world, our landlords would allow us a three-month extension on our lease. This is not a perfect world, so we do need to be out of the house by March 31. We've found a good apartment for the three months, plus month-to-month if we need it.
So, we're moving into an apartment in March, and then to Houston in June, July or August. Two moves in six months: crazy; but a great opportunity: priceless.
I'm getting super excited about our future though. The next six to eight months will be entertaining, active and ripe with, shall we say, dra-medy. I've got the mover who moved us into this house coming by on Thursday for an estimate to move into the apartment. Once in the apartment, I'll have a couple months to rest before I dive into the move to Houston.
If anything, a couple new locations will add some much-needed (in my opinion) spike to the blog content here. And Houston will be an incredible muse for my rantings, if you know what I mean.

Sunday, January 30

If we ignore it, will it go away?

My daughter has finally gotten to the age when she realizes that she's not feeling well, and that the offending illness is called a "cold." My morning started out with the child crawling into bed with me, and then laying next to me breathing out her nose making snot noises. Not fun. She rolled over and looked at me and said, "Mommy, I think I have a cold." As the day progressed, so did the snot issues. Sneezes, tissues and snot monopolized my day as they tend to whenever the kid is sick. But again, this day was different because she was able to put a name to it. C-O-L-D. But that also made it a bit easier to treat. With a cold, you have to rest. With a cold, you have to go to bed on time. With a cold, you need to take the medicine. Tonight, actually, was the first time Sydney has taken real cold medicine. It seems to have worked okay, but when I checked on her a bit ago, she was breathing out her nose, though still with a snotty undertone. Now, Brian's and my priority is to stay healthy. This will be easier for him than me, but we'll both put up a valiant fight, I assure you. It seems as though these colds are coming fast and furious lately. I'm over them, but they don't seem to be over me. They're stalking me.
I like this picture a whole lot, and feel that it's apropos for this particular post because the illness in the house is crashing against us with the force of a hurricane. It's a metaphor.

Saturday, January 29

"Despicable" selection

I made the resolution ... again ... to be true to my Netflix queue, but I'm already failing it. We have three movies in our house right now: Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, The Last Airbender and Robot Chicken Star Wars. Of those three movies, I've still watched none, even though this is a weekend ripe for a movie trifecta. In fact, I sat down tonight to watch one, asked Brian to choose it, and he popped in Despicable Me, which he got for Christmas and we still hadn't watched. Not that I'm complaining. I mean, I'm enjoying it, but I was really hoping to send back a Netflix movie on Monday.

Friday, January 28

Sleep is a very good thing

I had some great plans for a very involved and long blog post tonight, but as I look at the clock, I see that it already is almost 11 p.m. ... I had an even better plan of being in bed and asleep by 11 p.m. Also, I think I'll wear socks in bed so I stay as warm as possible. Right now, I'm all about sleeping well tonight. I feel so tired, and I know that life is only going to get more stressful and complicated in the next few weeks and months (details to follow), so good sleep is incredibly important.
I really like sleep. Sydney fights it as much as she can  on a daily basis. Brian is one who finds good sleep relatively elusive. Me? I just get tired, turn off the lights, and go to bed. I'm an easy sleeper. I get that tired, I go to bed. No fighting it for me. I tend to surrender to the beauty of sleep. It makes me happy.
So, I'll plan my involved and long-winded post for tomorrow afternoon.

Thursday, January 27

Two down, eight to go

And here I am, getting hip-deep into awards season. And once again, I haven't seen more than one or two of the nominated movies. Of the Oscar-nominated Best Picture movies -- 127 Hours, Black Swan, The Fighter, Inception, The Kid's Are Alright, The King's Speech, The Social Network, Toy Story 3, True Grit and Winter's Bone -- I've seen only Inception and Toy Story 3. It should say something, I think, that the only two movies I've seen are perhaps the year's most intellectually head-scratching, and the biggest tear-jerker. We actually have The Social Network here, but I have really no desire to see it. Nor do I wish to see The King's Speech or Winter's Bone. The others I could take or leave. Still, I like to know what all the fuss is about. I wish more of these were on DVD.

Wednesday, January 26

Remember when it HAD to be plugged in?

I'm beginning to worry a little bit about the battery on my computer. I remember, back in the day, when the MacBook would last a good three hours, no matter what ridiculous thing I was working on. Over the last couple days though, I've noticed that it's running down quicker than ever before. The farming, perhaps, is a reason, but more than that, I think that the two-year-old battery is just beginning to limp a little. This is worrisome, because really, who has the where-with-all to deal with computer issues these days? I had wanted to watch some online episodes of that show, The Cape, tonight. Instead, I got some farming done, aim to finish up the blog post without rushing through it, and hope to get to my mail one last time before night-nights.
I feel like I've been watching television all day today. I think I'm caught up on most everything that I missed last week, except Hawaii Five-0. My happy DVR, which really deserves a name at this point because our relationship is so close, recorded the first airing of last week's episode, which was timed wrong because of the football game. I believe I will have to check that out online, too, to catch up.
I'll be thinking about a name for the DVR constantly now, until I decide on one.

Tuesday, January 25

Yay books!!

I'm happy to say that all those nearest and dearest to me listened to my whining about not liking any of the books I've got to read, and took care of the issue for me. Mom bankrolled a trip to Barnes & Noble, and distracted my kid so I had the time to chill and look for some new tomes; Lisa got me a B&N gift card; Jeff and Liz got me a B&N gift card; and Scott bought me a copy of Atlas Shrugged. So now, I've got a brand new pile of books to read, and I'm feeling good about it. I actually find myself arguing with myself over which book should be read first. Right now, I'm thinking that January is a good month for some Agatha Christie.
And while I am pleased to be sitting here writing, I also just noted that the power on my computer is in the red. Time to shut down for the night!!

Tuesday, January 18

38 is the new 23

Reread that headline. Such was my Facebook status going into today.
Yep, one more year, another birthday. I won't lie to you, this one is completely weird. Don't get me wrong, I had a wonderful day today. I got a ton of birthday messages, had dinner with a fantastic group of ladies (GIRL PARTY!!), and basically enjoyed getting my own way all day. Sydney, of course, took issue with my birthday privileges, telling Mom tonight that I was too bossy today, and that she had to talk to me about it. I ignored the criticism, and kept going on about my own birthday business.
DIGRESSION: I just saw an ad for Royal Caribbean cruise lines, and suddenly really, really want to go on a cruise with my husband. That looked too fun, and must be done right now.
Well, as I am now 38 years old, I also am too tired to stay up too late tonight.

Monday, January 17

I love you a little bit less now

So, not only have the New England Patriots broken my heart for the football season, but Jon Stewart as well. Stewart went on the record as saying, "Suck it," to all the Patriots, and by extension, their fans. He wounds me.
Of course, it's not like the New York Jets are that good a team or anything. Yes, I'll say it: it's not that the Jets played a good game or anything. It's just that the Patriots were totally not playing a good game. The Pats lost the game more than the Jets won it. Anyone watching that game, anyone would say the same thing. Well, any Pats fan. And no one really, really cares about the Jets anyway.
But then Stewart goes and pops off. Issues. I've got issues. Not like when the Pats lost the Super Bowl those years ago, but still, issues abound. I'd say that next year is our year, but goodness, who knows. I'm destined to be disappointed again, I think. But NO!! Patriots win the Super Bowl in 2012!!

Friday, January 14

Books I don't want to read

I'm having a crisis of conscience involving the books in my "To-Be-Read Pile." The problem: I don't want to read any of them. There are six books, and not one of them looks remotely interesting to me right now. In fact, all the books have been on the shelf for a while, and they haven't looked interesting for quite some time. I'm bored of my books, and that's an unsettling thing for me.

Reasons why I don't want to read them
Eat, Pray, Love: This is supposed to be one of those uplifting, woman-is-power, the-world-is-yours memoirs, right? I'm bored, and envious of the adventure, already.
Mark of the Lion: I'm about 30 pages into this one, from about five months ago, and have no interest in finding out what happens next. This speaks volumes.
Pride and Prejudice: Reading old-time British hurts my head, and I need to be in the right frame of mind to tackle it for hundreds of pages. This one can wait for my 40s.
The Princess Bride: Honestly, I'm afraid that this book is going to ruin my love of the movie.
The Tales of Beedle the Bard: I bought this one by J.K. Rowling because it was by J.K. Rowling. But it's not about Harry Potter, so my interest is on indefinitely hold.
The Phantom of the Opera: Another book that I'm afraid will ruin my own love and knowledge of the story. Honestly, if there's no Michael Crawford or "Prima Donna," I want a minimal interaction with it.

I really just want to donate the lot of them and go get some new ones. And perhaps most telling, when I have that thought, I don't feel guilty about it.
Having said that, I think I'll hold on to a couple of them for another couple years (Pride and Prejudice, The Princess Bride, The Phantom of the Opera and Beedle the Bard), but the rest can definitely be donated in my next book drop-off. Tonight, I clean out the pile. And I feel good about it!

Thursday, January 13

Goats rock!

The Internets is all aflutter over the "new" considerations for astrological signs. I won't even try to explain it, but will go ahead and post the article from Yahoo!'s "Shine" page, as to why your particular sign probably hasn't changed, right here:

Has Your Horoscope Changed?
Fans of the Zodiac have been bombarded with the unsettling news that their astrological sign may not be what they thought.
The horror of switching from Gemini to Taurus had people rushing to the Web for answers, sending searches for "zodiac signs" into the stratosphere.
So has your sign changed? Probably not. But it all depends on what kind of astrology you follow. Let us explain.
It may come as a surprise that there are different branches of astrology. A main Eastern form, for example, called Sidereal astrology, looks to the background stars, those famous constellations, as its guide.
Western astrology -- which uses the zodiac -- has its signs fixed to the seasons. Most Westerners, and all those horoscope pages we eagerly check, go by the zodiac. These signs follow what early astrologers called star signs, whose reference points are the tropics that form a ring around the earth. The zodiac is based on our relationship to the sun, not the stars.
The back story: About 2,000 years ago, the astrological signs and the astronomical ones were the same. But not anymore. The locations of the signs are based on the sun's location on the first day of spring. That location in the sky has slowly drifted westward because of something called "precession" -- the earth continually wobbles (a scientific term for a slight motion) every 26,000 years. Since the constellations were first identified, they have shifted some 30 degrees. Translation: The signs have slipped about a month westward, relative to the stars.
What this means to you: If you follow astrology that is linked to the constellations, your sign would go from say, a Gemini to a Taurus. You could even have a 13th sign, Ophiuchus, which you may have read about.
"It's a huge point of confusion for the public," says Bing Quock, assistant director of Morrison Planetarium at the California Academy of Sciences. For those who follow  Western astrology, "astrologers are not talking about the constellations at all. When an astrologer says the sun is in a certain sign, they're talking about the sign, the location relative to the equinox. They're not talking about the location of the constellations. "
In short, if you follow the Sidereal astrology, the Eastern branch, your sign may have shifted. (And most likely, no surprise to you at all: This news is hundreds of years old).
But for the rest of us, our horoscope, and our signs, are still the same.

I'll admit to being one of those people that mildly freaked out at the thought of having a different sign. I've always been very proud of being a Capricorn. Being the first and last sign in the calendar year is a cool thing, I think. And besides, I would NOT want to be the one to explain to Aunt Bette why I'm no longer a Cap.

Wednesday, January 12

This is Maine, when it's not snowing

I've already taken my NyQuil for the night, so forgive me if I go astray. (Props to whoever gets that random pop culture lyric.) I'm beyond exhausted after the day I've had, and I really can't wait to go to sleep. But something in my internal clock refuses to allow me to hit the pillow until 10 p.m., unless I'm pregnant, so I stay up for just a couple more minutes watching the very end of Sherlock Holmes.
I'll tell you, I think Barack Obama did a fantastic job on his speech tonight, memorializing the recent events in Tucson. He spoke for about 30 minutes, commented on every post-tragedy topic and point of conversation, and managed to discuss aspects of politics without getting political. I like when a president can get the country all pep-rally excited, even in the shadow of a sinister event. And he's such a great speaker. Alas, I do believe that the political discourse in this country ranges somewhere around the level of a flooded toilet, and contrary to everyone's "let's get together" talking points, it'll continue to hang out there. It's sad, because I do think that we need to better ourselves for the cause of our children and the future of the country, but too many people look at events and opportunities for nothing but themselves. So few of our "leaders" are actually looking to a future beyond their next election.

A dark, scary day

We have been living in a house of sick for the last couple days. Brian and I are hacking and coughing, but still valiantly trying to keep Sydney from catching the worst of it all. She's starting to snot a bit here and there, but tells me that she still feels okay. Other than that, I didn't leave the house much at all yesterday. And went to bed early, hence the no blog last night. I'm feeling more like a functioning adult today, so that's good. Still, we'll be hanging out at home today, getting better, bit by bit.
Also, for that reason, I don't really have much of anything to say on the blog here today. I could chat about the weather (still kinda cool, though sunny. Nothing as bad as what's happening to my friends on the East Coast); or Oliver (who is outside sniffing around right now. I see him through my window this instant); or Sydney (who is playing with toys and watching TV).
Or I could talk about the events that unfolded in Tucson last weekend, which is really too sad to wrap my head around. Every time I see that little girl's face on my news, I feel like crying. Every time I see that guy's face, I feel like smashing his nose. Every time I hear someone of a political origin claim that they had nothing to do with this, or try to place blame on someone else, I feel like screaming. Of course, it's not any ONE person's fault this guy went crazy -- besides the shooter's, naturally. It's our society as a whole. But perhaps even blaming vitriolic rhetoric isn't the right course of action either. I think the man himself (certainly) but also a mental health system that perhaps could have helped him ages ago should be held accountable. Saying that he should have gotten help is an understatement, but for politicians -- particularly of the right wing and red state leanings -- to say that the programs failed him is interesting to me, as it is their party that prefers to cut the funding to those kinds of programs, and basically let people sink or swim. The problem, of course, is when the sinking becomes violent and takes the lives and livelihoods of others. As a society, we need to take better care of our crazy people, and that's not going to happen without governmental action. And that can't happen without the funding. It's a weird little circle of life we've got ourselves spinning in. How do we fix it? I'm tempted to say that we need to stop and start all over, but that, above all, would bring anarchy of some kind. Another civil war? Too messy. Jeez, we need help.

Sunday, January 9

Hoping for a healthier existence

I'm suddenly quite tired. I woke up this morning with that odd taste of sickness in my mouth. It's festering a bit in the back of my throat, and it's making me angry. I had grand plans for the week, you know. Tomorrow morning was going to be my triumphant return to the gym and its impressive cardiovascular exercise section. My plan was a good 30 minutes on the treadmill. I think, no matter that I'm not feeling at my best, that I will still be there. Perhaps not with bells on, as was my original intention, but instead, with some low-grade, rusted, triangle of sorts. Still, I fight the illness, and look forward to holding it back with a decent dose of NyQuil. Sydney was telling me tonight that her throat was hurting her, too. This, of course, is unacceptable, but, as she's got it, there's little that can be done now. I feel like it wasn't too long ago that I was complaining about being sick on the blog. But wasn't it October? That's not too bad, I guess. Still, I'd rather not be sick at all. So, having said that, on to the symptom-abating chemical remedies!

Saturday, January 8

A weekend ITEM! list

ITEM!: Oh, by the looks of my dashboard here, Blogger has been messing with my life a little bit. Let's remember how well that worked for Cox Communications and Facebook not too long ago. So far, the only difference is the menu up top here, and the placement of the "Preview" button, so my anger is minimal. We'll see as we progress tonight, I guess.
ITEM!: I'm quite disappointed in the Indianapolis Colts tonight. I had hoped that they would shuffle the Jets back to their sofas, but alas, the Colts lost, and now it's up to the Patriots to beat the Jets. That will make for sweeter victory, I think, but in the end, I would rather have the Jets at home watching the game instead of in Foxborough next week.
ITEM!: I'm watching Clash of the Titans right now; the new one, starring Sam Worthington. I haven't seen it since we Netflixed it, and since I love me some cheesy action movie, as well as some Sam Worthington, I'm happy to check it out again. Also on television tonight, Cop Out, starring Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan. I'm recording it, though I'm not yet sure if I have any interest in watching it.
ITEM!: Sydney, Katy and I made brownies this afternoon. I tried to get Katy to take a bunch of them home with her, but she refused. And now, because I must, I will go into the kitchen and get one to eat.
ITEM!: Well, look at that! It says in the window in which you upload the images onto your blog, that you are aware that the images that you choose are only photos that you have the rights to upload. Well, I'm screwed. If I only used photos that I had the rights to use, this blog would have all of maybe 50 photos on it from the last five years. Boo. Now I can't claim ignorance, can I?

Friday, January 7

Anyway ... funny

I was just reading through an old blog post, and actually laughed out loud when I said that I was in such a mood that at any moment, I would "throw down and knock the piss out of someone." It made me laugh out loud actually, and continues to make me giggle as I type about it right now. The best part is that this was while I was pregnant, and was part of my first real mood swing as a pregnant person. I'm not entirely sure I remember the reason why I was so irritated that day, but I think it had something to do with our art director and his derision of the word "proactive."

Thursday, January 6

It still smells good in here!

My Christmas tree smells awesome still. It's stripped of all ornamentation, and doesn't light up at all anymore, but still smells really, really good. I can sit here on my sofa and get a whiff of perfect greenery-ness from the tree off to my left. The city isn't picking up Christmas trees until next week, so I get to keep it here for the weekend. Monday morning, sadly, it'll have to be put on the curb. But until then, it'll continue to make us super happy. I've never had a Christmas tree live so long. And I think it's because I gave it warm water. The cold-weather trees prefer warmer water. That's the new rule.

Wednesday, January 5

Must. Play. Solitaire. Many. Times.

I think I need to delete the solitaire app from my phone. I'm quite addicted to it. Not in the way that I have to be playing it all the time, but in the way that, when I start playing it, I can't stop. And I cheat. So I have to be playing it until I win a few games, which means that I could start five games before I finish one by winning. And finishing one doesn't mean, at all, that the one game I just won will be the last game I play. No, no. I keep playing. And cheating.
But I love the game, and, like I said, once I start, I can't stop. It takes extreme tired, or irritating child, or just the realization that I must get away from the game, to get me to stop. And it's weird, because I just started playing it again a couple weeks ago. I can take it or leave it most times, but over the last couple weeks, the damn game has been a sickness. I close my eyes and see cards, red and black, stacking up and flipping over. It's a sickness.

Tuesday, January 4

It rhymes with "schmencouragement"

Well, that was disappointing.
I got the feedback today from my adviser on the final assignment for my children's writing course. You may remember that I wrote a manuscript for a fun, rhyming picture book, and sent that in as my Assignment 10, eager to get some critique and/or encouragement before shopping it around. My adviser's always been a good help, and since I was happy with this piece, I was looking forward to hearing back from her in regards to it. I'm not silly enough to think I'd hear all kinds of crazy praise and effusive love for the piece, but something more than 1.) an explanation on how difficult rhyming text is to sell, 2.) how it can't really be taught or critiqued, and 3.) that's why they don't teach that kind of writing in the course, would have left a much better taste in my mouth for a final criticism of my work. On the positive side, she did go on to say that I should really shop Assignment 6 and 7, and wished me luck with both of them.
So, my diploma will be arriving under separate cover in the weeks ahead. And I go forth into the manuscript-selling world unaccompanied, and barely encouraged. But I shall endeavor to sell the rhyming picture book manuscript anyway. As it is one of my New Year's resolutions, and because I like it a lot.

Monday, January 3

"Maybe you can hire ... The A-Team."

I have an unabashed love of The A-Team. The TV show is among my top favorites ever. And lately, over the last few days, I have fallen deeply in love with The A-Team movie. I'm currently watching it for the third time. I mean, the television show was just high jinks, campy, fun adventure. They always saved the day, protected the unprotected, and made it a little bit funny. They drove around Los Angeles all crazy and balls-to-the-wall, shooting up buildings, blowing up cars, and leaving the bad guys all bruised and battered, and conveniently, right where the police would find them with all the evidence needed to convict them (I assume). They created wicked awesome contraptions out of pipe, pressurized canisters and duct tape. It was brilliantly cheesy.
Now, to get The A-Team all awesome and sexy, it had to be made into a movie with Bradley Cooper. And the guys had to be more bad-ass. And sadly, well, they did have to be more violent and kinda brutal. But still funny. And when they got into fights, they had to look like they'd been in a fight. And when they got hurt, they had to bleed. Also, Bradley Cooper. But this is exactly the kind of movie I would love: explosions, guns, giggles, hot guys, sexy flirting, adventure and action.
Combine that with a premise that I already thoroughly enjoy, and the pieces come to mix in the perfect kind of movie for me. A perfect storm of entertainment, if you will.

Saturday, January 1

Churches: pretty. Religion: not so much

In his most recent lecture, Pope Benedict XVI tried to rally his supporters and followers to keep the faith in response to the recent attack in Egypt, where a bomb killed 21 people outside a church. He asked followers and governments to join efforts in combating religious persecution. I am intrigued by his use of the phrase "religious persecution," because his own religion is so happy persecuting other people. Here you have the Pope verbally fighting against people that don't accept his religion, yet his religion so happily rejects other people and their beliefs. Not to get too judgmental or anything, but honestly, what happened to treat people the way you would like to be treated by them?
Also, I do not condone the violence brought to those people. In fact, it's awful. No one likes people being hurt. Well, most people don't like it. I think religion is the last thing in the world that should ever be fought for or against with violence, and certainly, killing and bombing people will never be the best way to get people to join your cause. So really, the bombing is the exact wrong way to go about getting your word out to the people.
Anyway, having said that, I still see an incredible hypocrisy in what the Pope said the other day. You've just got to love how religions see the good only in themselves, protect only themselves, and feel that everyone else should respect only them. Also, that everyone should change their beliefs and follow them. So, while the bombings didn't help the bombers, nor did it help the Catholics, so, in the end, people are dead, and no one benefits.


I am, literally, itching to take down my Christmas decorations. I feel like I've been pretty valiant so far in keeping them up until the beginning of January. A lot of that has to do with the fact that my tree is still very much alive. Usually, it's quite dead at this point, and the taking down of the decorations is preceded by the removal of the dead forestry in my living room. However, I don't like the idea of unfancifying the living tree. It's like stripping it before banishing it. The whole act leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
But this afternoon, I honestly feel quite antsy about the decorations. I wonder if I can do the decorations before the tree. I could, I suppose, but that just feels wrong. Weird. Off-putting. Fingernails on a chalkboard. Also, Brian and Sydney really don't want them down yet.
Tomorrow. Tomorrow I will assert my will on the holiday decorations. Tomorrow will be the day that the stuff comes down. And I'll feel better.