Wednesday, November 30

11 months down, one to go

Also, tomorrow is December. This year has flown by, for good, bad and limbo.

It'll be more boring on TV that day

By some glitch in our weirdly behind-the-times cable company, we currently have access to all the specialty movie channels. Starz, Encore, Showtime, Flix, HBO and Cinemax are all on our televisions, and free. Brian and I have decided that, whenever the cable company figures out how to fix this, we're going to be bummed. Because having the ability to search through just a couple movie channels is awesome, but having unlimited access to about 30 movie channels is the stuff of dreams. You know I love to watch movies over and over, and I've been sitting through a few movies pretty regularly when they are on: Tangled, the Lord of the Rings trilogy (by which I "re-crush" on Legolas), Boys on the Side, Tron: Legacy, and It's Complicated. Also, Sydney and I caught a showing of The Princess and the Frog yesterday. It's been a super treat watching all the channels. I mourn the day that they will be taken from me.

Tuesday, November 29

The dentist and the reindeer

And then, as she sighed and looked around her house, she realized that she had, indeed, finished decorating her home for Christmas. Then, considering her trail of thoughts, she began to type. ... DRAMATIC, right? I'm such a dork sometimes!

My house is decorated for Christmas. I've got Santas, stockings, snowmen, and reindeer in every room, (tastefully done, of course), and in every nook of the home. Everyone is sleeping on Christmas sheets tonight, and we all ate off Christmas dishes at dinner. It's that time of year, when everything is done in red and green, and with a little sprig of holly to complement it.
There really is nothing better than the kid who wears a Santa hat because it keeps her warm, instead of just for the sake of it being a Santa hat. Also, now she has an opinion on where things go in the house. But last night, I had to lobby for the privilege of putting Christmas sheets on her bed, in place of the normal dinosaur sheets. She prefers the dinosaurs, and said so a few times, but eventually, she caved to my request, and I was allowed to put the holiday sheets on her bed today. And tonight, not a single comment about them. But it was fun watching her roll through the house and make note of all the decorations. I was told that I did a beautiful job several times during this tour. I spent all day waiting for nothing other than her praise, and I'm so glad she was happy with my efforts. (That sounds kinda sarcastic, but it's not. I'm really happy she likes it all.)
Tomorrow, I get to sit back and enjoy the pretty. I worked hard at it today.
Thirteen boxes of decorations! I have a lot of stuff!

Monday, November 28

Christmas ... sorta ... arrives tomorrow

I shall admit defeat to the Call of Christmas, and spend the time to decorate my house for the holiday tomorrow. I blame the carols. This morning, I charged up my Christmas iPod (for you, Josh) and spent some time listening to some Christmas carols. Also, the family is anxious for it.
Also, it was a cold morning to walk my dogs earlier today. Temperature: 34 degrees. It's been a good five years since I've had to walk my dog in such temperatures. (So cold, in fact, that steam rose off Oliver's pee as he relieved himself in the grass. I always thought that was pretty funny during my winters in Massachusetts, and apparently, still do so here.) In those five years though, I forgot what I had to wear to stay warm when walking my dog in the cold morning air. Eventually, I pulled together my outfit: longjohns, sweatpants, t-shirt, sweatshirt, jacket, and winter hat. I have it sitting out on my bedroom floor, because it should be just as chilly tomorrow morning.

Sunday, November 27

Chilly nose! Chilly nose!

Well, I guess the Texan autumn is upon us. It got down to the 30s and 40s last night, and only rose to a high in the 50s today. And as Brian enjoys the cool so much, and we have such excellent cross breeze in this place, the windows were open all night, day, and tonight. It was chilly, for certain, but tolerable, especially since this is exactly what we enjoy for our autumn and winter weather. Still, tonight my nose is chilled, as has been for several hours. Because I finally made my way into my bedroom, and because I've been typing, my fingers have gotten to their normal temperature as well. I'll put my extra blanket on my bed this evening, as I hate sleeping cold. Sydney swore to me that she was warm while sleeping, but I think I'll put the winter blanket on her bed tomorrow anyway.
Also, this afternoon when I took the dogs downstairs for their walk, I was the coldest I've been on an afternoon walk in ... oh ... about five and a half years. I won't say it was as cold as a Massachusetts afternoon, but it was close enough to make me remember a Massachusetts afternoon.
So, autumnal weather is upon us. It's a good thing. Tomorrow, I shall get a hot drink after dropping Sydney at school.

Saturday, November 26

Entry way: halfway done

I'm still futzing around my house. In fact, this morning, I changed up my whole entry way, in that now I like it: the key holder shifted to the left, the coat rack shifted to the left, and the Kinkade is now hanging on the wall, as well. My conundrum now is the opposite wall, where there is a light switch and security system pad to break up the wall space just enough to make it virtually impossible to hang anything there. I mean, of course I'll find something for the expanse of wall, and it'll be fun to play with the unconventional space. I can't leave it blank because there's just too much wall for that. I've already got a couple ideas. Let's see what I can come up with tomorrow.
I don't know when I'll be "done" with the apartment. Besides just having found a place for everything, now I have Christmas to do. Having established tentative places for everything, now I get to move it all around, and put some of it in bins in preparation for Christmas decorations. This is an assurance that, in January, I'll be bitching and moaning about how I don't remember when anything went, and walking around aimlessly with random household things in my hands. It'll be like setting up my home for the first time, again.
Don't get me wrong, I'm super excited about Christmas. And I'm looking forward to prettying up my house for the holiday. And I'm really excited to have it all done for Brian and Sydney on Thursday when they get home. Yes, it'll be my project for Thursday. Because we decorate for Christmas no earlier than the first of December. It's a rule in my head, you know.

Thursday, November 24

Turkey Day goodness!!

My husband was so excited and hungry for turkey dinner that he had the bird prepped and in the oven at 8:30 a.m. Of course, this meant that our bird was ready before noon, well before the potatoes, stuffing and other side dishes. So, we had a Thanksgiving lunch rather than a dinner. And honestly, that was perfectly fine. I find that I prefer to have my feast-like meal earlier in the day. It means left-overs for dinner, and more time to digest before going to bed. Also, it's not that late once all the dishes are done. I think we may have stumbled onto something brilliant with this one. From now on, every Thanksgiving meal we make ourselves for ourselves, we have at lunchtime.

Wednesday, November 23

Tomorrow, "the feast"

I can't wait to go to sleep tonight. I don't know why, but I'm suddenly pretty tired, and sitting here on my bed is making it much worse.
We got all our Thanksgiving food stuffs at the grocery store this morning. In fact, I've already baked my cherry pie for dessert tomorrow. I'll also bake some chocolate chip cookies to complement it. But the turkey's all good to go, as are our side dishes. As Sydney says, "It will be a feast!"
I've got some television to catch up on still. Glee is first among them. I've been reading about how awesome last week's episode was, and I have yet to see it. (Another DVR issue, right? Yes, but also reaching back to the era of no television a couple weeks ago.)
I made some tuna salad for sandwiches at lunch today. It was, I think, the very first time I made Mom's recipe of tuna without any assistance from her at all. I'm pleased to say that it came out tasting excellent for my lunch today, and I'm eager to have some for lunch tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 22

And the mirrorball trophy goes to ...

ITEM!: It's that night. The night when the new champion of Dancing with the Stars is crowned, and I have to figure out how to get three images into one blog post. I don't know yet who the winner is, but I know who the winner is not, and that's Ricki Lake. Too bad. She was awesome, and I was pulling for her.
ITEM!: I would like to have a way to find out what Daisy is thinking. For whatever reason, the dog decided to eat a few icky things that I couldn't get out of her mouth this afternoon on our walk. (This always infuriates me, with either her or Oliver. I hate digging gross stuff out of a dog's mouth, but I hate even more when I'm unable to dig gross stuff out of the dog's mouth. I'd rather they didn't eat the damn thing.) Anyway, she ate it, and after the rest of her food and parts of Sydney's pear earlier tonight, the entire contents of her stomach made a reappearance on my quilt not too long ago. I would like to know why she eats icky things. But more importantly, I guess, would be having the ability to make her completely understand what I'm saying to her when I explain that eating icky things makes her vomit on Mommy's stuff. Once she gets this, I'll have less laundry to do.

ITEM!: Something that you all are going to read about a lot, I think, is the humidity levels where I'm living now. A new catchphrase in my life is, "Humid as f*ck." I live it, I embrace it, and I'm not afraid to say it. Anyway, today, it was not as humid as it's been lately. I'm pleased to say that it rained like crazy this morning; more rain than I've seen in a long time. After the rain cleared out though, the humidity left as well. The temperature dropped, as did the humidity, and then I could open my windows for some fresh, cool air.
ITEM!: It's official, J.R. Martinez has won Dancing with the Stars! I'm happy with this! He did a fantastic job all season, and he worked his butt off. Also, I'm happy that his professional partner, Karina Smirnoff, won, as well. It's always nice to see one of the long-standing professionals finally win one, and she was incredibly deserving this season. It's amazing how well these professional dancers can do when they have a partner with some talent and charisma.
ITEM!: I had a much better day with the employment ads today. I actually sent out a couple resumes. I even found a couple telecommuting gigs that look interesting. I've got a couple more e-mails to send out tomorrow morning, and once that's done, I'll have done my searching for the Thanksgiving week.
ITEM!: Also, I spent quite a bit of time futzing around my house, putting away some last-of-the-box things. Another shelf? Really? It'll hold a snow globe and a flower pot. Move the jackets from the trunk into the closets? Sure enough. Move stuff from one place to another because I'm crazy about having everything in the exact right spot? Sadly, yes. But, I think I'm almost done.

Monday, November 21

Dinosaurs didn't have DVR, either

This is the post in which I complain ridiculously about not having a DVR.

Hey everyone. Right now, I'm living my life without a DVR. The cable company would only authorize one DVR for our house due to their own low supply (CHEESY CABLE COMPANY ALERT), so I have to forgo my own DVR until next month. I didn't think it would be that big a deal, but that was before I got comfortable in my house and settled back into my television viewing habits. I also thought, at the time, that I was in a major metropolitan city less crazy than Phoenix, and that its nightly prime time started at 8 p.m., as it does in California and Massachusetts, the two normal places I've lived. With TV starting at 8 p.m., I thought I'd only lose a couple minutes of my first show while putting my kid to bed. But, as you can surmise by my tone, I find that I do not live in a normal place. I live in what they call "Central Time," which is an entire portion of the country that starts its nightly television at 7 p.m. I can't defeat that. It makes my lack of DVR even more frustrating.
Did you know that television has commercials when you don't have a DVR? They are real, and you have to watch them. You can push the fast-forward button as much as you want, but without the technology, the damn commercials just stay there. Also, you can't pause your television when you need to go pee, or check on the kid, or see what it is your husband is yelling out about on the television in the living room.
"Kimmie!! KIMMIE!! Come here and see this!!"
"Wait a minute! I need a commercial!"
"Just pause it and come see this!"
Even though my kid was asleep, I really did yell that from my bedroom into the living room. I have no shame. I'd yell it from the roof. I need my DVR. This is what they call a "first-world problem." Still, it is a problem. I'm a junkie. I need my DVR.

My Dancing with the Stars voting (5 votes allowed):
J.R. Martinez ~ 2 votes.
Ricki Lake ~ 2 votes.
Rob Kardashian ~ 1 vote. I don't know why he got the one vote. If I had six votes, I would have given each two of them. Out of these three stars, I'd rather see Martinez or Lake take home the trophy. Nothing at all against the kid, in fact, I like him. I just prefer the other two. I'll let the rest of America decide.

Sunday, November 20

Zoo homework: Study the map

So, not only do I have a whole new town to learn, but a new zoo, as well. While the Houston Zoo is quite lovely, and, I'm sure, incredibly pleasant to walk around when it's not humid or too hot, it's not going to be an easy one to learn. (Somehow, there has to be a use for all my Phoenix knowledge now that I'm not there anymore. Perhaps some kind of osmosis transfer? Or a City Where You Live app update?) We weren't able to investigate the whole place, as it was hot and our attitudes were a bit cranky, but we did get to see the sea lions, tiger, rhinoceros, lions, elephants, cougars, giraffes and meerkats, among other animals. I honestly can't wait to go back there. And once I have a more straightforward path to getting there, we'll become regular visitors. What I didn't like about today, in my own little crazy head, was not knowing where everything was. That will change, of course, after Sydney and I get our membership and start going there more often, but still, the lack of knowledge was irritating. I'm such a control freak.

Saturday, November 19

Job title: author?

I checked out job listings in Houston last night. I won't lie, it was pretty dismal ... and disappointing. And, to add another alliteration, depressing. I didn't expect to find the perfect job right away. But the prospects were either not at all what I do, or the boring stuff I've avoided my entire professional career: technical writing and editing. There were a couple things that sounded okay, but nothing that made my heart go pitter patter with potential. I don't even know what I want to do now.
But I do know that I've got a nifty little manuscript for a kid's book. Maybe this is the catalyst for me to get my butt into marketing my own stuff. So, once the kid and the husband are into their routine, I can start sending out query letters. Might as well get to the "'starving' but not hungry" author part of this game, right?

Is it *really* cheating?

This, to the left, is my cheat sheet for my television channels. It's weird how, when you've got the cable company's channel list in your hand, you can really narrow down the list to just a few channels that you actually watch. Also notable on this list is that three of the channels are Sydney's. Five other channels are ones that I don't watch regularly, but do like to know where they are, i.e., ESPN, CNN, A&E, and Discovery.
So, as I go through my ridiculous television obsessions, I can see, by virtue of my cheat sheet, that I actually only watch five channels. I think I'm feeling my age in that I still haven't memorized the channel numbers yet. Every time I go to switch stations, my head pops up with the Phoenix numbers.
It'll take some time, I know, but I'm frustrated with not knowing better and faster which channel is which. Hence, my lovely cheat sheet. It sits atop my nightstand. Cheat sheets rule! I very much like them, Sam I am!

Friday, November 18

Brian = Tiger Food

I have created a monster. This monster says many fun random things to me, but sometimes, they are irritating things. One particular pebble in my shoe is, "We haven't done anything fun for me today." Sometimes, we can not always do something fun for Sydney every day. Sometimes, it's all about family things, or errands, or other responsibilities.
The last several days have been about these other concerns, and since Sydney has been such a trooper, we decided to do something fun for her today.
We visited the aquarium. I am actually pretty impressed with our local aquarium. They had a whole bunch of different fish and mammals: piranhas, huge grouper, jellyfish, eels, sharks and anemones.
But weirdly, the aquarium also has a white tiger on display. It has a lovely space, with big windows, a little pool to play in, and lots of room. The tiger though, developed an interest in Brian. Sydney and I watched the tiger from the left side of the exhibit. Brian passed by us and went to observe from the right. The tiger stopped chewing up its toys and followed Brian over to the window. It lay down right by the window, showing all kinds of teeth when it yawned, spreading out its legs while stretching, and watching Brian with as much interest as he showed it.
We allotted about five minutes of time in focused conversation with, and about, the tiger. As we stood up and turned to leave the exhibit though, the tiger LEAPT up, and seemed to try to grab Brian. No kidding, it jumped up, with claws out, teeth on display and, no doubt, some kind of predatory noise coming from its throat. I turned back just in time to see the tiger standing on its hind legs with its front legs on the glass and the teeth showing. As an understatement, I'll say that I was startled. Brian didn't seem to flinch at all, and Sydney didn't even get what was happening. But really, the tiger would have mauled him, had it been able to get through the glass. That would have been messy!

Thursday, November 17

Perhaps more sleep is in order

I get that I'm tired. I do. But this falling-asleep-on-the-sofa thing is driving me batty. Why can't I stay awake just a little it longer, and get ready for bed in a proper and timely fashion? Why do I find myself crashed out on the sofa or the bed, having just woken up from a nap?
Of course, part of the problem is that I lay down, get comfortable, and close my eyes.
Also, I enjoy sleeping, so it's not exactly an activity that I fight against when the mood strikes me.
But waking up after being asleep for 45 minutes, right when I actually should be going to sleep, is exhausting. It messes with my nighttime agenda, as well as my sleepy head.

Wednesday, November 16

It's such a good show!

I have only five boxes left in my apartment. And they are in my hallway, waiting to be taken down to the garage. It's liberating, but still, it means I've got a ton of vacuuming to do tomorrow once the boxes are gone. Also, I didn't leave my apartment all day. Finishing the office was my main priority, and I got that done, so I'm feeling good about that.

Good things about today:
I found the cushions for the sofa bed.
The laundry room is organized.
We're watching Friends right now.
Both my dogs pooped on their walk this evening.
Sydney ate all her pizza and meatballs for dinner.
It's getting cooler outside.

Tuesday, November 15

Eating out, and on the Internet

We had our first dinner out in Houston tonight. We ate at the New York Pizzeria on the corner. I've brushed my teeth twice, and I still taste the garlic bread. Sydney and I shared a pizza, and Brian ordered some sandwich thing, as well as some clam chowder. Do not ask me why our first foray out into the Houston nightlife was to a New York pizza place. It was what Brian was hungry for, and I was in no mood to try to change his mood. Still, the pizza was tasty, and Miss Sydney ate plenty.
What else? Well, Brian's had a bit of what I call a "stress cold." He's been hit hard by this cold for the last couple days. Now, I worry for Sydney, who told me at 7 p.m. that she was tired and wanted to go to bed. I mentioned that it was early, and, of course, she then insisted on staying up and watching some television. So, she had her normal bedtime, but I hope that she gets as much sleep as she needs tonight. And also that she doesn't crawl into bed with me. I don't want any germs at all.
And having returned to the world of television and Internet, I can get back into my normal life of being perpetually connected to my computer and television. I haven't voted on Dancing with the Stars in two weeks, so I can claim no responsibility for this, but I am pleased to see Hope Solo and Nancy Grace (last week's exit) off the ballroom floor; and J.R. Martinez, Ricki Lake and Rob Kardashian in the finals. Good stuff. Next week should be good!
As for my house, I have only a few boxes left in it, and only the remaining bits in the office to put away. Tomorrow, I should think, will be my last day of unpacking.

The first post from Houston

I honestly have no idea where to even start with the last couple weeks I've had.
I guess I'll start by bitching about my poor decisions about Houston while I was in Phoenix, including my housing option and my daughter's school.
1. The apartment we chose was AWFUL, with a capital AWFUL. We -- stupidly -- signed our lease before seeing the place, and upon seeing the place, I was frantic. There was NO WAY I was going to live, and have my family live, in a place with a rubber-stamped "Pimp" on the front door. The complex was gracious about our sudden turnaround, but wasn't interested in letting us out of the lease we had just signed 15 minutes prior. They sent us to one of their sister properties, which is, happily, much nicer; and in a better part of town. So, I'm settled (mostly) into a nicer place with three bedrooms, storage, and two carports. Happier campers all the way around, but still, I'm horrified with where I almost ended up.
2. The school, and its curriculum, was fine. The school was great. The 45 minutes it took me to drive her there on Monday was NOT great. The 35 minutes it took to pick her up was also not great. I did find a school, with just as challenging a curriculum, only two minutes away, and she's enrolled there. Sydney restarts school on Monday. Tomorrow, I bring in her paperwork and the first tuition check. Another disaster averted.

No kidding, you guys. If I was a hitter in baseball, and these two decisions comprised my batting average, I would be benched and traded before I could draw my next breath. While most everything pressing has been dealt with, I still find myself terrified of what will happen next. I go to bed every night with a bit of a queasy stomach because of the uncertainty of my little life right now.
You know what I need? A job. As soon as I've developed a bit of a routine with my family, I am on the hunt. I won't survive out here without something for me, and a job is exactly what I need.
I feel like I'm bursting at the seams to talk to you, so may just post a bit later.

Saturday, November 5

Tomorrow, leaving the Arizona desert

Tomorrow we make our way into Texas.
Our first day of driving will only be about seven hours and change, so there's no reason to get up too early and bust our butts to get out of town at the crack of dawn. I'm thinking a 9 a.m. departure time. I'm hoping for a good night's sleep, too. I got a decent one last night. Let's make it two in a row, yes?
I ended up reviving our Netflix account tonight. I had suspended it because I didn't want to worry about the DVDs while we were in transit, but when the account is suspended, so is the Watch Instantly feature. That, to my daughter, is not acceptable. And because Super Why was imperative to her good mood this afternoon, I revived the account, but changed the address to Houston. So, I'll hold on to our X-Men movie, and we'll have two new movies when we get to Houston.
Other than that, we didn't do much today. New travel beds for Ollie and Daisy in the cars, more food for them, too; and some snack foods for Brian and I in the cars. It'll be weird going on our road trip without being in the same car. But we each got a new car charger for our phones, so we can spend the entire seven hours in the car on the phone, if we want.
So, tomorrow we say goodbye to living in Arizona. Weird.

Friday, November 4

What?!?! A blog?!?! TONIGHT?!?!

ITEM!: I think you all should consider yourselves lucky that I'm blogging tonight. Not that I have any incredibly life-changing and beneficial information or advice to impart, but because I'm super tired and would rather be napping. Sydney's asleep in our bed in the other room, and I'm currently listening to Brian and his dad argue over the country's finances. "He who speaks loudest is right." Such is the mantra when those two are together!
ITEM!: So, all my stuff is on a big truck on its way to Houston. Our load weight, according to the driver, is 13,000 pounds. I declare shenanigans in the worst way about that. Brian is incensed. There is no way we've doubled the weight of our life since we came out from Boston, he states. I think I agree, though I definitely see where we did increase our load over the last five years. Still, it means that we're paying the cost of our entire estimate, A LOT, and the rest of my life is more stressful. I'm never going to want to move again. But I'll have to. I've got at least two more moves in my future: from apartment to house in Houston (hopefully), and eventually, from wherever I am to California.
ITEM!: I'm tired. Like, so tired. I woke up this morning just as exhausted as I was yesterday morning. I got to take an hour-long nap later in the morning. I had a relatively relaxing day. Still, I'm super tired. It's only 10 p.m., and I can't wait to go to sleep. I'm even thinking of dosing myself with some NyQuil. I need to sleep tonight, because I probably won't tomorrow night, in preparation for the drive out on Sunday morning. My god, people, I don't think I'll sleep well for another four nights. That's making me all tired again!

Tuesday, November 1

I protest! I protest!

Well, here I am, less than 48 hours from the movers arriving to pick up our stuff for Houston. I'm trying hard to not freak out. Note the word, "trying."
Honestly, I'm doing pretty well, I think. Brian did look at me an hour or so ago and remark that I looked like I was having a nervous breakdown. I think that's a bit of an exaggeration.
Still, I look around and I see "a box here and a box there" that needs to be packed. I was on fire today with the boxing, and I intend to power through a lot of it tomorrow. My goal is to have everything that needs to be in the cars ready to go in the cars by the time we see Katy tomorrow night. That way, selfishly, I'll have another set of hands to help carry everything downstairs.

Also, I am irritated with a capitol "IRR" about David Arquette being expelled from the ballroom tonight on Dancing with the Stars. He was having so much fun. He was doing better at his dancing. He was frickin' entertaining. His ex-wife and daughter were fantastic in the audience. And in looking at other stars, it's inconceivable to me that Arquette is the one sent packing. In fact, I'm so over Maks, his ego, and his behavior, that I had really hoped that he and Hope Solo would have been sent home tonight.