Wednesday, February 29

Matching shirts are underrated

Davy Jones died today. He died of a heart attack in Florida this morning.
I didn't find out until later this afternoon, well after Ryan changed his profile picture, and after Twitter and the Internets had been buzzing about it for a couple hours.
That is so heartbreaking. I mean, I was a Micky Dolenz girl, but The Monkees is one of my most favorite bands ever, and that television show was GOLDEN, so this is so sad to me.
I saw them once in concert, you know. At the Greek Theatre. It was just the three members: Jones, Dolenz, and Peter Tork. I have the program in a box somewhere. It was awesome. Weirdly, I can't remember who saw that concert with me. (And now, I'm sad about that, too. What the hell? Where did my memory go? ARGH, 39!!)
But still, I'll be bringing my iPod into the car tomorrow, and Sydney and Mom will be subjected to a Monkees retrospective all day. And I'm gonna sing along. LOUD.

And yet the two worlds DO collide

So, Mom and I are in the Lulu Lemon store in Houston today. The salesgirl helping us is making conversation, and asks Mom which other Lulu store she shops in. Mom says, "The one in Calabasas."
And immediately, this voice pops in from behind us. One of the other salesgirls says, "Isn't that where the Kardashians live? It's a NICE area. Isn't it a nice place?"
To tell you honestly, I was blown away, and both shocked and appalled at once. All I could think was, "Holy crap. Calabasas is a beautiful little place, and the rest of the nation thinks of it only as 'the place where the Kardashians live.' This is embarrassing."And all we could do was tell this girl, who clearly wanted to hear it, was that, yes, Calabasas is a nice place. And that, yes, everyone does wear Lulu Lemon clothes all the time.

And THIS is why the Internet is an AMAZING thing!! I did a search for both Lulu Lemon, and Kardashian, and what do I find, but a picture of Kourtney Kardashian wearing Lulu Lemon!! CRAZY!! And so incredibly timely!! Internet searches can produce GOLD.

Tuesday, February 28

My Partner in 'Bucks is here!

ITEM!: I'm conducting an experiment, in regards to my hair. I took the time to use the straightening iron on it today, and right now, it's as straight as I could want. Now, the experiment comes in finding out how long, in Houston's currently humid and warm weather, it stays that way. I propose that it won't even last the night.
ITEM!: My children are incredibly happy that their grandma is here tonight. Sydney was bouncing off the walls all day, and Daisy hasn't left her side since she walked into the apartment. Now, everyone is sleeping, and happy, and content.
ITEM!: We don't have any yummy dessert, and Starbucks is closed. It's like we're in some kind of parallel plane of existence prison, being denied our most basic wants for sustenance. JJ would call this a "First World Problem." I want some cheesecake, and I want a mocha.

Monday, February 27

The leg, a French guy and cymbals

No doubt Y'ALL are waiting for my Oscar recap. I did, of course, watch the Academy Awards show last night, with my hubby next to me, my phone in front of me, my dog on top of me, and my mind fully engaged. I picked nine right of all the categories, which wasn't too good, and less than Brian (11), but still better than Camp Togias, with whom Brian and I were ballot competing.
I don't really feel like digging through a bullet point list of things I liked and disliked about the ceremony. I may have overdosed a little bit on Oscar coverage, and Angelina Jolie's leg. Not that the ceremony itself wasn't amazing, because parts of it certainly were. Also, some was not amazing.
I did not like Billy Crystal's hosting job. There. I said it. So many people disagree, but I got such an "old-man jokes" vibe from him throughout the whole thing. And when you don't like the host, it makes the whole show kinda ... meh. But the movie stars made it better.
Apparently, I should have seen The Artist and Hugo. Both these movies, I had no desire to see in the theater. Are they worth the trouble to put on my Netflix queue? I think The Artist, but not so much Hugo. Also, I don't like Woody Allen.
I hope I do better on my Oscar ballot next year. When Brian wins, he develops a bit of a God complex about movies. And he brags a lot about knowing more about movies than I do. I can't abide that. But I guess poorly, so it's more my fault at being wrong than his boon for being right. Right?

Left-overs? Gooood

So, just in case you were really, super curious, you actually can microwave a beignet. You have to be careful, and stop the microwave about halfway through the amount of time you think it'll take to heat it, and pay attention when you finish the time in the microwave. I have a feeling that if it's heating too long, it can get super, super rubbery. Be careful, and enjoy your day-old confection.
And with that, you too can re-heat a delicious beignet. I do this for you, of course. I can't have Y'ALL wandering about in the world being all unawares of the etiquette and direction behind re-heating a beignet in a microwave. I took one for the team on this one. Truly. It's because I love you all so much. That I put forth the experiment. Which could have gone horribly wrong. But instead, is a success.
And I ate it.

Saturday, February 25

Best part of today

I have an incredible love of beignets (deep-fried, French doughnuts covered in powdered sugar). They are, hands down, one of my favorite desserts. (You see how I was diplomatic there? I love a whole lot of desserts.) I was introduced to beignets several years ago, by my mommy, at Cafe Du Monde in New Orleans. One bite of the doughy, sugary mess, and I was hooked. Every time I visited New Orleans, I made it a point to visit Cafe Du Monde as often as possible. I was beyond giddy to discover a Cafe Du Monde shop in the Atlanta Underground, and paid for the taxi to take me there and back to my hotel one afternoon while in town for a convention several years ago. Brian's tried, several times, to make the beignets himself, with the mix from Cafe Du Monde, but they just never come out exactly right. There is one place, relatively local, where I can get some good beignets: the Jazz Kitchen at Downtown Disney in California.
Lately, I've tried beignets at a French breakfast restaurant in Las Vegas (icky), and at Shipley's Do-Nuts here in Houston (also icky). As disappointed as I've been with the most recent examples of beignets, I'm always somewhat pleased that they aren't as good. The last thing I need for the size of my ass is a yummy beignet place within a quick driving distance.
Having said that, I am so excited that Brian found, and we tried, a delicious beignet and coffee shop in Houston this afternoon. The place boasts a New Orleanean heritage, so I was eager to try their beignets. The selection in the frier and on the counter looked good, so I was happy to dig into one in the car before we even left the parking lot. And ... they are ALMOST perfect! The only thing that could make them better is if they were actually beignets from Cafe Du Monde, and I was sitting at a table on the porch in New Orleans.
We ordered a dozen, and I've had two so far, but the shame is that once beignets get cold, they're just not as good. Tomorrow I will experiment in how to re-heat them. I refuse to trash something that good, even if they're cold and kinda icky. ... OSCAR TREATS!!

Thursday, February 23

It's Brian's birthday today!!

ITEM!: Today is Brian's birthday, where he joins me at the lofty age of 39. Ugh. No more "younger" man for me. So sad.
ITEM!: We tried an appetizer of fried alligator at dinner tonight. It was tasty. The breading had a bit of a kick to it though, and was delicious, so I don't know how much of the good taste can be attributed to the alligator itself. Alligator meat, just so you know, comes from the tail.
ITEM!: I bought Brian the book How to Archer, from the adult cartoon, (and one of my very favorite shows) Archer, for his birthday. I only was able to skim a few pages, but it looks terribly funny, and I can't wait for Brian to finish it so I can read it. Whenever he's reading it, he's giggling. Also, he's taken to reading it aloud for me in a poor imitation of Archer's voice. Yay humor!
ITEM!: Sprinkles' seasonal flavors for February include a salted caramel cupcake, and, my personal favorite, a chocolate chip, raspberry cupcake. It was an hour-long round trip for Brian's b-day cupcakes, but the chocolate and raspberry confection that I just finished a few minutes ago made it ALL worth it.
ITEM!: There was so much humidity in the air today that I didn't even bother trying to blow-dry my hair this morning. I pulled it back into a thing, then a big barrette, and also a braid. Tonight, it's the curliest craziness I've ever seen. It should only look better -- sarcasm -- tomorrow morning after I've slept on it.
ITEM!: It is requested that Sydney dress like a Texan for school tomorrow. The most "Texan" things we own, as of now, are jeans and a plaid shirt. Some braids in her hair? How stereotypical shall we go with this? We have no cowboy hat or cowboy boots. A sprig of hay in her mouth? Goodness gracious, I'm at a loss. Jeans and a plaid shirt will have to do.

Wednesday, February 22

Stay away from my lady parts!!

I hate that women's health has become a hot-button issue in this country for the politicians. Birth control, abortion, mandated health procedures and the like are no one's business but the woman dealing with them. I hate, with every ounce of my being, that the concept of women's health is being debated in the government by groups of MEN, without a whisper of a woman's voice. It is INFURIATING that a group of white, more than-50 years old men can decide, or try to deny, a woman her right to choose anything to do with her own body. That some random man who knows nothing about anything in any woman's life, can decide what kind of medicine or medical procedures she can or can not have is among the most ridiculous ideas in the history of ridiculous ideas.
But really, that this is even a CONVERSATION is stupid. Why should women, half of the country's population, be fighting for our own health care procedures, medicines and the power to make our own decisions? WHY IS THIS A FIGHT AT ALL? Jeezus, leave us alone! We want birth control? Stop fighting against us! We want an abortion? Until the day comes when a man carries the baby, this is not a discussion that ANY man should take part in. We need a mammogram or breast exam and Planned Parenthood is the only place to get one? Stop threatening to take away our health care options!
I mean, honestly, who the fuck do you think you are that you think you have ANY say in what I (or any woman) does with my body? WHY ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT MY UTERUS? Stick to your own issues! Let me deal with mine, WITHOUT YOUR INPUT. You have no play here.
And that this little group of white, over-50, men actually CAN change the nation's position on women's health issues is even more frightening then the fact that the conversation is taking place. How are we, as women, not screaming from the rooftops about the inequality of this? Why are we letting these conversations happen without us? We need to be LOUDER! We need to be CRASHING DOWN DOORS! We need to be MARCHING IN HALLWAYS WITH BIG SIGNS! We need to be ON TV EVERY NIGHT! We need to be the ONLY ONES HAVING THESE CONVERSATIONS!!
I hate that this is happening right now. It's 2012. We're a first-world country that everyone likes to boast about, with our equality for all people, and human rights. How is it that our populace allows entire groups of people to be pushed aside and discussed as if they have no opinions or rights of their own, and are thereby subjected to less of a voice in the course of their own lives?

Tuesday, February 21

This is my forest of algebraic knowledge

This afternoon, I got an e-mail from the company I had the testing appointment at last week. Here it is:
Dear [Kimmie G]:
Thank you for your interest in employment with [So-and-So Company]. We appreciate the time you spent applying with us; however, we will not be proceeding with your application at this time.
Again, thank you for your time and we wish you the best of luck in your career search.
The Recruiting Office

Here's my reply:
Thank you for your e-mail.
I appreciate you taking the time to give me an algebra test. I wonder, do you send out the scores for the exam? I would like to know how I did on the algebra portion, as I haven't taken an exam like that in almost 20 years.
Also, as an editor and writer applying for a writing job at your company, who may fail in algebra, but excels in editing, writing, spelling, punctuation and grammar, I can tell you that there is a spelling error on one of your exam's introductory pages.
Wishing you the best in your search,
[Kimmie G]

I know it totally comes off as bitchy, and I won't lie, I like that about it. But I'm pretty pleased with how I worded this. Brian loved it, and has been picking on me about failing in algebra all night. Mom laughed, because really, we both totally saw this coming. And I was able to make Andrea laugh about it, too, which as usual, is one of my goals in life. If you've heard Andrea's laugh, you'd understand why I enjoy so much making her laugh. But my greatest hope for this e-mail is that it gets passed around in the company, and maybe, just maybe, someone will think that an intense algebra exam is not the best way to find a technical writer.

Monday, February 20

I'm a dessert junkie

Yummy confections I would like to snack on right now:
BROWNIE ~ A perfectly baked, just slightly gooey on the inside, bit of chocolate deliciousness. No frosting though. It's a small crime to put frosting on a brownie.
CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE ~ There still is no one who makes a better cookie than Toll House. And the fact that a break-and-bake cookie can taste almost just as good as a from-scratch cookie is nothing short of genius.
CUPCAKE ~ A fantastic chocolate mini-cake (OR TWO) with frosting, a definite must here, on a plain, white napkin, to keep the colors popping.
NILLA WAFER ~ I like these cookies a lot. My husband does not, and that means I don't have to share them with him. My daughter does like them though, but I get to be in charge of how many she eats, so I don't worry about finding a mostly empty box whenever I pop into the pantry.
CAKE ~ Why not? A slice of cake could be excellent right now. Any kind, too. I'm getting less and less picky about my dessert as I type this.
CHOCOLATE SOUFFLE ~ It must be from Off Vine. And really, that is exactly what I want.
AMERICONE DREAM ICE CREAM ~ I actually have some of this in my freezer. It's not a dream. It can be a reality.

Editor's note: When I input the words "dessert images" in my Yahoo! search to find a photo to accompany this post, I was presented with a couple photos of a DESERT, which broke my heart into a million pieces as I wept for the fate of the English language on the Internet.

Sunday, February 19

Wind chimes, without the wind

I love wind chimes. And not only for the music that they make in the breeze. No, I like my wind chimes pretty, and hanging inside rooms in my house.
I found the rest of my wind chimes today while digging around in my garage/storage unit and ended up spending a good portion of an hour figuring out where and how I want them in my home. The one I got from JJ is now hanging in my bedroom (Brian vetoed hanging it outside, citing the excessive wind we get through the balcony, the windows and the probable noise). The snail one is in my entry way; the stars and moon chime is in the laundry room; the Mickey gardening chime is in Sydney's room; the bright-colored chime is in Syd's bathroom; and the kites chimes is in the office. I lack only a cool chime for my kitchen, and I'm good to go.
Also, maybe a soft and quiet one for my balcony.

Saturday, February 18

Ah, Saturday

ITEM!: I spent three-and-a-half hours at a children's museum this afternoon, and the raging headache I had for a good two hours after we left the place was my souvenir. And my reminder to not go there on a weekend afternoon, or spend that much time. Sydney had a great time though, and that's all that matters, but oh, my head hurt so bad!!
ITEM!: I baked some key lime bars tonight. And they would be delicious, except that I don't have any powdered sugar to sprinkle atop them. Luckily, I need to visit the grocery store tomorrow, so I'll get some sugar then, and sprinkle the rest of the bars. As for taste minus the sugar, they're okay. Not great, not terrible. An almost perfect treat (once I get that sugar) for the rest of the weekend.
ITEM!: It rained a whole lot this morning, which kept me from a couple random chores that I'd like to get done around here. I need to clean my balcony, and I need to spend more time in my storage unit looking for decor pieces for my house. I'm lately obsessed with accessorizing my house with more of my stuff. I just need to find it all.
ITEM!: I have these amazing wind chimes that JJ gave me as a wedding gift. I've hung them up everywhere Brian and I have lived since we got married: Phoenix, Allston (Mass.), Boston and Scottsdale. I want to hang them on our balcony here, but I am concerned with the amount of tinkling we'll hear all day and every day. This place has more wind than we've had before, and the balcony is right outside the living room and our bedroom, with windows opening up right onto the balcony. I don't want to be annoyed by the wind chimes, just enchanted by them. We'll put them up tomorrow, and see how the music goes.
ITEM!: I'm kinda bothered by Whitney Houston's funeral being broadcast today. Actually, I guess it wasn't that it was being broadcast, but that one of my favorite entertainment web sites was going to "live blog" the funeral. Reading that they were going to do that just sounded so crass, and tacky, and disrespectful. Most times, live blogging is about describing the action going on at an event, but then also being kinda snarky about what's happening. I can't imagine that they would have done that to the funeral, but the thought of it just turned me cold.
ITEM!: Oliver, Daisy and I have transplanted Brian off of the sofa and onto the armchair. There are three cushions on the sofa, and each of us has taken possession of one of them. It's quite comfortable. Brian has the entire chair to himself, though he's hardly thanking us for it. He's snoring up a storm on the armchair, and Oliver and Daisy are sleeping. I'm watching Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Though I will be going to bed soon. I'm tired, and my head can use some extreme quiet.

Friday, February 17

Friday, fun day

Fridays feel so weird to me lately. It's all because Brian is home on Fridays. We spend the day together, running errands or going to the movies, and it's fantastic, but by Friday night, like right now at 10:30, it feels like this should be a Saturday night. I feel like it's been a weekend day, wherein nothing of any great importance was accomplished. It's getting late, and I'm tired, but all I can think of as a personal success for the day is that I finished the strawberry ice cream.
Today's successes:
Returned all three un-watched Netflix movies. ... Watched Breaking Dawn, Part 1. ... Ate some delicious popcorn, and finished the entire bowl all by myself. ... Stayed away from Facebook all day. ... Picked up my kid from school on time. ... Vacuumed and dusted my house. ... Stayed out of the rain. ... Protected Daisy from thunder. ... Finished the strawberry ice cream. ... Read a book. ... Made tuna casserole for dinner. ... Blogged.
All valid accomplishments for a Friday. So why do I feel like I haven't done much today? Probably because most of it was done inside my house. I always feel like a day spent without leaving the home is a day lost to un-productivity.

Thursday, February 16

Frizz, frizz, go away

There's this thing in the world right now called a Brazilian Blowout. What it is, is a chemical de-frizzing (and straightening) of the hair that allows a large measure of frizz-free control for up to three months. What it could be, is my key to sanity in Houston. I've been trying my best to find some sense of humor about the frizz helmet atop my head, but on a day like today, I have less patience for it. The only response I have to a warm, humid day is a ponytail tied into submission, and a barrette to hold back the bangs. And even then, the worst part is the halo of shorter hair that isn't long enough for the ponytail, but loves to curl up and frizz out in the humidity. I hate those hairs. They infuriate me. At this point, I think that the Blowout is my only option. I can't stand looking at my hair in the mirror. It offends me, and I'd like to change it.
Frizz is the bane of my existence.

Wednesday, February 15

Writing job, math exam

"You put on make-up to fail an algebra test today, huh?"
So said my husband, in his eternally supportive fashion, putting to words the irritation that I dealt with this morning. Yes, yes, there actually was algebra in my testing appointment today. ALGEBRAIC WORD PROBLEMS.
The online exam was in three parts: the first consisted of letter sequencing, and figuring out which letter would come next in several surprisingly involved letter lines. I had 15 minutes to finish this portion. (All questions were multiple choice on the exam.) The second section was shape sequencing, where I had to figure out which shape came next in the sequence or pattern. I had 15 minutes for these questions, too. And then came that which I had been waiting for, and not really dreading: the 30-minute algebra portion. I actually put my sense of humor to work here, and enjoyed the continued ridiculousness of a mathematics test used to gauge my abilities for a writing job. I didn't disregard the questions, and did my best, but I also did giggle several times at the what-the-hell-ness of my experience.
Brian's advice before I walked into the building: "Try to figure them out from a common sense perspective. Don't pick the highest or lowest number, as it's probably not right. If all the other choices are too close, then, well, you're screwed." (I love how, when I told Mom last night about the algebra, she laughed about it; and how today, Brian didn't even bother suggesting I try figuring out the word problems in a mathematical fashion. They know me too well.)
The test is points based, in that for every correct answer, I would get one point, for every blank answer, I'd get no points, and for every wrong answer, I would be deducted a half-point. So they encourage you to either get it right, or don't answer at all. I actually did do an amount of guessing, just for shits and giggles. I expect to have a score somewhere in the negatives.
However, the day I get an e-mail from them telling me that, yes, I did fail the exam and that they won't be needing me, I'll be sure to reply to them that, no, I don't know algebra, but I do know that they had a spelling error on one of their exam's introductory pages. Because finding those is something that an editor/writer does do well.

Tuesday, February 14

This blue offends me

I'm getting super annoyed because I can't figure out why Blogger has changed my headlines and links in the color mauve to links in BLUE. It's too bright, the blue is, and it is aesthetically repulsive to me on my blog. I want to scream at Blogger right now, but there's no one around. I can only hope that it's a glitch that will be corrected tomorrow morning.
Also, I'm less nervous about my appointment tomorrow. Math acumen is not the basis for a writing job, and certainly, is not how I've made my way through the hallowed halls of editing for the last 15 years. Take me as I am, a kick-ass editor, but limited mathematician.

L.E.T.T.E.R.S. not numbers

Tomorrow is my "testing appointment" at the new potential employer. Before the appointment though, it was requested that I fill out a couple online applications and tests. The application stuff was easy; all they wanted was my educational background and my most recent work experience. But the testing portion, well, it included the vocabulary portion, which was easy, and personality assessment, which was quick. And then there was a more mathematical portion, where I had to figure out which number came next in the sequence, how many of what fit into how many of it, and my god, there were word problems. Also, some mechanical questions. It's quite obvious that the test was built for people in every field, for every facet of the company, which explains the math and mechanical questions.
The human resources person sent me a couple documents with the appointment confirmation e-mail, which included the directions to the building and sample test questions similar to what I should get during my testing appointment. Frighteningly, the test information page began with this: Applicants at So-and-So Company must complete our pre-employment testing. The logic and aptitude test contains three timed sections. All questions are multiple choice. The test is not designed for you to finish.  DO NOT GUESS!!!  To get practice on Sections 1 & 2, reference a book at your local library, Air Traffic Controller Exam.
Right?!?! Air traffic controller exam?!?!
Really, it gets better. This begins the second page of the test information document: We have found that most people need to review algebra word problems before testing at So&So. Below are some examples of typical word problems. Work these without a calculator, as you will not be able to use one on the test. The answers are at the bottom of the page.
That page, referred to just above, is titled "Practice Algebra Questions." On it are nine word problems, multiple-choice answers, and they're all crazy. I mean, really. Algebra? Ridiculous. Lest we forget, I needed a tutor to get through high-school algebra, and it took me two tries to get through college algebra. I write because language and its complexities and beauty come naturally to me. I do not do math. I do not like math. Algebra is funky math that's even more confusing. 
Some of the sample questions: The length of the shadow of a flagpole was found to be 72 feet. The shadow of a 3-foot picket fence in line with the flagpole was 4 feet. What is the height of the flagpole? ... If a boat goes downstream 72 miles in 3 hours and upstream 60 miles in 6 hours, the rate of the river and the rate of the boat in still water respectively are ________? ... A certain sum of money is invested at 10%.  Twice that amount is invested at 8%.  The total amount of interest from both investments is $91.  How much is invested at 8%.
How crazy would it be for me to not get a WRITING job because I failed the MATH test?

Monday, February 13

There's a fly in my lamp!

There's a fly in my bedroom. It's dancing around my new lamp (thanks, Mom!), and bugging the hell out of me.
Why do they do that? Why can't he just settle down? Or, better yet, he should just get his little fly wings and fly out of my bedroom, and head back outside the way he came inside.
I'm watching Castle and Hawaii 5-0, and this fly is making it difficult to concentrate. Isn't it kinda weird that when a fly bumps around in a lampshade, it makes a thumping noise? I thought flies would weigh too little to make such a decisive noise. But, there he goes again. Thump. He must be getting a headache. And tired. Do flies take naps? This little guy should totally take a nap.
I'm going to go get another cookie.
Hey. I'm back, with my cookie, and the fly is gone. He must have followed me into the kitchen. Well, the joke's on him; I just grabbed the last two cookies.
Maybe he left the house.
Now, I miss him.

UPDATE, 11:25 p.m.: I just killed him. He came back into my room, and stopped on the wall right next to me. I didn't think I'd get him, but I've been so ninja-like lately with my reflexes, that I shouldn't be surprised that I did. I feel bad.

Sunday, February 12

Rolling minus the red screen

So, my phone's been doing this crazy thing over the last couple months: when I hit the home button, the screen goes red. In fact, whenever the phone was awoken, the screen was red with weird horizontal lines all across it. I couldn't read it, and the buttons were made irrelevant.
Now, if I told you I've been living with this incredible annoyance since before we left Tempe, you would think I was crazy. Well, I have been living with it that long, and I am crazy. Finally, on Friday, Brian and I made our way to the Apple Store to have the phone looked at. It did, in fact, need to be replaced. The guys had never seen a screen look like that, and everyone was taken aback by it when I showed if off.
I ended up doing a direct replacement for the phone, getting a "new" iPhone 4. I had the option of upgrading to the 4S, just so you know. I seriously thought about it. Because of the problem with the phone, I would have been permitted an early upgrade to a 4S, but then I would have to wait another two years for another upgrade. That made me very nervous. The 4S is super cool, but my gut is telling me that there will be an iPhone 5 this summer or fall. I would HATE having the 4S for only six or seven months when a new iPhone comes out, and Brian is the only one of us with an upgrade at the time. You know that the new phone will have all the cool stuff in the 4S as well as other awesome stuff. And you know that I would freak out if Brian had all the additionally awesome stuff when I didn't. (I'm still an only child, of course!) So, I decided to deny myself the cool stuff for now, to be able to get the cool stuff later. I feel really okay with that.

Saturday, February 11

This country was such a rebel

Brian and I are watching a History Channel series on the birth and life (so far) of the United States almost all day today. It's called The Story of Us, and it's pretty brilliantly done. We're into hour number eight, I think, and are moving into World War II. I love all this stuff. Especially cool for me is how much a part of awesome stuff the Irish were in American history. I can't remember any specific examples right now because it's very late, but they're there, in the series. You should watch it. While most of the stuff was learned (and somewhat forgotten) in a textbook years ago, so much of this is relatively new information, or actual new information, and it's fascinating to learn. I'm excited to get through the rest of it tomorrow.

Thursday, February 9

TEXAN LESSON: Mosquito Hawks

Okay. This is a mosquito hawk. We've been told that they eat mosquitoes. It's more widely known as a crane fly, but down here, they're called mosquito hawks. They have a couple other names, including daddy longlegs, but my personal slang favorite, is "skeeter eater."
We've seen an incredible increase in mosquito hawk sightings in our grassy areas, and some of the little buggers have made their way up to the third floor and into our house. One such traveler was large enough to send Sydney into hysterics the other night. But really, on the ground floor, they're everywhere. They're flitting here and there all over the grass, and all over the sidewalk. Sadly, some haven't been too quick to move, and there are some squished carcasses on the ground. (Yes, they're big enough that you can see them squished on concrete.) Daisy trapped one between her nose and the ground so she could investigate it. She found it lacking, and moved on.
This particular photo is a little misleading, as all of the mosquito hawks that I've seen lately are an orange color.
Wait. ... ...
You know what? They don't eat mosquitoes. Here's this from Texas A&M: "Larvae have chewing mouthparts. Crane fly larvae feed primarily on decomposing organic matter. Adults do not feed. ... They commonly occur in moist environments such as woodlands, streams and flood plains although some species inhabit open fields, dry rangeland and even desert environments."
So, they tend to eat up grassy areas; are generally just random bugs with long legs and delicate, little wings; don't fly super well; and tend to just be considered a nuisance. Great. Big bugs with no redeeming qualities. They fly around and scare my kid. And they don't eat mosquitoes.
Also a lesson from today, a lifelong Texan had no idea what one of the state's most prolific insects eats.

Wednesday, February 8

Editor, not astronaut

Also, I've got a job interview next Wednesday. It's a technical writing job. Also, it's not really an interview. It's what they call a "testing appointment," where they will give me a series of basic tests to find out my skill levels. (I think she said something about math, and that concerns me a little bit, but I'll run with the descriptive "basic," and assume I'll be able to fumble my way through that one.)
I was told to plan for one or two hours spent there, just in case an actual interview does happen while I'm there. While on the phone today with the corporate recruiting department this morning, I got to answer all the easy questions, and then was e-mailed a couple more pre-applications to fill out before I get there next week. I be jumping through hoops to even get an interview!
The commute doesn't look like it'll be too bad though. According to MapQuest, it should only be about 20 minutes. Of course, in Houston traffic that may be twice as long. But that is if I get the job.
As of now, it's a testing appointment, and I need to get my interview pants cleaned.

Just floating around, unsupervised

I got all indignant about Facebook today in defense of my friend, Kerry.
Kerry is a great mom of three boys. She and her husband are involved, happy parents, and still somehow, manage to keep their sanity and go out on dates and all that. I'm crazy with one kid, and she seems to be saner than me with her three. Anyway, today, Kerry posted on Facebook about a seemingly last-minute trip to Las Vegas with her husband. She posted her excitement, and was off and running. The first comment on her post? "Where are your kids?" Another three comments down, "Who do you have watching your boys?"
Here's my thing: How dare these people, even in jest, question that Kerry wouldn't have provided for her kids while she left for a weekend away with their father? Just them asking the question, in that way, on Facebook, put a public light on a rude question, as far as I'm concerned. I'm sure they were somewhat kidding, but I can't help but hear a bit more judgment in their question than anything: "How can you call yourself a mother and then LEAVE your children alone in this world while you fancy-dancy your way around Sin City?!?!"
I texted Kerry and told her that the next time it comes up, she should say that she's left the children home alone in a locked room with a big box of graham crackers and a puppy pad to pee on.
In my head, it sounded very much like these people felt they needed to REMIND Kerry and Bob that they had kids. To REMIND them that they have familial responsibilities. It was not, and is not, their business what arrangements Kerry and Bob made for the boys. They, I would think, would assume that Kerry and Bob had provided well for the boys' care over the next couple days. To ask is to imply that the person asking thought more about the kids' well-being than the parents.
I am positive that I took the comments too seriously, and that they were written in jest, but really, you people on Kerry's Facebook feed. Get over yourselves. What we have here is a couple looking at a weekend away, and they're excited about it. Why give even the slightest implication that you think that they should be feeling guilty about it?

Tuesday, February 7

Artist fishing for iPhone, read Tiffany

ITEM!: I think I'm going to go see The Artist tomorrow. I checked my local theater this morning, and according to the schedule, if I don't go see it this week, it won't be in the theater next week. And I really need to see it before the Oscars. So, tomorrow is a movie day for Kimmie!
ITEM!: I spent some time chatting about Sydney's fish tank today, and I'm getting kinda excited about it. I am afraid though, as most of you know, because of my history with fish. It's weird. My dad can keep a goldfish alive for years, and I can't even keep one for a couple months. I had a fish commit suicide in college, you know. I'm terribly bad with fish, and I'd hate to inadvertently kill Sydney's new pets. I'll keep considering.
ITEM!: Also tomorrow, I'm going to stop into the Apple Store near the theater. My frickin' iPhone is still doing that weird red-screen thing, and it's becoming more and more annoying. It's just a matter of inconvenience now, and the damn smart phone is not being a smart technology for me. Also, it's decided to stop alerting me when texts arrive. That is annoying.
ITEM!: I finished reading that book that I was having a hard time getting into this weekend. It's been a very long time since I've come across a character, not the protagonist or antagonist, that was so utterly unlikeable that I almost stopped reading the book. The main character's sister was the most annoying personality I've come across on paper in such a long time. This girl had me wanting to drop this book in a donation pile, while only 11 pages in. Up to the end, she was an unlikeable person. It was, honestly, a struggle to get through the pages with her on them. Remind me to never have a character like her in my writings. You have my permission to, whenever you dislike a character enough to put the book down, say to me, "She's so ... Janice." That'll do the trick. No joke.
ITEM!: I enjoy a lot getting all these e-mails from Tiffany & Co. because of Valentine's Day. I've been getting one about every other day for a week. Before February, I only got one about once or twice a month. On the downside, it's depressing because there are a lot of pretty things at Tiffany. On the upside, they also still have the necklace that I very much want around my neck.

Oliver is awesome

This is my Oliver. This is his Pluto. And this is something that he does after he eats.
It's the weirdest thing, but the most endearing thing, too. Ever since Ollie was a puppy, after he eats, he picks up his Pluto, carries it someplace comfortable and cozy, and lays down and holds it. I call it cuddling, because he kinda bites down, licks at it, hugs it a bit, and cuddles it. Every so often, he'll whine, or make some purring noises. And he'll lay there, like that or on his side, for anywhere up to 30 minutes. The cuddling can be five minutes, or it could be 25 minutes, but what it is, is awesome.
Here we are, 11 years into the relationship with Pluto, and we're still cuddling regularly. Of course, it's not always Pluto, but Pluto is his favorite for cuddling. This morning, after breakfast, Ollie brought Pluto up onto the bed and commenced a good, long cuddle session. The light was perfect, his face was perfect, and the background was just ideal enough for one of the best pictures I've ever gotten of the cuddling.
It is one of the best things about my boy, and Brian and I are both enamored of this little personality quirk. I tend to text photos of this to Brian whenever it's super cute, and this morning's was, as I said, perfect. So I thought I'd put it up here, too.

Monday, February 6

Ugh. ... Just UGH

Well, that was just depressing. I can't really process how irritated I am by the game last night. In fact, I woke up every few hours, haunted by dropped passes, tears and broken dreams. Also, I think I may have been crying in my sleep (not really, but that does sound incredibly dramatic, right?).
When I entered the living room this morning, Brian had left the television on ESPN. My first view was of Wes Welker dropping that pass. "Too soon," I said to myself, and commenced turning off the television. I may stay away from ESPN for a couple weeks. It's too sad and heart-breaking for me. Fuckin' Giants, man. That's all I have to say about that. Yet another Super Bowl to haunt me ... until we win the next one. Here's to motivation for next season!!

Saturday, February 4

OPTIMISM, because we SHOULD win!

I would tell you that I'm trying to not get too excited about the Super Bowl tomorrow, but that's crazy talk. Also, crazy talk is what I'll be spewing out tomorrow afternoon while my Patriots play the Giants in the big game. I'm too invested in this game. Could it be because I am still paralyzed by shock over losing to the fucking Giants four years ago, and thereby collapsing our perfect season? Oh, that could be it. Also, I really, really, really don't like Eli Manning. But more than that, I really, really, really, really want my Patriots to win tomorrow. I can't imagine that fate would be so cruel as to have us lose, again, to the same fucking team that dashed our hopes and dreams a mere four years ago. There's some bitterness there, certainly. It's probably a good thing that no one other than my husband and my kid and my dogs will be witness to the ball of stress and frustration I will be for those hours tomorrow. I sometimes consider just going to a movie and not watching the game, to find out the winner after it's done and all that's left is the celebration or mourning.
Still, I'll be watching, and coaching from my sofa. GO PATS!!

Friday, February 3

Better than a movie

I had papers that needed to be shredded.
If you take your papers to Office Depot, they'll shred it for you for 99 cents a pound.
Wait. Let's clarify. Either you can trust the guys at Office Depot, give the papers to them and let them toss them all in a bin in the back of the store and have it shredded by Iron Mountain when the big truck gets there, OR you can shred it yourself in the store's own shredder, in stacks for four or five sheets at a time, in the Business Services portion of the store. You know, that second one, if you're untrusting. Also, either option costs 99 cents per pound.
PRIOR TO FINDING THAT OUT: As we were walking up to the store, Brian says to me, "Do we get to shred it ourselves, or do we have to let some random person take all our papers unshredded? What's the point of that? What if that guy just takes something and puts it in his pocket instead of in the shredder? Defeats the purpose."
You can therefore conclude which option we took. I had all our papers in a box. I made sure that the young man weighed our box, but then not charge us for the weight of the box itself. Just over 16 pounds of paper, including box. The guy says he'll only charge me for 14 pounds. Fair trade.
Also, he says, here's the shredder. AND THE 14 POUNDS OF PAPER.
Cut to me trying to push the paper through the shredder while Brian tries to read all the papers I've collected for shredding. This, obviously, is a recipe for disaster, and somehow (I would brag about my machinations, but I'm still not sure how I did it), I switched our places, so I was handing the papers to Brian, who was consumed by the task of sliding them into the shredder without jamming it by stacking too many sheets at once.
As couples' activities go, as a rule, I probably would not usually suggest shredding papers at an Office Depot. However, on this particular day, with the kid in school and me feeling better as a human, it turned out to be pretty okay. We giggled, reminisced about bills and papers from when we lived in Boston, and sighed and smiled about when our life was easier, and the credit cards had ONLY a four-digit balance.
We were there so long that the kid forgot how much my paper weighed, and only charged me for 12 pounds. A win/win.

Thursday, February 2

Aren't we all bossypants?

I started and finished Tina Fey's book, Bossypants, today. I enjoyed it immensely, though didn't have as many "laugh out loud" moments as I had figured. Still, I walk away from the book impressed with her life experiences, and appreciative of her sense of humor throughout her life.
There were a couple nifty bits that will stick with me though.
"Oh! My Maria! What is to become of us?"
"For I will not have that Shit. I will not have it."
"We don't fucking care if you like it."
"It's a burden, being able to control situations with my hyper-vigilance, but it's my lot in life."
"Why do I call it 'yellow' hair and not 'blond' hair? Because I'm pretty sure everybody calls my hair 'brown.'"

Wednesday, February 1

It's February, Y'ALL

Well, my friends, I am feeling much better today!
I knew it this morning, when, at 4 a.m., the sound and feel of Daisy jumping off the bed and heading out of the room woke me up enough to rise and open the door for her to go out and pee. Then I went back to bed. And at 6:45 a.m., when Sydney and Brian crawled on top of me to wake me up, I didn't get irritable, I hugged. And when I walked my dogs, I looked around outside and realized that I was seeing the world clearly, without a sickly haze. Also, when I got home from taking Sydney to school, I was able to bring up the Valentine's Day decorations rather than take a nap.
Yes, my friends, I did not take a nap today. Weird, right?
I got the hearts decorations up, watched some shows, binged on some calories, and did some laundry. After I picked up Sydney, we visited Michaels and Target for additional decorations. And when we got home, we watched Jurassic Park. I'm telling you, it was like A NORMAL DAY. I had almost forgotten what it was like to have a day with some energy, and with some appetite, and with some good humor. I think tomorrow may actually be better (because I'm still taking some nighttime cold medicine and going to bed at 10:30 tonight).
Also, did you know that TODAY is FEBRUARY?