Friday, August 31

The first of the "-ber" months is here

I honestly can't believe that we'll be changing calendar pages to September tomorrow. This year is flying by, even though it feels like it's been such a fucking slog sometimes. (Sorry, but that just had to be said like that.)
Beyond that, I've got little on my mind other than The Walking Dead these last couple nights. But tonight I discovered that the fourth disc that we'll have to wait until Tuesday for, will only have one episode on it. So, I'm about to finish here and suggest to Brian that we just rent it on iTunes tonight so we can be done with the second season of the show.
I genuinely like September. It typically signals the end of the summer (you know, "-ish"), and the beginning of fall is right around the corner. This weekend, Sydney and I are going to order her Halloween costume, which is always an awesome thing.
Also, I've got a plan for this weekend, and I'm hoping it'll go well.

Wednesday, August 29

Texas Bugs: Wasps edition

A really, really big wasp flew into my house this afternoon. The door was ajar because Oliver and Daisy had been wandering in and out for the last several minutes, though the hanging screen was in place. I'm sitting on the sofa -- computer on my lap, Mom on the phone in my ear -- when this monster of a stinging bug flies into my dining room through a big-wasp-sized gap in the screen netting. I take credit for not freaking out too much. I feel bad for Mom though, having to listen to me the entire time this drama went down.
The wasp, we'll call him Arthur, flew around the dining room and living room, all "la-la-la" and lazy, before landing on the blinds. I retrieved my fly swatter, and opened the door and screen all the way. I was considering its death, but Mom said to maybe just woosh it out the door, since if you try to kill a wasp and don't, it will chase you. The last thing in the world I needed was to be chased through my house by a bug. So, I played the waiting game. I didn't allow him to sit anywhere, and gently wooshed my fly swatter in his direction whenever he tried to venture into the apartment farther. Eventually, he did finally make his way back into the dining room, and then, finally, he flew out the door. I've put in a call to maintenance to have my balcony checked for any wasp-friendly areas. It's official, I don't do wasps.

Tuesday, August 28

Yay more zombies!

ITEM!: You know how sometimes you completely avoid a thing because you know that it'll get you all irritated and feeling like screaming? That's me and the Republican National Convention stuff tonight. The most I'll get from it is the articles I read online, and The Daily Show. Already, just reading about the agreed-on platform positions had me in an incredible snit. I'd rather not listen to these people spew their venomous opinions about women's rights, gay marriage, the environment, and health care, on national television, thankyouverymuch.
ITEM!: My brilliant plan to get the DVDs of The Walking Dead: Season 2 without a wait on the queue came to a happy conclusion this morning, when Netflix e-mailed Brian the delivery notice on disc one of the set. I was hoping for discs two and three as well, and that still may happen, but according to Netflix, they didn't receive the other two movies I'd sent in. So, who knows. We'll see what happens. But first, we get to start on season two!
ITEM!: There is a real thing out there called Children's NyQuil. Now, I love the stuff for my colds, and have always despaired that there is no such thing for Sydney when she's under the weather. But wandering through Target yesterday, I found it. She is almost six, right? Good, then it's fine for her. At any rate, I give her a bit less than what's prescribed, but there is no denying that she got a good night's sleep last night, and will get one tonight, too.
ITEM!: There's a hurricane brewing in the Gulf tonight, and it's heading for New Orleans. I hope that it's relatively kind to that town. I'd like to go visit sometime soon. But it's an entirely different weather system I'm living in here. Hurricanes? Really? Well, if it's not a hurricane, it's a haboob. And if it's not a haboob, it's a blizzard. ... I love that we've lived so many places!

Monday, August 27

No longer will I fear the bagel knife

It's no secret, really, that I'm generally not allowed near sharp utensils. I tend to cut myself with them. Not too long ago, in fact, I made a donation of blood to a bagel knife. It hurt.
Brian's solution: Learn how to cut a bagel properly and do it slowly, or wait for him to do it for me.
Mom's solution: A cut-resistant glove created specifically for safety-challenged knife wielders such as myself.
My solution: A bagel cutter.
Yesterday, our quest for the ideal bagel cutter began (because my idea was the best, of course). We started at Williams-Sonoma. They had a bagel guillotine for $25. It was ugly, and not at all what I was looking for. Our second stop was Sur la Table, where we also found a bagel guillotine, or three, for $30.
All I wanted was a bagel holder like what Mom and Howie used to have at our house: a block of wood with a bagel-sized crescent cut out of it, and grooved along the sides. It also had a handle. You put the bagel in it, and the block holds it steady while you cut it. In my head, I knew that this was exactly what I wanted. Bed, Bath & Beyond didn't have it, either. They had a napkin holder that would serve the purpose, okay, I guess, but not great.
Then, as she always does, Mom came through with the Amazon link for the bagel holder. It's almost exactly what we used to have, but the handle is shaped differently. I'm pretty excited, actually. I hate being all kinds of nervous about cutting my bagel. I prefer a stress-free bagel-cutting experience.

Sunday, August 26

My cupcake is getting to be a big girl

My daughter is starting first grade tomorrow. She has a bit of a cold, which bothers me tremendously, but that's not the point. The point is, that sometime in the last five years, my baby has grown up. She's a big girl in grade school now. And selfishly, it's making me sad. You know, pretty soon she'll be too big to carry around places. She'll be too tall for her car seat. She'll be too bratty for my sanity. She'll be losing her baby teeth. And she'll be less a "baby" and more a young lady.
I don't know what this means for my sanity at this point, but the baby growing up is messing with my head. It's time for her to remember things well into her life now. I remember stuff from my first grade year: Mrs. Fisher; dinosaur names as spelling words; blisters from swinging on the rings; and one of our playground counselors passing out and falling down during lunch. I feel like ... shit is for real now. There's no messing around anymore. I'm growing a person. I'm nurturing a future woman. She can be anything she wants to be, and I have to help her prepare for that.
It's like my own internal one-to-10 responsibility scale for the person she becomes just shot up to 11. Suddenly, she's not a baby who's around just to learn stuff. She's a little person who needs to be molded, and led in the best direction I can show her. The crushing responsibility of that has recently begun freaking me out.
Of course, I know I'm thinking about it too much. But my baby's growing up so fast, and I'm feeling incredibly irrational about it.

Friday, August 24

No proof in the pudding

I don't care much for competitive bicycling, unless, you know, it's the Olympics, but this Lance Armstrong thing has got me in a snit. We all know that Armstrong has weathered several, several, several drug accusations. Other riders, up one side and down the other, have accused him of doping. However, all his blood and urine samples for doping tests have been negative. He's bee retired from the sport for years, and yet the United States Anti-Doping Agency, has continued to hound Armstrong, and accuse him of doping. All with no evidence or proof beyond the words of the other riders Armstrong beat in those races, or admitted dopers.
The USADA has brought forth another campaign against Armstrong for doping. This time, after years of dealing with this kind of harassment, Armstrong has chosen to not fight the charges on the USADA's turf. I don't blame him.
Here's portions of his statement:
There comes a point in every man's life when he has to say, "Enough is enough." For me, that time is now. I have been dealing with claims that I cheated and had an unfair advantage in winning my seven Tours since 1999. Over the past three years, I have been subjected to a two-year federal criminal investigation followed by Travis Tygart's unconstitutional witch hunt. The toll this has taken on my family, and my work for our foundation and on me leads me to where I am today – finished with this nonsense.
I had hoped that a federal court would stop USADA’s charade. Although the court was sympathetic to my concerns and recognized the many improprieties and deficiencies in USADA’s motives, its conduct, and its process, the court ultimately decided that it could not intervene.
If I thought for one moment that by participating in USADA’s process, I could confront these allegations in a fair setting and – once and for all – put these charges to rest, I would jump at the chance. But I refuse to participate in a process that is so one-sided and unfair. Regardless of what Travis Tygart says, there is zero physical evidence to support his outlandish and heinous claims. The only physical evidence here is the hundreds of controls I have passed with flying colors. I made myself available around the clock and around the world. In-competition. Out of competition. Blood. Urine. Whatever they asked for I provided. What is the point of all this testing if, in the end, USADA will not stand by it?
From the beginning, however, this investigation has not been about learning the truth or cleaning up cycling, but about punishing me at all costs. I am a retired cyclist, yet USADA has lodged charges over 17 years old despite its own 8-year limitation. As respected organizations such as UCI and USA Cycling have made clear, USADA lacks jurisdiction even to bring these charges. The international bodies governing cycling have ordered USADA to stop, have given notice that no one should participate in USADA’s improper proceedings, and have made it clear the pronouncements by USADA that it has banned people for life or stripped them of their accomplishments are made without authority. And as many others, including USADA’s own arbitrators, have found, there is nothing even remotely fair about its process.
The bottom line is I played by the rules that were put in place by the UCI, WADA and USADA when I raced. The idea that athletes can be convicted today without positive A and B samples, under the same rules and procedures that apply to athletes with positive tests, perverts the system and creates a process where any begrudged ex-teammate can open a USADA case out of spite or for personal gain or a cheating cyclist can cut a sweetheart deal for themselves. It’s an unfair approach, applied selectively, in opposition to all the rules. It’s just not right.
USADA cannot assert control of a professional international sport and attempt to strip my seven Tour de France titles. I know who won those seven Tours, my teammates know who won those seven Tours, and everyone I competed against knows who won those seven Tours. We all raced together. For three weeks over the same roads, the same mountains, and against all the weather and elements that we had to confront. There were no shortcuts, there was no special treatment. The same courses, the same rules. The toughest event in the world where the strongest man wins. Nobody can ever change that. Especially not Travis Tygart.

Since when can an organization do these kinds of things with no actual, real proof of a competitor's wrongdoing? As I said, I don't care much about bicycling, but I do care about injustice and prosecution without proof of a crime. I'm on Lance's side. ... Unless they actually do have evidence that they're just not sharing. Then, he sucks. But still, he's done a lot of good in the world, you know, with the cancer and the yellow, rubber bracelets.

Thursday, August 23

Not expendable at all

The Expendables 2. This is, perhaps, one of the most ridiculously awesome and bloody gross movies ever. You've got to appreciate extensive blood spatter if you're going to sit through this one. Bullets! Knives! Fists! Bombs! Helicopter propellers!
The whole movie was pretty amazing. Appreciate that all these older guys -- Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, Chuck Norris, Dolph Lundgren, and Jean-Claude Van Damme -- have had some bits of plastic surgery; (most) are still dabbling (probably) in steroids of some kind; and all are thoroughly enjoying themselves on this movie. It's like Ocean's Eleven for the guns and blood types. The younger guys -- Jason Statham, Terry Crews, Randy Couture, Jet Li, and Liam Hemsworth -- clearly are excited to be a part of this clique, and make it all the better.
Cheesy excitements throughout the movie: ... 1. Watching all these guys, who have handled guns in most of their movies, handle the guns in this movie, and look so natural doing it. ... 2. Rolling my eyes at the recycled quotes from other movies, i.e., "I'll be back," "Yippee kai ay," and "Trust me," as well as a mention of Rambo, and the Western high-noon music for Norris. ... 3. So many heads being blown up! ... 4. Van Damme kicking and Stallone punching. Willis smirking. All of them with perfectly straight and whitened teeth. ... 5. It was really loud. I think they had the volume set to 11.

Wednesday, August 22

I can tweet in all caps

I mentioned the other day how angry I am about the concentrated attack on women's rights that is being perpetrated in Washington and on the campaign trail. I mentioned how frustrated I am about not having an influential enough soapbox from which to scream. I told you that I would be thinking about it.
Today, I decided on my solution, and then created a second solution that I like better. I started with a blog, which, of course, would be my first mode of communication. I spent a good hour working on it, creating it, and preparing it for public consumption. But then I realized the practical issue: I couldn't figure out how to link articles directly to the blog for publication. I realized that, if I wanted to post articles, link to provocative pieces, and inform, I needed to be a bit faster on my phone, as it were. So, I fell to my second social media crutch: Twitter. And it's there that I've discovered how much faster I can get information onto the Internet.
I'm not posting information that can't be found anywhere else, but I am pretty singular in my focus. It's an unapologetic political, environmental, feminist and gay-friendly place for me. Most of my posts are retweets from other sources, and so far I've only got one follower (a guy in Japan, if I remember right), but it's where I can feel better about screaming from the rooftops, and where I will not annoy my friends on Facebook too terribly much. Some day, maybe, I'll have guest columnists, original content and the like, but for now, I'm going to cruise around on the message boards to see if I can find some more followers.

Nope, it's not that bad

It's weird. I was super scared of my first summer in Houston. I swore that the humidity would be suffocating, and that the heat would be beyond oppressive. People told me that August was the worst month of the summer.
Well, here we are, well into August, and I'm not dying from the effects of the summer. Yesterday, I didn't even have to turn on the supplemental air conditioner. I was able to wear jeans the other day. There is, what can only be called, a cool breeze when I take the dogs out in the morning. It was nice enough that I even was able to keep my windows open for the short drive between the gym and Starbucks this morning. In fact, after 45 minutes in the gym, I could still feel the coolness of the car's air conditioner when I got back in it!
I hate to say it, and with six or eight weeks left of summer I may regret saying it, but, if this is the worst that a Houston summer has to offer, then I don't think it'll be as awful here as we'd been led to believe. This week, the highs are projected to be in the upper 80s. Unless you live in Camarillo, that is pretty much unheard of in the summer. I think my multiple Arizona summers of more than 90 days of hotter-than 110 degrees (and five months hotter than 100 degrees) may have jaded me from summer anywhere else. The summer here is just like Boston, but lasts a bit longer.
Of course, I'm very much looking forward to opening my windows at night to let in some cool breezes. I realize that luxury is still several weeks away, but this summer just isn't as awful as I feared.

Tuesday, August 21

Scary movies just are

Movie trailers lately fall into three categories for our family: Sydney Movies; Kimmie and Brian Date Day Movies; and Movies Brian Will See Without Kimberly. I just watched one movie trailer that is definitely the latter: The Apparition. It looks super scary. I don't deal well with scary movies. It's a thing where, if the bad guy can't be killed, and instead of dying just goes POOF and disappears, I'm freaked. I can't sleep. I feel like every time my bed moves, it's because some weird cosmic entity is moving it, not the two dogs.
This week's Kimmie and Brian Date Day Movie will be The Expendables 2. I enjoy a good action/adventure movie, and this one, with the shooting, destruction and body count is totally up my alley. Also, Jason Statham and Bruce Willis.
The next Sydney Movie looks like Hotel Transylvania in September. We don't really care for the advertisements for ParaNorman, so that's off the list. Also, she wants to see Rise of the Guardians, which isn't released until November.
I just checked out my IMdB app for a list of the Coming Soon movies, and there are so many I'm looking forward to, it's crazy. The list goes all the way until next August. Yes, August 2013! FUN! I'm excited now!!

This sounds calm, but it's not

I'm angry. I'm infuriated. I'm speechless with rage.
There is a War on Women in this country, and it's being financed, perpetrated and executed by men and the Republican party. I'd love to be objective, because that's a pretty powerful statement I just made, but having spent quite some time reading and watching the news lately, I'm pretty convinced. There is a definite movement afoot to take women's rights. Not take them "back" anywhere, to some other place in time, but to just take them. Take them away. From you, me, your sisters, my friends, our daughters.
It's as if, suddenly, women can not be trusted to make decisions for themselves. As women, we are the (quite literal) mothers of every living being on this planet: we feed them, we clothe them, we raise them and we nurture them. But god no, we can't make any decisions on our own.
Male politicians and representatives of the Republican party are doing their best to take away our right to make health care decisions; our right to decide whether we want to have a baby; our right to birth control; and our right to determine if we'd been raped.
I'm angry that all these things are happening, or that they're trying to happen by way of politics, and that, sure, I've got a vote, but I don't have any real influence. I can do little more that post about these things, retweet things, and "like" things on the Internet.
You know what, I want to make more noise. I want to be able to scream, and have it be heard. I want to bring together a whole bunch of angry women and have us all go screaming through the streets (of the Internet) and be able to make a real difference. I want that! I want that!
So, an angry woman blog? It's on my mind. And I want it to be angry, but I also want it to be smart, devoid of any irrational freak-outs (except the op-ed page), and singular in the purpose of protecting women from the outside political influences that would strip them (almost literally) of their rights to make their own decisions. I've got problems with the War on Women, and I want my sisters to stand with me. I'll get back to you.

Monday, August 20

Into the closet; into the fray

I'm having weird nesting issues. I refer to them as "nesting" because I honestly have no better word for it. How do you explain my ridiculous epiphany that my closet smelled stuffy, and that all the clothes needed to be washed? Yes, all the clothes. I've gone through a couple nice piles of shirts, and a stack of pants already. I'm totally into this chore, too, so there's no stopping me. Brian's closet is next, because his is stuffier than mine, as well as more stuffed than mine. Sydney's is fine; I've sniffed it thoroughly, and it smells all nice and fresh. I've got my hands full with Brian's closet though, since he refuses to thin out the herd, as it were. This is weird, I know, but it's what's happening now.

Saturday, August 18

And so I shall.

I'd rather be reading.

Thursday, August 16

[Insert scary shark music here]

It occurred to me in the first 45 seconds of Jaws tonight that I had never actually sat down and watched that movie from beginning to end before. This was evidenced by the fact that I had never seen the first 45 seconds of the movie before. I didn't know that the girl who was eaten was at a drinking and pot-smoking party on the beach. I'd never seen her before she was screaming. Also, there was more boob than you typically see on a television broadcast of the movie.
Prologue: I had read that the new Jaws on Blu-Ray was a feat in image remastering. It is sharp and crisp. It includes hours of extras. It's beautiful. But the kicker that got me to get it was the line that, if you'd only seen Jaws on television, you had missed out on all the widescreen beauty of the movie, as well as the brilliance of its actors. Sadly, I would have to admit that I never had seen the movie in widescreen, and only seen it on TV. (Which also is the reason as to why I'd missed a few parts of the movie. I'd seen the ending a hundred times, but some bits in the middle, and the very beginning, were new to me tonight, simply because I tend to bounce around on my movie channels.)
So, Brian and I sat down to watch Jaws tonight. I was super excited, too. And it lived up to my expectations. I'm glad for the purchase, and am pleased to add it to our movie library. Unfortunately, Sydney decided to watch the end with us, against our advice and prodding to go back to her room. Long story, short: she's sleeping in my bed. She says it's because she's "uncomfortable" in her bed, but I think it's more that she got a little freaked out. After the tears about how unfair it is that people kill sharks "just for being sharks."
I don't know when I'll ever watch it again, but I am finally able to agree that the movie is better in a widescreen movie format, and that it's totally better when you can see how sharp the dude's teeth are.

Wednesday, August 15

I love bubblegum

I think I rocked my kid's world the other day. Every once in a while, I can surprise her, and I love that. The other day, I, in a move I thought benign, bought a pack of strawberry Bubblicious, just because it looked good.
She was all, "Can you blow a bubble?" I was like, "Yeah. Haven't I ever blown bubbles for you before?" She was emphatic, "NO!"
So, I chewed a piece of my bubblegum, blowing bubbles that impressed her, and then doing that nifty snapping thing once the bubble has popped before you pull the gum back into your mouth, that Howie HATED. (I won't lie, I smile every time I do it because, really, he hated it that much.) We discussed my favorite flavors, strawberry and watermelon, and how much I hated grape. She asked if I would show her how to blow bubbles. I told her that it would be my pleasure ... in a few years.
And then tonight, as we all wandered through the convenience store after dinner, Brian and Sydney both discovered a strawberry and watermelon combination bubble gum, and bought it for me. I was immediately asked to blow some bubbles. I did, and it made her happy. I foresee that during every stop in every convenience store for the rest of my life, my kid is going to pick up a pack of bubblegum for me. And that's super awesome.
There are so few things, I think, that I can amaze her with at this point (she still has no appreciation for my knowledge of all Disney song lyrics or pop culture trivia), so it's a real treat when we discover one.

Tuesday, August 14

My kingdom for a tire

Well, I've had a morning so far!
There was a big rock in the middle of the street on the way to school this morning. Honestly, it was kinda rolling along and looked a lot like a piece of paper, so I didn't work too hard to avoid it. Come to find out, after the loud sound of impact, that it was, indeed, a really big rock.
So, the rock ripped a big hole in my front driver's side tire. I was able to make it to Sydney's school parking lot, where I sat and called AAA and then waited for the tow truck. Brian came by to survey the damage, but as there was nothing he could do, I sent him on his way to work. The tow truck arrived, the guy changed my tire to the spare, and I made my way to Discount Tire.
Reasons why this didn't piss me off:
1. I did it to myself.
2. The front tires needed to be replaced anyway, and Brian and I had discussed this multiple times over the last few weeks. So, here's our "Do It" sign. Now, I've got two new tires in the front, and the guys even pumped up the spare, which was a bit low because of its years of non-use.
3. Early morning on a Tuesday with no weather to speak of made my wait for the tow truck relatively short, and the AAA guy was rock-solid awesome.
4. Discount Tire is located across the street from my Starbucks, so I was able to procure a cool beverage while I was waiting for my new tires.
5. I had no one else to deal with this with me, so I didn't have to listen to anyone else bitch about the inconvenience or the lack of fun this adventure was for them.
Something that did piss me off:
1. The impact with the rock forced my already-irritating windshield crack to lengthen by another six inches. I was hoping to save the windshield replacement for closer to inspection time and registration, so the sticker thing wouldn't be too much of a bother, but it seems that will no longer be in my cards. But I'll see if I can get used to it a bit, and if I can live with it for a couple months.

Monday, August 13

I've got issues with stuff

I've got issues today. And they're political, as well as randomly newsworthy.
I used to be a big fan of Chad "Ochocinco" Johnson. When he was a member of the Patriots, and excelled at being amusing on Twitter (though not-at-all productive on the field), I thought he was awesome. I quoted him. I read his tweets to Brian. I showed off the pictures he would tweet to my family and friends. Then, he got booted from the Pats. Bad. I stopped following him. Then, well, he headbutted his wife. Leaving the Pats was one thing, but hitting his wife because she (allegedly) found condoms in his bag? Incredibly bad form, Chad. If I wasn't out before, I certainly am now.
Oh my god, Paul Ryan. I honestly don't even know where to begin with this dude. Seriously, he's a blight on American politics, and the people, and he's picked to run for Vice President? Could Romney pander to the Tea Party any more than he just did with that guy? He's a crazy, right-wing extremist of the worst kind: personhood (declaring that an embryo is a person, from the moment the sperm meets the egg); more than 91 percent cuts in government programs over the next 40 years is his economical plan; supports a Constitutional amendment banning gay marriage; and would ban several kinds of birth control, including some birth control pills. I can't think of a worse guy to have influence in the White House. Ladies, the War on Women has just met it's biggest supporter, and Mitt Romney wants to put him in the Vice President's chair.
Robert Pattinson made his first post-Kristen Stewart scandal appearance on The Daily Show tonight. It was awesome. Jon Stewart brought out some ice cream. As they took a bite, Stewart says (I paraphrase), "You are better off. Kick her to the curb." It was super funny, because he said it in his best bitchy college girl voice. Fantastic! Now, can we just get back to being excited that there is only one more Twilight movie for us to suffer through?
Did you know that Olympians defect when they're at the Olympics? It hadn't occurred to me, but it makes perfect sense. Apparently, seven Cameroonian competitors and coaches have not been heard from since the end of the Games. And four members of the Congo contingent also are missing. I think this is awesome. All the power to these people that have the strength and courage to ditch their homes and try to make a better world for themselves. ... But there's still no confirmation that some losing Olympians are forced to walk home after the Games. I've checked, Mom.
I don't watch Shark Week. For some reason, it doesn't interest me. At all.
Also, I don't know why a caftan. But it's sassy.

Back to me!

The Olympics are over. Now what? Well, I suppose I'll figure out some way to entertain myself for the next 18 months, until the Winter Olympics in February, 2014. Maybe some television? A movie or two? A couple books?
Now that I can reclaim my life from NBC and its channels, I feel like my options are endless. I sit here this morning wondering, "What movies are on Netflix?" "I should get back into my Nook book." "What about the farm?" "I SHOULD TAKE A NAP."
Because actually, this sudden bit of independence is more the result of Sydney being back in summer camp for a couple weeks, and then back to school. It's incredibly quiet in my house. And the good kind of quiet. Just me, Oliver and Daisy.
I went to the gym this morning. I'm avoiding some housewifery until I call Mom, catch up on the farm a bit, and finish the blog here. Also, it's just nice to have no one around to pull me in any direction that I don't want to go. This week, especially Thursday's Date Day with Brian, will be an incredible treat for me.
Like a cupcake.

Saturday, August 11

Three ITEM!'s, no waiting!

ITEM!: My house is so quiet. There's no lonelier feeling for me, as a family, than after a visitor goes back to their home. I never feel as far away from everybody as I do at that moment. It could be the second I drop them at the airport, or the moment we wave goodbye, or maybe not even until the next day, when there's nothing to do but the laundry. I know I have issues when Mom goes back to California. I get all kinds of sad, but I have to deal quietly, because it's usually all about Sydney crying in that instance. And I wasn't surprised when the house was quiet after Liam and Kyle left on Thursday, as they were the fifth and sixth people in the apartment. And I knew that I would miss Katy once she was gone. Still, today's absolute quiet and stillness took me by surprise. And all that was left to do was the laundry.
ITEM!: I had two events on tonight's Olympic broadcast ruined for me because of headlines on sidebar articles that were posted on page's for articles I read that had nothing to do with the Olympics. This is unfair. I don't think any results should be posted in headlines. It's a cruel and unusual punishment for those of us who, you know, read.
ITEM!: Tomorrow is the day for the Closing Ceremonies for the Olympics. First thing in the morning is the gold-medal game for U.S. men's basketball. Then, other things. But mainly, the Closing Ceremonies are tomorrow night. And not a night too soon, either. I'm done with the Olympics, folks. I'm tired. I miss books. I miss my farm. I miss other television. I miss reading the Internet with no concerns about spoilers. I miss being able to avoid Ryan Seacrest by staying away from only Fox and E!.

Thursday, August 9

Yay slumber party!

So, we've had some company lately. Katy has been here since Monday, and leaves tomorrow, which is beyond sad for me. I miss her terribly when she's in Arizona and I'm here. And two of Brian's nephews were here Tuesday through this morning, as part of their cross-country road trip. Liam and Kyle took up residence on the sofa and air mattress, making this a very full house of six people in a three-bedroom apartment. I loved it. I love, love, love having a bunch of people in my house. It makes the place feel like a big, awesome slumber party. We all went to Galveston together yesterday, and searched for seashells and had lunch. It was a great day, and we were all sad to see the boys leave today.
Sydney is thoroughly enjoying her time with her cousins. She cried when Liam and Kyle left, and I know there will be more tears tomorrow when we take Katy to the airport. I hate that we're so far from our friends and family. Alas, the best I can do is promote visits and trips. ... And get us into a house that has a dedicated guest room with a queen-sized bed in it. Then people will have no reason to say no.

Wednesday, August 8

A big ol' cut on the finger

Is is sacrilege to be totally ready for the Closing Ceremonies? Remember when I mentioned that we are getting Olympics fatigue? Well, it continues. But we're still staying up to watch it, and enjoying it besides, so I can't complain at all.
I cut my finger today. While cruising along the beach to day with the kids, we came across a piece of concrete that was not a shell. It was stealthily handed to me, and I thought that it would be cool to try to "skip" it out into the water. Who knew that it would have a super sharp edge that would slice right into the meat of my finger pad as I flung it into the water. Did you know that such a thing would make a finger bleed instantly? Or that when bleeding on the beach, the only place to wash off the finger is in the SALT water? It honestly hurts a lot. I can feel it aching, pumping with a bit of pain every time my pulse beats. And it's in one of those places that will get split open every time I do anything, making it possibly one of the slowest-healing wounds ever.
So, here I sit, with a Dora the Explorer bandage wrapped around the index finger of my right hand ... totally a finger I use all the time ... like, when typing. Weird. I'm not used to this.

Monday, August 6

"Here's my number, so call me maybe..."

So, here's something interesting: every once in a while, something happens that makes me feel like an old lady. Case in point, my new love for the song, "Call Me Maybe," by Carly Rae Jepsen. It's been a popular song for a good portion of the summer, and has been a trendy song to lip-sync to in YouTube videos. I've seen a couple of these videos, but didn't really decide I liked the song until a couple days ago. I've downloaded it onto my phone, and it's been a pretty regular dance party tune since then. In fact, we listened to it all morning today, and on the way home from dinner tonight. My favorite result of this song being played so much is Sydney learning the words and dancing along.
What makes me feel old is that I can sit back and be all, "Young whippersnappers been listening to this for a while, and I'm just discovering it? I'm cool now!" And that it really has been around for a while cements my uncoolness for all that is "current." I need to start listening to the regular radio, I suppose. But I hate people talking, and commercials, on my radio. You see? An old woman thing.

Sunday, August 5

Ernesto doesn't scare me

Well, it's raining. For the first time in my life, I'm actually paying attention to the hurricane watch on my news. It's a weird feeling, coupled only with the guilt of not being prepared for a hurricane, should it make landfall near Houston. This tropical storm, Ernesto, which is spinning around near Jamaica right now, doesn't have the potential to be anything here. Still, we've got rain today.
I remember, a hundred years ago, promising myself that I would experience every kind of major weather occurrence there is in the world. And I'm on a safe track, having been through a really hot, desert summer; a blizzard; and a haboob. What's left: hurricane, flood and a tornado. Am I missing something? Let me know.  I'm not running scared, by any means. Just watching and waiting, to see what happens.

Also, I'm beginning to suffer from Olympics fatigue. We've been staying awake way too late for the last several days, and it's starting to catch up to me. Last night is the second night in a row that I've fallen asleep in the living room (after the primetime broadcast), only to wake up and go to bed. I'm only too excited that once the Olympics is over, it'll be time for new television, too.

Friday, August 3

Goodbye chocolate muffins ... for now

I'm jumping back on the diet bandwagon on Monday. That is, unfortunately, not the best day to begin, since Katy arrives that afternoon for a few days. But Kim, JJ and I are diving back into our weight-loss challenge, competing for who loses the most weight before their big Bar Bounce in October. That gives me about eight weeks to lose the 10 pounds I'm shooting for. I won't be able to hit the gym until a week from Monday, when Sydney goes back to school, but my motivation is there. And I'm excited, too. I like having the competition. I also like shopping, and losing that weight will make my closet a shopping mall again, and give me a reason to pick up some new stuff for the winter. Which is my favorite season to shop for. Win, win, win!

Thursday, August 2

Bugs make me mad

I got bit by a bug this morning. That happened, as if my walk with the dogs wasn't bad enough, which you read about earlier this week. Today, I was standing in the grass waiting, bag in hand, for Oliver to finish his poop, when I felt a sharp pain on my ankle. It turned out to be a little ant-like creature. I swiftly brushed the little dude off my ankle, complained out loud about how much that little bite hurt, and went about continuing my wait for Oliver. Then, a sharp pain in my finger. That little f*cker, I soon discover, leapt from my ankle to avoid my hand, actually landed on my hand, and then proceeded to bite me on the inside of my finger! And that hurt even more! I brushed the bastard off my finger, cussed him out, and then stood there, assessing the two minuscule bites that hurt really bad, like I'd been stabbed with a needle.
In a matter of the minutes between picking up the poop (insult to injury, really) and getting upstairs, I had not only developed an awful mood for the morning, but an ugly little welt on my sensitive finger flesh. Sometimes, I really do not like this place.

Sports I've obsessively watched being contested that, any time other than the Olympics, I would not have watched: equestrian eventing, whitewater canoeing, whitewater kayaking, gymnastics, judo, water polo, women's basketball, beach volleyball, rowing, swimming, and table tennis. Basically. everything that isn't baseball or football is way off my radar for three years and 50 weeks straight, before becoming an obsession for a fortnight or so. I love the Olympics.

Wednesday, August 1

Morning post: Texas Pet Peeve Edition

I used to enjoy taking my dog out for a walk every morning. I used to be able to wander around a big block in Boston, feeling the crisp morning air, the cold morning air, or the freezing morning air. For a couple months, it was kinda warm. I enjoyed cruising around the apartment complexes in Arizona, where there was some cool morning air, but mainly warm to hot, but not HUMID, morning air. Here is Houston, I'm not enjoying the morning walks.
As an apartment complex, this place is lacking a sidewalk throughout the property, thereby making any casual walker go through the thick grass, offering them up to the potential for poopy steps and mosquito attacks. So, we can't really wander very far or very long, making our "walks" more "stand outside by the grass."
Also, and I know I've mentioned this before, it's been pretty humid and warm here. What bothers me though is my own physiological reaction to that: I get sweaty while we're outside. And there's something fundamentally wrong with getting sweaty before one even has breakfast or gets ready for their day. It makes me feel icky, and cranky, before the day even begins, which isn't fair to anyone.