Tuesday, July 30

Girl dinners are a must

News flash: There's nothing better than an evening out with your girlfriends. We had the most cathartic and engaging conversations tonight. I won't confide in you the topics, but will say that we all spilled, we all helped deal, and we all are smiling tonight from the experience of it.
It's a good thing when you've got a group of close friends with whom you can share any and all stories of your life, and they accept, hug, console, and love each other, no matter the circumstances.
It's an important support system, and I highly recommend it.

Monday, July 29

"Emotional issues, we have a problem"

I honestly didn't think that it's been two days since I've blogged. But, you know, I get tired when we've been running around in California, and I tend to fall asleep on the sofa at night. This happened both Saturday and Sunday.
Today, we ventured down to Los Angeles to spend the morning at the California Space Center and visit Endeavour in its temporary new home: We got to see the Toyota Tundra truck that pulled the shuttle across the freeway in a publicity stunt. We got to watch video of Endeavour's final launch and entry into orbit. We got to ride on the Endeavour simulator, which showed what a launch, flight and return felt like. We got to see the video of Endeavour riding through the streets of Los Angeles. And finally, we got to see the shuttle itself, in the hangar.
And today, I could officially announce to myself (and Mom, because she was there, too) that, yes, I'm bitter as hell about missing that final launch. I try to be all upbeat and happy about the opportunity to see and do things surrounding the shuttle, but really, I'm still pissed off that I missed it. I mean, really. We flew all the way to Florida, bought all the tickets and hotel and everything, and the damn shuttle launch was scrubbed at the last minute. But the money put out is moot, because seeing a shuttle launch was/is among my life's greatest wants. So yeah, I'm still super angry. I don't know if I'll ever get over that particular disappointment, and I'm okay with stewing with it, to tell you the truth.
I still have a love of all things astronaut and space shuttle, but I'm still mad.

Friday, July 26

Plants release oxygen, which is good

My new project when I get home is Plant Maintenance. I've got house plants that need to be re-potted, re-soiled, and upgraded into bigger pots, as well. In a nifty bit of trickery, my cactus also needs to be re-potted. (How does one re-pot a cactus? Very carefully. I've got gloves, and I am afraid, so I'll use them.) But I've got several plants that need some tender, loving care. Something interesting I came across on the Internets today is an article, "11 Signs of an Unhappy Houseplant." This article landing in my lap in so timely a manner is reason to pay attention. Herewith, some of my plant issues, copied and pasted from the article:
Symptom: Spindly Plants, Few Flowers
Possible Cause: Poor lighting conditions.
Management: Most indoor plants need an average of 14 hours of sunlight each day. Do an Internet search to find out the proper amount of direct light, indirect light, or shade that your particular plant requires to thrive.
Symptom: Yellowing Leaves
Possible Causes: Overwatering, low humidity, poor soil drainage, low temperatures, or pot-bound roots.
Management: If the weather has changed suddenly, make sure that your plant is not in a draft, near a heater, or reacting to an unexpected environmental change. Check that your pot has adequate drainage and that the plant isn't root bound.
Symptom: Brown Leaf Tips
Possible Causes: Too much fertilizer or pesticides, dry soil, low temperature, hot air, accumulated salts, or root rot.
Management: It bears repeating—most indoor plants need to be fertilized only once a month, at most. Stand pots in shallow, pebble-lined trays that are filled with water to increase humidity (pots should sit on the pebbles, above the water line). Once a month, apply enough water to the top of the soil to thoroughly flush excess salts through the drainage hole.
Symptom: Small Leaves or Wilting Plant
Possible Causes: Soil remains either too wet or too dry.
Management: Develop a watering routine that is infrequent but deep to promote healthy root growth and combat root rot. If root rot is suspected, remove the plant from its container, examine the root system, and cut out infected roots (blackened root tips with slimy decay), then re-pot using sterile potting mix and a clean pot.
Something that didn't occur to me until I was reading this, is that I can re-pot and re-soil a plant in the same pot it's already in, just with fresh soil. I'll tell you right now though, I'm not going to be putting my pots in plates full of pebbles and water. But I do notice that a few of these are exactly what some of my issues are. I get brown leaf tips on one of my spaths, and I get yellowing leaves on my dieffenbachia. I need to be better about checking the soil's wetness before I water, and I think the re-potting will be a huge help to them all. This will not be a quick project. And I'll need more than the one bag of potting soil Mom bought for me today. I need a new pot or two, and also a couple new plants for some empty spaces in the house.

Thursday, July 25

Good food, good dessert, great laughs

ITEM!: I think the best kind of sore throat is the one that comes after spending a few hours laughing with friends. I can celebrate tonight that I have just such a sore throat, having just spent three hours laughing my butt off with JJ and Andrea. I just downed an entire bottle of water, but I'm still coughing, and I can still feel the rawness in my throat. Who knows how it will feel tomorrow, which will probably be fine, but it was totally worth it. We had a great time.
ITEM!: The drive out to California was a good one today! Weirdly, there was rain in Arizona, and the warm sunshine was in Cali, but sometimes that's how it goes. Blah, blah, blah weather.
ITEM!: I like that people have secret identities on the Internet. It makes it more fun, just the idea, that people take on different personalities, and can say things that they may or may not normally say, and that they can say it with no consequences. I enjoy thoroughly the anonymity of the Internet (to clarify: I enjoy that people can say what they want; I don't enjoy when other people use the anonymity to troll). And it makes me happy that this allows for more creativity and more fun. Because really, that should be what the Internet is all about.
ITEM!: Cinnamon-sugar pizza is better than you would think.

Wednesday, July 24

The day in "John" and "Jon"

Jon Stewart is still on hiatus from The Daily Show, and I miss him terribly. I am getting excited for the first day he's back in the studio, and am eager to hear the screaming from the audience. If he leaves the show for good, I'll be a sad camper.
John Oliver is taking over for Stewart while the latter is gone. And he's doing a fantastic job. I think it was a ridiculous bit of luck that this whole thing with the royal baby went down while there is a British guy behind the desk of The Daily Show. He's making it awesome. I think I may miss him when Stewart returns. He's making me giggle, even when I never thought anyone but Stewart would or could.
John Cusack is usually a pretty rock-solid indicator of a movie being a good one. Tonight, we watched The Numbers Station, starring Cusack and Malin Ackerman. I picked the movie because of Cusack, and it sat on the TV stand for a couple weeks waiting for us to watch it. Huh. As my husband said, "It's not the worst he's done -- or you've chosen -- but it's not the best, either." ... ... Also, this poster makes Ackerman's character look much more badass than she was in the movie. She spent a good portion of the film asleep, and only held a gun for all of five minutes. They also aren't showing her limping. Sure, she was the smart girl who -- spoiler alert -- saved the day, but she also was a classic damsel in distress who needed to be carried, supported, coddled and cooed at throughout her ordeal. Ugh. I'm not saying that all the women need to be butt-kicking, marksmen that could cut someone, but I get tired of them being all fragile and distressy.

Tuesday, July 23

Employed, and it feels so good

Almost seven years ago to the day (7/21/06), I left my job in Boston for our move back to Arizona, and to be a stay-at-home mom for a while. Here we are, seven years and two days later, and I'm ready to jump back into the work force. I'm happy to say that I was offered the job as a social media Community Manager this evening, and I'm excited to get started as soon as Sydney goes back to school.
But you know what's interesting right now? I'm getting nervous. I know I can do this job, and I know I'll do it well. But being back in the game is suddenly very intimidating. I was all ready for this, but in this moment, my stomach is doing flips. There will be plenty of training, and my new bosses are as invested as I am to be sure I know all the ropes and am ready for this new path. Still, I got the nerves.
But it was super cute how excited Sydney was for me. (Brian was doing somersaults, of course.) She grabbed her phone and was ready to text everyone she could to tell them the news. And she was all, "I'm so glad that you finally got a job, Mom!" And she hugged me a whole lot. I'm glad this particular job won't infringe too much on my time with her.
Also, I get to wear jeans and flip flops all the time.

Monday, July 22

Sometimes, she's so not my kid

Sydney and I found a Krispy Kreme in Scottsdale this morning, right after she got a good report from her dentist, and we celebrated with some doughnuts. Weirdest thing: Sydney didn't like her doughnut. Honestly, I don't understand that kid. But as much as this made her less my child, it made her more Brian's, because he also does not like the Krispy Kreme doughnut, either. (He prefers a Dunkin Donuts doughnut, which is ridiculous to me.)
No surprise, my two chocolate iced doughnuts didn't last the afternoon. But her two chocolate iced with sprinkles -- one minus a single bite and some frosting -- sat and hardened over the duration of the day. It was a waste of more than just the couple bucks for the doughnuts themselves. It was a waste of the potential these doughnuts possess, because they're so yummy.

Sunday, July 21

Traditional gift: silk and linens

Today is mine and Brian's 12th wedding anniversary. I hunted and searched for an image for my profile picture, and I found a great one, but what I discovered is that most of the best images are of my friends and I. (All the photos have been packed up for the last few years, remember.) But what was interesting, is that I didn't realize how much time Brian and I spent apart from each other over those four days. Of course, the important stuff we did together, but there are only a few events over those days that were for both of us.
And I have to tell you, I wouldn't change a single thing over that entire weekend. The bachelorette evening was rock-solid awesome. The spa day, which I have no photos of at all. The bridesmaids' lunch. The make-up and hair morning (which, as I look at those images, I'm still annoyed about my hair and how much eye make-up was packed onto my face). And the reception.
But it's pretty amazing to see all these fantastic photos of all my friends and family having such a great time. What I love most about my wedding weekend is that it was a good time for everyone there (I think; I haven't heard differently). It was meant to be a party for all the people I love, and it was. And that makes me happy ... as happy 12 years later as I was a week later. Also, Elvis was my officiant.

Saturday, July 20

I liked their college; but ASU was better

Someone explain why I have a child that I have to cajole and guilt into going to the movies with me. Movies are my drug, and I'm totally addicted. Also, I love eating popcorn. But mostly it's the movies (and the popcorn).
Today, we saw Monsters University. And while we all thoroughly enjoyed it, I wish Sydney had consented to sit and watch Monsters, Inc. beforehand, so she would get all the little inside jokes.
But again, she doesn't always like to sit through a movie. Which bugs, because I can count on one hand how many movies she's seen that she didn't like. And I hardly ever steer her wrong. But she's stubborn, and just keeps saying no when I ask if she's up for a movie. But the popcorn, honestly, always makes a movie worth it.

Friday, July 19

Photographic gold

This is a picture of my dog. He's yawning.
I sometimes have impromptu photo shoots, and today I conducted one. Oliver was laying on my bed, and I knelt on the floor in front of him, just taking pictures. He typically gets bored of me snapping photos of him, but today, I was given gold. He yawned. And I happened to be snapping away the whole time. And I got this. This is one of my favorite pictures of my boy ever.
I was so giddy with this image that I immediately texted it to Brian. And tonight, it's my profile picture on Facebook. I enjoy how, over the course of his life, I can probably name you eight or nine photos that I've taken of him that I love more than any others. I'm adding this one to that list, and I'm completely smitten by it. Oliver is the best.

Also, the interview for today was rescheduled for Sunday morning.

Thursday, July 18

Perhaps the butterflies ate the aches

ITEM!: My costochondritis is feeling much better. In fact, I hardly felt it at all today. Perhaps I am a medical marvel, and that's why it's feeling better so much quicker than it should. Rather than being Brian's "glass princess," as he called me the other night, I am instead a "random ailment but remarkably quick-healing princess."
ITEM!: My second interview is scheduled for tomorrow at 5 p.m. (It is not at a Starbucks.) I'm starting to get that nifty butterfly-in-the-tummy feeling that usually rolls with job interviews. But I'm excited to have a reason to celebrate when I get to California next week. Yay hopefully a job!
ITEM!: One of the first things I'm going to do when I find out I got this job is to call Molly Maids. I did not enjoy vacuuming and cleaning my floors today, and I'd like to have someone else do it for me. That person, or persons, is welcome to scrub the bathrooms and kitchen, as well. I don't mind dusting, but if I could get Molly Maids, I'd be a happier person.

Wednesday, July 17

"Put me in, Coach!"

I got an e-mail from the social-media-job guy this afternoon, asking me to come in for a second interview to meet his business partner. You guys, this may turn out to be a real job pretty soon. Wouldn't that be exciting? Of course, we need the money, but also, I need the mental stimulation, and the focus that a job would give me. Also, I need to be able to tell my daughter that I have a job, too.
I appreciate that being a stay-at-home mom is a career and everything, but I really need a job. I want to set an example for Sydney that her mommy works, too, and is capable of helping out with the house in more ways than just cleaning up after everyone.
Several months ago, she asked me, "So, have you ever had a job?" I tried hard to keep the snap out of my voice, but did respond: "Yes. I had a job. I've had a few jobs. And I was damn good at my job. And lest we forget, my job fed your daddy while he was going through school."
So, a job may be coming. It's been almost seven years since I've had a day job. In fact, it's damn close to my seven-year anniversary of quitting my last job: July 21, 2006. (We were in Boston; it was my last day and our five-year wedding anniversary; I was pregnant; and we went to Ruth's Chris for dinner. A good day!!)
Let's see if I can nail this thing on Friday, and get back into the game.

Tuesday, July 16

Cartilage be inflamed and shit

So, the problem last night was that I was experiencing these weird pains in my chest. It was an achy tightness that radiated from what felt like my heart across the left half of my chest, right under my breast. It was uncomfortable, and scary. Breathing made it ache more, but when I took deep breaths, I had no pain. Nor did I have any dizziness or shortness of breath, but I was genuinely afraid to go to sleep last night because I was afraid I wouldn't wake up this morning.
Happily, I did wake up this morning, but was still in discomfort. And because we have a rule -- Don't Complain About It If You Haven't Done Anything About It -- I finally told Brian, and then called my gynecologist's office to see where I should start investigating this issue. The gynecologist's medical assistant and I had a couple conversations (where she asked me all the questions that would tell her if I was having a heart attack), and then she and the doctor decided that it was beyond the realm of the gynecologist, and that I should visit an urgent care.
With my kid in tow, I headed over to the closest office, where we waited for 45 minutes before getting into a exam room. (Positive: The urgent care's scale weighs me a couple pounds less than my scale at home, and therefore, is right in all ways.) The doctor listened to my breathing and my heart, did a breast exam just to be sure that there wasn't anything weird going on there, and then finally set me up with an EKG. The EKG was normal, which relieved me in more ways than I can ever tell you. As Sydney and I sat in the room waiting for the doctor to return after the test was administered, I realized that the pain was coming more from my sternum area, and that it was more sore when I exhaled.
I told the doctor this when she came back, and she immediately had a different hypothesis. She did some compressions against my sternum and ribs at the center of my chest. They ached when she did, and she confirmed then what the problem was: COSTOCHONDRITIS.
Costochondritis is inflammation of the joint between the bony part of the rib and the rib cartilage. It is more common in women than men, and tends to occur more often in people older than 40 years. (UGH!! Really?!?! Another reason to hate 40.) Many times, the cause cannot be found, which is the case with me because I have no idea how this happened. The main symptom is pain or tenderness in the front of the chest near the breastbone, and it occurs most often on the left side of the upper chest. Sometimes the pain can be confused with heart attack pain. (Thank goodness for that EKG, or I'd be freaking out.) Treatment is anti-inflammatory medicines, and the pain usually lasts for a week or two, but doesn't cause any long-term problems. I have stretches to do throughout the days until the pain goes away.
I do, of course, feel better knowing what the problem is. I will happily take my pain medicines tonight, and then sleep better than I did last night. Honestly, the EKG being normal is the best part of my day, because for whatever reason, I've always feared a pain in my chest. And since I was experiencing the pains as the test was being administered, and nothing funky showed up on the readings, I feel even better.
But no joke, this experience scared me a whole lot. I need to take better care of myself. Because anything worse than costochondritis is unacceptable.

Monday, July 15

It's a flower that looks like a duck

This is the Flying Duck Orchid. And it's real.
From Wikipedia: Caleana, commonly known as the Duck Orchid, is a genus of orchids from the Orchidoideae subfamily native to Australia.
Species in this genus are called "duck orchids" because of the form of the labellum. The lip resembles a flying duck with clearly expressed beak.
It is pollinated by the male sawfly in similar way to the pollination of Drakaea (the hammer Orchid). There are still problems with the classification of the Orchid in a subtribe.
I don't understand a whole lot of all that, but they're super cool, right?

Sunday, July 14

Lazy is as lazy does

How lazy were we, as a family, today?
* Sydney wore her pajamas all day. Really. She put a dress-up dress on over them, and wore that the entire duration of the day. Tonight, when I told her to get ready for bed, I had to clarify for her to put on some fresh pajamas, instead of just saying, "Put on your pjs!"
* I was permitted to stay in bed until 10:20 this morning. Oh, I was interrupted several times in my morning dozing, but to the point, I was not made to get out of bed until 10:20 a.m.
* Brian barbecued some chicken, and we snacked on that all day, with some popsicles, Dairy Queen and chopped melon to supplement. Sydney also enjoyed some yogurt and a sandwich.
* Brian and I watched The Newsroom all afternoon to catch up on last season before tonight's premiere episode of season two. That's such a good show.
And tonight, as I sat here, trying to figure out what to post on the blog, I realize that, oh my goodness, we were so lazy today!

Saturday, July 13

Practically perfect in every way

ITEM!: We watched Mary Poppins this afternoon, and Sydney finally understands the emotion and motivation behind my inexplicable and random singing of "Let's Go Fly a Kite." I will tell you that it's been quite some time since I watched that movie, and the I learned a couple things. First: It's not as scary when Jane and Michael are running through the streets of London as I used to think. Second: Dick van Dyke played the elder banker in old-man makeup. I did not know that until this afternoon, and it has rocked my Mary Poppins world. Third: There was more singing than necessary to get the plot moving. Fourth: One of the "domestics" was Buttercup Grogan from The Unsinkable Molly Brown. Fifth: I resent that they made the mom who was fighting for women's right to vote a ditzy thing that obeyed her husband without question and didn't seem to mind leaving her children alone for the afternoon with a chimney sweep she'd never met.
ITEM!: My random Starbucks-based editorial job interview went well this morning. The guy was super nice, and this job actually seems like a perfect fit. But, I refuse to get too excited, since who knows why this one might get ripped out from underneath me. The next step, if I get to it, is to interview with his business partner. And they have no problem waiting until after Sydney starts school for me to start working. All good things. So, fingers are crossed!
ITEM!: The Tooth Fairy came by again this evening, and this time, it's for the second front tooth. She's officially toothless in the front for a while, and that makes me unimpressed. I miss that little girl's smile so much already! How long do I have to wait for some new pearly whites? Maybe now, since the last wiggly tooth for a while is gone and no longer hurting, she'll let me do some looking around and check if I can see any new teeth coming in.

Friday, July 12

Should I get a mocha or a tea?

So this is kinda weird. I've got a job interview tomorrow morning ... at a Starbucks. I realize that this guy conducting the interview is probably keen to have them somewhere he is comfortable, and where he can stay caffeinated, but this just comes off as ... kinda weird. And totally unprofessional. As it is, I was actually considering showing up in serious casual, including flip flops. But no, my cooler head prevailed, and instead, I'll be wearing my Toms with my jeans, and a button up (maybe). Because even though it's at a Starbucks, it's still a job interview (or is it?).
The job is the first one I mentioned a couple weeks ago, where the company was looking for someone with "social media awesomeness," to post for companies to their own Twitter, Facebook, etc., and other social media sites. As when I applied for this job, I still consider it to be a perfect fit for me, and as my husband told me, "I can give them an excellent character reference that you are on social media all the time."
The position will be at their main office for a couple weeks, but then can be an at-home job. This again, works out incredibly well, as I'm looking forward to spending my mornings at Starbucks on their wi-fi, and my afternoons at the library next door to Sydney's school. Or maybe the other way around. Or maybe, if they have the room and the people are cool, I'll stay at the office.
I'm trying to not get too ahead of myself here (though the previous paragraph disputes that), and this is my first interview in a while, but I tend to interview well. And there's nowhere that I'm more comfortable than in a Starbucks.

Thursday, July 11

The fifth tooth has left the building

Last night, I fell asleep on the sofa while Brian was watching something boring on television. I slept there for about 90 minutes before waking up and going upstairs, and then falling asleep in bed. I was, apparently, more tired than I realized.
All this was okay, until I was awoken at 6:30 this morning, by the sound of tears in my bedroom. It seems as though the Tooth Fairy missed picking up Sydney's tooth last night, and didn't leave her anything. This certainly was reason for tears, and while Sydney's flowed, mine were barely held in check.
The Tooth Fairy is usually so good about picking up teeth, that it was so inexcusable that she would skip our house last night. I told Sydney that the Tooth Fairy must have just missed us because she didn't know that we had moved yet, and that she just didn't know where we were.
Still, the tears, and, "I just don't understand why she didn't come!" Heartbreaking, to be sure. But, after a few more minutes talking about it, Sydney accepted that our move just confused the Tooth Fairy, and that she would be coming by this evening.
And, with all seriousness, she looks at me and says, "But what about Buddy and Santa Claus?!?!" I assured her that the Tooth Fairy would certainly share our new address with Buddy and Santa Claus, and that I was positive that they wouldn't lose us.
All was well, and now, tomorrow will be well, too. The Tooth Fairy has been here.

Tuesday, July 9

Pain pills make it better

Right now, officially, one of the worst things ever is Oliver not feeling well.
We woke up this morning with the little man having issues getting around. I think he tweaked his back at some point during the night. He woke us up at 3:23 a.m. barking for us to put him on the bed. Because it was a ridiculous hour of the morning, we told him to be quiet and we went back to sleep. At 6 a.m., when he barked at me again, I just got up and put him on the bed.
But he didn't want to move around, or walk down the stairs, or walk anywhere for that matter. I carried him downstairs, and settled him on the cushion while I prepared one of Daisy's pain pills in some string cheese for him. He was happy to have the string cheese, and to have me hand-feed him his breakfast. He chilled for the morning while Sydney and I visited the dinosaur museum.
By the time we got home, he was moving around a bit better, and even made it halfway up the stairs before I saw him and picked him up. He got another pill tonight so he could sleep comfortably, but he seems to be in much better shape than this morning. He's jumped off the sofa (I won't let him try to jump up), and has gone down and back up the stairs tonight (he had to investigate what Brian was doing in the kitchen).
I hate, hate, hate worrying about Oliver. I simply can not have that dog not feeling 100 percent. It chills and terrifies me. But he's feeling better, so that's good for my head, heart and psyche.

Monday, July 8

They're islands, that look cello-ish

As a Monday, today had its good moments and its bad moments.
GOOD: I got to chat with Marlo this afternoon, and we spent about 30 minutes giggling and sharing stories. I miss her terribly. She's the only aspect of Texas that I'm sad to have left.
BAD: The web site for the Internal Revenue Service is convoluted and ridiculous. And when I called the phone number listed for help, I heard a recording telling me how busy they were, and that I should call back later. Then, it hung up on me.
GOOD: No scorpions in my house today. As of now.
BAD: Having to teach my daughter about scorpions, and having to answer all her questions, which only gave me the heebie jeebies again. After the lesson, I say, "What do you do when you see a scorpion?" Sydney says, "Call for you or Daddy, and stay away from it." I ask, "What else?" She replies, "Keep Oliver and Daisy away from it, too." Excellent.
GOOD: I still haven't cracked open that tube of cookie dough in the refrigerator. It's calling me name though, that's for certain.
BAD: I didn't get the book editor job. I'm super, super disappointed in myself for not doing as well as I should have on the test. I'm sad that I'll be hunting for more job stuff for a while longer. I'm bummed because I thought this was the right job for me, but it was not to be. I'm losing confidence in my skills, which isn't a good thing when searching for a job. But no matter, I'll be back to myself in no time.
GOOD: Heading out to Cali the end of the month.

Sunday, July 7

Scorpion in the kitchen? No, thank you

Do you remember when I was all, "Crazy Texas bugs are here!!" And thought it was funny?
Should I start an Arizona bugs thing? Because, well, a scorpion skittered across my kitchen floor tonight. I saw it as I was pulling the trash bag out of the trash can. My chief concern is that it was the same color as my flooring, and the movement is what drew my eye to it. Also, Daisy wanted to hunt it, which is problematic, should any others get in the house.
I saw the scorpion, and my first action was to grab Daisy by the back hair to keep her away from it. Then I, in a voice I don't think I'd ever be able to replicate outside of that situation, called for Brian, who, to his credit, jumped up and ran into the kitchen. He grabbed a nearby flip flop and squished the bug. After that, it was time to study it. We took a couple pictures; we tossed out the carcass; and then I came upstairs and did a Wikipedia search.
Our visitor was an Arizona bark scorpion, which is venomous. It'll put an adult in pain for a couple days, but for a small child or a small pet, it could be much worse (bad news, as I have both of those). There is an anti-venom, and in Arizona, there's a lot of it. They are nocturnal. They also glow in the dark when shined on with a black light.
List for tomorrow: Call pest control. Spray bug spray under the sink. Buy a black light flashlight.
I like scorpions better when they're a high school mascot.

Saturday, July 6

Beware storms in the desert

I just drove through the scariest storm I've ever driven through in my whole life. And that's saying something from someone who lived in Houston for a time, and also had to drive through snowstorms and blizzards in Massachusetts.
It's so weird how I don't like it when I have no visibility.
I had an incredible lightning show, which was cool. But then the rain started. The drops were so big and so loud hitting my windows that it sounded like someone was throwing rocks at us. And the rain was sideways, too. And also, so heavy that I couldn't see the road. The cars on the highway were all going about 30 miles per hour, and we all had our hazard lights on to keep everyone else aware of us. There were times when I honestly couldn't see outside my windshield. And the lightning kept flashing, which wouldn't do anything other than blind you, because it was like a camera flash going off in your face. It makes me very uncomfortable when the only way to navigate is via the reflectors along the lane.
And all this lasted for about 20 to 25 minutes. And when we were through it, it took me about 30 minutes to relax my arm and back muscles. And I almost cried because I got so freaked out.
And my kid slept through the whole thing.

Friday, July 5

Donut + stripey candy = mass destruction

ITEM!: I haven't heard anything from the book publisher in regards to the book editor job, and that makes me a little nervous. I think I did a good job with my test, but now I'm getting all icky about how maybe I've lost my edge, and maybe I'm not a good editor anymore, and maybe I missed one bitty thing but that she's decided I'm not worth her time or trouble. That would be disappointing for me.
ITEM!: I'm still stuck on level 65 of Candy Crush Saga, and I'm starting ... yes, starting ... to get frustrated enough to stop playing. I've been on this level for a month now ... yes, a month ... and tonight I got the closest to solving it as ever, but I still failed. That made me legitimately want to cry. And that is ridiculous when it comes to frickin' phone games. My stubbornness and refusal to purchase any cheats on the game is beginning to waver big time.
ITEM!: We sat Sydney down yesterday and watched 101 Dalmatians, as a family, together. It was the first time she'd sat through the entire movie, and I was happy to enjoy it with her. I was even permitted to sing along whenever I wanted. We agreed to watch Peter Pan on Sunday all together, too. I tried to get her to watch Aladdin today, but she wasn't interested. Maybe some other time next week. Also, Lady and the Tramp.
ITEM!: I get all the rest of my plants back from Brian's mom tomorrow, and I'm super excited to get them home. Of course, they'll suffer a bit being back in my care after they've spent the last few months with their grandmother, as any child would, but I'm eager to organize and make them at home in their sunny places throughout the house.

Thursday, July 4

After all, it is the Cradle of Liberty

Apparently, the competition is a bit more cutthroat over the ratings for Fourth of July events on television than I thought. I know this now because I had to do some research to discover why, exactly, my Pops weren't on TV tonight.
I'm sad to say that NBC was the killing stroke for my favorite event on the Fourth: the Boston Pops concert from the clam shell. Because NBC plays an encore presentation of its Macy's Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular from New York, and because CBS's coverage of the Pops lost 1 million viewers to that encore last year, CBS decided to not re-sign its contract with the Pops to broadcast their event nationally. And because of that, Brian and I were unable to watch our beloved Pops concert and fireworks show for the first time in 11 years.
This was very distressing to us, and it made me sad. We ended up watching A Capitol Fourth on PBS. It was incredibly entertaining, with its plethora of Barry Manilow, and dabblings of Neil Diamond, Motown and American Idol competitors. However, I can't listen to anyone else play the 1812 Overture; they just don't do it well enough.
And certainly, we probably could have found it online, but if it's awesome in person, and tolerable on television, it must be quite disappointing on a computer screen. Here's hoping the crazy suits at CBS realize their dorks for putting me through this, and decide to broadcast the concert next year.

Wednesday, July 3

Well, I hadn't expected that

So what's sad with my new project with the pictures and the photo albums and the photo boxes is that today I came across some of the bad stuff. Like when you realize that there are no more pictures of Ginger. Or the last of the Humphrey photos. Or even worse, the last of Gramps pictures. (Those are weakly balanced by the introduction of Oliver, and the plethora of photos of him, as really, even though he makes me so happy, missing the rest of them still made me sad.)
Also, we're not even close to 2007 or 2008 or 2009, which are the worst years. So much sad in what's missing in those pictures, you know. I guess I'll cross that awful little bridge when I come to it.
Still, I'm pleased with my progress. I've finished going through albums six through 10 today. Tomorrow starts the Boston years, which means a whole lot of photos of Oliver running around in the snow.

Tuesday, July 2

Ack! Homework!

So, in an interesting twist of fate, the publisher looking for a book editor actually called me this morning. We chatted for 30 minutes, and in the end, she sent me an editing sample as a test, and I'm to go through it, edit it, and send it back to her. If she likes what I've done, and sees some potential in my editing, then we'll "see where we go from here." If anything, I hope we don't go anywhere before Sydney goes back to school next month. I've got nothing I can do with her before then, and I refuse to pay for day care or summer camp before I have any more money coming in.
The test itself is a mess of weird spacing, redundant wording, and inconsistencies. It's 17 pages of bits of awkward dialog, and formatting issues. Publisher told me that this test will be worse than any manuscript I'll ever be handed to clean up, and I'm feeling pretty happy about that. Some of my biggest concerns are probably basic formatting things for them (a single space or double space between sentences?), but beyond that, it's pretty standard stuff.
I'm just hoping to get it done well. What I'm finding though, is that I can't focus very well at home. My dogs, my kid (no surprise), and my computer are too tempting. If I get this job, even though it can be mainly an at-home position, I think I'll go into the office as often as they'll let me. Or find a table at a Starbucks or the library every day while Sydney's at school.
I'll finish up the test tomorrow morning, and be eager to send it back to Publisher in the afternoon.

Monday, July 1

Book editing would be pretty cool

ITEM!: After spending the last 10 minutes in my bathroom digging at a splinter in my finger, I crashed my knee into my nightstand for the second time tonight when I got back into bed. My knee will be a canvas of random bruises tomorrow, and my finger will continue to throb well into the morning. Also, I smacked my lower leg into the booth when we went for lunch with Katy. These incidents are not uncommon for me lately. I have embraced my "clumsy, yet also unlucky" lifestyle over the last few months.
ITEM!: I've sent in my resume to two job openings over the last two days. The first, from yesterday, is a social media community manager position. The job description is to be awesome, and to do research and postings for companies on their social media sites. I know Facebook and Twitter, of course, but Google+? I thought that was a joke site or something. And LinkedIn? Don't they just send annoying e-mails? The second job, from today, is a book editor for a publishing company. This one intrigues me, because I've always wanted to get into the book publishing game, and this may just be my best chance. I was honest in my cover letter, explaining that while I have extensive editing experience with magazines, I don't have any with books. But even with that, I got a response e-mail ... asking for me to re-send the resume because they couldn't open it (it was formatted in Pages). But still, it's a response that didn't say "no thanks with your no book editing experience."
ITEM!: My plan to empty out my backyard of all the boxes and packing paper from the move is finally inching forward this week. Wednesday morning, the city of Scottsdale is coming by to pick up all my flattened moving boxes for recycling. I have to sort them by size (making it easier to carry them) and empty the packing paper from the picture boxes in the morning, and then Brian will help me take them to the curb tomorrow night. On Friday, another recycling bin will carry away more packing paper. The packing paper will take weeks to get rid of since the city doesn't take it with the boxes, and I'll have to put it out with the weekly pick-up. But still, boxes are leaving on Wednesday! Progress!!
ITEM!: I learned this afternoon that I can't have anything that smells too good on the second-from-the-floor shelf in my pantry, and also leave the pantry door open while I go for lunch. I came home to a small pile of HERSHEY'S COCOA POWDER all over my rug in the dining room. While one dog was exhibiting obvious guilt by lowering a head and refusing to meet my eyes (Daisy), the other was defiant in "innocence." I love how Oliver is perfectly happy letting Daisy take the fall for the incident. But because I'm the mom and I know him too well, I still put my nose to his face, and I could smell the chocolatey guilt on him. Ugh. They didn't get very much cocoa, but I am still stressed about anyone dying from chocolate powder huffing. They seem to be fine tonight, though I'll relax after tomorrow morning's poops. Dogs, man. They crazy.