Monday, October 28

Back in the saddle again

When all else fails, go hang out in Barnes & Noble for a while.
Then, I added three books to the already too tall To-Be-Read Pile.
Also, I discovered that it is indeed the cupcakes that are giving me acid reflux throughout the day and into the night. Eat one, suffer for hours. There is no large supply of cupcakes anymore, but the four that I saved will be tossed out tomorrow.
How is it possible that cupcakes have turned against me?
Have I killed too many of their brethren?
Why would the frosting feel the need to cross me so?
My heart is breaking ... for this set of cupcakes.
I'm sure the next group will be just fine.

Sunday, October 27

I love that autumnal weather

It was a lovely day to eat lunch outside. It will be tomorrow, too. Happily, the next day, Wednesday, it might feel a bit too cool to sit outside.
I say, Welcome autumn! We've missed you!
Is it a terribly bad move for a mother to leave the windows open in her house when the temperature gets down to 50 degrees or so? Will my dogs get too chilled? Will my daughter require more than a sweatshirt? I am eager to find out the answers soon.
I know it's all autumnal in Boston, and somewhat in Houston, but I'm looking forward to the season here. Only a few trees turn color, and even fewer lose their leaves, but crisper air is a welcome indication of the change of seasons.
If I could pick only one season to live in Boston every year, it would be autumn. It was my favorite time of year there, and the switch from summer always makes me miss that town.

Saturday, October 26

Dinosaur cakes are the best

ITEM!: So we had our first birthday party with classmates today. (How awesome that we managed to get all the way to seven without having to host one, right?) We booked the space at our local pizza place, and sent out the invitations. Sydney was nervous all morning, but also super excited. We got to the pizza place early, and the kids arrived. This was, I think, one of the most expensive 90-minute time periods of my life. Those tokens add up like no one's business. Still, Sydney had a good time, and the kids had a good time, and that is all that matters.
ITEM!: I still feel like I'm not ready to take Sydney to a party and then leave her there while I run errands. Several of the parents of our party guests did that today. Granted, a bunch of those kids are older than Sydney, but still, I was kinda surprised that so many were like, "Okay, this is so-and-so. I'll be back later!" I mean, there's a lot of freedom in that, of course, but I'm still not there. I'm super untrusting, I suppose, but it doesn't feel right to me.
ITEM!: People should give the bakers at Albertson's some super props, and not think that as a grocery store, their stuff is less than awesome. Because we got a fantastically awesome dinosaur cake that was delicious, and happy, and made my kid go through the roof with glee. I love the bakery products from grocery stores. They've got real frosting that's not fancy; good cake that's not fancy; and creativity that's underrated. This lady's work made our day.
ITEM!: Even though, or perhaps because of, the parents not being there, these kids were incredibly well behaved. Tons of "please" and "thank you" for everything, and no issues at all. Of course, with only seven kids, there's not a lot of room for craziness. But still, I was pleased.
ITEM!: The whole thing cost a whole lot more than I thought it would though, so we may be changing our tactics for next year. Maybe two or three friends on a cool outing or something. Or like, a make-up and hair person at the house to fancy them up for funsies. Or maybe even a sleepover. Thank goodness I've got another full year to think about it.

Friday, October 25

Lovely, lovely ladybugs

I didn't know that ladybugs would ever gather together like this. I'd never seen anything like that before I saw this. It reminds me a whole lot of Nantucket and Cape Cod. It just seems very Cape Cod-ish to me. I wish I had downloaded the higher resolution image though, because this would make an awesome cover photo for my Facebook page. But alas, it will be an awesome blog photo instead (which isn't a bad thing at all, either).
I wonder: what is the word for a group of ladybugs? ... Well, it seems as though there's some misinformation about that. Of the several places I just checked, only two agree on what a group of ladybugs is called, and it is a "loveliness." That's almost too cute to be believed. I'll roll with it, but I'm disappointed I don't have an encyclopedia right here that I can read and verify that.

Thursday, October 24

Sweet as a cupcake ... I wish

Lately, I'm sure, you guys are all, "Yeah, but how's she doing?"
Well, I am getting teary eyed at every little thing. I've got the zits. Today, I almost broke out in tears because I couldn't decide what I wanted to have for lunch.
Such is the state of me right now.
And it's bugging me.
This lack of estrogen is messing with me in every way.
I feel like I need to soldier through it for a couple months though, just to see if my body will settle in with it. Seems fair, you know, to torture myself for a while. That way I can really appreciate all the changes my body is going through now that I'm 40.
So, we might have a few of these ridiculous, emotional blog posts over the next several weeks.
Then, I'll admit that this wasn't a good idea, and go back to the regular-level birth control pills, and all will be well again.

Wednesday, October 23

Imagine lavender; go to sleep

I'm warm and uncomfortable. My dogs are asleep, which is cute and soothing and everything, but I'm still wide awake at 12:13 a.m. I need to put down the computer, and go to sleep, too.
I have acid reflux from my leftover pizza from dinner, but I lack Zantac, so I'm suffering through it.
And when is it going to start getting cold here? I got so jealous looking at all those people in the cold weather in Boston on television tonight. They were wearing hats and gloves for pete's sake.
I changed the estrogen levels in my birth control pills, and I think it may be affecting me negatively. I'm so weepy and agitated. Also, I'm breaking out, which puts me in a super bad mood. Zits f*ckin' suck, and I'm the queen of them right now.

Tuesday, October 22

Five of the six are mysteries

I have a great plan for the next six weeks: I am going to read one of the books on my To-Be-Read Pile every week. The week shall start Monday morning, and will end Sunday night when I go to bed.
This week though, is already off to a poor start. I had optimism because I knew I would spend Monday morning at the car doctor's place ... but then there was nothing wrong with the car, so I couldn't get started. Since then, I've been catching up on last week's television, and just mucking around instead of reading.
I honestly haven't read anything since before we left Houston, and I remember that the pile was growing even when we were there. My summer of reading was a bust, I admit. So the list is back to the "Books in my To-Be-Read Pile." I'll pull one off the pile and put it alongside my bed as soon as I'm done with the blog, so it can guilt me into remembering my goal, and I'll get started on it. I mean, they're all good books, I'm just having a hard time motivating my reading mind to get started. I thought that the plan was a good one, and I suppose I still do. I just need to dig into it.

Monday, October 21

2910 miles to Honolulu, so you know

I think, when I have the opportunity to give Brian a random outdoor decor project, I will request one of these many-places signposts. I will figure out the cities and points of interest, and their distance from our backyard. We'll paint the arrows ourselves, and make it cool and artsy, just like this one.
I am, all of a sudden, very, very interested in doing this. I'm excited, and I want to get started on it.
Cities to be listed: Camarillo, Boston, Sierra Vista, Juneau, Sydney, Hong Kong, Beijing, New York, Honolulu, Dublin, Paris, and London.
That's all for now, but rest assured, I'm composing more of a list in my head.

Sunday, October 20

You're smart; it's not about the girl

I'm bugged by that "glossophobia" advertisement on the television. You know, the kid who does all the research on speaking well in front of an audience? The point of the ad, I thought, was that the child does all the research, and practices, and is prepared, so he can perform well at his speech. But apparently, it was all for a higher, and even more mighty, cause: he was able to impress the girl in his class.
Whatever happened to kids doing well in school being its own reward? Why is the opinion of the girl in the class even relevant? Why does Google (or whoever it is; I don't even know, which makes the ad that much more worth it for them) make such a big deal about young love in what is supposed to be a victorious ad about conquering one's fears about speaking in public?
Why do advertisers insist on romanticizing and sexualizing every little thing on a commercial? The kid should be happy with himself because he did well on his speech, and end it right there. It shouldn't be about the girl who smiles at him because he does his speech so well.
The only way this could bother me even more is if the genders were reversed, and the advertiser dumbed down the girl's experience, and made it all for the smile from a boy. (That's vaguely sexist of me, but I'm more concerned with empowerment of girls than boys, for obvious reasons.) But still, this kid should be proud of his achievement and all the self esteem improvements that go along with that, not encouraged to do it just to make the pretty girl smile.

Saturday, October 19

Everyone's happy we're home

* Well, I did the drive again today, but somehow I feel a bit less creaky than last Sunday. Who knows though, that could be very different tomorrow morning.
* My dogs are incredibly content and happy right now. Everything is better when Mom is home!
* Sydney was so happy to get into her own bed tonight. I need to figure out something to do with all her dinosaur stuffed animals, because she's decided that she doesn't want them on her bed anymore. Damn. Her bedroom is just too small. I don't have a corner to shove them all into, or even a chair. I will need to get crazy creative.
* We put up all the "spider webs" outside finally. The webbing has been sitting on the chair in the living room for a week. It was a family event, and we were all very pleased with the finished product.
* I'm easily distracted by my need for a pedicure over the last couple days. I shall wait until all the paychecks drop, and then will visit the salon.
* Also, Oliver and Daisy need baths. Like, badly. I'll put that on this week's list, I suppose. My list for this week grows exponentially the longer I sit and think about it.
* The dark side of Saturn looks creepy, doesn't it? Also, I have a whole lot of television to catch up on this week.

Wednesday, October 16

Toms are more comfortable. They are!

Life lessons I learned at 19, but choose to ignore at stupid times:
Don't listen to Mom when it comes to shoe choices.
Backstory ~ When I was 19, and Julia invited me to go to London with her for a couple weeks while her grandfather was being elected mayor of his borough, my mother insisted that I get new shoes to wear, because my worn-in shoes were (I paraphrase), "probably too worn-in and comfortable." So, here I go, off on a couple-week trip to walk around London a lot, and Paris for a weekend, with brand-new shoes. Short story: my feet hurt; I grew blisters; I dreamed about my comfy shoes in my closet; and I cursed the woman who made me leave them there ... EVERY SINGLE DAY. It was one of the most uncomfortable trips of my feets' lives.
Since then, I tend to ignore Mom a lot when she has qualms with the shoes I select for pretty much anything.
But sometimes, I ignore this hard-fought knowledge, and I end up suffering for it.
Current story ~ I chose my Toms and some flip flops for the couple days in Disneyland. She was all, "Oh, Kimmie. Those won't be comfortable. There's no support." I'm all, "Whatever. I'm wearing my Toms." I changed out the flip flops though, for my Vans. Monday, in the Toms, was fine. (Of course, at the end of a day like that, everyone's feet are sore, so mine were as well. Not from shoe, but from use.) Tuesday, I wore the Vans. I bemoaned the loss of flip flops because I knew it would be warmer outside, however soldiered on. But then, after a couple hours in the Vans, I remembered why I really wanted the flip flops. The Vans aren't super comfortable after a few hours. My feet slide too far forward in them, and my toes ache. This is merely bothersome for a while, but then it makes every step ache a whole lot. Also, it makes for a non-amiable Kimberly.
As I changed from my Vans back into the Toms at the end of the day, I reminded myself AND MOM that I should really just stop listening to her about my shoes every time she has a comment or concern. Her opinion leads to unfortunate foot pain.

Sunday, October 13

On the road of life

Every time I make the drive from Phoenix to California, it gets harder. Not mentally, because it's still super fun to strategize my driving among all the big rigs and slow drivers. But physically, because my body is more and more ... creaky ... by the time I make it to Mom's house. My butt hurts, my hip is a bit cramped, my back is twinging, and my legs are stiff. Also, the bridge of my nose and my head above my ears hurt because my sunglasses are just thatmuch too tight. And I do honestly think it gets just a bit harder, and I get more OLD every time I do it. That's not to say that I will stop doing it, because California is its own reward for making the drive. But just to complain because sometimes I really, really feel 40.

Saturday, October 12

I have a complex belief system

Brian's question for me tonight, as we watch Ghost Adventures: "How can you be such a skeptic about ghosts and magic, but you can't sleep with the closet door open?"
There's an internal logic there that I can't explain. I've never been able to sleep with the closet door open. It has to be closed. In fact, every closet door in the house must be closed.
Come to think of it, the only closet ever allowed to be open overnight was the one in Boston, because the door couldn't close properly anyway.

Friday, October 11

Hopefully, no more car stuff

ITEM!: We finally took care of the last bit of car business today ... and now I have a new water pump. We ended up going to an independent VW shop down in Phoenix to have the work done, since their estimate was about $400 less than the dealership quote. They did the work quickly, and the car's running fine and there's no check engine light anymore, so it seems as though all is well. I'm not a big fan of taking my car anywhere that's not a dealership, but the cost was a very real factor with this particular repair. The shop has a ton of positive reviews online, so I felt relatively confident in my decision.
ITEM!: Gravity is a good movie! Of course, it's my love affair with space that makes me a sucker for all these movies, but this was really good. And I've got a weird gripe, but I don't want to be a spoiler, so I'll just keep it on the down low. Suffice it to say, I enjoyed the film.
ITEM!: I'm watching Hawaii Five-0, and I got a ridiculous giggle out of the guys from Lost on screen together. Jorge Garcia and Daniel Dae Kim (Hurley and Jin) just shared screen time, and it made me super happy. Also, because I'm watching Five-0, there was a commercial to vote on key plot points for a future episode. So, I took a couple seconds just now to do that. But really, I miss Lost.
ITEM!: One of my favorite conversation exchanges with me kid goes as follows. Me: "Tomorrow's Saturday! What does that mean?" Sydney: "It means you get to sleep in." Me: "Yes! That's right!" Sydney: "Huh." The secret not-fun is that she still wakes me up crazy early for a sleeping-in day to bug me about stuff like an app on the iPad, or the weather, or food.

Thursday, October 10

Cooler weather, I feel you

I say excitedly, "It was finally cool enough to have a HOT drink at Starbucks this morning!" Our windows were open all day, and the air conditioner didn't go on at all. I was able to wear jeans ... unironically ... and it was glorious. In fact, Sydney wore long pants to school today instead of shorts.
The weather gurus say that tonight and tomorrow morning will be the same, though the daytime highs should creep up a bit over the next few days. Still, that's the mid-80s, so really, there's no complaining about that.
In addition to getting the hot drink, I also stopped at a different Starbucks. My usual shop is right by the freeway, and seems to take a ridiculous amount of time to get something no matter the time of day. The shop I visited today is along the way home from dropping Sydney at school. It's a walk-in store, with no drive through, but that's no big deal. It was pretty awesome though, to walk into the store at 8:35 a.m., and have only two people ahead of me in line, and then to get my drink quickly and to be out in a matter of minutes. I think I may have a new "my Starbucks" now. I love stopping for a drink after dropping the kid, and this new "my Starbucks" will make that easier and better for my life.

Wednesday, October 9

That's my boy!

So, how's this for feeling the effects of parenthood?
My oldest child.
My dearest heart.
And don't judge me, but my favorite bedtime cuddlebug, will be a teenager.
Yep, believe it. Oliver's birthday is tomorrow, and he turns 13. I mean, really. Look at that puppy face over there. What a sweet baby, right?
Those 13 years went by in a blink.
He's the best dog ever, you guys.
I love him. :)

Tuesday, October 8

Keep a weather eye out

This water spout was photographed in Florida. It's super, super cool, I think. One of my random Bucket List tasks is to experience every kind of weather. So far, I've been in blizzards, earthquakes, coldest days on record, rain storms that last for days, freak hail storms, and summers' heat in the desert.
I'm a little nervous that I may have missed out on ever being in a hurricane by leaving Houston. And I'm nowhere close to being anywhere close to a tornado. (I'm okay with never seeing a tsunami in person, though. The Impossible scared me too much.)
Granted, I won't come across much weather living in the desert, but it's still a goal. Also, isn't that water spout cool?

Monday, October 7

Pick a picture, write a post

This is Blarney Castle in Ireland.
I've been there. It was 1982, and, if you can believe it, we went there for a trip while the Olympics were in Los Angeles, so we wouldn't have to deal with the world's traffic. (Given the chance now, I would totally stay put and check out the events. But alas, at nine years old, I was not consulted too terribly much on these things.) Mom, Howie, Gramps and I spent some time driving around Ireland, and then spent a few days in London. The trip is still among my favorites of all time.
Biggest regret: not toughening up and being brave enough to flip backwards over a large hole in the floor high above the castle grounds and kissing the Blarney Stone itself. I knew at that moment that I should totally do it. I knew, as we walked away, that I should totally do it and be a tough kid because my chance was slipping away.
If I could kick that girl in the butt right now and tell her to frickin' do it, I would. I'm still quite disappointed in my nine-year-old self. I don't have very many stories about me chickening out on something, and I hate that this is one of them. Oh, if I knew then what I know now. And if I could stop that girl. Blast it. Regret.

Sunday, October 6

Candy starts with "c"

Halloween candy in the house!
I swear; I have no idea why I continue to buy the 3 Musketeers. They are too good, and I eat them too quickly. We also bought Snickers and -- what Sydney picked -- Hershey's Kisses.
My current irritation: Fun-Size bars are smaller than they used to be. In fact, I think they're smaller than they were just last year. Fun-Size bars used to be rectangular. Now, they're, like, square. They're slimmer than they ever have been before.
I feel ... cheated. It's for damn sure that they cost the same as they did last year ... if not more. But how does one bitch and complain about something that is totally and completely voluntary to buy? I mean, if it bugs me so much, I can just not buy them, right? Sure. Because that's so easy during the month of October. October is made for little candy bars. It's the entire reason behind little candy bars. I wouldn't dream of disrespecting the month of October by not buying little candy bars.
So, I'll buy them, and eat them. But that doesn't mean I'm happy about it.

Saturday, October 5

I had some pilsners

I really enjoy day-drinking. It's a good time, and makes a day awesome. Unfortunately, it makes the afternoon and evening kind of awful when you don't follow through and keep drinking.
Brian, Lisa, Brad, Sydney and I ventured out to the Tour de Fat (Fat Tire Festival) today. It was a lovely time watching the bike parade, checking out the random games and activities, and of course, drinking some Fat Tire. I was done when I was done, but I still found myself taking an uncomfortable nap once we got home. And I continue to yawn even early this evening. Thankfully, the bottles of water and some dinner made for a better time while we watched football.
But my body is creaking tonight. My feet are sore, and they feel stretched out on the bottom. I got a bright sunburn on my shoulders and face, which is too bad. It didn't even occur to me for a moment to put some sunscreen on myself or Sydney or Brian. We're all a bit crispy. My back is aching a bit because I stood so much all day. My head hurts because of the, previously mentioned, day-drinking.
But all in all, this is such a great beer festival and so much fun, that all my issues tonight are totally worth all the fun we had today. Looking forward to next year!

Friday, October 4

Bins, bins and more bins

It cracks me up how, in my life, one irrational task can lead to another irrational task, and yet another irrational task. So, I got my garage somewhat organized today. What I discovered, is that I really need to pick up a couple more bins at Target. I need another Halloween one, I think, but definitely a Thanksgiving bin and an Easter bin. Probably two Christmas bins, too. The extra cardboard boxes aren't cutting it in my holiday-neurotic organizational stacking Tetris brain, and bins will work better for that.
[ASIDE: It's a fact, I just need a storage unit. There is no way I'll be able to stack all these boxes in a way that is pleasing to my eye when I drive into the garage. I moved stuff around, but it still bugs me, and now I don't know what I can do to make it better. END OF ASIDE.]
And I won't have time to try again until next week, if even then. So, I'll either get used to it as it is now, or I'll have to hate it, and let it bug me, for a while. My compulsion to have everything look exactly right in my head is going to drive me insane.

Thursday, October 3

An organized garage is an empty garage

I've finally caught up on my work for the week, which means I can finally take some time tomorrow morning to do some work in my garage. I've been unhappy with the state of things in there for a while, and I'm super eager to move some stuff around to make different and better use of the space in there. I could probably go through My Steps To Reorganize The Garage for you, but that would be incredibly boring.
Also, the plumber is due in the morning, to fix the upstairs toilet that has leaky bolts in the bottom of the tank, thereby leaking water all over the bathroom floor. I would like to state how nice it is sometimes to only be renting a house, so when something like that goes wrong, all I have to do is call the landlord, and they take care of it, and pay for it. It'll also be super nice to be able to use my bathroom again.
Also, I was a productive mother today, by visiting the pediatrician's office, filling out the request to have Sydney's records transferred, and making her wellness appointment for this year. It was nice to check the place out again. But the best part was making the appointment, sucking it up and taking the mid-afternoon spot because nothing else was available before or after school for months, and then discovering that the Monday for which we scheduled the appointment is Veteran's Day, and Sydney has the day off anyway. Win, win, win.
Unfortunately, my own doctor's appointment for this afternoon was canceled because a baby decided to be born, so I need to go back on Tuesday morning. I find myself wondering if my private health insurance premiums will go down now because of the Affordable Care Act, or if we're stuck with it as it is. My premium should go down to match Brian's, right? And will my birth control pills be covered? I'll be happy to not pay $33 per month for those, if I can avoid it. I suppose I have my own questions. I'll call our company next week and see what's up.
Quite obviously, tonight's is a stream-of-consciousness post. It's all over the place.
I think I'll drive down to Qdoba for lunch tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 2

Pigeon in a fountain = happy bird

I'm not complaining about the weather here, since, of course, it's not Houston. But I am looking forward to keeping my windows open all night and all day. As it stands right now, I can open my windows about 10 p.m., but they need to be closed about 11 a.m. because the air has warmed up so much. I know it's just a matter of weeks now before I will be able to have my windows open all day long. And I'm eager for it. That's the best part about October: the end (somewhat) of summer.

Tuesday, October 1

How do they get so dirty so fast?

Alright, well, we didn't buy any Halloween candy today, much to Sydney's chagrin, but my house is all decorated for the holiday. So, by that measure, it was a productive day.

Do you think that maybe if I left my reading glasses next to Brian's sink every night, in the morning he would wash them after he washes his own glasses? I'm inclined to think no, but I may try anyway. I foresee laughter at my perceived laziness, but really, it's all about letting the guy with the real experience take on a task that I don't like doing. Besides, he does it, like, every day, where I really only wash my glasses when they're too gross to see through.