Friday, January 31

Is January really over already?

SEE'S CANDIES ~ We have a candy problem in our house. There's too much of it, and we can't stop buying it. After lunch today, Brian and I stopped at See's. Actually, we ran into See's, and happily bought our one-pound box of scotchmallows, and a small bag of milk chocolate brittle. I had to test both candies to make sure that they were okay, and can declare that they are both safe for consumption. And delicious. In addition to the Valentine's Day candy in the house. We have a candy problem.
COYOTES ~ I heard coyotes having a yowling party in the mountains during my hike this morning. They were very vocal, and very excited about whatever they were excited about. That made me more aware of being in desert wilderness, certainly. I continued on, with only one of my ear buds in. Then, a couple minutes later, I saw one trot across my path about 30 feet ahead of me. It was ... startling, but not scary. I did very quickly call Brian and make him remind me that the coyotes would be more afraid of me than me of them. I was extremely ware of my surroundings for the remainder of my walk. Also, Sydney is pissed that she hasn't seen a coyote on a walk she was on.
LONGHORN STEAKHOUSE ~ People. Eat the firecracker chicken wraps from the appetizer menu. But without the prairie dust. I'm not kidding. They are so good. I had the Steakhouse mac and cheese with a green salad for lunch today, and it was delicious. Also delicious: realizing that it has been eight years since Brian and I sat alone in a Longhorn Steakhouse together. Summer of 2006, before we left Boston, and before we had the kiddo. A magical time.
LEGO MARVEL ~ This Lego Marvel Super Heroes game is so ridiculously full of glitches that we're about ready to toss it out the window. It freezes; it halts; it frustrates. How are we ever going to finish it if we can't free play the third mission? Come to find out -- on the Twitter -- that this particular game company, TT Games, is a very glitchy manufacturer, and that this happens quite a bit with their stuff. Not cool. We're stubborn, and the game is fun when it works, so we'll keep playing it, but we're getting super annoyed.
TWITTER ~ Some days, Twitter scares me. It terrifies me the level of vitriol and hatred, and meanness and bullying, on display in that space. How people can be so cruel to each other, and have such disdain for others, and be so willing to say things that, in a civilized society, just shouldn't be said to other people. The ability to be completely anonymous, as well as say things with no consequence, makes an environment ripe for horrible things, and people take advantage. I'm not the target of these sentiments, but I've read tweets sent to people I do follow, and it's sickening. Tonight, I'd love to quit Twitter, just because I'd rather be unaware of these levels of meanness. But then tomorrow I wouldn't get to read all about Wil Wheaton's dog's hijinks.

Thursday, January 30

But will I love it in 115 degrees?

On the days I go for my hike on the trail, I'm posting a picture from it on Facebook (like this one to the left). So far, I've posted a picture of Sydney walking the trail; the interior of a dead teddy bear cholla cactus; some cool, dark blue rocks; and more than one large landscape.
I have decided, self-righteously, that everyone needs a beautiful picture of Arizona in their timeline. And if that happens three or four times a week, well, it's less annoying than motivational quotes, shared photos, political rants and personality quizzes. If pretty pictures aren't your taste, just scroll past them.
But there is some real beauty in the desert landscape, and I like to share it with everyone. It's a lot more varied than I ever thought, and there is always something new to see and study. Of course, when I'm hiking, it's all, "Oh, look; pretty!" with very little slowdown to even take the picture, let alone do any studying. But when Sydney and I do the walk, it's important to stop, investigate, discuss and make educated conclusions. We collect rocks, as well (only five per hike), and listen for animals. We stop and smell the flowers, when we find them.
I'm looking forward to spring in the desert, which is in February and March, according to the preserve's information. The flowers and blooms should be pretty. Oh, don't worry, you'll see them on your timeline.

Wednesday, January 29

The pink hearts are pretty

I enjoy that only my neuroses can shift my neuroses.
Neurosis #1: I must be able to decorate my house for a holiday all by myself, because I don't want anyone to put something in a place that I don't want it.
Neurosis #2: Valentine's Day decorating must be done on February 1.
This year, these two issues collapse under the weight of themselves, as Feb. 1 is a Saturday, and therefore everyone will be home. My issues are thrashing it out.
Should I decorate on Friday? Nope. Brian will be home, and we're maybe going to the movies.
How about Monday? Well ... that'll be Feb. 3, and only gives me 11 days to have the decorations up. And it's just too long to wait to get it done.
After my internal deliberations had battled it out and settled down, the decision was made. Valentine's Day decorations on January 30? It's unheard of!

Tuesday, January 28

"Hairspray" fixes it all, I suppose

Why, on earth, did I just watch Hairspray? It's the far-superior 1988 rendition, of course, with Ricki Lake and Divine in it, but still, I can't figure out what made me sit and watch it. Her hair is out of control. But really, I think it was to wash the years-old memory of John Travolta as Edna Turnblad out of my head.
Also, it was an ideal balm to having watched the State of the Union address and the Republican rebuttal earlier in the evening. I needed an example of people INTEGRATING ideologies for the betterment of society, to wash down the bitter pill that is contemporary American politics. I find Washington, D.C. to be a horrible place because of the pervasive stench of selfishness and disregard for fellow citizens. In what town do you not clap for improved education, and the availability of that education for all citizens? Oh, that would be D.C. Where do they promote people making health care choices while on the exact same day, try to push through a bill prohibiting women from making their own choices in regards to their own bodies? D.C, of course!
You know what; I actually can't think of a better mental palette cleanser than Hairspray.

Monday, January 27

Uncle Sam may want me; a red Arizona may not

I picked up voter registration information for Brian and I at Sydney's school the other day. Right now, he's registered in Texas, and I'm registered in California. It's always been my goal to stay registered to vote in California until gay marriage is legal. I wanted my vote to be a part of that.
Well, my vote counted, and now I'm ready to move on to my next conquest. I've got you in my head, Arizona! And I need to be able to vote on the issues that affect me and my family every day.
I'm pissy I wasn't able to vote on the school district funding proposition. I'm annoyed with all the RED in Arizona, and I'd like to make it a bit more BLUE. In that vein, I want to be a vocal pro-choice, pro-school, anti-gun, and anti-hate voice in this state. I understand that gay marriage may not become legal in Arizona while I'm alive, but I'd like to do my part as often as possible. Also, I'm a big fan of fighting for women's rights, and Arizona women need every voice they can get to make their cause heard, and keep their rights protected, in the state building. Also, Jan Brewer is an idiot, and Joe Arpaio needs to get a new job.
My goal for Arizona, with my vote: Make it bluer than it's ever been. Protect a woman's right to choose. Make gay marriage a recognized life choice. Stricter gun control. Protect the environment, school funding, and public safety organizations.
I'm getting pretty excited, to tell you the truth, to make this change.
Rock the vote, right?

Sunday, January 26

Such a Sunday

ITEM!: The best kind of morning is the one when you wake up and first thing, have to trim up dirty dog butt, and clean out eye bogies. Also, the O.G. spent all day smelling like vomit. Now, with Oliver, this is a problem because he is a stealthy puker. He doesn't like to do it, so he does his best to hide it from me. Of course he doesn't get in trouble for being sick, he just doesn't like doing it. My concern is that I can't find today's puke puddle. It's somewhere, and no doubt, I'll find it, all gross and crusty, somewhere utterly random tomorrow. You know, Daisy would seek me out when she was about to get sick so I could rub her back and croon to her to make her not be scared. I prefer that course of action. Because this kind of hide-and-seek is really, really icky.
ITEM!: We took care of all the planting I had in mind for the backyard this weekend! We pulled out the bamboo kind of thing in the back corner, and replaced it with a gardenia on one side, and two Tuscan rosemary bushes on the other side. The gardenia should be very happy, but the rosemary is a concern. It would prefer direct sun and some arid soil. It's planted in delicious, moist soil and will get several hours of reflective sun, but nothing direct. I'll give the rosemary a shot there, but if it fails, I'm all for another gardenia, because it looks super pretty. We also planted the little pine plant that Brian bought Sydney when we got the Christmas tree, and we weeded and pulled out the ground cover around the rose bushes. Once I get this drip system sorted out, I think everyone will be super happy over there.
ITEM!: For the first time in a long time, I'm recording the Grammys to watch tomorrow. There is a whole lot of Twitter talk going on, and I'm excited to see all the things they're talking about, but not enough to watch it live, because I refuse to punish myself that much. (So many commas!) Sydney and I did watch some of it, but not too much because we both got bored.
ITEM!: My legs are actually aching from last week's hikes, and I am loving it! Sydney and I did go to the trailhead this morning, but only wandered the nature trail portion. I wanted to walk our regular path, but she was too tired and sweaty from unnecessarily running back and forth on the nature trail, so we stuck with only that. I'm beyond eager to get to my hike tomorrow morning. All I need to do now is get back to the planking thing.
ITEM!: My internal debate continues: morning movie or all-day random cleaning up of the house? I think maybe I can do both? Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, and then I can dig into my pet projects at home for a few hours before I pick the kid up at school. Tomorrow is starting to really shape up in a great way!
ITEM!: The first few pages of The Lions of Lucerne have been read, though I decided to start it yesterday shortly before Brian decided to play LEGO Marvel: Super Heroes in earnest. And as these things do, the book then took a back seat to the video game. I declare that I will finish the book before this time next week. I will! Because the New Year's EXPECTATION in regards to books must be fulfilled.

Saturday, January 25

When is old enough for Harry Potter?

"Frustration," thy definition is the anti-reading child of a book lover.
Today's visit to Barnes & Noble was among the most frustrating of my life. First of all, I wasn't permitted to look at anything for myself. Secondly, my child was all, "I don't really want to read that" to about 15 different book series.
She doesn't like mysteries.
She doesn't like fairies.
She doesn't like silly.
She won't read anymore Magic Tree House.
So, that dismisses any of the amazing array of detective books. The fairies, and to some extent, princesses, were pushed to the side. Captain Underpants and such also were denied. Magic Tree House, the most plentiful of early-reading books, are no longer an option.
This does not leave much for the discerning second-grade reader who would rather play video games and dig for dinosaurs. We did manage to land a few books that made the cut, though.
Pet Hotel ~ A series about different pets brought into a pet hotel and their trials and tribulations.
The Rescue Princesses ~ A series about princesses from around the world who use their smarts, savvy and compassion to save animals in various perilous situations.
The Pet Hotel stuff is too easy, she's already decided. But she'll read them anyway. The Rescue Princesses is a better fit, I think, though she hasn't started on them yet. Of that series, there are nine different books, and we picked up two today.
There were a few series that I wouldn't mind reading. The Never Girls looked super fun; too bad I couldn't get her to be even a little interested. Also, Ivy & Bean, The Notebook of Doom, and the Emily Windsnap books. Kids' books rock.

Friday, January 24

It's like pulling amnesia from my hat

Don't be too amazed, but I actually sent out two resumes today. One was for a public relations position at a company close to me here, and the second was to another position that ... well, that I'd already interviewed for a few years ago. This place does a type of editing and writing that I've already done, in fact, I had a job with their competitor several years ago.
I rocked the interview four years ago, as I usually do. But then I got cocky, and sent my thank-you note from my phone. Bad idea, as it had a misspelling. My second note to them a week later also was sent via phone, and also had a misspelling. This job was mine to lose, and I lost it. It's among the greatest of my career regrets, and I've learned a valuable lesson: don't write e-mails on the phone. People, learn from me. DON'T WRITE LIFE-CHANGING E-MAILS FROM YOUR PHONE.
The position they are looking to fill is the exact one I interviewed for all those years ago. I still really want this job.
Here's hoping that they don't remember me, and that I get a second chance to amaze them.

Thursday, January 23

Ah, yes. We definitely need gardenias

I made the mistake of going into Lowes this morning, and spending time wandering around in the garden center. I mean, I needed the garden center, because I was out of potting soil, and I needed some bug spray for the houseplants, but the extra meandering was not a good idea. They have lovely gardenias there; and a bougainvillea in a short pot that would look awesome on my backyard fence; and those fabulous rosemary bushes that smell so good. And a whole lot of cactus and flowers. All the exact, perfect things that I have to have in my backyard.
I want to pull out that random creeping bamboo kind of plant in the back corner and put in the gardenia and the rosemary. I want that bougainvillea for the fence. The cactus I can live without, as there is an abundance here in the desert (but they are so cool). And the pretty flowers are wonderful, but require more maintenance than I'm prepared to provide. Also, I've got Sydney's mini-pine plant that Brian bought her that needs to be planted in the rose garden. And while weeding will not be fun, it is needed. 
I see a weekend chock full of backyard activities ahead of us. Which really is pretty okay, since it'll be lovely outside.

Wednesday, January 22

Not at all Robin Hood-esque

Here's a fun game, based on a ridiculous Superman cartoon we watched for a time tonight: What would you do after ingesting a 24-hour super hero serum? The serum, obviously, gives you super-hero powers. You know -- flight, heat vision, x-ray vision, invisibility, strength, and speed. So, given these powers, and the fact that you only have them for 24 hours, what would you do?
In considering this, I've come to realize that I'm not a super honest person, or in possession of a moral center when dealing with bad guys or things I disagree with.
How do you not create a situation -- or several of them -- where you can make yourself financially stable for the rest of your life? And how long do you figure that would take? Like, the first six hours or so? We need to schedule that out. Of course, with super speed, it might take only a couple hours. Let's say ... four hours. That leaves 20 hours for general activity.
What would you do?
Destroy all the guns and bombs in the world, as well as the manufacturing of such things?
Is there a way to disprove religious doctrine, so people will stop killing each other over God? (Or will just a lack of guns do that?)
Can I change the effects of global warming somehow, or help create a better energy source? Restore the rainforests?
Can I just ... um ... remove all the bad, super evil people from our general planetary existence?
What about animals? Can I restore species that have been destroyed by man?
That seems like an awful lot of tasks for those remaining 20 hours. But still, super speed. I may be able to do it. So, I'm like doing all these great planetary and human safety activities to counteract the stealing of the money. You get that. I feel like that would be the agenda for most people with their 24 hours.

Tuesday, January 21

Today's entertainment news:

Hart of Dixie and Beauty and the Beast ~ I've removed these two shows from my DVR schedule. I'm all done with the ridiculousness of the storylines, and the characters. The last two episodes on the DVR were erased without being watched, and this afternoon, I made the executive decision to delete the schedule from the DVR.
Saving Mr. Banks ~ This movie was better than I thought it would be, and I'm super happy with that realization. Of course, because I am, at my core, a Disney child, I cried at a couple places. The story was off-kilter from what I've heard actually happened, but this was a charming compilation of attitude and perseverance and stubbornness from Walt Disney and P.L. Travers.
Katy Perry ~ Perry's new tour will be visiting Phoenix in September this year. I really want to go, and for the first time, I'm thinking about bringing along my kid. Sydney loves the new Katy Perry CD, and I think she would love seeing her sing in person. However, she is seven years old, and doesn't like loud noises. So, this could possibly be an expensive experiment. Also, I can't go without her, because she'd be mad.
Archer ~ I'm not loving the new direction of the show, to be honest. I thoroughly enjoyed the show when it was all about them spying on things, and being cool and secretive, and being awesome. A shift towards drug trafficking is somewhat ... off putting. Still, I giggled through tonight's episode, because it is still Archer. I love him.

Monday, January 20

I did have her dress, actually

ITEM!: Every time I open my computer, I find crumbs. It's a fun game for me every night, where I discover crumbs, and then try to figure out exactly what Sydney ate at the computer, and what food those particular crumbs are from. Today's crumbs are from Ritz crackers. Exciting.
ITEM!: Also, Sydney consented to accompany me on my hike on the trail, in exchange for lunch at Peter Piper Pizza. My walk was lovely; my lunch, not so much. But we did figure out that the trail we are walking is 1.6 miles long. That's a lot more walking than I thought we were doing, and I'm super excited about that.
ITEM!: I think it's a real sign of my age right now that I am totally into this broadcast of Peggy Sue Got Married. I honestly can't stop watching it, and I bet I'm up until 12:30 or so watching the end of it. You know what scene just got me? When Peggy answered the phone, and it was her grandmother. What a trip, beyond just going back in time, but to answer the phone and talk to your grandparent again. That would be cool. However, Nicolas Cage is still just as cheesy as ever.

Sunday, January 19

Free popcorn means better movies

It's that time of year again: Oscars time. It's also time to start binging on movies that I normally wouldn't watch. Last Friday, Brian and I saw American Hustle. Of the Best Picture nominees, I've seen two, American Hustle and Gravity. It's my intention to see Her this week, and Captain Phillips will be available for rent on iTunes on Tuesday. Other nominees include The Wolf of Wall Street (which I have no desire to see), Philomena (which actually is at a theater near me so I may see it after all), Nebraska (which, well, nope), Dallas Buyers Club (which is nowhere near me now), and 12 Years a Slave (which scares me because I think it'll stab me in the heart a whole lot). It works out perfectly that I used some birthday money to buy a popcorn loyalty shirt at Harkins last week, so now I get a free medium popcorn every time I wear my shirt to the movies. And my loyalty cup gets me free ice water (or a $1.50 drink). All good things for the person looking to bulk up on their movie viewing!

[Editor's note: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire also is playing at a theater near me. This particular film may take precedence over anything else.]

Saturday, January 18

Today, I am 41. Do my bidding ... please?

All I really wanted was for someone to go for a little hike with me today. But they both refused, so instead I was kinda bored, and kinda irritated, and kinda like, "what the fuck people it's my birthday go for a fuckin' walk with me." So Sydney played upstairs with the computer, and Brian asked me what else I wanted to do today.
I think I'm more irritated at myself though because I didn't have any grand plans for my birthday day. Of course, at 5 or 6 tonight, I thought about the miniature golf place, or the go-kart racers. Those would have been a good time. And would have been something that everyone would have enjoyed.
Really, it was a good birthday. There were a whole bunch of posts on my Facebook page, and that's always nice. I had a ton of texts as well, so that's a good thing. I didn't feel unloved, by any stretch of the imagination, but would a hike for an hour or so have been so bad? Brats.

Friday, January 17

Promises will be broken

Rather than stay up past midnight tonight to experience the last of being 40, or the beginning of being 41, I am going to bed. I have extracted a promise from my daughter that she will not wake me up under any circumstance not blood-related. If she's hungry, she's to get herself some string cheese, or get her daddy to make breakfast. I've been super warm and comfortable in my bed lately, and I'm looking forward to a long night together with it tonight.
I've told Oliver that he isn't allowed to leave me in bed either, but he's fickle, and quick to desert me when he hears Brian in the kitchen, so I expect to be ditched early in the morning. No matter, since he's making up for it by being super cute and cuddly right now.
Brian knows: make breakfast for the kids in the morning, and let me sleep in.
Having said all that, I fully expect to be awakened by two hungry hearts and one singing spouse by eight, at the latest.
Ugh. Please, for the birthday girl, try to make it to 8:30?

Thursday, January 16

Birthday. Build. Brownies = Alliteration

ITEM!: My birthday weekend begins tomorrow, and I'm pretty excited about it. I've got plans, and my husband is available at my whim, so all things considered, my birthday is looking like it'll be a good one. Plans, or not, for every day of the weekend. Birthdays rock.
ITEM!: I was given permission to clean out Sydney's Lego bins today, and it took me about 90 minutes. I dumped out the main bin, which was irritatingly full, and sorted the pieces, putting back all the true building pieces, and bagging the specific set pieces that she'd never use ever again. So many Legos in my house. But now, there is a big bag for donation, and there's more room in the bins. Of course, we won't be buying anymore building sets -- an assertion to which she has agreed. She even thanked me for my efforts, which is uncharacteristic of her.
ITEM!: I don't know why I made brownies today. I wanted birthday cake more than brownies. Now I'm stuck with brownies. ... Brian drank one of my milk chocolate protein shakes this morning. I am not okay with this. If he was going to drink a protein shake, why not the last mocha chocolate? ... I had an actual dinner tonight instead of the last mocha chocolate shake, and I feel gross and blah about that. I should have a brownie to make myself feel better psychologically.
ITEM!: Yep. Definitely brownie time.

Wednesday, January 15

Always, always read the labels

A couple weeks ago, I accidentally bought the Special K protein shakes I enjoy for dinner in the mocha chocolate flavor. An easy-enough error, I suppose, since both the mocha chocolate and the milk chocolate packaging colors are the same.
You know what's not easy? Drinking the mocha chocolate-flavored shakes. Oh my heavens, it is awful. I'm sure there is a chemically derived flavor in there that is supposed to taste like mocha, but really, it's like drinking a melted plastic chair.
But, of course, I know I made the error, and it's a terrible waste to toss out the four shakes, so I'm soldiering through them. Tonight, I drank the third of four shakes.
It was not good, but I'm essentially punishing myself for not paying enough attention when I chose my shakes, by making myself drink the gross shakes. I'm actually looking forward to drinking the last shake because, by virtue of it being the last shake, it will be the last mocha chocolate protein shake I will drink. I've already -- very deliberately -- selected and bought the milk chocolate protein shake replacements.

Tuesday, January 14

Hubby, kid, dog sleeping well tonight

I love my visits out to California. But there is something so nice about being home.
I mean, my husband is in a good mood; my house is cozy; my kid is happy; my dog is so full-up of love he won't let me out of his sight; and my DVR is crazy packed with good television to watch. All of these things make it somewhat worth it to leave California and come back to Arizona.
The perfect solution, of course, is to move my happy home to California, and then everything would be ideal in every single way. But, that won't happen any time soon, so I'll continue to be content in my little bubble.

Monday, January 13

Fantasic phallic flowers

I've had this photo in my Blog Photos folder on my desktop for several months. I find it incredibly amusing, and I love that there are flowers in the world that look like this naturally. What has plagued me these many months is that I haven't found the perfect blog post that needs this picture to accompany it. So, rather than look for the perfection to complement the image, I thought I would just post the picture, without any specific comment, and allow you all to enjoy the greatness of nature. And flowers. Flowers that look like naked dudes.

Sunday, January 12

Dog kissing? Really? That's the topic?

I just saw a headline on Yahoo! that asked whether it was really safe or not to kiss your dog. And while I always enjoy kissing my dogs, I am not at all interested in finding out if it's unhealthy or not. If it's bad for me, then I'll just risk it, all the time and every day.
My kids have all rocked the kisses, and I'm not about to stop kissing them now, based on a random article. In my experience, kisses have never resulted in an illness from my dogs.
Daisy was a fantastic kisser. Oliver is a very selfish kisser, in that I only get kisses in the morning when he wants me to get out of bed. A kiss from him any other time of the day is frosting. I remember that Ginger was a sloppy kisser, and Sheila was a dry kisser.
So, to reassure myself, I will not read that article, because to me, dog kisses are the solutions to every problem.

Friday, January 10

A very long day today

Granted, if you're going to have to get out of bed at 4:45 a.m., taking Mom to get some knee surgery is as good a reason as any. The only thing more annoying about setting your alarm for 4:46 a.m. is the happy, perky voice in bed next to you that says, "Time to get up!" Argh. And because I'm not seven years old, or all stoned on pain killers, I did not take a nap to take the edge off the early wake-up call. So, suffice it to say, I'm pretty tired tonight.
I did get to hang out with Daddy a bit this morning; and have lunch with Andrea and Tania; and buy a pink charger cable for my phone; and get my hair colored maybe-too red; and eat pizza and green jello for dinner. All in all, it was a chockablock-full day. Well done, 4:46 a.m. You were a bitch to greet, but came through with a good day.

Thursday, January 9

Write it, send it; letters can be effective

AT&T sent me an e-mail link to a survey in regards to their service in my area. Their service, in a word, sucks. It sucks right out loud. I can't walk through my house without losing a call. In fact, I can be sitting in my living room, with the phone sitting right next to me, and have an indicator tone tell me that I have a voice mail from someone who was just then trying to call me. To clarify: the phone what won't ring because of the poor service, will take a message and buzz me about it from the exact same place.
Anyway, AT&T asked; I answered. Unfortunately, I did not have the foresight to copy my NOTE to them about it, so I can't share it with you. But I did make myself sound snippy and hoity. Like, "How can this affluent area of Scottsdale have such poor cell service?" And "How can you be happy with there being a known understanding of dropped calls in the area?" And my favorite sign-off line as of right now, "Fix it."
And to prove my conviction, I even included my cell number in case they had any questions about my responses. Here's hoping that they actually do call me, and then they actually do install another cell tower in the area. I feel the beginnings of a one-woman crusade: WRITE A LETTER, PEOPLE. A proud and bitchy tradition I uphold.

Tuesday, January 7

Spring weather sounds good to me right now

Have I told you lately how I can't stay warm in my house?
I feel awkward for saying anything about it, since most of the country is in a deep freeze right now. But these upper 40s at night, and 50s during the day, are bugging me. I'm discovering that my house is poorly insulated. In a major way.
Last night, I remembered my cashmere blanket, and added that to my upper layers in bed. Now, I have flannel sheets, a micro-fiber blanket, the quilt, the cashmere blanket, and finally, one of Grandma's afghans. And last night, I actually felt nice and warm in bed. I did not want to get out this morning. But unfortunately, I had to. I'll have to tomorrow, as well, since I've got a 9 a.m. eyebrow appointment (priorities, people).
I've discovered that the random cut on my thumb from a couple weeks ago is a product of the cold weather and my hands getting too dry. Because it's back, and making my life hell. I'm eager to get done with my activities tonight so I can put some Neosporin on it and cover it with a bandage for sleep. Go away, random cold-weather cut!
And damn it, my floors are frickin' freezing. I am incapable of going anywhere in my house without slippers or socks on my feet. The tile in my bathroom is cold enough to freeze something, and I am not loving the hardwood floors all over the place.
I love it when the cold finally gets bugging me to the point where I have to stop and say to myself, "Hey, Kimberly. Remember when it was 115 degrees outside and you couldn't cool your house to less than 80? Remember thinking how lovely it would be once winter arrived? Well, this is it. Deal."

Monday, January 6

A day, a day, a day

ITEM!: I have accomplished Jan. 1's EXPECTATION #7. I quit my kinda job tonight, with a lovely, flowery letter that didn't say any of the things I wanted to say, because I still am owed a final paycheck. I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. Done and done. Let's sell a book of essays.
ITEM!: Vomit was the unexpected guest of the day, as Sydney was plagued with a stomach bug all night last night, and all day today. I was elbow-deep in puke most of the day today, which is not my favorite thing. Still, she's better tonight, I know this specifically because it's been eight hours since she threw up last. And she's keeping her water down now. Poor baby, she was so thirsty all day today, but she kept throwing up any water she drank. It was awful, and she was miserable. She's sleeping well so far tonight, so tomorrow she'll be feeling better, I'm sure. A sick baby was not at all on my agenda for the week.
ITEM!: All of Christmas is packed up. (I was able to get some stuff done in between my vomit clean-ups.) Only half of the boxes are stacked in the garage, since I'm unable to stack once Brian's car is in there, so those bins are in the dining room. Tomorrow morning, my first order of business will be to get those bins in the garage and stacked up too, so I can finally say that Christmas is put away for the year. I made quite a pile of unwanted holiday items too, so there actually is space in a few of my bins. Weird.
ITEM!: I didn't change out of my pajamas at all today. My sweats over them were warm as I cuddled my sick kid; they were comfortable as I took down decorations and boxed them up; and really, it seemed silly to change into actual clothes only to clean up puke all day. So, tonight, I changed out of pajamas to put on pajamas. That is exactly the kind of day I love (minus the other stuff, of course). I even wore them when I went to get some gas in the car and pick up dinner for B and I.
ITEM!: I cleaned my computer keyboard with some rubbing alcohol tonight, after Sydney had played with it earlier, and was disgusted. I need to do that kind of cleaning more often. Yuck.
ITEM!: Regarding the picture, it is a Japanese maple tree. I can't remember if I've used it before. It was in the desktop folder, so I don't think I have, but it's so pretty, I feel like I must have and just forgot to trash it after. So, here it is. Maybe again.

Sunday, January 5

Random animals are cool

I think it would be cool to have a fish tank with seahorses in it. I'm discovering in my old age that I am intrigued by animals that never intrigued me before.
Seahorses. Tortoises. Sea turtles. Jellyfish. Skunks.
I'll spend a lot more time than I should in front of seahorses, trying to get the best possible picture of them. I have about seven blurry pics of the sea turtle at the aquarium from last week; not a single one is a good one. I watched the skunks for a disturbing amount of time yesterday because they were in their underground burrows. Jellyfish are weird.
I missed my calling, I think, when I went into journalism instead of biology or animal science. I think I'd be a good seahorse wrangler.

Thursday, January 2

Fry it ... fry it good!

Brian frying food in the kitchen has always been the bane of my existence. He gets oil splatter all over the place, and tends to smoke out the house to such a degree that every window is open and every fan is on for at least an hour after he's done. My whole married life, every time he gets the frying pan and the oil, I cringe.
Tonight though, we made an incredible discovery. After Brian's messy chicken-frying dinner preparation on Tuesday, we discussed the best way for him to do this again without making such a mess. He thought maybe putting the frying pan on the barbecue. Clearly, a throwaway comment. But tonight, when we actually spent some time considering the barbecue, and Brian went out to investigate, the solution presented itself. Our new barbecue ... has a burner on it. A gas burner that is the perfect size for a large pan for frying.
And with that discovery, we have achieved a new level of harmoniousness in our marriage. The burner worked perfectly, and now, every time he ever wants to fry something, he has an ideal place to do it, with minimal muss or fuss. It's like a brand-new solution to an age-old problem, and I'm so happy with it. Bring on the frying pan, because now it's awesome!

Wednesday, January 1

10 ... TEN ... things for 2014

So much pressure in composing the first blog post of the year!

Let's talk expectations. I have a few.
EXPECTATION #1: I start by telling you that I re-read last year's January 1 post, and discovered (to my horror) that getting my cracked windshield fixed has been a yearly goal for two years now. Yes, TWO years: 2013 and 2012. It's actually going to get done this March, as Brian and I have decided, so that'll be positive.
#2: I will again make it a goal to lose some pounds. My extra motivation this year is Sydney's harmless throwaway comment last week that I have a "big" tummy. This must change. I will not continue to have a "big" tummy.
#3: Books, of course. I need to get through this To-Be-Read Pile I have.
#4: Writing. I need to be writing. Tara gave me a good pep talk when she was in town over Thanksgiving, and basically told me to get my head out of my ass and get to work. I'll never sell a book, or finish a book, if I don't actually sit down and start writing one. I shared my idea with her, and she dug it, which meant a lot more confidence-wise than I thought it would. I'm going to start devoting actual blocks of time to writing while Sydney's in school. I'm thinking three hours every day she's out of the house.
#5: This year has been declared 2014: The Great Credit Card Payoff. Happily, Brian and I are on the same page about this, and we're excited to make some real progress over the next 12 months.
#6: Cleaning out my house has always been a favorite activity of mine. I look forward to the January cleanse of stuff we don't need or use anymore, and Sydney and I will get started on that this week. Clothes, stuff, more stuff, and then the other stuff. I'm going to be busy this week and next.
#7: I'm going to quit my kinda job. The social media community manager thing just isn't working out, not least of all because I haven't been paid, which was due on the 20th, and I haven't gotten a response to my request from this past Monday. Brian has decreed that I should "quit that f*cking job," because "the ass won't pay" me, and "we don't need" that kind of inconsistency. Again, we're happily on the same page.
#8: It's an excellent new tradition to take down the Christmas tree on New Year's Day. I'm a huge fan of dragging the dead tree out of my house, and I found that I like all my Christmas decorations more when there's no tree in the living room. Sure, maybe there's less ambiance, but I definitely like it better today than yesterday.
#9: Hiking through the park is a new mother-daughter activity that Sydney and I will enjoy immensely, whether she likes it or not, and it begins tomorrow. Our day's good time will be the hiking trail at the local park, and I've decided that it will be fun, and engaging, and healthy, and full of delight. As I said, whether she likes it or not.
#10: Outdoor patio furniture. It's a requirement that we get some soon.