Friday, February 28

And yet another show to watch

I've got a backlog of television shows on my DVR that I want to watch, but haven't yet, because I'm waiting. For something. I'm not sure what, but I'll get to them at some point.
I've been recording True Detective on HBO for the last five episodes, as well as Black Sails on Showtime (I think it's Showtime). I had heard really good things about True Detective prior to it premiering, so I set the DVR. I've got five episodes on there, and they're burning a hole. As for Black Sails ... well, pirates. You know.
Well, tonight, Brian and I finally started on True Detective. We're only one episode in, and he fell asleep during it, but I can see where this show is going to be consuming intellectually and psychologically. I know that it builds on the freaky vibe, too, and I'm going to be watching this like I sometimes watch The Walking Dead, which is peering through my fingers.
Black Sails, I'll get to you next.

Thursday, February 27

That's a lot of clicks

I know I keep you all informed, sporadically, on the amount of posts I've written on the blog here and when I reach a significant number. But something I don't usually mention is the amount of pageviews. I hit a number though, the other day, that is pretty awesome. I've got more than 50,000 pageviews on It's all about ... . Wow.
So, I thank you all for reading. That's a big number there, and even though I sometimes write a lot of gibberishy nonsense, I appreciate you all hanging out with me in this!

Wednesday, February 26

This actually is my ceiling fan

What makes a perfectly quiet ceiling fan suddenly start an awful squeaking?
I've been sitting here in bed for an hour with the computer on my lap. I was in the room for the hour before that as well, folding laundry, changing the bed linens, and watching Arrow. The ceiling fan has been on all afternoon, and I've been in and out that whole time.
All afternoon and into tonight, the fan has been silent. It's on the slowest setting, because I hate a wind vortex blowing on me as I sleep, so it's not even working very hard right now.
But as I sit here, enjoying the relative quiet of no television on in the room and the silence of a sleeping neighborhood out my window, the fan suddenly decides to squeak. And not squeak quietly, either. It's all, SQUEAK! SQUEAK!
But now it's quiet again. It stopped, just as I finished up the last paragraph. So. How to keep it from squeaking again? Does WD-40 work on ceiling fans? Because also, the fan downstairs is having fits when it's spinning. This must be solved before spring and summer, because the importance of ceiling fans is no joke during the hot months.

Tuesday, February 25

A brand new, awesome world again

ITEM!: Brian and Sydney took on the doggy door issue this morning with Cooper, and were successful in their transitioning of the puppy from "open doggy door" to "flapped doggy door." Cooper went in and out of the door all day today, solidifying his position as the dog who got this a lot quicker than everyone else. So tonight, he won't be penned in downstairs. I'll still put him in his bed, and we'll see if he might stay in there because that's what he's used to. But here's hoping he won't mosey upstairs; I can't fence my stairs because Oliver needs the freedom of movement.
ITEM!: I got hijacked into Sydney's field trip today, and it was a great time. The class went to the park to take part in a health and well being presentation, where the classes from several schools went from station to station learning and taking part in presentations about taking care of themselves physically and emotionally, as well as how to be mindful of the environment and being a good person. I had initially gone by to bring Sydney some leggings because the weather was cooler than we had anticipated, but ended up staying the rest of the day because it was a neat thing to take part in.
ITEM!: It looks like Arizona Governor Jan Brewer is poised to veto the "Religious Protection" bill on Friday. At least, that's the rumor and conjecture. My instinct is that she will veto it, and will wait until Friday at the last possible moment, because she is enjoying the national attention she is getting for this. Nevermind the fact that Arizona will be the butt of everyone's scorn until then. Nevermind that so many of the state's citizens are horrified by this entire escapade, and just want it over and done with, never to sully our state's discourse again. Nevermind that it's just wrong and should never have been entertained in the first place.
ITEM!: I need to spend some time cleaning my house tomorrow ... for the exact reason that I always do a thorough cleaning of my house. Company be coming!!

Monday, February 24

Cooper loves treats ... like, a whole lot

Looking for an update on Cooper? Let me oblige!
Is he eating? Yes! He's gained more than a pound as of late last week, and is powering through his healthy puppy food daily. According to the packaging, he should be eating about a cup of food a day. He's definitely doing that, and tips the scales at 4.5 lbs (as of last week, still). Also, in the grand tradition of all the dogs I've loved, he has already developed a love for treats.
Is he pottying? Well, of course. One follows the other, right? But of more importance, is he pottying where he should? Again, yes! It's been days since we've had an accident in the house. He goes outside for everything, and is comfortable now just going outside to hang out. He's gotten used to the house and how we all work. But all this is with the doggy door flap taped open. Wednesday, we'll do some more training, and get him to use the door properly. He's big enough now to push it open.
Is he sleeping? Indeed. He's still penned up at night, but that's only because I can't have the doggy door taped open all night so he could have access to the backyard. Once he learns the door, he'll have freedom of the downstairs all night. With that, no more pen in my house, except to block the stairs. He's able to hold his poops all night now, but the midnight and early-morning pees happen on a puppy pad we put in the pen at night.
Is he going upstairs? My god, you guys, he is super fast running up the stairs. The problem is that he isn't going down the stairs. This is a problem, of course, due to the backyard access being only available downstairs. Until he masters the stairway in both directions, his time upstairs is incredibly limited, and very supervised.
Is he playing? I have toys all over my floor, and I love it. Squeaky toys are so great to him, and he's enamored with tennis balls. Also, he brings leaves and rocks in from the backyard to chew on.
Is he barking? Nope, not really. He growls a lot at his toys though, which is the best sound ever.
Is he chewing on stuff? Well, that seems like a no-brainer. Of course he is. He's a puppy! He's discovered Sydney's and Brian's flip flops, so they are now in a bin by the door rather than just sitting out on the floor. He's chewed on the basket holding the throws in the living room, but has lost interest since he always gets yelled at when he goes over there. He's attempted to get into our shoes, but they're still a bit too big for him. He loves his chewy toys though, because I knew I had to get him something that he could chew on, and because they taste like chicken.
Is he loved? Beyond. We're quite smitten, and he's a rock star. The fact that he's picked up the potty training so quickly makes me like him even more. And he's going to be quite the lovebug, I think. At least that's what I'm nurturing.

Sunday, February 23

This isn't a pic of her, but may as well be

I have a new definition of intellectual hell, and it is, Helping My Daughter with a Typed Report.
Oh my god, you guys. The child has a report due on fire ants tomorrow morning, and we spent a few blocks of time typing up the information she had collected. First of all, this was not an extensive, or even well researched, report. I imagine it's all of 150 words. And double spaced. And it still only took up half the paper. To be fair, that is all that was required, and she didn't skimp on her information.
Aspects of the report that she "is not a fan of," include: using the shift key for capitalizing instead of her preferred method, the caps lock key for that one letter; adding extra explanatory words or sentences; not banging on the keyboard; describing something with words instead of just showing a picture; and putting a space after punctuation.
I think you can see why this report was an experience in pain for me. Cripes, this was the worst of all things. I wasn't permitted to read it on my own; she read each sentence to me. I was allowed to spell words for her, and recite how some sentences would sound better, but she would either take or leave either of these two options.

Example of an editorial conversation from tonight ~
Sydney: Fire ant predators are phorid flies and people. We are predators of fire ants.
Me: That's repetitive. Both sentences say the same thing. You don't need that second sentence.
Sydney: But she needs to understand that. I'm leaving it this way.

So I nod my head and say okay, because it's her report, not mine. And she'll learn from it in every way. And granted, this was the first of many reports that I'll have to help with, so it was the first and roughest of collaborations for us. But holy crap, she needs to get better at this or I'll go crazy. After all, I may have been a mom for seven years, but I've been an editor for 18.

Saturday, February 22

Ugh, Arizona; you're pissing me off

I want a list of the companies in Arizona that are so afraid to cater to the LGBT community that they would sponsor a bill allowing them to discriminate against them based on a fictional "religious belief." I want that list because I want to be sure that I don't go there, too. These companies probably think that they may lose out on the LGBT money in their business, but what they probably won't count on, is the loss of money from so many others who just think this legislation is stupid. I want to know who would discriminate against the LGBT community, and I will happily discriminate against them. This is not a bill based on religious beliefs. It's a law shrouded in fear, ignorance and hate, forced through a legislature by conservative church money, and supported by people who, ridiculously, probably think they can change the world.
The uproar throughout the country in regards to this bill in Arizona is a valid one. I want people and companies from other states calling companies and services here and telling them that if this legislation passes, they'll not be coming here, as well as encouraging their friends and family to not visit or spend money in Arizona. I love that this has people in Arizona acting against the legislature here. I love that it's united people against hate and discrimination.
Well, I've got news for you, you people who want this, you morons. Homosexuality and transgender people are here to stay. And wherever they stay, or eat, or buy their wedding cakes, or vacation, or see movies, is somewhere I want to be. There should never, ever be laws based in discrimination. And certainly not in the United States, where being free is a right.
I'm filling out my voter registration tomorrow, and having Brian do his. Because if this goes through, I want to be a part of throwing every one of these "representatives" and "legislators" out of office in the next election.

Friday, February 21

I defeat you! I defeat you!

If I ignore the rest of the cold, it will go away entirely. I'm done catering to it. Tomorrow, I'm back to my hike, with my kid. My only concession will be the DayQuil in the morning, if I need it. And maybe I'll blow my nose, too. (It occurred to me this morning that Cooper hasn't had a single day in his new house that has not started with the sound of his new mommy blowing her nose and complaining about "this damn, f*ckin' cold.") Anyway, I'm over it, as of tonight. In a matter of hours, I will wake up feeling "just fine."
Also, I'm refusing to put away my jeans and shirt from today because I left them on my bed and now my Oliver is sleeping on them and he's too sweet and cute to move.
It's late. I should get to bed if I'm going to defeat the last of this cold in my sleep. A busy rest ahead of me!

Thursday, February 20

Inspired to haiku

Look at the pretty picture!
It's Monet's garden. Or so the Internet tells me.

Monet's garden haiku:
What a lovely spot,
a perfect sit-and-read place.
Frogs must love it there.

Wednesday, February 19

The three C's of today

[Editor's note: It's been so long since I posted something that I actually, truly, had to trim my fingernails so I'd be able to type properly.]
COOPER ~ We got a new puppy! His name is Cooper, and he's an 11-week-old Lhasa Apso. He's almost entirely black, with bits of white on his chin, his chest, on each of his feet, and just a little on his upper lip right below his nose. We are in the midst of potty training. I won't lie to you; I'm pissy about having to deal with puppy pee puddles so soon after doing it with another puppy just five short years ago. I'm missing my Daisy something fierce this week. Sure, Cooper rocks and we're all quite smitten. But I miss my girl. Still, this is about Cooper! He's really caught on quickly. I only get about one mistake a day over the last couple days, and we've only had him for a week as of tonight. He's sleeping quietly in his pen downstairs, and seems to be comfortable there. His options will open immensely when he goes out the doggy door every time, and also figures out how to go down the stairs. I see some physical growth (in mastering the stairs) as well as potty growth in the next few weeks, and he'll settle in perfectly. He's definitely been an experience so far, and he's super sweet. More tales to come, I'm sure.
COLD ~ Yes, the perfect time to add a new member of the family with when the matriarch of the family is feeling less than ideal. [Editor's note: That was sarcasm.] The cold hit me like a ton of bricks last week;  sunk in its talons; and still has not released me. I'm done. But tonight is yet another night for NyQuil. Tomorrow, surely, will be another day of relaxation and rejuvenation. I'm so over this. And also, bonus, we are almost completely out of kleenex in the house. I about threw a party when I discovered a mostly full box in the guest room. I do not like being in my 40s and getting a cold. They seem to be lasting much longer than they did in my 30s, and I am not used to being knocked out so thoroughly. I despise it. I want to feel better, damn it!
CRIPES ~ I kinda want the Olympics to be over so I can get back to my regularly scheduled programming, you know? Put the kid to bed; watch a show or two with Brian on the sofa; make my way upstairs to my bed; read the Internet; watch my stories; blog; go to bed at midnight. Not getting upstairs until 11 or so, and then being too tired because of my cold to post anything, has been a horrible drag. The Olympics are done with on Sunday, I believe. And this cold had better be gone by then, too, or I'm gonna start a fire or something.

Tuesday, February 11

Save Bob Costas! Save Bob Costas!

IRRITATION #1: Matt Lauer took over for Bob Costas in the Olympic coverage tonight (and probably for a couple more nights, as well). This is only irritating because Costas should be getting better and healing. I can't imagine what kind of mutated strain of pinkeye is running rampant on Costas' eyeballs, but this needs to be remedied. Like, now. Do they not have antibiotic eye drops in Russia? And clean pillowcases? Costas is an American treasure, people. He needs to be treated like it.
IRRITATION #2: The Olympic "halfpipe" was an atrocity. How can you make people compete on substandard equipment in the Olympics? The halfpipe was a problem from the very beginning, with its shape and the weather. Athletes even suggested that the competition be postponed for a day or two to improve the halfpipe. But no. And now, so many snowboarders crashed and burned, and had their Olympic dreams crushed and burned. We now live in a universe where not a single American medaled in halfpipe, and that's because the venue was substandard. For the Olympics. Doesn't that feel very wrong?
IRRITATION #3: People continue to do their best to ruin the Olympic experience for me. I deliberately stay away from all sport news and television channels during the day. I avoid the first 10 minutes of the nightly news because I don't want to hear about what I want to see that night. Twitter had been very good at keeping the information quiet until after the West Coast showing. But then, Seth MacFarlane. MacFarlane thought it would be cool to tweet a suggestion to his followers, saying that since Shaun White placed fourth, they might as well avoid the Olympics and watch his show. Not cool, MacFarlane. I don't like you much right now.
IRRITATION #4: I can taste a cold settling into my body. I felt the snot begin to clog my nose this evening, but then, over the course of just a couple hours, I felt the snottiness morph into the beginnings of a cold that set up camp in the back of my throat. And I can taste it. It's there. I've taken a dose of Airborne, and will hope that it helps combat the icky, but I have low hopes for a complete deflection of the illness. This is the worst: knowing that it's coming, and that I'll feel so much worse tomorrow, but not being able to avoid it.

Monday, February 10

I don't like math, but my baby does

My daughter told me this morning that she's bored with the math lessons she's getting at school. Even though I don't understand this frame of mind, I am so proud of her. She's a rock star at math!
I picked up a workbook for her this morning, in the hopes that giving her some extra work in math may make her happy. However, with that comes the issue of it being me giving her extra homework. She doesn't take too kindly to those kinds of things.
I'm at a bit of a loss, to tell you the truth. It's super important to keep her challenged. They'll do testing for advanced placement classes in March or April, so I've been told, and I'm intrigued to see how she does with that. I need her to not be bored.
I heard a story this morning about a mom who called her child's teacher for tutoring -- for her -- so she could help her kid with their homework. As of now, Sydney's working on three-column addition, subtraction, and a sprinkling of multiplication. How much longer until we get to long division? We may need Brian for homework help once she gets there. I'm not good at that. Who knew, when I was told I would need to know all that math later in life, it would be so I could keep up with my kid?

Sunday, February 9

What's this? A happy ending?

I think all things Olympic came together in a fortuitous circle when the events we watched live this morning happened to be what was shown on pre-recorded prime time tonight, so we could watch The Walking Dead instead. All good things come to those that prioritize.
This show is awesome, by the way, and it delivered on a thousand levels tonight. I honestly, very really, can not wait until next Sunday to see what's happened to everyone else.
And I couldn't be happier with the decision to forgo some Olympics for some zombies ... though Sydney would dispute that. She is not a fan of zombies.

Friday, February 7

Horses chased by angry Cheerio

While the Opening and Closing Ceremonies are always beautiful and grand, they can be very boring. I let Sydney off the hook for watching them, and sent her to bed. I chose to punish myself by forcing a painful 1,000-year Russian history lesson on myself. Again, a lot of it was beautiful, and the pageantry was amazing. But my goodness, it was so long.
I don't do long shows with only musical accompaniments, and interpretive dance, and soft lighting. They make me sleepy. I did pretty well, and only shut my eyes for about 15 minutes, but it was enough to remind me that these ceremonies can make staying awake an Olympic sport ... that I fail at.

Thursday, February 6

And so they begin ... YAY

Every two years, I spend two weeks being a negligent mother. I'm focused elsewhere. Of course, this has only been a pattern for the last seven years.
Before then, I was just an Olympics junkie, with no responsibilities outside of working and walking my dog in the morning and afternoon. But once I (we actually, because Brian is right there with me) hear that dong-dong-dong music of the Olympic Games, I have no interest in anything outside of what's happening on NBC at that very moment and for the hours following.
The problem, over the last seven years, is the kiddo that is more of a responsibility than any other, and her complete and utter ambivalence for the Games. She had no interest in watching with us tonight, until bedtime (of course) when she used them as an excuse to stay up later. I let this fly, to be sure, because once I've got her hooked in with us, she'll be a much more cooperative Olympics viewer. I'll let her stay up later tomorrow and Saturday night, so that's nice of me.
But on the whole, I'm pretty much a sofa-based mother for the next two weeks. I'll get up periodically to feed her, but she's going to be in charge of most of her hygiene, clothing, and other activities. Any entertainment outside of the Olympics will be entirely up to her. She's welcome to hang out with us, and I'll encourage her to, but if she's looking for anything outside of Sochi, Russia for the next 14 days from Brian and I, she'll be disappointed.

Wednesday, February 5

Come over, we've got CHAIRS

Yeah, yeah, I may have tippled off the wagon a little bit, thanks to Brian's impulse buy of chocolate-covered raisins, but whatever. I didn't eat a whole bunch of them. Let's move beyond it. Tomorrow is another day.

And though I did stumble a bit this afternoon, I also managed to get a major project done. We now have patio furniture in our backyard. I found it at Target. Interesting tidbit for you: some stackable chairs will not fit in the backseat or trunk of a Jetta, no matter how you twist, turn or PIVOT them. So, we had to return the grey stacking chairs we bought only minutes before, and went on the hunt for folding chairs that would fit in the car. Happily, we found some. Two are armchairs, and two are straight folding chairs. Our table is smaller than a dining table, and glass. And it all fits perfectly in our backyard. The folding chairs at the store at that moment were either red or turquoise. Since I have an aversion to turquoise, we went with the red. I fear for their fading in the sun though, and that someday at the end of this summer, I will discover that I have pink chairs.
We ate lunch outside today, as a family, and it was lovely.

Tuesday, February 4

I triumphed over candy today

ITEM!: I think I'm going through withdrawals. I have had the weirdest ... metallic ... headache all afternoon. But, I did it! No candy or chocolate or any kind of sweet all day! Am I proud of myself? I guess so, though I don't see how just one or two of the cinnamon hearts could have hurt me. But what I did notice was how often my eyes would take note of the candy bowl, or the sweets in the pantry. I was so super aware of it because of my challenge, that I really noticed every time I looked at the candy and just thought about grabbing some (or one). The gauntlet is thrown; can I do it again tomorrow?
ITEM!: I just dumped a trunk and front seat full of stuff at the clothing donation bin and at Goodwill. I had to get the trunk emptied because tomorrow, we head off to Target to buy our backyard furniture. I redeemed a boatload of American Express Membership Reward points for a gift card with the specific intent of buying a table and chairs for outside. I can not wait. It's going to be awesome to have some chairs out there. Time to enjoy some weather!
ITEM!: Ceiling fans get dirty. Like, crazy dirty. I noticed all the dust on the fan in my bedroom a while ago, but just got to cleaning it last week. I am aware that the fan downstairs also is really dirty, but I haven't gotten to it yet. I suppose it's on tomorrow's list now, since Brian, Sydney and I had a conversation about how dirty the fan is earlier tonight.
ITEM!: I'm irrationally irritated that all my television shows are taking a couple weeks off because of the Olympics. Granted, I would not be watching them every night because of the Olympics, but still, I don't like waiting weeks to find out what happens next. Also, a lot of equally funny and horrifying stories are coming out of Sochi these last couple days. As much as I really hope that everything goes well, this train wreck is totally fascinating to me.

Monday, February 3

Gonna add "sugar junkie" to my bio

I'm afraid I may have a real problem.
It seems as though I am incapable ... INCAPABLE ... of going an entire day without some kind of sugary confection. What the hell. I mean, who buys a cake when there's a one-pound box of See's in the pantry?
I mean sure, it sounds like all kinds of fun, but I feel like I don't have any control over myself. And that's a little frightening. Today, just today, I think I hit rock bottom. It occurred to me this afternoon that I have a sickness. I think I have a sugar addiction. If it's not a brownie, or a piece of candy, or a cookie, it's something else I simply should not be eating. And the idea of going an entire afternoon without sampling any of them was painful. Honestly, I couldn't do it. Well, I did go the afternoon, but I couldn't roll all night without any. My husband and child can be blamed for that.
Why does giving myself the challenge of not having anything sugary all day tomorrow fill me with terror? What is this feeling? Am I a junkie?
Holy crap, I'm a sugar junkie.
Admitting your addiction is the first step to defeating it, right?
RESOLUTION: The cake goes in the trash tomorrow. I ate the last piece of brittle tonight, so that's no longer an issue. All I have to really curb myself from eating is the cinnamon hearts and the scotchmallows. That's no easy feat, to be sure, but I think I can do it.
This is stupid. I'm stronger than this. The sugar junkie needs to get a handle on this.

Sunday, February 2

Football is super cool

Well, that Super Bowl was ... less than interesting.
I'm just "super" glad that it wasn't the Patriots getting their asses handed to them in the year's biggest media event. Ouch. I had no stake in who won today's contest, though I would have liked to see Peyton Manning flip off the Colts owner with a win. But when I heard that this would be the Seahawks first Super Bowl win ever, I started to cheer for them. And when they completely dominated the team that kicked us in the butt a couple weeks ago, I started cheering for a shut-out.
Also, I'll tell you, watching my Facebook timeline get "super" quiet due to the silence of all the Broncos fans was a beautiful thing. It's all love, pics and capital letters until your team starts losing, right guys? But even with all that, I've been mum to all the people who gave me shit a couple weeks ago after our loss. It was a brutal game for a Broncos fan. I won't be piling on.
Still, I'm bothered that the one Seahawks fan on my feed, who hates the Patriots, got the win today.
I'm not vindictive at all, obviously.

Saturday, February 1

Time to brush up on curling rules

This month, my avatar celebrates the Winter Olympics, and the improbability of me ever actually ice skating. It requires too much balance, my friends, and I don't have any. I remember the one time I tried ice skating, on a field trip with my Pinecresters. I was not capable of standing upright, and spent most of my time hanging on to the side of the rink. And then I was done. So I guess it's more celebrating the Games while mocking my failed attempt at ice skating.
The Olympics begin in a few days, and I'm looking forward to spending the 14 days after that glued to my sofa enjoying repetitive contests of skill and daring in the cold weather, as well as being talked to sleep every night by Bob Costas. I'm more than a little concerned about the welfare of all the athletes going to Sochi, though. Nothing about Russia sounds at all hospitable right now, and the tenuousness of the security and environment there is nerve wracking. I hope it goes well.
Sports that stress me out to watch: ice skating, snowboard racing, ski racing, and short track speed skating. Sports I thoroughly enjoy watching: alpine skiing, biathlon, curling, luge, ski jumping, and bobsled. I look forward to spending my nights with Bob Costas. And please, Olympic TV gods, don't make me have to sit through Ryan Seacrest or Cris Collinsworth.