Monday, June 30

What happens in Vegas, is less than it used to be

Holy cripes, you guys, I'm getting too old for weekends in Vegas.
Well, let's clarify that. I'm too old for weekends of drinking, clubbing, and more drinking, in the heat in Vegas. Sure, one or two drinks at a time serve me well, but after more than that on the first day and night of our arrival, I was pretty much done for the weekend, as far as alcohol goes.
As for clubbing, the entire DJ cultish atmosphere is lost on me. We went to Tao in The Venetian, and danced (which is always fun), and laughed (which is the whole reason why I attend these events), and tried to keep that creepy guy away from Kerry (which is a constant struggle wherever we go). But the "DJ" showed up, after a fashion, rapped through a couple songs, cut off a couple other songs, seemed to do a lot of yelling, and then just ... disappeared. He was on stage for about an hour, and then left, without even saying goodbye or anything. Weird. I'm just never going to understand that culture, I suppose, because even after experiencing it, I still didn't get it.
Also that night, I had, like, two drinks, and then ate ice cubes the rest of the night. That's what I meant by being done with the alcohol.
My entire focus on Sunday was the hamburger I was having for lunch. In fact, most of my mental exercise over the weekend was spent figuring out what and where we were going to eat. Almost all the itinerary had on it was alcohol and clubbing, which wasn't enough for me. Luckily, Andrea and I discovered the best chicken tenders ever in the hotel food court, and then made use of the in-room dining menu. My burger on Sunday though, was worth the price of admission, for sure.
I also got too warm out by the pool on Saturday afternoon, and was among the first to decamp and head inside. I'm a desert person now, and where I'm from, there's no reason in the world to hang out in the sunshine any longer than you absolutely have to. And also, the water in the lazy river was looking ... polluted. It was definitely time for me to move myself inside. Some quiet time with my Vanity Fair, pita chips, a view of the airport, and Starbucks made for a perfect afternoon.
My one flash of brilliance was bringing along my Toms, because they are comfortable, and black and sparkly, so I wore them out on Friday and Saturday nights. Toms are an excellent choice for spending time in a club, people; trust me on this. I wasn't even in the club, and I was seriously pleased with my decision. I've come to realize that, at 41 years old, I am not made for high heels, and the act of walking in them. And when faced with the looks of envy from others, I was even more sure of my choice. Forever now, maybe, I will wear Toms out to the dancing, clubbing establishments.
The drive out to Las Vegas, with Andrea, was awesome. The drive home from Las Vegas, without Andrea, was quiet and boring. I paraphrase Andrea: "That wouldn't be the case if you lived where you should be." Truer words have never been spoken.

Thursday, June 26

But I think I would like this house

Like, 70 percent of the sleeping heartbeats in my house right now are snoring.
And you know what? I love, love, love having company. I don't think Brian will ever understand it completely, but I can't think of anything better than having people over to my house. I think it's one of the best things ever. The chatting, the laughing, the spending time together, is all super duper awesome, and makes for a fabulous few days.

And speaking of house guests, I think I would like to host them at this particular house (to the left there). And all the excellent colors? If there is a real, working bathroom in it, it may be the best house in the world.

Wednesday, June 25

My nails are like an open book, but not really

The Huffington Post has discovered, and published an article about, what your nail polish color says about your personality. This intrigues me, so I bit, and clicked. My preference over the last few years has been dark, super dark colors; purples, blues and even greys, as well as dark reds. So, let's delve into this, shall we?
"If you always wear black nail polish, you are CREATIVE." Okay, I'll take this one. It falls in with my dark colors of all kinds, I think.
"If you are into pretty pastels, you are RELAXED." Well, it's got Sydney all figured out.
"If your nails are painted in a rich, wine shade, you are SEXY." Huh. I don't think rich, wine shades really qualify for me, but this bodes well for Mom.
"If you like to mix it up with neutral and bright colors, you are HAPPY." Another win for Sydney.
"If your nails are always a fiery shade of red, you are ANGRY." I respectfully disagree with this one. I love a red nail polish, but I very rarely consider myself angry.
And that's that. Not much of a palette, I think, to make too many generalizations. WHAT DOES PURPLE MEAN? Whatever. I declare shenanigans.

Tuesday, June 24

Must. Take. Picture.

I've got a whole lot going on over the next several days, including house guests, fun days, and a road trip, and all of it will culminate in the last of our bachelorette weekends in Las Vegas. I did a good portion of my Vegas preparation today, including purchasing a new sun hat and some cheap (but awesome) sunglasses; packing all my makeup and jewelry; folding most of the clothes I'll bring; and stacking up the reading material. [ASIDE: Andrea, we are totally stopping to take pictures at this sign. I've already Google mapped it.] As for libations and sustenance, I've already got a bottle of whipped cream vodka in my freezer, and assorted snacks in my pantry. I need to pick up some orange juice at the grocery store tomorrow, and whatever else I deem necessary for the trip. I've let Brian off the hook for the art museum exhibit in the afternoon, since I've got so much other stuff to do.
I imagine I will begin seriously stressing out soon, but as of now, I'm re-watching True Blood and waiting for my nail polish to dry.

Monday, June 23

Missing Miss Daisy

Today is my sweet Daisy's birthday. She would have been six.
I miss her terribly.
Brian and I traded pictures of her via phone/text this morning to make each other smile, and he contends that it is Daisy herself that is goading Cooper into eating Sydney's flip flops. I wondered, would that be because she wants Cooper to get in trouble, or is it because she wants to keep plaguing us in some way? She certainly was a pain in the rear, but more than that, she was my angel and princess. She was a funny little monster, too.
If there is a dog heaven, and if I'm allowed to go there and stay with all my kids, I think she'll be the first that I hug. She's going to haunt me forever, you guys, and she'll always be a presence in my heart.
She is a terrible loss, from which I'll never recover. Miss Daisy. My princess. Happy birthday, my angel.

Sunday, June 22

A Sunday ITEM! list

ITEM!: This picture showed up on my Twitter feed, and I fell in love. It must be the sunrise behind the balloons, right? It's super magical, don't you think? In fact, I like it so much that I made it my new cover photo on FB. Pictures like these make me really angry that I'm not traveling more these days.
ITEM!: Finally, True Blood's new and final season began tonight. I say "finally" because it means that we're all done with our binge watching of the previous seasons. My poor baby was all, "Are you really finished? May I come downstairs now?" Of course, as any of you who have seen the show are aware, it is not at all a show appropriate for the kiddos. Sydney's been relegated to upstairs activities whenever Brian's been watching it, and we've been committed to her not being exposed, to the point where I stood at the stairs a couple times to be absolutely sure that she didn't see anything that was going on. So, tonight's episode has happened, and now we can sit back and relax for a week for the next installment.
ITEM!: Sydney's camp experience next week demands earlier wake-up times for me. She's typically awake at 6 a.m. anyway, but for me, well, that'll be an inconvenience. However, the up-earliness is worth the solitude and quietness I'll be getting this week, to be sure. I've already told Brian that I'm going to the movies tomorrow morning.
ITEM!: Also tomorrow, I need to check out my closet for clothes and outfits to take to Vegas this weekend. The last of my awesome girls is getting married later this summer, and her bachelorette celebration is this-coming weekend. I'm really looking forward to it, though the drive out will probably be my highlight (yay road trip with Andrea!), and I'm really excited about shopping in the ABC Store on the Strip. I've decided that the weekend is going to be as much for me as for Michelle and the girls, so I'm blocking out some time to do stuff I want to do. Maybe breakfast at Paris, and a walk along the Strip to watch the Bellagio fountains? Also, I'd like to read some in addition to getting my 50/50 drink on at the cabanas. I've got plans, people, and I'm looking forward to them.

Thursday, June 19

It's just a matter of time, really

I have a sickness. One that very few people know about. It's a ridiculous affliction, but the effects of it are strong and persistent.
Restless Bed Linen Syndrome
I just made that up. But it's very real. And it's time. For me. To get new bed linens.
You can laugh, but it's a serious thing for me. Once I get the idea, or the yearning, in my head and heart, I'm obsessive. It happens relatively often, but I can usually fight it for a while. I've been resisting now for a couple years. But right now, I can't think of anything but getting a new quilt, shams and sheets for my bed. Sheets aren't as important, because they're under the quilt. But my current quilt, though nice enough, isn't doing anything for me lately.
Sydney and I spent some time in the bed linens section of Target today, and it's made me itch even more. I'm thinking ... PINK. A beautiful and frilly pink would be delightful. (I couldn't find a pink image I liked online, so selected this cool flowery one to accompany my post.) You may wonder about Brian in regards to my choice of pink. He digs a pretty bedroom though, and I had the most charming pink and pastel bedding when I was in college that he liked (or so he said). I had the best and prettiest pink towels, too.
All good things that I want in my bedroom and bathroom again.
Yes; it shall be pink.

Wednesday, June 18

Just waiting for Sunday night

We've finally moved into the third season of True Blood, and so now my attention can be pulled away a bit. The third season is kinda bent, and irritating. I didn't like it when I watched it all those years ago, and now that I'm seeing it again, I'm remembering the bleh I felt about it. So, while B and I have been binging like crazy for the last couple days, I'm perfectly happy sitting up here in the bedroom again, with the computer in my lap, focusing on more than one thing.
You know what else you notice when you're watching seasons back to back? Jason Stackhouse falls in love ridiculously often. Eric is a delight for several hours a day. Tara is an incredibly grating personality, and also has a lot of bad things happen to her. Lafayette is fantastic in every way. Sookie talks a whole lot about how important her friendship with Sam is, but doesn't seem to be much of a friend to him. To quote Brian, "There's a lot of soft core porn in this show."

Monday, June 16

Loving the "True Blood" tonight

Sitting back and watching the very first season of True Blood, after having spent the last several years watching the following seasons, is a treat. So many little things that come into play in later seasons are teased in the first few episodes of the first season. And oh my god, I forgot that Eric had ugly long hair in the very beginning.
Anyway, we've watched the first four episodes already, and will probably see another one or two tonight before I go to bed and he falls asleep. What a great show.

Sunday, June 15

A perfect day for Brian

For being a mom, I had a pretty awesome Father's Day.
I slept in because all my kids were so tired from yesterday.
I saw How to Train Your Dragon 2, and ate popcorn.
I had a chicken salad sandwich from Potbelly for lunch.
I spent my afternoon reading my Entertainment Weekly, cuddling with my puppy, and watched some of You've Got Mail.
I had a piece of cherry pie for dessert.
While it was good for Sydney and I, the day was a positive one for Brian, as well. He napped as often and as long as he wanted. He made the decisions for the entire day, except the movie, of course (Sydney has to make some choices, or the whole day is ruined). A large hamburger was what he wanted for dinner, and I found a restaurant to make him one. And right now, he's asleep in front of the television.

Saturday, June 14

Good kids make me happy, and sappy

It was such a great day that: Sydney took a 90-minute nap and still went to bed on time; Cooper fell asleep in my arms while I rubbed his tummy; and Oliver has been snoring as loud as a freight train for the last two hours. A day of swimming and running and fun at Aunt Lisa's house will do that to my kids. I love it when my kids act like babies again. No one is happier than when they're sleeping near me, or on me, or within sight of me. Being their mom is so awesome.
I must be pretty tired too, because that was crazy sappy.

Friday, June 13

Remember, exercise is good for you

Ugh, I'm going to be in pain tomorrow.
I went to the gym with June this morning, and did a real workout for the first time since we left Texas. Like a real workout, with weights and the whole smash. June likes to spend a full hour at the gym, you see, so my 30 minutes on the treadmill wasn't going to cut it. Hence, the weights.
I did some ab work, arms, and even some legs. I already feel the brilliant warmth of sore muscles whenever I move my core, or use my arms for anything that requires actual effort.
It may actually sound like I'm complaining, but I'm really not. I love a good workout, and today was it. I love the soreness of the day after. I'm motivated to go back.
Good stuff, my friends, and I'm a happy camper because of it.

Thursday, June 12

Fine, here's my money, Mr. IRS

ITEM!: It's taken probably too many months for me to figure this out, but there actually is a way to make payments to the IRS online. It's not terribly convenient for an online payment option, in that they don't save banking information or anything after the payment is made, so a person needs to re-enter all the information every month. But really, the IRS is probably crazy attacked all the time, so it's better off not having all that information on their servers. Anyway, the not entirely convenient, but more convenient than writing an actual check, option is one that I will make use of every month from now on. Having decided that, it is a fact that I now write one paper check per month. And that's awesome. I dig electronic banking so very much.
ITEM!: Hanging out with Katy is one of my favorite things ever, and I'm excited to say that I was able to do that today. She had the day off, and wanted to go with me to pick up the kiddo at camp and surprise her. It really worked out perfectly, and we had a lovely day just catching up on everything and everyone, and eating dessert after lunch. She's one of my favorite people.
ITEM!: My social media evening hiatuses are working out incredibly well. I was telling Katy about them this afternoon, and Sydney even commented on it, which is special as well as scary to me because she's noticed. And she was happy about it, which is the point behind the whole thing, right? It's not too often I can implement a new behavior and have it work out positively for everyone involved.
ITEM!: Remarkably, I've hit upon a Midnight Snack that is even better than apple juice, and more obscure. It is ... wait for it ... half a large dill pickle. I discovered the jar of them in the fridge last night, and decided that a pickle sounded like a yummy Midnight Snack. I was right, because it was delicious. I'm going to have one tonight, too. Go on, judge me, but at least it's a vegetable of some kind.
ITEM!: When I'm done here, I'm going to watch movie trailers on my phone, because that's my jam.

Wednesday, June 11

Winslow Homer's "Moonlight," 1874

What a cool picture. It appeared on my FB timeline via "I Require Art," which is one of my favorite randoms. Mostly, it's not-so-pretty drawings and whatnot, darker impressionist stuff, or portraits. I prefer the landscapes, and this one really intrigued me.
Check the moonlight, and how it reflects off the ocean. And the shadows on the sand. And the clouds. It's all so beautiful, really.
He makes me want to be there.

Tuesday, June 10

Gracious! I can't wait for football season

I've been watching a lot of sports lately, in genres that I don't usually watch and/or care about.
HOCKEY: I went through a phase in high school where I was totally into the Los Angeles Kings hockey team. I'd stay up late watching games on television, and would have rather intelligent conversations about the game and its players at school. My dabble into the sport has waned quite a bit, if not entirely, since then. In fact, I don't really care about hockey at all, in general. But with the Kings in the finals right now, and the games actually on TV out here, it's been easy to get drawn into the fun and excitement of the sport. So much so, Brian and I are even considering attending a game or two played by our own local hockey team, the Phoenix Coyotes. There are a lot of people on my Facebook timeline that check-in at these games, and they're always looking like great fun. My current affair with hockey may or may not stick (ha! a hockey pun!), but watching the games right now is entertaining.
BASKETBALL: I have never cared much about basketball. Not for a second have I honestly cared about who wins or loses. My singular loyalty is to my own desire to watch the Los Angeles Lakers lose. I can't stand that team, and some of the players (*cough* rapist *cough*), and it's a special treat for me when they're in flames, as they are now. But what I have noticed is that I do enjoy the excitement of watching LeBron James play. I like him also because so many people don't. I've seen nothing but strong work ethic and humanitarianism from him. People hate him because of the Cleveland thing, but really, why hate a guy because he wanted to win a championship? Any athlete wants to win. If the team he or she is on is incapable to helping, then they certainly should be able to move on. But I've liked him for years, and have thoroughly enjoyed cheering for him in the finals the last couple years. And I'm watching all the games this week, and continuing to cheer him.
My kid is all, "Why are we watching this?" And almost every night this week is another exciting finals game. Basketball tonight; hockey tomorrow night and Friday; basketball on Thursday and Sunday. It's like an embarrassment of riches in which I don't really care.

Monday, June 9

Ew. Dude, you're gross

I think there needs to be a law somewhere that forbids people from spitting on the sidewalks and walking areas. I was sitting outside my friendly neighborhood Discount Tire Co. this morning, just minding my own business, when some guy spits a stream of yucky about five feet across the waiting area. It landed with a splash, if you can believe it, and formed a puddle. I was totally grossed out. As if the guy couldn't be any ickier, this image on the left was on his t-shirt.
I forget sometimes that there is such a gross lower denominator out there. And when it appears in front of me, with such stunning visual evidence, I am taken aback. I literally cringed when I saw him and his actions. So yucky. I say, bleck.

Sunday, June 8

The sweeter and chocolate-ier, the better

Midnight Snack tonight was, if you can believe it, apple juice.
I'm so sorry, Midnight Snack! How I have failed you!
Typically, Midnight Snack is a bit of brownie, or a few cookies, or some ice cream, or even candy. It's never good for me. It's never unsweet. It's exactly what the dentist I sleep with would be totally mad that I ate right before not brushing my teeth and going to bed. That is what makes Midnight Snack so ideal. What makes Midnight Snack perfect.
Last night: Nilla Wafers. The night before: chocolate chip cookies.
Tonight: apple juice. (This should tell you something about fruit juice, parents; that it qualifies as Midnight Snack. It's all sugar; keep them all away from your kids.) But even with the sugar content in apple juice, it's still apple juice, and not cookies.
My Midnight Snack options were far from acceptable this evening. #midnightsnackfail. Yep, I did that. I'm so disappointed in myself that I just hashtagged that shit.

Saturday, June 7

Who knew this day would rock?

In general, it's pretty difficult to get Sydney to try new things. She's a relatively complacent little kid, and would rather hang out doing stuff she already knows she enjoys, or eats what she knows she likes, or watches something she knows she will/does like. Disney movies: easy sell. Tasting ketchup and/or mustard: no thanks. Candy: certainly. Book: um, no. Random adventure: work it. So it's an especially exciting treat for me to get her to do/try something new, and it's even better when she enjoys this thing. Today was the even more rare occurrence: TWO new things, and she liked them both.
#1: MINIATURE GOLF. I've been trying to get the family to do this for a while. I'll never understand why they both finally consented on a day when it is frickin' hot outside. We got there early, which in June doesn't really matter because it was still 90 degrees out. Brian and I have always enjoyed playing mini golf, so I knew this would be a hit once we got going, but it was still too sunny and warm out. Anyway, Sydney picked a purple golf ball, and was a (for her) patient student. It was a rocky start, but after a bit, she did better with her stance, was figuring out the geometry of the holes, and seemed to be enjoying it more. Verdict: fun, and we will be doing it again.
#2: STAR WARS. My 7-year-old daughter has finally seen the first Star Wars movie. And not the first of the prequels. I'm a purist, and I love my Star Wars films, as does Brian, and we decided that if Sydney was going to see them, she would see them in the proper order. And so we sat in our living room this afternoon, as a family, and watched the original first movie.
"Are there any really funny parts?" Uh-oh; this may go badly.
"I remember this from the game!" Yes!
*Humming along with the music.* This may not have been such a good idea.
"I think, every weekend, we should watch the next Star Wars movie until I've seen them all." Success!
Verdict: good stuff, and more to come.

Friday, June 6

It'll be better this way, I know it

So, here we are, on the cusp of a new and exciting adventure with Cooper: he's getting neutered soon. I called the vet yesterday, and got the estimate over the phone, including the microchip implantation. Why, oh why, are we getting the little man neutered so early? (Oliver was well over two years old when he was neutered.) Well, there's the humping thing. He's mounting everything lately, including his favorite target, a very irritated Oliver. He's super aggressive with trying to dominate everything. And oh yeah, he's a crazy puppy who just needs to settle down. The health benefits to the neutering are gravy, of course, because he'd get it done eventually anyway. But while we waited a while for Oliver, the vet suggested we get Cooper done early, especially before he begins marking. Such is the treat of having two male dogs in the house, apparently. Territory marking. Honestly. Who's got the time or patience for that kind of thing?

Nightly social media blackout update: It went extremely well tonight, and in fact, I put the phone down at 4:30 p.m. instead of 5 p.m. So relaxing! And I didn't twitch at all!

Thursday, June 5

It's actually a social media blackout

I am fascinated lately by a daughter who doesn't want to leave the house much. We've had too many at-home days, with little accomplished. This is all fun and games, until we get bored. I am so glad that she's got her first summer camp next week. I'm pretty sure that another week of togetherness and my forced confinement would drive us both batty. So, next Monday, we begin our first summer camp adventure, and we're both super excited about it.

In barely related news, Sydney has been giving me a hard time about the iPhone usage going on. I check it too often; I spend too much time. "I'm right here, and I'm more important that your e-mail." That's an actual quote from my actual child, from last week. This did, of course, give me the kick in the head that she wanted. So tonight (after another pointed comment from the kid), I began a new plan. For two hours, I turned off the phone and set it on the stairs, away from me. It was an ... interesting and enlightening experiment. It was ... freeing.
I think that maybe, from this day forward, I will do myself the favor of leaving the phone on the stairs regularly. (Turning it all the way off stressed me out too much. What if EMERGENCY?) So I've decided that for a specific block of time, say from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., I'll leave the phone on but untouched on the stairs. That way, if someone calls or texts, I can hear it, but the phone will be too far away for me to look at randomly, or pick up when I lose interest in something else. I think this will be a good thing, for me, my apparently neglected child, and the rest of the family.
Am I strong enough to do this? I actually think I am. Brian would probably disagree, but I think it'll be a super good thing. I already did it for a while today, so I can be confident in my ability to meet and exceed the challenge tomorrow.
Check it: 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. tomorrow and every day after, only phone activities permitted on the phone.

Wednesday, June 4

Two thumbs up! Peeps, go see it!

I think I need to start writing the blog earlier in the evening, because when I let it sit until last on my list of tasks for the computer, I find myself too tired and mentally exhausted. I'm hunting for topics and dreading the time it'll take me to write before I can go to sleep.

Factual statement of the day: I thoroughly enjoyed the movie, Maleficent.
Brian, Sydney and I saw the film this morning, and I find myself still musing on the premise, execution and conclusion with a smile. But here I sit, really unable to discuss the movie at length, or even in theory, without giving out some major spoilers. And I refuse to ruin the movie for you all, so I'm keeping my mouth (or fingers, I suppose) quiet.
But let me say this, in as vague language as I can muster. I loved seeing the origin story of Maleficent. I enjoy that my favorite villain is getting some big-screen treatment. Angelina Jolie did my girl some justice, by being both super scary and totally awesome. The visuals were fantastic. And the film itself left me very satisfied story-wise, with plenty of plot twists different from the cartoon movie years ago.
While this Maleficent is still the best, I'll admit that Jolie's villain did turn my head and warm my villain-loving heart.

Tuesday, June 3

Wait. What? Who's that guy?

This photo amuses me more than it has any right to. While a perfect photo bomb is a glorious, and rare, thing, it's even more special to discover an animal that has unknowingly perpetrated one. And this seal, especially with the smile, is the best in the whole world.

Monday, June 2

June's first ITEM! list

ITEM!: So, here it is ... June. And the official beginning of the summer. Granted, last week was pretty awesome for not being officially summer yet, but here we are, with a full month of summer activities ahead of us. Summer camp, swimming pools, fun movies, ice cream and fantastic visits with friends and family.
ITEM!: I'm super excited about this summer, you guys. We have an abundance of plans, from this month into the next. Sadly though, I may have to excuse myself from yard work. I did some weeding this afternoon, and was dismayed to discover that I developed a blister on my thumb. I could almost consider it workman's comp, you know. But the blister is growing, and becoming more annoying with every minute. You don't pop a blister, of course, but what do I do with it if it gets all huge and bulbous? That will be inconvenient on my writing hand.
ITEM!: Cooper turns six months old tomorrow. He's been here with us for three and a half months. I'm exhausted from puppy, peeps. He's so active: always all full of teeth and running. I don't think Oliver has had a peaceful night's sleep since February, either. And with all that factual information, as well as a dramatic increase in humping activities, I will make the phone call tomorrow to estimate the cost of neutering. Poor kiddo. But he's out of control.
ITEM!: Brian shifted the position on one of the spotlights in my kitchen while I was gone. Who knows why he decided that it needed to be done; he couldn't give me a real reason. But it is driving me batty. I can't remember exactly where the light is supposed to go, and that makes it even worse. And whenever I try to move it, it goes all extreme, pointing straight down to the floor, or quick to the right. There's no finessing this light, at all. I'll mess with it some more, no doubt, and will eventually get it right again. Who needs a closed cabinet spotlighted instead of a counter? Honestly!
ITEM!: It's time to dig in to Summer Reading List 2014! First up: The Witch's Daughter, by Paula Brackston. Let's see if we can't get that started tomorrow!