Wednesday, December 30

Going back to work next year

I don't know if you've realized this, but tomorrow is the last day of the year. It will be December 31. And then, the new year begins. On Friday, it's January. Another January. I don't have to work tomorrow or Friday, giving me a delightful four-day weekend to celebrate the beginning of 2016, which is awesome.
I've got that wonderful new-year feeling though, when I just want to clean out my house and get rid of all the old-year stuff. That task begins in the morning, friends, when I can finally take the time to put away all the Christmas presents, and unclutter all the clutter piles in the living room. And since Brian will be at work, and Sydney will only want to sit in front of the computer, I should be able to accomplish that project. With the job, my timetable to do all this cleaning out will be truncated and abbreviated. So that's a new wrinkle. This will be a busy weekend to start off the year.

My heart is heavy today, for the women

I’m having an issue. There’s so much rape in the news lately. It’s a heavy subject, and a painful one, and a scary one, and one that no woman ever wants to think about. We don’t want to think about it, but inevitably, we’re drawn into the conversation or consideration. And then we’re stuck with it rolling through our heads. It’s rolling through my head today for two reasons.
First, the news about the Japanese and Korean negotiations and absolutions about the Korean “comfort women” kidnapped and made to serve Japanese soldiers in military-ran brothels during World War II. The news itself was good, in that the Japanese government has finally taken responsibility for the atrocities committed against those women. What messed with me was the article about the women’s experiences, in their own words, and how horribly they were treated. It was disturbing, to say the very, very least.
Second, a friend of mine posted an article to Facebook about the ISIS “rape handbook,” essentially, and commented on how upsetting it was. Indeed, it must have been upsetting to read. I did not read it. I don’t need to know how a terrorist organization is terrorizing women under their umbrella. One woman commented on the link by saying that she couldn’t even bring herself to read it. I say, candidly, that I don’t know what kind of “news” he thought he was sharing by linking to the article. I feel safe in saying that probably no women did want to read that article. In my opinion, he propagated the horror by sharing the link. I know, for a fact, that his intention was not to do that, but probably to begin conversation. But here’s the thing, women don’t really want to talk about rape. We do because we shouldn’t have to be afraid, because we need to strengthen each other, and because we need to be educated. Not because it’s a news piece sent out by a terrorist group designed to do nothing but strike fear in the hearts of women around the world. They’re all, “Look what we can do. You better hope we don’t find you, too!” It’s disgusting.
And with these two bits of rape “news” in mind, I’m having a hard time focusing on being a strong woman. My heart is hurting for all those women and girls for what they went through, and what they continue to endure. All I want in this world is for women to be treated fairly, and kindly. Men who wage war by raping women are among the worst of mankind. And that weighs heavy on me today.

Tuesday, December 29

Because, Sydney

So this is interesting. I've blogged from work for two days in a row, and on those evenings, I've been sitting here, with no inspiration about what to write. At work, I'm all quick to type out something, but tonight, I'm all ... "duh, I don't know..." This feels like it might be giving credence to my wonderment about not blogging and being more creative in other ways. But really, all of a sudden, I'm remembering that when I worked before, and blogged from work, I never opened my computer at night. And it was awesome.
But I guess tonight, I managed to come up with something to post, right?

I like my greetings bland, you guys

I read an article the other day about someone who unapologetically and proudly says “Merry Christmas” to people as she goes through her holiday activities. To her, it’s an enthusiastic and joyful expression of her holiday, and she wants everyone to know and experience her happiness. Several times this season, I was the recipient of “Merry Christmas,” rather than the other, more “inclusive” expressions, like “Happy Holidays” or “Season’s Greetings.” At the grocery store, at Starbucks (refuting the Starbucks is anti-Christmas claims of the crazies out there), and at restaurants. It didn’t bother me, certainly, because I imagine everyone is able to say what they want to celebrate the holidays.
Me, personally? I have always preferred a solid “Happy Holidays.” I don’t know why, and I could never explain the origin of it, but to say “Merry Christmas,” feels kinda weird to me. And “Happy Holidays” is a perfect, generic, and easy expression for me.
But here’s the thing. When someone says “Merry Christmas” to me, am I compelled to say it back? Do they feel like I’m sending a gentle rebuke when I reply with “Happy Holidays” instead? I hope not. This world has gotten so crazy, that now, I fear for offending someone because I prefer an ambiguous and generic greeting, rather than the overtly religious greeting. So bizarre.

Monday, December 28

At work, with a cute haircut

ITEM!: Mom’s out shopping right now, and I’m stuck at work doing work things. Definitely not shopping with Mom. And Sydney’s with her, and doesn’t even appreciate that she’s out and about, on a Monday, shopping with my mom. Punk kid.
It’s pretty amazing how quickly the sparkle is gone from a job once it starts to seriously interfere with the fun you could be having. No doubt, next week, when Sydney’s at school, and Mom is back in California, all will be well with me being here. But today, no dice. I’m not impressed at all with my current place or predicament. We met for lunch, and that was great, but then I had to leave and come back to work.
ITEM!: I got my hair cut over the weekend, and I’m super happy with it. I had forgotten how much I enjoy this particular length of my hair. I chopped about six or seven inches off, and it’s all bouncy and cute now. I can still pull it back into a hair tie, which is awesome, but it also can be down, and not stringy-looking or blah. All I need now is to color it, and all will be well. I think the tube of color in my bathroom cabinet is brown, so that may be one of Mom’s tasks for her last night here. It’s a sad day when hair needs to be colored, rather than can be colored, you know?
ITEM!: It’s almost 2:30 p.m. Only two and a half hours until release. It doesn’t seem right to be bemoaning the three days that I have to work this week, especially when I only worked two days last week. But here it is: the last hurrah before the beginning of a new year. When we can slack off, knowing that in a few short days, we’ll have to kick it into high gear to get the new year rolling along at a smart and steady clip. And I’m super excited about 2016. All the last several years, and their corresponding EXPECTATIONs, were great and all, but I feel like this coming year, this 2016, is giving us an opportunity to really grab the bullshit by the horns and take charge of our destiny a bit.
ITEM!: I’m eager to dig into the EXPECTATIONs for 2016, for certain.

Sunday, December 27

Night nights, Christmas; see you next year!

Hey guys, Christmas is over. It was a delightfully awesome several days surrounding the holiday. In fact, Mom is still here, and I still have piles of presents downstairs under and around the tree. Mom's here because she isn't leaving until Tuesday, but all the presents are still downstairs because I've been too lazy and unmotivated to put them away. Also, because I haven't had the energy to make Sydney and Brian do their own cleaning up, either.
But finally, the dishwasher is empty of random big-meal dishes, and the laundry is moving along as normal. But I have to say, I think I'm still feeling the effects of Sydney's 5:50 a.m. wake-up on Friday. I can't sleep enough the last few nights, and I am not eager to go back to work tomorrow morning. I'd rather stay home, sleep, and mosey through the house putting stuff away.
I count down the days now until I get to take down the Christmas tree and get it out of my house.
And also, counting down the rest of the days of 2015.

Tuesday, December 22

I don't have to work tomorrow! Yay!

So, my new boss decided that we, as a company, should have tomorrow and Thursday off, as well as Friday, so I'm a very happy camper right now. I had known definitely Friday, but then last week we heard that Thursday, too. And then this afternoon, she said that unless we felt like we had to come in tomorrow, we could not. And me being me, I am a huge fan of not going in to work if I don't have to. So now I've got the whole day to hang out with my mom and my kid, and to figure out what all needs to be done before the big day on Friday.
And come to find out, I'm in much better shape than I thought I was. I finally unloaded all the presents out of the trunk of the car, and organized them, too, and I've done pretty well for being as unorganized as I feared I was. Tomorrow, still some randoms to get done, though. And Thursday, too, but I don't feel as much a sense of urgency and/or panic as I did last night.

Monday, December 21

Christmas is almost here!

Well, it looks like I may have Christmas Eve off from the job, which is totally awesome. I was initially told that I'd have a half day, but the word came down peripherally that our entire Thursday may be at our leisure. And in conversation today, the publisher only referred to working on Tuesday and Wednesday. So that's fantastic!
Mom arrives here tomorrow, after a fashion, since she's driving here with Clyde, but she'll be in my house when I get home from work tomorrow. That makes me very happy.
The entirety of my Christmas shopping is in the trunk of my car to keep prying eyes away, so I'm at a bit of a loss right now. I don't have a single bit organized, so I'm kinda flying blind with what I've bought and what I haven't. And I don't like working that way. But I don't think I've forgotten anything. I just have a few things that I haven't done yet.
Brian and I are going shopping together on Christmas eve morning to get something for Sydney. It's going to sound weird when I say this, but that'll be the first time we've ever gone shopping together to pick something for her. We have an idea for what we want for her, so it'll be a quick and efficient trip, but I'm sure we'll have fun.
I did some "baking" tonight, in that I prepared the sugar cookie dough for Mom and Sydney to bake cookies tomorrow. We also bought the required ingredients for fudge, and pumpkin spice cake. All the Christmas dinner shopping will be done Christmas Eve morning, after my paycheck hits the bank. As it stands right now, I think Christmas will be a nice experience this year. Oh, I still haven't decided where we're having dinner Christmas Eve. I need to do that, or my mom will get mad.

Sunday, December 20

I'm totally awakened to that good movie

Well, that was a totally awesome movie.
Our screening started at 9:10 a.m. We arrived at the theater at 8:40 a.m.
We had to sit in the fourth row of the huge screen.
We were so close that I had to move my head side to side to read the prologue crawl on the screen. We were so close that I spent the entire time pushing my skull into the seat back so I could make the film less blurry on my old eyes. We were so close that I'm positive we missed some of the big picture stuff because it just took over my field of vision and I couldn't concentrate on the whole.
The people in the row behind us brought their two large dogs, who were not service animals, into the theater. One of the men in that little group kept making "jokes" during the previews and into the very beginning of the movie. I was ready to beat them all up, because I was in no mood for anyone's foolishness. Including my kid's, and she gave me plenty of it. I was ready to toss her into the lobby so many times.
Brian and I have to, must, go see it again. I want to experience the entire movie again. And then, I'm going to buy the Blu-Ray. And then, we'll watch it again. ...
But I do want to see it in the theater a second time. It was really good.

Saturday, December 19

May the Force be with us tomorrow

It's so late, you guys. I've been up watching the last two episodes of DaVinci's Demons, after we all watched Return of the Jedi. So, lots of stuff on the television screens tonight. Tomorrow morning, we head over to the movie theater early, because we've got tickets to the first showing of The Force Awakens. It's so early, in fact, that I'm concerned that it may be too early for buying and eating popcorn. I think I may soldier through it and eat some anyway, but at least you should know that I have concerns about it.
Brian and I are super excited to see the movie tomorrow, but our kid is not, so I think she may not actually be of our loins. We're trying to explain to her why this movie is such a huge deal, but she doesn't really care. In fact, she'd be totally happy if we left her home and went to see it without her, but I really feel like this is one of those movies she has to see, because everyone at school will be talking about it when she gets back. And she'll maybe enjoy it. I've heard it's good, though I've stayed far away from the Internet to avoid anything spoilery.

Friday, December 18

It's finally warm in my bedroom

My house gets super cold at night. We have the worst insulation in and around our windows, so cold air just seeps through them, chilling every room. We have space heaters in Sydney's room (always, since she was a baby), and in the living room downstairs. But lately, the evenings have been especially cool in my bedroom. Even with the two dogs sleeping on, and as close to, me as possible, it's been quite uncomfortable in my room.
Brian's task for today: get a space heater for the bedroom. And did he ever. I have the most beautiful, and effective, space heater in the world, and my room is deliciously comfortable. I have it on a low setting, because it simply doesn't need to be toasty in here, but I am much happier right now than I have been in this room for several days.
It's a good size, too, my heater is, and I'm happy to be living with it for the next couple months.

We don't need no stinking football

Am I the only person who enjoys the fact that Los Angeles does not have a football team? I mean, here it is, the second largest city on the country, and there’s no home-town football team for the people to cheer on. I think that’s fantastic. At the end of the day, when the city had two teams, very few people attended all the games, and the biggest claim to fame was that the Raiders stuff got all gang-related and everything.
The National Football League is pushing its agenda to get a team in L.A., and I am soundly against it. And worst of all, the organization wants to pull another team from another city and move it there. I mean, unoriginal much? We’ve already had the Rams. We’ve already had the Raiders. If they’re going to do this, they really need to start a new team, an “official” Los Angeles team, and let the surrounding community embrace it. Like, the L.A. Palm Trees or something. The L.A. Beaches, as a play on words that could almost be bad.
But on the whole, I’m still against a football team in Los Angeles. The area has the Lakers, and the Clippers, and the Kings, and the Ducks, and the Dodgers. So they really need a football team?
I enjoy that it’s a sign of the area’s individuality that there’s no football team. I enjoy that, really, the people of L.A. are more apathetic than anything about having a team in their backyard. I think that’s what makes the people there more interesting than anything. There is a serious love for football, certainly, but they’re all, “not really in my backyard, thanks so much.”

Wednesday, December 16

Cards are nice to get in the mail, you know

ITEM!: I got all ready to complain about the amount of Christmas cards I sent out compared to the number of cards that I received, but then I remembered that I was similarly irritated about that last year, and sure enough, I had blogged about it in December last year. Once again, I have a pile of cards to send out, and I fear that, once again, I will only get a handful back. You know the worst part? I can't conceivably cut my list to the 20 or less that I need to halve my card order. So here I am, ordering 40 cards AGAIN, and preparing to send them all out, even though I'll be disappointed in the returns AGAIN.
ITEM!: I can finally start my Christmas shopping tomorrow, and I'm super, super excited to dig in. This weekend will be amazing with the Christmas-ness that I'll get done. I have the highest hopes to get as close to being done as possible. I'm going to irritate my kid with all the stops we'll be making. A pretzel in the mall will settle her down, though.
ITEM!: I'm obsessing over the holiday because I feel drastically unprepared for it, and I sense my time slipping away like crazy. I've got so much to do and so little time for it.

Tuesday, December 15

"The Voice" made me see Justin Bieber. Not. Cool.

I've never seen Justin Bieber perform before, and I would like to express my profound disappointment to The Voice, for giving me that "life experience." I was fine in my life having never really even heard him sing. And I was certainly fine with never seeing him under a spotlight.
Good god, he's dancing now. Surrounded by mostly naked girls, natch. I think he just grabbed at his groin area. He's touching the hands of the girls in the audience. I hope they have sanitizer. I'm pretty sure he's got lifts in his tennies. Now, he's done. Oh Gwen, I hope you didn't hug him. He's surely crawling in weird pee-in-a-bucket diseases of some kind. Thank goodness that's over.
As for the winner of The Voice, they're just now going to tell me, but I think it'll be Barret, or Jordan, or Emily Ann. Jeffery is too cool for the "people" to have voted for him to win.
And, I was right. Jeffery was fourth. Third is Jordan.
And, I was wrong. Huh. Barret Baber was third. Second is Jordan.
And, I was wrong! Emily Anne came in second, which is awesome, because she seems like a super sweet, genuine girl. But hey you guys, Jordan won The Voice! And then they made him sing the show to its conclusion. That's rude. They're like, "Hey, show pony! Entertain us as if you have no emotions right now!" Totally not cool, The Voice. You're like making the Dancing with the Stars winner dance for their victory, which doesn't happen.
So, The Voice is over, and Gwen and Blake can go on dating in relative quietude.

Sunday, December 13

I need my thumb to feel better, STAT

You know how sometimes you'll get weird little injuries that make no sense?
One of my once-a-winter issues has reappeared, and I'm not at all impressed. My hands get dry, as do everyone's, during the winter. I bulk up and use hand lotion like no one's business. But no matter what, once a winter, I get this bizarre little skin break that can be directly attributed to the dryness of my hands and fingers. It develops right at the corner where my thumb fingernail grows away from the nail bed, and cuts across to the corner of my thumb. It's not big, only about a millimeter or two, but it's a painful little punk. Every time I touch something, it splits open. Every time I move or grab at something, it splits.
It's a stupid injury, but there it is.
My solution, over the last few years, has been to slather it in Neosporin and wrap it in a bandage for a couple nights. I will do that this evening. Because even more than being stupid, the injury is annoying. And the weirdest thing is that it's here, and it'll go away, but then I won't get it again until next year. It's like a bizarre reminder of how dry my hands can get, and it's my body telling me to be more vigilant with my hand lotion. So, message received, irritating injury.

Saturday, December 12

Getting a new doctor for an old dog

Brian and I took Oliver to see a new veterinarian this morning, and it turned out great, because all his old-man issues were addressed, and solutions have been implemented. My laundry list of little things were tackled, but on the whole, he's still in really good shape physically.
Having said that:
Come to find out that Ollie has been in real knee pain for the last few weeks, which is why he's been sitting weird with his left, rear leg sticking out under him. Apparently, that's a classic sign of knee pain, because it hurts him to bend the knee, so he sticks it out straight to be more comfortable. Obviously, this is distressing, so he's now on pain medication that will be given to him, most likely, all his life. And we're fine with that, because the only important thing is that he's not in pain.
He also has a skin infection, which is why he's been licking at his tummy and groin area. He's been developing little red pustules that break open and peel back. They don't hurt, but they do annoy and maybe itch. The fix for that is a medicated skin shampoo for every day. But the vet understands life, and on days that I can't do the shampooing, I have a mousse that we can apply instead. I would say that it's already started working, but I did catch him licking tonight. Though it's the fist time I found him licking since I shampooed him this morning, so that's encouraging.
He didn't present with any eye infection, but we did replace the ointment I have for treating his flair-ups when they happen. The doctor wonders if the increase in eye infections may have something to do with his cataracts. She gave us a referral to an animal opthamologist. I'll keep an eye on the eyes though, and after the next issue, and after I treat it completely and better, we'll see how it goes, and then maybe see the eye doctor.
I need to keep walking him because it'll keep and increase his leg strength, which is no problem. He walked around the whole block with Brian, Cooper and I yesterday, which I thought was too far for him, but he didn't care what I thought and did just fine.
Everything we had on our Problem List was/is manageable, though, which is the best news. He's a healthy, little dude, which is the bestest news.

Friday, December 11

Proactive cookie hoarding for the year

I just read an article online about Girl Scout cookies going digital! And I can't begin to tell you how exciting that is. Brian and I were despondent about not finding any Girl Scouts from whom we can buy some cookies this year. It's weird how they're at every store when you don't have cash, but when you're looking for them, they're like ghosts. We had to live without this year, and it was not pretty. No Samoas for Brian, no Do-S-Dos for me. I can think of nothing better than ordering our cookies online, and using a debit card, and having them land at my front door in a matter of days.
Question: can you order them all year long, or only during cookie season? I imagine it's probably just during the season, otherwise there won't be much of a rush during the few weeks that people can buy them.
There's going to be, like, a ton of cookies in my freezer. There's no better way to be sure we've got enough cookies to last the year.

Wednesday, December 9

A Wednesday night ITEM! list

ITEM!: Oliver sees a new vet on Saturday morning, and I'm super excited. We've been shopping around for a new dog doctor for a while, and I finally decided that I would try the place we went to for a silly emergency a couple years ago that I liked. I'm giddy to sit him down with the new doctor and go through the list of issues I'm seeing, wondering about, and dealing with. I look forward to leaving there with at least one antibiotic, a vaccine, and no doubt, a hefty bill. But no matter, it's all about Oliver. And if we like the place, it'll be Cooper's new doctor, too.
ITEM!: I just gave up on half of my magazines, and chucked them into the recycling bin. I have gone through the catalogs, as well, and found them lacking, so they're all in the recycling, too. I kept the InStyles for Mom though, since she needs stuff to read over Christmas. But even in shrinking my pile, it still is too big for my taste. I pledge to read them this weekend.
ITEM!: I need to rewrite our expenses worksheet this weekend, too. With my working, our expenses have increased, if you can believe that. Of course, it's all about the before- and after-school care. That's added $250 to our bottom line. My paycheck covers it, certainly, but I need to adjust the numbers, and my thinking, as to how much needs to go out with every paycheck. Not the best thing to do right before Christmas, but the knowingly skewed numbers, and my forgetfulness, are bugging me.
ITEM!: HBO has been replaying their broadcast of U2's Innocence and Experience Tour show from Paris, and it's been a pretty awesome thing to listen to and watch over the last few nights. It's super soothing, because I love them, and it's relaxing and motivating, because the music is lovely. I have a copy of it on the DVR, so it'll be there forever, if I want. Which I may just want. But it's on right now, and I'm enjoying it.

Tuesday, December 8

With practice, the violin can sound nice

Apparently, the only way I can enjoy a lovely concert of classical music is to attend one orchestrated by a group of elementary and middle school students. It wasn't terrible, but I think that was mainly because, as a group of musicians, they couldn't help but sound okay. Individually, that's a different story. But when they're all together, they rocked pretty well. I didn't recognize any of the music. I'm not sure if that's a reflection of their playing, or on me, to tell you the truth.
But as the concert rolled on the instrument playing got better, and by the end, after the choir performances, the 7th and 8th graders were pretty good. Good enough to make me hope that they might have inspired my kid to keep going with the violin and practice, if you can believe it. Time will tell if that actually happened, but I'm hoping. I think she was most impressed with their rendition of the Indiana Jones theme, which she dug.
After the concert, we went to Starbucks for drinks.

Monday, December 7

Please don't hide in the bathroom

This morning, when Sydney woke up, her Elf on the Shelf, Buddy, had a most peculiar hiding spot. He was sitting astride a wooden dinosaur skeleton ... in her bathroom. I thought it was clever, and really funny. It seemed like a perfect place for Buddy to hang out all day.
She, however, was creeped out, she told me tonight. "I don't want him in there while I'm going to the bathroom," she said to me.
I suggested to her before she went to bed that maybe she should ask Buddy to not hide in her bathroom again. She said that she already had. It made me laugh because now all I can do is wonder at the private conversations she has with that elf.

Sunday, December 6

"I don't really want anything..."

Well, you guys. It's happened.
Sydney doesn't really want anything from Santa Claus for Christmas. She's got most everything that she wants, she tells me, because we spoil her, and she's happy. So now Santa gets to be "creative." I really don't know what to do with that. It's exhilarating. And it's terrifying. But I already have a pretty good idea, so there's that. Though, in the long run, my idea may end up costing more than anything she would have asked for by name.
But I'm super proud of her for saying that she doesn't want anything in particular. She's a good kid.

Saturday, December 5

I'm all girl power tonight, you guys

All the articles that I've been reading lately about how women are basically raised and intimidated into being fearful of making a male stranger or acquaintance mad or think that she's a bitch just by standing up for herself have really been affecting me. I hate that it is indeed a thing where we women sometimes are "afraid" of being perceived as difficult or horrible, and that we let ourselves get pushed around because of it. I admit to that being the case with me every once in a while.
In line at Michaels today, such a situation arose. A guy moved from one line into the line I was in, but behind me. I looked at him, and then looked at the woman behind me. She was the first of three ladies who were standing behind me, waiting their turn. I made eye contact with her, and you know what she did? She just shrugged and made a face like, "Whatever, he moved there, I'm not saying anything." I have to tell you, that made me so mad. All I could think was that the guy wouldn't even try doing that in front of any other guy, or if the lady's husband was with her. It made me so mad. I was so mad that he thought he could just do that, and that no one would say anything, and then, I was furious that the lady behind me actually wasn't going to say anything. So I did.
Me: "There's a line behind me."
Dude with no regard for women in line: "Yeah, but this one was moving faster, so I thought I'd..."
Me: "You thought you'd skirt in front of all the people in this line?"
Douchebag line cutter: "Well, I was in that line, in this place, so I..."
Me: "The line is back there."
At this point, he got embarrassed at being called out for his line cutting douchebaggery. I was ignoring his attempts at justification. He moved back to his line though, saying, "I guess I'll just go back to my line, with my one item."
I ignored, again, but in my head, I'm all, 'dude, you get your one item to the other line, and shut up.' I don't give a f*ck how many items you have, you don't get to just cut in line.
The lady behind me didn't say anything to me, but I could just feel ... FEEL ... the appreciation for girl power going on behind me. And I felt super proud of myself. I stood up to the guy for the girls who wouldn't, and the outcome was favorable to all of us, except the guy, of course. Not that I care how he feels about it. He should know better than to think he can cut in line in front of anyone, whoever they are. And if he thought he could get away with it because all the people in line were women, then he should be ashamed of himself. And maybe he won't do that again.

Friday, December 4

Seriously, give us our treats back

Let's talk first-world problems tonight, shall we? Actually, it's a first-world DOG problem.
It seems as though my favorite dog treat bakery, from which I've been buying treats for Oliver (and Daisy and Cooper) for years and years, is no longer selling the nifty little treat bits, and small biscuits, anymore. I noticed a couple weeks ago that my local pet store was not carrying the full flavor selection of the little bits. I asked about the cheese flavor, and was told that they could order some for me, but that he didn't know when the store would replenish in general. I bought the oatmeal/apple treats, and the boys have been eating them. I went to the store again a couple days ago, and again, there were no cheese treats. So I hopped onto the bakery's web site, where I usually and have always ordered the treats before I found them a couple months ago in a shop around the corner from my house, and did some investigating. On that site, all the bits, except for the special holiday ones, are missing from the menu lists. Even the little bone-shaped biscuits are missing.
I'm all, "What the hell? Where are my dog treats, bitches?"
But the computer didn't answer. So I did what the women in my family always do: I wrote a letter. Imagine my irritation in not having gotten a response yet! I'm so annoyed!
I love this bakery. I always have. I am, quite literally, having anxiety about finding new treats for my kids. This is the uncoolest dog thing to happen in a super long time.

Thursday, December 3

Married people conversations, part 385

Brian: "You seem tired tonight; how was your day?"
Kimmie: "Oh, it was okay. I'm so glad tomorrow is Friday."
B: "Is it hard?"
K: "What? Working five days a week?"
B: "Yeah."
K: "You should try it."
That was a real conversation, friends. A real conversation.

Wednesday, December 2

Little light, go off and leave me alone

I'm having moderate to severe paranoia right now, based on the fact that the little green light indicating that my computer's web cam is broadcasting, is on, and I can't figure out what it's up to. I've been through the entire computer, performed two disk utility cleanses and a disk verify, and even checked out the activity monitor. I can't see where the computer is having any issues (nor can the computer itself), and there's no excess power going towards any programs that shouldn't be. I do not want to go to the Genius Bar over this, but I can't have some weird thing going on. Currently, there is a sticky note attached to the camera atop the screen. It looks classy.
Anyway, that pushed me down a wormhole of figuring out what all I have on the computer, and I managed to clear another 4 GBs of space on my hard drive. Why are photo files so flippin' large? And why do I have more than one copy of them? But really, I'd still like to know what "Other" is in regards to the nifty storage bar on in the About this Mac window, but I fear that I never will.

Tuesday, December 1

Happy December, people! The year's almost over

It's time for the obligatory "I can't believe it's December" post, you guys. Because this year has flown by, but you know what? I'm pretty pleased with the state of the year right now. My EXPECTATIONs for the year are in a healthy place, and while some are totally off the mark, I'm looking forward to coming up with a new list of EXPECTATIONs in a month. But that's in a month's time.
Right now, I'm feeling chilly.

Monday, November 30

I need a picture ... for my e-mails

Here's a random issue with the new job. They use headshots for the magazine's masthead, and on company e-mails. So, like, my work e-mails will have my contact information, AND MY FACE, at the bottom of them. I have an issue with this. I don't think everyone I connect with, via magazine or e-mail, needs to know what my face looks like. It's not their business. I always took some measure of security in the fact that I could talk to anyone and everyone, any day and every day, and they wouldn't know my face any more than I would know theirs. But this company's way of doing things is throwing that all in disarray. Sunglasses are a no go, too, unfortunately. So, I've kinda fallen in line with this special way of doing things, but then I came across another weird problem.
All my selfies, er ... headshots, have a kid attached to my face. Or a husband. Or sunglasses. But mostly, there's a kid there. Which is totally awesome when looking through my pictures tonight, but when searching for something work appropriate, it doesn't gel too much with the professional vibe.
I did, eventually, find something that works for me: a picture Brian took of me at the Grand Canyon last year. My posture is decent, and my eyes don't look like two gaping black holes (which is becoming an issue the older I get. Seriously considering plastic surgery, friends). The smile is okay, too. All in all, it will get the job done, so I can get my job done.
*sigh* ... face pictures on e-mails.
Who DOES that?

Saturday, November 28

Why is it so much better the days after?

I think the best testament to a delicious Thanksgiving dinner is the constant enticement of its leftovers. I had green jello for dinner tonight, and cherry pie for dessert. The kicker, I decided, was the stuffing I considered eating as my after-dessert dessert. I ignored that particular craving, but that it was a very real craving was enough to remind me that our dinner was awesome. Brian barbecued some fantastic steaks. Mom and I had our green jello. We made stuffing, which is a personal favorite of mine. Also, we had garlic bread, which actually turned out not too good at all, so I may have to make some more at some point soon so I can get it off my mind. There is cheese dip in the fridge that I am eager to reheat tomorrow. Also, a whole lot of chips. And I may have to peer pressure myself into eating some of the apple pie, too. Obviously, we thoroughly entertained ourselves by treating each other to their favorites and best likes for dinner. And it was the best.
Also, Thanksgiving continues to be one of my favorite holidays.
And I may have stuffing and green jello for breakfast.

Monday, November 23

Getting ready for a turkey weekend

I'm at a loss lately, you guys, in deciding what I should blog. I refuse to allow it to be all work all the time, because that's boring as hell. Except to tell you that I'm doing real editorial work now, and it's making me super happy.
As for Thanksgiving, it will be a last-minute but awesome deal this year, since our plans were changed on us just a day or two ago. We have, as a group, decided that steaks will be much yummier than turkey, which is totally us. Mom and I will enjoy some of our delicious green jello, and I'll make some mac and cheese, and slice some apples, for the kiddo. Also, stuffing, because I need stuffing for Thanksgiving. Brian's going to make fruit salad in the manner of his mom's recipe. And for the finale of dinner: garlic bread. We haven't even discussed dessert yet, but I foresee a quick trip to Family Inn for a couple pies. Also, beer and 50/50 drinks. All good things. And it should be an excellent Thanksgiving.
As for the rest of the weekend, I'm thinking adventure, movie, delicious lunches here and there. And hanging out with my mom. It started out kinda messed up, but I think we'll turn it into something pretty cool.

Saturday, November 21

A great Saturday night, of course

I expect that after I spend an entire month dealing with all the normal stuff I did while not working, while I am working, then I'll stop boring you with all these ridiculous, whiny posts. Tonight, I had to spend my late-night Saturday evening paying bills. No better way to entertain myself on a weekend evening than watching the checking account balance diminish incredibly within minutes.
My usual Saturday night consists of my reading PostSecret (after midnight on the East Coast, of course), watching some stuff on the DVR, and posting to the blog. Sometimes I get too tired to post on a Saturday, but more times than not, where I am every Saturday is where I am right at this very moment. Sitting on my bed, Cooper laying beside me, with my computer in my lap. Currently, last night's Grimm is playing off the DVR. I'm not quite in my pajamas yet, but it's only a matter of tick tocks before I get super comfortable for the night.
My coworkers asked me yesterday afternoon if we had any awesome, fun plans for the weekend. I'm all, "no." I consider my Saturday nights a success if I'm awake enough to post anything here. So tonight, goal met.

Friday, November 20

I do so enjoy Fridays, you guys

ITEM!: Tonight, I initiate a three-game limit on my computer for Sydney. I consented to download Wolf Quest this evening, and suddenly realize that there are three kiddo games in my dock. Three games is a good stopping point, I think. Especially with the small and getting smaller amount of open space on the old laptop.
ITEM!: With me working, Sydney and Brian are spending more time together. He's taking her to school three times a week, and is picking her up from school one day. I love that they're enjoying more time together. But then she called him Thursday afternoon, but didn't even text me. And then, she addressed her reflection journal entry to "Dad." Could she break my heart any more? I won't cry and be sad or depressed, because that would be silly. But, still. I'm glad to be spending the whole day with her, just the two of us.
ITEM!: I had a project to do at work today, and it was awesome. My covert move on taking over the web site content is well underway. I dealt with the event calendar for 2016 today, and made my move to be the contact person for the calendar entirely. My boss was receptive to that, so I've got that taken care of. Also, I'm already working on managing the news. That's going to take a little bit of time, though. It felt good to have a solid project for the day, that's for sure.
ITEM!: I haven't read any of my library books since I started the job, and I'm going through a withdrawal.

Thursday, November 19

How can you plan anything without a calendar?

So obviously, now that I'm working, more posts may or may not be about my job. Tonight's is one of the posts that is about the job. Sorry.
In my life as an editor, I've worked on a whole bunch of different editorial teams. Some more organized than others, and some smoother operating than others. But something they've all had in common is a basic understanding of an editorial calendar. The editorial calendar is a schedule of all the issues to be printed throughout the year, including the topics and themes, as well as what particular angles the sales reps need take for their customers. The calendar includes the dates of printing, and the scheduling for all editorial content that goes into any particular month's issue. The editorial calendar, as you suspect, is a very important tool in a magazine's life.
Now, picture a huge magazine, with all kinds of editorial and advertising, and imagine that magazine with no kind of editorial calendar. Seems odd, right? Seems almost crazy that such a thing exists. As I said to Tara tonight, "How does that even happen?" Granted, the magazine has managed fine for the last several, several years. It didn't even occur to me that they wouldn't have an editorial calendar.
So, when the publisher today said that she'd try to "maybe" and "hopefully" create a calendar for everyone for the year so we could all be on the same page, I about fell over. If there was a cartoon image of me at that moment, my cartoon head would have been either leaking or exploding, I can't decide which. No one else seemed at all concerned about this, either. Only the designer seemed happy with the potential of the editorial calendar, which makes me wonder for the other people in the room. Calendars are incredibly convenient and helpful.
But again, clearly they're doing more than one or two things right, since the magazine survives and thrives. Still, a calendar would make it all so much better.

Wednesday, November 18

I read the Internet at work today

As of last night, I'm realizing what a not-conscientious employee I've been all my life. That's super funny to me right now.

Tuesday, November 17

I need a bit more personal space

Things I used to be able to do at work that I can't at this particular work:
Make personal phone calls. I was able to call my mom every morning. I could make household and maintenance calls to keep life moving smoothly. As an example, I need to call the vet, and I haven't had a chance to make the call because I've been busy during the week. Well, not really busy, but unable to make phone calls during business hours.
Read the Internet. My web browser was my lifeline to the day's news. As it is right now, anyone can walk by my work space and see what I'm reading. I mean, really, if I want to read all about Charlie Sheen and his health status as of this morning, I should be able to do it. But it's also about being a better-informed person.
Post to the blog. Typically, I would do my morning stuff, i.e., check e-mail, return phone calls, check my RSS feeds, and then I would settle into my day by blogging about whatever attracted my attention the night before, the day before, or that mornings. It made for a more relaxing night, you know, when I blogged during the day. I could leave my home computer shut down all night, and spend all my time and mental energy on things that did not require mental energy.
Enjoy some personal space. My immediate supervisor and coworker sits right behind me. Like, right behind. If I move my chair too far back from my desk, I'll bump into her chair. We can all hear each other typing, for cripes sake. I have nowhere that I can go that is completely mine, even if there isn't a door or solid walls. I like it when I feel like I can sniff and/or blow my nose without everyone hearing me.
Who'd have ever thought I would miss my old-school, dull-grey cubicle walls?

Monday, November 16

Too pooped to pop tonight

Today was one of those days where people in Arizona say to themselves, "Why was I complaining so much about the heat only a month ago?" The windows in my house are all closed because it's too cold outside. At lunchtime today, I came home to find a house as chilled as a sepulcher. I wore a scarf to work this afternoon because I needed the extra warmth.
It's hard to appreciate the cooler weather when it's just straight-up cold. I'm going to wear a real sweater to the office tomorrow.
Honestly, you guys. I've got nothing for today.

Sunday, November 15

Going to work on a Monday

It's November 15, and I think maybe I should have gotten paid tomorrow? I don't know what the pay schedule is, or how it's managed. I'm going to find that out tomorrow. I also need to know the holiday schedule. I need to figure out what I may need to do with my kid over winter break and all that.
At any rate, I have to go to work tomorrow, and it's been nine years since I've said that and meant it in the most real way. I'm excited, I think. I've got my clothes out for the day, and am heading to bed relatively early to get enough sleep. It is supposed to be quite chilly tomorrow, so I'm prepared with warmer clothes, too.
Things that I'm slacking on due to the job: watching television on time, and reading. I haven't picked up a book since last week, and I'm going through serious withdrawals. I need to figure out a new reading schedule, because my quiet book time from 12:45 p.m. to 2:45 p.m., and then however long I want it to last, is just not realistic anymore. As for television, I just need to not wait to watch any shows with Brian. His falling asleep on the sofa at 9 p.m. is putting a serious wrench in my stories. We've got a LOT of television built up on the DVR, and it's just going to get worse starting tomorrow night when more shows are on.
Also, I started my lower-estrogen birth control pills today. That should be an interesting experiment. I told Brian to keep an eye on me and let me know if anything goes too terribly crazy. I mean, I'll know if I start crying for no reason, but for some other stuff I may not realize, he will have to give me a heads up. And if it makes me gain weight, I will be PISSED. My not being at home all day is curbing my bad food consumption, and I'm not at all interested to have any weight I may lose because of not eating become weight I gain because of minimal estrogen. I don't really like experimenting with my emotional and menstrual health like a game of chess, but it's what we've got to do to decrease any cancer risks, apparently. So, that's fun!

Saturday, November 14

It's just so violent

We just got home from watching the Ronda Rousey vs. Holly Holm UFC fight at a friend's house. You know what? I hate watching people beat each other up. And it wasn't just because they were girls in the fights, because the first three bouts on the card tonight were dudes, and I shrank away from the violence of that, too. I don't like seeing the kicks and punches connect. It's way different than watching a movie or TV show, because in those, you know it's fake and CGI and makeup. In a real fight, these people really get hit. And they bleed. And they swell up and start turning purple. It's disturbing on every level.
When we first got the invitation I thought, no, I don't want to watch that. But then I was all, okay, we should be social. And Sydney had someone to play with, and Brian had someone to enjoy the fight with. But I sat on the sofa with my hands resting on my brow through the whole thing, just waiting for it to end. Those people hit hard!
But now, knowing the results and how monumental they are, I suppose I'm glad I watched the fight, to see history take place so far as upsets go. And I didn't have to pay the pay-per-view for it.

Thursday, November 12

Back to being an editor, and it's good

Check it out, you guys! I'm officially working!
I had a splendid first day at work, and honestly, I really think it'll work out just fine there. All the other editors were super nice, and their patience and generosity of time for my questions was fantastic. I still have a lot to learn, and I'm eager to dig in some more. I've already been an editor a bit, and I'm pleased to say that I actually did find some things that needed to be fixed. So, I guess I'm still okay at this kind of thing.
Also, the office is pretty chill, with everyone doing their own thing at lunch, as well as bolting out the door right at 5 p.m. I was told to not be at work too on time, because I'll probably end up waiting outside for several minutes. So, I'll plan on leaving home at 8 a.m., rather than being there right at 8 a.m. They also really like candy, and I've got plenty to spare.
They gave me books to read, issues to catch up on, and a few questionnaires to fill out in regards to the industry. I'm figuring out Google Chrome, which is interesting and frustrating at the same time, but I'm pleased to note that my knowledge of working with PCs is still viable. I have an e-mail address, though I don't know if I have a personal phone number. There is a Keurig machine in the kitchen, and reverse osmosis water, so all my vices are covered. And the bathroom is a nice one, which is important because I pee so much throughout the day.
All that's left is to move in the personal stuff: coasters, random desk necessities, hand lotion, mouse pad, etc. I have a lovely spot by the window with all kinds of natural light, which is great until this summer, when, no doubt, I'll broil from the afternoon sun.
You know what else I'm doing? I'm figuring out my clothes for the next day at night, which seems to be a legit time saver.

Wednesday, November 11

Who starts work tomorrow? Me. (Yikes)

I start the new job tomorrow, and I'm doing a really bad imitation of someone who isn't nervous. Which means that I am totally nervous. Sydney explained to me tonight that it's exactly like when she goes into a new school, and how it'll be just fine. I'll make new friends and do just fine. It was the exact same speech I gave her every time she started a new school and grade. And I realized that I'm certainly brave enough to do this, and do it well. (I'm still nervous.) It's just that I've been in the same job for the last nine years, and that job was different than the job I'd done for the previous several years, and that now I'm just going back to what I was doing in the first place. So, easy peasy.
What I realized though, as I was preparing the stuff I would take into the new office with me in the morning, is that now I need to learn a whole new office, and that they'll have to learn me. And I'm pretty neurotic, you know. I rub down my phone and computer keyboard every morning with rubbing alcohol to keep them clean from other people's germs. (That's a story courtesy of my martial arts job a hundred years ago.) And I drink a lot of water, which means I go to the bathroom a lot. And I like to have visual reminders of what I like and who I'm working for, which means bizarre accoutrement on my desk, and pictures of my peeps, too. And I'm neurotic. Did I say that already?
Can you believe that one of my biggest concerns tomorrow morning is what travel mug I'm going to put my tea in? How ridiculous is that? I've done my homework. I've got my notes and my notebook ready. I've figured out what I'm going to wear: black pants, blue button up, sweater, black Toms. I know what to make for my lunch (pb & j). I know where I'm going. ... You know what, you guys? I feel like I may be ready. All I need to do now is learn all about the industry, but that'll happen in my training.

Tuesday, November 10

Wow! That's a long time, right?

The ridiculatta of today is that it is November 10, the anniversary of Brian and I becoming "Brian and I" all those years ago. In fact, it was 24 years ago tonight that he made his first move and kissed me. I shared the significance of the day with him this morning, prefacing it by calling it a "cheesy thing, so don't laugh at me." And that was the end of it. We giggled and all that, of course, but beyond talking about it this morning, we forgot about it entirely. Well, Brian forgot about it entirely. I had thought maybe it would be nice if he brought home some take-out, or even just a yummy soda. But, no. Honestly, it's no big deal. He comes through well on the real anniversary, which is more important, certainly. And in every way, I could have done something for today, too, since it's not all about me. It's about "us," which is a state we've been in for 24 years today.

Monday, November 9

WHAT?!?! A JOB?!?! Yep.

Alright, alright, alright. I've been super busy this past week, and super tired because of it, and the blog has suffered. Because of all my social obligations and whatnot, I haven't had a chance to tell you yet that I GOT A JOB, and that I WALKED MY NIECE DOWN THE AISLE.
The job I got (finally, right?) is at the company who thought I was over qualified last year for a lower-rung editorial position. They posted a job listing for an associate editor position a few weeks ago, and the editor reached out to me to apply. I did, and she called me in for an interview. They took exactly as long as my fragile self esteem could take in making me wait, but called me last Wednesday morning to offer me the job. I am beyond excited! But also, totally terrified. I haven't been in an office in nine years. That's no small amount of time. I mean, what if I'm not good at what I used to be good at? I know they'll be gentle for a while, but I hope that I'm able to keep up and learn new stuff. I start on Thursday. I've already signed Sydney up for all the appropriate before- and after-school programs, so I've got no worries there (which was a HUGE worry, of course). The family is excited for me, too, and that's the best part.
There was a wedding! One of the self-imposed, weirdest things about my relationship with Katy, is that when talking about her, I rarely, comfortably, refer to her as my niece. I tend to call her "Brian's niece" more times than not. But this past weekend changed all that forever. Katy and I have always been super close. We love to spend time together, and enjoy hanging out whenever we can. I am happy to say that I was on point this past weekend with her wedding, being a supportive aunt whenever she needed me. And it was my privilege to be that person for her. And then, when circumstances dictated a change in the wedding processional, she asked me to stand in and be one of two people to walk her down the aisle to her groom. It was among the greatest moments in my life, and I'm so happy to have been a part of it. It changed something in me though, she made me feel less of an uncle's-awesome-wife kind of aunt, and more of a much-loved-aunt-by-choice. So when I was asked today about the wedding, I said "my niece" with so much confidence and love that it warmed my heart.

Monday, November 2

An early November ITEM! list

ITEM!: I had a lofty goal for today, which was to put away all the Halloween decorations, and put up all the Thanksgiving decorations. It all really needed to be done today, because tomorrow I've got randoms and cleaning to do because Mom will be here Wednesday, and we've all got a super busy weekend coming up. Happily, I was able to achieve that goal, and now can go about my week without being annoyed by the incorrect holiday decor throughout my house. Turkeys are out and about, my friends.
ITEM!: How's this for horrible: I think my asparagus fern at the front door is a hive and breeding ground for mosquitoes. Damn "skeeters" attacked me, with a vengeance, when I was out front changing out the Halloween outdoor stuff for the Thanksgiving stuff. It all started out okay, but once I got down to the installation of the lawn decor (which is a complex and involved process when the ground is instead hard rocks and packed earth), the little fuckers were swarming my ankles and arms. I freaked out, and hurried, and then ran inside. I hate those bugs. The plant is going in the trash tomorrow. I can't have a skeeter nest at my front door.
ITEM!: Yesterday was the two-year anniversary of our having to say goodbye to our sweet Daisy. Facebook saw fit to remind me of it this morning, and it was not pleasant for me. I really miss that doggy. I'd have her back, if I could, please.
ITEM!: There was an earthquake in Arizona last night. In fact, there were more than one. The second was a 4.1-magnitude quake, and it shook my house. I was laying in bed, which is the best place for experiencing an earthquake because you feel every single movement, when it happened. The first shake felt like Cooper was on the bed and scratching, but I knew he was downstairs. The second shake, which lasted longer, made the whole house groan and sway. Amazingly, Brian was somewhat awake, and he felt it. Did you know, with all his trips out to California, and however long he's stayed out there, he'd never felt an earthquake? And then, he feels one in Arizona! So funny. Well, he was giddy, as you can imagine. Sydney slept through it. Cooper was not amused. Oliver was all, "Whoever is moving me, stop it." I am super pleased with the fact that, even in an environment that would be the last logical place for an earthquake, my California-ness kicked in and I knew exactly what was happening, exactly that it wasn't going to be a big deal, and exactly my plan of action should the next one be worse. Some things just can't be forgotten, no matter how unlikely the application of that knowledge might be at any one time. Yay earthquake!

Sunday, November 1

It's November, friends

I can't believe that it's November already. I think I feel this way every November. It's the second to last month of the year, and since December just frickin' flies by, this feels like the last time I'll have a chance to breathe this year. And then, poof, it's 2016.
The up side is that I truly do love November. I blame Massachusetts for my absolute love of this month, because in November, it starts getting cold, the trees are all turned and the leaves are falling, and Thanksgiving is the holiday of pride. I have such a love for the autumnal-ness of November, that I get super annoyed and indignant at the month and holiday being so unceremoniously pushed aside for Christmas already. Like, come on Starbucks, is it really red cup time on the first day of November? Can't you at least wait until the week of Thanksgiving or right after? I mean, give a girl who loves November a break, would you? Santa Claus is arriving at Mom's local mall on Nov. 6. That's preposterous, really. Too soon.
So I post my November, autumnal avatar with pride tonight. She and I will be rocking the autumn goodness all month, thankyouverymuch.

Saturday, October 31

I need more kids to give candy to

Turns out, the last thing in the world I needed to do today was to buy more candy. We already had a ton of Smarties and Sweet Tarts. We picked up a 45-piece bag of various candies, as well as a selection of stuff that we just like eating. ... And then, my daughter came home from trick or treating tonight with 182 pieces of candy. That is, no doubt, an insane amount of candy. And now I have two bowls of candy, one with all the goods that she got from her foray around the neighborhood tonight, and one bowl with all the stuff we already had and that she and I bought today. No joke, it's crazy in my house right now, with the candy.
But you know what I've never experienced? I've never had the never-ending parade of kids coming by my house. Andrea and Ryan said that they've had more than 100 kids tonight. I remember Josh and Dawn commenting on all the kids they would get at their house. I don't think I've ever had more than a dozen or so on any given Halloween. Granted, most of our Halloweens were in apartments, and you just don't get a lot of kids trick or treating at apartments, but here we are, in a nice, family neighborhood, and I only got 12 kids at my house tonight. I love opening the door for the kids, and I love seeing their costumes. It's super disappointing to me when I don't get many children. And 12 just doesn't cut it. We need to go hang out with our friends one year so we can see how the popular neighborhoods rock it.

Friday, October 30

Candy, candy, candy starts with C

If you can believe it, we don't have enough candy to get through our day and night tomorrow. We've got some more Sweet Tarts, and some Smarties, but nothing of any consequence (read: nothing I like), or that's worthy of giving out to the kiddos. On the upside of this dilemma is the fact that all the candy at Target will be on sale. Bags and bags of delicious good stuff at 50 percent (I assume) off to whoever's still buying. Inexplicably, and happily, that is my kid and I. What's on the list? Well, I haven't eaten any Twix yet this month, nor any Snickers. This is bad of me. My Gramps would be very unhappy with the lack of Snickers. Sydney will want more Nerds. Brian will eat whatever I get him, and he'll be grateful for it, because he ate my last two Reese's peanut butter cups like a meanie.
I've been told that we're to dress in our witch costumes for the day, as well. I'm actually kinda excited to do that. But first and foremost, we need candy.

Wednesday, October 28

She had a great day, and I'm giddy

My kid was totally happy with her birthday today, and I'm on cloud nine because of it. I think I told you last year that she was pretty disappointed in her birthday. Even after the awesome trip to Flagstaff and all that. I can only base the success of this year's birthday on Jurassic World, and the plethora of dinosaurs she wanted, and got, and the movie that she wanted, and got. She also had a dinosaur cake with the decorations she wanted, and got.
Beyond all the birthday warmth and glowing that we have going on here, I'm super tired because she had me awake at 6:20 a.m. so she could open presents with Brian before he left for work. As for me, in celebrating my Birthing Day, I had some tea, watched some television, and gloried in the quiet of my home all afternoon while reading a book. Good stuff, all around.

Tuesday, October 27

Nine years ago tonight, I was in labor

One of the greatest joys of my life is preparing surprises for Sydney to wake up to in the morning. Right now, her bedroom is all streamered, and there are presents and birthday cards downstairs, and I can't wait for her to wake up tomorrow morning. It's so cheesy, but her smile, and her absolute happiness, makes all my work worth it. And I can't wait for her to get up tomorrow.
Honestly, the only real problem with doing such cool things for her is that she remembers them year to year, and now asks about them. "Will you put streamers in my room again for my birthday?" "Will there be presents in the morning?" I mean, of course I'm going to have presents, and of course, since she loved the streamers so much last year, I had planned on them again this year. And of course, it's all about her because of course it is.
What else is going on with the kiddo's day tomorrow? She wants to go have breakfast at IHOP, but Brian and I are not at all interested in going out for breakfast at 6 a.m. I'm hoping she'll sleep in, to tell you the truth. She's got Oreos to take to school. I'm picking up her cake in the afternoon, and it'll be awesome, because I've picked up an "extra" present to top the cake. And her presents? Well, it's all about Jurassic World, my friends, and she'll be pleased with that. No doubt, I'll be watching that very movie tomorrow night.

Monday, October 26

She needed S.O.S. from Blake's creepiness

I'm watching The Voice right now, and I have notes.
Rihanna is awesome, and her advice for the competitors, in regards to the singing and their stage presence, was straight and on point. I love her enthusiasm for the Voice process, and her happiness for the singers was genuine, too. I already was a fan of Rihanna's, so there's no life-changing attitude shift for her like I had for Taylor Swift, but she's managed to solidify her awesomeness in my eyes.
Blake was creepy. Kudos to Rihanna, again, for not telling Blake to stop creeping her out, because he was being a dirty old man trying to hit on her with no subtlety or charm at all. It was uncomfortable to witness.
For a show whose conceit is all about the voice of the singer, it didn't take long for "them" to completely make over the 15-year-old kid by changing his hair, making him ditch his glasses, and most egregious of all, having his braces removed for the sake of looking the part. I mean, come on. Hypocritical much? He's a 15-year-old kid. He's really supposed to be awkward. I'm annoyed they went so completely against their premise with this.
The twins were sent home, and I'm perfectly okay with that, because I don't like the idea of two singers battling against one in any competition. Two singers can compensate for each other's flaws, as they are, and bulldoze a single competitor. I was pleased to see the single guy win that one.
Adam needs to grow his hair back, like, now. Some guys just look better with a full head of hair. He's one of them. This needs to be rectified, and I feel like it will be when the show goes live next week.
Gwen's polka dot blouse was amazing, but in my boring white girl way, I would like it on me with a long black skirt, or jeans. The shorts were too much for me. But that's why she's Gwen Stefani, and I'm me.
The one girl who Rihanna advised to keep her hands off the microphone and emote, who then didn't, had a tremendous piece of advise that she ignored, and the effect was disappointing. Especially since we saw so much of Rihanna's stage presence advice given to her, and then were witness to how completely she dismissed it. That was too bad, really. I kept staring at the screen, being all, "Why aren't you doing what she said?"
Rihanna was great; Blake was creepy. I already said these things. They are worthy of repeating.

Getting ready for the rest of the year

One of my favorite things to do is to organize my calendar. I don't do it very often, because my calendar is always up to date, but when I get to sit with it and add stuff and all that, it makes me happy. Today, I got to do just that. Preparing for November and December is always a good time, since it's all holidays, Mom's trips out, and days off from school. Still, right now the calendar is pretty open. Going into next week though, once we get into November, it'll start filling up like crazy. And I'm giddy with anticipation! This is my favorite time of year. These three months are the best because everyone is happy, anticipatory and full up on holiday cheer.

Saturday, October 24

I got my other pumpkin, and he's cute

Here's my pumpkin.
I call him "my" pumpkin because I was the one who wanted him. Sydney helped clean him out, and Brian perfected the inside, but I did all the carving. Sydney drew out the plan for the face, and I have to say, this seems to be a good way for us to divide our responsibilities for the pumpkin. My inability to do anything symmetrically is the reason behind the awesome kicky smirk on the Jack. Something new I'm trying is the tilting of the pumpkin top, to let out some of the heat, ensuring there's no singeing of the top while the candle burns. I decided on using real votive candles this year, since I've got that great package of 100 tealights from Ikea, and I'm excited with how the finished product looks. He sits on the TV stand, so we can keep a close eye on the open flame in the home.
But I'm crushing on him, for sure. He's adorable, isn't he?

Friday, October 23

It means you Don't. Say. Anything.

Let's have a conversation about secrets.
Secrets are important. And when you're invited to be a holder of one, it's a privilege. And when you share it, or brag about having it, or spoil it for the official secret holders, it's a betrayal. Seriously, there's no other word for it. There's no one worse than the person who knows the secret peripherally, and then tells the secret.
Actually, you know what does make that person worse? Facebook.
Facebook makes every secret harder to keep, and makes every secret holder a liability, because the bad secret holders who can't and don't want the secret to be a secret will spoil it. And the peripheral secret holders who want to be the Secret Tellers are the worst. They will make little comments here and there. They will be "cute" or "subtle." They will make jokes.
Here I am, a peripheral secret holder who can keep a secret. And I've got Facebook. And I see that a couple other peripheral secret holders are making comments, or being "cute," in a way that exposes the secret in not at all subtle ways ... on the actual secret holders' Facebook pages. This is rude, and mean, and insensitive, and just all kinds of blabbermouthy. I feel so bad, because due to these peripherals who can't keep their mouths shut and their fingers unengaged on Facebook, the actual secret holders had to share their secret before they were ready to do so. And I think that's horrible.
On the up side, the actual secret holders now know exactly who they can and can't trust with their secrets in the future. And I know better now, too.
Secrets are important. The ability to keep them is even more so.