Friday, November 11

Protest? Yes. ... Riot? Decidedly no.

I'm good with protests. I think they're a valid, productive and satisfying way to show that people are unhappy with something. I've got no problem with the protests going on throughout the country right now displaying the peoples' unhappiness with the new president. Violence is bad though, and when protests become violent, they turn into riots, and that's no good for anyone. The message gets lost in a mist of fear, fire and smoke.
But before everyone gets all angry at the kiddos who are doing this, remember that electing Trump for president was not the will of the people. It's the will of the Electoral College. And remember that these kids have no other outlet to show their frustration. As far as most as concerned, they couldn't vote for their president because they're too young, and now they're stuck with one that will probably do more damage than they'll be able to fix well after Trump leaves office. ... Also, remember all the Republican supporters who promised to do exactly this, but vowed to bring their guns and whatnot, too?
There was a protest at Arizona State University today, and had I been in school, I would have joined. Also, I would have voted. My irritation is that if any of these protesting kids could have voted, but didn't vote, they've got no place in the protest. It's like my mom always said, "If you feel bad, but haven't taken anything for the pain or sick, you can't complain." In essence, don't whine if you haven't done your part to make it feel better.
Those protests should be for the Hillary voters who are dissatisfied with their candidate winning the country's popular vote, but losing the Electoral College. They're for those who wish to stand in solidarity with the minority groups that will be facing a very rough road for the next several years, because their vote wasn't enough to help protect them from prejudice and evil. They're for the people who feel so helpless and frustrated that they just want to go for a walk with like-minded humans.
Protests are a good thing. Keep them that way.

Thursday, November 10

Lost potential, but a road has been paved

So let's talk for a moment about the lost promise of our first female president.
I remember, perfectly, blogging several years ago about my wanting to see a female president at some point in my life. I had thought, just a few days ago, that I may be able to see such a thing while in my relative youth. As well as that, I was in love with the thought of my daughter not knowing that a president couldn't be African American or a woman. Up until eight years ago, presidents had been only two things: white and male. Now one has been not white.
But hey, look at that, now the president is going to both of those things again.
I cried during Hillary's concession speech. Me and almost every other woman who had hoped she'd be our champion in the White House. Sydney was touched by it and cried with me, as I had hoped she would. And when Hillary asked for the attention of the little girls who looked up to her, my daughter sat up straight, and listened to her. I was so proud of her for that. And I cried even more. (Let's not mention the dismay over how the statement about young girls knowing that they are valued and powerful needed to be said at all. Because they shouldn't ever have to be reminded of that. Ever. That should be a given not to be questioned.)
But when I think about it in a more abstract way, it was a matter of 12 years or whatever ago when I wondered if I would ever see a woman president. And a mere 12 years or whatever later, I almost did. I plan on living for quite some time more, and if we can get this close in 12 years, perhaps we can actually achieve it within the next 30 or 40 or 50 years.
I'm in mourning for the potential that was lost a couple days ago. And I hope that someday, I will be able to vote in a woman president. (This assumes that the first female president will be a Democrat, because, well, you know. Duh.) The ultimate glass ceiling has yet to be shattered, but someday, it will be. And again, I hope I'm there to see it.

Wednesday, November 9

Gonna tackle this in parts, I think

I'm stunned, you guys. Like, straight stunned.
Who in their right mind would have thought that that man would ever become the president? Like, for real, become the president? All the polls were wrong, all the people who talked to the pollsters lied (or didn't have phones), and the data was off to a dramatic degree. I have to think that if the people who had planned to vote for Trump felt like they had to lie to perpetrate some kind of grand political coup, then they knew what they were doing was intrinsically fucked up.
And those people deserve the results of this election. What they're going to discover is that their new president won't be able to deliver on the bigger promises that they think mean the most to them. He won't bring manufacturing jobs back to the United States, because workers in the United States are too expensive to employ. He won't build some ridiculous wall along the southern border of the country because that is a ridiculous expense that no president would want to undertake. He won't be able to stop terrorism or anything like that, because if it could be stopped, it would have been already.
What he will be able to do is gut the Affordable Care Act. And he'll be able to "fix" agreements around the world that have been made with allies and not-so allies. He'll be able to destroy the economy by increasing the already crazy deficit, and he'll be able to destroy the environment by ignoring science. He'll be able to turn this country into a joke, and take away all our credibility in any and all arenas. As I say it, it all sounds pretty horrible.
And it may be, but it may not be. As Seth Meyers said tonight, we know that the president-elect has been on both sides of all issues, so his actual decisions or leanings may be, I say diplomatically, in flux. He's probably sharting himself all day today because he didn't really think he was going to win. I doubt he even wants the job, because really, it pays less than he was getting; his income will be public knowledge; and he won't be able to put his name on the White House. I kept waiting for him to yell "Cut," and then "Scene," and then walk away with an entire season of the reality show, American Horror Story: White House.

Friday, October 7

Sure. I'm sure you respect all the women

I have so many words about the vile audio tape that was released today and the light it shines on the Republican nominee for president, and I'll get to them over the next few days, but right now, I want to talk about tonight's Real Time with Bill Maher. Usually, I don't watch this show. You see, I think Bill Maher is a bit of an asshole, and has a tendency to talk over his guests to get his jokes said on cue. But since Maher's program is probably the only show that will tackle the Trump audio tonight, and because he had Mark Cuban on the show as a guest, I took a shot and sat through the broadcast.
I find myself, at this moment, pissed at myself, and Bill Maher, for my momentary lapse in judgment. Of course, they did start the panel discussion with the newly heard audio of Trump and his pussy grabbing. But let's quickly take a look at the panel: Bill, Mark Cuban, James Carville, and some British guy I don't remember his name. All men; no women.
Of course, they were horrified by the audio. They were so disturbed by the contents and the words, and they were quick to assure all the women out there that celebrities do not act like that, and that they do not grab pussies.
And then they discussed Trump's attempts to seduce the married woman, and then they all laughed over how Trump thought that seducing a woman with furniture would work anyway. James Carville laughed and said something to the tune of, "Hasn't he heard of jewelry?" Maher suggested that women have gotten more expensive because a man has to buy an entire dinette set now to seduce them. And then they all had a hearty laugh again, about the married guy who tried to get a married woman to cheat on her husband and failed.
And then Maher defiantly pointed out that he was sure that every man on that panel, himself included, has never been anything but respectful to all women all their lives. I declare shenanigans on that with the loudest and most effusive snort ever. There is no way that all the men laughing around that table at the failed attempts of a pussy grabber, with no real gravitas regarding the sexual assault such a person has no doubt committed, could look back on their entire lives and not see a single moment or several when they've objectified a woman for her body or looks, or commented on her ass or breasts, or copped a quick feel when they thought she wasn't paying attention or wouldn't care, or thought, for real, that they could tap that if they wanted to. That "locker room banter" is way more pervasive than any of them will admit, and their enlightened stance right now is due entirely to the noise women have been making over the last few years, and how bad it really sounds out loud.
I've told Brian several times over the last couple years that Maher makes comments that are dicky and rude to women, and has very little filter for how his humor is misogynistic as shit more times than not when talking about a woman. (Tonight even, his New Rule statement about the teacher's looks, for instance, rather than commenting on her actions; and how the Muslim woman who posed in Playboy fully clothed is obviously not what the magazine is printed for; and also his side conversation with Carville about influencing Carville's wife/partner/person to change her political leanings. Now that I think about them, I could list you a billion examples over the years, which also include slut shaming. [Editor's note: The above post image is real, and a perfect example of Maher's"respectful" "humor."])
It's bothersome to me that this potentially important and, yes, respectful conversation, which could have been enlightening to some of the men who watch the show, instead devolved into a laughing chat about how not to seduce a woman who isn't interested in a man. There were four men on a national stage who could have made a difference in the tone of this horrible exposure today, but instead they laughed it off while demanding that we believe that they respect all the women ever.

Thursday, October 6

And then there was television again

We're not deep, deep into the new television season, but enough shows have premiered so I can make some sweeping pronouncements. Well, maybe not sweeping, but there are a few shows that I'm putting on season-record in the DVR.
Conviction: Starring Hayley Atwell, the awesomeness that plays Peggy Carter in the Marvel Universe. She plays the part of a brilliant attorney, of course, who also is being blackmailed into leading a team of investigators into finding out if some cases are a matter of mistaken identity. The first episode was pretty compelling, so I'm in. I like her a lot, and it's a female-led procedural with a protagonist who kicks butt.
Designated Survivor: Kiefer Sutherland, who, I realized tonight, mumbles quite a bit, stars as a Cabinet member who becomes president after the Capital building is blown up on State of the Union night. The premise is interesting, and while the "politics" are frustrating, it's captured our attention.
The Good Place: This one, starring Kristen Bell, is a giggle and a half. We are thoroughly enjoying it. Recommended.
Other new shows I've recorded the first, or first couple, episodes of, include Lethal Weapon, Frequency and Timeless.

Blindspot: I will admit to you that we've begun hate-watching this train wreck again, because it's so silly. Quantico: This one is still recording on the DVR, though I broke up with it last season. It may be up to Brian to keep this one going, but I anticipate him ditching it soon, too. Drunk History: This show is a national treasure.

There are a couple other new shows that I want to watch, but they haven't premiered yet, so I'll withhold judgment on them until that time.

Wednesday, October 5

Happy October, a few days belated

The days get away from me, you guys. And I really don't find myself feeling like I need to blog a lot lately. I don't know if it's a laziness thing, or a boredom thing, or what, but I find myself perfectly okay with letting days go by without posting anything here. That was never the case before.
Before, I was driven to write about stuff. I was creatively stifled in my daily life, I guess, and unable to express myself any other way, I suppose, and the blog was the best way of doing that. I didn't feel beholden to anyone but me to write anything.
But I can take it or leave it lately, and that's both liberating and terrifying. I miss the blogging, but I don't miss the doing it. That is incredibly contradictory, I know, but I'm feeling super contradictory about it. So there.

Thursday, September 29

Big, slow and lumbering, like a grand tortoise

Today, I was told that my house was dirty.
Today, I was told that I'm "big," and "slow."
The first nugget was offered as a reason why we've been having some in-house bug issues lately. Not the fact that all people spray to keep bugs out of their houses all the time and my house hasn't been sprayed in more than two years. And not that the winter is coming, or whatever. No, the bugs are because my house is "dirty." So maybe I should spend more time taking care of that, was the suggestion. There was an offer of 'help," but who knows what that means. Honestly, if it's not an offer to pay for a cleaning crew, I'm not interested in your help or opinion.
The second bit of love came from the fruit of my own loins, my own loving daughter, who said it to me as an explanation why I wasn't able to run through the grocery store as quickly as her. "Mom, you need to go on the trail again, because you're too slow. You're big, and you move too slow. That's why you're not as fast as me," said my angel. Thanks for that, kiddo.
I feel like I've hit my limit on honesty for my own good today, you know what I mean? If anyone else has any nifty tidbits for me, just take a number and wait until tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 28

Retirement looks good on you, old friend

I type this right now in my bedroom on my old laptop. Which really is just a shell now, since I've deleted all the files that have been moved to the new computer in the office. The laptop now becomes the official blogging computer, since basically all it has on it at this point are browsers. And with that, it will be cozy and well insulated in my bedroom, right next to the lap desk, which is for blogging, too.
I've deleted all the bookmarks that would encourage anything other than blogging, since my intention really is to limit the amount of computing time I'm spending in bed, and increasing the amount of proper writing I do at my desk in the office. I'll have to take a cotton ball or two of alcohol to the computer keyboard, too, as I'm not convinced that it's not sticky from my kid, and the screen could use a good wiping.
It'll be pristine and happy to have a singular purpose, and to have more room to move around on the inside, minus all the other stuff that used to be on it. I actually think that it'll be happier here in a comfy bed and with a relaxed agenda. It's like I've retired the computer, but still kept it around to do the easy stuff that it and I really enjoy.

A little less octopus on the top, please

Have I really not posted since Friday? These days are going by so quickly.
Working part-time is going along pretty well, to tell you the truth. I'm quite enjoying having the time to do the randoms that I don't feel like have been done in the last 10 months. It's going to take me forever to catch up, I think, but after a while, I may be on solid footing again. Every day, I do one more thing on my list, and with crossing off that one thing, I feel a weight lifted off my shoulders. So, while the hit to the paycheck is bad, the extra time to be me and do my thing will go far for my psyche.
After all, here it is Wednesday, and I'm already feeling calmer and less stressed in my core than I have the last few years. I say years because with even the part-time job, I won't get hassled about not working at all, and I'm still helping bring in some money.
I'd like to spend the extra home time doing something awesome, like writing a book, and I'll kick that into gear next week. I'm giving myself this week to get my sh*t together.

Friday, September 23

At least I didn't get fired

So, I got demoted today.
Apparently, it's been a chronic issue the last several months that I've not been fixing the spellings on names in the articles I've been editing. And when they gave me the huge (one-page long) list of errors that were found in the last issue, I couldn't argue with their assessment of my abilities. I should have been more vigilant about double checking the names in the stories. I should have been a better editor. I double checked the other names, so why not the people? Because honestly, it never occurred to me that someone could write a story about someone, or many someones, and not spell their names correctly. That was the first thing that I was taught in journalism school. "Even Smith can be spelled with a 'y,'" I was told over and over. I couldn't imagine that the people who wrote these articles would get the people wrong. They know them, for heaven's sakes.
Anyway, I got pulled off editorial, and put strictly on social media, news, website and other things that aren't editorial. And I was put on a part-time schedule, so no more early mornings and 5 o'clock departures for me. I would say that they also cut my benefits, but I wasn't getting any, so there. At the end of the day, except for the hit to my ego, I'm kind of getting exactly what I wanted. I have a paycheck coming in (though now it's half), I still get to exercise my brain, and I get to pick up my kid at school on time and spend the afternoons with her.
It's going to be rough facing everyone on Monday, because of said hit to my ego, but a four-hour day will work out just fine for me. I won't have to figure out how to fill my days because I'm not getting enough to do, and I'll not be stuck in an office for eight hours a day. My goal now is to become the best social media and news and website person ever, and I'm going to have some ideas for my next meeting with the boss next week. We're going to tackle that together, because she likes what I'm doing there, and she wants to make more of an impact. I'm on board with that.
At least I didn't get fired.

Wednesday, September 21

California sun can be painful, too

So when I was out in California a few weeks ago, I spent the good portion of an afternoon sitting in the sun because it wasn’t hot enough to broil me for the first time all summer. I neglected to administer any sunscreen, and was really pretty cocky about it, celebrating that the sun was nicer in California than in Arizona. Well, doesn’t the toppling of that idea just suck right out loud?
My chest got red and crispy, and while it wasn’t painful at all, it certainly was tight and red enough to keep me aware of it. I lotioned it as is prudent, and went about my business. It peeled the littlest bit last week, and I figured I was on my way to having a healthy chest of skin again. Over the last few days, it was still a bit bumpy, which I attributed to the peeling skin. So last night, I loofahed. Let me tell you, that was a bad idea. It felt okay in the process of the loofah, but the after effects have been troubling. My skin, and the bumps, hurt when I got out of the shower. I was in "skin pain," which isn’t horrible, but is enough to make you feel it. The actual skin was red again, and made me feel like it was being peeled away.
So I went downstairs and asked the doctor. His question, “Was there any liquid from the bumps? Did they break open and ooze?” No idea, as I was in the shower, but the question was enough to make me wonder for sure. “Second-degree burn would make you ooze, and if you broke open those bumps, that is what would be hurting you,” he said in explanation. I’m inclined to agree, even if the bumps weren’t as bad as so many burns you see on the internet or wherever. I suppose I should have gone to bed with a layer of Neosporin on my chest last night, but I just lotioned and rolled with the irritation. Believe it or not, it continues to hurt this afternoon.
Moral of the story: California sun is NOT nicer than Arizona sun.

Monday, September 19

Finally, another ITEM! list

ITEM!: Well, I'm still employed. It wasn't as awkward at work today as I was afraid it would be, and I got through the day well enough. I'm a bit concerned about tomorrow, because I don't have as much on my plate as today, but we'll see how the day shakes out.
ITEM!: Of paramount importance is the arrival of my new computer tomorrow. It should get here some time "before 8 p.m.," which is super vague, but I'm eager to get it in my house and hooked up. I foresee an entire evening at the desk tomorrow night, and I'm not mad about it. I'm intrigued as to how my antiquated stuff on this computer will translate into the newer and awesomer operating system. Hopefully, there will be little to no problems, but with my luck lately, one never knows, does one?
ITEM!: Sydney's fall school pictures came home with her this afternoon, and it's a pretty great photo. She looks startled, in fact, very, very alert. But her weird smile is making me smile, so I'm a huge fan of it. She doesn't like it at all, so we may have an impasse when it comes to sharing these photos with family and friends, but maybe my enthusiasm will improve her mood about it.
ITEM!: I have two books at the library, and only one to-be-read at home. I started reading the home book today, and hope to get through it quickly, as one of the library books is going to be a good read. I'm a bit frustrated though with the amount of books I have on my personal queue that the library doesn't have. I remember four right off the top of my head, and I didn't even get through my entire list yesterday. I'll assume there's a way to request books be ordered, yes? I will investigate that tomorrow maybe.

Sunday, September 18

Gearing up for unemployment maybe/maybe not

So, work has been really weird lately, in that I may or may not get fired this week. Turns out that my direct, direct supervisor has thrown me under the bus on a few occasions, and the direct supervisor has a bad memory and misplaces things. At any rate, I'll probably be having a meeting with the big boss/owner this week, in which she may or may not have already decided about firing me, and I may or may not have a job at the end of the week. Or the end of tomorrow. Who knows.
But at least I can say that I stood up for myself in the impromptu rebellion on Friday, and I'm okay with that. I can stand up for myself in whatever meeting comes this week, too. Still, that may lead to the firing. Really, I don't want to get fired. I like the people I'm working with (some of them), and the work itself is sharpening my skills and brain (sometimes), and it's super nice to have a paycheck (some little money). The truth is, with the exception of a couple bumps in the road lately, I'm okay with working there for a while longer. If they're okay with that, we can have an agreement.
I've never had such a weird and bizarrely passive aggressive working environment before, though. And one that seems to avoid direct communication as much as possible. Like, if you have a question or comment, ask your question or speak your comment. Honestly, I may not be cut out for this particular environment, but I can adapt, as I have over the last 10 months, and I'll make the most out of my place there. But again, that depends on the big boss this week.

Saturday, September 17

Are you ready for some football?

This year, as football season rolled around, I didn't have a second thought at all about keeping my NFL Sunday Ticket. Last year, you may remember, I decided that I would be perfectly happy living without my Patriots every Sunday. And I did okay the first week, because they were on TV. The second weekend was definitely not the case, and I had ordered my Ticket a mere 10 minutes before kickoff. I was a wreck, all shaking and sweating for the fact of not watching them. I needed to be able to see my team play.
This year, I remembered that feeling very well, and didn't even think of putting myself through it again. Last week, my team was on Sunday Night Football, and that was great. But tomorrow, they'll be playing the Dolphins in Foxboro, and no one outside of the New England area will have it on their regular network channels. I, however, will be watching it, on my cool Ticket channel. And that makes me happy, and calm, and ready to cheer them on.
My avatar this month (yes, a few weeks late) is in celebration of football.

Thursday, August 25

Photographic shrines to the rescue

So I’ve been dealing with my grief in a variety of ways. The most popular being, of course, crying into my pillow at night, but I’ve also discovered a project that was a bit more cathartic than I had thought it would be at first. I had settled on creating a photographic shrine to Oliver last week, and settled into the task of finding the right images and frame over the weekend. I scrolled through my phone and computer and found a buttload of images to print out, and then went about the business of finding the right frame. Home Goods struck out, but Target had the ideal frame for me. I had to decide which images I wanted blown up into an 8x10 and two 5x7s, but once that was figured out, I had hit pay dirt with the whole enterprise.
But in the process of creating the remembrance, I realized that our sweet Daisy really deserved one, as well. I played around with the idea of using a different frame, but in the end, decided that two of the same frame would really go together better on the wall, and pay the proper homage to them both. So my task today has been to choose the right 8x10 and two 5x7s for Daisy and order them to be printed, and I’ve done that. The only real hitch in my get-along would be for Target to not have another one of the frames, but I think I should be okay there. There were plenty on Saturday. I doubt they’ve had a rush for them.
So in the next couple days, I’ll have them both properly memorialized in the home (aside from where their ashes sit, of course). I’m pretty happy with that, and like I said, this project has made me feel a bit better. Now every time I come up the stairs, I’ll see their happy faces, and that is a good thing.

I'll have my usual, please

I’ve reached peak AJ’s awesomeness. Sydney and I stop at our local AJ’s every weekday morning on our way to school (for the Pokestop) and work (for the iced tea). We’re always there between 7:45 a.m. and 7:55 a.m., and I always order the same thing: a large pineapple iced tea. We get no food items, and no other drink. It costs me $1.50 for my tea, which is larger in volume than a venti tea at Starbucks, and that makes me happy. AJ’s in the morning is not a secret to anyone, and there may or may not be a line of one to nine people on any given day. If I can walk in to no line, I’m a lucky person.
This morning, I wasn’t so lucky, and I pulled number 23, while they were helping 14. Not a good sign. But in practice, the bakery counter at AJ’s is super quick as far as helping people. Nine ahead of me in line wasn’t too distressing. But as I was standing there next to the case, and the attendant was helping number 21, she picked up a second tea that she had just filled and set it down in front of me. “Your pineapple,” she said to me, and smiled as she stepped away to deliver the other tea. I was, quite simply, blown away at how awesome that was.
I picked up my tea and followed her to the register to purchase the tea, and thanked her profusely for taking such good care of me. This is, no question, one of the better things that’s happened to me this week. I would sell it short and say that it’s a silly thing to be excited about, but so few fantastic things have happened lately, that I’m going to celebrate this as a personal win all day.
The tea, of course, is delicious. And I’m savoring it.

Monday, August 22

I wrote this last Friday

I don’t have a whole lot going on at work today, so I might as well do some blogging, and tell you all what’s been going on the last couple weeks.
Well, in short, my emotional well-being has pretty much been destroyed, as I had to say goodbye to my sweet, wonderful, brilliant, adorable, loving and amazing Beast, the incomparable and unforgettable Oliver. We had to make the terrible, tough decision to say goodbye to him at a time of our choosing, as he had fallen into such physical shape as he couldn’t walk, was getting disoriented and restless, and had lost control of his bowels. He was miserable and he deserved better than to have to continue in that shape. We did what was best for him.
Having said that, these past two weeks has been my own personal hell without him, and I honestly find myself unable to function as a person. All I want to do is sit in a dark corner and cry. Once I do that, I’m okay for a day or whatever, but then the sad creeps in again, and the horrible emptiness becomes overwhelming. I knew that this would be super awful. He’s my first baby, and the heartbeat I’ve been focused on for 15.5 years. He was everything for so long, and continued to be among my top everythings for his entire life. Remember, when the baby was born, it was all about how Oliver would handle her? His well being was always, always my priority.
And now he’s gone, and I don’t know what to do with myself. Where he is in the house is a weird, empty bubble of nothingness that should be him, but isn’t. The bubble follows me everywhere: into the kitchen, onto the sofa, into bed, on our walks, out to the backyard, in the car. He’s everywhere, but nowhere, and it’s killing me. I miss him so much, you guys, and I’m so helpless and incapable of straightening myself out when it hits me. I know it’s going to take a long time to get through this, and I told Sydney the other night (after one of my crying fits that made her cry too), that I’m just going to have my Ollie Moments, and they’re going to make me very sad. And that’s all there is to it. I’m just so very, very sad to be in a world without him.
I’m missing him every minute of every day, and his loss is a huge crater in my heart.

Thursday, August 4

Sun's out, penis out ... wth?

I would like to thank Twitter, the internet, and Orlando Bloom for giving me the opportunity, nay, responsibility, of explaining to my mother what a "dick pic" is. For those of you who weren't online today, Orlando Bloom was photographed, penis out, while he was enjoying a vacation with his girlfriend, Katy Perry. The photos, obviously, made their way to the internet, and therein Twitter, and the social media world exploded.
Bloom apparently decided that board shorts were too confining for the day, and that paddle boarding was the ideal sport to engage in naked, but with a hat on. So he stripped down, kneeled on the board, and paddled Katy around the water wherever they were. There also were photos of him wandering around in the foresty places near the beach.
Anyway, I managed to bring this up over dinner tonight, and Brian managed to speak the phrase "dick pic," and I got to explain to my mom what that was because she'd never heard the phrase before. Oh, don't think for a second that I would explain the words later and not show her the pics. They were very easy to find. I have posted the blurred versions here for your reference. The internet is a wondrous place, my friends, where we can all learn how big Legolas's penis is.
I also had to explain that this is what happens, on a zoomed-in scale, when a woman is on some dating apps, and guys think that texting dick pics is the way to a woman's "heart." I have a friend who had a folder on her phone full of all the unsolicited dick pics she received while she was "dating" online. It's gross, for certain, that a man would think that sending an image of his penis would be a motivator to date him ... but that's a conversation for another time. Tonight, I got to show my mom Orlando Bloom's penis on Twitter.

Wednesday, August 3

Aromatherapy scrub and rub, and the gold

The Summer Olympics begin Friday, or at least the major coverage of them does, as that's the night of the Opening Ceremonies. After that day, I will be Olympics tied and proud of it, though I'll avoid almost all spoilers as best I can. I will hope beyond hope that Facebook and Instagram will be decent to me; though I have no such wish with Twitter. Twitter is a deep crevasse of hopelessness, rage and anonymity, so I don't believe for a second that it will be decent ... ever.
In light of the Olympics, and my aspirations for the Games, I chose this avatar. Because I believe that if I could win gold in any sport, it would be Olympic Spa competition. I believe that I would enjoy a massage, scrub and facial much more than anyone else, thereby, obviously, earning me a gold medal in congeniality of some kind. I would be on time and in my robe for any spa service, garnering me high points for promptness. I would sit in the sauna and steam room to prepare for my contests, just like any other athlete. And then I would take on the awesome responsibility of subjecting myself to spa conditions, thereby proving my endurance.
I'm telling you, this could be a thing. Cue the national anthem.

Saturday, July 30

Olympics to take over my life in six days

Of the three library books I have in my house right now, one will be returned tomorrow, and the other two will be sitting on the To-Be-Read Pile for at least three weeks. Thankfully, they both have multiple renewals available. The one I'm returning tomorrow does not, and it's due on Friday, but I know I won't get to it this week because Mom will be here and she's more entertaining than the latest Brad Meltzer.
Why will they be sitting for so long? Obviously, Mom being here for a week is a factor. But more than that, the Olympics are beginning on Friday, and they are definitely going to take up a huge chunk of my nights. I won't even try to lie to myself and say that maybe I'll get one read during that time frame. I know myself and my love of the Olympics way better than that.
So books, magazines, other television shows and all that stuff will just be hanging out for a while. I'm okay with that. Go Team U.S.A.!!

Friday, July 29

The donkeys are amazing, yes?

11:45 a.m.: I played around with the idea of calling in sick today, and honestly, I should have. It’s been slow all week, where the only thing to do is hunt for things to do. Sometimes I’m successful, sometimes I hang out on Twitter. But I think I spent a collective three hours just staring at my computer screen on each of the last two days. I anticipate more of the same today.
I didn’t call in sick today though because I may do it on Monday, depending on how the weekend goes, and how badly I just need to not spend the day hanging out staring at my computer screen. The kicker is that no one else is busy, and it’s super quiet. Like, legit, we all could have taken the week off and no one would have missed anything. That’s how dead it is right now. Apparently, it is supposed to ramp up next week, but who knows. And next Friday the office is closed anyway.
At any rate, I probably should have stayed home with my kid and gone to see Ghostbusters.
10:24 p.m.: I spent the entire day at work, and was pretty bored for a majority of it. I'm beyond excited that at this moment, I'm not going to work for a couple days. And during those couple days, Mom will be arriving for a several-day-long visit. And that's awesome.

Thursday, July 28

Really, do not Google sore toe images

I slammed my baby toe into the ottoman at the end of my bed last night. It hurt so much I almost cried, and I spent a good five minutes sitting on said ottoman cringing, moaning and flexing my foot to try to make the pain scoot away. But let me tell you something, that toe still hurts tonight. It was achy and annoying all day, and even right now, as I'm sitting in my bed, it is twinging with every movement of my foot. Nothing looks too swollen, and the toenail still seems to be attached well. In all outward appearances, the toe is okay, but I'm skeptical.
How bad do you have to slam your toe to do some real damage to it? Asking for a friend.

Wednesday, July 27

There's no crying in politics

I don't like to critique Stephen Colbert. You all know how much I love him. But tonight, he made clear to me something misogynistic in the media's treatment of Hillary Clinton, and how she's kind of caught between a rock and a hard place. Colbert did a full-on bit with "Cartoon Hillary," basing the comedy almost entirely on how robotic and unemotional the actual Hillary is perceived by some.
So here's the thing, Hillary has to be unemotional. She has to seem as if nothing can faze her. Because you all know that if she cried as much as John Boehner, or flipped her lid over little things, like Donald Trump, then the men and the media would do nothing but talk about how unhinged and emotional she is, how she's being a "woman." And how no one could trust an emotional woman in the White House.
I mean, think about it, there's no way for her to win. On one side, she's a robot. But then, by displaying emotion or passion any other way would make her a "woman" who can't handle the job, stress, pressure, whatnot. The interplay there between her not acting "womanly" enough to prove she's fit for humanity, but can't really act too "womanly" for fear that those emotions would be used against her, is frustrating to the extreme. No more so than for Hillary, who, no doubt, has been very aware of this tug of war for many, many years.
Personally, I enjoy the idea of having a female president who is a badass and not overly emotional. She'll be a tough cookie, and I'm looking forward to seeing how she does.

Tuesday, July 26

She's kind of a big deal

So, today is a big deal.
Right now, currently, at this moment, there is a woman candidate for president of these United States. I honestly didn't know if I would ever be alive to see a woman sit in the Oval Office ... behind the desk ... and I'm pretty giddy with the history that I'm witnessing. And that she rolls the direction I like on so many of my pet causes is the super thick gravy on the whole situation. (If she thought the way Trump does I'd be far less enthusiastic, but still interested in witnessing history. But would there ever be a female Republican nominee? I'm thinking no. The Grand Old Party is chockablock full of penises.)
My daughter, who is 9 years old, has only ever known of an African American president. And she's so excited to have a potential female president, too. For her, it'll never be a question that someone of a color different from the other presidents, or a gender opposite of every other president, couldn't do the job. To her, anyone could be president, because that color barrier and glass ceiling have been broken. It's amazing that kids nowadays will see that anyone can be president, and, if I may deviate for a moment, that anyone can marry anyone they love. (It would be awesome if her right to choose also was guaranteed, so let's get on that and make those other people exit the uterus that isn't theirs. Also, no big guns would be super.)
And while you've probably guessed what my pet causes are, and you're blinded by how bright blue my political leanings are, take a moment and appreciate that a woman, one of the millions who comprise 51 percent of our country' population, is a major party's nominee for president for the first time in American history. I'm looking forward to casting my vote in November.

Friday, July 22

Yes, let's get the weekend started

I've had two night in a row where I haven't been able to fall asleep before 1 a.m. I can't explain it as anything as easy as insomnia. I'm super tired up until I'm ready to go to bed, and then my brain decides that I need to stay awake until later. It's a drag, for sure. But tonight, the plan is to go to sleep when I first get sleepy, like right now as I'm yawning as I type this, and to not spend any extra time dong anything before going to bed.
Other than that, my day was a day, and I'm eager to get my weekend started.

Thursday, July 21

Waiting, waiting, waiting for Jon

Sitting here watching the news and waiting for "The Late Show" to begin. From what I've seen, it looks like Jon Stewart will be taking over Stephen Colbert's desk for a bit, and I can not wait. I've missed him like crazy. And the news is making me wait and I'm ready to see him RIGHT NOW.
[Editor's note: Photo attached way after the post was published.]

Wednesday, July 20

I love these random afternoons together

I worked late last night and the night before getting the magazine out, and was rewarded with the afternoon off today. Sydney is in a half-day camp this week, so I was able to pick her up at 1 p.m., and we spent the rest of the day together. It makes us both very happy to do that kind of thing. So, what did we do today?
Arby's: I know it's frowned on by so many people, but I was starving and needed a sandwich for lunch. It hit the spot. I did not order potato cakes or mozzarella sticks.
Glasses: It costs a full $110 less to order the child's lenses and frames than to order just lenses for her current frames. Sydney was having a hard time finding something that she liked, so we priced out just replacing her lenses: $360. As a child younger than 12 though, her lens-and-frame order would be 50 percent off, giving me a price tag of $250. So, we ordered the new glasses in full, and should be able to pick them up in a couple days.
Disney Store: We always wander through, because it's Disney, of course, and today's trip was an awesome one. We found a Tsum Tsum of Chewbacca, and it's gloriously amazing. It's in my car right now, sitting atop my rear-view mirror, because Chewbacca is my copilot. Sydney found a totally adorable Tinkerbell t-shirt, which we had to buy in a large because she's growing up, and she was super happy with that.
Wetzel's Pretzels: Because we can't go to the mall without getting some pretzels. I think I may have finally convinced her that she'll never get Bitz again, since she never, ever finishes them, and they're more expensive than just a pretzel. And to prove my point, she totally didn't finish even the pretzel, and it was less money wasted. But the portion of pretzel she (and I) ate, was tasty.
Albertsons: Sydney and I decided that today and the weekend needed a cake. I had a suggestion for what we should have written on it, and it was enough to give Sydney the giggles all last night and all day today. So we found a chocolate 1/4-sheet cake with some pretty frosting and had them write "Because Girls are Awesome!" on it. And the cake is delicious.
Pineapple: I planted the pineapple top in one of the plant pots outside, and let's hope that it'll survive. Unfortunately, it had started to smell a little as it was drying, and I discovered some wet and potentially moldy bits, so I thought it would be best to go ahead and plant it. It should root within the next six to eight (!) weeks, and maybe in three years, we'll have fruit. Seems like a long time to find out if we'll be successful, but it'll be worth it if we get a home-grown pineapple.
Minecraft: And then she ditched me for FaceTime with her friends and a computer game.

Monday, July 18

I just moved in with mine

So, how's this: My newest coworker is a sweet, young girl from Kentucky, who moved out to Arizona to be with her boyfriend. (She also happened to be deeply enmeshed in the industry of my magazine, so she just called my boss and asked if there was a job for her, and she got hired. But that little bit is neither here nor there.) The girl is nice and intelligent. And I found out today that she has her own apartment. I am intrigued. I have several questions.
The first being, how the heck is she affording an apartment in Scottsdale, and eating and going to the gym, on a salary that I hope is less than mine? How is she doing that? And then I thought, well, her parents are helping her; duh. The life of a young 20-something.
Then I'm all, hold the phone. She moved out here to be closer to her boyfriend who has a job in Phoenix, and got her own place? They're not living together? Honestly, that may be one of the bravest things I've ever heard. There is little to no commitment there on the part of the boyfriend, and all the optimism in the world for her. Sure, he moved his television and PlayStation 4 into her place over the weekend, but really, that's not a whole lot when it comes to sharing stuff. And he did it, apparently, because he said he spends more time at her place than his. But really, why not just dive in and get a place together? Why not see if this is really a good idea at all? Well, she's been quite sheltered all her life (her words, not mine), and I assume her more-religious-than-not parents would probably frown on that. But still, moving all this way and then not getting a place together? That's ballsy.
I admire her chutzpah on that one.

Sunday, July 17

I think I may love my quilt more than ever

ITEM!: It occurred to me the other day that this will be the first time ever that I will spend the entirety of an Arizona summer in Arizona. There will be no visits out to California to get away from the heat; there will be no week in May and week in August. I am not at all impressed.
ITEM!: I bleached my bubblegum pink quilt today, and I think, right now, it is the perfect shade of pink. And if I didn't have yellow walls, the bedroom would be close to perfect. But I do, so it isn't.
ITEM!: We finally watched the last Divergent movie, Allegiant, this afternoon, and sadly, found it lacking. What a drag finish to a pretty good series.

Saturday, July 16

Today, told in a story of men

The first of which, an older man, did a favor for someone. He wasn't asked to do the favor. He took the favor upon himself to do, and apparently did it just fine. The favor was appreciated, to be sure, though one always questions why someone would think that they could make decisions for another someone, and then just do it without asking the person if they were okay with the favor. But, what's done is done, and we just hope that the favor continues to be a favor instead of a screw-up.
The favor, of course, cost money to accomplish. When the man was asked what was owed to repay the favor, his response was, "You're my slave forever." Problem. Taken literally, what the hell would possess someone who does a favor without being asked, to expect someone to be so indebted to them that they would be their "slave forever"?
Secondly, as they presumably mutually consider each other friends, it's insulting that the man would suggest any other repayment, like the obvious financial kind (duh), as something sexual. And don't tell me that he didn't mean it sexually. Ew. Just ew.
Three, you weren't asked to do this favor, and you didn't have permission to do this favor, so technically you spent someone else's money without the person's knowledge or consent, which is really kinda stealing. You shouldn't get paid back for it.
Four: Dude. What the actual f*ck is up with that. I can only presume that your age and generational outlook on women would make you think that a "joke" like that would be considered even the slightest bit funny. It's not. And perhaps the person you told your "joke" to may not be as insulted and irritated by it, but I certainly am.
The second man, a considerably younger man, answered a question and was helpful. Sydney and I visited Best Buy today to get some noise-reducing headphones for her because she's sensitive to loud noise and we're going to go see Meghan Trainor next weekend. I asked the guy at the front where such headphones were, and he pointed me to the area, explaining that the Beats, Bose, and Sony headphones would probably be my best bet. Certainly, Best Buy guy. I'm sure the $300 headphones would do a great job, but no.
We were stuck in the headphone aisle, trying to find the cheapest set that still would protect the baby's hearing, when the young man who worked in that area asked if we needed help. I told him our predicament, and after some thought, he made a suggestion: "You know, I go to a lot of concerts, and I see a whole lot of people wearing those earplugs that shooters wear. You know, the guys at the shooting range? Those plugs will dull the noise of the gun, but the shooters can still hear someone if they're loud enough. You should find those, and see how they would do. Go somewhere where they sell guns, and you'll find them."
The kid was totally right, and we found them in the gun section of our local Wal-Mart, which I knew sold guns because Wal-Mart. The plugs' cost? A whopping $1.97 for six pairs. Sweet. He gave me hope for the male portion of our species.
Bonus third man story goes to the "helper" in the Wal-Mart gun section who, when asked where the earplugs were, stood right where he was, pointed to the full and long aisle to his right, and said, "They're right there. I can see them," and then went back to his business of offering huge guns at a discount price, but no additional information.

Wednesday, July 13

We want teacup pigs and baby goats

I powered through a good portion of my list today, and I'm feeling super about it.
First and foremost, my windshield is being replaced tomorrow. They're coming to my work to do it, and once that's done, I'll be a happy camper. This crack is out of control.
Secondly, the summer camp situation is handled. Both the final weeks have been booked, and almost all paid for. And she's pretty happy with the selections, too.
Third, my dogs have appointments at the groomer this weekend, too. So, they'll smell much better soon.
All that's left is the auto shops to check out, and I won't lie, I'm pretty intimidated about deciding which one I like best. I'll call around on Friday, since I'll be busy at lunch tomorrow, but I have an idea about how to approach them.
Like I said, I've been powering through my list.
This is our new desktop wallpaper, and Sydney and I are pretty obsessed with it. I told her that I was going to start finding random wallpapers and change them up regularly, but this one is super cute. She'll stay put for a while.

Tuesday, July 12

Oh no, she's just like me

I could be considered a bit of a neurotic person. I have my issues, certainly, and some are fun and some annoying, but they make me into the person I am. I see my mom, and I know that I come by my neuroses honestly. And when the baby girl popped out of me and into the big, wide world, I was intrigued by what her signature issues would be. I have discovered one, and we can't come to an agreement regarding it, as it's in conflict with my own thing.
The thermostat for our air conditioner is upstairs in the main hallway between my bedroom and the stairs, but is in full view of anyone on the second floor. During the summer, the thermostat is in a constant state of flux. During the day when no one is home, it's set to 84 degrees. When I get home, I lower it to 82 degree. When Brian gets home, I lower it to 80 degrees. When Sydney goes to bed, it lowers to 78 degrees, and when I get in bed, I have it set at 77 degrees. It doesn't seem like any of those changes would make much of a difference, but they do. The a/c doesn't have to work as hard because the cooling is incremental. At night, power costs less, so I take advantage.
Anyway, I leave the thermostat's cover open because then it always catches my attention when I'm walking around upstairs, and I remember to lower and raise the thermostat's temperature dependent on the time or circumstance. For Sydney, the open thermostat cover is an irritant, and something that must always be closed. She's said as much to me, and while I appreciate that she has an issue with it, I have to leave it open otherwise I'll forget my own system. Our neuroses are at war. We passive aggressively growl at each other every time one of us has to either open or close the cover. The ridiculousness is that the cover doesn't even need to be open to make the temperature changes; it's just so unsightly that I always notice it, and always remember to mess with it. And then she closes it. And then I open it. It's never-ending ... until summer is over.

[Editor's note: I'm not sure why this image came up in a search for "thermostat images," but it did, and I'm running with it.]

Monday, July 11

All I'm missing is the chandelier

ITEM!: Mom and I are creating a kind of bleach-positive response to my too-pink quilt, and I'll go that route on Saturday. Apparently, mixing a cup of bleach into the washing machine water, just as I did the dye, will lighten up the quilt without that random tie-dye effect one gets with accidental bleaching results. Will it work as I want? Only time, and the bleach, will tell. But I'm definitely trying it, because I can't live with the pink going on right now. You see this pic to the left? That is legit how I feel like my bedroom looks right now. A vomitous explosion of bright, unrelenting and cavity-inducing pink.
ITEM!: I have an incredible laundry list of things that need to be fixed on my car right now, and the dealer wants the GDP of a small country to fix it, so I'm on the hunt for an independent Volkswagen shop in Scottsdale to take care of it for less. There is nothing better than Google, you guys, because that little dude helped me find three different shops within my acceptable distance radius. I'll be making some phone calls tomorrow to see what it would cost me to get the brakes fixed, and to hook myself up with some free inspections.
ITEM!: Speaking of the car, I have another lovely crack going across my windshield. You won't believe me, but it didn't even start with any rock impact. I know I'm a magnet for rocks, but this crack, no shit, just appeared the other morning. And now it's doubled in length, and is starting to creep up into my eye line. That's not good, so yet another phone call tomorrow will be to the insurance company's glass claim department.
ITEM!: And as for the kiddo and her ongoing summer camp scheduling, I was stuck on the final two weeks of the summer, but I think I have finally solved my problem. For the one that, if I remember right, had the crazy expensive after-care hours, I've decided that we'll only do half-days. That way I can pick her up on my lunch hour, and she'll still have five hours of activity and fun for the day. The other week is a second week of the other camp that she liked. Happily, the very last week of the summer will be hanging out with Grandma. ... But just so I don't get too excited about a normal schedule again, I've also started the list of camps to remember for next year.
ITEM!: I had hoped for an early bedtime tonight, but my surge of productivity took some precious minutes away from sleep, so I'm just now settling in and dosing myself with the NyQuil. Who knows if I'll get any of it done tomorrow, but at least I have a list. 

Sunday, July 10

So frickin' much PINK

You remember my not-pink-enough quilt that's been bugging me with its less than pinkness? Well I went ahead with the pink dying today, and I really wish I hadn't. According to the instructions, I should have used one packet of dye for every like three pounds of fabric or something like that. So it's a king-sized quilt, so I used three packets of dye.
We did the process just fine, because the quilt definitely dyed. What isn't just fine is how frickin' PINK my quilt is now. I was hoping for a nice pastel pink, and what I have now is a definite bubblegum pink. It's so pink it affects the wall color when walking into the room. It is SO pink. I'm at a loss, because I knew that I should have gone one packet at a time. In fact, that was the plan. But then I read the instructions. I let the correct instructions mess with my head, and now my pink quilt messes with my head.
I keep telling myself that I'll get used to it, but I really don't think I will. I hate it quite a bit.

Saturday, July 9

Hot Saturday night activities: ITEM! list

ITEM!: Sydney's friend is here tonight for a sleepover, and because I did not allow Syd to plan the activities, I think it will be a smashing success. We went swimming, ate pizza, and watched "Mary Poppins." The girls stayed up chatting until 11 or so. Tomorrow morning, I'll make blueberry muffins.
ITEM!: We tried a new ice cream shop, which makes customizable ice cream sandwiches, for our family sweet snack this afternoon, and we were not impressed. The cookies weren't terribly yummy, so the whole sandwich kind of suffered. And the shop didn't have straight strawberry ice cream. How is that possible? Seems like a huge oversight, but whatever. Brian announced that he'll never need to go back there. Syd didn't like hers at all. We'll be fine with DQ for a while now.
ITEM!: We did discover an Italian deli though, while we were out and about getting ice cream. We picked up a container of their homemade sauce, which is delicious, and are eager to make some spaghetti tomorrow night for dinner. We bought that edamame spaghetti at Costco, so we'll roll the dice with that, but I think it'll be a super tasty dinner.
ITEM!: I ran all my errands on my own today, which gave me the luxury of wandering Target alone. I picked up a pile of socks to supplement the sock inventory I have, since I'll be cleaning out said inventory soon, and donating the socks I don't want anymore. We'll have to hit Target again soon fr school supplies too, which is my favorite thing to do. I love, love, love buying new school supplies! I saw a Dory and Hank spiral notebook that I'll take for myself when we do out shopping. I think we'll go soon too, so we don't have to pick through the leftovers, or be crowded while making decisions. I hate to be jostled when shopping.

Thursday, July 7

Still cheaper than a new car, but barely

Well, I had a day today. Rather than focus on the one thing, let's focus this post on the other thing. And that thing is the Jetta. I mean, realistically, we knew that the car was going to start needing some major maintenance. It's got 108,000 miles on it, so it's no spring chicken, by any definition.
I had a random light go on indicating a low coolant level the other day, so I took the car into the shop this morning to get it checked out. I also agreed to an oil change, as I hadn't had that done since February 2015. (I could swear I had it done more recently, but I guess not.) So, the oil was changed. And yes, the coolant level was low, so they topped that off.
And then came the laundry list of things that also need to be addressed. First and foremost, rear brakes, as in rotors and pads. The whole smash. Tied for second on the priority list is a transmission service, and the replacement of the CV boots that are cracked, which are axle-related, which is as much as I can remember about them right now. Third, spark plugs and that service. Fourth, a cracked other thing that's leaking. And fifth, another cracked thing that's leaking.
Now, all the cracked things are protecting other things from the oil or whatever, so they need to be replaced before the oil or whatever destroys the thing the cracked things are protecting. So that's pretty important. The other things help the car go, so they certainly need to be fixed. And the brakes help the car stop, and that's even more important, so of course those will get done lickety split.
Each one of these little list items is expensive. The cheapest thing, the brakes, are $545 according to the dealer. Oh, I know there are places that will do the work for less, and I intend on finding one. But each of the the things runs from $650 to a lovely $970. Given my entire list of things to fix? Oh, probably a close to $5,000 bill at the Volkswagen dealer. That is way more than I can afford, so my search for an independent place to do the fixing begins in earnest tomorrow. I started some hunting tonight, but the residual issues from my day required me to take a break and pretend like everything was awesome.

Wednesday, July 6

Loofahing the loofah the loofah

So I loofahed my underboobs tonight in the shower, because in the summer, one can develop clogged pores in their skin where it is squished between boobs, stomach skin (when sitting), and a bra that gets sweaty from the heat. I am disgusted with the amount of bumpy skin I've got going on in that random space. Granted, if I had less stomach skin, I wouldn't have as much of a problem with it. However, as life has tossed more skin at me lately, this is an issue that I am forced to deal with. Also, it's the only skin that I loofahed tonight, because I didn't want to spend too much time dwelling on the state of all the skin, and also because nothing else is bothering me presently.
So how do we cut back on all that skin and the random bumps in the underboobs? I don't like to think about all that entails really, but there must be some way to prevent this. My short-term goal is to be sure I wipe down that area every afternoon when I've gotten too warm, and again at night before bed. I suppose some baby wipes would be good for that? Not the lotion-y ones, but regular baby wipes. That may be my best bet. Duly noted that I didn't have this problem before I had to sit at a desk for eight hours a day.

Tuesday, July 5

It's a bit early July for an ITEM! list, isn't it?

ITEM!: Come to find out that if my mother-in-law wins the $300 million lottery tonight, she'll still make Brian work by buying him his own practice, but I can quit my job. I love that woman so much, and she makes me laugh so much. I think they'll be coming up here this weekend, and it will be nice to hang out with them.
ITEM!: Annoyingly, I am still coughing from this cold that Brian gave me a couple weeks ago. It's an unproductive and ticklish cough, which is the worst kind, I think. Andrea tells me that Cold-Eeze works best for her when kicking something, so I guess I'll try that in the next day or two. All I know right now is that I'll be taking some NyQuil tonight so I get a decent several hours of sleep.
ITEM!: My gynecologist has left her practice, and is now floating, apparently, in the hospital, not to be found. I received a call from the office a few days ago telling me that I'd need to reschedule my appointment because she wasn't there anymore. I called today to find out where she was, only to be told that she's no longer in private practice. "Well, where is she?" "She's in the hospital now." That is most unhelpful. Is there really a gynecologist who does labor and delivery but doesn't have an office somewhere? So, I'm on the hunt to find my doctor. Mom says I can call the hospital and ask there for her new office information, and I will do that directly.
ITEM!: We are now home to a new and growing pineapple plant, I hope. I took the crown of the fruit that we bought for slicing and grilling yesterday, and I've decided that we'll be growing more pineapples. I read on the internet that I need to root it, so that's what is happening now. It's sitting in a vase of water for the next week or so, and after it roots, we'll plant it and nurture it along. My optimistically logical brain tells me that the pineapple will probably do better in the desert heat than the berries are doing/did. A new project!
ITEM!: Things currently bugging my head, heart and soul include Oliver's eye infections; both Oliver and Cooper's need for a groom and a visit to the veterinarian for check-ups; the new crack in my windshield, and having to get the windshield replaced soon because the crack is spreading quickly; Sydney's new glasses; Sydney's last two weeks of summer camp; how expensive it is to keep my house cool and how I keep my thermostat up so high that I get sweaty watering plants; I was running too late to put the trash out this morning and how that chore should really be Brian's; I had a dreadfully boring weekend, and no one seems bothered by it but me; I don't feel too terribly appreciated at work lately; and finally, I would really rather be living in California.

Sunday, July 3

Yesterday was not the Fourth, you guys

I'm not a fan of firework celebrations not on the Fourth of July. I mean, if it's going to celebrate the Fourth of July, it should really happen on the Fourth of July. As I'm sure you can guess, the reason behind this post is because our local Fourth of July celebration happened last night, on the Second of July, instead of the Fourth. Not cool, local fireworks show.
But even though I complain about the planning, I'm still super pleased with the quality of the show. We had an impressive, well-planned 20-minute show that we didn't even have to leave our community to enjoy. In fact, we brought our chairs outside and sat in our street. A full 10 seconds from our house. It was phenomenal. Even if it was on the wrong day.

Friday, July 1

June over? Ju-lying! Is a joke I heard today

I picked this month's avatar because she looks like she'd rather be enjoying her vacation, but someone or something is aggravating her. As for me, I'd totally rather be enjoying a vacation, but this job and lack of money to go anywhere is aggravating me. Also, it's summer and she's at the beach, and she makes me feel like I'm somewhere beachy and not as hot.
So, it's July, and most of the year is gone. It seems like a good time to catch up on my EXPECTATIONs for the year, but I really feel like that will bum me out, so maybe not. In a random aside though, I need to go to Home Depot and buy the taller tree stake supports for my apple orchard. The trees are getting too tall, if that's such a thing. And they do need to be better supported. I'll have to see what I can figure out for them. Also, maybe Target.
I'd love to have a better plan for the long weekend. We should be going somewhere and adventuring someplace new. I blame my illness still, and that's boring. So I'll probably allow Sydney's sleepover plan for tomorrow night, just so she can say something awesome happened over the weekend. But I'm on the hunt for a cool thing for Sunday and Monday.
At any rate, I don't have to be back at work until Tuesday morning, and that is frickin' fantastic!

Thursday, June 30

I like an afternoon off. It's good for me

It was the weirdest feeling this afternoon when I got home, because I felt, in my bones, that today was Friday. And every time I had to make myself realize that it was, instead, Thursday, I died a little bit inside. I keep hoping that the boss will spring a surprise afternoon without work on us tomorrow, but I can, and totally can not, see that happening. I will spend my morning in blissful anticipation of that happening though, because I am an optimist.
We don't actually use a time clock. I'm thinking about it now, and the last time I used a real time clock was when I worked at Pottery Barn, but also I had to check in with one when I was working for that one magazine. And they would get pissy about me being two, three or four minutes late. My suspicion is that they only got pissy with me. Where I am now is pretty lax with arrival times in the morning, so that's nice. I remember when I was working at the magazine downtown, and the big boss brought the sign-in sheet into his office so everyone had to go in there to sign in after 9 a.m. that morning. Thankfully, my actual boss walked into the office right after me, so he drew the big boss's attention more than I.
I have no idea why I went on that tangent. Time clocks suck. And I hope I get out early tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 28

Now, off to bed I go. Sleep, glorious sleep

I just spent the last five minutes laying on my back on my bed with my shoulders hanging off the side so I could stretch out my rib cage. I've been hunched over and coughing so much over the last several days that I'm honestly surprised that there's no bruising over my sternum. I'm so sore and over this cold, you guys. I should not have gone into work yesterday, but I did. I should not have stayed at work until 10:25 last night, but I did. I absolutely should have left this afternoon when I did, so I could spend the remainder of the day chilling out.
I expect to be feeling better tomorrow morning. I've already taken my NyQuil for the evening, and having finished up the blog relatively early (as of now), I should have a good night's sleep.

[Editor's note: Sydney's in art camp this week. Today's accompanying image is courtesy of a piece she did today.]

Saturday, June 25

Gotta get it back to zero

On this day in 2008, I posted to Facebook the status update that I had a zero balance on my American Express card. I'm very comfortable saying that the post probably was the last time that was a fact. I won't even tell you how much that balance is right now, but suffice it to say, it's quite a bit more than zero. And I honestly can't think of much I want more than a zero balance on that card. And having seen that the card has had a zero balance, even as recently as 2008, gives me renewed purpose. I need to start paying that bitch off.

Thursday, June 23

I will return my library book on time

For the past several months, I've owed 60 cents to the library in late-book fees. I've been angsting about it a lot, because I don't like owing the library money. It's so good to me, and I don't want it to be mad at me. The hitch in the paying-off-the-library get-along is that there is nowhere to pay my fine inside the library itself. This has bothered me for all these many months, but I've decided that if they let me continue to borrow books, I shouldn't be too concerned.
But then, I was a couple days late with a "new" fiction book. I turned it in today when I went by to pick up the books I had on hold. I hadn't intended on it being late; I just forgot when it was due.
Anyway, the library obviously has a minimum amount you have to hit for late fees before they make it known that said fees need to be paid. So when I checked my account tonight, there was an awesome little notice for the $1.60 I owed (looks like "new" books are more expensive when they're late), and a link to a third-party payment site. I clicked on the site, entered in my payment information, and then, boom, no more debt owed to the library.
It's stupid how much better I feel about my patronage at the library now. Before, I felt like I was a bad seed of some kind; a criminal, if you will. Now that I'm in good standing again, I will read with the clearest of conscience, and be happy about it. Duly noted: Owe more than a dollar, and they'll let you know where you can pay. You will not be forsaken.

Wednesday, June 22

Fighting a losing battle? Probably

My husband, whom I love very much, is a horrible, inconsiderate sick person. He rarely covers his mouth when he coughs, and generally spews his germs about with little care of the consequence. And when Sydney and I catch his illness, it is, of course, our fault ... because we breathed in the house or touched the refrigerator or something. Said husband came down with something Saturday night, and has been suffering the last few days. In a change of pace, he's been trying to cover his mouth, and has been careful about what he touches or shares or anything like that. Having said that, tonight, my throat is sore, and I had to blow my nose earlier, and I coughed a couple times. This is not cool.
Defensive Planning: I took some Airborne; I've been sure to not cuddle with my baby; and I'm going to get a good night's sleep tonight. I don't have the time or energy to be sick this week and weekend, so I won't let it win. It. Will. Not. Win.

Tuesday, June 21

Someone get summer the heck out of here

It's a bad time of year to be as done with the heat as I already am.
I have no shortage of warm days ahead of me, and I'm already straight angry with the weather here. This does not bode well for my mental and emotional health for the rest of the summer. I mean, it's the actual first day of summer, and I'm already eager for it to end. At least, from today forward, there is less and less sunshine every day until December.
It should be cooler by then, too.

Monday, June 20

Today, happiness is ...

The drip system and the apple trees are in good working order, and my orchard is now set up to water regularly and well. The trees are growing quickly and happily, and it's only going to get better now that there's watering that is not dependent on my memory.
Sydney had a great day at camp today. She did some swimming, some sports and some running around, which is all I wanted for her this week. We need to stop at Target tomorrow after camp though, and pick up a couple new swimsuits for her. All the ones she has are too small now.
There are three books waiting for me at the library right now. It's an embarrassment of riches for my eyes, mind and soul, you guys. I don't know which one to read first, and it's a delicious predicament. My goal, of course, is to get through them all without having to renew any of them. Goals.
I made rice krispy treats this weekend, and they're super yummy. The problem is, of course, that I'm eating them. Brian made marshmallows yesterday, so he's been snacking on those, and Sydney has a plethora of sweet things to eat, so no one is partaking in the krispy treats but me. This is problematic because my butt.
It's early-ish, and I'm almost done blogging, and I've got nothing to read, so I see an early bedtime in the cards for me. :)

Sunday, June 19

An ITEM! list for your Sunday

ITEM!: Did I tell you that last week I found a passel of books to add to my library queue? Like, 12 or 13? I think I did. Anyway, I finished the library book I have in the house this afternoon, and went on the hunt to fill up that queue on the library's website. I'm sad to say I was disappointed in my searches. A few of the books aren't even available in book form, if you can believe it. I can get them electronically, if I want, but actual books, they don't have. Like four or five books were like that. So that was a drag. For three other books, I'm on a waiting list. For one of those books, I'm 23rd in line! For the others, I'm third and fifth. I've got two books that are available, and I should be able to collect them tomorrow and Tuesday. So, the Summer Reading List 2016 is ready to go, and ready to be tackled and put into submission.
ITEM!: The living room plant that was infested with bugs seems to be handling its shocking root bath and change of soil well. I won't lie; I saw a bug flying around it the other day. But I sprayed the soil with Mom's soapy bug-killing spray, and we'll see if that takes care of the problem well enough. Everyone else inside seems to be doing fine.
ITEM!: As for the outside, well, today was a rough day. The high in the metro-Phoenix area got up to 118 degrees, and my little outdoor gardening space certainly felt the heat. I had to put the citronella plant, daisy and strawberry on the patio floor because they were getting baked in the afternoon sun, which is usually a bit more forgiving. My lavender plants were drooping, as was my gardenia. They were very pleased to get some extra water and spraying. The raspberries and blueberries seemed to take the heat in stride, which is amazing. The other blueberry though, is pretty dead. I'm going to trim back its limbs to see if we can't force its roots to push up some fresh growth. As for the apple trees, well, Sydney and I hit up Lowe's yesterday and picked up a pile of drip-system gear so I could put them back on the watering system. I was starting to get super concerned about their health in the summer, so I fashioned an extended watering system and installed it. I've set an alarm on my phone so I'm sure to check it out tomorrow morning before I leave for the day, and ensure that all is watering well.

Friday, June 17

Here's hoping next week is a home run

We're two weeks of summer camp into the summer, and I'm frickin' exhausted. Last week was someplace Sydney totally loves; it's her number one, favorite summer camp. It has two separate programs during the summer, so she goes there for two weeks every summer. Her first week was last week, and the second week is later this summer. Anyway, she thoroughly enjoyed.
This week's camp was a new one. It was science-based, which was awesome, but it was 25 miles away with traffic too, which was not awesome. I was putting 100 miles a day on my car this week, and she didn't totally love the camp. I mean, she liked it well enough, and had a couple great days, but it wasn't so wonderful as to be worth all the driving, or worth doing again, she said. Next year, we need to find a science-y, intellectual camp closer to home.
The next few weeks are good to go, including a nice combination of physical, running around and active camps and an artsy camp. I'd love to have another brain-matter camp, but I'm having a hard time finding one. I've only got two weeks open, and an idea for one of them, so my wiggle room is extremely limited. So far I've got one hit and one miss.
I get to sleep in this weekend, and after a week of getting up at 6 a.m. so I can drive 40 minutes away to drive 40 minutes back here for work, I'm needing the extra sleepy time to refresh and rejuvenate. Happily, next week's camp is in town and only 10 minutes away. It's a winner already.