Saturday, January 31, 2009


I spent most of my day either wasting time, being humbled by my Mac,* or studying for A&P. BW was outside playing with his friends a lot of the day and MM is out on the rig, so I had a day of peace and quiet. Until I got the 'can we show your house tomorrow' phone call, then everything went all to hell.

For one thing, I have one of those coughs that start out feeling like there's just a tickle, but end up feeling like your head may explode from the dry, unproductive coughing you've been doing all day long. And oh yeah, I feel like a baby hippopotamus is kneeling on my chest, squishing all the air out of my lungs, too. Basically I'm feeling like crap.

The other thing is, I really, really don't want to clean for yet another waste of time showing. The house has been on the market for nearly six months. I'm not holding out much hope that this is going to be it. I feel like asking if they can wait a few weeks, just until I can afford to get the housekeeper in here again. (Come back in late February, we'll be all set then!) I won't, but the thought did cross my mind.

Also, I have test to study for, and I really don't feel like devoting the couple of hours it'll take to vacuum, mop, dust, pick-up, and clean the bathrooms.** You know, all the things it'll take to get the house all gussied up for company. If I was at all convinced that somebody might actually make an offer on our house, I'd be a little more enthusiastic, I swear.

So, that was my day in a nutshell. It really wasn't all bad, even though this is a pretty whiny post. I am feeling pretty good about the amount of studying I did today, and pretty confident since I have three more days to study before my test. I just have to memorize the gazillion of bones in the human skull, and I'll be set. Easy as pie, right?

*I thought I knew how to work my Mac, but apparently not nearly as well as I believed. It was evident when I tried submitting an assignment for my Internet class. The whole process ended up taking at least an hour due to incorrectly saved file names, losing files, and other assorted issues. All of which were completely my fault. Which was totally ridiculous, and so very, very frustrating.

**Yes, I know we should be keeping the house in showing condition at all times. But since we've had an average of one showing or open house per month, I've been slacking. Sue me.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Mommy Throws a Fit

Wednesdays are spent in town with M and her three kids. We've scheduled our various lessons and errands for Wednesday so we can carpool. Which is great in theory, but sometimes not so pleasant in practice.

Our children are together nearly every day. There is a familiarity that comes with spending so much time together. It's not always pretty.

BW has been having problems lately with his tone of voice, being snippy, being moody, not wanting to share, not wanting to cooperate. Or should I say we've been having problems with these things - he seems to be quite happy with the way he's behaving.

Yesterday was more of the same - nothing too horrible, but enough to require yet another conversation about how I feel when he's talking to me in a way that's not very nice, about how that makes his friends feel, about how it leads to people treating you in a way that's not so nice, about how we should always try to treat people with respect and courtesy.

We had our talk, I told him he needed to stay home instead of going out to play with his friends, and then proceeded to deal with several other irritating situations: the new dog peed on the floor again, the bread machine was giving me grief because I keep turning it off wrong, and BW had a few mini-melt downs over various things. All of this happened within about 30 minutes of arriving home.

Needless to say, I finally lost my temper when BW had his third mini-melt down. And I yelled. Loudly. And hurt his feelings. He ran off to his room crying, threw himself down on his bed and hid under his blankets. I figured we both needed a few minutes to cool down. When I went in to talk to him, he was sound asleep. At 6:30. With no dinner, no pajamas, no teeth brushing, no one-last-potty-before-bed.

He slept through the night. I had a night of peace and quiet, and he had a night of much needed sleep. I do feel slightly guilty - I let my upset child go to bed crying with no dinner. But I'm OK with it. I'm justifying it by telling myself that he obviously needed the sleep. And this morning I apologized for losing my temper and yelling. That's one thing I don't really like about myself - I am impatient and get a little loud when worked up about something. I don't always yell, but my voice is definitely louder than it needs to be in some situations. I'm working on it.

But I'm wondering if I should be feeling worse about the whole thing. Is it wrong that I didn't wake him up for dinner? That I happily curled up in bed and caught up on 30 Rock and My Family? That I was happy to not have to deal with him?

So basically, I'm feeling guilty for not feeling more guilty. Nice.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Many Moods of Seven





(I do this one a lot, too.)


All this in a five minutes span. Ah, the joys of seven.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Will a Traumatized Bread Machine Ruin the Bread?

My mom bought me a bread machine.* It was shipped via Fed-Ex. I've been anxiously awaiting its arrival, which means checking on its status at least twice a day. Yesterday it was in Ft. Worth, TX, and was scheduled to be delivered to Lubbock today.

Wouldn't you know it? A Fed-Ex plane from Ft. Worth crashed at the Lubbock airport this morning.** According to Fed-Ex, my package was scanned in shortly after 6:00 am this morning. Either it was on a different plane, or Fed-Ex is amazingly efficient.

That leaves me with the question of appliance traumatization....I presume it got rattled around quite a bit. Hopefully it was well packaged. But, still. If I were in a plane crash, I don't think I'd be performing at my best later on that same day. I'd be feeling shaken and scared. Thankful for surviving. Maybe even needing to break away from the norm, to really live for the day.

What if my bread machine feels the same? What if it no longer feels that making bread is, well, enough? What if it's feeling too scared, too vulnerable to perform? I don't have time to deal with its feelings. Call me insensitive or heartless, but I had plans for that bread*** maker. Plans that included making bread.**** TODAY.

*I love my mom. She even sent home a bunch of different flours and bread mixes from Sprouts. And citrus from her trees. She takes such good care of me!!!

**The pilots are fine, I did check that first. Yes, I do worry about the safety of humans over machines, I promise you.

***I've typed 'bread' as 'break' four times in this post. I'm scared my bread machine is trying to telepathically communicate something with me.

****In case you couldn't figure that one out, because I know you couldn't possibly know what I would be doing with a bread machine.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Blagojevich - Just Like Mandela, Only White

Can you believe this guy? In this article he compares his jail time to the imprisonment of Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Ghandi. He refers to his arrest as being like the attack on Pearl Harbor to his family. He says he feels like an innocent cowboy being lynched by an angry mob.

Wow. That's all I can really say. Wow.

Do you think The Specials will write a song for him?

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Terminology Makes A Difference

I started my anatomy and physiology and digital photography classes this week. A&P is going to be all consuming for the next four months, and it's already sucking the life out of me. You'll note I've already skipped several days of blogging. I'm sure there will be several more gaps to come. Try to soldier on without me, and I'll do the best I can to pop in once or twice a week.

I'm learning proper anatomical terms right now. This is great because I love words and phrases, but there are some out there that really make me cringe. Butt crack, for instance. I really don't like to hear butt crack spoken aloud. It gives me the shivers. But now that I know to say gluteal cleft, I'm happy. I like gluteal cleft.* I like it so much, I'll be looking for opportunities to work it into conversations just as often as I can. In fact, I'll use it right now: I no longer mind telling you that my underwear is currently up my gluteal cleft. See? It just sounds so much classier that way.

Asshole is another one I don't care for. I'm kind of stuck there, though, since I don't like anus any better. Both of those words disturb me. I do say ass or jackass frequently. Truth be told, jackass is a personal favorite of mine. I guess I'll just have to avoid pinpointing that region of the body entirely whenever possible, while continuing to use jackass as my favorite term of derision. Are you as glad as I am that that's settled?


I've decided to apply for a place in the radiation therapy program at a college about 2 hours away. I'm not entirely sure how going back and forth will work, but if I am accepted we'll make it happen. (I will have to make sure I get a job that doesn't deal with colon cancer in any way, but I have a few years to work all that out.) If I'm not accepted, there's still the radiology program here in town. It's good to have options.


MM and BW took are in Arizona right now. MM came home late Tuesday night and got up and left for AZ Wednesday morning. He'll get to spend a couple of nights with his brother, a few nights with my mom, and a night with his mother. It's nice that he gets to see everyone, and nice to spend so much one on one time alone with BW. They both survived the car ride down, and considering how much they both loathe long car trips, I'm already counting the whole thing as a success.**

They'll be home Monday and MM will return to work Wednesday evening. I feel like I'm single again, I have all this free time on my hands. Well, it would be free if I weren't learning to identify the sphenoid bone and foramen ovale.


Our tadpoles came in the mail yesterday, so we are now officially growing frogs. (Raising frogs? I suppose it's different from growing a plant, but I'm not sure exactly how.) I got them all settled in their habitat this morning. BW will be thrilled to see them, and I personally cannot wait to watch them mature into frogs. I have so much fun with these types of things! Probably more so than BW.

*The phrase, not the actual anatomical case you were wondering.
**I seriously don't know how a person cannot like road trips. I think BW must have been implanted in my uterus by aliens. He is obviously not created from any egg of mine. Or maybe he was switched in the NICU. He had to stay there for two weeks before we could bring him home, who knows what kind of baby switching madness was going on there after hours.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Gettin' Busy

See the little white dots in the middle of the cleared spot? Those are eggs. Lots of them, aren't there?

We have a 75 gallon fish tank with three Oscars, a gigantic goldfish, and a plecto-something-or-other that's supposed to keep the tank clean.

Two of the Oscars are huge, and they lay eggs at least twice a month. Nothing ever comes of it, though. They clear a spot, lay eggs, guard them passionately for a couple days, and then eat them. It's been going on for probably pretty close to a year.

It's fun to watch the whole process, and it's a good exercise in animal observation. That's about all we get out of it. Which is probably for the best, because I have no idea what we'd do with a bunch of tiny ill-tempered fish. Oscars are notoriously aggressive.

The goldfish was supposed to be part of a meal, but was too big. It's a fluke that he's survived this long. He holds his own pretty well, and the other fish leave him alone. He's my favorite - any fish that can watch all his little fishy friends swallowed whole and survive without any emotional trauma, well, that's just impressive.

At least I assume there's no emotional trauma. That's my professional opinion.* He seems pretty chipper, swimming around happily with the rest of them. He doesn't seem too concerned about being eaten.

So between observing the fish and their egg-guarding behavior, watching the MLK, Jr. I Have A Dream speech on YouTube, and discussing said speech along with some of its implications, we've had a pretty decent homeschooling day. Tomorrow we're taking a field trip to the vet's office so Eva can get her shots, we'll do some math and some reading, and I will start school myself. I can't wait to get started.

*I'm not really an aquatic vertebrate mental health professional. I've taken most of my classes, but I haven't sat for the national tests yet. I'll be sure to let you know when to start calling me Doctor.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Meet My New Blender

M2 and I went to Sam's Club today to do a little shopping. I was able to stock up on fruit - tons and tons of fruit - and M2 bought me a late birthday present, which was so sweet of her.

She made me an espresso chocolate cheesecake from scratch for my actual birthday, and believe you me, that was a present in and of itself. There really wasn't a need for any further gifting after that heavenly plate of yumminess. Today she went above and beyond the cheesecake, and got me this:

Isn't she pretty?!? Her name is Matilda and she's feisty. She poked a hole through my finger and made me bleed when I disassembled her for a wash.* We worked through it, though, and we both vowed to be a little more gentle with each other in the future. But, I won't lie and tell you I'm not worried at all. You know what they say...once they get a taste for human blood, you can never truly trust them again.

But, anyway....

I'm so excited! My blender was pretty crappy, and I used it almost every day. Smoothies are a breakfast favorite around here. I was really wanting a new blender, but since I didn't *technically* need one, I was hesitant to spend the money.

So, thank you, M2**!! I love it!

*For some reason, I stab myself in the finger with blender blades fairly frequently. I've punctured more fingertips that way...I really should be more careful.

**I just want to add that every time M2 picks me up to go somewhere, she brings me a Mocha. She even bought me a cup to keep at her house, so she'd have a good one to put it in. It's gotten to the point where I get in the car and reach for my coffee before she even mentions she made one - I just assume it's made and waiting for me. How awesome is that??? I mean, that she does that. Not that I've grown so accustomed to it that I just expect it. That's not really all that awesome. Did I mention how much I appreciate it? It's like having my own personal barista.


For the record, I'm having a much, much better day today. Getting out of the house helped a lot. Not to mention the coffee delivery and unexpected presents. And even though yesterday sucked, I've now had two fantastic nights of uninterrupted sleep. Mmmmmm....Sleep.....Wonderful, peaceful, non-combative sleep.

Feeling Sorry For Myself

Yesterday was really, really rough for me. Having to spend my 10th anniversary alone ended up being really depressing, which kind of took me by surprise. We knew MM would be gone, we celebrated early, I really didn't feel like it would be a big deal. But when I actually woke up alone, spent the day alone, went to bed alone - it sucked. I sat around trying to entertain myself, trying to cheer myself up, but mostly just ended up feeling pretty crappy. Bleh.

I guess because I have always felt that 10 years of marriage was a pretty big deal in this day and age, it really hit me hard to not be doing something special. We had all these plans for renewing our vows, going on a big trip, something awesome and fun. And you know how it is - sometimes those things just can't happen when you would like them to. I know we'll make up for it at some point, but that didn't make yesterday any easier for me.

And unfortunately, once I get in those moods, I sit around and sulk about all the things I'm unhappy about. I'm tired of being broke, I'm tired of this house, tired of myself, tired of this town (oh my my, oh hell yes, honey put on that party dress --- oops, sorry, my Tom Petty got away from me).

I had a great long, long talk with M1 last night, and that really helped. It was good to talk things out and whine and complain. It also helped me remember that I really do have a great life, and I'm really thankful for all the wonderful parts of it. There really is more good than bad. 2007 and 2008 were filled with mistakes and heartache and unhappiness, but they were also filled with joy and love and friends and family.

So today I am determined to shake off my melancholy and move on. I'm going to eat healthy foods, enjoy good coffee, exercise, and take care of myself today. The house is in order, I've got errands to run, and I may even take BW to a movie at the drive-in tonight. I'm off now to listen to good music, put away the last load of laundry, unload the dishwasher, and to cheer the hell up.

I'll leave you with a video that made me giggle this morning....His little shimmy just cracked me up.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Doggy Photo Shoot

Because they hold still longer than BW.....

I've been rolling around on the floor taking pics of the dogs. I am now covered in dog hair, but I have managed to remember how to use all the settings on my camera. And the pups are so sweet and still after a morning of frolicking and playing. They're plum tuckered out, which makes it easier to take pictures of them.

And, hey, Carolyn, I have the same camera you do. The Sony Cyber-shot. Mine is a few years old. Sometimes I get some wonderful shots, and sometimes - not so wonderful. I'll let you decide what today's are. Earlier I was having a bunch of problems with it, but then I played with it some more. It seems that I'm only having issues on certain settings. I'm guessing my problems are more user-error than anything else. That usually seems to be the issue, in my case!


We got MM dropped off at his rig last night. Before we left him, we took him to Texas Roadhouse for dinner. They did the obnoxious birthday thing - made him sit on some saddle thingy and yell yee-haw at the top of his lungs. Unfortunately, my computer somehow ate those pictures, so I have no evidence. And considering how awful they turned out, it was probably for the best. MM really didn't want any documentation of his little dinner, anyway.

This weekend looks like it will be filled with reading and playing with BW, taking pictures, and catching up on Dr. Who. I also have a Netflix movie to watch. I do need to hit the grocery store at some point, and unfortunately that will entail getting dressed. Or I could just go as crazy pajama lady. It's Wal-Mart, I'm sure they've seen it all before....

So, that's all in today's A Day In The Life Of Me post. So exciting, I'll bet you can hardly stand it, right? So, tell me, my wonderful readers....Is it better to have posted something boring, or to never have posted at all? Discuss amongst yourselves. Try not to hurt my feelings in the comments, I'm feeling fragile today.

Friday, January 16, 2009


"Sometimes I'll start a sentence and I don't even know where it's going. I just hope I'll find it along the way. Like an improv conversation. An improversation."

Have I mentioned recently that I love The Office? Last night's episode was great. And I can't tell you how many times I've started a sentence with no clue where it was going, so that bit cracked me up.

And also, did you hear that The Dead are going to being playing at the inauguration? How cool is that??? Too bad Jerry's not here to see it happen.

I really don't have any other exciting news....We're off to drop MM at his new rig later today. I've folded about a thousand loads of laundry this morning. I have to take a shower and go do free writing with M2's kids before we go, so I'll end this lovely post now!

Have a great Friday, my friends!

Happy Birthday Baby

Happy birthday, MM!

I hope you know how much I love you.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

It's Like a Vacation

The changes in MM's company are finally hitting home. MM has been moved from the nice, warm, safe office back out to the oil rig. In theory, it's only temporary. Some are saying six weeks, some are saying a few months. They've said they want him back in the office as soon as possible, but who knows. We won't hold our breath.

It's considered a demotion - everyone is being bumped down a few notches, and if you're on one of the lower rungs, you're just plain laid off. The funny thing is, MM actually took a pay cut to take his promotion, so he's going to be making more money now. That's good. The bad part is he'll be back to doing a dangerous job again. Being in danger of heavy machinery tearing you to pieces sucks ass.*

The other good thing is that he's going to be working a camp job. He'll be doing a seven day on, seven day off rotation. I have been trying to persuade him to do this for a few years now. He's always worked a crazy schedule, I thought it'd be nice to have him home for seven days in a row. I thought of all the family things we could do, how much time he could spend with us. MM just didn't want to be gone for a week at a time. He wanted to sleep in his own bed, rather than in a bunkhouse with a bunch of roughnecks. Go figure.

He had some choices on where to go, and he opted to try out the camp job instead of a 12 on/4 off schedule. And me? Well, I'm doing a happy dance.

First of all, for one whole week at a time, I'll sleep in peace. No fighting for pillows or blankets. No getting assaulted in the night by flailing limbs. No complaints about what time I go to bed or what channel I want to watch.

Second, we won't have any junk food in the house for a week at a time. I won't have to exercise nearly as much self-control, because I just won't buy the stuff that's not healthy. This is going to make eating better so much easier for me. And MM can eat whatever the hell he wants while he's gone - no more arguing about whether or not I bought anything 'for him' when I shop. Because, no, apparently he cannot just eat a friggin' piece of fruit. Yes, he will die a thousand horrible deaths if he ingests something green.

And third, the most important reason of all, for two weeks out of every four, my husband will be home with nothing to do. He'll be able to hang out with us, we'll be able to go to movies in the middle of the day, we can go to the drive-in again, we can go to the park, we can go out of town together (if we ever sell our house and have money to travel again), we'll have the time to do more stuff. All those things we hate to do on the weekends when it's crowded - we can go back to doing them again. MM and BW can go golfing or fly RC planes or a million other things that they don't get around to doing over the weekend. We'll have a ton of family time together, and that is priceless.

Some of my friends can't stand the thought of being away from their husbands for any length of time, let alone six months out of the year. I think that's sweet, I really do. But I just don't feel that way. Living with another person can be frustrating and annoying. As much as I love my husband, I sometimes think that owning a duplex would be really, really awesome. Or maybe something with a connecting tunnel? I would totally be down with that. We'd have our own space to keep however we wanted, plus, you know, there would be a tunnel. I've always wanted a house with either a tunnel or a moat. Since we can't afford any of those options (and if we had a moat, the neighbors would think us odd), I think this will work out quite nicely.

Of course, all this is effective immediately, so his birthday, our anniversary? He'll be celebrating them by sleeping with a bunch of guys he's just met. Not very romantic at all, unless you're into gay porn. He may be doing some celebrating in a way that hadn't occurred to me, for all I know....

*My uncle has worked on or around oil rigs most of his adult life. His only words of advice to MM when he started this career were 'don't put your hands anywhere you wouldn't put your pecker'. Considering how many three fingered roughnecks we've met, I'd say that's a pretty sound piece of advice.

The Maze of Bones

I finished the first book in The 39 Clues series last night. The books are about a brother and sister, Dan and Amy, who are members of the most powerful family in the world. Their parents are dead, and the only person left who really cares about them (their grandmother) has died and left a mystery for the family to solve. Everyone wants to be the first to figure it out, so there are lots of backstabbing and chase scenes involved.

I'm reading it aloud to BW, but, we're still on chapter eight - about half-way through the book. I went ahead and finished it on my own for a few reasons....

1) It was taking too long to read aloud. BW can only manage one or two chapters a day at best, because
A) he often has the attention span of a gnat on crack, and
B) he really doesn't get sucked into a story - he can move on to other things without HAVING TO KNOW WHAT WILL HAPPEN NEXT.
2) I was bored, but didn't feel like starting one of the other Orson Scott Card books I have on hand, because
A) I like what I've read by him so far, but I have to really pay attention to it and I'm not in the mood right now.
B) I start school next Tuesday and I really want to spend this next week just chillaxin'.*
And last, but not least,
3) I HATE READING ALOUD. I know it's horrible to feel that way, especially as a home schooling parent, but,
A) I can read much faster on my own. Quite frankly, BW slows me down, and it annoys me.
B) I mess up words and insert words that aren't there when I read aloud, and it annoys me.
C) BW always stops me with questions completely unrelated to the book we're reading, and it annoys me.
D) I don't grasp the content as well when I read it aloud, and it annoys me.

So, while I hate reading aloud, I love to read. (If you haven't already grasped that in previous posts.) I really do believe you can do just about anything, learn just about anything, and entertain yourself just about anywhere at any time if you love to read.

It will KILL me if BW doesn't end up loving a good book. Therefor, we read aloud. A lot. Not as much as I'd like - sometimes we get distracted and caught up in other things, and we let it slide. But it's something we always come back to.

BW does like being read to. He can stop, go do other things, and then come back to a book a lot easier than I can. I feel like I have to finish it immediately. Nothing gets done when I'm in the middle of a good book. (Laundry? What laundry? Dinner? Order a pizza, I'm reading!) BW and I are not always on the same page with this, so to speak.

But back to today's topic. I finished the book on my own. And now BW's bugging me to JUST TELL HIM WHAT HAPPENED!!!!!!

But I won't. We will finish reading it aloud this week. It is a good book and I enjoyed it. It's no Harry Potter, but it's entertaining and fun. The characters don't suck you in, but they're likable and you want them to win. And now I can read it aloud without all the pressure of trying to enjoy it at the same time.

The online game that goes with it has really kept BW interested in the whole thing. There's a ton of reading to do with that, as well, but there are also games and puzzles. BW's been having fun with them. Some are easy enough for a seven year old to figure out, some are more complicated, but none are so hard that they're off putting.

Some of the tasks you have to complete online are easier for BW then for me. There's one where you fly a plane through hoops, and one where you steer a submarine. And there's a Mastermind type game that I cannot win to SAVE MY LIFE. For some reason, that game doesn't work for me. (You'll note I blame it on the game, right?) I never liked the game as a child, and I have no patience for it now. And for those of you who can solve the whole thing in seconds, keep that information to yourselves. I don't want to hear about it.

So, all in all, I give the whole concept four book lights.** I think I said pretty much the same thing in a previous post, but I thought I'd add some more detail now that we've done more with it, and now that I've finished the book.

*I think that's probably one of the silliest words ever made up, but I've been dying to work it into a post somewhere. Mission accomplished. I can assure you it will never be used again. You're welcome.

**My just thought up method for rating books. I'm sure it's original, because nobody else would ever think of something so clever.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Forget the Puppies and Kittens

This recent photo, supplied by the Detroit Zoo, shows a newborn ...

Detroit Zoo's newborn aardvark....
I want one of these. I'd name him Arty.

End of Days

My Foil Hat got me to thinking about Armageddon and Armageddon Week on the History Channel. I always find shows on that topic fascinating. The whole 'the world is going to end by 2012' thing interests me, since the date is right around the corner. We'll just see how accurate you people are now, won't we?

I have relatives that believe wholeheartedly that it's all going to be over here shortly, that this is the end of days, that we're gearing up for the second coming, or something else along those lines.

While I can't say that I believe in those things, I do sometimes feel overwhelmed by all that's happening in our world. Our economy, our wars, world wide terrorism, 9/11, the wars of others, our energy situation, our environment. It's a lot to take in, and it's all pretty scary stuff. I'm sure people felt the same way I feel now during a zillion other points in history - like things could all go to hell very easily at any given moment. But it's still unnerving sometimes.

So, my response to all this is to design my very own imaginary compound. I promise it will not involve being raided by the feds or mass suicide.

In my mind, it's basically The Farm meets Biosphere. I'm thinking central Texas, somewhere near Austin. Lots of land, plenty of room to grow our own food, raise our own livestock, keep a goat named Owen*, have a nice place to meet as a smallish community, and a HUGE library. Maybe even an outdoor movie theater.

We'd be a democratic society, but I'd be affectionately referred to as 'My Queen' or 'Her Royal Heiness' or maybe just 'Yo, Heiny'. People would want to defer to my wishes, because pleasing me pleases them. They would find joy in keeping me happy and content.

The kids would be home schooled. The community would help you out though, if it really wasn't your cup of tea. It would be totally up to the parents and kids. The kids would have plenty of places to ride their bikes, scooters, and skateboards. There would be a place for art and dance classes, story times, and running naked through the creek.

We'd have an orchestra and a Grateful Dead tribute band. Artists of every type would be needed. Chemists and biologists and scientists of all kinds. Gardeners and woodworkers and handy people, too. And midwives would be a must. I'm sure I'm leaving lots of important things out, but you get the gist of it.

Everyone would be accepted, even those without stars upon thars. And while it may get confusing, there would never be Too Many Daves. I would require that at least one person be named Zanzibar Buck Buck McFate. I don't ask for much, so I'm sure we can work this out.

Everyone would get to do what they were good at, their 'job' would consist of doing the things they enjoyed. Everyone would be happy and would try their best to get along with others. We'd return to the barter system. Peace would guide the planet, and lo-ovvve would steer the stars.

I think that covers the basics of my plan. Now I just need to come up with a name....Any ideas?

*Back when MM used to install siding for a living, he worked at a house that had a goat named Owen. He swore the goat would say his name while baa-ing. Owen got loose one day and was run over by a car. MM's wanted a tribute goat ever since. He still talks about Owen, more than 10 years later. I'm lucky our son wasn't named Owen, although I do sort of like that name. But I would feel bad telling BW he was named after a dead goat.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Happy Happy Joy Joy

I've been toying with taking a digital photography class. I've really wanted to take it, just for fun, but I've been trying to stick to classes that I actually need for whatever degree I'm working on at that moment. (I have a tendency to change my mind. In case you were wondering.) I've been trying not to spend my student loan money on something frivolous.

This semester I broke down and decided to take it. Unfortunately, I decided after it had already filled up. But yesterday afternoon, after tuition was due (and apparently unpaid by someone), a spot opened up. I quickly grabbed it up and did the happy dance in my chair.

YAY!!! I'm taking a photography class!!

I love taking pictures. I took a photography class in high school. I was even on our year book staff as a photographer. This was back before digital cameras were all the rage. I had to know things like f-stops and manual focusing and that sort of thing. Things I have long since forgotten, and things I never end up using much on my point and shoot digital.

After all these years of playing around, I've still never really felt that capable. I get these incredible shots every now and then, but I think they're more by chance than skill. So I'm really, really looking forward to taking this class. It will be a nice break from the constant studying and memorizing I'll be doing alongside it in A&P. And maybe, just maybe, when the house sells, and we're all settled and not in danger of losing jobs and being homeless, I'll buy myself a fancy new camera. One I can change the f-stops on and manually focus. Funny how it all comes back around, isn't it?

To celebrate, I think I'll make pudding. Chocolate pudding.

Friday, January 9, 2009

And the Angels Sang

I've never made pudding from scratch. It's one of those things that just hadn't occurred to me - pudding came in a box or a plastic cup, and that was that. Not that we ever really ate pudding. Once in a great while I buy it and BW and MM eat it up, but I'm just not really a pudding person. Unless you're referring to the way my mid-section, rear, or thighs are of pudding-like consistency. But you would never do something so mean, I'm sure.

But, anyway. BW wanted pudding, M2 said it was easy enough to make from scratch. BW said he wanted lemon (!!) pudding. I said OK, and bought some ingredients. They sat in my cupboard until today. Today, well, today we made pudding. And I've been converted.

Pudding - hot, fresh from the oven pudding - is better than a having a massage while getting a mani/pedi while snuggling a warm sack of kittens and puppies dipped in lavender. De-clawed and toothless kittens and puppies. Because, y'know, otherwise kittens and puppies bite and scratch. Not that I'm asking anyone to rip the claws and teeth out of innocent kittens and puppies, because, I assure you, I am not. Should they end up clawless and toothless due to some unfortunate but ultimately harmless event, that would be OK. Dip 'em in lavender, put 'em in a sack, and bring 'em over.

OK. Sorry. Pudding.

We made lemon pudding from this recipe but with a few changes. I didn't have butter or milk or lemon. I used canola oil, vanilla soy milk, and lemon extract. The measurements were all the same though, in case you're wondering. It had a little bit of a funky aftertaste, which I'm guessing was from the extract - kind of, I don't know, vapor-y, like maybe from the alcohol - but was otherwise fantastic. I'm guessing if I have an actual lemon on hand next time, the problem will be solved. Or I could just add more extract and think of the whole thing as a cocktail.


After our lunch and pudding, the mail came and to BW's delight, it included his first Lego Brickmaster kit. This was a back ordered gift from grandma, and it's pretty damn cool. BW has been all into Lego stuff lately, and I have a special fondness for the little things as well. My ex and I spent a month backpacking in Europe when I was 19, and one of our stops was Legoland in Denmark. This was back before it came to sunny California, and man, was I impressed. The fact that an entire amusement park was built around little toy bricks amazed me to no end. Of course, I was so easily excited at 19. Also, we went there shortly after visiting Amsterdam. The whole week was a bit of a blur.

So. Pudding and Legos. It's been a pretty good day.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Virtually Unbreakable Unless Dropped or Hit

I started out my day by watching Matchbox Twenty videos on YouTube. M1 sent me this great version of Don't Let Me Down by them. I love MB20. Love them. With all my heart. But is it just me, or does Rob Thomas look like he's about to have a seizure when he sings? Not in this video, but live and in person he does this odd chest beating thing while performing. I was entranced by it during one show we went to in Phoenix. That, and his super tight jeans. We were at Cricket Pavilion (is it still called that??) and they had those jumbo tron thingies, and I couldn't look away. I swear, it was like his penis was singing to me.* I think that's why he hops around and bangs on his chest - it's the male version of "HEY! MY EYES ARE UP HERE, PERVERT!!!"

I followed up by reading some blogs, and nearly fell out of my chair laughing when I checked out Squid Ink this morning. She has this great video posted from The Onion about the "new Macbook Wheel" and it was a riot. The part at the end about people in the business world using computers 'for actual work instead of just dicking around' was a snort coffee out your nose type of thing.

So. That was my morning. I'm now off to read some more of Treasure Box by Orson Scott Card (which I am totally digging, by the way) and monitor my son's You Tube/Weird Al viewing. He's now a Weird Al fanatic. And it cracks me up, since an ex and I went through a phase with Weird Al as well. (Yes, son, he has been doing this for the last twenty years. No, your friend did not just discover a great new artist.)

After that, it's back to reading The Maze of Bones, the first in The 39 Clues series. We're digging that, as well. It's described as sort of a National Treasure/Da Vinci Code for kids. There are books to read (written by different authors) with clue cards that go along with them, and then there's a whole online game to play as well. We're up to Chapter 5, and the book is a great read. The website games and clues are really fun, too. BW isn't really old enough to do it by himself, but we're having a great time doing it together. It's an exciting day at the Casa de Man, let me tell you.

*Now if that doesn't give you the heebie jeebies, I don't know what will.

Edited to add: If anyone can tell me why my links don't light up until you hover over them, I'd love them probably forever. Is that just how they work?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

2009 Eco-lutions

Through word of mouth, or, er, blog,* some wonderful people out there in the 'sphere are making 2009 a year of being more gentle to the earth. The idea comes from It's Not All Mary Poppins, and her goal for this year is to start one "permanent, planet-healthy change each month". MaryP, and others that choose to join in, will be posting their change on the first Monday of each month.

I love, love, love, love this idea, and I am hopping immediately on the bandwagon. I can't promise you perfection (yes, I know, that's hard to imagine), and I have an unfortunate habit of getting all excited about things and then losing interest, forgetting about them, or just getting plain too busy. But I figure, hey, even if I only manage to implement a few changes this next year, it's better than nothing, right?

I already take my own bags to the grocery store (most of the time), I reuse my plastic bags and ziplocks as many times as possible, I save my glass jars to reuse as storage containers, M2 and I started a garden last year and will do it again this year, and we also carpool as much as we can for the kids' lessons in town and for grocery shopping. I also donate to Goodwill, reuse gift bags, and wrap presents in paper bags or in cloth I buy from the scrap bin. I reuse the big plastic cups my hubby gets from fast food places. I rarely eat meat and am trying to quit eating it completely. I feed my family meat free dishes when I can (which is pretty hard, since I'm married to a steak and potatoes kinda man). I use baking soda and/or vinegar for everything - washing my hair, exfoliating, brushing my teeth, heartburn medicine, cleaning, laundry, etc. Baking soda and vinegar are my Windex. We use cloth napkins and cotton rags, and I rarely (if ever) buy paper napkins or paper towels.

We don't have mandatory recycling out here, and last year I did pretty well with doing it myself and hauling it into town, but I quit when we put our house on the market. I also always forget to bring a coffee mug with me into town, but M2 has been kind enough to purchase one for me and bring it along when we're together. I won't count those as things I do, as I'm not really currently doing them.

My goal for January is to begin recycling again. It's easy enough to do, I just got lazy about it when we got the house on the market. Which is a horrible excuse, I know. To help me remember to work on it, I took a blue highlighter and wrote "RECYCLE" in huge letters across the entire month of January on my kitchen calendar. I can still write over/through it, but I will see it every day.

I'm by no means perfect (again, I know, it's shocking). I do a lot of things that are probably pretty horrible for the environment, but I'm trying much harder to be careful. If I can institute more changes and keep them up, I'll be pretty happy. It amazes me how easy a lot of the changes I have made were to make. So I resolve to try my best. How's that?

*Thanks to Zayna's Garden for posting on this and including MaryP's link. For some reason my links don't change text color all the time, so please float your pointer around to see what lights up. There may be more links than you think! :)

Monday, January 5, 2009

10th Anniversary - NOT the year of the hooker

My husband's birthday is this month and our 10th anniversary is the day after, and I got nothin'. No clue. And I'm wondering why I ever thought that getting married the day after his birthday was a good idea. It's like having to find a present for someone with a birthday the day after Christmas. (Yes, mom, it's a pain in the ass.) I've never been so much at a loss when it comes to gifts. I've got a little more than a week to sort it out, and I'm starting to worry.

I mean, the birthday isn't too big a deal, I'll find something. But ten years of marriage? That's something I want to celebrate accordingly. And he says he's already got something planned for me, which, considering my husband's (lack of) gift giving skills, is impressive. He's more of an 'oh crap, Mother's Day is tomorrow, I wonder what I can find at Wal-Mart at midnight' type of gift giver.* If his gift sucks then I'm off the hook, but can I really take that risk?

My past gifts have been things like a flight in an ultralight, skydiving, paragliding, or something along those lines. Yes, my husband is an adrenaline junkie, and no, I am not just trying to kill him. Since ten is tin or aluminum, I'm trying to think of something along those lines. So far, all I've got is beer. Which he'd appreciate, but how uninspired a gift is that?

A few years ago, I was on a Curb Your Enthusiasm kick. Larry David and his wife had a deal that after ten years of marriage, he could have one affair. There's this whole episode where he's trying to find someone to sleep with, with his wife's approval. She thinks he'll never be able to find anyone willing to have sex with him. It's absolutely hilarious. But anyway, with that in mind, I could go find that hooker that hit on MM in New Mexico, but he said she was just scary. And really, if you're going to go the whole hooker-for-your-10th-anniversary route, you should try to find one that isn't soliciting at small town convenience stores. I want my gift to show how much I care, and everyone knows you have to go to the big city for quality hookers. I just can't afford that right now.

So it's back to the drawing board. Hopefully I'll be able to think of something soon. For ten years, MM has been a pretty damn good husband, inept gifts and all. I'd like to celebrate that. Twenty dollar convenience store hookers and beer just doesn't seem like enough, somehow.

* A pillow. A pillow is what you find at midnight at Wal-Mart the day before Mother's Day. He didn't even take it out of the plastic wrapping. And he woke me up at two in the morning to give it to me. I woke up clutching a plastic wrapped pillow the next day. I could have suffocated.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Weekend Happenings

Our friends got a new version of Rock Band for Christmas, so they loaned us their older version. We played for hours Saturday and Sunday, and it's been confirmed...I can't sing. I've always suspected, but I kind of hoped that if I really let loose and tried my best, in the privacy of my own home, free from the embarrassment of friends and family hearing me try, I'd at least be OK. Turns out I'm not. So very, very not.

I'd like to take this time to apologize to my family, our pets, my son's friends, and quite possibly our neighbors: from the bottom of my heart, I'm sorry everyone. I'd like to say I'd quit trying, but I won't. I'm having way too much fun pretending I'm Jon Bon Jovi and that I do, in fact, rock those streets. Just like I did at 13, I'm sure. [Feel free to insert joke here about being wanted more dead than alive when I sing.] And my character, she's friggin' hot. This is quite literally the only place I could get away with wearing a mini that short. Or a mini at all, for that matter.


Our open house was sadly uneventful. Mostly people looking because their house is on the market but hadn't sold yet, or people looking who may or may not be moving to our town, or something along those lines. I'm sure there will be no forthcoming offers. But on the positive side, my house is really, really clean, and I will pick up the few things that need to be picked up today to keep it that way. I may even manage to finish all my laundry. Woo hoo!


BW and I talked about getting back to home schooling. The last few weeks have been all about holidays and playing with the neighborhood kids, rather than, oh, say, math. Unless you count practical, every day math (which I totally do), as in, "I really want that PowerWing and it costs a hundred dollars. If I have $20, how long will it take me to earn the rest?"

I got him to bed at a normal time last night. I'm not good at enforcing bed times. I'm on the fence about them and as a home schooler, there is some flexibility. I've been letting him stay up pretty late, but now that I'm about to start school again, I think we need a better routine. Plus, there's been some minor trouble with BW following rules and instructions, so it looks like I'm giving him more responsibility then he can handle right now. Time to nip that little habit in the bud. (Which is a totally silly saying, but I can't think of anything more clever right now.)


I signed up for LibraryThing (thank you, Deana!), which is great if you're a book geek like me. You can keep track of all the books you read, which I've always wanted to do but never had a handy dandy website with which to do it. And I'm way too lazy to actually write down the titles on paper. I'm really not sure I'm much more likely to record them online, but I'm gonna do my best. I just wish I would have done it last year, because last year I took the semester off school to get our house ready to go on the market. And I read A LOT. Like three or four books a week on some weeks, and sometimes more.


I decided on a few "resolutions" this weekend. You'll note there are quotation marks around resolutions. That is because there is less actual resolve (to deal with successfully or to make a firm decision about, according to Webster), and more ambivalence [continual fluctuation (as between one thing and its opposite)].

So. I will try to further my goals of eating healthier, eating more raw, whole foods, eating less crappy, processed foods. I will try to keep my house cleaner, keep my laundry from piling up on the couch, and keep my dishes done. I will try to exercise more and to watch Dr. Who and/or The Real Housewives of Orange County and/or What I Like About You marathons less, or at the very least, I will try to exercise while watching Dr. Who and/or TRHOOC and/or WILAY marathons. And, last but never least, I will try to bring more fun and joy into home schooling, even if it means playing board games I really hate.


The End

Am I crazy??

The mail came today, and in it was a letter from my crazy ex-sister-in-law. I know I've written posts about her before, but here's a summary of the situation:

Crazy SIL = mental health issues, drug/drinking addictions, in jail/rehab, divorced from MM's brother, was pregnant with fourth child (not sure of paternity, not her ex-husband), nobody would speak to her, baby was going to foster care, she's from NY and has lived in AZ, got in trouble passing through TX, knows no one here but us.

Me = feels horrible for crazy SIL, and even worse for innocent baby, convinces MM we need to take care of baby to keep him out of foster care, takes guardianship of baby at two days old.

SIL's dad = lives in NY, thinks daughter should be forced by state to have tubes tied, wants baby to be taken away from her permanently, refuses to speak to her or take baby until he realizes that said baby won't be taken from her by state and no, they won't just sterilize her without her permission, decides he wants baby after all because hey, he's got two of her kids already and what's one more, works on convincing SIL that she should give baby to him.

OK, I think those are the more pertinent details. So....Hubby gets promotion, we need to move less than 100 miles away [(but across state lines) which has since changed], SIL freaks out and tells everyone we're moving and "she'll never see her baby again" and begs her daddy to take him. Doesn't tell us until a week after her dad calls to tell us. After seven months of caring, feeding, clothing, diapering and loving bubby, after taking him to see her every week while she's 30 miles from us, and then taking him hundreds of miles away to see her (with us footing most all of the bill) when she was moved, she doesn't trust us. She literally told people we were going to disappear with him. 'Cause apparently what we did was all just an elaborate ploy to steal her child. We're sneaky like that.

So. Months and months ago I told her I was going to get her this self-help book she wanted - some Joel Osteen book. And I had it in my cart at Amazon for months. We haven't heard from her since all this happened, just one brief 'sorry, this is what I'm doing' letter after the fact, and that's it. So I send her the book for Christmas. Because I'm nice. And there wasn't even the tiniest bit of sarcasm to my gift. I did not send it because, obviously, NOBODY needs help more than her. Not at all what I was thinking. Really. (Heh.)

Anyway. I didn't send a card or a note, just the book. And today I get a letter from her. And she's just saying, 'oh, how was your Christmas, mine was fine, yep still here, blah blah blah, hope you had a good holiday, thanks for the book, blah blah blah' like nothing ever happened. Doesn't even mention bubby or anything.

I don't know what exactly I was expecting, but that wasn't really it. I'm not even sure why I sent the book. Because I can't drop something and let it go? Because I can't figure out how you can do so much for someone, give them a chance when NO ONE else in their life will, and then still end up getting stabbed in the back? Because I want an explanation or an apology, preferably both? Because the "Top Ten Reasons My SIL Is A Crazy Bitch" PowerPoint presentation I created just didn't make me feel as good as I expected it to? (Yes, I make PowerPoint presentations when I'm upset. What of it?)

I wrote back and asked a few questions, like 'what's happening, you were supposed to have been released, why are you still there, why aren't you in NY yet'. You know, those types of questions. I don't know what I expect from that either. I haven't sent it yet. I'm not sure I will. But by sending the book, I opened some sort of door, and I can't decide whether to keep it open, or slam it shut and run for the hills. With my hands over my ears. Going LALALALALALALALALA, so I can't hear anything.

I know I should just leave it alone, but it's like some annoying itch I can't scratch, or maybe the last cookie in the cookie jar, just calling my name. I want an explanation from her. And I know that it's really, really dumb to expect one. How do you explain crazy? How do you apologize for being mentally unsound? I mean, she's not going to say, 'yep, sorry about all that, you know I'm unbalanced and I told you no sudden moves, what did you expect?' or something along those lines, right?

So, what to do, what to do....I need to find somewhere else to focus my attention. The house isn't selling, I'm at loose ends. I'm so glad Anatomy and Physiology is starting in a few weeks. That oughta keep me busy, right? And homeschooling. Maybe we'll start a foreign language this year. We've been talking about Greek. Because, you know, it's so useful to know here in West Texas. There's a huge Greek population. Huge. And Eva, I can focus on training Eva. That should keep me occupied.

You know what's going to happen, right? The house will sell the day I start class. We won't be able to find somewhere else to go, I'll be packing and house-hunting and moving and home schooling and taking mid-terms or finals all at the same time. Crazy SIL will be in a half-way house nearby, calling me, crying 'I'm so sad and lonely, I miss my kids, please come and be my friend, I'm sorry I'm crazy, you know I can't help it' all because I just had to send the frickin' book, because I couldn't leave it alone. No good can come of that, my friends, no good at all. And I'll be reduced to sitting on the floor in a puddle of tears, rocking back and forth and begging for it to all be over, hoping to break an arm or something because forallthatisholy I just need to rest.

But at least I won't be taking in crazy people's children, or the crazy people themselves. Because, if nothing else, I have learned a lesson: if you're going to take in strays, stick to dogs. And that is all that matters.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Open House

Tomorrow we have yet ANOTHER open house. Yippy. We're hoping things will start moving now that the holidays are over. Today we're cleaning and putting away and folding and prettying everything up. We're hoping that it's clean enough, nice enough, tempting enough for someone to make an offer. I'm going to start throwing myself at the feet of potential buyers, clinging to their pant legs, leaving pools of tears at their feet, begging them to pleasepleasepleasepleasepleasebuymyhouse!!!! Although I hear that's not really the wisest thing to do, as a seller.

I'm just at a loss here. We've only sold two houses before this one, but they weren't on the market even close to this long. Different times, different area, I know. But I'm watching houses around me sell, it's not like people aren't buying. And we have a nice house, in a nice neighborhood. I'm sure it's not the house.

So, seriously, WTF? We haven't even had anyone look except for during open houses. Is that as odd as I think it is? Are we jinxed? Should I bury one of those magic house selling saints I keep hearing about? (And where do I get one of those, anyway?) Do I need to sacrifice something to the gods of real estate? Is there a specific god of real estate?? Maybe throw something unusual in to sweeten the deal? Offer up a year of free maid service, if only they'll buy my freaking house???

I'm starting to become suspicious. M2 keeps saying she doesn't want me to move. She's probably spreading rumors that our house is haunted, or that we use the "garden" to sacrifice goats to Satan. And that's totally untrue. We use our garden to grow pot, we use the bathtub to sacrifice goats to Satan.* Although the goat hair is totally clogging up my drains, and the plumber is getting suspicious.

I'M KIDDING. The plumber just thinks my husband is unusually hairy, but he's part Hungarian, so it's cool. My husband is part Hungarian, not the plumber. In case you weren't clear on that. Did you know that Hungarians are an unusually hairy people? I could knit socks from my husbands chest hair. It's insane. But try to focus here, people, you're getting distracted.

Back to the topic at hand...tomorrow is our open house, and I'm getting worried. The job market isn't secure, and I feel like the Wicked Witch - like I'm being crushed beneath the weight of our house. I keep telling myself that in a few years so many people will have been foreclosed on, been late on payments, had cars repo'ed, it probably won't matter anymore. And it's not like we'll ever be homeless. We have enough family and friends that we could go to in a bind, we'll be OK. (Get that bedroom ready, Mama, we're movin' in!) But I really hope that won't be necessary. And right now, all my worries are centered on getting out from under this house. So here's hoping something happens this weekend.

Think good thoughts for us, everyone. And if I find out you've been spreading rumors, M2, I'm totally telling everyone you're the head of our coven. And they'll beleive me, because you're a "vegetarian" from New York. And everyone knows the whole vegetarian thing is just a front for animal sacrifice, because no one could possibly live in West Texas and not eat meat. And also, New York is where covens have their headquarters and hold seminars and sleep-over camps and stuff.

*I was kidding about the pot and the animal sacrifices. No drugs, no goats. I promise.