Friday, December 31, 2010

On the Brink ...

Now that it's THISCLOSE to a new year, I'm ... conflicted.

I mean, it's exciting and all ... a new start, a new year.

At the same time, I really don't like change. I do get set in my little ways.

And everything seems to be changing.
  • I don't have a cat in my house. And I'm a little scared to get a new one. It won't be Ginger or Diana. Am I ready to get used to a new cat?
  • I own hedgehogs. They're cute ... but they're also prickly and smelly. I like them ... but it's odd to have a pet (other than a fish) that I can't cuddle with. (Well, that I can't cuddle with and NOT suffer for it. And that's counting the pet rabbit I had about 20 years ago. The one that wouldn't let me hold it without scratching the crap outta my chest when I tried to hold it. Rabbits have SHARP claws, just so you know. I still like them, though.)
  • Next fall, my kiddos will start school. This is so weird. They're getting so big. We gave Bruise a (much-needed) haircut ... and he looks older. Bucket got hoop earrings for Christmas. Wearing those and her newest jeans, with her hair pulled back ... she looks halfway ready for college. Scary.
  • We now have a Wii, with a WiiFit and Netflix. These are GOOD things. Still, it's kinda scary. We didn't have them for ... well, FOREVER. And now we do.
  • Michael'll be taking that engineering license test again in a few months. Please pray that he passes it.
    After he does, we can be a two-vehicle family again.
Christmas stuff is coming down. We're getting ready for the kids' birthday.
We bought containers and organized the kids' room this morning. And spent the afternoon cleaning up. The house isn't anywhere near where it needs to be for next weekend ... but it's a start. And we know what to do for the kids' birthday cakes.

We only have one 2011 calendar. I feel oddly unprepared for the new year.

At the same time, I feel, overall, pretty good about this year that's almost done.
  • I participated in a 5K "run." (Yes, I did run for parts of it. But not for a whole lot of it.)
  • I went to a Roller Derby practice/audition/whatever. And it was fun. Even when I fell. But I don't think that it's right for me right now.
  • I cemented my reputation at Church as being the one gal that colors her hair a LOT. And to different colors. I've sported different shades of brown, blonde, and red. I also had pink and blonde streaks. And my hair hasn't fallen out. Yet.
  • I got to spend the whole week at Girls' Camp this last summer. Hadn't done that since I was ... seventeen, I think.
  • I grew more accustomed to the fact that I don't have my Gingi-cat. It's been almost a year and a half ... and I think I'm doing better. And then Diana died. It's been just over a week. I'll get/be better. Sometime.
    (I know that I'm not doing awesomely, since just writing that has me crying. I hate outliving people/animals. However, it does strengthen my testimony about the eternalness of our spirits and our relationships. Why else would a loving God have us create these ties and invest all this emotion if He hasn't provided a way for us to be with those that we love after we die? And death isn't forever.  It's just temporary. I have to remember that, in the eternal scheme of things, it's just a short separation. And I can get through this.)
  • I made brownies that, apparently, contain a secret, addictive chemical. My stepdad's gained over two pounds this last week. And, dude, they are GOOD brownies.
Well ... that's all I can think of off the top of my head at present.
Time to help my husband and to watch Prince of Persia, drink sparkling cider, and finish folding laundry.
Yes, we are JUST that wild and crazy. Woooooo!! Check out our MAD, CRAZY, EXCITING way to ring in the new year -- laundry, a movie, sleeping. We're CAH-RAY-ZEE!!!

I know, I know. You're madly, madly jealous.
It's okay. You'll get over it. :P

Love to you and wishing you all a wonderful and happy new year filled with pleasant experiences.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Something good

In the midst of getting all the bills paid (which Michael does), I got to do something.

I made my first Heifer International donation!

Out there, somewhere in the world, a flock of chicks and a hive of bees will arrive to help some families to be self-sufficient.

This makes me happy. In an Earth-Mother-Santa type of way.

Things aren't all bad.

Michael noticed how I was giddy-happy for DAYS after donating ... and how I hadn't been that chipper for a while.

If only I could afford to do donations like that every time I felt down....

Yeah, if I had unlimited income, I could totally be a philanthropist.

That and a librarian ... those would be my employments of choice.

I look like hell.

The last couple days have been ... different.

The rest of the week, besides yesterday and this morning have been great. Don't get me wrong.

But, yesterday, Diana cat was NOT normal. As in, wouldn't eat, wouldn't drink, had lost a ton of weight -type not normal.

Long story short, she died this morning. I'd laid her in the cat bed next to our bed last night. She was within arm's reach, in case she woke up to meow or anything. We'd forced about 6 oz of water down her (shot it into her mouth with one of the kids' old baby bottles). She'd kept it down. Unlike Tuesday morning, when I gave her maybe an ounce and she puked it up. And couldn't move herself out of the puddle.

This morning, after Michael's alarm went off, I pulled her back into bed with me. So I could cuddle her and help her stay warm. I fell back asleep after Michael called in sick. When I woke up, about seven this morning, she had stopped breathing. And I couldn't find her pulse. She was gone. She went very peacefully ... more so than Gingi-cat did. Which is a small blessing. She didn't appear to be in any pain at the end. Still ...

Michael got up and dug a hole in the backyard while I gathered a box and some fabric to wrap her in. The kids woke up after I had her boxed up. This wasn't a shock to them, after my weeping most of yesterday when it was pretty obvious that she was really, really sick.

Bruise: Mom, I don't want you to cry.
Me: *sniffling* I'm sorry, sweetie. It's not your fault.
Bruise: *wisely* Ah. So it's DIANA'S fault.

(How did I get such wise children?)

They've taken the news well.

Now both the pets we've had since the kids were born are gone. We still have the prickle sisters.
Although hedgehogs don't have the longest of lifespans ... about 3-5 years. And I don't know how old these girlies are.

I've taken some Valerian.
If it weren't against the Word of Wisdom, I'd take a few shots of something stronger.
Hey, I'm just keeping it real. But, since I value my religion and my temple worthiness more than dulling my mental faculties, I'm not going to do it. But I am tempted at times. I just choose not to do it. Because that's how I roll.

Grandpa C, like I mentioned last week, had a heart attack. He's getting better. He's recuperating in an assisted living place until he's strong enough to go back home. He might even be home by this point ... I haven't heard anything for a few days. But, most importantly, he's getting better.

My aunt is back home.

My mom and my stepdad finished redoing my old bedroom back home. Now we have a place to stay when we head down. ^_^ That's nice.
My mom keep apologizing to me for how cold my bedroom was as I was growing up. Turns out there was barely any insulation in that mobile home.
I find it funny that she's so aghast about it. I survived. I just ALWAYS used my electric blanket all night during the cold nights. ... Sometimes, I even read by the light from the temperature gauge ... like when I was grounded. I'm not complaining!

We gave the kids (and ourselves) an early Christmas present. We bought a Wii. And a Netflix account. We've been streaming movies since Saturday. VERY NICE.
And Bruise is THRILLED to beat me at the swordplay dueling on Wii Sports Resort. And Bucket's getting really good at the bowling. (I bowl SO much better on the Wii than I ever have in real life. Just for the record.)

We have most of the Christmas shopping done. We've hung the new family portraits on the wall. New arrangement and all ... It looks good.

I finished the scarves and a hat for some Christmas presents. I was even able to get a scarf done for the kids' Primary teacher (at church). She's been their teacher for over three years ... which, when the kids move classes every year or so, is quite remarkable. And they love her very much. (And who can blame her? She's wonderful!!)
She really loved the scarf that I made. She was amazed that it was her favorite color (I had asked her daughter) and that it was so soft. (Hey, I'm also a very tactile person. I like SOFT fibers. Given my choice, I nab the silkiest yarns that I can. ... My Jayne Cobb hat isn't very soft. Neither is the first scarf I made, when the kiddos were baby-babies. But that's about it.)

Oh ... hey, I figured something out. Might be TMI ... those wacko dreams I reported last post?
Yeah, PMS-dreams. CRAZY. But, at least, there's some explanation. ... If only those nutso dreams were just  limited to that time of the month.

Other dreams I've had:
  1. My Ty-bro was awesome as a stand-up comedian
  2. We were living with my mother-in-law. I was organizing a cabinet and Skypeing (and I don't even use Skype. I'm such a Luddite, I know.) and was BUSTING people up, talking about my mad childreading skillz (yes, that is sarcasm. My skills ... you've heard about them.)
Yeah, those are the ones that I recall off the top of my head.

Funny thing that happened the other day?
Bruise demonstrated WHY one wears the wrist-strap on the WiiMote.
  • As we were playing, he was bowling, I think. And he let go ... and, since I'm a responsible Wii-player, the WiiMote swung around on its strap and smacked him on top of the head.
I REALLY tried not to laugh.
Really.

Note that I'm not saying if I succeeded or not.

I also got a good deal on a new external HD for my computer. (My old one is 13 GB from being FULL. Which freaks me out a little. ... I remember when I got my first PC [I grew up with an Apple IIc and a couple of Macs] ... and I thought that I was ALL THAT, having a SIX GIG HARD DRIVE! ... Yeah. That was just over a decade ago. .... I'm OOOOOOOOOLD!!!!)
But, yeah, 2 TB for less than $100 ... Not bad, right? But don't tell me ... it's for CHRISTMAS. It's a surprise!

I got my Visiting Teaching done ... mostly. Michael and I went out last night and delivered plates of Christmas goodies (which I baked in between snuggling Di-di cat yesterday. And not getting the laundry folded or dinner made. Oops. But I did do the dishes. And I washed almost all the laundry! And snuggled a dying cat. So ... yeah. Michael told me that I was doing fine and to stop berating myself for not being Superwoman.)

The kids bunk bed should be delivered any day now. I need to type up our ward's YW history for the year.

I should start dinner ... if I'm going to use the crockpot. Which I should.
There are a few things left to get for Christmas.
And I should finish cleaning the house.

I think that should cover most of it, right?

But, hey, the bills are paid! That's always a huge plus!
And I haven't cried today as much as yesterday ... I try and do my mourning in advance, I suppose.
Which made it necessary to take ibuprofen, a nap (with Diana), and some Tylenol. 
I haven't had to do any of that yet. 

But it explains why I look like hell.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

In which I wish I could do more ...

I mean, really ... I'll admit that I'm a lazy person.
(Seriously, my house is NEVER spic and span. My desk is CONSTANTLY in a state of disorder. I procrastinate. I have wonderful intentions that I don't get around to ... like the Christmas cookies that I keep MEANING to make.... *sigh*)

And this might help explain why I'm always so amazed by the wonderful things out there to help people:

  • Kiva loans - kiva.org 
  • Heifer International
  • World Vision - Both of these places allow people to donate funds to purchase livestock to help others in need to be self-sufficient (and, in turn, to pass along some of their new livestock's offspring to others).
  • FreeRice.com - Answer trivia (Vocabulary, foreign language, grammar, science, math, geography, etc) and, for each correct answer, you're awarded a donation of 10 grains of rice to countries in need.
  • HungerSite.com - click for a donation of food to be made. (There're also other sites linked. The Breast Cancer site donates money toward mammograms to women who wouldn't be able to afford them otherwise. Children's Health helps get immunizations and medicine to children. Another helps buy books for children. One helps buy rainforest land so it will be protected. And one helps pay for food for animals in shelters.)
  • Letssaythanks.com - You can send a free postcard to servicemen/women for free via Xerox. You choose the design and a message. You only give them your name and hometown.
And, yes, those are kinda small things ... but they serve some (NEEDED) good.
(I'm not going to lie, I tear up something fierce when reading the World Vision catalog. For many people out there, these animals (and the work, wool/fur, eggs, milk, manure, etc) are a ticket to being able to thrive, to be self-sufficient; to be able to afford a home, clothes, food, and schooling. ... This astounds me. I'm so incredibly spoiled. And, really, would it kill me to donate, what, $50 to help another family to get out of poverty?)

And then ... well. There are the people out there that make a huge difference.
  • Bill and Melinda Gates' foundation helps millions of people. (Say what you will about Mr. Gates' business dealings ... still, there's good things being done with some of that money. Which makes me feel better.)
  • Mother Theresa ... need I say more? She was an amazing powerhouse of a woman.
    She embodied selfless service.
  • Dr. Hawa Abdi - She's a Somalian doctor who's stood up against the militants who tried to run her out of her own clinic (for being a woman). She is raising money to restore her clinic back to running condition to take care of the thousands of refugees who have flocked to her clinic for protection.
    When her life was threatened, she didn't care. She's hardcore. And I'm in awe of her courage and strength.
  • And this amazing, amazing man: Mr. Narayanan Krishnan

    (Thanks to my friend, Dianne, for originally sharing this on facebook.)
But, yes ... I think, especially at this season, it's always a VERY GOOD THING to be reminded of the reason for this holiday. We were given the most wonderful, most needed, most ... BESTEST gift ever.

There's no possible way for us to ever give anything of the same value in return. 
But couldn't we make more of an effort (myself included!) to show our appreciation and gratitude in our daily lives by serving those around us?

This year, I find myself listening, over and over, to a certain song ...


There's magic in the air this evening
Magic in the air
The world is at her best, you know
When people love and care
The promise of excitement
Is one the night will keep
After all, there's only one more sleep 'til Christmas

The world has got a smile today
The world has got a glow
There's no such thing as strangers when
A stranger says hello
And everyone is family
We're having so much fun
After all, there's only one more sleep 'til Christmas

'Tis the season to be jolly and joyous
With a burst of pleasure, we feel it arrive
It's the season when the saints can employ us
To spread the news about peace and to keep love alive

(spoken):

Merry Christmas! So long!

There's something in the wind today
That's good for everyone
Yes, faith is in our hearts today
We're shining like the sun
And everyone can feel it
The feeling's running deep
After all, there's only one more sleep 'til Christmas
After all, there's only one more sleep 'til Christmas day 

(Copyright isn't mine. It belongs to The Jim Henson Company and Disney.)
(I hope they don't mind my quoting it. Because these lyrics are wonderful and they make me very, very happy. Paul Williams [who wrote the song]  ... I have no words. You're just too cool.)

But ... yeah ... if anything will motivate me, it should definitely be these great examples. ^_^

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

New things ...

So ... I should try to catch up, right? It's not like it's YOUR fault that I fell off the face of the planet, blogging-wise.

I've mostly just been lazy. (EXAMPLE: Here I sit, at a quarter to nine, and I'm in a nightgown and a robe. Yes, I did sleep in a TON ... like an hour ... thanks to being SO worn out from last night. [No, not THAT, you perv.] And, also, thanks to the kiddos sleeping in.)

Okay, so my last REAL-REAL post was just before Thanksgiving. Let's see what all I can recall:

  • My aunt had her toe amputated. She was SUPPOSED to (read: my mom did EVERYTHING so that her sister could be in assisted living until she heals. My aunt has Rheumatoid Arthritis, so while she heals, she can't take her medicine for RA. So she's in pain.
    BUT, the doctor sent her straight home (to my mom's) instead. Which was aggravating.
    ESPECIALLY since, within a couple days of being at home, she developed a CRAZYBAD infection.
    So they moved her to assisted living to get her THREE DOSES of antibiotics daily for a MONTH.
    Yeah. Bad choice on the doctor's part.\rant
  • My mom also discovered that my childhood bedroom has mold. So, instead of doing Thanksgiving at her house, we ended up at Michael's folks' house (and spent Wednesday night with my Dad and --- oh, hell. If Oregon had common-law marriages, they'd have been recognized as married. I'm just going to call her my stepmom, okay? From here on in, L is "my stepmom." That's what my kids call her, that's how I think of her. /rant --- my stepmom. We also got to see my Nana and Uncle Steve.
  • As I alluded, we had Thanksgiving with Mom and Dad C, Michael's siblings (except his brother C, who had to work. Boo.), his grandfolks, Aunt A, Uncle T, Cousin K (who gave me her hand-me downs. YAY! I fit in 14s again! ... No wonder, when I bent down, my jeans would slide down. And, since I don't like the chance to crack-flash people, I was not thrilled with this occurance. But, hey! With K's old pants, this doesn't happen!! Yay!)
    Bruise LOVED playing the Wii over at his grandfolks. Bucket loved playing with her cousins. Michael's and I played some board games with J, T, and her husband K (NOT Cousin K. Cousin K is a girl. Are you keeping it straight?)
    We also went to watch Tangled, which was REALLY GOOD. Michael's not enamored of the music. But the visuals and the plot and dialog were top-notch. And, hee!!! It's Chuck Bartowski! As the voice of Flinn!  ... I really do adore him. I'd totally be BFF with Chuck anytime. (I know that it's really A ROLE played by Zachary Levi. But it's played SO WELL!) And the kids loved it, too. Pascal, the chameleon, is their favorite character.
  • Black Friday, I opted to sleep in. Around lunchtime, Michael and I went out to get a few things. And we got some good deals. ... While we were out, we ended up at Target. And we bought a fake tree. It's a pre-lit one. Normally, it'd have cost $50 for a 6' tree with clear lights. But it was on sale for $25 ... so we really couldn't resist. We figured that, hey, if we hated it, we would only be out $25 ... which is how much a real tree would have cost. It was easy to set up (after we got home) and looks pretty decent! ... And I did get a Wallflower (Fresh Balsam) from Bath and Body Works, so that it SMELLS more like Christmas in here.
    - Also on Black Friday, after we got back to Mom and Dad C's, the womenfolk went out for pedicures. Mine's now chipping, but I have Chinese red piggies with white and silver snowflakes on my big toes.
    It's REALLY hard to take a picture of your own foot.
    Normally, my toes actually fit together. They're not all snaggle-toothed-looking.
    Just for the record.
    Here they are ... with the bruised toe I got from tripping over luggage in my hurry to get to the bathroom before running out with Michael to do some Christmas shopping while my mom put the kids to bed.
    Besides the bruise there, way cute, huh? I don't know that the snowflakes were WORTH $5, though.
    But, yeah, this is my first professional pedicure. Kinda exciting. (I could totally get used to them. My toenails were all so SMOOTH along the tops, I couldn't snag pantyhose/tights OR accidentally stab Michael in the leg! Pretty nice, eh?)
    Okay ... *I* was excited.
  • Grandpa C fell while getting to the car on Thanksgiving. He also ended up falling while unloading the car when they got home. So, Friday (Black Friday) they went to Urgent Care, where he was diagnosed with pneumonia. But it wasn't really pneumonia ...A few days later, he ended up in the ER, where they determined that his lungs were clear ... but there's SOME bacteria in his system. And he has a heart murmur (which they won't operate on, since he's 84).
    They sent him back home ... and Thursday night/Friday morning, he had a heart attack  (which you've already read about). He's alive. He was in the ICU. He should be released from the ICU today and moved to a care facility here in town. He's a fighter. He's stubborn. And he's got lots of people praying for him/sending him good energy/whatever. (Hey, I have friends of different religious/philosophical persuasions. And that's cool with me. ^_^)
  • The kids went to a birthday party last weekend. It was a superhero-themed party. The birthday boy was Batman, his little brother was Robin. One of their other friends was a Jedi. Bruise was Iron Man and Bucket was Supergirl. It was a really nice party.
    After the party, we scurried over to the library in time to see one of the local ballet troupes (younger kids. Ages ... 3-18, I think) perform some selections from "The Nutcracker." We had missed it last year (too many people showed up. Boo.), so it was REALLY nice to get to see it this year. Bucket really liked it. And Bruise liked it well enough, too. Not enough to think of a future as a ballerino/danseur, though.
  • We've been checking in on a friend's parrot (and getting her familiy's mail). He seems chattiest during the day, when I'm able to drop by then ... which, unfortunately, isn't often, since we only have the one car. And, really, walking over 4 miles (round-trip) with the kids? I don't think it'll happen. But, hey, I still get to get over there and see her birdie. That's pretty cool. (Except for when he's ill-tempered and feigns like he's gonna bite me. Which he can't. Because HE's in his cage and I'm NOT. Neener-neener.
  • Michael got the presents wrapped. Most of them. We don't have all the presents bought ... but we've made a start.
  • The kiddos are loving doing Advent calendars. We have chocolate ones (one each for them), a Lego one, a Playmobil one ... a book one (missing #6, but it tells the story of The Nutcracker), and a couple paper ones that we've used in previous years.
    The kiddos also like this online one at the Zooborns website.
  • As I mentioned, we also have two hedgehog sisters. The kids like them ... but are mostly scared to touch them. I clean the cages and have given them baths (just the one bath so far). They're pretty cool. And I've only wanted to have a hedgehog ... well, for the last 18 years. So, yay for living the dream!
    (Now to convince Michael to get a chinchilla ... and finches or a canary. And some fish again ...)
  • I went to Roller Derby last night. I fell a few times. Twice on my butt/back ... and my wrist hurts.
    It was a good experience and a good workout (THAT'S the reason why I was so tired.)
    I, however, don't think it's for me ... at least not at this time. It'd be $30/month ($360/year) for dues. AND I'd need to get my own gear. All in all, that'd be at least another $300-600+ ... and that's not considering the time that I'd spend away from my family (At least 4 hours of practice. Plus games and any travel) ... So, yeah, I'm not ready to make that commitment. At least, not right now.
    But I'm glad that I tried it. People were nice and I learned that I don't TOTALLY suck at skating, even though it's been about a decade since I was on skates. But my wrist is still feeling it today, after that first back-fall. And, OH, my back was SOOOO sore when I got home. 
  • Also, since skating was such a workout, I NEEDED a shower. SO BADLY. So I jumped in and got soaped off. And the shower drain wasn't working. So, I made it a QUICK shower and padded out to the laundry room to get the Drano. (Which worked. But still. *sigh*) ... But, yeah, I fixed the drain. Go me and caustic chemicals!
  • But it was REALLY nice to snuggle, all clean, in our new flannel sheets. So cozy. I don't know how I managed to leave the bed at all!
Also, in other news, I've been having CRAZY dreams ...
  • In one, Oprah had done some expose about vermin (maggots, rats, worms, etc) in bedding.
    And then, Michael and I were at my folks house. And my mom's bedroom carpet was a different color. And there was a white mouse in the new blanket. And I tried to kill it. With a hammer. And it was bleeding and vomiting up HUGE PUDDLES of blood. And I kept trying to kill it, it was suffering terribly and I felt so bad. And I had to end up throwing it out to the cats.
    VERY DISTURBING, INDEED.
    I'm not a very violent person. And I LIKE mice. (In fact, I rescued one from the cats once. My mom wasn't so happy when it got loose and we had to use D-con for the infestation.)
  • That same night, I also dreamed that I was coloring my hair (which I DID in real life. Pics to come.) and Mom and the kids were there, in our old apartment. And some guy kept trying to break in through the window. And I was wearing a towel. And he's all, "Don't call the police." And I'm like, "OF COURSE I'm calling the police, STUPID!"
    And it turns out that he (and his partner) were both FBI agents. And I'm all, "Haven't you heard of a door? Or knocking?? The door's RIGHT THERE!! ... Yes, officer. He's about 6'2", dark curly hair, brown eyes, *looks at badge* His name is ____ and he's an FBI agent. Please complain to the FBI office about this. Their agents should know better than trying to break into apartments with a lady in a towel, her mother, and her kids."
    But, truly, his FBI partner was quite professional and courteous.
  • Last night, I dreamt that our house and bathroom were really different. And that Ron Weasley was making out with me. WEIRD.
SERIOUSLY, what is WITH my subconscious????
I didn't even eat anything spicy last night!
(Michael blamed the mouse-blood and FBI dreams on the burritos we had the night previous ... but ... Yeah.)

But ... yeah ... Do you feel sufficiently caught up? Did I miss anything?
If I did, let me know.

Now, to watch a movie with the kidlets. They've been begging. ^_^

Friday, December 10, 2010

Surfacing ... Some bad news and some musing ...

To tell the absolute truth, mostly I've just been lazy. That's the main reason for my absence.

I mean, I did make some things for presents ... but mostly I've just NOT done things.
Speaking of .... *restarts the washer* ...

Okay, I'm back.

Firstly and most importantly, Michael's grandfather is sick. He's almost 85. He fell twice over Thanksgiving weekend. Once, while with family -- the second time was unloading luggage upon getting home. Thank goodness that Uncle D was there. So they took him to urgent care. And he was diagnosed with pneumonia. Later, he went into the hospital ... it's not pneumonia, it's some other infection. But, yeah, he's been really tired.
Uncle L called this morning. Grandpa, during the night had a heart attack ... He's alive. Thank goodness ... but he's in the ICU right now. L will call back with updates as they come. I called Michael and let him know. He'll call his siblings to let them know. L already called Michael's folks ... So .... yeah. That's where we stand right now.

I know that it's irrational of me, but I REALLY, REALLY HATE IT when people die. I suppose it's a testament to how much value I put on human life ... but, at the same time, it's a little ridiculous that I tend to look upon people dying as a form of abandonment.
Yes, I AM overly sensitive.

And, YES, Christmas (and Thanksgiving and Easter) have not been at all the same since Grandma Darlene died. About 15 years ago. ... And even more not-the-same when Pop-pop died back in 2001.
(Nostalgic much?)
(YES.)

But, yeah, if you could sends prayers/good thoughts/whatever for Grandpa, I'd really appreciate it.
We love him lots and really, really would like for him to be around for as long as we can possibly have him.

Of course, with this all happening around Christmas ... well, it does lead to some ruminating on the nature of the holiday.

One of the worst things about Christmas is how commercialized it's become.
The worst thing about Christmas is about how commercialized it's become.

I have NOTHING against Santa. I love Santa. The idea of a benevolent man/spirit/entity of some kind, serving the children of the world -- bringing presents to all children. Because he loves them and wants them to have happiness (Yes, we have been reading L. Frank Baum's The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus. And I do re-read the "Yes, Virginia, there IS a Santa Claus" letter every year). But, I do get a little annoyed when the presents seem to be the reason for the holiday, y'know?

The real purpose for Christmas, the reason that I strive to remember, is that we are celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. He was sent to us, by a loving Heavenly Father, to teach and to redeem us.

When you think about it, it's really quite amazing.

A little baby, born in squalor, would grow to be the greatest among all mankind.
He would love and serve the disrespected, the sinners, the sick, the hated.
He would live his mortal life as a perfect example for us to follow.
He would willingly suffer and die for us.
He would triumph over death, allowing all mankind to live again, to be resurrected.
He would fulfill the demands of justice, allowing us to repent and to be able to return to Heavenly Father's presence ... something that we could never do on our own.

I could go on ... and, truly, I should. But then this blog entry would never end (and I'd never get the dishes and laundry done. Or get that shower that I need.) and I'd run out of words long before I would be truly finished.

But, well, I'm sure that you understand why I start bawling like a baby when I sing Christmas carols. And why I get all misty-eyed just listening to them.

Christmas is a time of miracles. And, maybe this year's miracle won't be Grandpa's recovery (as much as I REALLY, TRULY hope and pray that is will be) ... but, if nothing else, maybe this year's miracle is just reminding me of the importance of this holiday and what we're celebrating. We're celebrating the fact that death is NOT the end, that everyone has the opportunity to return to the heavenly home from whence we came, the eventuality of peace on earth and goodwill to all.

(Truly, I know that it's still going to get worse before it gets better -- C.S. Lewis' The Last Battle, anyone? The first two-thirds of that book are so depressing..But, phew, it does work out in the end. --- And, honestly, I'm not at all prepared. I have lots of progress to make. No, really. Believe me! ... But, oh, sometimes, I'm really ready for Christ's return. I can't wait to see my Pop-pop again. Or Grandma Darlene. Or Gingi-cat. And the fact that evil will be controlled. I could go for walks in the middle of the night and not fret about being abducted or raped or mugged or anything. I won't have to lock my doors. My kids will be able to walk to the park and play while I ... do ... something productive! It'll be wonderful.)

But, yes, things can get bad. And, really, for us, things could be much, much worse. Overall, our family is pretty healthy. We're not in danger of foreclosure. We have our vision and hearing. We have clothes. We have food. We have a car. We have pets (in fact, since getting our hedgehogs, Miss Diana-cat has been such a snuggler. It's kinda weird. In a nice way). We have the opportunities and ability to serve others. We have running water and electricity. We have BOOKS ... We're really very blessed.
I need to remember that.

And I will try.

So ... while I work on that, here's one of my favorite contemporary-ish Christmas songs:



Peace on earth, can it be
Years from now, perhaps we'll see
See the day of glory
See the day when men of good will
Live in peace, live in peace again
Peace on earth, can it be
Every child must be made aware
Every child must be made to care
Care enough for his fellow man
To give all the love that he can
I pray my wish will come true
For my child and your child too
He'll see the day of glory
See the day when men of good will
Live in peace, live in peace again
Peace on earth, can it be
Can it be (Intellectual Property of RCA ... you probably already knew that, though)

Saturday, December 04, 2010

For Aubri

(And for Michael, too, since he accused me of falling off the face of the earth. Blog-wise ... since he was across the room from me at the time said accusal was  ... accused. Yeah.)

20 YEARS AGO (1990):
1. I was nine years old and in Ms. Peter's class at Canyonville Elementary.
2. I was somewhat popular ... at least more so than the rest of my school career. ^_^
3. I was often grounded for having a messy room. Therefore, I read instead of going out to play. I read A LOT. Which explains a lot, come to think about it.
4. I adored my Rosie-cat, one of Mitten's kittens. She was a sweet, wonderful grey, cantalope, and white calico.

10 YEARS AGO (2000):
1. I lived in Corvallis, in an apartment with my finance's sister and two of her friends.
2. I was getting through my sophomore year of college.
3. I was FINALLY growing out the bangs I'd had since I was about four. For good this time.
4. I was surprised Christmas Eve by Michael coming to my parent's house early. (I didn't think I'd see him for at least another twelve hours. Sneaky guy. I almost think that my mom was more excited. Since she got me out of bed ... He wanted to surprise me by being there, by the tree, in the morning. ... And he also gave me my own set of The Chronicles of Narnia. With the Chris Van Allsburg covers! A man who knows what I want. No wonder I keep him. ^_^)
5. I was still around a size 8-10, like how I was through all of high school.

5 YEARS AGO (2005):
1. I had finished college ... and, instead of teaching, I was volunteering once a week at my library.
2. I was HEAVILY pregnant with twins
3. I almost got STUCK in a toilet stall on Thanksgiving. That taught me that being pregnant TOTALLY necessitates using the handicapped bathroom. You NEED that handrail to get back up. Your center of balance is TOTALLY changed.
4. My Bri-bri came over OFTEN to chat with me and keep me sane while Michael worked all day in Eugene. ^_^ (He still does. But I've had Bri withdrawals. I need to change that. ^_^ Right??)
5. My Nana, when we told her that I was pregnant, exclaimed, "I never thought I'd live to be a great-grandma!" ... Yes, it did take us a while to get cracking, didn't it?
6. I started getting preeclampsia. (That was the really low part ... One week of January saw me kept in a hospital bed. Mom and Michael came and stayed with me. And there was cable. And the nurses were all really nice ... so it wasn't TERRIBLE-HORRIBLE ... just, not what I was planning, you know?)
7. I had to stop volunteering at the library. :( I kept getting dizzy as I'd squat and stand up, shelving those new books. I was REALLY bummed about that. I love my library!!

1 YEAR AGO (2009):
1. My kiddos were still three, almost four.
2. We had two working vehicles.
3. I had started volunteering at my library again (Thanks to my mom coming up to watch/teach the kiddos while I shelved the holds).
4. We bought a new DVD player with surround sound, since our old one broke. Grr. But this one still works!
5. My Gingi-cat died the last day of July. I still miss her. But she was pretty old. She was almost 18.

THIS YEAR (2010):
1. My kiddos turned four and started going to Primary (at church)
2. Michael and I took a family history class at church.
3. I applied for a part-time job. Didn't get it. But it's just as well.
4. I cut my hair shorter than I've had it since ... well, ever. And then Bucket cut hers. *sigh*
5. We got a membership to OMSI ... that's kind of exciting, right?(Also, 6. I tried waxing. And, overall, I like it. Seriously, not having to shave my underarms for DAYS in a row? Awesome. And, truly? Michael does an awesome job with Nad's on them. ... Yes, he loves me enough to help me rip out swathes of hair. He's so lucky, right? :P)
NEXT YEAR (2011):
1. I will get at least one more pedicure. I liked the one that I got a couple weeks ago. ^_^
2. Michael will PASS his Engineering License exam.
3. Michael and I will celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary a couple months after our kiddos turn 5.
4. The kiddos will have bunk beds. They've wanted bunk beds for about a year now. ^_^
5. I will have (at least) FOUR nieces and a nephew. (Currently, I have three nieces and one nephew. Not bad for a girl who NEVER thought she'd be an aunt. Because, being an only child, I never thought of marrying anyone with siblings. Yeah. Go fig! :P)
6. I will fit into the cute skirt that I got from Cousin Kathleen at Thanksgiving (I love hand-me-downs!)
7. I WILL get a Wii Fit Plus. By hook or by crook. :P Because, really? I'm rather awesome at the yoga on it. At least, the one time I did it, I rocked. Just sayin'. Ask Michael or Mom C. They'll vouch for me. ^_^
8. If it's up to me, Grandpa C (Michael's grandpa) will live out the year. And many, many more. *nods and tries not to get emotional.*

So, yeah, if y'all want to pray REALLY, REALLY hard that: 

  1. Grandpa C will get over whatever infection the doctors haven't diagnosed and get healthy again, I'd really, really appreciate your efforts on seeing him become at least a nonogenarian.  Yes.
  2. Michael passes his Licensing exam in April. Because we NEED him to pass it.
I would WILDLY, PASSIONATELY, and MADLY appreciate it.
I will pink, puffy heart you for forever and a day ... and even beyond that, really.
If you needed a fan club started, I'd totally do it. Totally.

So ... yeah. 

I'll write a catch-up blog. And maybe I'll come up with something interesting to write soon. ^_^

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

No, I didn't drop off the face of the earth. Honest!

Yes, I have been lazy and haven't blogged for over two weeks. I know.
No, you can stop reminding me.

Not that anyone really HAS mentioned it. Therefore, maybe no one READS my blog very often. :P
Good thing that I don't just blog for the RAGING AND WILD DEMANDS of my readers.
(Though, really, if you WANT me to blog about something, lemme know. I can cater to some whims!)

I have totally and completely given up on my NaNoWriMo this year. Yeah, I'm not motivated.
And life is blowing up in little ways.

My kids have NO DESIRE to go to storytime. What's up with that??
(TMI ALERT: My period came and made me go all sorts of crazy. Enough so that as I was LECTURING the children about the sorry state of their shoes in their closet [i.e., that they weren't PUTTING their DANG shoes in their DANG closet ... so they can't FIND their DANG shoes. And I was TIRED of it] that Michael sent me for a time-out. In which I totally emptied the medicine shelf in our bathroom cupboard and reorganized it. So we didn't go to a science exhibit and Wal-Mart in a bigger city. But we went to a closer Wal-Mart. Didn't buy anything. And I did tell the kiddos that I was really tired of the "gimmies."
(Srsly, my daughter always asks what we're going to buy her when we go into a store. And I told her, point blank, that when she does that, I don't want to buy her ANYTHING. EVER. Yup. That's some GREAT MOTHERING TECHNIQUE. I know that Dr. Phil is going to have ME start doing his show for him. >.< NOT.)
Someone griped at Michael's work that Micheal's had the work truck for a long time. (It was supposed to be until he passed the Engineering License exam last Spring. Which didn't happen.
So... well, we'll be a one-car household for a while.
I think that I've gotten most of my grieving for my lost independence for the next six months out of the way.
It still sucks ... since it cuts into what I'd LIKE to be ABLE to do.
At least now I have an excuse for being such a homebody. Oh well.

My aunt had her toe removed. And now is back in the hospital after a weekend at home (because her doctor wouldn't okay her going into an assisted living facility STRAIGHT from the hospital. And this he put the kibosh on AFTER my mom jumped through all the hoops to get it worked out so that my aunt COULD go straight to Assisted Living to recuperate. Since my aunt doesn't heal quickly and gets infections easily).
After she's done in the hospital, she'll be in Assisted Living to recuperate now.
This has been quite the fiasco.
Especially since we were going to spend Thanksgiving with my folks. Now, our plans are a little changed.
But, hey, on the plus side, I'll get to go out and get a pedicure with the womenfolk on Black Friday. That'll be nice. (Reminder to self: Shave legs well. Just in case.)

A couple weeks ago, Michael and I had a little bit of a date night -- we helped with the Youth temple trip. We didn't get to spend a lot of time together, but it was good to get to the temple.
We did family portraits for Christmas presents last week. Shhh!!! It's a surprise. (Sorta. My mom knows that she's getting pictures. But I told her to act surprised anyways. ^_^)

The missionaries are coming over for dinner tonight. Costco lasagna, salad ... and something for dessert. Exciting. I need to do the dishes.
And, once the roads aren't so icy, we'll drive into the next town to return library books and pick up my hold. That's what I get for procrastinating. I should have done it yesterday. Oops.

Yes, we did get some snow. Crazy! I only noticed as I answered the phone this morning. The kids hadn't looked out the window at all.
It's only like ... maybe a half-inch? But the roads are icy, so all the schools in the area are closed.

I put flea medicine and a STINKY flea collar on Diana-cat. (We could only find dog flea collars ... what gives, Target?? Is there some anti-cat sentiment???)

I don't want to do the dishes. Or fold all the laundry.

I had a weird dream the other night. I had watched "Every Little Step" about the making of and the Broadway revival of "A Chorus Line," which had Tyce Dirorio (From SYTYCD, the choreographer? Ring a bell?) auditioning.
But, in my dream, he and I were just chatting. He was charming, in a non-threatening-type of way.
Which was better than the dream I had had the night before that ... Fuzzy, but full of dread. And a car. Hm.

A couple weeks ago, Bruise was being bossy ... telling Michael that he was driving the wrong way. Yup, the four-year-olds are total backseat drivers already.
So Michael and I told him that if he wanted to be bossy, we'd drop him off and let him walk home.
"No! Don't doo dat! I'm widdle and I don't know da waaaaay!" was Bruise's plaintive response.
Then he corrects Michael (who was already headed the right way) on which way to go home. :P

A couple days ago, I noticed that Bucket has a chip in her front tooth.
"Bucket, how'd you get a chip in your tooth?" I asked.
"Um ... maybe one got stuck there?"

I love my kids.
"Why are yoo laffin', Mommy?" "I'm just so happy ..."

With the snow, the kids went out in it. I went and took pictures after I got them bundled up and grabbed shoes and a jacket. And my camera.
All they wanted to do was to throw snowballs at each other.
The snow, sadly, was too fluffy for snowballs. But, hey, we looked at tracks that people had made. We saw that Michael walked out to the mailbox. And I pointed out the tire tracks from the truck. Bruise loved seeing his own "twacks!!"/footprints in the snow.

I taught the Beehives at church last week. I got a night's notice. And, since I sat in the Laurel's class last week (and they were a lesson ahead), it didn't take too long to prepare. We got through the lesson. Even with two of the girls being a TERRIBLE DISTRACTION. I was REALLY ready to just tell them, "SHUT UP or go sit in the hall. And I'll have Sister _ go get your parents, if you can't sit still and quietly."
Because THAT'S going to be all conducive to the Spirit, right??? *glowers*

I think that really sums up the last couple of weeks. Life threw up, I quit NaNoWriMo (on purpose this time), lost my running buddy (her life got busy), I need to finish cleaning and run an errand before this evening. (Wish me luck, driving in the snowy-ice.)

And I need to get ready for the holidays. *sigh* I love the holidays, don't get me wrong. But I'm still a little sad that I don't have all the presents bought and all, I have no idea what to get for Michael, and we'll be down to one car. Which does bum me out a little. Oh well.

I'll work at being thankful. After I get the dishes done. ^_^

Monday, November 08, 2010

Wow ... Just ... I mean, did she even think??

Every so often, while perusing the internet, I come across something that just BLOWS. MY. BRAIN.

Today's winner - Judith Griggs.

Because ... well, it takes some serious balls to steal another person's work (PLAGIARISM!), profit from it, and then, when called upon it act like you DID THEM A FAVOR.

Really?

Yes, really. Because I cannot make this crap up.

So, yeah. If you want to read more about Griggs' egregious error in judgment and humility, please do.

Here (via Nick Mamatas)

Here (via SmartB*tches -- profanity involved. Just to warn you.)

Here (more Smart B ... with more story.)

And, straight from the victim, here.

Moral of the story: Just because something might be considered "Public Domain," does NOT give you the right to copy it word for word.

(Because, if that were not the case, I could just copy "Pride and Prejudice" or "Jane Eyre" word-for-word ... or sections thereof, and be completely done with NaNoWriMo ... which I am not. And, at this point, I won't ever be. And I'm okay with that.)

(Because it's better to be a quitter than a plagiarizing Cheaty McCheaterpants. ... Just saying.)

Still, Ms. Judith Griggs (it's so nice, I link it twice!) believes that she is in the right, that she has done nothing wrong, and that she's even done Monica Gaudio a favor by cleaning up the spelling (of words written in [correctly-spelled] medieval English.

Yes, she's done a favor by doing something that would get any college student expelled.

*sings* One of these things is not like the other ...


So, yes. Please remember that when you use someone else's words, you should either rewrite it, ask for permission, always cite your sources, ... and, if the person or his/her estate is still living and you DIDN'T ask for permission (ESPECIALLY for a paid publication), be aware that financial restitution and/or a formal apology may be required.

Update - 4:29 PM - There's quite a few articles out there about this scandal. HERE is one that shows that Cooks Source has plagiarized at least SIX other authors/publications. Not all of them were online. And a few of the online ones DID have copyright notices on their sites.


----
In case you're wondering, I am just peeved that anyone (especially someone proclaiming that they have three decades in journalism) would flagrantly copy another person's work. Writing is not easy. Nor is finding a publisher. Plagiarism is intellectual theft. It just makes me upset. And very disappointed in people who do it.

(So don't do it. I don't want to be disappointed in you.)

Here's a video to help explain it. (Use captions. It's in Norwegian. But it's totally well done and worth it.)

Friday, November 05, 2010

In which I have no clever title

I have been up since dark-thirty this morning.
And I couldn't fall asleep until LATE.

And I'll be driving to pick up Michael from a seminar.
Lord have mercy on my soul. :P

I did write a little for NaNoWriMo this morning. I am not at all deluded into thinking that this is the BESTEST STORY EVAR!!!1! or anything. But I'm writing.
There are some parts that I like.

I'm SO CRAZY BEHIND in it, though. I should be hitting around 8,335 words today. I left off yesterday with about 3,000.  *sigh*

Wednesday morning was ... not all that great. I kept asking the kids to pick up stuff and pick up their stuff and pick up their @)(#$$)(*)@#*$@!! stuff ... and finally, I just got to the point where they got punished for not picking up stuff.
Then they got punished again for not picking up what I asked them to AND for not telling the truth about it.
And we didn't go to McDonald's with my mom when she came up. (She's supportive like that.)

We did get Mom the DVD/VCR that she needed. (Her TV with those built into it is dying. And, once it dies, so does her ability to watch any of the videos that aren't on DVD. But we got one. PHEW!)
I also got some makeup. The kids got clearance costumes and are having fun with those.
(Bruise now can dress up as Jango Fett, a fireman, or an astronaut -- the orange jumpsuit. Too bad it doesn't have a helmet. He also has a new engineer's hat and police hat. Bucket got a Barbie dress, a butterfly fairy, and a Supergirl costume. And a witch's hat. I got one, too. And a new pair of fishnets. ... Yes, I AM a rebel. I wear fishnets to church. So what? Most people compliment them. ^_^)

We didn't go to storytime at all this week. The kids didn't really want to ... so we've relaxed a bit.

It looks my like running/walking buddy is getting REALLY busy. :( So I'm going to have to figure out what to do. But, another of my friends has some free time. So we're going to try and get together today to get out and work off some calories/socialize. ^_^

I had a meeting last night. It was okay ... once I got there.
Too bad my skirt was a little short when I sat down. That was distracting. Boo.
It used to fit better before my belly got all stretched out from carrying the kiddos. Good thing I love them anyways, right?

I'm so lazy right now. I don't want to go to sleep .... but I don't care to do anything else right now, either. What's up with that???

Oh -- WORD TO THE WISE: The Wallflowers from Bath and Body Works? DON'T plug them in upside down. Use a different outlet. They drip if they're upside down.
Still, the hall bathroom smells DIVINE (Winter Apple Mint or something like that. Quite pleasant. And enough that you can smell it through the whole house).

So ... yeah. I need to crank out another 5,000 words or so.
help


I still haven't worked up the energy to paint my toenails.

I also have a desire to eat something ... but I don't know what I want to eat.
I HATE that.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Hey, it's only been, like, FIVE days since I've blogged! Score!

Let's see ... what all have we done since I last posted?

Friday - We took the kiddos out to the Halloween party at my library. Then we came home and I went out Visiting Teaching. And that went well. And then I got home, we started making dinner, and Michael's folks came over to visit (not to eat. They already had dinner.).

Saturday - We got the kids ready and took them (and Mom and Dad C ... and we went with C&A and their kids, the cousins) trick-or-treating downtown.
[Aside: Why are people spelling these things "tricker treat" or "trunker treat" ... It boggles my GrammarNazi brain. *sigh* Oh well]

C&A's family all had cute homemade costumes.
C: Batman
A: Wonder Woman
B: Poison Ivy
I: Batgirl
Little C (different name, same initial): The Joker (This 2-year-old Joker was a huge hit. I'm trying not to be jealous. :P)
Baby H: Harley Quinn

Michael didn't dress up at all.
I wore my Jayne Cobb get-up.
Bruise was Darth Vader (and had me do his make-up so he looked like Vader UNDER the mask. This was last minute, or I'd have tried to get some white facepaint, too. I managed with just black kohl eyeliner and brown eyeshadow.


Bucket was a "pink Misty cat" ... and I did her makeup quite a few times this weekend. This was what was worn to go Trick-or-Treating ... it wasn't the most intricate, but it worked.

And, yeah, I need to get some NOT FAT pictures of me as Jayne Cobb to share. But I don't have any just yet. 
Tough beans, y'all.

The kids and I went to the OTHER next town over after lunch with the family. I needed to visit Cousin Pennie. She showed the kids the guinea hens and the steers that Tom raises. We traded family history stuff. I gave her what Uncle Steve sent up ... and she gave me the wedding portraits of my great-grandparents to give to Uncle Steve.

Seriously, these wedding portraits are HUGE. Each is about two feet tall. It's crazy!
I'll take pictures soon. I just have been ... busy and tired and in a funk the last few days.

After that, we headed back home, got the kids ready AGAIN, and headed over to visit Bri ... and we ended up being about an hour late to the church Halloween party. It was really crowded and the games were ending. And we went and did about five minutes of the Trunk-or-Treat in the parking lot .... And Bruise (who I had. Bucket was with Michael) was ready to go home. Or, just to the car to snuggle, at least.
But Bucket was done about a minute later ... so we went home.

And, really, no one got my costume. I mean, Dianne did after she thought about it (which is some consolation). And Bri knew it ... and her mom got it ... but, yeah ... it was rather a letdown, since it was a bit of effort on my part.

I mean, explaining my Jem costume was expected. Jem hasn't been on the air for about 20 years. Last year's costume (fangs and glitter = Twilight vampire) was slapped together at the last minute. This year? I spent about two weeks getting everything planned and gathered .... and, yeah, it was a disappointment.
I'll get over it.

Sunday was ... Sunday. I wore cute tights to church (that had to be held up with a pair of panties over them. "One Size Fits All"???? No it doesn't.

YOU LIE!

...

I had a meeting after church ... and then we folded the mountain of laundry in the bedroom, watched She-Ra, went Trick-or-Treating at the neighbor's house, and then, in the evening, we watched Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland and handed out candy. We had about, what, 8-10 Trick-or-Treaters ... not too bad.

And we took out the garbage.

Yes, we're that exciting/hardcore.

But, then, I looked SO FAT and NOT ATTRACTIVE AT ALL in the two pictures that I saw of myself in costume. So ... Yeah, Monday was spent in a funk.
I went to do the Yoga Booty Ballet video I checked out from the library. Between the kids getting up to pee and answering the phone, I gave up.
If someone offered me liposuction for my thighs and butt and a full tummy tuck in exchange for my soul, I'd have been sorely tempted.
Dude, my period was LAST WEEK ... what's up with this????
Is this a November/Monday thing? Whatever it is, it sucked.

And I was all peeved that we only have the water heater set high enough that I run out of hot water halfway through filling up the bathtub. 

Stupid body issues. Stupid emotional rollercoaster.

So, yesterday was mostly spent crying, cleaning up the house a little, crying some more, drinking water, moping because the health challenge this week is about eliminating empty calories in one's diet (ON THE EXACT SAME DAY THAT I WANT TO BURY MY FACE IN A FEED BUCKET OF CALORIE-LADEN GLUTTONY) ... so I ate cottage cheese and honey-flavored Greek Yogurt with pumpkin/flax seed granola until I felt nauseated ... and I STILL wanted CANDYCANDYCANDY. But I didn't eat any. And I was OH SO PLEASANT to be around (<-- That there? Total sarcasm. TOTAL.) ... and I read a few more chapters of Beyond Heaving Bosoms after plodding through about 1,300 words for NaNoWriMo.

No, I don't know where it's going.

And I asked Michael what men think at the beginning of relationships. He didn't much care for that.

So: question for you, if you want to just satisfy my curiosity. And you can totally just email me if you're embarassed. I won't tell anyone.
What is the first thing you do/did you think when you see/saw an attractive member of the opposite sex?

Me? I always wondered if he was a good kisser and what it'd be like to kiss him.

Someone else who won't be named. But is a guy: What she looks like undressed.

(Are all guys like that? Just wondering. I wouldn't know. I'm not a guy.)

(And I really suck at picturing people naked. Really. It's like they're wearing black underoos.)

(If I didn't demand that I have a modest costume, it'd totally be HILARIOUS to have a black bra and black panties that read, in big, bold, white, capital letters: CENSORED. Don't you agree?)
(It could just be me.)
(Wouldn't surprise me. I'm kind of a total weirdo.)

(BUT, I totally couldn't wear that to a church Halloween party. NO. FLIPPING. WAY. Because it'd be inappropriate.)
(But I still find it rather hilarious.)
(Because, obviously, I have the sense of humor of a 12-year-old boy.)

But, yeah. To sum up: Yesterday was spent in a funk.

Today, I need to make two dinners -- one to take to a friend's house. I will go running/walking/whatever with Jenny (where I will breathe like a beached whale, since I've not be exercising by myself much. I just am not all that motivated.) ... and I will finish a load of dishes. And maybe fold some laundry. And drink 32 oz. of water.

And not eat the leftovers of THREE GINORMOUS BAGS of leftover Halloween candy.
(Because they're not Reese's PB cups, it's a little easier. ... And, am I getting totally OLD? Because Wonka's Bottle Caps don't taste as great. But I did eat all the packages of Gummi Bears before this health challenge.)

(WHAT?? They're LOW-FAT.)

(Yes, I am making a point of living in denial. ... Why can't I look like Romy and Michelle when THEY go on the diet of eating gummi bears, candy corn, and  ... something else. It's been a while since I've seen that movie. ... Speaking of, maybe I should get mono. That'd be "the best diet ever." ... Except for the fact that I can't afford to go to the doctor to get antibiotics ... Oh well.)

Okay, I think I've talked enough in parentheses.

I should finish up, do the dishes, and crank out at least one thousand words for NaNoWriMo ... *sigh*

Wanna Win a Bicycle? I do. ^_^

I don't know if you've heard of the Madsen bikes. I first heard about them from NieNie's blog.

And, really, my old bike (my dad's, back from when he could see) is in terrible condition. I don't think I've ridden it since my freshman year of college. I know that it needs a new chain. And probably more work that that, since it's as old as I am.

So ... the chance to win a bike. A bike that I could tuck my (helmeted, of course, since I'm a perfect worrywart) kiddos into the back of ... It's tempting. I could race us down the road to the library, lock up the bike and know that it'd still be there ... all the parts (I would think of taking my bike, if it worked, with the convertible jogging stroller/bike trailer ... but ... I obviously am too nervous to leave it outside for that long alone. There are too many parts that can come off. What if someone stole one of the trailer/stroller wheels?? I'd be hosed!).
If I had a bike that I could tuck the kiddos in, I might -- you know -- actually RIDE my bike around. It'd be simple to make a quick trip to Target or Safeway ... even to make a small pick-up at Costco. Or to church (in the summer, when it's not raining)! How cool would that be?

So, if you want to get in on the chance to win a pretty awesome bike (I've read the reviews), go and check it out.

Madsen Cycles Cargo Bikes

Because, hey, if I don't win, it'd be cool if one of my friends did.
And you might let me give it a try. Just around the block. Right?

So, best of luck!
(And, hey, if you want to wish Katie or me luck, that's most appreciated!)

Monday, November 01, 2010

Angsty

So ... after I worked on my costume ... I don't have any pictures where I don't look like I am carting a couple of tires under my shirt.

Grrrrrr. I HATE it when I look fatter than fat in pictures. Why can't pictures be just as delusional about how I look as I am????????????????

But, yeah, if they were my pictures, instead of the ones from my mother-in-law's camera (and, therefore, posted to HER facebook account), they'd never see the light of day.

I literally feel ILL by how fat I look in them.

Of course, it doesn't help that I'm slouching next to my skinny-skinny brother-in-law.

And then, I realize, that we don't have any pictures of me in my costume.

Gorramit.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Overheard in my house tonight

Michael (to me as we're looking through my Facebook feed):
It appears that your friends didn't dress that slutty for Halloween. ... 
WAY TO GO, FRIENDS!
 THIS, y'all, is why I love my husband.

I couldn't pay for better entertainment. ^_^

And then he shared chocolate milk with me.

Excellent. ^_^

Friday, October 22, 2010

Blearing awake ... to blog

So, where did we leave off, really?

Tuesday? Yes, Tuesday afternoon is where I need to pick back up. *sigh*
Jenny and I went for a walk around the park while Bruise and Bucket played.
And that was cut short due to two factors (Jenny's young'un was getting cranky ... and Bucket HIT A LITTLE BOY IN THE HEAD. *headdesk*) ... I put her in timeout as soon as the other moms around told me, while Jenny and I did a last lap, and then it was MANDATORY NAPTIME after she SCREAMED and CRIED and WHINED  for me to carry her all the way home.  *martyr look to the heavens* ... Not that she TOOK that d*** nap. And Heaven knows she NEEDED it...

And I needed to drive some folks out to the church in the next town  for Roadshow practice. I'm glad that I had another adult in the car, since I always get lost trying to find the church building in that town. (I don't go out east that way a whole lot. Especially since I can't afford chiropractic care. But my chiropractor out there is GREAT! ... Of course, I know a really good new one in the next town to the west, too. Not that I've ben able to afford to see him, but I've known him for years. ^_^)
SO, as I was saying, I started dinner ... and it ended up burning the crap out of itself after I left and Michael was talking to Miss Bucket-girl about why she hit the boy at the park (Because she did't want him to go down the slide and he did it anyway. NOT A GOOD REASON.)

Then, of course came storytime that I missed.
I teased Michael about it:
"So, Hon, I bet you read the title 'Bluebeard' and thought, 'Hey! A PIRATE story!'"

"Yes, pretty much," he admitted. "I mean, I REMEMBERED that he wasn't a really nice guy ... but I didn't remember the story much. And then it just kept getting worse and worse ... and I kept waiting for a moral. And there wasn't one. So I just finished with, 'That's kind of a HALLOWEEN story!'"

"Well, at least the kids didn't have nightmares. ... Still, honey!"

"Hey, it was right there in between Beauty and the Beast and Cinderella!! I didn't think it'd be that bad!"

*I think for a sec* "Ohhhhh .... it's a Perrault retelling, huh?" *laughs* "... I'll bet you're impressed I figured that out without thinking ."

And, yes, readers he was.
Of course, I do have to admit to being very well-acquainted with fairy tales, especially with this volume of fairy tales. I bought a set of Collier's The Junior Classics at a used bookstore years ago. Because my mom has a set. and I love it so. I grew up reading it. Primarily Volume One: Fairy Tales and Fables. They're sorted by country, just for your information.

Yes, I am a bit of a fairytale geek. Especially Grimm's Fairy Tales.
No wonder I'm sooooooo remarkably well-adapted. (/ sarcasm)

After storytime Wednesday, we did the usual -- McDonald's and I volunteered. Bucket behaved herself at the park while Mom watched her and Bruise.

Then I came home and we ran errands. We picked up stuff with the wonderful coupons that I had from Bath and Body Works (Bruise especially loves the Peppermint Twist fragrance). I picked up yarn to make my hat for Halloween (I started yesterday! I'm maybe 1/7 done. Phew!!), we went to Costco (where Bucket kept asking us to buy her a toy. No. She already got spoiled by the library ladies.) and then home to make dinner before Michael had to leave for his meeting.

So, Bucket got a little purse that was left and never claimed from the library's lost and found. And she wanted it to be JUST. LIKE. A. BIG. GIRL'S. ... So we put her Barbie compact (mirror and comb) in it. And a Hello Kitty lip gloss. And a little nail file. And a travel-sized tube of lotion. And one of Michael's old insurance cards. Mom gave her a Pocket-Bac from Bath and Body Works, too ... As we got gas at Costco, she piped up from the backseat, "I need a phone for my purse!!"
As Mom and giggled, I told her that she could use her Cinderella cell phone that is in her box at home.
(She's FOUR. She doesn't need a cell phone. Not a real one.)

(And, seriously, it's ADORABLE how much Bruise LOVES the B&BW Twisted Peppermint scent. He kept bringing up candles and testers of that scent to smell. How cute is he?? And he's being REALLY sparing with his Pocket-Bac. As opposed to Miss Bucket, who used hers up in 24 hours. ^_^)

Thursday, the kiddos had their doctor's appointment. Dr. R told me that they're VERY HEALTHY KIDS. (Phew!) And the kiddos did warm up to Dr. R (they haven't seen him for almost two years. Oops!) finally.
He is a really great guy. I'm glad he's the kids' pediatrician. ^_^

Then the kids had FIVE SHOTS EACH. (I opted to get their flu shot done and out of the way at the same time. I'm such a sadist.)
Bruise was brave ... he barely whimpered for the first two. The last three? He was crying and needed a snuggle. Poor dude.
Bucket? Started crying before the first needle touched her. I really can't help but laugh. But I did try to help them both, holding their hands and talking them through breathing through the pain.
And my mom was there to help and to supply Tootsie pops. And I nabbed stickers for them on the way out.

I was supposed to have a Stake Young Women's meeting last night. So I got dinner ready (something that couldn't burn. This time) and got dressed. Then I checked the online calendar, since I hadn't received an email about the meeting ... and it obviously got cancelled. YAAAAAAY!!!!
(I hate going to meetings. I am selfish with my time. I'll admit it. I'd rather be at home, putting my kiddos to bed.)
Of course, since the kiddos refused to nap earlier, they both conked out before we finished our chapter of Harry Potter.

And, that's really about it for now ...

Oh, and I "fixed" a friend's computer. Her web browser wouldn't load YouTube videos or run Pandora ... I was suddenly inspired and updated Java and Adobe Shockwave Flash ... EUREKA!! Yes, I don't often feel inspired, so I HAD to share. ^_^ Now, if you know of some good freeware DVD decoder, so she can watch dvds on her computer, that'd be AWESOME. (Windows Media Player isn't doing it. Bollocks, huh?)

Crazy Dream Chronicles - Crocodile Creek

Nothing in this dream made sense, really.

I was at my mom's place. And I was younger.
And there was this HUGE jar-within-a-jar, with the outer jar FULL of dead fruit flies. (Gross, huh??)
And so I filled them with water in the hall bathtub to soak, so I could pour them out and wash them.

And, as the jars soaked, some things started swimming around in there ... baby crocodiles. And they GREW SO FAST! After maybe an hour, I checked the jars and there were these, one at a time, four-foot-long (including their leathery tails) crocodiles. I took them, one at a time, down to the creek, since I couldn't figure out what else to do with them to throw them in.

At first, I somehow had Diana-cat in one hand (probably so the crocodile wouldn't bite her) and a crocodile in the other, and I threw Diana in the creek. (Don't worry. At best, the creek's only been up to my thighs when I was 12. At least by my folks' place. I mean, there are some deeper places, but not by my house.) She swam out, soaking, and THEN I threw the crocodile into the creek to swim away.
And then I had to fetch another to throw out.

And the crocodiles were coming faster and being more aggressive. I'd have to grab them and close their toothy mouths before running them out.

Yeah, I don't know what it means.

Then, in the other dream I recall, I was browsing through books donated to the library, for the Friends of the Library sales. There were TONS of Church History books. And I wanted them. But they were up on a shelf SO high in a room I wasn't supposed to be in anyways. It was gothicly frustrating.

I have issues.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Those children of mine ...

Bruise wanted us to buy him a Darth Maul Lego set, since we were headed to Target on Monday.

Michael: Bruise, I don't think they have any there.
Bruise: Well, then, yoo'll just hafta wook HARDER.

This morning, since I wasn't here to put the kids to bed last night ... I had noticed one of the volumes of fairy tales on a table.

Me: So, kiddos, which story did Daddy read to you last night?
Bucket: One about a man with a blue mustache. And he kills people. Wives that he marries.And puts them on his wall.

It tickles me that that's how she summarizes Bluebeard.

But the kids didn't have any nightmares, so that's all fine.

Blue mustache ... I'd understand blue WHISKERS ... Mustache. Ha.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The aftermath ... and more catch-up

Let's see ... so I last blogged ... a week ago. Oops.

What have I been doing? ...

Oh, that's right. I had books that were coming due, so I've been reading. I finished "Need" (supernatural - weres and pixies) and "Graceling" (fantasy). Wednesday was hanging with Mom and volunteering.

I MEANT to go running by myself (doing laps around the park while the kiddos played) Tuesday. However, I had a rare blast of motivation, so I grabbed the silverware basket out of the dishwasher and stepped toward the drawer to unload it.
Earlier that morning, Miss Bucket had spilled her yogurt and hadn't done a good job of cleaning it up. So, I stepped in the puddle of peach yogurt and slid/tripped/flew, spilling the silverware and landing on my ankle. CRAP!

I took some Tylenol and wrapped it and babied it for the rest of the day. (I did take off the wrap for volunteering Wednesday, since it needed to be used so I could run Saturday.) And, yes, I did yell at Miss B. I gave both the kids a stern talking-to about how EXACTLY their actions (or lack of actions) affect others.
(Since Bruise exclaimed, "WOW! That SCARE me WOTS!", I don't think they're about to repeat this scenario again anytime soon. Thank goodness.)

Thursday was the usual ... going to storytime and running with Jenny.
I was so tired out after everything that I TOTALLY FORGOT (as did Michael) about the Relief Society activity that evening. Michael had volunteered to babysit any young'uns that showed up. Good thing none did. We were pretty sheepish. Oh well.

Friday, after Michael got home, we went to the pumpkin patch and did the tractor ride. The kids picked out their pumpkins, played on hay bales, and went through a corn maze. And I turned in a library book that was overdue (I HATE having books overdue. At least, since I'm a volunteer, there's no fine. But still!!)

Saturday, I woke up, got my shower and pulled on some work-out clothes, since the day of reckoning had arrived! Michael and the kids came to cheer me on/take pictures. Jenny and I met up, got our numbers (we were sequential -- guess it was by alphabetical order -- at least of all the people who pre-registered), got our bags of swag and our new T-shirts, and enjoyed some free smoothies.

We were the last of the runners to finish. Mostly because I needed to walk most of the time. My stamina SUCKS. But Jenny made sure that we finished. ^_^ And, even sticking by my side, she came in third of our age/gender group! She totally got a ribbon!
I won a gift certificate in one of the door prize drawings, so that was cool, too.
Regardless, we're 5 minutes faster than when we started running just over a month ago!

And, oh, I was SO. SORE. We went home and Michael ran me a hot Epsom Salt-laced bath. Then I was pretty much out of commission for the rest of the day. I still gimp around a bit.

Sunday was pretty normal ... except I forgot to grab the bag of distractions for the kids for Sacrament Meeting. So I borrowed crayons, scratch paper, and a couple issues of The Friend (the Church's magazine for children) and we managed well enough.

Yesterday, Michael came home early so I could go to my doctor's appointment (A responsible citizen gets her pap smear. :P ... And, really, I hadn't had my lady-appointment since the kids were born. Oops!) by myself. I did have to have him run my birth certificate over (Hey, I don't have health insurance. We prefer to be able to buy groceries without putting them on the credit card, thanks.) to the clinic. But things went well enough.
I managed to pee in a cup without getting it all over my hand. That's a total improvement!
My ovaries feel very healthy. Always a plus!
The doctor and the nurses were all VERY nice.

At one point, I had to go into the lab and have my finger pricked (to see if I was anemic). One of the signs in the lab stated all sorts of things that were NOT permitted in the lab:

  • eating
  • drinking
  • applying cosmetics
  • mouth pipetting
So, since I am NOTHING if not full of maturiosity, I said, "Gosh, I was really looking forward to mouth-pipetting just now. I guess I'll just have to wait until I get home. Darn!"
And the nurses snickered.
And then I had to ask what, EXACTLY, mouth pipetting really is ... and they didn't really tell me. They just told me that it was really old-fashioned. And I nodded and smiled like I understood.
(Michael told me about it later.)

And I drove over afterwards, first to the post office and then to to Great-Grandpa's and Great-Grandma's (Michael's grandfolks), where Michael and the kids were, to visit.
Then we drove out cars back to the house and went grocery shopping.

We also bought a scale, since Michael and I are participating in a "Get Healthy" challenge. And it requires a weekly weigh-in. I'm not thrilled with how much I weigh ... at least I still weigh less than Michael. I mean, that's something. (DANG IT! I DEMAND TO FEEL DAINTY! That's why I always like boys that are taller and weigh more than I do! ^_^)

We also bought Diana-cat a new potty-box. The last one was over a decade old and was starting to break (crack). She's using the new one. YAY!!! And it's kinda pretty, too.

I finally broke down and turned on the heater yesterday morning. To 65F, since it was COLD. Now I feel pretty good. Not ready to break out my swimsuit and go tanning or whatever, but it's pretty good. ^_^

I think that's most of everything.

Well, here's a crazy dream chronicle from earlier this week: In part of my dream, I was a teacher assistant for a few teachers (you know, I made copies and such). And one of the teachers was Neil Gaiman. ^___^ And then, Brittney (from Glee. The cheerleader.) called me a slut. And I wasn't doing ANYTHING with any of the teachers. It was weird.

Oh, and so far this morning, I've done a load of laundry and I have half of the dishes done. Go me!!! (No to vacuum and put away a basket of the kids' clothes. I'm pretty awesome, huh? :P)

Counting ...

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