Friday, February 27, 2015

Puppy Time - Let the Cuteness Begin

Midlife crisis?  Half-empty nest?  Nah.  Just something we've been wanting to do for a long time...

I'm talking about, yes...WE'RE GETTING A PUPPY.  But not just any old puppy.

If you know me very well, which you probably don't, you might know that I've been wishing for an English Mastiff for years.  Well, the stars finally aligned, I held my mouth right, the timing is right--as in spring, when house-training doesn't include me going outside at 2 a.m. in the snow because WHAT THE HECK WHY DID WE EVEN DO THIS?  So, in 2-3 weeks we will be bringing home our newest family member.

I'm pretty sure the cats are NOT ready:
Louis and Jack.  Not ready.

Sam.  Also not ready.  WTH, guys?
We haven't decided on a name yet, because we always like to get to live with our new pets a bit before they sort of fit into a name, so I'm not sure what she'll be called, but here's what she looks like:

With me, at 9 weeks old. 

That face!

I can't even-   *swoons*
Here's her mom, already 195 pounds at 2 years old, and...
dad, who is 230 pounds.

hashtag whathaveIgotteninto

Friday, February 20, 2015

I May Have Missed My Calling

Do you ever find yourself suddenly blurting out songs and/or movie lines but randomly change some of the lyrics to suit whatever moment you're in?

I do this all the time sometimes, but yesterday, it happened twice in one day with our youngest.  I think she's pretty sure I may need therapy.

We walked in from the car, and I can't remember what she did, but an old Mary Catherine Gallagher skit from SNL popped into my head, where the guest was Gabriel Byrne (or Rosie O'Donnell?) playing a Catholic school headmaster auditioning students for the spring musical or something.
Remember her?
Me:  Yes, that's not too..nice...Mary Catherine.

Oldest:  What?

Me:   It's a reference from an old Saturday Night Live thing.

Her:  Who's Mary Catherine?

Me:  It's from...before you were born.  But it was hilarious.

Her:  ...

Me:  Nevermind.

Later the same night.  We're all sitting in the living room, and we were looking at a little braided ankle bracelet that our oldest made for her out of strings with her new school colors. I couldn't help it...I just heard Cyndi Lauper's 1986 raspy voice in my head, and I started singing:


Her:  Wow.

Me:  Ok, I'm done now.

I may have missed my calling.  I wonder if they're still auditioning for American Idol...

Am I the only one who mystifies my children with my randomly "awesome" musical ability? Ever embarrass your kids with some hidden talent that should possibly remain hidden?

P.S.  I found the link to the whole Gabriel Byrne skit, which doesn't have my lines in it, but still.  Here you go

Ah, I found it!   Here's the skit with Rosie (and the incomparable Whitney Houston).

You're welcome.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Menopausal Mornings and Such

Sometimes I just sit down and start writing whatever’s in my head and hit *Publish* without even thinking.  Other times, I actually open a Word document and sit contemplating ACTUALLY writing.  You know, with correct punctuation, less liberal use of the word “totally”, and a real topic, possibly even a meaningful one.  I often have topics I’d like to write about or stories to tell, which aren’t necessarily, um…family friendly, so I do struggle sometimes with the idea of switching to an anonymous blog, and who knows? Someday I may.  For now, though, I will confine myself to those stories which I can share with not only the whole world, but also basically all of my family and friends. 

Which brings me to, yes, menopause.  I think.  I know I’m the right age, and I would hasten to add that I won’t subject you to a bunch of weirdness, but I woke up last night feeling like WHY IS IT 150 DEGREES IN THIS BEDROOM RIGHT NOW and—bam—there it was.  My answer was the dreaded word: Menopause.  I don’t even like that word; it’s kind of unattractive all by itself.  I’m going to think of a new name for it, like maybe “Freedom from childbirth (and associated other random female issues which shall remain nameless but you know who you are)” or the “Fashion rules do not apply to me anymore” time of life. 
Yes please.

Let’s recap, shall we?

Hot flashes.  I’m pretty lucky so far, since all I’ve experienced in the last year and a half have been fairly minor hot(ish) flashes.  More of a general sudden heating-up of my internal self, where I ask everyone “Are you warm? Is it warm in here, or is it me?” 

*stares at that last sentence*   Oh my gosh—I’m turning into my mother-in-law.

I started taking several herbal supplements that have almost completely eliminated the hot-flash sensation, although they immediately heat back up whenever I forget to take the supplements.  Hence, the overheating last night. 

Insomnia.  I get that anyway, and always have (like last night—I slept in bursts of 45 minutes at a time, I think.  All night.  Awesome).  So I’ll leave that for another time (like here, and here, and here)

Mood swings.  HAHAHAHAHAHA.  *weeps*

The herbs are helping here, too, in a huge way.  But, oh my GOSH you guys.  When I forget to take them?  HAHAHAHAHAHAAAA   *weeps and throws things* 

Yeah.  Not cool.  I can tell when I’ve forgotten the supplements.  Let me walk you through a normal morning when I forget them.  Usually I can tell because there is a feeling, which, at its most vague, feels like an out-of-control, crazy feeling inside, like I might suddenly start crying and throwing things because my phone froze up for 10 extra seconds.

L:et me know if you can relate:

I see the blue sky and longer days of spring, and I feel an exhilarating joyous hopefulness because the sun is out and it’s spring again, and a long and dark winter is again behind us.  It was harder than I will tell you, and I'm SO glad it's over.  Then I tear up, because my yard is a disaster.

And I’m not getting any younger.  Every day that goes by sometimes feels like I missed a chance to change the world or be...more.  Or something.  Like a silent ticktockticktockTICK. TOCK.

I’m filled with a deep grateful yearning to see the vegetables that will sustain our family, growing in the garden again, and then I’m crying because…I don’t even know why I’m crying.  Possibly because my living room is still all reds and browns and the latest issue of Better Homes has all these pretty pastel green and white kitchens that aren’t mine and new perfect furniture that doesn’t have cat hair and claw damage to every inch of it. 

Then I brighten up and think, someday we’ll replace all the furniture, but we want to get a dog first, and everyone knows puppies are hard on stuff, so we better wait to get new furniture until after the new puppy.  But I can’t afford the English Mastiff puppy I want until I get a car (long story, but we’re renting one), and I don’t see that happening anytime soon, so back to the torn-up furniture, and maybe I should just cancel my subscription to BH&G and those perfectly coordinated living rooms that make me cry.

I find myself loving my new washer and dryer set (which my amazing mother surprise-gifted to us for an anniversary gift, out of the blue, right exactly when my old set died and I was hang-drying our clothes by the fire two weeks ago).  Then I find myself crying because, “Is this all I do every day? Laundry and floors and dishes??”  

I am thrilled that our kids are so beautiful and well-adjusted and happy in their schools and their lives, and then I’m stupidly putting birthday cards back at the store because I don’t want to be crying, right there in the aisle, reading something simple like, “Happy birthday to a beautiful daughter."  Just put the card in the cart and walk away, lady.

I am deeply saddened by the news that an old friend from high school just lost her husband suddenly and is left a young widow with two small children, and then I feel fiercely grateful for my husband, who I love with every fiber of my being.  Then I’m disappointed in myself for every night that we don’t spend reminding ourselves how much we matter to each other, or I’m crying because of the sheer bittersweet depth of that emotion.

I might or might not be tearing up, just writing that.

I feel empowered by the fact that I have applied my brain and my tongue to studying and learning French, every single day since last June.  I am accomplishing something, and it’s hard.  Then I’m weepy, because…I may never even meet a French person, let alone travel to France.  Which is OK—the world seems to be on fire right now anyway.  It's alright to just learn stuff. Right? *dries tears again* 

I am exultant because my daughter and I have made a new commitment to go the gym every day after school, and we have done it for the last about 40 days.  We have completely changed the food we buy and the way we eat, and that’s awesome.  Then I get on the scale and want to literally tear my hair and beat myself because the number has NOT EFFING CHANGED.  I can’t do any more than what I’m already doing.  I will keep going to the gym, and I will keep living on non-processed, raw, whole foods, either way.  But really?  You’d THINK it would at least reward me with a few pounds, right??  How is that asking too much??  Digressing. 

I am conversely and rebelliously feeling kind of bad-ass, though, because part of me wants to flip off the entire youthful-appearance-seeking world and all those who write “What not to wear after 30 (or 40, or 50)” articles and shout, “I will wear whatever I feel like because it’s MY LIFE and I LIKE MY CLOTHES.  I am not changing them because I had a birthday, and there is nothing you can do about it!”  

It’s nice to realize that I am secure enough in myself to absolutely NOT CARE what anyone, anywhere, thinks of what I’m wearing, or not wearing.

And if my body doesn’t reward my efforts by going back to my 10-years-ago weight, then maybe I will adjust myself to realize that, if I’m healthy and getting exercise and eating right, and the number on the scale’s not budging (and it’s not, people), then maybe I need to get used to the fact that this is the body I have.  It has gotten me through many years, and it is healthy and beautiful and strong, and I should forgive it and be more grateful for what it IS. (But I still do hate it, a little, because I know those size 4 Calvin Kleins are still lurking in my closet, taunting my fat butt to go ahead and try to fit back into them.)

Combine all of these, and then put them in the space of…this morning, and you have some idea what the “change of life” feels like for me.  

I have to go now.  I have seeds to plant, a workout, a French lesson, and some laundry to do.  

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Got It! I Chose My New Vanity Plate Title!

I'm totally still here, just haven't written in forever.   I do have a lot of ideas rattling around in my head that haven't quite become a post yet, but in the meantime, between living the good life, running loads of laundry, and solving world hunger...I DID totally think of a vanity plate for my car.
No, not this.  But I'd also totally get this one, seriously.

Not that I *have* a car, but you know...when I do again, I'm leaning towards totally getting this on the license plate:


(Translation:    COULD YOU -  NOT ???)  Because lately that is all I find myself saying to pretty much everyone I meet.

*Whispers    or...maybe it's me?*

Possibly I'm invisible.  Or my car is invisible.  Or I'm just really good at ALWAYS BEING IN PEOPLE'S WAY or something, but seriously-- lately, all I get from people, at the grocery store, in parking lots, and on the road, is that look like: "WHAT THE ACTUAL HECK are you doing right there in my way????"

So I feel like I'm always telling them:  "Could you NOT ??? ...
1.  ..pull out in front of me while I'm driving through a green light?

2.  ..stop suddenly in front of my 200-pound shopping cart?

3.  ..sneak behind my car while I'm backing out of a spot?

4.  ..tailgate me when there are like 50 cars ahead of me already, and they're ALL going 27 mph in a 55 mph zone?  Yes.  I KNOW we're going too slow.  I didn't start this party.

5.  ..pull UP the DOWN lane in the already-tiny parking lot at the gym and then look at ME like I suddenly materialized in the lane in a UFO?  (hello, crazy lady from today's episode of 'parking at the gym" Are you high?)  

I think she actually was...seriously.  I had to mouth at her:  "NO.  LET ME GET OUT OF YOUR WAY."   Because she tried to actually squeeze a FULL-SIZED SUBURBAN PAST ME, in a single-lane situation.  I could not believe how hard she tried.  Like, do you seriously NOT see me right now? I'M RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DAMN LANE!!!  YOU CAN NOT FIT THAT CAR THROUGH HERE.

So.  Right now the whole idea of "COULD YOU - NOT ???"  seems to just fit every single incident of my life lately.

Except for "Could you my blog?"  Because that would be weird and probably just rude, and then I'd be all just writing for no one but myself, which I kind of already do, but still, *you* are the exception.  I missed you.  :)

How about this, instead?
Maybe it would remind me to actually do it.  ;)

Monday, December 29, 2014

A Post About Nothing. Because Christmas Break, OK?

I know.  I KNOW, I haven't posted in like forever (and ever), but, you, and stuff.

I'm still in total vacation mode, which means I'm still in slippers and a t-shirt at noon, and my reflection in my laptop screen is screaming COULD YOU PLEASE AT LEAST BRUSH YOUR HAIR??!?  For the love, woman.  I can only hope the 5" of new snow we got (and haven't shoveled off the walkway) and today's 40+ mph winds and blowing snow will deter anyone from ringing my doorbell to tell me I've possibly won 200 million dollars, because wouldn't that just suck?  You should see what I'm wearing.  Not even kidding:  green shirt, slouchy hand-knit turquoise-and-grey-striped socks (that I made), and red slippers.  It's that bad.  (Also the shirt is very long, but it does highlight my unshaved calves nicely).

Vacation mode also means I can't think hard enough to recall or compose any fun Time Traveler stories or re-write lyrics to Christmas songs to match housewife-ly standards, like "On the 5th day of Christmas, my true love gave to meeeeeeee....FIVE DUST BUNNIES, four calling in-laws, three French breadsIcan'teat, two rubber dish-gloves, and a DUSTPAN FU-ULLL OF DIRT."  Besides, that's been done (probably a LOT, and by much funnier authors).

Instead, I thought I'd update today with one of those things that I think should get more attention, and since the media is so busy with, you know, newsy stuff, I'm just going to say it.  I'm talking about, yes, blue sourpatch kids.  

Oh yes. *whispers*  I went there.

I'm still up in arms about them, but no one has done anything about it. I had almost lost hope and was reduced to wandering around the house muttering to myself and eating Christmas cookies, and then I found THIS in my Christmas stocking, from my oldest, who understands my pain.
I can't tell you how much this made me laugh

Seriously.  Stop.
Aside from this vital update on current affairs...I hope everyone had a beautiful Christmas Day, and I wish you a happy New Year!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

I Can't Remember What They're Called...but I May Have Just Created One

You know, where something happens, and that causes something else to happen, which couldn't happen unless the first thing had/hadn't happened, but neither can happen without the other, and then you're back where you started?

One of those.  Worm hole? Time-space continuum? Time warp?  Chicken crossing the road?  No, wait--


It's time to decorate the house because CHRISTMAS.  Which is my favorite time of year, except summer.  My life pretty much revolves around "When's summer?" and "When's Christmas?"

Guys.  To fully decorate our house, it means basically A TREE IN EVERYSINGLEROOM OF THE WHOLE ENTIRE HOUSE.  Seriously.  I think there are like 9 now, even one in a bathroom.  Two 6-foot, three 4-foot, one 3-foot, two 18", and one 12" which doesn't really count, but 9 sounds better than 8 when I'm making up lists of why I have too much to do or  making holiday predictions, right?  Let's just call it an even dozen.

The time warp/worm hole/quantum thing comes into effect, though, because, to decorate I need to have a plate of Christmas cookies.  And I haven't made Christmas cookies yet.  And I can't even HAVE Christmas cookies because I'm on a whole-food/one-ingredient/raw food type diet (which is working, but it's not like it's FUN or anything), so why make them?  And if I can't have Christmas cookies, which I haven't baked, I can't decorate, and I can't decorate unless I make cookies first and have a little plate while decorating the tree, and I can't make cookies because--

You can see where this is going, right? 
Also, decorating means pulling some of the decorations and trees out of the attic, which means moving stuff out of the garage to get TO the attic.  And of course, while we're up there, we should take some stuff UP there that's been sitting in the garage since, like, August.  Try not to look around and find anything that I forgot about.  HEY! WHY IS MY PUNCH BOWL UP HERE?  OH LOOK, THEIR BABY TOYS!!!

Focus! You came up here for trees.

Actually, the bulk of our holiday decor is in the backbackback of the coat closet, in a dark cavern under the stairs, and that means pulling out EVERY SINGLE COAT, HAT, AND BOOT to pull out all the boxes, which in itself never thrills me, because then I start thinking we should totally give away some of these coats because for the love of God, WHY DO WE HAVE SO MANY COATS?  And then I start sorting gloves and wondering the same thing, except with the addition of why can't they stay matched UP, and why doesn't Shane have any boots?  I should have a cookie.

It also means trying to figure out where to put the big tree in the living room--there are only two choices--and either one means moving ALL THE FURNITURE around, which means OMG LOOK AT ALL THAT DUST, and then I have to sweep and vacuum and possibly look for a new house or at least fire the maid.

hahahAHAHAHAHAHAHA    ...yeah, no.  There's no maid here.

Anyway.  I HAVE to decorate, because we are also having The Christmas Party here this year.  Which means, like, 60 people and 10,000 varieties of finger food and lots of laughing our heads off, (and lots of cookies), and I can't start all THAT until the trees are up, and the trees can't go up because no COOKIES.  I don't even know if I can do this without baking first.

I could just bake some.  But then I'd have to do dishes first, and possibly go the store because I'm pretty sure I'm low on butter, which means I'd have to also get dressed (and find some cash), and that's just too much right now.  I've only been up for an hour, so this all seems like too much on my (cookie-less) plate.


Well, I guess I'll go stare into that closet now.  Thanks for listening.
Jack, enjoying the tree   2013

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

No Computer for a WEEK = *UNHAPPY FACE*


What the actual heck? I feel like I just got back from the stone age.  Or time traveled back to a time where businesses were run with a pencil and note pad.  Maybe even carbon copies.  Because, our computer died.


I can't--even-- just, whaaaat.

Well.  It was like 10,000 years old.  I'm pretty sure the Windows 7 screen was in hieroglyphs.

So.  I just spent a WEEK without access to our bank account, except through my phone screen (thank God for Android!!).  A week with no access to our over 4,000 customer names and histories and info, except to sit and stare at the zip drive which I SO WISELY zipped off our dying old computer before it completely gave up the ghost.
I have been hand-writing schedule stuff on a printed-out schedule, with an actual pencil.  I have a notebook full of notes, schedule changes, reminders, order changes, payment info, and customer requests.  I think I actually have a pencil behind my ear right now.  I have a stack of receipts and a hand-written "check register" that I tried to reconstruct using only my phone/bank/account online and my razor-sharp memory.  (Which means, I have no idea how much money we have/don't have.)

Nothing worked beyond this screen
My biggest dilemma was that I use a program for customer scheduling and data that integrates with Quickbooks, and Intuit kindly stopped making it and didn't replace it with a newer, better program.  It just...doesn't exist any more.  And the old version we use...doesn't work with Windows 8.  It can be saved as a spreadsheet-type file and probably reloaded into some new database (read:  SUPER PAIN IN THE BUTT CHORE OF A LIFETIME), but the bad news is: there is no way to transfer all the history/notes off that program and into any other program, except to manually go into 4,000+ names and click on each history note and copy/paste it somewhere to transfer to a new program.  Thanks Intuit.  I owe you one.

And we have 12 years' worth of notes.  For over 4,000 customers...multiplied by the speed of light and the centrifugal force of x/pi + a divided by one really frustrated business owner, equals....

aaiiiieeeeeeeee   *faints*

So naturally I have been moderately to severely freaking out for the past 6 months, while our old laptop limped along and randomly sometimes just refused to start (at ALL).

Knowing this was coming, I (see above) WISELY zipped everysinglefile off the old computer during its last attempt to live, onto a new zipdrive, so we didn't lose anything.  So, other than completely (and I mean really) freaking out that we might be losing our notes as described above, we were safe.

Being relatively sure that 12 years of my carefully recorded notes were lost to us forever, but not our actual customer list, I dragged my bereft self into Best Buy last week to the sound of a mournful dirge, and asked the Best Buy Geek what to do.

He looked at me like, DUH, and said, "Just buy another Windows 7 computer."

* O__O *

Me:  What?

Him:  Yeah.  Just go online and order another computer with Windows 7.

Me:  You can DO that??

Him:  Uh...yeah...

Me:  *nothing*

Actually, I may have hugged him, or at least high-fived him.  And added him to my Christmas card list for the rest of his life.  

Long story short(er), I ordered a Windows 7 computer, all my programs loaded, all our backup files restored, and I am not ashamed to say I actually cried a little with joy when I saw all of them again last night.  Kind of like stepping out of a time machine and realizing you're actually home.  Land!!

Huge cleansing sigh.

So, the good news is:  I bought us a couple more years before we have to revert back to the above paragraph where I get to freak out about losing our customer info AGAIN.  Only then it will be like 15 years' worth of data...*starts to hyperventilate*

Focus, please.

In the meantime, I missed reading blogs and commenting on them, because typing comments or blog posts on an Android screen is like a special kind of punishment, so, YAY I'M BACK.

I can't even TELL you how glad I am to see my familiar old work screens again.  I'm thinking I should buy about 4 more of these computers to cover me until I retire...

P.S. Anyone looking for a really boring job building a whole new database and then transferring about 5 billion history notes into it, one by one, in about 3 years, please raise your hand.
My new favorite picture IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD EVER