December 28, 2014

Book Review: The Chaperone

Before we get to the review, look at what has me smiling today!

I bought this orchid last year, despite the fact they seem intimidating.  Perhaps because they are so beautiful and delicate?  Shortly after I bought it, all the blooms fell off.  In a moment of rashness, I trimmed it back without consulting the almighty Google and then immediately regretted it, wondering if I had doomed it.  I went to water it this morning and look!  Five new buds getting ready to pop.  I can't wait.

Anyway, back to the main point.  I recently picked up The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty.  This book was inspired by the life of Louise Brooks, a silent-film star.  Somehow I completely missed that fact until late in the book.  Now, to be honest, before I'd read this book, I had never heard of Louise Brooks.

And if you haven't either, don't let that stop you from reading this book.  I thoroughly enjoyed every page.

From the book jacket:  In 1922, only a few years before she will become a famous film actess and an icon for her generation, a fifteen-year old Louise Brooks leaves Wichita for a summer in New York City and the avant-garde Denishawn school of dance.  Much to her annoyance, she is accompanied by a thirty-six year old chaperone.  Cora Carlisle is neither mother nor friend, just a respectable neighbor whom Louise's parents have hired for propriety's sake.  But upstanding, traditional Cora has her own private reason for making the trip.

Of course, Cora has no idea what she's in for: young Louise, already stunningly beautiful and sporting her famous black bob, is known for her arrogance, her disregard for convention, her keen intelligence.   ....Ultimately, the five week they spend together will be the most important of her life.

This book takes turns that you will never see coming.

I don't generally do historical fiction - why, I don't know.  Every time I do, I end up enjoying the book and this one is no exception.

December 26, 2014

The Aftermath

Well, Christmas is behind us.  That really went fast didn't it?

As I'm sure you are curious; the Scavenger Hunt went really well.  Man-Child enjoyed it immensely and I sense a new tradition in the making.

Today was the day he went in for the extraction of all four wisdom teeth.  He was pretty nervous about it, particularly about being put under; which I completely understood.  He's never had any kind of surgery.  He even made it through toddler-hood without having to have tubes in his ears.  He also made me pinkie promise not to take any pictures or videos after he came out.  I suppose he didn't want to go viral like these two did....

To be honest, I hadn't even thought about taking pictures or video before he made me swear not to do so.

When I had my teeth out many, many moons ago, they brought me out of recovery in a wheelchair and handed me over to the Husband (he wasn't the Husband back then though) and he tells me what I was incoherent, drooling, and shaking uncontrollably and he was shocked when the nurse told him I was free to go.  He didn't want to take me in that condition, but he did.  True love, I suppose.  I was just hoping that Man-Child didn't have that kind of reaction as it would have completely freaked me out.

When they brought me back to Man-Child while he was in recovery, he was coherent and gave me a thumbs up when I asked how he was.  He was even able to walk himself (with the nurse helping) to the car.  There was none of the random rambling like in the above video.  About the only thing he did do that was funny was bark out "SPOON!" when I went through the drive-through to get him a milk shake and the guy asked if we needed a straw; which is a definite no-no after oral surgery.

The Husband came home from work early so that I wouldn't have to somehow navigate Man-Child into the house by myself in the event he reacted to the anesthesia the way I did.

At first, he was resistant to taking the pain medication.  But eventually, the drugs they'd given him earlier wore off and he finally agreed to take some medication after having a little soup.  Now, he's resting comfortably on the couch.  I don't think he fully realized just how much this was going to knock him for a loop as he had wondered prior to the surgery if he would be able to go out with his buddies tonight.  Now he realizes that is not possible.

He has been freaked out about the copious amounts of blood he's lost.  For a while he was convinced that something was wrong.  There is nothing wrong.  He had four teeth extracted; there's bound to be some blood.

It's hard seeing him in so much pain and knowing that I made him do this - but it needed to be done.  And as the surgeon said, it's much better to get it done earlier rather than later.

So, I've been doing the mom thing and fussing.  I've made him pudding, brought him milkshakes, bought soup and rolled his gauze for him.  I've also promised him an amazing meal, wherever he wants, once he's all healed.

I'm not the only one doing the fussing.  The Husband was not pleased with the milk shake that was initially purchased, as it had chocolate chips (how was I to know?  It wasn't in the description).  And went to purchase one that was plain.  He has made soup and grits and cajoled Man-Child to take some pain medication.

I expect that by tomorrow, he will be feeling a bit better - albeit really sore - and that by Sunday he will be feeling much better.

To be honest?  I'm glad this is one milestone that is behind us.

December 23, 2014

Christmas Eve Eve Update

My mother in law just called to thank my husband for her gifts.  The gifts that I bought, wrapped and sent.


I love this woman - how could I not, we are twins after all.  But honestly?  Buying gifts for her is never an easy task...even if we are practically twins.  And it seems she has asked that "we" not buy her any more plants because she's not a "plant" person, nevermind the fact that she has a sunroom FULL of plants or the fact she loved it the last time "we" bought her a winter bloomer.

But, according to my husband, the other gifts "we" bought her were perfect.  Of course, they are.  I bought them - special coffee and books.  She gets the same damn thing every year and doesn't seem to want any variety thrown into the mix.

That's fine.  If that's how she wants it, that's how it will be.  It's certainly easier than trying to rack my brain for something for this woman who has - or could easily buy - everything she could want.  And really?  I can't blame her.  When the guys ask me what I want for Christmas I invariably ask for the same things (new slippers and my favorite perfume) too.  As I said, twins.

Despite the fact that I know she really doesn't want anything more than coffee, books and maybe something sweet; I am sure that next year will find me racking my brain for something a little extra to throw into the box.

At any rate, at this point, most of my shopping is done - maybe a stocking stuffer or two left to pick up tomorrow.  I have somehow managed to save the scavenger hunt and even have all the clues done and ready to hide, no thanks to the Husband.  Yes, I have forgiven him by now, but I haven't forgotten - he's not to be trusted.

The cookies have been made.  How I absolutely adore Spritz cookies...until I have to make them.  But then, I guess it just isn't Christmas until I've wrestled the beast cookie press and wondered for the millionth time WHY the recipe claims to make 6-7 dozen and I only get maybe 2-3 dozen out of it?  It's for the best, I suppose, because God knows I don't need to eat 6-7 dozen cookies!

The almond bark and the Oreo truffles have been made - and are already almost gone; as are the cookies, thanks to Man-Child.  I've had to hide a few of each away to have some left to give to friends.

We are expecting to have an extremely quiet Christmas with just the three of us this year.  The friends we usually celebrate with at some point between Christmas Eve and Christmas are actually spending the holiday with their family across the country.

And then on Friday, normalcy resumes; theoretically.  Man-Child is having his wisdom teeth extracted.  Don't question me on the wisdom (see what I did there?) of having them removed the day after Christmas; that was his bright idea.

He's very nervous about it - mainly the being put under part - I don't blame him but am trying to soothe his nerves - as you can tell by all the sweets mentioned above.  I'm sure it will all go fine - but still I must ask that you keep him in your thoughts Friday afternoon.

Odds are good, I won't pop back in for a few days, so I wish you and all your loved ones a very Merry Christmas.


December 18, 2014

Stick-on bows or ribbons?

That's the question today...which do you prefer?

My mother always used the stick-on bows, because it was easy.  But, much like my love for stationery, my heart has always been with real ribbon, especially when I realized it is reusable.  With the advent of wired ribbon, my love has only deepened...particularly since I could never quite figure out how to make a beautiful bow from regular ribbon.  Until....I stumbled across this video

I LOVE the did we live without it in the good old days?

This video immediately sent me on the hunt for the ribbon mentioned on the video.  Guess what?  I couldn't find it anywhere.  When I Googled it, I discovered that's because the company has been bought.  Of course, despite multiple Googling efforts, I have been unable to discover which Offray ribbon is comparable to the C&G Pattern 800.  So I compromised.  I used something that looked like what she used.  And it worked okay.

Now that I think I've mastered the perfect bow - I've decided that for the family Christmas presents, it's just not that practical since you completely mangle the ribbon undoing the present, but for other gift giving occasions it would be totally appropriate.  Because presentation makes every gift that much more special, don't you think?

As I mentioned above - I absolutely adore the Internet.  It gives me the opportunity to learn how to do all those things I've always wanted to know how to do.  So what about you - what fabulous new thing have you recently learned thanks to the Internet?

December 15, 2014

OMG...I married a blabber-mouth.

It started out as a nice, quiet morning.  I was working on a crossword puzzle, Man-Child was doing whatever he does on the computer when the Husband walked in and said to Man-Child,

"Hey, I need to tell you...don't go in our closet because your gift is in there."

He was then puzzled when my head snapped up, I shot him a look of disbelief and then promptly began banging my head on the table in an effort to keep from killing him right then and there.

WHY would he say that?  WHY?

First of all, why in the HELL would you tell someone where you had hidden their gift?  That's just stupid.

Secondly, and MOST IMPORTANTLY, we had talked about it two days ago when we purchased this particular gift.  It is awkward to wrap and if I somehow managed to get it wrapped, the shape alone would give it away.  So I told him to leave it in the closet and that I would work up a scavenger hunt.

The plan was perfect.  Until, for whatever asinine reason, he opened his mouth.

I suppose I could find somewhere else to hide the damn gift (where?! This place is too small to have a plethora of hiding places) if, and only if, he learned his lesson and didn't mention to Man-Child exactly WHY I was mad at him.

The whole point of the scavenger hunt was to be part of the surprise; if you know it's coming it's not the same.

To say that I am irritated with him is quite the understatement.  The big, blabber-mouth.

December 13, 2014

Let's DO this....

I've finally got it ("it" being Christmas) under control.  Hallelujah.

Yesterday was the start of my extra long vacation - it appears that I will be off until the new year (pretty much - I fully expect to pop in to the office at least once or twice before then).

The tree has been standing in the corner for at least a week, bare except for the lights.  And you know what?  A tree with lights is pretty beautiful all on its own.

I think that is a major revelation for me.  

For many, many years I obsessed over the tree.  And pretty much everything else.  But after living through the unemployment, and not really enjoying the holiday due to the stress, I've learned to let it go.


Tonight, we decorated the tree as a family.  The tree isn't "Pinterest Perfect."  So what?  It's still beautiful....and you won't find me secretly rearranging it when no one is looking; because it's pretty much perfect just the way it is.

As a family, we laughed over the memories that some ornaments brought to mind.  We laughed when Man-Child dropped, and broke, the pink "Baby's First Christmas" ornament (WHY it was pink is still a mystery after all these years).  We laughed, even after I somehow sliced my palm on a glass icicle.  Ouch!

The baking isn't done...but I've still got time.  And, realistically?  How much baking do I really NEED to do?  Not much.

As for the house hunt, it has been determined; I've been very open to every house we've seen.  I can say with no reservations that there have been at least three houses that I've seen which could work...with some renovations.

Here's the deal, the Husband really doesn't want to live with renovations; since he finds a reason to nix each and every house.  Didn't I predict this some time back?  But yet. he's still not quite ready to commit to building.  *sigh*  So the hunt continues.

But despite the housing woes (I am really ready for a new home!), life is good and I have no complaints.  Come on Christmas...I'm ready.

December 2, 2014

Wasting time...

That's all I seem to have done in this past week that I've been off work.

Oh sure, in a fit of guilt, I actually cleaned the house today. but that's about all that has been accomplished.

Christmas gifts that need to be purchased are still unpurchased.

I have that list of "wishes" from the family.  And they fall into three categories.

1) Ain't ever gonna happen in a million years - just forget it and give me a realistic list already, Man-Child.

2) That is the MOST ridiculous request - if I buy it, I KNOW you will never use it, dear Husband.

3)  Okay, that is a reasonable request and I know it will be used...but if I buy it and the Husband checks our bank account - as he is known to do - he will then know that I have purchased the item because why else would I be purchasing anything from that particular store?

So you see my dilemma, yes?

Despite the fact that I've accomplished nothing of value, if you discount my clean house (and you shouldn't, because that was the busiest I've been in over a week!). since last Wednesday I'm soothing myself with the fact that I still have ten more vacation days to try and get it all together.

I had hoped to at least do some minimal decorating around here today.  Only to discover that our Christmas boxes are nowhere to be found.  I vaguely recall sending a bunch of things to Goodwill last year, I'm hoping I didn't completely lose my mind and send it all.  I'm sending the Husband up into the attic this weekend (ssh, don't tell him.  It's a surprise!) - so fingers crossed that it's there because if it's not, then we don't have any decorations at all.

I also had planned to do some baking today - for the ingrates my you can tell from the lack of cookie aroma around here that didn't get done either.

So what have I done all day?  Who knows.  It seems, upon reflection, that I spent an inordinate amount of time driving around today (where? why? It's not like I came home with any Christmas presents) and even more time just cruising along on the internet...Alice thought she fell down a rabbit hole?  HA!  That was a cake-walk compared to the internet.

So tomorrow, I go back to work where, presumably, I will be productive and busy...

November 25, 2014

The "Catch Up" post

My last post made it sound like I was at the end of my rope...and I was.

But things have calmed down just a titch since then and I'm feeling a bit more in control.

The house hunt continues - but the intensity of it has slowed down considerably.  I suspect this is mainly due to the time of year bringing very few houses on the market.  We have looked at a couple that could work...with renovations.  In some cases, extensive renovations.  And, each and every time, the Husband has declared that to be too much.

Apparently, he can't deal with the stress of building a house or renovating one.  At this point, it looks like we will be living in this townhouse forever.

Vacation time is now in full swing.  I'm off until next Wednesday and after that?  Well, considering how much vacation time I've racked up and not used, theoretically, I will only be working seven days in December.  I say theoretically because I have offered up my previously guarded cell phone number and have offered to come in as necessary.  *sigh*  There is just far too much going on for me NOT to make myself available.  And truthfully?  With that much time off, it might actually be a relief to go in every once in a while.

I know that the call won't come unless it's absolutely necessary though.

The Christmas cards?  Yes, they are coming along.  In fact, they have taken over my dining room table and I need to deal with that before Thursday.  But, I must say that I am kinda impressed with the results.  Not enough to post pictures, but enough to mail them (so let's call that progress and move along).

And speaking of Thursday, it turns out that it will only be the three of us for Thanksgiving this year.  We had invited friends, but turns out they can't make it.  The Husband is disappointed.  Apparently, he feels that we don't appreciate his efforts as much as outsiders.  (He's delusional.  He cooks.  We appreciate!)

Which calls to mind a subject that I probably shouldn't touch on, but shall we chat for a moment about the spammer that's been hitting my (and others) inbox?  

He(?) claims to be an American man boycotting American's a tip, pal...if you want to spread your so called "message"virus, malware? you might just want to move on to blogs that aren't hosted by American women, or in fact, any woman, because we WILL delete that shit nonsense immediately. 

With all this vacation time looming, I have a feeling that our checking account it about to take a major hit as I begin to seriously whittle down those Christmas wish lists - with a few things thrown in for me.  Of course.

I have told my family that the longer they wait to give me their "reasonable" gift lists the more I will spend on myself, which will result in less being spent on them.  I'm hoping that spurs them along in their gift list far?  No such luck (any ideas for a the guys in my life?  Because, seriously, at this point I'm at a loss).

So it appears our Thanksgiving is going to be a quiet one; but after the insanity of the past few weeks, I'm actually kinda looking forward to it.  Whatever your plans may be, I wish you all the very, very best and want you to know that I am always counting you among my blessings, because without you, I'd truly be insane.

No, I'm not even kidding.

November 20, 2014

Nothing short of insanity.

Yup.  That pretty much sums up my life lately.

If you want to turn away now, feel free, because that title says it ALL.

It has just dawned on me in the past day or two that Thanksgiving is next week.  NEXT WEEK!  How did this happen?

My "plan" this year was to be organized, calm and ready to enjoy the holiday season.  So far, my plan is not going so well.  I inventoried what gifts I had bought and realized that the few gifts I have bought are far outweighed by those that I haven't.  Of course.

Those extra fancy Christmas cards I was all excited to do and send out this year?  Even with the super shortened list; I am woefully far behind.

The "Work Issue That Cannot Be Named" continues.  Which means that I've been getting to work earlier and earlier in a woeful attempt to keep up.  When that failed to produce the results I'd expected I have been staying later and later.  That seemed to have stemmed the tide.

And then Monday came along and threw a curve ball that knocked me silly and stressed me out to no end.  I have approximately fourteen days of vacation that needs to be used before the end of the year.  This coupled with all the extra work had me completely wigged out.  I told one of my coworkers that I would just have to lose the time because there was no way I could get all of this done and take my time.  Until, one of my bosses stepped in and said "Stop."  He informed me that this hot potato that another attorney (who is NOT my boss) tossed in my lap was not a high priority for me; that I had more than enough to worry about between him and one of my other bosses.  He also informed me that I was to take my vacation and not worry about anything.

So despite work being stressful at least it is no longer STRESSFUL.

Heaped on to all of the above we throw in the house hunting.  The Husband is all gung-ho and to be completely honest?  As much as I want a house, I'm ready to throw in the towel until everything else has settled down.

I haven't put my foot down and said ENOUGH yet.  But I may have to pretty soon.  Because truth be told, I don't want to even THINK about moving before the holidays.  Last year we moved into this place right at the beginning of December - and although I had a lot of time off, trying to unpack, buy Christmas, etc. it was stressful.

So I figure, if I can take that stressor off the table and just get through the next couple of weeks, I can take my vacation and try to relax and get back on board with the "plan" I mentioned above; albeit a little behind the eight ball, but still...

At any rate, I thought I'd check in and fill you in.  Now?  Now, I'm headed to bed.  I am so tired for some reason.

November 11, 2014

The Husband had a birthday and we celebrated by going to look at a house...and, it's obvious, his resolve is cracking.

The Husband had a birthday yesterday (happy birthday, you handsome devil!) so we both took the day off.

The Husband actually went to spend the night up in the mountains with Man-Child on Sunday and didn't make it back down the mountain until lunch time - which kind of cut into the whole "spending the day together" that I had planned.  But that was fine.

He had actually found a house online, in a very desirable neighborhood and we had made plans with our realtor to look at it yesterday afternoon.  I was kind of shocked that he wanted to look at this particular house; mainly because it was MUCH larger than what we had agreed upon, although the price was suspiciously low for the area.

After getting into the house, I saw why.  The house is apparently in foreclosure.  And while this house COULD be beautiful; it would take a LOT of work.  As in, if we were in the market to flip this house it would have been perfect.

But seeing as we don't have that kind of cash just sitting around we had to pass on it.

I've been watching a lot of home improvement shows on Netflix lately (and by extension, have coerced the Husband to watch a few as well) and even though I KNOW in my heart that we could have snapped that house up, gave it some love (and a BUNCH of dough), turned around and sold it for a very tidy sum; I also know that we just don't have that kind of energy and wherewithal to cope with that kind of project.

But this whole exercise has made me wonder....does the Husband protest too much when he says he is too old to get involved with a building a house?  I think so.  Because why would he be dragging me to look at a house that would require MUCH more energy than a new build?

He's cracking folks.  Slowly, but surely he's cracking.

Now, he just needs to hurry up and do it before someone else finds that particular lot that I've got my eye on.

November 6, 2014

...and hi, how are you?

Yes, I know....I've not been the best blogger-friend lately.

It's hard trying to blog in this tiny space.  The Husband is right there, constantly asking, "What are doing?  What are you looking at?"  And if he's not questioning me, he is watching whatever he is watching on television and making comments - actually expecting me to be listening and getting miffed when he realizes that I haven't been listening.

Plus, there has been a whole host of other things going on, which I'll share via a list...because who doesn't love a list?

* Still looking for a house.  Or trying to talk the Husband into building a house.  He's still not there yet.  So, in the meantime, we wander from house to house.  I don't even have to say I don't like it; because he pipes up with what is wrong with it long before I can start listing my complaints.  Although, I have asked him on a couple of occasions if he really wants to deal with far, the answer has been a resounding NO.  Which makes me wonder why he is dragging this out.

* Work stuff that I can't/shouldn't really talk about.  Let's just say everyone is on pins and needles.  And, despite the fact that I'm not happy about it, I think it will be okay.

*  The fact that work stuff is going on while I'm in the middle of talking my husband into building me a house looking for a house to buy is stressful.  Seriously, couldn't they have waited to have that stuff going on until AFTER I'm settled.  So rude.

*  My dearest, dearest friends in North Carolina are moving.  To Arkansas, of all places!  While I'm sure Arkansas is very nice, and I know their family is there, I'd much prefer if they'd just stay here.  So far, they aren't willing to listen to reason.

*  Man-Child.  Need I say more?  Well, I suppose I should clarify - it's not that he's been in trouble or causing trouble - but he's been here a lot lately (or I've been there) and requiring some attention.  It's a good problem to have, I'll admit.

*  Since I've last blogged, I've been to see 39 Steps.  It was a wonderful play that I enjoyed so very much, if it comes to your local theater - go.  I've also been to see the movie, St. Vincent.  It was a fun movie, that may or may not have had me tearing up a time or two - who would have ever expected that from a Bill Murray movie?

*  My phone.  Dear God, my phone!  You know how much I love my little, smart phone.  Well, it has been quite persnickety of late.  Some days it refuses to charge.  And then others?  It charges like nobody's business.  During one of the days it refused to charge, I took myself off to Target to buy a new cable - because SURELY that was/is the problem since if you even bump the cable the tiniest bit, it stops charging.  After getting the stupid cable home, it still wouldn't charge.  So I took the new cable, the old cable, the phone and the plug in part back to Target where we (me and the guys in the electronics department) all played with it for at least 20 minutes and it still wouldn't charge.  Although, the new cable would charge their phones with no problem.  The Target guy apologized and said the problem was probably with my can that be?!  This thing isn't that old.  At any rate, I took the phone and paraphernalia home, with plans of hitting Verizon eventually, and - of course - my phone has been charging like a champ.  Until today.  ARRRGHHHH!  So, despite the intense distaste I have of visiting the Verizon store, it looks like I have an imminent visit looming.

*  The Husband is planning an overnight visit to Man-Child on Sunday and I'm almost giddy about the prospect of some quality alone time.  Not that I don't love him dearly...but jeez.  It's getting a little, cramped in here and we could both use some breathing room, I think.

So...that's what's been going on with me for the past few weeks...what about you?  What have you been up to - tell me, I'm all ears.

October 21, 2014

The Judge

The Husband and I have taken a couple of days off - supposedly, so we can get pre-qualified for a mortgage and house hunt.

We are going to get pre-qualified, as we actually have an appointment tomorrow to do so.  As for the house hunting - so far that has consisted of driving through a few neighborhoods we like and either one of us actively disliking a house that the other likes OR finding one we both liked enough to look at online only to discover that it was too expensive.  So, the house hunting isn't going so well, as I predicted from the start of this exercise.  Which leads me to wonder why we are even bothering to get pre-qualified since we can't agree on a house that is in our price range. *sigh*

We decided to spend today at the movies.  We had decided that we wanted to see The Judge.  As I've mentioned before, it takes a minor miracle to get this man to the theater.  So I consider this a win.  As we were driving up to the theater he stated that we haven't been to the movies in "a while."  I replied that the last movie we'd seen together was Lincoln - well over a year ago.  He didn't believe me but I have the evidence in this post, which is dated February 4, 2013.  As I said, well over a year ago.

Now before I tell you about the movie, let us pause for a moment to appreciate perfection...

In addition to being so easy on the eyes - he happens to be one of my favorite actors, so I knew I had to see this movie.

And, the movie did NOT disappoint.  It was very, very good.  I would definitely recommend it.  And not just because Robert Downey, Jr. is starring in it.

As you may have heard (or read, if you clicked the link at the top) in this movie RDJ plays a big-time lawyer who finally returns home for his mother's funeral - while there he remembers why he has been away for so long.  As he is set to return to his life his father, a local judge, is accused of murder and he stays to discover the truth.

I will warn you, this is a loooong movie - about two hours long - the only reason you will notice this isn't because the movie is boring but because your bladder will tell you if, like me, you order a medium drink only to have a giant BUCKET handed to you.  (Seriously?  When did medium sized drinks become big enough that you need two hands to hold it?  There is something fundamentally wrong with that).

Now, to wrap it up, one last look at perfection...

So, if you have a chance, go.  The movie is great AND it has RDJ in it - what more could a girl ask for?  Except maybe a house...

October 15, 2014

Let's talk about.... *whisper* Christmas

I know, I know.  Don't throw stones, please!

I get it - it's only mid-October.  And I'll be honest with you, I'm nowhere near ready to start the Christmas season; but...

Today I bought Christmas cards.

And special pens.

As most of you know, I haven't really "done" Christmas cards for the past several years.  First because my card list had grown to ridiculous proportions and after the Husband was laid off not only was I not in the mood, we didn't have the funds for that kind of frivolity.

And then, once we got through the unemployment and were in the process of getting back on our feet (oh, who am I kidding?  We are still in that process) I still wasn't feeling very secure AND we were in the midst of moving.  Needless to say, Christmas cards were not high on my list of "To Do's."

Although, I'm still not feeling very secure, I did find myself drawn to the Christmas cards and pens after stumbling across this website while trying to figure out how to do the chalk sign.

After staring at that page (and, subsequently, stalking every other article she'd written) for what seemed like hours, I began to think that maybe, just maybe, I could pull some of that off.

I know.  I'm insane.

But today, I went through the unbelievably long list and knocked off quite a few names and brought it back down to a more manageable level - both time and financially wise.  And then I bought some cards.  And pens.  Because, let's be honest.  If I am actually going to take the time to sit down and hand write the envelopes and the cards, I'm going to need some pretty pens.

Despite the much shorter list, I figure I better get started now, if I expect to get these darn things mailed sometime in December of this year.

And knowing my creative limits, you might want to wish me luck!

October 12, 2014

Some days I really wonder about myself....

Today I realized that I have been overdosing myself on generic Claritin; all while thinking I was taking generic Benadryl.  *sigh*

And I had been wondering why I was SO exhausted and headache-y.

As far as I can determine, I haven't done any permanent damage - except to my ego.  It's things like this that make me question my sanity.

How this came about is because I generally buy generic Benadryl in bottles of 100 and I take one every four hours.  One day, in a hurry - as usual, I ran into the store to pick up a new bottle and they didn't have my usual generic brand.  So I grabbed the other generic brand and took off.  And proceeded to take one every four hours, as is my habit.

Oh sure, when I opened the bottle, I was curious as to why there was only 30 pills vs. the 100 and as to why the pills weren't pink - but I didn't do any investigating.

Until today.  When I ran into the store to replenish my supply - only to discover that, once again, they didn't have my usual brand.  So I reached for the other...only to notice finally that the bottle said TWENTY-FOUR HOUR RELIEF!

I put the bottle back and left empty-handed.  Once in my car, I scrambled through my purse searching for my bottle...only to discover that yes, indeed, I had been ingesting the "once every twenty-four hours" tablets three times a day for about a week.


In other news.  After obsessing over the lampshades in yesterday's post, I determined they weren't right.  (As a side note, the Husband actually asked me if I was obsessing over half an's like he doesn't even KNOW me!) So I packed them back up, and armed with the actual lamp in question, I headed out early, early (who knew?  This store is open at 9 am on Sundays!) to what is usually the most congested area of our city.  And guess what?  At 9:30 am on a Sunday?  The most congested area isn't so congested.

So I returned the shades and spent about an hour lugging my lamp around and trying on shades until I hit upon something that seemed to work.

Still not the best picture - I never claimed to be a photographer

As much as I liked the barrel-shaped lampshade, I think this lamp needs more of an a-line pattern.  And one that was half an inch longer.

So with that task complete, I turned my eye to something a little more crafty.

I know.

I was just asking for trouble.

In my travels I happened upon a sweet, little chalkboard.  With all the beautiful chalkboard creations that abound on the Internet, I had it in my head that I could do that.

Yeah right.

I tried to create a welcoming message free hand.  Multiple times.  It was a total disaster.  So much so that I was ready to toss the sweet, little chalkboard into the trash and call it a lesson learned.

Then I turned to Google.  Which, of course, led me right back to Pinterest.

According to multiple sites, you can create your message via Word or PowerPoint, print it, turn it over, cover the back in chalk and then place the paper chalk side down and trace the words with a pencil.  This method will magically transfer the message; then you can fill it in with your chalk.

I don't know what I did wrong.  My message was transferred but it was SO very faint that I had to cock my head, squint and pray while I re-traced and filled in my message.

But, despite that, it came out much, much better than anything I could have created on my own.


Although, I did do the confetti that's about the extent of my creative, overdoesed abilities.

October 11, 2014

Opinions please...

As I'm sure I've mentioned before, I live in a home that gets very little light.

This drives me insane.

So, today, while out wandering around I found myself in an aisle full of lampshades and I had a "lightbulb" moment (pardon the bad pun, I couldn't help myself).

The lampshades in our living area are a dark merlot color and all of our furniture is dark.  This coupled with fact that this house lets in very little sunshine means that it is very, very, very dark in here.  Particularly on cloudy days.

So I decided, on the spur of the moment, to buy new, lighter lampshades.  The problem with buying lampshades on the spur of the moment?

The size.

Unless I have the actual lamp with me, it's very hard to determine whether or not the lampshade in question is the right size for the lamp.  But I found a pair that I liked - and looked to be about the right size and bought them.

I brought them home and put them on the lamps - and while I do like them and think they lighten the place up just a tad - I have a feeling they are too small.

But I'm waffling, mainly because I don't want to drive back across town to return them and search for new ones.

So I submit to you, Exhibit A.


Yes, I realize it's not the clearest picture in the world...ignore that.

Focus on the lampshade.  Is it too small?  It should be longer; shouldn't it?

The more I look at it, the more I'm thinking it is...but what say you?  Keep 'em or return them?

October 6, 2014

Moody and new shoes

I've been pensive and moody all weekend long.

It could possibly have something to do with Man-Child coming home this weekend to celebrate his twentieth birthday.  Maybe I feel the passage of time.  I do know that I love having him home though.  Although, he made a very prophetic statement that stopped me in my tracks.  We were talking about his friends and how they are doing at their various schools when he mentioned that he probably wouldn't be seeing much of them this coming summer.  When I asked why, he stated that a lot of them would be doing internships, etc. and that they (including himself) were getting ready to start their lives.

That could be one reason for the pensiveness and moodiness.  Yes, they are starting their lives.  And moving on.  And although it's a proud moment it's also one of profound sadness - as in the mom days are definitely over.  I need to find a hobby.

I also watched a bunch of angst-ridden, 80's movies this weekend; much to the boys chagrin.  That definitely could have something to do with the mood.

Or it could just be plain, old PMS.  Although, can you call it PMS when you are, apparently, in the beginning stages of what seems to be perimenopause and you are fifteen days past your start date?  I suppose that too could be a legitimate reason for the moodiness.

On the bright side, I did discover something wonderful this weekend though.  Higher-waisted skinny jeans!  I love, love, love skinny jeans.  What I do not love is the fact that until recently you could only find them in low-rise.  This drove me crazy.  I was constantly pulling them up and we won't even discuss the obligatory, no way around it, muffin top that happened when one was seated.

I love these new jeans so much that I bought two pair.  Although, I am thinking I should have bought them a size smaller....even if I did feel that they were a little too tight.  With the spandex they put in the jeans these days they tend to get a bit baggy toward the end of the day.

And then today, I realized that I was still thinking about these shoes after two weeks so I went and bought them.

I admit it.  I am in love with them and have a feeling that I will be wearing them often.

Ah well...tomorrow is a new day that will be kicked off with new shoes.  That's bound to turn the mood around, right?

September 30, 2014

Wanting...and the very hard art of waiting

I am ready for a house.  My house.

I know I shouldn't complain.  This townhouse is very nice...but it's not mine.  I know that good things come to those who wait...but still.

Pinterest and Houzz are exacerbating the matter in that, no matter how hard I try not to look, everywhere I see houses and projects and ideas.  And then I look up and remember that I'm not in my own home where I could paint the walls, the cabinets, the whatever.  Where I could replace two of the ugliest light fixtures I've ever seen.  Where I could rip out those poor, sad looking Nandinas and the pitiful Hostas - which are singed and burned because they were planted in full sun - near the front door and replace them with some of my favorites.

Despite the fact that there are things I could do - temporary things - I don't want to because I know we aren't here for the long term - but yet, I don't know how long we will be here.

The houses we've seen are ripe with possibilities....if we wanted to outlay the cash to renovate them.  And to do that would mean they would have to give the house to us.  We've yet to meet an owner that is willing to do so.

I still think we will build, eventually, but the Husband is continuing to entertain the idea while resisting it at the same time.

In the meantime, I sit here - wanting - all while reminding my self to be patient.  I tell myself that by rushing the process I will end up somewhere that I don't love.  I tell myself that the house isn't as important as the people who are in it...but...still....

I want a house.

September 27, 2014

NOS4A2...a book review

I read this book about a week ago.  One night, I actually had a nightmare, which all credit goes to the book.

I recall thinking, as I was reading, this guy is good!  Good enough that I might have to list him right up there with Stephen King....

Well no wonder.  Tonight, as I was researching the book online (since I gave the book to Man-Child to take to school) I discovered that the author, Joe Hill, is none other than the son of Stephen and Tabitha King. He's done his parent's proud.  Although, this leads me to wonder just what the conversation must have been like around that dinner table!

At any rate, this thriller is a must read.  The heroine of the story, Victoria (aka Vic) has an uncanny ability, aided with her trusty bicycle, to find things - no matter how far away they may be.

One day she goes looking for trouble.  And she finds it in Charles Talent Manx.

Charles has created "Christmasland."  And he finds children and transports them to this "magical" land where the children can experience his version of Christmas every day.  Vic was able to escape Charlie's grip once and her life was changed forever.

But, as with most unresolved issues, eventually they must be faced.  And after a hard life, Vic finds herself once again seeking out Charlie and Christmasland all in effort to save her son.

So if you are looking for a good, scary read this book is for you.  As for me, after reading some fluff to rid my mind of the scary, I will be seeking out other books by this author - because he is that good.

September 16, 2014

My Husband Thinks I'm a Genius....

I know!  I'm as floored as you are!  But it turns out, he only thinks I'm a genius because of this one, teeny-tiny, completely common-sense thing I said to him.

But, apparently, this one, teeny-tiny, completely common-sense idea absolutely astounded him.  It struck him as the most glorious idea that had ever been spouted.

Something, that I have ALWAYS done.  And he's just never noticed.

It all began as I was emptying the dishwasher.  The very same dishwasher that he had thoughtfully loaded earlier.  One of the chores he dislikes - but will do - is emptying the dishwasher.  I don't mind emptying the dishwasher, if it's been properly loaded.  Which, it never is, unless I load it.  But I think that is probably pretty much the same for everyone; we all have our own ideas about how the dishwasher should be loaded and that's fine.

But, just so you know, I am THE master at loading that dishwasher and I have it down to a my way is the best way hands down.

Be that as it may, this particular evening I was emptying the silverware caddy and I mentioned, in passing, to the Husband, that if he would load all the like spoons into one section, all the like forks into another section, all the like knives into another section, and let all the random silver go into the remaining slots that removing the silverware would be a lot less tedious.

I said this in passing, never really thinking that he would actually hear and process this information.  Much like he has never heard or processed other bits of wisdom I have passed onto him.

But hear and process he did.  Because for the next three times he emptied the dishwasher, that he himself had loaded, he proceeded to proclaim that was a GENIUS idea.  And every single time since, that I have emptied the dishwasher that he loaded, I find all the like silverware separated into separate slots.

Now, if I can only convince him that to listen to few of my other common-sense nuggets, then maybe this house would run like well-oiled machine.  But so far?  It hasn't happened.

September 6, 2014

From the "Eerie" files....

Once, a long time ago (approximately three years ago), a light bulb went out. 

This particular light bulb was in a sconce in the hallway.  A sconce that had a little, screw-in thingy that held it up.  A little, screw-in thingy that somehow escaped the Husband's fingers as he un-screwed it and then disappeared.

It literally disappeared.  We scoured the hallway.  We moved the bookcase.  We moved the buffet.  When it didn't turn up, we branched out.  We scoured the intersecting hallway, the staircase, the floor below, that little, screw-in thingy was GONE. 

So we headed out to our local home improvement store in search of another screw-in thingy to anchor the sconce to the wall.  We found one.  But, of course, the new screw-in thingy's finish didn't match the finish of the old screw-in thingy's.  *sigh* 

As a compromise, we switched out the un-matching screw-in thingy with another fixture; one that I wouldn't see on a daily basis - because the whole un-matching thing would have made me twitchy.  Seriously.

We had fully expected to find that piece in our move.  It didn't happen.  Where in the hell had it gone?  Was there a tear in the universe?  Had it somehow slipped into an alternate universe?

Flash-forward (approximately three years or so; and a whole move later) - guess what I found the other day?

The screw-in thingy.  And the eerie part?  In a Stephen King book.

*cue the scary music here*

In a Stephen King book that was amazing that I even kept - despite my adoration for Stephen King.  Why?  Because I normally don't "do" short stories.  I usually want "whole" stories.  But, I adore Stephen King so every single one of his books made the cut.

Including the one that has held the screw-in thingy for the past three years.

I suppose this is supposed to "tell me something."  Like maybe how what seems to be lost isn't really gone?  It's only hiding away, waiting for the right time to reappear.

Nah.  More likely - it was just one of those weird things that happen in life.

September 2, 2014

Seriously, Husband?

I love my husband, I truly do.  One of the many reasons I love him is the fact that he is "manly."  That he is the one I can count on to open stubborn jars, and whatever else he does that is "manly" around here.

But... (you knew there had to be one, didn't you?)

Sometimes his "manly" strength irritates the life out of me. 

Like whenever we are dealing with something plastic.  If he is the one in charge of repairing it, it inevitably gets broken further.  Because a "twist" isn't just enough when a full on "wrench" is surely better.

Or like this morning. 

Which, of course, requires a little bit of a backstory.  Yesterday we were attending a cookout to celebrate Labor Day and Hubby was the designated driver.  (That's probably THE shortest backstory I've ever given you)

As the designated driver, he drove us home and parked the car safely on what must be the shortest and steepest driveway in the history of the world.  A driveway that definitely necessitates using the parking brake.

And everything was fine. 

Until this morning when I found myself struggling to release the brake.  As he does with most everything he hadn't just tugged on the brake; he had YANKED the brake.  Making sure that he YANKED that brake as hard as he could.  What he didn't realize while he was YANKING on that brake was that his wife - the one with the puny arms and thumbs - would be the one fighting with the brake the next day...after he had already left for work.

After five minutes of struggling, I sent him a text telling him of my dilemma.  He gets credit for immediately calling and asking what he could do - he was even willing to drive home and fix it.  But as I was scolding him and reminding him that not everything in this word requires brute strength; that sometimes a little finesse is in order, all while still fiddling with the brake and getting more and more frustrated and then?  Success! 

Apparently, adrenaline finally kicked in and I was able to unlock the brake and drive to work.

Now, what are the odds that he is going to remember this the next time he drives my car?  My bet?  Slim to none.

August 17, 2014

Luckily, I had the foresight to take tomorrow off...I'm gonna need it.

Yesterday was "the" day.  The day that Man-Child moved back to school; this time by-passing the dorms and headed straight for an apartment.

The Husband had borrowed the van from work (remember this; it's key) which we proceeded to load up with his dresser, night stands, bed, and other paraphernalia.  Then we filled up Man-Child's car.  Turns out, I was to drive up with Man-Child...while sitting in the passenger seat (YIKES!).  To be honest, I had hoped that there would have been a need for a third car so that I could drive up myself.  That didn't happen.

Apparently, the work van has magical capabilities (aka removable seats) and my car wasn't necessary.  So there I was; stuck being a passenger both ways (with a maniacal driver one way and a very, very slow driver on the way back) *sigh*

I am not a good passenger, according to my guys.  But this is just not true.  My passenger abilities are directly correlated to the person driving...and usually, the drivers just aren't up to par.  Yes, maybe I do have control issues...

Turns out, Man-Child isn't that bad of a driver.  On the highway.  The in town driving?  Terrified the hell out of me.

The Husband got a head start...but we quickly passed him.  We waved and went on our merry way, figuring he would eventually show up at the apartment...probably about 20 minutes after we arrived.

After several near misses at a couple of red lights; one time found me slamming my foot against the dashboard as I braced for the obvious imminent impact (much to Man-Child's annoyance); we found ourselves *this* close to rolling into the college town when my phone rang.  It was the Husband.

When I answered, he asked where we were.  I told him.  And then he proceeded to tell me that he had just passed a certain landmark and that the transmission was shot on the van.  Oh. My. Hell!  The only blessing?  He had made it UP the mountain before the damn thing failed.

He said that he was going to try to limp into town and was going directly to a shop.  He didn't want us to come back for him.  At least not yet.  Once we hung up, I started to look for shops that might be open on a Saturday.  Luckily, the Toyota dealership/Service Station was open AND it was located at the edge of town.

I called the Husband back and told him where to find the dealership.  He told me he'd call me once he knew what was what.  Man-Child and I headed to the apartment wondering just how in the hell we were going to transport his bed, etc., from the dealership to the apartment with nothing more than his teeny-tiny, two-door car.

The Roommate was there when we arrived.  We explained what had happened and the first words out of his mouth were, "What can I do to help?" and I knew I liked this kid.  Despite the fact that two days before we'd received notification that "someone" hadn't yet paid his half of the rent...(let's hope this was the oversight he claimed it was and not a *trend*).  As I was hanging Man-Child's brand new shower curtain (note to self: those curtain rings are crap and I should never buy that type again) the Husband called.

The Toyota place couldn't fix the van.  He was going to have it towed to the Dodge dealership and asked me to come pick him up.

What I neglected to mention was the fact that this was THE weekend for everyone coming back to school.  Which means that traffic was BEYOND horrific.  So I offered to go pick up the Husband and the Roommate, helpfully, offered up his truck to go the Dodge dealership to load up Man-Child's stuff.  The fact that this Roommate had a truck was like a gift from God, at this point.

So I went one way and they went another.  I'm sure they sat at that Dodge dealership for at least an hour.  Why?  Because I was stuck at one light for at least four cycles.  It took forever to go what was, probably, four miles away.  I wish I was exaggerating.

While I was waiting in traffic, I called the Husband and informed him that the boys had a truck and would take the stuff from the van back to the apartment.  The relief I heard in the Husband's voice was palpable; that was one less thing to worry about.

So eventually, I picked the Husband up and we fought the traffic to get to the Dodge place, where the boys were waiting.  The Dodge place promised that they would have the parts to fix the van by Tuesday, now how long it would take to actually fix it is up in the air, as they were slammed.  The Husband's boss was unbelievably kind about the whole thing.  He was more concerned that we were all okay.

The boys loaded one load into the truck and drove away.  The Husband and I sat with the van since we couldn't lock it.  Well actually, we could have locked it but that would have been pointless since just the day before BOTH windows had failed.  In the down position.

When the boys returned, we refilled the truck and headed away.

For some reason, I had this crazy idea that the desk I'd bought Man-Child would be easy-peasy to put together.  It wasn't.  The Husband doesn't have much patience for those types of things, so I took the lead on that.  And about two hours later it was assembled.  And then, and only then, were we able to  bring in his bed, dresser, etc.  Why?  Because putting together that damn desk took up the whole room and some of the living area as well.

Is that the end of the hell we were living through?  No.  At one point during the assembly, I stepped outside to stretch my legs only to watch a police officer walk up to the neighbor's apartment.  Luckily, she had called him and he hadn't been called about her.  Apparently, there was some sketchy guy hanging around the pool ogling her daughter.  Lovely.  So it's only now that I realize that the apartments my only child will be living in are not only not just for students but there's a sketchy guy in the neighborhood.  A sketchy guy that the police, as I overheard, are already aware of...needless to say, I was ready to pack him back up and take him home.  He can afford to skip a year of school, right?

But then there was the problem of getting home.  How?  The lone rental car agency was closed.  Of course.  Our only option was Man-Child's car.  *sigh*  Our weekend just got that much more crazier.

After feeding both boys (and "medicating" the Husband with alcohol; he obviously needed it) we stole borrowed his car and I drove us back down the mountain.  Both exhausted and not really looking forward to the fact that we had to drive back UP the mountain today to return Man-Child's car; which in reality he will need since he is no longer living on campus, and to cover the van's gaping windows with plastic since there is a possibility of rain in the forecast.

The Husband declared that we would be heading up early, early, EARLY in a bid to save some of the weekend.  But he must have taken pity on me after realizing just how exhausted I was from yesterday, he let me sleep in.  Until 7:30 am.  Not to be rushed, I had a cup of coffee and perused the paper.  Finally, we headed out about 8:30 am, me in my car and the Husband in Man-Child's.  Whereupon, I immediately lost him.  How I don't know.  Eventually, we re-connected and headed over to the apartment.  It was a good thing we re-connected because the Husband had no idea how to find it since he'd been sidelined as a passenger the day before.

After spending some time buying essentials that Man-Child needed (i.e., food) and taping up the windows to the van, we took him for a very, very late breakfast/lunch; because obviously, when we are there we are there to feed him.  And somehow I found myself driving us home.  This is surprising because the Husband is much more a control freak about driving than I am.

So now we are home.  Exhausted, spent and ache-y.  The house is quiet - kind of (the tv is on but not at its usual ear-splitting decibel) and the Husband is napping on the couch; and I can feel "it" - the Boy isn't at home, it's rather lonely.  I will adjust after a day or so - or maybe a week - of him being gone.  The knowledge that one day soon he won't be coming home to stay ever again teases the back of my brain; but I refuse to acknowledge that just yet.

And tomorrow?  Thank God I had the foresight to take tomorrow off because that is when I will get everything done that I had planned to do today.

August 10, 2014

The hunt is on...

Well, that title's not technically true.  I've been hunting ever since we sold our house.  And let me tell you; Zillow (and other sites like it) are a wonderful way to sooth your nosiness.  Getting to peek inside homes without having to actually, you know, interact with people.

Of course, I've seen some homes that have left me scratching my head.  Like the one that was For Sale By Owner.  Which meant, of course, that all the pictures were taken by the owner and not a real estate professional.  Every single picture of this particular house showcased clutter.  EVERYWHERE.  So much so that I couldn't even focus on the house itself.

Other houses are devoid of any personality.  I realize that Realtors encourage homeowners to remove personal items, etc.  But somehow, I don't think they mean for people to remove every single piece of artwork or knick-knack.  It's that OR (even worse, in my mind) these people actually live in homes with no artwork on the walls; without pretty things that make them smile.

Well, now that I've gotten all that out of the way...on to what the true purpose of today's post.

Today, the Husband and I ventured out to a couple of Open Houses.  I had a list of five - which, to be honest, was probably over-reaching considering most Open Houses are from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm.  The odds of being able to hit them all in that limited time frame was slim.

The list quickly got knocked down to four as the Husband had absolutely NO interest in one.  Fine.  As we were getting in the car the Husband asked, "What are we  going to do if we find a house we love today?" I responded that we'd call the landlord and see what could be worked out, since our lease is through the end of the year.  And then I added, "I'm fairly certain this will not be a problem since we can't agree on anything house-wise."  He agreed...finally, something we can agree on!

As we drove to the first one on the newly shortened list, he began grumbling.  "What do you mean this place is across Market Street?  I don't want to live over there.  Do you know what goes on over there?"

Turns out - the neighborhood, though nice enough, really wasn't what either of us are looking for - and the house wasn't actually "open" anyway.  So we drove off to the next house on the list.  This one had us hopeful.  The area is nice and the pictures online were fabulous.

The house itself?  It was okay.  But even I could tell that this house hadn't been built well.  The first thing I noticed in the living room was that the wall and the ceiling weren't exactly touching each other the way they should.  Plus there was creaking everywhere.  We won't even talk about the narrow stairs and the rickety banister.  Another one crossed off the list.

So we headed to the final house.  This one was GORGEOUS online.  I only had two reservations about this house.  It was built in the 60's so I figured there would be absolutely NO closet space and I was concerned about aluminum wiring.  When we first moved here, we put an offer in on a house.  The inspector informed us that there was aluminum wiring and then went into great detail about how bad that was and that the odds of the house catching fire and killing us all was massive.  Needless to say, we didn't buy that house.

Now whether or not this house had aluminum wiring, I have no idea.  This house was crossed off the list pretty quickly as the Husband thought the sunroom was poorly done - I disagreed in that I saw what the owners were going for by using the planked ceiling...but it didn't go well with the rest of the house.  This was a nice house but it was too chopped up for us.  And, as expected, closet space was minimal.

And as we all know, I will NOT be sharing a closet with my husband ever again, if I can help it.

So, as I said, the hunt is on.  But I have a stash of floor-plans and an eye on a lot in a neighborhood we love.  Why?

Because every other house hunt we've been on has ended with us building a house.  Somehow, I have a feeling this one might end the exact same way...

July 28, 2014

Call me's better than calling me delusional

As the date for Man-Child's return to college nears, I have found myself buying various items for his apartment.

I FINALLY got a list of the items his room mate will be basically boils down to a toaster, a sofa and a table.

Not quite the bounty that Man-Child had led me to believe.  Until I can get into the apartment to see what kind of space I have to work with (hopefully one day this week), I'm holding off on the larger items needed (dresser, bed, etc.).

To say that Man-Child has absolutely NO interest in decorating his apartment; much less outfitting it, is an understatement.  Once I realized that, and acknowledged it, I was able to shake off any indecisiveness that I may have had regarding buying things like dishes, flatware, glasses, etc.  He just doesn't care.  I could buy him a purple and green paisley shower curtain and pair it with yellow and orange striped towels and he wouldn't even notice this hideousness of this combination.

(Let's not even THINK about all the stuff I gave to Goodwill that he could  have used when we moved!  NO.  We will NOT think about that...dammit, if only I could have foreseen the future...we could have easily supplied him with most everything he will need!  But NO!  We aren't THINKING of that....*sigh*)

Today, in a fit of optimism, I bought him cleaning supplies.  Yes, I know.  I KNOW! I am deluding myself to think that he will use these supplies on a regular - or even irregular - basis.  But I remain hopeful.  I have been hammering home the fact that he will be ON HIS OWN.  And he will need to TAKE CARE of his abode - particularly since we would LOVE to get our deposit back.

But considering that his bedroom currently looks like it was ransacked by DEA Agents in pursuit of finding the drug kingpin's stash.  And his bathroom?  UGH.  Actually, I don't even want to TRY to string together the words that would describe his bathroom...because the situation is THAT disgusting.

Yeah, I know...I AM delusional. *sigh*

Further adding to my delusion?  That I'm determined to send those supplies.  And will demand that he use them.  Often.  Or, at the very least, frequently.

Yeah, I know....

Those cleaning supplies will NEVER get used.


July 23, 2014

So, what keeps you amused and inspired during that LONG eight hour day?

The day in and day out drudgery of work.  Oh sure, I like my job - quite a lot, actually - but the whole get up early, get dressed and go out to interact with people five days a week part?  That part doesn't appeal to me as much as you might think.

So in an effort to keep myself amused and coming back every day, I have accumulated a few things, as one does when living in an office by day, that make me smile whenever I see them throughout the day.

Like this little guy...

Now, ordinarily, I'm not a "gnome" person.  Oh sure, I have ceramic toadstools and other little things that hang out in my yard (when I HAD a yard);  but gnomes aren't a part of my collection.  Usually they don't appeal to me.  But *this* little guy?  He makes me smile every time I see him.  Particularly, when I find him fallen off his perch and in the dirt.  How he lands in the dirt EVERY TIME - and not shattering himself on the credenza - I don't know.  It must be part of the gnome magic.

And that little guy behind him?  The one you can barely see?

He is like a metronome.  His little head goes back and forth all day long.  And the complete phrase that he is standing upon?  "I'm in my worry free zone."

Okay; fine!  Here's what he looks like in all his glory...

Why yes, that IS a sandal-shaped notepad behind him.

And then, there is always THIS guy...he NEVER fails to make me smile when he catches my eye.

He's a little Martian-type guy with a magnetic head to hold onto his "hair".  I call him my Google Guy; since Google is imprinted upon his tummy.

And then there is this whole menagerie of creatures...

Yes, the photos in the background are included in the menagerie of "creatures."  

The unopened can of Diet Coke?  Yeah, I can't even remember WHY it's there.  The mug with the phrase, "I've got an attitude and I'm not afraid to use it" is to remind others not to bother me before I've had my coffee...and even tread carefully, as I don't have time for the asinine.

In addition to the things that make me smile, several quotes can often be seen floating around my cubicle.

Like those that remind me to have fun...

"I miss recess" which is a little Nigglywiggly from a random Hershey's Kiss that I came across once.  I loved it so much I taped it to one of my walls.

I also have quotes scribbled on Post-It Notes that remind me to be kind.  Such as this one...

"Kindness is in our power, even when fondness is not." -- Samuel Johnson

I don't remember where I came across that one - but it struck a chord.  A deep chord.  Particularly in the workplace...where I often come across people that I'm not fond of, unfortunately.  So, the reminder is nice.

Taking a little tour of my desk, every once in awhile, and remembering how and why I have that tiara or the shoe tape dispenser...or the Google guy, for that matter, never fails to bring a smile.

So...what about you?  What do you keep at your desk that makes you smile, reminisce or inspires you?

July 7, 2014

How do you DO conversation? No, really. HOW?

My dad just called to wish me a Happy Birthday.  For tomorrow.  He figured since he wouldn't be home tomorrow, he'd call today.

My birthday isn't tomorrow.  But, he gets points, just the same.  He remembered the correct month.

All this just brought back the memory of him signing me up for the lone season that I played baseball on a team.  As he was filling out the paperwork, he looked up and asked me what my birth date was - I was shocked.  HOW could he not KNOW this?  The date of birth of his only daughter?!

Looking back, I can see how it happened.  Hell, I can barely remember how old I am these days; so now I know why so many women declare themselves 29, year after's because they aren't quite sure exactly how old they really are and the effort of doing the math is just too much.

My dad and I aren't as close as I wish we were.  I know he loves me and he knows that I love him; but conversationalists, we are not.

I also know that we are two peas in a pod.  According to my mother, I look like him and that used to tick her off to no end after they were divorced.  Particularly, if we were not seeing eye to eye at a particular moment and then she would declare, "MY GOD!  You look JUST like your father right now!"

I've also discovered another way in which we are alike.  We aren't good at "chit-chat."  I don't call him as often as I should because of this (and, there is the fact that I'm not really a fan of talking on the phone these days...I have a feeling he isn't either); because it's physically PAINFUL to try and carry on a conversation between the two of us.

As he is now retired and living on his own - he doesn't have any day to day to experiences to relate.  When I ask what he's been up to, his reply, invariably is "Nothing.  Just sitting around."  To say that he isn't living up to his potential for a man his age is an understatement.  But, considering his health issues, I suppose I can understand.

When he asks how we are doing, I invariably reply "Fine.  Nothing going on around here.  Just going to work and coming home."

The conversation then devolves into talking about the weather...*sigh*

Did you know, that where he lives, there hasn't been any rain in several weeks?!  And that's it's HOT?!

Even if he watched much television, we couldn't talk about that - as I don't watch much either.

And then there are the long silences, as we both struggle to come up with SOMETHING to talk about.

It's painful, y'all.  Very, very painful.

So tell me, all you do you do it?  How do you chit-chat?  No, really.  Tell me.  How do you start, and keep, a conversation going?  Because I'm here to tell you - a conversation between two introverts is pretty much nonexistent.

July 6, 2014

Setting up house...

As most of you may remember, Man-Child will be living off campus in the coming school year.

While I AM happy to report that he was able to find housing and a roommate before I finished hyperventilating over the fact that he'd missed the housing deadline and before I had to step in to figure it out...I have to admit the whole thought of him living off campus gives me pause.  Mainly because, even though he IS in college and is ALMOST twenty (hyperventilating again...HOW in the hell did THAT happen?!), it's that first HUGE step into on his own without a meal plan, etc.

And then?  Then I looked up and it was already July (HOW in the hell did THAT happen?!) and realized...he will be going back to school in about a month...already (I'd add another "HOW in the hell did THAT happen?!" here - but that would be overkill.  Right?)  And then further realized, he is in no way, shape or form, armed to live off campus.

No.  I'm not too concerned about the possibility of his starving.  Although, I do believe his cooking skills might rival mine (although, to be fair, he has been having sporadic cooking lessons with his father.  In the meantime, I have not.  So he's probably further along than I am at this point).  I am positive of the fact that he is perfectly capable of taking himself off to someplace that serves food.

No; today it dawned on me.  Not living in a dorm = needing more stuff.

Yes, he has sheets and towels.  He has a shower caddy.  He has a microwave.  He is perfectly outfitted for living in a dorm.  What he doesn't have?  Everything else.

I remember moving into my first apartment.  I, literally, had nothing.  No furniture. No kitchenware (not that I really needed any - and still don't, apparently).  I had no inkling what went into setting up house.  I bought what I needed as I went along - when I could afford it.

That is definitely not the start I want for my son.  He has assured me he has a bed.  But other than that?  Nothing.  And, to be honest, I'm not too sure about the whole bed thing.  He says his roommate has a bunk bed set and will let him use the one he's not using. He also claims that he has some other furniture - but what, I'm not quite clear on.

So now I'm making lists and trying to remember what it was like to figure out what was necessary and what wasn't.

Plates.  Silverware.  Glasses.  Pots. Pans. Vacuum cleaner, broom, mop, toilet brush (hahaha - like he'd actually USE any of it?). What else?  Shower curtain.  That one, I recall, DID surprise me.  For some reason, it had never occurred to me that showers didn't come with shower curtains (or necessarily, rods).  God, I was SO naive and clueless.  Looking back, it's a miracle I've made it this far in life...

So today I took a drive out to Ikea to see what I could see.  And discovered he needs EVERYTHING.  Upon my return (with only two bath mats...which are intended for this household, I might add *small pat on the back for frugality*), I have instructed Man-Child to reach out to his roommate to find out EXACTLY what he will be bringing.  I then told Man-Child that we need to take a trip up the mountain in the next couple of weeks for measuring, etc.  And then we will be taking another trip to Ikea to round out his needs.

I have also determined that Ikea needs to be much closer than an hour and a half drive from my house.  And upon second thought - maybe it IS a good thing that they are an hour and a half drive from my house.

So what say you?  What am I forgetting?

July 2, 2014

I can't even come up with a title for this...

It's finally happened...we knew it was bound to happen...eventually.

The boy has found my blog.  Well, technically, he has found out the title to my blog.  Which means, shortly, he will be reading my blog (until his eyes cross from the utter boredom of it all and he wanders away).  Luckily, for me, he was unable to actually Google my blog at the time.  Perhaps he was distracted by someone until it was time for him to leave for an appointment...

At any rate, he's gone - for now. But he'll be back eventually.  Because he is curious about whether or not he makes a regular appearance here.  So, here's the deal.  He doesn't.  That's our story and we are sticking to it.

The boy is actually quite the contributor at a very successful sports blog-type place on his own.  I've read his stuff and must say I'm quite impressed; even though I really don't understand the content about the game, I am able to appreciate his ability to research his topics and express his thoughts and opinions so clearly.  I, of course, take full credit for that.  Since he's mine, I'm allowed to do that, you know.

I, of course, have been blogging here fairly regularly (I use that term quite loosely since lately, it's been few and far between) for quite some time now.  Anonymously.  And have come to appreciate having this space to share my thoughts and opinions.  But more than that, I have come to appreciate and value the friendships that have been borne from this humble space.

He can't understand why I don't want to "share" my writings with him.  It's not that I don't want to share.  It's more along the lines of this is MY space.  And, there is a fair share of embarrassment.  And there is another fair share of "I really don't want people I know to see this" because, from the beginning, I have kept a sharp line between In Real Life and my online life.  Not because I'm being ugly or hateful about the people in my Real Life - but because I don't want to have to censor myself.

If I have to worry about censoring (even more than I already do) then there isn't much point to doing this, in my opinion.  Which is why I have this irrational fear (as if it will ever happen) that one of these days one of my posts might go "viral" - because, God forbid, should that happen then things would have to change.

So, my dear son, here's the deal - if you are reading this (and I'm fairly certain you will be); know's MY space.  And I want to keep it no sharing with your friends or anyone we know.  If you want to stop by, on occasion, feel free.  But, you must realize, that you may occasionally make an appearance here - mainly because I love you to the ends of the earth and back; because I am SO proud of you and your accomplishments to date; and because occasionally you say or do something that makes me laugh so hard, that I can't help sharing.

And if you ARE going to be stopping by here to see what I'm up to - feel free to comment, if you desire.  But remember, it's anonymous, so choose your "handle" wisely.

And, by the way?  I love you.

June 23, 2014

Annoyances (aka #firstworldproblems)

Yeah, yeah, I know...#firstworldproblems.  Be that as it may, it's still annoying...

The past few days have been filled with a few of these pesky, irritants.  I'm going to give you a sample of what has been annoying me lately.  You're welcome.

1.  Idiots, who obviously should NOT have EVER been given a driver's license in the first place, that can't figure out the rules of a three way stop.  Why is this annoying?  Because EVERY.SINGLE.TIME. that I come across this particular intersection, I am very nearly killed.  It has reached the point, that I am seriously considering erecting a large sign in the median that states "No, you DO NOT have the right of way, idiot."

2.  The newspaper.  Yes, I know.  HOW can a newspaper annoy me?  To clarify, the newspaper itself is not annoying me ( be fair, yes.  It sometimes does annoy me.  But that's another story for another day).  No, it's the staff at this particular newspaper.  As we all know, I prefer to start my mornings quietly.  With a cup of coffee and the paper.  Granted, I usually skim most of it to get to the Life section and the crossword.  Then - out of the blue - it stopped coming.  So I logged on to the website and clicked on the "I didn't get my paper delivered link."  In the past, I usually receive a response fairly quickly.  I got nothing.  The next day?  Same thing.  Finally, on the third day, I received a response.  This one, rather than rectifying the problem told me to call the office.

Well, we all know me.  I made my husband call.

Apparently, the bill hadn't been paid...BUT, this has become an issue for the paper as the bills were now coming from a new payment center and customers were throwing away the bills, thinking they were junk.  But, they promised, they would restore service and send us a new bill.  Well, they fulfilled half their promise.  The paper resumed service.

For about a week or two.  And then it stopped again.  My long suffering husband once again called.  And once again, they promised to re-bill us.  And then nothing.

Today, I sent an email to both the Business Manager and the Circulation Manager.  They have promised that, after calling my husband and accepting payment over the phone, the issue is resolved.  We shall see.

I have the publisher's email address...just in case.  I have no problem escalating this to the very top, if I have to...I NEED my morning routine...just ask my long suffering husband.

3.  I bought a new shirt on Sunday.  Usually, this is a cause for celebration, no?  I was happy with the shirt (something rare these days, as most of the stuff I find in the store is hideous) AND the price.  But, upon returning home, I discovered that the clerk had neglected to remove the security tag.  *sigh*  That, of course, meant a return trip today - on my lunch hour - to have them remove it.

4.  Blogger.  Honestly.  I logged on this morning - since I didn't have my PAPER - only to discover that the only thing I could see on my dashboard was the most recent post from one of the many people I follow.  I fired off a tweet - but, of course, Blogger never responded.  I had hoped that someone at Google would take pity on me and have this issue fixed by the time I got home.  But, of course, they hadn't.  This evening I clicked on the "Send Feedback" button but I really don't think that will help.

So in the meantime, I will have to click on each and every individual blogger to see if anything new has posted. *MAJOR sigh*

(As a side note - is anyone else who utilizes the Blogger dashboard experiencing this problem?  No?  Is it just me?)

As I stated at the beginning - yes, these are #firstworldproblems.  But nonetheless, they ARE fairly annoying.

June 22, 2014

Maleficent...from my point of view

When I first saw the trailers for Maleficent, I knew this was a movie I wanted to see.

Unfortunately, my usual movie date (my son) was not as interested as I.  Of my back up movie dates, one was out of town and the other not so interested either.

Eventually, I wore Man-Child down (after reminding him of all the mindless, inane movies that were targeted to the tween boy demographic that I had attended with him) and today he agreed to go.

As, I'm sure you've heard by now, this is the story of Sleeping Beauty from a different viewpoint. After watching the movie, I realized I couldn't quite remember WHY Maleficent was so spiteful as to curse an innocent child in an effort to hurt the parents (remember, I had a boy-child; so I didn't re-see all the Disney princess movies/stories.  In this house it was more along the lines of Peter Pan, etc.).  So away to Google I went.

I read a couple of different versions but the premise was pretty much the same...because she wasn't invited to the christening in the first place.  Definitely NOT a good reason to curse a child, but unfortunately, both in fairy tales and real life, there are people who are that spiteful.

In THIS version, I can almost agree with why she cursed the child.  A woman done dirty is one thing.  To strip the very essence of who that woman was is another.  And to do so for power and glory?  Inexcusable.

And, as we all know, hell hath no fury as a woman scorned (and disfigured)....

All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed this movie.  Man-Child wasn't as enthusiastic about it as I; but has conceded that "it was good."  High praise, indeed.

So, in my opinion, if you are even a little curious about this movie, go see it.  Unless you are a Disney purist.  If you are, then you probably won't like it.  At all.