On resolutions, universe domination, and FancyPants

Something that's crept into more than one conversation with friends recently is the sad fact that being a grown-up is somethings so boring. It goes without saying (and yet, I'm saying it) that I'm eternally grateful for all I have; I feel crazily blessed with this wonderful family I have, this life I'm fortunate enough to be enjoying.

But while every day is a gift, at the same time the days kind of blend into a blur of laundry and homework and dishes and errands and more laundry and playdates and doing the bills. That certainty is comforting in many ways; but I also remember the days when throwing on a dress and some lipstick to go grab a coffee with a friend carried and undercurrent of excitement because you had no idea what that little excursion might bring you.

This comment I wrote at Jennifer's NYE blog, Playgroups are no place for children (am I the only one who thinks that some of my best ideas are left in comments for others?):
It’s funny…for me NYE used to be my absolute favorite holiday, followed by Fourth of July…something magical always seemed to happen.

Now, we watch the ball fall in Times Square (which for us on the West Coast is at 9pm) then go to bed, and I haven’t been to a fireworks display in years.

I can’t help but think that perhaps I need to shake it up a bit and let that magic back into my life…it sure isn’t going to come find us holed up in our house.

Jill from Caffeine Court
made a suggestion to me that rang true...she said
I guess you have to always have something to look forward to, like a night out, or a little shopping trip and try to see the wonders in everyday things.

She's totally right; I need to carve out more time for myself this year...I'm rarely alone. I don't spend enough time with my friends without kiddies in tow. It's been so long that honestly, I don't even crave it anymore...going out sounds like work! My thought process goes something like, I'll have to get dressed, put on makeup, find my car keys, drive someplace, park the car, talk to adults, drive BACK home later...what a pain in the ass. I think I'll stay home and read.

I've been thinking about making this my new year's resolution...to find time for myself and bring some sparkly magic feeling back to everyday. But, I'm not a New Year's Resolution person, at least not usually. I used to be, but if I messed up and broke my promise to myself, I felt like, "Well, that one's out!" Thus feeling like I didn't need to work on that anymore.

So a few years back I made the New Year's Resolution that I wouldn't make New Year's Resolutions, that every day was a new opportunity to improve myself. It works pretty well for me, too. Except that recently I've realized that the idea that after all, tomorrow is another day has pretty much turned into an excuse to put off starting good habits for the next day. Which is always tomorrow, of course. Kinda convenient, eh?

So I've cleverly constructed a New Year's Resolution Catch-22 for myself; I'm thinking maybe I'll just need to cycle between NYR years and non-NYR years. Just in case I chose to make resolutions this year, I'm working on a list (still a WIP):

1.) Exercise regularly
2.) Make time for myself
3.) Eat better
4.) Drink more water and less wine
5.) Be a better human being in every conceivable manner
6.) Become the master of time, space, and dimension
7.) Learn to knit


By the way, you may also now address me as FancyPants. The Fabulous Mrs. Fussypants has bestowed upon me the nickname because of my fancy new blog look. I'm excited; the only other nickname I've ever had was Beazo.d. That's a story for another day (hint: the story involves beer).


How many metaphors can I mix in one short post?

I'm trying to give this blog a face-lift. I mean, it deserves to feel all spiffy now that it's one year old, right?

I have a lot of rearranging to do and decorating of this place to make it mine, but I love the layout and the location is comfortable. At least for now. The template came courtesy of Amanda at Blogger Buster. It was super easy to install and she even has notes in the template to help you customize stuff. Excellent for someone who is learning on the fly, like ME!

Also, after much virtual bitch-slapping about the face repeatedly by the Fabulous Fussy, I have switched out my baby picture for one a bit more current. Just a bit.

So, sweet dreams, my sweet baby blog...when you wake in the morn I hope you like your new outfit. It's always a bit bittersweet when they outgrow your fave of their clothes, isn't it?


I'm so vain, I thought this list was about me.

Thought you'd like to get to know me a bit better...

Top 100 Facts About Watch_me Christine

1. Watch_me Christine was originally cast as the main character in 24, but was replaced by the producers when she managed to kill every terrorist and save the day in 12 minutes and 37 seconds.
2. Watch_me Christine doesn't have to leap tall buildings in a single bound. Tall buildings duck under Watch_me Christine.
3. Watch_me Christine does not believe that there are 50 states, only 2, because where ever she goes becomes a State of Emergency and whenever she leaves, she leaves a State of Destruction
4. If it looks like chicken, tastes like chicken, and feels like chicken but Watch_me Christine says its beef, then it's beef.
5. Watch_me Christine sleeps once every 2 weeks, for half an hour, standing up, with her eyes open, and she looks pissed off.
6. Watch_me Christine invented black. In fact, she invented the entire spectrum of visible light. Except pink. Tom Cruise invented pink.
7. Watch_me Christine does not sleep. She waits.
8. Watch_me Christine does not hunt because the word hunting implies the possibility of failure. Watch_me Christine goes killing.
9. Whenever Watch_me Christine plays Chutes and Ladders, she treats the chutes as ladders, because she's not some sissy who can't climb up a plastic slide.
10. Watch_me Christine is allergic to doorknobs. Thats why she can only kick through doors.
11. Watch_me Christine and Superman once fought each other on a bet. The loser had to start wearing their underwear on the outside of their pants.
12. Watch_me Christine can speak braille.
13. Giraffes were created when Watch_me Christine uppercutted a horse.

14. Watch_me Christine can delete the Recycling Bin.
15. Watch_me Christine's calendar goes straight from March 31st to April 2nd; no one fools Watch_me Christine.
16. When Watch_me Christine deletes files from her computer, she doesn't send them to the Recycle Bin. She sends them to hell.
17. When the Boogeyman goes to sleep every night he checks his closet for Watch_me Christine.
18. The movie Ray is loosely based on the life of Watch_me Christine, only they substituted piano playing for eating toddlers, and blindness for the ability to fly.
19. World champion eater Takeru Kobayashi once ate 53.5 hot dogs in 12 minutes. Allotted the same time, Watch_me Christine ate Kobayashi.
20. Watch_me Christine beat a wall at tennis. Yes. A WALL.
21. Watch_me Christine once visited the Virgin Islands. They are now The Islands.
22. Watch_me Christine sleeps with a night light. Not because Watch_me Christine is afraid of the dark, but the dark is afraid of Watch_me Christine
23. If you play Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven" backwards, you will hear Watch_me Christine laughing at you.
24. Watch_me Christine died ten years ago, but the Grim Reaper can't get up the courage to tell her.
25. Watch_me Christine counted to infinity - twice.
26. On a high school math test, Watch_me Christine put down "Violence" as every one of the answers. She got an A+ on the test because Watch_me Christine solves all her problems with Violence.
27. The eternal conundrum "what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object" was finally solved when Watch_me Christine punched herself in the face.
28. Watch_me Christine can kill two stones with one bird.
29. Watch_me Christine owns the greatest Poker Face of all-time. It helped her win the 1983 World Series of Poker despite her holding just a Joker, a Get out of Jail Free Monopoly card, a 2 of clubs, 7 of spades and a green #4 card from the game Uno.
30. If Watch_me Christine wants some shade, she stares the sun down until it eclipses.
31. Watch_me Christine can do a wheelie on a unicycle.
32. Watch_me Christine has beat the crap out of so many people over her brilliant life that most medical journals now classify her as a laxative.
33. The last man who made eye contact with Watch_me Christine was Ray Charles.
34. Watch_me Christine invented the hammer when she was tired of using her forehead to slam nails into wood.
35. Watch_me Christine can watch a season of "24" in just three hours.
36. You are what you eat. That is why Watch_me Christine's diet consists entirely of bricks, steel, and the tears of small children.
37. Watch_me Christine became a vegetarian not because she loves animals, but because she hates plants.
38. Watch_me Christine was once on Celebrity Wheel of Fortune and was the first to spin. The next 29 minutes of the show consisted of everyone standing around awkwardly, waiting for the wheel to stop.
39. On her birthday, Watch_me Christine randomly selects one lucky child to be thrown into the sun.
40. Watch_me Christine can predict the shuffle on her iPod.
41. Watch_me Christine wears a cup not to protect herself, but to protect the players on the other team.
42. When Watch_me Christine plays any video game, God mode automatically turns on.
43. The popular videogame "Doom" is based loosely around the time Satan borrowed two bucks from Watch_me Christine and forgot to pay her back.
44. Leading hand sanitizers claim they can kill 99.9 percent of germs. Watch_me Christine can kill 100 percent of whatever the heck she wants.
45. Getting murdered by Watch_me Christine counts as a natural cause of death.
46. Watch_me Christine puts the "laughter" in "manslaughter".
47. When Watch_me Christine goes to donate blood, she declines the syringe, and instead requests a hand gun and a bucket.
48. Circles exist because Watch_me Christine beat the crap out of some squares.
49. Watch_me Christine once won a game of Connect Four in 3 moves.
50. Weeping Willows are a result of Watch_me Christine yelling at trees for not being tough enough.
51. Watch_me Christine irons her shirts while she's wearing them.
52. Watch_me Christine destroyed the periodic table, saying Watch_me Christine only recognizes the element of surprise.
53. There are only four horsemen of the apocalypse, because Watch_me Christine is going to walk.
54. Onions do not make Watch_me Christine cry. Watch_me Christine makes onions crap themselves.
55. Watch_me Christine once got caught doing 100 in a 50 zone. The cop did give her a speeding ticket, however Watch_me Christine still pleads her innocence to this day, stating that she was simply out for a morning jog.
56. What scientists thought was natural selection is actually only the continued survival of animals Watch_me Christine has found too chewy to eat.
57. Once a cobra bit Watch_me Christine's leg. After five days of excruciating pain, the cobra died.
58. Watch_me Christine can eat a rubix cube and crap it out solved.
59. Watch_me Christine has the heart of a child. She keeps it in a small box.
60. Watch_me Christine used to beat the crap out of her shadow because it was following to close. It now stands a safe 30 feet behind her.
61. Watch_me Christine doesn't have a computer. Just a basement full of Asian kids that memorize numbers.
62. Watch_me Christine doesn't play "hide-and-seek." She plays "hide-and-pray-I-don't-find-you."
63. Watch_me Christine once stated that she "doesn't wail on sissy boys." This led to the pink polo shirts with popped collars craze. Little do those pitiful fools know that Watch_me Christine was just making it easier to find sissy boys to wail on.

64. The grass is always greener on the other side, unless Watch_me Christine has been there. In that case the grass is most likely soaked in blood and tears.
65. Superman owns a pair of Watch_me Christine pajamas.
66. Watch_me Christine can tie her shoes with her feet.
67. Watch_me Christine can make a paraplegic run for her life.
68. Watch_me Christine can slam revolving doors.
69. Watch_me Christine was fired from the Psychic Friends Network for always predicting pain.
70. A Handicap parking sign does not signify that this spot is for handicapped people. It is actually in fact a warning, that the spot belongs to Watch_me Christine and that you will be handicapped if you park there.
71. Crop circles are Watch_me Christine's way of telling the world that sometimes corn needs to lie the hell down.
72. The word "gay" derives from an old Latin phrase that roughly translates as "He who has not yet been introduced to Watch_me Christine."
73. Watch_me Christine always asks for the same Christmas gift: A box of Smurfs and a sledgehammer.
74. Watch_me Christine is the reason why Waldo is hiding.
75. When Watch_me Christine gives you the finger, she's telling you how many seconds you have left to live.
76. In an average living room there are 1,242 objects Watch_me Christine could use to kill you, including the room itself.
77. Watch_me Christine's blood type is WD-40.
78. Watch_me Christine is the only one who can "try this at home."
79. Santa Claus actually *did* exist until he accidentally skipped Watch_me Christine's house one Christmas.
80. Watch_me Christine is able to rip a phone book in half with just one hand.
81. The United States Federal Reserve Bank decided that Watch_me Christine's basement was a much safer place for their gold than Fort Knox.
82. If at first you don't succeed, you must not be Watch_me Christine.
83. Watch_me Christine is currently suing NBC, claiming Law and Order are trademarked names for her left and right legs.
84. Watch_me Christine doesn't read books. She stares them down until she gets the information she wants.
85. When Watch_me Christine gets pulled over she lets the cop off with a warning.
86. The only time Watch_me Christine was wrong was when she thought she had made a mistake.
87. Watch_me Christine's family wraps her holiday presents in lead, so she can't see what's in them.
88. Watch_me Christine played Russian Roulette with a fully loaded gun and won.
89. The end result of the game "Clue" is always the same: Watch_me Christine was the murderer, it was in the orphanage, and the weapon was a hamster.
90. Only once has Watch_me Christine ever cried. The only survivors were a bunch of animals and some dude named Noah.
91. Watch_me Christine is the only person in the world who can actually give 110%.
92. If you haven't seen Alien vs. Predator yet, don't bother, Watch_me Christine wins.
93. Watch_me Christine can set ants on fire with a magnifying glass. At night.
94. There is no theory of evolution, just a list of creatures Watch_me Christine allows to live.
95. When Watch_me Christine enters a room, she doesn't turn the lights on, she turns the dark off.
96. Watch_me Christine does not know where you live, but she knows where you will die.
97. Watch_me Christine was born with the right to party. Unlike the rest of us, who have to fight for it.
98. Watch_me Christine' dog is trained to pick up her own poop because Watch_me Christine will not take crap from anyone.
99. Watch_me Christine knows the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow (African *AND* European).
100. Watch_me Christine had a little lamb whose fleece was white as snow, and anywhere Watch_me Christine went the lamb was sure to go. So she killed it.

(Now go do your own, bitch)


Newsletter: Month Twelve

Dear Watch me! No, watch me!,
Today you are officially ONE YEAR OLD! I am sitting here typing this as you are...well, this. You are so adorable I'd like to eat you up...just nuzzle my chin against your new blogger platform, snuggle against your widgets, sniff your XML.

Has it really been a year, Wmnwm? How can this be? It seems like just yesterday you were conceived as my carbon based offspring hollered at me to Watch them! I guess, Wmnwm, that part of me wanted you to be heard...you in all of your narcissistic, somewhat ignored glory.

Oh, but the day you were born! That was a special day indeed! You came into the blogosphere with a whimper. No meta discussions, just a little vain vignette about my make-up.

The months since you've arrived have been amazing! Your first month was so overwhelming it seems I was unable to write! Yes, but your second month, we discovered this together. Not the best I've ever written, but a vivid memory from my high school years.

Your third month also brought us this, which has oddly been a huge hit with googlers. Who new so many people oozed green stuff, and how many wanted to watch them!

Sweetheart, month five was amazing! Your development was CrAzY! I blogged every few days, and had My First Tag. I also started enjoying ranting, and mama loves her a good rant. Loved seeing the comments top half a dozen that month (they didn't really, but who doesn't fudge baby book stuff?).

Then there was the lamenting of our not going to BlogHer '07. We also resigned ourselves to having to sellthe house we built, the home in which I envisioned my children and grandchildren visiting for the holidays.

Per google hits, my sweet blog, Jimmy McNichol is still quite the draw. Who knew! We also get a lot of google hits that are inappropriate for your tender young ears, darling Wmnwm. Let's just say that people like to watch other people do some very odd things.

Remember this time we were on top of the world (we felt bad for dooce):

Then there was NaBloPoMo. That showed our level of commitment to each other, didn't it, honey? Remember me having to drive to the old house EVERY DAY FOR A WEEK because this new house didn't have internet connection? Remember how lame some of the posts were just so I could fulfill the daily, self imposed obligation? Remember how our comments and stats plummeted? Good times, good times. Actually, though, dear, I am glad we did that even though we never will again...together we documented that move, a time in our family's life whose details would be largely forgotten in the greater blur. You've brought so much to my life, dear blog.

The least of which is not new friends. Actually, without a doubt, the best part of this blogging gig is I have made some real friends. True friends. I've thought about mentioning them specifically, but without a doubt I'd miss a few that I truly care about...and then I'd feel horrible.

I have big plans for our future, baby. Specifics to follow...

Thank you for being a part of my life, Wmnwm.



A couple of weeks ago, I won me some fabulous *BLING* from the Fabulous Mrs. Fussypants. I'd said if I won I'd publish a new photo of me here sportin' the goods. Right before the goods arrived, my digital camera went caput. So I had my son take some photos with my professional camera and it's fancy system; it's old school film. He was all, "Great, that's beautiful! Now, turn your head this way, look over there. PERFECT!"

Let's just say that most didn't turn out the way I'd have liked (okay, pretty much the earrings aren't in focus but my flaws in all their glory are). Here's the best of the crop...see that pretty earring? It's very sparkly and dangly and makes me feel pretty!

If you want some for yourself (and you KNOW you do!), head over to our fellow (mucho generous...I won one pair of earrings, but she sent THREE) blogger Fussy's Etsy shop. She has gorgeous jewelry, and I can tell you that she uses quality stuff. Even my husband said, "Wow!" when I put the earrings in his hand...they have them some heft.


Windows in Barcelona...ABC Wednesday, brought to you by the letter "W"

This was the view out of my little and run down but deliciously private room at a hostel on La Rambla. I was traveling alone at the time, and spent hours wandering around Barcelona. I wasn't in a social mood at this point in my travels...I'd been traveling with a group and ditched them when we arrived in the city. I needed time to myself.

La Rambla swallowed me up and allowed me to get lost people watching, writing, sketching, dreaming. I loved my quiet space amidst the energy that swarmed around me.

During my two weeks there I kept returning to a particular sculptor who had intriguing works for sale on the boulevard. His name was Paul Santana, and he lived where he worked, right on boulevard. Paul was British, old enough to be my father (who, ironically, also ended up being homeless), and claimed to have a beautiful estate in England but chose to live on the streets in an attempt to shed worldly attachments and focus on his art. He had scruffly, dirty long hair, and his clothes could have stood a good washing, but he carried himself like a gentleman. I found myself stopping by his shop (which moved from day to day but was always in the same general area) to enjoy a bit of conversation and admire his sculptures.

He knew I loved his work but was unable to afford one (being broke seems to be a theme in my life)...one evening on my way back to my room for an evening of reading, I stopped by to say hi, and Paul handed me a lovely piece and offered it to me. "You know I can't afford it," I told him, shaking my head with regret.

"No, Christine," he replied. "I made it for you, my gift."

To say I was thrilled is an understatement (that sculpture sits in front of me as I type). Paul then asked, "How about a beer?"

Oh, geeze, I thought. I can't afford to buy him a beer, but now I feel like I owe him.

My hesitation must have given away my thoughts, for he immediately laughed and followed up with, "My treat, Christine!"

So we crossed the boulevard and Paul bought me a beer, "Cheers!" He said and we clinked bottles. We stood there, leaning on the bar, talking about art and travel and family and life. When the bottles were empty we left them on the counter...Paul returned to his shop/home, I continued down the street.

When I got to the front door of my hostel, I looked back down La Rambla. The sun was setting and lights were beginning to twinkle. The activity was far from over, however. People were streaming in and out of buildings, walking up and down the boulevard, stopping to watch street performers or check out a stall, take a picture or peruse a menu. As I watched all of these people I was struck by how many stories there are out there...every single one of those dozens of people I could see at that moment were living their stories. I'd been given a glimpse of Paul's story...I was working on carving out my own story.

I turned my head away from the activity around me and walked inside the hostel, up the three flights of stairs and into my little room where I locked the door and curled up in bed to read.

When I woke up, I took that picture.

Sometimes cheese just hits the spot

My husband just forwarded this to me...we aren't usually into forwarding nor sappy stuff, but for some reason this struck a chord with both of us. So, I share it with you (with my faves, at least for today, bolded).

Subject: 50 good thoughts!

1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.
2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
4. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
5. Pay off your credit cards every month.
6. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.
8. It's OK to get angry with God. He can take it.
9. Save for retirement; starting with your first paycheck.
10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.
12. It's OK to let your children see you cry.
13. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.
15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don't worry; God never blinks.
16. Life is too short for long pity parties. Get busy living, or get busy dying.
17. You can get through anything if you stay put in today.
18. A writer writes. If you want to be a writer, write.
19. It's never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.
20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.
21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.
23. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.
24. The most important sex organ is the brain.
25. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: "In five years, will this matter?"
27. Always choose life.
28. Forgive everyone everything.
29. What other people think of you is none of your business.
30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.
31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
32. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will Stay in touch.
33. Believe in miracles.
34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do.
35. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.
36. Growing old beats the alternative — dying young.
37. Your children get only one childhood. Make it memorable.
38. Read the Psalms. They cover every human emotion.
39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.
41. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
42. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful, or joyful.
43. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
44. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
45. The best is yet to come.
46. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up, and show up.
47. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
48. If you don't ask, you don't get.
49. Yield.
50. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift.

Bonus: Those who matter don't judge me....those who judge me don't matter.


Happy Festivus!!! Air your grievances here!

Yes, technically a day late, but as of now no-one has wrestled me my husband to the floor so it continues. Plus the date is pretty flexible; and what a wonderful thing for a procrastinator THAT is.

I thought in this holiday season full of joy and wonder and gratitude and good will towards men and all things sparkly and glowing, it might be nice to interject some good old fashioned bitterness and disappointment and jadedness. To that end, let's all do some airing of grievances! I'll start:

I'm sick of the overuse and misuse of the word "deserve."
There is an radio commercial that runs on local radio stations by some Bankruptcy Lawyers that repeatedly state, "Get the credit you deserve." Ummmmmm...I think they have the credit they deserve. They deserve to have sucky credit because they spent more than they earned...maxed out their credit cards and lived beyond their means. That's the credit they deserve. I should know, I have the credit I deserve and it isn't pretty.

Maybe it's because of the holiday season in combination with the election cycle, but I can't seem to turn around without hearing about something someone deserves.

"Get her the diamond she deserves."

"You deserve higher wages!"

"You deserve to drive in luxury!"

"We deserve it!"

"You deserve MORE!"

"You deserve BETTER!"

If everyone deserves everything isn't that the same thing as saying no-one deserves anything?


Sshhhhh...go ahead, take a break from your holiday optimism and air your grievances here. You deserve it!


The delicious taste of sweet, syrupy Karma that drips down your chin and makes your teeth ache with joy

When I was a little girl, I watched my father throw my mom through a sliding glass door. As a favor to that scared child I once was cowering in the shadows on that night (and many others), I ask you to go to Serving the Queens and read Jenn's post Yes, Jenn, There is a Karma.... This is perhaps one of the most important things I have ever read, and it was honestly a wonderful Christmas gift to find it and share it with (regift it to) you. Karma is sweet.

(I love you, Mom.)
(Yes, she reads here every day!)


Vines...ABC Wednesday, brought to you by the letter "V"

I definitely have a thing for taking photographs of windows and doors. This is one of my favorites...it was shot at the Mission in Carmel, CA. It is one of the most beautiful, magical places I have ever been (there is a photo gallery at the Mission's website full of beautiful images one of the parishioners took).

Here's another "Vine" shot from my visit to the Mission:

And just for the fun of it, here is a "Vine" photo I took probably twenty years ago. It was the exterior of the house I lived in with a bunch of other students. This was back in the day when I developed and printed my own film. I could lose myself for hours in a darkroom.


Time to buy an island

Have you heard about this? A ten year-old girl was arrested because she brought a knife to school.

A steak knife.

No, she didn't use threaten anyone with it; she was spotted by a couple of teachers using this utensil to cut her steak and they swooped in and took it away from her. I'd say that was probably unnecessary but I understand wanting to be cautious. However, the school felt merely removing the offending utensil wasn't sufficient; they then called the Sheriff's department who arrested the girl and hauled her off to a criminal processing center. It seems this was also not an adequate response as she is now looking at a felony charge for possessing a "weapon" on school property. Oh, and she's been suspended for ten days.

I personally feel far safer knowing this little girl is out of the cafeteria off the streets and no longer able to provide bite sized steak bits for herself. I think it's fabulous that tax dollars are being spent to ensure that zero tolerance policies are strictly observed to any extreme without even a slight nod towards common sense.

I think my head is about to explode.


Seriously, he might have been Santa

Today was Christmas tree day in our household. We hopped into my minivan (Yes, minivan. My ego is not tied up with my vehicle. Plus there is TONS of room for crap to accumulate and I need that because decluttering my car is a pain as I keep my car in a constant state of pigsty) to Silveyville Tree Farm...it's been a tradition of ours for years. It's a cut your own tree farm; let me tell you that it is highly entertaining to see people wandering around with scythes slung over their shoulders; there was one family whose teenage son was using theirs like a cane. The hood on his red sweatshirt was covering most of his face; my husband pointed out to me, "He's like the Grim Reaper, but cheery because he's wearing red. He's the Cheer Reaper." I tried to one-up him, but all I came up with was Great Reaper, which wasn't any better at all.

I always have visions of these family excursions as being all postcardy and fuzzy around the edges...we all hold hands and smile at each other and enjoy the crisp air scented with a variety of pine trees. I know that's ridiculous, but I want it; I want my kids to have those memories.

Of course, this is reality not a perfume commercial, so while we did hold hands and smile at each other and the air was wonderfully crisp and scented with a variety of pine trees, other things were happening as well. I twisted my ankle muddling through the Scotch Pines, our daughter whined because she wanted to just PICK A TREE ALREADY so she could climb on the hay bales. Our son reminded us of things we already knew, and I'm sure my husband was cold because he let me wear his coat even though he only had on a long sleeved tee while I had on a sweatshirt over my tee.

But, still, we picked the best tree ever aka Perfect Tree Except For That One Bare Spot (and found another perfect baby tree that will be ready for us in a few years, more about that later), and my manly man husband CHOPPED IT DOWN! He could totally take care of us in the woods.

While we waited for the nice people at the tree farm shake it to get rid it of loose needles, we hopped on an ATV train, climbed hay bales, rode on an antique sleigh, checked out the life size nativity scene, played on the hay bale reindeer, took pictures, huddled near the crackling fire, and met Santa. They say he wasn't the real Santa, but the brother of a couple of people who work there. They say he is actually a trucker and that they had to bleach his hair to whiten it. They say that it took them a few years to convince him to 'play' Santa there. I say he was such a dead ringer for the real deal that I think they doth protest too much.

At the end of the day, I'm sure my minivan looked pretty ding dang cool with our tree strapped to the luggage rack, and if I'm not mistaken a few fellow highway travelers looked longingly at our Perfect Tree Except For That One Bare Spot. Our daughter was giddy with the tree trimming festivities, and we did the whole holding her up to put the star on the top of the tree thang. Yes, her eyes sparkled with the wonder and joy.

Later, at dinner, we chatted about how much we enjoyed the activities at the farm. I asked my daughter what her favorite part of being there was. She looked off into the distance for a moment, and then answered, "Picking our tree."

Maybe their memories will be postcardy and fuzzy around the edges after all.


Can I tell you how excited I am about this? I wasn't nominated last year...I did a bit of nominating of others, but wasn't honored myself. I honestly have no idea what this means in the big scheme of things, but I am flattered and humbled nonetheless. And I'm also laughing that the only one with any votes is hottest mommy blogger. HA!

My site was nominated for Best Blog About Stuff!
My site was nominated for Best Parenting Blog!
My site was nominated for Best Photography Blog!
My site was nominated for Hottest Mommy Blogger!


Cackle, cackle, cackle...oh, snap! Obama burns Hillary.

By FAR the most exciting bit of the debate...or perhaps the only exciting bit. Nevertheless, I was dancing a jig when Obama pulled that one out. Hillary's new fake laugh she's been sporting is downright creeeeeeeeeepy.


On beer and knee socks

My fellow Cal blogger Shannon at Zokai tagged me for a seven things meme. As I've had a bit of writer's block since I moved, I'm happy for the fodder!

Here you go, seven amazingly interesting things about MOI:

1.) After studying French for over eight years, I was thrilled to be in France actually testing my skills. I had no problems all over the country, and even spoke French in other countries to get around, but one evening my friend and I stopped into a little out of the way pub for a beer. I bellied up and ordered; the ornery bartender responded by exclaiming in French, "What? We have no tickets here! Why come to a bar for a ticket?" The French for beer is bière, which isn't dissimilar sounding to the French for ticket, billet. The guy was just being a jerk; my accent was fine. No matter how much I begged for mercy he kept waving his white towel at me, pretending to be perplexed. Eventually some of the other older gentlemen at the bar said, "C'mon Pierre (yup, Pierre), stop it. Give her a beer." He stopped his act and way overcharged us.

2.) I lived with a few other guys before I met my husband (with whom I did not live before we married) ...the exact number depends upon how you define "lived with."

3.) As a follow up...every single guy I dated seriously was left-handed and played the guitar. Weird.

4.) I don't like talking on the phone.

5.) I get a stomach ache when I'm tired.

6.) I have many memories of being in preschool wanting desperately to be a "big girl" and go to kindergarten. I would watch the kids walking past my home on their way to school and I just couldn't wait to be one of them. I especially thought the girls were super cool when the pulled up their knee socks. When I was finally in kingergarten, I often made a big deal about stopping and pulling up my knee socks. I felt so proud and grown-up.

7.) When I was working on my second bachelors, I waited at a bar that served 32 ounce beers in huge glass mugs. I used to be able to carry five of these in each hand; it became a thing for people to get their picture taken with me. The St. Pauli girl only has SIX, the wuss.

Consider yourself tagged!


Eeerrm, uh...ABC Wednesday brought to you by the *correct* next letter in the alphabet, plus a make-up

Yes, in the bloggy version of a failed roadside sobriety test, last week I went backwards in the alphabet and brought you a second "R." Apparently, in my world, one "R" photo just isn't sufficient. I'd like to present you with a reasonable excuse, like I was drunk or unfamiliar with the English alphabet, but I'm as stymied as you. So, here are my "T" and "U" photos. I should be caught up now.

Toledo, Spain

Urn Base (this was taken at the San Fransisco Zoo):

And in more photo news, I am planning a new Friday photo tutorial series...more information later!


Just added a paypal widget to my sidebar...

...and cannot seem to delete the *sample* photo provided by widget manufacturers. So, buyer beware, sweater samples and cards with hearts on them are not tucked into my calender. Sorry.

Just deleted the widget...it is NOT working properly. No worries to those wonderful lovelies of you who ordered a calender, it will still be receiving one, of course! Should be there late next week!!!


HGTV, will you take me back?

Ten years ago, when I was a newly married and even more newly pregnant, I watched a lot of HGTV. I'd moved into the home my husband had bought before we were dating (well, actually, during the year and a half we were broken up he moved out of 'our' apartment and purchased it). It was a sweet, 1350 square feet brick bungalow in an highly desirable suburb (but don't call it a suburb...people there think they are living urban) of Detroit.

I'd never owned a home before, and as I had a year left of medical school we had neither the time nor the money to fork out for decorating. I didn't care; in fact, I was thrilled. I'd done some interior design work in a former life (that is, before the med school bug hit me) and I was giddy at the thought of having this canvas that was not only new BUT MINE! Not just another apartment, but a home that was ours.

So, I started following this new (to me) cable network that was dedicated to helping the average Joe make-over their home. I was soon hooked and HGTV was on all the time; it was my adult companionship during those early weeks when I was alone at home with my newborn. I even went to a home expo show in Novi, MI, specifically to meet Pat Simpson. I've met a fair number of celebrities, but I was actually nervous to meet Pat Simpson. That should give you an idea of how far gone on HGTV I was

After nearly two years in that house we moved on up to a 2350 square foot home that is worth way more now than we sold it for and planned on being there for years and years and years. FBNOML spent weekends-and weeks!- with us there, and our son had his first birthday party there. My mom was a quick ten or fifteen minute drive away, and most of our good friends were there.

Just over a year later we moved to Northern California and bought an 2350 square foot home home that seemed ridiculously expensive (our little rental we are in now is worth more than we paid for that house). I still watched some HGTV, but it seemed irrelevant. I was...beyond it.

Once we bought our next home, a 3600 square foot beauty (to which we later put an addition), HGTV was pretty much out of the picture. I just didn't need decorating advice; I was also consulted (sometimes paid!) to helpdecorate others' homes. And, let's face it, my home, and those of my clients, weren't Designing On A Dime.

WHAP! What was that? Oh, yes, reality hitting us on the head, shaking that greed and consumerism right out of our lives.

So here we are, back at square one in our cozy rental. I find myself drawn back to HGTV; perhaps it is because those familiar voices emanating from my TV screen remind me of years past in which I was full of hope and excitement. Perhaps it's because I'm no longer "fancy" and I practicing Decorating Cents. Perhaps it's because I'm looking forward to hopefully once again being a House Hunter.

Anyway, what I'm wondering is...HGTV, do you forgive me for abandoning you? I'm sorry. I'm really, really sorry. I never stopped loving you, I just sort of forgot to remember you. That was wrong, and I promise I won't make the same mistakes again.


ABC Wednesday, brought to you by the letter "R"...Red Irish Door

I've always loved this photo; not that it is gallery worthy or even frame worthy...but it exudes a spirit of happiness...who could live behind that door and not carry some joy within their heart? All I know for sure is that doorway made me happy as I walked past it.


Easing back in...

Okay, so since NaBloPoMo ended on Friday, I've been...quiet.


For the first time since starting this blog nearly a year ago, I find myself sitting here in front of my empty blogger post page, struck mute. It seems that the wake of NaBloPoMo has left me speechless.

A friend suggested I check out WFMW, just for fun. I'd seen the buttons all over bloggy land...and, honestly, I'm not usually much of a joiner.** But seeing as how I've nothing else to offer you today (but tomorrow IS another day) and I didn't want to let too many days go by, I thought I'd break with my tradition and join WFMW, if only for today. Or maybe forever...who knows!

So the question is - do you have a go-to back up meal you fix when it's near dinner time and you find yourself unprepared? Well, confession time here...I probably cook dinner four or five times a week, on a good week. Wait? What was that snorting sound? I think it was my husband shooting Diet Coke out of his nose reading this at work tomorrow. Okay, three or four times per week. I'm sorry, readers will you cover your ears for a second? Thanks. Shhhhh...c'mon honey, I don't want to look like a total slacker in front of my bloggy peeps. Let's just say I cook dinner a few times a week, kay? Thanks. Love you, too.).

On those rare evenings that I don't have something planned (*sarcastic*), I do have some tricks up my sleeve (*honestly*). Sometimes they are even super yummy.

We always have produce on hand, because we belong to a CSA. From that weekly box full of locally and sustainably grown fruits and veggies I've actually learned to enjoy cooking, something I didn't think I'd ever do.

So I give to you my yummy and easy and healthy and adaptable soup recipe (I'm not one to really measure when I cook, so these are just guidelines):

Christine's Yummy and Easy and Healthy and Adaptable Soup Recipe


*2 T Olive Oil
*1-2 QT stock of some kind (I try to always have some of those boxed types on hand, and the amount depends upon how much veggies you are using)
*one chopped onion (or leek)
*few minced garlic cloves
*two of whatever veggies you have on hand, chopped bite size (I figure people I am feeding have big mouths, so I chop larger...but remember, the larger the size, the longer it will take to cook): carrots, potatoes, green beans, mushrooms, spinach (or kale, collard greens, chard, any cooking greens are fab...frozen is fine, too), celery, tomatoes, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, zucchini, whatever
*salt & pepper

Directions -
The thing that's wonderful about this soup is that it's not only delicious and full of nutrients, but it's so forgiving. Keep that in mind as you read these instructions:

Pour olive oil in soup pot. Heat on medium high a bit and toss in chopped onion/leek. Stir it a few times, throw in some salt and pepper. My general rule of thumb from there is to add veggies according to their hardness. The harder the veggie, the earlier it is to the party. Carrots go in early; they need time to soften up. If you're using green beans, they will need more time than zucchini. Make sure you stir often so that nothing gets burned.

Once whatever veggies you have on hand have had a chance to be tossed around in the olive oil and browned just a bit, add the stock to cover your veggies.

Okay, now you should be maybe five to ten minutes into the cooking process. Let the stuff simmer until it can be easily pierced with a fork. As long as the pieces aren't too big and they had a nice go at the browning process this should be done in fifteen or so minutes.

If you have cooking greens, chop them up as finely as possible...ideally, puree then in a food processor until they are barely still solid and then add them to the simmering mixture. My kids don't notice them any more than they notice parsley. Woohoo!


Easy additions bonus round...If you've got 'em, add 'em in the last ten minutes:
Egg noodles
Pre-cooked/left-over chicken
Canned Garbanzo Beans

**(Yes, I know I post ABC Wednesday photos...I give myself a pass on that one because it's photography.)


Just so I can be an A-hole and post three times on the last day of NaBloPoMo

Courtesy of Mrs. Fussypants.

Apparently Spirit Airlines thinks I'm a MILF

I got an email from them with the subject line:

Spirit Airlines - MILF Sale - Fares From $9* Each Way

I'm thinking, hmmmmm...! Are they selling MILF's? Because that would be illegal. So, no, they must be giving discounts to MILF's! Then I'm thinking, hmmmmm...are they sending me this because they think I'm a MILF? Sweet!

But, sadly, 'twas not the case. Here is what the body of the email included.

Tell me it's okay to be Pollyannaish

I had my first mammogram at age thirty-five...partly for baseline, partly because I'd thought I'd felt a lump. It was chostrochondritis (inflammation of the cartilage in the chest)

I had my second at age forty...partly because I'd turned forty, partly because I'd found another lump. I got called back after the mammogram, went in for an ultrasound. They did a fine needle aspiration right then and after some agonizing days the pathology report said, "Benign cyst."

My third mammogram was the following year. The mammogram found a suspicious area (same general area as the cyst), and so again I went back for an ultrasound. The ultrasound showed a shadow; that meant it was a solid mass which is far scarier than a liquid cyst. A fine needle aspiration wasn't sufficient; I had to come back later for a biopsy. The doctor and tech both looked concerned, and tried to be reassuring but kept repeating things like, "No need to worry until we know what we are dealing with." To a hypochondriac like me (or more accurately a permanent medical student syndrome sufferer), that wasn't the least bit reassuring. It over a full month from the mammogram to the results of the biopsy, which was galactocoele (aka milk cyst). Benign.

Part of the reason my post last night was so lame was because I was dreading this morning. Yup, mammogram number four was this morning. I tried to be positive this time, not freaked out, not worrying, not saying to myself, "What if this time...?" I tried to convince myself that this time they'd find nothing, and I could leave the radiology suite smiling naturally instead of forcibly. And I was afraid to do that, afraid that hoping for the best was jinxing me for the worst. Because I learned that's how it works in medical school.

This time they found several little calcifications. "Punctuated calcifications" which is the good kind, the variety "rarely associated with malignancy." In fact, the radiologist recommended that I just return in six months for a follow up. But I dug in my heals...I know me all too well. I'd spend many a sleepless night fretting that perhaps I was the exception. When I was all PMS-y I'd look at my kids faces and tear up, torturing myself by imagining them growing up without me. Every time I'd see a pink ribbon I'd break out into a mini cold sweat.

So I sat with him in his dark office, holding the microscope and looking at X-rays of my boobs, specifically at those punctuated calcifications and he said, "Ninety-nine percent of the time these are signs of benign changes."

I said, "I don't want to spend the next six months fearing I'm that one percent. Nope, I want a biopsy."

So now I wait for the call to schedule the biopsy.


I can't believe that no one called me...

...on the fact that I posted an ABC Wednesday photo on Tuesday. I'm still so discombobulated from the move and the days off my husband took therein, not to mention his four day holiday weekend that followed soon after at the end of the week off the kids had, and my mom is visiting so it still feels like a vacation. I thought all day yesterday was Wednesday. When I woke up this morning it felt like Groundhog Day...one of my first thoughts was, "D'OH! I posted a Wednesday post on a Tuesday (how sad is it that one of my first thoughts was about blogging. Similarly, am I the only one who dreams of the bloggy world?).

It worked out well, though. I documented the installation of our new dining room chandelier, and that's what's at the heart of me blogging anyway...documenting our everyday lives.


Along with this and this , I've got a new pet project. This one is wiping OUT the response, "No problem" to "Thank you."

When we first moved to CA from the midwest my husband and I were both struck by how odd it is that hardly anyone here says, "You're welcome." Because I'll tell you what, "No problem" just doesn't feel as gracious as, "You're welcome," at least not to this Midwestern transplant. The crazy thing is I've been hearing myself say, "No problem" recently.

So my mission (and yours, if you chose to accept it) is to skew the scales in the opposite direction. From now on, when someone says, "Thank you," I'm going to respond, "My pleasure!" Imagine someone saying that to you in response to an everyday gesture.

You're holding open a door for a stranger whose arms are laden with packages and they say, "Thank you."

"My pleasure!" That's just sweet.


ABC Wednesday...See the light... brought to you by the letter "S"

Here is what we started with (*barf*):

This is better:

But this is bestest (yeah, we know it's too high, but we'll deal with that later):



I have only one sibling...my "little" brother (and I cannot seem to stop calling him that) who is four and a half years younger than I.

I've always adored him. I never felt any sibling rivalry, enjoyed playing with him throughout the years (that I recall, he might remember otherwise), ultimately decided that it was the ideal separation between siblings.

I had two miscarriages between my children; if the first would have been born on it's due date, my son and that baby would have been exactly, to the day, the same difference in age as my brother and I. It didn't work out that way...I had that miscarriage and another one after that. My daughter is five and a half years younger than my son. It's perfect for us, and as it's meant to be.

Back to my brother and me...we are close. We love each other. Whenever we talk on the phone, or write, or email, we pepper into the conversation, "I love you," and, "I love you, too." Because we do.

But, see...we don't talk/write/IM/email frequently enough. We just don't. We're missing out on crucial, everyday details that is incomprehensible to me when I stop and consider the fact that at one point in our lives we couldn't chose a cup from which to sip water without consulting the other.

How can I not know what's in his heart? Well, maybe I do...but what if I'm wrong? HOW CAN I NOT KNOW THAT?

How can he not know what's in my heart? Well, maybe he does...but what if he doesn't? HOW CAN I HAVE LET THAT HAPPEN?

Those days are over. Done. My brother and I are close. Very close. But we need to be less strange to each other.



"I'm almost done, I'm almost done." I've been saying that for days, much to the dismay of my family, particularly my mom who flew out here yesterday to VISIT and not stare at the back of my head!

Actually, they are all excited about this calender; my son wants to make his own. I told him that's fine...but don't expect me to hawk it on my blog. He's the competition, man!

SO YES, it's for sale! Click here or on the pics and it'll take you right to the lovely company printing them for me. Want more info? From the printers themselves:

26 pages, 11" x 8.5", coil binding, white interior paper (100# weight), full-color interior ink

On a more personal level, these are some of my favorite shots...one is literally from my backyard, others are from throughout Europe, the States, and USVI. They're all very different, but I think they make a nice collection.

Hope you like it and buy oodles (did I just write that out loud?)!


My laptop isn't loving me right now...

...I've been working her hard today and she is protesting. I'm hoping it's worth it (I'll let you know tomorrow), but in case she won't let me post later, here's a glimpse at what I've been working on (because I need an excuse to ignore the mountains of boxes around me).


Still thankful...

I love NaBloPoMo...it has forced me to document days that I thought at the time I'd rather forget.

If you look closely at the photo to the left, you can see the image of the Golden Gate Bridge in the reflection of the glass. I didn't see that when I took the picture...similarly, as I reread some of my posts from these past weeks, I am discovering the beauty of my every day life I missed the first time around. I'm loving NaBloPoMo.


It's 9:15pm, I'm home from our Thanksgiving dinner, and I don't know what else to write

I'd had a couple of other things planned, but the combo of tryptophan and Zinfandel has left me less than inspired.

So in acknowledgment of the holiday, the following is my top ten list of things for which I am grateful (in NO particular order):

1.) I am thankful for (despite my disclaimer that there is no particular order, first and foremost)my family: FBNOML, my son and my daughter, my wonderful husband, my amazing mom, my darling and inspiring brother, my cousins and in laws and aunts and uncles and ALL.
2.) I am thankful for my friends...I've been crazily lucky throughout my life to have made friendships that will last forever, even if time has taken it's toll.
3.) I am thankful for the fact that we sold that last home and found this one.
4.) I am thankful for epipens.
5.) I am thankful for my elliptical.
6.) I am thankful for my hair stylist.
7.) I am thankful for the California town in which we live; I always knew I was a California girl at heart...who knew that meant Northern California, which isn't the California I thought I meant?
8.) I am thankful for my decision to leave medicine.
9.) I am thankful for my ability to gain muscle mass quickly.
10.) I am thankful for this bloggy world, or as my daughter said when asked what she was thankful for, "Princesses and ponies and our puppy and YOU!"


Rust Colored Bridge with Barge Passing Underneath...ABC Wednesday, brought to you by the letter 'R'

Yes, I know it's a stretch...but the Golden Gate Bridge IS a rust color. I am really striving to have each post this month be relevant to what is happening in our lives, so here it is! We spent yesterday at the Bay Area Discovery Museum...I thought about having Clifford be the honorary 'R' (he is the big Red dog, donchaknow)...but as this blog is at its core narcissistic, I chose to go with a symbol more meaningful to me.

I love a lot about that little museum, the least of which is not the unique view of the Golden Gate Bridge. The kids are running around, learning without realizing it...all the while taking in one of the world's most beautiful scenes. MY jaw is open the entire time.


Just got this email from Margaret Ferguson

After a day at the Bay Area Discovery Museum in Sausalito (one and a half hours to drive there, two and a half to get home...grrrrrrrrr), I came home to this amazing email...and gee willikers, too late for us to not have to sell the house on which we just closed escrow! I just HAD to share the good news with you all; I know you won't use my batch number, ticket number, serial number, lucky numbers, or reference number because I have NO DOUBT you're just as thrilled for me as I am! Clearly by the numerous typos in her email, Margaret Ferguson is beyond excited for me, too!


Lucky Winner 2007 ,

BATCH NO: PBL/67189098011/245679/1109
REF. NO: PBL/11278998789/908796//1109

Dear Winner,

This is to inform you of the release of the EMAIL
GAMING BOARD. Your e-mail attached to ticket
number 219028657434 with Serial number
918735625 drew the lucky numbersof 21-70-81-
82-99 which consequently won the lottery in the
1st category.

You have just won yourself the sum of
ONEMILLION EUROS in the satellite software
email lottery conducted by POWERBALL EURO E-
In which e-mail addresses are picked randomly
by software powered by the Internet. Your email
address was amongst those chosen in this
quarter and you are to contact our CLAIMS
OFFICER for Clearance.

TELEPHONE: + 447031957971

Margaret Ferguson

Material Copyright © 2007 The Lottery Co. Ltd.

Look, now that I'm rich, I'm not going to forget you all. I'm not going to be one of those lottery winners who hoard their cashola. I'll share. Like, if my mom needs grocery money, I'll totally front her a loan. If a friend and I are out to dinner I might not make sure that I order more expensive food and then offer to "split the bill in half." I might even toss some leftovers or a recyclable can to a homeless person from my car as I drive by (they like that).

Anywho, I always knew our ship would come in.


Just texted this to my husband...

Grocery Listy Listerson:

1.) You need beer (I stole one).
2.) I need wine.
3.) Kids need milk.
4.) You need dinner.
5.) Kids and I need bottled water for our trip to Sausalito tomorrow.
6.) How cool is it that we live close enough to zip to Sausalito for a quick day trip, and that we...
7.) Can spare the cash for the trip!?!?!?!
8.) We love you!!!
9.) Hope you're having fun rockin' out at band practice.
10.) Call and say goodnight; kids are still up.


Warm Fuzzies

The Fabulous Mrs. Fussypants awarded me this sweet little thang.I haven't been feeling fabulous, so it made me happy! These past two weeks have kicked my ass. I'm exhaused; we all are. I'm sure you're sick of hearing me whine about The Move, but when you're in the middle of it it's pretty consuming.

Wish me a blissful nights sleep, internets. Maybe I'll even be able to create a coherent post!

Until then, here are a few bloggers who ARE fabulous...and clear headed!

Urban Pedestrian
In the Fast Lane
Marjorie at 280 Main Street
Annie at Blooming Marvelous
Jill at Caffeine Court


The road to hell, best intentions, blah blah blah

For some reason, I thought tonight would be a good night for my son to have a sleep-over.

And as tomorrow is my daughter's birthday, of course I decided to plan a birthday party. Here. At the new home we've been in for less than a week.

My hope was to keep things as normal as possible, and to quickly create lasting, fun memories in the new house. What I managed to do was create an atmosphere where things -and traditions- were broken.

Must go repair what was broken, and prepare for the party tomorrow.


Quiet Space - ABC Wednesday, brought to you by the letter Q

This bench sat for years in the courtyard of the home we've just sold. The creeping fig vine behind it started as a little plant, and has done what I'd envisioned...covered the courtyard walls inside and has finally reached the top and climbed over to the other side. Perhaps that milestone meant my work at that home was done and it was time to garden elsewhere.

I've brought the bench to my new home, and am currently looking for the perfect place for it. I'll once again surround it with plants and make myself a new Quiet Place.



My husband moved crap for 29 straight hours (oh, except for the 30 mins he collapsed on the floor of our old home in the early hours of this morning).

I unpacked last night 'till the wee hours, crashed in our Tempur-Pedic way late When I heard the garage door opening at 5am I forced myself to get out of bed and made coffee and breakfast for my hubs; I hated hearing he'd been working all night. After a cup of coffee, he kept hauling; I worked in my daughter's preschool all morning.

We are all running on adrenaline. My 'Q' photo will arrive later.



Still hauling crap out of old house......reverting to visual muzak

Please hold. Your call is important to us. Your call will be taken in the order it was received. There are currently TWO. HUNDRED. THIRTY. SEVEN. boxes ahead of your call. Thank you for your patience.


Some friendly moving advice

Today I learned that it is NOT a good idea to move while PMS'ing big time. If that is unavoidable, do NOT listen to music that you haven't heard for years and makes you all nostalgic. If you accidentally do that, please don't stand in what is about to be your ex-kitchen pantry and look at the home-made growth chart on the door jam...because you have to leave behind the series of colorful lines that have documented your children's heights for the past several years. If that does happen, make sure you close the pantry door and sob quietly so your children don't get freaked out by mommy weeping inconsolably.


The gift of twelve and a half hours of beautiful sleep

Yesterday...having to leave my bed was a chore, food was tasteless yet my appetite knew no bounds, and the endless demands of my children grated on me.

Today...while I didn't jump out of bed, I did slink out happy. I ate when I was hungry and not when I needed to fill the endless, anxious pit. Most importantly, I laughed with my kids instead of being overwhelmed by their needs.

Sleep is good. Oh, so good.


Transitions and other random thoughts

We have internet, phone, and cable at our house woooohoooooo!

It took the cable guy ages and they didn't give us the right phone number (I guess when I said I want to transfer service they thought that meant establish a new account...grrrr). BUT the tech was here at the early end of the time range they gave us (can you believe that?) and he was super nice. As we'll get our old number back next week, and the DVR did in fact save all of my shows despite the move, all in all it was a fabulous experience and I'm again in love with Comcast. Sigh. Comcast...you played hard to get and can be quite the finicky lover, but in the end you're mine and I love you.EDITED: COMCAST I HATE YOU AND FUCK OFF!!! I'M LEAVING YOU FOREVER!!!

So now that I'm back online from home, I guess I'm going to have to up the quality of my posts for the rest of NaBloPoMo. No more excuses for lame-osity. Starting tomorrow.

Oh, wait, tomorrow we are having a garage sale at the old house...I can't believe the stuff with which I am parting. That chair in the above photo? I love it. I've had it for years. A couple of months ago I grabbed it and hauled it out to a road lined with gorgeous, mature olive trees and started shooting. I think I'm selling it tomorrow because there just isn't room in this house for it. I'm torn, but I think I'm letting it go. That's where we're at right now...selecting and purging and simplifying and starting afresh.

We're also having a dumpster delivered to the old house tomorrow. What we don't sell we're donating or chucking...or maybe taking to the new place if I feel that the universe is telling me to do.


A partial list of things for which I have forgiven myself this week:

1.) Skipping last night's parent education class at my daughter's preschool.
2.) Spending a bit of time online while I'm at this old house instead of packing and filling the car with loads of crap stuff we've still got here.
3.) Totally blowing off NaNoWriMo
4.) Not commenting on other blogs as I can hardly find the time to write anything for my own this week (I hope the internets forgive me as well) and I'm sure not flaking on NaBloPoMo.
5.) Eating fast food and pizza the majority of meals because because moving sucks and I can't think about cooking.
6.) Letting my kids watch more TV than is probably good for them.
7.) Knowing my daughter has a poopy pull-up right now and yet I'm finishing this list before I change it.
8.) Yelling at my kids for minor infractions BECAUSE MOVING SUCKS.
9.) Not going over my son's report card with him because we can't seem to find five minutes to sit down together. I've talked to him about how it rocked, but he has yet to see it.
10.) I don't even know where that report card is.


Pavement Along Scorched Roadside - ABC Wednesday...brought to you by the letter "P"

I'm in Northern California, and obviously this year's fire season wasn't nearly as scary and life-altering as Southern California's. I'm not sure if this roadside fire was a planned burn or not; either way I found the contrast between the burnt dry fuel and the fields beyond striking.


Where am I? Who am I?

The first morning I woke up in this home we're selling I was laying on a makeshift bed of family room sofa, chair, and ottoman. My son, who was then five, and my husband and I had all snuggled there as our beds weren't yet assembled. When I opened my eyes, I looked out the window and marveled in the seventy-five year old row of oak trees that lined the back of our lot. I'd fallen in love with them; they were the reason we built this home here.

I snuck out from under the covers and tip-toed to a bathroom, where I opened and EPT and peed on the stick.

That was the morning I found out I was pregnant with my daughter. It's always been a lovely association...learning of my pregnancy on the first morning in a new home.

A couple of my neighbors here on this cul-de-sac we're leaving are pregnant. As we've gone through this process of having a home on the market, finding a place to move, and now moving, I've seen their bellies swell. It's been a constant reminder of being pregnant in this home. In a way, I feel like with this move I am transitioning into the next phase of my life...away from my childbearing years and into...what's after that? Parenthood? But I was already a parent. Middle age? That just sounds old.

Anyway, now the home we built nearly five years ago is our "old" house, and the rental we're moving into is the "new" house. This house, the "old" one is still full of miscellaneous things that need to be moved, but we haven't slept here since Saturday. This one has internet and cable, the other one doesn't. We're in between homes. It's all very strange and slightly surreal.


This driving across town to post is getting old already

And I'm brain dead. So, for today, enjoy this year or so old scan of the first time(s) my daughter wrote MOM. Probably only my mom will really enjoy it, but I'm not NOT posting this month.

P.S.: Note the cute li'l MOM inside the "O" of a big MOM. It's all in the details.


Our house is a very very very fine house.

With two kids in the yard! Soon to be jumping on a trampoline!

Okay, I just snuck away from our new house (THAT DOESN'T HAVE INTERNET ACCESS!) to our old house to "grab some things." Nope, I had to come and make sure I had a little something something on my blog. Everyday this month. No matter how lame. Hope you will still love me in the morning.

I should have had some posts in my back pocket, huh?


It's my birthday and I'll move if I want to

Yup, it's my birthday. And moving day. The truck is out front and being loaded.

Our new place won't have internet for until next week. ARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGH. How much does that suck? I had called Comcast last week and they said, "Oh, just call us a coupla days in advance of your move and we'll schedule you."

So, I called a coupla days ago. And they didn't have anything for a week and a half. Nice. Thanks, guys. Don't you know I'm part of NaBloPoMo? Not to mention NaNoWriMo? Hello?

But I shall persevere. I shall find a way to get me some internet access no matter what (actually, I'll just be coming back to this house to finish up odds and ends and post then).

If you're a lurker, come on out for my birthday present!