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.)