Tuesday, December 27, 2011

happy holidays

Hope you had a great Christmas. We did. As you can see.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

in case you don't have anything better to do

You can always develop an abscess in a tooth and have a root canal five days before Christmas.

If I were you, I would not put that on my list of top five things I need to get done right away.

Just sayin'.

Monday, December 19, 2011

tis the season

people have been putting up lights at my mom's house

She loves this. I keep telling myself that there are probably kids who beg their parents, every December, to please, please, please drive them past the blue light house so they can see what has been added this year.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

one down, one to go

Finished another semester. Submitted my last final yesterday.

Why then am I still thinking about modification of child custody and grandparent visitation rights?

Why am I still creating Access databases with forms and reports in my sleep?

Why am I still more than a tad annoyed about the two group projects in different classes this semester--both that started with four members, ended with two.

In one of the groups I did the usual--played my role as mom and did all the work that didn't get done by the other group member. Got the maximum points.

In the other group, I didn't do that this time. I did my part of the assignment--well, actually more than my part, but I didn't do all of the work that the other member didn't do. So the teacher gave me five points extra for my extra contribution. But because we (the group) didn't do all of the assigned work, my grade was a C. Well, C+ if you add in the extra 5 points.

When I was a senior in high school I had a teacher who had a big blackboard that covered a whole wall in his class and it had only one thing written on it. All year, in big pastel colorful chalk block letters it said only one thing--LIFE ISN'T FAIR. He said that if he could teach us that, he would have succeeded. I suspect he was tired of hearing kids tell him that "this isn't fair" or "that isn't fair"--but it worked for me. I don't generally fall back into the pit of unfairness when things aren't going the way I want them to.

But I'm telling you, group projects in college are JUST NOT FAIR.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

these two are animals

how many feet are actually touching the floor?

Saturday, December 10, 2011

i am so on it

1. Bowling with Stu & Shi & girls & Jack yesterday.
2. Done with this semester except for one take-home final and I'm making excellent progress on it.
3. Took a final today for that dang INFO 3120 class--feeling pretty certain I will get more than the 43% I got on the midterm.
4. Online shopping is awesome. I know, overused word, but very much accurate in this instance.
5. Purchased a tree today--a real tree. My house smells so much more gardeny tonight.
6. I am feeling so festive. And happy.


That online shopping thing? I think I'll use my unexpected Kohl's cash (I know, how did that happen?) to purchase one of these for myself.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

how do people do it?

It's that time of year again. The time when I realize that Christmas is in two and one half weeks and I must give in to the pressure and make a list or two and get into that whole Christmas spirit thing.

What has happened to cause me to lose the excited anticipation? Did it dwindle away as my children grew up? If I had unlimited funds would it feel like more fun? Would a live tree cheer me in ways that the boxed tree in the basement storage room cannot? If we had snow would I be secretly plotting and smiling?

I started today thinking of possible gifts for family, friends, and neighbors, and strongly considered a trip to the Christmas tree lot to purchase a live tree. The thought of baking the traditional cookies of my youth, mixing up a bunch of tasty cheeseballs, cooking a batch of toffee--all of these have stirred in me a bit of enthusiasm.

Wait--there--feel that? It's coming back.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


These are the things I don't love about California:

1. It's so far away.
2. It gets an ocean and we inlanders don't.
3. Lots of stuff there causes cancer.
4. Only one season.
5. There's probably more.

These are the things I love about California:

1. The Californians.
2. It has an ocean.
3. There might be more.

Friday, November 25, 2011

yes we did a 12 and 1/2 hour drive today

But tonight, just before she went off to bed, someone sang a love song to me that went something like, "I love you, I love you, I love you, because you care for me, and I love you, I love you, I love you, because you do nice things like give us baths and I love you."

Accompanied by many kisses and the jingling of a tiny little silver bell.

Seriously. The drive was totally worth every minute.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

dinner before the feast

Tonight, for dinner on the eve of the feast day, we had mac and cheese. Not homemade, cheesy, lovely mac and cheese.

No. We had Kraft mac and cheese.

There. I admitted it.

In fact, I am now about to post all of the reasons why I like Kraft mac and cheese. Right here. Now.

1. It's easy. Duh. Of course.
2. Dinner in less than 15 minutes. Possibly not truly dinner, more like warm stuff on a plate, or in a bowl because it's much easier to eat from a bowl than chasing it around on a plate, right?
3. The way the mac sticks to the bottom of the pan when you first pour it into the water and then you stir it up and in just a few moments all of the little macs are boiling and rising and falling. I like that.
4. The smell of the cooked pasta when the timer goes off. A smell from my children's childhood.
5. Less than five ingredients, which according to an article I read today in Glamour magazine while waiting to see the eye doctor (pow! I made a funny) anyway, the article was about a big size woman who had spent years telling people to love their big bodies but eventually realized that it is also important to help your body be healthy and big...anyway, one of the ways she recommended losing weight was by eating food with less than five ingredients. That took a while to get to now didn't it?
6. Watching the dogs leaping about me and the mac and cheese pan in the kitchen begging me to let them lick it out.

Which I did. And tomorrow we'll eat real food and feel thanks.

Hope you have a happy one.

And then, the next morning, Jack and I will hop into his truck and head west because two mornings ago on the way to work I said I was going to miss seeing the Californians at the Thanksgiving table and Jack said, "Well, why don't we go see them?"

So off we'll go.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

and then i kinda teared up

On my test from my teacher the judge:

"So when are you taking the bar? What are you doing in my undergraduate class?"

Sunday, November 13, 2011

looking so much better today

1. We have heat once again. Well done Jack and Jr. I can feel the natural gas bill dropping now that the boiler and its flue are no longer completely clogged with soot.
2. I finished my homework for last week. Finally. All eight discussion posts, two quizzes, seven assignments, one massive test, and three group assignments. There may have been more. I've left my brain someplace and can't remember. But I don't have anything due until Tuesday night. Yes this semester is.killing.me. all over the place.
3. We had a big pot of homemade chili with hunks of bread and fresh veggies on the side for dinner tonight. What, I ask you, says autumn and comfort more than a pot of chili in a warm house?

Saturday, November 12, 2011

well there's this, but there's this

On the complaining side, there's this:

Broken boiler for the past week means no heat in the house,

The repair of the boiler required the turning off of the natural gas--twice--which meant no hot water for morning showers because that pilot light thing that happens when it goes out and has to be relit or you get no hot water happened,

The repair of the boiler was interrupted this morning when the something something valve blah blah blah broke, so the water had to be shut off all day because Jack and Jr had to go buy parts and more parts and even more parts,

Oh and the garage door closer only works when it wants to, which is unrelated to the broken boiler, cold water, and no water, but a pain just the same and would be more so except that we can't park a car in there anyway because of the heap of Halloween decoration debris that has filled up the car parking spaces,

And for some unknown but apparently somewhat related reason, the internet was down for a couple of hours today too.

But then there's this:

The water is back on.

The water heaters are heating water.

The gas fireplace in the dining room is still--cross your fingers--blowing out hot air, even though it has been given quite the workout this week and it feels like it's at least 80 degrees in there so you have to decide, 80 degrees in there or 50 degrees anyplace else in the house.

The internet is back.

We discovered a La Frontera just two miles from our house. Oh yeh. Almost makes up for the lack of heat and warm showers.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

when you don't post


When you don't update your blog, is it because:

1. You're too tired?
2. You don't have time?
3. You can't think of anything you think I want to read?

Or is it like me--some of all that, plus who wants to hear that my boiler--i.e., heating system in the house--has busted so we have only the fireplace for heat?

Well. Whatever it is for you, hope you're doing okay. And maybe it's time for lunch? Or pancakes?

Saturday, November 5, 2011

oops--i forgot to post these

These dollies (including their momma) showed up last week for Halloween--

and then there's this oddball...

drinking out of the tub...
his usual old man pose

and her sweetheart pose...

and there you go

Just like that I got 43 out of 100 on my information systems midterm. Long story, but mostly I didn't prepare adequately. And now I've documented that too.

Monday, October 31, 2011

happy halloween

I have a whole new appreciation for Halloween after tonight.

My perspective of Halloween as a child was:

1. Mom tapes a picture of a black cat to the front window.
2. Wear costumes.
3. Wander the neighborhood until feet are frozen.
4. Get candy.


My teenager perspective of Halloween was:

1. Run around outside after dark.
2. Get candy.


My perspective of Halloween as an adult pre-parenthood was:

1. Buy candy.


My perspective of Halloween as a parent:

1. Design and create costumes for kids.
2. Buy candy.
3. Give out candy or walk through neighborhood until feet are frozen.
4. Clean off face makeup or hair color from children.
5. Await possible cleanup of vomit.


My perspective of Halloween as a gramma:

1. Buy candy.
2. Dote on cute little treaters.
3. Threaten anyone who scares my little darlings and try to help them understand that it is all pretend.


My perspective of Halloween after tonight:

1. Buy candy.
2. Watch Jr and Jack and Stu construct blinking eyes that line pathway to coffin that contains zombie who sits up as treaters approach through mist that rises around the walkway towards the stuffed monster sitting on the porch holding the bowl of treats who grabs the bowl as you reach for a treat.
3. Oh my gosh. Is it sick to laugh as Jr startles kids reaching for treats? Is it cruel for parents to encourage, cajole, and push their kids to pass through this nightmare-inducing pathway just so they can have a piece of candy, and then tell the kids to say thank you after Jr scares them? Is it hilarious to hear the big kids--teenagers--tell each other that this isn't scary, that's a real guy in the chair, hey maybe it isn't a real person, and then scream like little girls when his hand moves toward the bowl?


This has been the best.Halloween.ever.

And you should know, Jr didn't touch anybody. And he takes off his mask and offers the bowl of candy to little kids.

And scaring adult men who dress up is possibly the most fun of all.


Don't you think they would be terrified if they knew we have raccoons?

Saturday, October 29, 2011

but how do you feel about people who put their pets in costumes?

See, around here, the dogs don't really care so much about the costumes but they are totally focused on the rawhide bones...

cheering me up

I've been feeling a bit sad of late. Not sure why. Uproar at work? Extra expenses? Missing the Californians? Failing my information systems class midterm two days ago?

Yes, could be any and all of the above. But then tonight, this little face showed up and said things like, "hourglass, don't touch" and "dat's a boobytwap" and "Ine otay" and other astoundingly clever things especially for a two-year-old, and mostly, pretty much lightened my mood and lifted my spirits.

This picture looks just like one I took of her daddy at this age. Hopefully she won't hate me for posting it, but I couldn't resist...reminded me so much of him...and uh, hopefully he won't hate me either, right?

Monday, October 24, 2011

it's back

Raccoon spotted in the toy room bedroom window--outside...

Thank you again, Gus.


Saturday, October 22, 2011

yes it's autumn

It may be Autumn, but for every one of those pictures this year, there's one of these:

There's this one:

And this one:

But then there's this one:

Have I mentioned how excited Jr is for Halloween?

We visited the pumpkin patch together this year and I only wiped away a few tears as I enviously watched other grammas with their grandchildren--

These are the final choices and a fine crop they are.

Perhaps I should have been a bit more concerned about that spidee in the window though...

Friday, October 14, 2011


I was just clicking around facebook and found this picture from the drummer's wedding reception. It might be one of my favorite shots ever--well done, Shi.

i'm smiling right now

Last week I checked my graduation status online. Shocked to learn I had eight classes to complete after this semester instead of four. Stewed about it all week and finally called my adviser yesterday. Excited to learn that I just need to send a complete transcript from SLCC that shows my associate's degree and shows I already completed those four additional classes. And my adviser decided to give me credit for one of my remaining four classes since I've already taken it too.

Three classes next semester and I'll graduate.

On another equally high note, guess who got 96 on her family law test that she worked herself into a frenzy on last week? May I also modestly admit that 96 was the class high? Average was 73.

So there you go. Hard work may just pay off. I'm smiling right now.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

sometimes your eyes gotta leak or you gotta shop or both

This morning Jack got up early, for a Saturday, and went to work.

Which left me with options. I got up and made myself a bowl of HoneyBuzzers--the Malt-o-Meal version of Honeycomb--so I could stomach a non-narcotic muscle relaxant. I allowed my eyes to gaze about at the heaps of debris on my counters (Jr had a party last night, so leftovers of cake and soda cans are intermixed with junk mail and stacked dirty dishes). I stopped to pick up my compy from the office and headed back to my bed where I have a clear view of the clean laundry that is not yet put away from last weekend, the dirty laundry awaiting my magical touch today, the empty diet coke bottles on the nightstands and surrounding the garbage can--I'm practicing my basketball shooting skills in an effort to heal the shoulder. I couldn't make myself go down the stairs--a combination of the my-poor-back issue and my unwillingness to look at the remnants of last night's party: pizza boxes, soda cans, furniture displaced from its normal location to allow much 'just dance 3-ing', and that damned fog machine.

I climbed back under my covers, leaning up against Jack's wedge pillow, and clicked around my favorite blogs, saving facebook for last. Jessie posted pics of Janey and Cailin that brought tears to my eyes--I miss them so--and I was reminded again that one of the reasons I like my grandkids around isn't so I can entertain them, but more because I am so touched by their personhoods--who they are, how creative, how funny, how smart--when I hear them playing together when they think no one is around. I am so grateful for frequent visits from Stu and Shi.

I stayed under the covers all morning, leaving only long enough to snag a piece of cake that I ate while finishing up all of this week's homework. My phone rang once, it was the tenants, the ones who always need something, so I didn't answer. They left a message--the upstairs shower seems to be leaking in their downstairs bathroom. Landlordship is like breeding dogs. Don't ever let yourself think you will make money from it.

And Oscar. Dear Oscar. Did he really just pee on the chair while I was laying in the bed next to it? Ah well. Another piece of furniture bites the dust.

So. Now that I've moped about, shed a few tears, finished my homework, and looked at this mess til I can look no more, it is time for me to rise, gather up and begin this week's laundry, clean out the kitty litter boxes, tidy up the bathroom and kitchen, hang up and put away that clean laundry, change the sheets, and patch the hole in my quilt that Gus chewed in it last week. If only he'd just chewed the hole instead of eating part of it too--would have been a much simpler, less noticeable repair.

And I'm going to watch for the UPS guy with my Kohl's order that includes this skirt, so I can figure out whether it's too cool outside to wear it

with these shoes

with the navy ruffle-front blouse I bought at Old Navy last weekend--can you wear espadrilles after Labor Day?

Shallow? I think not. New shoes and skirt and ruffly top make everybody feel happy, right?

Friday, October 7, 2011

has this been the longest week or what?

One visit to the ortho
One visit to rehab
One visit to the vet
One visit to the hospital
Two nights at school
Five days at work
Twelve assignments due

1. Shoulder is healing on schedule
2. Haven't lost any range of motion and have, in fact, gained a bit
3. Oscar. Peeing on the furniture is apparently not a sign of rage but may be, in fact, an indication of a urinary tract infection in a male cat. Have you ever tried to get a cat to take antibiotics in pill form? With this cat, it includes growling, hissing, running, hiding, snarling, scratching, biting--rinse and repeat after peeling pill off his face or shoulder or leg.
4. Stu. More of the usual for him. Except this visit was scheduled to begin at 5:30 a.m. Really? Then why didn't they take him in for the procedure until 7:15? But he's home and okay.
5. Driving. Eating fast food. Sitting. Absorbing. More driving.
6. The new boss left last week for a new job. Is this good? No boss--but then--no boss.
7. Seriously. Five classes--shouldn't that equal, at most, five assignments per week? No, apparently not. The two in-class classes? Two assignments and one take-home killer test. The three online classes? Two assignments, three assignments, and four assignments respectively.

Oh--then there's that one day when I checked my graduation tracking online only to see that the online tracking app thinks I have eight classes before graduation instead of four after this semester.

And Steve Jobs died. The guy who changed my world. Okay, maybe not him, but his company. But him too, because his health issues include some that are close to my heart.

And just to add some whipped cream and a cherry on top of this week, while bending over to plug in my computer this morning at the hospital, my back did its old favorite trick--may I have a large dose of muscle spasms, please? Just enough to almost put me on the floor. Thank you very much this week.

Between the ache in my right shoulder and the pain in my left hip, I can no longer pull up my own pants.

Well, that isn't exactly true. But only because I refuse to accept help with this most basic task.

Can I please end this week by participating in a most exciting Fleetwood Mac musical adventure while wearing my newly acquired attire?

If I am upright, I'm there. If not, I'm sleeping in that dress. If I can put it on.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

really? seriously?

I went to see the shoulder manipulator today for a follow-up visit.

I'm healing right on schedule.

But this crazy thing happened while I was waiting an hour for my turn to wait in the exam room for 15 minutes to see the doc for six minutes.

I'm sitting in the waiting room--a big room with lots of seats for the patients of the ten or so doctors in the practice. They leave the double doors into the waiting room open--probably for the patients on crutches, right?

Anyway, I'm sitting there, reviewing for a test I planned to take later this afternoon, when I notice a guy come in and sit down near the open doors. He starts talking on his cell phone--loud enough so everyone can hear--and his side of the conversation goes something like this:

Hi, yeah, I'm waiting for her. The baby gets out of the hospital today. We'll be moving in the house tomorrow, but see that's the problem. We need a place to stay tonight. I mean, it would be different if the baby had to stay in the hospital another night, but I can't let a six-month-old sleep in the car. So we need $15 for formula and $25 for a room. Just $40. That's all. What? Well, we are. We're praying for a miracle. That's what we need. A miracle. I guess I'm just the worst husband and father in the world. Really? I can't let the baby sleep in the car. If it was just me, that would be okay.

By now, I'm reaching for my purse, my wallet.

And that's when the sullen male nurse called me back to see the doctor.

Almost immediately after the nurse closed the exam room door, I realized--I was almost scammed out of $40.

When I finished up my visit, I noticed the guy was gone. The seat he had been sitting in wasn't visible from the reception desk--a pillar blocked it from view.

And I'd bet $40 that one of the other ladies waiting to see one of the ten docs handed over whatever cash she had and felt good about helping out that poor man.

Wow. Who needs "Will work for food" signs when the pickens' are so easy in a comfortable air-conditioned doctors' office?

Monday, October 3, 2011


I heard this story today on NPR. Touched my heart and gave me hope.

Friday, September 30, 2011

ten reasons why i'm in college

1. Because I can be.
2. Because I see and hear and learn things I've never even thought about.
3. Because it makes me feel smarter than I was before.
4. Because it makes me feel stronger than I was before.
5. Because it makes me feel.
6. Because it didn't occur to me to go when I was 19.
7. Because I like learning.
8. Because I'm not a quitter.
9. Because I only have 1.6 semesters until I have earned my degree.
10. Because I'm not too old.

Yes. I'm feeling a bit touchy. Really annoys, irritates, gripes, hurts me when somebody questions me when I ask for the student discount. Stop raising your eyebrows questioningly and give me the discount. And don't ask if I'm the oldest kid in my class. Because I might be old(er), but you're rude or mean or at the very least on my list of people I'd punch in the face if I were that type of person.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

two other things about yesterday

1. While driving on the freeway yesterday afternoon, a van driving in the lane next to me had a blowout. Big ole' loud explosion right next to my door. I was certain the van had hit me and in that instant, thought:

--What the hell?
--What just hit my car?
--When does the spinning begin?
--This is it for me. I'm done.

Yes, that's a lot of thoughts for a split second. But that's just how I am. Cat quick in the brain.

Luckily for us all, it was just a blowout on some other vehicle. No apparent debris flying into the recently painted side of the little car. No spin out on the 201 ramp onto I-15 at 60 mph.

Yes. All good.


2. During dinner last night, I thought I saw something with black on it dash by the door, but as usual, I didn't have on my glasses, so I couldn't tell what it was.

Let's just say that usually when that happens, that seeing something dashing or scurrying by without being able to register it accurately in my brain, it always--always--turns out to be a mouse.

In fact, I said to Jack and Jr, "I think I just saw a big black mouse on the deck." And they made fun of me for thinking Gus's nose was a mouse.

But see, now I'm thinkin' that was no mouse. It was no dog.

It was one of those freakishly big frightening raccoons. Probably checking out the spilled dog food stain on the deck.

Crap. I'm not going to be able to go out back anymore. Such a waste of a good garden.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

hunting skills in that little guy

In case you need to know, my least favorite creatures are:

1. Mice
2. Grasshoppers

Okay. At least those are my least favorite creatures that I might encounter in my life. Around my house. Or in my gardens.

And snails. But I'm not afraid of snails. I just don't like them eating my flowers.

So far in his short life around here, Gus has brought me a dead mouse that he caught (or found, not sure because it was dead and I certainly didn't need to get close enough to examine it), and just last weekend, he dragged a huge grasshopper onto the deck and played with it for an hour.

Now we can add another creature to the list: raccoons.

Three of them. Trying to get into my attic.

Earlier tonight, we heard Gus and Jo making crazy barking sounds out back. Jack went out to see if the neighbor was teasing them--quietly sneaked over to the side of the house to check out all of the commotion, and while peering over the fence into the front yard, suddenly something BIG and hissing jumped off the side of the house into the front yard, right in front of him, leaving the other two--yes two big furry hissing things--attached to the bricks up under the eaves.

By this time, Jr joined the fray--after much scurrying about locating flashlights and sticks--because you know, we're all stick-wielding raccoon killers or maybe raccoon pokers, right? Actually he had already called the police to ask them to send out the animal control or wildlife services or whoever it is who is brave enough to coax three raccoons into a trap and away from my attic.

Jack tried to get a photo so we'd have something to post on the blog, or maybe he just wanted a photo, but of course, the flash on the camera wasn't working. And then, before the cop showed up and before Jr figured out he could just get in his car and turn on the lights, well, by then they were already gone.

When he arrived, the cop was a little disappointed because he'd missed his first chance to use his pepper spray on raccoons.

And like the spider who still lives in the window, I had these crazy mixed feelings--I mean I certainly don't want hissing raccoons living in my attic or around my yard, even if they aren't rodents, but still, pepper spray?

I'm thinking Gus and Jo did a great job scaring them away.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

because you need to know

I'm giving out a quick update:

1. Spider is still living in the window.
2. My computer is having typing difficulties that may or may not be related to my idea to clip the cat's nails the other day while holding my computer on my lap. I'll be turning over the compy to see what falls out from under the keys.
3. I'm sitting in my recycled rocker/recliner. $15 at a recent yardsale--it's a lazyboy and it's beautiful florally with those cool metal stud/brad thingies. Okay so it's reclining mechanism isn't quite right so you have to make sure you don't put your hand under the handle or it could get crushed into the floor...but still, it's a great rocker and so comfee. If that's a word.
4. Shoulder rehab is coming along nicely. Recent visits to therapy have included a reminder from the therapist that this process will take three months or 12 weeks, whichever I prefer. Also enjoyed the day that I said I was ready for her tortures and she announced, "Let the games begin."
5. For Lisa, at the same yardsale, I discovered a terrific Stevie Nicks-ish dress. I think I need you to hook me up with some lyrics.
6. I did not drive to class tonight because my teacher is out of town and sent a sub. See I'm thinkin' that if he can't be there, neither can I, right?

There's probably more, but really, how much can you stand all at once.

Oh, just one more. In case you are not a regular reader of my daughter's blog, you should really click on over there because it's got a pretty great post up right here. Really. It will make you smile and maybe even laugh out loud. And you know you need that, right?

You're welcome.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

is this a huge mistake?

This guy--or girl--took up residence a couple of months ago in the window outside of the office. His or her web catches all kinds of bugs, so that's good right? I've been inclined to let him or her be.

Jack pointed out though that if he is a she, we just might see hundreds of little baby spidees, small enough to set up homes inside of the office.

But still, I'm not sure I can go out there and tear down his or her home.

I mean, it isn't like he or she is a mouse.

Monday, September 19, 2011

enough with the weeping

I'm trying to just remember how great the past few days have been. Hoping Jessie will post photos since I forgot to take my camera.

But then I came home to JoJo who was thrilled to see me and Gus who seems to have forgotten who I am but might remember in a couple of hours or so.

And then Jack finished up the dishes and took out the garbage as soon as I came into the house.

And I had all of the ingredients for chicken rollups, and I found baby-sized creampuffs in the freezer.

And while assembling the rollups, I looked out the kitchen window and spotted this:

California poppies.