Tuesday, November 29, 2011

on the subject of gratitude

My list isn't this list exactly, but it is damn similar:
http://consciouslyfrugal.blogspot.com/2011/11/gratitude.html

hint, hint

If anyone out there doesn't know what to give me for Christmas (Dan), this light fixture made out of an old guitar body caught my eye.

Or, you know, get all crafty and whip one up for me. I think it would look very good in the dining room where we already have some creative lighting and hanging guitars. Yes?

I'm mostly kidding. I LOVE the idea, but NO ONE should spend that much on me for Christmas. Especially not anyone who has a joint checking account with me.

And this is why I'm hard to buy for. I say I like something, but don't you dare buy it. There's just no winning.

I just like the damn picture

Vila's all like, WTF?
(And I'm missing Ms. Sarcastic Bastard.)

Happy Birthday to the matriarch of the San Diego Zoo gorillas.
Story: 54th Birthday Party for Gorilla

Sunday, November 27, 2011

a chili by any other name

Dan informed me that the chili I made today was NOT chili at all because it had no chilies or chili powder in it (I had none in the house and preferred to improvise rather than go to the store). He said it was bean stew. I argued that that is what chili is (assuming your chili has beans in it). My CHILI contained the following:

pinto beans
onion
green bell pepper
cumin
cayenne pepper
black pepper
salt
canned diced tomatoes
leftover turkey

Come to think of it, maybe it was pepper stew. Whatever.

Sun-dried Steph

It's a clear, sunny day today and I am channeling my inner earth mother/domestic goddess (aka Ms. Moon) with beans on the stove and sheets on the line. The beans will be made into turkey chili later.

I have to go buy some ice, so... signing off. Have a good Sunday.

Friday, November 25, 2011

What I'm thinking today

I wonder whether we might find more gratitude in our hearts if we celebrated Thanksgiving with a fast and a day of silence.

Or maybe the day after Thanksgiving.

Given

Grandpa spent his Thanksgiving being admitted to the hospital with colitis. It felt wrong to have Thanksgiving without him and my grandmother and my cousin David who drove them to the hospital, but it felt wrong to cancel too. I asked my mom what she thought and we charged ahead with the dozen people who were still here to eat all that food. We sent a batch of food home for Grandma and David and another batch to my neighbor who had to work while the rest of her family ate with us. It was good, but sad too.

Today I was loading the dishwasher for the fourth time in 24 hours and remembered I was thankful to have a dishwasher.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

cranberry recipe

People all over the interwebs are sharing recipes these days, so here's my super simple cranberry recipe. It could not be easier. It retains a beautiful red berry color and is very yummy, just the right balance of tart and a little sweet. It's based loosely on a recipe I got out of Sunset magazine many years ago, but I shortened the cooking time (which improved the texture) and made some other tweaks, mostly eliminating things (the original called for orange zest, orange liqueur and more sugar).

12 oz. bag of fresh cranberries
1 cup sugar
½ cup orange juice

Heat oven to 350°. Rinse berries. Mix all ingredients in an 8x8 baking dish. Bake for about 30 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer to a pretty bowl and serve at room temperature.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

house updates: dining room

The dining room is cleaner than it's been in at least five months (Austin's birthday in June). This is where I had some covered wire shelves for a pantry, but my mom called them 'less than attractive' and I couldn't look at them anymore. Thanks, Mom. Hahaha.

That Tree of Life wall hanging is from Urban Outfitters (click through for a better look at the color). You can find Tree of Life tapestries just about anywhere that sells that type of thing (hippie crap), but I really liked the color of the blue one from UO, it looks like twilight. And oooh, look at my pretty table :)

In the corner I combined two of my favorite things, vintage glass (my Arrowhead water bottle) and string lights (stuffed inside the bottle) for an accent light.

It gives a nice soft glow, and the imperfections in the glass almost make the lights look like they're moving or twinkling.

Monday, November 21, 2011

he says the other guy won

My grandpa fell in his garage. Was it a week ago? I don't remember. He was trying to do something out there and ended up smack down on the concrete. His arm and face were very swollen and he is still very bruised. It's heartbreaking to see him like that. In fact, I did a very good job of not seeing him. I am such a chickenshit. I only just saw him last night. I hear from my mom and grandma that he looks "much better!" I can only imagine what that says about how bad he looked a few days ago. He was incredibly lucky to not break any bones or do any permanent damage to his eye which was swollen shut the first couple days.

I've written some before about the fact that my grandpa was the closest thing I had to a father for most of my life. My dad was gone (left, not dead) before I was a year old and my mom didn't remarry until I was 16. She and I spent a few years in the middle of that time living with my grandparents and it was a very happy time for me. I love them both so much.

I laid awake in the wee hours this morning composing a letter to my grandpa in my head. I wanted to thank him for being a father to me and for just being himself and teaching me so much about responsibility and faithfulness. But when I got up this morning, it seemed silly to write it all down. I wish now that I had gotten up and written it in the middle of the night. I think I still will write it. I need to.

Friday, November 18, 2011

shame on me

My family and my parents have a unique situation in that not only do we live right next door to each other, but we used to have each other's addresses. My mom's address used to be mine, and mine used to be hers. And to make things just a little more confusing for people, our house numbers are different by only one odd numbered digit -- so people have a hard time remembering which is which. This means we occasionally still get mail addressed to each other's houses. When we do, we just set it aside to give to the other person next time we see them. Today I was cleaning off the kitchen counter, trying to get ready for Thanksgiving and I found a Christmas card addressed to my parents, but with my house number on it. This would be unremarkable, except the envelope was postmarked 2010. That card has set on my counter for 11 months. I hate to think about what that says about my housekeeping efforts. We won't talk about the mummified mouse I found on the floor between the fridge and the wall in a trap that had obviously not been checked in quite some time, though it probably hadn't been anything like 11 months. I hope.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

bah humbug

Jeebus H. It's everywhere already! I go to Super Target about 20 times a week (OK, I'm exaggerating, but 20 times a month wouldn't be far off) so I'm working really hard at desensitizing myself to all the CRAP they are trying to sell. I have no more room for CRAP and no money to buy it with ANYWAY. I did get a good feeling in my insides when I drove into my local shopping center the other night and they had begun to light up the trees. It's always the lights that light me up. Heh. The other stuff? The music and all the things? Gah. Not so much.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

So much for that

The birthday that was supposed to be scaled back after Maya got in trouble wasn't all that scaled back after all.

She was allowed to be in the Veteran's Day Parade - waving from the rumble seat of my parents' 1929 Model A - so she didn't clean house on Friday [eyeroll].

Saturday we picked up her new bestie and braved the rain to play mini golf and arcade games, then she and Austin stayed overnight with their grandparents.

We knew that my parents had a meeting they had to go to on Monday night, so we had a big family dinner on Sunday with homemade mac' and cheese, meatloaf, buttered asparagus and an ice cream cake.

Monday, her actual birthday, one of the classroom aides at her school brought in a cake and her classmates sang Happy Birthday to her. Then Monday night we went to her favorite restaurant where the wait staff sang to her and she got an ice cream sundae (which she shared with her brother).

But I canceled that party and the trip to Disneyland! That'll teach her. Right.

Monday, November 14, 2011

15 years

15 years ago today, Dan and I woke our asses up early and headed to the hospital before the sun was all the way up. Maya was scheduled to be born by C-section, having been breech and “growth-bound.” We had tried something called a version a couple-few weeks before, but it was a miserable failure, due in no small part I’m sure to my unbearable tension. There is little doubt in my mind that if I had been older and more mature, her birth may have been very different. I was just barely 19 and scared out of my everlovin’ mind.

Well. You can’t change the past. She was born the way she was born and the result was the same. A baby. A family.

The day of her birth was in some ways, quite frankly, horrible. I have a violent vomitous reaction to things like codeine and morphine. Morphine is the first thing they give you after a C-section. I spent 12 hours after surgery vomiting and then dry heaving. Have you ever thrown up repeatedly after abdominal surgery? It hurts.

If I held Maya at all that day, it wasn’t for more than a minute. I cried that she wouldn’t know me and my mom chided me that of course she would. My mom questioned me again whether I was sure I wanted to give Maya her dad’s last name. Dan and I wouldn’t get married for another year and Maya was going to be on my mom’s insurance. She said she was worried that the insurance company might give her a hard time if the baby had a different last name. I told her she was full of shit. But I still loved her and she still loved me.

Maya was a fairly small baby at 5 pounds 14 ounces. I could tell immediately that she had her father’s Native American nose. She was a beautiful baby.

And now she is a beautiful 15 year-old. You would never know she was ever such a little baby. She is just about taller than me now (I’m 5’5”) and solid as all get out. Not overweight like me, just strong.

Strong and beautiful. You can’t ask for more than that. She’s got her issues. But chugging ahead full-steam.

Happy Birthday, my girl.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Not much doubt there: Languages of Love

I followed the good doctor's link over to the 5 Love Languages Assessment. A friend of mine who comments here sometimes (Hi, Kristen!) had recommended that book to me sometime back, but I hadn't gotten around to reading it... this assessment tells me I maybe should. (I took the assessment 'for wives'. Now I would like Dan to take the one for husbands.)

Score   Love Language
5Words of Affirmation
9Quality Time
1Receiving Gifts
5Acts of Service
10   Physical Touch

Interpreting and Using Your Profile Score:

The highest score indicates your primary love language (the highest score is 12). It’s not uncommon to have two high scores, although one language does have a slight edge for most people. That just means two languages are important to you. (Physical Touch and Quality Time are CLEAR winners for me. This rings true, but still surprises me to see it so clearly in a score.)

The lower scores indicate those languages you seldom use to communicate love and which probably don’t affect you very much on an emotional level. (Um, hello, no gifts for me.)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Baby Trendy

I was tempted to name my son Url (pronounced like Earl) so I'm no one to talk. But this shit cracked me up.

Twitter-obsessed Gabriel Zakuani named his son ‘Trendy’

Bummer, man

I try to not blog about work. I succeed most of the time. But this one is weighing on me.

My employer has a small handful of locations where we do our business (educating the local masses). And for the last three and a half years I have been fortunate enough to work at the location that is just under four miles from my house. What a blessing it has been! But yesterday I found out that a plan that had been tentative for some time is now for sure. I am being moved back to the campus that is about 25 miles away.

I know this isn't the end of the world. I am grateful to have a job at all. And it is a very good job with good people and benefits and so much more. Really.

But I do not relish the idea of spending more money on gas and giving up an hour of my day every day driving back and forth. So I am pouting. I am mourning the loss of the convenience of having home and work so close together.

If I were to look for and name a silver lining or two to this development, one would be that the time I will have in the car will likely be the only quiet, alone time I will have on any regular sort of basis. Another is that I will see some good people at that other location that I haven't seen much of these last few years.

But I'm still pouting. For now.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Halloween 2011

I know this is 5 days old now and in Internet Time that's like a year. AND my digital camera seems to have taken a shit right along with the camera in my phone. But this is all I got from Halloween. Princess Leia and Batman.

change of plans OR how to piss off Mama

We were gonna do Maya's birthday up right. The plan was to have party on Saturday the 12th and then she and I were going to play hooky on Monday the 14th (her actual birthday) and go to Disneyland, just the two of us.

And then Dan and I got this email from her teacher:

Maya says that she was too busy cleaning the house to do her math homework last night. This is the 3rd or 4th time that Maya has been too busy to do her homework. She loses 10 points per assignment.

Would you please speak to her about the importance of doing and turning in homework?

Thank you.

Cleaning the house? Ha-fucking-HA!

I wrote back and explained that we ask Maya every night whether she has homework and she says no. I thought she was getting it done during her study period. I also told him that if he came to the house he would see she was busy doing no such thing! It's a freaking pigsty. I was disappointed that he waited until the "3rd or 4th time" it happened, but can only imagine that he thought he was contacting the evil slave-driving parents of poor little Cinderella and implying that we need to change our parenting ways of prioritizing chores over homework.

I thanked him for letting us know and told him to contact us any time. Dan told him to give her more homework.

I talked to Maya about the importance of doing her homework and of NOT LYING TO HER PARENTS AND HER TEACHER.

So skipping school on her birthday is OUT. Disneyland is OUT. And the party is canceled. I couldn't not to anything for her birthday, so we decided we would go to a place that has mini golf and an arcade and she can take ONE friend. I said no friends, family only, but Dan said she should take a friend and I told her she needed to thank her daddy for that.

Oh, and we'll be spending the holiday on Friday the 11th CLEANING THE FUCKING HOUSE. (We would have been doing that anyway, for the party. But you know, I'm PISSED now so it will be extra fun.)

So much for the rainbows and unicorns.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Rucker Family

Forget The Blind Side. I want to see a movie about these people.
(BTW - They don't even mention race at all in the video linked below. But I noticed. I'm keen like that.)

Second Act: The Rucker Family.

Dawes - A Little Bit of Everything

This stupid song made me cry on the way to work this morning.

The song isn't stupid, I just didn't like being made to cry so early in the day. Crying is better done before bed :)