Saturday, October 18, 2008

Funny Coincidence

This is our dog Buster:

This is our puppy, Posy:

And this is Buster Posey, former Florida State baseball star and 2008 draftee for the San Francisco Giants:

Buster is a pretty common name for dogs, though not for people -- I was happy to see on Buster Posey's Wikipedia entry that it's not his real name (which is Gerald, and I can't blame him for wanting to be rid of that). Posy (or posey), however, is not a common name, for people or dogs, which is part of the reason I chose it. So I find it very entertaining that there's a baseball player named Buster Posey, and he is a player for the team to which I have the most allegiance (I won't go so far as to call myself a fan, since I barely pay any attention most seasons, but I grew up in a Giants family and continue to feel fondly toward them despite being married to a rabid Dodgers fan). Also, like Buster and Posy, Buster Posey is extremely cute. Seriously -- look at that guy.

I have a new favorite baseball player :-)

Monday, October 13, 2008

I pretty much live my life on Facebook now, but I know everyone isn't there, so I wanted to post some pictures and give a few details here too.

First, Ryan and I attended my high school reunion September 27, and it was a lot of fun! I was really nervous, but ended up having a great time.

I'd barely recovered from that when I spontaneously adopted a puppy two days later! Posy is a toy poodle/terrier mix, about 2 1/2 months old, and just the cutest thing ever! House-training is a challenge, and Buster keeps looking at me as if to say "how could you do this to me?", but we are all enjoying her.

Most importantly, this past Saturday, October 11 at 8:05 am, my niece Jayla Jean was born. Her parents are my brother Chad and his wife Angela. I was lucky enough to be there for her arrival, along with my mom, Angela's mom and sister Lora, and of course, Chad. Watching Jayla's birth was absolutely amazing, and of course we are all in love with her, no one so much as her daddy! It's so much fun to see my little brother as a dad :-)

So that's the big news here! Soon we will head down to the valley for Ryan's high school reunion, we are all looking forward to dressing up for Halloween, and of course there is regular life, with school, activities, PTA, and this marathon election season. I'm a mama for Obama! Just say no to McPain!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Everything I Know I Learned On Our Summer Vacation

A trip to Newport Beach can be as nice as a trip to Hawaii if you factor in several things, including but not limited to the fact that being able to drive means you don’t have to pay for airfare and a car rental, makes it possible to travel on your own schedule, and allows you to bring along everything you can cram into your car.

Spray sunscreen in a can is convenient when you’re putting it on, but it sure doesn’t seem worth the money when you use up an entire can of it just trying to get your family of four properly screened before your first morning at the beach.

The combination of a functional set of black swim-shorts with a cute, colorful bikini top means that, while my body is not exactly bikini friendly, it is not strictly bikini unfriendly either.

Arcades are pretty much similarly scummy wherever you go.

Sand can get into the most amazing places.

There’s probably such a thing as being too vigilant about sunscreen, but that level of vigilance is not one I have ever managed to reach.

Everyone in my immediate family sunburns easily.

A single-day ticket to Disneyland has become so prohibitively expensive that it can actually seem to make sense to just buy annual passes for the whole family and plan to come back a few times later in the year.

Credit card companies use perverse non-customer-serving logic, such as to simply decline charges that seem too big rather than giving the customers a hassle-free way to authorize them. This can lead to unpleasantness, especially when one is on vacation, and, frankly, seems counter to the desire of credit card companies as well. Don’t they want you to charge a lot of stuff?

It’s actually possible to go to Disneyland in the middle of August and have it be fun and not so ridiculously crowded that you spend all your time waiting in line. We recommend going on a Wednesday when the economy is crappy and Disney has just raised tickets prices a few weeks earlier.

Somehow, the saccharine schmaltz of Disney doesn’t seem that bad when you are actually inside Disneyland.

If you are walking around, say, a theme park, and it’s so hot and humid that the sweat seems to be pouring off you, a margarita is excellent remedy.

Just as the fact that fries are fattening doesn’t keep you from eating them on a frequent basis, the fact that you rented a condo and brought lots of food so you could eat home-cooked meals on your vacation doesn’t keep you from eating out a lot.

A walk of almost any length is too long the day after you spend fourteen hours walking around Disneyland.

The experience of swimming in the ocean teaches many life lessons. For instance, like life, the ocean can be dangerous, but if you don’t get out there, you’re never going to have any fun. Also, the ocean does things on its own terms. You can try to stand at the edge and not get wet above your knees, but if a wave wants to soak you, you’re going to get soaked. It’s better to learn to float along with it than keep fighting against it. And even when you do, you’re still going to get slammed into the beach by a rogue wave you weren’t ready for every once in a while.

However true that last item may be, having a mother who expects you to appreciate nuggets of wisdom like “The ocean isn’t fair” right after a rogue wave has slammed you into the beach is probably kind of a drag.

Even the best, most relaxing vacation can be tiring.

A little 2 bedroom/1 bath condo just a couple of blocks from the beach in great weather is terrific for a week’s vacation, but toward the end, you’re still pretty much ready to get back to having a dishwasher, a DVD player, reliable wi-fi, separate bedrooms for the kids, multiple bathrooms, your dog, and air conditioning. In other words, home.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Car Names

Here is my list of best, boring and WTF? worst names:

Element - Elegant simplicity -- it's elemental. Would have been perfect for a compact hybrid with nice lines.

Escape - we rented one of these and it was a sluggish, rattling piece of crap. It would be a great name for a zippy little car though

Sonata - just sounds nice. I'd drive one. I guess it's not real manly though.

Avalon - See Sonata.

Odyssey - Perfect for a minivan -- it sounds like a non-perilous adventure to me.

Pacifica - I am a West-Coast girl

Caravan - Also perfect for a minivan -- it sounds cozy and familial.

Solara - See Sonata.

Jetta - Sounds zippy and cute, but kind of cool too.


Anything that is letters, numbers, or a combination thereof (Example: my car, the Mazda MPV)

Most made-up names (Examples: Camry, Corolla, Lumina, Elantra)

Everything made by Kia (Examples: Spectra, Sorrento, Optima)

Accord - as in, the two factions reached accord. *snore*

Civic - as in doing your civic duty by driving something that gets good gas mileage. Great car, boring name.

Passat - conveys nothing to me


Aspire - This could have worked on a really high-end car. But putting it on a boxy little subcompact just makes you think everyone driving one aspires to be driving something better

Buick Lucerne - it just makes me think of the brand of dairy products. Horrible

Chevy Uplander - what?

Avalanche - I don't want to drive anything that sounds like a natural disaster

Aztek - Let's name a car after an ancient civilization and then spell it wrong.

Chevy Equinox - I get that they are going with an astronomical term, but it just doesn't sing

Envoy (Denali)and Yukon (Denali)- I don't know what the Denali means on either of these, but both Enjoy and Yukon sound heavy to me. Some people might think that's good, but I don't.

Mercury Grand Marquis - there is nothing royal about this car. Give it up, Mercury

Nissan Armada - an armada is a fleet of ships. I can only guess Nissan is banking on the general public not knowing the actual definition of the word with this one

Pontiac Vibe - too close for comfort

Saturn Relay - sounds dinky and cheap

Suzuki Grand Vitara - grand what?

Touareg - maybe I'd like this better if I spoke German

Mitsubishi Lancer - this just sounds painful

All-Time Worst Car Names:

Pinto - I don't remember when it came out, but it's hard to imagine this ever sounded good, even in the 70s

Citation - duh. Hopefully whoever green-lit this one got fired

Probe - I think this is the all-time worst car name ever. EVER. It's not even a pleasant euphemism for anything it might bring to mind. And no one wants to see anything called a "Probe" coming up fast behind them

Monday, June 30, 2008

A Tale of Two Songs

I'm terrible at keeping up with current music. I always know what movies are out and what awesome things are currently on TV, but my knowledge of music is usually hopelessly out of date. For instance, last year I decided I really liked a song I kept hearing at the gym, so I located it online and discovered it had gained popularity after having been featured on "Grey's Anatomy" the year before. Ugh! Two other recent favorite songs of mine were songs I downloaded after hearing them in commercials. It's embarrassing.

There are two songs I've had on almost constant rotation on the old iPod lately, and they could not be more different. One is the Oscar-winning "Falling Slowly" from the film "Once," which I recently watched. It's a pretty decent little indie film that I can recommend to anyone who can grasp the idea that in the movie, two people become friends and make music and that's pretty much all that happens. "Falling Slowly" is a beautiful, heartfelt song, and listening to it always reminds me of when, on Oscar night, Jon Stewart brought the two singer/songwriters back onstage so the female one could give an acceptance speech, apparently feeling it was rude for the orchestra to have rush the two of them off the stage prematurely. Any song that reminds me of how I heart Jon Stewart is a good song.

In sharp contrast to "Falling Slowly," the other song stuck in my head non-stop these days is at least brand new. I read about it in some pop-culture-themed blog where the basic idea was "no, this song will not suck me in," so I ended up watching the video and felt compelled to download the song almost immediately. The song is an incredibly asinine little dance tune sung by Vanessa Hudgens of "High School Musical" (and naked internet pictures) fame. The lyrics detail her desire to put on sneakers and go out dancing with her presumably also sneaker-clad friends, and it features the line "Basically what we're gonna do is dance" 18 times in three minutes (yeah, I counted). It's called "Sneakernight." And I admit I love it. No, I'm not kidding. I dare you to listen to it and not feel like dancing. Basically.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

My Grandma

It's been a bad year for us in terms of grandparents.

My paternal grandfather passed away in September. Ryan's last remaining grandparent, his maternal grandmother Grandma Wanda, passed away in April. And my maternal grandmother Marge passed away last week, having made it two weeks past her 90th birthday. Grandma Wanda was also 90 when she died.

I have been fortunate to have had a tremendous amount of time with my grandparents. I still had all four of them till just before my college graduation. The four of them are all distinct personalities in mind. My maternal grandfather, Don, who passed away in 1992, was the sweetest man I have ever known, and he always made me feel special and adored, even the time I pulled his dentures out of his pocket when I was sitting on his lap after dinner one night. My paternal grandfather, Ed, was more gruff and distant, but I have fond memories of the running joke we had about whether or not he liked peanut butter cookies when I was a little girl, and I came appreciate his terrific sense of humor as I grew up. My paternal grandmother, Shirley, or as we call her, Nanny, who is now the only grandparent I have left, has been a bundle of quilt-making, sweets-offering, bulk-cooking energy for my entire life. Last week she had a stroke and injured herself in a couple of falls, as if another bit of evidence that old age is cruel was needed.

My Grandma Marge is the grandparent I've known probably the best. I've spent the most time with her, and her decline in the last several years of her life is the one I have been closest witness to. She always thanked me for coming to see her when I went to visit her, and my parents usually did too, as though it was a favor I was doing for all of them. I never saw it that way. This was, after all, the woman who never once forgot my birthday, who not only bought me Christmas presents but wanted to make sure I had exactly what I wanted waiting under the tree for me every year, who liked to take care of me when I was a little girl and who was just as happy to see me once I was an adult. She never let me pay for lunch, even in the last year when she could barely sign the credit card slip.

Despite what must sound like a materialistic nature to our relationship, she wasn't just some old lady who bought me stuff. It wasn't the stuff so much as the fact that she wanted to give it to me. Knowing that she wanted the best for me made it even more painful to watch her decline into a state where every day was a struggle.

Rest in peace, Grandma. I love you.

Monday, June 02, 2008


Sorry that last post was weird. It wasn't finished -- I had to leave the computer in the middle of it, and when I came back later, the window wasn't up anymore, so I forgot about it, then remembered and assumed it had gotten lost and was no longer moved to post. Then in an email my mom mentioned that she'd read on my blog that we were sick, and I thought "oh, holy crap, that posted? It probably ended really abruptly and felt unfinished." And I don't even remember if I ever went and looked at it. Perhaps it just seemed like I was still a little addle-braine from the illness.

In any case, at that time it was really hot, and then that misery evolved into what has been an absolutely lovely couple of weeks. Yes, there was wind, but what does that matter when you get to sit here?

I mean seriously. Between that, riding my bike a lot, and doing yard work, I may have spent more time outside in the last couple of weeks than I had in the whole last year combined.

It turns out that nasty, horrible hot spell we had a few weeks ago pretty much stopped our spring allergy season dead in its tracks. I have had a few sneezes here and there, but for the most part, nothing. Compared to a year ago, when our house was on the market and I couldn't be outside for more than 10 minutes without suffering for hours afterward, the second half of this May has been a stroll through a very temperate, pollen-free park.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


Let me share with you the lovely events of the past week...

On Mother's Day, Ryan said he didn't feel that great and that he thought he'd been drinking too much, so he wasn't going to do any of that that day. I said I was sure I had also been drinking too much, but it was Mother's Day, so screw sobriety for at least another 24 hours. We went to my sister-in-law's parents house and had a great day with their family and ours, culminating with everyone sitting down to watch the finale of Survivor. We stayed for a lot of it, too, though once Cirie got eliminated, I packed up the family and we left -- I didn't care which of those skinny brown-haired bikini girls won. By the time we got home, I had a terrible headache, which I still had the next morning.

Ryan, though, was worse off -- his off-feeling of the day before had now developed into a full-blown gastrointestinal nastiness. He spent most of the day sleeping and I brought him Gatorade. I got rid of my headache but still didn't feel too great, and suspected I had a touch of whatever he had. He never did actually barf, but I figured when it hit me full-force, I would definitely end up with my head over the toilet. Because barfing is what I do.

Monday, May 05, 2008


This is old news now, but I never got around to posting about it when I got the okay to announce to the general public: I am finally going to have a niece or a nephew! My big little brother Chad and his lovely wife Angela are expecting a little one around October 1st. We are very excited, since we have been waiting to be an aunt, an uncle and two cousins for a long time, and that same month will mark ten years since we have had a new baby in the family (of course he will always be my baby!). And I can't wait to see my BLB as a dad :-)
We will have to wait till the delivery to find out if it's a he or a she -- the ultrasound was Friday, and even if Chad and Angela had changed their minds about leaving it to be a surprise, the baby was too wiggly for a determination to be made!

Spring is here...

so of course I am miserable. It's so hard -- the weather outside is beautiful, so what I want to do is go out and work in the yard, walk the dog, go for a run, or ride my bike. But I know if I do, I will pay for the rest of the day -- sneezing my head off, blowing my nose constantly, and just generally feeling fatigued. I try to keep reminding myself that at least we aren't in the process of buying and selling houses this year, and the sneezing is better than that one year I got exzema all over my legs -- that was brutal...

Of course the activities are ramping up as the school year is coming to an end -- this coming week I will begin collecting books for the used book fair at our end-of-the-year carnival, and we have Will's 3rd grade concert in a few weeks. It's not a great time to be losing energy. But thats life in Davis...

There have been about a zillion fundraising events for the Davis Schools Foundation lately. Friday night we went to a wine-tasting benefit at a local winery, and Saturday was Schoolapalooza in downtown Davis, where local businesses were donating part of their profits and there was entertainment, raffles and giveaways. Ryan worked at the DSF booth for most of the afternoon, and he said so many people stopped by to write checks and get their free bag of Annie's Organics stuff (Annie's donated 200 cases of stuff to give away), and I was there just hanging out and doing some shopping. It was a lot of fun and everyone seemed to be really enjoying themselves. This budget crisis is a terrible thing for our schools, but the efforts to make up the deficit are a great thing for our community, and a great example to our kids. It's pretty cool!

Monday, April 21, 2008

New Feature: RGKS

As I have tried many times before, I'm going to try to start posting here more, and so, in a burst of optimism, I'm going to start what I hope will be the first of some but not too many Random Gratuitous Kid Stories. The idea is that if I think "oh, I should post on my blog" and can't think of anything to write about, I can pull one of these gems out of my head and churn it out quickly. We'll see how that works.

Also, from here on out, I'm dropping the cutesy pseudonyms for the people I write about. It's just getting old.

Anyway, here's an old favorite about a couple of notes Rachel wrote when she was 7 and 8 years old. As I mention in this space from time to time, life with high functioning autism can be all kinds of awesome, and these notes illustrate that point.

Note #1: Toward the end of the school year when Rachel was in first grade, the full-inclusion (ie special ed) teacher at her school was very pregnant and would be having her baby over the summer. Rachel had never been able to wrap her mind around the idea that you could have a baby in there and not know if it was a girl or a boy. (I think this kind of uncertainty still puzzles, her, actually. Every Tuesday when we are watching "American Idol," she asks me who's going to get eliminated, and I have explain once again that it's not decided until after the show). So on the last day of school, when they made cards for the pregnant teacher, Rachel wrote one that said:

Dear Katie,
Have a happy baby. It's a boy and his name is Tim.
From Rachel

(The baby turned out to be a girl.)

Note #2: We went to Hawaii the spring Rachel was in second grade. Her school aide, Mrs. Sharp, reminded Rachel several times that she wanted Rachel to send her a postcard. The last day we were there, I made her sit down and write the postcard, and this is what she wrote:

Dear Mrs. Sharp,
I'll be back Monday.
From Rachel

I made her write in "PS - I'm having fun" or something like that, but at least I knew Mrs. Sharp would get a kick out of it.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

I'm Going To Recommend Some Stuff

There's a lot of stuff I've been noticeably liking lately, so I'm going to recommend it:

List of the Day is a great website I check first thing (and several times thereafter) each day -- not just lists, but also a Mugshot of the Day, any funny videos or videos he comes across, etc. If you saw the collection of funny Olan Mills portraits with comments that circulated a few months ago -- this is the guy who put that together. If you don't have time to look at lots of sites all the time, you can look at this one every day and keep up with most of the goofy stuff that's getting a lot of attention online.

The Davis Schools Foundation: Yes, I know everyone has budget problems right now, but our school district is facing budget cuts of $4 million next year, which means losing teachers and programs. The DSF is hoping to make up a lot of that with fundraising and the community is really pulling together for it. Please think about making a contribution if you can, for the good of Davis school children, or else find out how you can help ease the budget crisis for your local California school district.

Audible is where I like to buy audio books. Not everyone has time to listen to books rather than read them, but if you spend a lot of time in the car or doing boring things around the house, believe me, it's more interesting with an audio book on your iPod. I have the plan where you pay $14.95 a month and get one credit -- most of the books on the site cost one credit and $14.95 is much less than the price listed on the site, so you are rewarded for your loyalty.

Donna Ricco: I'm not big into fashion, but I've been shopping for a dress for my upcoming 20-year high school reunion and kept coming across Donna Ricco dresses that I loved. I ordered one from Nordstrom and it's perfect -- I can't wait to wear it! I love the colors, the flowy fabrics, and the body-skimming designs.

Tech For Less: People who know me know I am both addicted to technology and extremely accident-prone when it comes to taking care of my technological devices. Fortunately for me, there's Tech For Less, where you can get a bargain on "open box" items. I have bought a laptop, a wireless router, a desktop computer and several iPods from them, all below retail. One item had a problem but they were happy to take it back, and their customer service is excellent. Check them out next time you need some component and can't face Best Buy or Fry's again.

"Mad Men" and "Friday Night Lights" -- I recently watched the first seasons of both these shows, the former on iTunes and the latter on DVD, and they are both excellent as portraits of a particular time and place. "Mad Men" is about an advertising firm on Madison Avenue in 1960, and it's amazing to see all the ways society has changed in 50 years. "Friday Night Lights" is about a high school football-crazy town in Texas, and I can't imagine what it would be like to live there. But I would go to a high school football game every Friday night too if it meant I got to see Kyle Chandler presiding over things. I can actually think of many things these two shows have in common (besides being excellent) and I may write another blog post on the subject, but I definitely give both a thumbs up and you should check them out.

"Lost" -- It's been fantastic this year, and it's back with the remaining 5 episodes of the season this week. If you haven't ever watched it, start from the beginning, don't worry about catching every detail in Season 2 and the first half of Season 3, and enjoy it when things really get going after that. I can't wait to see how they wrap it up over the next two seasons.

And of course: "The Office" Best show on TV, and it's finally back with its last few post-strike episodes -- I think there are three left. Even in this strike-shortened season, it's been top-notch.

I guess that's it for now....

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

I Am President

No, seriously.

I'm president of the PTA at our elementary school. Next year. Well, one of two -- I'm co-president.

I could say "oh, I don't know how this happened," and "they asked and I just couldn't say no," but I do, and I could have. The fact is that someone came up with this idea during one of the most stressful weeks of this school year for me, the week of the spring book fair, which followed right on the heels of the school auction, in which I'd played an active role, and even though my first thought was "hell no!," my second thought was "Me? They want me? They think I'd be a good president?" It was like I was transported straight back to high school and had won a big old popularity contest. In fact, no one else wanted the job, and while I was told I had a month to think about it before I committed, as the days ticked by and I didn't say no, never mind, forget it, it pretty much became official. And now I'm stuck.

I don't know if I'm going to like it or not. Like every district in California, we are facing big budget cuts due to the state budget crisis, and starting next week, we have to start hammering out the PTA budget for next year. Probably some people will complain about stuff, but I guess I can handle that. My co-president is someone who knows me well and I think we'll work well together. In any case, I don't see myself going, you know, mad with power or anything. And the flattery part probably won't last very long. I just hope I'm not cursing my decision to do this by the time school starts in the fall...

Friday, January 25, 2008

Random Crap

- This week we had a meeting with Mr. Seventh Teacher, where he couldn't have been nicer and more helpful. And it wasn't even tense, even though the day after I called the Slap Squad out on him, Mermaid evidently announced right there in his class, "I hate social studies and my mom hates Mr. (Seventh Teacher)!" So I am officially calling off the Slap Squad, but I reserve the right to re-engage their services if things don't actually improve in social studies this coming semester.

- Heath Ledger -- wow. I just looked up his IMDB filmography to confirm what I was already thinking, which was that yes, I've actually only seen one of his movies. But it was a doozy. "Brokeback Mountain" is one of the best dramas I have ever seen, and he was great in in. It's very sad he died so young. RIP, Heath.

- The Academy Award Nominations -- I was glad to see "Juno" get so much love, but sad to see the equally quirky/good "Waitress" be totally ignored. I guess timing is everything when it comes to the Oscars.

- I am inching toward having a draft of my Nano novel ready for my circle of readers. There is one section that needed a major rewrite and I am letting it intimidate the hell out of me -- no idea why. Hopefully I can get over it and finish today.

- I feel a little dirty about this so I'll just admit it here and then try to live with myself: I bought the new Tom Cruise biography in audio form to listen to on my iPod. I was shopping around for something to listen to, and there it was, and I just couldn't help myself. According to Amazon, the thing is selling well, so it's not like I'm the only one.

- It's been a rainy week, which made it hard for me to go down and visit my grandma, but I finally made it down there yesterday while the kids were at school. And it rained on us, which was no fun, but we had a nice time anyway. RM just told me there's supposed to be a big storm today, and I am glad I don't have to go anywhere in it.

- It's Friday -- yay!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

The Slap Squad

Years ago I was part of a listserv for parents of children with conditions similar to my daughter's, and there was one particularly spirited woman on there who came up with the Slap Squad, who could be dispatched to punish whomever was getting on our nerves that day. The intended targets were usually uncooperative teachers, school administrators, insurance companies, or providers of services like speech or occupational therapy, those kinds of people, against whom some special ed parents are continuing battling. Reasonable Man and I have tried hard over the years to not be that perpetually-squeaky-wheel type of special ed parent, but everyone has their limits, and we have fought the occasional battle, and come up against the occasional foe who could use a visit from the Slap Squad.

This is our daughter's first year in junior high, and hence her first year with multiple teachers. In the past seven years, we have been lucky enough to have seven teachers who really wanted the best for our Mermaid, and this, her first year in junior high, we have been lucky enough to have six teachers who want the best for her. This is great, except for the fact that Mermaid has seven classes, and the seventh teacher is such a complete and total tool that he a) he seems to attribute the trouble Mermaid has in his class to her having an attitude problem, b)he manages to get RM and me all aggravated and riled up on almost a weekly basis, b) Mermaid starts crying pretty much anytime the subject of his class comes up. Clearly this is not cool. I could describe his latest offense for you, but why? It's just more of the same we have been suffering for the past several months. I am actually beyond the point of finding comfort in picturing him dealing with the karmic ramifications of picking on an autistic student. And for that, Mr. Seventh Teacher, you have earned yourself a visit from the Slap Squad. Not that I expect it to do you any good, but I will enjoy imagining it happening anyway.
And as long as they're out there doing my bidding, I decided I might as well come up with a list of others who have incurred my wrath and need a good smacking-for-hire:
People who don't drink coffee, or don't watch TV, or don't read Harry Potter books, and are kind of self-righteous about it (not to be confused with people who don't do one or all of those things and manage to say so without making you want to kick their pompous asses about it);
Dr. Phil, for constantly telling people "I always say don't substitute my judgement for your own" when that is basically what he does on every damn show, and what would be the point if he didn't;
The people in Hollywood who are now complaining about the writers' strike, not because the writers have been getting screwed over for years, but because the Oscars might get cancelled;
Sociopaths who appear on reality TV and are arrogant enough to think no one will notice there is something seriously wrong with them;
George W. Bush and everyone in his administration who has not yet resigned in disgust;
Everyone who has made the current presidential election seem like it's already been going on for two years when there are still ten months to go.
So that's it. Let me know if there's anyone I need to add to the list!

Woo Hoo!

Today, I finished NaNoWriMo.

NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month, which technically was in November. I did not "win" NaNoWriMo this year because I did not write 5,000 words within the month of November. I wrote about 43,000 words in November, minus the ~6,400 words of that document I wrote over the summer. In any case, I feel like I completed the thing, even though it's January, because as of today my novel:
a) is over 50,000 words, and
b) has a beginning, a middle, and an end.

It doesn't matter that it's a wreck, and I might literally die of embarrassment if another human being actually read it in its current condition. In fact, its being in that condition is practically a requirement of a just-completed NaNoWriMo project. I plan to spend the next few weeks whipping it into shape worthy of the readers who eagerly await its arrival into the world.

Just thought I'd mention it!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Being a shut-in isn't working so well for me. I am as much of a homebody as anyone, but yesterday, my third consecutive day of staying home putting away, organizing, watching taped TV shows and pretending to work on my novel, I kind of lost it for a while and fell into a pit of despair. It didn't help that we've been having these storms that made the house dark all day long, nor that I haven't been sleeping well, both because I'm staying up too late and also because I can't get to sleep once I do actually go to bed. Anyway, it all caught up with me yesterday, and I had a few hours of misery. Then RM came home and we ate In'n'Out Burger for dinner and drank some wine and watched "The Big Lebowski," and even though I had a hard time sleeping again last night, I woke up in a much better frame of mnd today.

It was a-stormin' again today so I didn't leave the house until late this afternoon, and then only because we have no internet connection at home right now, but it's still been a much better day today.

I have connected with more people on my MySpace page and so it's proving to have more of a purpose than I thought before. And I actually did get quite a bit of work done on my novel today, in spite of my best efforts to thwart this goal by watching my "Persuasion" DVD for the umpteenth time in the middle of the day and calling my mom for a lengthy chat. Hey, family is important!

Even though I've been staying home unshowered far too much of the time this past week, I'm still not looking forward to having to start up my real life again on Monday when the kids go back to school. Getting up early sucks, and so does 7th grade social studies. Oh well.

Friday, January 04, 2008

I'm the mother of a teenager...

and here is photographic proof:

This picture could only be more perfect, in my opinion, if there were earphones dangling from her ears and maybe the stereo next to her didn't have the Spongebob theme. Oh, and if she didn't have a smile on her face.

If you must have a teenager of your own, I highly recommend getting one of the mildly autistic variety. Sure, the preschool years were hell, but she's never once told me she hates me, demanded a brand-name anything, or refused to go to school with that zit on her chin because what if someone sees her? How many moms of teens can say that?

Thursday, January 03, 2008

New Name

We haven't lived in a green house in six months now, and nothing pithy was coming to me, so I borrowed from Schoolhouse Rock. It's probably too cute. Oh well.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Family Portrait

This is our family portrait, taken on Block Island, RI in October. How cute are we?

New Year

I'm glad it's a new year. My daughter is officially a teenager now, and that's a little scary, but whatever. 2007 was a far more eventful year than I really cared for, and now I'd just like to have a regular old boring 2008. As I told Reasonable Man earlier this evening, in 2008, we get to live in our nice new house without the aggravation of buying it and moving into it, and that is a fine thing indeed. I would also like to have no one in my family require surgery, emergency or otherwise, this year. Elective cosmetic procedures don't count -- not that I have any planned, but I wouldn't rule it out either.

I now have a MySpace page, for no good reason other than that over Christmas, RM and I were drinking copious amounts of wine with his younger brothers, and they all have MySpace page, and so does RM because he needed one in order to join, or "friend" or whatever it is, the page someone in his high school class started in order to organize/gather info for their upcoming 20-year high school reunion. And so now I have this MySpace page with six friends: RM, his three brothers, the aforementioned high school reunion page (and I didn't even go to that high school), and a page that apparently represents the comedy club they sometimes have at a restaurant here in Davis, which sent me a friend request. My brothers-in-law explained to me that now I need to gather lots and lots of of these "friends." I'm not that into this, though, considering that I don't even know why I have the damn MySpace page in the first place. Nevertheless, if you happen to be reading this, and you have a MySpace page to and you want to see mine or friend me or something, the URL is and, you know, whatever. Anyone who reads something I wrote and says something halfway nice to me is my friend forever, so they can certainly be my "friend" too.

When I started this blog, I swore I would never use the word "blog" as a verb, and now I do it all the time, so I'm not even going to pretend I won't someday use the word "friend" as a verb on a regular basis if I get into this whole MySpace thing.

In other news, I limp toward the 50K mark and, more importantly, completion, on my November novel. I haven't worked on it as much as I would have liked, but I've still made some good progress on it, especially in the past week. Obviously the concept of 50,000 words is arbitrary at this point, since I didn't "win" NaNoWriMo this year, but I do think that the novel needs to be at least that long and probably somewhat longer in order to be viable, marketable, etc. I would very much like to have a draft for my "inner circle" of readers to read pretty soon, and am toying with the idea of a January 30 deadline for that.

This year I think I enjoyed the preparations for Christmas better than the experience of Christmas itself. I got some very nice gifts and always appreciate what people are kind enough to give me, but I guess I really am an adult now because receiving presents just isn't that big a part of the holiday for me anymore. Here were the things I enjoyed most this season:
1) Getting out the decorations and watching all my stress about them eventually result in the house looking great for our first Christmas here
2) Spending time with our friends here (and other places) before and after Christmas and on New Year's Eve
3) Going to Weight Watchers and feeling proud of the fact that I was staying accountable and not gaining a bunch of weight over the holidays
4) Having my family come for our annual early Christmas dinner on the 22nd and especially sitting around the table after dinner, talking and laughing and enjoying each other
5) Hanging out with my brothers-in-law, creating the MySpace page I have no use for and laughing a lot

I just realized none of those things involve my kids. That is definitely something to work on next year!

Tomorrow, RM heads back to work after being off the last week and a half, and for him it's almost a new job, since he has handed off the work that has taken up most of his time for the last two years and can start doing the stuff he much prefers. So that is yet another way this year will be better. And I head back to the gym for only the second time in the last week, for a personal training session. And that's a good thing. I can definitely see the results of my working out regularly this past year. I am also 10 lbs thinner than I was a year ago. I'd like that to be more, but 10 lbs is not bad, and I will keep plugging away at it.

Finally, I've been watching a lot of this show "Clean House" on the Style Network. I guess it's pretty much the same as "Clean Sweep" on TLC, where people who are drowning in clutter have the show come in and help them get rid of stuff in a yard sale and then use the money they make to organize and decorate. I never got that into "Clean Sweep," though. Anyway, it gets me thinking, and in the past several days, I have done a lot of decluttering and organizing of our bedroom closet, which is big enough that when we moved in, we just kind of put all our crap in there in a stupid way and it didn't matter because there was room for it. I've freecycled off lots of stuff that is now making someone else happy, and RM and I got in there and moved some stuff around so it all functions more efficiently. It's a good thing. It's never going to look like one of those professionally tricked out closets, but it doesn't need to. We're happy with it. And all of this has me really thinking about simplification, recycling, reusing and all of that other earth-friendly stuff as I go into the new year.

So that's how things are in the not-green house on this first day of the new year. Here's hoping we all have a great 2008!