"Which of my all important nothings should I tell you first?" ~ Jane Austen, in a letter to her sister

Sunday, August 28, 2011

New blog is (sorta) ready

So come visit me over at http://wisesass.com/. Why? Because I'm wise & sassy. Okay, okay - sometimes I'm a wise-ass too.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Homework, HTML & Hardware

I am going NUTS trying to work on this blog re-do, re-design, re-everything. There's a problem with mapping my new blog domain to my new blog platform and when I inquired of technical support their response was that "it's a bug in our system." YOU THINK? You can't map a domain to other nameservers and YOU THINK there's a bug in your system? Holy hell, people. 

And then there's the whole theme editing and html stuff and what do you mean I have to use HTML to change the font? Or upgrade. And how come the new font only shows up on half the blog post? And a Gravatar? And Favicon? And, so, yeah, that. Going nuts.

And I was on a business trip to my company HQ in San Francisco last week (where I got to spend 2 days in a conference room with no less than 5 stinky sales men at any given time. Lucky, lucky me). 

And my oldest son AND my husband started school on Monday. My youngest doesn't start until Tuesday next week so I have to work from home while the hubby is gone to school some mornings. You know, so my youngest doesn't burn the house down playing with matches or decide to scale the roof or something.

And my work laptop decided to crap out last week while in San Francisco. Perfect place for it to happen though; my IT guy there worked on it all day. It should be good as new. Should be. Except now I can't get on my home wi-fi network. Which makes working from home rather difficult.

This too shall pass. This too shall pass.

I will get this damn blog stuff figured out. Even if it means transferring registrars and begging and pleading for help with the html. The work laptop stuff will get figured out too. That's why we have IT guys. And little one will be in school next week and we'll get back into the school routine. 

It always works out. Everything always works out. It's just an absolute bitch to get there. 

In the meantime, here's my guy on his first day:

First day of 4th grade
He loved it. He called me at work when he got home to tell me it was great and his first homework assignment was to eat Oreos and then write about it. His teacher obviously knows how to win over her students. 

Okay, as I was writing this missive I took a break to go outside and get the mail. Little Bubba decided to come with me and ride his bike. He has a very little bike because for quite some time he's been too scared to ride without training wheels. Just last week we took the training wheels off and he hopped on and rode like a champ. Like he's been doing it all his life. But the bike is so small that his knees come up to the handle bars.

So I said, "hey, little dude, try out your brother's bike and see how you like it."

At first he didn't want to try, but he's a good kid and he likes new things so he agreed to try. Here's the result:

I have to go buy a new big boy bike now. SMH. 


Sunday, August 14, 2011

Ode to Idaho in IG

We moved here almost 6 years ago. We left a congested city, a small house, bad air pollution, and, the only bad part, my family. There have definitely been ups and downs, good and bad, but overall I'm so glad we made that move. 

We have such a better living environment here. For reals. Bigger home, better neighbors, better feeling of community. It's safer. It's a healthier lifestyle for the whole family. 

I miss my family terribly at times. It has gotten easier with every subsequent year, though, and I have found that I (mostly) get my fill of family time in our regular visits. It's tough to miss the good things - like visits with my grandma, holiday celebrations, weddings, or baby births - but missing the drama, the inevitable family bickering or gossip or intrigue that happens with a close family, really balances things out nicely.

Here's some IG to prove Idaho awesomeness:

We bought wood on the side of the road coming home from my in-law's one evening. Just grabbed a bundle and put $3 in the money box. Yep. NBD. 

As the hubby was grabbing the wood, I snapped this pic. Farmland sunset. Hello? Gorgeous. This was taken 5 minutes from my house. And, okay, maybe I could get this same pic back in California but I didn't. I got it here, in Idaho. 

The drive-in. The only drive-in in the area and it's about an hour outside of town. It's extremely family-oriented, clean, and has been run by the same family (who live next door to the theater) since the 70's. Oh, and all the bathroom stalls have doors. This is a step up from my hometown drive-in, believe it or not.

I live in a beautiful, community-minded city. This is a pic of the Saturday Farmer's market. It spans 2 blocks one way and 3 blocks another way and it's ah-maz-ing. Good food, good people, good vibe. I love that the downtown area is essentially shutdown for foot traffic only for like 5 hours every Saturday. Awesome sauce. 

There's so much more. The river that bi-sects the city. The 30+ miles of greenbelt. The Shakespeare Festival. The gorgeous parks. 

I miss the ocean & the beaches of Califorrnia. I miss Disneyland. 

I can still visit those places, but I can really LIVE here. 

Saturday, August 13, 2011

It's time for new things

I'm a fickle little thing and I'm feeling the need to change things up a bit around here at Hear Me Roar. Here are the likely changes you'll see happening semi-soon:

1. I'm likely moving over to Wordpress. I think so. I'm almost sure. I hate Blogger's comments section. I want to be able to comment back on specific comments. I also want to section out my blog so I can have multiple sections - which takes us to point two . . .

2. I'm probably going to segment the blog out a little bit and add a section on cooking. This is primarily inspired by my niece, Jenell, who called me yesterday and said, "Aunt Stef, I need you to show me how to cook. Can I have some of your recipes?" She's young, married just a few years with two little kids and a husband who works a lot. She needs some basic recipes and techniques to work with; the basics and a bit more. I said I would send her recipes and then I thought, OH MY GAWD, I can't imagine organizing my recipes enough to send to her without doing something MORE with them, you know? Like putting them out there in a blog for other people to use. So, that's just what I'm going to do. 

3. Name change. Yep, I'm changing Hear Me Roar to something else. I have a few ideas. Nothing set in stone yet, but maybe something with "sassy" in the title. Because I'm sassy. (My husband says so).  Hear Me Roar is always going to be aligned with the women's lib movement and, though I'm AM a feminist, I don't necessarily write about those things. I need a name that will reflect the foodie in me as well. So the name change is about finding a name that's perfectly me.

Back to the foodie thing. I have to admit it: I am a foodie. I love good food. My husband said the other day that he thinks when we really cook a good meal it's better than what we can get at most restaurants. Plus it's made with love just for us and our friends and family. 

I love cooking & baking. Love it. If I could quit my job I would go back to school to be a baker and open a bakery/coffee shop thing of some sort. (As if we don't have enough of those, right?) But, seriously, my husband worked as a barista eons ago and managed a coffee shop - we could do this. The thought just absolutely makes me giggle. And if it was a used book store too? Heaven.

Okay, so that's a bit of a pipe dream, right? Right. In the meantime I'll be changing my blog so keep an eye out.

Friday, August 5, 2011

My New Friday Anthem

I FREAKING LOVE the Glee version of Friday by Rebecca Black. It's HAPPY and uplifting and makes me smile. So I'm sharing it with you, my little friends.

You might think I'm a little late getting this anthem posted today but I say au contraire, ma soeur! It's 5:30 and that means my Friday, and the kick-off to my weekend, is JUST BEGINNING. 

My boys are home from their impromptu camping trip and my husband is preparing dinner as I type. I'm looking forward to fun with my guys, good BBQ, and a cold (adult) beverage.


Is there anything better in the world than the start of the weekend??
It’s Friday, Friday
Gotta get down on Friday
Everybody’s lookin’ forward to the weekend, weekend
Friday, Friday
Gettin’ down on Friday
Everybody’s lookin’ forward to the weekend

Partyin’, partyin’ (Yeah)

Partyin’, partyin’ (Yeah)
Fun, fun, fun, fun
Lookin’ forward to the weekend
Happy Friday! Have a wonderful weekend, mes petits amis. 

Note: I didn't actually retain any French that I "learned" in high school. I just have a fascination with Google's Language Tools.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

I am not really the "working-out" type

I hate to sweat. Like seriously. I hate to get over-heated. And I hate it when my fingers swell.

I absolutely loathed P.E. class in jr. high and high school and was happy when I didn't have to bother with it anymore for my junior & senior years. (Plus my jr. high P.E. teacher, Mrs. Phillips, was a royal witch with a capital "B.")

BUT. Big ole BUT. 

I had been thinking about it for a while. Thinking about how so many women I know run and do marathons and just absolutely get that bug and then they get all skinny and then I have to hate them. AND I HATE THAT. Having to hate them, that is. So I thought, hey, could I do that? 

Then I said shut up, you're not a runner. You hate running. You hate sweating. What's wrong with you? 

Then I said, no, YOU shut up. Because I could totally do that. I just need to shift my paradigm.
 (par·a·digm  n. 3. A set of assumptions, concepts, values, and practices that constitutes a way of viewing reality for the community that shares them, especially in an intellectual discipline.)
So I did. Or have been. It's an on-going battle. I decided to start on my first full day back from vacation - July 10. So for the past three weeks I have been doing it.

I've mostly been working-out on our elliptical machine. I like it. I like being inside. I do intervals on the elliptical too - I'll go really fast for a bit and then go back to a more moderate pace. I have a bit of a routine - I definitely work-out every Monday night. That's when I watch my guilty pleasure TV and working out at the same time balances that nicely, I think. I've been doing 3.1 miles consistently on the elliptical on Monday nights. Then I try 2-3 more workouts during the week as well.

When I work-out outside I try to do run/walk intervals. More walk than run because I know I need to start conditioning before I run too much or I will literally fall-down dead.  Other things make working-out outside less desirable - like my own insecurities. I don't want people to SEE me working-out. I'm sure I just look ridiculous.  

This morning I was determined to work-out outside. It didn't go as well as it could have due to a sore left heel, I forgot my water, my nose closed up due to allergies, and it was 89 flippin' degrees and I was roasty-toasty. I came home early and took a COLD shower. All in all, I did just about 2 miles today. 

But, HEY, if it was 5 weeks ago then I wouldn't have done that at all, would I?

Conclusion: I still don't like running or sweating but I love the feeling I have after doing it. I feel like I really accomplished something. And I just feel better about myself. Like I'm actively doing something to better myself. I feel SEXIER already. That feeling just absolutely rocks. 

Two people have told me that I look thinner. I've only lost about 4 lbs so far. We'll see. 

Now I think I need to invest in a better sports bra - because these girls CANNOT be contained - and new trainers (Britishism). My current tennies give me blisters on the inside of my arch, just before my heel. Odd.

So there's my first work-out update. I'll try to post anytime I have something worthwhile to say. Please keep the support and encouragement coming - I will definitely need it.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Monday, July 25, 2011

Losing Faith: Politics & Madmen

It would be quite easy to chalk up the events in Norway this weekend to the work of a madman (comforting because no "normal" person would commit such an atrocity) but I fear that isn't the case. Maybe he IS mad - who am I to judge - but his rampage wasn't random. It has the appearance of being politically motivated and this sickens me to no end.

How is it possible that someone can feel so strongly about a political party that they would execute, SLAUGHTER, the children and young adults affiliated with that party? HOW? Tell me how because my brain can't process it.

The U.S. government in Washington, D.C. has stalled in debt ceiling talks. Normally this is a routine piece of legislation, however this time some members of the political parties seem to think this is a win or lose situation for them rather than *simply* the financial fate of our country.

I don't usually get political on my blog - because I'm not interested in debating my beliefs with anyone - but I have to say that I'm simply aghast that with a financial catastrophe absolutely breathing down our necks our representatives are not doing more to work together. Compromise, people. Work towards the greater good.

Have they forgotten that they work for the citizens of the U.S.? Their decisions impact our collective futures.

Silent Majority. I saw that term in a headline over the weekend and immediately reacted to it. The headline was something like, "The U.S. Moderate Silent Majority is Fed-Up with Washington." 


I lean left most of the time. Sometimes I swerve right. Sometimes I can be undecided. Other times I'm steadfast. I listen. I observe. I listen to their words and I watch their actions. Then, at the polls, I vote my conscience - on the issue AND on the person. 

I AM the Silent Majority.

As I watched my Twitter feed this weekend I saw a lot of Norway tweets mingled with newsy tweets about the failed debt ceiling talks. President Obama is angry. House Speaker Boehner is apparently trying to appease the fringe Tea Partiers. He left the meetings. They held dueling press conferences. They don't agree on anything. Blah, blah, blah. 

All I can think is MY GAWD, have you NOT seen the news about Norway? About what happens when a (likely) political extremist takes his views too far? Is your damn hubris so all important that you can't bridge the gap and come to a resolution for the GREATER GOOD of our country? Please, for the love of Maude, stop the polarizing rhetoric and political posturing. You are making me mad. And sad. And just plain scared for our future.

The constant hate-filled political rhetoric and the negative-loving media beast is perpetuating the creation of extremist viewpoints. No good can come of this.

We are on a path of political, financial and cultural destruction. We are slowly committing suicide as a country. Our patriotism, or belief in our political system and our leaders, are all dying a slow death that we are bringing upon ourselves. We are killing everything that we love about our country.

I just want something to believe in. I want to believe my leaders are representing the best interests of my family. Even if I disagree with specific pieces of legislation I want to have that trust, that assurance, that they are looking ahead to the future and protecting the interests of all Americans. That they are listening when smart people tell them what the impacts of their decisions will be and that they are then taking the BEST (non-biased, non-partisan) option for our collective futures.

Our similarities are greater than our differences. 

Mend those fences, compromise, please, before my children's financial futures, not to mention their hope and faith in their country's leaders, are decimated.

We have the judicial, legislative and executive branches of our government for a reason. Checks and balances. Oversight. The prevention of anarchy, chaos & tyranny. 

Memo to Congress: please see beyond your own self-interest. This is my country too.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Kids are really obnoxious

Okay, y'all know that I love my kids. They are a part of me - why I live and breathe every day. 

But, seriously, they are so LOUD. Loud, obnoxious and unrestrained. 

Things were so quiet when they were in California. I often talked out loud to myself when I was home alone. Just because it was so dang quiet. Not anymore! We're lucky to get a word in with each other.

Last night we were in the car and my mom was sitting in the backseat between the boys and she was plugging her years because she was getting it from both sides. Bickering and playing with each other - in just about equal parts. 

On one hand, I'm happy my kids don't feel inhibited or restrained. I want them to be able to speak freely to me, my husband and our immediate family - especially my parents. I want them to be kids and act like kids and let the creativity flow and if that means having competitions about which of them can sound more like a girl when they scream then so be it. (However, not in the freaking-ass car).

On the other hand, when they are being loud it makes it really hard to hear their parents or grandparents, it makes it impossible for us to talk to each other, and there comes a point where we cross from creative outlet to just plain ole bad manners. It's a balance. Right now I feel like we are teetering a little over on the bad manners side - maybe because they are just home from a 3 week vacation and need to figure out their boundaries at home again? I'm guessing that's it. 

In any case, I LOVE my children but they just might be the death of me this weekend until they get back in the groove. The grandparents are staying through Sunday morning and then we can get back to our normal lives.

Speaking of normal lives, we seem to have gotten into a bad sleeping pattern/night time habit with the kids. It doesn't get dark here until 10 pm. Often we don't make the kids to go to bed until 10 pm. It's summer, it's fine. But they stay up in their room screwing around, talking, playing, getting in each others beds for at least another 2 hours. It drives us crazy. At 10 pm, and definitely by 11 pm, we are ready for some adult quiet time. No obnoxious kids. 

Last night was particularly frustrating. I started getting them ready for bed at 9:30. At midnight I made one of them go sleep on our bed and, later after he had fallen asleep, my husband moved him back to his bed. But before that we had to interrupt the movie we were watching about 6 times to tell them to settle down. It was just flat-out outrageous behavior. 

So, as a result of all this, I'm considering dismantling my office, my girl sanctum, and making separate rooms for the kids. It's no longer so important to have a guest room (since my parents bought a travel trailer and will use that when they visit). The trade-off would be that I would take a room that has been traditionally a playroom/pets room and I would clean it up and re-organize my office space there. 

Con: it doesn't have a door. It's just one end of a long room. The other side of the room has the stairs up to my husband's loft office and the door to the dog run. Oh, and I wouldn't have a window facing the front of my house anymore when I'm sitting at my work station. I would have to keep a tortoise's habitat in my office.

Pro: none for me personally. The benefit of peace and quiet that would come from the boys having separate rooms is a win for the whole family though.  Oh, yeah, and I would have a tortoise in my office.

The boys are 9 & 7 years old. What do you think about giving them their own rooms? Will it be a good thing or can this be seen as giving in to their tyranny? I think the alone time would be a benefit to them. They each kind of re-group when they are alone. But would it hamper their closeness? I want them to grow up close to one another. 

Help. Please. Thank you.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Thankful Thursday: Too Much Good Stuff

I am indeed very thankful today. For many reasons:
  • Last night my boys came home after being with their grandparents in California for 12 days. I'm so thankful they came home safely to me. It felt weird having half my heart beating from another state. The two halves belong together just like my babies belong with me.
  • I'm thankful for having a mom & stepdad who would take my children for 12 days just so they can be with them and take them to do fun things. They went to the mountains, they kayaked, they swam a lot (and are still learning and getting better), they went to the Jelly Belly Factory, they helped my parents buy a travel trailer - okay, so not always fun for the kids. But my kids will get the benefit of that travel trailer (we're already planning a trip for the 6 of us to Yellowstone next year) and how awesome are those grandparents? 


  •  I'm thankful for the time I had with my husband over the past weekend. We NEEDED to reconnect romantically without kids, parents and stressors and we did just that. And I was spoiled. He was spoiled. It was GOOD. After 12 years together (11 married) we don't expect heart-shaped explosions all the time, but respect, understanding, caring, and a teacup or two of passion will put us in good stead for a while.
Date night. Downtown Boise. We saw BUCK and it was SO GOOD.
  • I'm thankful for the time I had alone. My husband had shows or rehearsals every evening so I had my house to myself. WOW. I didn't know what to do with myself. I was paralyzed in indecision from the options. Do I want to write a blog? Make dinner for MYSELF only? Clean house? Watch a chick flick? Pay bills? Work out? Paint the hallway? WHAT IN THE NAME OF ALL THAT IS HOLY SHOULD I DO? In the end, to be honest, I didn't do much. I did the dishes some days. I watched some girl TV (we don't need details. moving on.) I worked out. I watered plants. I did (some) laundry. I did NOT bake a darn thing. One night all I ate for dinner was Zucchini. It was awesome.
  • I'm thankful for friends who are like family. 'Nuff said. 
  • Last, but not least, I'm thankful for my renewed work-out ethic. I came back from vacation with the intention of beginning my work-out regimen. That Sunday I got out mid-day and started day 1, week 1, of the Couch-to-5K program using the C25K iPhone app. I didn't finish it. I ended up walking half the "runs". Because, hello, I'm not in the best of shape. But I'm going to persevere. I'm going to get it done. I've been hitting my elliptical at night. I'm very proud of myself. Very proud of the effort I have been making and I hope to keep it up. In the last 12 days I've done 3.1 miles on the elliptical a couple times, and then about 1 to 1 1/2 miles a few other times. I'm using a Pedometer app on my iPhone to track the elliptical work-outs. This is good for me. Baby steps. I will get there. But first I need new shoes. :) 

 What are you thankful for today? 

Thursday, July 14, 2011

On Vacation, Part 3: The party's over already?

Last Thursday morning when we woke up we knew we had less than 48 hours left in California. At least me and the hubby did. Time to cram EVERYTHING IN that we hadn't done yet. Oh, wait, that's not possible? Okay, let's go to the coast instead.

We crammed the 6 of us into my stepdad's truck, plus all our junk for an overnight stay, plus snacks - because, helllloooo, ROAD TRIP - and we were off! Then we stopped at 15 places like the bank, the gas station, Rite Aid, etc., before we left town. But then we were off!! Woo-hoo. 

We made it about 45 minutes to Kettleman City. If you don't know, Kettleman is a town that survives for the sole purpose of being a major pit stop for people traveling down the I-5 corridor. Back in a previous lifetime I used to go on patrols in this town with a law enforcement type friend of mine so I got to know the area better than most people who pass through. There's very little to recommend it other than all the country roads, away from the light pollution, and the gorgeous starry skies. Oh, and the In-n-Out Burger. Yep, forget the starry skies - In-n-Out is probably the best thing about Kettleman. 

So, duh, we stopped there. Now I typically order straight off their simple menu - just a cheeseburger (no grilled onions or tomatoes), but In-n-Out has a not-so-secret-menu that they don't advertise. You just have to know what to order. For examples, you can say you want your burger animal style and they will add pickles, extra spread & grilled onions and Mustard fried into the patty. Or a 4x4 is 4 meat patties and 4 pieces of cheese - this is the largest burger they will serve. You can also order a Flying Dutchman - you can Google that one yourself. Or, if you are brave, just order it next time you swing through In-n-Out and find out what it is. But, hey, cool, right? Secret menus FTW. 

Okay, back on the road after our burger fill. Morro Bay or BUST! And my bladder nearly did. But we made it to our hotel/motel place. (Never stayed there before. It wanted to be good but it just didn't quite make it. Sad Panda.) But YAY. Morro Bay. 

Morro Bay. Ah. My heart belongs to Morro Bay. I love Cambria and Cayucos and now Avila Beach as well, but there's just something about Morro. It tugs at me. It's my spiritual home. I want to eventually live there. In my good, long retirement years. (Fingers-crossed).

We drove out to the rock first thing. What rock, you ask? Well, this one:

Confession: I didn't take this pic. I don't know who did, but I do know that I love Google Images. Amen.
Big, right? And awesome too. 

So we went out to the left side of the rock and hung out on a little beach there for a while. I snapped some Instragram pics (duh) while hubby and the boys climbed all over tarnation. (Spell check doesn't recognize "tarnation" as a word. Obviously spell check isn't Okie or Southern at all. It's a word, dang it). 

Boys. Hubby. Tarnation. 
I perched on a rock (not THE rock. a significantly smaller one) and snapped away. This was at the rock (yes, THE rock) looking back at the little coastal village that is Morro Bay:

And then I said, oh, look, there's a boat!! And let's use a different IG filter:

With a boat or without, with an IG filter or not, Morro Bay is gorgeous. It's quaint. It's touristy but not. You get the impression that the locals just go about their business and they don't mind the tourists too much at all. There's the embarcadero for that, but the little downtown area really shouldn't be missed; little book shops, antique stores, unique coffee places, and all with a coastal charm. Love, love, love. 

We stayed at the coast that night and until about 4 pm the next day before jumping back in the car to drive the 2 to 2 1/2 hours back to my hometown. Then the hubby and I packed and fretted about leaving our boys with their Grandma & Papa for "up to two weeks." We had made the decision long ago but that didn't make it any easier. In the end, we got up the next morning at 3:30 AM, kissed our sleeping boys, and drove to the airport. We were back home (via two planes and 3 airports) before they even woke up. 

It's been 5 days since then and they tell me they don't want to come home. They want to stay at Grandma & Papa's where they can swim every day and go kayaking at Shaver Lake and go to the Zoo and go to the movies and go to Adventure Park as well. Well, YEAH. Duh. So apparently Grandma & Papa will return them kicking and screaming at the end of next week. Something to look forward to.

Oh, yeah, one last thing. 11 years ago today this happened:

Don't we look ridiculously young? We were. We were leading with our hearts. Happy 11th wedding anniversary to my life partner. Mwah!

(And, yes, there was nothing in the champagne flutes. They were/are awesome, and engraved (thank you Auntie) but at the time the photographer wanted to snap the pic we didn't have an champagne or sparkling cider available. C'est la vie, I always say.)

Things I love in this blog post? At least 3: Morro Bay, vacation, and my guy. (In no particular order).

Thursday, July 7, 2011

On Vacation, part 2: Partying like Rock Stars

We are having a little too much fun at my mom & stepdad's house in California. Just a smidge.

Sunday, July 3rd, we had our annual Independence Day BBQ/Swim Party. 45 people, and it went for about 10 hours. Marathon party. 13 people slept at the house that night.

Yo, our parties are off the chain (or hook. either one, really) . Slammin'. Bangin'. Totally ballin'. The bomb. Badass and whack. Like yo.

Okay. Forgive me. Sometimes my thiry-something self reverts back to a 21 year old. A 21 year old that was nothing like ME at 21. In any case, WE HAD FUN.

We swam. A lot:
It was really freakin' hot (seriously, like 106 degrees Fahrenheit. No lie.(that's about 41 degrees celsius for you people from across the pond.))

And we lit about a bazillion fireworks in front of the house:
As you can imagine, we were a little overheated and peopled-out the next day. The guests left and we kept out of the sun at the movies in the afternoon (Kung Fu Panda 2. Cute.), then went down to my old high school for a community fireworks show.

We waited for the sun to go down:
And took some pics:

We had snow cones:
And the boys played with bubbles: 
Then we had fireworks:


That night we all died from exhaustion and heatstroke.

Then we got up the next morning and went to breakfast with the best grandma ever. Like, in the world. I couldn't love her more. We hung out at Grammy's house and did a whole lot of nothing, which, at Grammy's, consists of putting together puzzles, playing dominoes, and eating Taffy cookies. Sometimes stale. Oh, and sucking on butterscotch candies. The boys played in her "playroom," sometimes affectionately referred to as a "junk room." Toys from the 1960's & 70's hide there among aging avocado green lampshades, lodge robes and memorabilia from kids and grandkids alike.
My mom & gram. Puzzle making.
Have I mentioned how much I adore my Grammy? She's going through radiation right now for a very deep melanoma that was removed from her temple a few weeks ago. She'll be 84 next Saturday. I heart her with my whole heart.

*moment of reverence*

Moving on -

That night we partied AGAIN. See what I mean about being rock stars? It's like every night with us. No stopping us. Somebody better hold an intervention.

So, y'all know Joni, right? She came over, with her brood (husband, baby Ella, and 3 big kids) and her old friend (and my old acquaintance), Staci, and her big kid daughter, and we all hung out in the heat gulping water, laughing, and sharing stories. Oh, and we ate some sumptious BBQ fare, cotton candy ice cream and Joni's delectable chocolate, chocolate cupcakes.

Photo courtesy of Staci. :) (I realize my boobs appear to be missing. It's the swimsuit that I had on under my dress. It has failed me terribly in the support category. Not that a blame it, per se. The job is onerous.)
I'm very sad to say we only have two days left of vacation in California. We're heading to the beach tomorrow for the last two days so you can all wait for a third, and final, installment of our on-vacation antics.


Sunday, July 3, 2011

On Vacation, part 1: the U.S.S. Hornet

Saturday we got up early and caught a flight to San Jose. This was the first time the boys have flown since they were babies and they LOVED it. My oldest was a little afraid when we were taking off, and that's naturally his way, but he relaxed really well after that.

My mom & stepdad picked us up and we drove up to Alameda to tour the U.S.S. Hornet. This is the ship my grandpa was on in WWII, circa '43-'44. It was surreal to walk in areas where he may have been as a young man. Incredible.

Here are some pics we took there:

A friend told me my husband looks a little like Richard Branson. What do you think?
Stay tuned for the next chapter of our vacation travels. Happy Independance Day everyone!

Monday, June 27, 2011

A Monday Affirmation

On this Monday let's pause and take a deep breath. Now think about some good stuff - something that makes you happy happy. 

Here's a couple for me: 

The sun's shiny golden loveliness makes everything else beautiful and small at the same time:

The fleeting beauty of a lily - so fragile and temporary.

Some of the most beautiful things in life are ephemeral. I think the trick is to savor every single one of the sweet moments you have. Just jump in and bask in the GOOD. Revel in it.

Don't waste what precious time you have in anger, doubt or distrust. No good can come of it. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Shakespeare in the shower

Summer. I get to sleep in a wee bit later and it's fantastic. I snoozed until 7:20 this morning and noticed when I was getting up that my hubby was stirring a bit as well. I took my time in the shower, lost in the lather of the moment, trying to wake up and face the day. (You know how you get into the shower and the white noise keeps you lost in your thoughts? Sometimes I can't even remember if I shampooed already or not.) Today, though, I was busy lathering and planning my world domination when I was pulled out of my thoughts by my husband's voice in the next room. 

I paused. I listened. I heard . . . . Shakespeare?


Yes, Shakespeare. Oberon. Or possibly Theseus. From A Midsummer Night's Dream (hereafter known simply as "Midsummer"). It is the soundtrack of my days. I hear "dost thee," "hast thou," "couldst" and "fare thee" every hour of my time with my husband. In the kitchen, in the car, while grilling, and doing laundry, doing the dishes, during commercial breaks on TV, and in the bloody bathroom. The boys are asked, "Hast thou gone pee?" and I'm told, "Fare thee well, nymph," when I leave the room. It certainly makes things interesting.

Have I told you about my husband? He's an actor, you see. Well, really he's a writer for hire. (HIRE HIM, por favor). But about five years ago when he started acting in community theater it TOOK OVER HIS SOUL. I may be exaggerating just a teensy, weensy bit. Maybe not. When he's in a role it is his life until the show is over. No lie. For reals. 

For about three years he participated primarily in a somewhat traditional musical theater company where he played in well known shows like Miss Saigon, Cinderella, A Christmas Carol and, his favorite, Jesus Christ Superstar. He was Jesus. He loved it.

He loves being on stage and performing in front of an audience. He loves the applause and kudos he receives when he does it. He LOVES singing and he does it quite well - and quite loudly. My husband and performing for people were MFEO. (If you don't know that reference then go watch Sleepless in Seattle right now. I'll wait here.)
Injun Joe from Tom Sawyer - Theater Show. He was a mean SOB.
Then he branched out. He started working for a company that provides entertainment on an old train that runs up the mountain and back. He does dinner theater murder mysteries and wild west type shows, primarily, and some seasonal trains around Christmas. He has participated for two years in a short film festival where, one year, the movie short he was in won first place and he won Best Actor. Awesome. (I'd post a link to the full movie if I could find it. Which I can't. Fail.)

WAIT! It's been found! Hallelujah! It's 13 minutes long but really ridiculously funny: Beneath a Western Skyscraper
"Best Actor" cowboy from the movie short. He turned into an emo urban cowboy. Hilarious.
The Mad Hatter - Train Show. Best Mad Hatter ever. (Seriously, if you ever have the opportunity please ask him to do Jabberwocky for you. You will not be disappointed).
The train show thing - with a few other things that pop up once in a while - is so much better for us as a family. He's not gone every day to rehearsal. We can plan things and do them together. Novel concept. I like it.

BUT . . . a few weeks ago he was presented with an opportunity to do Shakespeare for the first time. SHAKESPEARE. The Bard. The Man. The Legend. (Did I mention that my husband and I were both English Lit majors in school? Yeah, that).

The problem? It's a traditional theater show again.This time, though, with a different company. He emailed me the schedule. He said, "Honey, it's SHAKESPEARE." He waited. He emailed again and said, "I told them I won't do it if it's not okay with you. But, honey, it's SHAKESPEARE. And the rehearsal schedule isn't that bad. We can still go on vacation." Good, because I've got non-refundable tickets and my name is already on a pool lounger. 

So what's a wife to do? I said yes. Of course I said yes. What I have always told him was simply this, "Who am I to stand in the way of your dreams?" I may be his wife and life partner, but I'm not going to hurt, hamper or detract from his personal growth if I can help it. Provided that fulfilling his dreams don't negatively impact the well-being of our family, of course. In this case, his dream is to play Oberon and Theseus in Midsummer. So be it.

Which brings us back to today. I was in the shower and I heard Shakespeare.

So, first it was this:
O, methinks, how slow
This old moon wanes! she lingers my desires,
Like to a step-dame or a dowager
Long withering out a young man revenue.
That's Theseus - the king. I hear this line all the time now. That poor old moon is blamed for so much. Tragic.

Then it was Oberon, the Fairy King, speaking to Puck:
That very time I saw, but thou couldst not,
Flying between the cold moon and the earth,
Cupid all arm'd: a certain aim he took
At a fair vestal throned by the west,
And loosed his love-shaft smartly from his bow,
As it should pierce a hundred thousand hearts;
To which I said, "that's some love-shaft!" *giggle, snort* My apologies. Poor taste. Still funny though.

Life could be boring. Thank goodness it's not. 

Fare thee well, my dear friends. Time is apace and my thoughts are much in the bosom of my home. I leave you with dear Puck's parting words: 
If we shadows have offended,
Think but this, and all is mended,
That you have but slumber'd here
While these visions did appear.
And this weak and idle theme,
No more yielding but a dream,
Gentles, do not reprehend:
if you pardon, we will mend:
And, as I am an honest Puck,
If we have unearned luck
Now to 'scape the serpent's tongue,
We will make amends ere long;
Else the Puck a liar call;
So, good night unto you all.
Give me your hands, if we be friends,
And Robin shall restore amends.

Edited to add the movie short URL. 

Friday, June 17, 2011

A spoonful of sugar

Friends, I'm writing with a heavy heart. Someone I love very much is hurting and I can't help her. But I can sympathize. And, even more importantly, I can empathize

Babydoll, I've been there. 

I have SO been there, more than once, and I've looked down at the depths of my despair, sprawled out in front of me, and I have crawled back up out of that pit. More than once. The thing is - it gets easier because the 2nd time, and the 3rd and the 4th, you recognize the path better. You see the signs and don't let yourself get quite so far down that it's harder to come back up. Oh, my girl, I have been there. 

But I'm okay right now. My little family unit - we are okay right now. Like, literally, at this moment. But tomorrow could change. And yesterday may not have been as good as today. 

Marriage & divorce, sickness & health, babies & kids, money (lack of) and bills, time and energy leeches, housecleaning, cars, pets, grocery shopping, dentist & doctors appointments, lack of sleep, lack of motivation, fear, worry, resentment, anger, and, finally, hopelessness and despair.

Show of hands: who has been there? Yes, no?

If any of you said no than, please, walk away right now. This blog, today, isn't for you. Much love to you - but get the hell outta here and come back when you can say, "Oh yeah, I've visited that big-fat-monkey-ball-sucking-place and I have your back."

Here's my hand. Way, way up high.

I have lived, for long, long periods of time, with nary two pennies to my name. When I have maybe paid *some* of my bills and had 10 days until my next paycheck, $20 in my bank account, and four mouths to feed, two cars needing gas (to take us to daycare and work everyday), and somehow we all survived. I would make myself sick with worry (sometimes that still happens, but I try to let it go). I thought if I didn't pay my bills by the due date something awful would happen. Or, at the very least, my power company, or credit card company, or whatever, would judge me and I didn't want to be one of "those people" who didn't pay their bills. 

You know what I've learned? Eff that. Life is too short to let something stupid like money dictate my happiness. I try, more than ever, to live in the moment these days. To enjoy the time I'm with my kids and not spend that time worrying about something that, at that moment, I'm powerless to fix. 


But what if, just for arguments sake, that you're broke and barely getting by on one paycheck. Your kids seem determined to throw every elbow they can at you - including getting diagnosed ADD, or Autistic, or OCD - and rant and rampage and say every mean thing they can to tear down your already fragile confidence. You know, you really do, that they aren't doing it to be mean but because they are scared and confused and don't know how to express it so they are lashing out at you - their rock - because they simply CAN and they know you'll still be there. Because you are their MOM and you live your life for THEM. That, coupled with your guilt, all-consuming, mind-imploding, never-ending, wrack-your-body-until-you-are-sick GUILT for making the hard, hard decisions you have made that, yes, may sometimes seem to be a mistake but in moments of great clarity you KNOW, in your very heart, that it was absolutely the right decision - for you and for your little angels. But what if you just don't have that clarity all the time and the guilt, and the arguing, and the signs of mental anguish you see in your kids, and the lack of money, and the all-consuming oh-dear-god-I'm-just-going-to-die feeling doesn't go away. What if it doesn't go away? And they still need you to be their rock? 

I'm not a psychologist and I don't have any fancy answers . . . but I say: go to your happy place. Sound cliche? It is. Totally. But this is how you crawl out of that pit. This is how you shrug off the despair. You find your happy place. Your happy thoughts. Your silver lining. The brightness in an otherwise dark and dreadful sky. 

Let me ask you this: What is good in your life RIGHT NOW? Name one thing. Then, tomorrow morning, name two things. Then, tomorrow before bed, name three things. Before you know it you will have climbed out of that pit and, damn, if the world isn't much, much brighter. 

Will your troubles be gone? Nope, not at all. They don't just disappear. (I'm not delusional, after all). It's all about perspective, honey-child. You know that old saying that you can catch more flies with honey? The same is true for walking through a quagmire of problems. Be confident and optimistic and things tend to work out a little better. Or at least you feel better about it and that's the part that matters, right? YOU choose how you deal with problems. You, or me - we - are humans with thinking brains and, hopefully, above-average reasoning skills (my readers, you see) and we can conquer the negativity that threatens our healthy perspective. Ooh, I like that. Let's say it again, shouting, in all caps:


Can you parent effectively if you are simultaneously wading through a deep, dark pit of despair? No, right? Are you taking good care of yourself then? No, right? Then let's turn on our thinking caps and dial into the healthy perspective channel. Then we can parent with love, compassion and understanding rather than guilt, fear and anger.

Choose to be happy. Choose acceptance - in your lot, in your kid's foibles, and in the consequences of your decisions - and let.it.go. Let it all go. Choose to honor the decisions you made with faith in yourself. 

I love you, my dear girl. You are not alone. You are smart and beautiful and kind and devoted. Please don't, any of you, forget that ever. Bring yourself back from that pit. Love yourself. Do what you need to to understand that. You deserve it and you need it. To be the best mom, person, employee and just the YOU in you.

Gentle readers - holla back if you've been there, por favor. Let's build up one of our sisters. Mwah.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Thankful Thursday: I'm thankful for PTO

PTO?? Paid Time OFF. Thank heaven, Allah, Gaia, the sun, and Maude (whoever she is) for paid time off. Time off? And my bills still get paid? Awesome. 

What makes PTO so awesome? Let's see:

Because of PTO, on a Thursday, I slept in until 7:45 this morning.

Because of PTO I get to stay home with my little guy on his first 2 days of summer break.

Because of PTO I have a couple extra days to think through some work stuff that's got me all discombobulated.

Because of PTO I sat down and played the new Lego Pirates of the Caribbean video game with my son this afternoon. And I might go take a soak in a bath. On a Thursday afternoon. All because of PTO. 

Because of PTO, on a Thursday afternoon, I'm writing a blog post and watching my boy ride his bike outside my office window. 

What is that saying? You have to relax to reload? I'm going to relax. Today, tomorrow, Saturday and Sunday.

Off to take my bubble bath now. Thank you, PTO, thankyouveryveryverymuch.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Not quite Wordless Wednesday: Peonies, and some unfortunate euphemisms

Do you say Pee - uh - nee or Pe - OH - nee? We've been discussing this at my house and the hubby says one thing and I say the other. Well, I looked it up today and this is what I read:
Pronunciation of "Peony" Plants and Word Origin:
The standard pronunciation is pee'-uh-nee (accent on the first syllable). However, many people place the accent on the second syllable: pee-oh'-nee. As is often the case with anglicized versions of Latin words, rulings on what should be the standard pronunciation seem rather arbitrary. The word derives from the Latin genus name, Paeonia, which, in turn, derives from a figure in Greek mythology, Paeon (see below). If you want to be safe, stick with the standard pronunciation: pee'-uh-nee.
So, I would say that both are acceptable, right? I don't think I can teach myself to change the way I say it so it shall be acceptable (so sayeth me).

Here's the original:

I had to hold the stem up because the Peonies are so heavy they droop. (Like a couple other things I know and have to hold up sometimes as well. You know, sometimes you have to be big to be glorious. The heavier they are the more impact they make. The bigger the better. Size is impressive. I could go on. What? Sheesh).

Peonies. Peonies. Peonies. It's fun to say either way.