Saturday, June 30, 2012

magic moving moments

During every move, a pivotal moment is reached. You know the one I mean, where you swear never to go through this again, and you lament not leaving the place fully furnished and buying new stuff at your new house? I absolutely reached that point today, moving angst made worse by a pulled back, and to top it off, the Man left our moving van, which seemed way too small for the Herculean task of holding our belongings, to go across the street to help a neighbor!   (grumble grumble)

Lo and behold! A couple of hours later the neighbor and her friend came back to help us! Even better, her friend is like a moving van genius, some sort of miracle worker in the game of moving Tetris.

Lesson learned, and thank you, God, for a husband with such a generous spirit.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Friday Again, and You Know What That Means...

Looking through photos I've posted to this blog, I discovered that I've posted several of sleeping creatures, mostly Small One. So, in honor of how exhausted I am this week, I give you a collection of candid sleepy shots...

Two weeks old, sleeping while Daddy dotes

A little older, but still loving the Dad snuggle

Sacked out with her uncle, after some strenuous dancing at the other uncle's wedding

Sammy's not really sleeping, but I couldn't resist this picture of him, all tucked in. We still miss you, Sammy!

Of course, as everyone knows, the most relaxing way to sleep is on Dad's head.

 And last but not least, one of my favorite "sacked out" shots.

And with that, I'm off... hoping to get some rest before moving day, tomorrow.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Thursday Thirteen: Packing Edition

Thirteen things we found, while packing to move:

  1. Small One's pacifier. Interestingly, she has been trying to figure out how to reincorporate it into her life, ever since I unearthed it. She knows it's for babies, but she's determined to find some use for it. It doesn't really work for her dolls, and I declined to give it to any babies we know, but I am happy to report that it makes a pretty good cowboy hat for a small plastic dog.
  2. My passport. From when I was fifteen. Good stuff.
  3. The electric bill we were supposed to pay two years ago. Oopsie! Well, rest assured, it's handled now.
  4. 753 lids to nothing. Ok, so that may be an exaggeration, because I didn't count them. And I know, I know, they go to something, I just don't know what. But it's all good, because I packed them.
  5. A hilarious book entitled "Weekend News", that MC wrote when she was in second grade. These entries have some of the most unintentionally funny spelling in the world, and may need to make an appearance in a future post. For now, I will just say "it wos the bets!".
  6. One zillion hippo balls. In other words, Hungry Hungry Hippos got packed, but most of the balls were left behind. They now reside in my jewelry box, until we get to the new place. 
  7. One frillion plastic cherries. See above, but substitute "Hi Ho Cherry O" for the hippo game.
  8. My linens. Seriously. When we moved into this house, we made a decision not to unpack everything, because we knew we wouldn't be here permanently. We probably should have stored things in a storage unit, but we decided against it, opting to give up having a garage in favor of storing boxes. I didn't remember, until a couple of days ago, that we opened a box of linens and, finding the linen closet to be entirely too small to be of much use, left two thirds of the linens in the box. I am delighted to report that I have more sheets for my bed than I'd previously suspected. 
  9. A triangle. Thank goodness! Now I can work on my Martin Short/Ed Grimley impression. 
  10. Roughly one thousand blank note cards. Many different styles and patterns, all found just after I bought MC a bunch of note cards, whose envelopes we quickly addressed, thus negating any chance of returning them. 
  11. My wedding ring... from my first marriage. Must be honest, I had no idea that was even lost. I honestly thought it was in my jewelry box, waiting for some time when MC might want it. Turns out, that time is now, and it fits quite nicely on her pinky finger. Because I was an infant when I wore it. But that's another story.
  12. Shoes, in the perfect style and size for Small to wear to kindergarten in the fall. Callooh! Callay!This is a tremendous bonus, because it means I don't have to shoe shop. (But if I'm being honest, I probably still will.)
  13. The door to the hall closet! Hooray! I can't even tell you how relieved we are about that one. When we first moved in, we made the decision to remove the closet door and hang a curtain instead, because we were keeping the cat box in the closet. A few days ago, we realized the door was not in the garage, and began a frantic search for it, pondering all the while how we could possibly have lost something as large as a door, for crying out loud! As it turns out, it was in the attic... a fact the Man only discovered on his third trip up there. This was, hands down, the best find of the week.

Tell me about you! How often do you tend to move? Have you ever found anything unexpected during the process? Have you ever found anything you'd mourned as lost forever?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Early Birthday Wishes

Tomorrow is my Middle Child's birthday. To be more precise, it is her eighteenth birthday, which is, really, of huge significance. When my Oldest turned eighteen, he was still in high school, and didn't leave home for another year. Now, as my MC is turning eighteen, she already has her diploma, and is headed for the door, lease on a new apartment in hand.

It is a scary time for me. On the one hand, I have every confidence in her. She knows how to take care of herself, and has stayed out of trouble for longer than I would have thought possible, had you asked me a few years ago. She has a plan, and the plan is to live with roommates and work for a year, while she decides what she wants to study. She doesn't want a car, because she thinks it is more sensible to save the money she would spend on maintenance and insurance, and live near public transit instead. She has saved every penny she received as graduation gifts, as well as an extremely significant portion of the money she earned working this spring, and she has enough money to keep her afloat for a couple of months, while she gets her bearings. For every question I ask, she has a solid answer.

So why am I so nervous? I think it's because, to me, at least to a degree, she will always be this person:

So even though, intellectually, I know she's this person...

I'm still a little bit worried about my baby girl, out in the world.  

I'm making up my mind not to fret. I will pray over her, believe for the best, and trust that all the work I put into making a self-sufficient human was not in vain. Happy birthday, baby girl, and I hope the coming year holds all that you want it to hold for you. 

Monday, June 25, 2012

Stage Fright and other Panic Attacks

I used to do a bunch of theater, and I noticed that the people I worked with would often get stage fright, before we went on. I never had that problem. I never had to deal with stage fright... until I was in the middle of a performance. Then I could absolutely depend on the fact that at some point, deep in the middle of what I was doing, I would become convinced that I was going to throw up and pass out, on stage. Never failed.

The same is true for gigantic tasks in my life, like, say, labor... or moving. I am absolutely calm and cool as a cucumber, until I am absolutely NOT. This is the week of the move, the clock is running down, and I have to admit, I am battling a serious panic attack all of a sudden. Everywhere I look, it seems like chaos, and it also seems like my little family is unaware of the fact that one week from now we will be living somewhere else.

My mom and my sister have pledged help, and that's really wonderful of them. I'm lacking perspective, though, and that's what concerns me. I can see a million things that must be done, right now, but I'm having trouble breaking it into steps. Plus, I'm really tired, and I actually just want to go to the pool. (Probably shouldn't admit that last part!)

Think of me this week, and say a little prayer, because it is the Mama's job to keep everyone calm and on task, and right now, I am wondering if I'm up to the challenge. I can do this, right? Deep breaths.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Dinotime, continued...

The Man and I were interested in the walk through Dinosaur World. There are signs beside every dinosaur grouping, telling visitors some interesting facts about the creatures, all of which I read with a healthy amount of skepticism, because, really, how do we know? Anyway, scientists are always finding out they were wrong about some dino-fact or another, so I am especially dubious of the ones of which they say they've only found one example. Hmm...I'm not convinced.

But, it was fun. Small told us that her favorite was the T-Rex...

But I was more intrigued by the ones that were unfamiliar to me, like the Liliensternus, seen here lurking behind our Small One.

As I mentioned, the Man and I were interested in reading all the information. Small was not. She only wanted to know one thing about each dinosaur: is it a meat eater, or not? For plant eaters...

...she lingered, and cooed at the dinosaur babies. 
For meat eaters... 

...she ran off, yelling at us over her shoulder to hurry and join her, lest we be devoured.

She was briefly chased by a Humanosaurus, whose head seemed to be glowing...

...but her primary interest seemed to be reading the map. She read it all over the park, whether relaxing with a mammoth friend,

gazing, with her dad, out over the valley of the dinosaurs,

or perched by some dinotoes.

These particular toes belonged to a fanciful creature the Dinosaur World folks call "Photosaurus". He can be seen from the highway, and he's pretty impressive looking.  

It was fun but tiring, and by the end of it, we were ready for a nap.

Or maybe some time to dinochill, perhaps in front of an airbrushed prehistoric mural.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Adventure Weekend

Last night, the Man and I had a date night, which means we dropped Small off at a play place, so we could go out to dinner and do a little bit of  shopping. This may not seem like much of an adventure, except that we tried a new restaurant, a Thai place, that was a little strange. Aside from the super aggressive pre-bussing, which involved a young Asian girl continually popping up beside our table to ask us if we were finished with plates as we were putting the final bites off those plates into our mouths, the restaurant was pretty good. However, we ordered Massaman Curry, which is an old favorite of ours, and is typically a sort of saucy dish, with coconut milk, cardamom, cinnamon, cashews, and potatoes, which are generally cut into cubes. This time, it was really different. The potatoes were pretty much French fries, there were no nuts, not much sauce, and the whole thing was wrapped in... a pancake. What?

I said, "I've never known this dish to be crepe or pancake related."
The Man replied, "I guess we're not in Thai Kansas any more."

So anyway...

Today was adventure weekend, day 2, and we surprised Small One with a trip to Dinosaur World. In case you are unaware of its existence, Dinosaur World is a strange attraction, with locations in three states. Part pretend zoo, part educational exhibit, part tourist attraction, it is goofy, campy, equal parts hilarious and educational, a little surreal. Visitors start out at a gift shop, proceed to a "museum" that primarily contains artifacts like dinosaur teeth and mammoth tusk parts, and then watch a "movie" on a not particularly large television, in what the proprietors call "movie cave"... basically, a small outbuilding.

Kids can participate in a "fossil dig":

Visitors can pose inside a dinosaur head, where some choose to look as though they need help...
 while others choose to maintain a cheerful disposition and positive attitude.

But of course, the main attraction is the dinosaurs, which are scattered along a half mile trail. Some are sort of, almost, realistic looking...

while some are bizarrely comical.

What is this, anyway? An alienosaurus? A moviemonsterdon?

There's more to tell, but it'll have to wait until tomorrow, because tomorrow's adventure involves church at 8am. Yawn.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Another Foto Friday...

Why is the crayon called "sky blue" such a pale and wimpy color? Because, in fact, sky blue means, more often than not, this:

In move-related news, Laser Cat is not excited about all the packing, but has recently learned that the boxes facilitate the playing of "the floor is lava", and that fact pleases him.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Gigantically Spiderific

Late last night, I was in my room, and heard excited shouts from downstairs. I went down to tell Middle Child not to wake up her sister, on pain of death, and found the Man and MC conspiratorially huddled by the counter, looking at something. It turned out to be this lady:

She is gigantically huge, and if you look closely, you will see that she is covered in babies. Giant spider babies. Now, I like babies as much as the next girl, but giant spider babies? Not so much.

MC and the Man were observing the spider from across the counter, discussing its size and general scariness. MC decided to take a picture with her phone, but wanted something for perspective, so I found a ruler, which she set next to the jar. Not quite the right impact for her, though, and she asked her stepdad to put his head near the jar, which he sort of did, reluctantly. I told him he should give the thumbs up, and he started to, but then decided that biting his fingernails in terror would be more apropos.

He told me that he'd been walking the dog when he saw this huge arachnid walking down the middle of the street. He was contemplating a closer look, when a car came around the corner, threatening to cut short her moonlit stroll in a pretty gruesome fashion, at which point my kindly husband stepped into the street and waved the car around the spider. He is an animal lover, that one. He ran inside to get a jar, and poked several large-ish holes in the lid before rushing back out to rescue her from the perils of highway travel.

I felt somewhat bad for Mrs. Giant Spider, because she was not happy about being in a jar. I wouldn't have been happy either, especially with all those babies to carry around! I asked the Man to take her outside, and perhaps leave her in the wooded area behind our house, but he was reluctant to do this. You see, he initially thought she was extremely hairy, and only discovered after he'd put her in the jar that the "hair" was actually baby spider legs, all over her back. Because he did not originally understand the situation, he'd poked the holes  rather too large, thinking that the spider he was confining was gigantic, and not teeny tiny, and that there was one spider, not one zillion spiders. Now, he explained, he was afraid to pick up the jar, lest one zillion baby spiders swarm out onto his arms.

This, I felt, was reasonable, but at the same time, not practical. I understood completely why he did not want a swarm of tiny giant spiders on his person, but I was not as clear as to why he felt it would be preferable to risk a swarm of tiny giant spiders in my kitchen. Needless to say, I was persuasive in my argument, and Mrs. Giant Spider and her brood now live in the wooded area of our neighborhood.

Where, MC pointed out, they can hang out and possibly eat Ron Weasley.

Goodnight stars, goodnight air, goodnight giant spiders everywhere.Sweet dreams, neighbors!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Moving Times

We are, as I've mentioned, moving in a little less than two weeks. This is pretty stressful, but here's something even more stressful: our house is the "featured" rental property on the Realtor's website. This means that we not only have to pack our belongings, which involves a lot of deciding what to keep while our storage areas vomit into the middle of the house, but we also have to have a house that people can walk through, and ooh and ahh over the floor plan. In other words, storage-area-vomit-free.

This would be tricky for the most organized person. I mean, I think it would, I do not know the most organized person, so I can't really ask him/her. I know that, for us, it is a nightmare. The Creatures and I are distinctly lacking in the organizational department, and in the best of situations, "tidy" is an accomplishment. Imagine, then, the tizzy we're all in over this most recent development.

Today was the first day that people came to see the house. We didn't get the word that they were coming until yesterday, and since Small One is in vacation Bible school this week, I only had from yesterday afternoon until this afternoon to make it all happen. This may not sound like a big deal, particularly if you are someone who was born with the organizational chromosome, but trust me, it was a big deal. I not only had to have the rooms in the house reasonably neat, but the closets also had to look good. This means my tried and true "just shove it in my closet" routine was not going to help me at all. I will not reveal how much time I was able to allot to sleeping last night but I will say, it was not a recommended amount, by any stretch.

By the time we were scheduled to have a showing, I was reasonably satisfied with what we'd accomplished. This is sort of amazing, because the vacuum cleaner went rogue on me during the preparation phase, spitting instead of picking up debris, before finally coming apart in my hand. Not what you want while you're cleaning a house to show it.The fact that we pulled it together was just short of miraculous.

I was pretty exhausted by the time the Realtor arrived, and he arrived approximately one hour before his client did. Guess how he occupied his time while waiting? He talked to us...and talked to us...and talked to us. In a stream that reminded me of a super long banjo piece, he talked about everything under the sun, from his old jobs, to his unfortunate time on the night shift, to his pregnant sister's hospitality, or lack thereof, to the housing market, to the job market, to his clients' real estate predicaments, to wireless internet, and so on. It was as though, in the middle of a fairly hectic afternoon, someone shouted "Banjo solo!!!" and this man popped up out of a cornfield, Hee Haw style. I am just grateful that he arrived as I was wrapping up my work day, or I'd have had to do something drastic to make him stop.

My favorite part of his monologue was the part where he told us that this is is hometown, and this is where he is from, except he is originally from another town, and that he has lived here his whole life, "apart from a two year stunt" in a third town.

A two year stunt? What kind of stunt requires two years to complete? That sounds pretty impressive, whatever it is.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Prayer Request

I'm posting something a little bit different today, because something is weighing heavily on my heart. Please, if you pray, say a prayer for my cousin's dear little baby.

This little guy:

He was born on June 4th, and today, two weeks later, he's back in the hospital, very ill, undergoing tests because no one knows what is wrong. I came online to think of something funny or pithy to post, but all I can think about is this sweet little one. I sincerely believe in the power of prayer, so please join with me in supporting this family.  Thanks so much!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Daddy Man

The Man and his girls, with about ten years between the two photos. 

And goofing with our boy, back in the day, before the boy became a man and flew the coop. 

So really, the only thing I want to say today is this: Happy Father's Day to the Man who loves our children unconditionally, who never calls the big ones stepchildren, but always just claims them as his, and who is, without a doubt, the kindest, most loving and generous, and truly just the best Daddy I know. I'm glad I picked the right one to partner with me in wrangling all these wild creatures.

ps... he's even a good Daddy to our furry children.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Ego Booster

I'm a member, as I've mentioned before, of an online mom's group. We've all been friends now for more than five years, and had a couple of vacations together, and some pretty great playdates. I've gotten to hold newborns belonging to two of these lovely women, I've hosted dinner for a pack of them at my home, and stayed at the homes of two of them. We've helped each other when things weren't going well, and we've celebrated birthdays and mourned some pretty significant losses together. All this to say, we're pretty tight.

When we were starting to get to know each other, we always had a question of the day, to get the conversation started. Recently, we've gone back to it, just for fun, because we're all so busy that we often forget to check in, or we read what's being written without commenting. There's usually a mom question of the day, and one to ask the kid. So, this brings me to the point of my story.

Recently, the question of the day involved how we feel about our looks. My looks being a completely uninteresting topic for me, I was nonetheless interested in what Small would answer to her half of the question, which was, basically, asking what she likes about her Mama's looks. Since she's told me recently that she hopes she'll grow up to be as beautiful as I am- (heaven knows I'm hoping she'll do a little better than that!)- I wondered how she'd answer the question about specifics. Here's how it went.

Me: Hey, Small One, here's a question for you! What do you like about how I look?
Small: What do YOU like about how you look?
Me: Ha ha, no, it's not  a question for me, it's for you! Is there anything you like about the way I look?
Small: (considers for a moment) Well, I don't really know... I mean, actually everything!
Me: (laughing) Well, ok, then!
Small: (very serious and sincere, obviously working to say what she means) No, Mommy, I want to tell you the truth. No mommy is like you. No mommy in the whole world!

I think my heart may burst.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Conquering the Kitchen

Moving is a stressful time, to say the least, and one of the most stressful parts of it, in my opinion, is packing the kitchen. My current quest is to pack our kitchen, and I'm hoping to have it done in the next day or so, but I'm not entirely sure it's possible. I have some questions.

Before we moved last time, I made sure to sort all the plastic containers, and discard the ones without lids. That was only a little under 2 years ago, so how is it that we now have a weird assortment of containers and lids, some of which go together, while others... not so much. How is it possible that we brought with us matching sets, threw none of them away, and yet do not now have them?

And further, what are all the little doodads and whatsits crowding my kitchen drawers? You know what I'm talking about, those little plastic or rubber thingies that have no discernible function, yet become vitally important the instant they are thrown away. I know better now than to lose even a single one of these items, but how do I label them?

Finally, how is it that I have three plastic butter dishes? Where do those even come from? I don't purchase them, and I was actually unaware we owned one, and yet, suddenly, as I'm packing, there are three. How did that happen?

Anyway, I got the oven cleaned today, and packed another kitchen box. I have one entire cabinet emptied, and have packed up most of our lesser used small appliances. (I have a bit of a small appliance addiction, but that's a subject for another post.) I think I have time today to get quite a bit more done, so with any luck, by late afternoon I will be closing in on the end of the kitchen packing.

Of course, I will have to allow for some pool time, since the high is supposed to be in the 90s, and we only have two more weeks to live next door to a pool. So, you know, I can't be productive all the time.

How about you, readers? How do you feel about moving? What's your least favorite moving chore? And more importantly, do you know where I can find more boxes?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Thursday Thirteen: 13 Smiles

Thirteen small things that have made me smile this week:
  1. The way my Small One pronounces words. 
  2. How much my MC loves my mother. 
  3. The kind heart of my husband. 
  4. The cat and dog, chasing each other. 
  5. Fresh watermelon on a hot day. 
  6. Firefly and lemonade on a hot night. 
  7. Laughing with friends in the summer evening.
  8. Listening to music outdoors, with cool breezes in the warm night.
  9. Watching Small One chase fireflies. 
  10. The Man and Small, in the hammock, with the dog underneath. 
  11. Hot fudge sundae.
  12. A movie with my mom.
  13. A gap toothed grin. 
I wish for all of you the same simple pleasures, and more, and I  hope we can all remember, as the summer seems to fly by, to notice them. The days may be long, but the years are so short! I'm trying to live every minute.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Evening Out

Went out tonight, despite initial reluctance, to hear the symphony play in the park. The reluctance had nothing to do with the symphony, in which my sister plays, or the park, or the weather, or the company, but just with the general sense of malaise that has descended upon my household in the past few days. MC can't seem to sleep, all I want to do is sleep, Small One has a lingering cough, and the Man has lost his voice. Even the dog seems sluggish, and the cat is a little bitey.

In the end, though, we were glad we went. The weather was beautiful, warm but breezy. The concert was lovely. The company was delightful. All in all, a good night. For me, and probably for the Man, in the midst of such a busy season in our lives, there was something really great about permission to sit perfectly still for an hour, accomplishing nothing.

For Small, the rewards may have been even greater. She got to snuggle her grandmother, play with the cousins, and love on her aunt. She also got to listen to music, dance on a stage, hold a cicada, and run in circles wearing a fluffy skirt. What more could a 5 year old ask of a summer evening?

In the car on the way home, she was eating chicken, and explaining to us her thoughts on the Chick Fil A cow. "I got a book from Chick Fil A once," she said, "that ended with the words 'Isn't that what friends are for? Eat more chicken!' That's all that cow ever says, 'Eat more chicken!' but if he were smart, he'd just stay home, because when he's running around putting up the signs, that's when people see him, and that's when they might eat him."

She was quiet for half a second, then sighed, "Not a very clever cow."

Monday, June 11, 2012

Mushy Memory Monday

Ok, so it's another photo cheat day, but look how cute these guys are!

And, hey! The little one's jumping!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Party Foul Sunday

Last night was my MC's graduation party. Somewhere in the neighborhood of twenty people gathered in our home, to celebrate my girl's accomplishments. The food turned out well, the company was delightful, MC herself was charming, the children were all well-behaved, gifts were plentiful, and there was a brand new baby to snuggle. All in all, a roaring success, except...

At least a half dozen professional or hobbyist photographers in the house, and not one single picture. How did I neglect to think about/ delegate that task?!? Major mom blunder.

Anyway, I think everyone had fun, and I hope MC realizes how very much she is, and always has been, loved.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Senior Saturday

Today, I am super busy, because tonight, we are hosting a rather large crowd, in celebration of Middle Child's graduation from high school. If you've been reading for any length of time, you know it's been a long and challenging road for our MC, so to have crossed the finish line feels like an accomplishment for our family, as well as for our graduate.

We are very proud of her, glad she hung in there, and I just want to say...

Congratulations! You did it! We love you! Go Class of 2012!

I don't know what's in store for our bright and beautiful girl, but I know that she has it in her to take the future by storm, and make an impact, wherever she goes. I pray that she will grow in wisdom and grace, and learn to harness the tremendous power she wields, using it to make the world a better place. Way to go, MC, and here's to an exciting future! I can't wait to see what happens next.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Foto Friday

More crazy times in the playroom, this time with what seems to be some sort of crossbreeding tragedy that yielded a strange poodle/ladybug creature.

I'll have to talk to Small about being more careful with her animal husbandry.

And speaking of animal husbandry...

We're packing to move, and today, I began the process of sorting and packing Small's toys. We spent quite a while on stuffed animals, and she was quite willing to let some of them go, often for weird reasons like, "His feet are WAY too big." However, what struck me as really funny is how concerned she was about their social situations. Several times, she'd stop me from putting something in the box, until she'd run off to find one of the stuffed animal's friends or relations. "Wait!" she'd say, "His wife is upstairs!"

Well, we're not moving for three more weeks. He'd be awfully lonely all that time, stuck in a box with a lot of strangers, and not his wife! Nice of her to be considerate.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Fancy Times

So, we bought a Buick. That may be the single least sexy thing I have ever typed in my entire life, which is saying something, because I've blogged about eyeballs and skin rashes and parasites. But seriously, for those of us who have come of age in the Honda era... you know, where it seems like everyone our age drives a sporty Japanese something or other, or at least a Honda minivan... American cars have sort of been out of favor for a while. And then, too, Buick sounds like something your grandmother would drive, if your grandmother were still driving. In fact, I think at least one of my grandmothers did drive a Buick.

When the used car guy suggested we check out this Buick minivan, I'll admit I was skeptical. Walking up to it, I very nearly ruled it out entirely, on sight. It's navy blue, with pinstripes on either side, and a couple of scratches on the exterior. It's huge. It's a minivan, but then again, not quite a minivan, because it looks much larger. Like a maxivan, perhaps. And very old school- the pinstripes make me think of 80s conversion vans. It is not what we were looking for, because we have been on a month long quest for "not a minivan". Not that there's anything wrong with minivans, and our previous two have served us well, but the fact that I just said "previous two" means I've been in minivans a long time.

Then we looked inside this car, and... holy cats! This is one fancy car. Double-stitched leather upholstery, wood trim, immaculate condition, and it has a DVD player, and stores MP3s, and has a tire inflating thingy, and an outlet in the back. I mean, like, an outlet, where I could, say, plug in my laptop during a road trip. Then, too, the back seats fold down to enable an immense amount of cargo space. This thing has everything, all wrapped up in a fancy pants package.

Next, we drove it. My goodness, I am not used to fancy pants cars. It was the smoothest thing I have ever driven in my life! I said to the Man, "Wow, it drives..." and he said " a Cadillac!" Yeah, I'm used to a different type of vehicle in my world.

So, to recap, we have now signed a lease on a fancy pants house, and purchased a fancy pants car. It seems, my friends, that the creatures and I are headed into fancier times.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Woes of a Whiny Canine

We have a little dog... he's a Jack Russell/Shih Tzu mix, and we affectionately call him a "Jack Shiht".

And boy, can he jump! (See how I worked the theme in there?)

Well, he can jump, which is not to say that he does, because I have to say, the Shih Tzu blood keeps him rather inert, unless he's chasing the cat. (Don't worry about the cat, if you're considering doing such a thing... he probably weighs as much as the dog, and they are the best of friends. The cat is a ninja, so if anything, worry about the dog.)

Anyway, this little dog gets really scruffy, partly because he is white, and partly because he is a dog, which is to say, rather disgusting. So today, I had to bathe him.

He hates baths, with a deep and abiding loathing. He will not walk into the bathroom, instead lying as though dead, on the floor, until I pick him up and carry him.

Today, I was using the special flea soap that requires a 5 minute rest time, with soap on dog. Just as I applied it, the phone rang, so I walked out of the room, whereupon the cat walked into the bathroom.

The dog let loose with the most pitiful, moaning, whining carrying on you have ever heard, solely for the cat's benefit.

The cat just stood there and listened. If I'm reading it all correctly, he provided a rather sympathetic ear.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Confucious say: Jennifer Jones is not Chinese

As I mentioned, we are moving in less than a month. Obviously, I feel a great deal of pressure to do things like pack and give things away and all the things one must do in order to prepare for a move. However, I now also have a completely frivolous task to handle as well... emptying the DVR. Well, sheesh, we recorded all those old movies for a reason, right?

So, I'm watching old movies, as I do all the other things I need to do, like sort, and pack, and what have you. Today's feature was "Love is a Many Splendored Thing", starring Jennifer Jones and William Holden. Ok, I'll bite...

Yeah, well, it stars Jennifer Jones as a Chinese girl. What? Of course, she's only half Chinese, she keeps insisting, as people assume she is full on Chinese. "I'm Eurasian", she always says. Only, in case you're wondering, she does not look one part Chinese, so it's a little odd that all these people in Hong Kong are so confused. I mean, you'd think they'd know, right? Except maybe they're confused, because much of her dialogue seems like it came out of fortune cookies.

Anyway, it's a terrible movie. I mean, I'm sorry if it's your favorite movie or whatever, but I'm being honest here. Schmaltzy, syrupy, and full of unintentionally hilarious weirdness. To illustrate, here are my two favorite moments from the movie:

First, William Holden's been pretty relentlessly pursuing demure little Chinese Jennifer Jones, (who is, incidentally, a doctor), for a while now, and she's about to give in... they've just swum across a bay to visit some friends, and then taken a boat rowed by an unacknowledged Chinese peasant. They get back to the beach, and she goes behind a rock. I'm not sure why, as she doesn't change clothes or anything... anyway, he lights up a cigarette and she asks him to bring her one, and so he goes behind the rock too, only so does the camera, so I'm still not sure of the purpose of the rock. They proceed to have dialogue that goes something like this:
    • He: I've never seen you smoke.
    • She: I rarely do.
    • He: You still think we have no destiny together? 
(Ok, let me stop you right there, Bill Holden. Are you implying that smoking together indicates some sort of shared destiny? Because that would mean I shared many a destiny in my early twenties, and I'm really just not buying it. Anyway...)
    • She: I have decided one thing, that humans decide, and you are stronger than I am.
    • He: No, I believe that you are stronger than I am.
    • She: No, because you are gentle, and gentleness is the strongest thing there is. 
Then they lean in, only not for a kiss, but for him to light her cigarette with his, as the music swells and we hear the theme "Love is a Many Splendored Thing" for the umpteenth time in the film. And all I can say is "Wha?" That was the big romantic scene, where they finally get together, after 45 minutes of dancing around it? It ends with a cigarette on the beach? I don't get it. Also, I really enjoy that style of "no, you!" "no, you!" "nah-uh, you are!" "no way, dude, you are!" dialogue. I know you are, but what am I?

My second favorite moment is more practically applicable for everyday life. Chinese Jennifer Jones goes home to China to visit her Chinese family, headed up by Third Uncle and Third Aunt. She goes, because there's some sort of scandal with her little sister and a foreigner, that comes down to her little sister not wanting to be a Communist. Or something. There's a lot of Communist talk in this film, but it doesn't make much sense.

Anyway, Third Uncle, Third Aunt, et al, are trepidacious about her return, because they figure she'll have changed in her time abroad, what with all the medical schooling and all. She reassures them that she's still the same Chinese (Eurasion) girl she's always been, by saying some folksy nonsense about how she feels like a locust that has shed its skin. (I have no idea what that means, in context. I never feel like a skinless locust, no matter which relative I'm visiting.)

But Third Uncle replies with what I believe is the best line of the movie, and I so totally intend to use it when my Middle Child comes home, and then as many times as I work it in afterwards.

"You are home," he says. "We will go inside to drink tea and speak of absurdities."

(Best welcoming line ever.)

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Seaside Squirrel Sunday

And wow, can those things jump. 

Told you, I'll find any excuse for a photoblog.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

How's this for a jump?

Today, we committed to renting a house, at the top end of our rental budget, without ever having seen it in person.

This weekend, we decide whether we're willing to make that lease 2 years long. If it's as fabulous as it looks online, that's no problem. If not, though, that's one heck of a leap.

Isn't it a funny world we live in today? Twenty years ago, it would have seemed like science fiction to be able to tap in some requirements on a computer and be shown photos of a house that meets them, then to apply for the same house by tapping some more keys, and to be granted the right to live in the house, without ever speaking to another human about it, or setting foot on the property.

Of course, there's more to our average American sci-fi lifestyle, too, isn't there? I, personally, work online, bank online, chat online with friends I've never met in "real" life, shop for my Small One's clothing online, and much more. And yet, when I was a teenager, "online" was not a term that would have meant anything to me at all. How quickly everything has changed, and how rapidly the change continues. How the world will function by the time my Small is an adult is beyond my imagination.

The house looks wonderful, though, and I truly hope it is, as we jump into the next chapter of our adventure.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Go Ahead and Jump

Am I crazy? I probably don't really want you to answer that, it's more of a rhetorical question, but at this moment, I'm wondering...

I'm about to move, from one state to another. I currently do not have a car, and so we are simultaneously car and house hunting, and the house hunting has to be done primarily long distance, and we have no idea whether to buy a car here or there, because we're thinking hard about registering it twice. It's a tumultuous time, is all I'm saying, and I am also working as much as I possibly can, to help facilitate the move, financially speaking.

And then, NaBloPoMo themed this month. "Jump". And for some reason, I can't resist taking the plunge.

So here's the deal: I'm going to do this, to the best of my ability, despite all the crazy madness happening in my world right now. There may be a bunch of Wordless Wednesdays and Foto Fridays and Meme Mondays and Slacker Saturdays, and any other euphemism I can come up with for "I'm too busy/lazy to write a real blog today." The news might not be up to date, because I might schedule posts in advance, so I can do a whole bunch of them when I have a minute. But I will do it, if it is at all possible.

Might as well JUMP.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Is it because I'm not from Texas?

I was writing about rodeos in Texas today, when I came across this:

Want to win a beautiful belt buckle?
Well this is all you have to do:
- You and a partner enter a pen with a wild hog.
- Chase hog (not the other way around).
- Catch hog.
- Bag hog in a burlap sack.
- Pull hog across the finish line in one of the fastest times.
Sounds like a HOOT? .... It is!

For the record, I do not think that "sounds like a hoot". I think it sounds like something very scary that mean people would make me do in some sort of terrible nightmare. Afterward, I would probably run from house to house trying to escape, only to find that the sweet-faced housewives in each house were Nazi sympathizers out to turn me in. (Because that's what happens when I encounter scary mean people in my dreams.)

Here's what I think might be more fun, if you were really in the mood for a new belt buckle. (Though why you would be, I cannot imagine.)

Want a beautiful new belt buckle?
Well this is all you have to do:
- Get into your car, possibly with a friend.
- Drive the car to the mall (or walk if you live nearby).
- Park and walk into the mall.
- Pick out a belt buckle.
- Put the belt buckle across the counter and pay with your credit or debit card.
Sounds like a HOOT? .... It's not, especially, but it'll get the job done!