Sunday, December 22, 2013

It's Tradition!

In the last few years, every Christmastime we've created the tradition of our kids putting together Gingerbread House kits with the family. This year, I opted to try for a Train instead. My son, being almost 18 and unenthusiastic, went to bed. Spoilsport! My daughter and I then proceeded to make The Christmas Train. Or, as my daughter dubbed it, the "S.S. Cow Killer".

Here's us figuring out where all the pieces go. We have the caboose already "glued" together and setting up, some Christmas ribbon holding it together.

Next we put together the main part of the Engine. Later we realized we used the wrong sides for it, and it's short, but that's okay because we decided this is a train for Santa's elves, so it needs to be smaller.

 Getting the Engine roof decorated.

Working on all the decorations, now that we let the main parts set up a bit.

 The back of the caboose. NO COWS ALLOWED!

The completed train! Complete with the cow it hit on the way to the North Pole.

I had to explain to Megan what a "cow catcher" on a train was for, it seemed only fitting we make use of it. Merry Christmas all!

ps. no actual cows were harmed in the making of this.

Friday, November 29, 2013

One Down, One To Go

I've done the Black Friday insanity shopping many years in the past. It was good when the kids were little, and wanted *toys* and video games, because it made it worth getting up disgustingly early, and freezing my ass off outside in a line to get in and save hundreds of dollars. Also nice for electronics, but I'm not in the market for any right now. Nowadays, they're old enough they mainly want money or gift cards to Gamestop. The little stuff I can get just isn't worth the hassle of fighting crowds. I'd rather pay $10 more later on.

Thanksgiving has come and gone, now it's just the craziness of decorating for Christmas, multiple birthdays, Christmas shopping, and figuring out the logistics of everything. Is it January yet?

Thursday, November 28, 2013


As the U.S. celebrates Thanksgiving today, I'm thinking about what started this whole thing: trying to find a place that you can be yourself without oppression, seeking freedom, and happiness. And, somewhere in there is a meal where we sneezed on the indigenous population and wiped them out with small pox and then oppressed them and stole their freedo.... er... yeaah. I'm going to focus on that first part. I'm thankful to live in this country. Every time I watch the news, and see the what's happening in other countries, I'm so glad this is where I am. Granted, I'm still holding a slight grudge my parents didn't raise me in Ireland or Scotland, so I could have that TOTALLY COOL accent, but I guess I forgive them. Maybe.

Any time I start getting whiny about my life, the people and situations I encounter in my daily life remind me that it could be SO much worse so stop sniveling and look outside myself to how I can help with THOSE things. Most of the time, when I'm helping someone else, it does me good too. I'm thankful that I get that perspective-check, so that I can take a step back from the moment and get a bigger-picture outlook rather than become overwhelmed with the Now.

I have some really great friends. They keep me grounded in reality, they listen to me bitch and whine and freak out and cry, they make me laugh when it doesn't seem possible I'll ever laugh again. They give me hope that I'll get through things okay, and they're always there for me. I am so blessed to have them in my life, and I truly give thanks every day for it.

My family is pretty dang cool too. I know I can talk to them any time day or night if I need to, they are supportive and understanding, and they tell me hard truths when I don't want to tell them to myself. My kids are the reason I'm still breathing air on this good earth. They have given me a reason to keep going when nothing else would, I love them so much. Kids aren't easy to raise, and they can break your heart sometimes when they make bad choices, but I wouldn't trade a second I've had with them for anything.

I hope everyone takes a few moments today to think, REALLY think about all the things they have, the loved ones they have, and be thankful. Now, make a habit of doing that for a few minutes every day, and don't take stuff for granted.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


Don't you hate it when you feel strongly passionate about a TV series, it's amazing and awesome and you could go on and on and on about it forever, and you have someone that you KNOW would totally love it, but they won't watch it. AAAAGGH!!  Just watch it. Just.. just a couple episodes. Even in some cases just the first episode. You will be totally hooked, I swear! You try to casually bring it up, in a "oh hey your discussion of Obamacare is fascinating, but OHMYGODHAVEYOUSEENTHISITISAWESOMEOHPLEASEWATCHITSOICANTALKTOYOUABOUTIT!!" kind of way. For some reason, a lot of these discussion end when the other person backs away slowly trying not to make eye contact or any sudden moves. Obviously they are deep in contemplation about the show I just rapid-fire fan-girled all over them about (handing them a towel is always a good move at this point too.)

Then of course you get the people that have finally, FINALLY watched something you recommend, and like it, and keep watching it, and you feel like you should actually call up the producers of the show and get their personal congratulations for converting another poor clueless person to The Way. Hallelujah! They have seen The Light! What's terrible is when you recommend something, someone watches it, and comes back with a tepid response. What?! How could you not like it?!! Obviously, we'll need to rethink this friendship, I mean.. COME ON.. it's (insert famous actor or actress name) ferchrissakes!! You then try to convince them to *keep* watching, because maybe they just didn't "get" it the first episode and further watching will enlighten them on the error of their ways. Eventually you may have to concede that they just aren't as far along as you on the evolution scale, and perhaps as they mature, they may come to see your wisdom in this matter. Next!!

p.s. Yes, I swear to God Kristy I will watch all of Stargate someday. Really! And Torchwood. And the half-dozen other series I haven't even started that I know I would love.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Aint Feelin' It

I'm not really feeling the Holiday Spirit this season. Thanksgiving is in a few days, but I'm highly unmotivated to do a big Cooking just for myself, although a few days later there may be feasting at The Aunt's house, if we can coordinate properly. I don't think I'm going to do any Black Friday shopping, I have to work that morning, though of course with how crazy early things open, I could easily hit a few sales before going to work if I go early enough and camp out. There's really nothing I've seen this season that is The Thing that I need to get, esp since the kids are older and just want money or gift cards to Game Stop. Of course the sundries, such as socks/PJ's/misc stocking stuffers are a possibility. We'll see.. getting up to venture out in the freezing cold mega early, I may just pass and do some online shopping instead.

The thought of having to dig out my Christmas decorations, and sort through them, and then put up my segregated decorations fills me with a vague sense of sadness. Are we still doing the PJ's tradition? Normally we all get to open one gift on Christmas Eve here at our house, and it's always PJ's, and you MUST wear them on Christmas morning or you don't get to open anything. Dunno. I haven't started listening to Christmas music yet, once Thanksgiving hits one of the local radio stations plays NOTHING but Christmas music until the holiday itself, so perhaps I'll tune into that soon and see if the music inspires me. I really just want it to be January, to start the new year and start moving forward, hopefully.

Monday, November 25, 2013

What She Said

Just back from watching the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special on the big screen in 3D. IT WAS SO AWESOME!!!  There were tons of Doctor Who fans in line, most wearing Doctor Who t-shirts, or bowties, or TARDIS hats, purses, tights, dresses, even a remote controlled K-9! We all chatted and played with sonic screwdrivers, and it was like being at a big family reunion except in this case even if you didn't know the people you still had a bunch to talk about.

The show itself was amazing. It was so worth going to see. The kids loved it, the audience responses were great - laughing, gasping, clapping and cheering at times. For a great run down and I agree complete, check out my friend Kristy's blog post about it at:  (Spoilers, Sweetie)

As we were leaving we ALMOST stayed to watch the later showing, just because the second it was over we wanted to watch it again. And again. And again. They really did a bang up job on this one, I can't wait til the Christmas special and the next series starts.

Some random pics I took of the folks waiting:

This gal was there with her grandparents. Her grandma had a red Just Say No To Daleks shirt on, and her grandfather had a sweater vest with ?'s all over it, and a bow tie, and 3 sonic screwdrivers (#4, #10, #11). He let me mess with them and we all got a pic together for them (they liked my shirt and tattoo).

The remote control K-9. It's ears spun, tail moved, mouth part extended, you could drive it all over and IT TALKED IN HIS VOICE! It was very, very cool. 

Such a totally wonderful night, the kids and I chattered excitedly all the way home about our favorite parts and how clever the writers are to tie stuff in from past series. 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Never Ending

My daughter is a firm believer in the Never Ending Series. She refuses to watch the last episode of a series, so that way the series never ends for her. She says it's because she gets emotionally attached to the characters in the series, and it's too difficult to bear when it's over for good. The only exceptions she has made to this is Sherlock and Doctor Who, because she just couldn't resist watching all the episodes available (and since they are both continuing, they're not technically the LAST episodes).

I can totally relate to this, I hate it when a series you have come to love comes to a close. Is this where I mention I still haven't watched the last episode of Firefly?

Friday, November 22, 2013

Smart is Sexy

I recently had a discussion with a friend about this video:   (NSFW/NSFK)

I feel this way about the people I associate with. I don't want to be around boring, unintelligent, uninspiring people. I want to have witty, snarky conversations, talking about current events and books and movies and geeky stuffs. It never ceases to amaze me when guys drool over bimbos with big boobs and dream of having them for girlfriends. Okay, you get the outside package, but then when you're taking a break from the physical side of your relationship, what the hell do you do together? I can't imagine spending my life with someone that I found dull, it would be an interminable drudgery.

I love reading. I devour books at a rapacious rate, which is both good and horrible because I run out of reading material at hand unless I plan ahead and have a stack of books ready. I love talking to other people that read. What are you reading? Have you read this? What did you think of that book? I will never run out of books that I want to read, just the thought of that excites me and fires my imagination.

Cleverness, kindness, curiosity, passion. All these things inspire me much more than a pretty face or sculpted abs. When will society realize what's really important?

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Lost Love

He was handsome. Distinguished nose, nice hair, good legs. Kind eyes. He had a wonderful disposition; patient, tolerant, playful. He spent his youth with the girl he fell in love with, and loved her still even when she was no longer there to greet him every day. I imagine as he grew old, he dreamed of days gone past, when he was young and hale and full of vigor. He stiffened up a bit as he got older, it was hard to get up some days. Now time was spent dozing, enjoying his meals, spending each day as if it was his last. Eventually, it was.

I never met him. I have pictures. Stories about him. I know somewhat about his life, and about his death. I wasn't there when he was brought home for the first time, nor was I there when he took his last breath. He was part of other people's lives for a long time, his family, and he left a mark in their heart. He left a mark in my heart too. His name was Murphy, and I never met him.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Why Don't Guys Call Ahead??!!

Something that drives me absolutely crazy is when guys REFUSE to call ahead to a place for a reason. For example, if you are going out to eat, call ahead and see how long the wait is. If you are going to look for a specific part you need, call ahead and see if they have it in stock, and how much it is. If you are planning on driving to a new place, call ahead and get specific directions/landmarks that maybe mapquest or a GPS wouldn't tell you (yeah, turn right at the blue cow statue). Why is this impossible for guys to do?!

Ok, I realize this is a gross generalization. I'm sure there are plenty of guys that DO in fact understand it's a good thing to call ahead to see if a mega-hit sold out movie is seating early, and how long the line is already. Perhaps there's a certain age range of men, say teens to mid-30's, that think They Know Better and 'No, I'll just go and see if they have it when I get there.' OMG Just NO. Why would you waste the gas and time when you'll end up driving to three different places before you find the right thing?? It's not like a woman shopping. A woman shopping will inevitably drive to three different places for COMPARISON shopping. The thing we maybe wanted was at the first store. But maybe there's something even better at the next couple stores that will out Thing the first Thing and we'll end up buying it instead. I really don't think guys are like that. They don't want to drive to three different hardware stores just to browse car batteries. "Oh, I don't know, the one at the last store looked nicer..." 

Someone please explain to me the reason guys are so unwilling to do this. I think it would save so much hassle. Don't even get me started about trying to get guys to stop and ask for directions. UGH.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

What a Rough Life

Sometimes, I really wish I was a cat. Sleep 20 hours a day. Food provided. Someone cleans up after my messes. And lots of pettings.

Boy that must just be such a rough life.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey

If you aren't a fan of Doctor Who, then you can skip this post. Skip it, and go watch Doctor Who, starting with the reboot season 9 with Christopher Eccleston and don't stop until you're completely caught up. I suppose you can take potty breaks and maybe sleep a little. Food optional. You can thank me later.

I used to watch Doctor Who when I was much much younger. They always say your first Doctor carries a special place in your heart. My first Doctor was the Fourth Doctor: Tom Baker. I wanted a super long scarf like his SO BADLY (and still do), and he was amazing and his first companion was Sarah Jane Smith whom I fell in love with too and the entire show was MAGIC. Daleks! The Master! Entropy! When they did the reboot, I was resistant. I grew up with Classic Doctor Who, how DARE they try to bring back my childhood love! They were going to ruin it! I didn't start watching until partway through the 11th Doctor, Matt Smith. I started at the "beginning" of the reboot, season 9. And oh man, it was SO GOOD. My entire family started watching together. We walked around the house going, "Are you my Mummy?" in creepy little kid voices. I slowly made my way through the episodes. A lot of them made me laugh. A lot of them made me cry. All of them kept my imagination fully engaged and pulled me back into this wondrous world.

It's amazing how fiercely loyal Doctor Who fans are to their favorite characters. We will argue forever about why THIS Doctor is so much better than THAT Doctor and we all have Companions that we like, don't like, loath, and love. You become attached to a specific Doctor, and when it's time for the passing of the guard, when that Doctor is leaving the show and being replaced, it is almost traumatic. Each actor brings something new to the role, each Regeneration a different aspect of the Doctor's overall character. Every time, you start out HATING the new Doctor. How DARE he try to replace YOUR Doctor. He will NEVER be as good. Ok FINE, I'll just suffer through watching this new guy. And then, he starts to grow on you. You find yourself liking him. He may, perhaps, never replace that special Doctor in your heart, but you end up enjoying his portrayal the more you watch.

This weekend is a Doctor Who event, The Day Of The Doctor. It's the next step where the last season left off. They're showing it in limited theaters around the world, and also on TV. I can't wait to go and wait in line early to get good seats with my kids, and just geek out with all the other Doctor Who fans that will be in that line; reminisce about past Doctors, discuss our favorite and least favorite episodes. And then sit among them and take in the transition to the next Doctor, and the start of a whole new adventure.

Sunday, November 17, 2013


When I started going to college to become a sign language interpreter, it was really weird. I was older, there were little kids there fresh out of high school. Some of them had taken sign language as their foreign language in high school, and some were CODAs (Children of Deaf Adults), so they already had a grasp of the language and were easily bored with us beginners and the slow pace. My second quarter, I took ASL 2 and walked into the classroom to find out I had a deaf instructor. She was nice enough to have interpreters that first day of class, to ease us into the transition. After that, there were no voices in that class. Her name was Gayle. She was older, probably in her 50s. She was thin, wiry, always wore cowboy boots, and if you saw her out of the classroom always had on a cowboy hat. It looked perfect on her. She had lost her hearing as a young woman due to illness. Her hands were beautiful. She was the most patient, kind person I have ever met in my life. She had a wickedly barbed sense of humor, and never missed an opportunity to inject humor into her teaching. She was never cruel, or harsh, but she *was* firm. She tolerated no nonsense in her class. If you couldn't zip your mouth and move your hands, you were OUT. I adored her.

My college sponsored a Silent Weekend every quarter, it was basically a full-immersion camping experience, where deaf/hard-of-hearing joined students, sometimes faculty, and just regular folks. It was voices off the entire weekend. It is SO DIFFICULT to remember to not talk first thing in the morning when you're groggy from sleeping on the ground and stumbling around looking for the shower houses. I started going to them that second quarter, because I had to have a "deaf interaction experience" to write about for my class. I was terrified. I had only learned some basic signs, and there was no way I could converse fluently. Everyone was very patient, and notepads and pens were used sparingly. Some of the Deaf folks refused to write things, and would repeat things over and over and over slower and slower, or different ways, until you GOT it. It was an amazing learning experience. Gayle went to all of these. She helped out with setup/tear-down, showing by example what we should be doing. She mingled and played games with everyone. She was in her element.

We became good friends over the years that I went to school, and continued to hang out at Silent Weekends every quarter. One year she was in charge of setting up the Special Olympics locally, so I volunteered to help out interpreting awards. It was the first time I had ever heard her use her voice. I didn't even know she COULD speak! She spoke in a low, even voice, that fit her PERFECTLY, and was clear. I asked her about it, and she shrugged and just signed, "Well, it's useful sometimes, but I don't rely on it." One year I gave her a Sign Language Barbie. It has Barbie as an ASL Teacher, little cards in there showing basic signs, and she's making the I Love You handshape. Gayle loved it. Before I moved, I made her a Pysanky egg, that had the ILY hand shape repeated around it, and more traditional designs on top and bottom.  I can still feel the tight hug she gave me when I presented it to her.

Several years ago, Gayle got sick. She had cancer, and although she went through treatment, and fought it, in the end it claimed that amazing woman. As her loved ones, my friends, were going through her effects, they found the egg, and sent it back to me. It now sits on my desk, a daily reminder of my wonderful friend, and to be kind, and patient, and make beauty with my hands.

Saturday, November 16, 2013


I'm a firm believer in Lists. Part of that is the control freak in me, that likes to have everything under my thumb and know exactly what's going on when, and what needs to go where. That's probably related to my childhood where I was whisked away at a moments notice and basically had no control over my life until I finally hit high school and could put my foot down and say "NO, I'M NOT GOING!"  Part of it is because I'm usually doing the equivalent of walking, playing the tambourine, skipping backwards, while reciting the Gettysburg Address all in my head at any given time. There are so many things buzzing around in there, that if I don't pin those thoughts to paper like some kind of Thought Entomologist they'll just fly away and I'll forget them. And part of it is that I get deep satisfaction from marking stuff OFF of lists. Done! Done! It gives me a feeling of accomplishment and helps break down big tasks into smaller chunks so I don't feel overwhelmed.

I make Lists for all kinds of things. Right now, I have a list of the Crafting professions I need to level in Final Fantasy (and to what level each needs to be raised), a List of gear upgrades I can get for my hunter in World of Warcraft, and which boss drops them where, and ever-growing Pinch List that will be due next time I see a friend because he totally deserves them, a List of STUFF TO DO when I get wherever I end up next year, a list of To See Movies, a list of Bills, and a list of books To Read that I am slowly making my way through. These aren't even all my Lists, these are just ones within my eyesight right now! Hmm.. maybe I should make a List of my Lists so I can keep track of them all..

Friday, November 15, 2013

Insert Witty Title Here

Nothing to say today. Sometimes you just need to hug a Unicorn.

Thursday, November 14, 2013


So November is the month in which guys are supposed to grow mustaches in support of men's cancer research. They rename the month Movember, and focus all their brain power on their upper lip follicles - grow! grow! GROW! Nick Offerman does funny videos every year about it, this is his latest one:

Here's the thing, there are SO FEW guys that can actually pull off growing just a mustache without looking like a porn-star wannabe. Sam Elliott comes to mind. That mustache plus his deep voice... niiiice. And then there's.. um... Billy Burke, in the Twilight movies. That's about it. Guys, if you're going to go for facial hair, stick to a full beard (TRIMMED NEATLY), or a goatee. Soul patches, mutton chops, mustaches, or amish-style beards.. just NO. If your face looks like you accidentally fell face-first onto a dead muskrat, and it stuck, then you really need to do something about that (plus, it's probably going to start smelling soon).

In honor of the month of Movember, I give you the CARSTACHE!

That's right, even cars can get into the spirit of the month. Though I think technically the placement of that mustache means the car grew it on its ass, but we won't quibble about that. No, guys, that doesn't mean you should manscape your ass hair into a mustache. Facial hair around the mouth already tends to be the dropping ground for various foods while eating, I don't even want to THINK about what an ass-stache would be a dropping ground for. Ew.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Nerdy And Proud Of It

I love living in this technology age. I started my nerd journey on an Apple II+ my dad bought us in 1980, and never looked back. That machine had some of the most fun games I've ever played, that I still love today. Lode Runner (the ORIGINAL), People Pong (little naked Amazonian women you had to keep bouncing up from the floor of spikes with a Pong paddle.. if you missed they got impaled and blood trickled down from them. Mom got PISSED when she found out we were playing it. NAKED WOMEN. Mom, chillax, this is Apple II+ graphics.. they're barely discernible as PEOPLE), and Choplifter (a side-scroller where you were supposed to shoot open buildings in a war-torn landscape and rescue the soldiers. Or, do what I did and squash them with your helicopter. They made the most satisfying BLEEP! sound as you landed on them. I never seemed to win that game.)

As I've gotten older, technology of course has evolved in leaps and bounds, and I've followed eagerly after it. Now we have so many different types of social media: Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram, Google Plus and more. I can't even keep up with them all. I've been able to regain contact with old high school friends, far away relatives, and even play D&D with people around the world via webchat. I LOVE this time period. I love all the new gadgets and technology and evolution of video games, and just EVERYTHING. I am completely and unashamedly hooked on the Internet. When I was in high school, I used to go in the library on breaks and just sit and read the encyclopedias. I've always had a hunger for information, trivia, the minutiae of life. Now, the Internet has made so much available, I'll never get bored, or run out of stuff to read or look at. Sometimes I spend hours just following one link, to that story, then the link in that story to another story, and so on. Down the rabbit hole I go and you never know where it will lead you. Sometimes my friends and I try to outdo each other with the most shocking, bizarre, gross things we can find on the Internet. I almost always win. That's me, Queen of the Internet! My kids have all been raised with access to technology. I know some parents minimize the time they allow their children to watch TV, or use a computer, or play video games, and that is of course their prerogative. When my kids grow up to be business executives, programmers, perhaps next Bill Gates they'll need wholesome non-technical people to do the menial stuff.  ;)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

I Know There Are Orange Cones Lurking Nearby

The running joke in Columbus, Ohio, is that the Orange Barrel is the State Symbol. This is because there is ALWAYS some road somewhere that is half-closed, under construction, rerouted, just a mess. When I moved to Washington I thought I escaped all that. HA! There is no escape from the Orange Barrel, it follows you like a Girl Scout with a cookie quota to meet.

They decided to widen the main thoroughfare I use every day to get to the freeway from our house. It was annoying, and inconvenient, but they're finally almost done with it and it did help improve the flow of traffic once it's all said and done. Just when I was settling in to enjoy it, the construction moved INTO MY WORK BUILDING. I think I'm being stalked by it.

My work rents part of a floor of a biiiig office building. The other floors have medical-ish offices. I think. Ok I admit I've walked past the little Directory of Offices in the lobby pretty much every day since I started working here a few years ago, but never actually glanced at it. I have been asked where such-and-such Doctor's office is by people wandering into the building as I make my way from the public bathrooms back to my office, so I assume there's doctors SOMEWHERE in the building. I usually tell them top floor. What? They probably needed the exercise anyway. (Oh, okay, there IS an elevator too) There are public bathrooms on the main floor, which is the floor my office is on, and also upstairs on the second floor. I tend to go to the upstairs bathroom, not due to any healthy thoughts of taking the stairs (which I do), but because the stall walls in that bathroom are a lovely scarlet color, instead of the boring tan ones downstairs. Plus, I'm pretty sure the bathroom is haunted. Anyway..

Since I make the foray upstairs pretty much every day to go potty, I couldn't help but notice when the spray-painted words appeared on what otherwise had been perfectly normal office walls. "DEMO ------->" scrawled along the entire wall. It was very mysterious, and I tried to figure out where the arrows where actually pointing because I was POSITIVE it was going to be a demo of some amazing new medical advancement, like a toilet seat that would say nice things about you when you sat down. ("Ooh, your butt is soo nice and warm!"  "Oh my, you've lost weight, haven't you?!" "Why don't you sit for awhile, I've missed you!") Alas, it was actually just an abbrevation for "Demolition", which I found out a few days later when I came up the stairs and most of that wall was in fact gone.

Now, you may think this is a terrible thing, but actually, it was TOTALLY AWESOME. See, all the offices in our building have keycard doors. You can't (hypothetically speaking, of course) wander through the building when you work weekends and alllll the other businesses are closed and steal their post-it notes or see where they are hiding the new hi-tech toilet seats. Now, finally, you could see what was behind those magic doors! Um, it was cubicle offices, and then real offices against the wall that had windows. Major disappointment. The only neat thing was they had partially disassembled the cubicles, and just shoved all the STUFF from them into the middle of the room leaving an aisle so people could get to the real offices behind. I got rather voyeuristic enjoyment when going to the bathroom for the next week or so and seeing all those people EXPOSED working in their offices. HA! NO HIDING BEHIND WALLS FOR YOU!

Then one day, I came upstairs, and they had completely torn out the wall on the OTHER side of the landing. COOOOL! This used to be a sitting area, with pretty plants and modern art deco, and comfy looking chairs. At least, I *ASSUME* they were comfortable, since this area too was key-card entry denied. Big teases. Now, it was all gone, the lighting was gone, hell the drop ceiling was gone! They had hung a big plastic sheet across the gaping entrance, and in peeking around it, I could see down the entire length of the building. Electric boxes hanging from the ceiling. Totally gutted. WOW. I thought this was the coolest thing since sliced, slight toasted, buttered and jammed bread.

What I failed to take into consideration, is that this entire destroyed area was, in fact, directly above MY office. I soon was made aware of this fact, when upon sitting down to start work the next day, was startled repeatedly and randomly ALL DAY by BANG!BANG!BANG!BANG! ... DRIIIIILLLLLLLLL!!!... BOOOM!... CLANG!CLANG! ... BANG!BANG!  And this happened at no set intervals, and not in the same location above us, and you could FEEL the banging through the floor it was so hard. It was so loud that when I would try to be responding to voice-activated phone trees, it would pick up on the noise and think I responded. This was annoying the first day. The second day, it was trying. We're now going on week 2. Our bosses have repeatedly talked to the building manager, who assures us they are doing as much of the work as possible at night/on weekends, but I aint buyin it. It's too loud, too consistently during the day. My only hope is that they are putting in an indoor skating rink, and I can break out the leg warmers and rollerskates and get my disco on. Hey, a girl can dream, right?

Monday, November 11, 2013

"B" Movies

So lately I've been digging through Netflix and other online sources, and finding horrible cheesy "B" Movies to watch. "B" Movies, in case you don't know, are the low-budget movies that usually involve boobs, and monsters, and HORRIBLE cheesy dialogue and a plot that usually makes no sense. I love them.

I think it goes back to watching Black Belt Theatre on local TV when I was growing up. They didn't usually make a whole lot of sense, involved a lot of action sequences, stupid dialogue, and lame sound effects. I remember one where the two combatants were doing the various Forms of the martial arts they were doing. Every time this guy would do Snake Form, they had dubbed snake hissing sounds when his hands move. And when that guy would do Tiger Form, his movements emitted tiger growls. SO AWESOME. And cheesy. That's what I love about these movies, they don't take themselves seriously, and you shouldn't go into them with high expectations.

What I find even more amusing is when what I would consider well-known stars turn up in these wretched train wrecks. All I can think is that I am sooo betting they wished that all copies of that movie would somehow mysteriously cease to exist, and I'm sure they don't put it on their resume. "Oh, yeah, I was in Galaxy of Terror. I got stripped naked by this huge alien slug thing and then slimed and killed." Yeaah no. (That one, incidentally, had Edward Albert, Erin Moran *and* Ray Walston in it. If you don't know who they are, IMDB them). Oh, and it was weird and awful. And by awful I mean so awful it was awesome.

If you haven't watched any lately, I highly recommend browsing through Netflix or whatever way you have access to movies. I recommend The Angry Red Planet, or perhaps Dinosaur Island (the latter, the dinosaurs oh my gosh are SO BADLY DONE they are mega-awesome. Lots of boobs in that one, though, I'll warn ya). It's really fun to watch them with other people that appreciate them as well, especially if you make snarky comments the entire time.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Change Is Scary

I wonder how much of our lives we go through, just dealing with the same old crap, or unhappy situation, or same routine that never ever varies, just because we're so afraid of Change? It's so much EASIER to take the same rut you've worn into that road. You know where it goes. You know where it's been. There's no risk, no danger that you'll get hurt, or embarrass yourself, or a million other things that could happen. Instead you just go about doing the same things you've always done, living the same life you've had, and it's Safe. It's insular, nothing can get to you. But by the same token, nothing ever happens. You don't get to experience new things. You don't get to meet new people, maybe make new friends. You can't grow, as a person, and stretch your boundaries to find out that which you are capable of doing. Making changes is SCARY. It's dark, murky waters, filled with pitfalls and alligators and you never know what may happen. You can't predict. All you can do is prepare, and learn to be flexible enough to adjust to new stuff.

Change can also be Wonderful. It allows you to expand your horizons. It lets you feel new things like hope and joy. It can sometimes add more responsibility, but there's a pride you get when you shoulder that and carry on. Change can affect who the people are in your life. That can be scary too, but sometimes that's what Change is about. It's about reaching deep into yourself and finding the strength and courage to step away from the familiar and embrace an uncertain future.

Sometimes, Change doesn't have to be anything major. Changing one daily routine, or adding one thing you normally wouldn't do. It's uncomfortable, and awkward, and it's just such a bother when it's so much easier just to do that which you've done before. But I find when I do this, when I decide to make one small change, it has a ripple effect on my life. Maybe it's something as simple as taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Perhaps it's volunteering somewhere. Maybe it's creating a new speech loop reaction so when someone says, "I can't do that" instead of saying, "You're not even trying!" you say, "What can you do instead?"

When my son was little, he'd do the things that all kids do; drop things, knock things over, get into things, and a myriad of other stuff when you turn your back for an instant. For awhile, I would always say, "What did you do??!" He would immediately get defensive and feel like he was in trouble and it made for unhappy times. I realized how I was coming across, and the message I was conveying, and I made a change. I started saying, "What happened?? Are you okay??"  His reactions changed. Instead of trying to hide what he'd done, he'd 'fess up and show me whatever boo-boo needed a band-aid and a kiss. Changing how we interact with people can sometimes really make a difference.

So whether it's changing what we do or how we think or what we say, we should never be so afraid that it keeps us from trying.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Sometimes, Some Things Are More Important Than Friendship

When I was in middle school, I got into a fight with this girl named Missy. I don't remember why but I'm sure at the time it seemed important enough to engage in fisticuffs, because I really wasn't a tough kid at the time. I ended up winning, and then we of course became best friends. I started going over to her house to hang out, she had a big back yard and guinea pigs, and 2 sisters and one brother. We used to play hide and seek in the back yard, and play card games in the house. Her dad kept a "well-hidden" stash of girlie magazines - Playboy and Penthouse, that we of course knew of and snuck them into her room to read. The pictures were interesting, and we would giggle together over the stupid bios and info blurbs for each girl.

I never really interacted with her mom and dad that much, they were just in the background, watching tv or fixing food. They didn't really impact us other than Missy trying to avoid her dad as much as possible, and especially trying to keep us under the radar from him when I was hanging out over there. I didn't really understand why until one night when she started talking to me about him. Apparently he liked to help the girls bathe, and he liked to do other things to them too. And had, for quite a while. She swore me to secrecy, but I knew what he was doing was wrong, and I told my parents what she had told me. My parents contacted the authorities, and it went to court, and all the kids got taken from their parents during the proceedings, and it was difficult and messy and I don't think she ever truly forgave me. We drifted apart, and barely stayed in touch through graduation. A few years later, I had just had my first son, he was maybe 9 months old, and I somehow found her contact info and arranged for her to come over and visit. It was awkward. We were older, she had joined the Airforce, and I was married and a mother. We had nothing in common anymore, and nothing really to talk about. The uncomfortable past lay between us and we never did resolve it. We said our polite nothings, made small talk, and both breathed a sigh of relief as we said our goodbyes. I haven't heard from her since. I don't regret what I did. I helped stop would could have been potentially years more abuse for all three girls. I lost a friend doing it. I'd do it again in a heartbeat.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Take The Long Way Home

These days it seems like everyone is in such a hurry. We don't want to wait for the checkout clerk, just do self-checkout it's faster. We don't want to wait through the phone tree options, just Power Push ZERO ZERO ZERO over and over ignoring the prompts until you can get a live person, even though that person is inevitably in the WRONG department and will have to transfer you where you wait on hold anyway. We don't even want to wait for the microwave to finish heating our food, "ONE WHOLE MINUTE?! OH MY GOD MAKE IT GO FASTER!!"  Now this Instant-Gratification Generation just wants what they want yesterday, and cannot fathom why they can't have it then. Even when driving it's 'what's the shortest/fastest route'??  Yeah, I know gas prices are insane, but still.

When did we become like this? What happened to sitting quietly reading a book, or working on stitching, or just sitting on a porch watching the world go by? I know these things still happen, but it seems so few and far between. What happened to just taking the scenic route when driving, just to enjoy nature and the drive rather than zooming along the boring industrial highways at crazy speeds? I challenge people to slow down, take your time doing things; enjoy the act of cooking or baking rather than just nuking something in the microwave, unplug and read a good book, or even just take the long way home and decompress from a busy day dealing with the hustle and bustle of today's crazy society.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Creative Itch

I have an artist's disposition. I like to create things with my hands -- origami, pysanky, cross-stitch, drawing, SOMETHING. I go through phases where I simply MUST create/be artistic or I'll go crazy. It starts as a little niggling in the back of my mind. I notice other things people are doing; a few of my coworkers knit, a friend's origami, artwork on the internet. And that creative itch starts bugging me. Sometimes I can stave it off by doing the jigsaw puzzle at work in the breakroom. Other times I can sit down with my daughter and play with LEGOs making bizarre buildings and contraptions. Even intricate coloring books satisfy. Ultimately I have to do something creative or I feel like I can't settle down and enjoy other things.

Recently we carved pumpkins for Halloween. Usually we do a couple each, but I was feeling unmotivated this year, so we just did one each and had a spare that ended up getting hollowed out for the seeds, but not carved. I had lots of ideas for that last pumpkin, including a really cool Doctor Who one, but with work, stress, lack of sleep it just was too much for me to take on. Sometimes the Creative Itch is buried deep slumbering and wants nothing to do with the tasks at hand. Perhaps it will come back in time for the Holidays, we'll see.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

An Open Apology To Our Old Neighbors

Once upon a time, Del lived in a house in the country. It was a nice house, it had rooms, and stairs, and a big yard. It also had a wood-burning stove in the main room that we used all the time for heat. My details are fuzzy, I don't have the memory for stuff like my brother or dad do, so the best I can tell you is that I think wood shavings or some such ended up too close to said stove, and we awoke in the middle of the night to our house on fire. Our bedrooms were on the second floor, so I woke up to my dad rushing into my room, and hurrying us out to the window that was above the back porch, so we could climb out and then be lowered down to safety. I, of course, felt the need to run back into my room and get my Blankie to take with me, no way was I going to let that burn up, which made dad yell at me because when your house is on fire, running BACK into danger for something that isn't alive is just silly. Hey, I was young, cut me some slack. So said Blankie in hand, we got out of the window and down from the porch and retreated to a safe distance to watch the house burn.

The next morning we sifted through the wreckage. I remember my bed being a burnt wire frame that was upside down, and all my plastic horses had melted and fused into odd shapes. It was more devastating to me than losing the house. Until we could tear down the mess, and rebuild, our closest neighbors across the street bravely allowed us to stay with them. They were Bill and Toot Puckett. I don't know Toot's real name, or if that was, but that's what we called her. They were an elderly couple, they had a very nice house, a very nice barn, a pond, and none of their stuff was child-proof and oh-so-breakable. They had an old organ they let us play, it was magic. It must have been very trying for them to have us stay there, but they were always nice. The trauma of the fire must have really affected me, because I started wetting the temporary bed they had provided for me. No matter what, it seemed like it happened again and again. Those poor people, I think they qualified for Sainthood by the time our house was rebuilt and we were able to move back and out of their house.

The local townsfolk took up a collection for stuff for us, there was probably clothes and sundry, but all I remember is getting a big paper bag full of plastic horses. I don't know who donated them, but I was never so thankful of anything in all my life. I probably would have been thankful of Bill & Toot but they had too many things I couldn't touch, or that were breakable, and I was too young to realize how wonderful they were to open their home to us.

I still have Blankie.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Nothing To See Here

Today's blog non-post is brought to you by the letters S, and T.. as in Sick & Tired. I did manage to drag myself out of bed long enough to fix dinner, of which I am not partaking, and now I think I shall drag myself *back* to bed, and hopefully sleep off whatever Funk this is. I have lots of things I shall talk about in future posts, however today they are all slightly mauve-colored and as I try to draw near them they sullenly glare at me and give off the faint odor of a high school gym. I think they can wait until another day.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Regarding Morning Things

I am not a morning person. Anybody that knows me for any length of time knows this. I prefer to stay up really late (early?) and then sleep in really late. This rarely happens. Well, I should say, the staying up late happens all the time. The sleeping in, not so much.

Usually when I get up in the mornings to get ready for work, I'm in Zombie Mode. That shuffling, shambling, bumping into things along with grumbling mutterings. Sort of an autopilot mode, it usually suffices to get me propelled into the shower. Of course, there's a slight risk when turning off your brain when getting ready. Yesterday morning, I tried to take my morning pills by using my toothbrush as a water glass. I spent a few moments puzzling over why my toothbrush was not adequate for water holdage, before realizing what I was holding. This morning, I made a piece of toast for breakfast, and decided to put peanut butter on it. The entire time my bread toasted I stood looking down at the fork I had grabbed to spread the peanut butter on it, then was like.. the hell? This is a fork! I suppose I *could* have just flipped it around and used the handle to spread, but opted to exchange it for a butter knife. We won't discuss the time I tried to lock my front door as I was leaving with my mail key.

Understand, I can FAKE being a morning person, if I have to. If a kid knocks on my door in the early hours, I'm instantly awake and alert and can deal with whatever emergency is happening (what? the cat peed on your bed AGAIN? seriously, dude, keep your door shut). If I have early morning tasks I have to do, like travel or starting the crockpot, I can get up and be quite functional. Doesn't mean I *LIKE* to do it. Or that I'll do it cheerfully. It also inevitably means interacting with Morning People. Oh, Morning People. I think it's cool that some people like getting up before God Himself is even awake (looking at YOU, Dad) and I'm sure that the sunrise and quiet time is great. Doesn't mean I have to like it. Also doesn't mean I have to like your chipper, happy, bouncy, AWAKENESS that freakin early in the morning. At one point I came in to work, and a Morning Person here FOLLOWED ME THROUGH THE OFFICE chirping "Good Mornings" at me trying to get me to reciprocate. I may have snarled a bit. Of course that morning I also had a borderline migraine headache, so that wasn't improving my mood. Still. I think Morning People need to understand that the rest of us are here under duress, so just push the coffee/donuts/cereal/huge box of chocolate our way with a stick and back off and wait.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Someone To Watch Over You

When I lived in Ohio, I drove to work about half an hour a day, each way. It was mainly freeway driving, and there were lots of corporate buildings along the way. This meant that there were also big ponds, since all the corporations have to put in an at-hand water supply in case of fires.

Every day I would drive the same route, and almost every day, without fail, a heron would fly across the freeway, right above where I was driving at that exact moment. It wouldn't always be at the same location. It wouldn't always be at the same time of day. Sometimes it would be on the way to work. Sometimes on the way home. Regardless, it was ALWAYS THERE. It was almost as if there was a flock of herons, off stage-right, just waiting for their cue. Oop! There she is! Quick GO! GO! GO! And across it flew.

Something I've noticed about the world; there are a lot of people going through life, but not actually SEEING it. Both my parents instilled in me an avid curiosity about the world around me. Part of that is just, well, NOTICING things. Part of it is not taking things for granted, or becoming so inured to them that they cease to hold wonder. One time I was riding on the Ferry here in Washington, and the view was just beautiful. Mountains in the distance, houses peppering the hills, the downtown skyline in the distance, other watercraft zooming by. There was this man sitting there working on his laptop. He looked like a commuter -- someone that lived on the other side of the water so he took the ferry every day to work downtown. He could have been out on the deck clinging to a rail feeling the wind in his face and smelling the salty fish air, or looking at that spectacular view, or even people watching.  Instead he was sitting at one of the tables inside, typety-typing away at his laptop and not raising his head once. I felt sorry for him, in that moment. He had become so used to the amazingness around him, he didn't even see it. Jaded.

I notice things. Little things. Things that probably a lot of people miss. Maybe it's when someone goes out of their way to do something to make my life a little brighter. Or maybe it's how the sunlight streams through a patch of trees *just so* and it looks like something out of a movie and I expect a Unicorn to step out from between the trees any second. Perhaps it's the way the leaves swirl in our cul de sac like they're playing a huge game of tag and everyone's It. I noticed the Herons. At first, it was a novelty. Wow! Is that a blue heron? Grey heron? No clue, kind of hard to tell while driving at freeway speeds and getting a glancing peek as it flies across overhead. Then, it became almost a ritual. Where will I see it today? When? Which direction will it be flying?  Then, it became.. a comfort. It felt like it was MY heron. It was there, flying over at that precise moment when I was driving under it, just for me. It was watching over me. Or, perhaps Someone sent it to remind me that I was always being watched over.

I was sad about the herons when I moved to the great Northwest. Sure, they have them here, but they're not very common where I live, we get more crows, hawks, seagulls and the occasional bald eagle. I had resigned myself to enjoying the beauty of towering pines and the magic Mt. Rainier for my drive to and from work. And then in happened. One day, on the way to work, my heron flew over. Right across the freeway, right above my car. It happened a couple more times in the months that followed, and then, something new.

There is a couple mile stretch of freeway that I drive through that has a series of on and off ramps going to various places. There's a bunch of light posts strategically placed around this so at night it doesn't become a navigation hazard. Every day for quite a while now, while driving home through that section, I see at least one hawk perched on one of the lights. Today, in that little stretch, I saw three. They're just hanging out, watching for roadkill I assume. I wonder how many people drive under them, every day, and never even look up and see them? Every time I see them, they make me smile. They are my silent drive companions, beautiful, noble, and always watching over me.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

First Date

My teenage daughter went on her first REAL date tonight, to the movies and dinner. We've taken her and her boyfriend of the moment places before; restaurants and movies, but always with us (though we let them sit together somewhere else in the movie theater) nothing solo.  I made sure she was bathed, had pants on (she has a predilection to wearing shorts around the house since they're comfy), shoes, jacket.

Then we went over some Ground Rules. Luckily she's really not a big fan of PDA (public display of affection), so I didn't have to worry about her playing tonsil hockey during the movie.  Still. No tonsil hockey during the movie. Hand holding is great! No leaving the movie theater mid-movie. Be where they said they were going to be, at each step. Let me know when the movie is over. (They walked right next door to Johnny Rockets for dinner.) Let me know when they're done and his parents have picked them up.

She followed my Rules to the letter (though of course I can't verify the tonsil hockey part). She ended up going back to his house to hang out with him and his parents for a bit, then I picked her up. On the way home, she told me how funny the movie was, and how it was really cute that he didn't know how to pay for the dinner (him: "Do I pay up front, or what??"  her: "No. They'll bring a check, you pay then, dear."). She had a great time, she was very grateful that I allowed her to go and trusted her enough.

When we got home, there was a huge pile of leaves on our drive from the earlier winds, and we took a few minutes to have a leaf fight.

Sometimes, teenagers aren't so bad.

Friday, November 1, 2013

The Posts That Never Were

It happens to all of us that post online. You start a post, you get interrupted, or you can't think of how to finish it, or a million other things come up and they just sit sadly in the Drafts folder waiting to be finished.

I was reminded of this November writing thing, there's one where you have to write a zillion words in the month (that's a rough estimate, I'm too lazy to Google it), and I just found out you can also just post a blog post a day for the month. Well.. I can't commit to writing a NUMBER of words, but I can commit to writing a post a day. I'm totally counting pictures with commentary in there too, so be warned. In doing so, I logged into my sadly neglected Blog site (it's been 2 years!), and pulled up all the posts I'd ever done, published and not.

And there they were.

I didn't know whether I should just delete them without reading them, knowing the hurt I would feel if I revisited them, or cauterize that wound so I could move on with my life. I chose to read them. The excitement and optimism in them cuts to the bone. They were written years ago, when things weren't great, but they weren't where they are now. They were meant to be companion posts, the one leading to the next. They contain dreams, and a different future, and hope. I haven't felt those for quite awhile until recently, and not for these reasons.

The problem with pre-emptive writing, is that sometimes it can come back to bite you in the butt. You anticipate an event, an outcome, some THING you are excited about, and so in your excitement you write about it, just WAITING for that day all things align and that amazing Something happens and you can be all smuggy smug and hit POST and not even have to try to formulate your thoughts because you've PRETHOUGHT it and it's just there waiting for the world to read. And then.. it doesn't happen. You wait, and you pray, and you try and make it happen, and it just.. doesn't. If you wait long enough, eventually you realize it never will, and you give up. The hope dies. The posts that before were your triumphant Shut The Hell Up And Be Happy to the world now loom over you, twisting in your gut.

And yet..

There's also a sense of Freedom. You can look down the rabbit hole of where life would have taken you had you been able to post those writings, and you realize that you don't have to deal with that future. It's an alternate timeline that just never came into being. You're in THIS timeline. You know how this one has played out. Perhaps that one would have paralleled this one to an extent; it contained the same players, the same things were going on before the paths diverged. Who's to say that would have been better? It definitely could have been worse, more complicated.

And then I decide those posts can go the way of the Dodo. I can delete them, remove them from my past, and move on and look forward. It doesn't matter now what they were about, that's ancient history and ended up being just fiction. What matters now is where I go from here, I think I'm ready for a new future.