Thursday, December 16, 2010

Nearly Christmas. Oy.

It's been a week of goodies around here.

Cookies, amusing gifts of outdated calendars (a tribute to my annual skunking in the gift swap at work - thanks Ruth!), and mystery presents for The Kid that I may be more excited about than she is have appeared on my desk.

The first Christmas cards have begun arriving in the mail, and a plethora of boxes have been materializing on my front porch.

Lots and lots of holiday lights are up all around my neighborhood, which are all beautiful except for the ones that blink on and off so fast I'm concerned about the drivers who pass by. Your standard twinkly blinky lights are lovely, but those strobe things have got to go!

Always a critic.

So! Things to report!

School is officially done for the month.

My English grade: 102.5%. Is that an A?

My teacher made the following comment: "I am going to miss reading your work." This followed the comment "I have so enjoyed reading your work. You write like a professional, with grade, humor, introspection, heart, and clarity."

Clearly she has not read my blog, but what a compliment!! I was pretty tickled.

My Math grade: 97.09%. I got a 95 on my final, so Ruth's candy and your good wishes did the trick!

Phew. Two A's. I'm not getting cocky though... that's only 7 credits down and 113 more to go until I have my bachelor degree.

But still! Pretty cool!

Also cool... Ms. Hannibal Lexter is getting interviewed for the Longmont paper! She was nominated by her coach, who is a reporter for the paper, as part of a large list of nominees for the "100 Coolest People In Longmont" special section that comes out in March. (That's probably not what it's really called, but it will do for now.) Because she does derby and is generally a cool chick, I feel that she will at least be in the top 5, if not the coolest person on the list.

I wonder if I can make this work for some kind of college scholarship for her...


Anyway, this week will continue to be crazy busy... there are cards to send! Crafts to finish! Gifts to mail! (Only 2 but still...thank goodness for click-n-ship - really if you haven't used this, START.) Cookies to make! I've gotten so many nice treats that if I don't reciprocate I'm going to feel like a heel.

Shortbread and chocolate chip cookies for everyone! The fact that they're easy recipes doesn't take away from the intent right?

Happy Thursday...

PS... Here's something pretty for you to enjoy. TR, you'll appreciate the clouds and windmills!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Please Hold While I Connect Your Blog

Okay. I'm sorry.

I keep saying that but truthfully I've had the most busy, chock-full couple of weeks that I'm amazed I can even type at all much less put a coherent sentence together. Even that remains to be seen... check back at the end.

My favoritest bloggers, Mimi Spartypants (no relation) and Allie Brosh of Hyperbole and a Half, often go ages without a post, so I feel okay with it all, but still! I miss talking to the 5 of you!

Let's see. When we last left off, it was 2 days before Thanksgiving. I was happily anticipating TR's return from Nashville, being excited about his house, and trying to plan a respectable outfit in which to meet his dad on Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving was really nice! TR's dad is sweet and nice and complimentary, making a point to say what nice kid Kid is (and she is - he's obviously also very smart). He came through on his promise to "not be too scary," and for that I'm eternally grateful. What is it about "meeting the parents" though?! It's not like I'm some unestablished teen or something. I'm a grown-ass adult! With a house! And a car! And, ya know, debts and other adult-type stuff! I know how to schmooze, how to rhetorically mold myself to any situation and charm the shit out of people! Or something.

I'm not sure if that makes me a mature adult, but whatever.

Anyway he was nothing but nice, El Rancho was fabulous, the turkey was good, the chef was funny, and I looked like a mom for once. As a bonus prize it's located right near Buffalo Bill's grave, which despite living here for nigh on 7 years I had yet to visit, so even though it was freezing and I was in a dress (I KNOW) we trekked over. It was a beautiful sight, TR bought The Kid a pair of awesome purple beaded earrings, and I got to drive a really awesomely fun road back down the mountain afterward. I got to be in first gear and not touch my gas pedal. Yay mountain driving! (I can name at least 3 people who would have been crapping themselves on that drive, but NOT ME MAN. I live here now.)

TR very sweetly arranged a couple of rooms at the very cool Renaissance hotel, wherein lies a pool. He thought it would be fun for me, the Kid and himself to go and relax, enjoy some squashy Marriott bedding and the hot tub which was so hot I think I actually may have damaged myself for a moment. The Kid enjoyed having a room all to herself, what with the TV and snack bag, and TR & I enjoyed sleeping in. All in all it was a seriously stress-free holiday. And no dishes!

Alas that also means there were no leftovers. Old habits die hard, and it being the season for such things, I had put aside a turkey for emergencies. Turkey emergencies are more common than you might think, and just such a thing arose last week! After a long weekend of helping TR shop for furniture (including a successful trip to acquire a washer and dryer) it was time for some tryptophan. And I made the works... turkey, stuffing (Stovetop OH YES), fresh greenbeans, mashed potatoes. Jarred gravy because I'm lazy and would only ruin a roux.

And I discovered something.

Despite all this fancified turkey-making, with all the brining and basting bags and smoking and deep-frying and Turducken madness (though none of those are bad things, except the Turducken but only because I'm not eating anything where the first syllable is "turd"), the old-fashioned, in a pan, buttered & salted & peppered, basted-every-hour turkey is still the best.

And the dishes were minimal, mainly because despite my laziness I am totally OCD when I cook. I do dishes as I go and use my dishwasher as much as possible, so that by the time the food is done my kitchen is still fairly clean. Work smarter not hard right?

Other than that, things have generally been all about school. I'm almost officially done with my first semester of college, go me! My English teacher loves my work, and I did okay in Math, better than I expected to. That's the last step, actually, a Final Exam full of graphing and factoring of binomials (wish me luck). I'm taking it Monday, and then it's NO SCHOOL for over a month! The new semester doesn't start until January 18. I'm looking forward to the break, because even if I'm only doing 2 classes, it's plenty exhausting.

It's not that the work is all that hard, not that I'm bragging. It just really isn't that tough if you pay attention. It's time consuming, sure, but it's time-consuming for a reason. It's forced studying, something I didn't understand in high school. "So you're saying that if you do the homework and assignments and show up, you'll learn stuff and not have to cram and do better on tests? Oh I see."

The thing that sucked me dry was the constant schedule.

When I wasn't actually doing any work, I was thinking about the next deadline. As the next deadline was approaching, I was thinking about the deadline after that. As each test passed, as each discussion was posted, I was making sure I reminded myself constantly to check the content page, check the discussion board, check the calendar. You're never resting.

So trust me when I say that I'm really looking forward to a month with no reminder for myself other than "make sure you get your books and do your taxes and put in your FASFA and apply for scholarships".



Well at least I'll be able to read a book! And the Kraft Krazy, though sorely missed for several months, has begun to re-emerge, so I'll be able to work some of that in as well.

I made TR kitchen towels (well, I embellished pre-existing towels anyway) with palm-tree fabric, which he actually put in his kitchen! I call that crafting success. No pictures, I forgot, but if I remember I'll take one of my signature bad camera-phone shots next time I'm over.

I've also made some kid-toys, for two very cute babies and my very cute baby. She was popping through my patterns one day on Evernote (which I love) and fell in love with Mooshy Belly Bunny. It's really for little kids, but sometimes she likes to be a little kid and who am I to deny her? It's one of my favorite things about her, the fact that she's not all "whatevs, I'm a teen". Does it make her seem a little naive sometimes? Maybe. But maybe that's not such a bad thing. She's been through enough crap in her life, and can take care of herself when needed, and that's all I can ask for. I think the world can indulge her occasional need for footie pajamas, hot chocolate, cartoons and stuffed animals.


Behold, Mooshy Belly Bunny, hanging out with his friend Lopsided Sun-Like Creature Mit Ribbon (he's very avant-garde).

My attempt with ribbon boy wasn't so professional, but I think his attended audience will not care. The photo is crap of course, he's MUCH brighter, but you get the idea.

Behind him are placemats whose pattern is an amalgam of the original jelly roll place-mat pattern I found last year and started but never finished**, and the amazingly awesome lazy-crafter Godsend that is self-binding backing, as demonstrated in the baby blanket pattern I found but haven't yet used.

** You may remember the tale of the jelly-roll bait-ball. Just a reminder - don't ever wash jelly rolls. Plan a project that doesn't require washing, or accept that your project will look weird when you finally do wash it post-project, because if you pre-wash you will be a sad, sorry panda.

My mitered corners are not, of course, as nice as the original, but I gave myself a break because the binding was so narrow I couldn't really do the box-corner thing successfully. They still came out nicely, and frankly they're kind of folk-arty so it adds to the charm, right?

Of course it does.

See how I didn't photograph the corners? There's a reason.

The picture, of course, does nothing to really demonstrate the bright, fun fabric which, though it made me cry during the hours of untangling and de-threading post-wash, still delight me.

This is them:

I don't know who "Sanae" is but clearly he/she enjoyed the 70s.
Or never actually lived them.
Either way.

Aren't they fun? I had a good time matching the colors up, insomuch as you can match screaming orange with wistful green. It worked.

And though any quilt shop would make this face at me if I tried to pass them off as containing anything resembling good binding work...

... I like them. And I think their recipients will like them too.

Or they'll stick them in a drawer and only take them out when I'm over.

Which is fine.

Happy Friday! Wish me luck on my test!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I Talk To Myself A Lot

Holy Hell.

It's Thanksgiving this week! How did that even happen?

This is what I never knew about doing the school/work combo - it eats time like it was a bag of (fill in your favorite snacky item here - salt & vinegar chips for me, thanks).

All of a sudden I'm down to the last of my third paper, and the start of my fourth and final.

Without seeming to feel it, I've managed to get to my last set of homework and quizzes for math, and will be facing my final in just a couple of weeks. Not to brag, but I also got 101% on my most recent test. GO ME.

On top of that there's been Derby (The Kid won her most recent bout, by the way), and moving TR's brother & wife (his brother's wife, not TR's DUH). I managed to pack the be-all end-all of emergency supply boxes, too, containing tea, coffee, mac and cheese and spaghetti. You could seriously live a week on that box.

Too bad I hid the silverware (they found it eventually).

Anyway, point is I've been unbelievably busy. Not too busy for you, baby, don't cry! Just too busy to blog.

Today, though, I felt the need to share, even though I've probably alienated everyone by now with my absence. At least it's there, right?

But what to talk about?

How about the fact that The Kid has the ENTIRE week off for Thanksgiving? We never got the whole week off, what gives?! Not that she's complaining. She's got an entire week of crafting and sleeping in and watching episodes of Monk on the Netflix.

(By the way, if you have internet and a Blu-Ray, a Wii, a PS3, TiVo or one of those fancy internet TVs, Netflix now has a streaming-only option for their service for 8 bucks a month. It's awesome! Who needs cable! Netflix should give me a month's credit for plugging them. Spread the word.)

Oh and guess what! I'm going to be in Geek Bowl 2011 in January. It's the throw-down event of the year for Geeks Who Drink, and I'm super excited! Even if we don't win it will be awesome fun. We're thinking costumes, even - maybe hats. Who knows. It doesn't matter, really, because I will be too busy being thrilled to be part of the world's biggest nerd herd.

How are we preparing? Mexican food and 5-hour Energy Drinks. We will ROCK IT.

Let's see, what else.

TR bought a house! He should have keys in hand today, in fact, and I'm so excited for him. It's an excellent house with an unbelievable view and the most beautiful oak tree out front. It has only the minorest of needs (minorest? Really, Mimi?), all which are fixable with no real fuss, and I think he's going to be really happy there.


He'll be happy once the move is done. Moving SUCKS, but since he's smartly hiring movers it should be less horrific than one might usually expect. No taking fifty loads in various cars, or arguing with U-Haul. No back-breaking labor (besides the actual box-packing).

Movers are SO worth the money.

Anyway it's lovely inside, and I am really going to have to restrain the Kraft Krazy. When I looked at it I could almost see the floor pillows for the fire-place cozy. I could feel the weight of firewood in the hand-made log-carrier. I could nearly feel the whoosh of cotton slipping between my fingers as it feeds under the piercing needle, folding and pressing itself, creating neat lines and...


Ahem. Sorry.

Craft porn. It happens.

Anyway, it's an awesome house, which will only get awesomer (awesomer? REALLY MIMI?) when he puts his touches on it all. I predict tikis.

Also, speaking of Kraft Krazy...

I love this so much

Just in case you thought I was the only one.

Actually I haven't been crafting much lately, I've been TOO BUSY, but I have some projects lined up. I was almost thinking no crafting might happen this holiday season, but that was just crazy talk.

It might not be much, it certainly won't be an embroidered Robert Smith pillow, but it'll be something!

Alright...back to my homework.

Monday, November 15, 2010

*tap tap* *tap*

Oh hi! Miss me?

Well, I'm sorry to disappoint but today's post is going to be just as lame as the last one. There's just tooooo much going on.

Too much.

Like moves.

And papers.

And back pain.

And Dead Like Me. (It's been sucking up my evenings - but there were only 2 seasons so that's done.)

But ya know what?

My paper's almost done (I think I'll share it with you).

The move, for better or worse, is almost done...there's another on the horizon, but not for a couple of weeks yet.

Admittedly my back hurting has nothing to do with anything but I'll feel a lot better when it's over. Ug.

So, ya know...

Watch this space!

I can almost hear my mother - WHY, IS IT GOING TO DO A TRICK?!

Well, yes mom it actually is.


I heart Doug Henning. That's all I have to say about that.

Happy Monday!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Busy Bee

Maybe it's that I've been using up all my writing points on a class, and haven't got anything left.

Maybe I need the forced-topic of daily themes again.

Maybe it's the deep-tissue massage, which has been beating the heck out of my shoulder, making typing difficult.

Maybe it's the fact that despite 2-plus months of leaving the house at 6:45 AM we are *still* not used to it.

Or maybe I'm just pooped.

Any way you put it, I've been a blogging slacker. I hope you understand!

Here's a brief rundown of things that have happened in the last week.
  • The very awesome Formerly Almost Mrs. Dandy is now a mama. And her baby boy is gorgeous NATURALLY (as in "duh" not as in "without surgical enhancement"). And he was born on Halloween, which means he will have the best birthday parties ever, forever.
  • I carved many pumpkins. Only one got smashed (I hate kids who do that), and the pumpkin seeds were fantastic and yummy. My favorite part of the pumpkin, for sure.
  • TR maybe found a house to buy! I'm excited for him, though I wish I could erase the stress factor. Anyone who's bought their first house already (or their second or third) can understand his frayed nerves I'm sure... I remember freaking out mightily the night I made the offer on my little piece of Earth. I don't think I slept for 2 days.
  • We managed to do trick or treating on Halloween despite being stood up. I'm not going to go into it - water under the bridge - but I can tell you that in the future I won't be bending over backward and rushing to accept an invite from the folks in question again. I broke land-speed records racing back from Derby so as not to make our party wait too long for us, only to find out that they had changed their plans and gone earlier, and never let us know. THANKS GUYS.
  • I went in a corn maze. At night. I hate corn mazes - so creepy - but with the added bonus of being the responsible adult in the situation I was unthrilled. But I persevered, limbs all attached and no bites from anything living in the stalks. The things I do for my Kid!
  • I started a new writing project for school, all about how the elderly should get on Facebook for safety and social purposes. Wish me luck! Any ideas?
  • I realized that Thanksgiving is in just over 3 weeks. Holy crap.
What did you do last week?

This weekend I plan on relaxing if at all possible. Right after I'm done with my project. And cleaning. And math homework.

PS...I know it's filleriffic, but this video was too cool not to share.

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Rollerpunks Are Badass

I'm still hoarse. What a game!

Thank goodness there were photographers there, because I suck at pictures as we all know.

Check it out!!

Jay Vollmar, the artist behind the awesome RMRG art, took this one.

That's The Kid, with the red pigtails. Isn't she fabulous?!

Dave Wood took these.

Doesn't she look so intense there?

Victory Lap! They won 31-30. Unbelievable.

The Kid only got to be in one jam... but she *was* the pivot. And she *did* block like a champ. And it *was* only 10 minutes long, so there ya go!

The rest of the weekend was lovely. TR came up Friday night to hang and play Life and eat Halloween candy.

It was so nice not to have to drag my butt out of bed at 5:30 AM, because Saturday was a lovely, cool grey morning. Perfect for a lie-in before being pummeled by my massage therapist again - she found a trigger from which I'm still recovering. Ow! I had planned on carving pumpkins but I was short a carving arm as a result of the massage. Instead The Kid did her own, start to finish. It's the first time she's ever done that, and I think she was really proud.

We still have a few to go...I think I'll put her in charge.

Saturday night, of course, was THE BOUT! I slacked as a parent, and The Kid had to do her own getting-ready. The massage really took it out of me and I ended up taking a 2 hour nap. She looked great though, and I probably would have fussed over her hair or makeup or something anyway, annoying us both. As it turned out, she did just fine without me (as you can see!) and all was well.

And she kicked ass!

Sunday, despite being wiped from the night before, was yet more Derby practice! She's still feelin' it, let me tell you. She got elbowed by some rotten kid on the other team Saturday night, and she's got the ow to prove it... thank goodness for Ibuprofen.

Last night, Monday, I had a math test.


Well, there's always the next one I suppose! This one, not so much.

I'm so glad I'm going for an English degree.

Happy Tuesday!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Halloween Kraft Krazy

It's so good to know I'm not alone.

There are entire websites dedicated to others with the Kraft Krazy, and while normally they restrain themselves to useful things like sweaters and bags and such, sometimes the creativity really shines and you find something so awesome, so truly beyond what you might have thought of yourself, that you can't help but share.

One of my favorites is Craft, because they not only take the time to find really cool stuff, they also don't just stick with known designers. If someone posts a picture of their craft to the Flickr account, they will see it. If they think it's cool, and particularly if you have a website with a tutorial or some such thing, they'll put it up and everyone will get to enjoy, or participate in, your creativity. Cool, right?

Today, since it's only 10 or so days til' Halloween, I figured I'd share some of their latest Halloween finds, because I know not everyone obsessively looks at the blog daily looking for patterns they'll never make but lust after anyway... it's why I have an Evernote account.

I'm enjoying Halloween a little more this year. Last year I wasn't in a great place, very bummed all the time and kind of just... I don't know, out of sorts. I was broke a lot...truly I'm *still* broke a lot but I've evened things out a bit and am *less* broke, and less often. Anybody who thinks money can't buy happiness hasn't ever truly been broke, or had to decide between this or that in any real way. I'm *much* happier when I have enough to buy a couple of pumpkins at Halloween, or the occasional German pancake for my daughter on a Sunday morning, knowing that even though I indulge a few dollars like that there's no worry of not being able to afford gas or groceries, that I'll have to decide how to stretch $50 for 2 weeks of food. (It can be done, but it sucks.) These things may seem insignificant, but they are things that make The Kid's and my world go round, and while I'm not suddenly rolling in dough now, far from it, I do have a little breathing room. A little goes a long way.

Does that make *any* sense at all?


Though we did buy pumpkins this past Sunday, we have yet to carve them, which is okay because I sort of like them sitting on my kitchen table, being orange and Fall-y.

But I digress! Halloween KK ahead!

First, my favorite today... Zombie Barbies!

If only I'd thought of this; can you just imagine a gaggle of these on your front lawn, pushing their way out of the dirt?! Creepy, but funny, and I don't think Barbie would mind too much. It's just a costume after all... right? Anyway, a zombies attack could never really last long. Science proves it!

From creepy to cute we have these little things.

Cute, right? If I had time, and didn't know the pain and agony that making teeny tiny little amigurumi items could bring, I might try it this year, but.... no. Instead I will just admire.

Craft can entail more than fiber and glue, of course, and this is certainly an original:

Uh... yum?

Blood slide candy. Brilliant! And gross! There are actually a lot of grody (yet probably delicious, if you're brave enough to try them) foodstuffs out there, like disturbingly realistic bread organs and bloody brain cupcakes. Me, I like the cuter side of Halloween, like the blood bank cupcakes I made a couple of years ago, or the dead gingerbread men.

I called it "Tasting Day At The Blood Bank". They were only a little gross, filled with raspberry jam so they "bled" when you bit them, but they were more funny than... well... bread hearts. Seriously if you haven't clicked the link up there, do it and tell me that's not severely realistic.

While looking for that picture, I came across the photos of what The Kid made last year. I still love these tiny pumpkins The Kid made, and the detail on the little bag. She's so creative! In fact, I decided to add the pumpkins to the Craft Halloween contest this year. Wish us luck!

CRAFT Halloween Contest

Be careful with your Kraft Krazy, though... much like the awful bag I made Elise for her birthday, the items on this page show that just because you CAN do something doesn't mean you SHOULD. Take, for example, the following actual pattern book that somebody really wrote and published.

Enjoy your nightmares of pie and stalkers!

Regretsy, a seriously funny website dedicated to finding the weirdest stuff on Etsy, dug up this gem and asked its followers to make ones of their own, because why not, right? Proving yet again that I'm not alone in my Kraft Krazy, the Regretsy folks ended up with more than they bargained for, which they are now selling in order to donate money to a young boy named Aidan, who's battling Leukemia. Nice, right?!

They're still creepy though.

I will grant you the following.
  • These look really hard to make, so props to the skilled knitter who pulled them off.
  • They look really warm, something I can certainly get behind, especially as my tolerance for cold gets lower and lower.
However, I say again. Just because you can, doesn't mean you should, unless it's for charity.

Happy Wednesday!

Monday, October 18, 2010

That's A Mighty Long Post For A Lazy Weekend

The Kid and I had a fun weekend. We were very relaxed and lazy, and it was glorious.

I have found more and more that since my return from Planet Vacation, I have had a much more calm view of things. I'm a lot more willing to let stuff go and just kind of rearrange as needed. I know I go on about the whole vacation thing, I mean people go on vacation all the time right? They don't all come back with revelations about themselves, do they? I'll shut up about it soon (probably) but for now I'm kind of enjoying riding the wave of "eh, whatever - let's go for a drive" that has appeared as my new attitude about life. I'd like to keep it, actually. It's awesome!

Saturday morning we slept in a little bit, and I tried to contain my shock at the revelation that my Child appears to have gotten herself her first boyfriend. I don't entirely approve of him, but she said yes to his offer of a date because "he's funny". It's a good start. I told her to be sure not to let him talk her into anything stupid, but like I told TR, I have to trust that I've taught her well enough that she'll make good decisions.

I also told her not to agree to hold any sort of anything for him unless she has first visually verified that there are no police cars anywhere.

"Is this from personal experience?" she asked, illustrating that I've told too many tales of my misspent youth. If I can't be a good example, I can at least be a horrible warning, right? (In truth, it was a friend, but I had to run with said friend, and it was awful and a pain in the ass.)

After running the gamut of "OH MY GOD MY BABY" and "Do I want my kid dating a boy who listens to Insane Clown Posse?" (only for the music, she assures me, and not for any of the "juggalo" nonsense), I woke The Kid, gave her my lecture, made her pancakes and took her to the school fundraiser she had signed up to work.

Then I went home and watched a Karen Black movie while crocheting a bikini because the Kraft Krazy senses the Christmas Kraft Krazy approaching and must be vented somehow or else about 10 afghans will get started and I'll be a wreck. Know your strengths, I always say, but more importantly know your limits.

After picking up Child from the very boring fundraiser (ask me later about how disappointed I am with the whole Leadership Academy thing), she asked me "can we go to the craft fair?".

Old Me would have been able to find a million errands that had to be run (I need a new shower head and a furnace filter, among other things), would have gone on and on about laundry and vacuuming, but New Me (See? I had a point.) thought for a moment and decided sure, why not.

I did a few craft fairs way back when, after learning how to make wire-wrapped jewelry. I was very proud of what I made, it really was nice stuff, but what I found out is that craft fairs are horrible for vendors. You shell out many dollars for a booth you have to set up and stock, and then you sit and hope that people will do more than just touch all your stuff and rearrange your displays. They rarely do, and unless you have extraordinary luck, you will not only be one of 10 other vendors selling exactly the same thing, you'll probably be right next to them, because rare is the event coordinator that stops to consider the idea of variety. It's frustrating, and discouraging, and I decided after the 3rd one that I was going to stick to being an attendee. I just don't have the patience to sell my wares, and frankly because of it I ended up losing interest in jewelry making.

I don't even enjoy going to craft fairs anymore, really, because I feel for the poor crafters stuck behind their huge displays of fake flower arrangements and stuffed animals made from socks and Hobby Lobby fabric. I know their pain. I also have this really awful tendency to look at stuff and mentally figure out how to make it myself.

I'm a terrible person.

I did have fun with The Kid picking through the bargain bin at the card making stuff booth; we found some supplies for making our Christmas cards this year on the cheap and learned some new things, like did you know you can use a wood-burning tool on contact paper and make stick-on stencils for glass-etching? NOW YOU DO.

After that we headed home and were shocked (SHOCKED!) to see it was already 5PM! My shoulder was hurting, so I gave in and ordered pizza, which was pretty good - I had them overcook it, so the cheese was brown and perfect, and they included a deliciously fresh salad. I talked TR through a good chunk of Kansas, and The Kid played an awesome new online game, a sort of animal themed "university" where you earn degrees in various subjects by learning new things (and this is why I don't worry about her - that's her kind of fun). A little bit of Pushing Daisies on Netflix (a great show!) and it was off to bed for both of us.

Sunday, at about 8:30 AM, The Kid woke up with a craving.

"It's Sunday," she said.

"Dur," said I.

"It's before 10 AM..." she coaxed.

Silence from me. I knew what she wanted... I just like to make her work for it. So mean.


"Can we? Pleeeeeease?"

See, there's this restaurant, Aunt Alice's. It's a diner, the kind I've always loved and the only one around, really, at least in Longmont. It's totally un-updated with a counter and old booths and the same waitresses who have worked there for eons and have regulars they greet by name.

Sunday mornings, they make German Pancakes which are awesome & cheap, and a quick calculation in my brain told me we could afford it. (I may have mentioned their German Pancakes before, but who knows. This is post #348, can you believe it?)

But here's the thing...

Old Me would have made us get dressed, maybe thrown a load of laundry in first, vacuumed or something, and generally screwed around being obsessive about stuff for an hour. After all that, Old Me probably would have managed to rationalize herself out of spending the whopping $15 it would take to have a nice morning's breakfast with her Kid and ended up making eggs instead.

New Me said "can we wear our sweatpants, do you think?" and we were off in 5 minutes flat. Lucille's I would have nixed as too pricey, but a couple of pancakes seemed pretty do-able. Life is for living!

After breakfast, it being a gorgeous Fall morning, we decided rather than go home and hole up until it was time for Derby, we'd take a drive into Lyons and go to the quilt shop. It was closed, alas, but we had fun anyway, driving around and looking at little tucked-away houses. The views from some of them are amazing, but I imagine it sucks after a heavy snow.

On the way back, we noticed a pumpkin patch. Did Old Me take over and say "we don't need pumpkins, wait for next week," and drive by? Nope. New Me said "Awesome!" and pulled in. We walked a corn maze, stared at some really bored-looking goats, and picked out 4 perfect pumpkins, plus a few little ones.

I really like New Me a lot better. She's way more fun.

The afternoon was nice... I took The Kid to practice, and after grabbing our tickets for her BIG DEBUT this Saturday (I'm so excited for her!), I headed over to see TR. It had been a long time since leaving Florida (he was still there awhile, then in Nashville with his brother), and I was glad to see him! He was a bit cross-eyed, having only returned at 4AM after the rest of his very long drive through Kansas and points East, but glad to see me too, and I was able to relieve him of several bags of Disney goodness that were clogging his how those things multiplied!

The Kid loved her Mickey ears... I love mine too! TR got them for me after I left for home, because he's awesome like that. Mine are blue and sparkly, and have fireworks on the ears, and The Kid's are more with gold stitching. We both agree we have the best ones.
She also loved her giant Eeyore (I saved it for last) and her awesome Japanese swag (Totoro cards and flip-flop-socks that are as she put it "like mittens for your feet!") and various other goodies.

I had fun going through everything, and realizing that although I remember being seriously hot the day I got my Germany beer stein, it's only in the vaguest of ways. What I really recall is how delightfully cold the beer was, the talk about German Christmas glass with the nice kid in the ornament shop, how much I laughed at the players getting slayed by the Chilean Ham, and how much fun I had with TR. That's why we get souvenirs, ya know? It might appear to just be a plastic beer stein with a Disney logo on it, but for me it's a fantastic memory.

After a dinner of almost-not-burnt brats and boiled potatoes with butter (oh yes), I settled down to some math homework, The Kid went to bed (we're trying a closed door now, since the cats are a nuisance, cute though they may be) and that was that.

It was lovely and relaxed weekend, and I didn't worry about anything, and you know what? I still got my laundry and cleaning done. Just... later.

And the world didn't explode or ANYTHING!

Today's a beautiful day, and I have no complaints.

I hope you have a lovely Monday!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


So remember when I managed to hurt myself at work, just sitting there making phone calls and scanning and stuff?

Well, things have gotten progressively better as time has worn on, thanks to the addition of a headset for my phone and moving stuff on my desk around for better access, but there's still some ick.

It should be noted that in Florida, my shoulder never hurt once. Not even on Space Mountain.

I'm just saying.

So the workers comp docs, after doing what they can, sent me to Be Well Body Works for a few sessions of deep tissue massage.

Have you ever had this done?

It hurts, but in that "I know this is going to be good for something" kind of way.

So first of all, the house wherein the magic lies is this adorable blue confection in downtown Longmont. It's got a beachy sort of sunporch where clients wait and listen to the sounds of waves crashing on the shore (courtesy of a sound machine). Needless to say I let my mind wander awhile with that - I think I need one of those things.

When my turn arrived, Kelly (owner & operator & goddess) took me to a room filled with quiet and little bits of spiritual happiness from all walks of faith - feng shui gold coins, a buddha, a lovely wooden cross - and a candle that was scented so lightly as to be completely ignorable. She knows her stuff.

She had me lay down... and then got to work. "You're gonna hate me for this," she said.

I didn't. But I maybe cried a little.

Just a tear or two.

Next time will be better.

It's hard to wear a bra today, though. Ow.

Last but not least... I want to note that Kelly also has a website featuring "Massage and Merlot". I think this has to be explored.


Monday, October 11, 2010

Vote For Me! (There's Potential For A Giveaway...)

Don't ask questions, just vote for me!

You can't just go on faith? Fair enough, here's the details.

So there's this catalog I love, GaelSong. They have all kinds of celtic pretties and Ren Fair type things that would only collect dust in my house but STILL. I stay on their mailing list, despite having not ordered anything in probably 10 years, just so I can drool inappropriately from time to time.

WELL. Imagine my delight when I got their most recent email and it advertised... a writing contest! If I win, I get a $500 gift certificate...or a $100 one, which is just as lovely.

I hope you'll go vote for me, I don't think you even have to sign up for anything.

The goal... to describe the imagery on the Halloween catalog's cover, "spinning a tale" as they put it. I hope you like it!

Fall brings the simple pleasures of early twilight and the rustle of fall leaves underfoot as we walk beneath the watchful eye of the ravens that fly above.

What will we reap during our harvest-time, as we begin our trek into the dark from the balance of the Equinox? What will we gain as the dark comes on full-force, as we wait for the balance that Spring will bring us once again?

White-frosted grapes in the scrying ball seem to speak of good food and wine during the cold of the Winter months… and they will be long and snowy. The bare branches and drifting flakes of the smaller seeing-eye tell us that.

But what do our cards tell us? The Moon speaks to us of intense emotion, of cycles…what kind of emotion are we bringing with our red candles? Perhaps caution should be our friend. The Wheel turns ever onward, though, and we are reminded that the snows and dark – inside and out – won’t last long. All will pass with time. And what of the Princess? She is free of burdens… will Spring bring a freedom of our own?

Best to light our fires, check our stores, and guard against the dark…

Because here it comes!

Friday, October 8, 2010

I Love Florida, But Oh You Kid!

I loved Florida. I miss Florida... those palm trees! The food! That ocean! And my SKIN... oh it felt like I had permanent lotion. "Ocean Lotion" as TR called it.


Mornings like this remind me of what I love about Colorado.

Dear Universe:

Please let me win the lottery so that I can quit my job, spend lots of time with TR & The Kid, pay off my house in Colorado, buy a house in Martin County, go to school full time and get a teaching certificate in Colorado and Florida. You know, for commuting purposes.

Thanks a bunch,

(My demands are few.)

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


I was thinking about how musical tastes change as we get older. Driving in to work this morning, Nine Inch Nails' Closer came on. I used to love that song, but it was, as I discovered, something I only loved in a particular context. I'm not a 20-something malcontent in fishnets anymore, for better or worse, and NIN no longer applies. I still think the music is genius, but I can't imagine a place for it in my life anymore. Same goes for most of the Gothier music I used to listen to; it was stuff I enjoyed at a particular time in my life, but very little of it stuck.

One can only listen to so much Joy Division.

I find that the music I still listen to tends to be more upbeat and warm-blankety, if that makes any sense?

Did you have a favorite band when you were growing up? Of course you did.

My first favorite... The Monkees.

I LOVED me some Davy Jones.

I would scour garage sales for their albums, listen to Pisces, Capricorn, Aquarius and Jones, Ltd. over and over (I LOVED Pleasant Valley Sunday), and fantasize about what I'd say if I ever got to meet them.

Would I ask for Micky's autograph? Scream and cry and wail at Davey? Crack jokes with Peter?

Ask to touch Mike's toque?

LOOK AT THAT THING. I wonder if this is why I like crochet.

Imagine my surprise when I found out that the shows I'd been watching had been filmed before I was even born, and that in fact they'd been broken up for ages.

What!? I was like TEN. What concept of time periods did I have yet?

Time marched onward, though, and a love of one British cutie turned in a love of 5.

Duran Duran.

I'm not sure what it was (besides John Taylor, second from the left there, who is still as cute as ever - I suspect dealings with the Devil), but I loved them to pieces. They were the first band whose images I cut from magazines, taping them to walls in my room, whose clothing style I wished to mimic (the cuffs were pushed up BELOW THE ELBOW, thanks very much). I had all their albums, and of course listened to them incessantly. I still love them... The Chauffeur and Save A Prayer still show up regularly on personal playlists.

I even "choreographed" a really bad dance routine with a friend for a sixth-grade gym assignment. It didn't go well, and it haunts me still!

Next up, just in time for junior high, was INXS. I went through a huge Australia phase, starting with Crocodile Dundee (don't mock me!) and Big Pig, who did one of my favorite nobody-knows-about-it albums ever. (Sidebar - TR does. This is one of many reasons I like him.) Somebody introduced me to Michael Hutchence's curly locks and Aussie accent, and there was no going back.


I obsessively collected all their tapes, all the way back to the very first one which nobody had but me. I had to get it imported, and that was BEFORE the took doing!

After Michael Hutchence died - my first experience with humanity in an idol - I threw all my tapes out. I regretted it later, but at the time I was sure I could never listen to them again. Fans of The Beatles might understand this, though I'm in no way comparing the two, merely the sentiment. I can enjoy their music again now, but then? Not so much.

During the wane of my INXS obsession came the advent of the band whose continued presence in my life has irritated some, amused others, but always given me comfort.

The Cure.

Not too long before high school, I had foot surgery. It was done on both feet, and I was laid up for a solid 6 weeks, watching Santa Barbara and hobbling around with a walker. To ease my pain, my mom brought me a couple tapes of music... I don't remember the others, but one was The Cure's Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me, which remains one of my favorites.

What is it with me and accents?

True FANDOM set in with The Cure. There weren't just posters and concerts and tshirts and stickers, there was identification with and memorization of lyrics. Many Cure songs made it onto horrible mix tapes. I could assign a Cure song to any situation. I even used one song, How Beautiful You Are, as my public speaking assignment in my Freshman year drama class.

I drew fan art - some of it pretty good - and even showed some early Kraft Krazy by using fabric paints to make my *own* fan shirt. It got lots of compliments, and then it got stolen - a true testament to not only the cool art but also to the fact that I was not alone in my obsession.

The Cure was the first band where I found and participated in a community. Cure concerts are fun places to people-watch because of the diversity of that community! Young Goth kids who appear to have raided my 17-year-old self's closet, 60-year-olds in Hawaiian shirts who probably went to their first shows way back when the band first started, and my generation who find ourselves somewhere in between. We still want to pull off the raccoon eyed look, but we're becoming more and more aware that Hawaiian shirts and sneakers are just so much more comfortable than PVC and leather on a hot July day.

Those groups give each other the eye, the young kids wondering what the hell Grampa is doing there, the old folks wondering if the be-leathered whippersnappers have any concept of The Cure before Disintegration. All that goes away once they take the stage, though, and when everyone collectively freaks out and yells the lyrics to this song or that, we're all together and on the same page.

Overstating it a bit? Perhaps. But it's the truth.

I've experienced other concerts and music venues in much the same way, but The Cure will always be the first one, because I've been 2/3 of that crowd so far, and I'm well on my way to the last bit. The last show I went to, I brought The Kid. And I wore Crocs. And my back was hurting so I used my handi-tag.

I don't listen to The Cure very often these days, although sometimes I feel the need to bust out The Head on the Door or one of the other myriad bits of memory-filled music I own - and I have a LOT. Their music is so ingrained in me, it's almost like I don't have to listen anymore to hear them.

These days my musical tastes are all over the place. I mentioned the warm-blanket feeling, and that's really what drives my choices now. If I'm feeling content with the world, I gravitate toward mellow stuff like Dave Mathews, or some Beck if I want to drive a little faster than ol' Dave will take me. If I'm feeling blue, I try not to listen to the Smiths, but sometimes I want to wallow and only Morrissey will do. If I'm feeling the need to relax, I throw on TR's Black Rock City mix from last year and lose myself in there for awhile. If I need to be a badass for awhile, Garbage works almost every time - nothing like channeling Shirley Manson to really get that "don't mess with me" look on your face.

So what are you listening to these days?

What bands did you LIVE for way back when that you almost never put on anymore, but which still hold a place in your heart?

(Thanks go out to Wikipedia today...they provided all my links, and made my life easier.)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Florida, Part the Third... and Derby Names

When we last left off, TR & I had finished up at Disney and were on our way south.

TR smartly planned a little sojourn afterward, I think knowing that we'd both need a little relaxing after the madness of Disney, and it ended up being my favorite part of the trip. Even more of a favorite than Space Mountain and drinking our way through Epcot. It was good to spend a couple of days doing nothing much.

After Kyle the Amazing Luggage Guy got all our stuff down to the car...

Oh wait, did I mention the car TR rented while his van was in the not-really-AAA "AAA Car Care Center" outside Disney?


Have you ever driven a Mustang convertible? I have, and yes I'm totally bragging. I loved that car.

Anyway we tucked our stuff in the bitchin' auto and headed south on the Florida Turnpike. TR had good memories of stopping at the way-stations along the road as a kid to collect information brochures (you know the ones, there in a tantalizing array, promising fun for years on end), and The Kid & I like looking at those as well (we always have a good pile when coming home from pretty much anywhere), so we stopped at one. They reminded me of the oasis that show up here and there in Illinois, straddling the highway with promises of bathrooms and Baskin Robbins. They were irresistable! While we were there we also grabbed a sandwich to share from Earl of Sandwich, which was really good! Grilled bread, some kind of yummy sauce or other, hot turkey and crispy bacon...I wish they were in Colorado! We had wanted to eat there while at Disney but hadn't gotten the change. So... kismet!

We kept on driving and finally made our way onto Hutchinson Island and the Atlantic Ocean. There were some tropical storms brewing out on the ocean, so although we had clear skies, there were strong winds and heavy surf, and it was gorgeous. The hotel was lovely, quiet and our room had an ocean view.

I love this picture

TR had planned it so that we would be in our room and on the balcony in time for the moon to rise over the ocean; he even brought the mead I bought him for Christmas, producing a couple of glasses as a surprise. Très romantique, non? I thought so.

We were hungry, so we used Trip Advisor (which is awesome) to find something to eat that didn't involve the hotel. I wanted something a bit local - Floribbean as it turns out - and we found just what we were looking for in Cap's Island Grille.

Cap's is awesome! The food is fantastic - the fish tacos alone are worth the trip - and the guys who own it (Craig & Paul) are really nice. They made TR & I feel right at home! We even left a record of our trip on a dollar for their wall-o-bills. It's like a time capsule waiting for the next time we go there.

Saturday we lazed about for a little while before heading out for breakfast at the hotel's restaurant. It was your standard buffet, but it had a ton of fruit, and TR made a fruit salad to end all fruit salads... it was so good we had it Sunday, too! After breakfast we took the 'stang out for a tour of the surrounding area. It's gorgeous there, did I mention this? Two things of note...
  • Gilbert's Bar House of Refuge. This place was awesome; we toured the museum, learning about some seriously horrific wrecks, and enjoyed the view from the porch, but the best part was talking with the two owners, who had chucked it all and moved to Florida some time before, and now run the place. They are truly livin' the life.
  • PP Cobb's General Store in Fort Pierce. We were looking for a coffee shop next door, but it was closed. Kismet again! We walked in and were immediately awash in kitsch and fantastic music. Truly a general store, the shelf by the register featured a jar of mayo (one jar, mind you) a few cans of cat food and some allspice, among other things. The owner also has a collection of pre-WWII music CDs he's put together. TR bought all 4 and we enjoyed them immensely the rest of the trip... at one point I thought I was going to bust something laughing at one of the songs in particular.
After touring around all day, we needed some time in the ocean. We stopped at one of the many, many parks set up along the way, getting our feet wet and admiring some Sand Pipers, which were being cute and probably eating sand fleas, which aren't actually fleas. Who knew?! Well, TR did...he knows stuff.

Deciding that it would be nice to actually go in the water (rather than just getting our feet wet) we decided to go back to the hotel and hang on their beach. We weren't able to go in too deep, because the undertow was really strong... we both ended up getting knocked around like defective Weebles just standing calf-deep, much to our own and others amusement. Thankfully, there are places to shower off and de-ocean, because there is, as I now know, nothing quite like getting a wedgie from the Atlantic when it's kicking up sand!

The regular pool, as it turned out, was warm as bathwater, and we spent some time there (we still wanted water, and the pool offered less danger, though only slightly less sand) before deciding it was definitely time to eat... it had been a long day.

After the moon-rise, it was time for dinner at Cap's again, much to our delight, and then it was back to the hotel to crash and sleep in Sunday morning.

Sunday... well, Sunday was a kind of a bummer, much as I tried not to let it get to me. I really didn't want to go home, and the car ride back to Orlando was quiet, at least until the GIANT F'ING BUG appeared. I'm still not sure what it was, but it was enormous, red and lived in the back. We could hear it buzzing. Why didn't we just put the top down and let it go on its merry way, you ask?


There had been a few flying around when we were in Disney, but the bit of rain at the end had really upped the population. They're harmless, but EVERYWHERE.

You can't linger at the airport drop-off, so it was a quick kiss, grab the luggage and then...

I was on my own again.

Want to know something really silly?

I cried on the plane when it was taking off. It sounds really girly and dramatic, I know...and so unlike me! I analyzed it later and I think it was just like the day after any big event. The "hey wait, I wasn't done with that!" factor was HUGE.

I think it's proof that this vacation was more than just a fun trip when I realize that it really truly feels like it's been a month since we were there - in fact I keep telling TR that I'm looking forward to him coming back (he's in Florida still, and headed to Nashville shortly to help his brother move). I am looking forward to that, of course, but it's like I haven't seen him in ages; it's only been a week! He probably thinks I'm nuts. (No news there, but still.) I was so removed from my normal life that coming back felt like returning from another planet. I really needed that, I think... the removal of me from myself. I'm not sure I've ever had that before. It was just really different than anything I've ever done, and it was surprisingly affective.

The problem, of course, is that I want more. Not just more Disney, although that's a blast, and not just more beach and palm tree action, though the ocean is calling to me. What I want more of is...


Time to do jack shit if that's what I want to do. Time to look at things and SEE them, not just take cursory glances because I'm on my way somewhere else. I want time to stop and smell the roses. I fear going to my grave not having seen more than a sliver of what there is to see.

Or maybe I should just relax and enjoy my memories... I just wish they didn't seem so ancient already!

Anyway, back to the world...

It's Monday!

And I have exciting, non-Florida news!

The Kid? She passed her skills test. All the hard work she did paid off. Now we just have to come up with a good name for her... Daisy Mayhem, it seems, is taken. Even T-Lex (her other choice) seems to have been co-opted at least twice. I suggested Lexcessive Force, but she didn't like it... too many letters, I think. She wants something punchy!

I suggested she think of a name she'd like to be called, since your Derby name is how you'll be addressed, and she came up with Clementine and Jude. Clementine is taken, both as Clementine and Darlin' Clementine, but Jude only shows up once... as Jude O'Chop (which is hilarious). I had thought of Jude Betterwatchit, but it seems clunky.

We are open to any and all suggestions, got any?

Happy Monday!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Disney Madness, Part Two

Let's see, where did we leave off.

Oh yeah, Epcot! Gorgeous, fun, best food ever, drank like a fish, I can't wait to go back! Etc!

So besides Epcot, we had a brief visit to Animal Kingdom. We didn't spend as much time as we would have liked, for sure, since it was pretty hot and we were both fairly pooped (and I had a bit of a headache). We got to see some wildlife, like flamingos and spoonbills and crested cranes and gorillas (which are just awe-inspiring), plus the Tree of Life. I would have liked to see it closer up but it was hard to get to... what I did see was unbelievable!

This guy was posing for me

There are so many animals carved in here, I wonder if anyone's every seen them all!

I loved Dinoland, U.S.A., a love-note written to the days of Route 66 and the American road trip, complete with cracked and repaired blacktop roads and a theme of the end of the Dinosaurs. They also had Motrin, so they get extra points.

We also rode Everest, which turned out to be another favorite roller coaster! It's scary, but...




TR has been to Nepal, and says you'd swear you were there with the design! Those Imagineers, I tell ya. I mean look!!

Does that look like an amusement park to you? There are all these little bits of decor all around the park, including things you'll only see if you explore them. Those are definitely some of my favorite things at Disney, like the Hidden Mickeys, things that you'll only see if you really look. Like most things in life, it is what you make of it. You can go to Disney and just ride rides, or go for the good food (hello Food & Wine Festival!), or go for your kids, or just to relax, but you can also explore and see all the little things that have been left for you to find.

I like that option. I'm a big fan of the behind-the-scenes tour. I like knowing the hows and whys.

I definitely want to visit Animal Kingdom more next time, to spend a full day there and go on one of the safaris, and have more of the awesome barbecue at Flame Tree.

We visited Magic Kingdom a couple of times, occasionally by boat which was awesome. I love being on the water. (Note to Elise...when we all go together, and we SO WILL, we're going to have to rent a pontoon boat and bring a cooler, seriously.)

Magic Kingdom is definitely the "classic Disney" spot. There's Main Street USA, which greets you when you arrive and has windows emblazoned with the names of significant members of Disney history.

There's lots of shopping of course, and everything smells so good! There's lots of shopping everywhere in Disney, actually... a trip to Downtown Disney proved that for good and all! It's like Disney's mall over there, with the added bonus of Cirque du Soleil and Ghirardelli Chocolates.

The first visit to Magic Kingdom was also right around lunch time, and TR was looking forward to get some more of one of his favorite spots to eat there, Columbia Harbour House, so off we went! They have awesome fish, fantastic sea-faring decor and a birds-eye view for people watching and checking out the little Disney touches that are everywhere, like Tom Sawyer's fence - only half white-washed, of course. Another one of those things that you won't see if you aren't looking!

Like Epcot, there was a LOT to take in, but it was different in that it was more about classic Disney than innovative Disney. There were a lot of icons here, most notably Cinderella's Castle, which looks huge (a testament to those Imagineers), the statue of Walt & Mickey out in front of the castle, and rides like Pirates of the Caribbean and Peter Pan.

That crane on the left there was up and down all week, decorating

We explored a little bit that first day, riding Splash Mountain (no I didn't flash anyone) which was awesome and just thrilling enough at the end to elicit a good sold yelp. That drop is pretty steep! We also rode Pirates and Haunted Mansion a couple of times, though my eyes couldn't take it all in - the details are unbelievable! I loved the pirate ship sailing far off under the ghostly moon on Pirates, and the deeply creepy, almost unseen portraits of Gruesome Cousins of Yore that lined the walls of the Mansion.

We also went to see The Enchanted Tiki Room, something I've always wanted to see, and the Hall of Presidents, which made me want to stand up and cheer! There wasn't a dry eye in the house at the end of it all. I think all American kids need to see this at least once in their life, to remind them of who we are... or at least who we're supposed to be.

The best time, though, and really I can't believe how we lucked out, was the Halloween Party Thursday night. It's a special thing they're doing all month. There are jack-o-lanterns in all the windows, special fall/Halloween decor and gifts everywhere you look, and at night...

Oh, at night it's transformed!

We happened to go at just the right time. Thursday was a full moon, the Fall Equinox, and the weather was fantastic. TR & I both brought costumes with us, so I in my Pirate Garb and he in his Burner Fantasticness both got to run around and be admired (the kids LOVED his purple boots), and act like kids. Riding Pirates of the Caribbean, in pirate gear, with my brand new fancy shootin'-iron tucked decoratively away in my bodice, was definitely a highlight. I even got into character a bit, lightly threatening the loud girl behind us (she loved it, as evidenced by all the giggling).

We also rode Peter Pan, which charmed me utterly. As TR said, you could almost hear Uncle Walt telling the designers "no, make it FLY!".. and it does, over London, Nana, the Lost Boys, the Mermaids, Princess Tigerlilly... the whole 9 yards. We rode it twice in a row... the bonus of going to these after-hours things is there are practically no lines for anything!

The Haunted Mansion was, of course, totally done up for the occasion, with cast members dolled up and lurking, doing their best to give chills to those brave enough to venture inside... there was even a real live ghost hanging out and chatting on the front lawn! She was hysterical.

We attempted to take some professional pictures, though I'm not sure how they came out. Despite the nice weather it was still pretty swampy, and my hair was wet, so I'm sure I looked like a drowned rat; that's okay though... You'll notice a lack of photos, in fact, and this was on purpose. I took a few with my camera phone, of course, but I wanted to experience it all with my eyeballs, and avoid spending too much time on memorializing. I'll save that for next time.

There were special fireworks for the Halloween Party, too, and this is where they really went all out! The crane we saw all week working on the castle turned out to have been decorating and re-decorating every day just for this! Now THAT is dedication.

They managed to make Cinderella's confection of a castle into this evil-looking, acid-green monstrosity, a place you'd be afraid to visit even in the full light of day... and the fireworks were unbelievable. We watched from the circle in front of the castle, the moon full and riding high in the sky, grinning with delight. I know it's hokey, but that was when I truly felt Disney make magic for us... real magic, the kind that you can't explain or deny. I'm always one to rationalize myself out of true enjoyment; I can always see the seams on a costume, or the bolts on a ride, or the switch on the wall of a display. Disney makes it so that you not only don't see those things, you forget they might even be there.

Yeesh, I sound like a commercial. But so be it!

After the fireworks and some more rides, we found that once again, 5 hours had zipped by and we only had half an hour left! We raced across to Space Mountain, and let me tell you...


This was one of my favorite rides in the World. It's super fast, super fun, and though it's a bit awkward to get in and out of (especially when in a corset - yowza), it was unbelievably fun... and FAST.

Our last day in Disney we went to Magic Kingdom one last time. The weather was finally starting to get interesting, and we even managed a good solid downpour! I got to ride one more icon of Disney, the Jungle Cruise, which was hysterical and very Bob Hope. One more bit of fish from Columbia Harbour House, and one last go on Space Mountain...

And that was it!

It's kind of cool that the first ride of Disney was Spaceship Earth, and the last was Space Mountain... and our last Monorail ride was the green one, my favorite! I can't wait to go back.

Well that's enough for today I think... I have one more tale to tell, all about fast cars, palm trees, moonlight, music and fish tacos.

Next week!

Happy Friday, and I hope you had a wonderful week. Me, I'm aghast that a week ago right this minute I was riding Space Mountain. It feels so long ago already... I'm already back to my routine, although I seem to be more relaxed about it all.

I think this trip changed me.

Thank goodness!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Disney Madness, Part One

Does it tell you anything about my trip that it's taken me 2 days to even coordinate myself enough to sit down and write something?

And even now that I *am* sitting, I can guarantee it will be less than cohesive.

Note to self... schedule a day for down time next time, because dropping right back in is a fool's errand.

So let's see. Where to start.

There's the... um, adventure?... TR endured on his way to Florida in Le Van. About halfway through the middle of nowhere, his check engine light came on. AWESOME! He spent the next, oh, 20 hours or so fighting with that, attempting to find service stations. Finally he decided to just hope for the best, and of course he made it, but the van needed a doctor visit.

Which is fine, because that meant we rented a car.

What kind of car? We'll get to that later.

As for me, I spent Thursday furiously working through everything possible, cleaning my desk so that nothing would hang over my head while I was gone. I was mostly packed, but knew I'd have to finish up some last minute stuff... my mind was mostly at work, but halfway onto the plane!

I had been working hard to get as much school work done as I could, too... who wants to do homework on vacation?! My English teacher was kind enough to give me an advanced list of the Week 5 (already??) work, so I was able to get pretty caught up. I still ended up doing some homework while I was there, but not much!

So at last it was Friday morning. I got The Kid up and ready for school, dropped her off and then headed back home to meet my friend Melissa, who I plied with Starbucks in exchange for a ride to the airport.

I did homework while I waited for the plane, having gotten through security in 3 minutes flat and thus burdened with an excess of free time. No moment wasted, I tell you. I'm SO EFFICIENT.


I totally lucked out on the plane; TR set me up with a window seat because he's awesome, but as an extra bonus, the seat between the window and the aisle ended up unoccupied! The nice guy on the aisle and I high-fived over that one.

Finally landing after our very pleasant flight, I admired the gorgeous landscaping at the Orlando Airport. Well... I thought it was landscaping, turns out that's just how Florida looks. It's unbelievably gorgeous. Those palm trees! All that green!

TR picked me up in the ailing but able van, and presented me with a lei (we were staying at the Polynesian), a button saying "1st Visit!", and my Key to the World.

Isn't that cool? I felt so welcomed... and I wore that pin all week! It earned me greetings, discussions on how my trip was going, and a thorough Fairy Dusting which I'm still finding bits of even now, thankfully!

We arrived at the Polynesian and were immediately greeted by the thing I was looking forward to seeing in person most... the Monorail! I love the Monorail. I wish we had one.

There's no way to accurately describe this place, so I'll just direct you toward the link up there, and give you this picture to look at, which was the view from our room.

We could see the boats going back and forth, the castle at the Magic Kingdom and Space Mountain across the lake, both lit up all night, the other two lagoon-side resorts (the Contemporary and Grand Floridian), the ibis and lizards that were everywhere, and the monorail. We could also see the fireworks at night.

It was absolutely glorious! In fact we spent a whole day there, our feet and legs too tired to go on, renting a boat and eschewing our dinner reservations for pizza, mojitos and fireworks from the balcony. It was tough, but we managed.

The boating happened again. It was necessary. I drove, TR took many photos, and we shared (sort of - I got carried away) a Mai Tai when we got back. A lovely afternoon.

And look what was waiting on the bed for us the first day! We loved our room attendant, Sylvia. She also left us what we named The Towel Princess, and a cute towel dog who I neglected to photograph. We loved Sylvia.

It would have been perfect if not for the adjoining door. Know what happens when you have an adjoining door at the Happiest Place On Earth?

Small children.

Well, a little bit of imperfection just highlights the good stuff, right?


Once we had our stuff sorted, it was time to head out and start experiencing the parks themselves!

First, though...


Kona Cafe is part of the Polynesian, and we ate dinner and breakfast there twice. Dinner was the same thing both times because oh my...

Tuna Oscar**
Served with Fried Green Tomatoes,
Tempura-fried Jumbo Lump Crab,
and Wasabi Hollandaise

**That is not my picture. The thing I love about Disney best is the Disney Freaks. There are literally photographs of everything we ate there, taken by other people. This a) shows the consistency of deliciousness available there and b) shows that people are insane. I'm insane too, I just didn't have a good camera with me so *my* picture of the Tuna Oscar was atrocious. Just so you know.

Yeah. Twice.

For desert the first night, in celebration of a week of not having to be an adult in any capacity if I didn't feel like it, I got the most ridiculous desert on the menu.

The Kona Cone.

Again, not my photo. As evidenced by the copyright. Duh!

This is a waffle cone. Filled with two scoops, one vanilla, one chocolate. With a chocolate Mickey in it. And sprinkles. And M&Ms. And cotton candy.

Who would feed this to their child? Seriously!

It was pretty awesome.

It was a good thing I loaded up on the sugar though, because we had a long night ahead of us...

Epcot at last!!

There's no way I can go into full detail about our time at Epcot. There was too much. The first and last ride at Epcot for me was Spaceship Earth. I was completely blown away by the detail and everything else, and was a weepy mess by the end. That happened a few times actually, most notably the Hall of Presidents, American Adventure and Last Day rides.

Okay, there's no Last Day ride. But I was bummin', and there may have been hormonal imbalances going on, so there.

So since I can't quite detail everything for you, I'll sum up. During our week, we experienced all of the following at least once.
  • Air conditioning pit stops.
  • Test Track at midnight.
  • Mission Space is not for the faint of heart, but if you're going to do it, do the orange line and grab a sick sack.
  • Stupid Judy!
  • The fountain of a thousand oversprays! So welcome on a hot day. And they were all hot days.
  • The Land Pavilion... baby alligators, feeding fish, hydroponic instruction, Farmer Mickey, the best salad ever on Earth and SOARIN'! I loved that ride so much.
  • Turtle Talk is the coolest thing ever.
  • The store in Japan was enormous.
  • Canadian steaks and soup and Tropical Mojitos.
  • Strawberry Oolong Tea Slushies in China.
  • Orange Cream Vodka Slushies in France.
  • Margarita Slushies in Mexico.
  • German beer by the murrfurrin' quart. (Yes we pretty much drank our way through Disney. Vacations RULE.)
The detail on all the buildings blew my mind, and Hidden Mickeys are EVERYWHERE. I got a little obsessed actually, I started seeing them even when we weren't actually at Disney. Like in the fan at the hotel on Hutchinson Island. And in the fields on the way home on the plane. I think I have a problem.

So that was Epcot. Not really, but you get the idea.

Well, I think that's enough for one day... I have at least 3 more blog posts I can squeeze out of this trip! There's Magic Kingdom! Animal Kingdom! The beach! It's all coming. If I can remember.

It's all getting hazy...

I think I'd better go back there and do some fact checking.

You know, for accuracy.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Still Finding Sand

Hi guys! I'm back!

I had an incredible vacation. As you can imagine, I'm totally and completely swamped with work and catching up to life.

TR has often told me about how hard it is returning to the "default world". I sort of understood before - it's hard to go off-planet and then try to jump back in - but now I really get it; I haven't disconnected like that... since...

Well, never actually! I've never been that out of touch with the world.

And it was wonderful.

And I want more.

Le sigh.

Anyway I'm back! And I have lots to tell you. Just not today, because holy hell.

I'll just leave you with this for now...

Friday, September 17, 2010

Holy Spontaneous Surprise Clapping Babies, Batman!

So today I get to be part of something awesome.

Jana and Sasha, mutual blog friends of the Famous Formerly Almost Mrs. Dandy, got together and planned an awesome online baby shower! I've never heard of doing this before, and so of course I'm convinced we are the first. Don't burst my bubble if you know different!

They are super cool girls and I'm so grateful to them for inviting me to be part of it.

Click that right there...there should be a whole list of blogs shortly!

We're treating this just like a regular ol' baby shower, too, minus the cake unless you thought ahead like me and are eating a cupcake while typing.

Let's see, what comes first?

Oh right. Games.

Can I confess something to you? I hate Baby Shower games. But this is a traditional baby shower, dammit, so here goes.

First up, the "Don't Say the B-Word Game", wherein you get a safety pin, and lose said safety pin to the diligent attendee who hears you say "baby".

Whoops! Already lost that one... I've said it like 20 times already.

Okay moving on... how about Baby Bingo? Okay I'll start. Clear your Free Space. B-1!

Oh you don't have a board? Hm. I don't either, now that I think about it. Maybe the games will have to wait.

Let's just skip to the best part...


From Babycakes & Decor, an AWESOME Etsy shop. The Dandys have been calling the Dandyling "Peanut", which is adorable, and look what Mrs. Dandy found for him and put on her extremely convenient registry?!** They even wrapped it sweetly, which makes me feel better about not having something ready to wrap and send myself.

**If you want to send her something too, email me privately and I'll give you her name - gotta protect the innocent!

"Wait, Mimi," you're saying. "Don't you have the Kraft Krazy running in your veins? Where's the handmade goodness?"

Well, it's coming. I'm working on it. DON'T PRESSURE ME!

No seriously, I have something fun in mind that I obviously can't tell you about but I can guarantee The Dandys will like it! I hope! I'll share pictures when it's done.

Now that we're done with the games that don't work and comparing presents, it's on to the most important part.


My first bit of advice is don't listen to any of it too closely. Everyone is going to have things to offer, bits of wisdom, experiences to share, and your experiences will be the same sometimes and vastly different at other times. Every single pregnancy, birth and baby is different - that's why it's so much fun!

Having said that, here are some things I remember about when The Kid was a tiny thing.
  • Breastfeeding is awesome. Your nipples are going to hurt for a little while though, so have some nice cold packs ready to go! (No really, you have no idea how powerful a vacuum a baby's mouth is - one time in the doctor's office, she was hungry but the doctor was coming in, so I let her suck on my chin - don't ask me why. The resulting hickey took 2 weeks to subside.) I read somewhere that cold, wet tea bags are a good option, but honestly who wants cold wet teabags stuck to them?! I'm sure there's a fetish out there, but for this purpose I'd say go with a little ziplock, filled with frozen peas, covered in a little bit of cloth. It's important not to use paper towels or flannel or anything that might leave a trace. Trust me on this. A handkerchief will do nicely, folded up so you don't freezer-burn your tatas.
  • Bottles are equally okay! I was only able to breastfeed for a few months because I had to go back to work and it just wasn't a viable option. You've seen photos of my Amazon... it clearly did not stunt her growth. The point is, do whatever works for you! Others' opinions are exactly that... opinions.
  • Sleep is important. Make sure you two take turns taking care of him, because not only are you both going to *want* to, you're going to need to in order to stay sane.
  • Couple time is important too. Let your mom or another trust friend babysit! You and B go out and have an awesome dinner. Eat cheese. Drink wine. So many couples make the mistake of suddenly becoming a threesome and not remembering where that threesome started! It's okay to leave Peanut home with a sitter now and again.
  • Germs are okay. They're even important! Sanitizing is important, too, but don't overdo it. Play pass-the-baby at Christmas, it's okay! If he gets sick, it's okay too. He'll get better. Building up those antibodies is important!
  • Speaking of which, medicine is a good thing! Lots of people have differing opinions on immunizations and such. I wouldn't presume to tell you what to do, but I *will* tell you The Kid has had every immunization imaginable, and other than getting a severe case of Sassy Teen, she's been absolutely fine. Immunizations aside, though, trust me on this one... BABY IBUPROFEN. USE IT. If he doesn't have an allergy, it's SO the way to go. It will bring a fever down and relieve teething pain in 15 minutes flat. Tylenol doesn't do that! Of course, this is just my advice. Again, don't use it if it doesn't work for you.
  • On the subject teething... It's awful. Their noses run, they cry, their ears hurt, they run fevers... give him medicine. They say if an adult went through teething they'd die from the pain. Baby Anbesol, Ibuprofen or Tylenol if that works... whatever it takes! And here's an awesome thing I discovered! When he's doing the Two-Year Molar thing, hand him a frozen waffle (younger than that and the waffle might be too much in the way of foodstuffs). He'll thank you for it. It's cold, tasty, and the ridges feel AWESOME. Ever have a sinus headache, and find just the right part of your cheekbones to push so it relieves the pain? Yeah, like that.
  • Accidents are going to happen. Don't worry too much. Babies and small children are unbelievable resilient. And wiggly. I discovered The Kid could roll over when she plopped down into the open sock drawer in which I was rummaging at the bottom of her changing dresser. Lesson learned! One hand remained on her belly from then on if I had to multitask. You learn as you go along, and they learn with you! Remind me to tell you about the time I dislocated The Kid's elbow. Twice. Lesson learned... Nursemaid's Elbow is not something the doctor made up to make you feel better!
  • Sometimes, big accidents happen. This doesn't make you a bad parent! Broken bones and road rash are par for the course, unfortunately... kids are daredevils! Know where your insurance card is at all times, and keep the kid's doctors phone numbers in your cell phone.
Is your head spinning yet? Okay, okay, tell you what. I'll just wrap it up with one more bit of advice.
  • Trust yourselves. "What, that's it?" you're asking. Yes! Trust yourselves. You are a smart woman. B is a smart man - he married you, didn't he? You two will figure it out. If you want advice, trust yourselves enough to ask one of us Mamas. Just don't take it as Bible Truth - take what makes sense to you, leave the rest, and go with your instincts! There's no instruction book. You do what feels right, what feels like it's best. That's your best compass.
Okay I said I'd quit with the advice, but I want to just say one more thing.
  • It's okay if you don't do everything perfectly. I swear. Peanut will remember hugs and kisses, his favorite teddy bear, his favorite book, car rides where he throws up spectacularly, and traditions of holiday joy - these are the things that stick!
Good luck, guys... you're going to be awesome.

Oh, and Mrs. Dandy? The diet's almost over. I promise.