Friday, January 30, 2015

Sibling rivalry

Christmas 2014
 
The day started on a harmonious note:
 
Okay, I both love and hate this picture.  I love it because, well, matching PJs!  On the animals, even!  However, it is not the most flattering picture I've ever taken.  Also?  Kendall, the cat in my lap (did you know there was a cat in my lap?) is making my shape look a whole lot weirder than it normally is.  Do I need to lose a few pounds? Yes?  But my abdomen isn't DEFORMED, yall.)

No really, everyone was pretty much diggin' their duds.  Some of the cats more than others.  Maxx (the gray I'm holding) always likes dressing up.  It makes him feel pretty.  Izby (in the Daughter's lap) didn't mind his...it was a cold morning & he's cold natured.  Kendall, the one who's melded into my lap, hated her PJs.  She slunk around like she was partially paralyzed/had a broken spine until we took hers off.
Anywho, after we posed for our Christmas picture, we opened our gifts to one another and had our Christmas brunch.  All felt good and right with the world.
That lasted about an hour, and then this:
 
I don't know if the battle raged because of the box itself, because Daisy was jealous that Izby still had on his PJs, or if it was just that time of day when, as a cat, you try to rip your brother's head off.  Glad I was able to catch it on video.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Dark and Light

 
 
 
“How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in a weary world.”
William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice


I'm going to be honest with you guys...this month has sucked, and it has sucked hard.
I never have been a big January fan (well, except for that time that I got that really, great, fantastic wonderful kid and all...but even she came with an episiotomy).  You've got you're post-holiday blues.  You've got crappy, gray weather.  You don't have another holiday off work until Memorial Day.  In MAY.
This particular January has been especially bad.  A classmate of mine died.  TWO ex-co-workers (both really great guys) died.  I got the flu.  And it rained...and rained...and rained.  I have been really, really bummed.

Which is why I so very much enjoyed a picture that one of my daughter's friends tagged me in on Facebook...
Wait, let me back up a sec.
Back in early November, when Daughter was home from college on fall break, she was driving across an old Army Fort when she saw this little girl:

 
This sweet little thing had obviously been dumped by some asshole running around masquerading as a human.  She was skin and bones...but so FRIENDLY.
Daughter knew we were already way over quota on our pet count, but she also knew that she couldn't leave this girl out there like she was.  She figured we could find her a home...at least get her fed until we could maybe find a foster home or no-kill shelter.
She took a couple of pictures of her and posted them on Facebook and Twitter.
 
Before this puppy could even finish her bowl of dog food (and she was INHALING it), one of Daughter's friends was on her way over to adopt her.  She had taken one look at her and fell in love.
 
I ran into this friend in Target and asked how the puppy (now named Maggie) was doing.  Beaming, Daughter's friend answered, "She's PERFECT!! I love her so much!"  And the next day, she posted a picture and tagged me in it:
 
 
I can't tell you how much this lifted my heart.  I'd say it made my day...but truth be told, it made my month.  What an angel. Er...angels.




Monday, January 19, 2015

Nineteen


On January 19, 1996 at 2:32 p.m. my life changed forever.  In fact, every facet of my life changed forever.  Physically, I felt a mess (4th degree episiotomy is the medical term. "Frankengina" or "the perineal disaster" was more descriptive.  Probably too descriptive, but there we are). Emotionally, I was both high as a kite (I had never felt such love for anything, ever.  I didn't even know I had the capacity for such love until that moment.) and terrified beyond belief (this tiny wee thing that I loved so much?  was utterly defenseless.  HO-LY shit!  Anything could happen!  Anything!).
I was so proud (Because, guys?  She was the most beautiful baby you ever did see.  Honestly, just look:)
 
I was so humbled. (Because, guys? Jeff and I were going to be THE MAIN influence on what got put between those precious little ears.  We were going to be the base that everything she knew, and felt, and believed was built upon.  And we SUCKED at a lot of things. We were 25 and 26 for crying out loud!  What did we know?!?)
 
This parenting gig??  It's been amazing. And scary. And wonderful. And awful. NOTHING could have prepared me for what was to come...the highs of watching my daughter learn and grow and mature, indescribable.  She was SO. DANG. SMART. At one time Jeff told me, "I don't even tell daughter stories at work anymore.  It doesn't seem fair to the other dads...their kid just remembered the dog's name...ours can do rudimentary physics." (True story.  At two, she asked me how far it was to Birmingham (about 60 miles)...then said, "Oh, so if we go 60 mph, we'll be there in an hour.")
But then there were the lows of seeing her heart get broken (kids are mean little shits sometimes)...of seeing my own heart get broken as she grew and distanced herself from me.
All in all, she turned out mighty fine.  I was reminded of this the other day...
 
Kiddo was home from college and we had decided to go get pedicures together. We settled in to our pedicure chairs...the Daughter chatting it up with a boy she had graduated with, who worked at the nail salon.  He was cute as a button and very obviously gay (he had waxed eyebrows, eyeliner and high-heeled, knee-high boots on).  As Daughter wandered over to pick out her color of nail polish, he leaned towards me and whispered, "Do you know how amazing your daughter is?"  Of course, I DO think I know amazing she is, but I always enjoy hearing it from others.
Pedi-dude proceeded to tell me how my daughter had come to his defense time and again after he came out...both in person and on social media.  How she made it a point to sit by him at lunch if he was ever alone.  How she COMPLETELY dressed down someone who was bullying him on Facebook by throwing Bible verses at him and telling him he was going to Hell.  She had fired right back at this guy about how a Christian should ACT and put him in his place about what his actual job as a Christian was (to love one another and to lead people to God) and what it was not (to be judge-y and hateful and run people off the whole idea of God).  He said to me, "You'll never know what her support has meant to me over these past couple of years.  You don't expect it from the popular, smart, cheerleader types.  I just wanted to tell you "Thank you" for raising her like you did."

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Ballin'


I am good at a lot of things.
I can do many home repairs myself (I have replaced the drive gear in my garage door opener, the transmission in my washing machine and just recently, unclogged the kitchen sink).
 I'm a fairly good cook. My chili has been praised by some seriously picky folks...and my chicken ring is legendary.
I'm a good engineer.
I'm pretty proud of the job I've done as a mother (for the most part. I don't think you're human if you haven't, at some point or another completely blown it as a parent...or at least think you have.)
I'm a pretty good wife (25 years, baby! Gotta be doing something right).

However, there are things I am bad at, and when I am bad at something, I'm abysmal.
I cannot sew. Jeff does ALL clothing repairs. I seriously cannot sew a button on.
I cannot work the multifunction TV/cable/DVR/blueray remote. (Yes, I'm still an engineer. Shut up.)
I cannot manage a packing tape dispenser. (Leave me in the room with a box and a packing tape dispenser, come back in 5 minutes and it will look like I tried to take myself hostage.)

Annnnnd, new research to the list... I cannot ball a melon.
I'm not even sure that's what you call it. It sounds kinda dirty when you just type it out there like that.
Here's some pictorial evidence

I was TRYING to bring something healthy to a party recently. I thought a fruit tray would be nice. I had grapes and strawberries and raspberries...and melon blobs. (The one in the center that looks almost spherical? I flipped that one over. It was just as bad on the other side).



I need someone to explain to me where I went wrong.
See the green utensil by the melon? That's what I was using. It was specifically made for balling melons (again, my terminology sounds like something that's illegal in the state of Alabama)"


Plus, I feel like I really wasted a lot of quality melon bits trying to get the little balls to come out right.
Suggestions anyone?

Saturday, December 20, 2014

The thing under the tree


Look close...
 
 

Closer...

 
Still not seeing it??


 
So yeah, when I went to put a package under the tree and it grunted at me, I squealed like a ten-year-old girl and almost wet myself.
 
For a second there, I thought I'd been gotten by the thing-that-lives-under-things.  I don't have lots of nightmares, but when I do, they come in two flavors...being chased by some THING...or the-thing-that-lives-under-things (the bed, the stairs, the couch, the chair, etc) jumps out and gets me.
 
I'm sensing a Christmas-themed nightmare in my future.


"What?  Doesn't everyone nap under the tree?"
 
Thanks a butt-load, Maxx.



Saturday, December 13, 2014

Airplane etiquette

Okay, no one really loves traveling by plane.  We love the convenience of it, sure.  It's great to get across the country in just a few hours.  But the actual sitting in metal tube breathing stale air with usually at least 3 points of contact being made with another person that you don't even know?  Not fun.
However, there are things that can be done to make the experience better for everyone.  Most of the rules of etiquette seem pretty self-evident to me.  But after what I experienced yesterday, I it seems I've got to come right out and lay some of these (so far) unspoken guidelines out there in black and white.
#1 Don't be a jerk.  You know, that's not just a rule for air travel. No matter what you're doing, you can pretty much apply the "don't be a jerk" policy.
 
I arrived at my gate yesterday a good 45 minutes before we were supposed to board.  Many people were there ahead of me, so seats at the gate were pretty sparse. There was an older man (seen below) who had taken up an entire row of seats with bags and cup lids. I asked "are all of these seats taken?" to which he replied, "Yeah, lady.  These seats are for me and my wife."  "All four?" I ask.
"Obviously, or I wouldn't have saved them."
Fine.
 
 
 
A nice person across the aisle shifted their bags out of the seat beside them and told me I was welcome to sit there.
 
#2 Don't be a slob.
Then Mr. Curmudgeon leans out and loudly and sloppily eats a crumbly cookie (with his mouth open) just letting the crumbs pile up at his feet (some of them actually on his shoes.)

 


 
Then his wife joined him.  She looked really put together...top and skirt matching nicely.  I kind of had hopes that she would be the one to kind of tone down her husband's antisocial behavior.
I mean, she LOOKED like someone who knew most of the social mores that keep society from falling apart.  But then...she herself violated my third rule.  The rule that I really thought went unstated.  The rule that you would do for your own sake as much as for others.
 
#3. Don't stink.  I mean, really?  Who wants to smell bad?  Yet here we are.  Ms. Socially Inept had joined her husband, handed him a milk and started rustling through her bags.  I was sitting across from these two...had started checking my email on my phone when the smell hit me.



..

 
It is 7:00 in the morning, and this woman has opened a bag of smoked salmon.
 
She's laying thick slabs of the stuff onto her bagel.  The smell is wafting through the early morning air.  The nice lady beside me actually makes a little stifled gagging noise.
 
I understand that lox and bagels is allegedly a breakfast item in some geographical locations.  That is fine.  I have sampled lox and bagels.  Not my thing, but again, fine.  It is not, however something you prepare in a crowd of people.
It is CERTAINLY not something you slap together and carry onto a PLANE to finish.  Which this couple did.
 
The whole interior of the fuselage smelled like stinky fish.
I found a seat as far from this couple as I could possibly manage and ordered a Bloody Mary.
 
I'll take a screaming baby on a flight any ole time vs. a stinky, mean old rude couple any day.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Werewolf in Bama

Not a real post...something I meant to share with you guys in passing a while back...Going through the pictures in my phone I found this:
 
 
I took this picture sometime last month (October, of course) at a local restaurant here in town.
 
I have some questions.
 
1. Where does one go to purchase an effeminate werewolf cut-out?  I can't believe it was bought locally, because, Hello! This is Alabama.
 
2. Why does one purchase an effeminate werewolf cutout?  It's Halloween....time for scary stuff.  This dude is frightening no one.
 
3. Seriously, jazz hands?