Tuesday, July 31, 2012

July Pointless Lists

End of July.  How is that even possible?  July has always been my favorite.  The weather is nice, the food is good, and the days are long.  What more could you ask for in a month?

Skilly had to go to the vet yesterday.  This Friday, when Abby and I were up watching the Opening Ceremonies at all hours of the night because we're stupid awesome (it was her 13th birthday, and it's not like the Opening Ceremonies happen everyday.  PLUS.  Voldemort defeated by Mary Poppins?  Does it get any more confusing better than that, ever?), Skilly came in from being outside with his left eye closed tight.  He'd try to clean it and just cry.  This heart wrenching, horrible cry.  Abby and I would try to look at it, and he'd cry some more.

It was awful.

Since it was the weekend, we decided to take the "wait and see" approach.  Sometimes we even thought he was doing better.  His eye was still closed, but he wasn't crying.  That's progress, right?  But on Monday, nothing had changed, and he even had some gross red discharge around his eye.  Obviously, that's not that great of a sign.

Skilly is in touch with his feminine side.

The vet was awesome and took us right away--even switched around the schedule to accommodate us. Skilly was NOT happy about being in his cat carrier, or being taken down the steps into the garage, or being in the car, or driving.  "Not happy" doesn't even begin to describe it, but English is very limited, so what do you do?  Once we got to the vet, Skilly had quit crying.  Probably because his spirit was broken.

The vet opens up his carrier--it's this canvas thing that zips down--and Skilly just lays there like the angel that he is.  She's all like, he might have a foreign body in there, and then she numbs his eye, and then a few minutes later PULLS THIS ONE INCH GRASS SEED THING OUT OF HIS EYEBALL.  I wasn't sure what I should do first, throw up or pass out.  It was truly disgusting, and truly horrific knowing that I'd made my furry little baby boy suffer all weekend long.

Skilly gets antibiotic drops in his eye three times a day for the next week.  The drops are not his favorite, but he can open his eye now and it even looks less cloudy--he had some cornea damage that we're supposed to keep an eye on, which makes sense when you think about it.  He also rubbed off all but two of the whiskers over his eye, and the hair is looking pretty thin there, too.  He's a lot less vain than I am, though, so this does not bother him.

The end.  Pointless List time!

Madie probably needs equal time, right?

Books read:
PEOPLE!  I've already mentioned this, but I finally finished Game of Thrones: A Clash of Kings. Practically two full months it took me to read that sucker.  I enjoyed the book very much, but I'm taking a break before I read the third one (which yes, I've already purchased).  I'm not sure if it took so long because it's a huge book or because I've been spending way too much time on my poser iPad looking at stuff.

Then I started Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, and I also mentioned this already, but my parents gave me the whole series on ebook for my birthday.  Today, incidentally, is Harry Potter's birthday.  (And JK Rowling.  Coincidence?)  I've been thinking about Harry all day and pretending it's not sad AT ALL that, as a 40-year-old, I still love him.

Movies watched:
Um, what?

Hey, though, when we were on vacation and had cable TV, we discovered a couple of shows on the History Channel: American Pickers and Pawn Stars.  So we've watched a few episodes of each on Netflix since we've been back.  That's something, right?

Canning and freezing exploits:
This weekend I canned 24 jars of dill pickles, but one of the jars broke so I only have 23 in my cupboard.  I've also canned 14 quarts of cherries and, now that I think about it, still have another huge bag in Eric's beer fridge that I need to make into jam.  I did make 7 pints of raspberry jam using our very own raspberries, and I've frozen quite a few packages of berries, too.

I've been drying apricots (Johanna is a big fan), made a couple batches of pesto, and 8 quarts of tomato sauce.  These things all get frozen solid because I'm afraid my tomatoes will try to kill me, plus what else are you supposed to do with dried fruit and pesto?

Garden update:
In some ways, the garden is just a big disappointment this year.  I've got only two zuchinni plants that survived out of... I don't know... more than a dozen seeds, anyway.  What. Ever.  Also, our green beans are just pathetic.

One of the 11 varieties of hops Eric grows.

But the tomatoes are doing great, and the raspberries are rock solid.  The blackberries are beginning to ripen.  Eric's hops actually look pretty good this year.  The dill was awesome, my cilantro has totally flowered, and the carrots might not suck.  I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

Things I learned:
Turning 40 isn't so bad.  Cats are tough.  You can find a fedora at the county fair.  Letting your freshly turned 13-year-old dress you for work can be interesting.  And losing your glasses is NOT awesome.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

T.S. Eliot was totally right

Between the idea

The gnome is a nice touch...

And the reality

Abby's 13th birthday cake.

Falls the shadow.

True story: I wanted to make a round cake so I could use my pretty antique cake stand that used to be my Grandma Elsie's, who, incidentally, wasn't actually my Grandma at all.

Luckily Abby has a good sense of humor.  Ah, well.  I tried.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

True story: I survived the fair

Last year, Abby went to the County Fair with a group of friends, and I never did get around to taking Johanna.  Well, I was still new to the working world and I was having major problems figuring out how to function with four less hours in my day, I guess.  Whatever.  The point is that Johanna DID NOT FORGET ALL YEAR and likes to point it out periodically, just to remind me that I suck as a mother.

So this year, obviously, going to the fair with my children was a priority.  Because while I do suck as a mother, I like to suck at different things from year to year.

Back in my stay-at-home-mother days, we'd go to the fair opening day in the afternoon.  Get it done and get the hell out, that was my motto.  That doesn't work very well when you work from 1-5 p.m., but the upside is that I get out of my house every single day and don't have to look at piles of laundry all the time.

The plan was simple, yet perfect: I get off of work, we eat dinner, we head to the fairgrounds.  Eric had "outside chores" that needed "attention" and thus wasn't able to come with us.  And I was all, that is BRILLIANT.  Why didn't I think of that?

The fair is not exactly my favorite thing to do ever, that's why, but still, we endure because we must.

It had been a very hot day, which was perfect because that meant the night was going to be awesome.  And it was.  We were running around in tank tops at 9:30 p.m.  You can't tell me that's not amazing.

Abby's fair agenda included finding friends and ditching Johanna and I, but I was cool with that.  She was very, very good about checking in with me at the designated time.  She's so responsible!  Maybe I don't suck too much as a mother after all.  PLUS.  I didn't have to see her go on rides of questionable origin that I'm always pretty sure are going to kill us all whether we ride them or not.

Hey, she did walk around with us for a little while so we could check out the animals.  I mean, the kid turns 13 tomorrow.  It's amazing she'll be seen with us at all.

Johanna's fair agenda included finding a fedora.  I'm not even joking.  After Abby found her friends and left us to fend for ourselves, we hit the fairway to see what sort of merchandise we could find.  Johanna zeroed in on a display of fedoras pretty fast.  The guy was all, $10, but for her, $8.  I'm only making 75-cents per hat, but that's okay, I can get more.  I suck at motherhood AND bargaining because I was going to just pay the ten bucks, but anyway, for $8 and the nagging feeling I was still being had, Johanna got her fedora.  It's fake straw and ugly, and will most likely fall apart before the week is out, but my baby is happy.  She gave her fedora periodic kisses all evening, and I got a lot of hugs and I love yous.

So that was $8 well spent is what I'm saying.

My fair agenda included begging Johanna to please just let me look at the exhibits for five minutes.  I never get around to entering anything--that would require an effort, you see--but it's still fun to see what everyone else is doing, especially the quilts and the art.  Johanna spent her time asking to leave and then demanding I look at something cool she'd found.  She was freely giving her own verbal blue ribbons "to anything that doesn't freak me out."  Well, why not?

Oh, yeah, and it was a mini-reunion of sorts, because we all saw people that we know (and our nephews were there running around with their girlfriends, so it was fun to sneak up on them).  I won't lie, while I am a natural introvert, I do enjoy catching up with friends.

We finally got out of there at 9:45 p.m., which I thought was generous and the girls thought wasn't quite long enough, but they were good about it.  I promptly washed the carnival off and gave myself a standing ovation for enduring and succeeding.  And!  Now I don't have to worry about it again for an entire year!  That's most of the battle right there.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Nothing like a little Pepsi in your sandals

Hello there, blank monitor screen.  My, you're looking intimidating today.  That could just be because I'm not wearing my glasses, though.  When you're both near AND far sighted, things tend to appear a little odd.

I just looked out my bedroom window and saw Johanna driving the truck up to the garden.  I'm going to pretend I didn't see that.  I'm also going to find my glasses and then yell at Eric.

There.  Much better.

Hey, so we went to Sunriver for my birthday weekend.  And you know what?  It was perfect.  We came, we took a lot of walks along the bike trails, we swam at the new acquatic center, we hung out in the village, we went to the Sunriver Brew House and had an adventure, we cooked some meals and watched some TV and read some books and just hung out all awesome for four days and three nights.  

We're going to Reader's Digest this thing because we all have lives to lead, but anyway, here are some highlights I don't want to forget:

We went to the Bend Brewing Company for my birthday lunch, where I got a free Chocolate Lava Cake from the waitress (who was totally jealous of my new middle-aged status) and a full Pepsi spilled on my foot from Johanna (at least we were eating outside so my shoes could dry).  

We had Creme Brule for dessert that night because obviously there's no such thing as too much sugar.  It was delish, and I'm not just saying that because I made it myself.

Okay, I'm totally saying that because I made it myself, but relax--it's not bragging if it's true.

On Friday night, Eric and I took a long walk up to the observatory and back, and then decided that we were enjoying the quiet so much that we'd go into town to check out the new pub in the village.  (This is that adventure I alluded to above, just FYI.)  Our big question: Does Sunriver Brew House mean they brew their own beer, or that they serve other people's beer?

So we walk in, and the place is packed.  We see that they've got their own brew on tap.  That's cool.  Then we notice some big tanks in the back.  That's cooler.  So we head back there to check them out.

Then this guy comes up to us and introduces himself as the owner, and long story short, he talks our ears off (in a good way.  It was interesting and awesome).  Then he's all, let me get you a sampler!  And Eric is all like, now we're talking.  So the bartender brings them out, and I try each just for kicks, and learned that I enjoy a stout more than an IPA, which is exactly the opposite of Eric.  And when I say "enjoy," I really mean "it didn't suck that bad" because, disclaimer, I think all beer is pretty damn gross.

After Eric has finished his sampler, the owner comes over with a huge sticker (like vat sized, no joke) and a hat.  He's all, don't let my employees see I've given you this hat because they're a hot commodity.  And we were all like, sir, yes sir!

So that was exciting.

Then! I finished Game of Thrones: A Song of Ice and Fire while I was poolside Saturday, baking in the sun.  I could hardly believe it.  TWO MONTHS it took me to get through that thing.  So then I started in on Harry Potter because my parents love me and that's what they gave me for my birthday--the complete set for my Kindle.

And Eric mentioned at one point that he had hoped to find a small Matchbox-style replica of my crisis car and then put it in the driveway of our rental with a huge bow on it, and then come into the house and be all like, I got you something, and then lead me out and there would be this huge bow on a tiny Matchbox car, but he couldn't actually find one, so instead he just told me the story.  That is so awesome he totally gets points for just thinking it up.

So you see?  I told you it was awesome and perfect.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Happy birthday to me, again


Well, now that it's here, I feel a vague sense of acceptance.  I'm not sure if that's because I'm finally wise and mature, or because I've been beaten down.  Same thing, really.

Today I am not going in to work because I have big plans.  Or something.  Whatever, that is beside the point.  The point is that yesterday my co-workers partied like it was 1972.  Except without the disco or the bell bottoms, which everyone appreciated in a general sort of way.

This is what I walked in to:

My desk!

Black roses are a nice touch...

I was barely in the door before a crowd had assembled to sing me happy birthday.  I blushed and was fairly embarrassed by the whole ordeal, but honestly, it was also sort of nice.  These people actually LIKE me!  That's just good for my self esteem right there.

Next came my present:

Arthritis cream stuff, stool softener,
bladder control liners.  AWESOME.
I can cross that off my list, then.

Stacey made me a Texas Sheet Cake, all natural, stayed up until 11 p.m. the night before or something, now THAT is a friend.  I should have taken a picture of that cake because it was a thing of beauty.  I had two pieces and a gut bomb.  It was fantastic.  Oh, and she also got carried away with the confetti. My desk, my phone, and my computer were covered in it.  I was tracking it around the office with me everywhere I went.  That was pretty fun, actually.

Later Stacey remembered she had this hat--"I disinfected it and everything!"--that she wanted me to wear.  I was like, hold up, who wore it last that it needed disinfecting?  And she was like, oh, just Adam, and he's fine, but sometimes people are weird about that sort of thing so I figured, why not Lysol it between uses?  

Okay, then.

Stacey took a picture of this on my head, but honestly,
no one needs to see that.

The public was nice to me, the atmosphere was generally happy, and I mentioned my two pieces of cake, right?  Excellent day.

I was sort of feeling sentimental about the end of my thirties yesterday.  Today I'm attempting to embrace my new decade.  Um, so that's the end of my whining about it.  Probably.  Maybe.  I guess we'll see.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

I'm on the verge

Last day of thirty
Nine. It hasn't been so bad.
Day's not over, though.

That's a haiku right there.  Poetry seems sort of fitting for a day like this, although maybe that's just sheer vanity on my part.  Which is mostly why I started the blog, now that I think about it.  It's comforting to know that some things stay the same.

Vanity aside, I also started the blog to keep track of all the awesome that I was sure was going to go on all year long.  I'm always optimistic about all the wrong things.  But let's review anyway, shall we?

  1. I broke up with Safeway.
  2. I got glasses.
  3. I got my poser iPad.
  4. We had a lot of snow and ice.  Wait.  That wasn't awesome, but at least the pictures are pretty.
  5. I discovered The Hunger Games and Game of Thrones.
  6. I invented a drinking game.
  7. I learned to make my own cleaners.
  8. I was called a Magnificent Being.
  9. I got kicked out of a bar.
  10. Scored at a rummage sale.
  11. Got pulled over by Officer Princess.
  12. Was endlessly amused by my darling children.
  13. I already knew this, but Eric is the best.
  14. I already knew this too, but my job is the best.

Hey, incidentally, you know what my most read post is?  This one about my dishwasher frustrations.  I know, I'm shocked too.

P.S. Lucy's Daddy just picked her up.  She was SO EXCITED when she heard his voice.  That little tail of hers was wagging so hard, I was pretty sure she was going to lift off.  We're still firmly cat people (because we enjoy pets who ignore us--that is a relationship we can get behind), but it was fun to have a dog in the house.  It was different to come home and have someone actually care.  And we didn't kill her!  Thank God, because she is SUCH a sweetie.

Bye, Lucy.

Well, anyway.  It's been a year.  I was thinking originally that the blog would probably only last one year, but what about all the awesome stuff that's going to happen when I'm 40?  So there you go.  Plus vanity doesn't just go away, apparently.

Jack's Mannequin, I'm Ready.   I come undone, oh yes I do.  Plus, just FYI, I'm finding the words.

Monday, July 16, 2012

T-minus three

I don’t know, people.  I was sort of joking before about my impending 40th birthday breakdown, but now that we’re T-minus three and counting, maybe I’m not joking after all.  There’s just too much to think about.  My natural coping methods involve a lot of swearing and then sitting on the deck in the sun with my Kindle, but that’s not really an option at the moment.  Johanna must get to Vacation Bible School, the refrigerator must be filled, Lucy needs to be taken out, Abby needs Mama time, and I think Eric is sort of worried that I’m losing my mind.  He kept saying things all weekend like, “Do you think you’ll be less stressed after this weekend?”

Not really, but that’s nice of you to ask.

So anyway, lots to write about, but it’s not going to happen today.  Instead, here’s a link to my Public’s favorite post (hi, Mom!).  

Friday, July 13, 2012

A not-so-pointless trip

Once upon a time (let's say June 30-July 4 of this year) our little family went on a jaunt across the wilderness--also known as "Idaho"--for what might be dubbed as a surprise vacation.  Eric and Abby planned the thing and would NOT give Johanna and I any details.  Which would have been okay, maybe, except they've been taunting us with our lack of knowledge for months.  I'm not even kidding.  It was quite rude, actually.

So I hacked Eric's email and found reservations at Farragut State Park.  SO THERE.  Abby was shocked, but I was like, tell me next time, and also, why are you so surprised?  I looked up the entire Hunger Games plot line on Wikipedia because I wanted to make sure Katniss and Peeta were okay.  OF COURSE I'm going to hack an email. 

She was still mad at me, though.

So June 30 dawns bright and beautiful, and we load up the truck and hitch up our awesome '89 tent trailer and hit the road.  We drive and drive and drive.  Wow, it takes a long time to get to Idaho.

Right about the time we're looking for Farragut signs, we pass by Silverwood Theme Park.  And Abby is all smug and like, what a coincidence!  A theme park in the middle of nowhere!  And Johanna and I were all, huh.  Because that was not on our radar at all.  WE WERE CAMPING AT FARRAGUT.  I'd hacked the email, I knew what we were doing, I'd announced it weeks ago over dinner because maturity is something I'm waiting until 40 to embrace.

Turns out I only had half the story.  But it took Eric and Abby a looooong time to convince Johanna and I that we weren't just going camping.  Well, that explains why Abby begged me to bring my swimsuit along.

I'd never actually heard of Silverwood before.  Turns out it's an amusement park / water park combo plate.  I'm guessing the water park is where they make their money, just because the amusement park is more like a glorified county fair with way less dust and really cute timber-y, old time-y decorations.  Like this one:

Um, that's a wagon filled with flowers, in case it
doesn't translate.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Eric chose the Farragut campground as our launch site instead of the campground at Silverwood  because the latter did not get good online reviews.  And as we passed, we could see why: The Silverwood campground is RIGHT by the highway, it's small and the sites are practically stacked on top of each other, and grass is a precious commodity.  Plus apparently there's one bathroom for the entire joint.  No thanks.

Farragut was beautiful and totally worth the extra ten minutes or whatever it took to get to Silverwood.  The sites were spaced out far enough that you couldn't hear what was going on in the other camps, grass was everywhere, the road was wide and paved (which probably explains all the kids on bikes), and the sites, bathrooms and showers were clean and well-kept.  This is one of the nicest campgrounds we'd ever stayed at... and it was quiet at night, too, now that I think about it, maybe because of a 10 p.m. quiet policy.  I LOVE quiet policies!

One quick note: I never did see a light come on in the showers.  We tended to go in the morning, so there was a little light naturally filtering through from above.  It was dim, but not dark.  We didn't have any trouble seeing what we were doing, but it was a little disconcerting at first.

We went to Silverwood so we didn't spend a lot of time exploring, but Farragut had access to Lake Pend Oreille for boats and fishing, hiking trails, and a small museum.  Had we just stayed at the campground, there still would have been things to do.  Aside from just reading, I mean.  Actually just reading is my idea of a perfect camping trip, although Eric would tend to not agree with me there.

My grandpa trained here before shipping out.

The girls had a blast at Silverwood.  It was only in the mid-70s when we visited the water park, and mid-60s and rainy / windy / thunderstorm-y when we visited the amusement park, so that could have been better, but that's Mother Nature's issue, not Silverwood's.  

The water park was our favorite.  And I only took one picture, which is a bummer.

There was plenty to do for both the seven-year-old Johanna's amongst us AND the almost-13 Abby's.  Johanna and I partnered up, and we hit the wave pool, "Polliwog Park," and "Elkhorn Creek."  Johanna also did some of the water slides with Eric and Abby, but Elkhorn Creek was our favorite--you sit on an inner tube and let current take you around the circular 2 1/2 feet deep circular course.  Johanna has too much energy to be confined to a tube, so she basically just pushed me around and made sure I didn't hit any of the water hazards.

Eric and Abby went on all the crazy slides, all day long.  They were pretty wiped out by the end of the day.  We seriously didn't make it to closing, that's how tired we were.

Things to keep in mind: You can rent a locker for a few bucks to stow your belongings, but only the person who wears the ID bracelet gets access to that locker.  Eric wore ours, so when we were separated and Jo and I wanted something, we were out of luck.  You can rent inner tubes and floats, again for a few bucks, but we chose not to do that, and I can't say we really missed out on anything.  The park regulations state that you can't bring any food or water in, and we obeyed--but no one else did, and it seemed like no one cared.  On entry, they glanced in my bag for about two seconds, which made me wish I'd stuck a water bottle underneath the towels.  Drinking fountains were in short supply, although there were all manner of gift shop and food booth.

Our amusement park experience was marred a bit by a thunderstorm, which meant most of the rides closed down soon after we arrived.  Hey, I'm all for that--I'd rather not be struck by lightening, truth be told.  We took the train ride around the park, and Johanna and I had fun shopping in the cute little Victorian village, especially the candy store.  The Americano I got at the coffee shop was terrible, but hey, we were out of the rain and thunder, so that was a plus.

We also hit the Theater of Illusion in an attempt to warm up and saw Dave Womach preform--he was pretty amazing, actually, so I'm glad we did.

When the weather cleared, we headed back outside.  The roller coasters were almost too fast even for Abby, which surprised me, so they didn't really do a lot of that.  Even though it was freezing, Eric and Abby did the bumper boats (and learned you could spray people from the shore, which they found endlessly entertaining) and got soaked.  Eric and the girls also did some of the carnival-type rides, like the Tilt-A-Whirl and the bumper cars.  Johanna and I liked the antique car ride (wow, she's a bad driver).  I learned at the top of the Ferris Wheel that Johanna does not like Ferris Wheels.  At least the view was pretty.

Things to keep in mind: We didn't rent a locker for our time at the amusement park.  Since you can get your hand stamped and re-enter, we kept snacks in the car and took a mid-afternoon break.  Maybe we could have eaten there--the prices were high but not crazy--but with my allergies, I'd just as soon NOT eat out if it can be helped.  There were a lot of "fairway" type activity booths that of course cost money, and there seemed to be a gift shop or a place to eat at every turn, but everything else was included in the ticket price.

Overall, Silverwood was a fun destination.  We've been to Disneyland too many times for it to seem extraordinary, but for what it was, it was great.  Two days were plenty to get our fill of both the water park and the amusement park.  The parks were clean and the staff was all very friendly and helpful.  (Except for my coffee shop barista, but in her defense, there was a long line of thunder-avoiding people and just one of her and I think she was simply overwhelmed.)  The girls especially loved it.

So yeah, we'd go again.  Just no more surprise vacations, okay, Abby?

Thursday, July 12, 2012



Lucy the blind dog (who is a Shar Pei, apparently) has been laying in my hallway all morning.  I thought she was just tired at first, but even after Johanna filled up her doggie dish with yummies, Lucy didn't get up.  Finally about an hour and a half ago, Abby decided to "wake her up" and get her outside.  Lucy TRIED to obey, but she just couldn't get off the floor.


So I called Lucy's Daddy.  "This is Trisha," I said.  Silence.  "I have your dog," I added.

"Trisha!  How's it going?"

You know, Lucy's Dad, it's been better.  Your sweet dog has been in my hallway all morning, and we thought she was just settling in and tired, but Abby tried to get her up and she wants to, but she won't.  Or can't.  I don't know, but she hasn't been outside yet, or eaten anything, and it's 10:45.

He was very calm.  This happens when she gets overheated.  Her muscles seize up and it's too painful for her to move.  No biggie, go look in that brown pack and there should be a hypodermic needle there with some pain reliever.  See it?


Okay, in another pocket there should be a clear container.  Liquid doggie meds.  They make her puke, that's why it's Plan B.  See that?

Nope.  I've got the entire contents spread out on the deck.  Then I go grab Lucy's box of paraphernalia and dump that out.  (Probably I should go clean that up, now that I think about it.)  There's nothing that looks anything remotely like meds or a needle.

New plan: He'll call his vet and maybe we can get a prescription and all will be well.  He'll call me back.

Excellent.  I call Eric, tell him the situation, and luckily he's in a good stopping place and I can call him and let him know the plan and he'll take care of it.  Cha-ching, no doggie shots in my future today, hallelujah.

Lucy's Dad calls back.  So as it happens, Lucy's vet is on vacation!  So Lucy has to have an appointment.  There's only one vet here who could take her today, it's at 3 p.m., is that okay?

No problem, Eric has comp time up the yang, he's on it.  Which made Lucy's Dad feel bad.  I'm like, I'm the one who waited to call you about your dog and I've probably killed her and you're worried about Eric's comp time?

Lucy's Dad has assured me that this is no one's fault (pretty sure it's mine, though) and that it's going to be okay.  And if it's not, that's life.

Oh, God.  PLEASE let Lucy live.

I'll update tonight.


Friday the Thirteenth (!): Oops, I didn't update last night.  Well, I'm easily distracted, I think we all know that.  First things first: Lucy is fine.  About ten minutes before I left for work, she actually got up on her own four shaky legs and ate her breakfast.  At 12:30, so maybe it was really lunch.  Then Abby took her outside and promised to get her to drink something.  I called Lucy's Dad, who was all, let's keep the appointment because then you can get some meds for later, just in case, and I was all, that is a good plan, especially since Eric was already getting off work anyway.

Apparently vets hate Shar Pei's because they're like "old cranky people with dementia" (a quote from Lucy's Dad that is still making me laugh), and sure enough, Eric said the vet was dissing the breed hard, but then was all, my sister has three!  So what's up with that, vets?  Can we agree that all the earth's creatures are worth looking after and let go of the negative feelings already?

I probably just changed the world right there with that one sentence.  You're welcome, world.

Lucy had a hard day yesterday and was not the happiest camper after the vet trip, but she's a trooper.  This morning she was in our room as soon as she heard the alarm go off, and she's been outside and had her breakfast and is working on her first nap of the day underneath the living room ceiling fan.  I'll make sure the AC is cranked today, I tell you what.  Even though we have meds now, I'd just as soon not have her be in such pain to begin with.

So that was exciting.  Um, the end, I hope.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

It's a death-defying drama day

So I am up at some ungodly hour for the second time this week, but for different reasons.  Yesterday Johanna came in crying at 6 a.m. and crawled into bed with us--she'd dreamed that Eric and I left her and Abby on a picnic table with one raspberry while we went to fight in a war.  The girls could hear the fighting from the table, so they went to the car and locked the doors and closed the curtains.  (Our car has curtains in the dreamworld, I guess.)  I tried to tell her, as I wiped those little tears, that I would NEVER leave her, I would ALWAYS protect her, and that we are blessed not to live somewhere that war touches us intimately.  She just kept crying and declared she didn't want to talk about it anymore.

Good lord, people.  These war dreams are heartbreaking and I have no idea what to do about them, assuming there's anything I could do.

My poor, poor baby.

This morning I woke up at 6 with Eric's alarm, and figured I may as well get up (and even dressed, although it's just in the tank top I slept in and a pair of slacks that I somehow stained and haven't gotten around to making into shorts or capri pants yet.  Hey, first thing I grabbed) and take the dog outside to do her business.

What's that, you say?  We don't have a dog?

Let me introduce Lucy:

And also, you're totally right.  We don't have a dog.  Lucy is on loan, so to speak, while her owners are on vacation.  Lucy is eight (although she wasn't supposed to live past five, apparently) and totally blind.  Well, maybe she can see light and dark because she spends a lot of time looking at the light, and when we took her out last night she was way more careful going down the steps than she had been in the afternoon.  I can't remember the breed, but she is one laid back chick.  Low energy is just what we like around here, so that's working out fine, although I must admit having a dog three years past her sell by date is nerve wracking.  I am not kidding, last night we all prayed that Lucy would survive her stay with us.

The cats are f.r.e.a.k.i.n.g.o.u.t.  Which is sort of hilarious because the dog can't even see you, cats!  She doesn't care what you're doing.  Skilly is getting braver, but still, he spent all day yesterday in our bedroom, sneaking out occasionally for food and water and litter box access.  Madie we're just keeping outside because she put a claw into Lucy (literally, it stuck in her poor nose) when Lucy came for an introductory visit last month.  Poor Lucy was shaking and upset, and Madie unrepentant.  Well, Madie is like that with everyone, Lucy, so don't take it personally.

Johanna followed Lucy around yesterday, interviewing her about what she likes about being a dog, and then making observations into her notebook.  Abby was stressed out when I came home from work and needed a doggy break because she'd spent the day looking at Lucy making sure she didn't die.

Anyway, though, since I'm up anyway I thought I'd take on Lucy duty.  She was ever so happy to see me.  We went out, we came back in, and as I was making my coffee she stood by her dish ever so expectantly.  Abby is technically the one with the doggy responsibility, but I was all like, is this the routine, Luce?  And fed her anyway.  Because we won't see Abby this morning until after nine, I can guarantee you that.

So now I'm sitting here drinking my coffee and listening to Lucy snore as she takes her first nap of the day (she sleeps A LOT) and wondering how it came to be that I'm writing about our loaner dog when I meant to write about the little camping trip we took last week.

Words are interesting like that.

Miracle Legion, Out to Play.  Because I love this song.  I could quote the whole thing.  But also: I get nervous when Lucy is out to play.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

What's so amazing about really deep thoughts?

Happy 7/7!  This is actually a pretty happy day for us.  Our nephew Cody turns 18 today and Eric's brother Scott turns 50.  It's also the 19th anniversary of Eric's and my first date.  Um, I can't decide if it's awesome that we've been together that long or depressing we're that old.

Oh, and it's also the 18th anniversary of me flunking my first math test at that community college I went to specifically to get Math 111 out of the way so I could get my diploma.  Yep, on Cody's actual day of birth.  He's apparently heard that story before because every time I bring it up, he gives me an exasperated, I know!...

Kids.  They just don't appreciate history.  I'd already walked through commencement ceremonies, Cody!  I'd gotten graduation gifts and was looking for a job.  I spent all summer working on that math class and ended up getting a B on the final.  My professor thought she was a genius because of my progress (since she was pretty sure after the big flunk I was in the wrong class), but really it was that I have an engineer for a father and my brother had just taken that class so I had live-in tutors.  Plus!  I went to the hospital with Eric to bring you a forgotten diaper bag, kid!  You can listen to my story again, I think.

Well, whatever.  This is about my first date with Eric anyway.  Hey, true story, at my 20th high school reunion a couple of years ago (Class of '90, baby!) the number one question we got was how we ended up together.  We were like, it's been years now, people.  This isn't really news.  Apparently because we are both "quiet" no one could figure out how we managed to talk to each other.  Well, here's a hint: You open your mouth.  It's not rocket science.  We find talking to one or two people at a time less overwhelming than confronting a group as a whole.  That doesn't mean we don't talk at all.  We're just introverts.

P.S. When I was 16, we had this after-Mass retreat thing put on by a visiting youth group.  For some reason Eric gave me a hug, and I actually fit.  You know?  I think that might have been when I fell in love with him, truth be told.

So picture this: It's 1993, and my big hair is REALLY BIG.  It's the summer before my senior year of college.  I'm sitting in my room, probably listening to Tori Amos and journaling.  It's nighttime.  The phone rings, and then my brother Tim comes in to say I have a phone call.

I expect Mara, of course.  But it's Eric.

I had to sit down for that.

We talk for a while, and then he asks me out.  I had a family reunion to go to the weekend he'd picked, and I was afraid he'd think that I wasn't interested, so I volunteered that the next weekend I was free.  And then he asked about Wednesday, which was even closer than Saturday, so I was all, that sounds great.

Another true story: Eric thought I had a boyfriend and he called anyway.  Let's just say his sources were behind the times because the almost-boyfriend I did have wanted to have "the talk" during finals week when I was studying for my English History exam, so obviously, he had to go.  Why can no one talk about things AFTER exams?  Am I the only one who thinks these things through?

We decide on Jurassic Park.  He picks me up and he's wearing some nice cologne and a silk shirt.  Hey, those were very popular in '93, okay?  So quit laughing.  He was so dang cute, and I couldn't believe he was there on my doorstep, picking me up.

And it was fun, despite my nervous stomach.  He was surprisingly easy to talk to.  Not that you talk much during a movie, mind you.

He had to work the next morning (me too, but I wasn't worried about that), so he had me home by 9:30.  I was a little depressed.  That didn't seem like a good sign, even if he did say we should do it again.  THEN he waited an entire week to call me back (on purpose, I later learned.  BRAT) and I had entirely given up hope.

I guess it's no secret what happened next, though.  My beloved is outside my window right now, working on a molding project that he's sure is going to add some character to our house.  I'm trying to ignore the dust and the noise and the fact that I STILL have laundry to cope with, and a messy kitchen too boot.  Abby is cleaning her bathroom and Johanna is sweeping up debris and Skilly is saying hello to me and the sun is shining because summer has finally arrived and my fingers are crossed that my favorite farm stand actually opens today like I think it might.

Ah, anniversaries.  I love them so.

Tori Amos, Silent All These Years.  Because that was my favorite song.  Plus!  I've got something to say, you know, but nothing comes.  I totally get that, Tori.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Living a life that I can't leave behind

I have way too much to write and way too little time to write it in, plus I have no idea yet if the words are going to come easily or not just yet since I've only been writing for like a minute and a half, but we'll try to cover the basics and come back later and fill in the gaps.  I guess.  I'm not much for planning, if you want to know the truth.

I deserve a medal, just FYI, because I spent FIVE days without wifi, which I'm pretty sure is a basic human right (I think that's what you call "First World Problems") and it's totally not awesome to be denied Internet access.  Although I suppose it's not too surprising that a campground out in the middle of nowhere wouldn't have wifi access, but that is beside the point.  The point is that I wasn't able to check Facebook or play Scrabble or see what was going on in the world for practically a week.  Also: Where's your baby brother, Lily?  We had no idea.  Turns out he's decided not to be born just yet (babies are unpredictable that way), but STILL.  He could have been.

LISTEN UP, BLOGGER.  It is also not awesome for you to suddenly change screens on me while I'm writing.  Way to give me a heart attack.  Although points must be given back for saving my work...

Anyway, so we've been camping.  Five days without wifi, five days of uninterrupted family time.  Sometimes I wonder how it is that I don't drink heavily, let alone at all.  But that is another story for another time, mostly because I want to do it justice and that isn't going to happen tonight, no matter how nicely the words are flowing.  (Thank you, words.)

Being at home again is nice.  I'm a homebody anyway, and four nights away from my house is enough.  I miss my bed, I miss my shower, I miss my cats, I miss my driveway, I miss my garden, I miss my job, I miss my routines, I miss indoor plumbing.  Making dinner last night was almost too easy.  A dishwasher, counter space, and an electric stove top?  Piece of cake to crank that puppy out.

Johanna and I went up into the garden when we got back to check on the raspberries, and came down with a bowlful.  That's what we had for dessert.  Straight up raspberries.  These suckers are huge and tasty.  When I make jam I'll need exactly four per batch, THAT is how huge they are.  (Um, approximately.)

Yes, we got home on the Fourth of July.  Fact: One good thing about raising your kids with low expectations is that it doesn't take much to make them happy.  The girls wanted to see the fireworks last night, but Eric and I weren't in the mood to head to the port and fight the crowds and then fight our way home again.  So we went to my in-laws' house.  They have a sort of view of the river, meaning you can't see the river at all, but you can see the larger of the fireworks as they're being shot out into the air.  PLUS you can also see all the illegal fireworks being lit up all over the valley.  The girls were happy with this plan.  Johanna even announced it was her best Fourth of July EVER.

Seriously, childhood deprivation.  I'm telling you, that's where it's at.

I've spent the majority of this day doing laundry.  Boring.  It was a relief to go into work at 1 p.m.  Everyone seemed pleased that I wasn't eaten by a bear, so that was nice.  I mean, what more could you want from your coworkers?

New Order, Bizarre Love Triangle.  Because I feel fine and I feel good, I'm feeling like I never should.  (Wow, this video is sort of awesome.  What the heck is going on here?  Is that guy falling or jumping on a trampoline?  Oh, 1980s!  I'm so glad I don't have to relive you ever again.)

Monday, July 2, 2012

Climbing through tomorrow

True story: I've been a law abiding citizen since Thursday.

I got pulled over for speeding, that's why.  By Officer Princess.  That's what Abby thought the officer said when he introduced himself, anyway.  I think it has a nice ring to it.

The scene: The road
Abby: What?
Me: I'm totally speeding.  And there's a cop.  And crap, I'm going to get pulled over.
Abby: He's not pulling out.
Me: He's pulling out.
Abby: His lights aren't flashing.
Me: His lights are flashing.  SHIT!
Abby: MOTHER.  Johanna is in the back.  I didn't learn that word until fourth grade.  This is unacceptable.
Me: [Abashed] Shit, you're totally right.
Side Note: Just kidding.  I apologized.  Curse-free.

The scene: My pulled over car
Officer: Hello, I'm Officer Princess.  You were speeding back there, and I think you realized it because you tapped your brakes.
Me: Yes.
Officer: Are you late?  Is there an emergency?
Me: I'm late for work.  I start at 1 p.m. and I have to take my girls to my parents' house.
Officer: Where do you work?
Me: The paper.  Ironically, I'm the one who typesets the weekly police and sheriff logs.
Side Note: I actually did not say that, but it would have been AWESOME had I thought of it at the time.  Probably.  Maybe.  Perhaps not.
Officer: May I see your license and registration?
Me: Yes.
Officer: What's your record like?
Me: Well... this is the first time I've been pulled over for speeding.
Officer: [Mildly shocked and slightly disbelieving] I see.  Excuse me.

The Scene: Still my pulled over car
Abby: What IS your driving record like?
Me: It's actually really good.  I got pulled over in college when someone stole my license plates at that church camp I was working at, and then maybe ten or eleven years ago I got flagged over... oh crap, I think that was for speeding too.  I'M A LIAR.
Abby: You need to breathe.
Side Note: I can't actually remember what Abby said.  It was probably very witty, though.

The Scene: Yet again my pulled over car
Officer: You're record is clean.  I want to remind you to slow down.
Me: I totally will.  My heart is beating so fast.
Officer: Have a safe day.
Me: Thank you.  You too.
Abby: You were giggling.  I could tell you were stressed out.

End scene.

Hey, you know what, though?  It's a good public safety reminder.  For me, I mean.  I called Eric to tell him my story and he was all, you do drive too fast, and I was all, yeah, I don't always pay attention.  But I was paying attention today, just in case I passed Officer Princess again.  I think he'd be proud of me.

Linkin Park, I'll Be Gone.  I don't know of any songs about getting pulled over, so I'm picking another favorite from LIVING THINGS.  Why are all the songs in caps on this album, by the way?  This is sort of a sad song.  But awesome.  "Stars are slipping down."  I love you, Linkin Park.