Saturday, June 29, 2013

You really are as you act.

The older I get, the more I pay attention to the physicality of life. Maybe it's because, with age, I'm finding I have to be more active in order to stay more active. That circuitous statement makes perfect sense, right? What I mean is, I want to continue to be active, but I just can't get up and "do" like I used to. I have to work on it. I have to work to keep my body able and willing. I didn't have to do this in my 20's and 30's.

Now that I'm in my 40's, things come harder. Hard work makes me hurt, and it takes a lot longer to recover. All I have to do is look at certain food and I gain weight. So, I'm making changes. I make a point to exercise more; eat better; be "in" the moment and ask if this is doing me good or bad.

It's not easy. My daily schedule is a mess and I can't always carve out time for major workouts. I'm responsible for more than just me and after taking care of them, working all day, taking care of the house, I'm exhausted. My husband laughs at me because, more often than not, I'm upstairs in bed by 9:30. I didn't used to listen to my body when I get tired. Now, I have no choice.

But the whole point of this is a thought I had months ago. That is, you are how you act. If you act with purpose  - moving, exercising, taking care of yourself - your body reacts positively and allows you to keep doing the things you love. If you don't keep moving and taking care of yourself, your body mounts a mutiny and slowly betrays you, not allowing you to do things.

Case in point, two women, both of whom I know very well. One is 63, the other, 70. Yes, there's a bit of an age difference, but I don't think it's too much to prevent comparison. Both were very active in their younger years, but time has really changed that.

The younger of the two is my own mother. She's a real go-getter. She's always been very conscious of her health and lifestyle. In part, due to having two sisters who are both overweight and one of them has some serious health issues. She eats very well, even though she doesn't deprive herself of treats. She eats with balance. She makes a point to keep moving, even though she has arthritis and osteoporosis. And she does it every single day. Living like this, she's able to continue doing the things she loves. Like taking an annual summer vacation with the grandchildren that would wear me out. She truly loves life.

The other lady is not in the same boat. Even when I met her years ago, when she was close to the age I am now, she was not what I'd call an active woman (though I learned she was very active in her 20's and 30's). Yes, she was on her feet and moved a lot, and her job did require physicality. But outside of work, she wasn't really active at all. And over the course of time, that never changed. Now, she's gained weight, doesn't have a lot of stamina, and declares that "she's too old" to do this or that.

Really? Why does age have to have anything to do with it? Why do people believe a simple number precludes them from "doing?" I'd like to see someone tell my mom she's too old for multi-state road trips, going to the beach, the Grand Canyon, or Disneyland. She'd tell you what to do with that kind of attitude. But she'd do it nicely, without swearing, because she's nice like that.

That's NOT the life I want in 20 years. I want to be doing the things I do right now. I don't want to be a grey haired lady content to sit in front of the tv or out on the porch. I want to have a long and vital life, until the day death takes me kicking and screaming.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Revolving Bedroom Door and Presents Left Behind for Mama.

No, not my bedroom. Pretty sure the man would take issue. This one belongs to the oldest son. The quest for independence. Coming back home when friends decide they don't make good roommates. Leaving again when the idea hatches with another friend. I'm thinking there was an actual lease signed this time. Maybe it will last longer than 3 months.

After the great discovery of incompatibility, the boy moved back home about three weeks ago. Not sure why but the dirt bike came home first. Somehow, it was more important than the bed, clothes, or anything else. It was also then that I discovered there was no helmet to pair with the dirt bike. But that was another ride on Mama's Crazy Train all together.

When the boy left, there was a lightening fast round of musical bedrooms amongst the other kids. And that's how my former office/adopted girl's bedroom became my walk-in closet. When the boy told me he was coming back home-with only about 72 hours notice-there was really no option other than the basement.

The great cavern under the house. The dumping ground for all things we can't bear to part with. The home of the ever-expanding-take-over-the-world piles of laundry. And the home of the multiple litter boxes. There just really isn't a lot of space down there. At least, not that's very organized.

But being 20, that didn't bother him. He shoved things aside, dumped his bed in the space created and dumped all his clothes on an old love seat next to the weight bench. And that's where everything stayed until he decided to move out again last weekend.

Except when he left, all his laundry stayed behind. Being the wonderful mother I am-or believe myself to be-I graciously started the wash/dry/fold process that his clothes likely hadn't seen since his initial departure in March. It was impossible to determine what was clean and what was dirty, he said. After sorting the piles, I believed him. And wanted to go sanitize in a tub of bleach. It's no wonder the basement had taken on a new odor.

He had an entire load of work clothes that looked and smelled like they'd marinated in cow shit for a week in the hot Idaho sun. Yes, cow shit. Of course, it was all mixed in with all his other clothes. I've never used so much detergent and hot water washing clothes in my life.

Oh the things we do for our children. And my washer still hasn't forgiven me. I swear it tried to lock its own door when it heard me coming the other night. Honestly, I can't blame it.

Footnote: I was going to include a nice photo procured from Google to help illustrate this post. In looking for just the right one, I've managed to ruin my desire for breakfast. You're welcome.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Just why...

Once again, I've been mired in the great time-suck known as the internet. And all I can wonder is why? 

I guess just sitting on the lid is too difficult.

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A hair necklace? Seriously? I wear one everyday, and it's not near that stylish. I'm forever picking hair off myself, so why would I accessorize with hair on purpose?

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Why would someone design this? And furthermore, why would anyone buy it?

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I really need to go find something meaningful to do with my day...

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Today's post sponsored by the letter P

As in perimenopause. The totally unwelcome and inevitable change overtaking so many of us. The condition that has made my last week a trip through hell. I do my best to ignore the symptoms most of the time; there's no sense concentrating on what you can't change, right? But this week has been a real bitch. With a capital B. So I figured I take a fresh look at the symptoms and see how I'm doing.

First, I needed a symptom list. I found a good one at this site. Just a quick top 10 type thing.

Let's see how I compare, and to be fair, this will be FULL of TMI:

10. Irregular periods. This is totally what touched all this off today. After rising entirely too early for a Sunday morning, I felt that all too familiar "gush". You ladies know exactly what I'm talking about. After a quick check of my period tracker, I was not surprised to see I'm a full week early. Looking back through my history, my cycle has gone anywhere from 23 days to 65 days.  At one point, I skipped a month entirely (hence the 65 days), sending me off to the store in a panic for a pregnancy test. Not a comforting thought when you're approaching your mid-40's.

9.  Problems sleeping. Did I mention I was awake early this morning? I can't fall asleep at night. I wake up on average of 598 times during the night. I'm either awake before the birds, or sleep through my alarm for 45 minutes. I nod off at my desk at work. I operate best on a full eight hours of quality sleep a night. Something that hasn't happened in approximately 1,825 nights. I'm not joking.

8.  Hot flashes. Sweet Jesus, what happened to my internal thermometer?? I'm just thankful they are usually at night. Needless to say, I no longer have to question if it's time to wash the bedding.

7.  Mood changes. Let me just say, The Enterprise entering Warp Speed has nothing on me. Olympic-class sprinters take lessons from my family.

6.  Low libido. Sex? Fuggetaboutit. More often than not,  my husband has a better chance of winning the lotto or being struck by lightning than enjoying the pleasures of my company.

5.  Vaginal dryness. I suppose it would be easier to verify this if I were actually having sex regularly. I'll have to get back to you on this one. Or maybe you'd rather I didn't.

4.  Weight gain. Particularly in the tummy area. I haven't had a pooch like this since immediately post-birth nearly 17 years ago. Thank the stars for spandex. Even last year, when I had my first - and hopefully last -  painful bout with diverticulitis and lost 10 pounds in nine days, I didn't lose the balloon on my tummy. And, sadly, the 10 pounds has found its way back home.

3.  Tender breasts. I'm convinced that somewhere in the chain of hormonal monsters, there is an ethereal being that holds a voodoo doll representing my boobs. Every.Damn.Thing.Makes.My.Boobs.Hurt. I finally got smart enough to decrease my caffeine intake, which did help. But they routinely remind me they are there and not at all happy to be in a bra/out of a bra/exposed to wind/exposed to the shower/within arms reach of my husband/or hanging out above the hot stove. Nothing makes them happy. Nothing.

2.  Urinary incontinence. This one just pisses me off. All of the symptoms do, but this one in particular. I don't dare sneeze, cough, or even blink my eyes most days. I know where every bathroom within a 100-mile radius is, because if my bladder isn't dripping like a broken faucet it is screaming at me that it has to pee, RIGHT FUCKING NOW.

1.  Migraines. In the last week, I've been under the influence of a headache for five days. Several of those days, I've been riding the very thin line between a ridiculously bad headache and a migraine. I've given serious thought to trying out the ancient procedure of tripanning. For those unfamiliar, here is a reference. Honestly, it sounds a lot more pleasant than the constant pain of a headache.

In closing, I'd like to address my ovaries directly, since they are charge of this delightful death march.

Fuck you, and the Fallopian tubes you rode in on.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

I've been MIA

I haven't even thought about, much less looked at, my blog in over a week. I've been just a wee bit busy. And when the busy stopped, the headache began.

First, my mom and her two cats, Abby and Cuddles, arrived last Friday. This is her first visit since last October and she's long overdue. She usually makes her first trip of the year during our spring break, but couldn't due to work obligations.

Abby, listening to the meadowlarks.

The weekend was a whirlwind of activity and people. My brother lives just down the street from me. His girlfriend and three of her kids came down for the weekend. Since we're an easy walk down the street, the kids, all five of them, made numerous trips back and forth. Meals for the crowd are always at my house and are a production! Saturday night we did homemade pizza and salads, Sunday brunch was homemade waffles, bacon, and tons of fruit. And Sunday dinner was tater tot hotdish and salads. Sit down meals for 13 are so much fun, and so exhausting!

Monday, grandma and three of the kids left for their vacation trip. Disneyland!! She's a brave woman! LOL

And they're off!

I celebrated Monday by taking a much-needed three hour nap. 

By Wednesday, I had my feet back under me. My neighbor talked me into going to a Zumba class with her. I told her I'd be there with bells on, which was a lie because I don't have bells. But now I do. Not only did I survive the 60 minute work-out, I had so much fun, I'm planning on making it a regular thing. 

My Zumba bells!!

The rest of the week hasn't been so great. Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday had me fighting headaches. Could be hormones, could be the wildly blooming Russian olive trees, could be the relentless wind that insists on blowing. I just know I'm tired of them. And I'm tired of popping pills to try to get the booming to stop. 

I'm planning on enjoying the weekend before the rush of people returns on Monday. It's time to garden and work on the closet projects. And do the laundry. Always the laundry. 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Weekend Frat Party

OK, it's not a true frat party. There are no kegs. There are no drunk young women taking half their clothes off. At least not the last time I checked. I haven't heard a single, "Dude, watch this!" There isn't any loud and raucous music, either. Which translates into no visits from the cops.

Maybe it really doesn't seem like a frat party at all...

In reality, it has been deemed "Work on your vehicle in our garage weekend." Three vehicles, so far.

And what I do have is a house full of young men. Really, there's only two extra, but around here, that's a houseful. And what is it about the word 'houseful' that looks wrong on so many levels?

Spelling lessons later, perhaps.

What it means is someone is always thirsty, always hungry, and always in the bathroom. It makes life interesting for someone like me who has to pee every 30 seconds or so. Who would rather not have to cook on the weekends. Who NEVER keeps anything but water, iced tea, and milk as available beverages. I do have kool-aid, but they have to mix it themselves, which is clearly too much like work. I also have a lot of wine, but they are all underage and better not touch my stash of vino! They're more of a beer bunch, anyway.

It also means that after a long day of grease, banged up knuckles, and foul language, the bodies tend to fall wherever they come to a stop. Including the extra dog who is clearly comfortable with his slobbery mouth on a couch pillow thrown to the floor.

Nearly every clean blanket is now contaminated with manchild dirt and cat hair. Including the large one that must be washed at the laundromat. There are shirts, sweatshirts, dirty socks, and footwear all over. And half-filled glasses of milk. I'm surprised the cats haven't found those yet. I'm also wondering, with extra beds in the house, why the living room remains the place to crash. And why are the curtains all askew?

Don't be fooled though. Despite my observations, I'm loving every minute of it. Even if I will have to cook up a hot breakfast.

Monday, May 13, 2013

The Latest in Dating Ideas

My heavy lifting work at the office is done for the day and I need a break. A quick check of the news will do. As usual, once I get past all the nightmarish headlines of the day, I can find the rare gem stories that brighten my day. I look forward to them to provide me with mood-lifting feelgoodedness (yes, today, that is a word), or LOL hilarity and stupidity that I can't, in my wildest dreams, relate to.

Today, I found the latter.

While scrolling through today's offerings, the headline, "6 Perfect Date Ideas," caught my eye. You can read it for yourself here. Trust me, after 23 years together, fresh dating ideas are a necessary thing. Sadly, many of our dates in recent years have involved dinner and grocery shopping, dinner and Home Depot, or the always popular dinner and coma.

The complete title after the jump said, "6 'perfect' date ideas from a man's perspective." That should have warned me off right there. Ok, ok. Yes, guys can come up with great ideas for dates. When we were dating and still living in WV, hubby once took me to the top of a mountain so we could watch the sun come up. Major points for that one!


The first suggestion... rather than going out for a meal, spend the day at the farmer's market picking out all the best organic goodies, then go home and cook dinner together. This guy is kidding right? My husband wouldn't know fresh romaine from a rutabaga. Nor would he eat it for that matter. And cooking together? Um, no. We are not compatible in the kitchen. And I don't like sharing my kitchen knives.

Another suggestion is to go swimming. This is a bad idea for a number of reasons. One, the river closest to us isn't known for being swimmer friendly. There are really nasty currents, lots of things under the surface to snag on, and, at times, it's really fast moving. There are, however, a few places off the river that are nice and calm, and quite popular with the water crowd. In other words, crammed with freakin' people. The local pools are also crammed with people, cutting down dramatically on the romance factor.

But the main problem? I have big issues with water. Specifically, water of unknown depth and unknown occupants. I'm absolutely certain that Jaws lives in every available body of water on the planet. Except swimming pools, because I'd be able to see him then. Hell, he'd probably find a way to come through the garden hose, just to scare the shit out of me. But oddly enough, I love to go water skiing and tubing.

But the suggestion that really made me laugh was to go jogging together. I nearly had a coronary just reading it, then had to pick my laughing self up off the floor. Neither of us are runners. Period. I've never been a runner because I can't seem to coordinate my breathing with the motion and tend to resemble a fish out of water. And hubby? After a hard day at work full of physical labor (the kind that would totally kill me), the last thing he wants to do, however late he gets home, is to go for a run. While he is physically as strong as an ox, something like this would make his body implode. He doesn't even like it when I park further than five spots deep in a parking lot. I'd park at the way end and walk if I had my way. And no, he won't go on walks with me. Apparently, I walk too fast. Even in heels I'm told to slow down.

I guess for now, date night will continue to be a trip to the store, fighting over power tools in the garage, or falling asleep on our respective couches because we're both too lazy to pick up the remote and find something good to watch.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Finally! Progress in the closet!!

Before I begin, I'd like to extend the warmest Mother's Day wishes to all the fantastic ladies out there! Kudos for a job well-done!!

And here we go...

It's been well over a month since I started visualizing and planning for my walk-in closet. I've been collecting treasures and bits and pieces that will all become part of the whole. And I know the speed at which I work; it's all or nothing. Needless to say, progress has been slow! Oddly enough, I still have to take care off all the other things in life, like working (so I can afford all my little treasures), feeding people, cleaning up after people, keeping said people in clean clothes, and when all goes well, sleeping a little bit.

But yesterday, it started coming together a little bit. After a little sweet talking to my brother, he agreed to come and help hubby move the office furniture out of my closet-to-be, down the skinny stairwell, around countless corners, and out to the garage for temporary storage. I really did have to do some sweet talking to both of them; when they moved it up there a few years ago, they told me they weren't going to move them again, and I agreed. Who is more delusional here? Me for agreeing never to move the offending pieces back out of the house, or them for thinking it would never happen? Seriously. They know me better than that.

And I didn't think to take any pictures of them working. Had I done so, I'm pretty sure the little conversation balloons would have magically appeared on their own. Full of colorful language. The desk is a monster. And weighs approximately the same as a Mack truck. The legs have to come off, the drawers have to come out, and it has to be tipped on end to make it around corners and down the stairwell. No easy feat. I'm pretty sure I owe my brother a batch of peanut butter cookies and my husband a steak dinner. But I now have room to work in there and the first of many projects is installed!

Dean helped here and there, cutting and sanding my reclaimed wood.
Because I wasn't as organized as I could have been - big surprise - cutting, sanding, and sealing the wood took several weeks. Partly because I still had to take care of other life chores and partly because I didn't have all the pieces ready to seal at the same time.

Proof that I really do everything in flip flops. I only coated my foot in polyurethane once.  It was a bitch to get it off, too. I didn't drag out the tool belt (yes, I actually have one), but my trusty tape measure followed me throughout the project.
Thank goodness for clamps. Everyone else bailed when I was ready to assemble.
Ready to assemble.
TA-DA!!! And there she is, with a small fraction of my clothes. I was dismayed to discover a wobble once all the pieces were attached and screwed in place. But it wasn't because I didn't measure right; I measured everything within spec to a gnat's ass. The old wood has some twists and bows. I can live with a bit of wobble, or put in some braces between the feet and uprights. 

All told, I have only about $30 in this for the casters and hanging rod. Not too bad since you can't buy a rolling clothes rack for anywhere near that. And that old wood looks absolutely beautiful with just a few coats of poly on it. I'm thinking I need to find an old glass door knob to install on the side so I have somewhere to put a hanger full of my belts. 

Now that I'm done with the first project, I'm really enthused to start the next. I picked up a 8-drawer dresser for Dean several years ago at a moving sale. I don't know what I was thinking at the time, as he doesn't know what the purpose of a dresser actually is. It's a very sturdy piece, but it's painted red, white, and blue. Not that I'm a painting professional, but the existing paint was poorly done. Every brush mark is visible and the paint has started to peel. I'll strip it down to the wood, give it a good sanding, and repaint with colors more suited to my taste. Maybe in a style such as this: 

I love this ombre finish, though the color is a little too bubble gum for me. 

I can't wait to get started!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Today, I ponder...

I found myself stumbling down the steps this morning at the ungodly hour of 3:52 am. This I'm not pondering. It was at the request of my bladder, who has taken on it's own existence without me. It calls, I answer.

Anyway, as I hit the bottom of the steps and turn, I realize the porch light is on. It's a motion light and shouldn't be on. Unless there's a cat waiting patiently to come in. I looked out, expecting to see Smalls or Kaos tapping a paw, waiting for someone to let their kingliness in. Instead, I was met with the sloppy sideways grin of Taz. And I pondered why in the world my dog was outside at 3:52 am. Unattended. He did not have an answer for me, despite being asked three time on his way to his room. I was too tired to ask again, and went back to bed.

Fast-forward to roughly 5:45 am, and hubby's alarm going off. My first lucid though was, "Why in the hell is it so damn cold in here?" I had curled as tightly as possible into the available blankets. Then I realized I was breathing cat hair. At some point, I had even pulled their blanket over myself. Yuck. Now I realize the window is open. Why is the window opened. Clearly, I didn't open it. Nor did I notice at 3:52 am that it was open. Had I had a hot flash that didn't wake me up? I guess it could happen. Had I turned the bedroom into an inferno that woke hubby up? Very well possible, according to him. At any rate, I was shivering cold. And when I get cold, I have to pee. So much for sleeping.

Then, while standing on the porch waiting for the dog to pee, I was gazing out over the gardens. And the weeds. And mentally giving myself a tongue-lashing for not having them all clean and pretty yet. Then I noticed it. Catnip. Every damn where. WHY did I think it would be a good idea to plant that crap. Yes, the cats enjoy it immensely. But it's a friggin weed. And by the looks of it, it has choked out one of red hot poker plants. That shit has got to go.

But I also noticed something good when I was outside. My bugleweed is looking wonderful, and is spreading nicely. It even has some early blooms on it. Ahhh, lovely enough to forget about the catnip. For now.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Mistress of Poor Planning and Improper Footwear

Yep, that is me. Quite often, actually. It's fortunate that I can accept this about myself and move on.

I decided today would be a great day to wear the first skirt of the spring season. I love maxi shirts, summer dresses, and maxi dresses. They hide my somewhat chubby legs and work beautifully with flip flops or heels. What I failed to do was check the forecast before getting dressed. I picked one of my favorite skirts; it's a denim-colored maxi, embellished with embroidery and some beading. The only shirt I could find to match was a sleeveless summer sweater, so I added a light sweater for my arms. Good thing I did.

The forecast indicates a high temp in the mid-70's, but I have my doubts. It's still only 59. It's also very cloudy with a decent chance of thunder storms. And the wind is blowing. Just the perfect day for a skirt! Thank goodness the skirt isn't blessed with an abundance of fabric, otherwise the wind would have it up around my ears.

But I'm still rocking the look because - hello - I shaved my legs and painted my toenails! Just don't look at my legs too long; I don't want to be held responsible for snow blindness.

Of course, I'm wearing flip flops. It is springtime after all. But my feet are freezing. As we speak, the heater under my desk is blowing.

My family tells me often that I'm always wearing shoes that are completely improper for the task at hand. Like flip flops when it's cold. Flip flops when I'm in the garage using power tools. Flip flops when we are climbing around rock piles looking for landscape possibilities. Flip flops while splitting firewood. Heels when we head off on an impromptu shopping trip that will last hours. Flip flop heels to walk the dog.

In my defense, I've never injured my feet, never lost any toes, though I have had a few splinters while shoveling tons of wood chips, and I did manage to dribble polyurethane all over my left foot while working on my closet project the other day. It took me awhile to clean it off and stop my toes from sticking together. Small details really. And the wood is looking marvelous, so it was totally worth it. And hours in heels while shopping? Come on, I'm a professional woman and can rock the heels all day long! I just wear flats the next day.

So for today, I will stay indoors with my heater on. And I will look awesome while doing so!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Projects Past

Before I begin, I'd like to thank Enchanted Seashells and this post for inspiring my post today.

I've had to learn over the years to entertain myself. Having a husband in construction means he works long hours, sometimes out of town, and I'm left to my own devices. So, I've developed hobbies. One of my favorite activities is turning the old into something new again. I could spend days rummaging through thrift shops. I often wander my own house looking for something that needs new life. I scrounge through the scrap bins at work, looked for tossed out items that still have life in them. Basically, I drive my husband crazy because I have "stuff" stashed everywhere that is on it's way to a new and purposeful life. And, at any given time, I have numerous projects in some state of rehab. Some get done quickly, others get put on the back burner to be finished...eventually. As we speak, I've overtaken his garage to build a clothes rack out of reclaimed lumber I ferried home last summer. And I have the ingredients for four more projects crammed into my shed outside. As those are finished, there will be pictures posted. But for now, here are some of my favorite projects from the past.

A couple summers ago, the owners of a local gas station retired and sold off everything they'd accumulated over the years. After the sale ended, I was invited down to rummage. These are a few of the things I came home with. Just look at all that potential!

A little cleaning, a little paint with no pattern whatsoever, and I have a porch full of pots. The great thing is they are portable and their locations changes every year. My favorite is the mop bucket. Don't mind the blue ribbon. That was a failed experiment of a way to keep the dogs from bailing off the porch THROUGH the flower beds. I don't want to put the money into anything permanent for that because the porch is on the rehab list and will be torn out and rebuilt. But that's another story. 

We have a wood stove and occasionally some rather large pieces make their way home with my guys. Last year, we decided to open up this side of the porch for easier access to the yard. But alas, we had no lumber to build steps. This was my solution. As my husband would rather I not operate the chainsaw for craft projects, I enlisted my oldest son. He cut ginormous slabs and notched them to fit together. I left them unfinished to dry and they are ready to be sealed this year. I love the natural look, but if I don't seal them they will eventually fall apart and become firewood. Now if only my husband had let me sand off that old fence wood he used to close that side of the porch. Maybe this year. 

I found this old glass jar languishing on a back shelf at the thrift store. I believe I paid about $.25 for it. It's large, like about a gallon. I have no idea what it was in its former life, but it is pretty. The glass on two sides is textured, though you can't see that in this picture. About all you CAN see is the dust. Eventually, as I root more cuttings, I will add them in to fill in the space. And by the looks of it, I need to spend an afternoon cleaning my plants. Dust. One of the nasty byproducts of living in farm country and having a wood stove. 

I found this unfortunate little stool at the thrift store for $7. Scarred wood and the ugliest vinyl covering. 


Just 24 hours later, it has been transformed! A good sanding followed by a new coat of varnish, and a $.25 pillow case from the same thrift store, in colors that happen to coordinate in my living room. It usually sits near the aquarium and has become a favorite perch for the cats to stalk the fish. 

And now I'm off to work on current projects. Because I just can't get enough!!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Of Biceps and Bleach: My Awful Bathroom

I may have mentioned in the past that I hate my bathroom. If not, let me just say, I hate my bathroom. For those in need of clarification, I. HATE. MY. BATHROOM.

Yes, it's an old farm house, so bathrooms weren't architectural beauties back then. They merely had to be functional. So my bathroom is functional, and that's about it. Only it's not entirely functional. There is no exhaust fan. None. There is a window, but we'll get to that in a minute.

I'm totally in the minority in my house when it comes to showers. I'm the "get in, get it done, get out" type. Maybe once a month I will just stand in the hot water for a bit. Seriously. I get peeved if I have to stand in there long enough to shave my legs.

My guys, however, would stay in there all day of the hot water held out. Literally. I've gone in after one of their showers and walked into a man-made weather system, complete with precipitation. Water literally drips off the ceiling. Back to the window. Do you know what happens to wooden windows with that much humidity in the room? They swell. What happens when a window swells? That's right, they don't open. So the sage advice of opening a window when you don't have a fan doesn't work for me.

So little by little, drip by drip, cloud by cloud, my bathroom dies a slow and painful death. The stranglehold of mold and mildew begins.  Until I go in with bucket, scrubbies, bleach, and gloves and do battle. It's ugly work. It stinks. When I'm done, I'm usually hallucinating. All because I refuse to let my bathroom look like this.

In good news, a miracle happened and the window dried out enough to open. But I'm going to have to post an armed guard in there to prevent folks from closing it again. I'd like to keep it open until the snow flies next winter. 

And that's what my afternoon is going to be today. If you don't hear from me again, I'll be stretched out in the tub talking to unicorns and smoking a piece of carpet. Wait, I don't have any carpet...

Saturday, April 27, 2013

The week in review.

This is the highlight of the week. Before you sits over $100 worth of meds. For the dogs. Or more precisely, two of the dogs. Somehow, in typical mysterious fashion for our house, there is sickness afoot. Without being exposed to any other dogs, much less sick dogs, we have kennel cough germs tucking into the lungs of all the beasts, one by one. 

The dosage instructions are involved enough, I need a chart to keep it straight and make sure we don't miss any doses. Each course is 10 days. If all of the dogs end up getting this, I will be passing out pills for at least a month. I better stock up on hot dogs and lunch meat. They are so talented, they can separate pills out of a wad of bread and spit them right back out on the floor. Appetizing, to say the least. 

I've decided this is no different that having a house full of young children who bring home every bug known to momkind. I'm just really glad it's not chickenpox, stomach flu, or explosive diarrhea. Those were NOT the days.

And as luck would have it, the oldest son dropped off his dog on Thursday in order for me to take him to the vet for his annual visit. For some reason, his 12-hour work days prohibit him from having the time to take care of it himself. And because of those 12-hour days, the dog is still here because he hasn't had time to come fetch him. I've tried to keep him separate from the other dogs, but you know how that goes. They looked at each other, so that's about all it's going to take. If Junior starts coughing, I'm pretty sure I'll have him for the full 10 days as the boy won't remember to divvy out meds twice a day. I'm not entirely convinced he remembers to do his laundry or buy groceries. Unless it's beer.  Being the mom never ends, even after they move out. 

And from behind closed doors comes the sound of more hacking and coughing. From dog #3. 

Fucking fantastic. The vet is now on speed dial. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Mothers and sons.

It is said that fathers and daughters have a special relationship, and they do. At least until said daughter dives head-long into her teen years, then all bets are off. I was a daddy's girl for many, many years. Sometimes, I still am.

But what about mothers and sons? Don't they share something special? You bet your football-loving, no clue as to wrestling, bicycle crashing, motorcycle revving ass they do!

Some days, I don't have the words to describe just how much I love my boys. Other days, my legs are tired from kicking them in the ass every time I turn around. I can't tell you how many times I've had to stitch my heart back together after it bursts in pride for some accomplishment. The well of tears I've cried as they grow and mature and take slow steps away from me is bottomless. The happiest tears of my life result from the out-of-nowhere hugs and the "Bye, Mama. Love you!" that I hear each and every day as they walk out the door or hang up the phone.

Yes, there is something special between mothers and sons.

I've been beaned with footballs. I've been run over with bicycles. I've been the unintended victim of wrestling moves gone awry. I've stepped on countless legos and matchbox cars at 3:00 am. I've learned to accept the sight of blood and not get bent about open wounds. Which is a good thing after Dean filleted his knee open two summers ago.

I've learned to understand auto mechanics and flying. I have a basic knowledge of welding and the proper way to ensure an awesome long distance spit. No, I will not demonstrate. Thank goodness I came into motherhood already knowing how to drive (and trucks, at that) so I had some sort of leg up on them.

The relationship I have with each son is as different as they are. One is known to seek me out in the garden, to visit and chat, and share what is bothering him. The other likes the same odd documentaries that I do, and doesn't overly mind going shopping with me. They both have physically picked me up and carried me past the shoe department lest we be delayed. They both eat themselves sick when I make homemade bread. Neither will eat peas, even if their very lives depended on it.

And they both know I will do anything for them, so long as it is in my power. Whether that be dropping everything to rush to their first accident, or slipping them $20 for gas because they don't get paid until the day after tomorrow.

My husband says I spoil them. That I let them walk all over me. Not so, I say. I love them. I nurture them (even when they think they're too old for it). I help them. I teach them. I bond with them. And when I've done my job, and they grow up and move out, I cry for what was, and what will be. Knowing that I've created something important beyond measure. Something that only another mother of sons can understand.

Monday, April 22, 2013

A little bit of tough love.

One of my resolutions decisions for 2013 is to get into better shape. (I really hate the word resolutions.) I want to get in better shape. I need to get in better shape. I don't hold up as well as I did in my 20's. I'm still strong, but some parts of me no longer reside where they once did. (How did my ass get way down there?!) Some parts of me aren't as firm as they once were. (What is with that jiggle in my thighs?!) And, of course, I no longer weigh what I once did. But it's really not about the weight at all, it's about how I feel.

I don't have the endurance that I used to. I've never been a runner, even in my teens. I just could never figure out the rhythm of the moving and breathing over long distances. I was a fair sprinter, but that's entirely different. I used to lift weights. A lot. I love to walk, but put me on a steep hill, and I may have a cardiac event. And yes, I know a lot of it is due to smoking. I've heard the speeches...from everyone. I keep trying, and one of these times I'll be successful.

Earlier today, I took a little break from work to catch up on emails and Facebook. And there in my inbox was the latest entry for a blog I've totally fallen in love with. Today's entry was all about fitness. And she's totally into fitness. As in, she's been an instructor and works out daily. Thank goodness she's also a major cat lover, because I truly can't relate to working out daily. :)

Anyway, part of her entry was a video featuring a man by the name of CT Fletcher. You can find the post and video here. Amanda is awesome and her blog is fantastic!! Sometimes, I just need to have it shoved in my face. Tough love goes a long way sometimes.   Thanks, Amanda!

I think Taz and I will go for a brisk walk before heading to the garage and our closet project.

Friday, April 19, 2013

I need something.

This has been an unbelievable week. Bombings in Boston and suspects wreaking havoc following, explosions in Texas. When will it end? I'm torn between listening to the media waiting for word that justice and healing are falling into place, and turning it off because it's just too much. Honestly, it's just too much.

I'm also seeing family members going through tough and trying times, friends dealing with ongoing issues that are emotionally unbearable, and other friends at a crossroads that has them on their knees.

My heart feels heavy. I've been on the verge of tears most of the week. I'm emotionally worn out. I'm having headaches. I try to turn to humor, but that seems out of place amidst all this pain, suffering, and somberness.

I need time in my gardens. With Smalls along side for conversation. 

Maybe some time in front of the aquarium.

Maybe some time in my project corner, working on new ideas.

To start things off, I'm headed to the salon this afternoon. For the first time ever, there will be some colors other than blond on my head. Should be interesting. Not to mention shocking to my family. After that? Who knows. Maybe I'll head to the thrift stores in search of some project treasures. Or maybe I'll go home and play in the dirt.

Even if I have to wear a parka.

Because I have to do something.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

An evening alone with...


Hi, my name is Deni and I'm a Pinterestaholic. Yes, I admit I have a problem. No, I'm not looking for a cure. Quite frankly, after everything in the news as of late, I'm swearing off TV and internet news pages. So that leaves me with Facebook and Pinterest.

I've been searching for ideas to turn a newly vacant bedroom into my personal closet/dressing room/craft/sewing/couponing space. NIRRRVANA!! I'm giddy; all but doing cartwheels. Yes, it really is that exciting.

I've found a few ideas here and there and my imagination and crafty mind is chewing on them. In the meantime, I noticed a few things that, based on the popularity of repins, I should be doing. And, wow, am I way behind.

Sorry for that slight delay. An evening with no noise, children, and frying pans deserves a second glass of wine.

Those two mangy looking stumps in front of my house? I should be out there drilling holes in them and dumping epsom salts in there to kill the darn things. Actually, since they are small and rather odd looking, I'm planning to work them into the landscape. I just haven't decided quite how to accomplish that yet.

And all those pesky weeds ALL OVER THE PLACE? I just need to get out there with my vinegar. Not a bad idea since I refuse to use Roundup. And if I don't get them taken care of quickly enough, Mike is out there with some sort of poison, spraying away. Always on the windiest day of the week. Without regard to whether it is weed or flower. Only if it is clearly blooming is it safe from his magic spray wand.

Let's not forget, before picking up that favorite knife and slicing and dicing, I'm supposed to check on the gender of my peppers. Gender? Really? That sounds just a bit too personal to me.

Personally, I love this idea and I did pin it. If I had a picnic table you can rest assured that I would have a wine trough in the middle of it. Of course, that also means I would spend the entire summer drunk under the locust tree laughing at the squirrels that come to visit me. Might be a good way to spend the summer, actually.

This? My husband would kill me. Seriously. And he wouldn't eat the salad goodies anyway.

And since I value my life, and my ability to escape to my gardens, I think I'll just go off and regrow my kitchen scraps, collect some of ashes from the wood stove for fertilizer, and paint my stepping stones with glow in the dark paint.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

The Never Ending Story

Back about six years ago, we bought the house we are living in. Six? Seven? I'm honestly not sure as I'm horrible with dates. I should ask my step-mom, she writes down EVERYTHING. She can tell you when our litter of kittens were born, when I had my tubes tied, when and why Dean got his first round of stitches, probably even when I last made meatloaf. But I digress.

We bought an old farmhouse. It has great bones. That's about all that doesn't need some work. I'm serious. The people who rented before we bought it had no respect for the house. AT ALL. The original and beautiful hardwood floors have paint on them. Actually, everything had paint on it when we first moved in. And not properly applied paint, in case you were wondering.

One of the bedrooms on the main floor was painted in the most nauseating shade of Pepto-Bismol pink. Complete with a badly painted castle on the wall. The other bedroom on the main floor had a black and white city skyline motif, complete with the Batman symbol. Upstairs, the smallest bedroom had virulent colored hand prints, signatures, senseless quotes, and what looked like Rorschach tests all over. The other room was a vomit-inducing shade of pink/purple/mauve, with lilac trim. Sense a theme here?

It was also filthy. Not your everyday filth either. I'm talking right up there with Hoarders filth. As in, we rented a dumpster and filled it three times. No they didn't take their shit with them. They up and left for parts unknown.

Anyway, the point of all this is...this house needs lots of work and TLC. I'm fairly certain when we finally get it all done, one of us will expire the very next day. It's really going to take that long. Why? Because we decided we're going to do all the work we possibly can ourselves. It's cheaper that way, and this stuff doesn't come cheap. And there's always something to buy that's more important than household cosmetics. Like buggies full of food and an endless supply of new shoes for the teenagers that insist on growing.

The first thing we did, after the massive clean-out and sterilization was to blitz through and paint everything white. I've now decided I despise white walls at a level that is unnatural and quite possibly unhealthy. They are boring. They are lifeless. And they show every speck of dirt, glob of dog slobber, smear of whatever is on my kid's hands that must always touch the walls, and every gut pile of every swatted fly and spider to ever have the misfortune of entering through the door that never gets shut. Yes, I scrub and clean, but it's like it's some sort of haunted house where whatever splotch of evil-induced blood is removed comes right back the next day. It gives me nightmares.

I have had a mental list of all the things I want to do to the house. Some of those lists even get written down. Then the list gets lost, and I forget all my great ideas. Last night, about 1:00 am (thank you insomnia) inspiration struck. I'll find an app, get it all written down and saved on my phone. Voila! I finally settled on Tasks+. One of the drawing points in the description was that it was intuitive. Pfft! If it's intuitive, shouldn't it know exactly what's in my head and transcribe it verbatim? Apparently not.

Anyway, I now have a nicely organized list of what I'd like to get accomplished this summer. Realistically, I'm going to have to quit the job that's going to pay for all this just to get it all done. It might be worth it to get rid of the harvest gold and avocado green linoleum that's still in my kitchen.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Great Plagues in History

Happy Saturday all. It's the perfect day to brush up on our history. Yes, school on a Saturday. Get over it.

How many remember anything about the great plagues in history? You should; they were monumental. Catastrophic. Worldwide game-changers. Thanks to this fine website, I found a tidy list of plagues and epidemics to refer to. Some of the highlights:

1. Smallpox. This disease alone is responsible for hundreds of millions of deaths before being eradicated in the 1970's.

Photo credit

2. The Spanish Flu. In two short years, this epidemic (pandemic?) managed to kill upwards of 100 million people in the early 20th Century.

Photo credit

3. The Black Death or Black Plague. Over the course of 300+ years and many pandemics, this set of diseases killed an estimated 75 million people.
Photo credit

There are many more listed. Go read up on them, I'll wait right here. Go. I'm going to get another cup of coffee while I wait.

So now that all that is fresh, lets explore some other plagues in history. Those would be the plagues that hit my house. Without mercy, these epidemics wear me out, wear me down, and are the leading reason I have a standing reservation at the funny farm down the road. I'm not adding pictures to these. That would be too frightening.

1. The Curious Case of the Always Empty Ice Trays. Seriously, how hard is to run that little tray under a stream of water and tuck it back in the freezer? Scratch that. They do end up back in the freezer more times than not, but they are bone-dry empty. I have a freezer with an ice machine. It broke several years ago and I'm too damn cheap to get it fixed. And I'm always the one left holding the empty try when it's time for a nice cold drink.

2. The Great Zoo Catastrophe, AKA Lions, and Tiger, and Bears, OH MY! Ok, I don't have lions or tigers, or even bears for that matter. But I do have five dogs and four cats in residence. And yes, this is an epidemic of my own making. Puppies and kittens are too damn cute for me to resist. Especially when they're lost or abandoned. It's a pity they have to grow up. Anyways... They bark and meow, fight and chase, growl and hiss, and howl and whine. To the point I am bat-shit crazy most days. No, I'm not going to add any bats. There are enough living in my head. Just this morning, the two youngest dogs came running for the door to come back inside. I made the grievous error of turning my back on them to open said door. Next thing I know, I'm on my ass because they didn't get the brakes locked down fast enough. At least I fell on the biggest one to break my fall. Asshole.

3. Buckle up, this is the big one. Death By Testosterone. 20+ years ago, I married the love of my life. He's a guy (obviously). Through the years, we were blessed with two wonderful children. Both boys. Over the course of our lives together, we've had countless pets. Most of whom have been male. See the trend? Man...boys...males. Way too much fucking testosterone around me. It's poisonous! I can't single-handedly produce enough estrogen to counteract it. I'm frequently driven to the relative safety of my bedroom  by all the belching, farting, scratching, and general lack of decorum. At least until they figure out where I've gone and invade en masse.

I'm going to go hide in the laundry room today. It's a sure bet they won't find me down there.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Preaching to myself

Fair warning: This post may find me using words not fit for polite company.

I truly believe that anger will get you nowhere. Anger closes the door to a happy life. Anger makes it difficult to get along with others. I remind myself constantly that getting angry at the behavior of others doesn't accomplish a damn thing. It just ruins my day. And life is too short for that.


Well, today, I'm angry. I'm pissed. I'm full of vexation, animosity, indignation, fury, ire, rage, and resentment. I'm going to throw either a cat fit or a hissy fit. Thank you, thesaurus.

I got up today prepared for the normal course of cleaning. By normal, I mean the usual things one does to keep a neat and orderly home. Some laundry, dusting, sprucing of the bathroom and kitchen, sweep and mop the floors.

Instead, I've found myself (once again) cleaning up the messes left behind by others who live in this house. Messes that I shouldn't have to fucking deal with. Food messes. Drink messes. Dishes where they don't belong. Clothing everywhere. Garbage here, there, and everywhere. And why is it so flipping hard to refill the damn ice trays?

I haven't even started on what I wanted to accomplish today, except to start the laundry. And even to do that, I had to fold numerous loads left by someone else because they needed something washed, but can't possibly be troubled to fold a damn thing. No, instead they shovel it into baskets, stomp it down into a tightly woven mess of sweatshirt arms, blue jeans legs, and socks. Which is, of course, the perfect cat bed and now should really be rewashed because it's full of hair. Tough shit, y'all, you're getting hairy clothes in your piles.

I'm pissed so my stress is up, adrenalin is flooding my system. My normal case of the shakes has turned into my own awkward version of the Harlem Shake. Which I fail to see the humor in, but that's another post entirely.

You know the phrase seeing red? That's me right now. I can't even stand my own level of anger right now, that's how bad it is. I want to throw things, break things, throttle the people that do this. But that would just make MORE of a mess to clean up.

I'm going to go clean and continue preaching to myself. Maybe after a good long lecture, I'll calm down. I will say, it's a damn good thing that no one else is home. I'd either be headed to jail or the mental ward.

Friday, March 8, 2013

A serious post

This post has been rolling around in my head for awhile. Actually, not the post, but the information. I've been processing, researching, looking for others talking about it, etc. This is also sort of a coming out for me. I haven't talked about it to very many people.

About a month ago, I was diagnosed with a condition known as Essential Tremors. It used to be called Benign Essential Tremors, but they can be anything but benign. The tremors make it hard to drink, eat, write, apply make-up, even pluck your eyebrows. Anything that requires fine motor movement is affected.

Essential Tremor (ET) is a neurological condition with no known cause. And while the tremors may make many people think of Parkinson's Disease, they are two different beasts. There is also no definitive test to diagnose ET. Rather, it is diagnosed through a process of elimination. My neurologist gave me a thorough physical exam, testing strength from different angles of muscle use, which is also helpful in gauging the tremors themselves. She also tested my reflexes, at some points on my body that I didn't even know were reflex points. Turns out, I'm hyper reflexive. Hit one point, they all react and I can't begin to control it. And it is very likely related to the ET.

We also discussed family history, thoroughly. In my reaching out to everyone in the family, I discovered my aunt has tremors, though she didn't verify a medical diagnosis. I recall my grandmother shaking, though neither my mom or her sisters have any recollection of same. So is my condition familial (hereditary)? We're not sure. We determined that my thyroid is fine, as is some level of systemic inflammation measured though blood work. So she came to ET as a diagnosis. At this point, we're not going to do an MRI; she sees no reason to, based on my symptoms to date. But if symptoms change, I'll be signing up for that. As an aside, I tend toward claustrophobia. Yay.

So what are my symptoms? A whole lot of shaking, primarily in my hands/arms. Most people that noticed told me that, perhaps, just maybe, dear god woman! cut back on your caffeine. Yeah, I drank A LOT of coffee, and not that wimpy decaf stuff. After dumping my consumption to a mere one or two cups a day, and supplementing with decaf (because, damn it, I love the taste of my coffee) I was still shaking. Just as bad.

There are times I shake so much that writing is a challenge. Oh, I can write all day long, but reading it might be a bit of a challenge to others. I've learned to print more. There are times I shake so much that drinking is a challenge. I've learned to not fill my cup so full and hold it with my left hand, which shakes just a wee bit less than my right. There are times I shake so much that eating is a challenge. Peas or corn on a fork? Forget it. I've learned a spoon can be my friend. I do much better with foods I can stab with the fork.

But it goes beyond shaking. I also have muscle twitches. It might be my arms, my shoulders, my legs, a hip, a back muscle, a neck muscle. I liken it to an earthquake. The pressure builds up in there and suddenly lets loose. It might be a small twitch, or something much more powerful. I once threw my mouse across the room. I didn't have a good hold on it and my arm twitched. Rather forcefully.

I also have some sensations, for lack of a better word, deep in some of my larger muscles. Particularly my thighs. They, too, are part of the whole. The only way I've come up with to describe this sensation is to say my muscles are humming. Deep down inside, like bone-deep. This part of it comes and goes. I'm grateful when it disappears for awhile because it is beyond annoying. When I'm on my feet a lot, it makes my legs tired really fast. When I'm sitting or lying down, they hum constantly, like they're plugged into an outlet. It's sort of a pulsing, just like the shakes. They've now been humming for three straight days, 24/7.

Recently, probably because I'm paying much closer attention to what my body is doing, I've noticed my speech patterns are different. I swear there are times that I stutter. Not like continuously, but just a hitch or two while saying a word. Or my tongue will tangle while I'm talking. Or I just can't find the word. It's annoying and this aspect really bothers me.

So did I just wake up one morning with the shakes wondering what the hell was wrong with me? No, it was very gradual. In my recent memory, covering a period of many years, I don't remember NOT shaking to some degree. I've tried to think back to milestone moments or particular times I remember well to determine if I had the shakes at that moment in time. I can't do it. But during the last year or two, it is measurably worse. And when I'm tired, it's worse. When I'm dealing with a lot of stress, it's worse. If I get carried away with caffeine, yep, you guessed it. It's worse.

What is the future going to be with ET? I have no idea. For some, it remains an annoyance that they live with. For many others, it progresses and gets worse. Much worse. It has the potential to be debilitating. Life-altering. I'm part of the group for whom a drink will calm the tremors, but only for a little while. It doesn't work for everyone. And, understandably, isn't recommended as a continual treatment.  There are medications that help, but don't cure. The most accepted medication is a beta-blocker more commonly used to treat high blood pressure and heart disease. Sometimes, anti-anxiety meds are used. My aunt tried Xanax and didn't tolerate it well. It basically zoned her out. There is also a surgical procedure available for when it gets really bad and/or intolerable. It's a procedure known as deep brain stimulation. In short, a device is implanted in the brain that supplies an electrical current to the area of nerves responsible for the movements of affected areas. I'm not fond of the idea of a cattle prod being buried in my brain.

In part, I'm still processing all this. I've started  more in-depth research. I'm searching for others to talk to. From what I can tell, there is no support group anywhere in the state of Idaho for this. I'd rather not medicate if I don't have to, so I'll start searching homeopathic methods of treatment. I've read that acupuncture can help; so maybe I'll look into that.

When I have a bad day, I try not to let it get me down. When others offer snarky remarks, I do my best to ignore it, or alternatively, stand up for myself. Depends on who and what. When someone is dismissive, I do my best to not take it personally. It's just one more facet of me that I may not like, but will have to learn to deal with.

Am I scared? Yes, deep down, I'm terrified. But I'm tough and I'm a survivor. Like so many other things in life, this will be dealt with one day at a time, in the best way I know how. Whatever that may be.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

I'd suffer a lot for the perfect pair of shoes.

Ugh. That's all I have to say about this afternoon. UGH.

I live in a small town for a reason. Less people. Less traffic. Less headaches. Did I mention less people? A people person I am not. I love my small group of friends. Everyone They tend to irritate me.

And yet, I enjoy a good shopping trip. Especially a rockin' coupon shopping trip! Go figure.

Anyway, I had to go to the "city" to stop at the doctor's office. But, you know, while I'm there, I need a few things. And my brother, who is recuperating from surgery, requested a certain flavor of Gatorade. I didn't go out with the intent of shopping today, it was merely a  by-product.

I made it through  the stop at the doctor's office. I was only having blood drawn for some tests, but still had to wait since they usually only do that in the AM hours. Which I didn't know. Not that it mattered; I'm at work in the mornings. Made another stop to pay a bill since I was in town.

Stopped at Target looking for the magic flavor. No luck, but I just happened to swing through the shoes. It never hurts to look!! And LOW AND BEHOLD (and the angels really did sing), there _THEY_ were. On clearance. The very shoes I saw when they first put them out so long ago, but wasn't about to pay full price for. On clearance. 50 FREAKING % OFF!!! And just one pair left in my size. And if that weren't magical enough, I found another pair I LOVED for even more than 50% off. I quite nearly threw a party right there in the shoe department.

I'm telling you, there were harps playing, fireworks exploding, and rainbows glittering! That sneaker is as comfortable as a wrestling shoe but hides a wedge inside. And that wedge boot? Lovely!

All that happiness totally negated the bad parts of the afternoon. The people. The traffic. The headaches. The toilet that flushed because in order to shut the stall door I was an inch away from standing on the commode. The white-knuckled lady trying to muscle my Tahoe out of the way with her little gerbil under the hood powered something. And the stop at Wal-Mart. I swore off that blood-sucking store nearly a year ago. I stopped today in search of the magic flavor for my brother. Yes, I love him that much. They were out of magic but I walked out with a bottle of wine and dinner, so I guess it was worth it.

Awesome shoes are worth damn near anything!!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Crazy or the Cat?

It is 4:20. AM. 0420. As in it is before the butt crack of dawn. I am up. Coffee is before me. I've even loaded the dishwasher. Two of the dogs have been out to potty, but they went back to bed.

I hate days like this. I wake up for whatever reason and absolutely can't go back to sleep. Don't get me wrong, I try. But then I start to toss and turn, and eventually, my bladder wakes up. Or a cat realizes I'm awake. Such was the case today.

Smalls has taken to sleeping all night with us again. Always on my side of the bed, and always as close as physically possible to my body. Sometimes, he crawls up on top of me. I swear it feels like a 25 lb sack of flour on me.

So mid-turn, he plops himself in my rib cage and stretches full out. Of course, I have to give him a few scratches. What kind of cat mom would I be if I didn't? That inspires him to stretch even further and roll over to expose his belly. He honestly thinks he's part dog and loves to have his belly scratched. Yes, I obliged. He stretches out his paws as far as possible, throws his head back in delirious joy, and the purring begins. When he starts kneading thin air, I know I've found today's sweet spot.

We remain like this for a good 30 minutes. The crazy lady awake and the cat purring happily while I tickle his tummy. And at roughly 3:45, it struck me. Does the lady have to be crazy before loving cats, or does the cat make the lady crazy? Since I've had a love affair with cats since I was old enough to pull their tails and pick them up by their whiskers, I'm guessing my crazy came first. And all the cats in my life have come along for what they knew would be a one-of-a-kind ride. Complete with belly rubs.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Oddities and peculiarities: AKA Me

Not sure why this popped in my head the other day. Just a few random facts about me.

1. I detest pineapple, honeydew, and cantaloupe. I have learned to tolerate strawberries, but only if they're swimming in whipped cream. With cake, too.

2. I have a hard time driving Fords. It is impossible for me to adjust the seat for leg length and get the proper arm length to the wheel. It's one or the other. I had a Bronco once, and that one actually worked for me. Then my husband wrecked it. Chevy fits me very nicely, which is handy since I married a Chevy man. My Ford family threatened to disown me. As an aside, my uncle's Miata fits me PERFECTLY.

3. I have a favorite insect. Yes, I do. I love praying mantis. They are highly revered in my garden, in the yard at work, everywhere. If I'm out for a walk and find one on the road, I will move it to the safety of the nearest yard. Or bring it home with me. If I find an ootheca (that's an egg pod) on a movable object, such as a piece or firewood, a rock, a stick, I immediately find it a safe haven somewhere. I've also watched the babies hatching in the spring. It's fascinating.

4. I have sat for hours watching the mollies and platies in my aquarium, trying to see them give birth. I've never caught it live, but still get giddy when I see new babies swimming about. I have seen them mate; rather cool to watch.

5. I've been known to wear flip flops in the dead (and frigid cold) of winter. Yes, my feet get cold. No, I don't always care.

6. The bathroom in my house holds mystical and magical powers. It is where the men in my life have all their major epiphanies and call me in to talk about it. Thankfully, it's only when they're in the shower, not when they're doing other things.

7. One of my husband's nicknames for me is Spock. I tend to be a little literal and analytical at times.

Now it's time to go do a little Vulcan mind-melding with the washing machine.

Friday, January 25, 2013

A solitary life?

I'm sitting here, as I do every Friday morning during the off season, enjoying my coffee, my internet, my cuddly cats, and my solitude. I could probably live in my own little world for days, weeks, maybe even months, without face-to-face contact with anyone. Don't get my wrong, I love my friends and family, I love seeing and talking to people, and I really love a good shopping trip. Which, somehow, always involves people. Unless it's Amazon, but that's a whole different story.

Anyway, I love all that, but I love my solitude, as well. Always have, and likely always will. I'm not at all afraid of my own company. I can entertain myself endlessly. I can indulge my delusions of grandeur to my heart's content. You know, being a world-class writer, being so crafty that Martha Stewart comes to me for advice, building a shoe collection that would make Imelda Marcos jealous.

You see, I'm easily overwhelmed by the "noise" of life. It clutters up my head. It's distracting. It's confusing. It makes me uncomfortable in my own skin. Sometimes, it makes me downright crazy. It's the reason I'm on meds. Without the meds, I can't easily tolerate "life", and it doesn't much tolerate me. So we're all better off.

My husband is pretty sure there's something wrong with me. A person shouldn't enjoy being alone so much.

Maybe I was a cat in my former life?

Friday, January 18, 2013

Do padded rooms have internet access?

It's been a long, cold week. Really cold. Cold as in too cold to put the dogs outside in the kennel. Even the long-haired bushy ones, because I'm a sap like that. So cold the cats don't want to go outside either. For that matter, if it wasn't for having to earn a living, we humans wouldn't leave the house either.

We've now reached the point where life is exceeding the limitations of my medication. Actually, we may have reached that back about Wednesday.

See, we have no use for cute little lap dogs. Oh no. The smallest dog in the house is my daughter's pit puppy who is probably about 30#. They just get bigger from there. A shepherd mix. A boxer. An Australian shepherd/heeler mix. And, last but not least, the 130# monstrosity that is our American bulldog.

And there's where my insanity begins. A medium size house, five people, five dogs, four cats, and a thermometer that is stuck between -5° and 15°.

Dogs are fickle creatures. They have no respect for personal property. It is all theirs. Shoes? Theirs. Couches? Theirs. Beds? Theirs. It matters not that furniture and beds are explicitly OFF LIMITS. If all dog pillows are in use, the first available blanket is theirs. Even if it's present location is on a bed or couch. They feel no guilt about moving it to the floor after they get yelled at for being on the furniture.

Garbage? Theirs. Especially if the can is overflowing because some teenager with an attitude refuses to take it out. Or forgets. Cats? Theirs. Personal mobile play toys to be chased throughout the house. Bonus points if they can get them to jump on top of the aquarium.

The basement? Theirs. As in their own personal bathroom, because my stupid humanness prevents me from understanding that it's too damn cold to do your business outside. We chat about this regularly. OK, not true. I yell and scream, they bat their puppy dog eyes and deny all knowledge. The porch? Theirs. Because if they actually go out to do their business, that's about as far as they go. Maybe it's colder out in the snow-covered grass, I don't know.

They are also remarkably like toddlers, in that the longer they are forced to remain inside, the less respect they have for appropriate inside behavior. The living room and the kitchen have become their personal Brickyard. Of course, the winner thinks there should be a trophy. Yesterday, it was the loaf of bread left precariously close to the edge of the counter. This morning, it was the tea bags dangling out of the much-too-full trashcan. Cross reference to lazy teenager.

And they are all losing the ability to communicate using inside voices. The bulldog and boxer turn into raging, slobber throwing creatures at any sound resembling a knock on the door or a ringing doorbell. Most frequently, those sounds emanate from the TV. It doesn't matter. The Aussie has turned into the gossip monger. If he thinks someone needs to be fed/needs to go outside/needs attention, he's at my elbow chattering. If chatter and nose pushing don't work, he starts yipping at me. If yipping doesn't work, he barks. At which point the cats and I have to peel ourselves off the ceiling.

This cold weather is to continue for days. DAYS, I say.

And that's why I desperately need to know if padded rooms have internet access. I should probably make a reservation. I suspect there's been a run on padded room lately.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

An old journal entry

I wrote this poem years ago. I still remember the day. It was a slow day at work and my husband stopped in to say hi. As we visited, he laid his hands on my desk. As we chatted, I just stared at his hands. I wrote this immediately after he left.

Your hands
January 17, 2004

When I see your hands,
I lose myself in visions.

Powerful or gentle,
depending on mood
and circumstances.

Calloused and strong,
born of hard, honest work.

Yet gentle enough
to cradle a newborn babe.
And soft enough
to wipe away a child's tears.

Agile - and able -
to take my soul by the hand
and make it soar.

light as a feather,
giving me goosebumps.

with firmness,
guiding me down your road.

a bolt of lightning,
starting my very core on fire.

Your hands;
throwing me to the sky,
letting me fly.

Your hands;
softly welcoming me back,

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Motivation, where are you?

Towards the end of every year, I come up with grand plans of how the next year is going to be a life-altering experience for me. It revolves around that single dirty word...resolutions. Big ideas, lots of outlines and notes, and during the last couple years, tons of pins to various Pinterest boards.

I have all the usual things: quit smoking, exercise more, eat better, be more self-aware. I also have lots of projects. This will be the year I finally repaint my kitchen cupboards, paint my bedroom, tear the bathroom apart, take better care of my gardens, start all my seeds indoors.

Here it is, the 13th of January, and what have I accomplished so far? Not a damn thing. Nothing. Zero. Zilch.

I just can't find my motivation.