Monday, June 12, 2017

Hashtag Totally Turks!

photo dump (with some stories) from our Turks & Caicos trip!
(stories for fond re-living of memories while seated at work in the middle of winter! lol)

After a van ride from the airport (with a young Canadian couple and their two children (both under 2yo!) which reminded us, yes we missed our kids - but also YES, we were glad we came alone!!! The parents were all, did we leave Bopster on the airplane?? oh my gosh, Nicki will never go to sleep without him!) we arrived at the resort (Beaches in Turks & Caicos) and were greeted with cold wash clothes and drinks!
Checked out our fabulous suite (FULLY stocked bar, all included!) and hit the pool!

(Dinner that night was sushi appetizers at Soy followed by seafood at Schooners.
I think this was the night we changed into our suits and checked out the "adults only" hottub (not that scandalous. except there were two YOUNG (i.e. early college?!) couples there (the girls were pretty wasted) and E said I was c*ckblocking when I insisted we should be able to get in hottub too, but then the two couples got out, sat on lounge chairs nearby where the girls literally preceded to fall asleep covered in towels... they probably thanked me later/in the morning for putting a pause on things before they did something they regretted! (LOL


The second day (first morning) we made fresh coffee right in our room, grabbed breakfast (and mimosas) at Schooner's and enjoyed the beautiful beach.

We enjoyed a snorkeling excursion (just a minute or two boat ride from the beach to some reefs) ((I sunburned my tush, it being up in the air as I was face down in the water. lmao)) and relaxed a bit afterwards before dinner that night: Hibachi (and lots of sake) at Kimono's

After dinner, we went to Cricketer's- an "English pub" to watch their 'Cabaret show' (a few men and women lip-syncing and dancing to tunes like All That Jazz from the musical Chicago and "Voulez-vous couchez avec moi" in the style of Lil Kim, Pink, Missy Elliot (I think?) and Maya (or some similar posse of 2000's power girls!)
The next day, after breakfast (at the buffet Reflections) we parked ourselves poolside for the long haul. At one point, we paused and went to Barefoot on the Beach literally right next to the pool for some lunch before E went snorkeling, and I continued to read poolside. (After he snorkeled, he had to return to the resort doc because he'd had a weird rash we thought was poison ivy running in a single streak down his face, but then we weren't sure if it was shingles, and the resort doc couldn't tell either so just put E on an anti-viral anyways as well as hydro-cortisone cream...) 
Then E went back to the room and I snorkeled (found some cool little shells to bring back to the kids) and then we returned to the room to get ready for our last night on the island...

(earlier in the day, while in that pool pictured in the middle directly above, we'd met a family from Manchester (literally one day after the recent attack at the concert there))
We enjoyed our third and last night, starting with sushi (and saki) at Soy, dinner at the rooftop Skye and dessert (tiramisu, which we got ONE MINUTE before the restaurant closed) from Mario's which we got to go and ate poolside under one of the pergolas/cabanas.

The fourth day, and third morning, we got breakfast at a little "Parisian cafe" before cramming in a bit more sun-time.  The resort had a great 'departure lounge' where we were able to shower up and hang out before catching the shuttle back to the airport (since we'd already checked out of our room at 11am)

A three-hour layover in Ft. Lauderdale nearly doubled when we learned (before even deplaning after our first leg) that our connecting flight into Newark had been delayed... only to be later cancelled 45 minutes before scheduled departure...
40-50 minutes in line, we kept hearing from other passengers that next flights to Newark were SATURDAY - 36 HOURS FROM THEN! so E got on the phone with another airline, booked a flight at 6am from a nearby airport - West Palm Beach - which was 45 minutes away.
We got to the ticket desk finally and only asked for a refund (which they did! for that one leg, anyways!)
Then we booked an uber to West Palm Beach, then dozed for a few hours until security/ticketing opened and waited for our 6am flight.

As the last post said, we weren't home for more than barely an hour when we hit the road again and headed to the Poconos... (pictures up next!)

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

WED- NESS- DAY

How I always had to say the word out loud to learn to spell it correctly (and I probably still whisper it in my head as I type it...)

Wed

Nes- Day


It's been awhile... How have you gals/(guys?!) been?!

It's still officially spring (first day of summer is June 21st and exactly TWO WEEKS AWAY!) and it's back to cool weather here (60s and lots of rain).

Boo - because I need to wear my fabulous new shoes I just scored at the thrift store last night! (hemp/cork platform wedges. so cute. but so summery)

I also scored some great whimsical dresses and hope to be able to try my hand at altering kind of like these awesome pinspirations:

I've got an old plain white (maternity) tank that the hem has come undone, it's been waiting by my sewing machine...
I also got a cute ready-to-wear dress (it's a shift on me. too short for work lol but would totally look cute with leggings and knee-high boots come winter!) that I'm wearing to work today...

Also.
that whole Reading challenge? I'm still reading (a TON) - but I just cannot keep up with what category, and when it was finished, and what I read next - I'm getting emails daily from BookBub that have cheap ($0.99-$2.99) as well as FREE e-books, I probably add 3-5 books a week to my nook.
So just ignore the categories, as of today I've read 41 books (and I'd created a challenge on goodreads (check out my challenge profile here!) to read 50, so I'm "20 books ahead of schedule." LMAO
(I'm also currently reading two books... " 'S' is for Stranger" by Louise Stone and "Return of the Soldier" by Rebecca West (check it out here on this awesome e-library!)
((yes, I'm still writing my book - 'TINCAN'... the pace has slowed a bit... hopefully I can get some done today... while at work... lmao))




The craziness that has been BuggyListLife the last few weeks:

week of May 7th - E was in SanFrancisco from M-Thursday.  I survived the week...


week of May 14th - Mother's Day (big sha-bang out with entire IL family followed by desserts and coffee at IL's house)
Wednesay - my parents arrived from Texas (Uber got them from Newark airport to my empty house around noon... I tried to haul ass out of work but didn't leave until 2:30/3pm...)
next two days (Thurs-Fri) I battled non-working computers, dentist appointments, and last minute work to try and get home and hang with my parents. enjoyed the weekend with them - got them set up with projects to do the following week... because....


week of May 21st - Monday morning E and I boarded a flight to TURKS & CAICOS.  Three Whole NIGHTS - KID FREE! We drank mostly all day (mimosas at breakfast, then pina coladas by the pool/beach, champagne in the room while getting ready for dinner, then (2/3 nights) sake with sushi and harder drinks with dinner...
Thursday afternoon, we showered and got ready to go at the departure lounge.  Got to T&C airport with more than 2 hours to spare (-_-) and flew to Ft Lauderdale, FL with no issue to catch a connecting flight to Newark 2.5 hours later. Except, before we'd even taxied to the gate in FL, E learned our next flight had been delayed 3 additional hours - so, ok - we can do this - a 4.5-5 hr layover... we weren't picking up the kids until Friday morning anyways.
Except THEN the flight was CANCELLED 45 minutes before scheduled departure. Waited in line at Jet Blue desk... E got on phone and rebooked a flight on United from a DIFFERENT airport (West Palm Beach - 45 minutes away)
Nearing midnight - we got to the desk, ultimately got a refund for the cancelled leg of our journey, and booked an  Uber ("Mike" - formerly of Brooklyn - was our driver!) and arrived at WPB Airport around 1:45am - for a 6am flight.  Why bother getting a hotel, right?
Snoozed outside ticketing/security for a few hours until they opened - fought with them about a checked bag (United now has something called "basic economy" where you don't even get to bring on a CARRY-ON besides your teeny tiny purse?!
arrived in Newark.  Finally got former-carry-on-Rollerboard-Suitcase from t he baggage claim, took the AirTran to the right terminal where my parents had left our car the previous day when THEY flew out - only to discover, as we approached the revoling doors - that E had left my suitcase on the Airtrain.

An unattended bag.
in an airport.

Thankfully, we caught the agent at the AirTran stop just in time - they radioed, found the bag - let it ride the train around. (They had been "this close" to SHUTTING DOWN THE ENTIRE AIRTRAN.)

Finally, almost 21 hours after catching the airport shuttle in Turks & Caicos, we pulled up to our house. took an hour a half - showered, mostly left our bags packed - just refreshed underwear, etc - packed for the kids, grabbed the dogs, grabbed the kids from MIL's house - and we took off for 2 nights in the Poconos....


Yup. you read that right.
#JetSetterLife

Enjoyed two days there of chilly weather, but an indoor water park at the nearby lodge helped (as did the hottub and pool table on the vrbo property!)




week of MAY 28th - we drove back home on Sunday, during which E text a few friends and scheduled an impromptu BBQ for the next day, Memorial Day.
(yes. again, you read that right. we're a bit masochistic socially...)

had a BBQ which turned into an indoor thang b/c of the cold weather - so too many people crammed into the living room/kitchen (thankfully my ILs just like to turn on the TV at social gatherings (-_-) and so they parked on the couch, out of the way.... lol)

We spent last week getting back to our regular programming and the weekend was our usual "low-key" - playdate on Saturday, our divorced friend (Mr. PotatoHead) came and spent Saturday night, and then we went to my SIL's yoga-teacher-certification graduation on Sunday followed by dessert and drinks at a local restaraunt.

you know.

low-key...



upcoming - Mom's (over)Night Out! going DTS this Saturday with two friends - sans ANY children (or any responsibilities!) and I CANNOT FREAKING WAIT!

(also. PICTURE DUMP to follow later!)

Friday, May 12, 2017

Chats with Button

this will be a catch up post (I've been keeping this stuff on his page, but nobody probably sees that - the sh*t that comes out of his mouth needs to be SHARED! lol)


at 2.5 years old:
Daddy: "What do we do if the smoke alarm goes off in our house?"
Button: "We CRY!"

(after wiping a boogie into a tissue)
"the garbage man is going to come and pick up my boogie.  Yea, and then he looks at my boogie and takes it.."

(he started playing in the toilet water at daycare (((I KNOW!!))) and told E he put his hand in the toilet.) 
When E told him that was bad:
"I didn't put my hand in this toilet or the one downstairs.
I did it at preschool... and not now, I did it last week..."

for Maddie's baptism:
"We're gonna wear our suitcases..."



at 3 years old:
(while driving, as I stopped and waited for a line of cars to turn left):
"How come you didn't say bad words, Mommy?"


at 3.5 years old:
setting: bedtime, and E says no milk because we don't want to pee the bed...
"C'mooooooon.... you know you can get me a cup of milk..... c'mooooooooon..."

in the bathroom at a walmart/kmart and a boy walks in with his mother (actually probably too old to be in the women's room with his mother, but I can totally understand not wanting to send a son into the men's room alone nowadays!!) 
"That boy was really tall mommy... he can probably drink beer already!"


at 3.75 years old:
(I'm drinking a pint glass of hard cider with dinner...)
Button "Are you going to drink all of that??"
(me) "yup, I am."
Button "Then you're gonna pee the bed!!!"


me: "Do you wear your shoes during nap time at preschool?"
Button: "Yup"
me: "What about [Mack]? Does she wear her shoes during nap time?"
Button: "Yea, [Mack] wears her shoes at nap time too..."
me: "You've seen her at nap time? How do you know she wears her shoes during nap?"
Button: "Well she doesn't wear MY shoes during nap time!"

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Laugh as much as you breathe...

That day, I saw death at every corner:
Someone could approach my car while I am stopped at this light; I don't necessarily drive through the best neighborhoods as I leave work, and my eyes dart corner to corner, ready to roll through a right on red.  I enter a Dunkin Donuts, warily noting places to hide behind, counters to duck beneath if someone were to come in shooting.  I leave from dropping the kids at daycare and picture a heart in a chest cavity, beating steadily on until a hiccup or falter.
I sit at work and refresh the status page for the airlines that E is traveling on (a work conference in San Francisco for three nights) dreading a stall in progress, a red banner flashing breaking news of a crash.

All these things - things that happens to someone else, until they happen to you.

Or someone you know.


Last Friday morning, I was sitting in the administrator's office when our daily money talks were interrupted by her cell phone ringing.  As usual, I swiped through social media waiting for her to finish her call, but this day - Friday morning, her gasp and warbly 'What??' chilled my veins.

A co-worker of ours - "JT" for sake of ease - died that morning, in a car crash.  We hung up, shock settling in the office around us like a fog.  We had to call back the news bearer a few minutes later, sure we had heard wrong - asking him to tell us different news, that they'd heard a correction of facts from someone.

And then we had to spend the morning calling in colleagues, one or two coworkers that had known him for even more than the 8+ years that I'd known him. Nearly to a person, the reaction phrases uttered were, "But I just saw him last night as I left the building!!"



Most of Friday was lost in a haze, trying to look up details - had he been in pain? was anyone else hurt? - and wondering how to tell old co-workers that had left and moved on.  We learned more details, details of a small crash in a small town on a small road, that had have us all sure that he suffered a health crisis - a heart attack, or, a stroke - before the accident.  (No, there were no other injuries, nor any other cars involved...)

And the suddenness - from vivacity Thursday night (for JT was, in one word summed up, vibrant) to just gone - is the same suddenness which takes away a friend's old high school classmate on the cusp of fatherhood, and the cousin whose Texas ranch we had just visited months before a Christmas tragedy (E learning failing to water ski and SIL and I swapping engagement stories and wedding planning) and the innocent victims of a shooting in a mall/library/elementary school/place of worship.



I honestly didn't mean to get all philosophical, because - to be honest - in a little over an hour, I'll go pick up the kids from daycare and give them sweet hugs and kisses as I load them into the car; but then one of the dogs will have crapped in the living room, and while wrangling two leashes and two toddlers outside, Button will clothesline himself on the dog leash (true story, happened last week...) and I'll lose patience when he asks for a cup of juice for the 5th time in 2 minutes and Mack clings to my legs, begging Uh-Puh! as I try to move around the kitchen and organize something, anything for dinner - and I'll probably do chicken nuggets for them and microwaved leftovers for me (unless I just wait to eat until after they go to bed) and I'll breathe a sigh of relief when they've been tucked in for the night...



I've spent a decent amount of time since Friday trying to comprehend just how tenuous life is, and I can't anymore - it's terrifying.

So, just - you know.  Grasp it by the horns, stop and smell the roses, dance like no one's watching, enjoy the little things, do what makes you happy - and all those other idioms out there.



We laughed and cried through a small memorial service for JT here at work today.  I was ok until another coworker came over and hugged me - I even whisper-yelled at her: "nooooo - I was fine until you came over!" as I quickly teared up, again. But we laughed - we shared stories; I looked at old Christmas party photos, late nights at work when we came together on a project - we definitely laughed.

Laughter is the best medicine - we all agreed with the reverend/pastor/spiritual leader who spoke at the service.

We survived the first full 24-hours of E's business trip. (Ok, yes - I was 20 minutes late for work this morning - too many episodes of Shameless and too many glasses of wine late last night...)

But also last night, I crawled on the floor upstairs, playing the monster as I snarled and tickle-tackled two giggling kids; I let them race around in their underwear/diaper, and I soaked in and sucked up the sights of smooth toddler skin; we laughed - a lot.



My new favorite "Love Life" idiom:

Laugh as much as you breathe

Thursday, May 4, 2017

f*ck Wednesdays... LOL

whatever. 

It's Thursday, but I need to post a Reading Challenge update, but it won't be much of an update because I've been writing in my free time; except I hit a slump starting last Friday - not necessarily a block, since the entire novel is outlined already, but just felt blah about getting back on the computer after spending all day on one at work.

I knew I wouldn't write over the weekend, but then it carried over into this week... Tuesday night I fell asleep on the couch really (embarrassingly) early, and only woke to slog upstairs and fall back into bed. (I felt amazing yesterday after all that sleep!)  

And I've been doing well with a work-out goal/commitment - this 7-minute workout video I found on pinterest which I did Sunday night in addition to time on the elliptical, Monday night, (slept Tuesday night), my hot yoga class was Wednesday night, and I hope to do the 7-minute video (+eliptical) every day I'm not at yoga! IT'S ONLY SEVEN MINUTES lol

I want to be bikini-ready in 17 days! because, I mentioned - we're going to Turks & Caicos on the 22nd, ALONE AND WITHOUT CHILDREN and it's our first trip without kids and I'm really freaking excited to sit on the beach/by the pool with a book, have drinks served to me, and not worry about: toddlers going near the pool, who is thirsty and needs juice/water, this one needs a change because she pooed in her swim diaper, that one needs to GO poop on the potty, this one needs to go down for a nap (2 hours in the room, ugh) and they both are eating like BIRDS HOW ARE YOU SURVIVING THIS WEEK?!



So. 

I'm very excited.  It's only three nights, but I think that's the perfect amount of time because I'll miss those little faces by the time we touch down in T&C on day one...

We'll more than make it up, because after we return (Thursday night around midnight) we'll pack up the kids and head to the Poconos on Friday to spend two nights (Memorial Day weekend!) in a house there (VRBO!) which has an outdoor hot tub (for AFTER the kids go to bed! unless it heats up/cools down quickly, then we can use it as a pool for them during the day...) and a grill on the deck, and a playground less than 1/4 mi away and a lake to rent boats and it will be a lot of fun / exhausting.

We'll come home Sunday and probably do NOTHING all day Monday... (I really hope the weather is nice that weekend!)


The craziness actually begins the 17th of this month when my parents arrive from TX - they'll be house/dog/baby-sitting while we're in T&C, but they'll be here for a few days before we leave so we can all hang out and catch-up/party. 



And tonight, E is going straight from work into NYC for a Rangers hockey game, so it's me with the kids, and I'm already mentally exhausted because Button is at MIL's house so I have to drive three towns over to pick him up and then head back to our town to get Mack from daycare (or vice versa?) and I would really like to avoid rush hour traffic that bogs down the route between MIL's house and ours so I'm hoping to leave work early... 

Whew.




oh oh and oh, sad news - E's cousin (one I've never really mentioned, but she has a son about Button's age, maybe just a month or two younger, and to my understanding was one-and-done because she had a horrible pregnancy and gets terrible migraines and couldn't take anything for them during her pregnancy, and her and DH are rocky and he left for a few weeks before they had their son, anyways
this cousin, E just told me this morning, had a pregnancy and had to run into the ER last week with pains and it ended up being ectopic and she had to have surgery...
(in his words: "she had to have emergency surgery because a pregnancy developed like, in this tube instead of where it's supposed to be..."   -_- )
So, send healing vibes for her and hubby...





So yea,
Maybe I'll do a reading update tomorrow...

Friday, April 28, 2017

Continued Validation

So you remember fBFF, right?
for any newer readers/stalkers, that's former BestFriendForever... we were close the first few years I lived in NJ - served as each other's maid of honor, watched Grey's Anatomy together weekly with wine, shopped together in thrift stores, all that good stuff like texting a million times a day and emailing back and forth at work...

and then this happened:
she got a positive HPT, yet two days later tested negative at the doctor and had a chemical pregnancy.
I came over, brought the bags of candy, fun nail polish colors, and was just there for her.

two weeks later, I got my very first positive HPT.

three weeks later, fBFF got her sticky BFP...

aaaaaand about five weeks after that, the missed miscarriage was diagnosed and I had to have a D&C.

I ranted (at the time) about the stupid shit she said to me...
shit like "it was God's intention" (she's not even religious.)

and "you didn't want to be gross and fat and hot this summer..." (my EDD would have been November 30th) ((oh and let's not forget she was pregnant at the time - she obviously thought it was fine for herself to be gross and fat and hot that summer...))

and then I tried to explain/complain that we were medically advised to wait 2-3 cycles after the D&C surgery before we could try again.
And she was all, "Well, next April would be a very nice time to have a baby!" (to which I mentally responded, hours later, "NO, this November would have been a fucking nice time to have a baby")


Re-reading these old posts of mine, remembering that she had once asked me if I was avoiding her because she was pregnant (and I wasn't...) and recalling that I had eventually responded with an email that took some time to compile:
I still love you and am excited for you, but to be bluntly honest, a few of the last texts you sent, about "just be glad I don’t have to be fat this summer," and that "April/may is a good time to have a baby" kinda hurt me… Obviously I still value our friendship, I just needed some time off.. and I hope this came across when I first said it, but I am very sorry to hear about your cousin..

I totally got reaffirmation that pulling back from that 'friendship' was the best decision to make for me.  Validation even more when, on my birthday that summer - still not pregnant again yet (I think we were just barely post-O in our first TTCAL cycle... one that ended in a BFN) - and she text me, not Happy Birthday, but that they found out - THEY'RE HAVING A BOY! SQUEE!  -_-



And then, perusing through more old emails from that summer, I came across a conversation with a kettle-bell instructor (I had taken a kettle-bell boot camp a few weeks before the very first BFP, and then had not signed up for the next class).

*****
Trainer: 
Just wanted to see how everything is going and when was the due date again?

ME 
(after taking a lot of time trying to figure out how best to respond without making him feel like a shit for asking):
"Thanks for checking in with everything. I really appreciate it but unfortunately, we lost the heartbeat at 3 months... We're just working on fixing up things at the new house (moved in December) and adopting a new dog, keeping busy!

Trainer: 
I'm so sorry to hear that... :(
I'm debating putting in another class on Thursdays. Would you be interested in coming back? I'd really like to have you on board
******


How perfect a response.  He didn't avoid addressing it, he didn't dance around and ignore that line in my email about what happened. He gave a kind and succinct "I'm so sorry."

How is it that a thirty-some-year-old man handled it better than someone I once considered a best friend?  How did that female friend, one who had just experienced a CP weeks before, botch things and shove her foot in her mouth so horribly?

Because irreparable damage was done... and in situations since then, I have been reaffirmed in my decision to remove myself from that friendship.



Thank god there have been other phenomenal friendships that developed from May of 2012, and for those I will be forever grateful!




PostScript (because it's so much fancier than "P.S.")
IUD check on Tuesday went well - it's still in place (good thing!) except - I've had some heavier/clottier spotting today and yesterday.
Dafuq?

How am I going to wear a bikini in Turks & Caicos in four weeks?!
(Have I told you we're going?!?!??!?!?! EEEEEEEE!!!! WITHOUT KIDS TOO!!)

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Not a Reading Update...

seriously.

This Writing-a-Book stuff is time consuming!

I've barely read (and my barely reading is like, 1 book every 8 days. LOL)

and I've been staying up way too late for way too many nights (five of the last 7 nights has been past midnight...)


I wish I could take a day off from work once a week just to write.  (I used to want to take a day off to catch up on cleaning house... now we have "Mags" coming for three hours every Monday - she puts away our clean laundry, picks up the kitchen (empties dishwasher, reloads, cleans counters) and puts the kids' toys away!  Every three weeks or so, she'll vacuum, change sheets, and clean bathrooms! I'm going to ask her to be my sister-wife next week...)


Instead of taking off work, I steal 30 minutes'time when I get home with the kids - after taking dogs out and feeding them, I set the kids up in the playroom and sit next door in the office and write. Button and Mack play together (or more like just in the same room) so quietly, it's AWESOME.
(I also steal time while at work.... ssssh!! I figure, as long as I'm still getting all my work done, why not??)



So, I'm still here!  At the beginning of chapter fifteen, just under 15K words... according to a word tracker I'm using (I plugged in a goal of 50K words - no clue if the book will be less, or if that many words just gets me close to the last chapter!) at my current average daily rate, I'll be done (with 50K words) by June 25th.

Only to start back at the beginning to deepen some sections, fluff others...



WHEW.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

randoms



Yesterday, I almost got caught in a cell phone trap while on the road... apparently an "undercover" guy - not even in a car!! - "caught me with a phone in hand."
Dude - I only ever look at my phone while stopped at red lights... I didn't say that to the cops when they directed me into a parking lot down the road (the first cop radioed to these guys...)
I just said, "oh gosh - seriously, I'm usually very good at not being on it - he must have seen me just moving it from my lap to the cup holder..."
and they noted I had no points on my license (no violations - speeding tickets, moving violations, etc) and let me off with "just a warning..."




I continued on to my dentist appointment (a filling cracked two weeks ago)
the good news?  the tooth had no decay past what was already drilled out, it just needs a crown (and not a root canal as I feared...)
the bad news? I was being fitted with that mouth guard thing filled with goop to make molds for making the crown...
and when the dentist pulled the mold off, it pulled off my front crown (one that Ms. Mack had knocked off a few months back - with my cell phone -_-)

the really bad news? the dentist then dropped the crown on the floor...

(it was cleansed thoroughly and re-installed... ugh)





I crushed it at CarKaraoke this morning - HIT ME BABY ONE MORE TIME!




Before crooning in the car, I ducked into Walgreens (once again, in the craziness of setting up the housekeeper (day #2! so excited!) and getting kids dressed & shoe'd this morning, I dashed out of the house without brushing my teeth, so I decided to buy brush and paste for work...)

At the checkout, I put my micro-chipped Amex into the card reader, and then cashier (cute guy) goes, "You can take it out now..."

And in my head I thought, THAT'S WHAT SHE SAID!!!





I've got 9 chapters completed of TinCan... about 40 chapter-book-style pages.
I write about a page at a time - and "working on TinCan" also involves researching.  A LOT... thesaurus, dictionary, medical pages, etc. So I spend about an hour or so, and have only actually written 6-7 paragraphs...
This stuff is tedious!

But I do a bit each day, and cannot WAIT until it's finished... SO FREAKING EXCITED!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Challenge check-In

We left off with being in the middle of reading book number 17 this year...

Here's the new tally as of today! (not counting A Mother's Reckoning as read yet - got a few pages left, lol)

#17. The Chemist by Stephenie Meyer         Cat: 36/40: book by someone you admire           fin. Mar. 23rd
So - especially now that I am writing my own book, as a full-time working mom, I can totally respect the work that goes into it and can't believe how Ms. Twilight got out that whole series... AND THEN SOME! (of course - I don't think she worked - but just as hard to be a SAHM writing!!)
So - The Chemist was, I feel, totally different than her past more YA-ish works (Twilight, The Host) and it was pretty good! about a woman who worked for the government - basically as someone who assisted in "interrogations" with her chemical concoctions... and she's on the run. liked this book a lot!

#18. Sia by Josh Grayson           Cat: N/A               fin. Mar. 25th
It happened - I read a book (some books, by now) that just do NOT fit into any category...
And I think this will happen a lot this year - as I download more and more free books based on BookBub deals. (but not all of them good - I started one, and thought - bleh - stopped reading it and archived it...)
anyways - this was a nice fluff read about a girl who had lost her memory, found herself homeless - but then a week later was "discovered" by a classmate volunteering at a soup kitchen - she was in fact the daughter of a very wealthy couple in Beverly Hills (or something like that)
was good for light reading

#19. Revelation by Carter Wilson          Cat: N/A         fin. Mar. 26th
another free read recommended by bookbub...
This was actually a pretty cool book... here's the synopsis from GoodReads:

When Harden Campbell wakes cold and beaten in a dirt-floor cell, he finds only three other things in the room with him: the mutilated body of his good friend, an ancient typewriter, and a stack of blank paper, the top sheet of which has a single, typed sentence.

"Tell me a story."


He is locked away by a "friend" named Coyote, who created a "religion" as an experiment. Pretty cool psychological story...


#20. Beyond Grace's Rainbow by Carmel Harrington          Cat: by an author from a country you've never visited            fin. Mar. 29th
(The author was born in Wexford, Ireland and the story is set there - which is fun to read after becoming a little familiar with it from reading Outlander)
This book.
Not written phenomenally, but a good story - a single mother (she estranged her baby daddy because he was an alcoholic) is diagnosed with cancer; she goes through treatment while also trying to track down her biological mother (she was adopted at birth) so she can possibly pursue finding a bone-marrow match. (slight Spoiler Alert) at one point in the book toward the end, there was a bit of a twist that as I read it, I thought - WELL FUCK YOU BOOK! for doing that, and then literally set my nook down on the counter, and walked away saying out loud, "I NEED A MINUTE before we can continue..." (LOL good thing E isn't home when I do this... he'd call the white coats!)
So, and then the "epilogue" ended and I was still like, DAFUQ.
so did I like it? hate it?
I feel like if it was written more eloquently, I would have hated to love it, due to the ending, but - it was moderately good writing so - meh...


#21. Waiting for You by Catherine Miller        Cat: N/A                 fin. Apr. 1st
a lighter read (not that the TOPIC was light - a woman who is facing secondary infertility, and whose husband seems to have checked out - spending more and more time in his office/apartment in London where he spends the work week, who is also hiding SOMETHING HUGE) but it was a quick read with language and writing easy to pick back up after reading in spurts at bedtime and during lunchtime at work.



Currently Reading :
finishing up A Mother's Reckoning


and reading Ssh! by Stacey Nash (a free bookbub read... I am starting to feel the need, after The Chemist, and Outlander and the heavy Sue Klebold book, to get back into something deep - Jodi Picoult may be up next - but at the same time, am trying to keep focus on "TinCan" so we'll see...)

Reading & Writing (and 'rithmetic?!)

(I've been trying to focus writing time - even while at work LOL - onto The Next Great American Novel (or going forward, TNGAN - or even better/easier to remember and write - "TinCan!") 
ok start over - so I've been trying to focus my writing time on TinCan, so the blog may suffer a bit... but here's a post I started writing while in the throes of highlighting...)
(ALSO - reading update to immediately follow this)




somewhere, today someone's world -as they know it- is ending.

There is someone who has just received that phone call about their spouse's fatal car accident.

There is someone who is sitting at their parent's bedside, listening to them take their last breath.

There is someone who has just lost a child.

There is someone whose whole axis has just shifted - been totally knocked off kilter - from fresh tragedy.



And yet.

The world continues to turn.

And yet - "How can that guy be cutting his grass?? DOESN'T HE KNOW MOM IS IN HERE DYING?!"


"How can they blithely waltz into the office, smiling - DON'T THEY KNOW WE WERE JUST TOLD THE WORST NEWS EVER??"




I recently sat out on my back porch - beer, monitor (Mack was napping), book, highlighter and pen (this book.. needs notes and highlighted sections. you'll see...) and enjoyed the first warmish (55 degrees!) sunny day in a long time...

Another "first" in a while, I am reading a paperback.  I pointedly ordered this one from Amazon - proceeds from the purchase will go directly to charities dedicated to helping the mentally ill.

Why, this book of all books, did I order archaically in paperback? (And natch, pay for it! (I can download most books for free........ #sorryNotSorry) )


Because 33 years ago this year, my grandmother's world shifted terribly - her son, with a fresh baby and wife, died by suicide.

Because 20 years ago this year, my uncle's world - as he knew it - ended when his teenage daughter (my cousin) died by suicide. (On her LAST DAY of a second stay in a treatment facility...)

Because over 4 years ago, E's father received a call from her sister - her world had come tumbling down when her husband (E's uncle) died by suicide.


The woman who wrote A Mother's Reckoning lost her son - seventeen years old - to suicide.

The book I'm reading is also about another very difficult topic - school shootings.

A Mother's Reckoning is written by Sue Klebold, mother to Dylan Klebold - one of two shooters from the Columbine massacre in 1999.


I read a fabulous review/discussion of this book, here.


This story, written by a mother who discovers she didn't know who her child was, touches on just that - the fear that I know I have as a parent: that one day, they'll become someone you don't recognize.

As Button develops friends at daycare, and falls on the playground - as he wrestles on the lawn with the neighborhood boy who is only 6 months older but about 6 inches and what seems like 60 lbs - you realize they will become independent at some point, that they will develop into a separate entity.

I hope and pray we are doing right as their parents to create an open communication - for good stories, for bad times when they need help...






((that's all I wrote on that. still wrapping up reading the book, as I'm in the last chapter of "aftermath" years later - I spent a lot of Monday at work reading about the massacre, and the victims, and the police reports - and at the end of day fell down a rabbit hole that led me from - at the time- the deadliest school shooting in US history, to the wiki page on the Virginia Tech shooting, which with its occurrence, became the deadliest school shooting - and then farther down the hole to the Orlando nightclub tragedy.
After the recent scary false-alarm at our local mall, I just keep praying that the violence does not encroach on our lives - not the daycare, not our work places, not our neighborhood))

Friday, April 7, 2017

NOVEL NEWS UPDATE!

(speaking of news.. The President that no one expected to win executed the first military action of his campaign last night.  My assistant this morning asked me what I thought of it.
It took me about 2 full minutes to gather my thoughts before I spoke. 
I never really get into politics here, and only in the last very few years have I educated myself and read articles and news stories, and while I want to bury my head in the sand of my bubble/snowdome of first world problems (the coffee in the break room isn't hot enough for me in the morning, because the carafe was filled at 8am and by 9am it's still warm, but not as warm as I like and I can't microwave it in my mug because there's metal elements. total #FWP) I also feel the need be aware of what's going on in the world, as scary as it may be to consider what the future may hold for my children.
((I'll be honest - a small part of the reason I started following things more closely was to theoretically be able to get a head start on getting the hell out of dodge when the hypothetical shit may or may not hit the fan, whatever that hypothetical shit may be... I had a dream the other night that we WATCHED as a weird plane went down over the horizon - crashed in a sense, and warheads started launching from where it had crashed. Dream-Me was already mentally grabbing as many bottles of water, cans of soup, and precious mementos as possible - cramming in any bag at arm's reach - as we flung the kids into car seats and peeled out, heading west.))


ANYWAYS - no, the news I refer to in the title is an update on The Next Great American Novel that I started writing while sitting in Starbucks on Tuesday... 
 
The number of pages and chapters written so far (17 chapter-book pages, an intro and five chapters) doesn't very accurately represent the hours of work put in so far which include researching medical jargon, university settings/academia, and creating characters - from their date of birth to their favorite food to their inner weaknesses and strengths.

I have the entire plot laid out (partially in print, partially in my head) and each time I "read" through what the finished product will be in my head, I get giddy and dance around and then stay up way too late (i.e. past MIDNIGHT) writing/researching/typing & deleting and typing some more.

YOU GUYS - I am so f*cking excited about this.

(Especially excited that this may make me the next Stephenie Meyer and then I can quit my day job shortly after publication because MGM/Searchlight/21stCenturyFox will want to purchase the rights and I will get to help audition actors/actresses and hand-pick the faces that get to bring my people to life.)

((I might be getting ahead of myself...))


(((I'm especially proud that I actually did work today while on the clock, the first deviation all day being the writing of this blog post...)))

I'm also looking forward to a glass of Clos du Bois chardonnay, my favorite white wine... 47 more minutes til the whistle blows!

Happy Friday!!!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Reporting from your local Starbucks....

Listen - I'm usually a dunkin-kinda-gal... (medium french vanilla - skim milk - 2 sugars!) but I'll occasionally hit up Starbucks for a fun treat... (tall green tea latte... or skinny vanilla latte) and each time I visit the green mermaid, the college students (notepads, laptop & highlighters spread out) and the writers (coffee. laptop - usually on facebook or other writers-block-distraction) and the small business owners (calculators, quickbooks open...) catch my eye.


I feel like if I had the attention span, I could be an author. But I hated a certain writing class in highschool mostly because the teacher made us draft. and draft, and re-draft and DRAFT AGAIN.  And I like(d) to write off the cuff and edit along the way, and usually my "first draft" IS my final draft...

But today, I'm going to pretend and role-play....

See, I'm sitting at my neighborhood Starbucks - cafe breakfast sandwich half eaten, green tea latte empty, and a cup of yogurt (perfect art tableau for instagram, if I did that kind of stuff! lol) - waiting for my car to be done at the Kia service department (oil change - THOUSANDS of miles overdue - and some recall maintenance... something about anti-corrosive spray they want to put on the undercarriage... which E explained to Button this morning as, "Mommy's car is starting to fall apart, so they want to put this special spray on it." and then as I was later loading kids up in the car, Button said - "Mom. you better drive FAST to that place, your car is going to fall apart!!")



Anyways - I've also been fighting a cold the past two days - I would have called out sick yesterday had the biller/assistantt not already called out, and had I not already scheduled today off.  I left work about 1.5 hours early yesterday to get some true rest before picking kiddos up at 5:20.

Well - this morning I packed my laptop (ancient old thing from Inspiron that weighs like 20+ lbs...) and a bottle of water (I ain't paying for that sh*t at starbucks. free water > bougie water) and I've been working for the past hour from Starbucks (which conveniently will make up for yesterday afternoon).



and - well, maybe - now that I've finished with work for the day, maybe I will take a stab at writing! (HA - maybe 5 years from now I'll be the next STephenie Meyer and will be interviewing and be like, "It all started when my car needed service at the Kia dealership!")



But for now - a quick rant from Sunday that I penned while in bed (cathartic to get it out before I even put my feet down for the day! lol):


I believe that, thanks to evolution or some bullshit like that, that men are ingrained -they have it in their fucking CODING to think they get a free pass or pardon from child rearing for 95% of the time.
Because they're the hunter-gatherer or some shit.

Well maybe we need another round of evolution influenced mainly by the (relatively/in the last million years) new thing where mothers are working full time, where they are "hunter-gatherers" too.

I mean- maybe this deep instinctive feature is only in MY husband.
Because he seems to be evolved to a state where, because he's the male - and hunts/gathers a bit extra (his websites and side businesses which - lets be honest are his HOBBIES as well,and earn him $$ thousands $$ - as opposed to scrubbing dirty dishes and washing/ folding load after load of clothes which earn me only whatever money was found in pockets ($25.and it was my own money) ) he expects "his woman" to handle it all.


But then - and here's the real kicker!- he had the nerve, last Sunday after an unusual laid back weekend with us all home , to suggest that we take turns on Sundays- "maybe I'll take them for a few hours so you can 'get your stuff done or do your own thing' and then you take them for a few hours so I can 'do my thing'."

😑

Despite the fact that 'my own thing' would consist of fucking chores, and not sitting around reading and eating bon bons - and 'his own thing' would be his HOBBY which earns him mad money - this is all even MORE ironic because on average, every other weekend I've got both kids with me out shopping or at yoga and lunch - leaving E alone for HOURS.


The IRONY especially is that yesterday, I firstly let him asleep til TEN AM. And then had Button at Walmart from 11 til 2 (Mack slept from 1230-245!!) And then I took them both to a play date/mom date at my friend Dee's house-  and we didn't get back until 7:30!!!



How much fucking more of a break do you want???

And do I not deserve one at all? (Even if just to have a chance to wash YOUR dirty clothes and dishes you don't seem to pick up after yourself????)





/end rant








Off to start the next great American novel.
;)

Thursday, March 30, 2017

One's Own Deodorant and Toothbrush...

So when I feel like I end up handling/managing all the kids' THINGS - like clean sheets for daycare on Monday, and getting laundry washed and put back in their drawers, and knowing that they need new/bigger undershirts or sleepers and then ordering them, hell, even knowing what SIZE SHOE they're wearing! (as well as everything else - general laundry, buying new dish detergent because I couldn't squeeze ANY MORE out of the last container, making sure there's a new tube of toothpaste in the closet, etc) - when I feel like I'm the one handling all that and E is clueless to it all?


I'm right.


This morning, Ms. Mack flounced around in her hot pink tights and cream/black plaid cotton dress (because - before this morning, the tags were still on it. and sometimes We Wear Pink Dresses on THURSDAYS!)

And she had to have her black ked sneakers (because - ballet flats would raise the fancy level too high, and her garanimals sneakers were too fluorescent and casual for the look. YES I probably put more thought into what my 15-month-old wears than what I wear to work...)

Except I couldn't find the black keds, so I ask E - "have you seen them around" because sometimes occasionally he'll say, "oh yea - they're by the magazine rack / TV stand / kitchen table / pile of laundry"

And this morning, he just said, "I don't know where any of that stuff is.... I know where my deodorant is, and where my toothbrush is - that's it..."







YUP. That about sums up the difference between Daddy and Mommy...

Monday, March 27, 2017

24 hours...

it all began on a quiet, slow Sunday morning...



(LOL)


Scene: the kitchen; table is strewn with breakfast leftovers (banana peels, cups of milk half drunk, twice-microwaved cups of coffee) 
E is planning daydreaming about the garden we'll plan - even though there's still 6" of snow outside...

E: So - what do you want planted? do you want Kale again?

K: YES, but maybe a few less plants
 (we drowned in kale last summer... I was sending bagfuls with E for his hipster coworkers daily!)

E: and you want those trough planters for herbs, right?
 * "trough planters for herbs"
to be installed on our back deck railings

K: (I've only told you this for the past 2 years since seeing them at your friend's house...) yes - for some basil, for sure! and maybe some mint! oh - and arugula!!

E: Be sure to only plant what you'll use/eat!

K: Ok yea - definitely basil.  and mint..... and arugula!


E and Button go to Home Depot and return home with two window-sill planters, a mini-green-house-thing to germinate in, seeds for the garden (carrots at Button's request, kale, strawberries, and blueberries...) and.... only Basil for my planters.

K: didn't they have mint or arugula?

E: oh they did - but I didn't know what else you wanted besides Basil...








Also.
I couldn't find my eye shadow brush this morning... after nearly upending my entire (once neatly organized) makeup drawer...
Button was clueless when I asked him if he'd taken it out to play with it.

I then realized what probably happened - we had a date night Friday, and I actually styled my hair - and of course, because we're ALWAYS RUNNING LATE, I left shit all over the bathroom counter - and E must have put my blow dryer and curling iron away...
(1. yes - I know, how awfully nice of him to do that right?
except 2. they weren't on his side of the counter (we have double sinks)
and 3. he wound the cords ALL WRONG and way too tight around the appliances!!!)

And 4. I'm pretty sure my eye shadow brush had been on the counter, and when E put my hair tools away, it got swept into the strange abyss that swallows single socks and hair elastics...
("No good deed goes unpunished."    AMIRIGHT?!)

So it's E's fault that I can't find my eye shadow brush, his fault that I had to spend 5+ minutes looking for it (getting hangrier by the minute, because I also don't usually eat a bite of breakfast until at work) and subsequently it's HIS fault that we're all running late now...


And then, it was pouring rain this morning.
And I couldn't find ANY of my umbrellas - I have 3 or 4 of the little fold-up pocket-sized gadgets, I feel like I find one in each diaper bag when I switch out for a bigger or smaller bag, and think -Oh man, I'm going to be that so-well-prepared mom whipping this thing out of my Bag'O'Tricks later!

Except now it's a Monday morning, and I am running late, and I cannot find one ANYWHERE!!!

So of course, I grab Button's teeny tiny Minion umbrella, thinking I'll ask permission (LOL) to take it to work with me after they get dropped off at daycare.

And it's on the drive to daycare, barely 3 minutes from the house - carefully driving with my big galoshes/rain boots - that I realize I've left my brown ballet flats (my work shoes) at home, sitting on the living floor.

#SelfieOrItDidntHappen



(In the time it took me to start this post, get distracted by work, meet with my boss, and then finally return to finish this post - I've also clogged the toilet here at work.)

#WINNING






Hope your Monday is going a bit better than mine....

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

all I blog about any more... Reading Challenge

Seriously.

I have nothing better to blog about than what I've been reading?


It's more like there's no time... I get to work just 2-3 (and sometimes 15...) minutes late, and then leave right at (or shortly after) five o'clock to make my way to my little guys at daycare. (The last week or so, right around 4:45 I get a big yearning to see them... and usually 5 minutes after we get home, I'm ready for a glass of wine. LOL)

Anyways... at least I can say I'm committed to this:



#12. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern       Cat: 33/40: book set in two different time periods       fin Mar 13th
So I easily could have applied probably any of the Outlander series to this category (I mean, I'm 5 books in and - if I remember correctly - each novel has at least snippets in the current modern day before jumping back 200 years!)
This was a really neat novel, about a challenge amongst two circus performers - unaware, at first, who each other is... And the circus is not your ordinary RedBlueYellow CottonCandy-CaramelApples circus...
(You can read this great article to check out the book - and the two different time periods - a bit more!)


#13. World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks        Cat: 15/40: book with a subtitle         fin Mar. 15th
Of course, I came across a telling of this story first via the fabulous Brad Pitt and the movie that came out in 2013...
The movie was very loosely based on the book - i.e. besides the fact there's zombies, the two don't really have any similarities...
But the book was very neat - different "first hand accounts," done in a series of interviews, of "the war" and how it broke out and how they found safety, and how the country and world recovered.
Very neat in how it was written!


#14. Knocked Up by the Bad Boy by Vanessa Waltz            Cat: 31/40: main character is a different ethnicity than you          fin. Mar. 16th
This was - well, I expected it to be a quick/easy read, with a mid-range level of writing, and some good hot sex scenes...
It was 2 of those 3 - but it was surprisingly well-written! It was fun to read points of view both from a Latina female (daughter of Latina crime boss) and an "Italian stallion" - son of former Italian don, and current Mafia KingPin - they have a hot one-night stand, she gets knocked up, and - HAHA ok so maybe it wasn't that well-written, I do remember the ending as a little abrupt... oh well.
Fun read, and one that I'll keep on my nook for when a little inspiration/warm up is needed ;)


#15. Maggie Dove's Detective Agency by Susan Breen        Cat: 10/40: book with a cat on the cover       fin. Mar. 18th
So funny, this category - after finding a goodreads list of "books with cats on cover" (and finding only horrible 1970s-1980s sci-fi) I settled on queuing up a book called Beasts by John Crowley...
looks good, right?! lol
So - a friend suggested that bookbub newsletter so I get daily book recommendations and deals and end up downloading 2-3 free books and am trying to cut down on the $0.99 and $1.99 books... all that to say, I came upon this one!
and the description seemed good, too! A woman in her mid 60's lost her daughter (a freak car-accident) and then her husband years later - she begins a detective agency in her hometown!
Overall, it was a fun read, and it so conveniently crossed this category off the list!


#16. Catch Me If You Can: The True Story of a Real Fake by Frank Abagnale & Stan Redding      Cat: 12/40: from a genre you don't normally read         fin. Mar. 20th
I don't normally (i.e. ever) read non-fiction, but this was written  like fiction - and I've seen the movie a bunch of times (so fun to watch!) so it was easy/great to bring the story to life in my mind, with good 'ole Leo!
But it was fun to read the true story and be able to see how Hollywood transformed the story into the movie for cinematic flair and theatrics - and there was a Q&A with Frank Abagnale about the movie and what he thought of it...


Currently Reading:
It's that chick, who wrote Twilight and The Host! (hope she keeps them coming, she's a good author!)
currently reading The Chemist by Stephenie Meyer...

Thursday, March 16, 2017

OhEmGee it's an EyeYooDee!

Six Things I learned yesterday:



1. don't bother showing up 15 minutes early to a doctor's appointment - they'll STILL make you wait... what should have been a "quick 10-minute appointment" actually stretched more than 60 minutes from the time I walked in...

2.Apparently for an IUD placement (guided via ultrasound), they want your bladder SUPER FULL...  ("Here, drink another cup of water, just in case...")

3. When they offer you a chance to "empty a little off the top" - after the nurse has unmercifully pushed down directly onto your rapidly-filling bladder to get good measurements - TAKE THE CHANCE.

4. It hurts is pretty DAMN UNCOMFORTABLE when the doctor "measures your uterus" (literally. like, through your cervix. YUP)
yet - the pain can be somewhat overshadowed by the concentration required to clench muscles in every attempt to NOT PEE ON THE DOCTOR.

5. Nighttime potty-training sucks (like when your toddler gets up on his own to go pee MOTN, but then PANICS OH MY FREAKING GOD I CAN'T GET MY PANTS DOWN!!!!! )
yay for getting up on his own - BOOOOOO for us STILL having to get up...

6. Things Will Be Ok if you need a freak-out/melt-down (after schlepping kids from daycare to foodstore to home) because each recipe you attempt to begin for dinner (butternut squash soup, chili) either takes WAY TOO LONG (simmer for 1-2 hours?!?!?) or requires an ingredient you don't have (EVEN THOUGH YOU JUST GOT HOME FROM THE FOOD STORE...)
because then - somehow - husband happened to bring home pizza from work.



That (and 3 glasses of wine with pizza) Is All.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Up In Hee-yah!


Round My House 

In my fridge you'll always find:
skim milk AND whole milk (one for me, latter for E and kids...) and yogurt. oh MAN do we eat yogurt...
Favorite family recipe:
either Grandma's bourbon balls (YUM) or my dad's "Saturday Morning Buttermilk Pancakes" OR - my family's Christmas Eve linguini and clam sauce...
Favorite junk food:
I'm such a junk food fiend... (but believe in moderation) I usually need something sweet AND something salty.... like, sour patch kids and honey BBQ fritos!
I'll do anything to avoid:
putting clean clothes away...
My secret cleaning weapon is:
Lysol wipes - they degrease the stove top, work on the baby's highchair tray, and do all the counters!

Before company arrives, I hide:
all the mail and paperwork and crap I pile up on the kitchen table =)
I love to shop for:
clothes for myself and shoes for Ms. Mack
I hate to shop for:
appliances (dishwashers, wash machines, cars) - E makes it such a big deal, researching this one and that one... I'm all, does it look pretty?!
Bad habit:
leaving shoes around the house.... and making "organized piles" that never actually get put away...
I just learned:
that dogs apparently have like, 40 teeth.... (Mr. Rocco got TWENTY NINE of those pulled last week, during a teeth cleaning at the vet's.... :\  )
Stuff I can't live without:
layering camis, my eyebrow pencil, a pair of good versatile flats, and cardigans!
Weird housekeeping compulsion:
I compulsively buy baskets - based on a mantra I'd heard/read once: "If everything has a PLACE to be put, it's easier to clean/tidy up!"
So there's toy baskets for the kids, shoe baskets for all of us, baskets on the stairs for crap that's supposed to go up to the bedrooms, baskets on the foyer table for keys & tchotchkes...
On bed making:
behd may-king? what's that?!?!
Personal motto/mantra:
"GET A BASKET FOR IT!"
I wish I could tell my younger self:
to enjoy the solitary minutes/hours/days of undisturbed reading and piano time! LOL

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Rockin' and Reading....

2017 Reading Challenge update (I was going to try my best to post weekly, to avoid monolithic posts having to catch up, but then I realized it's already been two weeks since my last reading check-in... ack!)

#8. The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon (#5 in Outlander Series)       Cat: 24/40: book set in the wilderness           fin. Mar. 1st
1,443 pages you guys... these books are E.P.I.C... it took me 10 days to read this book... that's 140 pages a day, between work lunches and before bed...
I can't say enough about these books... except - they're so gargantuan, I feel like I need a break after every one! (plus it helps to remember what happened in each book, as opposed to them all running together if I were to read them back to back to back.... lol)

#9. The Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson      Cat: 29/40: book with an unreliable narrator        fin. Mar. 3rd
I feel like this book could have had a better OMG WAIT WHAT?! moment, kind of a la Shutter Island (spoiler?? lol) but it was still pretty neat...
A single woman in her late 30's (the unreliable narrator!) begins to dream of an alternate life - marriage with 3 children and the house and station wagon to go with it...
...but then the dreams overcome her real life - and she begins to lose hold of which world is real! (pretty cool story line!)

#10. The Grown-Up by Gillian Flynn       (BONUS) Cat: 47/52: book with an eccentric character       fin Mar. 3rd
As you can see by the finish dates of the previous book and this one, I read this short story in a single day (didn't realize it was a short story until after I'd paid for it and downloaded. ugh) but I love Gillian Flynn and so sped through this book about a scam artist / hooker (hand jobs only!) who tries to bilk a woman out of money to "cleanse" her haunted house... reading this reminded why I don't like short stories - I want more to it! What happens next?!

#11. Zoo #2 by James Patterson, Max DiLallo         Cat: 8/40: book with multiple authors            fin Mar. 4th
Just as I was about to write this off for being able to apply a Reading Challenge category, I noticed the two authors!
A sequel to Zoo (which I read last year): it's a continuation (and it appears, with the cliffhanger ending, that there's a third coming at some point?) of the HumanAnimalConflict (or HAC) - where short wave signals (or cell phone signals or something like that) are short-wiring the pheromones received by animals, turning them into feral & ferocious attacking beasts (everything from mice to polar bears to domestic animals!)
it's pretty short at 145 pages, but a fun read...)

As for my currently reading:
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern


And I've just recently been turned onto BookBub which sends emails and highlights e-book sales going on that week, and I went a little crazy... I just went to my Nook (B&N) library and saw "15 NEW!"
(speaking of - I just got today's email, and added another four..... aiy aiy aiy)

oops...   hope they all fit into categories!

Monday, March 6, 2017

Right Now

I don't know if you any of you know of Ryan Star, but he sings a song called Right Now that immediately got stuck in my head when I saw this post title on another blog...

Yesterday is history,
Tomorrow may not come.
I'm gonna run to the horizon,
We are strong,
We are young.
I'm gonna lay on the ground,
Feel the rain that's coming down.
And there's nothing anyone,
Could do or say to bring me down.
Right now..
Right now
.....
All we ever have is right now,
And all we'll ever need is here, right now



With that said, on to what's going on, RIGHT NOW:

READING: in the middle of reading The Night Circus (during work lunches, in the hour of mental twilight before bed each night) and blogs (during the day at work when I need a quick mental break)

WATCHING: Not a ton - I've given up on The Walking Dead, although hubby still watches... I'm only 1-2 episodes behind on This Is Us.  I'm caught up and re-watching some of Outlander on Starz

LISTENING: to the silence and the clicking of keys in my office. I think sometimes I need to put music on, but then - the first thing I miss when I get home with the kids is the SILENCE =P

DRINKING: coffee. and water. (water needed after 3+ beers during a fun day yesterday at a hockey game with Button! He ate whatever he wanted (popcorn, pretzels, (water) and Rita's water ice) and then made it on the Jumbo-Tron!)
EATING: just finished blueberry Belvita bars... that and a banana make up my healthy breakfast. lol

WEARING: tights (because. 20 degrees. brrrr) and a pencil skirt, and my comfy oversized sweater...

LOVING: that Ms. Mack is feeling better and seemingly back to almost 100% after a tummy-bug (threw up last Wednesday at daycare, was "out sick" Thursday and had to seemed to "solidify" again (yes, I'm talking about her poop... lol), then was leaky and liquidy (blech) on Friday (we'd decided to keep her out again) and was living on bananas, bread, cheerios and pedialyte...)
 but by yesterday, her appetite had returned and she was well enough to laugh and play with her babysitter while we were at the hockey game =)

ANTICIPATING: this weekend - my parents are flying into Hartford tomorrow, and will be staying with us from (I think) Thursday through the weekend!! Can't wait to see them!!!!

HOPING: for a chance to go snowboarding with two best girlfriends before it gets too warm! The mountain's already decided to close during the week in order to save money! =\

FOLLOWING: as always, The Dump and his circus administration... and to balance that, following the Outlander actors (ok mostly just one) as they head to South Africa to continue filming for season three, airing in September!

WONDERING: how the talk went between my dad and my sister - she's separated from her husband, but has not even filed divorce papers yet (they split last summer) and she's been shacked up and dating this guy (a friend of her husband's.... -_-) for months, and they were going to come down to NJ to visit this weekend when the parental units are here, except - we didn't want her new boyfriend here, and wondered how to say no to her asking if she could bring him...
So Dad was going to have a conversation with her last night... and I'm really wondering how that went...

TRYING: to stay focused at work... so far, I've bought Lia Sophia jewelry (that I didn't really need, but at like, HUGELY INSANE discount prices because  outlet is closing! YOU'RE WELCOME!) and written this blog... (ok, and done a bit of work...)

WORRYING: about.... well. I guess it's a good thing I don't have much to put here, except - worrying about if my FIL will agree to go in with us on a neighboring house down the shore... and whether my job will be here in 6 months (oiy. a whole can of worms, that line of thought/story - but Eric has no doubt that I'll be fine and quickly find something else if I need/want to...)

PLANNING: for new tattoos! I'd like to cover up a small script on my right foot that just blurred and faded and is totally illegible - will probably cover with some kind of feathers... and then I want to re-tat that script somewhere else (bigger): "La vie est belle" (life is beautiful)
and then I want my Ms. Mack tattoo (to go with Button's!) - still need to design what hers is going to be! ((and whether I want to add the fourth little black bird to more accurately represent our current family... I guess it'll lose the "One in Four" visual representation, but it still depicts the "bird" too beautiful to stay... <3 ))


CONTEMPLATING: when is the best time to ask for Friday off from work so I can entertain/hang with my parents! (Another reason I should get focused - get a lot of work done, then how can I be denied a day off this Friday? After showing such dedication last Thursday and Friday, still coming to work (with a not-feeling-well toddler) and getting shit done?!)


Monday, February 27, 2017

Messages from The Universe

This is what I was buying when chaos erupted all around me...

I was buying a $43 face cream that, had I not drank two Blueberry Ginger Smashes earlier at lunch, I would have realized how frivolous it was to spend almost fifty dollars on a face cream...
But I discovered it a few years ago, back when it still only cost $34, and so I bought both this cream and the heavier thicker "winter cream" for myself - a big splurge...
I'm not usually one to 'drink the koolaid' and think that only the most expensive creams and serums work - but - this one was pure heaven!

And why not buy it? I was walking past the Origins counter in Macy's on my way out, it was kismet that I own this cream again! (Except then I found out inflation drove the cost up 10% and then the Blueberry Ginger Smashes made me want to be all bougie and drop almost $50 on a face cream...)

And really, it all started out of the goodness of our hearts - this trip to the mall...

It began with an innocent mom, nursing her baby (under a cover!) recently, and an old senile crotchety (probably not, but in my mind he is) security guard telling her, "You can't do that here ma'am! People are SHOPPING here!" and supposedly stood over here while she unlatched her crying baby to pack up and leave...

Outrage!!
Disgust!!

Indignation within our little support group online!

A nurse-in was called for, and then unscheduled because the original mom was - embarassed? non-confrontational? - and so my tribe and I headed to lunch and an informal stand-up for our rights: after reminiscing over drinks about where we were a year ago, we parked ourselves in the middle of the busy mall and latched our one-year-olds on - we dared anyone to say something! (It was all quite anticlimactic - we latched, unlatched, relatched - and nary a word... maybe a quick sidelong glance from a man walking by - but we were all pros with our double layered tanks and tees to cover those sexy boobs...)

We took our nursing brelfie (we sure showed those security guards!), said our farewells, and parted - one mom heading out through Sears, one mom heading to meet her husband at the food court, and one mom (me) heading out through Macy's, only to be distracted by the Origins counter and that damn expensive face cream...


I was no more than ten steps away from the counter, having done due diligence to save the environment by getting my receipt e-mailed to me as I tucked my priceless (but really - everything has a price) jar of money face cream heaven into the diaper bag, when - like I said, chaos erupted...


The entrance from Macy's to the general mall was on my left, the way to the mens' department in front of me (specifically the cologne and after shave - I had marked my way in earlier through mental breadcrumbs - to leave, go back the way you came - straight through the tantalizing make-up counters, bang a left before you reach shoes (do NOT STOP to shop the shoes!) and straight on past colognes!

So it was with the Origins counter to my back and the mens' department up ahead, that a flood of people poured into Macy's from the mall entrance on my left...



Your brain begins processing information (perceived by one of the five senses, in this case sight...) by first transforming the physical stimuli into electrochemical signals.  Once information is processed to a degree, an attention filter decides how important the signal is and which cognitive processes it should be made available to. In order for the signals and information to be processed, the brain first must encode and store it, and there are even types of encoding specific to each type of sensory stimuli.
(above info pulled from this site)


I couldn't even begin to guess how many nano-seconds it took for my brain to process what my eyes were seeing, but I'm going to go with FAST.

Probably before my brain could even register that people were running, and begin to wonder why people might be running - what they might be running from - I had grabbed the stroller and joined the throng - shoving and clipping heels (poor woman - I think I probably wore off the skin, I hit her so many times...)



I think the reader's mind will jump to the same assumption that I did - that there was a shooter somewhere in the mall.



Later, E asked me if I had just grabbed Ms. Mack from the stroller - which, to be honest, hadn't even crossed my mind.  The only thought I had - which was probably a reflection of the words being shouted and pleaded from around me - were, MOVE! and GO GO GO!

It was by the last cologne stand, just a few feet from the exit doors, that I clipped the poor woman's heels one last time, and we burst into the parking lot.  I couldn't even tell you what everyone else did, but without even orienting myself, I didn't stop moving - didn't pause for breathe - until we were shielded in between rows of parked cars.  I glanced around to locate where I'd parked, and darted through the lot to the next row of cars - the next safe spot of cover - to pause and make sure I had my car keys out and ready.

And then I was at my car, eyes flickering back to the mall exit, not even registering what other people were doing - hovering at the exit, leering bystanders? or sprinting still to their cars?
A couple was standing in the lot as I neared my car, and the woman said, somewhat calmly, "do you know what's happening?"
And I pointed my eyes to my precious-cargo-laden stroller, all the while still moving - getting the car unlocked, unhooking the stroller straps, willing my fingers to stop shaking, and I said, "I have no clue.  I honestly just RAN..."

I got 2 out of 3 clips secured on Ms. Mack's car seat, and the stroller laid across her seat and Button's empty seat, and I decided she'd be safe enough - I had to get out of that parking lot NOW... apparently everyone else fleeing had the same thought, as it took a number of minutes to leave.
Surprisingly, civility still reigned - even though people were cramming their car nose in where they could to get through the throng, they still sat at red lights and waited for the OK to go...

As I sat there, eyes still flitting to the mall and back to the cars in front of me (NO ONE was cutting in front of me to get outta here!!!!) my heart thundered out of my chest, breathe racing so fast that my tongue began to stick to the roof of my dry mouth.  I had to make sure my tribe was ok - the mom who went through Sears and the mom who had gone to the food court.

Quick messages with the food court mom revealed she had come into Macy's as well with her husband, and was in fact at the Starbucks counter, which neighbored the Origins one, and they too ran with the crowd to an exit.


I began crying, waiting to get clear of the congestion and hit open space to drive out of there.  I finally got to the highway, and I called the mom that went through Sears, praying she hadn't decided to stop anywhere - she hadn't, was in fact unaware of anything that had happened.

I realized I needed to call E, news may be hitting the airwaves/social media and he'd freak, knowing we were at That Mall.


I don't remember the drive home at all, but I remember blurting out as soon as he answered that Ms. Mack and I were in the car, we were ok, but - "I think there was just now a shooting at the mall as we left..."



I can still remember the tone of his voice, his shocked "WHAT?!" that he blurted out in the doctor's office years ago right after I'd told him there was no longer a heartbeat to our precious first pregnancy.

It was the same exact word and tone I got back over the blue tooth speakers as I drove on autopilot, reaching back to touch Ms. Mack every few minutes, maybe to reassure myself she was there and alright (and she was - she was trying to nap, and I kept startling her awake each time I reached back... sorry, baby...)



My in-laws were over for dinner, and E updated them in bullet points as I gave him information over the phone.  They immediately turned the news on, but nothing was scrolling across the screen related to the local shopping mall.

I walked into the house with a sleepy Ms. Mack, and started to cry again on E's shoulder, not knowing what I escaped, but only knowing the fear - what I saw in other faces as they ran into Macy's, what surely must have been on my face as I careened the stroller, sometimes on only one wheel around corners and shoes.



Once stored, memories eventually must be retrieved from storage. Remembering past events is not like watching a recorded video. It is, rather, a process of reconstructing what may have happened based on the details the brain chose to store and was able to recall.(source)


As I retold the tale, taking more time in the retelling than the actual events, I recalled thinking, amidst the stampede, that this must be what it's like to go running with the bulls in Spain... colliding into walls, other people, the whites of eyes showing, not entirely sure what you're running from - but that it's time to RUN...


Recall (of memories) is triggered by a retrieval cue, an environmental stimulus that prompts the brain to retrieve the memory. Evidence shows that the better the retrieval cue, the higher the chance of recalling the memory.(source)


The feeling of running with the bulls is probably my retrieval cue - that's the only feeling I can clearly remember from the first few seconds I spent picking up speed through Macy's... And there can be memory distortions, of course - did I really remember hearing a pop or loud bang? Or is that memory influenced by the messages on my phone screen with eight heart-dropping letters:
 S-H-O-O-T-I-N-G



Because, in fact - there were apparently never any shots fired...

As the dust figuratively continued to settle this morning, as the local news stations began to give the story a few minutes of air time, it seems chaos began in the food court where teenagers (two? two seperate incidents?) broke into a vicious fight.  A video that made its way to the surface this morning shows chairs being thrown, big heavy wooden chairs with metal legs and arms - what some witnesses would claim made the loud bangs that others claimed they heard as gunfire.

In one telling, an off-duty policeman pulled a gun - perhaps (probably) as a "CUT THIS SHIT RIGHT NOW" tactic against the teens.  Of course, you have commenters on social media nagging that the news stations "use fear tactics, they make everything seem so scary and blow things out of proportion - it was a FIGHT at the food court!"

I normally don't waste a minute of my time even considering a response, but on a local mom's group I had to - I had to comment that it was scary as SHIT running with your toddler, fear building as the fleeing crowd grew larger and larger.  The media had NOTHING to do with that fear...

Because if I had to pick one word to describe things, it would be fear.

Yesterday afternoon was probably the most terrified I have ever been, racing through, no racing WITH the crowd with a stroller - breathing so hard that I couldn't stop coughing later at home, that this morning I was a bit hoarse...



This morning, I took my $45 face cream out of the bag that had been forgotten upon my return home.  The money didn't even bother me any more - I set the box on the counter and looked at it, and said a prayer of thanks.

I'm thankful that Ms. Mack and I were ok (she was giggling and laughing with Nana and Pops as soon as she got home yesterday).

I'm thankful that no one at the mall was hurt (aside from a few very minor injuries due to the rushing of the crowds), and that "it was nothing" after all.

I know that if it hadn't been nothing, I would be so much more shaken - it would be the bone-jarring realization of I escaped death, not just the Wow, I've never felt fear like that - but we're ok...




But things quickly settled back down to regular life - the inlaws played with the kids, E had dinner ready (god bless the man) and after baths and bedtime, I enjoyed a few hours of watching the fabulous fashion of The Oscars.

I even got slightly annoyed when Button woke up at 1:30 last night, shivering with no blankets and soaking wet - E had forgotten to put a diaper on him before he put Button to bed.  And of course, who had to get up and wipe down a shivering little boy, change PJs and sheets and scramble for a clean blanket, only to find my robe (after removing the belt) for Button...

But I was quick to take stock of the situation - it was just 30-45 minutes less of sleep than I would have gotten, and that can be fixed - quite easily - with coffee. (I mean, how many nights had I stayed up WAY past my bedtime to watch just ONE MORE EPISODE of Outlander?!)



So here come the cliches:

Life is too short to waste your energy complaining about how your fBFF wanted you to take pictures of her son's baptism - FOR FREE - after wanting to charge $15 for chocolate covered oreos at Ms. Mack's birthday party. (seriously.  I'm not holding a grudge or anything. lol)

Life is too short to spend time angry that your husband didn't get the kids from daycare on Friday until almost 6pm (I was working late because he was home to get them at 5pm!) because, most likely, he was working on some computer project and wanted to finish up...

Life is too short to worry about wrinkles on your face (yes, I considered Botox - am still considering?? Botox. blugh  maybe life isn't too short for Botox... lol)


So.

The whole Oscars gaffe where LaLaLand was named as Best Picture, but totally wasn't the winner?!

There's bigger fish to fry!

(But how salacious?!)




And with that - it's 3:33pm.  And my yoga instructor always says when you see things like repeating numbers, it's the universe sending good vibes... or something like that... and repeating THREE'S?

Apparently that's like GoodVibeGold.





News Story Here