Let’s Pretend I’m Blogging

29 11 2012

Bright greens and pinks and blue.

Lately I am like a stopped-up sink. So many thoughts, but I can’t get them out. If I find a thought, it’s soon lost among the rest of them swirling around.

Probably related somehow: I feel like a dolphin lost in fathomless black water, with nothing around to echolocate off of.

Pigeon happy hour, a rusty old balcony, and the moon.

There are a lot of issues coming up in my spiritual-emotional journey that I haven’t any idea what to do with.

I’ve had a cold for almost two weeks now. That’s stupid.

And I accidentally got a new cat yesterday. There is a story there, but I don’t feel like I can share it without proper pictures of her, but my camera is broken.

Oops. I got another cat.

MY CAMERA. IS BROKEN.

There is one tiny, awkwardly placed screw standing between me and a fixed camera. Because I am convinced I can fix it by myself.

Other things I can do now? Win video games. I didn’t even think I could play video games, but then all of a sudden I’d bought Epic Mickey.

upload

It’s almost December and I only just admitted out loud this week that this year really isn’t as amazing as I had hoped. It’s definitely not 2011 again, and of course my logical brain realizes that it was too much to expect this year to be good, but I’ve just been trying so hard to not be depressed, or maybe just to not acknowledge depression. Which, of course, never serves anyone well. I guess I was just so sick of complaining that I wanted to pretend I didn’t have to. On the other hand, maybe this just is part of the journey.

the next tat

Have I shared this here, yet? This is my next tattoo. When I finally (only 15 years after I started) finished reading The Lord of the Rings, Frodo (the Hobbit, not the cat) said this about their return to the Shire. I put it into a spiral because Claire once pointed out to me that as you grow, your path spirals around and around so that the same things keep coming up. The point of spiritual growth, though, is that you hope to be further along and dig deeper in each time you reach that point again. So perhaps I’ve just been hibernating; resting up until the next step presents itself.

Lil bit cloudy.

But the thing that really gets me about everything is that my camera. is. BROKEN. I don’t even understand how to operate my life if I can’t manually focus when I need to.





Mr. Tygett

17 09 2012

I got news today that Mr. Tygett passed away this afternoon. The world is a little bit sadder today. But I am so glad for all the joy he left behind. I’m glad that I got to see him once more. That he was honored while he was still here to see it. Blessings, Mr. Tygett.

Death is but the next great adventure.
-Albus Dumbledore





The Sharks Were a No-Show

13 08 2012

It’s the time of year when the leopard sharks come to San Diego’s shores. I’ve always wanted to go and now I have an underwater camera so I pretty much have to go. Also, I think it’s good therapy fodder for when my kids are grown: “And this one summer? She made us SWIM. WITH. SHARKS.”

swimmer

Only the sharks didn’t show up (my kids may or may not have been somewhat relieved). So instead we had to, like, just enjoy the beach or whatever. Meh.

jump!

Kidding. It was lovely. A tiny beach with clear water, a sunny day, excellent parking provided by the parking gods, and the water wasn’t even as frigid as usual (it was only slightly frigid). At one point I forced the kids to sit with my purse safely away from the waves while I took a short turn swimming by myself. It was either win or child neglect. One of those.

and then i made the kids sit with my stuff while i went to swim.

Days like this make me remember that I don’t hate the beach. Days like this even make me wish I owned a house on a beach. Days like this? Are totally weird. But wonderful.

goofy kids





Disneyland on Wheels

27 05 2012

tiki room

Earlier this year I invested in Disneyland passes. We had received some money for Christmas and used that towards the down payment and after that there is just a monthly fee of $10 per pass (well, I ay an extra $5/mo for mine so I can sometimes go on Sundays with grownups). These cheaper passes have certain days blocked out, but those are the busy days and we don’t want to go then, anyway. It makes Disneyland affordable. I shared the idea with Claire who decided it was brilliant (duh) so we’ve been three times this year so far (I mean together, as families).

That most recent trip to Disneyland was awesome. Largely because the girl child has been working so hard on her awesomeness, but also because she twisted her ankle a couple of days prior and after a lot of thought and consideration and false feeling-betters from said ankle, we decided to go anyway. And the ankle started complaining so we wound up renting a wheelchair. And you know what? Wheelchair trumps FastPass. Like totally.

jungle cruise

We enjoyed the lack of waiting in lines for lots of rides that day, but we really got to enjoy the benefit in Fantasyland. Fantasyland is made up of a bunch of really great rides that everyone loves so much they are willing to wait in lines for 45-90 minutes. I’ve never waited less than 30 minutes for Peter Pan and once my family waited almost two hours for Dumbo. On a Monday in the winter. But with a wheelchair we only waited in one line (10 minutes for Peter Pan, if you’re counting). The kids got to experience all sorts of rides we don’t usually make time for. Elliott declared them all “awesome”.

Untitled

I had some reservations at first about renting a wheelchair for a simple twisted ankle. I mean there are people out there with, like, actual disabilities, who are on, like, actual vacations. But once we got the chair it was so obviously the right choice. Margie was able to enjoy the day without any discomfort and we were able to enjoy the day without any whining (well, not on that topic, anyway)

So, not that I advocate child abuse or anything, but if you ever go to Disneyland I highly recommend making sure someone in your party has an injury just serious enough to make your day awesomer. Because lines are dumb.





Demon Adventures. Also personal growth n stuff.

26 04 2012

I have so much to say. But only while I’m driving or in the shower or something. I need to make a habit of audio recording myself all the time and just posting that. Only it would be SO CONFUSING for you to try to follow my brain while I talk to myself. It’s harder than following my brain while I talk to you. Which is pretty hard to begin with.

Suffice it to say that this has been a time of incredible change and growth for me. I’ve learned things about myself, and let things go to regrow more organically. I’ve learned things about life, about friendships, about parenting and my children. I wish I could document all of it, but it happens so fast, and so naturally, that I can barely make verbal note of it before I’m onto the next step. I guess I’ll have to just let that be what it is, too.

This week has been a surreal week of new things for SOAM, too. It got picked up first by the Daily Mail in the UK, and then by Yahoo (wherein a woman WHO WAS *IN* OFFICE SPACE said my website was “meh”. Which. Actually. Might not be a compliment. But it doesn’t really matter because SHE WAS TOTALLY IN OFFICE SPACE and also TALKING ABOUT *MY* WEBSITE) and a few other sources. And the traffic crashed the site. Repeatedly. Like to the point where I had to find a new company to host it for me. And that, my friends? Was beyond stressful. Tech is not my language and to try to fix something so INCREDIBLY TECHY was downright traumatic. In case you’re here for advice, the coping technique I used follows:

1. Cuss a lot.
2. Deep breath.
3. Remind self to take it one step at a time, and do whatever the smrt people say.
4. Panic.
5. Repeat.

It might need work, but it got me through.

And you know what happened this week? My first baby turned ten. TEN. Oh, you know what? It’s kind of like this. Only with less pot and no professional killing. Take out those things and it’s EXACTLY like that.

she's weird, too, though

She’s amazing lately, too. This time of change isn’t just about me (unlike most other things in this world, which totally are just about me). She’s made some incredible growth that gets me all verklempt just thinking about it.

So here’s to spring and growth and life and The Happy. And to not taking a ride on this bus.

um. i don't think i fancy a ride on THAT bus.

Or, TO taking a ride on that bus, if that’s your thing. If the demons are hot I guess it might be mine.





I only hoard SOME things.

15 04 2012

At some point in my early 20′s I realized I didn’t want to grow up to be like my family, trapped by Stuff. So I started regular purges. Living in a small apartment has helped with this. I really can’t own too many things if I still want, for instance, places to sit or walk or put my clothes. So for the most part I get rid of things as I stop using them.

titanic, second class, white star line

Except for coffee mugs.

I love them. I can’t bring myself to ever get rid of them. Even when I don’t use them. And I do tend to be rather serial monogamous with my mugs so there are some I’ve not used for years.

my favorite mugs

This picture really makes it look like this isn’t an issue. In large part because it really isn’t an issue. But I will say that these are only my favoritest mugs (not counting my Starry Night mug which is packed away with the camping supplies) and that there are more in the cupboard. The only aspect of this which threatens to maybe someday become an issue is the fact that I can’t bring myself to get rid of them. But I figure I’ve got awhile before the couch is covered with the extras and once that happens I’ll understand when you stage an intervention.

And last week I added a new mug to my collection. We’d gone to see the Titanic artifact exhibit and they had replica dishes and teacups and mugs. And while I hope someday to have an entire set of this First Class china (so we can have Titanic Thanksgivings, duh) for now I settled on this one. The First Class mug, while beautiful, is demitasse, which is fancy for “too damn small” and I’d need like 30 refills each morning (which is simply too time-consuming). So I went with Second Class which was still very classic-looking while also allowing for a decent amount of coffee (even if it is still smaller than I often need).

titanic, second class, white star line

And so I shuffled some things around in my cupboards and got rid of some of the kids’ toys and clothes* and found some space for my new fancy and slightly morbid mug. And so maybe I do hoard coffee/tea mugs/cups. I’m totally ok with that.

*KIDDING. For now.





Motherfrakking Vogons

29 06 2011

Earlier this year, I got all excited about how I was going to write a post about how applying for food stamps was a freaking DREAM compared to when I had to apply for Medi-Cal nine years ago. See, because back in the dark ages they had this policy where you showed up in person like the ancient people of 15 and more years ago. In. Person. It was torture. And – I swear I am not making this up* – we waited in that room for FIVE HOURS. To get an appointment.

But 2011 is awesome in so very many ways. And one of those ways is that the government figured out how to use the internet at some point in the last nine years. So all I had to do to apply for food stamps was spend about 30 minutes online filling out a form and sending scans of my info in. They called me back the next day and within a week and only an additional 20 minutes spent at the office itself to sign papers and get my fancy ATM-looking card, I was finished. It was awesome.

More awesome? All the places that take food stamps. Which is pretty much everywhere. Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods – even Costco! And while WIC didn’t work well for my family all those years ago (I think there have been some good changes to the program, but I really don’t know) due to all the dairy and processed foods, food stamps allow me to buy all sorts of awesome, organic, gluten-free, whole and healthy foods. It’s awesome.

And I know some people feel ashamed at needing help, but I don’t feel ashamed about being low income – I’m certainly not cheating the system, I’m just trying to live. (Admittedly, help feels more awkward coming from friends or family than from a faceless government.) I’m pretty strongly Democrat in this way – I think the government should act as a parent to its people by supporting them when necessary. (I think there should also be a choice to how much the government requires of its people who are receiving help – and also those who aren’t, but that’s a different subject entirely.)

So things were going along swimmingly until Matt Lauer screwed up my life. I won’t repeat the Week o’ Thursdays I wrote about in that post, but suffice it to say that it was really, really difficult to wade through that giant, stinking pile of bureaucracy. But it was all smoothed over and Life was OK again.

And then I got a letter. This letter stated clearly that since my income had changed, therefore my monthly allowance had changed from $42.23 to $42.23. That’s not the actual amount I get, just some geeky numbers thrown in as an example to show you what the letter looked like. Yeah. They actually spent time, money and resources on that, not to mention postage. A few weeks later I got another letter in the mail. This letter stated that if my income ever goes above $______ I need to alert the County within 10 days. Unlike my first example in which I changed the facts to protect my privacy a bit on the interwebz, this time I changed NOTHING. Yeah. They sent me a letter with absolutely zero helpful information in it. Now I don’t mind paying taxes at all, but I really generally prefer they go to more important things like teachers or roads or fire departments. But that’s crazy. Or, more correctly: it’s crazy when Vogons are in charge. Which is clearly what’s going on here.

And, of course, I still can never get through. I try to be patient because with all the budget cuts and the terrible economy it means that more people need more help and there are less people to help them. I feel more sad than anything when I’m unable to get through. Sad for the state of things.

And just a little bit afraid that they might try to read me poetry.

*To borrow a phrase from the Wise Dave Barry.





Improving my Home

16 06 2011

I have a million things to do today so what do I do? Well, first I tried hunting down more geeky lols, but the internet wasn’t delivering any. At least not any good ones. I do have this one saved on my computer from ages ago, and even though it’s old, I still can’t not giggle when I see it:

And then after that I decided to go dig through my box of Stuff I Won’t Get Rid Of because I wanted to find the taxi and bus I got when I lived in England as a child. In the process I found letters from an old boyfriendish type person (which are sad because he passed away a few years ago), embarrassing journals, my glossary of Scottish slang they handed out when we went to see Trainspotting, the actual ticket to Trainspotting along with tickets every other movie and concert I attended from 1993-1999, a very tiny Barbie, and a collection of various sands from Hawaii that my grandpa gave me.

And then! I put my mad photoshop skillz to work once again for you! You can say many things about me, but you can’t say I’m a terrible procrastinator.

Living room as it is now:
living room as it is now

And here’s a rough and thankfully not realistic (in terms of the lack of straight lines) sketch of what I would like it to be:
living room plans

I definitely want a futon or some sort of couch-to-bed thingie so we can have guests over. I’m really quite excited about the possibility of guests. And for one or both couches, I’ve decided I want a collection of geeky pillows.

I’m not really sure what I’m looking for in terms of art on that wall. I put a rainbow to represent my love of color, but I’m not tied to the image of a crappily-photoshopped series of wobbly lines. I am open to suggestions here. Either for prints or projects. I don’t think I want a photo of mine up there because how do I choose just one? That would be like picking only one of your children to hang up on the wall. Er. Well, you know what I mean. I am half-tempted to get a bigass print of vulvas to hang up there. But that might discourage the potential guests and render the futon obsolete.

In the dinette, I’ve drawn you a highly sophisticated sketch of one of those shelf-things that goes above a toilet. Or, if you know of something classier, that’s cool, too. But I like the idea of leaving the floor space open to set the futurecat’s bowls under. On the shelf we’d keep the fruit bowl, napkins (no need for hovernapkins, although I realize my drawing hints at the idea), salt and pepper shakers, and Stuff (which will, apparently, be stored in a pinkish bowl). Cupboards or open shelves are both acceptable.

dinette with a shelf

Now. My friend Anna made this awesome photo wall and I am totally stealing her idea. But the question is, does it go in the dinette, above the freezer (which will have a nicer tablecloth someday) or in the bedroom behind the bed? And the flip side of that question: what goes on the wall that doesn’t have a photo wall? For the record some ideas I’ve had in the past for home decorating were tiki-based and Disneyland-based. That’s two separate things, not one.

another blank wall

And there is also this newly blank wall below. This might be a good place for a piece of art I have in mind based on this poem.
blank wall

In addition to all this, I’m forming a list of things large to small I’m needing for the house to slowly make it more mine. I’m keeping it here for one central place to have it while also keeping the info out there just in case someone happens to know of the existence of some of these items. I realize not all of you are local, but I’m throwing this list here in case you happen to come across an excellent deal online. For you local people, if you see something from the list somewhere or happen to know of anyone getting rid of any of this, I’d love any tips to help keep things are cheap as possible.

~Random old frames for the photo wall
~Dustbuster
~Futon
~Shelf for dinette
~Bookshelves for the bedrooms
~Bunk bed for the kids (and mattresses and sheets)
~Shelving for the closet(s)
~One or two of these from Ikea
~Windchimes of all sizes
~Skirt hangers
~Pavers for the patio
~Geeky pillows
~Tablecloth for the freezer (red)
~New bedspread for me





Star Tours and Disneyland

21 05 2011

I have so much to blog about.  Things like my youngest child’s sixth birthday.  But I also have priorities and so at this moment I’ll blog about Disneyland.  My youngest child can wait.

Summer is like a Raffle Goddess this year – she just keeps winning and winning (KNOCK WOOD). Most recently she won tickets to see the grand-reopening of Star Tours at Disneyland. The chance to be one of the first people in the world to get to ride after it was refurbished and updated: AWESOME. Originally when she told me about this, I told her she should opt for someone who, you know, doesn’t cry on roller coasters so she could have more fun, but in the end she asked me anyway and who am I to say no to that? And Matt Lauer should know I NEEDED this day at Disneyland. Of course it required me to ditch pretty much everyone important to me – my kids, the Camp Fire meeting I was supposed to be leading (and, uh, the other leader was out of town. *cough*). So while I felt guilty (and while I tried very hard not to allow myself the guilt) I also knew that I’ve never before ditched any of these people for anything trivial like this and I won’t be doing it again (often?), so I just went for it.

And “going for it” meant waking up at 4am.

line for star tours

I used to love going to watch movies the night they opened. I was the one happy to wait in line for hours if I needed to, to get a good seat (or a seat at all). More movie theatres showing the same movie on more screens waters the experience down so I haven’t had such an incredible experience in a long time now, but this morning at Disneyland reminded me of all the reasons I used to be happy to wait in line just to watch a movie’s first showing.

empty disneyland

The crowd was like a mini-Comic Con. There were costumes and geekery and camaraderie. Everyone there was your friend because they knew they shared an interest with you and that you were all interested enough to wake up at 4am, drive for an hour and a half in the dark and wait in line for hours just to have the experience. Once we finally got on the ride everyone in the car with you cheered and booed and laughed and screamed together. And that – THAT – is why I woke up at 4am. The experience is fantastic on its own, but when shared with a crowd like that it’s once-in-a-lifetime awesomeness.

And, as always when Disney changes or updates a ride, we were all nervous as to if it would survive or if they’d screw it up. And, in Disney’s track record, the screwing up often comes with the awesomeness. So we didn’t know what to think about how this would turn out.

But we needn’t have worried (in this case) because it turned out AWESOME. It was better, even. They paid homage to the original ride and it’s cheesiness in graceful ways, and they removed the dated look in ways which I feel will help the ride stay current in the future as well. They utilized today’s technology elegantly and stuck mainly to the original three movies (although someone did tell me you can find Jar Jar Binks in carbonite somewhere in the ride if you look for it). There are several different versions of the ride, each stopping at a different planet in the Star Wars Universe. We stopped at Kashyyyk, although the ride called it “The Wookiee Planet”. (Full disclosure, I had to come home and look up the spelling of Kashyyyk.)

flight times

The ride also utilizes 3D (as the guys in line in front of us said, “Not only do we have to clamp on with our butts but we also have to keep 3D glasses on?”) and if you now me at all, you’ll know I HATE 3D. Despise. Abhor. Detest. To put it mildly. I will put up with it grudgingly for short periods of time and I will complain about being forced into 3D every time. But not this time. This time was AWESOME. Seriously. I can’t express to you how surprised I was to not only tolerate the effect but to also enjoy it. LOVE it, even. It was seamless and headache-free (although that may have been due to the shortness of the time I had to wear the glasses). I know today’s 3D is better than that of, say Captain EO (which I also saw for the first time ever yesterday, and who’s 3D I detested), but even today’s 3D I find generally looks unlcean and cheesy at best. But the 3D in Star Tours was just fantastic. Perfect.

Happy thing: Bonnie and I, with our super cool 3-D glasses!
Photo by Summer. Actually maybe photo by me. But it was Summer’s camera either way.

The only bad thing I had to say about the ride was that it was too short. I could have enjoyed a couple more minutes at least.

Anyway, after that we enjoyed the rest of the park, too. I had no kids with me so I got to enjoy the bits I never get to enjoy like The Haunted Mansion and Indy. Summer got to have Dole Whip and sing along in the Tiki Room which is something she doesn’t get to do very often. We had coffee and churros (I had a bite, anyway – shh, don’t tell my body about the gluten, ok?). And we survived the day with enough energy intact to drive home safely and happily despite the too-early wake up call.

I feel so refreshed now. The last weeks have seriously kicked my ass and while my life itself is happy, my body and mind were wearying to the point that I didn’t even notice it until I was at the happiest place on earth recharging myself.

I’ve already thanked Summer a million times but here’s once more. And thanks to the people I ditched for understanding. And thanks to The Universe for knowing what I needed even more than I did and for making sure it happened.

Clicky here for the rest of the photos.





Area 51

18 05 2011

If I thought my eight-year-old self was scared of the Unsolved Mysteries episode that focused on Roswell, that was only because I had never considered the alternative. I don’t know that I believe either story, frankly, but I do know one thing: I will never sleep again.








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