Hello, blog! Summer ahead.

WordPress sent me a notification that my stats were booming. While “booming” is relative, and I typically don’t get tons of visitors, it’s darn cool to know I’ve reached a few somebodies out there searching for an answer in the sea of information that is the www. Hopefully these visitors found a useful bit of info or maybe chuckled. Thank you!

I haven’t posted in a while. My daughter has been in her junior year of high school plus she participates in activities like dancing and tutoring which means it has been a super busy year for her. As I am mom-taxi, and I worry a little right with her, it was a busy year for both of us. I’m proud of her for pushing through some challenges. There are 8 days and 2 hours left in her junior year. Senior ahead!

My balcony garden is growing. I cut back the number of herbs, peppers, and tomatoes and added a couple mighty little trees and a jasmine from friends. Much like my stats were booming, several plants are blooming. Orchids inside. Comfrey, tomatoes, and a hydrangea outside. They are pure garden magic, sparkles & all.

Last week I purchased and put together a portable gas grill. I tried to video the process. I’ll edit that. Maybe post it. But mission accomplished. I have a grill! And it should work much better than the inefficient community charcoal grill.

Then I cooked food on that very cool (hot) and compact grill. If there’s a food that encapsulates the joys of summer, it’s food cooked on a grill in open air and the mosquitos bites that go with it. In my case it was chicken marinated for 35 hours and cooked to deliciousness with a few hickory chips and skewered zucchini, peppers, tomatoes, and sweet onions. So good!

Set sails for summer!

General Updates

We’re still sad about our kitty. Sadness comes and goes in waves. 

Since Fidel Castro and Ron Glass passed in the same week, it makes me wonder if there isn’t something brewing in the universe. At least I can always remember what year our furry friend passed. 

If our kitties each had a superpower, Fletcher’s would be his friendly, chilled-out attitude towards everything and Mojo’s would have been his love of cuddling and getting petted. He aggressively sought kitty strokes. He’d even meow at us to sit down and pet him. 

Dave reminded me that twelve years ago I never would have claimed that Mojo liked to cuddle. He changed a lot over the years (so did I). We’ll continue to miss his cuddle especially as we get back into our everyday routine after the Thanksgiving holiday. 

Awesome friends sent us an Edible Arrangements bouquet in honor of Mojo. It was a super nice surprise and helped improve the overall mood at home.

Our other cat is taking it all okay. He didn’t mind one bit that Fidel Castro died. I think he’d have liked Ron Glass though. And he seems down about losing his buddy Mojo. 

Normally the kitties go through playful times. There’s lots of pouncing and chasing each other (and imaginary critters) as they tear around the living room. But Fletcher hasn’t done that in a few days, so I think it sunk in that his friend isn’t coming back. 

Fletcher is getting lots of extra kitty strokes and cuddling and treats and hugs. Hopefully, we’re helping him cope as he’s helping us cope. Mojo was our friend and his for over 16 years.

Between vet trips and mini-Thanksgiving trips and unexpected crying, last week was a busy one. I think I accidentally missed a day for NaBloPoMo and didn’t write anything for NaNoWriMo for a few of the days. Just when I’d expected to have some extra time for writing. Poof! I could not keep my eyes open. Gah. But life happens. 

I had a few technical issues with posting from mobile devices. A few posts I thought I’d posted before midnight showed up as after midnight (so had the next day’s date). That may have happened when I made edits. And I think at least once, my mobile device wasn’t connecting so it saved a post locally but didn’t post it live when I though it did.

I’ll try for an extra post or two today and tomorrow.

I have no idea how many total words I have for NaNoWriMo. I’ve been writing on different devices, so I need to consolidate and add it all up (then feed it into the machine to make it official). I definitely won’t be at 50,000 words, but that’s okay. I still wrote lots of days. I know I did better than last year. And I made some progress with the story. So that’s good.

I had a mini-cleaning frenzy in my kitchen. I think that’s a good thing.

Thanksgiving foods were all extra yummy, and it was nice to spend time with family and relax some too. No matter what else, we still had a lot to be thankful for this week. And I’m enjoying the leftovers.

In Case of Sleep

May not stay awake enough to finish a more substantial blog post for today. Just wanted to put this here while I’m still able to type a sentence.

After a sunny, warm morning,  gusty wind brought cold air in a matter of hours yesterday. Today the wind continues to howl through chilly air. It feels like November. Winter is giving us a sneak preview.

Got some laundry done. Drove to and from dance classes. Rewatched Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Did some writing. Attended a Girl Scout meeting. Still fighting a cold, but better today than yesterday.

In the event that I’m catching zzzs, I’m setting the scheduler to post this mini post. Imagine something in this space that is interesting and inspired. While we’re at it, imagine humor and fantastic use of vocabulary along with beautiful photos.

I hope folks had a nice weekend and have a great week. Thanksgiving will be here soon.

This is for NaBloPoMo Day 20.

The Week

It was a busy week. With the election on Tuesday, I got up early to vote. Then, like a lot of people, I didn’t get much sleep that night. I dozed, looked at incoming election results, then woke up. Then dozed a little more. It was very surreal.

Wednesday, I had a meeting at my daughter’s school. So there I was talking with her teachers, and so very tired. Though, I think we were all a little tired. The teachers had very nice things to say about my kiddo, and I’m very proud of her.

Thursday,  before work I took the cat to the vet to get his blood drawn. Then dropped him off at home before I went to the office.

My daughter had Robotics club after school, so I had to pick her up.

The school was having an International Night that evening. Since it started several minutes before I arrived at the school, my daughter was already in line to sample the many tasty foods, and I went inside to see what it was like.

I’m so glad we went in. International night was really cool. Our area has students from so many places. We got to taste foods from around the world.

One of the desserts was called, Casery (maybe also spelled Kesari). It was from India and flavored with cardamom. It was different but yummy!

Then we saw a video the students made and watched part of a talent show the students performed.

Then I had pinball league. I stayed awake enough to play a few good games. Yay!

I came home and tried to blog. I. Was. So. Tired.

I kept typing and falling asleep mid-sentence. And I kept typing the wrong thing. Finally, I managed a couple of tiny sentences and was done.  I had to count that as my NaBlogPoMo.

Friday’s blog post didn’t go much better. I was so tired. But I was a little peppier since we got good news about our little old kitty cat. He’s a lot better. That made me happy.

Today is catch-up day … for many things. Laundry. Groceries. Blogging and writing. Resting. But still driving my daughter to and from places. At least I’m getting a few of these done.

Wishing everyone a great weekend!

NaBloPoMo November 2016

NaBloPoMo Day 2, Concert

Just a quick entry for NaBloPoMo Day 2. I managed a Day 1 entry, so I wanted to keep rolling. NaBloPoMo is National Blog Posting Month. Writers pledge to blog at least one post every single day of November. Here’s a link to some writing prompts which I may or may not use.

I didn’t get any writing done for NaNoWriMo yesterday. (National Novel Writing Month.)

My daughter had an orchestra concert at school yesterday evening plus a lot of my free time in the morning was consumed with finishing the hem and alterations on her formal orchestra dress. Got it done ,and it didn’t look bad. Yay.

The orchestra performance was wonderful!

This was the first concert of the year and my daughter’s first concert as a high school student. I’m amazed that the musicians are just high schoolers.

Many of the students wore Halloween masks, and there was a separate contest for audience kids in costume. They were way cute! Loved the Eiffel Tower girl! My daughter wore a mask that was either a fox or a cat. I’m still not sure which. Maybe a foxcat. That’s a thing, right?

I hope to get more writing done tonight.

Today is the Day of the Dead in Mexico and other countries that celebrate it. And it’s All Soul’s Day for many Christians including Catholics. So greetings to those of you who celebrate. I will remember my grandparents and also hunker down at home to get things done including writing.

I’m going to try to go about this with an amount of time set aside for writing each day. I find I can do little chunks of time and just keep going until I have some writing done.

NaBloPoMo November 2016

NaBloPoMo Day 7

Yes, Day 7 I say. It’s still November 7 in mountain or pacific time zone. Arizona? I might be two hours early in parts of Arizona. (I need to look at a map.) In my time zone it might be like November 8th already, but it’s only 2:35 AM or so. Ugh.

Yes, that’s right. I fell alseep and didn’t get my post 7 done. (At least not on November 7 in my own time zone.)

I had a cranky day.

It started with an appointment with Geek Squad to fix our TV. It’s the biggest TV we have, and it hasn’t worked in a while, and we figured it was time to get it fixed. I got up early to clean up a few things in the living room. So that probably started it. I like it when things are clean. I like cleaning up dirt just fine. The clutter? No so much. Getting rid of clutter makes me cranky. But I worked on it nonetheless.

We turned on the TV early in the morning to make sure everything was set up correctly and … WAIT … we turned on the TV.

It worked again!

So after leaving it on for a while and still having it on and working with a picture and everything, we called Geek Squad and told them the TV was working again. We asked if they could tell anything about the, now working, broken-TV and still be able to fix it. They told us they’d have a hard time figuring out the problem of the picture not coming on if the picture was coming on. OK. So we then cancelled / indefinitely rescheduled the appointment.

I took my daughter to a volunteer pumpkin reloading task at a pumpkin patch. This pumpkin patch sold pumpkins for charity and now that Halloween was well-past done, they loaded them back on a truck to donate to an animal park.

It was a drizzly, very October kind of day (even though it’s now November). Which was just fine since they had unloaded the pumpkins to the pumpkin patch on a day that was beautiful full-on sunshine. It was nice to feel not quite so much like summer for pumpkin-reloading.

The rain made the unsold pumpkins look such a deep shade of orange. My daughter wore her bright green Orchestra T-shirt. I told her she probably shouldn’t wear her Orchestra T-shirt to a pumpkin re-loading because if anything happened to the Orchestra T-shirt then she wouldn’t have it when she needed it for Orchestra. But she felt like it would be fine. I was happy I grabbed her bright magenta rain coat as we ran out the door. I let her know I was happy that I grabbed the rain coat. (I think I was already a little cranky at this point.) Later, she would say that she too was happy I grabbed the rain coat.

I ran a couple of errands while she was re-loading pumpkins in the muddy drizzle. Dave sat at home with the TV in a stare-down so see who would last the longest. Dave won.

The TV died again. I called Geek Squad back and told them our TV was NOT working again. Could they come now (hopefully before I need to get my daughter to her dance lesson)?

No. No, they can’t. No appointments scheduled for the same day, thank you. So we rescheduled for another morning this week that is exactly one-day before our extended warranty runs out.

(I’ll add here to that maybe Dave has a history with non-working TVs that might work again. And maybe I didn’t want to see the same thing happen again. I still have hope for this TV. And maybe Dave is having a cranky day too at this point.)

Then I couldn’t find the scissors because my daughter used them and didn’t put them back. Before that, I couldn’t get a coupon to print correctly from some coupon-printing thing on the Internet. (I want that hour+ of my life back.) I found another coupon-printing thing on the Internet, and I got that to print several coupons. I wanted to use some of them while my daughter was at her dance lesson. But no scissors. No time to look either since it’s time to leave for dance.

Then I got gas and the machine ate part of my receipt. I use the receipts to help me keep track of my gas mileage. Thanks machine.

Basically, by now, it’s hard for anybody to do anything around me that is not going to stretch my nerves beyond where my nerves are actually comfortable. I’m pretty sure that officially made me cranky. I’m also pretty sure that my body had already decided days ago that on Saturday I would be cranky. Because that’s how I felt. Sorry world, it’s beyond my control right now.

But the major cranky ended there.

We had a nice chili dinner on this drizzly day. My daughter ate her chili in the last bread bowl, and she loved it. I ate mine with a little bread on the side and some corn chips, and I loved mine.

Then we watched a Harry Potter movie on my iPad mini because we have no working TV in the living room. The temporary TV that we had in there previously was no longer in there. We wanted to keep things simple for the TV repair guy (who didn’t come today). Just the broken TV is now in the living room.

But Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is one of my favorite Harry Potter movies. My daughter activated all the glow sticks she got for Halloween, and we shared them between us. My daughter even made a cat-sized glow-stick necklace and put it on our very patient cat Fletcher. He was, indeed, very patient and left on his glow-stick necklace until it fell off when he ate dinner. He looked glow-y and adorable. I got extra glow-sticks out of the fridge since we had extras. I figured today was a good day for extra glow sticks. We sat side-by-side with Harry Potter and our glow sticks, and all was right in the world.

That’s when I fell asleep and didn’t get my day 7 NaBloPoMo post done on day 7 in my own time zone.

How was your day?

Confessions of a Working Mom

Dear anybody who was unlucky enough to stand too close to me yesterday. Sorry! I skipped my shower. Ran out of time.

I keep trying to get up earlier and earlier, and somehow there seems to be less and less time. So I used my morning for something other than bathing, OK? And I may or may not have skipped my shower the day before too. Who can say? Dry shampoo — you are my new best friend.

I also need to vent a little. Sometimes I get a little annoyed with stay-at-home moms who say they are so busy and have no time. In the past I even had one comment that I never did much. Really? I mean, I’m not saying you don’t do a LOT. I’m not saying that you don’t work hard. You do! Buy let’s try a little comparison.

Stay-at-home moms do: mom stuff, maintain their household, and volunteer stuff.

Working moms, especially work-out-of-the-house moms, do: mom stuff, try really hard to maintain their household, sometimes still manage to do volunteer stuff, and work an entire workweek out of the house.

Let’s say stay-at-home moms have an 80+-hour work week. I know. I know. Some of you would say the job never ends. It is 24-7. And that is true.

But working moms have all that PLUS a 40ish-hour-per-week job on top of it. Sometimes it’s more than 40 hours. And don’t forget drive time. Or the fact that grocery stores will have longer lines when we can be there.

So stay-at-home moms just lop 40+ hours out of the middle of your week where you can’t do any housework and see how that goes. Trust me, you’ll find time for things that you never thought you could do. But there may not always be time for a shower.

And please do not tell me or treat me like I should hire help or quit my job. If i could hire help I would probably not bother with the 40ish-hour-a-week job (at least not as many hours of it).

Don’t get me wrong I really like my job. But it is also necessary.

My “help” comes in the form of a glass of wine at the end of the day. Yesterday, after working, shopping for groceries and Halloween costume supplies, and feeding my family, I was too tired for that glass of wine. Since I missed it last night, I thought about having it when I got up this morning at 4:50 AM — it’s still kind of nighttime, right? I needed to try to put away some groceries that, sadly, did not put themselves away as I slept. That glass of wine will have to wait. I’m pretty darn determined to get that shower in!

I might even wear jewelry to work today. I always try for earrings because I look more professional, and I can put them in my pocket as I leave the door and then pop them on at a stoplight. I have gotten really good at doing a lot of things at stoplights. But necklaces don’t always happen. Necklaces or bracelets with a clasp are even less likely to happen. So pasta necklace with a 30″ inch cord, you are good to go. Unless you get tangled with something else. In which case, sayonara.

Pretty, hand-beaded 16″ necklace and lovely amethyst bracelet with a safety clasp, I am sorry. I know I’ve been neglecting you. I swear I will wear you again. You are beautiful! Always believe that. But I am much more likely to wear necklaces that are long enough that I can just put them over my head. Presto, jewelry!

So yes, stay-at-home moms, you work. You do get busy. I’ll get over the fact that “busy” may include lunch with friends at the local artisan pizza place. I still love you. I appreciate you a lot. I know you volunteer for the kids more than I do. I really hope I didn’t stand too close to any of you yesterday and cause any olfactory discomfort. I could use one of you in our house.

But right now it’s 6:25. My daughter’s alarm is ringing. We need to get going. The time that I’ve used to write this blog entry has been stolen from laundry time and maybe from drinking that glass of wine, but hopefully NOT from the shower. I really NEED that shower.

That Option Not Available on Mondays

So I’m trying a WordPress: Writing 101 thing to write every day which was my original New Year resolution this year. We know how that went. The first W101 assignment is to write for 20 minutes. Just write. I hate to say it but that option is not available on Mondays between the hours of 6:30 AM and 10:30 PM.

I mean are we talking twenty minutes all in a row or can I break that into smaller increments? Because smaller increments are a lot more likely to happen. Twenty minutes in a row of writing on a Monday? I’ll be lucky to make midnight. Oops, see that, I shot directly past midnight and slid right into Tuesday morning. So I’m going with 20 minutes within a 24 hour period of the assignment. 20 minutes not in a row, but I am trying too keep track and make this an actual 20 minutes with the last section being a large chunk of 10 whole minutes in a row. This may or may not be breaking the rules. But, generally speaking, Mondays are crazy days.

I work full time out of the home, and I’m a mom. And I’m the only driver in our house which is probably a whole ‘nother story though not nearly as interesting as it may sound. But, hey, Ray Bradbury didn’t drive either. And I remind myself of this so that I think it’s somehow cool and exotic when I’m feeling the pains of being the only driver in the house.

On Mondays, I take a late “lunch hour” from the office to pick my daughter up from Chess Club and drive her to her dance classes then drive back to work for about 1.75 hours when I turn back around and pick her up again.

Then we’ll need to manage to eat dinner which is usually going to be something quick because by dinner time I’m pretty well starving, and I don’t usually feel like cooking. Though I recently discovered these Meal Bars that have made the process a bit more tolerable. Oh, I do a lot of my writing on my phone or old iPad because I can’t always sit in front of an actual computer, but it is pretty slow going that way because I make a lot of very small typos.

And now I’ve lied because I got interrupted and these last 10 minutes are not, in fact, all in a row. But, hey, I tried.

And … time!

Editing to add:
I originally just started this post on my phone on Monday, but didn’t finish it until Tuesday morning. Once published, it appears that I published it on Monday.

Busy weekend and we didn’t even have a cookie booth

It’s another one of those jam-packed weekends. It started with some fun, was tempered with sadness and finished off with a flurry of busy activity.

We started with a fun Pizza Bingo night at my daughter’s school on Friday night. As one might expect we ate pizza and played Bingo. Being a fundraiser for the school we also purchased four tickets for the cake raffle and entered a couple of bids in the silent auction. Luck would have it that we won the cake raffle–twice. Which meant we brought home a lovely box of cupcakes with green frosting and a tasty peach pie. The latter of which I’ve eaten way too much of already. My daughter won a Bingo towards the end of the night and selected a “Fear Factor” Mad Libs book as her prize. When I won later yet (as the powers that be made it nearly impossible not to win), my daughter selected a pen as a prize. She was so happy as she could start the new Mad Libs right then and there! Upon reflection we’re thinking maybe the pen wasn’t meant to be a prize–that somebody just left it there on the prize table. And, really, I have pens and pencils in my purse. So she could have chosen any number of toys from the table and been just fine. But I’m plenty happy to have the pen. It doesn’t take up much space and it’s useful. So it’s all good.

Saturday morning was tricky. Dave and I dropped our daughter off at my Mom’s. From Grandma’s house my daughter would head off to ballet followed by karate lessons as Dave and I would drive to Alexandria for a friend’s funeral. We’re still in a bit of shock over the death of our friend’s wife. It was quite sudden and we’re very sad, especially for him. We liked her very much–she was a special lady. And it will take time for me to get it through my head that we won’t be getting together with them or seeing them at a gathering again ever. Some things are hard.

Later we ate some yummy food and did a lot of talking as major events always make me think of major life issues and I generally like to talk about these things with my best friend Dave.

Then I did some cleaning. Followed by starting too many at-home projects at one time without fully finishing what I’d already started. But I did accomplish a few things like removing an old shelf that had wiggled its way loose. Filled the holes. Drilled new holes and put up new corner shelves. Rinsed and prepped our new aquarium. Got it filled and running. Did some more cleaning and ate several more slices of peach pie. YUM!