Monday, November 30, 2009


We made back home to Phoenix, but not without a few new things so I thought I would share.

Little Guy came back with a hacking cough and and fever. The first night home he slept from 4:00 PM until 6 AM the next morning. We did get to watch the Georgia - Georgia Tech game without him running around, but I didn't sleep a wink thinking he would wake up in the middle of the night. He also brought back the time change and this morning woke up a the lovely hour of 4:45 AM, though I was already up trying to hammer out a little more towards NaNoWriMo goal before tonight's deadline.

Girlie came home with the same cough, but luckily no fever. She also came back with an assortment of itty bitty pets and other shrunken barbiesque bits of bribery that I will be sucking up in the vacuum for months to come.

I came home beyond crabby, sleep deprived, and behind on all of my writing, though in all fairness, I am not sure I didn't leave with those too. I also came home with a few extra pounds, and it was a good thing that they didn't weigh me along with our two giant suitcases or I might not have made the flight.

Hubs came home with a slight pinch in his neck from all of the crap we had to haul through the airport, including the car seat, a stroller, Girlie's bag, a small backpack, and two computer bags.

So there you go, the crappy souvenirs from a cross-country holiday trip to Georgia. No grits, no peach preserves, not even one of those Georgia On My Mind t-shirts.

But so glad to be back.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Nobody puts baby in a corner

So the circus is rolling out today, but another circus of sorts has arrived. The symphony guild is hosting a debutante ball tonight and all of the girls are at our hotel practicing with their escorts. I heard them receiving instructions from the coordinator in one of the ballrooms as we were heading to breakfast. She reminded them that the presentation of each couple is a very very very serious affair. On our way back a few of the gals were hanging out texting and surfing the net on their phones in the hallway, white fluffy crinolines on over jeans, high heeled dance shoes already on their feet. Later tonight they'll be decked out in ball gowns.

I had no idea our hometown still had debutantes. I do know that the deb society was around when I was a teenager, and I was just as surprised by it then, when my mother and I stopped in a local department store to try on prom dresses and found that one of the dressing rooms, the only empty one, was reserved for debs to try on dresses. I stood there clutching the dress of my dreams, while my mother insisted rather loudly that we be allowed to use the dressing room. It was the "nobody puts baby in a corner" moment of my teen years, except instead of some hot guy, it was my own mother dragging me to the dance floor. Years later I found out that the dress I purchased which was a white flowing gown with a sequined bodice, was also a deb dress. The girls wear white to the ball put on for the final presentation as they are launched into society. I must have looked so ridiculous to those women at the store with my white gown and irate Italian mother.

So we're at the nicest hotel in town which hosts everyone from circus folks to debutantes. And that pretty much sums up my hometown.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


That I'll be home in two more days and that home is a place where the sun shines every day. That my husband and I are a team, sometimes the should have made it to a bowl game but lost to the only 0-10 team in the conference kind of team, but a team nonetheless (and hey, did you see our line up for next year, we're so coming back). That my kids are cute, because sometimes the cuteness is all that saves them from an ad on craigslist. That pumpkin pie, stuffing, and buttery rolls only make it into rotation once a year and that the holiday season doesn't last a moment longer than December 25th. That I am almost done with my holiday shopping. That even though Hubs will wait until the last minute, he'll probably go to Anthropologie, and really he can't go wrong in that place.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Let them eat cake

So my Dad is finally home from the hospital after two months, and that seems like cause enough for a celebration. When it comes to food, we never go conservative around here, so my mom comes home with not one, but two cakes for four adults and two children.

The first cake was a chocolate and coconut cake that my 87 year old grandmother loves. It had a beautiful frosting magnolia covering almost the entire top of the cake.

The second one is a chocolate on chocolate on chocolote giant thing, called, and I kid you not, Death by Chocolate. My mom kept saying anyone want a slice of this one? Death by chocolate? She was completely unaware of the irony, but Hubs and I kept making eyes at each other, and I had to work hard to hold back the giggles.

I just hope she doesn't offer any to the hospice nurse when she stops in later today.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The circus came to town

Staying in a Marriott in our hometown and congratulating ourselves on making the trip fun for the kids and little bit for us too. The breakfast, cartoons in bed, and a heated pool, pretty much qualifies as top fun for them. Last night Hubs and I orderd shrimp Po-boys from a place across the street and talked the bartender into a couple of beers to go. Not too bad.

Then this morning we noticed the crowd. Yep. The circus folks just checked in.

This should be interesting.

Friday, November 20, 2009

When life gives you grapefruit

Last year around this time we started noticing that we had fruit growing on a tree in our backyard. It turned out that we had a giant grapefruit tree and it came as a total surprise. We ate grapefruit for months marveling at the fact that we could just go out back and pick it. I should tell you that neither Hubs nor I have a green thumb, so gardening has never been an option for us. In fact, it is exactly the opposite. I can't even manage to keep a small potted herb alive for more than a few weeks. And yet, Phoenix gifted us with a full grown tree even we couldn't kill.

I noticed that the grapefruit is back, though not ready yet. It looks like in a few months we'll be eating grapefruit again. It won't be a surprise, so Phoenix will have to up it's game a little. I have a feeling it will though.

We haven't been disappointed yet.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


This morning I woke up with gifts on the brain.

I've been blogging mini gift guides over at The Swank Co., so if you get a chance take a peak. She has a great site with tons of fantastic gifts like my favorite, this vintage wine stopper. The stopper is lovely to include with a bottle of wine, but is substantial enough to give on it's own. A wine stopper can be such a no never mind kind of gift, but this one has a story and each one is totally unique. I have given it for birthdays and Christmas, but also as a house warming gift, and as a congrats for a new job (opening new doors). I am not being compensated to say this in any way, I really love the wine stopper that much, almost as much as wine itself and that's saying something.

Speaking of opening new doors, I am also going to be blogging over here a few times a month. I have my first piece going up Friday and then a small blurb about a Thanksgiving stuffing contest next week. Last week I sold a short essay to be published at a later date. Little things are happening.

These gifts, the writing assignments, have all come along at a time when I really needed them. The last month, worrying about things with my Dad and how we're all going to navigate the holidays and then the time after that, has been like opening a box to find that you have received a homemade Christmas sweatshirt. It doesn't seem to fit, you don't want it, but you can't return it either.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Some sappy, and I'm going to just say it, probably southern woman, coined the phrase "Stressed is just desserts spelled backwards."

What does that mean exactly? That I should, as a general rule, eat more dessert? That dessert will make everything better? That if I look at the stressful event another way, I will suddenly find the sweetness? Right.

In a few days, I'm leaving town to head back to my hometown for Thanksgiving with Hubs and the kids. My Dad will be home from the hospital when we get there, although only just, so we'll have to see how he'll do. I have a few small writing things to wrap up, a craft project at Girlie's school, the kids stuff to pack, arrangements to be made, plus Hubs out of town until late Friday. We leave Saturday morning. Oh, and did I mention that I have all but abandoned my efforts at NaNoWriMo?

Turning it all around, trying to see the lava cake, but not having any luck.


I am, however, squeezing in a tequila tasting tomorrow night. Tequila isn't anything spelled backwards, but we'll see if a little spirit of the agave can straighten things out.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Mini me

Girlie has never been one to transition into new situations readily. As a toddler, she would stand at the edge of the playground watching all of the other kids play and if there was too much activity, as in get these crazy two year olds away from me with the shrieking and the running, it would send her over the edge and we'd have to leave pronto. When she started preschool she cried every time I dropped her off. She was also the only kid who cried when I picked her up. At age four, I took her to the Curious George movie, her first, and we had to ditch the movie after only fifteen minutes because she started crying when the monkey got separated from the man with the yellow hat. I assured her that he found the monkey eventually, reminded her that she'd seen the PBS shows, but nope. She was almost five years old before she set foot in a bouncy castle. The bouncing! The screaming! How could that be fun? She is seven now and isn't nearly as sensitive, but unfamiliar situations can throw her a little. She thrives on predictability and order.

From the moment she was born I think I have always identified myself with her. People say she looks just like me, a mini-me, and at one point we even kind of had the same haircut. So whenever this stuff comes up, I blame myself. I worry that I have passed my own crazy control issues on to her. Which is silly, of course, because she is part me, part Hubs, and a little bit of that magic that makes us each unique individuals. She is no more a miniature version of me, than I am of my mother. And I am so not my mother.

So a few weeks ago, the Girl Scouts had a backyard camp out and I knew she wouldn't be into it. I asked several times, and she considered it, but then said no. She agreed to go for the evening, but then she wanted to come home. I decided not to push it. I was heading out of town so I couldn't go with her and if she did go and then have a change of mind, Hubs would have to get Little Guy out of bed to pick her up.

Last night we were talking about Girl Scouts and the pre-campout fun and I asked her again why she didn't want to go. I reminded her that we had all been camping a few months ago and she'd loved it.

She said she didn't want to stay overnight because camping in someone's back yard was just weird. Why would she camp in a yard when she could just come home and get in her bed where she knew she'd be comfortable? She has a point.

Smart girl. Maybe exactly like me.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Pacy addict

For the last few weeks we have been dealing with an addiction problem. Little Guy has always loved the pacy, and I don't generally have a problem with it. But recently it had gotten to the point where he had it in his mouth constantly and he was talking "around" it.

I staged an intervention and began coaching him on getting rid of it. He still has it for naps and bedtime, but during the day, it has to be put away. During the first few days of detox, he became an expert excavator and would find old pacifiers under the couch, behind his bed, and God knows where else. I would find him hiding with the contraband pacy in his mouth. It was aggravating, but also pretty sweet. I really felt for him. Poor Little Guy. Of course there were many tears and tantrums, so poor Momma too.

After several weeks, he is now free from the bondage of the pacifier and I am happy to report that the pacy does not seem to be a gateway to thumb sucking.

In case you were wondering.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Pest control

So I am deep in the trenches of my crap fest of a novel, almost at the halfway point for the 50000 word goal and I am very anxious to get through the next week's worth of writing. It is, apparently, the point at which all writers get stuck and getting through it, the murky middle, is a right of passage. I am just about at the point that I put aside (abandoned) my previous work under the guise that it I need to rework it.

Writing 2000 words a day isn't the problem. Writing 2000 words that connect to the previous 2000 has proven to be a bit of a challenge. So I have to keep going, writing even when my inner critic is flailing around desperately trying to get me to delete the last four sentences, and possibly the entire document while I am at it. All of the advice and encouragement that has been sent out during the NaNoWriMo contest boils down to one thing.

Keep going.

Which is why, yesterday, I wrote a sentence about rats. Rats that can't sleep.

Anyway, to get the writing done with the two year old, who now requires constant supervision like being a stay at home is a full time job or something, and the seven year old, who needs help with a science experiment, yes there are flames involved, and the husband out of town, and the writing assignment, remind me not to pitch things I haven't written yet, I am having to re-prioritize, and by re-prioritize I mean ignore things.

Last night I sat up folding the three loads of laundry that had accumulated on the dryer because we had no underwear and I have gotten to the point that I only do the dishes once a day, after dinner. The re-prioritization is probably the reason I am getting through it, but also why I now have ants in the kitchen and an exterminator coming by this afternoon. I have had ants before and it can be a total nightmare if you don't jump on it, so I am hoping the exterminator will be able to bait them and get rid of them quickly.

Unfortunately, he'll have to leave me with the rat problem.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The key to my crazy

Little Guy is in destructo mode again this week and my brand new laptop has fallen victim to his hijinks. For the most part, I have been careful to keep it away from him, but I got busy the other day and left it on the kitchen table. Usually, he just runs up to it and pounds on the keys. I wind up with few extra letters in my document, maybe a word or two of gibberish, but then the whole point of participating in NaNoWriMo this month is the word count. So really what's the harm in it?

Except this time, he decided to pry one of the keys completely off and in two point nine seconds, my new laptop looked like this:

And, no, the key will not snap back on.

If I were feeling inclined to put a positive spin on it, and I'm not, I might say that at least it is the windows key, which I never use. For now, I can get by without it. We'll order a new keyboard and I should be able to fix it at home. It could have been worse, he was one key away from the space bar.

But still. Really?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A gift

I was out of town on my birthday so the gifts have been trickling in over the last week or so. This is totally fine by me, I love to draw the party out and milk it for everything turning 37 is worth.

The other day one of my girlfriends gave me a pair of really nice knives for my birthday. I hugged her when I opened the box and told her I loved them. My friend said that she picked them out because she knew I needed them and would never splurge on nice ones. She had a point, the last time she had been over, I spent way too much time sawing through the lime slices for our Coronas.

Then I said, "Wait, am I the kind of woman that squeals over kitchen knives?"

As I said it I realized that I didn't even know what that meant anymore. All of the stuff about who I am and who I want to be has turned out to be such crap. In the past, I have wasted too much time not investing in the things I really needed because of it. Who am I? Really, I don't think I have decided, and it might be awhile.

So yes, I will give you the evil eye if you try to peg me as one of those wifey types happy at home making soup. And then I will head home to chop veggies like a human chopomatic.

But don't try to call me out on it, I have some really sharp knives.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

When we lived in South Carolina we had a friend who left her Halloween pumpkin out so long that I snuck over one night and topped it with a Santa hat and we all had a really good laugh over it.

Apparently, our pumpkin didn't stand a chance of lasting until Christmas in the desert. A few days ago, I heard a thud against the front door and peeked out to find that our "snowman" had toppled over. We don't use the front door that often, and like my harassed friend, I had completely forgotten the pumpkin was out there. As I picked it up, something really gross oozed out and I had to make a dash for the trash bin.

And just like that the pumpkin snowman had to hurry on his way. So that's it, Halloween is officially over, and I am taking this as my signal to toss out all of the leftover candy with it.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Flu is the new black

Is it just me or have you noticed that swine flu is the new go-to excuse for everything?

Can't come, don't want to, didn't finish on time, or forgot something for your kid's school? No worries! Just mention that you've been feeling under the weather and you are officially excused. With all of the paranoia about the H1N1, no one is taking any chances. And I'm hearing it everywhere.

It's official, flu is the new black.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Back in the water

Today Hubs is heading over to Tempe for an open water swim in the lake.

He had a pretty bad experience at his last triathlon. During the swim he got kicked in the face and his goggles flew back over his head. As he was pulling them on someone swam over the top of him and he went under and swallowed some water. He has five triathlon's under his belt, and tons of practice swimming, so it wasn't the first time he had been kicked or swam over, but something about this time felt much worse. Maybe the succession of one event right after the other in a short period of time or just the fact that he was in the middle of the lake at that point. He felt himself start to panic a little and it took a few laps to regain himself. At one point he considered quitting, something he has never done, but he was finally able to pull it together and continue. He was, after all, already out there and the effort to swim back would have probably been almost the same as just going through with it anyway. He told me the whole story and I was surprised to find out that the fear of the water can overtake you unexpectedly, even when you have had some pretty solid success with swimming in the past.

I can relate to that feeling just a little. Keeping my fingers crossed that he has a great swim.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Write Write Sleep Write

As I mentioned a few days back I am participating in National Novel Writing Month, and by the end of the day I will have 10000 words written towards a 50000 word novel. So far it has been going pretty well, but I can feel myself starting to tire out. They say week two is the hardest and I can see why. I did not take an organized approach, so I am more or less writing free form from an idea in my head. Next year, if I do this again, I plan to work from an outline. I did decide to chunk the writing up in such a way that I would have the option to easily break it up into several short stories if I am unable to tie the theme together towards the end.

I have been getting up extra early, and with my other writing (which includes the piece for my class, the real live actual paying assignment, the blog posts for the retail store, this blog, and the permission slips for the field trips that Girlie seems to be taking on a weekly basis at school) I have been going to bed a little later than usual too. So I am surviving on less than optimal sleep which seems to be a reoccurring theme for me.

Reoccurring enough that my story or novel, if I dare to call it that, is based on a series of people all suffering from insomnia. I figure the sleep deprivation will contribute some very authentic writing. Notice how I combine my research and writing into one task. Brilliant, no?

Anyway, the idea is to take these very different people with the same problem, tell their stories individually, and then weave it all together. Oh, and there is a conspiracy theory pandemic thing too because it turns out the government is actually causing the insomnia, but I am going to wait to write that later in the month when I am really good and exhausted, maybe even slightly delirious.

By my estimates, looks like I should hit that part of the story sometime around Thanksgiving week, when we'll be crammed into a hotel room in Georgia after a cross country flight with the kids. Paranoid dark conspiracy sleep deprivation novel? Yep, I think I'm going to nail it.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Not a snowball's chance in...

...well, you know.
So anyway, this is how we do a snowman in Phoenix.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Tired all week with an 80% chance of tired thru the weekend...

I came home feeling a little overwhelmed, so I wrote a new to-do list first thing. Hubs has a ton going on at work and is going to be gone pretty much the entire month, including a marathon week next week that doesn't end until Sunday. He leaves tomorrow and don't ask me where he'll be, because I will tell you not here, and not here means I have to squeeze in everything without a second pair of hands. He is back late enough on Friday for it not to count and then not here again first thing on Monday and that is pretty much how November is looking.

So I will be getting up extra early to get my Nanowrimo writing done and then I will knock out the list around the kids schedule. It seems like a pretty long list, including a real live actual paying writing assignment (woo hoo) and I am already pretty tired. I think I was up at what would be 2 AM Phoenix time to catch an early flight back from Georgia.

So, as I glance at my list, what alarms me is not really the length of it or the relevance of what I have listed, but the frequency with which I will have to refer to it, just to remember what I am doing.

That kind of tired.