Things That Amaze Me

So here's the deal. This morning my Awesome Man swore into the Air National Guard as an Airman 1st class, to be an Aerospace Medical Technician. This was a huge leap for him, sort of a laying down of the dream of the fire job (for the moment) and picking up something slightly unpredictable, a little scary, but potentially completely Rad. Of course he should be used to this type of undertaking since he did marry me... I haven't said much about it because I wanted to be sure that it actually happened. Mostly because I got thisclose to swearing in and chickened out, and until the hand is raised and the oath is chanted, there's always the chance to back out. But he didn't. He swore in. He followed through, he's doing it. He landed himself an awesome position which he is technically WAY overqualified for that sets him up right off as an E3 (which is better than an E1) and secured a big sign on bonus, as well as insurance for me so I can finally get this dad-blasted uterus gone. For somebody like Josh, relinquishing part of his life to the monster of the military is a pretty huge thing. For anybody it is, but especially for the man who has operated completely independently since he was 14 years old. Now he gets to ship out with a bunch of young punks and get yelled at and have his ketchup rationed and suffer all kinds of other atrocities, just so I can be taken care of. If that ain't love, I am not sure what is. That being said, I have to admit, more than worry for him I am entirely jealous of the adventure he is setting out on, and curse my choice 8 years ago when I was rightthere, ready to go. I know, it's petty and silly and selfish, but in all seriousness, if you don't know me well enough to know that (especially when I am feeling good) I would much rather be doing push ups and belly crawls and range shooting than folding sweaters, then we should probably hang out more. And he might get to travel! For free! Actually for PAY even, which is as cool as getting paid to travel for fire work, but more global. I am seriously excited about the free standby travel we can access and plan to make the absolute most of that.  Along with every other military benefit they've ever invented. In fact, we will get to utilize the Disney discounts not once but TWICE this year of magic since Aspen has to go to Anaheim to dance at the Irish Dance National Competitions, and then in October we have a trip to Walt Disney World with a good majority of the extended Stecker clan, wherein all military benefits will be exploited to the enth degree. Right Gabe? This year is gonna be fun. Except the part where Josh is gone for several weeks. We're hoping he'll get most of his tech school waived since his paramedic degree is well beyond the EMT basic class he would be going through, but that's not set in stone. If not, he'll be gone for like 7 months. Seven. The number of god. Not very godlike, if you ask me, making me be a single mom again for 7 months when I finally found my rescuer? I am sure it will be hard for Josh too, being told exactly what to wear, what to eat, how to talk, every day. Actually that sounds heavenly. No cooking, no fashion stress, no options, just do it. And here I will be, all alone, the sole adult responsible for designing dinners, wardrobes and verbal communication for a family of 6-1. :( Can't I join to? When will they have the husband-wife enlistment option? I hear the military is considering drafting females at some point. At the risk of igniting controversy, I think this is a worldwide tradition in many nations that should be implemented here. Women were not built for war, in my highly undereducated opinion, but there are many facets of war and domestic defense that women are crucial to, and the military poses thorough enough psychological, physical and intelligence exams that those who are unfit to serve would not make it through the recruitment process. I feel like these things sort themselves out with a little common sense. I am strongly encouraging any or all of my girls to enlist. I feel like we, as a culture, men and women, are so out of touch with what is going on out there that even if there weren't great benefits for serving there is still some exposure to the global/political environment. Plus they could learn how to swear better. Just kidding, mom!

I realize I am totally rambling. This is due to several things: I am attempting to distract myself from a lot of pain, I am having difficulty following a complete thought path so I overcompensate with many words, and I have been putting off saying a lot stuff for several days.

Speaking of complete thought paths... Josh has decided that I am completely mentally unreliable these days, either because of the drugs or the pain or both. I have tried extensively to argue with him, but I usually forget what I am saying half way through. I am really frustrated when I find myself mid sentence and cannot for the life of me regain whatever it was I was saying. Would Ginseng help? Or Fish Oil or something else gross? I am really looking forward to purging my system of all of these chemicals and becoming sound of mind and body someday soon. I was talking with Shonda about the idea of being pain free eventually and I haven't been able to stop fantasizing about it since. I think the first thing I will do is just go running. Like Forest Gump. Maybe I won't stop for a long time. Just because I don't have to. Until I run out of breath at the end of the block. Finding myself limited was ok at first, it's kind of nice to have an excuse for a break. Any body who has kids or a job or a husband or a life or anything understands this concept. But after a while, when the limitations don't go away, and you come to terms with the fact that your aren't actually faking, even though at first you felt guilty because you thought you might be and you should just push through the pain, the limitations get pretty old. I am pretty much over being on the couch because I really need to be. I want to be on the couch simply because I WANT to be on the couch, not because it hurts to sit on a barstool for happy hour, or walk to Cuppa Yo for some Cable Car Chocolate, or practice Irish Dance in the kitchen with Aspen (which, by the way, I did anyway!). It's time to be moving again. To be compelled by the guilt that there is ALWAYS something that I should be doing and the couch can not interfere with the multi-tasking genius that I am, normally.

The other thing I have been thinking about a lot lately is guilt. Just like the kind that drives me off the couch and the kind that makes me go to work and the kind that says no matter how much pain you are in it's nobody else's fault so you MUST perform your duties. Even though I would like to maintain that I have moved on from this haunting evil, but I realize that I actually haven't. I operate in a crap-ton of guilt. Pretty much all of the time. I have guilt about work and what I am not doing right, or what I could do better, or how I should try harder to make more money for the family because I am letting everybody down, or how the dinner I made isn't healthy enough, or how I shouldn't have bought Jelly Bellies at Costco even though they were only $10. I feel bad that I am not taking better care of my kids, that I have spoiled my kids, that I am not making my husband as happy as I should. Then I have guilt for having no standards and putting up with crap when I try hard to make my kids and husband super happy. I have guilt for not really liking church and guilt for not wanting to go more, I have guilt for going to church and living in sin (like that heathen dancing I was doing two weeks ago at Mavericks). I feel guilty for eating junk food and eating good food and usually just eating at all because I am fat. I feel guilty for getting fat, for getting sick for not taking care of myself, but I feel guilty for taking care of myself because that is selfish. There is no rationality or sensibility to any of this, it is all absurd and completely unjustified. Other than my husband, I can't think of anybody that is consistently irritated with me or just doesn't like me, and sometimes even he likes me if I am super nice to him. I am working on that. Someday maybe I will have less guilt. But the more I sit around in pain, the more I tend to dwell on it. It's a bad habit and it needs to be kicked. Maybe that will be my next 33 day challenge. No guilt for anything. I can't even imagine. Maybe I am addicted to guilt? I know all you kids that grew up in similar or parallel worlds to me can relate. What are your solutions? How do you overcome? I usually try to work harder, sacrifice more, basically buy indulgences. That is the system I have subscribed to. And now that I am laid up, it's not working out very well. I feel like somebody should buy me flowers so I stop feeling guilty. Not that that makes any sense, but somehow it feels like it would help. Or maybe my brain just skipped to a whole different conversation that I haven't even had yet.... lord help us.

Things About Saturdays

Saturdays were meant for two very specific things: sleeping in and wearing Saturday Shirts. Saturdays were not meant for 16 year olds knocking awkwardly on your bedroom door at 6:05 AM and asking for a ride to the high school. They were also not meant for a phone call at 6:27 from the same 16 year old who forgot her dress for the ski banquet. They were certainly not meant for forgetting keys, cross town hikes and another emergency run to deliver said keys. But this is how our Saturday started out. I didn't even have time to get my Saturday shirt on, which will have to be changed later unless I can figure out a "professional casual" look for a Saturday shirt between now and when I go to work. The issues with the 16 year old wouldn't be so bad except they were an instant replay of yesterday, although today she DID remember to put the milk from her breakfast away and actually started the car herself. Yesterday her younger sister and Very Crabby Driver Mother were waiting in a cold car when she forgot her boots, then her backpack, etc, etc, etc. I am very happy that my kids to participate in fun stuff like skiing, And cross country, and band, and orchestra, and track, and blah blah blah. That's one of the reasons I moved to Bend, and it's one of the reasons that My Adorable Husband works his tail off All the Day Long to pay for them. But when these things start costing us double in gas, wasted milk and sleep deprivation, I start to question the validity of such undertakings. All I did when I was a kid was chores and being grounded and I turned out just fine. Sort of. My kids are constantly comparing us to their friend's parents, the ones who are Super Excited about getting up at the butt crack of dawn and driving through the frozen wastelands to stand in the sub zero temperatures and wait for an hour to see an unidentifiable gliding blob in the blizzard that may or may not be their offspring, cheer wildly for 30 seconds through iced over lips and then seek reprieve from frostbite in the SUV. Some days I wish I was that parent, and don't get me wrong, I miss my days sitting in a small, smelly, semi-heated room watching a variety of my kids play hockey almost every night of the week. I would love to see Halle ski, and watch all of Natalee's races, and catch some of Kizzie's scandals in the hallway at school (which are currently her only extra-curricular activity), but especially when I was a single parent, I had to come to terms with the fact that I just couldn't be there for all of it. I hope that my kids will forgive me. Or at least start putting the milk away. The hardest part about this Saturday morning was the forgotten dress. I think it was salt in the still-festering wound of the absolute rebellion of this Same 16 year old toward wearing a dress for a nice family dinner in Hawaii. Blatant refusal at that point just doesn't equate "oh yes, I would LOVE to run a dress through the snow to you since you forgot it at 6:27 on a Saturday morning." Justice would indicate that the child is subjected to wearing ski tights to the banquet. Grace compelled a grumbling parent to deliver the offending article of clothing. We have decided as consequence, that she should wear a dress to school every day this week. I am excited to see the outcome of this discipline. Many tears will be shed (tears of mirth on my part? Is that horrible?).

It is now 8:05 and I have been up for exactly two hours of a Saturday morning that was specifically bequested to me by my Sweet Boy to sleep in for as long as I want until work. I should be sitting dutifully in on his EMT refresher class this morning, more to spy on him and make sure he's not (or is?) telling stories about me and so I can correct his mistakes. But he generously insisted that I stay in bed and rest as long as possible (I am suspicious about his motives for this). Or at least until he realized he left his keys to get into the church where he is teaching and his jug of poison-tea here at the house. It was a great chance for me to figure out why the dude in the PT Cruiser in front of me was going 20 mph. OH! Turns out even if the tires stop turning the vehicle still moves on a sheet of ice. Crazy. Who knew? I got home from that little sledding trip just in time to ruin a 15 year old's Entire Life by making her turn off the TV that apparently needs to be on every minute of the weekend. Didn't she get the memo about what Saturdays are for?

In spite of all of my complaining, and my being crabby yesterday because I didn't eat the right stuff all day, and in spite of the fact that I seem to be feeling worse and worse all the time, I still have to say I am pretty damn lucky to have the life I have and the petty little white people problems that I have. The fact that my biggest concern is losing a couple of hours of sleep, or paying for extra gas to run forgotten things around town, is pretty amazing considering that there are people out there on this Saturday morning that are facing concerns like: How do I deal with this potentially terminal illness? How do I pay the electric bill to keep the heat on? And even worse things. Some people are riding in the ambulance to the hospital right now, scared that they might not come back out. Some people are trying to process knowing that they have only months to live, and how to do it right. Some people are broken from the weight of the trials and tests that their loved ones put them through. Some people have kids that are wasting their bodies on drugs instead of wasting milk on the table. I can't even imagine some of the horrific things that people all over this town, county, state, country, world are facing this glorious Saturday morning. Yes, I have petty first world problems, and it is almost shameful that I could consider getting stressed about having to make waffles for breakfast. What a silly, silly world I live in. And how thankful I am. We get so lost in our own ridiculous problems, without thinking about the person a few blocks away who is facing the biggest challenge of their life. How much better would I feel if I forgot my pain for a few minutes and tried to alleviate the suffering and stress of someone else for a day. How can I do this? This is the compelling goal that I am trying to replace my shopping urges with. I feel confined in my limitation. I can't run up to Northport to hug my deflated friend, or bounce over to Olympia to spend a long girl day with my buddy who is feeling isolated. I can't provide the remedy or pain relief for a new friend that is impossibly ill. What can I do? I can reach out with some laughs and distractions and just remind them that I am here, and hope they know how desperately I want to be there for them, with them. I feel like it's just not enough. Maybe I need to do a greeting card campaign. Or gift cards. Shopping makes me feel better, so maybe if I send them all gift cards they will be momentarily relieved. Oh, such a shallow, suburban girl I am. This will be my brainstorming topic for awhile. I can't take them dinner, or babysit their kids, or deliver them a six pack of beer. But I will think of something. You just wait. Maybe they need Saturday shirts, with detailed instructions about sleeping in and ignoring forgetful teenagers, nagging pain and any obligations that can be procrastinated without eternal consequences. Yes, maybe I will do that once I am shopping again.

In the meantime, I am going to work on explaining to my children how the frustrations they have with their Very Difficult lives, like not getting to watch TV, or doing chores, or having to wear dresses to school, or not having parents to spectate at all of their events, are pretty small problems in the scheme of things. I know how easy it is to get lost in my own problems, so I can't fault them with the very human tendency, but I can work with them to get all of us to the point that we can move past ourselves and take care of the world around us. This, in my Very Well Informed Opinion, is the great commission. We as humans can only be here to try to make the world more bearable for each other. To leave a smile on the face of anyone we come into contact with, and take a smile away with us.

For now, I am going to put my Saturday shirt on and figure out how to translate it into Business Casual, and help Aspen finish making waffles.

Saturday Shirts -  and their Originator

Things That I Am Giving Up

As many of you know, I have decided to give up most forms of alcohol for Lent. You would know this because of the obscenely big deal I have made about it on all social media outlets, since apparently I drink more than I realize. I left room for a glass of wine here or there just to avoid a total rebellion 10 days in. I am going to use the pain I am in as my excuse for wine.

In addition to beer and hard alcohol, I have decided, just this morning, to take a 33 day break from shopping as well. This is by far MUCH harder than the drinking. I am not sure if I should be terribly ashamed or congratulate myself for being less of an ALCOholic than a SHOPoholic. The 33 day thing started with Shonda. I blame her. She told me that it takes 33 days to form a habit, so she gave up fried food, pop and fast food for 33 days. She was really good about it. I decided to join her, but I cheated a bit. I didn't help that I was in Hawaii for part of it. And everyone knows when you are traveling over oceans it is a requirement of all American Citizens to taste McDonalds in other places, even if those overseas places are still American Places. Hawaiian McDonalds is just as good as mainland, in case you were wondering (and now I am craving french fries. Hey, that 33 days is up!). I am not sure where the 33 day thing came from, because I had always heard it was 3 weeks, or 21 days to form a new habit (at least that's what they said in those read-your-bible-daily programs), which sounds slightly less panic inducing than giving up shopping for 33 whole days. Like 12 days less panicky. But I can do 33 days. I can. I think I can. I think I can, I think I can. And wouldn't my husband be tickled pink?

 It ticks me off a little that he called before I had a chance to publish this blog to tell me that our "accountant" (who doubles as his ongoing employer and biggest fan) has established that I do too much "frivolous" spending and should be cut off from the real household accounts and left to fend for my own with whatever income I can generate while Josh takes care of all of the real living expenses. I would be a little bit hurt, except I know that A) our accountant is TOTALLY biased on Josh's side about the frivolous thing B) Josh TOTALLY padded the numbers of the "frivolous" spending (as if toilet paper is frivolous) and C) that means I get any money I can make on my own to blow. Really, it's not a bad deal. Especially if Josh quits pilfering from my fun money to pay the stupid bills. :) I am so totally spoiled. But he did point out, before we were even married, that I didn't even make enough money to really contribute, therefore my income would be considered play (i.e. fake?) money. I have reminded him of this comment at least weekly since our union. None of this fiscal renovation is helping me with my resolve to become financially independent-able (which means if Josh  electrocutes himself replacing a 40 amp breaker, I can still pay the bills) OR to quit shopping. It feels something like a pat on the head and a 5 dollar bill for cleaning up the pile of garbage in the back yard. "Go buy yourself some jelly shoes!" Brings me right back to 1988. I should probably be more offended. But I'm really not.

I went, against my better judgement, along with Josh's strong advice yesterday and took the kids to open swim at the public pool so that I could sit in the hot tub there. We have an ongoing disagreement about the disgustingness of the public hot tub - people stew I call it, and when you watch the comings and goings of various and assorted weirdos, it's somewhat terrifying. I am glad they use enough chlorine to burn your eyelashes off and make your skin peel, but I feel like the hot water kills any germ annihilating properties that chlorine has. Like heat kills bleach, duh. I had to turn my brain off to get in yesterday, especially because it was standing room only, being a holiday, and the place was packed with kids who were elated to not be in school. The pool actually had to post a no-one-under-16 sign at the hot tub because it was just too crowded. I will attribute most of the crowding to three very nice but very large individuals that took up one entire fourth of the tub and were there before I got in and after I left. I managed to get a jet after waiting in line for about 20 minutes. Lines in Jacuzzis are a little weird because it's kind of like a human train of awkward, half naked people staring at the people on the wall and trying to seem uncomfortable enough that the sitters feel bad and want to go get in the cold, child-filled pool and get splashed in the face a lot. When I finally got my jet I refused to make eye contact, or even face any of the line-waiters because I simply wasn't willing to be guilted into moving. Halle was in the hot tub as well because, as everyone knows, she is 16 now. She was feeling a little uncomfortable because she happened to get back from skiing as we were headed to the pool and didn't have her swim suit so she was swimming in her spandex ski shorts and a t-shirt. I am not sure why she felt awkward since this is nearly identical to what she normally wears swimming. I guess the idea that she had underwear on under he spandex was kind of freaking her out, and she was hoping that no one would guess that. All said and done I got at least a half hour on the jet and I think that that honestly helped with my pain more than anything has in a long time. I am afraid that telling Josh that and insisting we get our own hot tub will evolve into his insistence that it is more fiscally responsible to stew with the other people at the public one and pressure me into melting my eyelashes off more often. As my pain level starts creeping up, the eyelashes seem less important. But MAN would I give my left arm, or definitely my diseased uterus, for a little hot tub in the back yard. At least that people stew would only have ingredients that I allow. (Halle, you're out.) Now that I am going to be in charge of the play money,  maybe I will just buy my own hot tub. Then I could sit in my back yard twice a day with a glass of (not contraband) red wine and some french fries and think about all the shopping I am not doing. Sounds like heaven to me.

Things That I Have Accomplished

I am not gonna deny it. I am pretty darn proud that I have single handedly trained Emmy to sing along to Kokomo. At first it was only if I hummed it, but by now she chimes in as soon as I start to play it on iTunes. You have to admit - I am awesome. Emmy Singing

I have also, while sitting here on my couch in pain and bemoaning the lack of heavy cream for my coffee, developed a business plan for a drive through grocery store where people like me don't have to get out of the car to get necessities. A little Wall-E -ish? Maybe. But highly useful on days like today, when I should definitely not have been inside Ray's Food Place in my hairy yoga pants, lambie slippers and bed head. I would have cared more, but, well, I just didn't. Drive through grocery shoppuing would have also eliminated the need for me to buy the brownie mixes that were on sale, since I wouldn't have seen them sitting there by the dairy section, which also prompted the purchase of ice cream to have with the brownies. Then I needed cherry pie filling to complete the Ultimate Desert. And all I went in for was heavy cream and hot dog buns. The hot dog buns were the only missing element to the chili dogs that I am "making" for dinner tonight as a reward for slaving away over a Ginormous Pot of Chicken and Rice soup and a Hugungous Batch of Homemade Granola from Scratch yesterday. "Making" is in quotations because all I have to do is open the half gallon of chili from Cash N Carry and I have dinner for three nights. BAM! Last night Mom said I should have Josh make the chicken soup but I was worried he would put raisins and ketchup in it, since those seem to be his failsafe ingredients for everything.

It is cloudy today, and I guess I have gotten spoiled with the sunshine because I feel entirely put out that there is no sunlight streaming through my dirty windows. To compensate, I am listening to Kokomo, of course, and Walk Off The Earth. If you haven't heard them sing Summer Vibe, you should. Especially in February, when it's cloudy.

I love these guys. While I am not normally a huge advocate of cover bands (unless my cousins and daughter are playing Ukelele and Tuba, covering the Lumineers) this band is absolutely RAD. And they have some of their own stuff that is as good as their covers - and that is saying ALOT. Sometime, I plan on seeing them live. But they got so big so fast that a huge arena is less than appealing. Maybe I'll just friend them on FB and request a private concert. They seem like super cool people so I am sure they'd be game.

Today is a day with a lot of pain. I am trying to ignore it but it's not working. So then I distract myself with ideas of how to deal with it. Like going for a 6 mile sprint, but then I imagine getting a quarter mile in and ending up curled on the cold sidewalk and having to figure out how to get back to the house without moving. So then I think about drugs, but A) none of them are helping B) the pain is making me too nauseous to eat anything to buffer them and C) none of them are helping. I also feel like my brain is slowly decomposing and I can't formulate any coherent thoughts. I am blaming drugs but since I have been skipping them a lot maybe it's actually the pain that's making me fuzzy. Which gives me all the more reason to hate it. I contemplate posting something on Facebook about how I feel like I am in labor, but with no baby, but realize nobody wants to hear that, and the gratuitious nod of sympathy I would get would only highlight my desperate grab for attention or help or???? It seems like shopping helps with the pain, but it turns out I spent all of our money AND I don't need anything, except another pair of Lambie Ballet slippers from Bath and Body Works, which are going for $80 on eBay. I must have good taste. They are my all time favorite slippers, and for anyone familiar with my slipper fetish, that's a lot of like. I should be listing stuff on eBay, doing laundry, cleaning my disgusting house, organizing the office, making a spread sheet I have been putting off for a week, and a million other things, but I stand up from the couch, and when I recover from almost passing out, I can't remember what I was going to do. So I reheat my heat pack (which is one of those little bears from Costco - love it) and sit back down. Stupid Uterus. One more listen to Summer Vibe, and maybe I will feel better. Or Kokomo, with Emmy.

Things I Consider Fashion Tips

I should title this: How to Dress like a 12 year old, but it wouldn't fit into my theme. Also there is some debate about whether my dressing style is more 12 year old or 10 year old in nature. I am good with either one, but I would like to think by 12 you'd at least know not to mix burnt orange and country blue. Not that anyone should ever wear country blue. For any reason.

In one of my first rants, I discussed things that 30 something mom's shouldn't wear at the risk of appearing like a prosti-tot with wrinkles and cellulite. What I failed to mention is that I think there are certain juvenilish articles of clothing that are perfectly acceptable and help facilitate the aura of a forever young and geeky wannabe. Which I am totally ok with. Allow me to illuminate:

1. Graphic Tees:

Since the plague called WalMart came along and flooded the market with crappily made novelty tees, ripping off perfectly cool companies who were making shirts that didn't end up with barber pole twisted seams after one wash and knew when to stop pushing a certain theme, you have to be careful with your graphic tee selection. Like you can only do SO MUCH My Little Pony throwback styles, and then the only direction you have to go is like My Little Zombie Pony or you're forced to generate Peptol Bismol pink rainbow shirts that should only ever be seen on a toddler. My personal rule of thumb is that if you can get it at WalMart, it's no longer cool. I am on the fence about Target because they have some really Rad Captain America Tees that do not play wring around the body after a washing. My first shopping choice for awesome graphic tees is Fuego, which we fortunately do not have here in Bend (but I just located it ONLINE!!!) . It is always one of my first stops in Olympia. I do like Busted Tees dot com but can't let my mother go there or she might disown me. I currently have a grand collection of graphic tees that I love - one is a GI JOE throwback in army green, and fits like a champ (which I hate to admit since my sister got two of them for both of us and gave me the bigger one, even when she was pregnant), and a red CCCP (Union of Soviet Socialist Republic) shirt that reminds me of high school. I also have a pile of band tees and beer tees that technically count but probably push me over the age bracket into at least middle school. But that's ok. My favorite are the springy-stretchy heather gray ones that feel like vintage 70s shirts. I also have a Captain America shirt that is awesome (not from Target), and one that has an environmental "Respect Your Mother" message and picture of the earth, but obviously has a double meaning for my children. Most likely they weren't expecting ACTUAL moms to wear this shirt, but it sure the heck works. The important thing, when selecting a graphic tee, is to double check WalMart, and to make sure that you have baldies to match, which brings me to my next item:

2. Chuck Taylors:

Anyone who has ever been young, or cool, or definitely both, knows that you can never go wrong with Chuck Taylors (or baldies, to those of us who grew up in the Colville Clique). Unfortunately since my Darling Husband was homeschooled by parents on the wrong side of the fence, he never learned this timeless lesson, and I have been slowly drawing him in to the age-diminishing freedom of wearing baldies. We started him off with some all brown suede leather ones that are from some fancy designer that we found at Buffalo Exchange, and he has worn them at least once. We're still working on it. I, on the other hand, have kelly green, and the origininal Mighty Ducks Purple - which carries a back story of it's own  that involves a midnight madness shopping spree at JC Penny in Colville, a new Mighty Ducks Graphic Tee and my first very own self-purchased firm pillow, circa 1992. I also have red velvet and white Christmas striped high tops, deer camo low tops (thank you Urban Outfitters), and about 5 other colors I have shared with Mackenzie, not including the Dr. Suess ones that I got just for her. In our house all together we have at least 20-25 pairs of baldies, ranging in size and color. The reasons for this are A) they are timeless and always in style B) they are suitable for EVERY occasion C) they are adorable D) if they don't fit somebody and/or nobody likes them, I have never ever failed to sell a pair of baldies on eBay no matter how beat up, dirty, destroyed or ugly they are. Case in point: I bought a pair of red white a blue high tops at Goodwill for $9.99 which Josh was giving me total crap about, until they sold on eBay to some wannabe American in Thailand for $90. Liv wins. My short list of colors I want include: Broncos Orange, Classic Navy Blue and Bright Red. My first pair ever was a pair of Forest Green low tops which I customized with an ink pen and the names of various crushes, and then bequeathed to my little sister. I hope she still has them.

3. Jeans

Josh is forever bemoaning the fact that my wardrobe is almost exclusively jeans and hoodies, with a few pairs of sweatpants thrown in. I would like to state that I wouldn't trade my closet for a walk in full of Ann Taylor and Banana Republic to save my life. At this point I am using the perpetual pain I am in to justify my need for "comfort clothes" but after I have my hysterectomy I will have to come up with a new excuse. I love jeans. I just do. And as the styles come and go and I try to squish my weird body into flares and skinnies and capris and jeggings, I have settled on one pair (well, ok, like 7 pairs of the same) of jeans in various sizes to accommodate my fat and less fat days. I wear Livs. At some point, maybe I will grow up into Not My Daughters Jeans, but right now, all my daughters would kill for my Livs, which makes me feel Really Cool. They are a mostly straight legged boot cut that are ultra casual, ultra comfortable and mildly less unflattering than your average pair of flares. On my especially ten year old (or pain filled) days, I wear my baggiest ones that feel like sweat pants. My friends (and husband) hate them. I <3 them.

4. Socks

It is absolutely imperative for any person desiring to dress like a 6th grader to find socks that will really announce their immaturity to the world. Especially in a retail setting where I have to dress my age, I find it crucial to at least throw in some weird socks to remind me that I am really a total goofball. "OOOH is that a Calvin Klein Blouse?" "Why yes, and my socks are totally Sponge Bob!" Ok, so not Sponge Bob, but I do make a concerted effort to find stripes and patterns of over-the-boot socks that cause customers to really contemplate whether they actually match what I am wearing. "Well, there is some yellow in her sweater???" I am sure this habit of mine gives my Very Professional Boss no end of exasperation, but since she vetoed my drawstring linen pants and jacquard slippers from the sales floor, I have to have my little glimpse of self expression. I find that goofy socks are also extremely helpful when choosing baldies, in case there is an issue of color determination to coordinate with the graphic tee. In my Very Professional Boss's defense, she does have a collection of crazy socks for her days off. Or her days they don't show. It's quite rebellious.

5. Hoodies

And this is it, folks, the Pieće de Rèsistance of dressing like a 12 year old. The Big Dish. The Necessary Piece of any junior high wardrobe. I have 27. Hoodies. Most of them are full zip but I have a special place in my heart for pull overs, like the one Victoria's Secret Pink one that is Blue with embroidered hearts all over the yoke and looks just like something from when I was 4. My sister has one too, but this time SHE got the bigger size. Mostly because I bought them when I was really skinny a long time ago. I have at least a half dozen Broncos hoodies in various color combinations, and the rest are primarily souveneirs from Breweries - my favorite of which is a Red Hook Red hoody that fits just right. Hoodies are very important pieces of your wardrobe in how they really reflect your personality and tie back to your baldies. Sometimes if your baldies aren't quite right it's ok to match them to your socks, but never, ever abandon the hoody in exchange for a partial zip mock neck or some other mature-dressing travesty.

So from here I could go into Flannels, ala 1990, or sloppy buns, baseball caps and other hair non-fixes, and wife beater tank tops that are now made in much better fabrics, but I am kind of out of time and my favorite jeans are calling to me... If you have any questions about how to dress like a 12 (or 10) year old, I am always open, Just Call Me Maybe, and feel free to leave pointers and tips or upload pictures for comments and suggestions. This IS my specialty. And hey, truthfully, it's better than dressing like I am 35, right?

Things That That I Face In The Morning

The only thing that was harder to deal with this morning than the yelling teenagers fighting over the bathroom sink and the hair straightener at 6:15 was the half glass of wine on the window sill from the night before. It took me at least 45 seconds to reluctantly decide that it was too early to pound it.

My baby sister is here to visit me. She might actually be here to visit Ethan, who happens to be her boyfriend for a minute, but I would like to imagine she is here to visit just mostly me. I definitely appreciated the fact that the fighting hair-fixers this morning failed to remember their visiting Aunt was sleeping next door to the coveted bathroom sink. I would be concerned that she will never come back except she lived with us before and she knows the routine. A) yell louder than screaming children B) confiscate and possibly throw away offending hair appliance and C) curse under your breath and go back to bed with the pillow over your head. Sanna took the higher road and chose to ignore it and skipped straight to step C.

I think that I am in an extra good mood this morning since Josh and I had our first counseling appointment yesterday and the counselor totally sided with me that all of our problems are primarily Josh's. She gave him a whole bunch of homework and me a lot of sympathy. Ok, maybe that isn't totally how it went down, but she did say something to him about shutting his piehole, which I loved, even if she was kidding. She asked what it was we wanted to get from her, and I just told her I was basically interested in getting Josh fixed, since I was already so well rounded. She seemed to agree but had a funny expression on her face and wrote a lot of notes. Probably about what Josh needed.

I hope y'all know that I pretty much am never more than half-serious about the things I write. I am not sure if that makes me a liar or not, but if I wrote about things exactly like they are, it would be kind of boring, like: Aspen stole chocolate chips for her oatmeal this morning and Halle told on her, which is very ironic since Halle is the chronic chocolate chip thief in the house and everyone knows it. Also, Dagny is going potty almost exclusively outside now, except for on my bed the other day. And Ethan is extremely spoiled by his Grams, which makes me both annoyed with him and jealous. Ok, so I guess the real things are somewhat interesting. Maybe I should try to pare out the embellishments. But the counselor DID say the piehole thing.

Josh has some big plans for Valentine's Day. I am not sure what they are, but I have managed to deduce that now Ethan and Susanna are involved, and that makes me slightly more curious. Apparently it's serious enough that Aspen is going to miss Irish Dance, which makes me slightly more nervous. Surprises always make me uneasy, ever since one year I got a sweater for Christmas that someone thought was so "totally me" that I hated. I feel like it's so easy to get it wrong - like when I bought Josh a little gray Coach wallet to replace his stolen one. Luckily I realized before I made the erroneous mistake of gifting the luxury item to him, and sold it on eBay. The one I am getting him now was way cheaper, and even though it sort of screams 14-year-old-boy-in-camo, it is what he will like and now that I have ruined the surprise it doesn't even matter. My point is that big, drawn out surprises, how ever well intended carry with them the burden of guilt to fulfill expectations for not just initial reaction, but sustained use and fond memories over time. For example, Josh talks about how he got his ex-wife an AMAZING bicycle and it still haunts him how she never rode it. When he surprised me with an AMAZING bicycle, I was forced to ride and enjoy it, or at least feign enjoyment and surprise and wonderment. It is an AMAZING bicycle, and after fighting through my internal rebellion against the expectations, I do love to ride it, as long as there are no hills. Or cars. Or stuff like that. Surprises can be so sweet and awesome. I am trying to think of one that didn't overwhelm me with guilt... My last fiancee surprised me with a fiddle once, that he was mad at me for never learning to play. Josh almost got me a banjo last year that he was going to build from a kit but I caught him in time and redirected him,  since I didn't want to relive the fiddle, and when I get a banjo I want a good old used one, not a kit. He gave me a ukelele this year, which I love, and am excited to play, even though it's much fancier than I needed... I even took a lesson in Hawaii, but I have immense guilt for not having it out every day. I really do intend to. And now that the laundry from Hawaii is finally done, MOST of my junk is listed on eBay and my work hours are down to less than 20 a week, I should be able to get to it. After I make dinner. I am always terrified that I won't have the right response to a surprise. Like "SURPRISE! I brought you to this AWESOME Hungarian restaurant for Goulash!" And I have to be like "YUM!" when I hate goulash. I think that Josh knows me well enough by now that I should totally trust him in this. But that's really what it is, isn't it? It's trust. It's trust and control, and the desperate fear that a disappointing surprise means that my husband doesn't really know me. Doesn't know that I won't ride a bike, or eat goulash, or practice fiddle, or wear gold and pearl earrings (don't worry, he knows this!). It sounds so shallow and spoiled and superficial of me but I have to honestly admit that I get all tense and anxious when I start thinking about it. And it's because I want him to know me. I want to know him. I want to know that he won't like a really sexy gray pebble leather slim wallet from Coach. I want to know that he doesn't like goulash either. I want to know that he will never be disappointed with a surprise Cuppa Yo. I want to know that he could lead me blindfolded to my favorite place, every time. But then, it is shallow, it is selfish, and I realize that any surprise he gives me is because he WANTS to know me, and he is trying, and even if it's a slight miss, it's adorable and wonderful and I have a MAN WHO CARES. Really, who could ask for anything more on Valentines day, right? Other than Vosges Chocolates and fuzzy puppy kisses. I have a valentine who loves me enough to let his beard grow out for a month. I have a valentine who won't deposit money in the bank that he knows I will spend because he knows we need it for bills and he is taking care of us, even when I don't like it. I have a valentine that I can trust to lead me anywhere and I WILL enjoy the goulash. And the Bicycle, and the Ukelele, because all of the surprises that he brings to me make me a better person, a wider, more open, more happy and more loved. So bring on the surprise, Valentine, and I trust you to know me.

Things To Celebrate

1. I am inordinately excited to get the Scentsy Easter Egg Warmer, which means I have to pressure as many people to buy Scentsy stuff from me RIGHT NOW as possible so I can get enough credits to afford it. So go to my Scentsibility page and look around and then tell me what you want. Or order right there. Either way I win.

2. I broke the 160 pound barrier!! This is somewhat like breaking the sound barrier for the first time for all of mankind, except it's not all of mankind, it's just me, and it's just a weight plateau that has been grinning evilly at me for months. 158.9 Kids. I made it. I was tottering on the 159.6-160.2 for a couple days but I didn't want to celebrate to hastily until I landed solidly under for a day or two. My horrible scale lied to me yesterday when I went in to weigh a package and said that I was 156.9. Which is ludicrous since I had just weighed in a couple hours before that, buck naked, at 162. And this time I was fully clothed. Why does the machine play such cruel tricks??? Why?? Anyway. Today was solid and for real. 8.9 lbs to go and I can get the tattoo I have been dreaming about.

3. Halle doesn't like chow mein. The slimy kind with crunchy noodles that is my absolute favorite. This is very exciting because that means my left overs were there for me this morning as a celebratory breakfast for both my weight milestone AND the release of the Easter Egg warmer. Halle had very seriously informed me that the left over won ton soup and pork fried rice were tempting her badly to eat them yesterday. I told her that she could have them but then renigged and said she should save them for Josh. It was very similar to the trick my scale played on me so I was probably just passing along the cruelty. I think saw a tear of disappointment glistening on Halle's cheek as she ate Macaroni and Cheese and leftover pizza.

4. Last night I got to go hold Desi's new puppy and my namesake. Marcus wouldn't let her name their someday baby after me but that's a long way out anyway and I probably would have lost interest in having a namesake by then, so she decided to get a puppy and name it Livia. It's really cute and fuzzy. I don't know why I didn't think of naming a dog after myself. It's pretty brilliant. I'd much rather have a dog named after me than a child because A) dogs are always cute and wonderful and you don't have to worry about having a namesake that is slightly embarrassing and B) I am kind of excited to hear Desi chastise Livi for pottying in the house and complaining about Livi making confetti and talking about how Adorable Livi is. Is that egocentric of me? I love attention in any form. I mean, I already have a niece that is sort of a forced namesake of mine, sort of. Baby OLivia goes by Ava or AvaJane or LiviAva (that's grandpa's fond nickname) or Baby Livi if I am around. But the O and the Ava kind of remove her from TRUE namesake status, even though she's totally cute and not embarrassing at all. I have faith that when she gets older she will start calling herself Livi, and then just Liv, because she will want to be just like her favorite Aunt. That's Aunt Susanna, of course, who also calls me Liv. Or livi. Or Livia if I am annoying her.

5. I got to see Shawn Mullins live last night. Live. His own beautiful voice. It was awesome.
Glacier Park 5th Avenue Throw
Will Be Mine

6. Pendleton is doing a sale on blankets this weekend. Need I say more? Ok, I will say more - this sale is on factory seconds and discontinued styles. Which means the cheapest just got cheaper. Also, I get paid on Friday. Also, I have been kicking bottom (you're welcome, mom) on eBay so I can start paying my business investors back (you're welcome, mom - er... thank you?).  I have had my eye on this blanket since we opened up, but we run out of them as fast as we get them in. Right now we have a big stack of SECONDS in this pattern. WIN!!!! If you haven't touched the 5th avenue throw yet, you should just come to my house and feel Dagny's cheeks. It's pretty much the same thing. BTW, I am in love with my puppy. I really think that Josh should just put a pink bow on her neck and re-gift her to me for Valentines Day since nothing would make me happier. Maybe throw in some of those Chocolates that Victoria's Secret is giving away with a $75 purchase right now. Even Gift Cards count toward the $75. And the chocolates are so good, I nearly died from delight eating them last year. If you're curious, they are these: Victoria's Secret Chocolates. If you watch this video, I should be clear: you will not look this sexy when eating the chocolates. I know, I tried. So don't be all like "you said I would be super skinny and hot if I ate these!" Cause I totally didn't. If it seems like I am dropping any subtle hints here, yes, I am. Josh.

7. The sun has been out every day, and if you don't go outside, you could almost pretend that you are in Hawaii. But if you go outside, it's crisp and fresh and amazing. Like early fall, or late spring, except that it is February. If it snows in June I will probably pout.

I'll quit with 7 Things To Celebrate because I like the number seven, and NOT because it's God's number. I mean, maybe it is, but he totally made me born in 1977 so maybe that means that he super extra loves me or whatever. And on that note, I would like to leave you with this gem for your viewing pleasure: KISSES!!!

oh, to compensate for that, here is this:

Things That Are Really Gross

Within the last 24 hours, three of our four domesticated animals have peed on my bed. I feel like I don't need to say much else to convey the disgust I feel toward the whole world right now. When Natalee brought her rabbit in to "visit" as I was cleaning my room, he took the opportunity to squirt thick, yellow,  boy-rabbit pee all over the only comforter that wasn't in the wash. Emmy had already compromised my new wool blanket, which was hastily removed and stored away from animal reach for safekeeping, and even though Dagny was sent outside with Emmy because of this transgression, the younger dog decided peeing in mom's bed must be cool so she circled around and squatted right in the middle of my "washable" down comforter. The first 700 times I washed this comforter it was great. It even smelled clean. Now, any feathers that actually remain inside the comforter during a washing, look and smell like they have been soaking in the Mississippi river. Right by where they are dumping the sewage in. So now ALL of my bedding is waiting patiently in line to be washed, along with about 78% of my wardrobe since Josh decided not to mix our laundry any more.

Apparently the other day I gave Josh a strongly opined lecture about how laundry should be done. I don't remember being angry, except maybe a little when I got into my underwear drawer and realized that Someone had put at least two loads of dirty laundry away for me, along with two stacks of carefully sorted yard sale clothes. The poor boy was only trying to help recover us from Hawaii, and since I worked every day and was rendered otherwise useless, he set to work. I guess I failed to communicate what the assorted mountains of clothes were. Anyway, all he took away from our discussion, which I will agree was rather one sided, is that he shouldn't ever do my laundry again, ever. So I am on my own. Which is not a very good place to be. I am trying to win him back to my side of the chores with gentle cooings of love and telling him that there "ain't no sunshine when he's gone" from my laundry room. I am not sure that it is working. I still haven't quite decided if dirty underwear in my drawer is worse than never having any clean clothes, but I am pretty sure it's not.

Anyway, since everyone else is using me bed for a toilet, I went ahead and invited Truck on down to poop on my pillow, since I just put new pillowcases on. I really feel terrible complaining about Emmy at all, because she is generally mostly sometimes potty trained, and since her car wreck (I wish she had wrecked the car) she has trouble getting outside, especially through the dog door, especially with her Cone of Shame on. And I feel like she suffers enough banging her cone on every hard surface trying to sniff and rub her head on fuzzy things. Her little accident last night was purely a tortured side effect of being cut off from potty access, which I guess is my fault. I am thinking about sleeping on the couch tonight, or the floor, but I can't seem to find anywhere that is uncontaminated by something. Now I know what hell will be.

I feel like I am fighting windmills trying to keep up with all of the mini catastrophes in this house. Very tiny windmills, but windmills all the same. I have to make a confession: I went to Walmart. The one in Bend. For the first time ever. It's the only place that I knew had Kids N Pets and I felt like if I got enough Kids N Pets I would feel like I was in control of the sanitation of my home again. Since I really never ever ever EVER want to go back to Walmart again, I bought like 4 bottles, and hurried out. I nearly died three time. Mostly from shame but also when some scary looking white trash hipsters (Oxymoron, anyone?) and a pair of psuedo-Trustafarians got into a scuffle in the dog food aisle over the last roll of fresh pet refrigerated food. I happened to have two rolls of the good stuff (chicken flavor, duh) under my arm and no way to defend myself since my hands were full of Kids N Pets, but I got ready to use one of them like pepper spray if things got serious. I plan to never go back to that store. Did I already mention that?

I am hot and heavy in the middle of cleaning various types of urine around the house, so I'd better get back to it. But I thought you would want something to make you sleep better in your nice, clean, pee-free bed tonight.

Things That You Can Make Fun Of Me For

So, yesterday was another one of "my only day off"s . I took down the Christmas lights, cleaned up Dagny's confetti, cleaned out and relocated Emmy's borrowed kennel, shipped all my eBay stuff and even got dressed. Mostly I got dressed so I could go out shopping with Shonda. Shonda was supposed to do all of the shopping since she is going to Maui soon and I am cut off, but I had this one coupon I needed to use...

Anyway, we ended up at Ross (big surprise there) and we tried on like seven billion outfits. All said and done, we both ended up mostly liking one pair of gray chino- type pants. Turns out they were maternity. We both decided our pride died in year 29 and we could totally wear maternity pants with our heads held high. As long as no one else knew. We almost came to blows over the one pair we had found, and were just about to settle on joint custody, as seems to be happening more and more lately, when I stumbled across an identical pair. I mean for $8.99 you really can't leave behind the most comfortable and third most cute pair of slack type pants ever. Joint custody is a great plan for us usually because A) it rules out us showing up to work in the same outfit, which now we have to coordinate by text and B) I can tell Josh I didn't buy anything. It's also convenient that we are almost the same size; I have a little bit on her in height but she makes up for it in cleavage, so we're pretty even. The ideal situation would have been for us to get two different colors of the pants and trade them periodically. We did that with a couple of skirts but haven't gotten to the swapping part yet. I will let you know how that works out.

I also got some things at Ross to sell on eBay, which are already listed and already getting bid up, so that almost justifies all of my shopping, right? I listed tons of amazing stuff on eBay yesterday, finally, and some of it is so cool I want to bid on my own auctions. It's a good thing that I just kept one of each of the really cool things I am selling.

Aside from all of that trivial nonsense, today is February 7th, which happens to be the title of my absolute favorite song from The Carpenter, which, if you haven't heard, is the best Avett album since Emotionalism. I decided to ruin your entire day by making you weep as you listen to this beautiful song of redemption and second chances. And finding your way out of the dark pit that is so easy to fall into. This song is for my Funny Valentine, today and forever:

Things That Are Indicative

I shouldn't probably tell you this, because you may never look at me the same way, but I have this coping strategy for when I am really frustrated with "people" (like my husband), where I will just force myself to write something very nice about him and somehow in the process my internal growling subsides and I kind of hit a reset button. Now you know that anytime you read glowing praise about Josh, I am most likely just super ticked off at him. Not always. But usually.

Last night Josh was so cute. He came into Pendleton where we were working an extra long day trying to get freight done and he helped break down boxes and stuff.

AAAAAAnd that's about as far as I can get.... Let's go this route:

Telltale Signs That I Have Entered the 2 Week Pre Menstrual Zone

1. Dagny's confetti decorating isn't that cute.
2. 6 people in the house (yes Ethan, you are included) other than me didn't notice the thawed steaks in the sink all night and even though it's technically my fault, I hold them all responsible.
3. Even though there are only three dirty bowls, I am immensely irked that SOMEONE didn't do any dishes last night (evidenced by ignored steaks).
4. I hate my hair.
5. I hate my clothes.
6. I can hardly control my need to engage an intense string of profanity when I discover, once again, the open jumbo pack of cheap hot dogs wrapped in a leaking grocery bag in the refrigerator. Obviously the bag has been relocated several times because the ENTIRE appliance is drowning in sticky, smelly hot dog juice. Two words, people: ZIP LOCK. You can reduce-reuse-recycle your toilet paper before I want to find hot dogs in a leaky grocery bag again. (Josh looked really sexy last night.)
7. My spinach-apple-lime-carrot juice tried to kill me with disgustingness this morning.
8. I didn't bother to tell Aspen to brush her hair this morning. And she may have had cookies for breakfast. I am not sure.
9. The fact that NOBODY in the house woke Aspen up for school makes me irate. Because I had to get out of bed. (Even though you weren't even here, I still blame you, Ethan.)
10. My coffee tastes extra good.
11. I am considering a perm.
12. Emmy looks so cute in the cone of shame that I want to get one for everyone in my family. And then rig all the doors so they only open to slightly less wide than the cones. And then run the video camera for awhile. Is that sadistic?
13. Even shopping doesn't sound that fun (I know once I get started I will actually enjoy it. Just have to push through).
14. I finally took the dead Christmas wreath down. Good bye, Holidays.
15. Truck is hiding in the Spare Oom.
16. I think Bones is annoying.
17. I think air is annoying.
18. My pillow is the most beautiful place in the whole world.
19. I have an inclination to listen to Disturbed.
20. Everything is Josh's fault. But he's a really great guy.

Really, life is awesome. There is nothing at all wrong. But everything seems not right. This is the danger of hormones. I have to chant to myself repeatedly that two giant, delicious, wasted steaks aren't the end of the world. That Dagny can get her medicine three days after the vet says, that it's not a big deal if the Christmas lights aren't down yet, that Words With Friends shouldn't necessarily be on a locked system that releases only when honey-do punch lists are completed. I have to remember that the big kennel and the loose, clanking sample tiles in the back of my car are there for a reason that eventually "Someone" will get to, and even though they seem like evil barons of doom, they really aren't hurting anything. Nothing is the end of the world. Not the pee spot on the rug that isn't Dagny's for once, or the inch of hot dog juice in the crisper. I am well taken care of. I want for nothing. Other than a pretty hefty dose of pain that I am almost totally used to by now, I feel great. My kids are healthy, Josh is Amazing, and Ethan has his own chair. The bills are (mostly) paid, Emmy is doing pretty well, and my car is running. I just got a DVD four pack of Howard Keel musicals and I can lose myself in Showboat while I list Victoria's Secret junk on eBay and make a million dollars. But first I have to take down Christmas lights. And clean the kennel. And throw away the steaks. And get dressed, which is the hardest thing of all on days like this. And quit blaming poor Josh, who did nothing wrong except leave for work. And clean up Dagny's confetti.

Things That Sing

It's that time of year. A little early for spring I know, but it hit me last week sometime when On and On came on my iPod out of the blue and I realized I hadn't had a full blown Avetthon for a very long time. The holidays are over, and as life begins to fall back together in spite of the random emergencies that seem to think they have found their ultimate target at our house, a song sneaks in every here and there and reminds me of sunshine and long drives on open highways and everything just being alright. It is almost Music Season.

I ruined a romantic surprise that my Adorable Husband tried to sneak, but since he really only beat me by like 7 hours I am not sure that it totally counts. Shawn Mullins is coming to Bend on the 10th, and if you have known me for longer than like four days you know that if I have a favorite non-Avett song, it's Lullabye. Well, ok, Two Princes and MMMMBop are pretty high up there too. And Stay, by Lisa Loeb. But Shawn Mullins is the man. And he is coming to Bend on the 10th. Oh, did I already say that? Anyway, I decided I had better jump on tickets this morning, but I had a slight hunch that Josh might have/would be trying to surprise me with them, so I asked, and he was mad at me for ruining it, but I am just glad we got seats, since there was only like 10 left!! Now I have something to live for! (Other than the new National Parks Blankets at work)

Poor little Emmy came out of surgery yesterday with a funky bandaid and a cone of shame, which made us all need to watch Up really bad, which we did, and I know for a fact that at least Josh and I cried, as always. Josh feigned an allergy attack, acute onset of a new surprise allergy, since I have never known him to be allergic to anything other than giving compliments. But back to the cone of shame, and I will admit that I feel absolutely terrible at how hysterically funny it is to watch Emmy try to go through the dog door with it on. To her immense credit, she has figured out how to do it, which is no small feat!! But somehow spacial awareness of corners around door frames is still escaping her, so she bounces off at least three walls at any given corner. She doesn't seem to be in a lot of pain, which is a hug relief, unless someone else is eating carrots that she can't reach outside of her cone. Watching her drink is the second most funny event in the house these days (first is watching Josh get mad about Aspen's lactose induced gassiness), as she literally shovels water into her cone and then tries not to drown while lapping it up before it spills all over the floor. Our kitchen floor is pretty much a pond right now, and the cute little wet ear tips she used to get drinking water have given way to a full-on cone of shame swirly.

Truck is using this time to carefully examine his behavior and question what terrible thing Emmy must have done to be punished so, and I am using his fear to reinforce my overprotectiveness toward my Pendleton blankets. "See Truck, this is what happens when you sleep on wool." Dagny is half curious and half could-care-less about the whole thing but wonders if she also should be having a hard time getting out the dog door, so she just poops inside to avoid the question. Cleaning up poop isn't nearly so bad when you have a Shawn Mullins concert next week.

Things That Just Keep Happening

You gotta give it to My Boy. The hits haven't slowed down, and he's still going. In fact, the man is actually developing a sense of humor. This is largely due to the fact that I threatened to go back to Hawaii forever without him if I had to keep putting up with his bad luck AND his bad attitude. We had a long talk about stuff like that last night, and the part that stands out to me is when I referred to myself and my kids as the albatross and albatrosslings that haunted Josh's life, which he denied, since albatrossling isn't even a word, and he thought they were called goslings, which is even slightly more incorrect, and so we got off on some thesauratic debate and completely lost focus. While we were having this deeply intellectual conversation, someone was outside breaking into Josh's unlocked truck, which is incidentally NOT very difficult to do, and stealing his wallet and an armload of little miscellaneous stuff. Other than his iPhone cord (which is almost entirely likely one that he stole from me), the most important thing the punk stole was Josh's wallet, until you consider the idiocy of trying to steal Josh's identity. I mean seriously? Who in the world would want to be perpetually rejected, financially annihilated, emotionally devastated and tactically impaired on a semi-constant basis? I really kind of hope that his horrible luck is passed on to the idiot that stole my iPhone cord. Josh got his cards all cancelled pretty quickly, which probably wasn't even necessary since I had just drained all the accounts due to a new shipment of 48 boxes of blankets at Pendleton (speaking of Josh's bad luck).

Since the truck was broken into this morning, it only made sense that Emmy would need to go back in for an extra surgery today, so she did, since her skin repair was coming apart. Hopefully the new technique they are trying will work better. If not I think the next step is to hunt down a skunk or badger and use the fur to patch hers. I wonder if she will always smell bad if we do that? I'm all for leaving the white stripe and encouraging Emmy to try the punk look for a while, but Josh won't even let me get her a mohawk when I take her to the groomer for her bimonthly haircut that costs more than mine. He's so boring. No wonder he has bad luck.

Today was my day off. I would like to say it was my one day off so I can sound all dramatic about everything I have to get done in this one short day, but I totally had a 4 day weekend that is just ending today and only have to work every other day anyway. Apparently January sales at Pendleton are not justifying a full time schedule for me. Even though I work for about 50 cents an hour. All of that said, I still got almost NOTHING done that I was planning on since Josh highjacked me to run around and clean up the messes from his chaotic life all morning and then FORCED me to take a nap on the couch. I fought it tooth and nail, but he won. So here it is, all 5 o'clock and stuff and I have the guilt of the accomplishment of nothing to chase me through dinner and into my session with the couch tonight.

But before I can go and pretend to try to get stuff done, I have to help Josh re-bandage his poor dog - I am starting to wonder if him rescuing her was really that nice of him...

Things About Family

You know that scene in It's A Wonderful Life at the very end when Harry shows up and toasts Jimmy Stewart as the Richest Man In Town? That's pretty much how I feel this morning. This is the thing about family and friends. Even when life is falling apart around your ears, and it seems like if one more thing goes wrong there is just no point in going on, and even if those overwhelming things will be, in hindsight, little speed bumps to remind us of who we are and what we are capable of, there is no price that can be put on having people around you who care.

I know that my sister can attest to this from a bleak crisis in her life a couple of year ago, and even though Emmy being hit by a car and the truck breaking down and Josh not getting the job he wanted are all somewhat minor in the big scheme of this beautiful life, I cannot fathom the love that washes over us from every corner of the country. Who knew that bringing pizza to feed everybody the night we got home from Hawaii and were shell-shocked from Emmy's accident would be the most comforting thing in the world? Or a some money from a little brother and sister who probably didn't really need to being dropping money like that (maybe we can work it out to be a tax write off?). Or a perfectly-timed interest-free short-term loan from parents who would do anything to make sure their kids were not just ok, but good. Or one of Emmy's greatest fans offering to babysit her anytime during her recovery process. Or a kennel from a family friend who wants desperately to help make sure that sweet Emmy is going to be taken care of. Or a vet that writes off all of her time with the dog and channels us drugs for her at cost. Or an impromptu intervention from buddies that will not stand to see all the little stress fractures do lasting damage to our relationships. I cannot tell you how loved I feel right now. How completely blessed and humbled and overwhelmed with gratitude for the family I have, blood relatives or not. Humbled barely covers it. I want to run out and make their lives as beautiful as mine is and make sure none of them ever want or hurt or struggle. How ashamed I am at the ungratefulness that I live in some days, the self-focus and the shallowness that I give in to. We lack absolutely nothing. We are so intensely spoiled that I can't imagine not finding ways to give back from our abundance. This is community. This is family. This is beautiful.

"No man is a failure who has friends."

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