Friday, August 28, 2009


No time for chit-chat, let's Rock this Friday!

This one got a lot of airplay when it first came out, but then it kind of fell off the radar until recently. I've heard it several times in the past few weeks. Jamiroquai must be coming to town or something.

p.s. I just looked it up: This song was released THIRTEEN YEARS AGO. Where-T-F have I been?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Ten years ago today...

Ten years ago today, around 2:30 am, I half-roused from a deep sleep. I laid in bed for a few minutes, shifting around to find a comfortable position. Out of nowhere, I felt a POP from somewhere in the vicinity of my crotch. It was such a distinct POP that for a moment I thought I heard it.

My eyes few open and I clenched my knees together. I said "Pop." "Pop?" replied Hubby, whom I had thought was sound asleep."Yep," I said, as I rolled over onto my side and leapt out of bed with a speed and agility belying by 39 years and 205 pounds. I tiptoed the ten feet to the toilet, legs clamped firmly together, and dropped into place. A warm rush of fluid hit the water. I called out to Hubby "It's time!"

Hubby leapt from the bed and scurried down the hall. "It's time," I heard him holler downstairs to where 16 year old Lovely Daughter was sleeping. Surprisingly enough, she answered right away, which was a miracle in itself.

I called the labor deck at the hospital. Did I have time for a shower? I did, but was cautioned not to dawdle. I showered and dressed, walking around with a towel clamped between my thighs. We gathered our goods and headed out into the summer night, the sky lit only the full moon.

It was time.

So then some stuff happened, and some other stuff happened. At noon, he finally made his entrance. Lovely Daughter was there the whole time, which may explain why, at the age of 26, she has no desire to have babies quite yet.

But she was entranced by this little being, this baby brother whose appearance meant that she was no longer an only child. They spent a lot of time together in those early days.

Hubby was thrilled by his son. When Young Son wasn't physically attached to me, he could usually be found somewhere on Hubby's person. This continued for most of the first two years, as Young Son was a fussy baby who needed a lot on contact.

Hubby's a good dad, and was happy to have a chance to do it again. When Lovely Daughter was new, he was going out to sea for months at a time and missed quite a bit of the first few years. This time he would get the full experience.

The four-legged members of the household took to the little being right away. In the early days all three of them outweighed him by at least a factor of two. He seemed to like them well enough, too. As far as we could tell, anyway. He did develop allergies before he hit a year old, though, and we had to re-home all of the pets.

So there we were, in the 21st year of marriage, caring for a newborn. It was a very valuable learning experience. Probably the most important lesson I learned is that those things I used to feel badly about when Lovely Daughter was little -- all of those things I swore I'd do differently if I had it to do over again -- I didn't Sure, I was 16 years older and presumably a little wiser, but I found myself dealing with the same preferences, dislikes, and quirks I had in my twenties. In a way, it was kind of liberating.

The first year was incredibly rough. But time passed as it tends to do and it got a little easier, week by week.

Now, ten years later, we have this funny, quirky, gangly boy with these incredibly long arms and legs whom you can just tell is poised on the brink of puberty.

That's one consequence of having kids so far apart. I've already been down the road. I know what's ahead and I know how fast it happens. The joy of watching him grow has been coated in an extra layer of bittersweet. But better bittersweet than not having the joy at all.

Happy Double-Digit Day, Young Son!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Aw, Mom!

Is it that time already?


Friday, August 21, 2009

Let's roll!

We were digging through boxes recently and found a few pix of Mr. B from Back In The Day, including a few from around the time we would have met. That got me thinking about the eighties, and when this song came on the radio this morning, I knew it was going to Rock my Friday just fine.

As cool as it was to see a photo of Mr. B the way I remembered him, back when he was a safe date for Evil Twin and my Girls' Nights Out, it's even cooler to look across the couch at him now and know he's mine.

Let the good times roll!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Good Wife

As you may know, I was married once, for oh, something like 28 years and I am getting married again in approximately 82 day, 0 hours, 25 minutes, and 32 seconds. I'd like to think that being a little older and wiser (and battle-scarred) might lead me to experience a little more success at wifehood this time around.

Well, color my high hopes all shades of dashed. According to The Good Wife's Guide, I am thoroughly fucked. And not in that good way, either.

The Good Wife's Guide*
from Housekeeping Monthly, 13 May 1955

  • Have dinner ready. Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal ready on time for his return. This is a way of letting him know that you have been thinking about him and are concerned about his needs. Most men are hungry when they get home and the prospect of a good meal is part of the warm welcome needed.

  • Prepare yourself. Take 15 minutes to rest so you'll be refreshed when he arrives. Touch up your make-up, put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh-looking. He has just been with a lot of work-weary people.

  • Be a little gay and a little more interesting for him. His boring day may need a lift and one of your duties is to provide it.

  • Clear away the clutter. Make one last trip through the main part of the house just before your husband arrives. Run a dustcloth over the tables.

  • During the cooler months of the year you should prepare and light a fire for him to unwind by. Your husband will feel he has reached a haven of rest and order, and it will give you a lift too. After all, catering to his comfort will provide you with immense personal satisfaction.

  • Minimize all noise. At the time of his arrival, eliminate all noise of the washer, dryer, or vacuum. Encourage the children to be quiet.

  • Be happy to see him.

  • Greet him with a warm smile and show sincerity in your desire to please him.

  • Listen to him. You may have a dozen important things to tell him, but the moment of his arrival is not the time. Let him talk first - remember, his topics of conversation are more important than yours.

  • Don't greet him with complaints and problems.

  • Don't complain if he's late for dinner or even if he stays out all night. Count this as minor compared to what he might have gone through at work.

  • Make him comfortable. Have him lean back in a comfortable chair or lie him down in the bedroom. Have a cool or warm drink ready for him.

  • Arrange his pillow and offer to take off his shoes. Speak in a low, soothing and pleasant voice.

  • Don't ask him questions about his actions or question his judgment or integrity. Remember, he is the master of the house and as such will always exercise his will with fairness and truthfulness. You have no right to question him.

  • A good wife always knows her place.

  • It is obvious that I have learned absolutely nothing at all about husband-whispering from my three-decades-long relationship. Hell, I'll be lucky on any given day to check even three of these boxes. And that's on a good day.

    Although... I'm guessing if I was 'a little gay', it would indeed be a 'little more interesting' for him... ahem. I digress.

    What this really tells me is that what I used to tell the Ex is still as true today as it was ten or twenty years ago: I need a wife!

    * JFC! No wonder our mothers drank.

    Wednesday, August 19, 2009

    Copay this

    When Mr B & I marry*, I lose my current health insurance.

    Since the Ex and I were married for more than 20 years while he was active duty military, I got to keep my military health insurance when we split. It's run by the government, and sure, it has its weak points (what insurance plan doesn't?) but did I mention it's insanely cheap? Like (I'm almost embarrassed to admit) less than $500/year, including prescriptions?

    I know!

    I've had this health plan for nearly thirty years. Hell, I've had the same primary care physician for over ten years, which is practically unheard of in military medicine. And I'm giving it all up for Mr. B.

    What we do for love, huh?

    So for the first time ever I am faced with the task of choosing a health care plan. Yes, I realize that I am lucky to even have a choice. Today I decided to wade in and see if I could make some sense of the plans and premiums.


    Let me just say, I am so sorry. I had no idea how much health insurance actually costs. I've been living in my little idyllic government-managed health care bubble for a long time, but now I get what all the fuss is about. According to my co-workers, in the three years since I started this job, premiums have gone up 37% while the coverage has steadily been whittled away. And we have a VERY generous employer who believes it's important to make sure their employees have good coverage at an affordable price. I know many people who aren't that lucky by half.

    I'm not nearly informed enough in the particulars of the current political foofarah to go on a rant about why we need health care reform, especially from my privileged point of view, but the anecdotal evidence I've heard from people who can't afford (or can't even get) coverage, or those who have had certain treatments denied by health insurance companies lead me to believe that it may indeed be time for something to change.

    But people seem to really hate change, don't they? Even when the current state of affairs is pretty much unsustainable.

    I just don't know, folks. Sometimes I wonder how we're ever going to get anywhere.

    And that's as close to a rant as I'm gonna get.

    * 82 days, 23 hours, 39 minutes, 31 seconds, give or take, not that I'm counting.

    Tuesday, August 18, 2009

    Waiting for the shoe

    Oh, I had such big plans for this summer. I was going to be a pro-active, advocating parent. I would single-handedly fix Young Son's dyslexia! He would be tested and evaluated and diagnosed, and I would work with him on this remedial reading/phonics tutoring program I bought, and it would make everything all better so he would be ready to attack fourth grade with confidence and mad skills. Problem solved.

    But first I had to find a tester. It took me a few weeks to locate the lone clinical psychologist in town who could do it. I was able to get an appointment for a few weeks out. Step one: Check!

    I was relieved, yeah, but also really nervous -- what if he told me there were other issues? What if he tried to tell me Young Son has ADD or whatever and needed medication? I knew in my heart that wasn't the case, but I'd heard a rumor that all the kids in school who are on meds go to this guy. He's pretty much the only game in town, and what if we didn't like him? What if he was a dick? I couldn't trust this diagnosis, which would affect my son's entire academic career, to a dick. But how would I find someone else who could give us a diagnosis before school starts? Pleaseohpleaseohplease let him not be a dick....

    The Ex and I showed up at the appointed time and felt immediately at ease. The doc was not a dick; rather, he was a really nice guy who asked all the right questions. I knew they were the right questions because I had spent several days Googling dyslexia and was now an authority, just as a pro-active, advocating parent should be.

    The doc interviewed us extensively about Young Son's entire life. I was horrified to realize that I could not recall the vital stats of my son's early life. When did he start to talk? To walk? Did he hit the normal developmental milestones on time? I didn't know there would be a test -- I hadn't studied! What kind of mom doesn't recall that stuff? A sub-standard one, obviously; not a pro-active, advocating parent. Despite my failings, we felt it was successful interview. My main criteria were satisfied: The doc was not a dick and he asked all the right questions. I could only hope that my answers had contained some kernel of reality and I hadn't just been making stuff up*.

    The first testing session available wasn't until mid-July. So far away! I asked the doc if I could go ahead and start the magical tutoring program that would fix Young Son's dyslexia. No, he thought it would be better to wait until we had a diagnosis, since the program might turn out to be inappropriate for whatever issues the testing turns up.


    Weeks passed. It was time for the first two hours of testing in mid-July. Young Son liked his 'teacher'. I was afraid he would be frustrated by the testing but he seemed to enjoy it well enough. Two more hours of testing in late July. Didn't quite get through it all, so he needed one more hour, which was scheduled for early August. That's OK, we still had time to get a diagnosis in hand before school starts.

    But oh noes, early August came and the doc was out sick. Soonest we could reschedule was the day after school starts. Then, of course, it would take a while for the doc to compile the results and give us the report.

    Crap is officially upgraded to shit.

    So we will start fourth grade with no diagnosis. No answers. We won't have a report in hand in time for the meeting I'd scheduled, like a pro-active and advocating parent, with his old and new teachers for the week before school The $200 tutoring program is sitting, untouched, in its box in the corner. Young Son's dyslexia remains unfixed.

    And don't tell anyone, but I'm still kind of afraid that the diagnosis will be more complicated than I'd hoped, and that there won't be one magical tutoring program I can use to single-handedly 'fix' it.

    You know, I'm starting to think this might turn out to be more complicated than I thought.

    * Yeah, I do that sometimes. I know you're shocked.

    Monday, August 17, 2009

    Desktop Therapy #1

       Sticky notes
    + Tape
    + Paper clips
    + Internet access
    A few minutes of entertainment and a kusudama flower.

    Note to self: Get a glue stick.

    Friday, August 14, 2009


    Wow, after temps in the 100s, we're banished back to the land of 60s and drizzle, which is substandard August weather even by Seattle standards.

    But no worries, my pigeons, even cold, damp Fridays shall not pass un-Rocked!

    First, watch the ultimate YouTube mashup.

    Then learn about the project from the composer/artist himself.


    He made seven music videos, each a composition of different clips from YouTube videos. He even lists the links to the clips he used. You can watch his creations on YouTube or visit Kutiman's website.

    Just remember to blink once in awhile.

    Thursday, August 13, 2009

    Krafty Korner

    You guys have been pretty lucky. I haven't done any crafty posts since the Great Plarn Fixation of early 2008, so I feel slightly less guilty dropping this deuce on you.

    So to speak.

    I try not to blatantly steal stuff from the blogs I read, but this is too good not to recycle. Jessica at Rose-Kim Knits has a weekly feature she calls "Thursdays are for What the Hell is This?", showcasing the most ridiculous knitted and crocheted items she can find on the interwebs. Usually it's guaranteed to be a head-shaking, JFCWTF-worthy good time, but today's featured item had me clapping and squeeing like a little girl.

    Behold the ultimate toilet roll cover:

    I smell Christmas gifts!

    A quick search revealed this is a creation of AuntieElle*. She's promised the pattern is forthcoming. I can't wait! I'll have to cruise through the Goodwill to score some abandoned Barbies. Actually, any action figure would work, but there's something about seeing Barbie pinching a loaf that really makes it, IYKWIM.

    Evil Twin has already requested hers in sage green.

    * You can see more pix there.

    Tuesday, August 11, 2009

    A matter of priorities

    Yesterday I was reminded that I do not always have all my ducks in a row, priority-wise.

    It's been about five months since I started physical therapy for my shoulder. After my last whiny update* in June, things started progressing and I gained a lot of mobility in pretty short order, even though I had cut back to two appointments per week and didn't do any of my exercises at home.

    Things were going along pretty well, up to a point. There is still something that just won't let me do certain things. Running down the middle of the side of my upper arm is this pain. It's been with me from the beginning, but now that almost all the other pain is gone, it has taken center stage.

    I was re-evaluated yesterday and given the verdict that I need to go see the orthopods in the orthopedics clinic. There may be a tear in there somewhere, and I guess those things just don't go away by themselves. There may be another MRI in my future, and there may be a little arthroscopic surgery required.

    As you might expect, I immediately started to worry.

    Did I worry about the fact that I lose access to this medical facility when I marry -- in approximately 90 days -- and if I wait to have MRI/surgery done after the wedding it could cost me thousands of dollars, even with insurance?

    Oh, but no.

    My first concern was about the nose piercing I was going to get this week so it would be mostly healed for the wedding. If I have an MRI or surgery, they will make me take out the nose screw (lovely name, that) and that is something you just don't want to do to a new piercing.

    The real issue popped to the forefront of my consciousness when I was told the soonest I could get in to see the orthopod is in about five weeks.

    Let's see... three months less five weeks leaves... about eight weeks to get a diagnosis and treatment.

    Oh yeah, that could totally happen.

    * Then again, I guess all my updates are whiny.

    Friday, August 7, 2009

    How did you celebrate it?

    Damn, I can't believe I missed Coast Guard Day this past Tuesday.

    I happen to have a particular fondness for the Coast Guard. I worked at the same CG facility in three different jobs over the course of 14 years. Evil Twin, Mr. B, and I met there, when I was about the same age Lovely Daughter is now and Mr. B was a shiny new LTJG.

    In belated celebration, I think we'll do a little Friday ROFLMAO and enjoy some Coast Guard humor. Well, OK, maybe not all of you will enjoy it, but the two or three of you who know what the term 'non-rate' means will get a kick out of it.

    The rest of you are dismissed to begin your weekend. Or you can watch, too. It's pretty cute. Really.

    So here's an enthusiastic yet sloppy civilian salute to the USCG and the civilians who keep them running smooth. Thanks, and BZ!

    Thursday, August 6, 2009

    Internets 101

    Those of us so outside the flow* have no idea what most of those weird catch phrases scattered around the internets (aka memes) are all about. Like, you may be thinking, "what's that 'all your base' crap about, anyway?"

    Well, the staff at Know Your Meme has us covered.

    Aha, I get it. I feel ever so much hipper now. How 'bout you?

    * (read: old)

    Wednesday, August 5, 2009

    Let's get this party started already!

    So you say you're engaged and planning your big day, but you're feeling a little stressed and blue over the whole to-do? Well, gather around kiddos, 'cause I got a foolproof way of jolting you out of your funk right here.

    It's simple as pie -- just move your wedding date up by four months! There's 120 fewer days of agony right there.

    And instead of having a carefully-crafted quiet little wedding at home, where you gotta figure out food and decorations and how to entertain your guests so they don't turn on Spongebob during your painfully overwrought ceremony?

    Why, you pick the whole deal up, wad it in a ball, and drop it in the hands of the professionals, of course.

    Yeah, uh-huh, that's right, we're going to Vegas, baby!

    Just over three months from now, a handful of us will converge on The Strip for a whirlwind celebration culminating in me & Mr. B making mawage in some tooth-achingly-sweet wedding chapel across the street from some obnoxiously garish casino/hotel complex.

    No cleaning house, or wondering whether I should buy new curtains and replace the kitchen flooring, or what to do with three dozen leftover egg salad tea sandwiches. All we gotta do is throw our panties, toothbrushes, and a credit card in a suitcase and hop on a plane. No muss, no fuss.

    Suddenly this whole deal is sounding like a lot more fun.

    Tuesday, August 4, 2009

    Magnetic personality

    File this under WTF.

    Although the 100 degree temps were behind us, it was still in the mid-90s over the weekend. At bedtime it was hitting 85 deg upstairs. Young Son's room was way too hot to sleep in, so I set him up in the guest room in the basement where it was at least a good 10 degrees cooler.

    I headed back up two flights of stairs into the inferno and sprawled out on my bed to read, trying to pretend I wasn't sweating from every square inch of skin.

    After about an hour, Young Son appears in my door.
    M: "Hey, what's the matter?"

    YS: "I can't sleep down there"

    M: "Why not? Is it too hot?"

    YS: "No, it just..." (pauses, thinking) "You know how when I lay on your bed, my head goes this way?" (points to the north wall)

    M: "Yeah?" (not getting it...)

    YS: "When I sleep downstairs, my head goes that way" (points to the west wall) "and I can't sleep that way."


    I had to stop and nuke it out for a minute or so, and I realized he was right. The head of the guest bed, two floors below, is indeed on the west wall of the house.
    M: "What about your room?" (trying to figure out if he was bullshitting.)

    YS: "Oh, it's the same as yours, this way." (points north)

    Yes, in fact, it is. I was officially weirded out.

    I emailed Evil Twin about this and she let me know that not only was is not weird, but that she also has a built-in compass and sent me links to some articles explaining the phenomenon.

    I need to confirm this, but I think the head of his bed at the Ex's house is on a northerly wall as well.

    And here I was thinking that young boys were non-migra'ory*.

    I'm already thinking up little tests for him. Is that wrong?

    * Ten points for the reference.

    Monday, August 3, 2009

    Should I stay or should I go now?

    Uh-oh, it's coming. I'm seeing the early warning signs, those cheerful, encouraging emails popping up every other week or so.

    NaNoWriMo is a scant three months away. What should I do?

    About this time last year I came up with an idea for a novel. I spent a couple of months writing brief character sketches and a rough (oh, so rough) storyline. Much fun was had writing random stuff to post here on the blog, to see if I could get my head into 'story space'. November finally came, and I was thrilled to find that once I officially put fingers to keys, words came out. It wasn't pretty, but I was astonished to find that sometimes I could almost see the scene in my head and get lost in it, like I was simply recording what was really happening. At the end of the month I had a 75K word first draft that I promptly put away and haven't touched since.

    Because, I decided, I had to Learn to Write before I would be qualified to edit my draft into something readable. I launched into a frenzy of self-education, working through a couple of short online fiction writing courses and joining some forums that offered workshops. One forum even promised to walk me through the process of writing and editing a whole novel in two years!

    I'd written one draft, so surely I could do this. Game on! I found another idea, found a few characters, and followed the weekly exercises, examining the setting of the story and the cultures and the personal likes and dislikes of the characters. I wrote some short scenes (OK, mostly I rewrote the same scene several times) for assignments. But I felt like I was tap-dancing around the thing, and no matter how hard I tapped, I couldn't get the story to reveal itself. I had a rough idea of who the main character was and what her problem was, but I couldn't figure out what had to happen.

    Meanwhile, I learned there were all sorts of things I was supposed to be paying attention to. The story arc had to be divided into thee acts, with the proper amount of major cliffhangers must be placed just so to keep the reader moving forward. Keep the reader wanting more, every single second! Nothing can be wasted, or I'd lose the reader! The first page has to be flawless or the reader will throw the book aside in disgust. Characters must have internal and external conflicts and goals. Dialog can't really be like real speech, but has to read like real speech. And oh, how to weave in just the perfect amount of backstory? Certainly none of this "Well, as you know, Bob, when I first came to this planet..."

    And then what? Well, according to the ever-growing list of blogs by agents and editors and publishers and writers in my Google Reader, I had to craft the perfect query letter and find the perfect agent and get published. But, as they were so quick to point out, publication of a first novel is practically impossible. It was going to be a long, hard, grueling road. I would have to write ten books before I would have learned enough craft to even think about it.

    Dag. That's a lot of typing.

    I would have to write EVERY DAY, and I would have to write thousands and thousands of words. It was the only way. Writing got more and more complicated. I didn't want to write every day. I couldn't get words down without desperately trying to recall all the rules so that I didn't make any of those laughably foolish newbie mistakes. I rewrote and edited the piddly pile of stuff I did write down to dry bones. The words stopped flowing. And ideas?

    <crickets>Uh... hello? Is this thing on?</crickets>

    I beat my head against the wall for a month or so, then it got just too fucking hard. In a fit of pique I unsubbed from all the workshop forums and writing/publishing blogs. If I didn't love it enough to hack away at it every day, if I wasn't obsessed enough to carry a notebook around 24/7 to record every snip of inspiration that crossed my path, then obviously I shouldn't even bother. I crossed fiction writing off the list of Shiny.

    But the other day I get this email from the NaNo folks, and just for a second I felt that thrill, that sense that the story is already sitting out there, complete, in the Shadow World and all I have to do is find it and record it. And I remembered something I had forgotten: I loved doing NaNo. Abso-friggin'-lutely loved it.

    Maybe I could do it again this year, even if I haven't actually Learned to Write. I have some characters already, and maybe I could ditch my old story line and start anew. Can I just write a damned story without fretting over whether it's good enough to become the Next Big Thing? Can I allow myself to so something I'm not competent at, just for fun?

    Dunno. But I've got three months to agonize over it.