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D is for Days. December 11, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — gleefulbarbarians @ 1:56 am

“Mama said there’ll be days like this/There’ll be days like this mama said.”  – The Shirelles.

“It was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.” – Alexander.

We’re experiencing some growing pains or something here at Casa AL.  Thing 1 is 12, and pre-pubescent with all the angst and mood that drags along with it.  Pairing that with my current mental health stuff and it’s just not the best atmosphere in here all the time.  As much as I’m getting slightly more patient with him, DH is getting more frustrated.  I need to find some local commiseration (I have a friend with a 11.5 year old daughter who is dealing with some of the same things, which helps).  Most of our struggling right now is related to education and the parents at park day with older kids are also unschoolers which doesn’t really help (telling me “you could always try just letting him do his own thing for a couple weeks” isn’t what I want to hear, honestly.  Particularly when it’s paired with “We just trust our children to learn when they’re ready.”  At one point I ended up saying, “I don’t trust that he’ll ever want to do something other than harass the cat, build planes from Lego or disassemble things.  I guess that’s it: I don’t trust my kid.”).

In further terrible, horrible news.  I woke up at 3am to use the bathroom (because I’m old and can’t sleep thru the night anymore) and was greeted by the strong scent of cat urine when I got near the bathroom and closet.  The cat apparently likes to pee on my pajamas if I leave them on the floor.  I have no idea why.  I opted to move them to the tile at 3am (I’m not starting laundry at that hour if I can avoid it) and dealt with it at a more reasonable hour this morning.  For a cat who seems to want to sleep with me all day and night practically, why does she foul up my things?????

So, days like this.  I’m sort of trying to make some lemonade out of the lemon of a day I’m having.  The folding will get done (maybe).  I’ve started dinner prep work.  I need to finalize the grocery list so I can do that after dinner.  I’m sure that will thrill Thing 1 if he ends up having to miss hockey practice because of his behavior.  It will definitely thrill me to have to take a sullen child with me to the store (DH has to go to practice as the coach and Thing 1 can’t be left home alone currently).  Or to go shopping at 830 on a Monday night once he gets home. 

I think it’s going to be late night shopping since Thing 1 is entering into the “last minute panic” of getting things done (because he played with stuff until like 2 this afternoon, in addition to multiple long stays in the bathroom to read and other vanishing tricks), but I know he won’t be done in time to eat dinner and leave for hockey.  At which point he’ll be furious at everyone else because that’s easier than being angry at himself for frittering away the bulk of the day.

It has taken me all day to write this (there are days like this…).  DH has gone to practice, Thing 1 is eating a very slow dinner.  I’m going to do the dishes so that’s taken care of for tonight.  I still need to fold this load of laundry and pre-treat another one.  I’m sure Thing 1 will need help with the stuff he still has to do.  Not that I should be rewarding myself with food or anything, but I’m pretty sure Starbucks will be part of my trip this evening.  Mmmmmmmmmmm chai. 

Wishing I had the smell of campfire in my hair,


PS: Guess who’s back in the bathroom?






C is for calm. September 11, 2012

Filed under: Brain Chatter — gleefulbarbarians @ 3:55 pm

September 11. This day of chaos. Of catastrophe. It’s more about the calm now, isn’t it? (see how I’m working in all those Cs?) It’s hard not to reflect today. To feel a little bit slower or more thoughtful. There’s a kind of serenity in depression, I think. At least you know you’re not alone today. I’m in my house by myself for the first time in God knows how long. It’s like the feeling just before you dip your toes in a warm bath (not that I take baths), knowing you are about to find a moment, just a minute or two, of calm.

Our house has been full. First the 4 of us, then our au pair, then another au pair is living with us for nearly 6 weeks (long story), my parents stayed with us for 5 nights (8 in the house) and then David’s parents stayed nearby, along with a friend who we brought in to photograph the birthday and photos of grandparents and the girls. We only ever seem to have photos taken moments before we leave–oh look, it’s nana and papa on the couch with the girls and they are never any good. Hopefully we got some good ones this time.

It has been craziness and commotion for days. Even without more than an activity a day, just the process of moving here or there was, at times, overwhelming. We had about 35 people here on Saturday to celebrate Brenna’s 3rd birthday. I kept it as simple as possible–not much food to prepare that day–and it was lovely. I had texted Inja’s husband Brian to see if they could attend, but hadn’t heard back. The doorbell rang and Inja and her family was there. I literally started crying because it meant so much that Brian brought her and the kids. My parents got to see her, which was lovely. I think I’ve finally accepted this balance Inja has of living in the present with her quick-witted responses and her “removedness,” which isn’t a word, but hopefully you understand. Anyways, it was wonderful to see her. I asked our photographer friend to take a photo of us and said to her, “now you have to smile because your mom never says you smile.” Next thing I knew, she put her hand over my mouth and pretended to kiss me, which of course, was popular in making your friends laugh when you were 12. This was good.

There was this a moment during the party, when I sat down to eat and looked around at our friends and family scattered all over the deck and yard, immersed in conversation, watching the kids play on the jungle gym or in the yard, eating and drinking, enjoying. And I was keenly aware that the moment was good.  It’s like dipping your toe in the bath again–there’s just the recognition of a life affirming moment. I love those. You know the saying “We don’t remember days. We remember moments.”?? (Cesare Pavese) I believe that. Sometimes I get scared that something will happen–that I will die. That David will die. Or someone else I love. I’m so thankful that if I had time to look back–5 seconds, 5 hours, 5 months–that it would be full of beautiful and touching moments.

Isn’t today a great day to reflect on those moments? Not where you were when you heard or how you felt when the walls or the people fell, but those moments that have come since that make us thankful to be alive.

Hugs and love to you today.


C is for Crazypants August 8, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — gleefulbarbarians @ 3:34 am

Dear Igel,

That basically describes the past several days of our time on the east coast.  I know you’ve been sitting and waiting for a summary so here goes.

July 25 – C is city as I spent the day (that I had planned to spend AT HOME PACKING) going to the library to return a CD that wasn’t in the case (we had returned the case, and all the other library books on Monday as part of my “we are going to be organized and calm rather than insane on the day before we leave, so let’s get things done earlier in the week” plan), getting the boys haircuts (because that had escaped the aforementioned plan), and packing.  I spent the morning doing laundry, starting at 6:30 because we have an energy plan that gives us a higher rate from noon to 7pm, so we avoid using any massive appliance between those hours.  Everything we owned was clean by noon.  I was still packing at midnight.  Why?  Because I always pack myself last.  While the boys did help get themselves packed, I was still all out of sorts from the afternoon of errands. 

July 26 – Flying. Airport food.  Flying.  Driving.  Collapsing.

July 27 – C is for cheetah.  Dan and I had lunch with my friend Joy, her husband Frank, daughter Avery and her mom.  Her mom is currently driving her brother’s car (Joy’s brother).  He has recovered all the seats with leopard print fabric.  He apparently also carries a leopard print backpack.  Joy says he’s secretly a 12 year old girl  I said Cheetah because it started with C (rather than the L that starts Leopard).  Dan and Frank were able to talk hockey, Joy and I talked babies and high school and general humor. We ate at the local bar that also serves food and had a really tasty lunch.

July 28 (Bed #2).  C is for condensation.  We drove to Speculator to see my step-brother and his girlfriend get married.  The day started out lovely, there was some on and off drizzle that we tried to wish away, but in the end, they were married in a gazebo while everyone either stood under umbrellas or in the pavilion for the reception.  It was quite possibly the shortest ceremony I’ve ever witnessed (and, much to Dan’s glee, devoid of diety).  There was good food, good music and great times had all around.   It was the first time all four of my dad and step-mom’s children have all been in the same place at the same time in 10 years, so my dad was really happy.  Family photos were taken, natch.  The sun did manage to come out shortly after the ceremony, so the bridal party still had photos taken on the point of the lake where the ceremony was supposed to happen.
Debbie (my step-mother) and my dad, too, I guess, don’t refer to any of us as step-children, which I can appreciate, but it did make for at least one confused guest.   I have one brother.  Debbie has two children – Laura and Joey.  At one point, Debbie introduced me to someone as her daughter.  I could see the guest trying to place me and still being confused (FYI: Laura and I don’t really look much alike – she currently has very short, very dark brown hair and brown eyes).  I finally said, “I’m Paul’s daughter – Debbie’s step-daughter,” which put the guest at ease.  Clearly, she knew Laura (or had met her) and was trying to decide if I was her or something.  Debbie made a comment about how she and my dad think of us as their children with no “steps” involved.  How you do tell someone that you’re not worried about being called a step-child?  It’s the correct relationship.  They got married after I did – there was never a custody/visitation/blending families thing were someone might get upset about being called a step kid.
With a 2pm wedding and reception, everyone was hungry again at 9, so I ran to a local bar (the owner was on Chopped!) for late night eats before piling into bed.

July 29 – C is for Coats we didn’t have (Bed #3).  We reworked our driving schedule so that we could join everyone for breakfast before starting the long drive to New London, CT and the ferry to Block Island.  It began to pour shortly after we entered Connecticut and during the whole ferry crossing.  You know what it rarely does in Phoenix?  Rain.  You know what we don’t have (and kind of refuse to buy)?  Raincoats.  We were met on BI by Dan’s dad and his long term lady friend, Paula.  We had dinner at the Poor People’s Pub (I wonder what their off-season prices are, because “poor people” aren’t dining there in the summer).  The Olympics had definitely started by this point and were on every place we went.  As much as I dislike TVs all over the place, there is something fun about everyone celebrating athletes when you’re out and about.  The waitress joked that the only reason she wasn’t doing the balance beam was because she had to work.  I said that family obligations kept me from the uneven bars.  Then, it was time to head to the condo/apartment/time share thing that Paula has on BI.   I went on the complete tour of the place and very nearly took notes because when it was the pack of us moving around, if anyone tried to have a side conversation while she showed us something (“This is how you open the slide lock on the screen door: you lift this lever, here.”) she was quick with the “Are you paying attention?  I’m trying to show you how things work around here,”  and not in a joking way.  

July 30 – C is for Cocktails.  Fun fact: someone who has some complaint about your life choices is more tolerable with cocktails, especially when they’re made with a heavy hand and you’re a lightweight drinker who opts for a light lunch.  When Jim and Paula ordered booze with lunch and Dan was doing the driving, I had one too.  I’m relatively sure it wasn’t made correctly, but it was strong and I was way more laid back about how I couldn’t possibly educate my children at home forever.
We went to a little animal farm, and I was required to go to the local yarn shop (not by me, mind you – I’m on a yarn diet and wouldn’t make demands when we’re guests for one full day).  The actual comment made was “You do yarn, right?”  I bought some yarn, mostly out of sympathy for the employees dealing with Paula’s complaining about prices and crap.  Dan talked to one of the owners about the looms they have because he did an internship at Albany International where they weave felts for the paper industry. 
Dinner featured more booze and more complaining (al dente vegetables – not her favorite).  At some point we also hit the beach (boozeless).

July 31 – C is Coming to an end.  We made plans to get up “early” so that we could go to this inn that does a breakfast buffet featuring a whole bluefish (Jim loves the stuff).  This was met with C is for complaining (quelle surprise) about the “early” departure time (the plan was to be out by 930).  There was booze available at breakfast, but it felt a little unseemly to be knocking back mimosas or poinsettias before noon.  I had one.  We went to see a lighthouse.  We were (nearly) yelled at for taking too many pictures because there was a “better” place to take pictures (can you guess by whom?).   Fun fact: that better place was closed off to the public.  The kids and I walked down the 143 steps of Mohegan Bluffs and then back up them – everyone else stayed at the top.  I realized I didn’t have the camera at about step 80 and didn’t opt to go back for it.  Fun fact: I’m out of shape.
Late afternoon we took the ferry back to New London (the rain came back just in time for us to get on the ferry again – yay!).  Then we took a different ferry at the same dock to Orient Point on Long Island.  On that ferry we took the car.  Handy tip: there’s no way to get a car from Block Island to Long Island without going thru New London – we went to BI carless.  We then drove the Quogue – all the expense of the hamptons without the hampton name (we saw none of those “notable residents”).  

August 1 (Bed #4) – C is for cousins.  As a child of a small family, I love spending time with Dan’s family.  His mother is one of 5.  His grandmother’s house is the hub of family activity.  We got to see his mother Marilyn, Aunt Marion, Uncle Martin, cousins Michael and Marybeth and Mariah(seeing the theme?), and Uncle Matthew the night before at the house because people were there to celebrate Marion’s birthday (I’m pretty sure it was birthday number 25, despite her having children older than that).  I spent this day reorganizing the suitcases doing laundry and being somewhat quiet.  Dan and the kids went to the beach with his mom and aunt.

August 2 – C is for companionship.  Marilyn offered to watch the boys so that Dan and I could have a day alone (crazy talk, I know).  We tried to go out to the Montauk Lighthouse but at about halfway we gave up sitting in traffic with all the other summer people and turned around.  We did a little wine tasting at Duck Walk Vineyard, walked around Sag Harbor (including the Whaling Museum.  Fun fact: Mrs. Russell Sage used to own the house where the Whaling Museum is located.  Also, they have some VERY enthusiastic staff).  We had decided on some place in Southampton for dinner, so we drove over there and wandered around that area as well.  Fun fact: I would have to buy more things with sequins to fit in if we were to stay in that area.

August 3 – C is for crankiness.  Marilyn and her sister left early in the morning and we were trying to find something to do.  The awful humidity and general miserableness of staying in a house with floor fans but no air conditioning was really wearing on the kids.  We tried to go to the park and play, but they just wanted to sit.  Dan’s cousin Marybeth came over for a little while, I tried to read and knit on the porch (the occasional breeze was nice), we played a couple of hands of cards, but basically?  We watched the Olympics and were zombies from the heat.

August 4 – C is for crying (bed #5).  We left Long Island, but somehow Thing 2 had missed the complete details of our grand tour.  He was a mess – he didn’t want to stay at Grandma’s house anymore (because of the lack of A/C), but he didn’t want to get in the car (with A/C!) to get to our next destination.  We were patient for a while and then reached the “we’re leaving, so you can get in the car or not, but commit” point while he stomped around shouting that “NOTHING IS GOING TO FIX THIS SITUATION!”  He got in the car and was in a better mood as soon as we drove past the Air National Guard base, what with the cool helicopter out front. Handy tip: Weird Al on the radio also helps.
We drove to Englewood, NJ to meet up with one of Dan’s friends and her family.  We had lunch at a local park, played on the playground equipment and watched the fish in the stream until we’d all had enough of the heat.  We went back to the hotel and got nearly everyone into the pool (I wasn’t interested in suiting up).  After everyone had been in the pool for a while, Stephanie volunteered to watch her kids and ours in the pool while we had some time alone (“Do you guys want to go lay down and rest or something?  Jason and I can watch the kids.  You know what I mean.”).  Three cheers for the kindness of non-strangers. 🙂  Once everyone was out of the pool, we had dinner and packed the kids off to bed so they’d be well rested before our big outing the next day.   The adults met down in the bar in the lobby to watch Olympics and catch up.  It always gives me a brief panic when we leave the kids alone like that, but we’ve done it a couple of times now – we leave them a phone, and they are generally sound sleepers, so it’s a relatively safe prospect.  I’m sure European parents wouldn’t even bat an eye.

August 5 – C is for cages.  Well, not really.  We headed out to the Bronx Zoo.  We saw some near animals, dealt with the rain, got turned around several times (Handy Tip: Thing 2 is the best one to have the map), and sweated.  There were things we did want to see and didn’t get to (like the Lowland Gorillas) mostly because of getting turned around and walking, walking, walking back to where we started, in circles.  In the end, we picked going home and getting cool over more time trying to find things in the humidity.  I had managed not to sweat as much (thank you, linen pants?), so I offered to take the kids into the pool while everyone else showered and regrouped.  I left it up to the adults to make dinner plans.   Once everyone was out of the pool, we were going to find someplace to get some pizza delivered and sit and eat all together in this corner bar area of the lobby (with the blessing of the front desk staff).  While walking thru the lobby talking about it, an employee mentioned that a new place had just opened up around the corner with terrific pizza – within walking distance.  So, we walked over there, had really great pizza, and then sent the kids to one of the rooms to watch cartoons and play lego while we hung out together again.

August 6 (Bed #6 sort of – it was back to bed #1).  C is for college.  We checked out by noon and started our drive north.  We stopped in Poughkeepsie to see another friend of Dan’s.  He went to high school and college with Steve.  His wife, Nancy, was 2 years ahead of me at Sage.  We stopped at their house, our kids played with theirs, we talked about people in common, had dinner, and a general all around good time.  Then it was back into the car to drive the rest of the way upstate and get everyone into bed.

August 7 (there was some bed shuffling tonight now that Dan’s gone – does that count as another bed location?).  C is for calming down, sort of.  We got Dan off to the airport, the car washed (mostly), several cups of REAL TEA consumed (Dear Coffee Makers of the world – if you want to offer tea, can you PLEASE have a dedicated hot water pot?  Not one you sometimes also use for coffee?  The hotel offered tea bags and had a hot water thermos pump thing along with coffee in the lobby in the morning.  My cups of tea [i tried more than once] tasted like coffee because apparently they just fill the three thermoses in the morning and slap a label on them, rather than one being permanently hot water), lunch out eaten (childless, again!), scooters and bikes ridden, ice cream eaten, and more plans made. 

It’s been a crazy 2 weeks.  How are things with you?


B is for … July 24, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — gleefulbarbarians @ 6:56 am

Dear Beagly,

I’ve been thinking about B since your crayon post.  I’ve had so many B things going on in recent memory; I’ll try to give you a recap.

B is for Blast-Off.  We’re finally done with schooling for the year.  The last 2-3 weeks have largely been a joke, honestly.   The last thing I felt obligated to do was the final physics lesson – launching model rockets.  We’ve never done them, so I took some advice and bought a kit with 2 rockets, plus the launching platform.   We got the rockets assembled over the weekend and took them to a local park yesterday and today to launch them.  They are VERY cool and they go CRAZY high!  Definitely a successful end to physics.

B is for Bowling.  We’ve been doing a lot of bowling lately.  One of the bowling chains in the area is offering two free games of bowling per day for children for summer vacation.  Adults can get a similar thing for $30 (that price gets you and 3 friends).  We’ve been bowling nearly every other day (sometimes we all go, sometimes Dan takes the kids and I’m home alone).  The boys now have their own balls (B is for “balls”) and shoes.  I have my own from when I was in a league in junior high and high school (for reals).    It’s been fun, and a way to have screen-free fun inside that’s semi-active.

B is for Books.  I’ve been reading all kinds of things lately.  I’ve been making better use of my Goodreads account; using it to keep track of things I want to read as well as things I have read and what I thought about them.  I’m considering letting Thing 2 get an account because he’d like to also keep track of what he’s read and what he thought about those books.  I’ve also joined a sort of blog along book and knitting thing.  It’s introduced me to new books – both for children and adults.
We’ve also recently purchased a Kindle (keyboard).   The city library system has Nooks to lend and the boys and I have enjoyed using it.  Dan did some research on ereaders and decided that the Kindle was the best bet, which is possibly true, but it seems to be easier to get non-Kindle books from the library system.  The library’s Nook goes back tomorrow (all the other library books in the house went back today to a different branch), and we’ve borrowed a friend’s Nook.  DH has been spending time playing word games on the Kindle lately.

B is for Blender.  Which is what I’ll be doing with my pre-vacation cantaloupe tomorrow.  I bought it like 5 days ago and left it on the counter, so tonight it was… well, less than fresh.  I have about half of the melon in the fridge and I’m going to see how it is in the blender with some banana and milk (since we don’t have juice).  I was going to write “C is for Cantaloupe” tomorrow, but let’s not assume I’ll be that industrious.

B is for Boards.  We put 300 square feet of laminate flooring in our living room.  We now own a table saw and mitre saw, and an unfinished living room floor 😉  The floor is basically done except for a small amount of trim that needs to be installed where the floor meets the wall in some places.  While the boys and I are gone, though, we’re getting the interior of the house painted, so we’ll just put the trim in after the walls have been painted.

and finally…

B is for Behind Schedule.  We leave in very few days.  My list is getting longer.  So, tomorrow morning Thing 2 is going to hockey camp, DH is going to work at the office, Thing 1 and I are going to the movies (and then home to do CHORES!  FYI: he passed up hockey camp for this.  He’s nuts).  I haven’t planned the laundry doing very well, so I’m slightly behind on that.  I have packing lists done for the kids and me.  We all have clothes to wear to the wedding we’re attending.  I bought a dress and sweater.  My dad has told me a dress is unnecessary (the wedding is in a park in Speculator – the groomsmen are wearing jeans and western shirts; my dad is wearing a suit.  I can’t quite get a finger on the actual dress code.  The boys are wearing cargo shorts and shirts.)

And with that, I’m off to bed so that I can get a cracking start to the morning.




B is for Burnt Sienna July 2, 2012

Filed under: she's crafty — gleefulbarbarians @ 4:18 am

I don’t think Crayola even makes Burnt Sienna anymore. Did you ever read the book “All I ever need to know I learned in Kindergarten?” Was that required reading for camp counselors? There’s a chapter in the book about how comforting the crayons were because Crayola hadn’t changed anything for like a million years including Burnt Sienna (of course, right after the book was published, Crayola went nuts on the colors, which is why Hello Kitty shines in shades of macaroni & cheese, Inchworm and Razzle Dazzle Rose.)

This year for end-of-year gifts for Ainsley & Brenna’s teachers, I decided to make something we all could do. So we made melted wax art. Have you ever done it? Hot glue gun a whole lotta crayons as straight as possible across the top. Paint some kind of image if you’d like (we added words with stamps), start the hair dryer and sit for a very long time. Each color melts at a different rate, which is interesting. For Ainsley’s teachers, we wrote what she said about them “Lisa has a beautiful voice, Christine is silly and fun.” That was a little two obscure for the 2 year olds, so Brenna’s teacher went with a wild theme.

7 in all. By 4, it started to cause aches and pains. I think I was assembling them in my sleep for days. The teachers thought they were cool, as each was totally unique to them. We had fun giving them and I’m hoping they enjoy them for at least a little while.

Ainsley’s teachers’:

Brenna’s teachers’:

I am still a great fan of crayons. Back to the aforementioned book, here are a few quotes from it, to either enlighten you, or remind you of the fun read:

“What I notice is that every adult or child I give a new set of Crayolas to goes a little funny. The kids smile, get a glazed look on their faces, pour the crayons out, and just look at them for a while….The adults always get the most wonderful kind of sheepish smile on their faces–a mixture of delight and nostalgia and silliness. And they immediately start telling you about all their experiences with Crayolas.”
Robert Fulghum, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten

“Maybe we should develop a Crayola bomb as our next secret weapon. A happiness weapon. A beauty bomb. And every time a crisis developed, we would launch one. It would explode high in the air – explode softly – and send thousands, millions, of little parachutes into the air. Floating down to earth – boxes of Crayolas. And we wouldn’t go cheap, either – not little boxes of eight. Boxes of sixty-four, with the sharpener built right in. With silver and gold and copper, magenta and peach and lime, amber and umber and all the rest. And people would smile and get a little funny look on their faces and cover the world with imagination.”
Robert Fulghum

“if you want an interesting party sometime, invite your friends over, serve cocktails and then hand out crayons.”

Speaking of Kindergarten, Ainsley begins school in less than 7 weeks. Of course, school only goes from 8-10:45 in the morning (which I’m thankful about so that I can have fun with her, or she can have fun with our new au pair and Brenna in the afternoons.) She will enjoy school, but I want to give her a lot of time to move her body, to explore and discover in a more non-traditional way. I’m sure I will cry on her first day. What a change it will be.

But we’ve still got some summer, and I’m working to enjoy it. On Friday, I finished a big grant. I treated myself by going to the movies after–Hunger Games, which I am slightly obsessed with. Going to the movies by oneself in the middle of the day is divine summer behavior.

So how are you?


A is for Awesome April 24, 2012

Filed under: Brain Chatter — gleefulbarbarians @ 4:39 am

Holy crap, I am in awe of your dishes and laundry policy. You are awesome. In so many ways. Our au pair left at the beginning of March and since I’m supposed to be working…like a lot…I am surrounded by Clutter. So much so that I had to capitalize it. or Capitalize it. Clutter on my dresser. And the bathroom counter. And the desk. And the kitchen island. And the coffee table. And even the freaking ottoman in our bedroom. I keep saying to myself, during the 18 hours that my children are in school (let’s give it 18 minus the time it takes me to get to/from home and I have about 15.5 hours a week “free”), “Today you will stop working on your computer and you will clean. You will do it for 2 hours. 1 hour. 30 minutes. Just get up and do 15 minutes of cleaning. Okay, it will take only 6 minutes to clean off your dresser. Do it. Do it now! Crap, you have to go pick up the girls. Stop working!” And so it goes…

Your cat sounds so much like a cat. If you’ve never read about cats on The Oatmeal, you should check it out because it’s hysterical:, like this one: This is super funny and you might relate to it too:, or this one: Cats are such entertaining furry people.

My dog, Marley, is dying. She is something like 14 and I’ve had her for 12 years. She’s my first pet, really. We had goldfish growing up and evidently there was a cat in our house until I was about 2, but I must not have interacted with her very much. (She was also Siamese and loud–they are known for their vocal nature.) Marley’s legs are giving out on her, her whole back half, really, but she’s still very much here, wanting to be with our family all the time. Just in the past week she stopped going upstairs almost completely. It wasn’t until last year that I realized she wasn’t just going to go off and die someday. I foolishly thought that like, I would come home and she wouldn’t meet me at the door and she would have just passed away on her own. It took David’s grandfather’s death last summer to make me realize the truth. Grandpa’s body just shut down on him, even though his mind was so present, so witty and “there.” He made the choice and I have to do the same for Marley sometime soon. Last weekend, before we went to my sister-in-law’s wedding, Marley was not doing well and I was a wreck. She stopped eating her dry food. So now we’ve upgraded to really expensive canned food. The kind that has grade A meats, peas, potatoes, flax seed, kale and delicious array or organic vegetables. But she’s eating, so I won’t question. I’m hoping she’ll tell me when it’s time, but I might just have to make a decision. Which sucks.

I always thought of myself as a cat person. I always felt like more of a cat myself–they are more independent. They are easier. But two things happened. One: I didn’t want to be single cat lady. It’s awful, but true. It was such an unpleasant thought of being the woman who came home to sit around with her cat, reading a book and sharing a can of tuna or something. I was living in Washington DC and wanted to be girl about town. When I moved to Boulder to be my more preferred girl about mountains, it sort of secured the dog ownership for me. I did a project at the Humane Society and when I met Marley, she peed on my shoes (claiming me for her own). I became a dog owner. The big upswing with a dog is you are forced to take said canine outside. So the summer after she chose me, I hiked almost every day. I walked a lot. And I looked really tan and thinking back, pretty darn fit. The cat walking doesn’t really serve as a personal trainer quite as well.

I’ve been reading Jane Green–more British chick lit. I’m too tired to describe it, but it’s a nice read. Off to bed. Aiming to sleep as much as possible. With a two year old who likes to wake up and sleep on/around/attached to me. Still.

C. U. B. U.


A is for animals April 23, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — gleefulbarbarians @ 4:30 am

Dear Julie,

We’ve been experiencing radio silence or something since January.  Maybe it was the darkness of winter that slowed us down.  Who knows.  An online friend has been blogging thru the alphabet, so maybe having some sort of focus will help us get back on track?  Let’s see.

I think I’ve always been a cat person.  I like how snuggly cats can be, and they can be lower maintenance than dogs (wasn’t my last post about my lack of activity?  perhaps I need to rethink this).  We had a cat when I was young and she lived to be 18.  Sometime after that, my mother decided to get a dog and wrapped it up in “a boy needs a dog.”  You know who didn’t need a dog?  My brother.  I can remember being generally annoyed at the dog who would pee on beds when left alone (which forced me to become someone who keeps her door closed all the time.  I still don’t sleep with the door closed), who barked at that pulled up in front of the house (we lived in a small town, across the street from the post office where EVERYONE had to go to pick up their mail), and who cowered whenever anyone male showed up.  Super.

Early in our marriage, Dan brought home a cat for me.  Tigger was an inside/outside cat, and generally lived like a 16 year old.  Never slept in our room, tried to be on a different floor of the house than we were, and used us basically for food and door access.   Tigger lasted until Thing 1 was about 3 months old.  Having to wait any amount of time to be let out seemed to really annoy him (sorry, cat, you need to wait until I’m done nursing the baby).  One night he just didn’t come home.  It was December in Connecticut.  Dan thinks the worst.  I figure he found a nice lady with tuna and more liberal door policies.

When we moved out here, we considered getting another animal, but we were generally of the mind that the kids weren’t going to get a pet until they could keep their own things cleaned up (bwahahahahahahahahaha).  Thing 1 definitely wants a dog, but is still (at 11) non-committal about the cleaning up aspects of dog ownership.  He’d be a huge fan of a dog who used a litter box, but doesn’t want to pick up poo when walking the neighborhood.  I have nearly zero interest in dog ownership, and am not interested in adding dog-related nagging to my list.  Thing 2 wanted a cat, probably because they’re all smaller than he is and generally calmer.

Now we have Gizmo.  Gizmo is a “hand-me-down” cat that we got from Dan’s friend who was moving in with a woman who had non-cat friendly dogs.  Gizmo is an Oriental shorthair.  She’s LOUD.  So very, very loud.  For a while Dan was her BFF, but apparently she has sensed his indifference, and moved on to me.   Which is fine in general.  In specific it means things like her sitting at the foot of the computer chair, or skulking around the living room yowling waiting for a lap to be provided to her.   She sat on the back of the couch one evening while I did the dishes in the kitchen, yowling LOUDLY for me to sit the hell down, already, woman.   It’s fun when she decides she wants a lap downstairs at 3am and yowls to let us know.  Especially when she then also comes back upstairs, yowling the whole time until she gives up and lays down on our bed.    This is not the cat I would’ve picked.  Thing 2 is a little heartbroken because he loves her SO much and she won’t sleep with him (he’s become someone who now wants his door closed at night because the meowing wakes him), and almost never sits on his lap.   He will, however, do cat related tasks without batting an eye.


In other news, we’ve been keeping up with the dishes in the evening, which feels good.  I’ve also set a goal of not having laundry sit in the laundry room or living room for more than 24 hours.  I’d like it gone faster than that, but I’m cutting myself some slack in the face of general life.  I also managed to reclaim 3 laundry baskets from the upstairs landing that had become “where sheets sit forever.”  I need to figure out where I can put the sheet’s for Thing 1’s room.   I don’t have a good place right now.

I’ve been listening to brain candy for books (Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series).  I also just read all three Hunger Games book the traditional way.    I think I read the second half of the second book and the third book too quickly (I was trying to pace myself sort of slowly with them).  I’m struggling with what I think about them.  I really enjoyed the first.

What’s up with you?  Do you want to write your own A or take B or scrap the plan?

Soda crackerly yours,

Amey 🙂