Aug. 31: Month in review

augustHere, in a nutshell, is my summary of August 2013.

Special days I celebrated this month and how:

  • My in-laws’ fiftieth anniversary was in June but the family was all here to celebrate it this month. We had a big photo shoot, made gifts at the ceramics studio, and went out for dinner. I feel fortunate to have such lovely people in my life.
  • Jack and Katie registered for middle school. There wasn’t a lot of celebrating, exactly, but we’re all happy about it, and for very, very different reasons.
  • Dina’s husband gathered a few of her friends and took us out for her birthday. We went bar-hopping and generally made a lot of noise. We do excel at making the noise.

Movies and TV shows worth mentioning:

  • Ever since we ditched the VCR many moons ago, we haven’t owned a watchable copy of The Princess Bride. Now we’ve got it on Blu-Ray. It was fun to introduce Katie to it—she liked; yay!—but Jack is still resisting a forced viewing. If we have to chain him to a chair, we will. OUR BOY WILL LOVE THAT MOVIE.
  • We’ve been watching the James Bond movies, in order, on Amazon Instant Video. It’s amusing to see how they started off with Bond as a classic British spy and then veered way away from that into a campy, near-ridiculous, hardy-har-har series. Ugh. But for every stupid fake sound effect, there’s at least one memorable, ever-so-watchable moment—psychotic villains and shark-ful fight scenes, Q’s “futuristic” gadgets, and one absurdly-named Bond girl after another after another.
  • Also on Amazon, I watched the miniseries Titanic: Blood & Steel. It focuses on the construction of the Titanic and the people who built it—from working class to financiers. Of course, there’s some romance and intrigue amid the strikes and religious prejudices. I thought it was a well-done series.
  • Orange is the New Black sure is a fascinating show. I have no idea how close it is to reality, but fake or not, I’m pretty sure I don’t want to go to prison. I’ll be honest; I was pretty sure of that before I watched OITNB too.

cancer images (9)This month’s disappointments:

  • At least two friends lost someone close to them. So sad.
  • Our sweet wheaten terrier niece, Finn (Sonya’s family’s dog) passed away. We were glad to see and cuddle her one last time.
  • My 2½-year follow-up to cancer treatment showed that some lymph nodes have grown quite a bit since my last CT, and now I have to go through more testing. Boo.

My accomplishments:

  • We painted the master bathroom, got new towels and hardware, completely re-organized storage, and changed up the décor. Freshening up a room that’s become boring is one of my favorite things. I still have some work to do, but the majority of the bathroom is done and I LOVE the way it looks.
  • We re-did the cushions on one of our sofas and it’s like a brand new piece of furniture! The cushions were saggy and squashed and had completely lost their shape. Check out these before (gross) and after (new extry-firm support!) shots:

IMG_1891 IMG_1896

  • I finally, finally, got all the PTO stuff turned over to Wendy, the new president. It kinda bummed me out more than I thought it would. However, I spent most of my free time in August doing non-PTO things and I haven’t had an August like that for at least five years. Awesome! It looks like I might actually enjoy a PTO-less life.

Anything else noteworthy:

  • Taking Jack to and from his many football practice sessions will consume slightly less of my time starting in September, when his team goes to just three practices a week. Now, though, we’ll actually have GAMES to go to every Saturday! So excited!
  • (I’m not really very excited.)
  • OMG, I’m going to be a great-aunt! Erin, my former step-niece—who will always be my niece because she’s fab, duh—and her husband will be having a baby in February. Nowadays I find the whole thing so exciting when it’s happening to someone else. Winking smile
  • Here are some sillies because I think you need ‘em:




IMG_0493.JPG (2)



That’s it for August 2013, doods.

Aug. 25: Bar Crawl Haiku

Last night Dina, Jenn K, Tonnie, Val, Theresa, and I went out. Here is the haiku synopsis. This will probably mean something to six of you, and the rest will schedule an intervention for us all. (It's probably not a bad idea.)

It's Dina's birthday
Time for Alberta bar crawl
First we make eight rules

Cruzroom has tapas
Cocktails are mostly salad
Must be healthy, right?

Jenn K loves her drink
Tastes like Jen M's undies drawer
(Lavender's not food)

Next: Mash Tun Brewpub
Gross restroom, which Dina cleans
Jenn K writes on wall

This bar serves *spit* booze
"Aaron" thinks Jen M is mean
Snarkier than Val?

Monogamist, dog kicker
Serial killer

Didn't order dip
"Aaron" brings it anyway
Then strips off apron

Theresa leaves us
It bums us out... let's drink more!
Another round! Yay!

First rule is broken:
Jeeves can sit with us and speak
(Being DD sucks)

Young Ryan just lost his tip
"Aaron" is our fave

Frogs worse than spiders?
Forward girls have such weird fears
Four legs aren't scary!

Next bar: such a dive
We're carded; guy says we're old.
Bye, hipster asshole.

Abandoned shirt seen
Sequins! Let's break Rule Two... Wait.
Hand sanitizer!!

Someone missed the trash
But Tonnie's all OOOH, CUTE SHIRT!
Launder nine times, please

Next: patio bar
Jen M's drink tastes like Thai food
Tonnie lights us up

Steal the Guinness sign
Jenn K wants it! Dina scolds
Bossy anti-thief

Must find clean restroom
Unheard of here, just hold it
Kidney stones for all!

Val plays counselor
Good ideas. We take notes.
Profanity? Lots!

(I think I lost count
Wasn't there another place
Before whiskey bar?)

No! Pubs are closing!
We stumble, scream at locked doors
Just kidding. Too drunk.

Last place is Jeeves' pick
Please tell a pontoon story!
Jenn screams; Dina drowns

Head home, Jeeves at wheel
We're music critics, and loud
Jeeves now hates XM

Red roses in car
Silent driver, water, wine
Jeeves is like Jesus

Great night! No one fell!
We're glad Dina got older
Whose birthday is next???

- I posted this from my iPad using BlogPress (if it looks weird, that's why)

Aug. 19: These are not manly urges

I’ll get to the point, but first:

Every time I start out a blog post with “Y’know how sometimes you just get the urge to…” it always makes me think of this moment from the Disney gender-bending movie Mulan:

Mulan: “Sorry [in her man voice] …uhh, I mean, sorry you had to see that. You know how it is when you get those… uh… *manly urges* and you just have to kill something… fix things… uh… cook outdoors.”

Shang: “What’s your name?”

Mulan: “Ahh, I, uhhh, I, uh…”

Chi Fu: “Your commanding officer just asked you a question.”

Mulan: “Uhh, I’ve got a name. Uh. And it’s a boy’s name too.”

I know, it makes only a tiny bit of sense to me too.

hardhatjenY’know how sometimes you get the urge to re-do everything in your entire home? I guess those urges aren’t necessarily manly, but like most manly urges, my re-doing efforts cause an awful lot of trouble for other people that live in my house. I’m super-good at insisting I NEED HELP RIGHT THIS MINUTE AND IF YOU DON’T WANT ME TO DIE WHEN I FALL OFF THIS CHAIR THEN YOU BETTER HURRY.

(I fall off lots of chairs.)

A few weeks ago I decided to simultaneously start no fewer than eleventy projects, all of which would require tremendous amounts of time, imagination, creativity, and paint. Vic hates when my projects involve the dreaded p-word. He’ll forgive me in approximately six years, or when he’s able to walk into the house without being hit by a wall of noxious paint fumes, whichever comes first.

So… I turn to the person who doesn’t stomp and huff when I ask for help. My mom and I are good at bouncing ideas off one another and, although we often make a project harder than it needs to be, we’re a good team. The first time she and I worked on a big project—removing the wallpaper from Katie’s nursery walls and then painting—I remember telling her that it was more fun doing that kind of stuff with her than with my dad because she yelled at me way less.

When I’m anticipating a visit from Mother Mary, I try to line up some activities for us to tackle together. Here are just a few of the tasks I was inspired to work on this summer, thanks to Pinterest and the handful of days during which I provided Mom a comfy-ish slumber spot:

  • Frame and hang family photos throughout the house
  • Organize and de-clutter several areas throughout the house—baskets and jars and pots, oh my!
  • Purchase a few pieces of new furniture
  • Clean areas of the house virtually untouched in 16 years (go ahead and judge, but how dust-free are the tops of YOUR cabinets?)
  • Re-upholster kitchen chairs
  • Make accent pillows for living room
  • Replace living room sofa cushion filling—foam is so much better than that awful squooshy cotton they came with
  • Make accent pillows for family room
  • Scrub microfiber sofa ‘til it looks new—such a pain but sooo worth it
  • Corral unsightly cables and cords
  • Plants, plants, plants!
  • Pretty up master bedroom lamps
  • Create artwork for the master bedroom/bath – thanks for the ideas, Pinterest
  • Paint the master bathroom/vanity area
  • Redecorate the master bathroom/vanity to work with the new wall color
  • Write a book

I haven’t gotten very far on that last one, but Mom’s only been gone a week.

In my world, where it seems to be all-football-and-back-to-school-all-the-time lately, it’s a lovely thing to bring a little bit o’ “pretty” into it. Big thanks to my mom for all her inspiration and elbow grease!


Aug. 10: Football parents (ugh)

goodgameJust now I started to blog nasty things about football parents and it was all sounding very familiar, so I looked back at August 2012, and sure enough, I blogged about it then. Here’s what I said last year at this time, and I mean it even more this year. Just ignore the part where I whine about my hair—not that those complaints don’t still apply too, but OMG, I was really annoying whining about my hair like that. Thanks for not telling me. Sheesh.

So, yeah, apparently football parents can be real jackholes. As an adult, I’ve seldom been told preemptively to behave like a decent human being; this makes the second year in a row I had to go to a meeting to hear exactly that. And again, it just surprises me so much that these things need to be said.

I know I don’t always make the right decisions about how best to handle situations that make me unhappy. I know I can be a jerk. I fully admit that I go into the football season every year with a frowny face. But I know my place when it comes to being a football parent. That, I know.

Here’s why Victor and/or I would contact my kid’s coach:

  1. To tell him Jack is going to miss practice (rarely happens)
  2. To tell him Jack is going to miss a game (never happens)
  3. To tell him Jack’s arm fell off (you never know)

Here’s why Victor and/or I would contact the head coach or league president:

  1. To tell him we’re pretty sure the kid on Jack’s team with the full beard isn’t 11 years old.
  2. To tell him we discovered that Jack’s coach looks exactly like and has the same name as the president of NAMBLA.

Here are things Victor and/or I would NEVER say to my kid’s coach, the head coach, or league president:

  1. “I want Jack to be on [specific coach or player’s] team. Make it so.”
    (This is a tough one… the right teammates make carpooling to practices so much easier!)
  2. “Why did you let that other kid go in for Jack in the second quarter? He’s way better than that kid. I’m emailing you a list of reasons right now.”
  3. “When will Jack get to play quarterback? He’s worked so hard! I’m emailing you pictures of him in an NFL jersey right now.”
  4. “Jack only got 136.5 seconds of playing time in the last game. The other boys played 142 seconds. No fairsies!”
  5. “I’ve been watching video of the last three games we lost, and I’ve come up with a great play I’d like to share with you.”
  6. “Can I stand next to you during the games? Maybe occasionally yell things?”
  7. “Remind me again: what exactly is a ‘down’?'”

Every one of us is committing our entire fall season to football. The coaches and league board members volunteer incredible amounts of their time to making it a good one. Our job, as good football parents, is not to see if our kid can get special treatment, or to offer up our vast football knowledge, or really, to question the way the league runs. We take our kid to practice, get him the gear and apparel he needs, go to his games, and cheer for his team. We praise our kid, win or lose. We encourage him to work hard, be a good teammate, and have fun.

But some parents think the coaches need help doing their jobs, and those moms and dads are the ones that have made a parental behavior contract a necessity for all of us. Pffft. What are we demonstrating to our kids?

People super-suck sometimes, and when I am reminded of that, it changes the way I look at the world—and not in a sweet-tea-and-sunshine* kind o’ way. I’d like to practice an act or two (or eight) of kindness today to balance out the universe a bit. If you’d like to join me, here are a list of really easy ideas found with a quick Pinterest search:

  • Send a snail-mail card to someone
  • Pick flowers from your yard and give them to someone whose day needs brightening
  • Put coins in a vending machine to surprise the next customer
  • Give another driver your parking spot
  • Donate to Goodwill
  • Pass popsicles out to the neighbor kids


So, yeah. Let’s be nice.


*Yep, that’s a shout-out to Sherilee, who manages to stay positive, or at least blog that way, even when faced with stuff that sucks. Good on ya, Sher!

Aug. 5: Things

I'm testing, yet again, a new blogging app on my iPad. Bear with me. This is still a real post, I promise. 

Funny Facebook posts

Failbook was particularly entertaining in my RSS feed today.

If those photos don't display correctly, never fear... I shall fix the settings on my laptop and then I shall never use this app again, because if I can't control the photos in my posts, what is the point of living or maybe I might possibly be a tad overdramatic?

Parties and more parties

This past weekend all the Manullangs were in town to celebrate Darlene and Wellington's fiftieth anniversary (it was actually June 8). We found out one kinda major detail about them: Wellington never actually proposed. I think that might mean all their kids are illegitimate. That's totally what it might mean, right? For realsies, I figured I'd discover skeletons in the family closet once I married into it, but THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH THESE PEOPLE. That is unnatural. The only conclusion I can make is that they exist just to make the rest of us feel bad about all the cuckoo-crazy we come from.

So... if you take all my Saltmarsh crazy and add in the Manullang non-crazy, that makes my kids perfectly normal. Whew.

(Do not argue with my logic. My mind is made up about all that stuff, thankyouverymuch.)

I love football!

This afternoon is the beginning of my most favorite thing ever: football practice for Jack! It's for many, many hours, on every single freaking day for the rest of my life! And then there are the games, which are every weekend for the rest of my life that I totally love to watch because my boy plays for about 84 seconds in each one! EIGHTY-FOUR SECONDS! Who wouldn't want to watch game after game after game like that?! I'm the luckiest mom in the entire world! I am totally not faking it for the sake of my son! I would never do that! Ever, ever, ever! 

Things to do

I've been very project-y lately. Got the sewing machine running and everything. I'll share pictures of the frooots of my labors if they're not too embarrassing.




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