Archive for July, 2011

All things must come to an end, and so, alas, does this lovely month of summer camp. Calliope, thank you for doing this. I hope you’ll make it an annual tradition.

Day 31 – What advice would you give someone who is just  starting a blog today?

Read more:  31 Days of Blog Juice at Creating Motherhood http://creatingmotherhood.com/2011/06/28/summer-camp/#ixzz1ShHKaVKN

Just do it!  You may find that you want to have several different blogs for different purposes. I have this one, obvs, and I have one where Izzy and I write private letters to someone in our family, and I have the honour of being one of the Quirky Girls, and then I have an anonymous blog where I feel free, because of the anonymous nature of it, to share things I don’t feel free to share with most of my family and friends.

Play around with different names before you pick a title for your blog.

Build your blogroll well and wisely–there are some blogs that you’ll want to read their entire archives, but then you’re done. There are other bloggers that you’ll feel an affinity for, and you’ll want to add those to your blogroll so you can check them out.

When people link to you, if you’re comfortable with it, show them the courtesy of linking back to them.

If you’ve got time, try to respond to the comments people leave for you.  But if you don’t have time, don’t feel guilty about it. Life is busy and crazy.  But know that you’ll get more comments if you’re able to respond to them. And if you leave comments on other people’s blogs, you’ll find that they’ll begin leaving more comments on yours.

If you get an offer to have a post or your entire blog sponsored, think hard about it. I once got an offer for $25 to link to someone’s website in one of my posts. I felt fine with that, and got a cute vegan handbag with the money. (No, I’m not still vegan, haven’t been for a while, but am moving back toward the vegetarian direction.)  But if having that sponsorship will make you feel you have to self-edit, decide whether it’s worth it. It may not be. If your primary objective in blogging is to get paid for it, fine. But if your primary objective in blogging is to have open expression, then having sponsored posts/blogs may not be right for you.



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Day 30 – What is/are the most memorable questions or reactions  you’ve gotten in regards to being a blogger?

Read more:  31 Days of Blog Juice at Creating Motherhood http://creatingmotherhood.com/2011/06/28/summer-camp/#ixzz1ShGh0HeU

I haven’t really gotten a lot of memorable questions or reactions, but I’ve seen some of the crazy searches that bring people to my blog.  Without stopping to check right now, the one that immediately comes to mind for its bizarreness is “Melanie Lynskey farts.”

Which, as I probably said before, I’m sure she does, but everyone does.

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It does appear as though the direction we’re taking is rebuilding the house. Joe was there yesterday evening with the adjusters and mooring company, and they’re going to be gutting the house either tomorrow or Monday. And instead of it taking 2-3 months, as they originally estimated, it’s now looking more like 4-5 months. In other words, we’ll be lucky to be home by Christmas.

Joe got my wedding ring out for me, as it had been left in my jewelry armoire that will have to be replaced. And he got SGB’s manuscript off my brand new dresser that will have to be replaced. Are you sensing a theme here? Yes, the furniture is going to have to go. Even the brand new stuff that we got last Saturday. Less than a week ago, it was, and yet it seems a lifetime.

On the positive side: the hotel is just 10 minutes from my office. I can only hope the apartment they put us into next will be as close. Another perk of being in the hotel: free breakfast. Someone else doing the linens and making the beds. Clean towels every day. That’s good, right? And we get to have the dogs with us. (Poor babies–they’re so discombobulated they don’t know what to make of things. And how do you explain it to them? I’ve tried, but you know, they’re dogs, probably not understanding anything I say.)

Other positives: I get to go buy new clothes. And shoes. And at least one more handbag. My house on the inside will be all new. I get to buy new furniture. Yes, I’ve already started looking. (Hey! Stop laughing! Yeah, it may be 4 or 5 months until I get to go buy that new furniture, but if I start looking now, I’ll have a good idea what I want and where to find it when the time comes.) And new makeup. Sephora, here I come! And a new piano.

It’s just that when you try to sit down and think of everything that you’ve lost, it can be very overwhelming. I was making lists yesterday, and they only covered the bare minimum of what was in any given room. All my junk jewelry–cheaper to replace than to try to clean. The 3 or 4 fascinators I never got to wear–will the smoke smell ever come out of them? A basketful of scarves. My books. Notes from my Shakespeare & Chaucer classes (just in case I ever decide to teach English). Journals. Blank books. Note cards, stationery, books where I’ve scribbled down favourite recipes. Cookbooks. Beautiful leather-bound very expensive books about the Crusades and various medieval writers. All my numerous copies of The Canterbury Tales. Notes from my Dante class. My grandmother’s journals (which I devoutly hope are in our storage unit but I’m afraid they might not be). Photographs. Holiday decorations. Mostly things that others would attach no value to, but to me are priceless. The clothes that I was planning to pass along to the incomparable Izzybella or Sarah-bear. The clothes I’ve been saving as I’m on my journey to smaller sizes.  All my beautiful shoes–the cream brocade grannie boots, the black lace guess do-me heels, my bitch boots, all the wedges and heels I’ve been purchasing over the last 6 months or so. And my handbags–most of them comparatively inexpensive, but still hard to replace.

Heck, even my bathroom scale! I don’t know how I’m doing weight-wise, because I haven’t been able to weigh myself since last Sunday morning! I know I’ve been doing some stress eating, but compared to what it would have been pre-banding, it’s absolutely nothing. But I like seeing the numbers on the scale every day. It keeps me focused.

The ugliest bridesmaid dress ever, that I was going to take to the cleaners and then sell on e-bay. Now I guess I’ll just stomp on it and let it be thrown away. The most beautiful formal that Izzybella got some years ago, and that I swore I would someday wear. The baby christening gown and blanket made by my grandmother years ago, that I was planning to pass down to my niece when she’s old enough to have children, that my stepsister’s daughter was blessed in, that Izzybella was blessed in. That I won’t throw away, of course. I will make every effort to have it restored because that, too, is priceless.

And the most treasured things of all are the memories. Memories of Molly, when we first brought her home, with her adorable afro, lying on the floor doing the Molly Flop. Stan gnawing my shoe that was bigger than he was. Molly burying full bags of Joe’s Christmas candy in the back yard. Chase putting on Joe’s heavy gloves and heading for the fireplace, startled when he was stopped, and explained, “I Joe!” Chase seeing me pour out the dregs of a milk carton for his brother, and started bellowing, “Milk! Milk!” and not calming down until he saw me take a full milk carton out of the refrigerator. Alannah and Kyle climbing the tree in our back yard. Chase wandering around nakey after his baby pool-soaked diaper fell off. Christmas Eves with Ben & Janine and their kids. Clover coming to give me a shot in the butt when I was doing IVF trying to have kids. Danny and I, staying up all night after watching Blair Witch Project because we were too spooked to turn the lights off. Crying my heart out in the long days after the IVF failed. Molly peeing on an area rug right after we told Joe’s friends from Australia that she was a good dog and never tinkled in the house. Christmas after Christmas after Christmas. Joe making huge pots of mashed potatoes for Christmas dinner. Joe making huge pots of mashed potatoes for the two of us, and danged if we didn’t manage to eat every bite. Molly being incensed at Mom’s being allowed in the then-yellow room, when she wasn’t, and defiantly going in there to tinkle the day Mom left. The bathroom door constantly coming out of its hinges. That Christmas morning when I sent Molly in to wake up Izzybella, and she enthusiastically complied, jumping onto Izzy’s stomach and kissing her face. The day I drop-kicked a multi-pack of Wolf chili because I was in a snit, and dang near broke my toe. Joe playing guitar so loudly that I could hear it from the inside of my car as I pulled into the driveway. MoMeNTuM meetings. Jehara bringing me my beautiful awesome wonderful zen box that’s now smoked out. Dancing in the living room with Joe. Dancing in the living room with Molly. Having Molly join me when I was practicing yoga in the living room. Spending three months sleeping on the recliner in the living room after having had knee replacement surgery. Laughter, tears, arguments, hugs, kisses, joy, sorrow–the soon-to-be-torn-down walls of our home are replete with the emotions and events from the past 13 years. Those things can’t be replaced. But the new walls will be erected, and in 13 years, we’ll have 13 years worth of memories to look back on.

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Day 29 – If you could live anywhere for one month this summer,  where would it be and why? Would you ever unplug from the internet for a month  or longer to go on such a trip?

Read more:  31 Days of Blog Juice at Creating Motherhood http://creatingmotherhood.com/2011/06/28/summer-camp/#ixzz1ShFuIb1D

Honestly, if I could live anywhere in the world for one month this summer, I would seriously like to go to New York. I want to see all the shows and just hang around the city and explore the museums and parks and shopping and soak it all up. For it to be the ideal vacation, Izzybella would definitely have to be with me, and it would be loverly if Jehara and V. and D. were there as well, with as many of our other friends as could join us.

I would absolutely be willing to unplug from the internet for such an amazing trip.

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Document things. When you make major or semi-major purchases, keep track of the date of purchase, receipt(s), take photo(s). Keep the photos and inventory list in a safe deposit box. 

One of the things Joe and I are going to have to do is to go through everything in our house and take inventory of everything. Did I mention that it’s July? In Texas? And we have no power in the house because of the fire?  I’m sooooo looking forward to that lovely task. NOT!

However, I will say that we’d be toast right now if we didn’t have homeowner’s insurance. I don’t care whether it’s required by your mortgage company or if you are getting it even though your home may be paid off. Be sure you have homeowner’s/renter’s insurance. You may never need it, but I promise you that it is far, far better to have it and not need it (or even to have it and need it) than it is to need it and not have it.

Joe and I had to do a little shopping last night. I literally have virtually nothing to wear. So I got a few tops and a necklace & pair of earrings. He got some dress pants. The dogs got some toys. I need sneakers, but by the time we were done at Burlington and headed to the Skechers store, we were both beyond exhausted and were cranky and I even cried out of sheer exhaustion. So we got something cold to drink, and Joe got some dinner, and we headed to our temporary home.

The dogs were delighted to have us back, and they were delighted to get taken for a walk, and they were delighted to have their new toys.  We were delighted to see our dogs, and not so delighted to see some of the mess they managed to make while we were gone.

One of the ways I usually lull myself to sleep is by putting in a movie I’ve seen a million times. However, the televisions in the room don’t have DVD players, and even if they did, I don’t have any DVD’s to put in the nonexistent players.  So I turned on the television and channel surfed. Not much was there, so I ended up putting on that Toddlers & Tiaras show. It’s appalling to see what those parents put their children through. There was one little girl who wanted to be an Olympic gymnast, but her mother said she couldn’t because it would interfere with her pageant work. WTF? How can those parents pretend to themselves that their children love it, when the kids are ill behaved, ill mannered, tired, unruly, crabby, and seemingly anything but delighted to be on the stage performing in outfits a cheap hooker might wear, with the teased and ratted hair and obscene makeup to boot? Fortunately for me, I fell asleep about halfway through the episode.

When you’re used to a whole house, living in a small hotel suite feels so confining. But I can’t exactly go out and buy tons of stuff, which is one way I manage to amuse myself. While I do need a few more clothes items and cosmetics to get me through until we know what’s going to happen, I have to be somewhat restrained. And I can’t go buy housewares and home decor, another way I amuse myself. I can’t really go to the movies because I don’t want to leave the dogs alone in the hotel room for too long. I realize the hotel put us in a pet room, but I don’t want them to rip up the carpet, chew the linoleum, pee all over the place, etc. And they will. Trust me on this one.

This just really sucks. But I know that it could have been so much worse, and that it wasn’t I am thankful.

Clover, Jehara, I would LOVE to be on a cruise. Unfortunately, the insurance company does not agree.

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Summer Camp: Day 28

Day 28 – What size family do you come from, what size family do  you want, and why?

Read more:  31 Days of Blog Juice at Creating Motherhood http://creatingmotherhood.com/2011/06/28/summer-camp/#ixzz1ShFG66MQ

Birth family: 1 brother (3 1/2 years younger than me) and 1 sister (8 years and 3 days younger than me)

Step family: 1 stepbrother, 1 stepsister

Adopted/step: 1 adopted half-sister (who was a first-cousin by birth)


What size family do I want? I wanted at least 2 kids. I got none.  However, Clover so generously shares her brood with me, so I have a daughter and 4 sons. Thank you, Clover.


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Two and a Half Days Later

The insurance company has put us up in a hotel near my office. That’s nice–I enjoy being able to leave at 6:35 and get to work by 6:45.  And it’s a Residence Inn, which means we have a stovetop and a microwave and a refrigerator, etc. There’s also a swimming pool, but I’m sure you can understand why I won’t be using it. The thought of having to dig through the debris in the house to find a swimsuit that actually fits, well, yeah. Not going to happen, that.

The person Joe spoke with yesterday said we’d be in the hotel for 2 weeks, and then would be moved to a corporate apartment until our home is ready for us to move back in.  They’re estimating, right now, that it will be 2 or 3 months.

Joe’s meeting the adjuster at the house this morning. I’m glad I don’t have to go. I’d lose it all over again.

Of the clothes items I got Monday morning, most of them are just a wee titch too snug around my still too large gut. And the pair of jeans I grabbed are a wee titch too snug on my legs and a huge titch too loose around my backside. Once when I got out of my car yesterday, my jeans were around my thighs instead of around my butt.  So I told Joe that tonight I have to buy at least 2 more shirts that I can wear with the new pants I bought Monday, to get me through this week at work, and then I’ve got to do some shopping on Saturday.

That’s one of the reasons I have trouble getting dressed in the mornings.  My weight loss is so inconsistent, so I’ll try on outfit after outfit after outfit, ripping things off and putting something else on. But with the smoke and chemical residue I certainly wasn’t going to stand in there and try things on. So I picked out 4 or 5 shirts that I thought would fit, and picked out a pair of jeans that I thought would fit. Obviously, they didn’t.  And I’m not going to be buying clothes that don’t fit, so even though my new wardrobe, until we’re back in the house, may be very limited, I’m going to be dang sure that everything fits just right.

Sorry to ramble. It’s just so surreal. All these things you don’t think about. I have to call the cable company and see if they can suspend our service until we move back. I had a DVD from Netflix that got left in the house, so I need to contact them and see about paying for it and then suspending our service. One of my prescription bottles got accidentally left behind, so I’ve not only got to get a refill on it, but I have to get approval from the insurance company to refill it early, so they will know that the supply I have of it was left behind after the fire. All the things that were on my to-do list to begin with.

yadda yadda yadda

If you made it this far, thank you. I mostly just need to vent a little bit, and document all this mess so that when it’s behind me I don’t forget what it felt like.

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Day 27 – Which movies or tv shows do you think are the most  accurate portrayals of your life? If you could write the next scene of your day  what would it be?

Read more:  31 Days of Blog Juice at Creating Motherhood http://creatingmotherhood.com/2011/06/28/summer-camp/#ixzz1ShED33ae

Well, figuratively, I suppose I could claim Buffy, only without the clever quips, literal vampires, and hot sexy Spikey goodness.  Although if you take out the clever quips, literal vampire, and hot sexy Spikey goodness, there’s not much left.

Honestly, there’s not a movie or tv show that even comes close to depicting my life.

The next scene of my day? Are we talking what would really happen, or what I would like to have happen?  Hmmm. Let’s go for the latter.

Faith:         “Spike? Is that you????????????”

and then the rest would be un-family friendly.

Works for me.

Okay. Spike’s too far out there? I’d go for Captain Tight-Pants. Mmmm. Mal.


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Day 26 – What is/are the best piece(s) of advice you’ve gotten  or can give others? Do you consider yourself a blogger that people would take  advice from? Why or why not?

Read more:  31 Days of Blog Juice at Creating Motherhood http://creatingmotherhood.com/2011/06/28/summer-camp/#ixzz1ShBvVmYT

I don’t know if this is advice, per se, but it’s something my parents taught me that has stuck with me through the years: My right to swing my fists in a circle end at my neighbour’s nose. So when I hear people ranting and raving about their rights whilst blithely trampling upon the rights of others, I can’t help but remember that childhood lesson.

Always wear clean underwear. Because if you’re ever in an accident, and they have to cut off your pants and underwear, you don’t want to be embarrassed by having dirties on; even if they don’t care, you will.

There are some situations that can only be improved with judicious application of Ben & Jerry’s. Don’t mess with a bowl. Just grab a spoon and dig in.  (Just remember to hide the evidence.)

Put good energy out into the universe, and it will come back to you. Let that car merge in front of you on the freeway. Hold the door open for people. If someone asks for your help, gladly give it. Clean up your messes. Be the kind of person you’d like to be friends with.

Read Chaucer. Especially The Miller’s Tale. heh-heh

Practice your quips before you’re facing off against a vampire who needs to be staked, because it’s not always easy to come up with them on the fly. (And if Spike comes by, send him my way.)


Am I someone from whom people would want to get advice?  I don’t know. Am I?


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Yesterday was kind of a busy day. I was busy getting one of the rooms organised, and getting clothes put away in my lovely new furniture. I had to stop while things were still quite messy, because I was exhausted and my back was hurting.  So I went into the living room, ate most of a tostada (love Rosa’s!), and Joe put in a movie.  About 10 or 15 minutes into the movie, our power went out and we heard these funny zapping sounds.  Joe went into the room where the breaker box is, and started screaming at me to call 911. There was a fire in there. He was trying to put it out with the fire extinguisher (safety  note: ALWAYS have a fire extinguisher handy. You never know when you’ll need one.). In the meantime, the 911 operator told me to get everyone out of the house.  So I got the dogs and got out, barefoot and looking a mess.

Joe, in the meantime, unbeknownst to me, was trying to clean the house. Yes, I said clean the house. He didn’t want to be embarrassed when the firemen came in.  If I’d known he was doing that, I’d have asked him to bring me my purse and a pair of shoes.

Anyway, the fire fighters came and got the fire put out. It was mostly in the attic, and as far as I knew last night, the damage was mostly in two rooms. We spent the night at my Dad’s house (thank you, Dad, Carol, Izzybella, Sydney and Arthur), but I don’t think any of us got much sleep.  Joe’s over there now getting the spoiled food out of the refrigerator before the trash guys come today, and I’m about to go over and get some clothes and then Izzybella and I will be doing laundry while I start crying when it all hits me.

The dogs are at the vet’s today, and I’m thinking of seeing if they can board them for a few days until things settle down. It’s been traumatic for them, poor babies.

Last night I kept thinking of that hypothetical question you get asked all the time. Your house is burning down–what do you grab? Me, I grabbed my dogs and tried to get my husband out.  He grabbed his guitars and his computer. He did get my computer after the firemen let us go back in.

The adjuster should contact us within 1 business day and then we get to start finding out just what will happen. I cried a little last night, but I feel a big cry coming on sometime today. Fortunately, the incomparable Izzybella is being her incomparable self with big shoulders to cry on.

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