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Sunday, January 25, 2015

And Now it's Real


As you may know, I graduated (with a nice solid B average) from the University of Phoenix last month; I am now a Bachelor of Science in Communication with a concentration in Intercultural Communication.

Commencement is not until May or so, but today it is real to me, because today we had a celebration, planned and hosted by my mom.

Now we have meals and celebrations at Mom's place all the time, for birthdays and other holidays and the like, and I have never been as waited-upon as I was this time. I assume this is because when we are celebrating - say - my birthday, it's not for anything I did... unless you count managing to stay alive until the next year. But this time the celebration was for an actual accomplishment, and I got pampered; usually I'm busy being the Mom and helping my own mom out in the kitchen, filling the kids' plates, juggling juice and milk... the usual Mom things.

So my mom and Lizzy and Abby set up Mom's place after a trip to Party City (which Lizzy says triumphantly to her father really is as good as the commercials say it is), and so there were banners and balloons and a nice celebratory lei. My sister and my niece brought a fruit plate and the cake, my father and stepmother brought a green salad (Dad's specialty), and mom cooked all my favorites: cold poached salmon, asparagus in an Asian-style sauce my family makes, and country potatoes.

Because they love me, and I am an Official Bachelor of Science. The Graduate. That's ME.

I also got a very inspiring card from my niece - she's five - upon which she used several Very Special Favorite Stickers (she loves rockets and aircraft, and from the looks of the card, Aunt Jenn will fly high!), and cards with more pampering possibilities from other people as well, aunts and uncles and friends-of-the-family-who-may-as-well-be-aunts.

Between those gifts and the gift card I got from the Hubs for Christmas, I have a heckuva Spa Day coming. That's what I asked for, when people inquired what I would like for Christmas and graduation - some pampering. Mom did it tonight, and other people are enabling more of it in the days to come.

And since I have several use-them-or-lose-them days off coming here - I earned them the last week of 2014 and they have to be used before the end of March - I'll have plenty of time to do that stuff, although tomorrow is reserved for errands because the kids don't have school. They were crazy-making by the end of the party - Lizzy went to bed late last night and was overtired; Abby is often cranky with her sister by Sunday - so hopefully after a good night's sleep they'll both be civilized human beings again. And then we can get our errands done, and Tuesday I can get them off to school and then have a little Me Time.

And everybody?

Thanks


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Overthinking It

Where "it" is just about everything.

I have been an overthinker since Day One, I still catch myself at it every day at work - just because the test question mentions that the scenario happens in December doesn't mean that I need to obsess over the date and whether it's a problem due to this holiday or that - and I come by it honestly (don't I, Mom and Dad?).

Abby is much the same, and this was soooooo obvious today.

She made some really good choices today, and one that made my mom and me laugh for a good several minutes.

So Lizzy still has a cold, and she was completely wiped out this morning. We thought she could make it to school though, until the last minute, and so I told Abby to scoot to the bus; I would take Lizzy to Grandma's and if Abby missed the bus I would swing by and take her to school.

I didn't see her when I passed the school bus stop.

And ten minutes later I got a call from Abby, 12, saying that Grandma was driving her to school. She had been at the bus stop, but in an obedient moment, not near enough to the street to be seen by a passing car.

Bad Mommy, bad.

But some really good choices on her part. She walked to Grandma's instead of panicking. She walked straight up there without indulging in distractions. She refused a ride from a neighbor because "he's not on my parent list for school."

I'm very proud; these are good, safe choices.

And then comes the funny, overthinking part.

She gets to school (thanks, Grandma!) and because she is late, has to sign in at the office. She's in sixth grade so she is considered old enough to sign herself in. She peruses the form, fills in the date and the time, tells them she brought her own lunch, and then sits for a bit, looking at the part of the form that says, "Reason for Tardy Arrival."

Eventually she looks up and asks the "office lady" if she can have more lines to write on.

I assume all they need at this point is "I missed the bus."

But thanks to the Overthinking Gene, Mom and Grandma got a chuckle, and all is well at Chez Gamers' Babes.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Today I learned,... January 2015 Edition

...Head colds cause Miz Liz to be even more hyper than usual... until she gets a fever and then she's all glassy-eyed and vague. And cranky, my Google, she's like a caricature of a grumpy child. But when she sucks her left thumb and uses her other hand to pinch my elbow, at seven years old, I know she feels rotten.

...Abby has a Berserk Button that means we must Beware the Nice Ones. And its name is Bacon. Do not ever - ever - attempt to steal a slice of bacon from her plate. Or she will commit hara-kiri just so she can come back and haunt you. Or at least smack your hands away from her plate.

...I am basically healthy, although apparently I should see a dermatologist regarding 46-year-old skin with sun damage. And possibly have a sleep study because, well, 46, overweight and Not Sleeping. I thought that would be mitigated when I finished school, but either I have sleep apnea or I am just unable to break the habit of staying up until all hours to study and then snacking to keep myself awake during the day.

...Phlebotomists can get a little strange about my easy, big, fat, O-negative veins. They were unsettlingly excited about how easy it is to draw blood from me. "All doctors are wampires," said Pavel Chekov. Sheesh.

...Every so often we find gold among the dross of Media Aimed at Tweens. Among all the stupid and mean-spirited (unless it is a Very Special Episode) fare found on Nickelodeon of the Disney Channel, we find something... sweet. Girl Meets World, for instance, or Dear Dumb Diary (look 'em up; they're really cute).

That's what I've got tonight, folks.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Once Upon a Time...

"I wish. More than life. More than anything."

Not that Once Upon a Time (although both are Disney properties).

So here's the thing. I know my Broadway classics, I really do; when we were kids it was the one art form that all of us kids agreed was acceptable (rather than, say, opera or ballet or symphonies). We were a culturally literate lot, and we just enjoyed the musicals more than the rest. After all, if you've read this blog, you know that my dad and my siblings and I go to a show every spring, and that we make up cookie-selling songs and lullabies to the tune of Summertime, and that I enjoyed using examples from Fiddler on the Roof and The King and I and South Pacific and even West Side Story in my cultural communications classes.

But my favorite for years was Into the Woods. The version I know best is the original Broadway cast as seen on American Playhouse; I have the DVD. And today I saw the movie.

Anna Kendrick is a really good Cinderella, and I looooove James Corden (ever since I saw him on Doctor Who) as the Baker. Meryl Streep as the Witch was fabulous and Chris Pine was at his James Kirk ham-and-cheesy best as Prince Charming. He was raised to be charming, not sincere, you know.

And although Johnny Depp is a good casting choice (IMO) as the Wolf (he always does creepy well), I found him a bit more disconcerting than usual in this story. I think it was because that except for children's versions of the play (which are toned down anyway), I have always seen Little Red Riding Hood portrayed as about fourteen (as well as Jack, ditto). They're usually played by (young) adults, but clearly meant to be in their mid-teens, not actual children.

In the film they can't be more than ten, which makes Red's encounter with the Wolf even creepier and more pedophilic than usual. As well as Jack's line, "And she draws you close to her giant breast," which also seems... iffy.

There were a couple of songs missing (So Happy, for instance, and the reprise of Agony from the second act), but you can't have everything. And it was well worth the price of a ticket, especially in the Girls' Night Out in which I saw it, with other grown-up women rather than with the kids.

I'll have to get the DVD when it is released.

"And happily ever after!... <beat> I wish!"


Friday, January 2, 2015

That's Just Sick

Me, that is.

It's not a bad illness; I'm 99% sure it's just a head cold, because Google knows I've been doing this long enough to know that stuffy head and scratchy throat and the basic blahs, no fever and no chest congestion and no ear involvement... is just a cold.

If any of those last three manifest I go to the doctor, because I know me and I know what spells A-S-T-H-M-A-T-I-C B-R-O-N-C-H-I-T-I-S  for me. It ain't pretty (yes, dear stepdaughter Leanna, I did use the pseudo-word ain't; when I use it deliberately it's different than when I correct your speech. Love ya).

But at the moment it is just a cold. Unfortunately it is a cold with what I learned is called situational laryngitis... the same sort of laryngitis you get from screaming and shouting at a sporting event, say, or a rock concert. Overuse of one's larynx when susceptible for whatever reason. In my case, whatever reason is this: I talk for a living, 8+ hours a day, five days a week. And then I come home and talk some more, whether reading about Jack and Annie to Lizzy, or shouting at the kids to knock it off for the love of Google... that's beside the point. It's still using my voice.

So now, today, I have none.

No voice that is, and although I am tired and headachy and sniffly as well, I don't feel that OMG-I'm-Going-To-Die way that means I'm really ill.

I can't work in a call center with this (lack of) volume though, so I may as well make myself useful at home. But I don't have enough energy to do the big chores, and even with colds you want to take it easy. So I have dishes and laundry running, and soup simmering on the stove (recipe later) and lemon-ginger tea with loads of honey brewing, and aside from folding the aforementioned laundry, I don't plan on doing anything energetic. I'm supposed to work tomorrow, after all, and I want my voice back.

Today's Sick Day Soup (vegetarian style!):

  • 32 oz organic vegetable broth
  • 32 oz organic mushroom broth
  • one can baby button mushrooms
  • one can sliced water chestnuts
  • several squirts lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup pearl barley
  • black pepper and soy sauce to taste
That oughta do it.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Pork (redux)

...but not like an earlier year's pork.

At least not entirely, although the foodie bits are still literal pork. Bacon and eggs for breakfast and pork chops (with bacon-laced fried potatoes and green beans) for dinner. The ham is in the fridge for the Hoppin' John.

But while Congress is still being twerpy, at least my family is pulling itself out of its hole without their reluctant help this time; both adults are gainfully employed, for instance. At the same time.













Lizzy received - among other things - a 2015 calendar for Christmas. This is not unusual in our family, but this year she is obsessed with it. I am kept busy texting everyone in our family whose birthday I don't know, so she can put them down. This is a very deliberate and personalized thing for her; as an example she has a skull with a bow for her Perky Goth sister Abby.

In an hour or so, we're going to start doing a spot of tidying and a lot of laundry, as well as playing with some of the girls' Christmas gifts (Lizzy is dying to do these with Abby and me).

And after dinner we're going for a Game Night with friends.

I love days like this.