Safety and Security Notice:

I never include last names or specific locations here, for the safety of our children. If you or your child is a friend of me or mine, and you approve a first name and photo being posted as appropriate, please click this link to email me with written permission. Thank you

Thursday, November 29, 2012

NaNoWriMo

Yeah, it sounds like a catch phrase from a show with Robin Williams, doesn't it? It's not.

NaNoWriMoNational Novel Writing Month (although solely national it's not; I know nearly as many people from Canada and Europe doing it as Americans) - has been a big deal around Chez Gamers' Babes.

I'm not doing it myself; although I probably write the required 50k words in any given month, my writing is a combination of short stories, papers for school, assorted social media posts, emails to prospective employers, and this blog. Not a novel.

But the Hubs is. And I'm his front-line editor / beta-reader.

It's a really great story, and an interesting setting, and he finished it today, ready for polish (where polish equals re-wording a few things, and fixing the punctuation, primarily).

And because he is who he is, old-skool gamemaster first and foremost, his story settings tend to be... grand in scale. Which leaves sixty-bajillion sequel hooks.

Now, my spouse is a good person, kind but absent-minded, an accomplished storyteller, and a decent parent. Cute is however not generally on anyone's list of adjectives to describe him (except mine of course), because he's in his forties and comes across more as Bill Nye than Daniel Jackson in his science-geek adorkability. Until this Thanksgiving, when not one, but two of my family members were exclaiming how cute he is when he's excited about his writing.

And he's managed to do it while remaining mostly-present, which is a challenge for him even when he doesn't have a word count to keep up.

Goodonya, honey.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Poor Little Rich Girl

Not in the classic sense of the term, where the family has a ton of money and no love to speak of. No, this is a much more prosaic sort of thing, and it has always been the case. Even when I was still married to Abby's dad and we were both out of work, with a new baby and having been laid off; even then we didn't qualify for so much as WIC, because we owned a condominium.

We're too poor to pay our bills on time, yet too rich to qualify for assistance.

We're not starving (obviously; only one of our household is on the thin side, and she never stops moving). We have lots of toys (usually purchased by gift card; in fact, I have already purchased all our Christmas gifts and spent just over $6 out of pocket). We have enough to put gas in our car, food on the table, clothes on the humans (and even those are usually purchased at a consignment shop with store credit, after trading in old stuff). We have a lot of friends and acquaintances in far more dire straits than we are.

But we often end up in a vicious cycle of late fees, and my ten-week job was not enough to catch us up, even with help from family (thanks, guys).

This is getting really old.

On the other hand, I have as noted above purchased all Christmas gifts. For $6 out of pocket. And got the Hubs the stick blender he wanted and me a new toaster oven (because we rent, so what else besides that and light bulbs are we going to get at the home improvement store with that gift card?) Not bad, if I do say so myself.

And school is great (when it's not F&^king Algebra it's As and Bs, baybee), and at least those bills don't have to be paid yet! Abby's shining in school (except in spelling - spelling is her F&^king Algebra). Leanna's doing spectacularly in reading (although her science could use work), and Lizzy is bright as a button in pre-kindergarten (in spite of hitting her head on random objects on an average of twice a week).

All I need is a long-term paying job that pays more than unemployment insurance, and in a couple months or so we will be financially just as rich as we are in family.


Saturday, November 24, 2012

Milestones (Good Ones)

This is a big one. First lost tooth, for Miz Liz, all five years and nearly three months of her.

I was a little concerned about it, frankly, because that seemed very early to me. But apparently (according to her dentist and the web site for the Mayo Clinic) this is within the normal range of tooth-loss age (albeit at the early end of the range), especially because she got her teeth early.

I know, because I was nursing exclusively. Ow.

That first tooth - and it may be the same one - came in at about three and a half months old. And out 59 months later.

Wow.

Oh, and the scratches on her face? Yeah, those are from her nightly run-in with inanimate objects last night (in this case, a door). The child is a menace to herself, and frankly, I'm thrilled she hasn't lost any teeth through accident.

Just through normal milestones.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Giving Thanks

In spite of posts like these, I truly am thankful.

Ten years ago (!) I could barely move at Thanksgiving dinner, and Abby was born a couple weeks later.

Holy cow. She'll be ten December tenth.

But that's not the point of this post really; the point is that in spite of the constant money-and-job angst, I have so very much to be thankful for.

I'm thankful for my family and their support, especially my mom and my husband.

I'm thankful my ex-husband is a decent man and a good father.

I'm thankful for friends both near and far.

I'm thankful for friends I've never met; just this morning I got a "Merry Thanksgiving" text from a friend in France. I've never met Amie, but we read each others' stories and I check hers for correct English and she checks mine to make sure the ESL people can understand what I'm getting at. So that qualifies as thankful-for-Internet-relationships.

I'm thankful for my daughter's preschool, where she has finally learned to grok the difference between "Indian" and "Native American Indian" although she still thinks the Natives took the Pilgrims out to lunch.

I'm thankful for my school, the job that just ended, and the Washington State Unemployment department. For craigslist and Google and LinkedIn. Even Facebook games.

For so many things.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Marvin

...the Paranoid Android. (Or Eeyore, or Glum, or... you get the picture)

He never seemed paranoid to me, just depressed.

But it's sort of been a Life... don't talk to me about life... week.

No job, mostly; the rest of it is okay really. We're basically healthy again, Thanksgiving this week, I'm doing well in school finally.

Oh, and Abby is too - very well. The only thing that she needs "extra work" with is spelling. Go her.

And I'm super excited for her birthday party in a couple weeks; sometimes homegrown is the best.

But there's the no-job, and the no-money (these go hand-in-hand) at the holidays.

Again.

And it's, well, wintry out there.

But I've gotten a few hits on job possibilities, I'm finally done with F&^king Algebra, and I can breathe again without hacking up a lung. I have my Vitamin D and my full-spectrum lamp.

It'll work out.

It's just depressing in the meantime.


Friday, November 16, 2012

Fish Custard and other Wibbly Wobbly Balls of Stuff

Which is a fancy Whovian way of saying Random Life Post

Yes, it has been a week or so since I blogged here. Finals (especially when it's that class) and the world in general got ahead of me. We've had quite a week, what with bronchitis and a turkey dinner and parent/teacher conferences and friends over and those finals and starting a new set of classes (which I love, but they're another thing). And job loss. Yes, I said job loss. It's not a surprise; I just finished Week 10 of an 8-to-10-week contract, and the last week and a half or so have not been my most productive ever (hi, bronchitis!) in any case.

So yeah, looking for a job. Again. And this time I have some experience at A Major Aerospace Corporation in addition to the other stuff listed in that link up there. And I left the building at 2:30, but by 4:30 I had talked to three of my previous staffing agencies and the unemployment people as well. Good news: There is no waiting week because we reopen the old claim. Bad news: the claim runs out at the end of the year. I need to find that new job by December 29th.

Fish Fingers and Custard
So, dismayed but un-surprised, we went to our already-planned dessert-and-game night with our good friends and future in-laws (Lizzy plans to marry their daughter Natalie, and now in WA state this is legal. When they're old enough anyway). Carrie is a professional baker and I commissioned her to make Fish Fingers and Custard Cups for Abby's Doctor Who Dance Party.

Now, although the Eleventh Doctor is very fond of his fish fingers ("do fish have fingers?") and custard - he considers it processed comfort food - I don't really expect ten kids around Abby's age to eat this in place of birthday cake. So Carrie's making us chocolate cookie cups with vanilla custard and "fish fingers" that are a shortbread cookie stick rolled in graham cracker crumbs. Aren't they lovely even in the little ceramic bowl? Imagine them in a chocolate cookie cup!
Click to play this Smilebox invite

So, when Abby turns ten next month, she has requested said Doctor Who Dance Party. We've nixed the Dalek piƱata for lack of space, but we intend to have the aforementioned fish custard, TARDIS goody bags filled with jelly babies and wine gums and jammy dodgers, and songs by Chameleon Circuit and the TimeLords. We may watch an episode of Who - depends on how nuts it is. Check out the invitation I made with Smilebox.

Create your own invite - Powered by SmileboxSo yeah, busy and stressful week. But with F&^king Algebra out of the way, and a smidge of good luck (and hey, I got my yearly bronchitis out of the way early), I should be all employed and stuff again soon. . Click the link up there near the top; it'll show you the basics of what I can do. I'm thisclose to getting my AA in Communications too, so I rock!

Wish me luck.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Me Not So Much

I posted here that Lizzy is quite healthy (although now, four days later, she still refuses to take off the band-aids the nurses slapped on over the vaccination sites). Me not so much, because the cold I got from her last week has - as is often the case - developed into bronchitis. No sinusitis still; I haven't had that since the Teeth of Doom were removed something like 15 months ago, and that's something of a miracle itself.

So my boss sent me home early yesterday, with orders not to come back until "at least Thursday, and then only if you're feeling better". I'm already feeling better, and if I spend today doing nothing more strenuous than laundry and watching election returns (as Boss Lady intended - the point is to rest), then I should be good to go tomorrow, with homemade soup (below) and plenty of cranberry juice.

Anyone who reads my blog or knows me personally knows that I am likely to be fairly content with the election returns in my state. I'm socially quite liberal and I live in the comfortably blue state of Washington (in the populous and blue western half of the state), so  as long as Referendum 74 passes (at the moment it's still not officially called but the YEA vote is ahead at 52%), I will be happy. I have huge concerns that something as basic as this is even up for a vote, but we have to play by the rules even if we think the game sucks.

Abby is up for ASB representative again this year too. And this year, not only were other contenders outright asking for votes, they were bribing other voters with leftover Halloween candy. The nerve! Not that she didn't take the bribe, after carefully examining it for nuts. The fact that "the other Abby" in her class is the briber probably mitigates her indignation somewhat.

So... chicken soup. Last night we had a snafu with the power - a miscommunication as to payment dates between me and the power company (but hey, they gave me a link to their job line when I went down there to beg for power) and so we were without power for a few hours. When it came back on, the smoke detectors let us know (loudly) that they needed new batteries. So up to the store for 9-volts and a roasted chicken dinner.

Late last night I took most of the chicken off the carcass and put the carcass in the colander in a soup pot. Added the following:

  • One bunch green onions
  • Two bullion cubes
  • A knob of ginger root
  • Some rosemary
  • Some black pepper
  • A little soy sauce
  • The juice of one lemon (and the lemon halves after juicing)
  • Water to cover the lot
Once it's done boiling down into stock, I'll add some chicken meat back in, and some noodles. Yum.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Healthy (more or less) Lizzy

Lizzy's five-year-old well child check today.

Man, is she squirrelly when she's uncomfortable. And even worse than shots (jabs for my overseas readers - vaccines) is the Dreaded Otoscope. God forbid an adult should look in Lizzy's ear or her nose. She did surprisingly well on the vision test (her dad's vision is dreadful, and mine was before LASIK) with a score of 20/25 in both eyes. The doctor is pleased with her diet (Miz Liz will eat meatballs on her spaghetti, chicken with ranch dip, and bacon; other than that she is - in her own words - "kind of like half a vegetawian").

Now, we had this appointment at the neighborhood branch of our own clinic; our family doctor works at one further away and is not open on Saturdays. Turns out today was one of the two days a year our family doc works at the one nearest us and is open on Saturdays, , but we didn't know that until we got there; we saw a different doctor. Lizzy says she "sounds like Miss Dhunitha at my school - I'm in Montessowi pweschool you know". She's right; their accents are very similar. But Lizzy is generally healthy, has decent vision, and was pretty brave about her shots.

Of which she got four (flu, varicella, polio, and hepB), but now she's up to date and won't get anything but flu shots until she's ten. She was brave enough - especially considering how awful she was about the Dreaded Otoscope (I just noticed that I'm writing that the same way I write "F&^king Algebra, of which tis is my second-to-last week) - that she got one princess sticker for each shot, and one pick from the treasure chest for each shot. I suspect that even Lizzy is pretty done in as far as candy goes since Halloween, because she only chose one sweet; the rest are toys of the same sort we keep in our own treasure box.

So now she's lying on the couch watching the flu shot episode of Sid the Science Kid, and then I imagine she'll want to watch Blue Visits the Doctor. Looks like a tea-and-preschool-TV kind of day.


Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Ghoul Wore Galoshes

Abby was a Zombie this year, but she wore hot pink leopard print rain boots. Apparently "bits of zombie fall off" if they get too wet. Good to know.

Undead Abby,
The Annoying Orange, and
Mona Lizzy the Vampire
Mona in her original incarnation
Greg's character costume












Lizzy went as Mona the Vampire. I have to say that I am ridiculously proud of the quick-release bow tie I made her. Standard ones from costume shops wrap around her little neck too many times and I could just see her strangling herself, so I made her one out of a red satin headband and a black velvet bow... it worked pretty well - just like the quick-release collar Tiger has.


We had most of the usual suspects and a couple new ones, in all different types. The Hubs is trained as a teacher, so he assigned them buddies as well as going with them, so Katniss Kiki and Wolfman Tris (the oldest two) kept an eye on Mona Lizzy and Captain Conner America (the youngest). The three medium sized kids (Abby the Undead, Greg the Annoying Orange and Trish the Princess) watched out for each other. Add three adults (the Hubs, the Orange's dad, and Wolfy & Cap's mom; my mom just had knee surgery so I stayed with her and answered the door to trick-or-treaters) and a good time was had by all.