Done. All done. So, so done.

July 24, 2015

I have lived through chewed rugs (several destroyed). Curtains torn out of the wall. Peeing on the floor. Pooping on the floor – somewhat regularly. Constant whining. Jumping onto the table and stealing food. Climbing on countertops. Jumping at food on counters. Dragging the cage around. Busting out of cages. Trying so hard to bust out of cages that teeth are torn out and blood is left all over my (brand new) cork floor. Barking endlessly at anything that moves. Preventing naps. Preventing sleeping in. Disrupting the girls’ sleep. Peeing on the new couch. I’ve put up with a lot. In the past. Way past tense.

Because then there was this week. And I’m not sure what to do now.

This week, last Saturday in fact, Bam the Destroyer, the sucker of souls, He Who Shall Not Be Cast Out In The Streets – but only because I’d probably get in trouble for that – he bit me. We were leaving to go to the museum and were gathering up all of the animals. Fenway had merrily trotted into the front room where we shut her up. (Fenway would honestly stay loose, but if Bam gets out, there could be trouble. So…) And Bam had run his usual maneuver – he backed into the corner behind the desk and tray tables where he could dart in between the wall and couch if we were serious. He’s done it a hundred times and I’ve collected him out of the corner a hundred times. Except Saturday Bam all of a sudden went ferocious, started growling and barking and before I could even process that he had gone all Death Hound on me, he bit me. He bit me hard. Hard enough that I dropped him, screamed (though, that really, was more out of surprise), and then slapped my right hand over the back of my left hand, sure there were puncture wounds at the very least. There were several angry red dimples and two teeth did break the skin. Mostly it was a giant bruise that still hurts. Not that I’m holding it against him or anything. So that was Saturday.

Tuesday morning Jeff had to go back to his house early because he left something there that he needed for work. Bam whined the entire morning because his papa had left early. That was fun. And then once I got Bam into his cage (sans any further injuries), I stepped into the bathroom really quick and stepped in poop. POOP. On my foot.

Wednesday night Bam came flying into the bedroom and into the closet – despite the fact that he hasn’t been allowed in the bedroom ever. Sometimes he forgets (and only ever when Jeff is there), but he always gets yelled at. Another straw balancing on the poor camel’s back.

And then last night. I was getting my pajamas on. I heard a mild crash from the other room, but thought it was just Jeff getting ice from the fridge. The walls are thin, ya know? Except then I saw Jeff pushing back the blankets and going out to investigate. Bam the Destroyer had climbed on the chair to the bar in the kitchen and was trying to navigate to the counter where I had left dinner plates. Because I wanted for one night to not have to clean. But oh no. Not in a house with a soul-sucking weiner dog.  I slammed about the kitchen picking up dishes and throwing out garlicky green bean leftovers. I yelled at the dog as I went and then penned the perpetrator in his kennel. With the lights off. (Heaven forbid.) Bam made it all the way until 11:30 before he started barking – I guess he knew I was pretty upset. Jeff went and let him out because I certainly wasn’t moving.

And that was that. Until this morning when I went out to the kitchen and saw that Bam had peed all over the carpet where the chair used to be. I handed Jeff the paper towels and cleaning stuff when he came out. I didn’t say a word.

Because I’m done. So done.

Send help you guys. Tips. Tricks. Wine. Tranquilizers (for me or the dog). Anything. Because I have a feeling demanding the dog goes to live on a farm somewhere will not be the best next step for this relationship.

In which it is revealed that I read too much and review too little.

July 23, 2015

I’ve done a spot of reading this week.

Another Little Piece, by Kate Quinn.
HarperTeen, 2013, 419 pgs.
I grabbed this one from the library (actually, not so literally – it was an eread) because I liked the premise: girl goes missing, girl gets found stumbling out of woods thousands of miles from home, girl swears she’s not the girl…but isn’t sure how she knows or who that means she is. Unfortunately, the feel of the book was Contrived. The voices of the small-towners that found Annaliese, the family that picks her up, everything surrounding our protag. And that would have been cool if the point (a la Girl with All the Gifts) was to first break it all and then build it up again. I just never felt like we got to authentic world-building. I didn’t care. Maybe this is just a teen-audience story that couldn’t make the crossover, but I found it lacking. Teens that like the survivalist/strong fem lead thing going on could really enjoy it, though. 2 of 5 stars.

A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing, by Eimear McBride.
Galley Beggar Press, 2013, 227 pgs.
This has been on my to-read list forever, so I was rather excited to snatch it from the shelves at our local library. It must get good numbers because a) I haven’t seen it there before and b) it was still with the New Releases section. Then I started reading it and I was even more amazed; I hadn’t realized the prose was stream-of-consciousness – like, heavy stream-of-consciousness, William Faulkner stream-of-consciousness. And people are still reading the shit out of that? Good for them! Once I found the rhythm of our protag’s narrative (not an easy thing), I found myself really digging it. Yeah, it could have been easier and it’s not going to be everyone’s thing. I wasn’t even sure as I was reading it that it was my thing. But the story of her broken childhood and how she attempts to bandage it together in her mind (she didn’t; she just let the glass rattle around in the drawer scraping up whatever it would) was kind of mesmerizing in a “Hunh. Holy shit.” kind of way. Glad I borrowed instead of bought, but a solid 3 1/2 of 5 stars.

1222, by Anne Holt.
Scribner (but it was translated, so…?), 2011 (first pubbed in 2007), 336 pgs.
This was not the Agatha Christie I wanted it to be. Which was disappointing because it said right there on the jacket blurbs that it was much the same. Group of travelers get into a bit of a train wreck, a blizzard descends, they’re all marooned in a chalet. There’s even a curmudgeonly detective to play Marple/Poirot. Alas. The cast of characters was too odd, and maybe it was the translation, but everyone felt off. Like the audio and video weren’t synced. The plot and pace and ideas behind the mystery were fine, it was mostly a disconnect on the execution for this reader. 2 of 5 stars.

Where Women Are Kings, by Christie Watson.
Quercus Books, 2013, 432 pgs.
This was my favorite book of the week. A woman and her husband, fresh off the pain of the stillbirth of their child, decide to adopt Elijah, a Nigerian boy whose mother abandoned him after her own devastating loss…but not until after she convinced Elijah that he was bad juju because of a terrible wizard who possessed him. The book bothered me in its single-stance portrayal of adoption – that issue is large and complex and could have been drawn as such here. I liked that Watson paid a bit of attention to the fact that Elijah’s adoptive parents were mixed-race, but, again, more time and shadowing should have been given to it. I felt incredibly connected to the characters and I liked getting Elijah’s birth mom’s story from her own voice, and I loved letting Elijah tell part of his own story. It wasn’t for lack of heft that the story felt plottier and less in everyone’s heads than it could have. I loved Obi’s Nigerian father and the way he cared for his grandson. Nikki’s sister, however, felt like a caricature and I could have done without her and her daughter. A flawed execution of a good story, but I liked puzzling and stewing over the constructs of this one much better than those other half-baked books I read this week. 3 of 5 stars.

So there you have it! A small peek into a few of the books that have been flying off my shelves. I have another half dozen or so I could have added – there was no napping for me this week, and so a lot got read – but let’s not try to get too caught up, shall we?

Quote of the day.

July 22, 2015

I received the following from my brother yesterday:

DisneyButterflyJoe: Apparently I’m a Disney princess, ’cause this thing landed on me this morning. And then deer and squirrels made my bed and helped me get dressed and a James Earl Jones cloud gave me advice.

I can’t wait to see his face next week on vacation!

(And honestly, I saw the text first and then was a little disappointed when the picture wasn’t of a bluebird. Although that thing might be bigger.)

I do not have a problem: earrings.

July 21, 2015

This one, you guys, this one I’m defending. Maybe not to the death, but yep – this earring problem isn’t a problem. Seriously.

EarringsBecause there may be 89 pairs of earrings there, but I can proudly say I wear most of them on a regular basis. And the few (maybe 6?) pairs that I don’t, well I gave those to the girls. The shiny glass balls top, third from the right? Those I have on today. The giant silver ones in the center with the black eyes? Those are one of my favorites. Ditto the giant green discs and the shiny watermelon-colored dangly ones 2 down on the left. The smaller black dangly ones in the bottom row and the brown dangly circles, bottom row right – those are the ones I wear the least. Because they blend with my hair. (Unless it’s up, of course.)

But earrings? I got those girly accessories down.

No wonder I’m so tired!

July 20, 2015

We had a bit of a busy weekend.

Saturday we trekked out to the Perot Museum – four floors chock full o’ science-y fun! We signed up for a membership and enjoyed bonus tickets to their traveling exhibit on the kinisiology of how animals move and why they’re built the way they are – like, the cheetah needs a flexible spine, non-retractable claws, a thin tail, and an aerodynamic snout, or it couldn’t run at top speeds. It was really cool. There were enough interactive parts for the younger set, and a ton of details for the grown-ups..erm, and um, Gracie. We adventured through a few more exhibits, had lunch, and then let the kids play in the water and fountains they have outside. (Splash-fun bribery for good behavior, ftw!)

Saturday evening we finally made it out for Bee-girl’s birthday dinner. Of course my champagne-taste darling wanted crab legs, so we headed over to Red Lobster. It might have been the cheapest of our options, but ain’t nothing was cheap about that dinner! But Corrie and John and the Redheads joined us, so that was a blast.

Sunday the girls went to church while Jeff and the Xman and I did chores and ran to the groceria. Then, after every had eaten lunch, we ran outside to test the rapid-fill shake-and-release water balloons. I had heard they didn’t work too well, and they didn’t. But they were still good for about 45 minutes of fun as we executed a kids-vs-grownups barrage of mini-water-balloons. The problem was that the balloons weren’t filled enough (couldn’t be filled enough), so they would just leave and bruise and bounce off you. Instead, we started aiming for feet and piecing the balloons on the dead grass, or else running up and popping the balloon in our hands in front of someone’s face. Then we resorted to flat out throwing water from the buckets at each other. We were soaked, but we had a good time doing it! I wouldn’t waste your money on the kits, because you’ll end up disappointing the kids and promising to find real water balloons for the next fight. Aw, shucks.

After that, Xman’s mandatory 3-hour break from electronics was over, so he pretended to play throwback Mario Bros. on the wii (while yours truly ghosted the controls from her own wiimote) while the girls played Legos. Eventually, everyone had found their own spot on the floor and the next thing I knew, my entire family was chillin’, listening to music as I built playlists, and playing Legos. It was a sight to behold.

Eventually, though, it was clean-up time so Xman could go to his dad’s house so his mom could pick him up, and the girls and I had to get dinner ready and do our own tidying. It feels like the weekend went by in a flash and it’s no wonder when you’re trying to keep three active kids, two hyper puppies, and a grown-up-sized “kid” entertained!

Legos

I don’t have a problem: Cardigans.

July 17, 2015

I’m having a lot of fun with this series, noticing trends and themes and collections…or, if you’re so inclined, areas where all rational thought and collecting policies seem to have flown out the window. First there was cheese (most important, obviously), then there were my seldom-used, but-can’t-get-rid-of necklaces (for the record, I’m wearing one today!), and today it’s cardigans.

CardigansAt least 2 were in the wash (that I could remember).
6 shrugs.
9 sweaters.
7 short-sleeve.
2 were donated.
1 still with tags on.
42 cardigans in all.

It took me just over an hour to pull them all out of my (color-coordinated) closet and arrange them on the table, and then hang them back up again.

I was going to, for the picture, arrange them somehow so all those “L” and “M” tags weren’t showing. And then I thought – screw it. I have curves. I love my curves. So why do I care if people see that I might need some “L”s to cover those lovely curves of mine? Isn’t this a time when we’re moving to be more realistic? So I cursed, shook off my temporary moment of insanity, and said screw the tags.

And that was how I spent my night. NOT having a problem with cardigans.

My problem with necklaces.

July 16, 2015

While we’re on the subject of hoarding this week (apparently), let’s talk about necklaces.

Necklaces

Yeah, not the best shot. I took it hastily this morning as I was about to leave, grabbing necklaces off their stand and throwing them hastily only a cleared bed. I have quite a few necklaces – by my standards, only. There are a few missing: the blue and silver one I got for Easter (that I actually wear and is currently draped across the top of my dresser). The pink and silver clunky one that I got from New York & Co. that I do not wear and still resides in my belt drawer where I used to keep the few pieces I owned. And then the usual necklaces I still have from my childhood that are tucked away because nope, sentimental value only.

The point is I have all these necklaces and I hardly ever think to wear them. I’ve collected them in an effort to be more girly, to be more put together, to make my outfits feel a little more complete. Some have been gifts (the M&B necklace the girls got me for Mother’s Day) and some have been impulse purchases (the magenta ovals and red beaded rope) and some have been sought after for a particular outfit (the long silver and the long copper). Some pieces I wear over and over, like the gold one on the left with the fixed gold pressed circles, or the chunky pewter flowers. Some I love and just forget to wear, like the green glass on short gold chains (top left) or the white and pearl and gold layered one (center).

I need to make more of an effort to actually wear them, or get rid of them. There’s no sense keeping a piece I know I’ll never wear. I’ve been purging everything else in the house lately as I clean and make room; might as well ditch some of these pieces, too. Because heaven knows I’m just going to acquire more. So I’m instituting a new rule: wear it once in six months, or it’s gone.

And now you all know my priorities: cheese > necklaces. (Obviously.)

A #24in48 Readathon Recap.

July 14, 2015

This past weekend, the lovely Rachel hosted a #24in48 reading marathon. The rules are simple: read your heart out over the course of the weekend. That’s it. That’s the rule. And the best thing about it (well, aside from all the reading) is that the rule is elastic. For instance, I include reading on Friday night because I view the “48” as the weekend, and my weekend starts on Friday after work. Also: mommying. Need to work that in there.

I did fairly well – I hit 18 hours. No, it’s not 24, and no, I didn’t get 6 books read like I did last time. I did learn a lot though. It was my first readathon with the new (hott) boyfriend around, and without my girls at the house this weekend, that means I was tag-teamed to help entertain the Xman quite a bit. I did warn Jeff that there was a readathon; next time I will have to be a bit firmer about blocking off time for Reading Only. But I still get Reading Ninja points for how I snuck so much in there. Here’s how it broke down:

Insomnia, by Stephen King. This is a re-read for me, and, surprisingly, it was an audiobook! I KNOW!! Audiobooks aren’t my thing. I have a hard time keeping track of what’s being said and so for new books, that can be an issue. Since this was a re-read (a re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-read might be closer to the truth, in fact), it worked wonderfully. It helped me knock out most of a book, and I advanced quite a bit on my Stephen King Re-Read project. I was able to listen to a good chunk in one ear Saturday morning when the three of us when for a four-mile hike at the park, and then off-and-on throughout the weekend as I completed housework and cleaned out part of my closet. (The closet is big and the project is everlasting. I’m beginning to suspect my closet is equivalent to the inside of Mary Poppins carpetbag.) Anyway, the book is still fantastic, the narrator was good, and the delivery actually worked really well for me. Good choice.

The Truth According To Us, by Annie Barrows. Kim bought this in hardcover because the author co-wrote one of our favorite of favorites, Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Or, as everyone really calls it, Potato Peel Pie. Seriously, I had to stop and think of the full title. I may not even be right. So I have this gigantic hardcover that I’m supposed to finish before Kim gets here in August and demands her book back. Problem was, I had a hard time getting into it. I dipped into the first few pages a few times during afternoons – I figured once I got hooked into the story, I wouldn’t care about working out my biceps holding the book up over my face before bed every night. Except…the story never caught me. I kept going, kept going, sure that Annie would find her rhythm. And the letters the main character wrote – those were good. Those were Potato Peel Pie. The problem was, traditional narrative kept popping up. And that was a huge mess. There was no rhythm at all, the book felt like it couldn’t decide which structure it wanted to follow, the narrative voices were disconnected – probably because the narration switched between characters, and not in a way that worked. It was disjointed and, frankly, needed a much better editor. What a disappointment. Still, it went down easy once I committed, and I knocked it out before my car maintenance appointment was even over. And now the beast is back on the shelf and a much lighter book resides on my nightstand. Thank god. 2 of 5 stars.

Ana of California, by Andi Teran. I was so skeptical about this book. A modern, Latina retelling of Anne of Green Gables?? How ambitious! And how liable to fail. You can’t retell Anne. It’s classic. It’s untouchable. And it’s not even out of fashion or out of place with wonky situations you can’t relate to. Leave it alone! …Except the buzz was good. So good and so everywhere. And the book went straight to paperback. And it was only $10. So I took a giant chance and grabbed it and started reading and…holy sheep, people! The writing is enchanting, the characters relatable, and the story stands on its own. There are enough nods to Anne that I can see why it has to be billed as a retelling: Ana’s an orphan, she goes to live with a single brother and sister on a farm, her new best friend lives close by, a boy calls her Curls, her hair is the bane of her existence, there’s a hair-fixing disaster… I get it. But it’s different enough that it’s Ana, not Anne, and that means everything to me. I can’t wait to finish it, but so far this is a 4 1/2, 5 star read. Which is why I was reading pages at the kitchen table, in the car, for hours at the pool, before bed and before work. I’m even skipping naps, people. My love for the story is serious. (Although Anne is still light years better. Ahem.)

I may not have hit the mark for 24 hours this weekend, but I did get a massive amount of reading done, and so much of it was filled with good writing and better stories. I can’t wait for the next #24in48!

I do NOT have a problem.

July 13, 2015

Cheese

Homemade macaroni and cheese. I needed some. But did I have enough cheese? I started wading through the fridge. And found an endless supply tucked here in there, in this drawer and that, behind leftovers and fruit and this and that.

3 bags of shredded mozzarella, 3 bags of shredded cheddar, 1 bag fancy Italian cheeses, 1 bag Mexican shredded cheese, 1 bag string cheese, 2 blocks cheddar, 1 block smoked Gouda, 1 block champagne cheddar, sliced white American cheese, sliced Provolone, 1 wedge citrus ginger, 1 wedge Merlot. MY PRECIOUSES.

The macaroni and cheese was delicious.

Those crazy silly girls of mine with the gorgeous hair.

July 9, 2015

I have been pestering Bee-girl for the longest time to get her hair once more snipped into that swinging bob style that looks so smashing on her. Bee has just enough sass and the perfect heart-shaped face with which to pull off any style, but she looks especially good in eye-catching bobs. But Bee-girl has been going through this look-like-my-big-sister phase for the past two years, and so she hasn’t been so much about getting it cut short. And I like to pick my battles. So. Growing her hair it was.

Enter Stepmom with her sneaky and brilliant ninja moves. She somehow convinced Bee to get her hair trimmed when she (Stepmom) went to have her friend trim her hair. (Actually, both girls were supposed to go, but that was the week when Gracie got sick any time anyone tried to plan anything.) We tried telling Bee to slice it all off, but nah. She wasn’t gonna. And then…

BeeHairTa da! Bee decided to go with the super cute bob-cut again! I am so thrilled. And so is she – I think the past two weekends of Mama patiently brushing out All The Snarls might have had something to do with it. Even though I was willing to cover each strand with expensive conditioner and spend 45 minutes patiently and gently separating each tangle, Bee would end up (quietly) crying and got fed up with her difficult locks. Plus, I think her bugging her sister by mimicking her with the same hairstyle had run it’s course. Bee is THRILLED with her gorgeous hair!

I thought that was it. I was going to write a post this morning about Bee’s fancypants hair, but then I got busy and it’s a good thing. Because when I walked in the door at their dad’s house, Stepmom ran over and played out a scene she and Bee had obviously rehearsed. Gracie was “missing”, they fake-acted. Maybe playing at her friend’s, they said. And then this girl jumped out at me:

MollyHairTa da! Gracie-girl got her hair trimmed, too! And not just trimmed – I swear there is a good five inches missing! She had long layers added back in and – although you can’t see it – a bobby pin’s worth of tiny, tiny bangs on one side. (Gracie’s favorite.) The girls were so happy at having “tricked” me and I was so happy that Gracie trimmed her hair! I love her long locks, but she refused to do more than freshen the ends.

And so now I have two very happy, beautifully coiffed girls who are ready for some summer heat and some summer action!

Awesome Stepmom’s (who send you the cute pics she took for you to use on your blog even when you request them late at night) are absolutely the best you guys!!

TogetherHair


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