Archive for the ‘Casa de Katie’ Category

Well…that’s one way to cure it.

March 27, 2017

Have I mentioned? In the midst of everything else going on (or maybe because of it), I’ve had a bit of insomnia. Or, I did…until last night happened.

Yesterday was a bit of a weird day. It was scattered. The girls had church, during which I took the most glorious nap. (Napping hasn’t be a problem for my insomnia. And yes, I can hear you: but not napping has no effect on whether or not I sleep at night) When the girls came home, they had lunch, and worked on a few chores.

Oh, and that’s when I might have mentioned to them that it was supposed to tornado on our heads later. Our tor:con was 5 and, yeah. Not really happy about it, but at least it wasn’t all day? I had things to do!

So the girls looked at the sky and shrugged their shoulders and moved on with their afternoons. Bee worked on laundry, Gracie went to Costco with me [she had requested, by the way, that we now call her The Man Of The House because she is the strongest and could move the giant dog food bag by herself]. Then we went home, unloaded the car and looked at the sky again.

Not much going on.

So I went for a run, spent my energy, showered, sent the girls through their showers early, in case it was storming later, and checked the radar. Yeah, there they were – storms off to our west. Just about the same time that I saw the storms on the radar, my weather radio went off with a tornado watch. And then a severe thunderstorm warning for counties north and south. I couldn’t tell by the radar, but it looked possible that the storms would split and miss us. So just in case…

I took a quick poll and decided to order pizza. The good kind I had to go pick up. Which meant I would just miss the storms coming back. At least, I would if the line held.

Of Bee and I went. We grabbed our goodies and headed back. The wind was up, the clouds were gray, but nothing terrible. We ate our pizza undisturbed.

Well – not really. The NOAA weather alarm went off every few minutes. Everyone else was getting slammed with storms but us! So I read my book and shut off the alarm every time it went off, but those times were slowing down.

And that’s when it happened – I put my head down on my bed for just for a moment. I even left my finger holding my page in my book. I just needed a ten-minute nap.

My “ten minutes” was interrupted some untold time later by the weather radio. Gracie ran in and we listened. I told her I was just resting my eyes. I think she got the message by how sleepy I seemed when I was trying to shut off the beeping.

The alarm went off again, and I honestly couldn’t tell you which girl I talked to.Someone came in. We talked, I shut the alarm off, and I closed my eyes again.

When I opened them the next time, it was dark in my room. I looked at the clock. It was midnight. I got up and went out into the living room – Fenway was asleep, the kitchen was shut down, the locks all on, and the alarm was set. The girls did an awesome job getting the house shut down, even if they didn’t wake me up. Even the alarm clock in Bee’s room was turned on.

Yep, that’s one way to nap.

I must have needed it. I was exhausted. Too many nights where I wasn’t sleeping. Still! I can’t believe the girls had picked up and then shut down the house. They set the alarm and did everyone a grown-up would do. Well – almost. They didn’t turn on the outside light before setting the alarm, but I bet they didn’t even know I did that. I was so proud of them!

I asked them this morning if they really went to bed at 9pm (normal bedtime) and they swore they did. I asked them why they didn’t wake me up and reassured them that they are allowed to wake me. Bee says she opened the door at bedtime and said “Mom?” once. I didn’t move. So she shrugged her shoulders (again) and just went to bed.

After checking on the house at midnight, I went back to bed and slept until 5a. Not bad. I went to bed three hours earlier than I would have, and only got up one hour earlier. And all of those hours were filled with sleep!

The other funny bit is that after an entire day of staring at the sky and being “excited” (uh, “anxious”, Katie – get it right), I slept through the whole thing! Bee said it never stormed, and Gracie said it was just windy (which explained why the extra security pole was wedged under the back door). I missed the wind and the storms missed us. But not everyone – my phone was lit up with messages and tweets about hail storms and thunderstorms and everything else. Uhhh…glad I’m not northeast? Because it sounded unfun. You know – as I WAS SLEEPING!

I shouldn’t brag too loud about that, or this sleep thing will disappear!

Oh, trust me – it would be justifiable homicide.

March 15, 2017

I was thinking of how many people would be mad at me – my cousins, my friends, my siblings (well, one of them), my girls, myself (…eh)… And so I didn’t open the gate. I grabbed that dog by the collar and I started the trek across the grass, through the mud, flung open the gate (with my hand very firmly on the dog’s collar), and marched him over to the neighbor’s house. For the fifth time in three days.

Everyone on Facebook has heard the complaints already. My neighbor means well. He does. He tries to be a good neighbor, a good father, and an honorable man. The problem is… well, there are a few of them. There’s a language barrier, which makes any interaction with him a struggle. He works two or three jobs to provide for his large, extended family who live with him. He spoils his two sons (ages 7 & 9 maybe?) rotten so that they’re absolute brats when he’s not around (uh, which is any time between 6a and 10p, because two jobs). So, yeah, a few problems. The latest of which is that they have too many dogs and not enough f*@)s to give.

The first dog the family has is not a favorite in our end of the neighborhood. It’s allowed to roam freely and it will charge and nip you (or just plain terrorize you) if my neighbor isn’t out. And the boys? I mentioned how terrible they are; they don’t care to make the beagle/Jack Russel terrier mix stay in their yard while they play. So I was a little leery when I found out about the second dog, a pit bull/rhinoceros mix who is so sweet, but so huge! and likes to jump on you from behind and smother you in puppy kisses.

I found out about the second puppy, Brownie, the last time I had to go yell at the neighbor for leaving the dog(s) out all night and letting them whine under my bedroom window for two hours at 2 a.m. [That’s also when I saw my neighbor hit his son for leaving the gate open and letting the dog get out at night. Which, uh, no thanks.] I really got to know Brownie, though, when neighbor caught me one day when I came home from work. Sidestory! I had just put down the garage and heard someone banging on the garage door just before it finished sliding all the way down. Who does that?! Creepers and serial killers, that’s who! The “knocking” continued, so I went into the house, stepped around a frenzied Fenway, looked out the front window and didn’t see anyone. Because they were already knocking on my front door. The peephole (god bless peepholes) said it was my neighbor, so I went out and we struggled through a conversation (the man speaks three languages, I’m not knocking him; it’s just painful) about replacing the fence on our shared side of the yard. I knew it was something I was going to have to do after I got my taxes back – that fence is beyond rotten. Slats are missing. We’ve patched the holes as best we can to keep the dogs away from each other. And his kids like to throw things through the missing parts because: brats. So I had unlatched the gate and we were walking back there and talking and Brownie was with him, unleashed, just jumping on the two of us and trying to love on everything. And marking his territory everywhere. Pooping in my yard. You know. Neighbor dude mentioned how the puppy was eating everything in his house and wasn’t training up really well, but his boys loved him. I noted how friendly the dog was cried a little on the inside because all we needed was another problem dog.

And problem dog he was. Thank GOD the sweet pup-pup was as loving as he was. If he was mean, I’d probs be dead or mangled by now. Because that dang thing can wiggle through some pretty small holes, which is a doggy miracle, given the size of the thing. He immediately started busting into our yard, trying to get to Fenway. Or see what there was to see. Or just because – who knows. I just know that half the times I looked up into our yard, there would be Brownie. At first I just coaxed him back through the holes left by the missing fence slats. Neighbor and I kept replacing them, or jimmying together some temporary fix that we thought patched the fence good enough to prevent jailbreaks. But there would be that dang dog again. Brownie would come up to me when I went outside to “fix” it – eventually. He might dance up and dart away a few times, wanting to give me some puppy kisses, but knowing I was going to send him away. If I wasn’t so frustrated, I woulda laughed at how obviously torn the puppy was.

I kinda lost my patience after this weekend, though. Five jailbreaks in three days. FIVE. The dog was tearing my screens trying to see in the house, chewing on my patio furniture, and pooping on the patio! (The poop ended up over the fence on top of the neighbor’s a/c unit. I don’t know how. Honestly. ish.) I was all done being a good neighbor.

I started bringing the dog to their front door, thinking that would emphasize to them how often this was happening. Then I put the dog on a leash to give them an idea that they could let their dog out on a leash. In fact, when the boys answered the door, I started making that suggestion. “You guys need to get this under control, or maybe use a leash.” And then, “Tell your dad that he needs to hurry up and fix the fence, or you’ll have to use a leash for the dog every time because this is getting ridiculous.” That was the time the boys slammed the door in my face as soon as they had the puppy. And I might have yelled through the door exactly what I thought of that response when I was being pretty cool about the dang dog. I thought about telling my neighbor about the door being slammed in my face, but since he had hit the boys before for not listening to him, I didn’t want to be a party to whatever fallout would happen if he knew his kids had disrespected me that way. But I did plenty of fuming.

This is when everyone started telling me to start documenting the problem, or maybe call animal control. But I hated to do that. My neighbor genuinely is a good guy. He’s just not there because he’s trying to live the American Dream and you need a lot of paychecks to do that when you’re making what we’re making. He’s a guy who patched my roof once and has offered 2938209348 times since then to help with it again. He always waves and would help with any problem I had. When I went over to complain about his dog, he thought I was talking about the stray dog that had attacked him, and so he took a butcher knife because he thought he was coming out to rescue me. Neighbor is a good guy – just absent and not able to easily communicate when he is there. So I don’t think he’s manipulating the situation or trying to take advantage of me. The neighbors would judge me if I called the cops on one of us (we’re a tight-knit community and we try to handle our problems inside the family first), even though I’m sure they’d understand once I explained. So I don’t think Neighbor was banking on me not breaking the code, either. I think he just doesn’t know how often it’s happening because he’s not there and his bratty boys aren’t telling him.

I was already past the point of caring how mad anyone got because I was done. I had had a long day at work, I didn’t need to chase down and drag the neighbor’s dog back to his house twice. I wanted to unwind and go to bed in peace. But I couldn’t, because the doorbell rang at 9 p.m. I stared at the door, jaw agape, wondering what the heck. I had just started shutting down the house for the night, but the lights where still on so they could see someone was up. That doesn’t obligate me to answer the door, but I had a sneaky suspicion that it was the neighbors. I had heard a noise outside and did a quick scan, but didn’t see Brownie. Then again, it was pitch black. Which also meant I couldn’t see who was at the door without putting on the porch lights. I couldn’t put on porch lights without them knowing I was up. The doorbell had run again and knocking had started while I tried to decide what to do. Finally I decided that if I didn’t answer and it was the neighbors looking for their dog, they’d probably just open my gate and come on in. Which, after I opened the door, saw it was one of the boys, and let him through the house to go get the dog from the yard, I found out is exactly what happened. But no dog. I hoped that the dog had escaped and was running around the neighborhood, never to be found (yes, I’m a bad person going to hell), but after I ushered the neighbors out of my house and my yard, I heard them out in their front and back yards yelling and shrieking and whistling – but mostly shrieking – for more than thirty minutes. Yes, Spring Break week, but who lets their kids be that loud outside after 9p on a weeknight?!

So I’m done. Done, done, done. I haven’t quite figured out what that means, but for sure there’s going to be a firm discussion with my neighbor. And I’m going to hand him one of my extra leashes, because I’m pretty sure he’ll follow through on that plan. But something has to be done. If the fence can’t be fixed right now, then maybe they need a run for their dog. I’ll tell him that the last thing I want to do is create hard feelings by calling animal control to report the dog when it’s gotten loose, but the situation has gotten out of control.

Like I said – justifiable homicide. The problem is, at this point I’m not sure if I’m more upset with the dog, the neighbor, or those two bratty boys!

Baby, it’s cold outside…

March 14, 2017

…and if I say that it’s because the low today is 40° and we’re in serious danger of some patchy frost, my sisters and family and all of my friends just might will most definitely chuck snowballs at me with enough force for them to make it.

Because it’s blizzarding back home, with about 20 inches forecast, so what – maybe three-foot drifts? I’m trying to remember. Enough that one sister (at least) joined the milk and bread (and wine) crazies, and bought a flotilla of apples – enough that her flotilla would be even when she lashed the apples together, making me worry that my other sister had hacked the first one’s account – one sister with OCD is all I can handle – and then reported back that she also got four bottles of wine (evidence again), two kinds of cheese (evidence for), and a frozen cake. DEFINITELY RHI, THEN! (Kim would have bought baking supplies.) So the Stisters are okay.

Meanwhile, I wore a sweater with a deep (and really cute) v-cut in the front and back necklines and I’m freezing. Because I forgot my scarf. The scarf that would cover that one teeny tiny patch and then I’d be nice and toasty warm. I did remember a coat, because my blood felt awfully thin when I opened the back door to let the dog out. It’s a good thing I know for a fact that my blood thickens right up again when I go home for visits, or there would be some sort of madcap immersion therapy going on right now.

You know – after I got over being cold because my neck is uncovered.

Good thing it’s going to warm up to 67° later!! (Here is where I tell you that I have three extra beds, a couch, and a lot of floor space for those who want to evacuate before the next Snowpocalypse.) Have fun storming the castle, everyone! Let me know, occasionally, that you haven’t gone all REDRUM!

Spring break is broken.

March 13, 2017

I don’t know if I can write when I’m this tired. And, you guys, I am exhausted, no matter how you say it. Tarrrrd, as you’d hear down here. Tie-yid, as you’d hear back home.  Mmmphmph, as you’d hear muffled against my pillow.

I knew taking such a late nap yesterday was a mistake. The problem was, I was so exhausted yesterday that I nearly as dangerous behind the wheel, and I knew I wanted Lebanese food later. So I need a nap. At 2 p.m. On a Sunday, without a day off behind it to buffer any wonky sleep patterns I created.

Guess what I created?

Wonky sleep patterns for the win.

It didn’t help that we sprang? sprung? sproohovened? forward, further breaking my sleeping habits. [Confession: my habits weren’t all that habitual. The delayed-sleep/early-wake insomniac will step aside now.] So, yes, I needed a nap yesterday at 3 p.m. clock time. Which was, uh, 2 p.m. body time. Not terrible, but not great. And, like I said, utterly exhausted. So I let myself lie down for just a few minutes. At 4-friggin-thirty, I got up. And I was tired again for bed at 8, so I didn’t think I’d done that much damage. Until I watched the clock tick by without any sleep. How can a person be that. tired. and not fall asleep? It baffles me.

I finally fell asleep about midnight. And woke up every thirty minutes or so. I’m sure that was incredibly restorative. At 3 a.m., my body could feel me mocking the sleep I was getting and decided to give up the ghost. There’s just a certain feeling that some not-sleeping has wherein it lacks the optimism that other not-sleep still maintains. In other words, sometimes I still hope I can fall back asleep, and sometimes I just know with absolute certainty that I won’t.

Last night – this morning – I knew I wouldn’t. And so I got up, popped on some bad TV, and gave myself an hour. An hour would still give myself two hours of sleeeeepy time after I went back to bed. It would be cool. That wasn’t too mean. Right? Except it took me a while before I fell back asleep and then when my alarm finally went off, I cried a little bit. And by “a little bit”, I mean that I thought about chucking my alarm across the room and calling in sick…

But I didn’t do that. I shut off the alarm clock, dragged myself through the motions of getting dressed, and then decided (the one morning I feel like breakfast) to forego it because I had time for either a nap or McDonald’s. The nap won.

I wish I could go ahead and skip coffee for another nap. That would be just what I needed. Just the ticket to get my spring break back on track. Because adulting for spring break? not how I think it’s supposed to be done.

Five for Friday.

March 10, 2017

I can get through this day. I can. And you can, too. C’mon, one foot in front of the other. And one bullet point in front of the other, too. C’mon, Katie…

1 The tree in my front yard is beginning to bud. Just teeny, tiny little green buds right now, so small you can only see them if you unfocus your eyes. But the buds are coming, and then there will be leaves. And even though I know allergies will kick it up a notch at Casa de Katie, it still fills me with hope and happy every time I see my tree come to life once again.

2 My mom’s birthday was this week, and I got to talk to her a little bit after the girls took turns. It wasn’t for very long because she was tired, and I could only make out a few words, but my mom rallied at the end long enough to yell at me to make everyone call more often. I sighed (to myself) and promised I would, but really I was thinking that my mom was going to garble the story with my aunts and you just know I was going to get yelled at for not calling my mom on her birthday.

3 I stopped at my favorite local Lebanese place for take-out last night. Um…again. The girls and I stopped on Wednesday, too. Yes, that’s two dinners in a row <insert Count von Count cackling muppetly over some thunder>. I walked in the door and stopped short when I saw it was the same waitress as the night before, but that’s okay because she did the same thing, too. We averted our eyes. She didn’t say anything about me being in two nights in a row for the same exact meal, and I didn’t mention that she was wearing the same clothes as the day before. Win-win!

4 I’m trying on a different outfit today, one that requires skinny jeans, Barbie sandals, a blousy shirt, and a fancypants spring-weight scarf. The scarf is killing me. I feel like I’m choking! I have to remind myself not to disassemble the scarf (who knows how twisted on it is at this point) and tear it from the outfit; that it’s the one piece tying everything else together. This is why we can’t have nice things. Friday is for comfort dressing. Not fancy dressing.

5 Here’s hoping I can bust through a few books from my backlist this weekend. I’m feeling like shaking off the cobwebs and curling up with allllll the books. Maybe I’ll treat myself to a coffee or four from my local bookstore and curl up on a chair there. It’s a good way to try the books on for size (and read an expensive hardcover or two).

There we go! Not a very glamorous list, but it got me through. It’s been that kind of week. The only excitement was when my brother turned the corner last night to find the house surrounded by fire trucks and ambulances. My mom fell – not seriously, she’s okay. They just needed help getting her up and my dad is nearly as bad off as my mom. I told my brother to tease my mom that there are easier ways to get our attention during the first day of free agency. And so she whacked him, which was my whole point. Heh.

Hope your weekends are the same: full of jusssst enough content that you keep from pulling crazy stunts to get attention. (But if you have a really good diversion tactic planned, let me know!)

The things we do for love.

February 14, 2017

It’s Valentine’s Day and love is in the air at Casa de Katie.

Bee-girl is, of course, excited for the party at school…but mostly about the chocolate. Because – Bee. She asked if she could pick out a special (but small) chocolate-something for her best friends. She sees her big sister doing that and would never allow herself to be left behind. I cautiously asked how many “best” friends (my Bee is something of a social butterfly) and was surprised to only hear the names of the three girls she has honestly been good friends with since kindergarten. So even though our budget is tighter, I approved the expenditure of a whopping dollar-apiece chocolate roses and Bee was happy as can be.

Because it’s elementary school, there was also the Making Of The Valentines Box. We prepped for Valentine’s Day two weekends ago, the last time I had the girls for the weekend. We purchased valentines, bought things for all the friends, and I asked if that was all we needed to do. When Bee got her class list from her teacher and spent a night writing out her valentines, I asked again if there was anything else we needed to do. Nevertheless, I wasn’t surprised when Bee asked me last night when I picked her up from After School if we had an empty shoebox. She asked, but it wasn’t really a question. I could hear the confidence in her voice; she fully expected my answer to be “yes”. And it was, for we are a crafting house where nothing gets thrown away because who knows if you might need it. But still – I should have known she wasn’t finished with all of her preparations. So we spent the night making a box. I helped cover it in pink paper, and Bee did the rest of the decorating after we raided my crafting supplies. It was a thing of beauty! And Bee was quite pleased with herself.


So that was one kiddo all squared away. The other one, Gracie-girl, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Seventh grade is junior high, and I wasn’t expecting Gracie to ask to buy valentines. But she did – she insisted they passed them out in between classes ironically. I shrugged my shoulders and let her do her thing. She bought a small box of chocolates for her two best friends, and then there was the matter of her boyfriend. Gracie settled on getting him a card, a nicer box of chocolates, and a stuffed dog with a heart who looked rather like The Boyfriend’s pet. Gracie was happy, and I was glad her side of Valentine’s was pretty easy. Except…

There was the matter of the Valentine’s dance at her school last Friday night. It was the first dance Gracie officially went with The Boyfriend, and she asked if they could go to dinner afterwards. Her, The Boyfriend, and maybe her two besties. (Poor Boyfriend, always getting stuck with a gaggle of girls! But he seems to be a good sport about it all.) It was her dad’s weekend with the girls, but he wasn’t going to drive them. I told Gracie I could drive them one way, if she could please get someone else’s parent(s) to drive the other way. The dance was immediately after school, so driving from school to the dance was already solved. We just had to get them from the dance, take them to dinner, and then from dinner to home. But no one else could fill in. I’d have to drive both ways. I knew how much it meant to Gracie-girl, and I remembered allllllll the times my mom drove me and my boyfriend to and from the movies or the mall or other places when we were dating pre-license. It was time to pay it forward. So I said yes. In the name of love – mine for my daughter, for my mum, and for Gracie’s and The Boyfriend’s adorable tween love. Also, it meant I got to meet The Boyfriend. I gotta say – between the best friends and now The Boyfriend, Gracie is a good judge of character! I dropped the kids off at Potbellies, and took my book next door to Starbucks. But The Boyfriend’s grandma (who had been saving a table for them at The Boyfriend’s request, in case it was buys. It was dead quiet there. But so cute!) joined me shortly thereafter. She had been planning to eat with the group, since it was a group, but The Boyfriend politely kicked her out and told her I was next door. She was a doll, only I think I scared her with all my talking.

You’d think that would be enough, all of the driving and crafting and buying of things, but this morning I set my alarm for way-too-early, and got up and made cinnamon rolls for the girls for breakfast.


It’s the little things we do that show everyone how much we love them. Including self-care – I ditched, last minute, the blue, white, and gray outfit I had picked out as anti-Valentine’s. I swapped in a red button-down and picked out some bling and wore my sexy black boots. I might be single again, but that doesn’t mean I can’t look good!


Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone! I hope you’re dusted with happy adventures in whatever shape you need today, big or small.

Monday morning hit hard.

February 13, 2017

Whewww, what a morning Casa de Katie experienced! I am thankful that all the childrens are dropped off and I am where I need to be for awhile.

Firstly, I slept last night. After getting maybe two hours of sleep each of the previous two nights, I slept hard. Like, so hard that when my alarm went off, I was still walking into things, trying to get everything done. It was like I was underwater. So that was fun.

I also had set my alarm 20 minutes earlier so I could straighten my (very short) hair that I chopped off. And I mean, chopped. I get 2-3 inches by straightening it, so that’s what I’m going to do. It’s like an adjustment period to the length.

So because I was up early, I walked out to the security alarm, shut it off, let the dog out, got the dog’s breakfast and basically just started the morning at Casa de Katie. I always check the cracks under the girls’ doors to make sure they’re up. Usually they’re both out on the couch by the time I walk out there, but this morning there was only Bee’s light on under her door, and Gracie’s was dark. I thought about waking her up, just to be safe, but she never forgets her alarm, and I had set mine much earlier than usual. Probably her alarm just usually wasn’t going off yet.

You know where this is going.

I got ready and walked out into the kitchen and living room at my usual time. There’s Bee on the couch, playing Minecraft. But no Gracie.

I walked to her room. Darkness in the crack under the door. Ominous confirmation. I fling open the door (sorry, Gracie) and if I can describe my tone, it was gently frantic. “Gracie!! It’s 6:30!!” Really it was 6:24, and yes, those 6 minutes are important. It was a half-hour later than she usually gets up. She didn’t have tennis, so her carpool from her dad’s house was a little later. We had some wiggle room. But I didn’t want to be late either. I urged her to get ready as fast as she could, and hoo boy was she flying around.

Of course, Fenway chose this morning to be one of the mornings she refused to go outside. Thankfully, she happily pranced out the door when Bee put on her shoes and went with her. I hate reinforcing that trick, but I really couldn’t deal with it this morning.

I put some cereal in a baggie for Gracie to wear in the car. She came flying out of her room, hair brushed and all dressed…in shorts and a tshirt. (She did have a sweatshirt that she threw on the couch to bring with her.) I reminded her again that it was supposed to be a lot colder today. High of 54°, not the 80s we had all weekend. She said she had pants on the chair and she would change at her dad’s house. But we’ve been having an issue with all their clothes ending up at their dad’s house and having nothing at ours. (Stepmom just sent back an entire canvas bag filled with Bee’s clothes after she went through her laundry and dresser, bless her heart!) So I made Gracie change right then. No shorts necessary. Especially since her cough is getting less asthma-y and more head-cold-y. (Poor pitiful penguin.) She grumbled and I swear to god actually stomped her foot, but she changed.

Gracie came flying back into the kitchen, four minutes before we were supposed to leave, and started making her lunch. “Shoes first,” I told her. She takes forever with her shoes in the morning. “But I can put them on in the car!” Nope. She was mad, but she can buy lunch at school; she just prefers to take one. Shoes were on in record time, and lunch was assembled. I nixed some of her snacks because three cake-type snack? Nope. I might need to supervise a little better because the rule has always been two healthy snacks and one “good” one. They used to be good about it, but…

And so it came to be that we actually left the house on time. Gracie had her arms crossed in the car, but assured me she wasn’t mad at me, she was mad at her alarm for not going off. She even checked it. I suggested setting her phone for 5 minutes after her alarm tomorrow, just to be sure the alarm clock wasn’t malfunctioning. I mean, it is just a cheapo $5 clock from a box store. It might be the clock’s fault.

But really, I think it’s Monday’s fault. Monday morning – eesh!  Here’s hoping for a better day for all of us. I’m choosing happy. Please comply, Universe.

This is getting to be a Sunday night ritual.

January 30, 2017

Last night was a good, good night. I made my Twice-Stolen Peruvian Roast Chicken for dinner, and the girls didn’t even complain. I warned them we’d be having more family dinners, and they said they didn’t mind – even though they preferred “easy” dinners where they could have waffles or heat up leftovers. They don’t even like chicken right now, but they didn’t complain. And don’t say anything, but I think Gracie liked the Peruvian flavor. It does make a difference when you cook your chicken skin-on.

After our sit-down dinner, Gracie sat down to watch the SAG Award show. I offered up the big TV, and asked Bee if she wanted to come craft in my bedroom with me. It’s what we did the last time there was an awards show, and we had a lot of fun. Bless that girl, she did want to hang out with her mama. So she grabbed a sew-your-own pillow kit she got for Christmas, and I grabbed some scrapbooking supplies, and off we went.


Here’s my partner-in-crime. You can see the friendship character on the pillow kit. Bee looks all serious because she’s trying not to knot her string because it was awfully tangly.

We watched the rest of Anne of Green Gables and the Bee-girl really got into it (and my heart rejoiced!). I answered her questions best I could as I worked on my own projects:

And then there was this one, which kinda encapsulated all the scrapbooking I had gotten done this weekend:

The journaling reads:

This is the first I’ve scrapbooked in a long time. More than a year. And there are… There are pictures I’m not using. Pages I’m not creating. It’s a choice. A conscious choice. It hurts to think about Jeff and X-man. It hurts to even write their names. Trying to recreate 2016 – with them or without them – is painful. The absences and gaping holes are painful. The pictures that include them, even if I leave them out of my running commentary – those are painful. I have no way of knowing, right now, what is more painful or less painful. It’s all painful. All of it.


So my choice is to not include them in as many things as I can. My energy in faking happiness in the journalism prompts is low. I save it for hte few I feel I can’t skip.


So there are gaping holes. So what. And I’ll keep pushing through. Because at least I’m scrapbooking at all. At least I’m me again.

I find it’s much easier to be Brave when I have my Bee-girl around. She and I had fun. I like hanging out with her and seeing how her mind turns. It’s an important year – she’s right on the brink of growing up and becoming a tween. And besides that – she’s Bee! She’s sneaky and devious and hilarious and she has this way of unsettling you any time you feel like you have the least bit of balance. You never know what you’re going to talk about. And she has a terrible poker face, so you can always see what’s behind all the machinations of her thinking. It’s like playing in a giant funhouse, these nights full of conversation.

The fact that it’s all happening during a night of crafting? That’s just icing on the cake. Mmmm….cake.

Five for Friday.

January 27, 2017

Are we sure it’s Friday? Because it feels like Tuesday. I keep expecting everyone to come in the door and laugh at me. So let’s get through our list real quick before it gets canceled!

1 I pretty much killed it with #Diverseathon this week! I read all three March graphic novels (and you should, too!), which are now being donated to Bee’s classroom (she said she felt like Willy Wonka, but with books, since she gets to end her book report with that news); I read Fish in Exile, which really wasn’t my thing, but the point is to read diversely, not things you’d usually read; and Rani Patel in Full Effect, which was painfully thin in some places (you could tell it was written by a psychologist whose day job is therapy, not writing fiction), but absolutely slayed at giving kids on the edges a place to see themselves represented. I counted more than a dozen groups that could claim representation in that book, from native Hawaaians, to Indian immmigants, to females with body dysmorphia, girls into hardcore rap, victims of sexual abuse, victims of physical abuse by family members (so, um, also: trigger warning). It was a powerful week, and I’m glad I saw Andi‘s post about it!


2 To cap off #Diverseathon, look at what I got in the mail yesterday! My sister bought two copies, one for me, and one for Andi the next time I see her. (My sister was hella impressed with how fired up Andi is and everything she’s doing for the Resistance.) The book was published by a friend of my sister’s friend, so she gifted them to us. Tears We Cannot Stop is the truth of black America, one every single person in this country should read. So that people feel heard, and so that we the privileged can listen better. The book is blurbed by Toni Morrison and Stephen King, and has been retweeted or amplified in some way by Beyonce, Isabel Wilkerson, and JJ Abrams. So don’t say it doesn’t apply to you or you can’t find a way in. It’s important. Find time and read with an open mind. Be honest about how you can stand up and make things better.

3 I’m back on the Great Chair Hunt. We thought we had a winner a few years ago – the chair from Target with the big cushiony bottom and back. But the legs wobble. No matter how tight you turn the screws, they come loose a few minutes later. The sound of the wobbling drives. me. bonkers. So that chair, which had been in Gracie’s room, has moved to the front room. (Hey! Seating!) Now I’m on the hunt again. Something cheap, something small (I have a lot of things stuffed into my bedroom and I need to be able to move around it when I get out of bed), and something comfy. The wooden kitchen chair isn’t gonna cut it much longer.

4 I think a Parks & Rec marathon is in my weekend outlook! Since rediscovering my crafty self, I’ve been neglecting the baby blanket I’m working on. And I’m pretty sure that baby is coming whether his blanket is finished or not. So I need to park my booty on the couch for a solid length of time and make pretty things happen!

5 I went to bed last night at 7p and slept all. night. long. It was glorious! Sleep, glorious sleep! I took a quick catnap at 5p, ran a bath to warm myself up, almost fell asleep while reading in the tub, and still was nodding off on the couch later when I moved myself to the living room. I’m not sure what was going on, but I was absolutely knackered. Thankfully, the girls’ Stepmom and Dad came to the rescue and offered to keep them for the night. They were running late because of Camp Gladiator, and the idea of staying up until after 8p seemed impossible. I hate being so wishy-washy with the girls’ schedules, but I’m trying to be better about knowing that a day or two off schedule is okay. We’re just rollin’ with everything now. Or trying to, at least!

So that’s it. Yes, kind of a slow week for me. But we need one of those every once in awhile, don’t we?

Reclaiming my space.

January 24, 2017

I think I might have mentioned in one of my Five for Friday listy lists that I have reclaimed a corner of my bedroom to recreate a space for me to craft. More than that, really, it’s a space for me to be. And the reason I know it was both far overdue and hugely important to my sense of self, is that I cried after I sat down and finished my first project.

I looked around at what I had built, even though the space was still just temporary, and I cried. It felt so good to have that piece of me back. It was a necessary piece of myself that I had set aside while I was coupled up – because there was no time when I was running a household of six (and when one of those six was so special-needs), and because there was no space.

It used to be that I insisted on the girls sharing rooms to create that special bond between them. Then I used the guest room as my craft room where I spent the bulk of my free time. The girls had the front room for their playroom when they didn’t want to be in the family room, and I had the craft room. Then Jeff and the Xman moved in and I moved Gracie into my craft room. At first she was literally living in my craft room, but slowly I moved pieces out so she could, you know, put clothes away and stuff. And put up pictures. And generally make it her own. Eventually, so many things were put away in boxes that I couldn’t really scrap anywhere, even if the mood hit me to take over the dining room table for a weekend.

So when Jeff moved out and I was faced with the glory of Free Weekends(!) once again, I started rediscovering myself. I started running again. And I made this temporary space.

And a bunch of scrap pages. It was revelatory. An honest-to-god spiritual moment. I found such an important piece of myself – one I didn’t even realize was missing. A piece and a moment I needed so bad after these past two months. And it came at the right time. The horrible break-up. The sisters picking me up off the mat. Being here for the holidays. And now finding my rhythm. And, oh look! myself, too. I’m good. I’m okay.

So I answered the question I had about whether creating “fun” space in my bedroom was a good idea (how many experts tell you to only do sleepy type stuff in your bedroom if you have trouble sleeping?), because it was now an AWESOME idea. And necessary. I needed this.

So this happened.


Eventually I am going to replace the folding card table with an actual workspace. I’m thinking it will probs be my scrap desk that Gracie is using right now (so I can’t steal it from her). When I mentioned the idea to Gracie, who I was worried would claim it in the name of Spain, she was all “Good! I hate that desk.” So. Okay. Won’t be a problem. I want to splurge and get me a grown-up desk with a bigger work area, but if when I have money to replace my bedroom set with something of a darker wood, I won’t know if my desk matches. And I don’t want to spend all of that money now on something that I won’t like later. Besides, Gracie’s desk has a bunch of very useful drawers for supplies.

Gracie’s happy with even the temporary arrangement. She loves having my scrapbook and craft shelves outta her way, because it opens her room waaaaay up.


Doesn’t it look nice? I mean, it needs a little work, but it’s coming along. I had suggested moving her drawers to that wall and the girl nearly took my head off. I’m rather keen on the corner of her dresser no longer scuffing a hole in the back of her bedroom door; she’s really into the idea of having a lounge area with her new bucket seat (hit gift from Christmas; woot woot), big pillows, and wifi Bose speakers (thank you, Santa). Also not pictured are her shoes, including my tall black boots that she’s appropriated. [Yes, we’ve moved into the delightful-yet-dreadful phase of same shoe sizes.]

So if I’m stealing back my desk that is now in Gracie’s room (on the opposite wall from her lounge area), her room will be really empty, so I proposed that I get her a desk for her birthday, and let her repaint her room. I love the purple and gray color scheme going on, but Gracie does not. She wants to do a silver/gold and royal blue – a scheme I could live with because it came out phenomenally well at Kim’s house. Gracie countered that she doesn’t really need a desk, she could live with just a small nightstand for her alarm clock and chapstick, etc. What she really wants is a small futon or couch for her room. There are a couple at Target that we’ve seen that are small enough that they might fit. I don’t know…

Even if they fit, am I going to give my tween a big head by giving her a couch in her room? Am I going to make my youngest feel even more left out when she can’t have a couch because I’m not getting rid of or storing the bed that I paid lots of money for, one that we need when we have guests and the girls have to bunk up. Oh, I can just see trouble coming. But if we do get Gracie the small futon, it’s additional sleeping space for when we have more guests! Two extra beds and a couch! Think of the parties I can throw! Ha!

Yes, we are all reclaiming our spaces. I will think up some fantastic makeover for Bee’s room, too. Just you wait. I feel like I can do anything right now!