Archive for the ‘Casa de Katie’ Category

Those tiny moments.

April 23, 2018

With an incredibly hectic schedule during the days, and with crazy schedules frequently at night with the school year winding down and concerts and field trips cluttering up my dayplanner, the moments I cherish are the quiet ones home with my girls.

I had to be in place early this morning, so the girls stayed with their dad for an extra night. I miss them so much after they’re gone all weekend. One extra night makes it so much harder, for some reason.

Soooooo, tonight there’s a game plan. No, literally – we’re going to play card games and order pizza and just chill out on the couch. Gracie-girl mixed five different decks of cards for us, and we are gonna have us an epic game of War. Mwa ha ha ha!!!

Games are afoot, madam. And I cannot wait to relax with my chicas and enjoy them!

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How to display a million, zillion Funkos.

January 30, 2018

I don’t understand when people say that tweens and teens are hard to buy gifts for. I’ve had a blast buying things for my two – or maybe it’s just that my girls are easy to buy for because I know them so well and they’re engaged with so many interests it’s hard not to trip over so many tiny little things they’d like.

One of those things is the Funko Pop! figurines that everyone is crazy over. I can’t remember the first one I bought for Gracie, but it might have been Harry Potter. She, of course, went nuts for him (Gracie loves being a dedicated and loyal fan almost more than she loves the subject(s) of her adoration), and the rest, as they say, is collectible history.

Gracie’s Funko addiction (for that is what it is, now) has grown to include the Harry Potter group – including a nose-less moldy Voldy, a truly creepy dementor with gauze-like material covering them, and a Hagrid whose size really does dwarf everyone around him (Huzzah for details!); a lone Katniss to represent her entire imaginary world; a Doctor Who or two (and maybe a Dalek, don’t hate); mini- Gandalf and Frodo (who were supposed to be keychains, I think?); and so. many. Stranger Things characters that my heart bursts with happy!

The question that had been nibbling at the back of my head became more insistent – what do you do with Funko creatures once you have more than one or two? Gracie used to have them arranged on the top of her shoe cubbies, and that worked…until she got about a half-dozen more for Christmas and over the tipping point she went. We needed a creative solution. And Gracie’s Auntie Kim loves to tackle problems such as these. Shelves, of some sort, would make a fantastic Christmas present. And if she found a great deal (she did), she would throw in a gallon of paint to re-do the accent wall in Gracie’s room.

Eventually, the shelves I found were all summarily dismissed and instead Kim decided we should go with a bunch of distressed wood crates she’d found at Michael’s. I agreed that I could live with them, did a few measurements to make sure they’d function and everyone (eh, except maybe Hagrid) could fit, and off we went.

A few design suggestions were proffered, and we went with a modification of the one Auntie Kim liked best. I love the spiral look, but the proposal had all of the crates touch and to me, it looked scrunched. Call me crazy, but since it’s mi casa and I’m the one having to look at it all day, I’m not going to greenlight something that drives me buggy. I’m happy to shrug my shoulders or greenlight lots of other things I’m neutral on, or things that don’t actively make me think of nails-on-chalkboards. Otherwise, I’m pretty sure we can come up with something everyone’s happy about.

Besides – how awesome does THIS look?!!

I can’t decide which of the new Stranger Things is my favorite: Hopper with his mug of coffee (to go with his contemplation), or Eleven with her Eggos and smudges of coffee, or Dustin with his Ghostbusters gear?Gracie might lean towards Hopper because she also did this thing with her lightboard, clearly proving that I am Raising Her Right:

Funko4

Yep. That kid is definitely a keeper.

Gracie had an extra Joyce (silly Santa, forgetting which he’d already picked up), which we were going to exchange, but then someone took it out of its box and recycled said box. So. I decided to keep it, paragon of feminist barely-keeping-it-together-but-don’t-EVEN-go-after-her-kids Mom of the Year that she is. This particular Funko Joyce is Season 1, and is carrying a ball of Christmas lights, hoping they’ll lead her back to Will. And so…I did a little thing to fix it. I present…

Funko5

Am I right?!!

Awesome feminist moms aside, once Gracie’s display issue was settled, we did also repaint her wall, as promised. I know it’s a little anti-climatic, but I *do* love the way the peacock blue pops, and I know it’ll match her gold-white-peacock blue color scheme to a T.

I still miss the purple, but it’s her room, I don’t hate the blue, and I can repaint my own room in purples and greys, now that the nearly-robin’s-egg-blue color experiment is officially dead. (Hey, it still beats painters-white.)

Not a huge reno project, but sometimes it’s the small things, guys.

Just call me hopalong.

January 22, 2018

It’s kind of funny really.

Every time I’ve injured myself running, if I’ve done the responsible thing and had it looked at right away (when such things seem to be called for), I get the “oh, it’s badly sprained” response, a bit of side-eye (as if I should have known) and sent on my way. Last week, after rolling my ankle…and, um, sprawling flat on my face in true Katie fashion…I used rest, elevation, ice, and all the Tylenol my kidneys could safely ingest to keep moving.

By the end of the week, my foot was feeling much better – unless it was in a shoe, and then only the one shoe I could stand to wear. The bruising started spreading to new places (perhaps because of the pressure from the boots?), and I was starting to wonder if maybe I should have it looked at.

Yep, I snapped my fifth metatasal. And by snapped, I mean fractured. Not split clear in two – thank god. Still: busted foot. Two weeks into my new Couch-to-5k Sanity Redemption training program I’d started. Right after a reprimand for having too many doctors’ appointments. For which I told my co-workers I would gladly take a Patriots’ L on Sunday if it meant that some of the craziness would simmer down already. The trade for which I was trying to console myself when my team was losing for most of the game, but it’s hard to take an L at any point, especially to a Tom Coughlin team.

The Pats won. My foot’s still busted, and I couldn’t exactly hop around the room with joy, but you know, whether or not it’s an omen of the karma surrounding me for the next week or two, I’m just going to take my small victories where I can find them. A game won. A small blog post written. A bone fractured, not snapped. I’ll heal.

Current parenting mode.

January 11, 2018

Gracie-girl got all the Funkos for Christmas. Seriously: she had most of the Harry Potter ones from before. And for Christmas she got Stranger Things everything. Including two Joyces. So she gave me one.

And I fixed it.

Joyce

Because me right now.

January 2, 2018

Resolutions. I have issues with the concept. To resolve is to promise of ourselves – a beautiful concept, a flowery phrase, the give very best of intentions and of ourselves – but for me it’s also a concept that bodes of anxiety and constant worrying about whether I’m doing enough, whether I am enough. [Hey, you know what? More people should be honest about this. I’m not saying everyone feels this way; I’m saying that some people do. I do.]

So my resolutions are offered lightly. They’re goal I’m aiming for, not hills I’m willing to die on. And you know what? As I check in with myself, they might change. So be it.

That said, here’s what I’ve been thinking about…

I resolve to try to stay more organized. Santa brought me a giant tote bag for Christmas. I have a small wallet I can grab to run into a store, so I’m not pissing off my chiropractor by carrying around this behemoth all the time. It has my planner, the book I’m reading, a pouch for semi-essentials (hair ties, chapstick, etc.), pens for my planner (those obviously need a pouch), my iPad if I’m going somewhere to work, room for my lunch bag… This way I’m not walking into work carrying eight different bags. I feel so much more together!

 

I resolve to bullet journal, even if it’s a little more work, instead of running off to Erin Condren to bail me out. It’s a lot cheaper to use the $10 journal I found and practice some of the hand-lettering than it is to order a fancy pre-sorted journal. And look at the cool layout I’ve already designed!

BuJo

 

I resolve to focus on my writing. I’ve made such wonderful strides in 2017 – perhaps the only good thing to come out of 2018 – and it’s something I want to continue and grow in 2018. I’ll keep smashing through the connections I’ve already made, submitting writing and strengthening ties, and I’ll reach out to new organizations and opportunities. My confidence in myself has always been there, I know I am a catch…I’m starting to think my writing is worthy, too.

Lastly, I resolve to get rid of the damn clutter! My house is currently a disaster zone, and while normally it doesn’t bother me, it’s starting to. I understand that I’m a single mom and I prioritize making sure our family unit is strong, my girls are taken care of, and we take care of each other first and the house second. How.ever. The house is starting to look like something from Annihilation, and so now it’s a bit of a priority. I’m going to read a book on minimalism, and then a book on hygge, and in between all the lines, I’m fixing my dang house. And keeping it fixed. Bit excited about it, too.

If you’re one to make resolutions, blessings and patience on you and yours! Let me know what you’re working on, because I’m so curious about this resolution thing – I’m always looking for unconventional ones. And if you’re not – good on you! Don’t let anyone pressure you otherwise. And to all – HAPPY NEW YEAR! We made it through 2017. Let’s smash and resist our way through 2018!

 

Five for Friday.

December 8, 2017

Morning, everyone! Let’s launch right into it, shall we?

1. The elephant in the room: I know I haven’t been posting lately. I’ve struggled with depression on and off throughout my life and because of some serious (but not permanent, please Universe) financial difficulties, it’s been hanging around again. When I get deep into the weeds like this, I really can’t write. Especially when I’m asked to create engaging, witty, and entertaining content before coffee. Right? Gawd! No wonder I’ve been without words for so long! But there it is. I promise I’m fighting the good fight and I’ll be back again. I haven’t hung up my sign for good.

2. It snowed last night in Austin and San Antonio. Those who I’m friends with on Facebook know I’ve been excitedly posting about the snowflakes/sleet/wintry mix promises our fickle weathermen have been promising all week. And then taking back because they’re GIANT LIARS!!! Instead, our snow went south and how unfair is that?! I’ve been asking my friend who travels back and forth to a weekend place atop a mountain in Colorado to make a snowman for me, even if it’s a tiny 4″ snowman because they’ve only gotten a dusting. My friend refuses. I. WANT. SNOW. !!!

3. Gracie-girl decided to reclaim her closet and I have a hallway full o’ stuff for me to re-home this weekend. Can you hear my underenthusement? (Is that a word?) It’s not an unreasonable request. The girls shared a room growing up. When Jeff and the Xman moved in, it made more sense for the Xman to share a room with Bee, on the two nights every fourteen days when they’d both be home, and let the girls have their own spaces the rest of the time. Otherwise it would be the girls sharing space all the time, and an empty room for 12 days out of every 14. The Xman was far, far too badly behaved to make that a craft room/Xman’s room to reclaim some functionality. And so we moved Gracie into my craft room. I hastily moved some things so Gracie could hang up her clothes. But I left all the photo albums, scrapbooks, folding chairs, wire shelving unit, and piles and piles of stuff we needed to store and had no other room for. Last weekend Gracie decided she wanted to make it a small office, so she cleared everything out (except the folding chairs – they had to stay) and piled it all in the hallway. I suppose I should, you know, move it. I guess.

4. Bee has been running an underground Slime Business at her school. For the past four months. Yes, this will be a separate blog post. No, I didn’t find out because she went to jail. TL;DR – I need suggestions for an Etsy store name for her to transition into life on the up-and-up.

5. I had a rather successful book haul at the library yesterday! Nine novels, one autobiography. I chose one that someone recently RAVED about on Twitter, but hell if I can remember who it was (and they aren’t ‘fessing up…). The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, by Taylor Jenkins Reid. I grabbed it, thinking it would either go up in flames (and then I could greedily move on to the next book-victim in my pool of contenders….) or I’d fall in gloriously and have all evening to hoover it up. I didn’t have all evening, but I did start thinking it might be one of my Best of 2017; it’s too early for me to say for sure, I’m only about a quarter-way in, but I did volunteer to take shifts covering the receptionist’s breaks today because they let you read up there. I can’t wait to tell you how the rest of my curiosity voyage goes!

And there you have it. A genuine blog post. I hope to have some more for you very soon!

Fixing my very long day.

October 18, 2017

It’s been a long, crazy week at ThePlaceThatShallNotBeNamed. The kind of long, crazy week that makes you get into someone else’s car at the end of the day, thinking it was yours – but that’s a story for another time.

Tonight, I did a little thing on a whim.

I did this:

IMG_4821

The picture’s kinda dark, and I was trying to be all funky (and make the mess seem, I dunno, cooler) by tilting everything, but that picture there on the wall? That is the kind of crazy thing I did to cheer myself up. I rather like it.

I got the picture for Christmas two years ago. If you can’t quite make it out, it’s a silhouette of Roland from Stephen King’s The Dark Tower standing in front of his Dark Tower, holding a rose. I paid gobs of money to have it professionally framed…and then let it sit on my floor collecting dust. It’s what I do. But when Kim was here in August, we did this thing where we rearranged my room rather dramatically, and the desk I stole back from Gracie really makes the end of my bedroom look so bookish and there was just the right amount of room for Roland to go over my chair, right there next to the door. Don’t you think?

I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this works.

I’ve tried this before. Two weeks ago I slapped on some Command hangers, pulled out my handy little level, and secured the picture to the wall. Or…I thought I secured it. Two hours later, I was screaming, popping out of bed, and pretty sure someone was trying to murder me. Thank god my light was still on and I was reading. Otherwise….yeah, let’s not go there.

So! Tonight when I decided at far-too-late-o’clock that a second attempt was necessary, I attached 152 more Command strips (2 probably wasn’t enough before, even if they were huge and extra duty)(yeah, I hear the jokes; shut up), dragged out my level, and tried again.

Have I mentioned how much I like my picture? Up on the wall? It’s like that is a fancy new thing I’ve started – hanging pictures on walls. I’ll try not to go too crazy – I only have 12 more Command strips anyway. And oh, I can only think what kind of blog hits I’ll get off that search term.

Meanwhile, I have a pretty new picture and I took control of the end of my day. Good-o.

 

No mac & cheese for you!

October 11, 2017

This is why I’m not adventurous. I have been doing so well lately though; I summoned the courage to apply for a writing gig at Book Riot – and was asked to become a contributing writer. (Something I am still squeeing over!) That helped give me the courage to apply to a few other jobs I’d previously thought about, but thought more of as “reach” opportunities. I haven’t heard back, but that’s not keeping me down. A publishing company has reached out and asked me to write reviews for them, which…I can’t even begin to describe the rush that gave me! Several exclamation points worth.

All of that is to say, I wanted macaroni and cheese for dinner, but didn’t have the smoked cheese on hand I’d need to make the homemade kind. That was no problem – or at least not that big of one – because I had the “good” kind of boxed mac&cheese: Cracker Barrel. Still, boxed is boxed. Because I’m chock full of confidence from all these crazy ego-boosters lately, I had the courage to try a food hack I’d heard was simply amazing. And that’s when the wheels came off the wagon. Because: my life, really.

I searched sites for what this mysterious ingredient was that I remembered reading in some Buzzfeed article (or somewhere like that), and happened upon some food hacks site that offered up the answer: mustard. No wonder I had been intrigued. The problem is that my trusted Buzzfeed author (I wish I could remember both who to credit and to blame for my predicament) swore by the funky-sounding change and bet that you would never go back once you tried it.

So I figured out how much prepared mustard I should use since I didn’t lack the foresight to buy dry mustard for any odd, late night kitchen cravings I might one day have, and got to work. I tell ya – I was feeling so good, so sure of my outcome, that I even used the lifehack where you put your collander inside the pan and drain the macaroni through it backwards. (Spoiler alert: that part worked!)

I added the cheese pouch and stirred away, getting a nice creamy, cheesy finish in no time. Then…readers, I wavered. I very nearly didn’t go through with it. I had taken a bite and it tasted delicious to me, so was I really going to chance ruin this tasty, tasty dinner…?

I was.

But rather than add 1 Tablespoon of prepared mustard, as called, I just sprinkled some straight from the bottle over the top of the pan, then stirred it in, vigorously. I didn’t want to accidentally bite into a pocket of just mustard. Blech.

I took a bite and…well, it was interesting. I could taste the mustard, but I thought that might be because I was thinking about it. I took another few bites, thinking I could at least eat what I’d made, even if I already knew I wouldn’t be making it again. The mustard taste was a little too strong. And that’s with hardly any in it! I carried my mug of milk and my bowl into my bedroom to finish the project I was working on and…yeah, I couldn’t even make myself sit down. With every spoonful of mac-mixture I ate, the more I knew I couldn’t keep eating. This just wasn’t for me.

SadKatie was Sad that she had ruined an entire box of “good” mac&cheese that she could have eaten for dinner. But then she realized that she had been adventurous, tried something new, done something fun instead of sitting on her kiester, gotten a bloggy story out of it, and cleaned the kitchen while she waited for her dinner.

Then, Readers, I fixed it with a pan of steak fries for dinner, so ha ha on YOU, mac&cheese!

MacAndCheese

30 Days of #Readathon: Drinks.

September 27, 2017

It’s been a whirlwind kind of week, and I feel like I forgot to tumble out of the floo about six stops ago, but here I am and here we go!

As you might have heard, Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon is celebrating 10 years of readathoning excellence, and to get us all worked up to read all night (ha! like we need motivation!), Dewey’s fantastic hosts have decided to launch a “30 Days of Readathon” countdown. Each day has a theme; you get to decide how to tackle each theme. You can post blogs, snap pictures, record videos, host podcasts – hey, who wants to teach me how to Instagram? The point is, the how is up to you. The what is books, obviously. Why? Because you’re wickedly, wonderful insane, just like the way we like!

Today’s topic is drinks. Had I pre-planned a little, I could have gotten a little sloshy last night. In the name of blogging, of course. Alas.

Instead, when I popped my eyes open, wide-awake at 5 a.m. this morning, I used the time to – well, first check the theme and then to plan my attack. I decided to go with my bookish mugs. Look – all patiently waiting to be filled with The Coffees so I can maybe stay awake later.

BookMugs

A few of my favorites are missing – my orange Penguin Pride and Prejudice; my Mischief Managed; my I like BIG BOOKS and I cannot lie mug… But these are still all of my favorites, too. Who can resist Bartleby? I know I would prefer not to. (Sorry. See earlier comment about waking up at 5 a.m. I can’t help myself.) And the Harvard Bookstore mug that warns I am hot and literate? Literal fire.

So! Now it’s your turn! Go forth and show me your frothy bookish drinks. Oof, I did not mean that to sound nearly as dirty as it did…

Thowback Thursday, Sunday Night version. (Remember Sunday Night Meltdowns?)

September 25, 2017

Quite a few friends of mine have just had babies or are about to have babies, and so I’ve found myself in the middle of conversations lately where I’m the Official Extender of Hope. Don’t worry. They’ll sleep soon – and so will you. They won’t always be toddlers. You’ll get to be a person, too, very soon. Because I looked up one day and my little toddlers, my loving little energy-drainers, were teen- and tweenagers! How did that happen?! Not to say teens aren’t without their own problems. They certainly are. Just…different ones from toddlers.

With toddlers? The brand of person my friend lovingly refers to as tiny terrorists? It used to be that by the end of the weekend, the bastion of hope that our time together enforcing rules and refusing sleep, the symbol of Sunday Night we lovingly referred to as Sunday Night Meltdowns. Without fail. Either the toddlers hosted the meltdowns because mom is nothing by unfair all the time. ALL THE TIME! Or else I was the one snapping and crying because I was never going to get a break. Never, ever, EVER.

My kids had just about eased out of the phenomenon when we were graced with the Xman. And hoo boy – then I really learned the meaning because Sunday Night Meltdowns lasted all weekend long.

Then, last Fall, that problem was quite suddenly solved. And if I grieved over losing the person I thought might have been The One, it was soothed a little by also losing the constant battles.

Last night, though, we had a throwback Sunday night.

Gracie started it. She texted me to celebrate our win and as thrilled as I am to know she’s following football from home, I thought maybe she was going to ask to come home early. Alas. So I was already a little sad when she texted about an hour later to see what we were having for dinner. That’s when it really began. Chicken? She didn’t want chicken! They just had it for lunch! And for dinner last week! And she hated chicken! [Uh, that is almost verbatim. I am so not hyperbolizing for once.] I snapped back that when I made pasta – our household cheat meal – they had both complained too! No matter what I cook, everyone complains!

At least she had the grace to keep her mouth shut.

Bee-girl started in when she got home. She didn’t like dinner. (That one I was expecting.) She didn’t want to go grocery shopping when I was done. (I was expecting that too – usually I’ve gotten that done during the day and we just netflix and chill after dinner.) But you know what? Thems the breaks. And when mama says to stop whining? Stop. Whining. And if you don’t have the sense to do that? Then you better definitely stop if she threatens to take away privileges.

Privileges were lost. In fact, the girls were lucky to escape with their lives by the end of the evening. They sniped all night about the tiniest little things that were bothering them. They kept trying to boss each other and one-up each other while we were out. I very nearly put my 11-year-old in Time-Out in the middle of Target!

Of course, by the time we got home and bedtime was near, the girls saw the light. Gracie made the peanut butter no-bake squares she’d talked me into buying. Bee-girl waited until five minutes before bedtime to start making her lunch for today – something I had stopped reminding her to do because she’s been buying lunch.

It was a little too late. Gracie tried to recoup bedtime by offering to play cards with me – something that nearly always works. Bee even offered to have a sleepover – something she knows I’m a sucker for after a weekend filled with scary dreams [sidebar: do not see Mother – it’s horrible and irrational in a completely unfun sort of way].

In short, I was glad to see the night end. And only slightly surprised when I saw a text from Bee-girl this morning…

Bee: Mom, I grabbed your lunch by mistake.

I’m making my sacrifices to the Gods of Monday Morning right now, before the rest of this morning slides down the incinerator shoot…