Friday, February 05, 2016

Dear Julian

Your cat

misses you so much

that he hides in your clothes

to wait for your return

Monday, February 01, 2016

Barbie Thoughts

So they're coming out with new Barbie dolls. They've added petite, curvy and tall body types.  While I laud anything to promote positive body image in girls I'm starting to feel a little weird about it.  Because I look at these new dolls and maybe I find myself identifying with one, to see which I match up with. And then I feel weird like, do I need Barbie to look like me? Do I really identify with a Barbie doll?  I never did before. I wasn't a huge Barbie fan when I was a kid;  I had two or three.  I played with them at my friends' house.  But I don't remember ever thinking, "why aren't MY legs nine feet long? This giraffe neck isn't reflective of my body shape at all.  Oh that I had long strangely shiny yet coarse, rug-like blonde hair."   I just never identified with them in any other way than, this is a play thing.  This is a doll and this is what this doll looks like.  And frankly her freakishly long legs help you to hold onto her.

And I feel like it's kind of sad to place or compare how one views oneself with a doll. Maybe that's not the direction we should be taking in instilling these things in young girl. And if they need a doll to help them feel better about themselves, there must be better ways.   It's like, why don't all cars look like my Hot Wheels? I'm super bummed about that and feel bad about my crummy Honda. (Joke, Luv you 4-ever, Black Taxi)

Does this make any sense? How do other people feel about this?  Is it maybe just a little silly?    It just never occurred to me to want to look like Barbie because, once again, she's...a... doll. And, you know, I'm not. 

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Nothing Rhymes with Orange

Every once in a while, I find myself inexplicably speaking in rhyme.  It's like a silly sickness, a rhyme virus, a joke disease, like "i caught the giggles."  Or something.  It comes and goes and when it comes I am amused and sort of try to see how far I can take it in my normal speech pattern. I don't think too hard, i just see what i can spontaneously do.

The other day I woke up in such a state.  Julian and I were downstairs at breakfasttime and I gave him the impossibly difficult task of peeling his own orange.  You may think I'm joking but this wasn't a clementine or similar sized miniature citrus, it was a normal, regular-sized orange. AKA massive, and a feat for the ages.  Even eating these things is a perilous venture. The slices are huge and we all take turns choking on it if we're not careful. Regular oranges are freakish to me.

The orange-peeling battle carried on through several of my morning kitchen chores and I urged him not to give up, not to surrender to the beast. The dialogue and accidental rhyming went as follows:

JULIAN: I can't do this! It's too hard!

JEN [jumping in to help]:  Keep going, we're at the end.  Piece by piece, bit by bit, just as long as you don't quit.

JULIAN: I always quit when I can't do something.

JEN: Well that's a shame.  You'll never know what you can do if you keep quitting before you're through.

HAHA!  How annoying is that. I probably could have kept going but then I'd have had to punch myself.  It was totally accidental I swear. Only in the split-second if I thought I could find a rhyming word, did I choose it.  Anyway, it was all so dumb I had to write it down. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Mountain Sledding

I have a deep powdery love for sledding that crystalized in the early dawn of my youth. You could say I've had some serious pivotal sledding moments in my life. Click the link to read of one in particular. And whenever I go I feel that same important feeling. It's a feeling, you, this here, what i'm doing now, you reflect a big piece of me. The kind of feeling where the  the identification of which makes one feel a little bit more whole.

This weekend we threw on our winter garb yet again--can I tell you how wonderful it is to dress in winter clothes recreationally?? as opposed to "because i'm stepping outside my house for any reason"???-- and made for the mountain pass.  The weather in the valley was wet and drearisome but in the mountain realm all was white and fluffy and magical.  I love that, for the most part, it stays untouched in the mountains.  You have more time to enjoy it. It hangs on just a little bit longer, for you. 

We had gone up a few days before and snowshoe'd on a cross country ski path.  It was glorious because there were at least a baker's dozen feet of snow up in them hills.  Julian has his own little shoes and used them for the first time. He loved it. We all did.  We'd pull off to the side and play in the snow a bit, climb some rocks, cheerfully hang our lives in the balance as we edged to the river. Built tiny snowmen with all the snow you could ever need.   We passed a lot of people, or they passed us, but it wasn't too crowded and everyone is just so happy to be out enjoying winter like it ought to be enjoyed.

This time we opted to leave the shoes in the trunk and walk along the path with the sled instead.  The path went up and down and we sledded down what we thought we could imagine to be a slope of any kind. I'd jump on the sled and slide down. If Julian was fast enough he'd jump on my back, or I'd jump on behind him. Like this:

You can't see him; he is there.  It was when we were doing something like this where we hit something and turfed it, knocking heads together, bodies sent sprawling into the white abyss.   Julian was shocked and I explained it was a decent head bump, and an expected casualty of sledding.  He seemed to accept this and wore it for a minute as a snowy badge of honor even though it really did hurt like a mother.

Sean snapped this pic of Julian being cute. If by cute I mean scheming and devious with a giant snowball in his paw.  He got each of us bad a couple of times before we gave in and pummeled him with a true, unabashed, snowball fight. Awww, what? You got a huge one right down your back? Well how'd you like TWO? Ha ha ha ha.  We're fun parents.  Whatever, he deserved it.  Still, he's a cutie:

We passed a snowman we'd made the time before, perched atop his rock, and made our way to a sled trail up the mountainside it looked like someone had attempted but was incomplete. 

I learned something valuable this trip, and it is that I love mountain sledding. It is my favorite kind of sledding.  Why?

1. There's just so much snow. It doesn't melt, at least not like it does around here.  And a lot of it remains untouched. 

2. The combination of speed + danger.  It's like that sagebrush hill from the link. I love having an obstacle course and I love not exactly knowing what course my sled run will take from one time to the next.  The unknown is exhilarating and each millisecond that goes by where you zoom past unfettered, is exciting and you feel a sense of accomplishment.  I was not knocked over by a bush! I did not have to bail out prematurely! I made it this far! I made it to the end!!   These are all the thoughts I have as I sled down the mountain. 

3. Uncharted territory.  The mountains are big and vast. Wild, untamed. No civilized sled trails here. No one's sled (sledded? what the hey? Can sled be a verb?)  here before. We are sledding trailblazers. Along the walk back we'd pick other spots we thought might be good not knowing at ALL what lay beneath us, whether it be tree, rock, empty space, deep ravine, or whatever, but being fairly certain we had a good several feet of snow to support our weight. But boy, it was deep.

Our sled is foamy and super light. I love watching Julian sled. I love watching him have so much fun. But this time I caught the magic of it and my oft-forgotten love of the thrill.  Down this hill were twists and turns, near misses from tree trunks and a steep drop at the end where the finale either slid you across the path almost into the river on the other side unless you slammed on the breaks, or it dumped you out and you landed face first into a cushion of snow with a cold dusty FLOOMPH.   Sean watched me several times and stood in awe. TO quote him:

"You're going SO FAST.  It's like the sled isn't touching the ground and you're not touching the sled. Just Jen in the air."

It's how it felt.

Here are some pictures.
Julian zooming down:

It doesn't look steep but it was, it was steep!

For some reason every time Sean went, alone or with Julian, he couldn't stay on the precarious path and made new ones which angered me. "NO, SEAN! FIX IT! FIX IIIIIT!" Because I loved my deep trench sled path.  But really, watching them get stuck and trudge back up to try again was extremely entertaining: 

watch out, sean--headed straight for that tree.

oh, nope--still aimed at the tree.

Crash! alright, get up and try again. whoop-nope--whoopsy daisy...

ok, back up the mountain. dig out your leg first.

Too fun. On the walk back we checked out another part of the mountain and tried it out. It was crazy steep and also fun but maybe too steep. Lots of treachery going on with that one so we quit before we broke something.

Snowy family pic. I generously let Sean borrow my severe eyebrows hat. He's probably better suited for it as my own eyebrows are already pretty severe.

Mountain panorama. Just beautiful.

Happy trails.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Things of Today

I was sitting at a stool reading and Sean came in to tell me about things he'd been reading.  The latest article was on expiration dates and how they're kind of arbitrary.  Sometimes they're meant for the consumer, sometimes for the store, or the product, or whatever.  Most places don't even have laws that require them except, for example, Montana, where you have to basically toss your milk after five days no matter what.  This is what Sean said to me anyway, or what I heard, as I was 87% listening, because it's really hard to redirect my attention from things especially when they're funny and what I was reading really was-- it was the "see friendship" tab on a friend's FB page and we are hilarious. 

But I was totally 87% into what he was saying.  And I told him,

"I mean, I won't not eat something just because it expired. At least recently. Of course, it depends on the food.  And I agree with you [with what he's said before], when in doubt, just follow your nose."

To which Sean solemnly replied, "you agree with Gandalf, Jen, not with me."

And I just sat, stunned, and laughed.

This morning Julian was eager to help me clean. Once he gets going he is unstoppable.  I don't really know why this is. I wonder if it's because I've lazily deprived him of a regular work schedule so that I fooled him into thinking it's fun and something desirable.  Then again, he gets to use the hand vacuum and who doesn't love that?   He also did dishes, vacuumed with the vacuums large and small, and cleaned his bathroom entirely himself.   At one point I needed to clean the kitty litter and was sweeping the floor. The problem is that kitty likes the broom and comes to attack it. So i needed Julian to vacuum while i was sweeping so as to scare off the cat. Then, I accidentally knocked over the container of litter which was a cat-saster of epic proportions--dumped a huge heap-- and shouted "Keep vacuuming! don't turn it off!!  AAHH keep him away!"  while i hand-scooped it back in the container and then swept the rest for Julian to vacuum.  It was just bananas.

Coming home from school today I was walking alone, thinking my thoughts and soaking up as much vitamin D as I could, when I encountered a Real Live Crazy.  I know! It had been so long.  It was a young guy, maybe a teenaged punk in a tiny red convertible sports car and he was shouting at me in the manner of a World War Z zombie as he passed.  He sounded exactly like that. And he did that all the way down the street.  First I was pleased to meet a Crazy.  Second I was annoyed, like, shut up.  Third, I wondered if he was having a seizure and hope he made it home alright.

And that is what's happened so far today. If anything else amazing takes place I'll be sure to update this post because, wow, what a day already.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Stormy with a C

Hello, friends. It's Friday today and to reward you for all of your hard work, I will share with you a funny story. Here it is:

I was lately chatting with two ladies about names.  Now, as you may know,  I dearly love my 4th most common female name of all time*.  People should like their name. If they don't, to me, that's a big bummer. One of these women I was talking to has two teenage daughters, one of which is named Jennifer. When I found out I cheered, gleeful to learn that people are still naming their children Jennifer. After all, according to this website, though less common now, it’s "still a sweet choice that’s traditional but not dated."  This is a positive statement, though I was hoping that one day it would become cool again as a retro-old lady name.  I'll give it time. When all of us Jennifers are 80, i'm sure that's what's going to happen and babies are being named after their cool grandmothers.  I can wait.

So, this woman named her now teenage daughter Jennifer, because, having grown up herself with an unusual name that was often difficult to pronounce, she wanted to give her a name everybody would know. We all agreed that it's on you to give your child a name that's pronounceable, and not other people's fault if they can't spontaneously pronounce your made-up language.

Side note here:  I am surprised how often it is that people find Julian's name unusual.  It may be no Thomas or Mary but c'mon. It's a legitimate name. And it's not like I named him Gyul'yehn.  Also? They can't pronounce it. People struggle, often calling him "Jillian."  Jillian is a girl's name.  J-[short i sound] -ih-ll-eee-yun. Julian: J-oooo-l-eee-yun. I am patient but perplexed, nonetheless.

But anyway, that got us talking about the weirdest names we'd ever come across.  This is always a fun conversation. My favorite was from the other woman in the group who told us how she came across many strange names in her line of work as a nurse when she worked in the pediatric triage.  A nurse confusedly called out the next patient's name--  "Cuh...Cuh-tormy?" And the nurse was harshly corrected:

"It's Stormy, with a C." 

Yes, friends. Her name is Ctormy.  You know, with a C.  The other spelling. HAHA! I was so delighted.   Stormy is a weird name already. You've already got your unusual name. Did you really have to take it a step further?  Did you?  But they did and this line has been ringing jovially in my brain ever since this conversation.  Also, I've sort of adopted Cuh-tormy as an alias of mine. I'll just add it to the list, shall I.  So funny. 

*according to some random website I clicked on.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Eyeball Superhero

Remember one of my favorite games, the story game? Wait a second, I FOUND it, and it is hilarious. Go read up and come back.

The bad news is that that is still the worst drawing ever of a triceratops.  The good news is that I recently played it again, saved all the drawings and took pictures of them in full.  So let's get to it.

First, I have to say that I've realized I am not amazing at this game. I know, I know. But it's actually true.  I need to figure out a way to come up with good sentences that make sense.  Like the blind kids from the link to the old post. Why would a blind child enjoy a balloon?? I mean, of all things. That's just super sad.  Think, Jen.  Think. 

This time around was the same.  I try to think of ridiculous things but this thing was basically undrawable.  Here it is, my sentence is at the very top:

An eyeball was laughing?? An eyeball?  Nice try, Jen.  After the game we discussed how to depict such an impossible thing.  Sean suggested making the eyeball into a character.  I gave it a go. "Like this?" I asked:

No, Jen.  Not like that. 

Here's Sean's:

We all gave our input but in the end agreed that was pretty good.  I pointed out how the optic nerve looked like a superhero cape and now that's all I can see.  you know-- his little hands...on his hips.  

Ah well. I'll keep trying.

Here's the next one. This sentence belonged to Sean.  I was to his left and was pretty pleased with my depiction. 

There were five of us in all and it happened that we all got the same one we started out with so we all drew on the same stream of our original statements, like Sean here, and the final sentence is my description.   Sean's dummy man made me laugh.

The next one:

We all laughed when Dave realized (afterward) he'd failed to notice the word "dinosaur" for his drawing.  And Sean's line describing the final drawing both makes me bust a gut and my brain explode. 

"He slept well, dreaming of himself listening to a song that made him think about dreaming..."

Ouch..hahahaha...aahhh it hurts... hahahaha.  It's so perfect. That's exactly what is happening there.

I also am not great at my descriptive sentences.  I'm much too literal.  I don't want to stray too far like some might feel inclined to do, but keep to the truth of the actual picture. But I don't need to be boring about it.  I'll just keep practicing. 

This next one is a sentence Nishelle (yes, friends. I have met someone who's named after a Star Trek actor.  As you can imagine, we're buddies already.) took from a man who visited her class(?) who wrote Hallmark cards. That was what he wrote in one of his cards.  Yup.  ???  Apparently his child asked him if it was mean to call someone wise, (I guess he had been called that at school?) and he thought and pondered and realized that yes, yes it was bad. Because blah blah should be innocent..blah blah. If they experience too much it's sad. blah blah. Yeah, I went ahead and explained the whole thing to you. You're welcome.  Here it is!

Excellent elbow patches Sean.  The first drawing on this one made me laugh. Scary scary study demons!  They will get you! And you will never escape them!

There was a fifth one but I guess I didn't snap a pic of it. As a bonus though, here's one from another recent game. I grabbed it and it's been stuffed into my backpack for days so it's a little crumply. Hopefully you can still read it but mostly it's Sean's drawing that SLAYS me. 

Here's a close up of the drawing:

"The hobo laughed when he saw Janet vomit bones and mushrooms in the sandbox." 

Hhahahaha... also EW GROSS !  hahahahahahaha.    The hobo! And his big boots and knapsack! hahaha..  bones and mushrooms.. SICK.  This is now my new phrase for when I feel like I'm going to puke.  Just for an added touch. You can use it too. 

"ohhh man.  I feel like I'm going to vomit bones and mushrooms."   Or, "that makes me want to vomit bones and mushrooms."  Or, if you see something disgusting, simply shouting, "BONES AND MUSHROOMS that is DISGUSTING." 

See? See how vivid that is? See how it makes you want to actually vomit right at this very second?   Oh man, so so funny.   Right in the cute little sandbox all over that sandcastle.

ahhhh man. That's it for this round of the story game.  Until next time...

Thursday, January 07, 2016

New Year Tidings

Happy new year! Does anyone else feel like they've been transported, via ski lift perhaps, to the top of a snowy mountain? And that's sort of how they envision calendars? No? Just me? Life, or a year in one's life is like one big sledding trip. You're scared of what you might crash into or any unforeseen bumps that lie ahead, but it's still so fun to go down.  Hopefully at the end you made it out alive and can just lie there in the stillness, reflecting with a smile on your face on what a good run it was.

Maybe you imagine being at the start of a race? And come Dec. 31 you decide if you won or lost? Maybe you bailed out of the race midway, in June? Or maybe you've come back to the starting point on a neverending loop of life, like the dirty towel loop in public bathrooms, like this one:

Remember those? Aaah, every time I used one I would be like, what's happening to me? why am I doing this?  Guh-ross.

Whatever the case, I like the new year. I don't necessarily make big goals but I do like to start afresh and think about things I might like to accomplish. Sean and I were discussing this and why resolutions are kind of lame. I guess they're lame unless you're dead serious about it. But the pressure is lame.  I'm perfectly content to make winter resolutions, to be more specific--you know, things to just get me through the winter.  It's more my speed.

Winter, which really doesn't start until January because it's charming and magical in December and more pretend, has officially begun.  So far so good for me.  I told you I had never felt more at ease going into a winter like I have this year.  And that feeling has remained.  Glory, glory hallelujah. I'll keep you posted, because I know everyone is constantly wondering what I'm feeling about the weather. This is why I talk about it so much, because I'm astute to that fact.

We rang in an early new year this year.  It looked like this:  Julian watching Wizard of Oz while Sean and I were passed out on the couch.  Then we rigged up a makeshift balldrop in 10 seconds--not because it was almost midnight, because it was about 9pm.  I don't know why, to be honest. But it looked like this:

The ball is actually a fur hat of mine, so really it's a furball.  And we dropped it where it touched the box with the 2016 sign Julian made and we made noise with instruments like kazoos, whistles, tiny cymbals, etc. Then we cheered the 9pm new year with  a bubbly drink that made us all instantly gassy and sent ourselves to bed.  I like parties and even new year's parties but no good can come from staying up just for the midnight hour.  If I'm going to be watching Downton Abbey until then-yes. fine.

In case you were wondering, our Christmas was very nice.  I didn't make everyone go on a Christmas morning walk before presents like I had planned.  Only because it was negative a million outside and a hundred inches of snow. Christmas Eve snow--best thing ever.  My purpose for the walk was to have some Christmas calm before the gluttonous rush. But, turns out we didn't even need it.  It was very calm and low key. We were determined to scale back this year and we were successful, I think. Happy day for that. Julian finished his presents and happily handed out others, including all of his possessions he had wrapped in printer paper 6 weeks prior.  We found our cat, by the way.  We just did it. We found him and bought the supplies and jumped in. We put him in his carrier under the tree and when Julian saw him he fake fainted which was pretty great. He is the CUTEST little thing in the WORLD. And yep, I am now a person who's going to post cat pictures. Of my cat. My super interesting, ray of sunshine, noteworthy cat. Because he is. All of those things.

His markings are so cool and mysterious. We believe they are some kind of ancient runes, the significance and meaning of which will be revealed to us on a day in the unforetold future. When we're ready. We've named him Pepper but don't really call him that.  Julian and I took him to the vet which was new territory for me.  We sat across from a family of three, each holding a dog on their lap.  I filled out an information sheet and laughed when I came to the part that looked like this:

Do you consider your pet:

[]   One of the family

[]  Just a pet

I could have interpreted this to say:

How do you feel about your pet? 

[]   love my pet, is a member of the family

[]   hate my pet and all animals and don't know love

I wasn't sure how I felt, so I put a big question mark right between the two options. I hope I didn't unwittingly file Pepper in the "at risk" category at the office there.

He really is adorable. We're learning how to have an inside pet, something none of us has ever known. But it's so fun to have a furry friend who cleans himself.  And takes naps on our laps.  He bites our ankles but it just keeps us on our toes.  Julian is learning how to be around his cat brother. It's fun to have someone else in the house tease and taunt him so I don't have to carry the role of sibling quite so often. And Pepper is very good at it.  I'm going to stop talking about my cat now.

In other winteral news, we've been snowshoeing but really just me because Julian bailed at the onset, therefore making Sean bail as well.  We'll try again one day but for me it was soooo fun. Just beautiful. Two pics I took:

The heavy boughs weighted down by heaps and heaps of the fluffiest thickest marshmallow snow. It makes me think of the scary weird marshmallow foam boat on Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. It was just everywhere. At one point a friend in our group held the trunk of a tree to steady himself as we shoed down the mountain and it rewarded him by dumping quite a substantial snowfall right on top of his head. It was a sight I was lucky to behold and laughed at his expense, thanking the heavens for giving me that special moment.

So magical, so therapeutic. Nature is medicine. I dragged Julian up again on another day over the break and he was miserable the whole time but I was not deterred from soaking in the magic. And I'll try again and again.

I call these pink mountains majesty. Sean requested I take a pic.  The sunset reflecting off snowy mountains--aaahh! [Hearts for eyes]

Near my house. You had no idea I relocated to the planet Hoth. Neither had I.  Snowy wasteland.

More snowy mountains. They are different every day, at different times of the day. I love them and they love me.

Moving on, remember how we used to make summer lists? No? Here's a link to remind you. Click.

Well today, Julian made a winter list at school and frankly, it is just the best.  Take a minute and see if you can crack his code.  Also, don't forget the illustrative icons to the side (much like the list of summer).  Too dang cute.

He said his teacher let him rip it out of his journal to take home which she never lets anyone do, but he could just this one time.  Yay.

Here they are:

  • drink hot chocolate.  Jrek!   sound it out, it's there.
  • have a lazy day
  • watch tv
  • laser time
  • play chess
  • lego time
  • snuggle
Ohhh my goodness gracious.  Laser time is playing with the laser pointer and probably the cat. So good. So, so good.  Since hot chocolate is a nightly affair for me, we are off to a good start.  I'm fairly certain we'll be able to make it through this whole list. These are some good goals.

Lastly, I gave my mom and myself a Christmas present and I called it a winter tree.  Each year I shake off the last dried dregs of fall by preparing for my new coat of get me through the winter. My pretty snowflakes do this,  and this winter tree is part of that as well.  Here it is.

I wrote a poem to go with it:

The Winter Tree
by )en

The winter tree
Is for you and me
To show us one day
What might be
So in the cold
We'll wait and see
But until then
(Between you and me)
I think I love
The winter tree

This is what I've been calling it, and then the other day Sean mentioned it and called it my white tree of gondor and I was like, WHAT IN THE DUHHH!  Instantly it was obvious and I felt quite foolish.

So I looked it up and though it differs from the actual tree located at Minas Tirith, here's the symbol of it:

Good heavens. I stumbled on this and now know far too much.

So I reshaped my winter tree of gondor. (this is dumb but I don't care):

And now. Now winter can begin.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas 2015

And when they looked back and all around, 
they saw that it really was, after all, a wonderful life indeed.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Eve and the Final Points

Christmas is here.  It arrived on my doorstep in the shape of a hershey kiss-filled candy cane. And a CD. And chocolate and cookies and a Christmas card.

Neighbor gifts are something relatively new for us.  I remember trying something like that the first or second year we were living in NY.  We baked a handful of miniature banana bread loaves and set out to deliver them to people we sort of knew who lived sort of in our neighborhood.  It was nice but I don't think we did it again. It was just too hard.  I sometimes wonder if we should have tried to give them to stranger neighbors but I think that might have been super sketchy of us.  You don't just ring someone's doorbell and hand them a baked good.  Highly suspicious.  This reminds me of when the UPS guy asked me if I had a cat because he had some cat toys in his truck.  What on earth? Does any of that actually mean anything in the literal sense?? I had my doubts, but then I had decent reason because he, as are all UPS guys, was sketchville USA.  My friends have their own stories. We compare and rank them on a scale of sketchiness.  A friend won because her delivery guy wouldn't drop things off unless she was there to pick up. This might sound like protocol to you because isn't that what they do? they leave a slip? But trust me, it wasn't.

And that was my first and completely intentional Christmas Eve point I wanted to make.  Actually i have more to say about it. I have been thinking of neighbor gifts though.  I had an idea to doone this year. I thought it was pretty good and conceded to say that i probably would never actually do it but that the idea alone was sufficient for me (because that's what the point of neighbor gifts are. How creative can you be?)  Here's my idea. I found a bunch of tiny wisks i had bought some time ago for something or other and out it came. We'd sing to them, holding the wisk:

We WISK you a merry Christmas
We WISK you a merry Christmas
We WISK you a merry Christmas
[...and then it took me another day or two to come up with this one]

and present them with a rootbeer with a big smile stuck on it.  I was pretty proud of this until my sister told me of someone who'd left them a rootbeer and a can of chili with the message "wishing you a rootin' tootin' Christmas this year."   Speechless.  

In addition, i've been mulling over this idea of re-gifting neighbor gifts.  We've done it with Christmas cards so why not?  We don't have to buy or compile anything, we give it to someone else and even leave the original tag on it. We wish a neighbor a merry christmas and get to feel good. We go home, they look at the gift, think it came from the name on the tag and they get the credit. Everybody wins.  Except the person who received it of course, because by the end of the month--*whew* (-- that's code for "please no more.")  Am i right.  That said, if you've ever given me a neighbor gift, yours was the only one I really liked. Or maybe one year i'll hand out some Tums.  Little Tummer Boy. 12 Tummers Tumming. 

Point two
, and speaking of cat toys-- where's my UPS guy now?  Getting a cat. We've been talking about it for a while but then were in a sort of weird state of denial about it and forgot but then we'd bring it up and be totally serious, but then "forget" about it.    I've always talked about it.  "one day, when we live in a house, we should get a cat. I totally will. I will get a cat."  And that was years and years.  And then a child came and we'd talk about it with him. And then we found a house and talked about it some more. ANYWAY, the point is, i think we're finally doing it.  I think. The scheduled pick up is tomorrow and we're both a little scared. I think Julian would LOVE a cat, needs a cat-sibling, and we would love it too.  But i don't know how to take care of a cat. I used to but not really because my mom would really do the taking care of business.  I did teach a cat to use a litter box once. I dunno. It feels different now. Having a baby was a big deal but this, THIS is a responsibility that I'm just not sure about.  But we'll see.  We're trying our best to keep it under wraps.  Sean and I were in the kitchen with Julian down in the TV room watching the Jim Carey Grinch and I mentioned another point/worry about "getting a c-a-t."   And Sean said, "Good job spelling the first word anyone learns how to spell,"  which made me laugh.  I am discreet.  

Point three.  We're going to a family thing later and are bringing a pan of roasted root vegetables.  I stood in the grocery store staring at all the roots and asked a nearby lady,

"PSST! which one's the beet?"

She walked over and pointed, "I'm pretty sure that one. I know because we grow those but I don't like them. Why do you even want it?"

Which made me laugh. Her trying to persuade me to just give up on it because it's gross.

I said, "ha ha! 'why would you even want a beet?'  But that says 'turnip' below it! are you sure? I'm roasting a bunch of vegetables. I like beets but i never buy them raw."

She wasn't sure so we called a grocer over and we three beings deliberated over which was the beet, the turnip, and the rutabaga.  No one knew so we called over ANOTHER grocer who set us straight.  (turns out that lady is growing turnips)

This interchange delighted me and apparently all my fun times happen talking to strangers in grocery stores.  I was telling Sean about it later and re-reiterated my point, once again, "I love talking to strangers!"

And he said, "It's the cleanest slate you get with a person. And you decide what's on it."

Which I LOVED.  YES! TRUE, sooo true. Beautiful. Perfect.

And he continued, "All they know is what you look like and what you choose to say."  Both of these things can work in or out of your favor.  But it's true, I think that's why i love it.  Having a funny moment with someone about just one thing, just one time, is exhilarating.

Point four. Picture time. They are of random things that have been making me extra happy this Christmas and you need to see them too.  First, my Bentley Snowflakes.  

I cried when they went up.  Staring at them is pure therapy.

And staring at this is pure rapture.

I dreamed this wall. I told Sean it was all i wanted.  And i did it. I made it happen. It's just what i wanted. 

Handsomest Christmas booger around:

Julian did NOT want Hedwig on the top. He's a bit of a traditionalist and wanted the star but he was overruled.  We thought this would be as fun and magical as last year but guess what, 6-year-olds gain a hundred pounds since the last year. Hang in there, Sean!

Christmas lights on a house--whaaaat?  Outside decoration was new and scary. So we focalized on a specific location--the tree. Paying proper homage to our tree idol. 

Our party was great. Tons of fun. And tons of FOOD.  Look at all the food. I loved heaping all of the food out onto the table. Actually i wish i could say that was all of it.

At this party we had sweater cookies to decorate. One friend won the prize.  She patterned this cookie after an actual sweater. Of her grandmother's.  WIN. 

Just wanted to say thanks for reading and checking in during 12 Days.  From all of us here at )en'slog, a very happy holiday to you and yours. 

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

You're a Mean One, Mr. Jench

Not to ruin your Christmas, but I have something a little grinchy to say. I need to say it and then I'll be done. 

  But the thing I need to talk about is food blogs.

Food Blogs. Food blogs.  I once expressed my frustrations to a friend who loves food blogs, desperately trying to understand.  It's one of those things that i do take the time to carefully consider. It's new, it's unfamiliar. It's not something i immediately latch on to, so let's examine why.  Do some experiments. Give it time.  And I have.  And here's my conclusion:

I HATE THEM. I HATE FOOD BLOGS. GRRRRR.  I am certain I am the only one who feels this way and I don't care. I'm saying it anyway.  They are the worrrrst. When I go online and look for a new recipe of whatever the hey, what I really want is to endlessly scroll through 5,000 pictures of the final product taken from different angles, a severe close-up of your perfectly cracked egg and beautifully spilt cinnamon and your random rambling thoughts that may or may not have to do with the epic journey of how your recipe got you to where you are today and all of the memories it stirs up.  

The feelings on this subject, my festering hate feelings, they build...and build.. and build with each scroll of the mouse wheel as I attempt to slog through the blabber to find the ACTUAL RECIPE, and then I'm all a-rage. As if cooking didn't give me those feelings anyway. I'm this close to flying off the kitchen handle which is not a state i want to be in when i'm attempting to make something.  I'm liable to boil two cups of salt or drop the egg shells into the mixer, and THEN WHAT.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Just a Few Little Things

Sometimes I have little moments that remind me how old I am. Generally it bothers me very little.   It may take nothing, just a reminder of my age and i'll have this little jolt of "whoa, that used to feel so old to me," hearing it like I did as a youth or something.  It's like when I was 16 or 17 and heard that Salt Lake City was going to host the 2002 olympics and I tried to imagine what life would be like then. I couldn't even begin to comprehend who I'd be at TWENTY-TWO.  That's like a legit grown-up.  And now I'm THIRTY-FIVE and it can baffle my teenage mind every once in a while. And when I have dreams that I've gone back to my 9th grade geometry class because Mr. Peterson indeed had not seen the last of me, to take a test and just pick up where i left off of expressing my math outrage and always questioning WHY???  And then find myself walking the halls with my "friends" who are actually 14, and when they ask me how I did on the "big geography test" I attempt to know what they are talking about, trying to come off as FOURTEEN.  When I dream those dreams, yeah, I wake up feeling old.

But really, I love my age. I'm ok with getting older, for the most part. Having your body slowly start to fail you, bit by bit, is nettlesome and lame. But I love leaving behind the superficial issues of my youth, for instance, trying to look attractive. It feels more and more pointless as the years go by. I think I eagerly anticipate the old lady years with comfort shoes and mismatched socks. Sounds like a dream!  And being at this place is humbling and freeing. I cut my hair after it being long for most of my life and now have this androgynously short hair and i love it. And it makes me not care about being an attractive woman, I guess because I sort of look like a man. And for some reason, that is fun!  Even when the small child on the bus asked me if I was a man and when I asked why, he said, "because you have man hair... and a man face."   Even when that.  I like my man hair and man face.

Speaking of man things, I took on a manly duty this year.  It happened in the summertime, when Julian and I were out at the creek after Sean had gone up to the house for something.  Julian had to "pee so bad" and, adhering to the strict "small people sit on the toilet" rule in our house, had never actually peed standing up.  But since he's too heavy for me to pick up and hold as was our traditional pee in the park at the curb outdoors style, it was the only option. Oh, because the house was far.  So I took it upon myself and gave my son his first pee standing lesson. It was soooo funny.   I gave him some theoretical suggestions without having any real tips and positioned myself in a "about to pee standing" stance I thought might be suitable. I instructed him the best I could and we stood side-by-side.  His first time was quite successful and we both giggled through the whole thing. Now that's some fine mother/son bonding.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Texts 'n Prezzies

For some reason when I make "text" plural, I add an x on the end instead of an s. Why?? I don't know. But it's happened at least twice.  Textx.  Utter nonsense, and impossible to pronounce. I just hurt myself trying.

More from Suzie. She's really the best at texting. She should market herself. I know I'd pay to get her textx.  AAAAH!

Here's a close up of that picture.  It's a moon man with the words "finders keepers."  YES.