Dec 30, 2008

Now See Here...

Piggybacking on my post from the other day, I wanted to link to this post by iMonk. He articulates very well some of the frustrations I've encountered on my church hunting journey, particularly this year...

Click here

Dec 29, 2008

Awesome Guns of Steel...

I just wanted to brag about my trip to the grocery store. I went in for, like, 2 things but as often is the case I found about 17 other things to pick up while I was there, including somewhat-heavy things like canned peaches (on sale, oh yes). I lugged my little handbasket to the checkout line, where the girl bagging my stuff very kindly asked if I would like a cart to take my things out in.

I surveyed the stash and said, "No thank you, I think I can get it...I take it as a personal challenge." She smiled and said "That's your cardio for the day, right there," and I said "Exactly!" She understood. It was a friggin' love-fest, right there in the checkout line with my canned peaches.

I grabbed my receipt, looped two bags over one hand and three over the other, and gave that initial how-heavy-will-it-be heave. While it wasn't quite like toting two pillows around, nor was it the sort of lading that has one straining and doing the if-I-can-just-make-it-to-the-car-quick-march. In other words, not bad at all. The bagger said "Whoa. Yeah, you've got it just fine." I gave her a smile and was off. I thought briefly about telling her my secret to great strength--toting around a 30-lb 2-year-old all day. Instead, I decided to bask in that very-short moment of feeling stronger than most...

Dec 28, 2008

Plugging In...

I have issues with church. More specifically with church hunting, but since we've pretty well settled on a church here it's not so much church hunting as it is with church plugging in.

I like a lot of the things about our church here. I like the casual, come-as-you-are vibe. I like the music. It's perhaps a bit on the edgy side even for my tastes, but that tells me that they are not afraid of any particular musical style. I like it that they meet in their own facility now. I loved the idea of meeting in a movie theater, but I didn't like the reality of it very much, for no reason other than it was too different than what I'm accustomed to (Sometimes I think I am starting to resemble a stick in the mud). I like that they are into serving the community with no strings attached, and are supportive of other area churches. Indeed, no sheep-poaching there (to use a favorite expression I got from Mrs T).

But then...I dunno. I can think of about 5 things that bug me--minor theological differences, quirks, that sort of thing. In the context of relationship I don't think any of them would be dealbreakers...but we are not yet in the context of relationship with the church, so it's hard to get an accurate perspective. Here my neurosis really rears its head, in the form of an in-depth analysis of every message. I can always find something to disagree with or get defensive about, but the question is whether or not I would react as strongly if we were a little farther in. It's much easier to take everything with a grain of salt when you already know and trust the one who is preaching.

Compounding this is that the pastor is a fairly strong speaker. At times he has a lot of passion and emphasis. In general this is a good thing, but often when he delivers his strongest emphasis and most dramatic pauses, I cringe a little bit at the point itself. There's always seems to be a point where I go "no, I don't have to agree with that; I don't think that's what God says at all." Now if he's just using good speaking techniques and going for the big effect, I can understand that. On the other hand, if he really feels as strongly as it appears about some of his finer points, then maybe the minor theological differences are more of a problem than they normally would be. I don't know.

Further throwing a wrench into the mix is the increasingly-obvious fact that the pastor is introverted, and not necessarily interested in connecting with individuals. I am an introvert, and I don't particularly care for connecting deeply with everyone and their brother, so again I can totally understand this. The church is structured so that there are places and people with which to connect, so that people can be taken care of while the pastor is freed to do his pastorly things, which in this case seem to be preaching and overseeing the whole shebang. The problem here is that, having exchanged maybe 2 words ever with him, I don't really know where he's coming from as an individual, so I'm not yet sure how much I can trust his leadership. I know he's a good orator--Toastmasters would be pleased. I know that he and his wife are extremely hip and cool when it comes to distressed jeans and other edginess indicators. I know that he is the head of this baby church that has grown to over 500 in its one year of existence, and that he well aware of how uncommon this is, and is highly grateful for the whole thing.

That said I don't really know what makes him tick. What sorts of things has he encountered on his journey to give him his particular bents, and what are his essential points when it comes to talking about God. And I'm not sure I'm in the place to ask those sorts of questions of him personally. In fact, I'm pretty sure I'm not. I would certainly feel defensive if someone came at me, looking more than a little bothered, and asking those sorts of things of me. Granted, I'm not in charge of an entire church, but still...I'm pretty sure I'm not in the proper state of mind to ask those things graciously and fairly, anyway.

Thankfully, the church has venues for such questions, and even has a catchy name for everything they do. Last week we attended the Tour, a little lunch shindig aimed at newcomers wanting to get acquainted with the place, and in two weeks they will hold what they call the Partnership class, where they talk about membership, and folks can ask more hardcore and/or theological questions and such. So that's our next step.

I have a lot of fears about plugging in here. I have a lot of fears about plugging in anywhere. What I would love is to go to a church and get a special feeling or instinct that it is home for the next 4 years, church-wise. I don't know if that exists for everyone, and I'm not sure it's fair to ask of a place before we've taken the time to plug in. Maybe my expectations are skewed in one direction or the other, or maybe I need to eat more iron-rich foods or something. Out of the churches we've visited, it does seem to be the best fit for us as a family, even if it might not be where I'd end up as an individual. But then again, maybe it is exactly where I'd end up; I dunno. What confuses me is that there are so many factors influencing my judgement at present, that I don't really trust my judgement. Hard to take that and make a solid decision.

I think the thing that sits heaviest with me is that, when all is said & done, to me it just feels like "doing church." Looking around during the service it is obviously not this way for a whole bunch of people, so it's highly likely that this is more of an indicator of the things I'm feeling about church lately, rather than the perspective from which this church is ministering.

I haven't seen any red flags, so that's a start. Still, my overall gut-feeling is one of discomfort. I don't see anyone else walking around in apparent bondage or oppression, but somehow I come away feeling neurotic pretty much every time. And I hate feeling neurotic. But again, I know my perspective is skewed, so it's hard to sort out much of anything. Ho-hum.

I think the next few weeks will be telling, what with the membership class and the new series they're starting up. The name of it is something like "21," which is borrowed from black-jack's perfect hand. The video trailer (yes, they do those here) has taunting little phrases like "living each day like the perfect day." I'm suspicious, but we'll see the angle they take...

Dec 19, 2008


This week I’ve got the truth on the brain. I’m all for the truth—I think people should tell it, and embrace it, and love it. I much prefer being around people who aren’t afraid to tell the truth and tell it straight. I often say I would much rather know the hard truth than have to find out for myself. When the Cat Daddy was going through missile training this summer, my good friend whose husband had been a missileer told me stories about their experiences and you know what? Being a missileer is hard. It’s a hard job that’s hard on the family. At times she would be apologetic and say “I hope I’m not scaring you too much. Maybe I shouldn’t tell you so much,” but I said, “Oh no, I would much rather know what to really expect going in.” I meant it then, and I’ve been grateful ever since. It doesn’t keep me from fussing about the hard things, but it’s that much less painful to have known what was coming. I really think it makes it easier to adjust, and adapt, and other such things you learn in “Who Moved My Cheese?”

The problem is that, as much as I value the truth and straight talk, when it comes to telling the hard or unpleasant truth, I have a really hard time just coming out with it. Even with straight talk I do think there’s value in being as sensitive as possible, and since I do not have the natural gift of tact, I often take time to consider my words carefully. Problem is, I can overdo it and go from telling the truth in love to beating around the bush or avoiding the hard parts altogether.

In fact, twice within the past week the Cat Daddy has said to me, on separate occasions, “Skerrib, don’t be afraid to tell the truth.” To which I winced and replied, “I don’t know how to say it,” and he said, “Just say the facts. They are just the facts; they are neutral. People’s responses are up to them.”

See, this is why I love the Cat Daddy. He is so smart!

Sometimes I remember all of this, and can speak up and say hard things when necessary. But not always, and especially during times of major transition. Which would be this entire year. Meh.

This is because I have issues. “What’s that,” you say, “you, Skerrib? You have issues? No!!!” I know, I know, but it’s true. I often underestimate people, and worry that they won’t be able to handle hearing the straight truth. Having encountered this at points along the way, for some reason I assume it’s true of everyone.

Which it’s not, and I know that’s the case…but something about transition makes me go all random. Which means that issues tend to resurface during these times, and have to be dealt with again (and again, and again, and again…). Meh.

I’m tired these days, I think, from the transitions that just won’t quit. I did know this sort of thing was coming. Our last year and a half or so in Mass was a time of rest. Obviously there were changes—His Highness being the biggest one—but for whatever reason it was a calm season in life. I knew it at the time, and I enjoyed it, because I also knew that it would only last for a time. So like I mentioned before, I’m not shocked or caught off-guard, or anything. Just tired.

I do know from experience that my energy will come back. Not to sound pessimistic--because I really am not being pessimistic—but that will probably happen sometime around next summer. In the meantime though, when I get tired, life gets trimmed to the basics. Eat. Sleep. Exercise. Keep the kid and dogs alive. Don’t blow up or burn down the house. And tell the truth, even when it’s hard.

Write that down, kids…

Dec 15, 2008

When You Turn Two...

You try to swipe your cake...

You use the stepstool to get into things while Mom's not looking...

And your dog follows suit...

Hooray for His Highness!!

Dec 14, 2008

Arctic Blast Church...

The Cat Daddy is working today, so His Highness and I are heading to church on our own. We've been getting into the habit of going to the earlier (9am) service, which I now understand is a fantastic option for families with small kids. We get up, we go, we get out way before the naptime-crankiness, and we have the rest of the day to do Sunday-things.

In contrast to my subversive church hunting habit of showing up late and hightailing it out, now that we've more or less settled on a church, we've (meaning I've) also been trying to get in the habit of being on time. I do like to be on time; I'm just not very good at getting out of the house. It usually takes me at least two attempts before I feel I have everything I could possibly need while away from home for two hours.

His Highness and I did a fantastic job of getting ready this morning, right up until the last few tasks, like shoes and such. In the end it was late enough that we'd've been a little late. Not a lot, just a touch. It then occurred to me that we had another option--wait for the second service. So we decided to do that.

And do you know why? Because it is -11 degrees outside. Let's write that in words: Minus. Eleven. Degrees. If we're lucky, it might be up to five by the time we get to church. The projected high for the day is twelve. Twelve degrees. If it were warmer (like maybe, I dunno, 30?) I might've tried to muscle through and make it to first service. But not today--sometimes the cold just sucks the motivation right out.

Time to pull out the parka. Oh yes. Time to pull out the parka. And I'd better start the car so we can leave in 20 minutes...

Dec 10, 2008


Looks like I am to be increasingly outnumbered in my family. And we have to start looking for a boy name we can agree on...

Dec 9, 2008

My New Favorite Christmas Song...

Those of the more sarcastic persuasion will want to click over & visit Stacy From Louisville. Her comments alone at Stuff Christians Like caused people to demand en masse that she start her own blog. She was kind enough to oblige.

Anyway, I swiped this from her post on the song "Christmas Shoes." If you like the song it's probably better NOT to read the post itself, unless you have an awesomely awesome sense of humor about might want to go look at pictures of kittens & other furry delights instead.

You'll like the video either way though...

You Really Want to Know??

Today I would like to lament the fact that, while I am quite healthy overall, when I do have to go to the doctor it tends to involve symptoms and/or parts of the body that can be a little awkward to talk about. Now don't anybody freak out, I'm not talking STD's or anything. Just run-of-the-mill maladies that, unfortunately, require the utilization of a paper gown or some variant for a proper examination. Past and present nursing moms and women in general can identify here, I'm sure.

One might think that by this point in life I would have finally ridded myself of all sense of modesty and dignity when it comes to healthcare. Like the strangers you encounter in line at the store, who tell you about their recent bout with diarrhea and how it has affected their liver function and intimacy issues. That's always fun. And while it's true that in the process of pregnancy and birth ladies tend to throw propriety to the wind, I somehow managed to run out and grab mine right back after His Highness was born. I'm a total prude when it comes to these things.

Which is actually kind of interesting, because in my younger days I had a tendency to talk about all sorts of bodily functions and issues in front of anyone and everyone (youth group leaders included)--partly for shock value, and partly out of exasperation at instrusive questions like "why aren't you participating in the swimming today?" They asked, so I told them. Oh yes I did. Mandatory fun, my eye.

Let me throw one caveat in here about talking about girl-things with girlfriends--the vast majority of the time it doesn't bother me. First of all because they are people I know. And second, because we're girls and we're talking about girl-things.

And really the thing that bothers me the most isn't the appointment itself as much as making the appointment, where I'm having to talk to a receptionist, or call center agent, or worst of all, the poor, random senior airman who is filling in for the day and needs me to spell the more clinical terms. I say "I need to make an appointment." They say "What do you need to be seen for?" I say "Such-and-such," and think please oh please don't ask for any more details, because any doctor will already know exactly what I'm talking about. But no, they say "And what symptoms are you having," and the poor senior airman says "and can you spell that please?"

And THEN once I'm in the doctor's office the tech says "It says you're here to be seen for such-and-such. Tell me about your symptoms." I already told the receptionist about my symptoms, but no, the tech has to write them down again. This wouldn't be terrible, except after I give a brief description they don't say anything, so I assume they want more detail, and I end up rambling until I sense that they are thinking please oh please don't give any more details, because the doctor will already know exactly what you're talking about.

It's redundant, that's all I'm saying.

The upside of all of this is that, in exchange for some minor embarrassment, I'm not having to be seen for more painful things like bronchitis or broken bones. Kinda makes the paper gown worth it. Almost...

Dec 1, 2008

Enchanted Veggies...

As far as my enchanted state goes, I'm right around the halfway point, but I believe I have mentioned that a few of my yucky first trimester symptoms have been hanging on for dear life. A standard day consists of my feeling normal and/or fabulous until 2pm or so, when I begin to feel a little blah. Not nauseated, exactly, just heartburn-y and not good. Keeping my stomach full helps, but as the day goes on the list of foods-which-won't-make-me-feel-worse dwindles. By the evening the only sure thing is vegetables. This is great for me because I'm eating veggies more than usual, and I'm eating them when I would otherwise be having dessert, to boot. This feels a little tragic because I'm eating veggies more than usual, and I'm eating them when I would otherwise be having dessert, to boot.

All that said, some days are better than others. Some nights the only thing I can do is put the kibosh on the day and go to bed early, but other times I feel halfway decent, and even manage to have a little dessert. I still have yet to eat cake, but my chance came today. Mom-in-law has been in town for Thanksgiving and decided to bake an early birthday cake for His Highness. Isn't that a fun and fantastic grandma thing to do?

It had been a pretty good day, so I started out hopeful that I would be able to partake with little regret, but by cake-time I had a burning in the bosom that definitely was not a religious experience. The thought of tasting the cake was good, but the thought of digesting the cake was unpleasant. So I abstained. I suppose I could've chewed the cake and then spit it out, but that's just gross. Plus Mom-in-law tends to stare at things and/or people she thinks are strange. This makes me uncomfortable sometimes, but in this case she'd've been justified.

What did I have instead of cake? Green beans. With a little butter & parmesan. And two spoonfuls of Maalox. My midwife would be pleased. I was a little sad.

Cake for breakfast is a distinct possibility tomorrow...

Nov 26, 2008

Worth Looking Into...

InternetMonk did an interview with a guy named David Hayward here. He's the pastor of a Vineyard church in Canada, and runs (writes? blogs?) a blog called nakedpastor.

I found the interview fascinating. Church dynamics are such a strange and diverse thing--a reality I'm increasingly aware of in my own life. How much moreso from a pastor's point of view. Of Hayward, iMonk says "he’s good people," partly based on the fact that he's received email telling him to have nothing to do with the nakedpastor. Sounds promising to me.

Hayward seems to be really into grace, and authenticity, and vulnerability, so I will be checking out his blog. Just not right now, because it's bath time. But I wanted to get the link down for my own reference, and for anyone else who is so inclined.

Big thanks to iMonk for doing the interview.

Nov 22, 2008

Saturday Morning Fun...

The Cat Daddy was volun-told to help out with some work stuff today. His Highness and I are heading to Ft Collins with some friends to see Santa, who will be driving into town on a horse-drawn sleigh. Something about conserving the reindeers' energy for Christmas Eve...

We need to eat breakfast, His Highness needs to put some clothes on, and then we'll be outta here. His Highness is currently snagging lasagna noodles from the pantry and giving them to the dogs, who like to crunch them up into teeny tiny little bits that I will have to vaccuum at some point because they don't actually eat them.

And what am I doing? The morning checking of the email. Head down, eyes averted from the mess.

But now the Eggos are summoning me, so I really must be off...

Nov 13, 2008

Did You Know...

...that when you steep tea you're supposed to cover it? Apparently this is to prevent the essential oils from evaporating. And apparently the essential oils are where all the really great flavor and nutritional benefits come from, so it's reasonable to not want them to evaporate.

I'm not a huge tea person, but lately I've been drinking peppermint tea for its tummy-soothing effects and sugar free, yet minty fresh flavor. After I read about covering the tea during steeping I gave it a shot, and ZING--yummy! It was, in fact quite a bit more minty and refreshing than before. So now I am a huge fan of covering the steeping tea...

Nov 9, 2008

On Humanity and Dogs...

I had a moment today. It was uncomfortable and entirely unexpected on many levels.

In a way it started with the election. On the issue of giving to the poor and others who need it. In a massively-general nutshell, two main approaches are giving to private charities, who then give to those in need, and paying more taxes to the government, who gives via programs. While I tend to prefer the former in theory, it dawned on me that I pretty much suck at giving on my own, mostly due to my own lack of forethought and planning. So I've been mulling over the whole idea of how I can give more to people who need it, and how we can give more as a family.

His Highness and I went to church today (the Cat Daddy was working), followed by a couple of errands. On the way into Home Depot we passed a guy on the streetcorner, wheelchair bound, holding a dog on his lap and a sign reading "Please help a vet in need and his dog."

I really, really wanted to help this guy out. It was the dog. Pets get me every time. But I don't carry cash, so there went that. And I thought of a myriad of other reasons why I couldn't/shouldn't do something to help. So I continued into the store, in search of my little piece of hardware.

Speaking of which, I think the staff must have been really, really bored today. They were so nice and helpful that I felt a little smothered. They asked what I was looking for, and were radioing all over the place, asking me to describe what a cross dowel was, and I was like, "Can you just tell me where the hardware is?" I knew exactly what I was looking for, and with this sort of thing I actually enjoy the hunt. It makes me feel all capable and stuff. But they were insistent on helping, so I let them lead me to the hardware aisle and show me the cross dowels, which were all in metric, where the one I need is in standard units, and I've already tried substituting one that's "really close" unsuccessfully, so I said "Thanks for looking; I'll look for it online."

I still needed some AA's, so I grabbed those and checked out. As I hit "no cash back" the guy with the sign popped back into my mind. Very determinedly. And, you know, thoughts along the line of "well Skerrib, you've been wondering how you can find ways to give," and so on. In a way that told me they would not go away.

And then I remembered my secret stash. In my checkbook, which I hardly ever carry with me. But today I had it, and as it turned out I had a $20 bill in my stash. So I decided to give it to him. I can think of a million different reasons not to go and give out cash, most of which involve folks using it for entirely useless purposes...but it sort of didn't matter if I was about to get duped--I just had one of those strong senses that I needed to do it this particular time. The kind of sense that you don't mess with; you just go with it.

So I did. I pulled out of the parking lot and up to the corner, and I walked up to the guy and said "Hi, my husband's in the Air Force, and I love dogs, so please take this and spend it well." I felt totally dumb, but it was what it was. And he said thanks and God bless, and I said God bless back.

The problem was that I made eye contact with him. As I said hi he lifted his eyes...and he was not the classic scary or insane-looking guy. It sounds all touchy-feely to say, but I was struck by the simple fact of his humanity. I felt disoriented by this, and hurried back to the car and pulled away, giving a little wave & a nod. And out of nowhere I started to cry. This was strange because I'm not normally one who feels so deeply for a person's plight that I'm moved to tears. I will cry in a split second for an animal though, so perhaps it was the dog. It was a very cute little dog.

I dunno, maybe it was hormones and fatigue, but somehow that 5-second interaction affected me rather deeply. Whether or not this guy was for real, it made me feel for all the people who are in need...some are crazy and scary, and some are needy for a reason, and some are fairly normal people who have been really, really unfortunate. So on the way home I cried for the homeless, and hungry, and needy people, because of the simple fact that they're people. Then I pulled up in my nice car to my nice house, and pulled myself together because I had a kiddo to feed, and so on.

So that was my moment. It came out of nowhere and whacked me over the head. Maybe I helped the guy & his dog eat or stay warm somehow, or maybe he went & bought some beer, I don't know. Like I said though, this particular time it didn't matter...

Nov 7, 2008

Dangerous Grace...

I felt the need to link to this post over at TrueFaced, written by the teaching pastor at my home church in AZ. It really struck a chord with me. If you are searching for God or wondering about God, or even if you already know God, it's entirely possible that it will give you an entirely new perspective. Some excerpts--but be careful; God's grace is dangerous (picture Val Kilmer clicking his teeth here)...

“Therefore now there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus.”

“I have been crucified with Christ and it no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and delivered Himself up for me.”

“I want to be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith.”

“For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law, but under grace.”

“We are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh.”

“You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus."

"...Every now and then someone believes such verses and doesn’t try to balance them with other verses that seem to say the opposite. Instead they look at all confusing verses through the grid of the plain and clear revealed love, grace, delight and sovereign power of God for us. And they find themselves risking to stand against all the methodology, technique and impressive sounding hype of disciplined self-effort. Instead they trust Christ to live and release His power through them. It is scary. It feels like you’re giving up the store. But soon they put their full weight upon God’s ability to mature them. These are the ones who get to live free, free the captives, restore families, and experience the tender intimacy of a God who is not disgusted. They get to turn the world upside down..."

Pretty crazy. It's the kind of stuff that'll mess with your world. It has certainly messed with mine, & I've never gone back...

Click here to read the whole thing.

**Update--If you have trouble with the links go directly to and pull up the Nov 6, 2008 entry.

Nov 5, 2008

Don't Panic...

Some of you nerds of various persuasions may have read "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy." It's a novel about, among other things, a reference book called "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy." In the story, the Hitchhiker's Guide (the reference book) had a fairly simple cover with the words "Don't Panic" prominently displayed. This had a nice, calming effect, which is always helpful if you suddenly find yourself a space-transient because your planet has just been vaporized. Good advice, I say--Don't Panic.

I still worked for the government during the 2004 election. All but one of us college co-ops voted for President Bush, and the one who didn't was very strong in her convictions and was very sad at the outcome. She actually cried a little bit, right there at work. She was that sad. I was very proud of my fellow co-ops...every single person responded to her with compassion. I really don't remember what we said, even. Nothing remarkable, I'm sure. But I watched everyone convey friendship. Regardless of our different values, outlooks, and bents...we were all "for" our friend and even though we were so happy, we understood the pain of losing something. We might've all gone out to lunch together...we were always looking for reasons to go out to lunch. Because lunch is awesome. My point is, we gave her the space to grieve her loss.

To my friend's credit, her response was gracious as well. There was no begrudging us for our happiness, or berating our reasons for voting the way we did. The election was one part of life, but not all of life. We went on in our jobs, I moved to Massachusetts, and life continued in general.

So be nice, share, and play well with others. Celebrate if you're happy, and grieve if you're not.

But most of all, Don't Panic...

Nov 1, 2008

A Family Moment...

I came across this gem while unpacking boxes a few weeks ago. This photo was from a Disneyland trip the Cat Daddy and I took with our parents, shortly before he joined the Air Force in 2001 (click the pic to enlarge).

Have I mentioned that I love Disneyland? It is by far my favorite of the Disney parks. Most of my reasons are purely biased, having grown up in the West and having been to Disney World only once, in 2003. I simply have more experience with Disneyland. And in no way am I bashing the Magic Kingdom in Orlando. It is a fabulous place. In many ways it's impossible to compare the two, especially when you factor in everything else that is a part of Disney World (eg, the MGM park--FANTASTIC).

But still, being the oldest park, and much smaller than any of the others, Disneyland is crammed with something exciting in every corner, which to me is quite charming. I think the smaller size also makes it just a teeny bit more effective at maintaining "The Show," and maybe even gives it a little bit more of the magic.

I have two secret dreams when it comes to Disneyland. First, I would love to get stuck on Space Mountain when they have to turn on the lights. I've heard it's lame and totally destroys the experience, but to me I think it would be more like an inside joke or shared secret. "Don't worry Space Mountain, I've seen you with the lights on and I love you just the same." Or something.

Second, I would love to traverse the secret underground tunnels. What it boils down to is that I like to know things, and to be in on things, especially things that most people don't know. What I don't know is whether or not I'll ever make it down there without actually being employed by the park. If that's what it took though, I'd do it. Just to say I did.

Now admittedly, I do think Disneyland (and even Disney in general) has lost a little bit of its magic over the years as everything has gotten more mass-marketed and's hard to find items and aspects that are uniquely Disneyland these days...but even so, I always love a trip to Disneyland. If anyone wants to take me, please let me know--I'll be there in no time!

Anyhoo, about the picture--it was our first trip on Splash Mountain that day. It might have been our first or second ride all day, in fact. I remember we got right back on it, strictly instructing Mom-in-law to please keep her head up so we could see her in the pic, and within the time it took to walk the queue it got busy enough that they stuck a sixth rider in with us for our second time through. Ah well.

I like this picture because it is quite candid. In fact I think it's more effective than most in capturing each person as they are. Let me illustrate:

--In the front we have Mom-in-law. Also a Disneyland lover, she knew full well what was likely in store for her in the front seat--a big ol' splash--and didn't mess around with pretty poses or funny faces. She just hunkered down to weather the storm.

--Next is my mom. My mom is big into "the moment." You can see that she is also anticipating a big splash, hence the closed eyes, but also notice the wide grin and the arms reaching forward to comfort Mom-in-law in the midst of her plight. This is not just a ride for Mom, this is a moment, and she is enjoying it to the full.

--Followed by yours truly. I had fully planned to give a big cheesy grin and two thumbs up to the camera. I rehearsed on the way through the briar patch scenes and everything. However, the drop always gets me the first time through. Every, single, first time. By the second time I was calm and ready, but for this shot I instinctively grabbed the sidebars and let out a yell. You might say I was genuinely thrilled by this thrill ride.

--The Cat Daddy of course stuck to his gameplan. He is determined that way. I belive by this time he'd been officially accepted into the Air Force. You can see the intensity of a person who knew he'd better make the most of his fun, since he was about to start three months of absolutely-no-fun officer training. Everything about his pose, from the pointing finger, to the excited yelp you just know is escaping his lips, to the hat defiantly left on the head and complete lack of a waterproof covering, is entirely what you would expect to see from a 24-year-old man on a photographic mission, making the most of Disneyland. And I do appreciate his inner drive to make the most of Disneyland.

--And finally my dad. Dad stuck to the gameplan as well, but his pose has a more laid-back quality that people tend to acquire over time. After they take one foot out of the rat race, and realize they don't give a rat's [derriere] what people think, and consequently find themselves feeling much more at peace with the world. He's on vacation and he is obviously enjoying himself. With both arms raised, he doesn't even care if he's sucked right out of the log. From experience he knows that everything will probably turn out just fine.

And so this concludes my little nutshell-psychological-analysis of my family on Splash Mountain. We are a crazy bunch, but let it never be said that we're a bunch of sticks in the mud...

UPDATE--11/03/08--In the comments it was mentioned that the Cat Daddy was 26, not 24. Actually at the time this was taken he was 25. The management regrets the error and restitution has been made.

Imitation...Flattery...Blah Blah Blah...

His Highness and I have been battling colds. Since I've been wiping his nose so much I've taken the opportunity to teach him to blow his nose. While he blows out when we smell flowers, he sniffs when I tell him to blow his nose. A little backwards, but with his age & all it's a process.

Since I've been blowing my own nose anyway, it's been a demonstration of sorts for him. My nose can be a noisy nose, which of course he thinks is the funniest thing ever.

Today he made progress. I held up the kleenex & said "Blow your nose," and he did...sort of. He blew a raspberry-sound through his mouth. Then he looked at me as if to say, "Did I do it?? It sounded like it!!"

Because that's what Mommy's nose sounds like...

Oct 29, 2008

Bravery Brevity...

I have had several distinctly small, but brave, moments in the past couple days. Which I must share. Right now.

Yesterday I had blood taken at the base clinic. Six friggin' vials. The regular pregnancy labwork, not a huge deal. But with my needle issues, bloodwork is an event. I was pleasantly suprised to find that it went great. I ate & hydrated as best I could all morning, and then ate a Big Mac on the way over so I'd be good & full. The tech got the needle in on the first try, which never happens, and then was done really quickly. It didn't take long at all, in fact, and I didn't once feel queasy or faint. I gave her mad props and made sure she knew how much I appreciated her skillz. Total suck-up, I was, and an entirely appropriate situation for it too. You definitely want to have people on your side when they're sticking needles in you.

The Cat Daddy came along for moral support and to wrangle His Highness. While we were there we saw signs for flu shots. The Cat Daddy had already had his, but he took His Highness to get one while I was taking care of some things with my doctor's office. The flu shot room was just across the hall so I heard the cry when they gave His Highness his shot (he couldn't get the inhaled one because he hasn't learned to sniff on command yet).

His Highness is little enough that they give him shots in his leg instead of his arm--more girth to accommodate the needle and all. The Cat Daddy said that when it came time to, uh, drop trou so they could get to his leg, that he told His Highness it was just like a diaper change. So apparently he didn't squirm too much. And then they stuck a needle in him. And THEN after they came out he really did need a diaper change, so the Cat Daddy said, "Come on Your Highness, let's change your diaper," and His Highness turned to me with an alarmed look on his face. I assured him that it really would be just a diaper change, and then I told the Cat Daddy he was mean for giving a little boy the wrong impression about a shot--poor guy!

So then it was my turn. I didn't get the inhaled vaccine because of the extra (very small, but there) risk with the live virus. So, the needle for me too. The guys came & watched, and His Highness actually started crying when they gave me my shot! So I comforted him, and said things like "don't worry, it was just a pinch and it's all done now." And I told him my band-aid was way better than his. I don't think he was impressed, but it calmed him down.

So two needles within an hour of one another. I went home and ate cookes & milk without an ounce of guilt--I earned them doggone it!

Today involved bravery of a different sort. His Highness and I were out for a jog and, coming around the last corner about 1/4 mile from home we came upon a real estate sign with...a snake wrapped around the top! I was surprised--I thought it was too cold for snakes by now. But I guess here in Cheyenne the snakes are a little heartier than in warmer climates.

It was a little guy...just a garter snake getting some sun. And it had some pretty markings--they looked almost blue in parts. But I kept my distance. Oh yes I did. Rounded the corner and kept on going toward home. I didn't really DO anything brave, per se, but as with needles, given my issues with snakes I count it as bravery when I survive an encounter without panicking. Bonus points if His Highness is with me and I play it off as totally normal and not scary. As he gets older the challenge will be how to encourage him not to have irrational fears about things, but how to make it crystal clear that he is not to taunt Mommy with things she has irrational fears of.

Fun times...

Oct 27, 2008

The Great Thing About Obama...

No, I'm not voting for him. But you wondered for a second didn't you?

Growing up, my parents were registered in different political parties, as were my mom's parents. It was never a big deal that I can heated discussions over holiday dinners or anything. Well, no heated political discussions, anyway. Gravy and green bean casserole are enough to set some of us off; no need to go anywhere near the government.

It wasn't until I was older that I learned how many people make the assumption that Christian = Republican.

I've always been one to challenge that assumption, but frankly over the years, and despite being registered Independent, I've always voted along Republican lines. It's only in this election that I've seen people actually considering both candidates and actually crossing party lines in their votes. It's madness, I tell you. It's refreshing to see something other than the same old boring political discussions, and same old approaches to the same old issues.

What's not refreshing is finding how badly folks can behave when they're not used to having their views challenged, and suddenly their friend goes & votes for the "other guy." No, sadly this is the same ol' same ol' when it comes to people not understanding how to disagree respectfully. And no matter how right you feel, "You're voting for who?!? But I thought you were a Christian" is not very respectful.

But you know what? I'm glad it's being brought up. I'm glad people are having to really explore why they think the way they do, and why they react the way they do, and how they handle disagreements. Where the candidates can sling mud all day long, suddenly things change a little bit when you're talking with a close friend. Who you know is perfectly intelligent, and thinks things through, and also loves Jesus. I think it makes us take a step back & try to understand the other side, rather than quickly dismissing it because it's all a bunch of right/left, liberal/conservative, Republican/Democrat hooey. It might well be, but better to know why we think it's hooey.

So anyway...I have a theory about becoming the president. I think that the president knows things the rest of us don't. I think they are things the rest of us don't want to know; things we are more than happy to live in total ignorance of. Secret things, dangerous things, scary things. I think no matter how experienced and knowledgeable a person is, it doesn't prepare them for the gravity of the office of president because of how much they suddenly become privy to. I think that whoever we elect will step into office, and as he gains a more complete perspective of these things that only he and a select few know about, he will go "Oh." And it will become clear to him why he cannot act a certain way with this issue, or he must do that over there, or he will understand why a decision was made that seemed completely idiotic at the time. Or maybe he'll understand that yes, it was in fact idiotic; who knows.

In that regard I'm not afraid for Obama to win. I'm not voting for him because he favors more government control in most everything, while I prefer less government control in general. While I don't think he'll turn the US into a socialist nation in 4 years, I do think that under him we will pay more taxes and there will be little snippets of socialism popping up. Which could lead to increasing socialistic patterns, which in some ways sounds really good, but in the end I don't think it's the right path for the US.

But like I said, I think anyone's claims are tempered when they get the full view. Plus if you're really a Christian, you probably believe that God is fully aware of what's going on and is in fact sovereign, and knows what needs to happen in this election to further his purposes everywhere. Whatever they may be.

Just do me a favor, and don't go around questioning people's Christianity based on their political views. Maybe ask them why they think the way they do...their answers might surprise you. And if, once the new president takes office, you find stuff happening that you don't like, write to your congresspeople. You can email them these days, even.

Give 'em what for...

Oct 26, 2008

Go On, Carve a Pumpkin...

Some Halloween fun, for those who are so inclined...

Click here

Thanks to DramaMama for the link

Church Hunting--Just Won't Go Away...

Today we ditched church. Lots of good reasons...we all slept a really, really long time, His Highness and I are getting over a cold...blah blah blah. I'm not one who generally tries to sneak my sick kid into more public situations. I mean, sometimes I do, but when he's got stuff coming out of his nose that's generally a sign that he's still contagious, so...

It's looking more & more like we're going to stick with the mall-movie-theater church. We also visited the local mega-church one week; "mega" by Cheyenne standards, anyway. It was nice. Maybe a little too nice. I was a little concerned that we might lose our edge a bit. Given my state of minimal edginess, I don't have much to spare, so it was too great a risk.

Anyway, I think the Cat Daddy has pretty well settled on the movie theater church. I more or less have, but am dragging my feet a little with the committing and connecting and whatnot. While I was in AZ I got to spend time at the home church, and with lotsa folks from the home church.

Here's the thing. Being a nervous type, I sometimes wonder, when I go back to visit, if folks will be all "Um, she doesn't live here anymore, why does she keep coming back?" or feel annoyed by my barging into the office on a workday with my kid and his gear, and then we all have to chase him around and keep him from draining the watercooler.

But they are glad to see me. Every. Single. Time. After sitting with Weezer, and trading witty comebacks with the crazy ladies up front, and hugging pretty much everyone who comes out of their office to investigate what all the noise is and where the giant toddler came from...I am reassurred every time. It is still my home; I still belong there. It's nice.

Sometimes the contrast is a little discouraging...I mean, whatever church we find will not be a clone of the home church. Not that that's the goal; it's just hard to remember sometimes that it's NOT the goal. Wouldn't be realistic. So while I'm missing my AZ peeps I have to remember that we have, in fact, made wonderful friends in our churches along the way. Totally different and fantastic friends. It does tend to expand one's world.

But anyway, church hunting. We know where; now it's a matter of time and meeting people and forming relationships and all that. I am still quite cynical and snarky about it all and shall continue to drag my feet until I am otherwise inclined. Stubborn? No. Just tired.

Lest you worry that I'm withdrawing from life completely, fear not. I'm joining a spouses' group on base. Not the Spouses Club. A different one which is more along the lines of checking in with people, especially when their spouses are deployed, and making sure they're doing alright and haven't gone completely nuts yet. And I can always use people checking in to make sure I haven't gone completely nuts yet...

Oct 21, 2008

Emotional Tap Lights...

Remember the Tap Light? Looks like a smoke detector, but stick it to a wall & press it, and bingo--instant illumination. It was one of those As Seen on TV things. I think now you can get them at the As Seen on TV section, of course.

Now, I have always thought the Tap Light was terrible, but a conversation long ago with my good friend Weezer (same name as the rock band--because she is just. that. cool) gave me a different perspective. She was saying how her husband, the Music Teacher, had a Tap Light in his otherwise-unlit closet, where he could stick an arm in and hit it, thereby enabling himself to see his clothes. And he would get a contented smile on his face, as if the tiny amount of light from that plastic pseudo-lamp helped him to be more at peace with life in general. Happiness times six for the low price of $19.99--not a bad deal.

Will a Tap Light do that for everyone? Of course not. For Weezer it was her magic van buttons. At that time their daughters were teenagers, and they had a minivan, and magic button key fobs were still relatively new, but she had one. She said being able to hit the button and have her doors unlocked and ready to go just made her happy. Same with getting out of the car & pressing the button, and having the whole thing locked--made her smile every time. Again, a small thing that let her smile and be a little more at peace in the world.

Right away I knew exactly what my "little thing" was--my slinky. The first couple years of college me & my buds would give each other cheap, dollar store gifts on our birthdays. We were poor college students after all, and we had good senses of humor, so it was a good fit. Well, I believe it was my sophomore year that one of the gifts I received was one of those tiny plastic slinkies. The ones you get for $.50 from a gumball machine. It was too small to work on any stairs, but was the perfect size for just squising around in my hand. I popped it into my coat pocket--the dark green, reversible one I wore for 13 years; yes, 13--and it stayed there until last winter, when I finally retired (but couldn't bring myself to get rid of) the now-ratty green coat in favor of my nifty khaki corduroy barn jacket. And then it moved to that one. It got lost in the shuffle sometime in the moves this year, but I'm almost certain I still have it somewhere. I seem to remember His Highness getting hold of it and breaking it at some point, but I really hope I'm fabricating that part entirely within my own brain. If not I'm going to have to find a gumball machine with teeny tiny slinkies. Round ones; no lame star shapes.

Anyway, putting my hand in my coat pocket & grabbing hold of the slinky just brings a smile to my face. Even moreso the first time I wear my coat each fall. I usually forget about the slinky over the summertime, and to find it waiting for me has always been a welcome surprise. Aaahhh...

OK seriously, I'm going to WalMart tomorrow to stake out their gumball machines. I have a pile of quarters right here (hoarding quarters--another leftover habit from my college laundry room days...), and I've got errands to run.

And thus that day, talking with Weezer, the term was coined: Emotional Tap Light. Write that down, kids. Based on my descriptions above you should now know exactly what it means.

So, do you have any Emotional Tap Lights?

Oct 20, 2008

150... per minute. That was the heartrate at my prenatal appointment today.

I guess there really is a kiddo in there...

Oct 16, 2008

I Just Really Need Some Tums and Sleep Right Now...

Fourteen weeks, and I really thought I was feeling great. Actually, I'm feeling WAY better than about 5 weeks ago, but the nighttimes are still iffy. Again, anyone who mentions twins will receive the grand prize of a scissor-kick. To the head.

Besides, tonight's bleh-ness probably has to do with my disastrous diet today of, among other things, a pizza sub, bunches of candy (I had a hankering), Cheetos, trail mix sans raisins, a 16-oz OJ, and a regular roast beef from Arby's. Ugh, I feel queasy just recounting it.

Back home from the road trip that resulted in a new (to us) mom-mobile. Everything went swimmingly with the trade-in. I totally caved and got the extended warranty, which I'm now in the process of cancelling. It was a weak moment. This is why it is good for the Cat Daddy to be present when we are making purchases like these. Ah well. As long as Andrea the finance lady comes thru for me I won't have to put the smack down. If not, well...bummer for her.

I might have more to write about regarding the trip. In fact I probably do, but right now all I can think about is getting some Tums. Here's to ya...

Oct 2, 2008

I have these ladies' link over in Fabulous Finds. I never have anything to contribute, since I have about a week's worth of knitting experience, but I get such a kick out of their posts that I keep tabs on them anyway. It really does inspire me to take up knitting--someday...

...I'm mildly saddened to report that I took the elevator both ways at PT today. The thing is, His Highness was with me, and strollers just don't mix with stairs. Ah well. I almost cried a little bit at the sheer joy of seeing my PT's again--they're that good. Their philosophies and approach are right in line with my previous 2 PT's, so it feels like I'm just building on the knowledge I have. They happen to have an EP, which I think stands for Exercise Physiologist, who is in charge of assigning people's exercises and cracking the whip in general. So we were talking about cores, and transversus abdominus, and all sorts of cool stuff. His Highness had a ball with...well, with the balls. He ran the fitness balls all over the room, and climbed on everything, and had a grand old time. I was very grateful that they don't mind crazy little boys running around.

Alignment-wise, I was in fact much better, but there were still a couple of hinky areas. The PT did some muscle energy stuff, which is a kinder, gentler way of moving things back into place, but finally she said "I've got to do this one manipulation because it just needs to be done." I like it that they prefer the gentler methods first...but I also like it that they're not afraid to get a little persuasive with the stubborn areas when needed. My favorite thing about them (and most PT's in general, I would guess--certainly all the ones I've seen) is that their goal is to not do manipulations at all, but to strengthen my body so they're not needed. Fantastic!

...A good friend of ours is coming to see us for a long weekend. I'm supposed to be making up the guest room at this very moment, in fact. I'm picking her up in a couple hours and she'll be here until Monday. After that, His Highness and I are headin' south for some rest & relaxation in lovely Phoenix. Truth be told, we're also trading in my CRV for an '06 Pilot...because I wasn't quite soccer-mom-ish enough. Or something. No, what really happened is that we'd been thinking about getting a Pilot for a variety of reasons, and came upon a fantastic deal, so we took advantage of it. Mom & Dad drove it for us and gave their thumbs-up, so there you have it...

...I've actually got some more serious thoughts on the back burner. As usual with a move, I've gone all introspective lately. Nothing dark & dreary or anything; just more serious than awesome campy knitting songs. If I can find a way to articulate them, you'll be the first to know...

Sep 30, 2008

Facebook Test...

I'm testing a feed I set up to my Facebook page. Facebook might be the anti-Christ.

UPDATE--OK maybe not the anti-Christ. I just meant that it's got that attractiveness to it, and seems to be sucking myself and those I love into its social networking vortex. I'm just saying...

Stairway to Where??

Walking into PT today, there were several signs posted: "Such & Such PT on lower level." Fair enough. I looked for some stairs but all the doors nearby said "Employees only," so I relented and took the elevator down. It was very slow.

PT was fabulous. I'm always nervous when I visit a physical therapist for the first time. Are they going to know what I'm talking about? Will they believe me? Will they fix my arse so the rest of me will stop hurting? I was quickly reassured as I began telling my saga, and the PT nodded as she took notes. When I told her the whole thing started in high school softball she asked me where I went to school, because they don't have high school softball around here. Before I could bite my tongue I said "What's wrong with them?!" She nodded knowingly, but I still apologized and explained that I've been here only a month and am still integrating into the culture.

So anyway, she let me ramble and ramble, and said things like "You're really in tune with your body's responses; this is helpful to us," and made me feel all comfortable & confident, instead of nervous and sweaty. I loved her nearly instantly. Then she checked out my alignments and such, and called over the other PT in the practice saying "You wanna see a really nice SI Joint?" Now she was being sarcastic, because my SI joint was still pretty well out of whack at that moment. So the other lady came over, and she was so impressed. In my own warped way I was a little proud of how wacky my SI joint gets when it's misbehaving. I would much rather have no issues at all, but if it's going to cause trouble, why not cause a whole lot and impress the medical community, right?? I said, "I'm tellin' ya, you could write a paper on me." They chuckled.

***The Fridge DJ just started singing on its own. Usually you have to hit a button to make it work. That is dang creepy.***

Then the first PT showed the second (more experienced) PT what she'd found thus far to get some input. So they were looking at my bones & muscles, having me lift this and flex that, saying things like "look, this [official muscle name] is firing more when she flexes that side," and "this glute has a lot more girth than that one," which I took as a compliment because there really was no other option. "Why thank you, I've never been complimented on my glutes' girth before." No, I didn't say it.

All that is to say these PTs are fantastic, and within an hour after my appointment I felt much better. Completely fixed? That remains to be seen. Probably not, but I'll take much better any day.

Leaving PT was where the real adventure began. I went out the door and back toward the elevator. Just down the hall a bit I saw an exit sign, so I thought "Hey, a stairwell." Stairs are good for you, but mostly I don't like waiting for elevators; especially slow moving ones. So I took the stairs back up to ground level, and emerged into a very busy hallway. I thought "Oh I'm in a different part of the building than where I came in," and just followed the exit signs. The farther I walked, however, it became apparent that I was walking around inside a doctor's office. Normally this is when I'd panic and start sweating profusely, but no one was paying any attention to me so I made sure I was standing up straight, and kept right on walking like I knew exactly where I was going. Down this hall, past those rooms. Then I passed two guys who I'm pretty sure were doctors making fun of their patients. They weren't being mean or anything, just telling stories with great gusto. Kind of funny, actually. They gave me a sideways glance as I tried to appear both confident and nonjudgemental. Certainly they know we know they tell stories about us when we're not there. It's nothing to freak out about...

Just as I was starting to get concerned that I would never find my way out of this maze, I breezed past the appointment desk, through the waiting room, and finally--finally--into the building lobby and the sunny outdoors. No one came running after me to ask what I had been doing meandering through the doctor's office, so I chalked up a successful exit.

And anyway, it's not my fault the stairwell exits smack into the middle of someone's office. "Take the stairs, eat 5 veggies per day, drink water..." What do they expect??

I might even take them again the next time, just to stick it to the man a little...

Sep 29, 2008

Where's the Dang Camera?!?

Our pack continues to grow here at Casa de Skerrib. Our newest member is a 12-lb poodle mix named Max, who joined us late on Saturday afternoon.

I'll elaborate later, but for now the nutshell: He's 6 years old, roughly the same coloring as Zoe, similar in temperament but a little more laid-back. He has jumped right in and fits well with our crazy brood. Zoe's a better walker, but Max is a better runner. We thought about changing his name, but Max really suits him, so Max it is. He's fairly well behaved in general and has already earned nighttime bed privileges.

Zoe was a little freaked out but is starting to calm down some. The two of them even played a little tonight, which I took as a very good sign that we're all getting acquainted and adjusted.

As near as we can tell, he's part poodle & part terrier, making him a Perrier. More specifically our best guess is Scottie (Scoodle) or Westie (Westie-Poo). They offered DNA testing at the Humane Society, but we decided not to pursue it further because we don't care that much.

The camera is here somewhere, I swear. Pics to come as soon as I find it.

There has been some question as to the Cat Daddy's pseudonym, especially in light of our canine acquisition. Just because Pim is no longer with us doesn't mean we don't consider ourselves his parents anymore. Plus, I can't think of anything else to call the Cat Daddy (anything that would appropriate on a family-friendly blog, that is), so until I do, the Cat Daddy will remain as such.

Back to PT tomorrow...not sure if it's the sacrum or something else outta whack. It feels different than my normal maladies, but I'm hesitant to make a diagnosis; mostly due to my lack of a PT or medical degree. Either way I'm grateful there are people who can give me relief. Back pain = no fun. At all. Ever.

And I made a spectacular pot roast tonight. Good Eats recipe--delicious. Or as the Cat Daddy called it, "deciduous." I replied "You're saying the pot roast loses its leaves every year?" and he said, "Yes."

Okay then...

Sep 27, 2008

REALLY Cool Toys...

My friend Joe is a woodworker. He was also a big corporate financial guy until he & Mrs. Joe decided that he would stay home with their boys so they could all be together as a family more. Fantastic idea, I say. I'm all for more family time.

He builds tons of stuff from cabinets, tables, and shelves, to wooden toys. His toys are so cool that people have been clamoring to buy them, so he has opened up his own shop called Market Street Co.

I'd gush about how talented and creative he is, but you'd be going, "Oh come on Skerrib, you're biased." And maybe I am. So go to his shop and see if you don't agree with me. And if you find something you like, why not help feed the children (of Mr. & Mrs. Joe).

There's a link to his site over there under "Fantastic Finds," or you can click here.

UPDATE: Site's up & running. Yay for Joe. Now go see his toys!

Sep 26, 2008

Kill! Kill!

We have flies. Not a plague or anything, but at any given moment we probably have 3 or so flies circling over our heads, divebombing any food we bring out. There are several factors contributing to this. What it boils down to is that the weather hasn't cooled off quite yet, so on warm days we open windows and doors to let the air circulate. We have AC, but we also have differing philosophies on when to actually use the AC, and in this situation I am not willing to go to battle. The Cat Daddy thinks we should take out the trash more often. I think we should stop leaving the back door wide open, or at least remember to close the screendoor. Installing a dog door wouldn't hurt either, but that's neither here nor there.

In the meantime we have differing philosophies on how to rid ourselves of annoying little creatures. We have differing philosophies on a lot of things.

Under most circumstances, I prefer to live & let live. The two main exceptions to this are things that find their way into the bathroom and mosquitoes. I hate mosquitoes. They'll pick me out of a crowd and I just can't abide that. They all need to die NOW. The Cat Daddy's approach is more of an ignore-them-until-you-explode type of deal. A couple years ago we had a gross-but-harmless infestation of teeny tiny moths emanating from the closet where we kept the dog food. I would smush-&-grab them with a paper towel as I could. The Cat Daddy, suddenly alarmed by their presence one evening, vaccuumed them out of the air for approximately 20 minutes straight.

Similarly with the flies. Knowing that their lifespan is something like a couple weeks, I'll swat at them when they're nearby, but otherwise let them be. No biggie--sooner or later they'll die of old age, and before too terribly long it will be so cold that no insect life will thrive long enough to make it into the house. Plus they're not trying to drink my blood.

Zoe will pass the time trying to catch them in mid-air (and eat them). I'm not sure that she's actually gotten one yet, but it provides an endless source of amusement for those watching her efforts.

As for the Cat Daddy, just like with the teeny moths he reached a breaking point and took matters into his own hands. He grabbed a dish towel and began swatting, murmuring "Kill...Kill..." Then, noticing His Highness toddling around after him, he said "Say it with me, Your Highness--Kill! Kill!"

To which His increasingly verbal Highness replied "Ki! Ki!" Nice. So the two of them enjoyed snapping the towel at flies until they killed them all, and then they enjoyed the Cat Daddy snapping the towel at His Highness, until one of them started to whine and that was that.

All was quiet-ish again for about 10 minutes, when His Highness again went up to the Cat Daddy saying "Ki! Ki! Ki! Ki!" This was funny for about 2 minutes, until it became ever-so-slightly-disturbing. Thankfully in this case, ignoring it (along with giving His Highness a little something for the road) made it go away...

Sep 24, 2008

Turn Around, Bright Eyes...

Things might be starting to turn around.

I'm not saying I like Cheyenne yet. But I don't think I hate it. Eh--"hate" is such a strong word. Poor Cheyenne never did anything to me. It's not Cheyenne's fault this is where the AF decided to send the Cat Daddy (BTW I'm fully aware that God is fully aware of where the AF sends the Cat Daddy, and don't think that I haven't talked to Him about it).

Anyway, a list of good things about Cheyenne (however short)--

--The Cheyenne Greenway--a network of parks, walking paths, and the like throughout the city. Some are connected and some aren't, but all provide a nice path for walking, biking, etc., and plenty of grass & greenery to admire. There's a sizeable chunk of greenway within jogging distance of the house, and His Highness and I have already been up several times. They have a frisbee-golf course and a rolling creek, stream-like thing throughout, which has cool little footbridges should one wish to cross. The best thing about the greenway, in my opinion, is the multitude of places to seek a geocache. Just remember the bug repellant. The best thing about the jog TO the greenway--the goat farm off the dirt road. Baaaaaaa!

--The medical clinic on base might be starting to redeem itself. Due to insurance and other issues, I got a really bad first impression of the clinic. In my harsher moments I figured the place was being run by untrained monkeys who had not read the benefits manual. After much searching and a little bashing my head against the wall I managed to find some very kind and competent people to help me out. Then I actually met with a doctor in person, and found that he was very competent, and he listened to me, and took my philosophies seriously, even though they didn't quite align with his.

One fantastic side effect of all the frustration here was that I didn't care anymore about carefully framing my views or trying to be agreeable. Suddenly I was saying what I thought, simply and concisely. Even with the doc I ended up going "look, I'm a nervous-type, and here's my health in a nutshell," intermingled with my residual surfer-vibe and growing cowboy twang. I really should do that more often. It's much easier to just say what I want.

I didn't really care about being polite either, but on that one I talked it over with myself and decided that common courtesy and respect were still in order. I'm glad I did.

--Sonic, Barnes & Noble, Safeway, and King Soopers (aka Kroger, aka Fry's)

--Sunshine--they've got a lotta wind here. A lotta wind. But they also have a lotta sun. Beautiful, bright, sunny sun. Good for the disposition, I always say.


Sep 23, 2008

The Newest Ice Cream Flavor Craze...

The Cat Daddy always has the best ideas. He just peeked out from the basement:

CD: "Hey Skerrib, are your b00bies still making milk?" [we only use correct anatomical terminology in our house, thank you]

Me: "Umm, why?"

CD: "Start pumping now!"

Me: "Now?"

CD: "PETA wants Ben & Jerry to start using breastmilk in their ice cream, instead of cows' milk, and you could make some serious money!"

Me: "No way! I could make way more selling breastmilk on the black market than giving it to an ice cream company."

Let me throw in some qualifiers and say that I'm not certain exactly what the black market is, or even that it actually exists. I've just heard rumors that if it did exist, breastmilk would go for a pretty penny.

Apparently some place in Switzerland is going to field test the human milk approach by substituting 75% human milk in its ice cream and other items. The reasoning is along the lines of significantly reducing the mistreatment of dairy cows and their young, as well as sparing people from the dangers of dairy products. Because Dr. Spock said so.

My favorite, though, was Ben & Jerry's response:

"We applaud PETA's novel approach to bringing attention to an issue, but we believe a mother's milk is best used for her child."

Sep 18, 2008

They Say It's My Birthday...

...and it's true. I turned 31 today. Yee-haw.

Let me recommend to all you ladies who will have the opportunity, to time your pregnancies so that you are not going thru first-trimester queasies on your birthday. Totally gets in the way of choosing a fantastic dinner, and can make cake outright impossible.

Sonic wasn't my original choice, but due to some extenuating toddler circumstances, that's where we ended up. Which is fine; just not as good as Applebees would have been if an Oriental Chicken Salad didn't sound completely repulsive to me at this moment. I knew that I would probably regret having dessert, but come on, I had to have something. So I ordered the Junior Banana Split. Awesome. It was so good that I plan to go back in a couple months and have a full sized one. We lamented the fact that Mrs. Bee wasn't with us to enjoy the goods--she'd have been pleased.

The rest of the day was pretty uneventful. Got to talk to several family members and feel all special and stuff. Went shopping with the Cat Daddy in the afternoon. Blah blah blah. All around, a nice day. Other than the queasy parts...

Sep 16, 2008

Christian Ska. Or Something...

Camille has a knack for finding the best inspirational videos out there--

I think "zap" is the sound of my being struck by lightning for laughing so hard. Is that Carmine back there on the drums??

Rock on, Sal. Rock on...

Sep 14, 2008

Ratting Out...

The Cat Daddy wanted me to rat out one of his fantasy football constituents who hasn't yet paid his/her fee for the fantasy-beyond-fantasy whatever it is that makes the whole thing even more fun. But I told him my blog would not be a venue for such humiliation.

That being said, if you are one of said constituents and still need to pay your fee, please do, so that I can get back to blogging about more important things, like heartburn, drugs, and answering nature's call in the wilds of Cheyenne. Yee-haw.

Stay tuned...

Sep 13, 2008

Why Sesame Street Rocks...

If you have any knowledge whatsoever of "High School Musical," you will love this. His Highness has never even heard of HSM, and he still got a big ol' kick out of it...

Sep 12, 2008

Feel the Feeling...

I wanted to clarify something from my post a few days ago. I do not equate living in Minot to having tuberculosis. I almost certainly would rather live in Minot than have tuberculosis. I think. It depends on the duration of each, and the success rate of treatment for TB, which I don't know all that much about. But I'm nearly positive I'd take Minot.

My point was the random nature of the statement. Being sent to Minot was a concern at one time, but is no longer up front on my radar, much like the possibility of catching TB. While it would not be a fun thing in my mind, it's not something I generally worry about. So to compare it to the things up front on my radar doesn't quite match up. It's like looking at someone's brown banana and saying "Hey, at least you don't have a bruised apple." Not having the bruised apple, while good, doesn't change the fact that there's still a brown banana to be dealt with, which many will agree is no fun when it comes to eating bananas. The silver lining, of course, is that smushed-up brown bananas make fantastic banana bread. But that's a post for another day.

I think we all can slip into this. When we're trying to help our friends feel better, sometimes we're also trying to make ourselves feel better. It's uncomfortable to see our friends' discomfort. Because discomfort is, by definition, uncomfortable. So to help everyone involved, we try to think of something really, really bad to help put things in perspective. And it is a noble thing to want to help our friends feel better. I just don't think "At least..." is the best way because, as my friend smiller pointed out, it tends to have the effect of minimizing our friends' feelings, sending the subtle (or not) message that they should or shouldn't feel a certain way. "How can you feel that way when when there's all this good stuff over here? What's wrong with you?"

But feelings don't work that way, even for math nerds. I don't get up daily, tally up the good & bad in my life, and see how they compare so that I can decide, logically and rationally, how I should feel that day. At any given moment I could have a myriad of feelings about countless observations and personal circumstances, without them conflicting. Or even several different feelings about a single event. Furthermore, the weight of any situation can vary vastly between two different people due to individual personality, or even within one person depending on mood or relation to other situations and their respective weights.

Which is all to say that when you try to quantify events and feelings to see how you should feel, it all gets very complicated, and honestly (and perhaps ironically?) I think it gives the feelings more power than they deserve. We can drive ourselves crazy trying to avoid negative feelings, but I think in the long run it's more productive to go "hey, I have that feeling," and allow ourselves to remain in the feeling for a bit, even when it hurts (and to throw an arm around our friends when they're in theirs). I think when we allow the bad feeling to come, it doesn't stay as long as it would if we desperately kept trying to ignore it or deny its existence altogether. Feelings like to bang on the door like obnoxious solicitors. They keep coming back until someone answers. Once you let them come in, and sit through their spiel, it's much more convincing when you send them on their way.

Not to get all freaky-deaky, or touchy-feely, or anything...

Sep 11, 2008

I Remember. Oh Yes I Do...

Sept 11, 2001--The Cat Daddy and I had just moved to Ohio to begin his first assignment. He had to go to work while I moved our pets and most basic belongings (we'd sent most everything with the movers) into our little apartment behind Wright State University.

As I was taking in the first load of stuff a college student came up to me and said, "Dude, did you hear?" and I said "What?" and he said "A plane just crashed into the pentagon," and I gave him a quizzical look, because I thought he looked like he might've been smoking the fancy cigarettes, and I just didn't know what to make of what he was saying. And he said "Just go turn on the TV."

Well, I didn't have a TV right then, so once I unloaded our little pickup truck I plugged in the clock-radio and the dog, cat, and I plopped ourselves on the living room floor and listened there. To be honest, I was just numb--I already felt displaced, and adding a national crisis on top of that was completely discombobulating.

I didn't have a cell phone at the time, but thankfully our land line had been hooked up and to his great credit the Cat Daddy called to keep me posted about how things were going on his end. At that point the base had been completely locked down, so we couldn't have gotten to each other if we'd tried.

And then of course I checked in with the fam (or maybe they checked in with me), because here's my husband, brand-new to the military, and we just didn't know what that looked like yet--so it was mostly a quick "yeah we're fine" and definitely "I love you."

Then I went to McDonalds because I needed lunch anyway, and they had TVs to watch. After hearing about it on the radio, actually seeing the footage was stunning. The mood everywhere was somber, and even a little eerie. Because the gravity of the situation was just so massive, and the situation itself was more than a little eerie.

The Cat Daddy made it home mid-afternoon, and we called our sponsors--now our good friends--the Bees, and they let us come over for the evening. I think we ate, and we talked, and we sat there in disbelief. Ohio was also where there were some loud bangs in the sky that day, which of course freaked us out all the more. I'm not sure that we ever found out exactly what happened, but the accepted story is that it was a couple of sonic booms from some AF planes taking off (possibly to help with Air Force One security). Where normally they'd have waited longer before going supersonic, they were probably in a hurry, intentionally or not.

Then we all went to find some ice cream. The initial plan was to go to Friendly's, but they were closed. As was most everyone else. McDonalds was still open, but believe it or not I think they were flat out of ice cream. Come to think of it, I'm not sure that we ended up with any ice cream at all that night. And I never made it back to Friendly's until several years later, when we were all living in Mass and I finally partook of the goodness with Mrs. Bee.

So that's where I was and how I remember the day...