Showing posts from 2015

20 years ago today

20 years ago today, I received a marriage proposal. Mr. M and I had just moved halfway across the country and were renting a one-bedroom apartment as we worked to find jobs and establish our new life. To be honest, the proposal was not a complete surprise. I had given up everything I knew in order to start this new life with him, in the city where he had grown up. I made it fairly clear that, in exchange, I would be in need of some sort of commitment. :::cough cough hint hint:::

And so it was that on New Year's Eve, 1995, we went out to dinner at a supper club and then went back to our little apartment, where he dropped to one knee and asked me the big question. I accepted his proposal and started planning my wedding, which would take place 17 months later.

I've been wearing this diamond ever since. It was bitten by a dog once and was no worse for wear. I never take it off, partly because it doesn't come off without a fight from my finger. It's possible that I've g…

Snow What

More often than not, we get a white Christmas in these parts. But, we had nary a flake this year. It was unseasonably warm well into November and December. My daughter kept saying things like, "It's great that it's still so warm!" In my head I was thinking, "It's called global warming! We're all gonna die!" Anyway, Mother Nature got back on schedule last night and dumped a foot of snow on us. A foot isn't that terrible, but the high winds caused some crazy drifting. I made it to work on time, but I couldn't get into the parking lot. This never happens. My boss does not like to take any chances when it comes to employees being able to work a full, productive day. Normally, even after a major snowstorm, the parking lot is clean as a whistle. But not today. The office building is near a hospital. I thought of parking over there and then hiking to the office, but I wasn't really dressed for that (I was wearing waterproof boots, but they wer…


Normally, I get the itch to take our tree down on December 26th. Mr. M likes to have it up until New Year's Day, though. So, I am trying to enjoy the Christmas-y ambiance instead of rushing to put my living room back the way it used to be. Of course, I did manage to flood an end table with red cinnamon-scented wax after leaving a lit candle unattended for a few hours. Ooops.

We had a good Christmas. We went to a candlelight service at church on Christmas Eve. My daughter sang "We Three Kings of Orient Are." She didn't practice like she was supposed to and flubbed a couple of lines, but the congregation didn't fire her or anything.

On Christmas Day, the kid actually got up early. Well, early for her. It was after 7, I think. She was so excited to check out her pile o'presents. Part of me was terribly sad when some brat told her about Santa a couple years ago, but I have to say it is also nice to get credit for all the stuff I bought with my hard-earned moolah…


For the past 15 years (a full third of my life), I've been a volunteer with a local Boxer rescue organization. I left the rescue in November. I still have my foster dog, Kevin. He is going to his new home on Wednesday. I'm very happy for him. I waited patiently for the right match (he has separation anxiety) and I think this placement will work out great.  They seem excited to get him, which is exactly what I like to see - enthusiasm!

Once Kevin gets adopted, my time with the rescue formally comes to an end. I've written a whole "why I left" blog entry, but I don't know if I'll ever publish it. I think I wrote it so that I could work out my own conflicted feelings about everything that has transpired.  I've spent the past few weeks helping volunteers take on my old jobs. I really want the rescue to be successful even though I'm not a part of it anymore. For some reason, handing over the Facebook page was the hardest part. I worked really hard to b…


First, I have a message for parents: If you go to an elementary school to attend a concert, you need to sit through the whole thing. You don't leave after your kid sings. You just don't. Rude!  Yesterday I attended the annual holiday concert at my daughter's school. The show always starts with 4K (with the adorable wee tykes waving to their parents and occasionally singing a few words) and then proceeds through each grade. This was my seventh and last year attending. It seems like just yesterday I was attending my first school concert. Next year, my daughter will be in middle school. (waaaah!)  This year's concert was particularly exciting because my kid had a solo.  The fifth grade was the last to perform.  The people sitting next to me were there to see a girl in the 4K class. After she was done, they got up to leave and never came back. I noticed others trickling out after the younger grades had performed. It definitely occurred to me to trip some of them on their w…

The Performer

My daughter had her first choir concert last Saturday. She is part of a city choir that is comprised of four separate choirs. There are two training choirs (beginner and advanced) and two upper-level touring choirs for older girls. Singers must audition to get into the touring choirs.  My daughter is in the advanced training choir. I'm very happy for her to have this opportunity because she receives formal voice instruction. With public school music programs being what they are (her music teacher services two schools and is spread pretty thin), I don't think she is able to get a lot voice instruction at school.

I always thought my daughter had a pretty good singing voice, but it was hard for me to tell because I am basically tone deaf. As much as I love music, I can't sing at all. Not even a tiny bit.  So, it's been nice to get some confirmation that she really can sing. With more instruction and practice, I think she might even be awesome at it.

The concert was held a…

Ice and Fritos

Now that I got the serious stuff out of the way, I want to take this opportunity to blather on about the rest of my trip. It had been five years since my last trip to Oklahoma, which is much too long.

After our travel delays, the kid and I made it to my mom's house Sunday evening. I had booked a rental car, so we didn't need anyone to pick us up at the airport. The first thing I noticed when I arrived at the house, other than the fact that my mom has more cats than anyone really needs, was that there were mostly just condiments in the refrigerator. So, I headed "into town" to buy groceries.  I had planned ahead, too. I had shipped a box to myself ahead of time. I wanted to send some vegan goodies to my sister, as well as some stuff for myself that can be hard to get in rural (very rural) Oklahoma.  Nutritional yeast and vegan mayo, for example. I also brought along some cookbooks in preparation for Thanksgiving.

The next day, the kid and I visited my sister, who live…

Good Stuff, Solemn Stuff

During our visit to Oklahoma, I took my daughter to the memorial museum in Oklahoma City. I felt that she would be mature enough to handle it. I told her what happened and explained a bit about what we would see. I explained to her that the bombing in Oklahoma City is one of a handful of major events seared into my memory. The bombing takes its place among: 9-11, the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger, the fall of the Berlin wall, Hurricane Katrina, the OJ Simpson trial, the death of Princess Diana, and the shooting of President Reagan. I also have fuzzy memories from my childhood of John Lennon's murder and the Iran hostage crisis. In her lifetime, I fear that violence will have become so commonplace that nothing (good or bad) will seem particularly significant.

If you ever get to Oklahoma City, the memorial and museum are definitely worth seeing.  I didn't take any photos inside the museum. It seemed . . . in poor taste, I guess? The museum is very well done, very in…

Thanks, Donna!

A few days before leaving for Oklahoma, I started checking the extended weather forecast. After not seeing a flake of snow yet this season, I was somewhat alarmed to see a snowflake symbol on Saturday's forecast. The chance of snow? 100%.  I try not to worry about things I can't control, so I pushed it to the back of my mind. On Saturday morning, the three of us went to a holiday parade and then went home and had lunch. My plan had been to leave at around 2:00 but in light of the weather forecast, we left earlier. My daughter and I had a flight to catch at 5:35 and the airport was two hours away.

So, we loaded up the car, said good-bye to daddy/husband, and then hit the road. We saw flakes as we got closer to the airport but a quick check of our flight status showed that it was still scheduled to depart on time.  We parked in the long-term parking lot and then caught the shuttle to the terminal. We then rolled our suitcases to the baggage check-in.  This is when things started…

New Niece

I have a new niece! Usually, when one of my sisters gives birth, the person who comes out has a penis. But not this time!

She didn't want to come out voluntarily, so she had to be evicted. The little lass was born on Wednesday, November 18th and weighed 8 pounds and 14 ounces. This probably seems big to a lot of people, but her birth weight was actually lower than my middle sister's three other kids.

I won't get to pinch her cheeks in person until February, when I travel to DC for a visit.

Isn't she perfect? Squeeeee! 

Thanks for nothing, lungs

I haven't written a new blog entry for a while because I now spend all of my spare time coughing. I caught a cold about a week ago. The cold did not pass Go and did not collect $200. It went straight to my lungs, triggering an epic asthma resurgence. I hadn't had an asthma attack in quite a while so I didn't even have an inhaler (dangerous and stupid, I know). I coughed for about five days and did all I could do to get better - went to bed early, stayed hydrated with lots of water, etc. Finally, on Thursday, I went to the doctor. I tried to get in to see my asthma doctor but couldn't get an appointment. So, I headed to urgent care. I only had to sit in the waiting room for about 20 minutes before a nurse called me in. She took a brief history and then the doctor came in. The doctor, as far as I could tell, was about 14. This is how you know you are getting old.* Seriously, though, I don't think any bartender on the planet would sell her a beer.

I think she was in t…

Mother-Daughter Weekend

My daughter and I joined another mother-daughter pair for a fun weekend. We stayed at a resort about 65 miles from home. Because my daughter is 10 1/2, I challenged her to pack her own gear for the trip. (I know, but I like to live dangerously!)  Shortly before we needed to leave on Saturday morning, I noticed she was wearing flip-flops. "It's 38 degrees outside. Put some shoes on," I told her. She stomped back to her bedroom to exchange her shoes. Is it just me or is this one of those common sense kind of things?

We loaded the car and then drove to my friend's house to pick up the other half of our foursome. Then we headed to a craft fair. I go to this craft fair every year even though it is crowded beyond all belief. You just never know when you might stumble upon some amazing Christmas gift that you couldn't have gotten anywhere else. As we walked towards the building, a chilly gust of wind slapped me in the side of the head. "Hey, where's your jacket…

Halloween and Stuff

(I know Halloween was a week ago, but I've been busy, so hush.) 

Bad weather on Halloween seems like one of those Murphy's Law kind of things. As I'm sure most parents were, I was thrilled that Halloween fell on a Saturday this year. Much better than a Monday, that's for sure. There's nothing quite like telling your child, who has eaten 473 pieces of candy, that she must go to bed by 8 because it's a school night.

So anyway, yeah, it rained on Halloween. I took the kid trick-or-treating in the pouring rain. She was determined to go, though. There's candy in them thar hills! She dressed as a rock star and found it a bit challenging to juggle an umbrella and a plastic microphone. I took her around the neighborhood for an hour or so, and then brought her home to dry off a bit. She wanted to hand out candy to other trick-or-treaters, but her dad was not a fan of this plan because he was worried that she would give away the specific types of candy he wanted to …

20 Years Ago

20 years ago this week, I left my hometown, my extended family, my job, my friends, and everything I knew. I took a chance and moved 1,000 miles away from my home in Northern Virginia. It was just a few days before Halloween, in 1995. My boyfriend and I packed up everything in our apartment, including our two kitties, and hit the road. Why did we move? Well, my boyfriend (who later became my husband, of course) was a Midwestern boy. After he left the Marine Corps, he wanted to move back home. He asked me if I wanted to come, too. There were many good reasons why it all made sense: lower cost of living, decent job market, and affordable real estate. Also, I had finished college and now it was his turn to go. He had the GI Bill waiting for him. Plus, we knew that we planned to get married and buy a house. With even the skinniest townhouses selling for hundreds of thousands of dollars in Virginia, we could spend a lot less and get a lot more. And so, we packed up and moved.

The transiti…

Boys Don't Listen

My husband is a good egg. He really is. He's a great dad. He works two jobs to provide for our family. Sure, he reads comic books and he has a metal container full of multi-sided dice (that I don't think I'm supposed to mention, so shhhhh), but I think he spends a lot more mental energy putting up with my quirks than I do with his.

He is not, however, a good listener. Tired of answering questions like "What are we doing this weekend?" I bought a magnetic monthly calendar and slapped it onto the refrigerator door. I make sure it's always up to date.  Of course, this doesn't stop him from asking questions like, "What time are you leaving for church?" (Answer: "The same time I've been leaving for church for nearly a decade now.")

It does get a wee bit frustrating at times. One day last week I needed to take my daughter to the orthodontist at 8:30 a.m. The night before, I told my dear husband that I had turned off the kid's alarm c…

Unattended Parents

Our daughter went to an overnight camp with her choir group last weekend. The choir people are very organized. They sent out a very detailed checklist. She needed to bring a flashlight, two changes of clothing, her sheet music, and a bunch of other stuff.  I had to go to the grocery store on Friday evening so I left her to do the packing. I figured . . . she's 10 1/2, the checklist was very explicit, and she should be mature enough to handle this sort of thing on her own.

Needless to say, she didn't pack while I was a the grocery store. So, I made some rumblings about canceling the trip and then she stomped off to her room, ostensibly to pack.  The next morning, I went to the gym and to Weight Watchers, then dashed home to grab a shower before dropping her off for camp. She was so excited and couldn't wait to go. When we got to the church parking lot (the choir's offices are inside a local church), she checked in and then hopped on the bus. I put her duffel bag in the…

No More Brace Face

The kid got her braces off today. She was a pretty good sport about it. They also fitted her for a retainer, which we will pick up next week.

When I look back at photos of her taken a couple years ago, I can really see a huge difference. The palate expander re-arranged her face (by correcting an underbite) and then the braces straightened the top teeth. So, for the moment, we are in good shape. She'll wear the retainer until she loses enough baby teeth that it no longer fits. Or, until she leaves it on her lunch tray at school and throws it away, I guess.

I do suspect that we have some more dental woes ahead of us. The kid has a baby tooth that will need to be pulled because it is attached directly to the bone. It hasn't "erupted" properly. (Is it just me or is it super gross to use the word "erupt" in conjunction with one's mouth?!) We'll address that wacky tooth at her next dental appointment this winter. Also, we don't know what will happen …

Mandatory Halloween Activities

Last week, I packed up my summer clothes. We were getting close to the freezing mark at night and I found myself needing a jacket for the chilly journey to work in the mornings. So, I figured it was time. My closet is too small to host winter clothes and summer clothes simultaneously, so I swap them out seasonally. So, my flip-flops, tees, and capri pants were unceremoniously shoved into plastic totes, which were then stacked precariously in our basement.

What this means, of course, is that the temperature immediately skyrocketed to 76 degrees. Sunday was flat-out hot. It was in the 60s on Saturday. The kid had a friend over on Sunday and I all but begged the girls to play outside. "You won't see 76 again for at least eight months," I told them. They didn't look up from their iPads. Because Minecraft.

Anyway, we did some traditional October-y stuff over the weekend. On Saturday, we joined a group from our church at a farm (about an hour south of our house). It was a …

A fast is so slow

On Friday, October 2nd, I completed the #fastagainstslaughter sponsored by the Farm Animal Rights Movement. I have to confess that I felt a bit anxious beforehand. The last time I missed three meals in a row was when I had my foot surgery last spring, and in that case it was because of the painkillers. The pills told me, "You don't need food, you only need uuuuuuuusss!" The pills also told me to sleep a lot.

My last meal was on Thursday. I went to the gym and then had tofu scramble for dinner. It's heavy on protein and usually keeps me full for a while. On Friday, I skipped breakfast and then headed to work as usual. At work I sometimes chew gum to keep me from eating other stuff. I couldn't decide if chewing gum would be cheating or not, so I opted to go gum-free for the day. I usually also eat a granola bar mid-morning when I'm at work. On Friday, I could hear them calling me from my desk drawer. "We have nuts and choooocolate," they said. "…