Friday, November 12, 2010

What? Me, Worry?


So, remember about eight days ago when I was moaning about how I couldn't find a job?

Well, guess what?

Today, I GOT A JOB!!!!

It happened so fast, it was unbelievable.

Last Thursday, I sent my resume to a recruiter for a job that my husband found online. It was considered an IT job, so I never would have been looking for that. But it was for a help desk position, at a hospital. My previous job? Medical software support.

I emailed my resume, and the recruiter called me not 20 minutes later. She suggested a few minor changes to my resume to fit the position. I made the changes and emailed it back to her.

Friday, I heard nothing. Because nothing gets done on Fridays.

Monday, I called her. She hadn't heard anything from the client yet.

Wednesday, was poking around online, and found that the same job had been reposted. I panicked, and called the recruiter again. I asked if this means they don't want to interview me. She said it probably meant nothing, because it could be an auto-poster, and she still hadn't heard from them.

Thursday afternoon, she called and said that they loved my medical background, and that she had to forward me a few questions that they wanted me to answer. And oh by the way, they needed someone to start Monday.

I answered the techie-type questions as best I could and sent them back to the recruiter, thinking, "I am not qualified for this job at all." I told my husband, I probably was not going to get the job, because I didn't know half the stuff they asked. I Googled some of it, and made the rest of it up.

This morning, the recruiter calls me and says that they want me and are offering me the position! Yay! I accepted, then went down to the recruiter's office to fill out the crap ton of paperwork.

This is a contract-to-hire position, so I'll be an employee of the recruiter for 3-6 months, then after that, the hospital WILL (I'm so not saying if) hire me on. And let me just say, this is the highest-paying job I have ever had. I am so happy and grateful right now. I will never, ever again take having a job for granted. I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off of me.

Now we just need to find hubby a job, and we're good to go. :)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Beyond Frustrated

I can't find a job, people.

I've applied. Oh, I've applied.

I worked for a medical software company for five years, before they decided to close the office. I have extensive computer experience. I have excellent written and verbal communication skills. I have customer service experience. I have a bachelor's degree in psychology. I am one hell of an employee. I am smart, responsible, punctual, and work well with others.

What the hell, Internet?

I had one interview with an accounting firm who does city management for small cities that are too small to have their own city management. It was for a job in the utilities billing department.

I got an interview on that one. It went well. Then I got a second interview. I thought that also went well.

When the staffing agency that sent me on that interview informed me that I did not get the job, she said all the client would say is that, "It just wasn't the right fit." Not that I wasn't qualified, or they didn't think I could do that job, just 'it wasn't the right fit."

What the &*^% does that mean? I'm too fat? They didn't like the amount of gray in my hair? (Which honestly, isn't that much) Didn't like my shirt? ( I love my interview outfit shirt.) I was wearing black pants, black flats and a lovely red/silver/black top. What? What is it? Do these people know how much they'd love me if they'd give me a chance? I am amazing to work with. Former co-workers LOVE me.

I had another interview with the county administrator's office for an admin position. I was interviewed by a panel of three people. Then I was given computer testing. I thought the interview part went great. I did outstanding on the computer testing. The lady who gave me the computer testing (who was part of the panel of three) said she loved my personality and she hoped I got the job.

But I didn't.

My ego is bruised, Internet. This is the first time in my life I have ever had face-to-face interviews, and not gotten the job. Seriously, this has never happened to me before.

I need a job. My UI benefits aren't going to last forever. In fact, not a whole lot longer.

I've hit a wall. I want to go back to bed. I'm sick of this. Wait...maybe I won the Powerball last night...let me just check real quick....

Nope, didn't win. Neither did anyone else, but that doesn't really help me.

Seriously, it's getting hard to do anything. Like, doing a load of laundry is a monumental effort. Speaking of which... I need to go move clothes. Have I also mentioned I need a job?

Any advice, anyone? Anyone in the Denver area need a great employee? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


This is my baby. She is eight years old.

She doesn't look eight years old. She is not quite four feet tall, and still hasn't hit 40 lbs.

She can be a pill at times, but she is a snuggler, a kisser, and most of all, she still loves me. She tells me every day.

It kills me to think of what's going to happen in about four years.

Yesterday, her neighborhood buddy Zach (age 9) came over to see if she could play. He'd gotten a new Wii game that he wanted to show her, something about rabbits. I'm guessing now (after perusing Amazon) that it's probably "Rayman Raving Rabbids", or some such thing.

He said, "Kylie, guess what? My character is wearing a thong!"

Kylie looked at me and said, "What's a thong?"

At that moment, I just wanted to hold her and never let go. Because despite having two teenage sisters and going to public school and having two nine year-old boys as neighborhood friends, this child honestly had no idea what a thong was. I just told her it was a kind of underwear.

Can't I freeze her this way? Before she knows that the world is horrible and nasty and there is no Santa Claus?

Is letting go of the last one always this hard?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

So Many Things

I felt like I should write an update, but I honestly have no idea where to start. Shannon had her wisdom teeth surgically removed, so that was a fun week. We found out from an xray that her wisdom teeth were actually sideways underneath the gums. All four of them. So she was going to have to have them out eventually, and since she hadn't yet grown much root to speak of, the oral surgeon said now rather than later would be better. It was still a rough week, but she is fully recovered now.

On Sept. 3rd, Kylie turned 8 years old. We had a party for her at Jumpstreet, where Danni happened to have a part-time job. Actually, it was the other way around...Danni had a part-time job there, so we got a really sweet deal on the party, as a family member of an employee.

In case you haven't heard of Jumpstreet (and no, not the Johnny Depp version), it's like an indoor trampoline park. Where I could never afford a party for the 18 kids or so we had, without the incredible family discount. So thank you Danni, and thank you Jumpstreet. The kids had a great time.

Shannon played softball for her high school again this fall. With her Canon Rebel, I got some pretty great pictures this year. This is Shannon in an actual game, sliding into home and being safe. You can see the ball under the catcher's arm over in the left of the picture.

I decided that school pictures are a rip-off, and that I can take my own pictures just as well. Plus, that way you can print only what you need, instead of having a huge envelope full of pictures you won't use. You know what I mean. You all have them. Besides, it's pretty easy to find a nice background in our neighborhood.

In other news, Danni has joined the Army. Her job will be 68W, Healthcare Specialist. She leaves for Fort Sill, OK for basic training on Feb. 15th. If you are a male, 68W is pretty much a combat medic. If you're female, non-combat. In a hospital on a safe base, hopefully. I do have to be honest with myself about the fact that she could be stationed in the Middle East.

I was having a hard time with this at first, because I still questioned her motives. I was still convinced that her boyfriend had talked her into it, and he was pulling her strings. Now I know that she wants to be a nurse, she can get her LPN in the service, and have money for college when she gets out. Or, she could decide to make it a career, get an RN and then she's an officer. I don't know anything for sure except this: She wanted to go back to AZ for a while. So she's gone again. She says she will be back for Christmas, then back to AZ for New Year's, and then back here in January until she leaves for Fort Sill on February 15th.

I am proud of her. I'm proud of her for wanting to be independent and not wanting to rely on us. It's hard though...but I'm getting used to the idea.

Before she left to go back to AZ, we wanted to take some pictures. She and Kylie have a special bond. Kylie was a little worried when she heard "army", but we told her that there are lots of different jobs in the army. Some people are fighters, then there are office workers and police and doctors and nurses and cooks, etc. Danni's going to learn to be a nurse. I think that made her feel better.

This one was my favorite. This print is now in a really nice "Sisters" frame in Kylie's room.

Why, hello there cutie. What are you doing today? These guys/girls are everywhere in our valley.

I let Shannon drive around some residential streets the other day so I could get pictures of the amazing fall foliage we have here. She's going to be getting her learner's permit this Saturday, so yes, I cheated a bit.

Last weekend, Kylie's friend Courtney had a birthday. What did Courtney want to do for her birthday? She wanted to go indoor skydiving. Because of the cost, her parents said only one friend could accompany her. Kylie was that lucky friend. I'm posting two videos of her skydiving experience. It was just the coolest thing ever to watch.

I did not know the instructor was going to take her up with him, so if I sound surprised during this video, that's why.

In case you, like we, were wondering why she plugged her nose there at the end, I asked her. She said it was only because "the air was going up my nose!"

So, that's the good stuff. The bad stuff is that Hubby and I are both still unemployed, and those UI benefits are dwindling. We're going to have to file bankruptcy, which I have been avoiding until we couldn't avoid it any more. And I'm scared. But things always work out, right? They have, so far, for us. So I'm keeping the faith. Trying to, anyway. But if you're prone to praying or sending good thoughts, or anything of that nature, it certainly couldn't hurt, and I'd appreciate it. We need some good job karma, or mojo, or something. :)

Saturday, September 25, 2010


See that countdown ticker over there? ---------------> I put that up last year when it started to get warm. I hate warm. So I put up a countdown for how many days were left until it was fall again.

As you can see, my counter has hit zero. The problem? We're setting record highs here in Denver. No, it's not the 107 that Phoenix is expecting today (God, just kill me if I were still there), but we are 10 degrees above normal right now...expecting mid 80s all week instead of mid 70s, which would be the norm.

One of the main reasons I was looking forward to moving here was four seasons. I know we will get four seasons, but it's not happening fast enough. Last year, our first snow was on Oct. 10th. I remember it well, because I was watching it rain out my bedroom window, and then I started thinking, "Wow, that rain looks really...thick." Not like any rain I had ever seen before. Then all of a sudden, it was no longer rain, but little white flakes drifting down. I actually stood there and watched as rain turned to sleet, and then snow, and I thought it was the coolest thing I had ever seen.

Ok fall...I'm waiting!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

You're Such A Dipthong!

This is the new favorite saying of the kids on my block. Yes, they've been out of school too long. Unfortunately (for me), school doesn't start here until August 23rd.

I first heard this a few weeks ago from the mouth of my seven year-old daughter.

This one.*

She called one of her friends a dipthong.

I said, "Do you know what a dipthong is?"

Well, of course she doesn't. She's seven. It just sounds funny.

I told her, "It's a term used in English. It's a word used to describe a gliding vowel sound made up of two vowels together. Like the word 'eye'."

Apparently, this is way over the head of a soon-to-be second-grader. They continue to call each other dipthongs.

I must admit, it does sound like an insult.

*Photo courtesy of my soon-t0-be sophomore, who has taken beginning and intermediate photography with a dinosaur of a film/SLR camera, and is taking digital photography this year. This was taken with her brand new Canon Rebel, which I was able to afford thanks to her older sister, who has decided NOT to go to college this year. She is instead wanting to join the National Guard or the Reserves, thanks to her dumb-ass boyfriend (still in AZ) who got such a low score on the ASVAB that he just was assigned the job of "infantry scout", or some such thing, and leaves for basic training in January. This is a very long story, probably needing a different post. Don't get me wrong, I'm not against the military, but if it weren't for him and this stupid hold he has on her, she'd be starting college in three weeks, instead of sitting on my couch all day.

She's such a dipthong.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

It's The End Of The World As We Know It (Maybe)

So I'm watching TV the other day, and I'm flipping through channels, bored out of my mind. I came upon a show on the History Channel called The Nostradamus Effect. There are many different episodes of this show, all chronicling the many ways the world might end. This one happened to be about the 2012 theory.

So, there's something about the Mayan calendar, and it abruptly ends on December 21st, 2012. Some say this means the end of the world. Other, more sane people, say this is just the end of one age/era, and the beginning of another.

There are other theories, some ancient and some more recent, that seem to point to this date as the end of...something.

I started thinking: Maybe this isn't such a bad thing. If the world really does end on Dec. 21st, 2012, there are a lot of things that I won't have to worry about. Like our current financial situation. I mean, who cares about things like retirement and kids going to college and jobs, if we're only going to be here another 2 1/2 years?

My biggest concern right now though is this: Dec. 21st is really bad timing for the end of the world. That's four days before Christmas, people! What on earth do I do about Christmas shopping that year?

I mean, if the world is going to end on Dec. 21st, I don't really see the point of going out and spending $1000 on Christmas presents. That seems like sort of a waste of money.

Then again, if the Mayans were wrong and the world doesn't end, and I haven't done any Christmas shopping, I am so totally screwed. I'd have three days to go and buy everything.

I have a feeling everyone will be getting gift cards that year.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Home With A Reluctant Kid And A Menagerie

I'm home from nearly three weeks in Arizona. I won't even get into the drama rollercoaster that was my trip, but Danni is here, with us. Reluctantly here, but here and ready to register for college.

When you're used to having two kids living with you, having the third one back is an adjustment. Especially after a two-day car ride, that drama rollercoaster I referred to, and readjusting to the altitude. Between all that, I'm tired and I have a headache.

But, that's not enough. You see, whenever anyone moves here, it seems we acquire another animal.

A long long time ago, when Danni was seven and Shannon was four, we got our first family dog.

That would be Bo, on the right. We got him at a shelter for $10. He'd been there for two days, and they wanted $5 a day for the boarding. They told us they thought he was about a year old. His previous owners had dropped him off because...well, I guess they just didn't want him.

There were no adoption papers, no background check, no fees except the $10. Just take him. He's a chihuahua/pug mix. When we got him over 11 years ago, he was called a mutt. Now he's called a "chug." I think I feel a little smug that I got a designer dog for $10. I've seen chugs in pet stores for over $1000. We think he's about 12 years old. We were a normal little family with two kids and a dog.

When Steve moved to Colorado in December of 2008, he had a small one-bedroom apartment, while he waited for us to finish the school year in Arizona and join him. He was lonely. He decided he needed a dog. Enter dog #2, Luke...a beagle mix. He's about a year and a half old. And he howls. A lot.

Then in June of 2009, the two younger girls and I arrived in Colorado. Shannon was not happy about being here. One of the things we had promised her to soften the blow is that she could have a rabbit.

This is Splatter, Shannon's rabbit. She lives in a hutch in the basement that Shannon is supposed to keep clean. She already had the name when we got her from the Humane Society. I suggested renaming her Rorschach (Rory for short), but no one else got my little psychology joke. So she remained Splatter.

Yes, that's a rabbit, on a leash. Shannon's a middle child, and she's a bit...different. She bought a cat leash and harness, and takes the rabbit for walks.

So, now I have a third child that I've forced to move to Colorado against her will. And we all know what that means, right? Of course, she wants her own dog.

At first, like several months ago, she wanted one of those little pocket dogs. But after living with my parents and their Doberman/Shepherd mix for a year, she decided she liked bigger dogs. Besides, she wanted a dog that she could exercise with...take on runs with her.

We went back to the shelter this past Friday and found a nice dog that everyone in the family liked. However, since we were honest on our application and said that we rented our house (we should have just said we owned it), and we said we already had two dogs, part of the adoption process was the shelter calling the landlord to find out if we were allowed to have three dogs. This was at 1:30pm on Friday afternoon.

Steve called the realty office and spoke with our contact there, and they proceeded to try and reach the owner, to ask if it was ok. Unsurprisingly, the owner wasn't able to be reached. The realty office closed at 2:30pm, and was closed all weekend. The shelter would only hold the dog for 24 hours. So we left, dogless.

On Saturday, just for fun, I decided to look at dogs on Craigslist. I happened across a 3 year-old female golden retriever/lab mix. I had a golden retriever when I was in college and I've always wanted another one. But instead I got a stupid beagle.

A lot of people "giving away" dogs on Craigslist ask for a "small" re-homing fee, ranging anywhere from $50 to $200. You see, you can't actually sell animals on Craigslist, but you can ask for a re-homing fee. The dog at the shelter was going to be a $100 adoption fee.

However, this particular family didn't want any money. They were losing their house and having to move to an apartment, and the apartment wouldn't take their dogs. They just wanted her to have a good home. Steve and Danni went to look at the dog, and they brought her home.

Enter dog #3, Nikki. I wanted a female, because I figured our two male dogs would be more accepting of a female dog, not having to fight for dominance and all that dumb boy bullshit.

She is a sweetheart of a dog. She is also HUGE. She probably weighs about 110 lbs. The vet at PetSmart said she should weigh about 80 lbs. So we've limited her to two cups of food a day (vet's recommendation) and exercise at every opportunity. She seems to be doing better already. For example, she's walking around behind me, and she's not panting and heaving like she was the first couple of days.

Isn't she pretty? Unfortunately, we agreed that this is Danni's dog. Which means that I will take care of her and fall in love with her, and then when Danni leaves us at some point in the future, she'll take her dog with her. Right now though? Apparently I'm about the same size and shape as her former "mom." So the dog doesn't really let me out of her sight.

She really is a big sweetie. She gets along great with the other dogs, and with all the neighborhood kids that are always running in and out of here. However, she brought along enough extra dog hair for five dogs. I think I need to get a Swiffer or something.

Yeah, I think she's adjusting.

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Graduate

Hi! No, I haven't dropped off the face of the earth...I'm in the "show me your papers" state! Woohoo! But this isn't about politics or Arizona or their racist, ridiculous's about my daughter's graduation.

We had to get her a new dress, because the girls were required to wear white underneath their white, kind of see-through gowns.

SEN10RS, Class of 2010!

Throwing their hats after the ceremony. Danni's class graduated 677 kids. It took an hour and a half to read all the names. Our last name starts with W. I think I still have "bleacher butt."

Proud sisters.

I don't normally post pictures of myself because yuck, but I have to point out that I am both smiling AND my eyes are open in this picture. Since this never, ever happens (like really, never), here's my grad with her dad and me.

Danni with her grandma and grandpa, Steve's parents.

Class of 2010 with the class of 2021. Or just a really cute little sister.

A whole new world awaits.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Teenage Brains

What is it in teenage brains that enables them to completely ignore the fact that they are being ri-freaking-diculous?

Example #1 - Daughter, age 15, wears jeans and a tank top to school today. At the moment, it is 55 degrees and cloudy. The school is all inside, so she would be perfectly comfortable.

She calls me on my cell phone at 8:15am, and wants to know if I'm going to be "down there" today. "Down there" refers to down by her school, which is 3-4 miles from our house. I told her that I was planning on going to the store at some point, but I didn't know when. I assumed she was going to ask me to bring her money for lunch, which she used to do on a frequent basis. The last time, I told her that I was sick of coming down to the school to bring her money, and that if she needed money she needed to tell me the night before.

Did she want money? No. She wanted me to bring her a pair of shorts. Because when she leaves school to walk somewhere for lunch (about 11am), she will roast, because isn't it going to be like 70 degrees today?

Yes, it is going to reach maybe 72 degrees, at about 3pm. When you go to lunch at 11am? Possibly low 60s. I explain this to her. She gets mad at me because I won't drop everything and bring her a pair of shorts. This is a child who lived her entire life up until this year in a state where we lived a majority of the year in 100+ degree weather. And she's going to be hot in jeans if it's 65 degrees. What is wrong with this child's brain?

Example #2 - Same child asks me yesterday if she and her friend N can ride the lightrail downtown to the 16th Street Mall, which is a really cool stretch of outdoor mall with a free shuttle that runs up and down the middle of it. From the light rail station nearest us, it is a straight shot to 16th street. No stops, no changing trains. It's about a 30 minute ride on the light rail, and they were going to go after school today and not stay very late, maybe 7ish. They don't have school tomorrow because their high school is holding graduation at Red Rocks tomorrow, even though the rest of the kids still go until June 2nd.

I was considering it. It's not much different than me dropping them at a mall, except they'd be taking a non-stop light rail. I asked her if N texted her back about going. She said, "Yeah, but you might have to tell N's mom that you are going with us."

Ok, N was her very first friend here, from the softball team. We sat with N's parents at most games. I love N's parents. They are lovely people. Daughter spends the night at N's house often. You're telling me that N wants me, as a mother, to lie to her mother and tell her I'm going with you when I'm really not? Um, no. So it's not just my child's head in which these crazy thoughts go on.

Example #3 - Oldest daughter, 18, about to graduate from high school and come to CO to live with us and attend college. That's the plan, anyway. She doesn't want to leave AZ, and I know that, but my parents only signed on for one year of boarding her. I wouldn't even ask them to consider keeping while she starts college, and frankly, I don't think Daughter wants to continue living there either. They're nice people, but she's 18 and they're in their early 70s. 'Nuff said.

Two weeks before graduation, and I think Daughter is still trying to think of a way she can stay in AZ. I laid it out for her like this:

If you come to CO and live with us, you only have to do two things: Go to school full-time, and work part-time to pay for your gas, clothes, entertainment, etc.

If you stay in AZ, you would have to go to school full-time, work full-time, and take out a student loan to help with your living expenses. It's not that we won't help her financially, it's that at this point in time, we can't. You'd have to get an apartment with a roommate, pay half of the rent, food, utilities, cable/internet. Not to mention furnishing the place. Then you'd always have to worry about bills. If you lose your job (like they decide they don't need so many employees, it happens), you're screwed. If in the middle of the semester, you decide that working full-time and going to school full-time is just too much, you're screwed, because you're locked into a lease. On top of that, you're incurring unnecessary debt for that loan you need.

This seems like a no-brainer to me. This isn't so much ridiculous, but it's that she's thinking with her heart, and not her head. I get that. But at some point, I think she's going to have to realize that CO is going to have to be her home, at least for a little while. The ridiculous part is that she's convinced she's not going to make any friends. Between a job and school, she won't make any friends because she'll be living with us, and not in a dorm. I don't know why she thinks that, but she does.

Do you ever wish you could take what you know, and somehow inject it into their brains, to give them some perspective? I'll bet my mom wishes she could have done that to me. I guess we all just have to live and learn. Some of the lessons aren't so pleasant, but you do what you have to do.

Saturday, May 15, 2010


It occurred to me the other day that I could change the top picture on my blog to reflect the season. I had Kylie with a huge icicle up there for a while. You'll have to excuse me, because spring is all new to me. I've never really been through spring before. You see, in Arizona, you go from comfortable (70ish) to summer (100 degrees plus) in about three days. So this spring stuff is kind of a novelty to me.

We have a concrete slab porch outside the front door. There is a family (group? coven?) of wild cottontail rabbits that live under the porch. Thanks to my boyfriend Google, I now know that you can call a group of wild rabbits a colony, a warren or a nest. I think I like colony. At some other time, we will discuss why I am going to marry Google.

So there's a colony of wild cottontail rabbits that live under the porch. There is a hole that they've dug in the dirt where the concrete meets the earth which is their entrance/exit. For most people, that dirt would be a flower bed. Last year, in early fall, I planted some mums there. Two days later, they were killed by a freak hailstorm. All my life, I have killed plants. I have come to the conclusion that there are many things I am good at...gardening is not one of them.

Yesterday, this little guy popped out of the hole and into the should-be-a-flowerbed:

Baby bunny! How cute is that? I don't know if you can compare him to the size of the leaves and tell how small he is, but if I made a fist with one hand and then wrapped my other hand around my fist, he was about that big. And my hands aren't very big. Unlike the adult rabbits, who are oblivious to us walking around and driving our cars up the driveway, this guy was a little skittish. I had to be vewy, vewy sneaky and quiet to get his picture. The deer are out too, with some little ones. Maybe I'll be lucky enough to have my camera one day when I see some.

A few weeks ago, like the last weekend in April, we went to City Park in downtown Denver, because there's this thing here called the Cherry Tree Project, and there are parks around town where every year, they plant a few more cherry trees. I had to see this phenomenon, because I've only seen pictures of cherry trees. This is one of the bigger ones.

They are all different sizes, because they plant more every year.

I think that this is still a cherry tree, just a different strain? Its blossoms were pink, not white.

Later on that week, I noticed something interesting. I didn't need to go to City Park to see cherry trees. They are everywhere. They're in the medians on the street I drive to go to the grocery store. They're all over my neighborhood. I'm not sure why I didn't notice that before. Now, on the 15th of May, the blossoms are turning from white to green. But they sure were pretty while they lasted.

This is a group of trees in my neighborhood. This is the corner where all the jr high and high school kids wait for the bus in the morning. Except for my kid, you know, because buses are "gross." I don't know what they're doing on the street with the orange cones and yellow tape. Husband says they're putting in more streetlights, which would be nice, because those deer sometimes surprise you in the road at night. Nevertheless, it does not add to the ambiance of my picture.

The previous picture doesn't really correctly show the color of the tree. This close-up of the blossoms is more what the color actually looks like. It's really pretty. I don't know what kind of tree this is. It looks like cherry blossoms, but it's the wrong color. Husband said possibly cranberry? Is he full of shit? Does anyone know what kind of tree this is?

This tree is at the end of our street, next to Michael and Matthew's house. They are twins, also in first grade like Kylie. Except they go to a private school. Whatever. I don't even know the parents' names, I just know Michael and Matthew. Because I always hear, "Mom, I'm going down to Michael and Matthew's house!" Their backyard is way more fun than ours.

In case the color of this tree looks a little strange...I might have overdone it on the saturation. That's only because the color in the picture didn't look right. Then again, this color doesn't look right either, but at least it's cool. The actual color of this tree is red, not neon fuchsia. Red. Husband says it's a crab apple tree. Again, I have no idea if this is true.

Same tree, close-up. Again, the actual color is closer to red than this, but how gorgeous is this?

You know what's wild about Colorado in the spring? All these beautiful plants and trees bloom, and everything is so colorful and very green...and then it snows. On May 12th.

Same tree on the corner (you can tell because of the lovely yellow tape there still), with snow on the branches.

The tree next to Michael and Matthew's house, with snow. That's actually more like the real color of the tree. I can't decide if it's prettier by itself, or with its branches dusted white. I like both.

These are some poor daffodils in my backyard. I didn't plant these, someone who lived here before us did. And I guess they're...annuals? They come back every year, whether you do anything or not. Those are my kind of flowers. Two days before this picture was taken, they were standing up straight and tall in their yellowness, and they were quite beautiful. Then the snow weighed them all down, poor things. I brushed snow off them to take the picture. I'm hoping they straighten up. Or there's going to be hell to pay, missy. Did your dad ever tell you to "straighten up?" Mine did. I wouldn't recommend just visibly standing straighter, like you're in the military, when your dad says that. I'm just sayin'. It wasn't a good day for me.

The weather here today is bipolar. Sunny this morning, then a huge boom of thunder, which made me go wtf? Then it rained, now it's sunny again. More rain later, they say. However, I've learned that while the weather people say things? They really have no idea what they're talking about. If they want an easy job, they should go to Arizona. All you have to know how to say there is "Hot and sunny, high of 100+" for about eight months, then "Sunny, high in the 70s" for about 2 months. November and March are kind of a crapshoot. But nothing like a Colorado weather crapshoot. This is fun stuff.

Monday, May 10, 2010

An Ode To My Mom (A Day Late)

I don't know why I didn't think of posting this yesterday. Probably because I was so busy being fed peeled grapes by my own private cabana boy.

This isn't so much an ode to my mom, because odes rhyme, don't they? It's more of a ... a statement, I suppose.

Back at the beginning of April, Shannon, Kylie and I went to Arizona for spring break. We did stuff. We went to an ASU softball game. That's my mom there at the top.

For those of you that are regular readers, you probably know that my oldest daughter is living with my parents this year.

This one, the teenager. That one to her right is a teenager too, but this isn't about her.

This is about my mother. My 73 year-old mother.

When she found out in December of 2008 that we were going to move to Colorado, she was concerned about my oldest daughter. We would be moving right before her senior year of high school. She was afraid Danni would be miserable, not being able to finish high school with her friends. She was probably right.

Husband moved to Colorado in December of 2008. The plan was that we would stay in AZ and let the girls finish the school year, and follow him after school was out. In the spring of that year, my mother made a very generous offer. She offered to let my teenager live with them for a year, so she could finish high school in AZ. After 25 years of being an empty-nester, she was willing to take on another teenager. We didn't ask. She offered.

We decided to let Danni make her own decision. She was 17, after all...and I knew if she stayed, she'd be in good hands.

She decided to stay. And she's been living with my parents this entire school year.

In three weeks, we're leaving to go to AZ for her graduation. After we spend a couple of weeks there, she'll be coming back to CO with us to go to college.

I'm still in awe of my mom, that at the age of 73, she was willing to take on a teenager.

When we were down there for spring break in April, just before Danni turned 18, she pulled me aside and said, "Shel, she's really a great kid. You did a good job."

Well Mom, since everything I learned about parenting, I learned from you...I would say it was you that did the good job.

Happy Mother's Day. I love you.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Out Of Our League

When we moved to Denver, we rented a house. Husband found the house while the girls and I were still in Phoenix. At the time, we thought we needed a four-bedroom house, because we didn't know yet that Danni was staying in AZ. So he was looking at four-bedroom houses.

Since Husband grew up here, he knows the neighborhoods. And this particular area we're living in is a place that all the "rich" folks lived when he was growing up. I think he wished he lived up here when he was growing up. Now, there are bigger and better places to live, like Highlands Ranch. But this area is still pretty nice.

I'm telling you this because we totally do not belong here. I have a five-bedroom house (two of those are in the finished basement), in an amazing neighborhood where I feel like Roseanne Connor goes to Beverly Hills. You know, if Beverly Hills had mountains and trees and lush green grass, with deer and rabbits wandering around. We live in the south part of the development, which is the older part. There are newer and bigger houses the farther north you go. In fact, the neighbors on our street like to joke that we live in the "ghetto" of this area. Because we totally do.

This house we are renting, we got it for a steal. I'm still not entirely sure why, because Husband did all the paperwork before we got here, but the story I was told is that the owner of the house is on social security, and can't have over X amount of income. When I told my neighbor what we were paying in rent, she practically fell over, because I'm guessing it could have been rented for a LOT more. I think the condition of the house had something to do with the price too. It's an older house, and if someone wanted to sell it, they'd have to do quite a bit of work first. But I love it to death. I care not a whit about the scratched-up wooden doors and floor. Or the substandard job the basement finishers did. I've seen some really nice finished basements around here, and this one is just, eh. But Shannon loves having her own "apartment" down there. She's going to be sharing it with Danni soon though. Ha.

So what I'm trying to say here, is that we live in an area that we have no business living in. We are just normal middle-class (unemployed) people. Not everyone around here is rolling in money, but there are certainly those that are.

The people on my street are nice people. I get along fine with all my neighbors. There's this one family at the end of the street who have twin first-grade boys who go to a private school, and the mom is really nice, but she freaks me out a little. Have you ever met one of those people who was just happy all the time, and volunteered for everything, and talked in a gentle voice and had a smile plastered on but their eyes looked all wide like they were on something? I'm just saying. She's a nice lady, but ... yeah.

So, let's just say that sometimes at the schools, you can run into some snooty people. You know the soccer moms with the perfect hair and nails and all the jewelry and the designer jeans and the new Escalades? Yeah. I'm not one of those.

Are you wondering what my point is? Me too. Oh wait. So there are two parties that Kylie and I have been invited to. The first one is a tea party. No, not that kind. I mean the kind where they serve tea. It's on Friday at the elementary school, and it's a Mother's Day tea. The paper Kylie brought home said that I was invited to a Mother's Day tea on Friday at 2:45pm, and to bring two teacups. Teacups? Look, I don't have no stinkin' teacups. First, I don't drink tea. Second, we drink mostly out of plastic cups around here, because as I mentioned, we are the Connors.

So then I had a great idea. I'll just go to the Salvation Army store and pick up a couple of teacups. It did turn out to be a great idea, because I found these:

No, not the bananas, the cups. Aren't they cute? Guess how much I paid for them? 45 cents each. And you know what? They're probably worth like $2000 each. I know this because it says "France" on the bottom of them. The next time the Antiques Roadshow comes through town, I am totally going and taking my French teacups.

You know what else I found at the Salvation Army store for 45 cents each?

Oh yeah, baby. I wish I could take one of these to the first-grade tea party instead of a teacup. Because I may not drink tea, but I am a margarita connoisseur. Would it be completely tacky to bring one of these on Friday? Ok, yes it would. But don't you think a margarita or two would be mandatory for high tea with first-graders? I think so.

Do you like my picture background of half a cantaloupe, bananas, rabbit cards from Kylie's Easter basket and the light switch? I thought it was pretty classy myself.

Guess what else I have? When my sister-in-law was here at Christmas, she bought copious amounts of alcohol. She's fun! We didn't exactly get around to drinking ALL of it. I'm not a big drinker, and Husband isn't really either, so I've been storing the leftovers in the freezer out in the garage. I went out there today, and you know what's in there?

How perfectly does that go with my new 45 cent margarita glasses? And it's even Cinco de Mayo today. If that isn't an excuse for a margarita, I don't know what is. Salud!

I said we were invited to two parties, right? The second one is a birthday party with a "derby" theme. I'm guessing that means horses. It's girls only, they're supposed to wear their best dresses, and will leave with a hat they've made that matches their dress. The Evite said that "afternoon hors d'oeuvres and beverages will be served." Well, roll me in sugar and call me Cookie, isn't that sweet. It also says, "Great time for mom's (sic) to hang out too!"

Yeah. No. I'll drop Kylie off, but I don't even own a dress, let alone something for a derby. Depending on the weather, I wear either jeans, a shirt and my furry boots, or shorts, a shirt and sneakers. Luckily, Kylie does have one cute dress that I think would be appropriate. It's the same dress she wore for her kindergarden graduation. Good thing she doesn't grow. Well, she grows taller, so the dress is a bit shorter, but it still fits. Can you picture me sitting around with these skinny soccer moms in dresses and heels having hors d'oeuvres? Me either. One person responded to the Evite by saying "Elizabeth and I will both be there in our derby finest!" Gag.

Wait, will mint juleps be served? This might call for another trip to the Salvation Army store.

Just kidding, I'm not going. Roseanne is perfectly happy drinking margaritas in her own house, while not wearing a dress.

Tienen un bueno noche, mis amigos! Salud!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Nothing To Write About

I don't write much here anymore, because I never feel like I have anything to say. And then when I do write something, it ends up being either melancholy or bitchy. I used to write funny stuff. I have proof. Over there on the sidebar is something that says "I Used To Be Funny!", that titles a list of posts in which people told me in the comments that I was funny.

Then today, Dawn reminded me that I don't always have to be funny, or exciting. Which I am not. Exciting that is. Dawn posted some links of some other people that had written some funny things, like a lady named Twisted Susan that farted in front of a lady in the grocery store. I mean, I do stuff like that all the time once in a while. Why don't I ever write about it?

I followed another link of Twisted Susan's called Why is it that nobody in Susan's house can..., and she listed things that no one else in her house seems to be able to do, like put away cereal or feed the dog. After wondering for a minute if Susan and I lived in the same house, I decided to make my own list. My list will be prefaced by something out of a book I read. I cannot remember the name of the book, but it was a collection of essays about parenting by some authors/comedians, and the only one I can remember right now is Dave Barry, but he didn't write this particular essay I'm going to tell you about.

The essay was called something like "A Manual for The Care of Your New Teenage Daughter," clearly aimed at parents of 12 and 13 year-old girls who are wondering what happened to their sweet little girl, and who the screaming banshee is that has taken her place. I have been there, done that twice now, and not looking forward to the third time. But there was one part of the essay that I thought was extremely funny, and it was called "Cleaning Your Teenage Daughter."

I can't remember the thing word for word, so this will be liberally paraphrased, but I think you'll get the point.

It said that teenage girls are very clean. Clean is not the same as neat. They are very clean because they shower three times a day, using expensive soaps and lotions that you must purchase for them, because like I'm sure I'm really going to use the same shampoo that my mom uses. Gross. They then wrap themselves in every available towel in the bathroom, and spend hours moisturizing, putting on make-up and straightening or curling their curly or straight hair. They will then leave the towels strewn about the house. If you expect them to pick up the towels, you are confusing clean with neat. Picking up the towels is your job.

When I read that, I laughed and laughed, and then I laughed some more. Because this is so my 15 year-old daughter. And then I smiled because I realized it wasn't just me that was living through this.

Honestly, things are better. 15 is better than 12-14. I am hoping that like my first daughter, 16 is better than 15. But in the interest of comedy, and those of you who have/have had/will have teenage daughters, I thought I'd make my own list of things that she is unable to do:

  • Hang up a towel
  • Pick any piece of clothing up off the floor and put it in a laundry basket
  • Put the milk away
  • Discuss homework without rolling her eyes
  • Put bobby pins in a specified container that I bought specifically for that purpose. It's way easier to just take them out of her hair and throw them on the floor.
  • Feed her rabbit, which I sort of feel like is my rabbit now.
  • Change the rabbit's litter box (although she will completely clean the hutch once in a while, but certainly not when I ask)
  • Turn the radio off
  • Turn the TV off
  • Turn her straightening iron off
  • Keep her cell phone from hitting the floor (stole that one from Twisted Susan)
  • Speak to a teacher about a grade or an assignment without me threatening to email said teacher
  • Eat anything that contains meat, which makes my life a living hell interesting.
  • Do anything that I request without saying "in a minute" or my favorite, "I WILL!" (stole that one from Susan too)
  • Throw away an empty shampoo/conditioner/lotion/face wash bottle
  • Clean up the kitchen after she cooks something
  • When given money to go to the mall (or anywhere), come home with more than 17 cents in her pocket

Things she is able to do:

  • Utter my favorite phrase in the world at least 18 times a day, which is "Oh, I forgot."
  • Tell her little sister to shut up at least 27 times between 4pm and 9pm
  • Expect me to read her mind when she's out of something. I should just know and accordingly buy more tampons when she's out, so that she will not have to utter the word "tampon" in my presence
  • Randomly hug me for no apparent reason
  • Make me laugh until I cry

She's crazy, she's silly, she's infuriating. And then, she'll do this: A walk for MS, with a sign on the back of her shirt that said, "My champion is daddy (:". She even brought a friend to walk with us, whose sign said "Shannon's dad (:"

That day, she made me smile. And she made me proud.