Thursday, August 25, 2011


I haven't been writing for the last few weeks, mostly because I've been sucked into re-reading the Song of Ice and Fire series. So last night I thought I should at least read through my current project, so I could remember where I'd left off and be able to pick back up again.

So once we'd gotten the kids put to bed and I'd had my shower, I sat down with my iPad and scrolled to the top of the document and started reading. It wasn't too bad for a first draft, but I was all of about half an hour in when I started nodding off. It was only 9:30, and I'm usually up until 10:30 or 11, but I could not, for the life of me, keep my eyes open.

So I gave up. Matt says when he came upstairs at 10 to do Penny's blood sugar check, it looked like I had been sitting up and just fallen sideways across the bed. Luckily for him, by the time he came to bed, I'd moved into a more usual position, but I hadn't found the energy to get under the covers. I remember waking up around midnight because I was cold, so I went to the bathroom and got under the covers, and then I don't remember anything until my alarm went off at 6.

I'm still tired. Logy, even. If I thought I could put my head down and not be disturbed, I'd probably sleep for another two or three hours. I don't know if it's a delayed reaction to coming back from vacation, or if I've got a minor bug I'm fighting, or what, but my body and brain are in complete agreement: Zzzzzz.

Maybe I'll be going to bed early again tonight.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

I'm Back!

Okay, my one post from the road turned out to be my one post from the road. Thank goodness, I started sleeping in later after that!

We had a fantastic time. Penny was prone to occasional bits of grouchiness and unwarranted sadness (due largely to the fact that she was getting up at 6:30 or 7 and not going to bed until 10 or later most nights) but mostly, she was fantastic.

We didn't do a lot of stuff -- mostly just hung around the resort taking advantage of their amenities -- but we did go to a dolphin encounter thing, and we did spend time on the beach and by the pool, and we did eat at a lot of great restaurants, and we did have a fantastic time. Next time (oh yes, there will be a next time!) I want to go parasailing, and maybe we'll try to tour some ruins or pyramids.

All my pictures are up on Flickr -- this set has them in the correct order (otherwise, the ones I posted from the road show up in my standard photostream before all the ones I uploaded after we got home, regardless of when they were taken).

I don't care about swimming in the ocean or playing in the sand (though Penny enjoyed it) but that water is too beautiful to look away from. I spent hours sitting at the poolside bar/cafe, drinking frozen drinks and just staring out over the railing at the beach. I spent more hours sitting on the balcony of the timeshare doing the same (only without the frozen drinks). I wish we could have stayed the whole two weeks; I'd be there right now, watching the waves roll. Even on the day it was cloudy and rainy, the ocean was beautiful.

It was great to see Matt and Alex again -- I'd missed them a lot -- but if I could take them with me, I'd go back right now.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

On the Road: First Day

I don't expect to post every day, but since my stupid brain woke me up at 4:15 this morning, I figured I'd pop in and let you all know that we arrived safely and with the minimum of hassle, and that Penny is having a fantastic time so far.

Don't worry, I'm not going into a blow-by-blow of the trip; I just wanted to throw out a few vignettes I found amusing.


Karen sent Penny a camera for her birthday, specifically so she'd have something a little nicer to take pictures with than my iPhone. (Which is almost as much a gift to me as to Penny, since it means I'm not turning my beloved phone over to her for the duration.) It's supposedly waterproof -- we're not sure we want to test that just yet, but it means we don't have to automatically freak if it gets splashed by the pool. It even takes videos!

Penny has been exactly as snap-happy as you might expect of someone with a brand new camera (in the most lovely color of turquoise blue, even!) -- she took minutes of footage of random people at the airports, and dozens of pictures of random bits of ground from the airplane, and valiantly attempted to capture every single palm tree, coconut, and flowering bush that lined the highway between the Cancun airport and the resort.

What she has not taken pictures of, to my knowledge: any part of the resort, the ocean, or her grandparents. You know, the stuff we came here to see.


In the shuttle from the airport: "Mom, this is great! I wish Daddy and Alex could be with us!"

"Me, too, sweetie, but Daddy didn't want to come."

She goggles at me. "Daddy didn't want to see this? When we get home, I'm going to spank him!"


My dad, in a perfect alignment of selflessness and selfishness, offered to take Penny down to the beach to look for shells while I unpacked and caught a little rest. They took a gallon-sized ziploc bag along to put their finds in.

I've been beachcombing before, even with Penny, so I was expecting them to return with maybe a couple dozen shell fragments and maybe some colorful rocks. Which they did. But much to my surprise, she also managed to find several dozen completely whole shells, mostly a pretty white, but quite a few of which have gorgeous orange-brown striations. And some really lovely and fascinating pieces of what I can only assume are bits broken off the coral reefs that are just offshore. (No, really, just offshore. If the undertow here wasn't so strong, We could go out snorkeling to look at it, even Penny, who is not the strongest swimmer.) Anyway, they managed to get that gallon bag nearly 1/4 full of shells, many of which are even worth the keeping, and they were out for less than an hour! Maybe when we get home, we'll see if Aunt Sam can help us string (some of) them into a necklace. What better souvenir than a necklace of shells you collected yourself?!

When asked last night what she wanted to do today, Penny insisted that she wanted to take all four of us down to the beach to look for more shells. I've told her there's only room in our luggage for one bag of shells.

But I might have to find a bigger bag somewhere.

Penny and my dad playing in the pool.

Thursday, August 11, 2011


This is it! Vacation is almost upon me!

After work today, I have a massage appointment, after which I'll swing by the Chick-fil-A on that side of town that's doing a fundraiser for the JDRF and pick up dinner. After the kids are in bed, I'll make cupcakes for Penny's (and Adin's) birthday. And also wrap Penny's presents.

Tomorrow I'm running errands (grocery shopping for Matt and Alex's Bachelor Week) and doing some last-minute laundry and packing.

It will also be Penny's birthday (and Adin's). My little girl will be eight, for pity's sake. *sniff* We're going to Wasabi (Penny's favorite restaurant) for dinner, and having our cupcakes for dessert. (I have a plan for them. I hope it works the way I see it in my head, because if it does, it will be awesome.) There are presents aplenty, and a little bird emailed me this morning to suggest that she might not be having to use my iPhone's camera on this trip after all, assuming the delivery estimate is correct.

Once the kids are in bed, I'll load most of our luggage in the car, because I'm pretty sure I'm not going to want to deal with it Saturday morning.

And then at OMFG-it's-early on Saturday (better known as 3:30 or 4 in the morning) Penny and I will get up and get dressed, give Matt hugs and kisses, and then be on our way! I'm so excited, I'm vibrating.

Alas, the weather report could be better:

I hope all those "Isolated T-Storms" are really isolated and that the "partly cloudy" that goes with it offers plenty of sunshine in between. (Also, note to self: Monday is probably the best day to try to do the pyramid.) Oh, well. There's lots of stuff to do indoors, too (crafts! aquariums! museums! shopping!) so even if the weather turns yucky, we'll still have loads of fun -- the pictures just won't be quite so stunning.

Clouds or no clouds, in exactly two days, I'll be here:

I'll be with my parents and my favorite girl in all the world, and we'll be having a blast. I can't wait!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Writing Wednesday

The Writing Wednesday post is up here. Check it out -- I've promised to write flash fiction if people leave me some prompt cues in the comments!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

ID 10 T

I looked at the suitcases in our closet, trying to figure out which one to use for my trip.

My back has been giving me some problems lately. I want a suitcase with wheels. That seems to be a reasonable requirement, right?

The only suitcase we have with wheels is Matt's enormous (and I mean enormous -- I could fit inside if I lost another twenty pounds) green softsider.

Now, I'm going to Mexico. To a resort at the beach. Everything there is casual; no dress-up stuff required. There are laundry facilities, so I'll only have to take about 5 days' worth of shorts and t-shirts. And a couple of swimsuits. Yes, there's more -- toiletry kit, some support doodads for my electronics, maybe a book to have by the pool (the iPad screen being LCD and therefore more or less impossible to see in sunlight). A couple of pairs of shoes. But really, not all that much. Even allowing extra space to bring home souvenirs, Matt's big green suitcase is kind of overkill.

What I need, I thought, is a carryon bag like Penny's. Even though I'll probably have to check it (on the way back if not on the way down, because I intend to bring back tequila and honey and vanilla, and the airline goes into full flailex over liquids in your carryon) but that size is probably perfect.

So I went to Target yesterday and I bought a bag. It was a kids' bag, but I eyeballed it as being just about the same size as Penny's (though this was a "boy" design -- which I liked because then when we're doing the family trip at Christmas, it can be Alex's suitcase).

Only when I got it home? It was tiny. Much, much tinier than Penny's suitcase.

Well. Maybe it was still usable. I got out the toiletry kit bag and put it in the new suitcase. It took up a third of the space. No exaggeration. There was no way I was going to fit five days' worth of shorts and shirts and bras and shoes in what was left.

Matt laughed at me. He didn't even pretend to be nice about it. But I guess I kind of deserved it.

So I guess I'm back to the enormous green bag. At least I'll be able to pack all our stuff together. Plus a roll of bubble wrap to keep our souvenirs safe. I'd hate to get home and get Matt's ginormous green bag off the baggage belt only to discover that it's scented with tequila and honey and vanilla.

On the plus side...

Three days to vacation, and four days to Cancun!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Sick of It

Weekend report: We had a nice evening with Braz and Adin and crew on Friday, after which I took the kids home and Matt went on to Vicki's birthday party. The next morning, Matt took Penny to a birthday party down at Chuck-E-Cheese, and I packed Alex into the car and went to the bank (to get our passports out of the safe deposit box and some cash for the trip) and then we went over to Target. I'd completely forgotten to get Penny's school supply list, but thanks to the miracle of the smartphone, I was able to find it pretty easily on the school's website. So Penny's all set to go back to school next month.

(Earbud headphones. Why the hell do third graders need earbuds?)

Alex went down for his nap before Matt and Penny got home, and I enjoyed a quiet hour reading. (I'm trying to re-read the whole Song of Ice and Fire series, since the fifth book just came out a couple of weeks ago.)

Matt and I had been idly bandying about possibilities for dinner, but we hadn't decided anything yet when Alex finally woke up from his nap. Matt went upstairs to get him, and Alex promptly threw up.

Le sigh.

It's the first time Alex has been sick for quite a while. Long enough that he doesn't remember the last time. Long enough for the whole experience to be not only unpleasant but also frightening. He felt hot, too, and the thermometer agreed, at 101.6. Poor little guy. (Unlike Penny, though, who when she's feverish just wants to cuddle on someone's lap, Alex didn't want anyone to touch him. He commandeered Matt's seat on the couch and refused to relinquish it.)

So he spent the rest of the evening sitting with a big plastic bowl on his lap, and while the rest of us were having Chick-fil-A for dinner, he got... some bread.

Which he threw up an hour later. I've got to hand it to him, though: he'd done a pretty scary cough, so Matt had him sitting in the bathroom so he'd be close to the toilet. I took over for a while, and he seemed to have perked up a lot, so I told him we could go back to sitting on the couch with his bowl. He followed me over to the couch, frowned, and turned around and headed right back to the bathroom. "You okay, honey? You going to throw up again?" He nodded yes and then grabbed onto the toilet seat and yakked. So while it was unfun, I have to give him credit for listening to his body.

Naturally, we put the trash can by his bed and I wedged a towel around it, but he made it through the night without a mishap. Sunday morning, he was much perkier, and his temp was down below 100. We still made him eat gingerly, and in small amounts spread out. Plain bread, crackers, oatmeal. Water to drink. He complained somewhat of being hungry, but seemed to understand when I explained why we were being careful about his meals.

He was definitely doing better, though, so after he went down for his nap, Penny and I left without guilt to go meet Adin and Ripley for our pedicures. I'd been thinking of getting Penny and me pedicures as a pre-vacation treat, and then Adin had suggested she and Penny get them as a birthday treat (the two of them have the same birthday) so obviously it was meant to be and we all went together.

Adin's usual nail parlor was closed, but that turned out to be a good thing, because the place we wound up at had a special section just for younger kids. It was so adorable I wanted to just eat it up!

And though I had expected Penny to waffle forever over her color choice, she grabbed a sparkly blue polish within seconds of walking through the door. Both girls really enjoyed the experience, and Adin and I had fun watching them. And of course, all our toes look fabulous now!

After that was done, I took Penny over to Coldstone to use her birthday ice cream coupon. Mmm, ice cream!

When we got home, Alex was just waking up from his nap and his temperature was back down to normal, so we went over to Braz and Adin's and I made chicken fried rice for us all for dinner with lots of extra veggies. Yum! (Though it needed a smidge more soy sauce. Note to self for next time, I guess.)

Overall, a pretty good weekend, except for poor Alex's bug -- but at least that was a quick turnaround!

And now it's only 4 days until my vacation starts, and 5 days until I'm in Cancun! WHOO!

Friday, August 5, 2011


So, let's see about our weekend plans...

Tonight is Friday. We almost always have dinner with Braz and Adin on Friday nights, so that's the plan tonight. At some point, also, I need to run Penny out to Target to get a present for her friend who's having a birthday party tomorrow. After we get the kids home, Matt's going to go to Vicki's birthday party.

Tomorrow morning, the aforementioned birthday party. Matt will be taking Penny to that while Alex and I stay home. Or possibly run errands -- I need to hit the bank. That afternoon, probably, we'll all head over to the library so the kids can collect summer reading prizes and pick out new books.

And Sunday, the plan had been for Penny and Adin and I go get pedicures, and then for the whole gang to go to the movies. But we checked the movie listings yesterday, and there's bugger-all out there that Penny would want to see right now. So we'll still do the pedis, but the movie will be on hold until something is in the theaters worth watching. (I'm thinking that means we should figure out something else to do to celebrate Penny's and Adin's birthday, since Penny and I won't be around next weekend. Hmm. Will have to put some thought into that.)

It's also our Tax Free weekend for buying school supplies, so sometime Saturday afternoon and/or Sunday I might dig out Penny's list of required supplies and go shopping. It's like having an automatic 5% discount on everything, and a lot of stores stack sales on it, too.

So it'll be a busy weekend, but hopefully a good one.

And when it's done, I'll be less than a week away from my vacation! Whoo!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

(Shutter)Fly Girl

My Amazon orders came in yesterday. I got a new solar charger for my phone (which is looking like my iPhone refuses as a charge source, alas; I'm testing it dubiously at this very moment) and I also got an assortment of gadgets for my camera, all of which I tested last night and which work exactly the way I'd expected.

There was a Gorillapod and a wireless remote so I can stand the camera up for some hands-free shooting. Nice for long-exposure shots and when I want to actually be in the picture. The wireless remote requires that the remote button be pressed while the remote is in front of the camera, but just in case I don't want to actually be in the shot, there's a 2-second delay button so I can reach around front, push the button, and get out of the way before the shutter opens. But the combination of those two items will make taking our family Christmas picture a lot easier.

I also got a set of macro lens filters. Which isn't strictly useful for Cancun, because mostly those are going to be wider shots to include the beach and the water and the sunrises and sunsets and the wildlife and the buildings and the people and the tourist attractions. But I do enjoy playing with art shots and macro shots and stuff, and being in a new location gives me lots of new things to play with. And they're great inexpensive filters that I've been wanting to get for over a year, so... Boom. Got 'em.

I had book club last night, so I didn't get to play with everything much except to test that it all worked. Tonight and this weekend, though, I'll probably be kind of camera-happy. And I need a clear night, too, so I can attempt some low-light shots, now that I can finally go hands-free.

Yep, I am totally geeking out. Mock if you want; I don't care.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Writing Wednesday

My Writing Wednesday post is up! Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


Did I mention that I lost the cable for my solar charger? Did I mention I had a solar charger?

So let's back up a smidge: When I started making plans for this trip to Mexico, I bought a Freeloader sun charger to help keep my iPhone and iPod and iPad functional. (The link isn't the precise device I bought, but it's the same company.) It seemed to make sense. If there's one thing Mexico has, it's plenty of sun, right? (And if there's one thing the resort does not have an overabundance of, it's power outlets.)

Obviously, I needed to test it first, so I set it up on the dashboard of my car and then plugged my phone into it, and it seemed to be working. Yay! And then a couple of days ago, I realized I didn't know where the cord was. I looked everywhere. Even took the floor mats out of the car. Everywhere. I swear, I didn't take it out of the car, but it's not there now. Boo.

So yesterday, I finally gave up looking for it. I googled the charger, found the company that makes it, and lo! They sell the charger and the iPhone/iPod/iPad adapter separately. Yay! Except that the company is based in the UK, so shipping is kind of egregious. Replacing the cord and adapter were going to cost me about $30, which is darned near the price of a whole new device. Plus also? Shipping from the UK doesn't really fill me with confidence on the likelihood of stuff arriving before Penny and I leave.

I hit pause on that process and shimmied on over to Amazon. Hey! Solar chargers by the pound! Including one that's only $10. I figured, what the heck; it's cheaper than the new cable, and if it doesn't work, it's not like I won't have the AC charger with me; I'll just have to be sure to rotate the devices so they stay charged.

And while I was placing an order at Amazon anyway, I might as well pick up the macro filter set for my camera. After all, I'm going to be taking a buttload of pictures while I'm in Mexico, and this filter set is a fantastically cheap way to get closer to your subject without shelling out for a macro lens.

While I was buying camera gear, I distinctly remember last time (and at several points since) wishing I had a tripod so I could take longer exposure shots without worrying about my hand shaking... Yay, Gorillapod!

Then, I figured, if I was going to be using a tripod, I might as well get a remote so I didn't have to fidget with hand-shake from pressing the button. (The corded remote I found wasn't available on Amazon Prime, so there's a slight chance it won't arrive in time -- but since it cost less than $5 after shipping and its customer reviews are solidly high, I feel okay about it. Vacation isn't the only time I want a remote.)

As long as I was trolling Amazon anyway, I also loaded up a cart with some stuff for our new nephew (Matt's sister had her baby last week) and a couple of little things for our niece to celebrate her brother...

Yeah, Amazon.Com kind of owns my soul.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Got It Made

Every once in a while, I have the kind of morning that makes my usual half-hearted bitching and moaning completely uncalled for. The kind of morning that makes me want to stop to consider just how damned good my life is.

This was one of those mornings.

And damn, but I do have it good.

I have two absolutely beautiful children who are smart and kind and imaginative and funny. I have a wonderful husband, who is likewise smart and kind and imaginative and funny. I have a wonderful family who lives close enough that I can visit them regularly, and I have in-laws that I love enough I wish they lived close enough to visit them regularly. I'm fairly healthy, barring a few minor problems. The people I love, likewise.

I have wonderful friends who care about me and never take our friendship for granted. Better still, my friends' kids are friends with my kids (I never much got along with the kids of my parents' friends, so it's something I can't take for granted). And my friends' kids are almost as fantastic as my own kids, even from my own completely biased viewpoint.

I make a pretty good amount of money (not to get into details publicly, of course). Moreover, I have as much job security as anyone does in this economy, and if I don't care for the job itself much, I couldn't ask for better co-workers or a more fantastic boss. I've realized my childhood dream of becoming a published author (even if it's not the genre I would have picked back then -- or even known existed) and am expanding that dream to include publication editing. My husband fully supports my writing, and so does my boss: I'm about to negotiate a change to my job that will make it easier to pursue my writing dreams.

I'm feeling good. Feeling grateful for everyone and everything wonderful in my life.

It's not the usual way to start off a Monday. But I think I like it.