Saturday, December 31, 2005

New Year, New Plans


I used to love New Year's. Not that much, not like Halloween where you can dress up. But it used to mean a fresh calendar, fresh starts.

In 7 days, it will be the anniversary of my last pregnancy loss. I feel a little funny about the fact that I didn't try to get pregnant again this year. We just didn't have it in us anymore.

In some ways, it'll be nice to get to that milestone and just have a full year of no pregnancies and therefore no losses -- which have plagued us three times in three years.

I'll be glad to just be not looking forward to another round I guess.

Which brings us to "what's next?"

I told my husband the other night I was a bit sad over the New Year holiday because it means another year has passed, and we still don't have a family other than ourselves. No progress for me is not something I take sitting down. "Driven" is often a word I imagine people using to describe me. When I want something, I generally go get it--whether it's through hard work or just plain sheer determination. Which is why this whole nightmare has been so hard on me I guess -- more than my husband. I am a bit spoiled in thinking that I CAN have what I want if I just try hard enough.

But alas, having a biological child probably isn't in the picture for us. So we have to decide what else to do. And we'll get there. Hopefully sometime this next year we'll start taking steps.

I guess in a way, that does make this next calendar a fresh a whole new direction.

Blessings to everyone, may you get what YOU want in the New Year, whether it's peace, quiet, love or at the very least, the absence of hard times. Posted by Picasa

Monday, December 26, 2005

Merry Christmas From The Hopper

Find The Kitty Posted by Picasa

We put up the fake tree this year, mostly because this was our other cat's first Christmas, and all I could visualize is him climbing the tree and knocking it down with all my great-grandmother's ornaments on them.

So, up went the ornaments that either a) rolled but were expendable or b) didn't roll and weren't breakable.

Jack liked to bat down the bulbs and roll them around the living room, mostly when we were asleep or at work. Then we'd come to find an ornament under the desk, behind the entertainment center or just laying around.

I'd put them back on the tree, a little higher this time, and slowly our tree started to look like Brian and I were too lazy to put ornaments on the bottom 2 feet of the tree.

But the Hopper just likes to hang out underneath the tree. He likes to hide where he can watch things and be hidden from view.

He's going to be bummed when the tree comes down.

What Should I Do Today?

The Mess On My Dining Room Table Posted by Picasa

The mess on my dining room table is pretty much representative of how my day went yesterday. Here's a sampling of my mess and why it shows I had a great holiday:

1) Music tapes I brought in from the car -- realizing that never again will I have to play my cassette deck in the Subaru, now that I have an iPod with all the music I own and an iGo adaptor to play it through the radio, Bob Marley, The Cars, and all my favorite compilation tapes are no longer needing to ride shotgun with me.

2) My Address Book -- I found out my iPod synchs with my Outlook address book, so I put all my favorite people's addresses and phone books into Outlook and voila' -- it' in my iPod too. Now I can be at work without this big bulky address book, and if I want to call a friend or send a card to a friend during my lunch break, I can do it easily without waiting til I get home and look up their information.

3) Mostly eaten M&Ms -- DH and I went to see Narnia yesterday -- I love the tradition of getting off the couch, going to the movies on Christmas and eating popcorn and M&Ms. A little known fact is that if you pour the M&Ms directly INTO the popcorn, the salt+sweet treat is exactly that -- a real treat.

4) 2005 and 2006 Calendars -- I pulled out the 2006 Yellowstone calendar I bought last summer while on a long roadtrip, and down came the old 2005 calendar. Thinking that I would start writing down birthdays, anniversaries, and the like, I quickly discovered that I didn't even write my own birthday down on the 2005 calendar last year. Not that I need reminding, but it helps everyone , ahem, in the house recall each other's birthdays precisely. This year I resolve to write down people's birthdays, including my friends who usually don't get a card because I fail to remember their birthdates.

5) Jack In The Box antenna decoration. I don't remember if I have ever seen a Jack In The Box restaurant here in Denver, but they were quite popular in Seattle. I want to put him back on my car, but I'm afraid he'll get stolen. Oh least he won't be rolling around at the bottom of my storage console in my car anymore. That would be bad feng shui.

6) Cookies, more cookies. I feel lucky to have "only" gained a few pounds this past week. Cookies at work, cookies came out of my oven, cookies came in the mail from my sister-in-law.

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas. Now I need to go clean my house for the New Year's party we're having.

It's Christmas -- Dogs Are Allowed On The Couch

Lucy & Julie Posted by Picasa

My dog Lucy is very jealous of Jack, our kitten who comes and sleeps with us every night. You can see the look on her face every time one of the cats jumps on our laps.

Last night Lucy came up to me, and I completely surprised her -- I invited her up to lay on the couch with me. She looked surprised, and when Brian came over to pet her, she wasn't sure if she was going to get kicked off the couch or not. But before long, we were both sleeping. I actually heard her snore.

I know she gets on the couch at night when we're asleep. More than once I've heard her get down when I've woken up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. She has that telltale guilty look that she gets, but at least she knows to move.

But yesterday was Christmas. Dogs are allowed on the couch on Christmas, even when I'm looking.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Same video, new way of hearing and seeing it

It's amazing to me...sometimes I think I'm getting old and other times I realize that I'm doing a halfway decent job of keeping up with new technology.

Brian bought me a new iPod for Christmas and I've had so much fun downloading all the music from our library onto it. I decided I didn't need all his freaky World Music stuff -- I kept one album of Turkish phenom Yildez Tilbe, and one of a French musician, but otherwise kept it pretty much "what I like."

I downloaded a video too -- I wanted to see what a TV show would look like on my iPod. I picked out the pilot episode of Desperate Housewives, if for no other reason that to keep from looking like a complete idiot when my friends talk about the show.

Seventeen hours later (yes, 17) after I started downloading the video on my dial-up, it was finally done. It ripped onto my iPod from my computer in about 6 seconds, and before I knew it I was staring at the screen and watching a little teeny TV show on my new toy.

During this long wait, in addition to watching The Denver Broncos beat our nemesis Oakland Raiders yesterday, having dinner and getting 9 full hours of sleep, I also loaded a DVD onto my computer to see if I could get it onto iTunes to show on my iPod (I can't). I watched the first half hour of Lost In Translation on my computer and realized that I was staring at the screen with rapt attention.

Perhaps it was just seeing it on a different screen -- more high definition that my TV -- but it struck me today how some media work well on certain screens, some don't.

One of my pet peeves with new software is that they don't just send you the book anymore -- I had to download it and read it on-screen for my new iPod. Before long, I realized there was no way I would read 69 pages of a manual online, and printed it, three-hole punched it, and put it in a binder.

I guess Old School sometimes still works in certain circumstances.

Merry Christmas

Monday, December 19, 2005

I took the plunge

I did it. I managed to fill out 25 Christmas cards, print an honest-to-God newsletter and some photos, and address them all.

And it's only 11 p.m.

I wasn't going to do this...but somehow I got sucked into the vortex of Christmas once again.

And Charlie Brown said he didn't like the commercialism of Christmas. Meanwhile, for some reason, I feel better knowing I'm getting a big fat present next Sunday.

It's like a race -- not just one where the field is even -- one where I'm happy to get spit out at the end and have survived intact. With the iPod I picked out in November.

Yeah. I probably shouldn't waste bandwidth on this post, but here I am in all my glory.

Merry Christmas everyone.

There are days like these...

When the President of the United States opens his mouth and all I can think in my head is "Oh. There he goes again. I wonder if he says stuff and really believes it, or if he's just trying to talk himself into believing this big lie too."

I wish this war was over. I wish it had never started.

I realize we can't just walk away, or it would be worse than staying.

But I hate the reasons it started.

As I saw on a sign at a protest in New York when I was there last summer...

"George Bush hijacked our grief and flew it into Iraq."

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Sometimes The Lights Just Come On...

Let A Candle Light My Way Posted by Picasa

I have a friend IRL who is having some serious financial problems, and I felt so bad for her. She didn't ask for anything, but I knew she was in some serious stuff, and with Christmas coming she didn't have anything to buy gifts and the basics for Christmas. A few of us friends chipped in a few bucks to help ease the load, and it felt good to do.

Just after I got back from that -- I was sitting at my computer when something in the house blew. My computer went black, the TV shut down and most of the lights went out.

Since we had heat, we didn't worry about it too much -- Brian went out to the circuit breaker box and started flipping switches -- but nothing happened. Uh oh.

Then, we were making do with what was left of our power, and I was thinking "Wow, what good timing. The last load in the dryer was done, the dishwasher was just finishing up, and well, at least the refrigerator's still running and the heat's on."

I had even started baking a double batch of chocolate chip cookies and the oven shut down just as a batch was ready to come out of the oven. My husband hustled to plug the fish tank in to one of the remaining outlets, and we thought we were at least just stuck with calling an electrician tomorrow.

But then, something else blew, and we sat in the dark. This was bad. It was 9* outside, and in serious danger of freezing our asses off overnight. I thought of the minimum $500 bill to get a new breaker box outside (we figured that's where the problem was since only half the power was out), and great. Just before Christmas.

We quickly talked over what to do. Brian said I had to prepare myself for a big die-off in the fish tank (I've never been around for one of those), and we decided we'd load the dog and cats and take them over to a friend's house and just stay there overnight if we had to.

About 20 minutes later, my husband was on the phone talking to our friend about that, and I was running around finding candles and lighting them. I walked out of the house and "BING!" It's back!

The weird thing is, I didn't panic about it. I thought about my friend who was struggling just to feed herself and her kids, and I thought that my problem was really temporary and minor -- expensive, sure -- but fixable.

Sometimes it takes a big power outage to make you count your blessings and realize that life is pretty good if you have gas and electricity. We are a simple people, really.

I have to go bake the rest of those cookies now.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Jack's Fun Nip

Jack Has Already Opened HIS Present! Posted by Picasa

All my friends are sending and posting pictures of their kids for Christmas.

Cute, cute, cute, all of it.

But I don't have kids, so I tried to get my two cats SOMEWHERE near the Christmas tree. The only thing that worked was to put catnip in a stocking and let them go for it.

This was the picture I took after the party was over.

Now Jack has the munchies and is over eating out of the Hopper's bowl, and the Hopper is too flyin' to care.

American Idiot

There are a few things as I approach middle age that give me some sort of comfort.

One is seeing where I've been, and one is knowing there is still unchartered territory. Tonight I got a chance to see a little bit of both.

I went out with a friend to a martini bar in Denver. The crowd was young, but not tooo young -- a mid-twenties crowd for the most part. The DJ and corresponding music video played a lots of '80s hits -- from Madonna to Van Halen. I had a moment when I enjoyed the fact that I finally had long hair to toss around for the '80s hair bands of my time.

I felt a little old as I watched some of the young girls dancing -- realizing that they were probably hearing Def Leppard as a "classic" and not being cognizant of the band the first time they came out.

But then I got in the car to drive home, and my latest favorite band came on the radio -- Green Day. I didn't feel so old as suddenly I realized that I simply enjoy their music so much and realize why everyone from my 14-year-old niece to me loves them. She has a crush on Billy Joe Armstrong of Green Day -- not realizing that he's closer to my age than he is to hers -- with 15 albums under their belt, Green Day's American Idiot album is just one of many that illustrates the depth of a great band that's been around for a long time.

As a result, they have anthems of youth that reach into middle age:

"Wake Me Up When September Ends"

"Summer has come and passed
The innocent can never last
Wake me up when September ends...

Here comes the pain again
Falling from the stars
Drenched in my pain again
Becoming who we are.

As my memory rests
but never forgets what I lost
Wake me up when September ends..."

Thanks Billy Joe.


Saturday, December 10, 2005

A Calvin & Hobbes Classic

Calvin & Hobs Classic Posted by Picasa

I just loved this series of C&H cartoons. Click on it and see the bigger's hilarious.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

A Treasure of Mine

Sew Sew Posted by Picasa

I don't own a lot of things that could not be replaced, but my old 1960 Singer is one of those things.

Grandma put me on phone books so I could reach the table -- when I was about 7 years old, at this very machine.

Aside from replacing one belt and some of the small rubber rings that help me load the bobbin, nothing has ever broken on this machine.

I've taken it apart a million times, cleaned it, oiled it, and it just keeps going.

I think about buying a new one, but I wonder -- would I ever really use it?

This machine was given to my mother as a wedding gift when she got married. She gave me a hard time about taking it with me -- but in all reality, she didn't know how to sew much anyway, so I bought her a replacement, and then gave her Grandma's old Singer when Gram died this year. Finally, I don't hear any more grief about taking Mom's machine.

Heck it hasn't been hers for more than 30 years. I stole it. But I use it, and I use it well. It's hard to think of it as anything but irreplaceable. I've even thought if there was a fire, what would I take with me? That machine would probably go out the window with me before much else did.

What a treasure.

Friday, December 02, 2005

I See Old People

Lately I've been doing a fair amount of people watching. The bus ride to work in the morning will do that to a person. But I also get a lunch hour out on on the main street of town, and that's where I see most of what I've been noticing.

With a double tall latte and a view from my perch outside Starbucks, I see old people.

I've always been someone who thinks ahead in age. I don't know why, but when I was 9 I was excited to turn 10 because it was a double-digit number. Of course at 13 we all wanted to be 16, and when we were 19 we could hardly wait to be 21.

Now, I look at old people and think "wow, if I'm lucky I'm going to be that age."

I'm approaching 39, which means 40 ain't far behind...I guess it's just one of those midlife thoughts that go through one's head: "How old will I live to be?"

I wonder if people in their 50s feel the same panic and exhiliration that I do over getting older. If everything goes well, my life is ONLY half over.

I find it interesting to watch the little old ladies and men get on and off the bus. I wonder how they feel -- do they feel as old as they look? Life suddenly has started to appear very short to me. Did they realize their hopes and dreams in their relatively short time on this planet?

I think I'm only comforted by the fact that artists like Georgia O'Keefe didn't start painting until she was in her late 40s. And what a beautiful painter she turned out to be.

Yeah, feeling midlife come on is kind of like another teenager-hood. I realize how life is so short that one wants to make the most of whatever time is available. I wonder sometimes how mine will be used.



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