Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Rabble Scrabble New Year

I'm scrambling around work this morning, trying to get all the stuff done so we can get out of here.

I think I've lamented before how one of the drawbacks of working for a daily newspaper is having to put out a newspaper every day — even holidays.

So here I am on New Years' Eve working furiously while my mom and husband are home preparing our house to host a few friends and neighbors as we ring in the new year.

But I do want to take just a quick moment to say Good Riddance and Suck It to 2008.

It wasn't a horrible year, but a hard one emotionally.

Friday marks the one-year anniversary of my dad's death.

It took me a long time to get my shit together after his he died. It's a process and I'm still working through that.

There's the uncertainty of my job as the paper I work for is for sale. Our publisher has left and now I sit outside an empty office and answer the phone generically "Publisher's office."

And, of course, there's the whole financial mess our country is in, not to mention the wars we are fighting that also reflect poorly on 2008.

But I would feel remiss if I didn't mention the good stuff, too.

My mom has been with us a lot this year and that has been beyond awesome.

I love having my mom in our house. She's an amazing woman and I wish I were more like her. And I'm so happy my daughter gets to know her and spend time with her and see how a truly wonderful mom lives and acts.

My band is doing really well and we have so much fun together, it should probably be illegal. We are crass and low-brow, but we rock hard and it's awesome. Kelley, Laurena and Scott are more than just band mates (although Scott is technically not IN the band, but I'll skim over that for now); they are great friends and I love them dearly.

I'm thankful that I have such a wonderful family. My husband is amazing simply because he puts up with me and I'm more than a little difficult. He does so in a loving and fun manner and that is a gift.

Margaret is, in my opinion, the funniest 8-year-old ever and one of the smartest, too. And she's difficult — just like her mother — so my mom finally gets her revenge for having to raise me, in that I am now raising a difficult daughter (I do remember her saying once, "I hope you have a daughter like you one day").

Sean is a really good and kind person and that is not often said of teenagers. I wish great things for him and hope that he and I can continue a happy relationship for as long as I live.

I have really great neighbors who are fun and helpful. And because you can't always pick your neighbors (except we did in the case of the Reeds), that's a crap shoot that we won.

So even though I'm not going to miss 2008, I have a lot to look back on and for which to be thankful.

I'm also thankful for everyone who reads this little blog of mine. I don't make any money or get any glory from it, but this blog means something to me as do those who read my daily poopings. Thank you.

So here's to wishing everyone a happy and safe new year and to hoping for great things in the year to come.

Twitter Moms: The Influential Moms Network

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

At least she got her point across

Over lunch yesterday we were having some conversation that included discussion of the Internet (I'm not going to mention that it likely included talk of the Girls Next Door, because that would be weird).

Margaret blurted out: Yeah, I know what you're gonna write.

Me with raised eyebrow: Oh?

Mar: Yeah, you're going to put that picture of my cold butt and say how I said that my ass was cold.

Me: I don't post pictures of your naked butt on the Internet.

Mar: Oh (quietly and seemingly a bit disappointed).

And yes, my darling 8-year-old came in from playing in the snow and shouted, "My ass is freezing. Help me warm it up." This was accompanied, of course, by her pulling down her snow pants to reveal a very red and very cold little girl butt.

How did we react to my sweet daughter's ass lament? We suggested she take a shower.

Monday, December 29, 2008

You'd think he'd have a bug guy, too

I had a dream about Hugh Hefner last night.


OK, I may be watching too many Girls Next Door reruns, but I'm completely fascinated with those three girls. I mean Hef redefines Sugar Daddy in a colossal way.

Yes, I know Holly left Hef for Cris Angel (I can't even comment on that at this point) and Kendra is marrying a football player, but because it's just TV to me, I just keep on watching and playing along like it's made up ... because really, who lives like that?

Oh right, Hef and his girlfriends.

I'm just going to gloss over the creepiness of the octogenarian "dating" multiple hot chicks young enough to be his granddaughters, because he's Hef — a man who made an empire on bare boobies and what not.

Those three girls have a lifestyle that's definitely seated in the lap of luxury (and the lap of an old guy).

And what amazes me is that even though they were notable because they took their clothes off in pictures and "dated" an old dude, they came out of it appearing, at least on the surface, squeaky clean.

They seem to be nice, sweet girls living an ordinary life eating at Appleby's while showing an inordinate amount of cleavage.

So I was not surprised this morning when I remembered my Hef dream, but what was surprising was how not super glam everything was (in my dream).

I dreamed that I was visiting Hef's rustic cabin (does Hef even have a rustic cabin? I doubt it) and there was an infestation of dead bug carcasses.

Why in the name of all things fabulous would I have a dream about Hugh Hefner that included an unsavory amount of insect parts?

Oh right, because I'm a girl right here ... at my desk ... and not a girl next door.

A little MF for your Monday

I forgot to include this one in my Saturday Markel Farkel post.

Yeah, Ho, it's the season to get together with the lover and the friend.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Markel Farkel Saturday

Last week while visiting with Markel Farkel and his lovely wife, Special K, I made a point to insist (because that's how I am) that Markel fill the MFF coffers before he headed off to take a cruise someplace stupid and warm.

And then I remember that my coworker and I decided to take yesterday off to play with our families and work today instead.

So here's the first annual Markel Farkel Saturday.

And because jacked-up links always taste better on a Markel Farkel day, here's one for ya.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

A heart-warming Christmas story

As my darling daughter retreated to her bedroom to watch her new television (a gift from her suckery parents), she said earnestly: "Now I have more freedom and with more freedom comes more responsibility."

Me, amazed and beaming with pride: Wow, Mar. Yes, that's very true.

Mar: I learned that on TV.

And she adds with an emphatic finger point: IN YOUR FACE.

Oh it's so touching. It brings a little tear to my eye.

Merry Christmas y'all!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Snowy McSnowerton

While I was getting ready for work this morning, Bill was shoveling snow and getting my car cleared off.

It snowed more than our usual high-desert dusting yesterday. Even though it almost doubled my commute time from 5 minutes to 8 minutes (yeah, I do revel in that fact), it was a beautiful morning as I slid on my totally-not-for-snow boots to my car.

Bill was heading out to finish up some shopping and we took a moment to enjoy the glory that is freshly fallen snow.

And the best part is that these beautiful snow storms are the exception and not the norm here in western Colorado. So I can enjoy it without fearing that I'll be shoveling snow for the rest of the winter.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas suckers

I'm so full of Christmas candy and cookies, I could barf a gift basket right now. Oh man.

My fat ass is so jiggling like a bowl full of jelly right now. But it's Christmastime and that's how I roll.

So Bill got up earlyish today to finish off a little Christmas shopping even though we were done with all our gift buying.

What? Why would he have to go Christmas shopping when we're done Christmas shopping? Oh yeah, we're suckers.

See, invariably we find out after we're all done spending all our life savings (ha) on gifts that there is one thing that Margaret asked Santa for that didn't make it on to the Santa gift list.

This one thing is the one thing that she really wants. I think she tests Santa by not including it on her Santa gift list.

And to make sure that she gets her special present, we buy whatever it is (even if we're already done shopping) just in case Santa can't read our dear, precious daughter's mind.

It's bad enough that Margaret won't even look at the mall Santa, but instead puts her hand up to block the view and mutters under her breath "Fake Santa!" She understands that Santa can't sit around Mesa Mall and there needs to be some people to fill in.

But we're both suckers for Christmas and do our best to spread the magic — even if it means buying one more gift ... just in case.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Yet another Markel Farkel Emergency

Markel just forwarded me this picture of your family at the last holidays. I had to share immediately.

Happy Holidays to all of you. May you all have enough alcohol that you can happily swig and spit.

Markel Farkel Friday

Markel Farkel Friday: Bringing you the best absurdities the Internets has to offer!

And on a non-Markel Farkel Friday note, yesterday afternoon I got a call from Margaret. I wrote a quick post about that call over here. She is an amazing kid. I'm lucky to get to call her my own.

Happy MFF everyone!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Hurray for the cookie season

Look at the Christmas cookies I baked.

Wha? OK, I'll give you time to quick choking on your morning coffee ... Yeah, I didn't bake the cookies, but Bill did and that's reason to celebrate.

My husband can bake a cookie, people.

I can make cookies, too, and they are fine. But Bill's are the best and I'm not just saying that because I like eating cookies more than baking them.

And we won't just be eating Bill's fabulous Christmas cookies, but my mom is baking, too.

This might just be the best Christmas ever.

On another sticky sweet note, I wrote a post over here, complete with pictures, about the kitty. Go on click it. Who doesn't want to see kitten pictures?

Today's boatload of holiday cheer is brought to you by the migraine in my head. I'm trying some postive thinking in hopes that it'll just go away. But just in case it doesn't, I'm practicing my ding-dong kicking as well.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Product Review: Nokia 6650

Participating in the Nokia Chronicles has been a fun and eye-opening exercise. I was selected along with 19 other bloggers across the country to participate.

The lovely folks at Nokia sent me a shiny, new Nokia 6650 to use for a couple of weeks and to record day-in-the-life pictures to their Web site.

The Phone:

Comparing the Nokia 6650 to my Motorola Razr, I found the Nokia to be smaller and more compact than my Razr. It's brushed aluminum exterior looks and feels nice (because, yes, the feel of my cell phone is important — I've had a skull-adorned cover on my Razr for two years even though it's broken and falls off just because I like how it feels).

Even though it's smaller than my Razr the screen is big and easy to read. The buttons are easy to use even for a clumsy-handed person such as myself.

The Features:

This phone is fat-packed with nifty features that are lacking on my Razr.

It has an easy-to-use music player (why carry a cell phone and an iPod when you can have it all in one handy device). AND it has a turn-by-turn GPS that will tell you where to turn when you're trying to find a good restaurant or a bathroom fast!

Those two things alone make this more than just a phone.

But as Ron Popeil would say, that's not all.

It also has G3 Web surfing ... people, this is awesome.

I'm just a regular, old cell phone user. I call people with my cell phone (I know, I'm so archaic) and I do some texting. That's pretty much it.

But man, was it nice to have Web access. I could check my e-mail and Facebook pages quickly and easily.

I really like that feature.

(Oh and when you have the phone flipped open, the lights on the keypad change colors which is an added coolness factor that I enjoyed ... oh, look bright lights ... shiny things.)

Overall, I found the phone easy to use and loaded with features.

The Nokia Chronicles (I'm in Chapter 2) and the Camera Phone:

When I was asked to participate in this project, I was told we'd be able to upload text and movies from the phone. Unfortunately, only the photos were used on the site.

I was asked to record photos that inspire me in my daily life. It was very interesting to start thinking about what inspired me on a day-to-day basis. But I found that I ended up with pictures of my kid, my kitten and myself ... and I'm sure as hell not inspired by myself — but really I was inspired by the assignment and the camera phone itself.

I did a series of self-portraits because I thought it was funny. I had them all wittily titled: Self-Portrait with Kitten and Self-Portrait of Myself Sleeping (which is hilarious in my own anxiety-addled brain).

That one is Self-Portrait with Kitten and Sleeping. Notice my green pallor, that is from the 6650's flash.

When I first found that the camera had a flash, I was excited. I never use the camera on my Razr simply because unless you have full sun, the pictures are dark and grainy.

Unfortunately, the flash on the 6650 is way too harsh ... that is unless you like your skin being seafoam in color (which I kinda do).

I also found that the flash did weird things to people's eyes in low light. Look at this picture of my daughter and son:

Those white shiny eyes make them look like robots — nicely smiling robots standing in front of our Christmas tree. It's just too weird.

Below is a picture taken in the bathroom of a club (What? You don't take pictures of your bandmates in bathrooms before shows?). I had turned the flash off and while the image is definitely grainy, I like this one simply because you can see me in the mirror taking the picture with my mouth open (spewing pearls of wisdom, no doubt).
Having said that, the 6650 takes really nice, full-sun, outdoor pictures. Look at this one I snapped while we were riding the hayride when we cut down our Christmas tree. We were moving and still the picture is crystal clear.
And then there's this picture of the 3rd grade from my daughter's school singing Christmas songs at the local Barnes & Nobel as a fundraiser for children in the hospital. It was a well-lit indoor shot without the flash and came out quite nice (my kid is there in the second row ... right there, the one with the head).

Overall, the camera phone is easy and quick and takes nice pictures in full light. But avoid situations that require the flash unless you like horror films and green skin.

So, again, thanks to Nokia for asking me to participate. I'm always game for telling people what I think.

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Not enough to stop me

I feel guilty that Bill and I spent the day soaking in hot springs yesterday, while Margaret was at school. But not enough that I didn't have the best time ever.

I spent three continuous hours lying in hot mineral water. I think I'm part hot-water mermaid ... maybe that's why my feel are so big — they're supposed to be flippers.

Now if I could just learn to breath water, I'd be all set.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Christmas Season

I know that it's the Christmas season because there's a pine tree in my living room and I'm sick.

I always seem to get sick this time of year. What's up with that? Whatever it is can suck it.

It feels like I have the flu, but I had the flu shot and my doctors says that it's a bad sinus infection. Who gets fevers, chills, aches 'n' crap from a sinus infection? Whatever. I feel like shit and it doesn't matter what it is.

But because I missed Wordless Wednesday, I leave y'all with these pictures of us at the Christmas tree farm (and yes, the process of getting a Christmas tree starts at the minimart with a giant soda).

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Merry Christmas to me

Santa came early to the Dearing-McCracken household.

Bill found me a brand-spanking-new Gibson Flying V and gave it to me early so I could play it at our show Saturday.

Oh yeah, baby. Watch out, I'm seriously rockin' now! I love this guitar is a way that just ain't right or natural.

The best part is that the Flying V fits me perfectly. It's balanced just right and my hand hits the strings in between the Humbuckers in the perfect spot. There was no transition time from my Daisy Rock to the V.

And I swear that I play better.

Plus the Flying V is the coolest guitar ever designed. Fer reals.

Our show Saturday night was at Fast Eddie's which was our first time playing there. And it was so much fun — such a smooth and great night.

I think I say that after every show, but that's how it is. Playing kick-ass rock 'n' roll is way beyond fun ... doing so with two uber-awesome chicks, a genius dude and my long-suffering husband is more fun than a girl deserves.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Nokia Chronicles

As I mentioned here and here, the lovely folks at Nokia sent me their Nokia 6650 uber-cell phone to demo for a couple of weeks.

They are hosting content on their microsite, Nokia Chronicles, that 19 other bloggers and myself have uploaded using these cell phones.

So click over the the Nokia Chronicles and check out my photos so far. You can see my stuff on Chapter Two.

There is supposed to be text and video as well, but they are having trouble with their site, so it's just pictures. Regardless, this has been a fun project for me and am excited that Nokia asked me to participate.

Monday morning quick shot

Of all the activity that went on over the weekend, this moment was the most precious. Mar in her pajamas working in an educational workbook, doing math and spelling for fun, with her tiny kitten curled beside her.

This makes my cold, mean heart melt.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Markel Farkel Emergency

I had to create a Markel Farkel addendum because he just sent me this and I wanted to warn y'all that you're all going to hell:

Whose left?

Markel Farkel Friday

I love Markel Farkel Friday so much. Markel sends me so many brilliant things from the Internets and I love sharing them with you here. Plus it means that it's Friday and I need this to be Friday more than I've ever needed a day to be Friday.

And the best part of today's MFF is that I get to start it by introducing y'all to KANCHO! — which is pictured in the sculpture below. And if you e-mail me a picture of yourself giving or receiving a Kancho! I will send you an autographed Riveter CD because you're so awesome.

Now onward with the rest of today's most awesome Markel Farkel Friday!

This could be the next Riveter CD cover.