Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009: A recap odyssey

As I sit here attempting to sum up this year, 2009, I'm overcome by a few strong sensations.

First is happiness. I have two really good jobs that I really like (I never really understood that idea of working at a job that made you unhappy), a devoted husband (again never understood staying with someone who didn't make you happy), a stepson of which I'm immensely proud and a daughter who blows my socks off in oh-so-many ways.

This also extends to the fact that my mom is now living with us. But that happiness is clouded, of course, by the stupid cancer that has tried — without success, I might add — to take her down.

Honestly, my mom's illness, coming on the heels of my dad's death two years ago, was initially devastating. I remember crying on the phone to my brother and asking, "Why is this happening to us?"

I now realize that sometimes sucky things just happen. You can either sit back and let the sucky things make your life suck or pick yourself up and get busy living.

And that's just what we did.

I wanted to include a few pictures from 2009 showing the places we visited and that stuff we did, but it turns out we had a really kick-booty year. I had a hard time narrowing it down. So without further ado, here's a kajillionty photos I'd like to title:

The stuff we done did in 2009

We climbed Mt. Garfield.

2009-03 on mt garfield.jpg

Skied at Powderhorn.

2009-03 skiing.jpg

We celebrated Easter with my co-workers here at The Daily Sentinel.

2009-04 easter.jpg

My band, Riveter, opened for Bret Michaels.

2009-04 Riv BM.jpg

I saw my beloved stepson, Sean, graduate from Palisade High School.

2009-05 Sean grad.jpg

We hiked to Hanging Lake near Glenwood Springs.

2009-06 Hanging lake.jpg

Saw my daughter turn 9 years old.

2009-06 mar birthday.jpg

We stood on the Four Corners Monument.

2009-07 4 corners.jpg

Visited the Pacific Ocean near San Francisco.

2009-07 beach.jpg

Climbed the ancient steps to the cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde.

2009-07 Mesa Verde.jpg

Bill and I got to see our president speak on health care reform.

2009-8 Obama.jpg

Took a motorcycle ride through scenic Gateway Canyon.

2009-9 Gateway.jpg

Visited the museums of our nation's capitol.

2009-10 DC.jpg

And I started the long and painful journey of getting a giant tattoo on my back.

2009-12 tattoo.jpg

Phew! Just thinking about it makes me exhausted ... and excited to see what 2010 has in store.

Happy New Year to all!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Coming to an end

I guess it's appropriate that as the year is closing change is afoot.

Sometimes it's hard to let go. But what remains is that the only certainty is change. It doesn't matter how much you give love, attention, affection, adoration ... sometimes you just have to let go.

But, 2010 is around the corner and new challenges are on the horizon.

It is with sadness and remorse that I wish the old goodbye, adieu, so long ... I wish you didn't have to go. But I understand it's time. Time for change. Time for new adventures.

And, remarkably, I'm OK with it.

So without further ado, I bid farewell:

Farewell Once-Giant Pencil/Now-Wee Pencil.

But fear not, for I have but a new giant pencil which I am calling Giant Pencil, Too.

The Giant Pencil is dead!
Long live the Giant Pencil, Too.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

As Richie and her family begin their holiday traditions, our little family is continuing ours — with some exceptions and variations.

Tree 1.jpg

Tree 3.jpg

We found our tree at the Orchard Mesa Christmas Tree Farm, as we have for the last several years. We had to skip the hayride, which we always enjoy, because Margaret was had a cold and the icy wind hurried us back to our car.

We couldn't find our good Christmas tree stand and then argued over using the bad Christmas tree stand and whether or not the tree should be cut again once we got it home (I said yes, Bill said no. I acquiesced simply because my fingers were too frozen to stay outside and saw a new cut myself). This is not part of our holiday traditions and one that we hope we do NOT continue in the future.

Cutting our own Christmas tree is not something that we did when I was a child. I grew up in the San Francisco-Bay Area where parking lots vastly outnumber tree farms. Instead we'd go to the huge tree lots out by the Oakland Coliseum. We'd walk around, eat a hot dog and find a tree.

Eating a hot dog was almost as important as getting a good tree.

This year when we got home from the tree farm, my mom asked if we got a hot dog.

I think next year that will become part of our tradition — because hot dogs should be part of every tradition, as far as I'm concerned.

Our first Christmas together, Bill and I had no Christmas decorations at all. But we still bought a giant tree and pulled our pennies to buy some simple bulbs, a couple blown-glass ornaments, bows and an angel.

We still use them, but now we decorate our tree with ornaments that we've have accumulated over our 11 Christmases together as a family. I saved all the Hallmark boxes and plastic containers for each ornament and love opening each one. As we put them on our tree, we talk about how cute/pretty/thoughtful each ornament is, where it came from or who gave it to us.

I love this part of the holiday.

This year, I bought some picture frames, sorted through a box of old photos and put a bunch of pictures of my dad out on our piano.

He's the only thing missing this year.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Tattoo transformation: Mucha tattoo phase three

Those that follow me on Twitter and Facebook know that a week and a half ago, I had my third sitting for my Mucha backpiece tattoo.

It was only four hours and I sat much better this time than last. I have it down to a science now. Unlike all the fashionistas that show up on LA Ink, I come in my sweats and my sweatshirt. I fortify myself with my pain relievers, snacks, water (it's gotta be Fuji and lots of it) and my pillow — yes, I bring my own pillow to get tattooed.

Comfort is important to me, especially when I'm sitting for hours while I voluntarily let some guy carve into my skin with needles. (OK, not just some guy, but a talented and experienced tattoo artist.)

I've had many ask me the significance of the images I'm getting permanently inked on myself. It's not as easy as simply decoding the image's iconography. This tattoo is about the images and the process.

Coming up with the images was the easy part. I'm a very visual person. I love looking at images, buildings, people, pictures, artwork. And I'll look at the same stuff over and over again, because the world is so beautiful and interesting.

I knew I wanted something feminine, organic and beautiful. At first I though that I just wanted more floral elements, maybe a dragonfly or a swallow. But then while going through my dear friend Tracee's book on the artwork of Alphonse Mucha, I was moved by the grace of line work and the elegance of his figures and flowers.

I borrowed Tracee's book and spent hours pouring over the images. His graphic work was already two-dimensional and linear and would translate easily into a tattoo.

I looked at all his flowers trying to decide which ones I wanted to add to my existing, lower-back tattoos. But I kept coming back to one image, this one:

Mucha's personification of emerald. I love her beauty and confident gaze. I love the lines of her drapery and of the gargoyle upon which she rests. I love the stylized snake that twists through her hair and its manifold meanings.

I wanted her. But I've seen way too many bad tattoos of human faces. Instead of yielding to my fears, I found the best tattoo artist in the valley, Erik Campbell at The Raw Canvas and hit the go button. As luck would have it, he not only knew the artwork of Alphonse Mucha, but had been wanting to do a Mucha tattoo.

While my girl is from the emerald image, Erik has been borrowing flowers from the other three images in Mucha's Precious Stones series: ruby, amethyst and topaz. All symbols of grace, beauty, elegance. I love these images.

The image was the easy part. It's the tattooing that's the challenge. For me, this process is not just about transforming the skin on my back into a work of art. It's about coming to terms with who I am inside and out.

I've never been happy with the way I look; too fat, too bulky, too lopsided, too big, too lumpy. And it's taken every ounce of will power to post the photo above and below as they show my flaws — my ugliness along side my self-inflicted beauty.
I so wanted to crop off the bottom of this picture. Showing my stretch marks and love handles sends my anxiety into overdrive.

But this is what I look like. This is my woman's body. This is me. And through a regular, not-media-tainted lens, it's not so bad.

But I'm forcing myself to write this. There's still a huge part of my scarred psyche that wants to temper these remarks, make fun of myself, because I know I could look better, more like the women on TV. But I don't.

And as much as I want to be fine with it, I'm still working it out.

As I say to Bill quite often these days when I flare up over tiny things and have a hard time coping, "My dust it up."

All my feelings of insecurities, all the pain and sadness, feelings of loss and inadequacy are floating around my brain, taking over. I usually keep them watered down, but now I'm forcing myself to keep them up and active. I keep shaking them around like snow a Christmas globe, hoping that I can learn and grow from dissecting them and ultimately learning to love them.

Throughout my life, I've thought that if I'd just lose weight, I'd feel better about myself, I'd be happy with who I am. Never once thinking that my problem isn't 25 pounds.

Now I am. And this process, through its physical and mental pain, is proving itself to be transformative in ways I never thought possible.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009


I have a blue sticky note sitting on my desk with a list of words written on it. The words are intended to remind me of blog posts that I want to write.

But this one is coming first.

This may not be as important as sharing with you all the state and condition of my dearest stepson or as funny as the fact that I almost always have at least one accidentally self-inflicted bruise. Nor as compelling as that I’ve discovered people are seriously disturbed by my decision not to high five.

Over the past couple of years, my perspective on life has changed, or I should say is changing. And my family dynamic is changing as well.

The relationship I have with my husband, mother, daughter and stepson are so much more than I ever thought they could be.

And it’s because I’ve changed and so has how I view the events of my life. Oh, I still blow up over missing iPods and dog pee on the carpet. But I know now that that’s a luxury and also stupid.

This blog entry written by a former-San Francisco lawyer, now Detroit, stay-at-home dad illustrates exactly how one’s world goes from little to big as fast as it takes for someone to puke.

And that’s no joke.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Thoughts on the boob vise

As I've mentioned before, my mom has breast cancer which had metastasized to her bones. Thanks to the great doctors and staff at St. Mary's Cancer Center, she is improving. For that I am very thankful.

My humble opinion is that cancer sucks and we should all be doing what we reasonably can to prevent it and/or detect it early.

For women that means yearly pap smears combined with, after age 40, the boob vise.

But now, researchers have said that women needn't have their breasts flattened in the mammogram torture machine until their 50th birthday and that self-exams are not that helpful.

I have mixed emotions about these findings.

First, since I have cancer in my family, I'm not one that can be spared the yearly mammogram until I'm 50. And as much as I want any cancer I might have to be detected early, the idea of having my womanly bits ironed flat like a linen skirt doesn't appeal to me much.

Is this really the best we can do? Clamping breasts into machines to look for cancer?

I bet if that's the way testicular cancer was detected, they'd be a whole poop-pot full of doctors and researchers looking for new testing methods.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Why girl bands are awesome: Reason 386

Girl bands (or in our case, "mostly all-girl" or "all-girl fronted") are awesome because we care so deeply for one another.

Yesterday I woke up with an issue. My head was not correctly attach to my neck. It was listing to the right, painfully.

I've had this before. Been to the doctors, chiropractors, acupuncturists, physical therapists and ultimately ended up at the neurosurgeon who told me I've got some arthritis in my neck.

He suggestion was to go about my enjoying my life as usual.

Well, that was helpful. Because literally having my head on crooked was great and no one ever made fun of me.

Anyway, I started doing yoga and exercising regularly and I haven't had much problem with it since.

Until yesterday.

I saw Laurena yesterday morning and complained about my neck.

Her response?

"Oh no, not your guitar playing neck!"

Monday, November 16, 2009

Husband of the year

I know, I know, I've expounded on my husband's virtues before. But this weekend's events prove without a doubt that my husband should be 2009's Husband of the Year (and honestly, having to deal with me and all my issues, the dude should be Husband of the Millennium).

Bill's bromance, Cy, was having a housewarming fest Saturday night (for those not in the know, a housewarming for a 20-something bachelor is very similar to a frat party only without all the lame-ass frat dudes ... so I guess it's not like a frat party at all, but a regular party just without furniture or some PMSing wife making everyone go home).

About a hour before we were to leave, we noticed a catastrophic failure of the sump pump in our basement.

In. The. Basement. The basement that is now our bedroom.

Y'all know what the sump pump is and does right? There's a vat into which the downstairs sink, washer, shower and toilet drain. Then when it gets to a certain level, a trigger turns on the pump and pumps all the shitty water up to the sewer line for the rest of the house.

The pump is in the vat of shit, toilet paper and bum water.

If I were left to my own devices, I'da gotten on the telephone wildly dialing numbers until I could hire some fixer person to come deal with the issue.

Bill, being a man of fixing tendencies, opened the shit vat and extricated the pump while I stood in the bedroom watching TV and hoping to not have to help.

But I did need to help.

Bill stood there with this giant pump attached to a PVC pipe breaking his back asking me to cover the new carpet and help him wrap the thing in plastic bags.

My response, "Wait, I have to change my shirt and put up my hair."

Because I'm helpful. Needless to say, Bill pulled a muscle in his back.

But I did help. And I am scarred from it.

All in all, Bill got the pump out, unclogged and back in and I only cried a little once.

After the whole poopfest was over, he showered, scrubbing himself with acid and we went to the party.

It got drunk out that night and we slobbered home around 3 a.m.

Sunday morning, Bill and I were feeling less than chipper made less so by the fact that the sump pump was again not working.

So after a quick run to McDonalds for hangover breakfast, Bill once again breached the seal of poopland and fixed the pump again.

This time, I laid on the sofa too hungover to even pretend to help.

When I finally ventured downstairs (after watching the newest episode of Top Chef and fighting off nausea and a migraine). The pump was fixed, the bathroom was clean and the husband laid panty-clad on the bed ... and he wasn't even pissed that I didn't help him.

See? Husband of the Year.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Confessions of a budding addict

Hi, my name is Robin and I'm an addict.

My husband and I thought that together we'd just use a little. You know, to help us out, to be more productive. But now it's all he wants to do and I'm just about as bad.

I can go for lengths of time without my addiction and I can stop whenever I want to.

But I don't want to.

And I'm starting to feel the effects, like when I'm driving or watching TV ... I'm distracted. Always glancing around to see if I can get a quick fix.

I can't seem to help myself. I've been googling ways to use more and faster.

It's time that I come clean.

My name is Robin and I'm addicted to my Blackberry.

Yes, I even sicken myself.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Smarter than a speeding bullet

I'm sure I've mentioned before that Margaret likes old movies. Unfortunately, by "old" I mean movies from the ’70s and ’80s — those prehistoric times when I was young.

There's something about those movies that appeals to her. I think it's because they aren't really scary and tend to be a bit silly — and that works just fine for her.

Last night we finished watching the 1978 Superman movie with Christopher Reeve. And I have to admit that after not having seen it in 30 years, I really enjoyed it (even if I did not quite understand the flying part — I mean, what exactly propels him?) and so did Mar ... for the most part.

At the moment when Superman pulls Lois Lane from her car which had fallen into the San Andreas Fault and discovers her dead, Margaret utters matter-of-factly, "Doesn't he know CPR?"

Yes, he could fly so fast as to turn the planet backward, rewinding time. But he doesn't know basic life-saving skills such as CPR? Huh. Some Superman.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Vibrating mascara ... 'the hell?

So I mentioned briefly last time that I was in the market for mascara.

I don't know if you've been shopping for mascara lately, but your typical, drug-store variety costs about $8 a tube.

Eight bucks.

That's two, happy-hour beers.

So I don't like to go throwing around my hard earned 8 bucks all willy nilly. As I mentioned, I tried to get Bill to help me, but he was on the hunt for a Mississippi mudflap and was no help.

Well, I should say that his response was, "Eight dollars? Just pick a cheap one so we can go."

He's so helpful.

I looked at all the applicators, then all the colors, then started to get anxious because what if I bought one and hated it. I'd have to do this all over again.

Just as I was about to buy one of each, I noticed this:

Mascara with a vibrating, pulsating applicator.

Um, I hate to sound daft, but I don't get it.

Why would someone want their applicator to vibrate?

I have enough trouble trying to get the mascara on my lashes and out of my eye without having the thing tremble on its own.

And how could a pulsing applicator make the whole process easier? Would it shake the goop on my lashes?

I think this whole "vibrating applicator" is just a beard and that it's not intended to be used for mascara application at all.

I'm just sayin'. We could see a lot more happy women with messy mascara.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

The one that got away

Last night I needed a couple of things from the drug store and recruited Bill to go along.

This is a good thing and a bad thing.

It's good because he's great company and keeps me entertained — even if it's only for a quick trip to the store.

It's bad because what should have been a 5-minute trip down two aisles and out, turned into an unsuccessful "hunting" trip.

Why? Because we just can't act right — even after 10 years of marriage.

I needed conditioner and mascara. We started in front of the Biolage products where I began expounding on the virtues of Biolage's Smoothing Conditioner.

Seriously people, if you have have frizzy, unruly hair, go right now (I'll wait) and buy yourself some Biolage Smoothing Shampoo and Conditioner. You'll thank me for it.

While I was claiming that I'd have to shave my head if they ever stopped making Smoothing Conditioner, Bill was kicking my shoe and glancing repeatedly over my shoulder. Finally I realized he wasn't trying to get me to shut up, instead he was trying to direct my attention to the next aisle.

And what did I see? A fem-mullet of colossal proportions.

Bill was completely entranced.

I tried to get him to help me pick out a mascara, but he couldn't take his eyes off the Kentucky waterfall. In desperation, I decided to just believe Drew Barrymore and selected the mascara promising bold lashes.

But we weren't done.

No. Bill was insistent that we capture of photo of this hockey hair in the wild. So we started stalking this poor woman around the store. At one point, I studied the Chia Pet display while Bill faked a phone conversation so he could take a picture with his Blackberry.

I was finding it harder and harder to maintain a normal composure and we were running out of things to "shop" for so we gave up and headed to the cash register.

And guess who walked up behind us?

I heard Bill's Blackberry's camera snap a picture as I was signing the debit receipt.

As we walked out of the door, I asked him half giggling, "Did you get it?"

Bill looked down at the screen and frowned, "Naw, I just got a picture of a bunch of candy."

I bet this is how Big Foot hunters feel.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Jokes on ... uh, who?

From the Holy Crap files: A radio show was playing a prank on a woman and it goes ... uh, terribly awry.

Make sure you listen to the very end.

Yay and brrrr

This view out my front door surprised me as I was on my way to work.

I know, I know, the weather dude said there'd be snow. But I expected it to later ... like the end of November. And yes, I know Denver and the mountains are getting hammered right now, but they are supposed to get hammered with snow. We high desert dwellers are supposed to be treated better than that.

But I'm not complaining, I'm just sayin'.

Because really, I'm excited about the snow. Snow = skiing and skiing = beer at the resort lodge. Ah, it's a beautiful world. Plus, remember, I got new skis last year. (And I think I'm going to sell my almost-brand-new-but-I-don't-want-to-use-them-because-I'm-too-old-to-be-all-fallin'-on-my-butt snowboard boots and board — any buyers? I'll make you a good deal!)

And in addition to my new skis last year, we got Mar new skis while we were in Denver a while ago. Then on our way traveling home from our yearly Washington, D.C. trip we were able to stop in Silverthorne (where I started my Christmas shopping big time ... yay) and scored her brand new boots for a screaming deal.

It was such a good deal that we actually hurried away in case they realized what they had done and changed their minds.

So, what I'm getting at is that we're on the cusp of ski season and we're all set. So snow, bring it on.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Of how the others must see the faker

No, that's not Bill singing with his band.

It's Bill singing karaoke at the Livery in Palisade. He charmed us all with his version of David Bowie's "Changes." Dude rocked it.

And he wasn't even that drunk nor tricked/forced into it.

It was actually quite easy to get him to do it. I said, "Why don't you sing a song, Bill?" He pretended not to want to. But after about 3 seconds of encouragement, he was up there looking through the song books.

The only thing surprising about it was that this was his first time singing karaoke.

And guess what?

He's a natural.

Friday, October 09, 2009

The princess

Nastia. Our little kitty. Man is she spoiled.

She's almost a year old now and she's completely won over our entire household.

Nastia (whom I've taken to calling just Liddow Kii-yy) got our cantankerous Billie Holiday cat to not try to kill her every time they were in the same room together. That alone is a miracle.

But the biggest feat she was able to achieve was getting to lay on my mother's bed.

For those who doen't know my mom, she doesn't like animals to touch her stuff and especially not her directly.

She's fine with them in the house — for the most part. But she did make me promise that we'd never get a bunch of big dogs that would slobber all over her. That was easy as I myself am not a fan of big dogs slobbering all over me.

My mom spent the first couple weeks living with us training (as much as any of our animals can be trained) our pets to not — under any circumstances — get on her bed, touch her stuff and especially not touch her.

They all learned this ... except for Nastia.

The little kitty is very persistent with her princess ways and took advantage of my mom's limited mobility.

If the dog looks at my mom too long or in the wrong way, all my mom has to do is point a finger and Quincy makes a hasty retreat. If Billie or Ella get on her bed, my mom moves her leg and off they scamper.

Not Nastia. She just moves out of my mom's reach and goes back to sleep.

The other day I saw her snuggled against my mom's leg!

Like I said, Nastia's the princess of the house and we all seem to have that figured out now.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Mar's new haircut coincidence

Yesterday, Bill and I took Margaret to get her haircut. She's got school pictures today and our fabulous hairdresser squeezed Mar in.

Mason's the best. I'd never let anyone else touch my hair (What? You don't think blond and purple hair grows out of my head, do you? Because at this point, my head mostly grows gray hair — rabble scrabble gray hair). Mar loves getting her hair cut by Mason ... but who wouldn't.

Check her out:

Super cute, huh?

Because we were making Mason nervous (or maybe because she doesn't really like us all that much), she sent us around the corner to get a beer while she cut Mar's hair.

Being ones to never turn down the opportunity to drink beer, we dashed off to Weaver's Tavern. We took seats at the bar and enjoyed our beer.

Not long after, the couple sitting next to us told the bartender they had to catch the train on their way to Reno. This got my attention.

Then he said, "Well, not really Reno, but Truckee."


I blurted out, "Truckee, really? My mom has a house in Truckee."

Turns out the couple summers in Wisconsin while they work for some kind of water something or other (I'm a good listener) and then winter in Truckee where the dude is the manager of one of the ski shops there — and it just happened to be the one I bought Bill's snowboard at several years ago.

I love coincidences.

Yes, I do realize this "story" is only interesting to me.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Polanski and child sex abuse

Roman Polanski raped a 13-year-old girl. He admitted he did and then he ran away from his punishment. Now just because many years have passed, people are saying that he should be let off the hook for his heinous crimes?

No. He should pay for his horrible acts and he should pay dearly.

It's important to us as a society that we never allow such actions to be justified.

Don't take my word for it, click here to read a survivor's word for it.

So long as children are still being raped, no abuser should ever be allowed a free pass.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Sick house

We've left my mom the entire house, while the rest of us huddle in the basement barking our seal coughs all over each other. I'm surprised my mom doesn't open the basement door and throw fish down to us while we clap our flippers in appreciation.

Needless to say, we're trying to not get my mom sick. Mar's been banished from her bed. And because Bill and I are both sick and my new tattoo still hurts, I banished Mar from our bed, too. So last night she slept on a make-shift mat of blankets next to our bed.

When I got up to get ready for work this morning, I saw her little (I guess I should say, little-ish, she's a growing weed) foot poking out from the tangle of quilts and comforters. Then I heard her cough.

Poor nut.

But Bill's got it the worst. He'll claim the reason is because he's got the "man" version of this virus. I think it's because his immune system is man-weak.

I've been pounding Airborne, drinking lots of water and eating as much soup as I can get my hands on.

That made me less sick. Well enough to go to work, but sick enough to know that I'm miserable.

Stupid virus. Thankfully it's Friday and my bed is calling.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Thank you for being a friend

Things have changed around my house since my mom came to live with us in July.

First, Bill and I remodeled our formerly disgusting teenager room/dirty storage dump of a basement into a surprisingly comfortable bedroom.

Yes, we have stackable washer and dryer machines in our closet, but we've also got privacy and new carpet and a memory-foam mattress topper and a TV in our own room. (And it's remarkable how convenient it is to do the laundry right before I got to bed and never have to leave my room!)

In our almost 10 years of marriage, Bill and I have never had a TV in our bedroom before. What a luxury! I mean, I could totally live without it, but man oh man, it's so nice to be able to do my nightly yoga et al. while watching reruns of Top Chef in the privacy of my own room. (Yes, I do watch TV while I do yoga and it probably does spoil the centering/earthy goodness of yoga, but it's how I roll ... plus it's better than lying there eating tiny box after tiny box of Junior Mints while watching TV.)

I no longer have to worry about the neighbors making the unfortunate mistake of glancing in our windows while I'm in the middle of downward dog ... yeah, it's not a pretty sight. All those months of indulgent eating has made one wide, Haute-Mama derriere.

One of the best things that has happened is that Margaret no longer comes into our bed anymore.

No, silly rabbit, she didn't start sleeping in her own bed. That would be some kind of child torture to make that girl sleep in her own bed (according to her, anyway). Now, she sleeps in my mom's bed.

And you know what, I think it's great.

All those years of her stealthy moves getting into our bed and sleeping on the tiniest of slivers of mattress has made Margaret quite a decent bed companion. She stays on her side of the bed, leaving ample room for my mom and she's not bothered by my mom's TV.

Being that my mom still spends a lot of time in bed due to the pain in lower spine and hip from that stupid cancer, she had the TV on a lot for distraction and entertainment.

When it's time for Margaret to go to sleep, my mom doesn't have to turn off the TV. Instead, she simply tells Mar it's time bedtime and Mar dutifully places one of her stuffed "guys" over her eyes and goes to sleep.


It's crazy, but it works.

And I don't have a kid in my bed anymore.


But there has been one strange side effect from Mar sleeping in my mom's bed. Margaret has developed a taste for old reruns, most notably "Golden Girls."

You know, the sitcom from the '80s with Blanche, Rose, Dorothy and Sophia.

Yeah, that one.

In the mornings when I come up out of the basement on my way to work, I often find Margaret eating her breakfast in the living room watching "Golden Girls" instead of "Ben Ten."

It's not really appropriate for a 9-year-old girl, but the bawdy humor mostly goes over her head and Sophia's zingers make Margaret laugh out loud.

Plus she and I like to sing the theme song in duet. Let's all sing along: Thank you for being a fri-end, traveled down the road and back again ...

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

More Mucha, more pain

Bill and I spent the weekend in Denver. His band had a show Saturday night and we stayed up late both nights having a good time.

And what's the best way to recover from a weekend of music, beer, friends and family?

Yep, spending five hours Monday getting tattooed.


And I'm not including set up time 'n' crap. Erik from the Raw Canvas got started and worked hard all afternoon. We took one break during which I considered running away, but the pain is so worth it.

Check it out:

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Silly girl, hooker shoes are for hookers

Last night the Riveter posse loaded up and hit the Social Distortion show at the Mesa Theater. It was a sold-out show and the place was hopping (but I have to say that Bret's crowd packed the front of the stage for the entire night).

Being the Riveter girls that we are, we got ourselves all gussied up, hooker shoes 'n' all — which seemed like a good idea at the time.

There were two opening bands and then Mike Ness et al. took the stage and rocked the hizzouse.

Man, they were good.

Bill and I worked our way to the front of the stage because that's where I want to be ... where the action's at. I clung to the rail as Bill deflected the moshers away. Ah, good times.

But as the night wore on, my feet wore down.

Four inch heels just ain't as comfortable as you'd think. And because I'm just not that smart, I agreed to stop at the Quincy briefly to check out local no-coast punk rock band, Loaded. 45, after the show. Our ride had to head home, so I nonchalantly insisted, "Oh, we'll just walk home."

I mean, we live downtown precisely so we can walk home. But walking home in platform stilettos after four hours of steady rockin' is an excruciating proposition.

I made it all the way across the street from the bar when I moaned in pain and took off my shoes. But the pain persisted and was exacerbated by the hard, pebbley ground.

Fear not, I'm married to a man that still believes in chivalry.

Bill quickly took off his Docs and passed them on to me.

So there I was slopping down the street in big Dr. Marten's while Bill walked along sock footed and carrying my hooker shoes.

So the moral that I'm gleaning from this story is that hooker shoes are for hookers who have pimps to give them rides home.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Friday, September 18, 2009

Giant Pencil ain't so giant anymore

Look at my not-so Giant Pencil.

It's down to 5" from its original 16" from a year ago. It's on the verge of wee-ness.

I should not be surprised by this considering I use this pencil everyday at work, including when I use it to do the crossword puzzle?


It's not wasting time at work, people, it's quality control.

Anyway, we're going back to D.C. next month and I'll make sure to get another Giant Pencil. I'll call the new Giant Pencil, Giant Pencil, Jr. or Giant Pencil V.2 or Another Giant Pencil and it will be glorious.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

They're coming to take me away ... except not

I wish the sand in my oyster was going to make a pearl.

But I'm probably going to end up with an ulcer.

Or a trip the "quiet room."

And you know what, a trip to the loony bin doesn't seem so bad today.

There'd be lots of sedatives. Mmm sedation (I should write a song about that). I could stay in my pajamas all day. No work clothes, no laundry, no crickets in my bedroom, no forgotten books or being late for stuff.

If movie depictions of asylums are correct, I wouldn't have to brush my hair and I could just wander around looking soulless — apparently I've already got that look down pat according to the coworkers who remind me daily of how wan and tired I appear.

No one would be disappointed that I'm not doing my Survivor Dorks game this season or that I still can't figure out how to play the guitar or that I couldn't take them to the park or shopping or that the Internet's not working or that there's a partially live, defeathered bird under my kid's futon.

I could get used to wearing white all the time, instead of black.

I wouldn't have to worry about the fact that all the cars need oil changes and to be cleaned inside and out or that the cleaning ladies didn't dust downstairs or that my ass is too fat to fit on my mom's toiletseat.

Of course, there would be downsides ... like other crazy people. I wouldn't want to have to be part of a crazy person group, I don't think. What if they wanted to touch me or tell me boring/crazy/poopy things? Or smelled bad?

I don't think I'd like that.

Also, what if they don't have nice sheets or I couldn't watch Project Runway? I know I wouldn't like that.

Oh, and I'd miss my kid. She's still a pill some of the time, but mostly she's awesome. So funny and fun to be around. She motivates me and even tells me it's all going to be OK. And my husband — he have to come with me because my favorite time of the day is when I get to cozy up next to him and go to sleep. Oh and my mom, just having her in my house makes me happy.

Yeah, and I've worked hard for all that I have and I'd proly get tired of sedation and Nurse Ratched, so instead I'll whine on my blog and then keep on keeping on.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The painting

I've been driving my mom's car to work most days. It's zippy and little and I like it. It doesn't match my work wardrobe like my Trailblazer, but the new Forester makes up for it by being utterly cute ... uh, I mean, because it gets good gas mileage.

I learned to love cars from my dad. He was a fanatic over anything with an internal-combustion engine. If I could afford it, I would get a different car every couple years. Believe me, I could go on and on about cars, blah, blah, but this post isn't about cars really.

I'm just trying to figure out a way to get to what I've been really needing to write. I've begun writing this many times over the last couple months, but the truth is mean and ugly and I wish I could kick it in the ding dong.

I've been driving my mom's car, because she can't.

She's sick.

That's how I always start out this conversation. Before anyone can ask if she's got the flu. I then blurt out, she's got cancer.

Just seeing that word written there starts to make me mad and sad simultaneously.

She's got bad cancer. In her bones. It metastasized from the bout of breast cancer she had several years ago.

And it sucks.

It sucks for so many different reasons. One of them being that up until my dad passed away a year and a half ago, my mother cared for my dad while his health failed for years. It was a torturous illness and after it was all over, my mom was free.

Of course, there's guilt to be paid for that freedom, but she didn't pick for my dad to be sick and she cared for him in a way that was truly heroic.

And now she's sick. With bad cancer.

She lives with us now and recently she's started doing better. Getting around better, feeling less pain, being more of herself.

She's still very limited in her activity. Sitting and walking are hard still. But we're finally seeing improvement after two rounds of radiation and some other treatments and handfuls of pills.

There are many women in my mom's situation — breast cancer which as metastasized to the bones — who live pretty darn good lives. We're working toward that. We're making progress. There is improvement.

And then a couple weeks ago, my mom got a call from a sister Cynthia (No. 4) in Denver. My grandmother, my mom's mom, was gravely ill. All six of my grandmother's children came to Denver to see my gramma. I brought my mom.

Luckily for all of us, gramma rebounded nicely and is back on Facebook (Hi Gramma!) with her new laptop computer. Progress. Improvement.

One of the side effects of the hurried trip to see my gramma was that one of my aunts, my Aunt Sandra — my mom's youngest sister (No. 6), who lived close to us as I was growing up and was much like a big sister to me — brought the painting she had painted for my mother.

For those unfamiliar, it's a view of the Santa Cruz Boardwalk.

And it's wonderful.

When it arrived at my Aunt Pat's (No. 3) house, we all took turns admiring it. I think we were all in agreement that it's very good and we're not just saying that because we're related to the artist.

When I showed it to Margaret, her first comment was fear for the safety of the people riding in the tram cars because there didn't appear to be any safety features (that's my girl, always on the lookout for danger).

I told Sandra about Mar's concerns and she agreed, admitting that she didn't have the time to properly restrain the people riding her painted tram. We are all related, aren't we?

As far as I know, no one in the family but Sandra has any of her paintings. The painting hangs in my mom's bedroom, next to her bed. And it looks amazing.

Sandra said she had fun painting and that she's eager to do more representation work.

I can't wait to see what she does next. And I can't wait to visit my gramma again and see my aunts and cousins again and for my mom to be able to travel more extensively and ...

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Ketchup gets a friend

Thanks to Emily who was kind enough to swipe Ms. Mayo to go with our lonely Mr. Ketchup.