Monday, January 6, 2014


Everyone on this side of the planet is freezing.  It's an unheard-of 24 degrees here in Central Texas, and I've just sent my two precious teenagers out into the cold to go back to school.

Thank. You. Jesus.

It was time.  Honestly, it was time a week ago.  Teenagers are adult-sized people.  Which means that the house that fit your little family perfectly ten years ago (or 18 more like it) gets a little crowded with so many adults (and their stuff) in it.  Then they bring their friends.

And it's wonderful.  I would way rather have all the kids here eating and playing games and tearing up the joint than worrying about where they are somewhere else.  I love it that they still want to play board games instead of vomiting Bartles and Jaymes wine coolers out of the back seat (wait, what?).  I'm glad they still want to watch movies with their dad instead of spending all their time at the mall.

But despite our nearly perfect holidays (just enough travel, just enough home, just enough family, too much food, too much wine), there's still the fact.  The fact being that there are people in my house.  And they're breathing.  For weeks on end.

The girls got an extra special breakfast this morning to get them on their way.  Tra la!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

New Project!

So, I need a new project about like I need a hole in my head.  I have G's blanket, a shrug I started for a friend of mine who was in the hospital (it's taken so long that she's now out of the hospital - nice), and a crocheted, woven basket.  This list doesn't include the Christmas pillowcases for the kids (which will be ready in February), nor does it include the sweater I told my friend that I would fix last January (there's still time!).

Never one for moderation, though, I found this little dandy on Pinterest.  Super cute, super easy.  Made mine in two hours with pretty heather gray yarn.  Felt super sassy in it on my date last night - Chinese buffet, don't get too excited.  Felt super sassy when I went to work my shift at the church youth group this morning.  Felt super sassy until I started to sweat through my t-shirt and jacket because this is, after all, Texas, and the temperature went from 42 to 62 in 20 minutes.

I got lots of compliments on my pretty cowl.  It always feels good when people recognize your hard work and tell you that they like something you made with your own hands.  It's just lovely.  It's sort of like a performance.  You create something and bring it out into the world.  Sort of like birthing a baby.  Turns out, I'm not the only one who thinks so.  Click at your own risk.

Holy shitballs.  I don't even know where to go with this, but here are a few thoughts.  Number one, hygiene - HEELLLOOO!  Number two, seems like you'd pick something other than wool.  Maybe a nice bamboo or an acrylic blend.  Maybe a nice cotton.  And who do you give it to?  It's like the most frightening White Elephant gift EVER.

I am officially taking up gardening.

Oh, wait.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Project Update

Three weeks ago, I spent an entire day in a chair with my foot elevated and on ice.  I watched almost two full seasons of Call the Midwife and alternately crocheted and cried over the toe injury that was keeping me out of the half-marathon I had trained so hard for.  Self-pitying?  Yes.  Indulgent?  Yes.  Productive?  Yes!

Blanket Update:

Months on Project: 3.5
Months to Go:  5.5
Days on Project: 108
Days to Graduation: 174
Colors: 7
Rows: 45
Length: 3'1"
Goal: 7'6" (??)

Thursday, December 12, 2013

And The Hits Just Keep on Coming.

I am wondering how long the lasts will last.  It's a strange feeling that there are so many of them that you almost forget how important they are.  Saturday night, we hosted what is probably our last Camp Flaming Arrow Christmas Party.  Camp Flaming Arrow is the single best thing my husband and his boyfriend best friend and their boyfriends other best friends have ever done.  Way back when the kids were little, and I mean little -- maybe 7 and 5 or 8 and 6, they headed up a quarterly dads-and-kids-only camping group.  The dads thought it was great because they had built-in awesome time with their kids followed by built-in awesome time with their other friends: beer, vodka, and bourbon.  The kids thought it was great because there was fire, very little supervision, and as soon as the daddies started hanging out by the fire, they could eat squeeze cheese and Oreos until they barfed.  The moms thought it was great because they were gone for an entire weekend.  Win-win-win.

There is a magic to this merry little band.  What is so unique about this group of kids is that they have all grown up together in an atmosphere of complete acceptance, which is what a complete lack of any parental supervision looks like in a state park with a bunch of dads.  They've seen each other through skinned knees, giant fourth-grade horse teeth, new schools, mean friends, and all of the other rites of passage without judgment and with a remarkable capacity for compassion.  They can do that because most don't go to the same schools; in fact, they probably wouldn't even necessarily be friends if they all did.  They can because they have no secrets from each other.  They can because when you give kids the freedom to work things out in the context of complete parental inattention, usually things work out just fine.  Not one of these kids can probably imagine a life without this group.  I suspect that even the newly adult boys, who try so hard to act like this isn't a big deal, will remember those times and treasure them after they've gone on to college and the ties aren't quite so tightly tethered.

The only time the moms get to be involved is the annual Christmas party.  It's a doozy. There are some of us who see each other fairly often, others only once a year, but it is always a festive and joyful, if liquid, occasion.  There are awards for all the kids, often involving farting, pooping, or getting lost.  The entire party is planned and put on by the dads.  All I had to do was clean the house.  It's the best deal you can get in entertainment.  The payoff is a great night with old friends, and frequently, a shocking amount of recycling.

But there will be no more hosting of the CFA Christmas party.  Hosting duties rotate, and by the time it's our turn again, both kids will be in college and graduated from the group.  There will be other parties, of course.  Our closest family friends we see often, but there some whom we only see once a year.  And will G (and S later on) still want to go to a Christmas party with this group of kids from different schools?  Will she still remember how much those other dads and kids meant to her life?  Will she want to carve time away from her old friends when she's only home for a limited time?

It's so hard to think about anything changing, but of course, it does.  It should.  Imagine the alternative, your 40-year-old kid living at home, eating all your food, even potentially having a family of her own while still playing video games in your living room.  Hello, dude across the street who still lives with his mom.  And so, I'll shoulder on with all the lasts.  And when the lasts are done, there will be the firsts.

Help me.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

My Mom is Stalking Me on Facebook

My mom is stalking me on Facebook.  Well, the entire Internet, really. She didn't want Facebook.  She was perfectly happy getting all of her information from my blog.  But when I took a break from writing, it caused a hitch in our giddy-up.  My mom likes news, but neither of us like to talk on the phone.  Or honestly, to talk to anyone, ever.  It's my sister-in-law's fault.  She sends pictures of my niece and nephew to my parents every time they have a trip or a school function.  I haven't sent a print picture since 2007, even the school pictures.  I mean to.  I really do.  I cut them out and clip them together with a post-it that says "Grandparents", and then they sit there until the kids have aged out of them, and I have to shred them.

So, in the meantime, I decided to hook mom up on Facebook.  That way, she could see pictures all the time.  Most of them are of cats and my chihuahua, but still.

Just getting her on Facebook in and of itself was a challenge.  She had very specific parameters.

Mom:  I don't want to be friends with anyone (truer words)
Me:  You have to have some friends, Mom.  That's how you see people's stuff.
Mom: Okay, I only want to be friends with you and J (my brother).
Me:  Well, J doesn't post.  What about M (J's wife)? What about the girls?  Your grandchildren?
Mom: Okay.  Only them.

She is also the least visual person in the world, next to me.  So, trying to verbally guide her through this process over the phone (she's three hours away) made me appreciate my husband even more than I already did.

Mom: ____ sent me a friend request.  I told you I didn't want any friends (truer words).
Me:  Mom, people can see that you're on Facebook, they are going to try to friend you.
Mom:  But I don't want any friends (truer words).  I just want family.
Me:  There's not a family button.  Just ignore the friend request.
Mom:  I can't do that.
Me:  Why?
Mom: Because that's rude.  She'll know.
Me: Okay, so you can accept her and then hide her.
Mom: You can do that?
Me: Yes, Mom.
Mom: Okay, how do I do that?

From there ensued the longest and most frustrating teaching experience I have ever had.  And I taught 7th grade.  For a long time.  The concepts of hover and drop-down do not translate between two people who cannot visualize anything.  Neither of us could visualize our way out of a paper bag, and I'm in the Target parking lot trying to picture the Facebook interface well enough to tell her how to hide someone.  It didn't go well.  I started yelling at her and hung up.  Of course, once I got home, I found out that you now had to hide someone from their page rather than hover over their name in your news feed.  So, I was wrong AND ugly about it.  And I was very sorry.

But not as sorry as I am now.  Turns out my mom is a menace on the Facebook.  She doesn't check it all that often, and when she does, she's usually several days behind me.  She also loves to look at what I've liked or commented on, which, after a couple of days/hours/minutes, I've completely forgotten about.  This combination results in a sort of stream-of-consciousness, completely contextless series of questions and responses that borders on the surreal.

This was after I posted a link to the National Zoo Panda cam.  Fairly straightforward, right?  Only she doesn't comment on the link.  She just texts me.

This one was a fairly timely comment on a profile picture of a cat.  And her travel plans.

She saw a random picture I posted (I kid you not, like 18 months before) and sent this.  I caught on fairly quickly this time.  I would not be so lucky later on.

It's hard to tell from here, but this is where I made my crucial mistake.  See that long text there on the right?  Where I said she could leave the settings like they were?  BIG MISTAKE.  So, now, when I like something just to be nice, I leave myself open to inquiry at any time.  You would think it would end here, right?  You would be wrong.

Now, the back story to all of this is that both of my grandparents died long, terrible deaths from dementia -- one from stroke, the other from Alzheimers.  You can imagine that we are all very attuned to any potential symptoms, and the texts were getting progressively more bizarre.  At one point, I thought she was trying to gaslight me.   That or the time had come to find a nursing home with the right mix of compassionate care and security doors.

I thought it would be so easy.  I set up the account.  I create the password.  She can see vacation photos.  Check, please.  What could possibly go wrong?  What could go wrong is that I have created a monster.  I've created a monster AND forgotten her password, so changing those settings without her knowing cannot happen.

I'd like a private room, please, and has anyone seen my dentures?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Wait! Wait! I Wasn't Ready.

We sent off the college applications, after much cursing at the computer, at 11:49 on November 11th.  We breathed a sigh of relief.  G, because it was over and she didn't have to rewrite that essay again.  Me, because we had weeks and weeks before we would hear anything.

Yesterday, we got the first letter.  G was accepted.  With a scholarship.  It feels like all the breath has left me.  And we still have four more to hear from.

Wait. I wasn't ready.

Sunday, December 8, 2013


We had the dads and kids camping group party last night.  
Here it is by the numbers:

Guests: 33
Adults: 15
Kids: 18
Fajita Family Packs: 9
Cookies: 24
Lemon Bars: 18
Brownies: 18
Boxes of Graham Crackers: 2
Bags of Marshmallows: 2
Hershey Bars: 15
Bottles of Wine: 3
Bottles of Vodka: 3
Bottles of Beer: God only knows
Cheap Straw Sombreros: 18
High temperature: 30

Left over this morning:

Massive amounts of fajita fixings
Eight sombreros
Three Hershey bars (the ones with the almonds)
One sleeve of graham crackers

That's it.