Saturday, December 31, 2011

Congrats, Bud

Bud, the cat, was adopted this past week. He was an awesome cat, even for an ISO cat that was sick as a dog. Friendly, charming, and spunky-even when faced with an itchy bacterial skin infection.

Enjoy your new family, Bud. I hope they're as special as you are! We'll miss ya bud.  :o)

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


Thanks to my Christmas ornament holiday employment I've been able to register for my doula training class at the Penny Simkin Center in Bastyr University!

For those who have known me for any substantial length of time have probably caught on that I'm not an uber-baby-licious babe. In fact, I'm not a fan of drooling infants and poop smears or lengthy crying fits and sticky fingers. With that knowledge in mind, it might be surprising that I've registered to learn the doula trade and am interested in becoming a midwife.

While others' interests in midwifery or doula work might focus on the babies, my interest hinges on the mothers-the women.

Not being a mother myself, I can't share first hand information about the birth experience, but from my studies I've become fascinated with the journey of birth and the transformative experience it can hold for women. Aiding women and being a part of this irreplaceable and momentous occasion in their lives appeals to me in a way that overrides my gross-out factor!

Doula training-here I come! Then I'll start tackling chemistry and my other prerequisites for midwifery school :o)

Christmas is Done.

Christmas breezed by and my sister only bit me once!

How old is my sister, you ask? Eighteen. Yep. I smacked her in the face.

In other news, the fiance and I made off like bandits with wedding registry everyday china and new clothes galore! We also received some awesome-possum chaise lounge camper chairs from my folks that we immediately put to use as recliners in our cramped apartment haha

In sadder news-my beloved plant, Idunn, is dying.

It's hard to see in the picture but horribly obvious when you see her in person-the whole bottom half is darkened with rot and leaves and stems have been falling off right and left. I think I over-watered her or she caught some kind of disease. Either way it sucks.

I really liked this plant and would try the same species again if I could figure out how to keep it alive! Our others plants are doing too well either-we might end up having a spring replanting ;o)

In happier news, I was able to finish the fiance's stocking before Christmas. If you can believe it-all of that is stitched by hand. GAG! Leave it to him to pick the most complex cross stitch project I'd ever seen!

It did turn out beautifully and we were very relieved to be done with this project :o)

Christmas was wonderful this year. I had a marvelous time playing games with the fam and we were able to bring our kitties down to my parents so we got to have our little family all together as well.

We played lots of games but we really enjoyed this new game:

This picture shows the UK version, but the US version has more familiar brands and is really fun. It does get a little competitive but is fun and relatively speedy for a board game.

We also enjoyed this wooden game, TUMBA!

Think Jenga but with more strategy-and you start from the bottom up and build unique structures each time.

Anywho-Christmas was wonderful, games were fun, and we ate entirely too much ham and sugar!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Breaking News!

As of today-both of our cats are snore-machines.

Millie just joined Iroh as a nocturnal nasal music machine.



Thursday, December 15, 2011


What a movie. The fiance and I just finished watching "The Help." I laughed-I cried-I LOVED IT!

I have to admit that I didn't really know what the movie was about-other than a white girl helping some black maids write a book. I was under the impression that the maids wanted to publish a book about cleaning-not about their lives as maids during segregation.

In the end, I'm glad that I went into the movie with little to no expectations or idea about the film's content and I can honestly say that this movie stands on its own. I haven't read the book, but I'm sure it is just as good to spawn such a wonderful film.

In other news, tonight was my volunteer night at the shelter and I had some more encounters with extreme kitty drool and only one case of nauseating diarrhea!

One cat dripped drool onto my jeans and sweater sleeves while I petted her and she purred. I felt the warm pellets of moisture seep into the cotton of my jeans and warm my skin and in that moment I wasn't annoyed by the sickly slobber at all-I was so happy to be there, comforting that cat while it recovered from it's bout of kitty flu.

While I work on ornaments I listen to KUOW and the world's news. Although KUOW does provide lots of reports and stories about quirky incidents or happy stories, most of the world's news is pretty depressing-especially when the top stories concern Congress. But listening to public radio all day makes me feel so good about helping those sick cats. KUOW helps me appreciate the kitty drool and my own healthy cats here at home.

Today was a good day :o)

Saturday, December 10, 2011


I'm purty tuckered out lately since I've been personalizing ornaments like no one's business. My colleagues from think I have a 5 second photographic memory or something of the sort that allows me to inscribe the ornaments so much faster than others.

I may be blinking like a fish eyed goon when I look up from my desk and my back has certainly become much more knotted in the last few weeks, but I really do enjoy the work. It's meditative. Crafty and a little challenging, distracting enough to give me peace but not to complex to drain my brain.

The dreaded "Happy Duggar Snowman Family"
Unfortunately--and also thankfully--the Christmas season only comes but once a year and my fling as an ornament personalizer will soon end. The money will be nice but will mostly be relegated to outstanding debts or soothing savings accounts that will hopefully maintain their balances and prevent any further panic attacks!

But the money wasn't the most important thing for me--having something to do was the most important thing. Having people to socialize with, swap small talk and stories with--people that I don't live with and that I'm not related to. I think the ephemeral aspects of work are just as important as the monetary compensation.

In less than two weeks my lifestyle will be jolted back into unemployment. Sure, I'll be able to get to more yoga classes (which I've missed dearly) but I'll also have little to no reason to leave the house otherwise. And (as my readers will know) cabin fever is not my biggest concern.

Even working what might seem like a silly, part time job has given me more purpose and direction and drive in my day-to-day life, something sitting at home and cleaning house just can't do for me. Thankfully, I see the end and will be able to prepare for this transition and hopefully use some of my momentum to being an active job search once again-but the prick of fear has already torn my heart.

I have been so low that my biggest fear has become myself. The most realistic threat to my life is my own mind...

Speaking of which I may be listening to too much NPR (if this is possible). Walking to my car this frosty morning I felt threatened by the open space from my car port to the parking space by the front office-as if I could be easily dispatched by sniper or cross fire!

In bittersweet, semi-related news I heard a wonderful and haunting story about the first Arab woman to win a Nobel Peace Prize-and also the youngest recipient of any gender to date.

Tawakkul Karman-Check her out!
And now, I will sleep :o)

Thursday, December 1, 2011


Today was a little rough, but I made it through in decent spirits!

Left work a little earlier than anticipated because my shoulder knot was giving me some sharp pains (I have chronic shoulder tension and crouching over a desk for hours on end doesn't exactly help the situation). I was able to eat some hot lunch and rest before my volunteer shift at PAWS.

I was happy to see that one of my former "patients" made it out of Cat Isolation and onto the adoption floor. He's a sweet guy named Bud and the first time I saw him I thought of my brother! For some reason, they have an uncanny and inexplicable resemblance.

In related news, I had a fascinating dream last night where the aforementioned brother became a transvestite. He looked pretty good too! Lots of bronzer and a tiny pink skirt....

Anywho. The rest of my shift went pretty well. It's been two weeks since I was at the shelter and I did forget to make notes on the cats' appetites but otherwise I had everything under control-except for the drool.

I have never been drooled on so much. I guess that's what happens when you get lucky enough to have a shift without any diarrhea. The drooly cats were sweet, just too sweet for having all that drool. I don't exactly want kisses and snuggles under my chin when they're dripping globs of drool!

I really do enjoy spending time with the cats in ISO-even with the drool and diarrhea :o)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Festivities Begin!

First off, I saw several semi trucks hauling semi trucks this weekend while on the road for Thanksgiving. Every time I see this phenomenon I can't help but stare. It seems so unnatural and always reminds me of ladybugs copulating.

In other news, Thanksgiving was great. My parents and the fiance and I went over the mountains to his folks' house. We played cards, watched movies, had some great food, and enjoyed relaxing together. The parents get along and his mom even said that it was very nice to get to know my folks before the wedding.

Black Friday started at a quarter to five for the fiance, me, and my parents. We hit up the local Freddie's and a few other shops with the fiance acting as navigator and my folks the driving force of shopping frenzy. I scored some comfy socks and slippers and the fiance got the new electric razor he's been pining over for months.

I enjoy the hustle and bustle of Black Friday and I've never had a bad experience. When I go out all the folks are usually excited and well mannered, sharing in some mutual comradeship. And who can't enjoy free coffee and donuts at the local Freddie's?

The only fly in the ointment is the consumerism I see and the occasional panicked expression filled with desperation.

It's so sad to see the people completely focused on gift giving and forgetting the spirit of the season. Not only is it less satisfying and soulful to have a Christmas completely focused on gifts, it takes such a toll on the people "celebrating" through consumerism.

I see so many harried and stressed people worried about finding the right gift and finding the money to pay for it all. None of my favorite holiday memories are based upon gifts. Yes, my family has some fun times unwrapping gifts and getting lost in a sea of colorful wrapping paper but the meals and cooking together, playing games, watching holiday flicks and enjoying the company of those we love most are the best and most cherished memories I have of Christmases past.

It takes some effort to resist the wave of Christmas shopping bonanza that descends upon the country this time of year, but it is definitely worth the effort to save some stress and focus on what's most important during the holiday season.

Cherish those you love and the traditions you share. The perfect gift won't seem to matter as much because you'll realize you already have everything you need.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Already Tuesday!

The fiance's van has been in the shop all weekend getting the transmission fixed. Originally the mechanic told us it would be finished by Monday, but now we're wondering if we'll be picking it up before we leave tomorrow for the Thanksgiving weekend.

We're both relieved to be getting the van back and not have to consider the more burdensome investment in a new car. While the interim has been challenging, we have adjusted to being a one-car household. Even with the adjustment there are a lot of frustrations and finagling to make things work and while we know we could manage with one car, we're glad to be back to two soon!

In other news, the ornament business has been bustling and I've been covered in permanent ink for days on end! After the holiday things are sure to pick up and I'm a little concerned about keeping up!

As far as writing names on ornaments go, I'm pretty speedy but I'm also one of the few people working on the ornaments ordered through the website-so I end up doing A LOT of ornaments! I'm glad to be working somewhere fun and relaxed but it has been a big leap in activity.

I'm not the worst of slugs, but I do have some extra work to do building up my stamina for the rush after Turkey Day.

The fiance and I are both looking forward to down time at the parents' home this weekend although we are planning on running around with my parents Black Friday morning.

The fiance has never joined Black Friday crowds and is still resisting the idea, but I think we'll have fun in the hustle and bustle. My parents love the holiday season and gifting, they like to hit Black Friday sales even if they don't buy anything or have things to pick up.

I'll try to get pictures if any of us lose any digits!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Oh Boy

Couple of rough days this week. It wasn't all my fault, but I can't say that I'm not to blame for some of my own pain. I know my tendencies and I know my depression, yet I still watch myself relapse and fall into episodes over and over.

There is a poem by Portia Nelson that multiple counselors have read to me in over my years of therapy-and it's so truthful it hurts.

Chapter 1
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost ... I am helpless.
It isn't my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.
Chapter 2
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don't see it.
I fall in again.
I can't believe I am in the same place.
But it isn't my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.
Chapter 3
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in ... it's a habit.
My eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.
Chapter 4
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.
Chapter 5
I walk down another street.
Reading the poem makes me feel ashamed and sad, pricks up guilt from deep in my stomach from that place that tells me that I know better and that I can do/be better than this mess. 

But that reaction isn't healthy. It seems natural to me to feel guilty and ashamed and angry at myself, but that is just another part of a bigger problem to be solved.

I can't hate myself and heal myself.

This week's relapse was triggered by a variety of things, but mainly change in my routine without proper compensation. 

I've been working part-time with a local home business personalizing Christmas ornaments and the new schedule has kept me from getting to yoga, eating regularly, or even taking my meds as I'm supposed to. How could I NOT have expected trouble?

The bottom came after a rough morning. I was very tired and could've used another hour or two of sleep but had to get up to get to work and drop off the fiance. There was some radio conversation or some input that triggered my low self-esteem and disgust with my body.

Next thing you know I'm feeling frantic and isolated and vulnerable. I felt my head space closing in and the darkness gathering around me. Although I nearly talked myself out of texting anyone for help, I sent a little text to the fiance-"I wanna cut."

He knew exactly what was happening-he had noticed my decline the previous night-and he texted me supportive messages, and I made it to work without harming myself (although I did proactively throw the boxcutter stashed in my center console into the back of the car so I couldn't reach it so easily). 

I left work earlier than planned and called in sick to my shelter volunteer work. I hated to leave the kitties hanging, but I knew if I pushed myself I could be in for some major symptoms. I went straight home and to bed for the next four hours. 

Even though I did take some care of myself, I did drag a knife across my arm after I got home and instead of taking my prescribed Xanax to combat the panic/anxiety I popped three OTC sleeping pills to help me get to sleep. 

My thoughts were swirling with negativity and I knew getting to sleep would shut up the bad thoughts, but I feel a little guilty and scared about using the sleeping pills instead of the Xanax. I felt a little inkling of abuse in the action and all the images of drug addicts and drunks seeped into my consciousness as I snuggled into  my bed. 

I did talk to the fiance about the pills and he also seemed concerned. He understood that I simply wanted to sleep and escape my thoughts, but we both knew that popping sleeping pills wasn't a good coping strategy-especially popping more than recommended (the bottle says take two at a time). 

The next day I made sure to get to yoga and had a good time at work and yoga class. The fiance got the ole van into a transmission shop and decided to get it fixed instead of trying to figure out financing a new vehicle altogether. Things are turning up, but I know that I'm not out of the woods. 

Even with antidepressants and thyroid meds I have my own medication to administer and a lot of it is mental.  This is where a good counselor would come in handy, huh? I've never been very political, in fact I have very little faith in politicians, but it sure makes me wish congress or the prez or somebody could figure out a way to care for those in need. 

Maybe I'll see something like that in my lifetime-just might require emigration! 

Monday, November 14, 2011

Damn Those Burritos

Strangely, "damn those burritos" and "damn the torpedoes" go hand in hand in my mind. The fiance has an affection for burrito shops. I have a problem NOT cleaning my plate when I eat-especially if something tastes good. Cue the gastric turmoil.

Yesterday we were in Portland and met up with one of the fiance's sisters for dinner-at a burrito shop. I ordered up a $4 veggie burrito and it turns out "$4" doesn't necessarily mean small. I'd say the burrito was on par size-wise with the most obese squirrel you can imagine and of course, I ate nearly the entire thing. Very soon afterward my gut started pepping up and I knew that I was in for some pain.

"Big-boned" Squirrel
Next thing you know we're on our way up I-5 and I'm reclined in the passenger seat groaning and riding out random shivers and temperature spikes as my body tries to battle the bulging burrito in my belly. The fiance is laughing maniacally while I swear never to go near a burrito again as long as I live.

As you can imagine, eventually nature regained balance and I was relieved of my gastric torture-but the memory lingers and here I sit typing it out for the world to read. BEWARE OF THE BURRITOS.

In better news, the earlier portion of our Portland trip was rather enjoyable and decidedly free of cilantro and spicy peppers.

Our previous attempt at engagement photos was rained out, but this weekend we decided we were headed south to Portland come hell or rain water. Lucky for us the rain didn't make an appearance until the very last part of our photo shoot and we were happy to escape to a nearby McMenamin's for some brews and cute picture opportunities!

We won't be able to review the pictures for a few weeks, but we thought the shoot went very well. We found some unique shots-one including a lonely decommissioned state sign and the leaves were gorgeous. The only fly in the ointment is whether or not we managed to look like normal human beings or crazy loons!

In other news, Millie has been a barfing machine lately but we're hoping it was only the result of stress after my parents' new cat visited. Iroh has been his normal chilaxed self and very cute during his frequent naps on his favorite red bed ;o)

Thursday, November 10, 2011


The fiance shattered my beloved Melita coffee carafe tonight. While the whole set-up only runs about $12 bucks the subject of a new coffee making technique surfaced quickly after the demise of my purty glass carafe.

I'm pretty sure that the carafe catastrophe was an accident-although I have my suspicions ;o) The fiance was quick to bring up the possibility of a percolator once the carafe was KIA. He even mentioned that he had been researching them that afternoon at work! Seems a bit suspicious to me.

Regardless of the fiance's intentions when he entered the kitchen this evening-we ended up purchasing a percolator as well as a chocolate turkey this evening.

The chocolate turkey was my special mission as hollow turkey chocolates filled with Mini M&Ms are a cherished autumn treat tradition in Hannahworld-and yes, sweets seem to be coming up a lot lately-blame the ovaries ;o) To enjoy a M&M filled chocolate turkey simply buy the ingredients, munch off a turkey's head, pour in M&Ms and then enjoy!

Our new coffee brewing machine.
The first brew took a couple tries, but once we got it down we found ourselves enjoying a robust brew in minutes! The cord is detachable and makes it super easy to bring the percolator to the table. It is certainly taller and more ungainly than the Melita carafe, but I'm trying to hold off judgement until I get to use it myself.

We are anti-coffee machine for the space it eats up sitting on the counter and prefer coffee brewing apparatus that are easily transferred to cabinet storage-just in case you were wondering why the "alternative brewing style."

In other news, the fiance has found a new level of affection for our shower rack.

 Classy. :o)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Move Over Santa!

Even before Halloween had passed Christmas merchandise was sneaking onto shelves in stores. I have a strict policy against Christmas-before-Thanksgiving festivities. True, I'm working on a Christmas stocking but that doesn't count!

So what does my policy cover? No holiday music, no holiday themed candy, no decorations, no themed movies-just enjoy FALL!

Per family tradition the Christmas season doesn't begin until Santa shows up at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Only then can the Christmas decorations pour forth and cover every surface in the house and candy canes are cleared for snacking.

With all the consumerist Christmas mayhem it can be hard to avoid contagious Christmas cheer before it's time. Especially when all the retail stores 86 their Halloween candy before you have time to sneeze!
Don't get me wrong, I love Christmas, but it saddens me that traditions are so often replaced with economic stimulus. They may be able to force the Christmas season onto shelves around the country but they can't force the autumn leaves from the trees! Until Thanksgiving, I will be enjoying the foliage and the seasonal mellowcreme pumpkin binge-even if it means clearance bins at the local drug store. ;o)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

November Already!

I haven't been to a yoga class since the cars had their respective breakdowns which happened to coincide with the expiration of my yoga pass. I showed up at the center Tuesday to take two classes back-to-back from 4:15 to 6:30 but the instructor had moved across the country abruptly and now those very popular classes have been eliminated!

Now that we're down to one car we've had the fiance taking a bus one way and me picking him up or dropping him off. The original (and best plan) was for me to attend 4:15 yoga classes and pick him up at 5:30 and we'd commute home together. But life says, "NO! No convenience for you!"

With that instructor back in Chicago the only 4:15 class runs on Mondays so our travel arrangements are about to get more obnoxious ;o)

In other news the fiance turned our attention to National Novel Writing Month and I've tried to keep up with the 1,667 words a day in order to complete a 50,000 word novel by the end of the month but only three days into the challenge and I realize how difficult this is to do! It doesn't help that I'm working obsessively on the fiance's cross stitched stocking.

The fiance is excited about his story idea though and we plan to write together throughout the week. Even if we don't complete the challenge I think it's an important exercise to write. Blogging has been a good resource for me although I still have to loosen my lips to get words down at times!

Iceland has a rich history of story sharing and writing with high levels of literacy for centuries. Every time I write I try to embrace the idea that everyone's voice should be heard regardless of "quality" or "complexity." For me and so many others self criticism is a self inflicted gag that prevents us from sharing our stories orally or through written work. Maybe National Novel Writing Month is about expressing yourself more than completing an arbitrary amount of writing?

Regardless-just write! It doesn't have to be for a contest or anyone else, it can be just for you about anything at all and it will be beneficial :o)

Sticky and Bubba have been entertaining and enjoyable additions to our home. I never thought that such tiny frogs would pack so much personality but they are quite a duo! Whether it's tracking us and watching us do dishes or nipping each other and kicking around the small terrarium they make us laugh and even entertain the cats at times.

Iroh and Millie have been snuggle bugs lately. I think they are feeling the change in the weather just like us! We've been enjoying little fire logs every few nights, but I think more rip roaring fires might be in order soon ;o)

Monday, October 31, 2011

Bye Bye, October!

So long, October-just a few short weeks til Thanksgiving and then winter will kick in. I actually don't mind the last few months of the year, it's just the few first months that usually prove the hardest to work through. Luckily I have some vitamins and one of those handy dandy "happy lights" courtesy of the parentals. 

In addition the fiance and I have started jogging together after he gets home from work. I'm more of a trudger, but we have been improving slowly! 

This weekend our engagement shoot got rained out, but we did visit my folks and played some rummy and Wii. I have to battle against acne for another couple of weeks and we'll try to get down to Portland on a semi-sunny day (knock wood). 

While visiting my parents I mentioned our interest in getting a pair of African dwarf frogs like they had and Mom said, "Take 'em away!" So we brought home a couple of little frogs, bought them a new pad, and ceremoniously welcomed them to their new perch on our counter. 

Yes. My counters are dirty. *le sigh*

Tonight is Halloween but we won't be treating the trick or treaters. Instead we'll be making some fudge for my brother and playing cards in front of our off-brand fire log. I'm also pluggin' away at the fiance's cross stitch stocking and making headway, slowly but surely!

A couple weeks and I'll need to be halfway done to finish the stocking before Christmas. It's hard to tell right now, but the finished product will depict a Christmas sled with a sunset and some birds and a little church. The fiance had trouble picking a design but I pushed until he found one that he really loved. The sled is sentimental for him, since his dad built him a sled once many Christmases ago :o)

As for the cats: We bought Millie a light-up toy that absolutely terrifies her and Iroh is being particularly needy lately requesting audiences for his kibble-munching and inviting himself to lap-sit more often than usual!

In other news I watched Heartbreak Ridge today and thoroughly enjoyed it, as usual. If you haven't seen it and you like Clint Eastwood-you're in for a treat!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Halloween Weekend

The fiance and I aren't really into Halloween.

Neither of us like scary movies. Neither of us are very motivated to craft costumes and neither of us are socially motivated enough to seek out Halloween festivities and carving pumpkins is kinda messy.

We'd rather be caving.

In fact, if we hadn't had a stroke of bad car luck we'd be down near Mt. St Helen's to climb around Ape Caves just like we were last year.

Entrance to Ape Caves
Forget handing out candy to costumed kids or watching scary movies that will give us nightmares-let's hit the caves and climb around til our hair gets soaked with sweat and our hands are scraped and muddy!

The caves stay a constant cool 42 degrees Fahrenheit all year round and (for the most part) are underground so you don't have to worry about the rain unless you're hiking to the mouth or back down to the parking lot! Last year we ran into a clod of high schoolers, but for the most part had a great time hiking through the cave together with our handy dandy headlamps.

While we won't be enjoying Halloween-y activities we do have our engagement pictures scheduled for this weekend and we consider that our festivities.

I've been fighting back pimples all week preparing for the shoot and late one night this past week we got up and picked out outfits. Hopefully the pictures turn out well :o) Nothing more terrifying than a pimply portrait (comic snare-cymbal beat).

If all goes well we'll have a relaxing Halloween weekend with a fire, coffee, gingersnaps, and a fun photo shoot!

No whammies, no whammies, no whammies!

Saturday, October 29, 2011


I mentioned a few posts back that by brother moved to Pennsylvania this past fall to play tennis for a college over there. My sister is living at home and going to school and working. I'm living a couple hours away from our hometown with the fiance and not working (but watching A LOT of The Golden Girls).

Anywho, as much as I have been watching my favorite TV show I have been thinkin' about my sibs and how glad I am that even though everyone is getting older and starting to move toward our individual adult lives we're still pretty close and keep in touch.

I think part of the reason for my contemplating our sibling relationships is my getting married next year. It makes me feel old. Or at least mature, and it makes me think about all three of us becoming adults *yikes!*.

While I don't have my siblings in the bridal party (which is restricted to a MOH and BM only), thinking forward to my wedding makes me think about years down the road when I'll look back on my wedding day and remember who was there. It makes me think of all the times I've shared with my sibs and all the adventures yet to be shared together-probably more serious stuff than salting slugs together like when we were younger.

I'm glad that we're friends. I'm glad that we can talk to each other and ask each other for help and depend on each other. Yeah, we have our fights and we sure do know how to piss each other off, but for the most part we're good siblings to each other.

What makes me sad is that every time I think about myself and my siblings, I think about my parents and their siblings and how they aren't that close anymore.

Part of their distance probably has to do with growing up in different times but part of it is probably plain ole mileage. They all live in the same state at least, but over the years family get togethers have become less and less frequent, especially since Grandma died on my dad's side and my aunt and uncle on my mom's side have stopped talking to each other.

It's sad to think that my parents don't have their siblings there for them as much anymore but it's also sad to think about how distant me and my siblings have become from our aunts and uncles as well. All that family tension and distance makes seeing our relatives stressful and awkward. I don't want my children and nieces and nephews to have that stress and not have the resources that extended family provides.

Okay, I can't say that I've experienced a large, really tight-knit extended family for myself but I've gotten a taste.

Back in the day me and my siblings would go for routine visits to aunts and uncles and have big Thanksgivings and Christmas dinners and that meant cultivating meaningful relationships. Nowadays it isn't a natural part of our family life to see extended family and when we do there is lots of baggage and things unspoken that cause tension. Most people don't like to hash out the awkward stuff-hell, I don't have it in me most of the time!

I know I'm not the only one with this story and I know that hiccups and tension are a natural part of family relations-you can't have that many people in a room and expect everyone to get along! I just hope my children and their cousins will experience a happier family dynamic. Luckily, I know that it's important to my siblings just as it is for me.

Only the years will tell what the family will look like with this next generation. I know my sibs will make a good aunt and a good uncle, we just have to prioritize the time for them to have that chance!

Friday, October 28, 2011

What a Kicker

This week started off a little bumpy. A little bumpy and a little jerky and grindy-as in CAR TROUBLE.

The fiance jaunted out the door Monday morning only to jaunt right back in a few minutes later with the news that the van would not back up.

Put 'er in reverse and give it a little gas and next thing you know there is a jerking halt and she won't move no more. He was able to nose the van forward back into the parking spot (not that he got that far out of it to begin with) and took my car instead.

After some research we figured out that the van probably has a transmission problem. In fact, the fiance has had a gnawing gut feeling the past few months that the van was going to have this type of problem. He had just had the coolant flushed and replenished to try and head off heating problems with the vehicle as well-guess we couldn't out run trouble.

Transmission. Broken tranny. Bad news. Expensive news and we're not in a place to deal with it right now and the other problems with the van might just mean laying ole Bessie to rest instead of beating her senseless with more and more repairs til her final death throes kick in (which could be within a couple of years anywho!).

So, we're one car down and figure we will be until we can replace Bessie with a new car. We go to bed a little discouraged but figure we're doing a good thing by driving less and employing more environmentally sound commuting/traveling practices.

Tuesday dawns and the fiance takes off for work in my car. Shortly after his departure I get a call.

"Forget something?"

"Uhhh.... No."

"What's wrong?"

"I'm stuck on the side of I-5."


Yep. The car gave out Tuesday morning. The fiance found himself on I-5 with a floppy gas pedal and no oompf. He got towed home for no less than $120 and spent the rest of the day working from home and joining me in car frets and self-pity.

That night, he signed us up for AAA and announced that he officially felt OLD.

After some calls and research we discovered that the car problem was probably a broken throttle cable and a reasonably priced fix compared to the van's tranny problem. Wednesday morning we had Mable hauled to a local mechanic and the fiance hitched a bus ride to work.

That afternoon I hoofed it three miles to the mechanic's to pick up Mable and experienced such gratitude for the bubble butted Sable I must've looked a fool to passerby as I grinned at my ole car like a love struck kindergartner.

And yes, we have names for our cars. His was Bessie and mine is Mable the Sable. Looks like we'll be adding a new buddy to the bunch as soon as we can afford it (as soon as I sell a kidney).