Monday, December 31, 2012

Z is for Zaftig


[zahf-tik, -tig]

adjective, Slang.
(of a woman) having a pleasantly plump figure.
full-bodied; well-proportioned.
Well-proportioned?  I guess so.  I still have an hourglass figure, it just tells a LOT more time now.
My back and feet are in near-constant pain ALL the time.  I know it's because of this extra weight I'm hauling around.  I'm looking in to buying something called Backjoy to help with all the sitting I have to do during my week.  If anyone has one and would like to let me know what they think of it, contact me!  I'm making other changes as well...
I've started going back to the gym and plan on continuing that in the New Year.  I clearly can't get in shape using food techniques as I am unwilling to give up bread, milk, cheese, and sweets.  So I'll just have to work my ass off (literally) at the gym.
I have a plan of action for this.  I love a good list!  I've written out my schedule for next quarter and I've apportioned time four days a week to make it to the FREE rec centers where I can work out.  Yeah.  They are free.  AND I sort of have the time.  The only thing keeping me from them is sheer laziness.  This is my last week of break before the new quarter starts so I'll be going at least three days this week (errands today, recovering from the party tomorrow, gym W, Th, F).
I'm getting this last bit of this year's Alphabet Soup in just under the wire.  A year or two ago, I noticed that it kept taking me longer and longer to finish my Soup.  I think I mentioned that eventually it would take the whole year and then the world would end.  It occurred to me this morning that the world WAS supposed to end this year - hah!
Auld Lang Syne, Ruth!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Y is for Yak

I totally blew off the schoolwork and went to a Yak Farm!  Our friend Jen (esteemed editor of Love of Knitting magazine) got us hooked up to go to the Bijou Basin Ranch , which, happily, is only about 45 minutes from my house!
The owners were funny and informative and lovely!  We asked all kinds of questions and they readily anwered every one of them.  Like we asked how long they live.  Carl said, "About 25 years, we've been told.  We've had them for about 6... [Pause]  So far, so good."
This is how close we got to be with the giants....

This snow-face one was my favorite!
We got to feed them alfafa treats and the babies were so cute!

Here's their scratching post.  The owners said it's a brush like they use for street sweepers.

There was also an enormous barn cat.  I couldn't get a pic of him next to anything for scale, but he's a good two feet tall! (and that's not even counting the tail)

After hanging out with the Yak, we went inside to ogle (coughpurchasecough) the yarn.  A lovely skein of DK may have followed me home.

Wishing the snow-face followed me home, Ruth!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

X is for Xylography

Xylography means "art of engraving wood". 

I saw a pic of this online....
I was told it's a tattoo.  If it is, it's amazing work!

But I have to admit.....

When I first saw it, I thought it was a prosthetic wooden leg that had been beautifully carved.

Totally doing this if I ever lose a limb, Ruth!

Friday, December 28, 2012

W is for Women

Years ago, I read "The Handmaid's Tale" (by Margaret Atwood).  I loved that book.  It was so scary how they took away women's rights and then their freedoms.  It was insidious.  The right to have a bank account here, a right to vote there,  and before you know it - BOOM!! Women are put into categories of Gentry, Workers, and Breeders and that's all that's available to them. 

When I read the book, I remember thinking, "Wow.  That could actually happen.  It wouldn't even be that difficult."

Then, a couple of years after that, I read "Reading Lolita in Tehran" by Nazar Afisi.  As I  read, I thought, 'Holy shit, it happened.'  They took the rights of women away nearly exactly as it happened in the Atwood book.  Out of all the things in that book, I think what broke my heart the most was when the author's daughter came home in tears, "Why CAN'T I wear rainbow laces??"  That and when one of her students went on vacation and was reveling in the wind against her skin at the beach.  Things that women in this country take for granted as normal and everyday things.  Things that shouldn't be luxuries for women in other countries.

It also fascinated me how angry the women were.  They were angry at the men, of course, for imposing these ever-more ridiculous and confining restrictions on the women.  But they were also angry at themselves for allowing these restrictions to come in to play and become de rigeur.

I talked about all this on the blog years ago when I read these books.  I bring it up now because I've seen so many things this year that remind me of the ever-more ridiculous and confining things I've been  noticing lately.

Like this...

Back in late April, I saw this article.

It's all about how the Catholic Church devalues women.  Or at least that's what I took from it.  How can you say that what the men (archbishops and such) think is correct, but what the women think (nuns) is wrong and NOT be considered to devalue women?

And how does promoting charity and helping the poor make the nuns pro-choice?  Just because they are not touting that philosophy doesn't mean they don't believe it or care about it, and it most definitely does NOT mean they are promoting pro-choice!

Then there was this...
Terrorized on the commute - here
Basically, it's about a woman who commutes on a train and is constantly harassed when she just wants to be left alone to her reading.  She even encountered an obviously mentally ill man who harangued her to the point where she was forced to flee.

Mainly she has to deal with men sitting next to her, hitting on her using the pretense of asking about her book (when there's plenty of empty seats available).  If I knew her, I'd suggest she hand the book to some nearby, random guy and ask the guy hitting on her to do the SAME exact thing to that guy that he just did to her.  No?  You don't want to?  Why not?  Is it because if you did it to a guy it would be weird and creepy?  Well, guess fucking what.... doing it to me is JUST as weird, JUST as creepy, and JUST as unwanted.  Move along, dumbass.

Then there's the whole "legitimate rape" and various other dumbassery that went on during the campaigns.  What. the. Fuck.  The scary thing about that is that so many of the stupids that said that stuff actually BELIEVE it.  (Which, on a related note, also speaks to term limits.  When you have these ancient, pre-Civil War Rights movement people in office, there views aren't necessarily in step with modern times.  But that's a whole 'nother argument.)

In my own life, I can't stand it when customers call me Honey, or Baby, or Hon, or anything like that.  It's belittling and irritating.  I don't like it whether it's a man or a woman calling me that. 

Dave doesn't get it.  He thinks I take it too personally, and it's no big deal.  I tell him he doesn't get it because, as a man, it's something he NEVER has to encounter.  Sometimes when I want to push his buttons, I call him Sparky.  He hates that.  (FYI - we tease each other mercilessly, so when I do it, it's one of our gotcha things.)  I try to liken some total douchebag stranger calling me Hon to when I call him Sparky, but  he still doesn't get it.

On FB, there's so many women that let people walk all over them and all they do is whine about it.  Get a fucking backbone and DO something about it!  You have options.  And anyway, most of the slights they speak of don't even come close to the issues the nuns or even that commuter deal with on a daily basis. 

In this country, we, as women, are lucky enough to still have most of our rights.  For now.  We need to push to get them all (equal pay, etc.).  We also need to make strides to help women in other countries get theirs.  There are many charities that can foster education and independence among our sisters abroad.  Let's make 2013 a time when women of all types can have the same rights we do.  Let's make an effort.

Sisters all, Ruth!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

V is for Vegas

Earlier this year, we had an opportunity to go to Vegas without the kids!

My mom was RVing through town with her husband, and she wanted to pick up the kids and RV them to CA.  It coincided beautifully with my best-friend-since-jr-high (N) going to Vegas with her husband and 4 or 5 other couples they are friends with.  I haven't been able to see N since my wedding in 2000!

Mom picked up the kids and they left the same day.  I didn't realize how unready I was to be without them for 5 days!  I almost started crying when they drove off!

After Vegas, Dave was flying home and I was flying to CA to stay with my mom for a few days and then fly home with the boys.  I was getting to CA at a time when mom didn't know if they were going to be there yet or not.  As we were saying goodbye in CO, she said, "Now there's a frozen dinner in the freezer.  You put it in the microwave for..."
Me: Mom.  I'm 42.
Mom:  You aaaaaAAARRREE?  [see where I get my sarcasm?]

So, Vegas....
Dave and I spent the first 2 nights in a boutique hotel that was far too cool for us.  Nearly everyone else we saw there.... all under 30 years old.  But we got it for free because we agreed to sit through one of those stupid timeshare talks.  The last 2 nights we stayed at New York, New York, which was where N and all her friends were staying. 

The first night there, we all met up at the Coyote Ugly bar and got completely smashed.  I think that Vegas trip was one long, tall drink.  I haven't stayed that consistently buzzed since my first weekend stationed in Germany.

The next day N had reserved a cabana at the NY, NY pool.  I showed up about 4p hung out for a few hours, and we all scheduled our evening.  N had also reserved a table at a nightclub (the one under the "Eiffel Tower" at the Paris.  Some of them were going to a show beforehand, and we were all going to eat together. 

I got my stuff and had dinner with them.  Then I took a nap in N's room and met them at the front door, dressed to the nines and ready to hit the club with them.  The ones not going to the show were going to go check in to get our table at the club.  It had to be claimed by 11:30p or they'd give it away and the show ended at 11p.

N and her husband (D) and I got to the club at about midnight.  When we were trying to find out where the table was, her friends texted her that we were "the table next to the terrorists".  Nice.  (N lives in Georgia, and most of her friends grew up there.)

What they were referring to was a table full of Sikhs.  Probably the second or third most peaceful religion in history. 

When we arrived, another of our crowd said, "If they leave all of a sudden, we're going too - before the bomb goes off."


Except for N and D, I avoided them for the rest of the evening.  I headed to the dance floor where I spent most of the night!

I met my next husband there.

It was one of those dance floors where no one really dances with anyone in particular but dances with everyone around them. 

This beautiful, young Middle Eastern man starting dancing with me.  I was game so I started dancing with him.  He got closer and closer and then we started talking.  He's from Canada, he's there with a bunch of his friends, first time in Vegas, he's 24.  He says, "I'm hoping to make this trip really memorable."  Then he stops dancing, takes me in his arms, and says, "I got it!  Let's get married!!"

I said, "Oh.  Baby.  I am NOT the memory you're looking for."

He was so pretty, though.... very tempting....

I was floating between the dance floor and our table.  We had table service with about 4 bottles of vodka and a variety of juices.  We were also close to the bathroom, so we got to see all of humanity (and all their shenanigans) coming and going there. 

Beautiful Man ended up being one of the Sikh boys (although he was the only one beardless and not wearing a turban).  Later in the evening, I was dancing with all the other Sikh guys.  They were all huge!  Tall and husky everyone (except Beautiful Man who was just tall.  And beautiful.)

There were go-go dancers on platforms at this club.  When I was dancing with the Sikh guys, the go-go dancer nearest us left, and a skinny, male go-go dancer took her place.  He was dressed in a full-length wide skirt that would make Marie Antoinette jealous.  He was shirtless but had a series of stretchy straps going around his bony chest.  His knee-high, patent-leather, platform boots matched the white-with-tiny-black-polka-dots arm warmers, which also matched the fabric covering his face.

One of the Sikhs asked me what was up with that.  His English wasn't as perfect as his beardless friend.  He said, "Is that.... girl?  Boy?"
I said, "Oh, that's a boy.  We sometimes call them "Queens" when they dress so flashy."
You should have seen Sikh's face!  It was like a light bulb went on, and he said, "That explains so much!!"

I had a blast that night! 

The next day, N, D, and I walked to the Caeser's pool to check it out.  It was SO hot that I nearly started a fire with my thighs when we were walking.  I was wearing a long, thin skirt and a tank top.  I had a rub mark on my thigh by the time we got to the pool.  Nice.

Once there, we bought drinks, and for mine I chose a cranberry mojito.  Wow.  What a fabulous beverage for a hot day!!  When the liquid was gone, I went to have the bartender fill it with water.  Water, fresh-crushed cranberries and mint over ice.  Equally fabulous!  The bartender was very sweet.  He filled my cup many times for me.  I went back SO many times and he was very patient and refilled without complaint.  He also started giving me cranberry juice along with the water,  refusing any kind of payment I was trying to give him!  I tipped him a $20 when I left (the original alcoholic one was $26). 

Dave wasn't there for that either, as he was sitting at Poker tables most of the time.

Dave was nervous that I'd be mad he wasn't going to these N-planned activities (she actually sent us all an hour-by-hour spreadsheet with her planned things prior to our trip - love that girl!).  He said, "They're going to think I'm an asshole!" I told him, "This is your vacation, too.  They're going to think I'm an asshole if I make you go to this or that and you sit there bored and miserable the whole night! Go play Poker!!"

He had a good vacation, too!

Our last night, we played Poker together.  We were in a tournament with about twenty people.  N's husband and a guy she works with were also in the tournament. 

I took second place in that tournament and won $250 - Splee!!

All that time in Vegas and here's the only pic I took the whole time...

Do you see it?  It's a Gargoyle's profile in the shower...

I suck at Paint, but how about now?  Do you see it now?
My trip to CA was a good time, too.

My dear friend (also since jr. high), Peeps picked me up from the airport.  She and her wife took me to an amazing dive to have tacos ($1.25 each and the best I've had in years), then we went to her favorite dive bar and had a couple of beers. 

Her wife went home and her.... cousin? showed up.  He drove us to Hanford to drop me off at my mom's.  It's nearly an hour drive, and we were laughing our asses off the entire way.  Love those people!

Here's Peeps wearing the Thank You hat I made her.
Here's the two of us together (with a little monkey running up behind us to greet me!)...

CA was a great time, too!  I took the kids (and my mom) to Wild Water Adventures (which used to be Clovis Lakes when I was a kid) - it's a water slide funpark.

I took the kids to Yosemite, and to meet my dad (this was months before the disaster trip in October).  The last time my dad and his wife saw my boys, D2 was a babybaby, we're talking when he was roughly about 3 months old (so T would've been about 2 years old).

That Yosemite trip ended up being nightmare trip for us!  We were in the car for literally TEN hours.  Four hours to Yosemite. 

Great place that.  LOVE Yosemite.  The kids got to do a Junior Ranger thing...

They also got to climb rocks and trees and everything else that crossed their path....

We saw this really cool cabin....
Just kidding, it's a miniature vignette someone had made...

After Yosemite, we tried to find my dad's place.  I asked a Ranger the quickest way to get to Groveland.  He told me to go out the South gate.
We should've gone out the North gate.
We ended up driving for TWO hours what should've taken about 30 minutes.  AND we ended up on a switchback highway for nearly all of that two hours. 
We got to see my dad and his wife for about 45 minutes.  We had pizza together, took some pics, then hit the road again to avoid having to drive home in full dark.

  Which we ended up doing anyway because it was already so late. 
Four hour drive home.  We got home around midnight. 
The boys were troopers.  They didn't complain and didn't ask me, "Are we there yet?"  Not once.
They did say that they never wanted to go back there again. hah!

On my last night in CA, I bought Me-n-Ed's Pizza for all of us.  I tipped the delivery driver $5, explaining that delivering pizzas for Me-n-Ed's was one of my first jobs ever.  Love that pizza!  Canned mushrooms and all!

I also met up with my high school sweetheart for a beer.

My high school sweetheart is roughly the same height as I am - 5'2".  He's always been an aficionado of classic cars.  He's got a '55 Chevy Bel Air wagon, a '57 Chevy truck he borrowed from his dad and just never gave back.  He used to have a '67 Chevy Impala (my personal favorite), but it got wrecked a few years back.

Anyway!  He shows up in a HUGE, modern truck.  Like obnoxious huge.  Like so big that when you opened the doors, it actually had little mechanical sidestep things that came out to help you get in to the cab of the truck. 

I was laughing my ass off!

We went for a beer, but had a hell of a time finding a bar.  Which is weird because small valley towns like Hanford are usually filthy with them!  We ended up at Chili's.  We had a beer, reminisced for awhile, and generally caught up. 

Both trips were a much-needed respite from the stress of our daily lives.

I miss my CA friends and family so much, and it's so nice to be able to finally see them all!  My mom wants to have the kids coming out in the summer become a yearly thing.  I'm fine with that! 

We used to go with my mom to see her sister (and family) in AZ every summer.  Not always the best time (AZ in the summer??) but it was time spent with family and that's a good thing.  If she wants them for awhile in the summer then Dave and I can have a vacation on our own (sweet!) and/or I can hang in CA for awhile with them (also sweet!).

Looking forward to the next summer's adventures, Ruth!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

U is for Ulcer

Dave and I were up late last night.  We had all the gifts bought and wrapped for a few days already, but we were just hanging out together, basking in the glow of a Christmas we were both excited for.  First time in years that things were not stressful at this time of year.

Sure,  he would have to go work EARLY xmas morning (4a-ish) because it was supposed to snow (he does snow removal in the off-season of his landscaping business), but we'd already told the kids they could open one gift each, and then when he came home, they could open the rest.  They were fine with that!  We planned to let them open the video games we got them since we knew that would occupy them until he could get home.

Then the phone rang....

Dave's right-hand guy is a twat.  He goes by W, and he's about as useless as a fish on a bike.  Don't get me wrong, he does his job and he's good at that part (irrigation mostly, but he does all sorts of other stuff for Dave, too), but the man cannot make a command decision to save his life.  He calls Dave at least 4 or 5 times a day when he's working, and what takes most people 30 seconds to say, W takes 5-10 minutes to say.  One time he actually called Dave to tell him the address he was going to was Street instead of Drive.  Seriously??? Write that shit down!  Text if if you have to!  Don't waste Dave's time and stress levels by calling to have a ten-minute conversation about it!!

I keep asking Dave why he doesn't just fire W and get someone else.  Dave says he would never be able to hire someone who can do all the things W does at the salary W has.

All right.  So he calls at 11:20p on Christmas Eve, and Dave thinks he's calling to ask his usual inane questions about the plan of action for snow removal the next day (same questions EVERY time it snows).  He never calls this late, though.

Dave didn't get to his phone fast enough, so it goes to voicemail.  He comes back from our home office red-faced mad. 

W picked up the smaller truck with the snowplow on it (we have a bigger truck, too) to take it home so he'd have it super-early when the snow gets to the right depth.  Nothing unusual there. 

That idiot rear-ended a City plow truck!!  How the FUCK do you not see a giant City of Denver plow truck?? 

So great.  Not only will that cost Dave about $5,000 just to fix the plow (not to mention what it's going to do to his insurance), not only that, but now they have only ONE plow truck for xmas day's work instead of the two they will need.

Dave didn't sleep at all last night.

On a brighter note....

We did have a lovely xmas day!  Dave was home about 9a so we had the kids and all three of us adults (gma, too!) open our presents and hang out for awhile before he has to go back out.

I love our family so much! 

I love that Dave has started a tradition where he doesn't know what to get me so he goes to a department store to buy the ugliest thing he can find, forcing me to return it and get what I really want.  Cracks me up!  Last year it was a hideous holiday sweater, this year it's a giant purse (he knows I hate big purses).  He's the best!

And our boys!  We get them each a book every year and also an assortment of things they asked for.  I love that no matter how many things we get that they actually asked for, they always (without being asked/told) sit and read their books first!

Even the MIL was in a great mood this morning!

I feel awful for Dave having to work today (I also have to work today, but not until 4p), and I'm terrified for how much W's accident is going to cost Dave, but for now, this moment....

it's Christmas!

Merry All to All, Ruth!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

T is for Tree

We got a free tree this year! 
Dave has a landscaping business.  On the off season he does things like snow removal and also puts up/takes down xmas lights for people.  The million dollar homes where he has a contract with the HOA....  he does lots of lights there. 
When he was putting up lights at one of those houses two weeks ago, he saw a tree across the street with a sign taped to it, "Free, in good condition".  So he loaded it up on his truck and brought it home!  I asked why they would throw out such a good (and obviously expensive) tree.  He said that house does at least six trees in their house every xmas!
We had to buy a new tree stand this year (ours broke last year), and when he tried to put it up he said, "I think I know why they gave it away."  First off, this thing is a beast!  It's easily 15' around the bottom.  He couldn't get it to stand straight.  We had to keep maneuvering it because it kept trying to lift the tree stand feet off the ground!
He finally got it straight and he put on the lights and tinsel, then T and D2 and I decorated it with all our ornaments.  I love decorating the tree!  I love going through all the ornaments and telling the kids what each one means or where it came from.  I keep all the ones they made in a separate box and we always put those up last!
Well this year we got to decorate the tree twice!  Just as we put the last ornaments on and stepped away, the whole damn thing tipped over!  Every single one of the ornaments popped right off!  Luckily, none were broken.
Dave came in and was very frustrated, "Well I don't know what to do!!"  he practically shouted.  I said, "I know what you can do.... you can take a breath and realize it's fine."  And he did!
He righted the tree and then he figured out that if he bolstered a couple of the tree stand legs with folded-up newspaper, it was much more stable.  He put the lights back the way he had them the first time, then the boys and I put the ornaments back on!
The tree is so big that the star isn't actually on top, it's sort of in front of the top branches.


 Those big white papers on the tree?  The kids decided to hang their xmas list on the tree this year.  Funny!

Another bonus of this new place is that we got to decorate the outside.  At our old place, the only thing that faced the street was the garage door, so we never decorated it.

Dave was actually excited about decorating the outside of the house!  I had no idea he missed it so much.  He did such a good job!  Simple but beautiful!

(That last pic is blurry, but our camera is crap and that's the best I could get.)

And now for a much-requested dead fish....

Knitting like mad to be done by tomorrow evening, Ruth!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

S is for Starfleet

I joined the Starfleet group on Ravelry in January, 2011.  It's been such a boon for getting me to finish projects!  I had no idea I was so competitive!  I was all, whatever - it's fun but no big deal.  Then my friend Donna got ahead of me on points (and rank) and I was all, Hell no!  I'm such a dork!

This year I have finished:
Cowls - 2
Hats - 7
Ami - 2
Tiny things cranked out for points - 10
Slippers - 2 pair
Fingerless Mitts - 2 pair
Socks - 1 pair
Dishcloths - 31
Felted coaster - 4 (fail - but gonna fix them later)
Miscellaneous - 3
Cat Bed - 1
Ornaments - 3
Crocheted wire earrings - 1 pair
Shawls - 2 (although I guess, technically, they are mini-shawls)
Dyed skeins - 8 different colorways (2 each)
Blankets - sewed together 16 blocks for a baby that was born 2 years ago, and knit one block for my kids' blankets
Sweaters - 3


I'm only going to post the pics of the sweaters I finished...

This is what I made for the knittingi olympics this year:

I cranked this bitch out in ELEVEN DAYS!!!  I adore it and because of the speed, I am now in love with chunky yarn.

Here's the Pioneer I finished (although I need to make the edging on the sleeves match better):
Here's my favorite of the year:

I have a favorite yarn.  It's Cascade Waterlily.  I had about 850 yards of black and wanted to make this sweater.  I started the sweater knowing full well I didn't have enough black to finish it.  I figured I'd buy more.  

It's discontinued.  Awesome.

I went to Ravelry.  I found a person willing to sell me 10 skeins of it at about half price!!  So I was able to finish my sweater and am in the same boat I started with concerning the yarn - I have about 850 yards of black left!  hah!

As I was trying to figure out if I'd have enough, I worked the sweater (it's top-down) to the arms, did both arms, did the hood (which took nearly THREE skeins!) and then kept going down the sweater until I ran out.  That Raveler saved the day, and I adore this sweater!

Here's my favorite hat for the year:
T kept saying he wanted an 8-ball hat.  Don't know why it had to be that, but he was all, "Is it done?  Is it done?  Is it done?"  Every day.  I finally finished it in October so he could take it on his 6th grade trip. 

Why is it my favorite?  Was it especially easy or especially challenging?  No.  Was it so cool I couldn't stand it?  No. 

It's my favorite because he's worn it EVERY day since I handed it to him.  I finally got him to let me wash it last weekend. 

I've still got missions to finish before the year ends.  I'm going to dye more yarn for most of this month's missions.  I've got a hat (almost done with that), an edging on a towel (sounds simple but takes forever), a tiny zombie (#3 of a set of 3 I've made this month), and, if I'm feeling really brave, I  may attempt to sew something.

Planning my knit-list for next year, Ruth!

Friday, December 21, 2012

R is for Rampage

I got another "raise your hand poll"...

Raise your hand if you are ready for this year to just be OVER.

 Two shooting rampages in one year? 

Dave and I were coming back from a really nice time of xmas shopping, we'd had a nice lunch together and the moment we walked in the door to our house, there's the MIL watching the breaking news.

The Aurora Theater shooting was not 10 miles from our home.  This latest madness involves killing an entire classworth of kindergartners.

Then the Facebook bullshit starts flying. 

I own guns.  I'm not against background checks and waiting periods (although I DO think they are just a salve for the masses.  If someone wants a gun, it's easy enough to get one illegally.).  I also think it should be illegal for citizens to have assault weaponry.  That being said, I ALSO believe that placing blame anywhere but squarely on the shoulders of the killer is ludicrous. 

Dave brought up the point that if that man walked into the classroom with a tray of arsenic-laced cupcakes, we wouldn't ban KitchenAid.

And all those people that jumped on the "You're not taking MY guns away"... calm the fuck down.  And hey, as long as it's all about you, right?

Then there's the winners who were posting a t-shirt that said:
Dear God, why did you let this happen at my school? Signed, Concerned Student
Dear Concerned Student, I'm not allowed in schools.  Signed, God.

Which is essentially blaming the victims, so that's nice.  (Dave also pointed out that God is the CORNERSTONE of the Church and is also a large part of Boy Scouts, so what happened there?)  (Love that guy!)

And the media.  Shut the fuck up!  They were talking to profilers before they had ANY information other than there was a school shooting.  What are they profiling??  And everyone's begging for a motive. 

Does a motive matter?  Will it bring anyone back or assuage any of the pain for those left behind?  As if knowing this mentally ill person's motive will stop the next mentally ill person.

Bottom line, it is a horrible, horrible day in our history.  I wish I could bring all those people back and give them a do-over.  I wish that boy got the mental health help he needed. 

I wish this year was over, Ruth!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Q is for Quirks

Speed limit at my local Target....
This is the wild side of the street.

Across the street it's only 12 1/2.

Wondering how one clocks this, Ruth!

Friday, November 30, 2012

P is for Priorities

In the past ten days, I've received notice of two deaths.  That makes three for this year.  I think that's enough for one year, right? 

Nicole was one of the first friends I made when we moved from AZ to CO.  We met through our blogs, and since our kids were about the same age, we got together for a few playdates.  We lived at complete opposite ends of Denver, so we weren't able to get together often and mostly kept in touch through our blogs, emails, and Facebook.

About 4 years ago, she was diagnosed with breast cancer.  It was really tough going, but she beat it.  There were many complications along the way, but she was cancer free at the end. 

Four months ago, she found out it was back.  And it was in her bones.

I can't imagine how hard it was for her.  Just hearing about it devastated me, and I wasn't the one with cancer! 

I pm'd my Team Leader and told him, "I don't know how I can stand these people tonight.  I just want to scream, "It's back and it's in her BONES" when they drone on and on about their fucking bullshit VIDEO GAME problems."  He told me to take the night off.  I did.

Last Wednesday, someone close to Nicole posted that she passed away. 

I couldn't stop crying and my husband told me to sign off work.  I did. 

He took me out and got me nice and drunk.  And fed me pizza.  He's the best.

Truthfully, Nicole and I weren't as close as we would've liked to've been.  If we lived even remotely closer to each other, we would have hung out a lot.  We both knit and had little kids.

That's what devastates me the most about it all.  Her daughter is the same age as my little guy and her little guy is 3 years younger - 9 and 6. 

9 and 6 seems too young to lose your mom.  All I can think of is them having to grow up without her.  She was a wonderful mom and she will be so missed.

I also found out that my high school sweetheart's mom passed away a few days ago.  When Drew and I were together, things at my house were bad enough that I moved out when I was 17.  His family was closer to me (and treated me better) than my own.

Again, found out while I was working.  I cried a bit, but it was close to the end of my shift, so I held it together.  As soon as I was off work, I called Drew and we talked for nearly an hour.  I cried and we laughed about all kinds of stuff. 

Just like I told my TL - it's so hard to listen to people get all bunched up over a fucking game when people are losing their moms. 

Three in one year.  Two in the past ten days. 

Yep, that's enough, Ruth!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

O is for Online

I don't think I've mentioned it, but my school COMPLETELY changed their program.  Someone warned me of this when I first started, but we were told that the catalog we got was the catalog we would follow for our graduation. 

They made every one in the entire school sign a form that said we had to follow the new catalog or we couldn't go to that school.  Sneaky, right?

In the long run, it doesn't really have anything to do with me.  It's mostly for people coming in fresh. 

The thing that bugs me about the school most is the software we have to use.  We get the software the first day of our first class.   We can't take the class that teaches us how to use the software until we are there for a year.  Nice.

I spend $15 a day on gas for my school commute.  I'm at a speed now where I don't have to be in theory class, and the academic I'm taking is the software class.  We don't have a teacher on-ground that teaches that class.  It's only available online.

So I decided to take a semester online.  I'd had experience with the tests the online students were given, and they are twice as hard as the tests they give on-ground.   One of the things they changed is that now, the online students get the same tests on-ground people get.  That was my deciding factor.

At least that's what I was told.  I don't get how they can constantly tell us one thing and then do whatever the hell they want.  Some of the tests are the same, but most are the much-harder tests of the past.

I did finally pass the speed test for Lit that was stumping me for so long.  And if I wasn't online this quarter, I never could have made the move to the new house the way we were able to make it.  So that was good.

I'm stumped at speed 140 now.  It's the speed I started this quarter with and I should actually be at 160.  For the first three weeks, I was on track for the Homework Challenge - doing 15 hours of practice a week.  Then we found the house and started the move.  sigh.

I gotta say though, it's SO awesome sleeping in an hour or 2 more a day than when I was on-ground.  It's nice to take the kids to school and pick them up.  It's nice to spend the time I'd normally be in the car commuting - to spend that time practicing instead. 

I'm going back on-ground in January.

Looking forward to seeing my school friends again, Ruth!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

N is for November

Yes, I totally skipped the letter N.  Yes, I'm completely cheating by putting it where it should have been.

Raise your hand if you're ecstatic that the elections are over!  Those damn commercials. 
I always say that the presidency should be one term - six years.  It seems the second half of their first term trying to get re-elected instead of being presidential.

And WTF with everyone showing their crazy politics on Facebook?  I thought that was to be reserved for just plain crazy?

I am FB friends with this guy I knew in high school.  We'll call him Jerry.  I had the biggest crush on Jerry.  He was a year ahead of me and a popular jock, so he barely knew I existed.  Thing is, Jerry was kind to everyone.  He would go out of his way to be nice to people, and when another jock was being a dick to someone less popular, Jerry would step in and make them knock it off.

Now, on FB, he's posting this super-conservative teabag party type stuff.  It is flat-out RUINING my crush!  The childish part of me says, "If he had gone out with me, we would be married, and he never would've turned out like this!" hah!

Then there's this other chick that I barely knew in high school, but she friended me so, whatever.  She posts this super-crazy ass, compeltely unsubstantiated bullshit.  For some reason, when she posts it, it sucked me in every time!  Like other people would post things like that and I was all, "Who cares" but when she posted it, I'd have to call her on it.  I think it was the sheer amount and the so-over-the-top stuff she posted that would get me.

She would post stuff comparing Obama to Hitler.  I'd call her on it.  Then another friend of hers woudl say it's just a joke and I'd say, "yea.  Because Hitler's always SO funny."  She would post this incredibly divisive bullshit  - usually a phrase from a speech that was taken comPLETEly out of context.  Then when people would call her on it (not just me), she'd claim "freedom of speech". 

I saw her unfriend 2 other people for exercising THEIR freedom of speech at the crazy she'd post, so I knew it was only a matter of time.

After the election, she posted something from a blog called 2 Conservative Chicks (or something like that).  It said that if Mitt had won, the liberals would've made good on their promise, rioting in the streets and planning assassinations. 


So I commented on the post, "What utter bullsh*t.  Where do you even find this stuff?" 

She commented back, "Do I ever post vulgarity on your page?" blah, blah, blah and unfriended me. 


This was my response on my page:
Just got my first de-friending.

You are right, Jewellee, you've never posted foul language on my page. Maybe because, unlike you, I refrain from posting poisonous, vitriolic, unsubstantiated, hateful things. You say, "so much for liberal "tolerance"" and, again - you are right. I have absolutely NO tolerance for anyone who regularly posts things that are blatantly taken out of context just to rile up a response. You post all this hateful crazy and then get mad when you get the ellicited response. Brilliant.

Just remember, posting all that divisive crap makes you part of the problem, not part of the solution.

After the election, I read that the main reason Mitt didn't win was because the GOP couldn't separate him from the GOP extremists.  Way to go Jewellee and company, ya'll shot yourselves in the foot! hah!

Also, when my friends and I were on a yarn crawl, we saw some guy on the side of a busy intersection with a homemade sign on some big, busted-ass piece of wood.  On one side, it said, "Obama is a Muslim", on the other, "Clinton is a rapist".  Does he really think this is going to work?  Like you're going to see this one-step-above-homeless sign and say, "Oh. My. GOD!  I had NO idea?  He's so right?  I better go vote another way."

Which is exactly how I feel about all the ad campaigns.  Do they really think an ad is going to change anyone's mind?  Of course, there will be the usual lemmings that only vote by what the ads say, but those are few and far between!

And let's not even start on the discussion of how much money was spent on those campaigns.  Billions?  Wow.  What a waste of money that could have been spent in about a billion different ways.

In any case, the elections are over.  We are safe for another two years.  Safe from those damn ads! 

Seriously, though - I do hope Obama (and the Congress/Senate that has to approve anything that comes his way) can get more done now that he doesn't have to concentrate on getting re-elected.

Back to our regularly scheduled programs, Ruth!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

M is for Moving

Moving BLOWS.  JK, it's not that bad. 

 Awhile back, I saw someone on FB bitching about something stupid (like we all do), and someone posted, "first world problems".  I now continue that tradition on FB every now and then.  I also think about it a lot when my life is challenging.

Anyway, we moved!

When we moved from Tucson to Colorado, we moved to a suburb of South Denver.  We rented a house with 3 bedrooms, a basement, and a 2 car garage.  That was November 2006.

September 2009,  Dave bought a different business, and we moved to another South Denver suburb - about 15 minutes from the first one.   We went to a smaller place - a townhouse.  It had 2 master bedrooms w/big bathrooms, a half bath downstairs, a one-car garage, no basement.

After Dave's dad passed in June, we decided to look for a place where Dave's mom could live with us.  Our lease was up in September (though we never actually signed a lease last year).  Last year, our landlord (who is very cool, btw) was making noises about raising our rent, saying he could get $300/month more than what we were paying ($1100/mo).  He didn't do it then, but this year, he did.  It went to $1250 and he said it would go up another $100 each year for the next 2 years.

Early August, I told Landlord that we were looking for a place to move the MIL in with us.  We didn't find a place before September.  I told him we'd stay but that we were still looking and would cross that bridge when it came.  He said he'd bring the new lease over on Monday.  He never did!  We paid the higher rent, but weren't locked in to a year-long lease.  Nice!

Dave's mom on the other hand...
She lives in "luxury" apartments.  Not really by choice - she and FIL aren't luxury-type people.  And they aren't really "luxury" apartments, they are pretty normal.  But it was a price they could afford at the time and it had a garage for their car.  When they moved there 3 years ago, they were paying $800/month for a one-bedroom with a one car garage attached.  It's gone up drastically every year and now it's $1100 a month!!!

I went with them when they signed their lease again in May.  We explained back then that we were looking for a place for them both to live with us but hadn't found anything yet.  The manager explained that going month to month would cost TWICE as much!  He also explained that breaking their lease would be equally exorbitant.  Man, he wasn't lying.  It's costing her $4,000 to break the lease.  Two month's worth of rent PLUS an additional $2,000.

Everyone that loves her (including a relative that talked about it to the lawyers she works for) is telling her to tell the apartment complex to go fuck themselves.  It's going to get sent to collections which is going to ruin her credit score, but she's 83 and not likely to purchase a car anytime soon.

She's determined that they are going to sick a lawyer on her.  She named one of those overly-commercialized ambulance chasers you see on TV - named him by name specifically, as if THAT'S the one they'll call.  We've all explained that they'll just send it to collections and even there, they can't touch her Social Security money or her annuities that she lives off of.  She's not listening. 

The new house...

couldn't BE more perfect!!

Five bedrooms.  One is a ground-floor bedroom with an attached bathroom for MIL.  The bathroom even has a walk-in shower which was a request of hers. Come ON!  Perfection!

The other bedrooms are all upstairs.  The kids FINALLY get their own rooms again.  One of the bedrooms is ALREADY set up as an office (cable hook-ups and whatnot).  The Master bedroom?  Oh, bejeebus.  It's quite large.  It has TWO closets.  A normal size one and a larger one (with its own vent AND it's own window??).  Guess who got the larger one?

There's an unfinished half-basement.  One side is for the kids (xbox, wii, etc.).  The other side will have the guest bed, but it also has an entire large corner just for me and my craft stuff! Splee!!  (Only has one outlet right now.  Same with the garage.  Only one outlet.  Weird, but we will change that.)

How much for all this luscious space?  $1595 a month.  Sweet!

We have SO much junk!  We live like freakin' ANIMALS.  Dirty ones.

Years ago (while we were still in Tucson), FIL made the boys underbed boxes.  They are large and blue and side-by-side, they take up all the space under a twin bed.  They have furniture sliders on the bottom and are open on top.   I pulled them out from under the bunkbeds at the old place and JUST those two boxes and whatever else they shoved under their beds filled TWO large black trash bags.

Our room was no better. 

And my books!  I own over 300 books.  I've read about a third of them.  Dave is so funny.  He pointed to one specifically and said, "What about that book?  I KNOW you read that book.  Can you get rid of that book?"    I told him I wasn't going to spend this whole move listening to him nag me about my stuff.

A day later, I told him this:
"I have a deal for you.  It's a pretty good deal and you should take it.  I will move EVERYTHING in this house AND your mom's place except the furniture and the electronics."

He agreed!  I packed the whole house.  Mostly by myself, and mostly so he wouldn't see all my crap! hah!  He picked up some big boxes for me, but other than that - it was mostly me!  I got the hookup at Target with Produce Pete.  Pete saved all the apple and bell pepper boxes for me.  The bell pepper boxes were PERFECT for the books.  I could cram them full of books and they still weren't too heavy.  The apple boxes were so plentiful that my minivan still smells like apples!  (After moving, I did go through the books, and there are 2 bell-pepper-boxes-full going to resale at Tattered Cover.)

The previous tenant was a peach!  Kevin let us start putting stuff in the garage 2 weeks prior to our actual move-in date.  I'm also thankful that he has such good taste in lighting fixtures - they are exactly what I would've picked AND he left them all behind for us!  AND he gave us a fridge!  The place didn't come with a washer/dryer or a fridge. (Oh, did I mention that the laundry room is ACTUALLY on the same floor where the clothes live?  Love it!  I don't understand Colorado's fascination with putting the laundry room 2 floors away from the clothes!) We had a washer we'd brought from Tucson.  It's been in our garage ever since we got to CO. 

THEN we found another ganga!  (And by we, I mean Dave)  He found a women in our town that was remodeling her house and was selling a dryer for $50 and a fridge with ice and water in the door for $100.  Dave doesn't want world peace, he wants ice and water in the door.  The fridge Kevin gave us, while free, was a very basic fridge and was also quite small.  The one we bought is stainless steel and, like the dryer, is worth about 10 times what we paid for them!

Dave's mom isn't in with us yet.  She's having a hard time with the move.  It's really stressing her out, and she wants to make the move nice and slow.  I'm all for that, but it's been nearly 2 months since we originally found this house.  She's having a hard time budging.  Kung fu grip on that one.  She keeps saying that she can only do so much.  We keep telling her that she doesn't have to do ANYthing and we will pack and move it all for her but she's all crazy about it.  I understand.  I really do.  But she has to know that we can't wait until the last minute to move her out of her place!

And she keeps saying "your house."  I keep telling her it's "our house."  Once she moves in... that's when the fun really begins!  She and Dave are often like oil and water.  I've already talked to Dave and said, "I know you don't like her to get away with most of the odd that comes out of her mouth, but when you call her on it, it starts a fight.  You gotta be like me and try to let it roll off your back as much as you can because I don't want the boys living in a house where there's constant fighting."  He's been practicing and is getting really good at it!

We are moving her this weekend.

Let the games begin, Ruth!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

L is for Locks

On a much lighter note....

Every year, my kids' school does a Locks of Love event.  Last year, D2 got it into his head that he wanted to participate! 

At first, Dave was adamant that D2 get a haircut, so he got one.  It was still a bit long.  I talked to Dave and got him to see reason.  D2 was so dedicated to the idea!  (I think, in part, because it irritated Dave so.)  He put up with vaguely rude comments from Grandma...
Gma: T - your hair looks so nice!" 
D2: What about mine?
Gma: [shrugs]

He put up with waiters CONSTANTLY getting his gender wrong...
Waiter: And for the Senorita? 
Me: Senor. 
Waiter: Yes? 
Me: No.  Him [pointing to D2] - he's a Senor. 
Waiter: I'm sorry - Senor.

(T always helped with that - whenever anyone mistook D2 for a female, D2 would never say anything.  T would always politely and patiently correct the person's mistake: "He's a boy.")

He put up with the physical hassle of long hair.  He discovered the joys of conditioner and de-tangler spray.

After a year of growing, here's what he ended up with....

The day of the cutting, the whole school got to come out and see it.  My friend and neighbor, Holly came to check it out.  We were talking about D2 and a stranger next to us asked, "Is that your son?"  I said yes and she said, "He's the talk of the whole school!"  Apparently, he was the only boy out of the 26 people signed up for it!
The school didn't have any stylists on hand for this event.  The teachers put the hair in ponytails and the teachers did the cutting.

As you can see in this next pic, the left-side pony is different from the right-side pony.  This should go well...

D2 was in the first batch of volunteers.  He got a rousing cheer when they introduced him!  And then the cutting began....
The whole event was very sweet.  The kids that cut their hair were all walking around with little baggies full of their hair.  Quite a few of the girls got a bit teary-eyed about their short hair, but none of them seemed to really regret it. 
D2's hair wasn't actually long enough to donate for wig-making.  The way it works is that if it's 10" or longer, it's good for wig-making.  If it's not quite that long, the school gets money for the donated hair.  D2's was about an inch too short.  If Dave hadn't've made him cut it that first time, he would've had the 10". 
Shortly after the event, my BIL and his wife (Jerry and Jackie) went to a fundraiser for a kid they know that has cancer.  There were gift baskets for auction.  Jackie was determined to get (and did!) the movie basket.  Next time they saw MIL, they gave her the basket to give to the kids, and it included a pic of the kid with cancer.  He had a bald head, and D2 was convinced that this particular kid was the one who would get his hair!  Dave tried to explain that probably wasn't going to be the case, but I said, "Let him think it if he wants to.  What's it going to hurt?"  So we did.
Here's the aftershots...

Very 80's mod, right?
I clipper cut him to even it all out...

I asked him if he wanted to grow out his hair and do it again.  He said, "No way."  hah!  I asked T if he wanted to do it next year, and he declined, too.

It was a very sweet day.  All the girls that cut their hair were given a pretty, beaded bracelet.  They made a special boy bracelet just for D2!  It was a black cord with a silver-looking celtic bead.  Cool!

Miss brushing his long hair for him, Ruth!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

K is for Kin

This is a really long, painful post.  You have been warned.

For those that are new, I've often been told that my family is a walking Oprah show. 

My mom is a multiple marry-er.  Not in a polygamy kind of way, but in a 1950s I'm-not-whole-without-a-husband type of way.  She married her fourth husband (our third dad) when I was 6 and my brother, John, was 9.  His name is Paul and he adopted us from our bio-dad.  Paul is the one we consider our dad. When he and Mom got married, he had a son (Ronnie - about 20) and three daughters (Janet - 19, Marcy - 18, and Denise - 16).  Denise is the only one that ever lived with us. 

When the family combined, I was SO excited!  A six-year-old girl with a mean older brother not only has one older sister now, but THREE??  I quickly learned that teenage girls don't want to have anything to do with a child.  No big deal, kids are used to being ignored by the olders.  John and I never really registered on the older kids' radar.  With the age difference and the animosity of someone "replacing" their mom - understandable.

Dad and my mom divorced when I was 12 and John, 15.

Too much backstory to post here today (that was all in the late 1970s/early 1980s for Bob's sake).  Ugly divorce, people were hurt.  Dad and I lost touch for a long time.  Then, in my 20s (1990s), we reconnected and were fairly close for a long time.  I was stationed in Ft. Huachuca, AZ, then got out and lived in Tucson.  Dad would visit Marcy in Flagstaff and invite me up every time.  I feel that he never actually asked Marcy, but was probably just like, Hey, we should invite Ruth!  And then, what's Marcy gonna say?  She's gotta say yes, whether she wants to or not.  She was always... civil.  Never very warm toward me.  And she had this weird habit of saying "my dad".  Never "our dad" or, just, you know.... "dad" like a normal person.  "My dad".

Inwardly, I'd always think, "Seriously?  You realize John and I were children when they got married, right?  That we had nothing to do with any of it?  Grow the fuck up."  Outwardly, I would just roll my eyes and never say anything.

When I got married (2000), I sent invitations to all the girls and Ronnie.   I didn't expect them to show up for the wedding and they didn't.  They didn't even RSVP (rude), but that was expected as well.  Except Ronnie.  He couldn't make it to the wedding, but he at least had the courtesy to RSVP. 

He and I have been in touch pretty consistently since about 1997.

Flash forward to this year.

I went home to CA in June (future post).  The boys and I made the trek to Yosemite (they'd never been) and I wanted them to meet my dad, too.  Dad and his current wife (Lou) haven't seen them since D2 was a baby-baby.  Dad's not doing well health-wise, and I wanted them to meet him before he's gone.

Shortly after we returned to CO, Ronnie emailed me and said Dad had fallen (again).  He'd spent a few days in the hospital, and they believed he had some pin-strokes.  Ronnie told me that there was a birthday party planned in October for Dad's 80th birthday, and if he made it that far, did I want to go?  I told him that I'd love to go!  He said it was going to be a surprise for Dad.

Ronnie was kind enough to buy my ticket, the car rental, and a hotel room.  He said it was to be a surprise party but Dad found out, so it would just be a surprise for me to show up.  Turns out, he and the girls have issues with Lou (history with her that is suspect and pre-my-mom).  I told him that Lou didn't have any issues with me (no history there), but that the girls were going to be pissed at him for bringing me.  (We didn't tell any of them I was going to be there.)

Ronnie flew from KY to Denver.  We met in the airport, waiting for the flight that would take us to Sacramento.  We had SO much great time together to talk and learn stuff about each other.  The drive from Sacramento to where Dad lives (outside the North side of Yosemite) is 3 hours.  We learned all kinds of backstory about each other and our respective times with Dad. 

The closer we got, the more nervous I felt.  I asked what the agenda was, and he said that evening (a Friday night) we were to have fish tacos at the house, and the party was Saturday night.  There was to be a big breakfast on Sunday morning, then Ron and I were set to fly out Monday afternoon.  We got to the house at about 7p.  Dad and Lou live in a gated community.  They have a rather large house in a cul-de-sac at the top of a 20% graded hill with an AMAZING view of the lake they live near.  They had rented the house across the cul-de-sac for the girls and their families to stay in.  I ended up staying in the 5th wheel in Dad's carport (lucky that, for reasons to be explored soon) and Ronnie stayed up the road in the room he'd rented.

Lou met us at the house and walked us across the street to the rental where everyone was.  Denise was outside making a phone call, and she threw her arms around all three of us, "The wandering traveler has arrived!"  We went into the house and Dad was sitting at the dinner table with his sister Elizabeth and 2 of her 3 kids - Dan and Carrie. 

I said hi to Dad and he looked surprised to see me - surprise mission accomplished!  Marcy walked up and said, "Wow.  Hi!  I haven't seen you since before you had kids!"  I said, "Yea, I got all fat - it's awesome!"  Denise knew who I was when Ronnie said my name, but they had to explain who I was to Janet (to be fair, she and Denise hadn't seen me since I was LITERALLY about 9 years old). 

The weekend was far worse than I expected it to be. The oldest girl (Janet) said 6 words to me the whole weekend - but to give her credit, she had her two grown boys there - the oldest showing up the next day with his wife and their brand new, 8-wk-old baby boy.  Marcy (who goes by Marcia (pronounced "Marseeyu") because she's not pretentious at all) was... civil.  Denise was the polar opposite - she kept hugging me really hard and whispering "thank you" and "I'm sorry" but I never got a clear picture of what she was thankful for or sorry about.

Ronnie told me that the kids had bought Dad a digital frame, and they were all pitching in $20 each for it.  When dinner was over on Friday night and I was going to head off to the 5th wheel to go to bed, I approached Janet and Denise who were off by themselves.  I said, "Ronnie said we were all pitching in for the frame." and held out my $20.  They said, "Ronnie?!?"  (He actually goes by Ron now, but growing up, I knew him as Ronnie and had specifically asked which he preferred.  He said it was fine for me to call him Ronnie.)  I said, "Yea, you know... the brother - tall, dark hair, lives in Kentucky?"  They looked at me like I killed a cat.  They wouldn't take my money - wouldn't  let me chip in for the frame.  I blew it off and went to bed.

The next day, Marcy and Janet spent most of the day putting pic's on the frame.  At the party, Denise showed a slide show that she had made of some very special pic's.  For the past 30 years, Denise has been toting around about 300 slides that Dad had made over his career and lifetime.  They were some really impressive stuff!  She had about 70 turned into a CD, and that was that slide show. 

When it was done, I waited a few minutes and told Dad that Dave had made a little movie (slide show, really) of our little family.  At the end it, there was a 10 second movie of the kids saying happy birthday to him.  I put it in the same computer used to show Denise's CD and about 30 seconds in to the 3 minute show, Denise said, "Let's do the cake!" and it got cut short for cake.  Ohhhkay.

After cake, they had him open his gifts.  The digital frame was a big hit and with a BUNCH of preloaded pics.   The kids as children, the weddings, the grandkids.  But not ONE of me, or John, or my wedding, or my kids.  Nice. 

After that frame show ended, I was done.  I headed off to the 5th wheel, thanking STARS I didn't have to wait to drive to a hotel as I cried myself to sleep.  It took about 4 hours.

I got up early Sunday morning.  I knew Dad's always been an early riser and hoped to catch him alone for a bit.  Success.  I had some things I wanted to say to him, and I said them.  I explained that having 3 dads by the time I was six meant that, conceptually, I really didn't even know what the word meant.  I explained that he really taught John and I what the word meant.  I said that our time with him was the best part of our childhood, and he was the only person we ever considered our dad.  I explained why we decided to go live with Mom (initially, we'd decided to live with him, but his next wife (Sue) was batshit insane and scared us off).  Other things were said, too.  It was all positive, and  the only reason I'd come to this nightmare weekend.

The Sunday breakfast went well.  Until after it.  Marcy missed breakfast.  She had brought her son Nick (he's 17 and the last time I saw him, he was 5) and her neighbors - this really lovely couple, Jake and Sue (I suck at names, but that's what I remember them as).  When Marcy showed up, she sat next to me, and Sue asked her where she'd been all morning.  She said, "I spent the morning putting more pics on the digital frame.  We took some shots of the new great-grandbaby [Janet's grandson] and I wanted to get those on there along with some more of the shots from when we were kids." 

I'm sitting RIGHT NEXT to her while she says this.  Of course, I start crying again.  So I just leave and go sit on the porch across the street since everyone else is still at Dad's.

The longer I sat there, the madder I got.  I sit there thinking, "Is it that they realize and don't care or that they don't even care enough to realize?  And which would be worse??"  I realized, too, that it wasn't just the girls.  Dad was just as bad. He and his wife Lou have this HUGE lakehouse with framed pics of everyone all over the house.  But, again, not one single pic of John or me or my wedding, or my kids. Nice.

The weekend wasn't a complete horror.  I don't know if they were assigned to me, but Aunt Elizabeth and her two grown kids spent a lot of time with me (as well as Ronnie).  We had lunch together and sat together at meals.  It was really nice to meet them (again, last time I saw any of them, I was a small child), and Carrie and I really hit it off!

Most of the people left late afternoon on Sunday.  I don't think I took a full breath until they were all gone, and it was just Ronnie, Dad and Lou, and me.

Monday morning, the four of us went to breakfast at this really nice little cafe.  Then we went back to the house.  Ronnie and I put our stuff in the car and hung around the house for a bit.  Ronnie was trying his hardest to put Dave's CD of our family slide show on the digital frame, but it wasn't working (I suspect it was a different format than what the frame could take).   I told him to forget about it, and we prepared to leave.  He went to the bathroom and I walked over to say goodbye to Dad.

Do you want to know his parting words to me?

Dad: I need you to promise me something.
Me: OK.
I'm expecting, "Let's keep in touch more." Or, "Give the boys a hug for me." Instead I got this:

Dad: You need to take better care of yourself.
Me: Excuse me?
Dad: You need to lose some weight. All that extra weight isn't doing your heart any good.
Me: Wow. That's awesome. Thanks for that.
Lou: [coming out of the kitchen]: What happened?
Me: Dad just told me to lose some weight. So that's nice.

Then I went off - "You need to promise ME something. You need to put up pictures of your WHOLE family.  Do you even HAVE a picture of John??  I KNOW you have pictures of us, because I've sent you some pics and emailed others.  You need to tell Lou not to introduce me as your STEPdaughter." and various other angry things.

"I get the girls ignoring John and I - acting like we never existed and we aren't a part of this family.  I don't understand why or when you started doing it again.  ["Again" referring to the time after the divorce.]  This party wasn't a surprise party.  You KNEW it was coming.  When were you going to invite John and I?  When were you going to let us know this weekend was even happening so we could make arrangements to be here?"

Lou said, "Marcy was in charge of contacting people.  We didn't think you could afford it."
Me:  "Which is it?  Did Marcy not contact us, or was it that YOU thought John and I couldn't afford it?   It can't really be both.  If it was Marcy - did you ASK her to contact us?  Did you make sure she DID contact us?  And as far as knowing if we can afford it - how would you know?"
"When I got married, I KNEW the girls wouldn't come, but as a common courtesy, I invited them because they ARE a part of my family - even if they don't want to acknowledge it."
"You know what?  This is stupid."

And then I walked out. 

Somewhere in the middle of  my rant, Ronnie came out of the bathroom.  I told him what Dad said to me as I walked out of the house.  He stayed in the house, talking to Lou.  Dad came out with me (very slowly as he can't get around that well with his walker).  When Dad walked up next to me, he said, "Can you understand where I'm coming from?"  I said, "What do you mean?"  He said, "That extra weight is really not doing your heart any good."  I was boggled.  Then I remembered what a friend told me she tells her FIL when her FIL gets stupid like that - I said, "Something to think about." and walked around the corner where he couldn't see me anymore.

Ronnie was in the house, talking to Lou, for about 15 minutes more before he came out.  I don't know what was said, but Ronnie and I both left in tears.  Awesome. 

We both agreed that the only time we'd ever go back there was for a funeral.

Ronnie called Dad later and told him to apologize. He did.  Sort of.  He called to apologize, but what he said was, "I'm sorry you took it that way.", not "I'm sorry I said that hurtful thing" (paraphrasing, of course). Then in the same breath, he said it AGAIN, "But that extra weight isn't doing your heart any good". At that point, I just started laughing because it got so stupid it was funny!

I told Ronnie about the call.  I also said, "I hate change, so it's good to see some things never do!"

Back with the only family that matters, Ruth!