Monday, January 31, 2011

Monochrome Lily with Rainbow Drops

Finished!  Well, barring a few wet spots.  I actually finished it a couple days ago, but I was waiting for it to dry completely before taking a picture.  HA.  Did you know that oil paint can take up to a year to dry?  

I like this painting okay.  It was good practice working with all of these different colors.  But I will admit that I liked the unfinished version better.  It was just so much more simple and clean.  At least I took a picture of the unfinished version before proceeding to glob on more paint.  I did discover that I won't be able to take that oil painting class.  It's two days a week from 10:00 a.m. until 12:15 p.m.  That's an awful long lunch to explain to students and staff.  I'll have to settle for the Dummy book, which should be arriving by tomorrow.

On the non-art frontier, I had a really good conversation tonight.  Last month, in the wake of some personal issues I was going through, I wound up lashing out at someone who had nothing to do with the dejection I was feeling at that time.  My words were so damaging and hurtful, and unfortunately that's not something I can ever erase.  But we did talk for the first time tonight, and it was a very sincere, honest conversation.  I'm not sure what the future holds for our friendship--I highly doubt we will ever be able to reach "friend" status again (some things just have permanent consequences), but I did feel like we reached an understanding.  At the minimum, we decided that we can actually both attend the same functions (i.e. birthday parties) without a big ole' elephant sharing the space with us.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Just another Week

I want to post something but really don't have much to talk about.  Work was pretty easy this week.  On Tuesday I had to go to a training with all of the other language arts teachers at my school.  I was feeling a little tired that day, which made it hard to concentrate during the lecture portions of the training, but it was still fun to hang out with my colleagues outside of our little middle-school holes (aka: classrooms).  The highlight of the whole day was lunch.  Niecy, I, and two other friends went to this little diamond-in-the-rough Thai restaurant that I had never eaten at before.  The food was delicious and the proportions were monstrous.  The rest of the week went by pretty smoothly, except for the fact that one student stole Axe Bodyspray from another student's backpack and then proceeded to spray it, which for reasons still unclear to me led to a bag of chips exploding all over my room.  Yesterday I took my students outside all day to do Socratic Seminar.  I love doing this with them.  It is amazing to see seventh-graders debating about topics with the sophistication of adults.  Plus it was gorgeous outside all day, so that was an added bonus.  Last night was the Celebration of Education, and I had planned to go and enjoy the festivities, not to mention save the surviving goldfish (again), but I ended up getting a stomach ache, plus a nearly crippling case of laziness, so I never went.  Now I really regret this.  It makes me cringe thinking about all of those fish being dumped down the drain.

Today I did laundry, cleaned my master bedroom (see, I told you I had nothing to write about), and finished painting my lily.  I don't really think it's a lily, but I don't know what kind of flower it is, and I'm tired of calling it "flower" because that's like calling a dog "dog" instead of "Brutis" or whatever its name is, so I'm going to go with lily.  I'll take a picture of it hopefully by tomorrow.  I'm waiting for it to finish drying so I can apply the varnish.

So my sister is writing this amazing, likely-to-be-published dissertation while she stuffs more kids into her house which is sliding down the mountain, and I'm folding laundry and painting a stupid lily.  Why does anyone read this blog again?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Monochrome Flower--Unfinished

I was originally planning to wait until this painting was finished before capturing it on camera (I still need to add in the dew drops and touch up the flower),  but then I started worrying What if I end up ruining the whole project by adding in those drops?  This thought motivated me to take a quick picture a few days ago.  Since then, I've added about twenty droplets, and I still have about thirty more to go.  I have mixed feelings about the dew drops.  On the one hand, I love the little splashes of color against an otherwise flat, stark graphic.  Plus mixing all of the different colors has been good practice.  On the other hand, argghhhhh.  It is really difficult to achieve the look of moisture.  Each drop has to be a tiny bit transparent, which means I have to paint them in such a way where the painting beneath subtly peers through.  It's really hard for me to tell if they're coming out or not.  From my perspective, they look a little flat and not very "wet."  But despite the stupid dew-challenge, this painting has been my favorite one to work on so far.  I don't know why, but I loved doing the black background with all of those blurry images...that was definitely the funnest part.

I checked the local community college's catalogue to see if they offered oil painting classes, and I was thrilled to discover they do.  But it doesn't look like they offer any classes for the summer session, so now I'm trying to decide if I actually want to forfeit time during the work week to take a class, or if I want to keep winging it, or if I want to just buy an "Oil Painting for Dummies" book from Amazon, or what.  The verdict is still out on that one.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

"Sorry Sir, We're Out of Everything"

We went to church tonight (which was an amazing service), and on our way home, we decided to get El Pollo Loco for dinner.  Here is a transcript of the conversation that took place at the drive-thru window:

Clint:  "What do you want babe?"
Me:  "I'll take the two piece with mashed potatoes and mixed veggies."
Clint (to speaker box):  "Okay, we'll take one two piece meal with mashed potatoes and gravy..."
Drive-thru Lady:  "I'm sorry sir, we're out of mashed potatoes."
Me:  "Okay, tell her I'll take mac and cheese instead."
Clint:  "Okay, then we'll have the mac and cheese instead, and veggies for the second side...."
Drive-thru Lady:  "I'm sorry, but we're out of veggies."
Me:  (bursting out with laughter)
Clint:  "Okay, can you tell me what sides you have tonight?"
Drive-thru Lady:  "Mac and cheese, pinto beans, garden salad..."
Me:  "Ooh, tell her I'll take the salad."
Clint:  "Okay, we'll go ahead and take the garden salad."
Drive-thru Lady:  "What kind of dressing would you like sir?"
Me (whispering):  "Ranch."
Clint:  "We'll take ranch, please."
Drive-thru Lady:  "I'm sorry, but we're out of ranch."
Me (barely able to talk through laughter):  "Blue cheese will be fine."
Clint:  "Blue cheese then."
Drive-thru Lady:  "Would you like to add a chocolate cake or a caramel flan to your order tonight?"
Clint:  "I don't know, are you sure you have any?"
(Drive-thru lady laughs audibly, we pull up to window about five minutes later).
Drive-thru Lady:  "I apologize for all of that.  Here are your drinks sir.  (long pause).  I hope it's okay, but I had to give your kids a size large because we ran out of small cups."
Moral of the story, don't go to El Pollo Loco on a Sunday night without a sense of humor.

On a completely unrelated note, I have to post this link to Kristyn's latest post about her reoccurring rock dream, just because I found the whole thing so fascinating, plus I love the references to the Mojave Desert.  Coincidentally enough, one of her friends commented on that entry that he or she had also had dreams about rocks.  Interesting that something so seemingly random would somehow creep into the subconsciousness of several different people.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Cooking Lessons

My mother in law has been teaching my kids to cook--thank God, since I have very little skill in that arena to pass along to them.  I can hold my own with over-easy eggs, desserty items, and macaroni and cheese (I know mac and cheese is from a box, but I am the master of perfectly-proportioned milk and butter), but when it comes to actually putting together an entire three or four course meal, I get a little overwhelmed.  In my past cooking attempts, I have had incidents that range anywhere from getting my hair caught in an electric mixer to catching my kitchen on fire.  Thus I think it's safe to say that this much valued skill should be taught to my kids from someone who actually knows what they're doing.  Clint's a good cook, but he is very territorial about "his" kitchen, and doesn't really have the patience to involve the kids in dinner preparations. 

So a few weeks ago, Teri asked if it was okay if she could take the kids with her every Friday night, help them to prepare a dinner, and then bring it back to our place for everyone to enjoy.  She also said that she wanted to have them bring their laundry each week, that way they could get all of their clothes clean while they prepared their meal.  I think I must have blinked stupidly at her for the first few seconds after she proposed all this.  I was thinking, Wait, Clint and I get a couple hours to ourselves every Friday night, a home-made dinner prepared for us, AND the kids laundry gets taken care of for the entire week?  What possible thing about this plan would I NOT love?  I don't think my "yes" could have been more boisterously enthusiastic.

Since this time, the kids have prepared three meals.  Teri lets them choose what they are going to make, so sometimes it's a little random.  Like last night we had meatballs and porkchops.  The kids are doing a great job though...their meals are coming out delicious.  Plus I love having Teri joining us for dinner on Friday nights.  We get to laughing SO hard.  Last night, she was trying to recommend a movie called "The Nine Lives of Tabitha" to us that she watched as a child, and she was explaining the plotline, but we were laughing uproariously because it sounded like the worst movie that was ever made in the history of movies (girl's cat dies, gets buried alive, gets saved, comes back, little girl sees cat and tells everyone it's alive but no one believes her, little girl gets pneumonia, almost dies, etc, etc).  And the whole time we're telling Teri, "My God this movie sounds AWFUL," she's laughing hysterically and saying over and over, "No I swear, it's really good!"*

Today I finished reading the Princess Bride (one of the books on my reading list) and worked some more on my painting.  The flower and background are finished; I just need to add in the dew droplets.  Clint and I went to Michaels this evening and bought a few canvases and some better brushes.  I'm not ready to paint on canvas yet, but at least we have them now.  I also worked out today, but only for about twenty minutes. I wasn't planning to work out at all, but I single-handedly ate two-and-a-half bowls of salsa at La Casita tonight, not to mention the correlating chips. 

*We later found Teri's terrible-sounding movie on Netflix (which was NOT called "The Nine Lives of Tabitha"), so of course we're going to watch it simply out of morbid curiosity.  I know I watched this movie as a child, because the real name of the movie sounds so familiar!  It's called "The Three Lives of Thomasina." 

Friday, January 21, 2011

Un-longwinded Entry that's a Little Long

I don't have much to talk about tonight, which almost deterred me from writing a post, but then I reminded myself that it's okay to write a short un-longwinded entry once in awhile.

This week was busy but uneventful.  Work has been really good.  My students are getting increasingly more talkative as the year progresses, but they also make me laugh more than ever.  Here are a few quotes from this week (yes, I actually scratched them down real fast right after they were spoken):

Alexis:  "I can't figure out an antonym for the word 'session'.  A synonym would be 'meeting', but what would the opposite be?"
Me:  'Session' doesn't have a true antonym.  So just come up with a word of something that is NOT a session." 
Alexis:  "Okay!  How about 'bouncy ball'?"

Me:  "Why aren't you working?"
Robert:  "I don't have a pencil."
Me:  "Borrow a pencil."
Robert:  "I can't.  I have sharp-stuff-a-phobia."

Robert (two days later, stated to another student):  "I'm not completely useless.  Just mostly useless."

The end of Gavin's story (written on paper):  "So then the little red hen poisoned the bread, I ate it, and died.  This is actually my ghost writing this story cuz it's still really pissed off."
Okay, I will admit that most of these quotes were only funny in the context by which they were said, one of those "you had to be there" sorta phenomenons, but I still had to write them down because at the time they had me laughing pretty hard. 

Last night I sketched out my next picture, which is going to be a sort of monochrome grayish flower with a splattering of brightly-colored dew drops.  I painted parts of the flower today, so I'm hoping to finish the rest tomorrow.  I'm just happy to do something that's not a tree.  I talked Clint into painting with me last week, and we were both surprised to discover that he's pretty decent at it!  He posted a picture of his first painting at his very neglected blog (I think he's averaging one post a year).   Of course he also mentioned in this entry how messy I am while painting, so feel free to glance at the picture whilst ignoring all the words (whilst?  I must have picked that up from Kristyn; she always uses those impressive, Britishy words).

The only other thing I have to report is that I have been having strange dreams again this week.  One of them was so strange and detailed that I actually wrote it into a short story (one that I will never share, of course).  The last two nights were more mild; Wednesday night I dreamt of three rocks, and Thursday night I dreamt of more rocks.  Try not to envy me too much for my exciting, riveting dreams.  ;-)  I'm not going to write down the details of any of them because I'm not in a dream analysis class like my sis, plus I probably haven't properly consulted my inner-old ancient self or whatever it is you need to psychoanalyze, but I did want to mention it.

Another long-winded "short" entry, dang it.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Cherry Blossom Branch

Painting #2 is finished!  This one was much more challenging than the last one, because I actually had to paint each individual leaf, rather than smashing my paintbrush into satisfying, abstract blobs.  Also, the last painting was a silhouette of a tree, which meant that I was able to use one solid color for the trunk and branches.  This one I had to use several different colors. 

There were some oddities about this picture that kind of appealed to me, which is why I chose it.  Like the fact that the sky appears upside-down.  Generally skies fade to an almost-white the closer they creep toward the horizon, but this particular sky is behaving backwards.  Also, I liked the fact that this particular graphic focused on merely one struggling branch, rather than the whole tree.  I think I'll do one or two more practice paintings and then try out a canvas.  Eeeek.

I had such a nice weekend!  But I don't have time to talk about it because I'm getting ready to eat an omelet.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Eyeball Shots and Birthday Parties

Okay, this is my face, but I swear in real life it is much rougher with a mixed complexion and worry lines creasing my forehead (of course, the forehead was not captured in this shot; if it was, I'm sure you'd see those lines).  The camera was being suprisingly nice and gentle when it took this shot, which is refreshing, because often times it can be my worst enemy.  I was playing around with the camera yesterday morning, trying to get a close-up of my eyeball for a possible practice painting project (ooh, check out the alliteration there with those four "p's"), and after one click of the camera this is what I wound up with.  After this shot, I tried several times to get in closer to my eye, but I just wound up with weird close-ups of my nose or obscure pieces of cheek.  It turns out it's really hard to take a self-portrait of your eyeball when you can't see the view-finder.  I eventually gave up.  Maybe I'll have Trin give it a shot.  Or maybe I'll take a picture of my sister's eye instead, that way I can get in nice and close.

Complete and utter change of subject, but yesterday was Elijah's seventh birthday.  I officially have no more little little kids (purpose repetition of the word "little"), which makes me feel...old.  As long as you still have diapers to change or a toddler running around, you still qualify as a young mom.  But none of these apply to me anymore.  Trin's in the double digits now, and time is definitely not moving any slower.

Naturally I had to work yesterday, but I woke Elijah up with a big hug and told him happy birthday.  Later on, during first period, I called Elijah up on my cell phone, put him on speaker, and my class sang happy birthday to him.  Clint took Elijah to his mom's house that morning before he was due at school, and Teri made him chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast.  Once he was at school, we had cupcakes delivered to his classroom.  Last night, we had dinner with Teri and let Elijah open up one present (since we were technically not celebrating his birthday until today).  Today was Elijah's birthday party, which we had at a local skate center.  Teri made him this adorable superhero cake:

The kids had so much fun, although I feel bad because I think I was probably a lousy hostess.  I wound up skating the majority of  the time rather than conversing with guests, and before I knew it, the party was over.  I couldn't help it, I heard the music and could see that open floor and it was just too irresistible.  My mom came out and skated too, which was awesome until she fell.  Hard, on her butt, legs flying up, arms swinging, the whole thing.  It took her some time to recover from that, but then she went out again for about another half hour.  I also spent a good amount of time skating with my five-year-old niece Samantha, and I don't think she or I ever stopped smiling the whole time; we were having so much fun.  I'm so glad I got to spend that time with her. 

We forgot to bring our camera to the party (arghhh), but thankfully my dad took pictures which he will eventually send my way.  As of now, here (above) is the most recent picture I have of just me and my little man (taken on Halloween).

Please time, please, slow down just a little.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


I'm pretty drowsy for blogging right now (crummy sleep last night), but all of those "1s" on today's date were just too appealing to pass up.  We also had a series of ones on New Year's Day (1/1/11), and we'll have two more in November: 11/1/11, and 11/11/11.  You know your life is sad when you're excited about repetitive numbers.  But it does remind me of the time my car reached 77,777 miles and the temperature happened to be exactly 77 degrees (captured on camera), for a total of seven sevens.  Even though it was a simple coincidence, at that time, seeing all of those sevens in a row actually made me tingle a little.  Should've bought a lotto ticket.

But enough about tingle-inducing numbers.  I started back to work yesterday, which I thought was going to be rough after having three weeks off, but it actually felt great to slide back into my normal routine. I really missed my students this time.  They seemed so excited to see me yesterday, which made it really difficult to pine for break.  The only downfall is I'm still trying to coerce my stubborn brain into a healthy sleeping schedule, rather than the swing shift it wants to be on right now.  After work yesterday, we went to our small group meeting, which was at Becky's and Steve's house.  They moved recently, and I really love their new house.  It's very open and inviting.  Becky made the most delicious chicken tacos I've ever eaten.  I don't know what she did to that chicken, but my stomach growls in longing just thinking about it.

I sketched out another drawing and am so excited to plaster on some paint!  Unfortunately I don't think I will have time to paint it until this weekend.  Compared to the last painting, this one is much more complex and detailed and complicated and difficult and advanced....Okay, it's another stupid tree.  But still...

Sunday, January 9, 2011

My Cherry Blossom Tree

Today was actually a surprisingly pleasant day.  Although it's after midnight now, so I guess "yesterday" was actually pleasant.  The verdict is still out for today.

Clint, the kids, and I went to the dollar theater and saw the movie "Unstoppable", which was suspenseful and entertaining.  After the movie, we swung by Michael's and purchased some painting supplies, because I got a random whim in my head a few days ago that I want to paint.  The only kind of painting I have tried in the past (that I can remember) was with water colors in an art class I took at Cal-State.  It was really difficult, but I remember the whole process of painting made me feel peaceful and relaxed.  I decided on oil paints today, figuring that they would be easier to work with than water colors.  Wow are oil paints expensive!  I had no idea!  I also started to buy some canvases (also expensive!), but decided I am not willing to waste them when I have no skill.  So I settled for a less-expensive pad of cold-press paper to practice on before graduating to actual canvases. 

Above is the picture of my first practice painting, which looks okay from a distance, but rough and blobby close-up.  I found the cherry blossom tree from google images, and it seemed simple enough to paint.  HA.  I think I took it for granted that I would have to mix the colors myself, and I also didn't realize how much of a pain it can be switching colors.  I used one brush for everything, which I'm pretty sure is a big mistake.  I bought a bunch of different brushes today, but I was being lazy and didn't want to clean them all, so I wound up using the same one.  Plus I accidentally painted the tree first, and then tried to add in the background afterwards.  What a mess!  I had (and still have) no idea what I'm doing.  But what fun it was!  I'm excited to attempt another one soon.  Maybe I should try to research techniques first before just going for it.  But researching sounds soooo tedious.  Think I'll just go for it.

I also took a short nap today, worked out, visited with Teri for a little while, and finished my book.  Today seemed to stretch out for a long time, but in a good, productive way.

Even though I've been posting pretty regularly lately, somehow I feel so behind on this blog.  I still haven't talked about our San Diego trip, or even the Rose Parade fieldtrip for that matter.  I'll try to touch on those soon.  Maybe.  I don't know.  I'm sort of losing steam on those subjects already.    

Friday, January 7, 2011

Bookworm Challenge 2011

Even though I'm not exactly feeling in a challengey-sort-of mood, I decided that in the spirit of the new year, I still wanted to participate in the Busy Bookworm Challenge for 2011.  Last year I listed twelve books, and by December 31st, I had read eight of them.  In reality I actually read several books over those eight, but many of them were off-list items (such as The Host by Stephenie Meyer).  I'm sure the same thing will happen again this year, given that it's a bit tricky to know what you're going to want to read eight months from now.  But for the sake of having something to aim for, here is my brand new reading list for 2011 (in no particular order):

  1. Lightening by Dean Koontz Finished 4/20/11
  2. Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
  3. Wither by Lauren DeStefano  Finished 4/28/11
  4. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury  Finished 5/6/11.
  5. Call me Irresistible by Susan Elizabeth Phillips*
  6. The Time Machine by H.G. Wells  Finished 5/25/11
  7. Lily of the Nile by Stephanie Dray Finished 7/7/11 
  8. Matched by Ally Condie  Finished 5/18/11
  9. If Tomorrow Comes by Sidney Sheldon
  10. Under the Dome by Stephen King
  11. Replay by Ken Grimwood  Finished 3/27/11
  12. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
  13. The Princess Bride by William Goldman  Finished 2/?/11
Four of these titles are simply roll-overs from last year's list.  Three of these books deal with time travel in some sort of way (Lightening, The Time Machine, and Replay).  That was no accident.  For some reason I have had a little bit of a fixation with time lately.  I don't know why I listed 13 books this time, when I couldn't seem to finish my twelve from last year...I guess I wanted to go for a baker's dozen.*

*Off list Books:
The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter  Finished 5/20/11
The Neverending Story by Michael Ende  Finished 6/2/11
Beastly by Alex Flinn  Finished 6/29/11
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins  Finished 6/10/11
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins  In progress
Holy Bible-NIV  In progress

*Books that I started to read, but dropped due to lack of interest

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Universe Closed, Use Rainbow

This sign makes me smile.  It's just so cute and idealistic.  I would expect to see a sign like this in Care-a-Lot (I think that's where the Care Bears live), but not in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where it was actually photographed.  Turns out that "Universe" and "Rainbow" are the names of real-life streets.   

I just got back from San Diego, but I'll talk about that trip on a future entry.  I am struggling right now.  Not with any big problems, just the same stuff as before.  I'm having a hard time shaking things off and it's leaving me feeling constantly distracted.  It's been difficult to concentrate on anything and I just feel like I need some closure.  I can practically hear my sister now, "Closure doesn't exist...", but as much as I'm craving it, it must exist, because I'm egocentrical enough to assume that that's true.  I don't know what I'm rambling about.  Maybe I should just heed that sign.  If your universe closes in on you, find a damn rainbow. 

Monday, January 3, 2011

Diary of a Buffalo Resident

An oldie but goodie, dedicated to all those (such as my sis) who aren't necessarily as delighted by the snowfall as us desert folks are.  ;-)

Diary of a Buffalo Resident (found from

Dear Diary,

August 12 - Moved to our new home in Buffalo, New York. It is so beautiful here. It is so picturesque. Can hardly wait to see everything covered with snow. God's County. I love it here.

October 4 - Buffalo is the most beautiful place on earth. The leaves are turning all different colors. I love the shades of red and orange. Went for a ride through some beautiful hills and spotted some deer. They are so graceful, certainly they are the most peaceful animal on earth. This must be Paradise. I love it here.

November 11 - Deer season will start soon. I can't imagine anyone wanting to kill such an elegant creature. The very symbol of peace and tranquillity. Hope it will snow soon. I love it here.

December 2 - It snowed last night. Woke up to find everything blanketed in white. It looks like a postcard. We went outside and cleaned the snow off the steps and shoveled the driveway. We had a snowball fight (I won), and when the snowplow came by we had to shovel the driveway again. What a beautiful place. Mother Nature in perfect harmony. I love Buffalo.

December 12 - More snow last night. I love it. The snow plow did his trick again (that rascal). A winter wonderland. I love it here.

December 19 - More snow last night. Couldn't get out of the driveway to get to work this time! I'm exhausted from shoveling. Damn snowplow!

December 22 - More of that white crap fell again last night. I've got blisters on my hands from shoveling. I think the snow plow man hides around the corner and waits until I'm done shoveling this driveway. Jackass!

December 25 - White Christmas my busted ass! More friggin snow! If I ever get my hands on that son of a bitch who drives that snow plow, I swear I'll castrate the dumb bastard. Don't know why they don't use more salt on the roads to melt this friggin ice.

December 28 - More white crap last night. Been inside since Christmas Day except for shoveling out the driveway every time "Snowplow Harry" comes by. Can't go anywhere, cars buried in a mountain of white crap. The weatherman says to expect another 10 inches of the crap tonight. Do you know how many shovels full of snow 10 inches is?

January 1 - Happy Friggin New Year. The weatherman was wrong (again). We got 34 inches of the white crap this time. At this rate it won't melt before the 4th of July. The snowplow got stuck up the road and the dumbass had the balls to come to the door and ask to borrow my shovel. After I told him I've broken 6 shovels already, shoveling all the crap he pushed into the driveway, I broke my last one over his friggin head.

January 4 - Finally got out of the house today. Went to the store to get food and on the way back, a friggin deer ran in front of the car and I hit the bastard. Did about $3000 damage to the car. Those friggin beasts should all be killed. Wish the hunters had killed them all last November.

May 3 - Took the car to the garage in town. Would you believe the thing is rotting out from all the friggin salt they keep dumping all over the road? My car looks like a piece of crap.

May 10 - Moved to California. I can't imagine why anyone in their right friggin mind would ever want to live in God forsaken Buffalo!!!


We still have snow!  It snowed more overnight, and now we're sort of in limbo waiting for it to melt so we can get some errands done.  Normally I revel in snow days where you can just be lazy indoors, drinking hot chocolate and cuddling up with a good book.  But tomorrow we are supposed to be leaving for San Diego (we've already paid for our cabin), and today is the day we had set aside to run to Costco to get all of our food for the trip.  Instead, we're trapped at home feeling a little stir-crazy.  It's already 3:00, and there's still snow blanketing the roads outside.  With evening soon approaching, going into town today is looking more and more bleak. 

Guess I'll do some more laundry, pack, and hope that at the minimum, we can still leave for our trip tomorrow.  It's hard to feel too bummed out when it is so pristine and sparkly and pretty out there!  Ooh, speaking of snowy prettiness, this reminds me of that funny e-mail that went around a long time ago about that guy who moved to Buffalo, started out loving the snow, and wound up hating the stuff.  Remember that one?  I'll see if I can find that story online and post it on my next entry.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

White Christmas--Better Late than Never

I wasn't planning to post today, but we received a surprise visitor tonight: Snow! 

Since we never know how long snow is going to stick around in the desert, we knew we had to take immediate advantage of it.  So of course the kids and I decided to go outside and play.  We weren't the only ones; when the kids ran outside, they were thrilled to discover that the neighbor's kids were outside as well.  They joined forces to build a very pitiful snowman, who they named Frank.

It felt magical outside tonight.  My hands were numb, but the air felt so still, and even a little warm.  I don't see any more snow coming down, so I have a feeling that our little winter wonderland will be gone by tomorrow morning.  That's okay.  I'm glad we were able to enjoy it, even if only for a little while.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

O' Eleven

It is now officially 2011 and only one year, 354 days, 0 hours and 26 minutes until the Mayan calendar comes to an end.  Okay, that doesn't really mean anything to me, but it's still an interesting little countdown...sort of like when we were all holding our breath for Y2K, waiting for worldwide power outages and all hell to break loose.

Our New Year's Eve was incredibly nice, considering the last minute changes that were made to our normal holiday routine.  For a variety of reasons (about two-thirds of them caused by me), Shan and Jer cancelled their annual get-together.  Instead, they came to our house, along with Sarah, Matt, and Alana.  I talked the girls into trying out Just Dance, and after that all the adults played Wii Pictionary.  We played two games; the second game being particularly fun because it required you to do all of these crazy things, such as drawing with your eyes closed, drawing with your non-dominate hand, or drawing as the board rotates.  Some of the drawings had us laughing hysterically.  The ones that stand out in my mind the most are Shannon's depiction of He-Man, which looked like some kind of deformed body-builder who didn't even have a sword, and Alana's drawing of a trampoline, which looked like an enormous black hole or a rising black moon.  Matt and Jeremy kept making me laugh too--Matt, because he started off so inordinately bad at the game, and Jeremy, because I'm pretty sure toward the end of the game he was peeking at the clues.  He was on my team too, but we still lost.
After Pictionary, it was time for the countdown.  I gave all of the kids pots and pans, and once the final countdown began, we all ran outside.  We shouted "10!...9!...8!....", and of course, once we reached "1", the kids made a huge racket.  While all the clanking was going on, my mind drifted nostalgically to a time exactly one year before, when I was surrounded by excitement and clanking, but there were tall pine trees looming over me, and my breath was coming out in icy puffs, and there was a beautiful non-blue moon.  Time is going by so fast; sometimes it feels like it's all starting to merge together into one nebulous blur.

Matt and Alana left shortly after the countdown to get their boys to bed, and Sarah left about a half hour after that.  It was our first time entering the new year with Matt and Alana, and I was really glad to be able to spend that time with them.  I did feel prickles of concern for Sarah throughout the night, because she seemed a little glum.  I think it may have been hard for her to see everyone there with their respective spouses.  I think the holidays highlight her feelings of loneliness, and I wish there was something I could do to make her realize that she doesn't need a "significant other" to be cared about and loved. 

Shan, Jeremy, and the kids decided to spend the night, so similar to last year, we decided to watch a movie.  We watched "Spies Like Us" on Netflix, which was pretty cute, although we were all starting to fall asleep toward the end.  At about 3:00 a.m., we all went to bed.  Trinity and Cass slept in Trin's room, Jeremy collapsed on the twin sized bed in the office, Elijah, Dylan, and Samantha slept in Elijah's room, and Shannon and Shelby slept on the couch.  Overall there were ten bodies sleeping in our house, but for some reason it didn't feel crowded.  Maybe because most of the kids conveniently stuffed themselves into the kids' rooms.

Clint and I slept in until almost 11:00 this morning, not waking up until Trin came into our room and announced it was time to make breakfast.  Clint made everyone eggs and tater tots, and Trin made Shan and me some hot tea.  We all hung out and chatted for the rest of the morning and afternoon.  At about 3:00, we all decided to go out to La Casita for lunch--a very late lunch.  Amazingly, despite the fact that we had six kids in tow, our lunch was awesome.  We were able to talk uninterrupted, and we were all feeling very lazy and reluctant to leave.

It was a great New Year, but I still have this lingering feeling of...I don't know, loss, I suppose.  I can't even muster up any New Year's resolutions.  I feel like I have too many recent regrets to overcome before I can focus on creating new goals.  I will say that tonight, regardless of my past actions and the friendships I have compromised, I do recognize how incredibly blessed I am.  I just hope this little sense of mourning will go away soon.