Sunday, October 30, 2011


Oh, I have so much to say! Sometimes the stuff to say is just oozing out of my ears and I don't get it down, and then I forget about it. Or, more likely, I'm just flat-out too lazy to sit down and write it. All the typing, and thinking, it's a lot of work, you know.

I had an interesting conversation with Weston the other day- we were driving to the Goodwill (where he found a Fur Real cat that looked brand new, to his everlasting delight, for $2.99) and we passed some of those people with flags and 'Support Our Troops' signs. He asked what that was all about so I explained that troops are military members and many of them are fighting wars overseas, and that some people think they should stay, and some think they should come home. He asked more about the wars so I tried to explain they aren't really battlefield wars against countries like we see in books, and that the enemy doesn't have boats and planes, but mostly just people and they try to be sneaky and blow things up. 'Oh,' he said, 'You mean guerilla warfare?' He went on to ask if they also used camouflage and sabotage. Surprised because Lloyd usually leaves the tricky conversations to me, I said, 'Did Daddy explain that to you?' 'No,' he said, 'It was on Underdog'. So now I'm frantically scouring our cartoon collection for the episode about the birds and the bees, and the one where Underdog's mommy's blog pokes good-natured fun at his daddy.

Yes, he told me this morning that my blog says mean things and makes fun of people. I told him that I am always very careful about what I write and that sometimes I exaggerate just the tiniest bit, to make a story funnier. I'm not sure he got it, though. Geez, where is Underdog when you need him? Or, as Polly Purebred would sing, 'Where, oh where has my Underdog gone??' Here's an interesting tidbit: Sweet Polly was voiced by Norma Macmillan, who is the mother of Alison Arngrim. Alison, as we all know, played the fabulously evil Nellie Oleson on Little House on the Prairie. If you have not read Alison's book, 'Confessions of a Prairie Bitch', you simply must. Melissa Gilbert, who of course played Laura, also has a fairly recent book out, called 'Prairie Tale: A Memoir'. It, also, is worth the read. She was engaged to Rob Lowe before he became VERY famous and has some extremely good old school gossip to share. Did I write about those two books? I meant to. The writing, it's a lot of work and I'm lazy; have I mentioned that?

Wow, that was a tangent. Anyway, speaking of mocking Lloyd* and exaggerating, he's off getting some stuff for his upcoming hunting trip. He's very excited about bringing home large quantities of lean, organic meat. I'd be thrilled too, only according to my calculations, the cost per pound is about $867. The bullets, the new pants, socks and boots, the special food, more giant coolers, tags and licenses, the gear for Weston, the gas, it adds up. But it's cheaper than fishing. Those beautiful big fat salmon I posted pictures of this summer? That penciled out to about $2372/lb. Lloyd doesn't care, though. He just says I should throw my pencil away. That's a good idea, because if we spend any more on that crap I'll need to replace it with an adding machine.

Well, that's it for now. I have to get ready for work. We're moving, you know. If you missed the post called 'Doom' that was up over the weekend and want to see it, email me at and I'll send it to you. I thought it was only slightly questionable but my judgement's not that good, so I try to be extra careful.

*in case you were wondering, Lloyd thinks I am BRILLIANT and HILARIOUS when I tease him on here. Okay, fine, I'm exaggerating again. He mostly just doesn't care what anyone thinks, and that's good, too.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I have no idea what to call this

This is one of our wedding pictures. Nice, huh? I really like all of them, and we have a whole book full. My supremely talented brother-in-law took them and you can tell he’s good because I don’t look like an ogre OR a haggard wretch, which are the two most common results when I have my picture taken. I like to delude myself into thinking I have a fairly pleasant countenance, but one could be forgiven for not realizing this after looking at almost every single picture ever taken of me. I bring this up for a reason. I mean a real one, not just to boast about my beautiful wedding pictures.

The other day, Weston asked me what would happen if people weren’t married but lived together long enough to have a baby. I’m not sure what thought process prompted the question but I tried to provide a suitable answer. A few hours went by and he asked me if Lloyd and I were married or if we just lived together. I assured him that, indeed, we are married, and brought out the album so he could see the pictures. The book starts out with pictures of us getting ready, and there is one of me in hot rollers. ‘WHAT ARE THOSE?!?!?!’ he shrieked. I explained, and then he turned the page. ‘Are you wearing MAKEUP?!?!?!?’ He then informed me that the makeup make me look wrinkly and old and that my dress was outrageous and ridiculous. For the record, my wearing makeup has met with his enthusiastic approval in the past, so I’m not really sure what’s up with that. Also, I am quite unclear on how I could look older and more wrinkly in a picture taken more than ten years ago than I do today, regardless of how much makeup I had spackled on. Hey! Maybe my recent bathroom renovations are paying off already! You know, when I smashed the mirror AND the lightbulbs in there. He later doubled down on these comments, adding that I looked hideous and disgusting in the pictures.

As depressing as that was, I think I might have a bigger problem. Lately I have fielded MANY questions about why people who are related can’t get married. I tried to explain about the crossed eyes, the banjos and West Virginia, but it didn’t seem to sink in. In fact, he said, ‘ I LIKE banjos!’ I'm not sure who he has in mind, but I've always planned for him to marry a little charmer named Ella. She's cute and brilliant and we're very fond of her. One of the favored dolls around here is named after her, so that seems promising. Another point in her favor is that we are not related in any way to her wonderful family*. I can lower my expectations, if I have to, but we could definitely benefit from improvements to the Dead Cat Family gene pool. I don't want a bunch of ugly grandchildren, after all.

*if you clicked on the link to the story where my makeup was pleasant surprise, please note that the more attractive friend/neighbor was Ella's mother. They are both lovely in every way, as is the rest of their family.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Road Trip

Remember those awesome road trips you used to do? Southern Cal or Baja for spring break in a ratty old car and three or four of your closest friends, or whatever people you could find in the commons that had gas money and a bag of day old bread? Or those pre-kid weekends when you might take a leisurely cruise around the state, checking out the fall foliage and antiquing? Or go on a wine-tasting getaway? Oh, those were good times.

I was pretty sure all those great adventures were behind me, but Lloyd still thinks packing up the car and hitting the road is super fun. Last week, he convinced me we should go to a neighboring state, just for overnight. Really? I said, are you SURE? I said. Multiple tanks of gas, hours in the car? Will it REALLY be worth it? We could stay home and lay on the couch! But no, he was not to be dissuaded. I'll do all the packing, he said. You can just sit and read in the car; it will be relaxing! I have a hotel reserved and everything!

When I came home from work, he had the house clean, the boys in their pajamas ready to ride into the night, and a bag of snacks. 'All packed!' he announced. 'You just have to get some clothes for yourself.' Further investigation revealed that our definitions of 'all packed' do not jibe. We DID have a curling barbell and a hand squeezing device, as well as fourteen stuffed animals, two baby dolls and a lightsaber, but no toothbrushes. Also, as it turned out, no bleach.

I swallowed my misgivings, along with some anxiety meds, and off we went. The boys are good travelers, and didn't squeal too much about how far it was. We had PB&Js for dinner and arrived at our destination well past bedtime, and pulled into the hotel parking lot. I'm not picky, you guys all know that, right? I'm not any kind of a germophobe- my kids roll around in the dirt with dogs, eat things off the floor, and throw boogers at each other, and I don't care. So believe me when I say this was a disgusting, filth-ridden hole. Lloyd actually called me a snob, can you believe that? I am so not a snob, pardon me if I don't want my kids touching bedspreads that haven't been washed in two years. They almost gave me a heart attack- dragging their dental floss across there, dropping food on the bed or floor and then trying to eat it. It must be EXHAUSTING to be one of those people who cares about crap like that all the time, and not just when you inadvertently find yourself at a scabies infested crack den.

We apparently managed to get out of there with our immune systems intact, at least as far as my knowledge of incubation periods is concerned, and proceeded to enjoy a tour of the wilds of Idaho. The skies were blue, which was a nice change, and the fall colors were out in full glory, but I am going to close with one thing I know for sure*: in a head-to-head relaxation competition my couch would definitely kick the oil-dripping, ear-splitting, milk-spattered, crumb-ridden mini-van's ass, hands down.

*not to go all Oprah on you here

Friday, October 21, 2011

Pteryodactyl Feet

You know, lots of times I don't post because I don't have a cohesive topic. I really like it when I have an idea and I can sit and think about it and then turn out an actual single subject essay of respectable length. Sadly, though, those days are few and far between, and what I have instead is some ridiculous mishmash that doesn't seem to fit together AT ALL. The ridiculous mishmash part pretty much describes every single aspect of my life but somehow I only find it bothersome when it comes to writing.

So, on to the mishmash. Today I was getting ready for work and looking in the mirror. My teeny, tiny mirror in a dim bathroom. Usually I'm very pleased with what I see in my miniscule mirror in my darkened powder room, but today I saw something that disturbed me. I KNOW they are not crow's feet, because the tiny mirror/dark room technique successfully removes any trace of those nasty things. Nope, these are something way WORSE. There's probably not even a name for them, and since I discovered them, I get to name them. That's how it works, you know. So I hereby christen them 'pterodactyl feet'. They're exactly like you would imagine them. I didn't google it to make sure I made it up because I would be sorely disappointed to find out that someone else had helped herself to my idea before I thought of it. Sometimes I hate the internet. Obviously, now I have to spend the weekend retrofitting my bathroom. My mirror is too big, and there is too much light in there. Another few years and I might have to start altering my vision instead of the environment. Or maybe the pterodactyl feet will cause my eyes to permanently squinch shut. One can only hope, right?

Then I came to work with my new friends, the pterodactyl feet, in tow. We still haven't moved. The move date is mere days away and there are still no boxes. We have had a few burly guys in overalls traipsing through, so I guess that's a good sign. We had an event today, and I got to be in charge of raffle tickets. Can you believe that? It's like they've never even met me! Everyone in the office shuffled by my office, eyeing the shrink-wrapped roll of tickets. It makes me think of this Nancy Drew book I read where Nancy and her pals George and Bess bust this ring of raffle scammers. The winning ticket had a staple in it, and the crook that drew the tickets out was wearing a ring with a magnet in it. Brilliant, eh? Of course they were no match for the titian-haired Nancy Drew and crew. Oh, man, I used to LOVE Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys. I read them voraciously, then I would be so terrified that my mother had to walk me down the hallway to the bathroom, even in broad daylight. Did you know that the Nancy Drew mysteries were not actually written by Carolyn Keene? Likewise, the Hardy Boys stories were not written by Franklin Dixon. I find this sort of disturbing, but I'm not sure why I care. I guess I like to think my books have been conceived and delivered by a real person, instead of the Milli Vanilli of the publishing world.

Anyway, as it turned out, I didn't even get to participate, because I decided that it would look bad if I won one of the prizes, and even worse if I won two. And also, I locked my keys in the car. I'm never volunteering again, so that should take care of THAT. Have a great weekend! The pterodactyl feet and I will be in the bathroom, renovating. I'm thinking a sander might come in handy. One of those big ones. See you next week!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Dogs and Ninjas

This is Ranger.

Isn't he FANTASTIC? You might remember him from previous posts such as this one about Hurricane Ivan, or this one about a mentally ill chicken. He is staying with us for a little while because my dad is out of town. The boys love having him and play with him constantly. They've been hounding us for a dog for a while but so far we've been holding out. They have about a million stuffed dogs, all with names, and they act out elaborate games with them, for HOURS on end. After one of these games, Shane informed me that he needed a real metal sword, in case ninjas attack. I thought that was what dogs were for, but I guess not. He was also extremely ticked off when I told him he could not have his own lighter. I'm not sure if that would also be for the ninjas, or if he just really, really wants a lighter. It's sometimes hard to tell with that one.

Since they love dogs so much, we sometimes let them watch 'Old Yeller'. You probably know the film. It's cute and all, until the end when the beloved mutt gets rabies and has to be shot. Usually we stop it before the end, much like Phoebe's mother did (video clip), only last time Lloyd was asleep at the switch*. Now Weston doesn't want to go outside because he's afraid of rabid animals, and he's terrified Ranger is going to die. He made me google the world's oldest dogs, and you guys are not going to believe this: multiple dogs have lived to be almost 30 years old. Damn, that is a LONG time to have a dog, people. Not that I don't like dogs.

Ranger is great and we love having him here at the Dead Cat Dog Hotel. Only he sheds about a pomeranian every other day, and our vacuum cleaner is broken. The belt came off, probably because it has to suck up so many marbles, rubber bands, and pens. We ordered some new belts, but they're not here yet. I say belts with an 's' because I'm definitely not going to stop sucking up toys and office supplies any time soon and some spares will probably come in handy. We had company this weekend, too, and the shop-vac was still out of commission, so I was forced to improvise. I had a couple of ideas, but we had hidden all the lighters so that ruled out two or three of them, and I didn't want to run the leaf blower in the house because of the exhaust. In the end I just distracted our guests with copious amounts of ice cream and beer. They barely noticed when Ranger tried to hump their legs, and I'm sure the pillowy brown piles of dogshed in all the corners totally escaped their notice. Or maybe not, I don't care. I like beer and ice cream, too. In fact, I think I'm going to go have some right now. Thinking about all that dog hair makes me peckish.

As a parting gift, here is Shane, channeling his inner dog:

*After reading this, Lloyd informed me that he wasn't actually slacking off, he purposely let them watch to the end, because 'it was time'. So now it's time for him to clean the basement AND he's in charge of all dead dog and rabies questions from now until eternity.

Friday, October 14, 2011


I had to go to the dentist today. I would love to go to the dentist if it weren't for all the messing about in my mouth. Otherwise, the combination of the soft reclining chair, the soothing music and the complete lack of anyone harassing me for snacks, robot leg parts or piles of freshly collated paper would make it my favorite place on earth.

I tried to count how many dentists I've had in the last fifteen years. I gave up after six, but I figure it's around ten. I started counting because the dentist asked me who DID THAT to my mouth. It was not a compliment. He was not impressed with several generations of my dental work, and asked me if I had gone to a military dentist. As it happens, I've never done that, but apparently the alternative was not all that great, either. How am I supposed to know, though? And maybe this guy is a big fat chiseling liar. I read this article one time about a guy that did an experiment- he picked about ten dentists out at random and went to each one for a cleaning and checkup and wrote about it. The variation in what he was told was HUGE. Some of them told him his teeth were fine and didn't need work, and others told him he needed THOUSANDS of dollars worth of work IMMEDIATELY or his teeth would explode and fall right out of his head and he would have to eat gruel until the shards got into his brain and killed him dead. I should definitely stop reading.

Very disheartening, especially when you move around all the time, and once you choose a dentist, at least with the military insurance I had, you're stuck, because they'll only pay for the new patient exam once every three years. I have the same insurance now, and I had to eat today's work because they won't pay for the composite filling, only the silver. Rat bastards. I'm pretty cheap but there is no way I'm going to have silver fillings on the front of my teeth. I wonder if there are any do-it-yourself dental kits on the hippie market. If there isn't, there definitely should be. Maybe I should invent one. How hard can it be, right? We already pretty much do home health care. Anytime one of the boys gets wounded, Lloyd slaps some honey on it and covers it up with cotton balls. Their reports of injuries have diminished dramatically, so it must work.

And while we're on the topic of medical care, you guys will like this: Shane has some weird little rash on one of hands, in between his fingers. It looks like eczema, maybe, or a mild infection. It looks better now, but we have been debating over what it might be with the able assistance of Dr. Google. Lloyd said, 'You know, they say people that live in a too-clean environment get sicker because their immune systems just aren't used to germs.' While I know this is true, I am pretty sure we are not in this category of antiseptic people, and I told him so. Then he said, 'I know! See, it's working!' Then he slapped on some honey and a cotton ball and covered the whole mess with duct tape, and now it's almost as good as new. I used to squirt breast milk at their cuts, too. I know it sounds a little weird, but it really works. You can read about it here. Plus you don't even have to get up to get the honey and cotton balls, so it's super convenient for the motivationally challenged among us. Unfortunately, Shane gave up his nursies earlier this year after trading them for a Nerf gun, so I've been deprived of that tool in my do-it-yourself medical kit. But we have plenty of honey, apple cider vinegar, and garlic, which are the basis of almost every slightly crunchy remedy, so that should keep us plenty healthy. And smelling good!

Have a good weekend, wherever you are! We're having beautiful, crisp and clear fall weather and are going to carve pumpkins with the cousins and then have some friends over. I'm hoping for an injury free weekend, but Lloyd just made Shane a slingshot and gave him some rocks. I better get my breast pump out.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Columbus Day

Man, Columbus sure is getting a bad rap lately. Come ON, people; he didn't personally steal land from some adorable rosy-cheeked pappooses, you know! He was LONG dead by the time the pappooses had to go to crappy reservations and work in baby sweatshops making dreamcatchers, bear claw necklaces and fringed leather jackets. I'm not necessarily defending him but I AM getting a little concerned he might get his day-off-from-work-in-October celebratory occasion stripped from him. I don't really care so much as long as it gets replaced by Sacajawea Day or similar. I'm an equal opportunity day-off-from-work enjoyer; I'm kind of awesome that way.

I hope you all had a nice holiday weekend. Nothing too exciting here- we changed over the car emergency kits to the winter version. It's an excellent time to put a blanket and hats and jackets for everyone in there if you haven't already done it. It's also a good time to change the batteries in your smoke alarms and flashlights, check the expiration dates on your emergency supplies, clean the bathrooms and perform those other pesky semi-annual chores. Oh, and start bulb shopping!

It's getting cooler, and so Lloyd took the boys shopping for a few fall/winter things. I sent a list, of course, but it doesn't really matter, does it? I've tried super detailed instructions, but that never works, because Lloyd says he can't read my writing. I have to give him that one, because truly, my penmanship is virtually illegible. It's never been good, but since the dawn of the digital age it's really gone downhill. Seriously, who cares? It's pretty much a waste of finger muscles. Pretty soon we're all going to have hands like tree frogs, and those scrawny things can't write worth a damn, or so I hear. I have an idea to solve this problem, though: a specific and reward-linked list. Come home with the proper item, and you get the commensurate reward. Here's an example:

- Size 8 olive colored cargo pants = new fishing lure
- Aveeno brand moisturizing lotion spf 30 = 20 minutes beer and tv

See? Use your imagination; the possibilities are endless! You could take the opposite approach, too, and have penalties for the wrong items. They could vary based on how far wrong they are. If you can use the object for the intended purpose you only have to scrub the tub. Like, say, if you get milk chocolate instead of dark. Or merlot instead of cab. But if the purchased object is entirely useless, it's time to clean the basement. Like if you need medical supplies and instead get beer and live fish. This has actually happened to me. I'll come clean here- you know me, always telling the complete unadulterated truth*: I totally got this idea from the Berenstain Bears, in a tome entitled 'The Berenstain Bears Forget Their Manners'. As true Berenstain Bears scholars know, Mama Bear doesn't always treat Papa Bear with the utmost respect, often relating to him the same way she does Brother Bear and Sister Bear, in this case doling out chores as penalties for bad manners. I'm generally not a fan of this sort of marital dynamic but sometimes a bear's got to call it like she sees it, am I right? In any event, I prefer the carrot to the stick, myself, though I can see that the carrot approach is going to be a lot more expensive and won't help my house get clean.

We also took the boys to see 'Dolphin Tale'; have you seen it? It's about a real dolphin named Winter, who has a prosthetic tail. It was cute, if a little cheesy. You can see her for realsies at The over-the-top stuff is all fictionalized and consists of a cute but troubled kid whose love for the dolphin helps him overcome his troubles, his swimming champion cousin who has been injured and traumatized while serving in the army, and an evil land developer who wants to turn the marine hospital into a resort. Geez, really? They had to make up a bunch of run of the mill melodrama to jazz the story up? A dolphin with an engineered tail isn't good enough by itself? Because that is pretty freaking cool, if you ask me.

And that's all the news for today; what's going on at YOUR house??

*Lloyd would perhaps take issue with this; he didn't like how I said he was opposed to electric guitars in the church post the other day. To be fair, he does tolerate them, though he PREFERS their non-presence. They are not in the same category as sheet metal, which he simply will not abide. Nonetheless, I will have to insist that the statement still qualifies as TRUE.

Sunday, October 9, 2011


I'm not really a huge church girl. You might know that my mom was a Jehovah's Witness when I was little, and perhaps it soured me on religion a bit. Lloyd likes to go to church, so I go. Sometimes. We have tried many different churches. It's pretty hard to find one we both like because we both have specific, and mostly totally different criteria. Lloyd, for example, likes a church that looks like a church. He absolutely will not attend a service in a sheet metal building. He is also opposed to electric guitars at church. I, on the other hand, require a church that has a peaceful vibe. This is not always obvious right at the beginning, and is sufficiently fuzzy to drive Lloyd insane. We both agree on names: we will not go to a church with a weird name. Anything with the words 'harvest', 'blood', 'water', 'redemption', 'life' or 'pentecostal' in the name is not going to fly. We also both despise the 'greet your neighbor' portion of a service. It's pretty much a waste of time because we already have plenty of regular real-life neighbors we hate.

The church we go to now is probably the only one I have ever attended that I actually like. One of the great things about it is that everyone and anyone is truly welcome there. Oh, I know, all the churches SAY that, but if you look around, everyone looks the same because they drive out anyone who's different with their judginess. Just for instance, we tried the church on the corner that we can walk to. Some guy came up to me and asked me for my church history. I said, 'Same as anyone else, I guess. I used to go to a different church and now I'm here.' Guess that wasn't good enough because he kept pressing me, like I was a dog and he needed to see my pedigree. We never went back, and too bad, because it was super convenient. This is the same church where this happened. Perhaps I've just had extra bad church luck, but here's a story about an on-base church that I wrote. I was so cross about it I didn't even want to put it on my own blog and instead asked my wonderful friend Helen to post it for me.

Now we drive 3o miles to the church I like. Everybody really IS welcome there. On any given Sunday, here's what you might see for ushers: a retired logger with the boots and suspenders, an elderly church lady all done up fancy with a Queen of England hat, a teenager with tattoooes that just got baptized after kicking his drug addiction and a guy so gay he swishes audibly, or any other manner of motley misfits that would probably be cast out of another church faster than you can say 'Jesus loves everybody! Oh, jeans at church? What an INTERESTING idea! Bless your heart, dear!' This place does backpack giveaways for the entire community before school starts, passes out groceries all year, and puts on picnics and carnivals for the whole town. The kids love their classes, everyone is super nice, and the sermons are generally informative and compelling. That's another one of my criteria, I like to learn something. The pastor has a really refreshing viewpoint, and often comes up with something that makes perfect sense, yet is different than anything I've ever heard before. I know it sounds like it might be sort of out there, but it's a standard mainstream Christian church, in every respect. And no forced greetings!

So I was pretty surprised this week when the pastor announced, almost as an aside while making a larger point, that he speaks in tongues. Often, but only when he's by himself, and he calls it praying in the spirit. I've read a little about this; it interests me. I have questions: is it consistent gibberish? Does a particular word always mean the same word, or does it vary? Could you translate, say, an order at McDonald's into the spirit language? Does it share sentence structure and grammar with English? Or is it totally random, different every time? I really want to know these things, for a couple of reasons. I like words and language, for one thing, but it also seems similar to how stories come to me, just out of the air into my head, begging to be written down. I mostly ignore them, of course, because the writing down part is a buttload of work. I used to think the stories were a gift from God, because I read an article about how a famous songwriter, Alan Jackson maybe, got his songs from the ether in a similar manner. I was quite enthralled with my newly discovered gift until I read a book written by someone I knew who said her story had arrived in the same magical way. Her book was hands down the worst thing I ever read and DEFINITELY did not come from God, unless God, unbeknownst to us all, is a hack with a second grade vocabulary, subpar grammar and a nonexistent sense of pacing. As a result, I was forced to reassess the provenance of my own efforts, and so far have not come to a satisfactory answer.

Anyway, I am very interested in learning some more about the mechanics of how this tongues thing works but I'm definitely not going to The Holy Boa Constrictor Harvest of the Blood Redemption for research. If I get a chance I'm going to ask the pastor ALL about it, but maybe there's another way. Any of you guys speak in tongues? Or know someone? If you can answer the questions, feel free to leave me an anonymous comment if you don't want to come out of the closet. Also, let me know if you want to come to church with me! Seriously, the place is a hoot; you wouldn't be sorry.

Friday, October 7, 2011


You know what they say, right? 'Show me a boy of seven and I'll show you the man'. By 'they', I mean St. Francis Xavier. I thought it was Aristotle, but I looked it up. I wish it WAS Aristotle because I didn't like everything I read when I looked up that Xavier guy. But hey, just because he did some creepy things doesn't mean he wasn't smart, right? I probably wouldn't like everything Aristotle ever did, either. In fact, he was kind of an asshole. Anyway, I hope St. Francis Xavier is right, because Weston, at almost seven, is AWESOME. This is a huge relief to me, because it means that I can't screw him up anymore now, and I have been waiting a long, long time for this day. Seven years!

I'm not a huge fan of childbragging, but this time I just can't stop myself from writing about how fantastic he is. You don't have to read it, though- I won't be offended. LOOK AWAY NOW. Of course, it goes without saying that he is too clever for words, and ever so attractive. He must take after me! HAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAAHA. Those things are great, but one of the things I appreciate the most about him is his spirit. He looks out for Shane, he likes to help with whatever we are doing, and yesterday he convinced me to go out and pick up litter in the neighborhood. In the pouring down rain. He's always the first to share, is always thinking of others, and often wraps up little presents for people. He sometimes sends his allowance to World Vision* to help fund wells in villages in Africa that don't have access to clean drinking water. He is full of hugs and kisses, and loves to take care of his enormous collection of 'babies' and stuffed animals, tucking them in and wrapping them in blankets. Isn't he FABULOUS?!?!?!?!? Okay, I'm done now. That wasn't TOO bad, was it?

I've written about when he was born before; you can read it by clicking here. It's a good story, and kind of funny, if you didn't have to live through it. Every word is true, too. But that was a long time ago. Seven years ago, in fact. Look at him now; I can't even believe it:

Happy Birthday, Weston!

*World Vision is an organization I have supported for a long time; they do a lot of great work all over the world. Recently, however, they have been involved in a court case that really disappointed me and I will probably send that money elsewhere in the future.

Thursday, October 6, 2011


See? I told you I was going to take down the last job-mocking post. Today I just have a quick update- the latest regarding when we're going to move from the lunchroom wits:

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Again with the Earthquake

I know, you all want me to shut up already about the earthquake. Sorry, no can do. I'm a bit of a geogeek with a professional interest in emergency management, and it's a bad combination. For you. Click away now if you simply can't stand it anymore and don't care if you have to eat slugs and ants and sleep in a ditch when all hell breaks loose. Still here? Perhaps you have seen this recent article from Outside Magazine? If you live on the West Coast, you should definitely read it. Go ahead, do it now and then come back and we'll talk about. I'm waiting. If you don't live on the West Coast, you probably don't care about the huge earthquake, but you might still need to worry about medium-sized earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards, floods, or the zombie apocalypse. Keep reading!

Oh, good! You're back. Pretty interesting, eh? Maybe a bit terrifying? It's a good article, if a bit alarmist. As the article does note, while continuing to hype the megaquake cluster theory, there is actually no evidence that supports this idea. It could be true, of course. Lack of evidence proves nothing, OBVIOUSLY. But it doesn't even matter. Make no mistake, there WILL be a subduction zone quake on the Cascadia Subduction Zone. It might be tomorrow, and it might be on December 23rd, 2104. There is absolutely no way to tell. Your dog might give you a little warning, who knows. You can't count on it, and again, it doesn't matter.

The important thing is to be prepared. It's not even hard: have emergency food and water in your vehicles and at home. Have some cash, some blankets, whatever you will need to sustain yourself and your family (and perhaps some of your less smart neighbors) in some level of comfort for at least a week. There are plenty of places you can find suggestions for your stash- is a great resource. The Clark Regional Emergency Services Agency has a twelve week shopping plan on their blog that is summarized here. The idea is to add a few items to your regular shopping list over twelve weeks, so it's not prohibitively expensive, like building a kit all at once might be, and it's a good way to at least get the basics. If you have more money than time, there are some good pre-made kits available. They aren't sufficient for a comprehensive home kit but they would be great for the car. They make super gifts, and the holidays are coming up!

Here are some other easy things you can do to improve your post earthquake, hurricane, tornado, flood, zombie attack or other disaster situation:

-store your camping gear next to your emergency kit. You might need to live in your yard for a while, and it will be a LOT more fun if you have a tent and a campstove. In fact, pack your emergency supplies as if you are going on an extended camping trip in the deep bush, because you might be. Don't forget a toothbrush!

-think about your vices. After the disaster, when you're pooping in a bucket and fending off vultures, is not the right time to quit smoking, give up your beloved Shocktops or live without your porn collection. Lay in a good supply or quit now. I don't care which; I'm not judging you, just trying to keep you from suffering later.

-choose a meeting place and have an out of state friend or relative for a contact in the event your family members are separated.

-keep your car at least half full of gas all the time. You might need it to recharge your wireless device. Make sure you have a car charger.

-use any medication or medical supplies? Kids need diapers? Have pets? Are your kids picky eaters? Store what you'll need to keep everyone healthy, comfortable and not screaming. I hear the sound of a small child shrieking attracts feral dogs. And bears.

-download apps from the Red Cross and other agencies in advance. Google them up and see what's available for your device. You can find the closest shelter, locate friends and family members and receive comprehensive medical care advice, among other useful things. Mobile service is often one of the first things that gets restored.

-keep copies of your important papers in another location. Maybe trade with a family member or friend.

-think about where to keep your supplies. Look for a place that's easy to get to if your house is unstable. You don't want to be crawling around in the basement with the power out and the floor joists creaking and splintering over your head, because there might be spiders down there.

-take a first aid class and toss the book in your emergency kit when you're done.

-think about tsunami evacuation routes when you plan your beach vacation. Some spots are definitely better than others. Look for a place that offers some close by terrain that's easy to get to.

-have a stack of firewood. And put some marshmallows in your kit, just for funsies!

-learn what to do: drop, cover and hold on!

-pay attention to your surroundings. Know the hazards and evacuation routes around your house, your office, your kids' schools.

All right, fine, I am shutting up now. Have a good week and get shopping! Oh, you also need some bleach. Lots and lots of bleach. And wine, plenty of wine! But you knew that, right?