Saturday, December 29, 2007


Look what Santa brought. See?

Do you think he'll take her back? She eats a lot!


  • We had a lovely, snowy Christmas. Everybody got just what they asked for and some things they didn't even know they wanted. See?

  • My grandfather promised us a needlepoint custom designed just for us. It arrived a few weeks ago, and it's completely lovely. See?

  • We've had some lovely, but rather cold weather. See?

  • Of course, the cold made for a lot of good quality time together. See?

  • Not everybody likes to play on the computer when it's snowy. Some of us have other ... er.. pursuits. See?

Happy New Year to you all!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Well, They Said They Wanted 'Over The Top'...

D, C and I started planning in October for our cubicle's Christmas decorations . I can't remember who said it, but as we sat on Friday afternoon, it occurred to us that it'd be totally fun to turn our cubicle into a Gingerbread House. We googled for many different pictures of our subject, got good ideas, sketched and brainstormed away.

Building Maintenance and Management advised us that we could not put anything up before December 10th, but we were way ahead of them. In November, we ordered two rolls of 'b-flute' 1/2 corrugated from We cut it into four foot strips to fit the cube walls. Some we scalloped for the roofing and glitter snow applied. The shutters were cut and spray painted white. The weekend before the 10th, D and C started assembly while my children and I cut out and glitter sprayed hundreds of gumdrops.

We've made little enhancements all week, up until today, when we declared we absolutely had to finish up the project. Please pardon the pictures; I took them with my cell phone and .. er.. tried to 'fix' them, which is problematic at best. I hear Santa might be bringing me a nice little digital camera so I can photo blog more often.

Anyway: the Gingerbread Cubicle! Tell me what you think!

Detail of the windows, which we decided to change at the last minute. I'm glad we did!

No such house would be complete without the tree:

I may have had to cut back on the sugar, but I still know how to make a little something sweet.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Eight Random Facts

Eric tagged me and I've procrastinated long enough. Plus, now I finally have something to talk about!

Here are the rules. (1) Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves. (2) People who are tagged need to write a post on their own blog (about their eight things) and post these rules. (3) At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names. (4) Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

1. I am afraid of water. Anything deeper than an average sized pool (even Olympic sized ones) terrifies the heck out of me. Deep water, boats, boats on water, icebergs floating in water waiting to sink ships are the things that fill my nightmares. Sharks hanging around icebergs waiting for ships to sink so they can eat the people on board are my worst fantasy. It's not that I can't swim; I can, very well, with several different strokes. It's just the thought of the unknown beneath me. It's a good thing I've lived 95% of my life dead center in the middle of my continent and have carefully avoided extended visitations with anything bigger than a frog pond.

2. I am a 9 year old when it comes to Christmas; maybe even six or seven. I figure I was frozen in time when my family stopped celebrating and only picked back up when I grew up and made the decision for myself. I never told my mom, but I would lie awake listening for Santa even after we'd made the switch. A little part of me believed that my grandparents were in cahoots with the man in red because presents always arrived shortly after THE DAY. I'm not saying this to make my parents (who frequently read my blog) feel bad; I know they were doing what they thought was right and I love them for that. This is just a random fact but it's seasonally appropriate. I believe in Santa!

3. I have recently been diagnosed with Type II Diabetes. Very recently; Tuesday recently. Is this a big surprise? Not at all. Is it a bummer? Hell yeah. I feel like I screwed up my life AGAIN by 'allowing' this to happen to me. Just when you think you're not a f***-up. Sigh. It's a whole new world; one complete with three daily glucose level checks and medication for the foreseeable future.

4. I get Ear Worm so bad it causes me anxiety attacks. Seriously, that totally cool Bowling for Soup song you love? It kept me up till three AM a week ago. I have found only three methods of removing the song from my head before I pull out all my hair and show up to work looking like a heroine addict: 1)Clonezepam, and who wants to be drugged up all the time? 2) Singing the Barney Song at least three times over 3) Singing vocal warm ups for ten minutes. The last two are pretty much guaranteed to make you unpopular with your family at 3AM.

5. A lifetime ago, I was the administrator of the Largest. Message Board Devoted to a Series of Exceedingly Popular Books That Were Later Made Into Movies. In. The. World. Period. (It's not Harry Potter, that's all the info I'm giving!) I did a terrible job. I have no managerial skills whatsoever and very little natural diplomacy. Tact is a foreign language. I constantly poured gasoline on small flames and turned them into conflagrations of badly executed good intentions. It's a wonder they still let me post there; poor deluded fools.

6. I know American Sign Language, or I used to know a lot. I still know some. I took three years of the language in college. The courses were taught by a woman who had graduated from Gallaudet University and who didn't know when she was yelling. I was terrified of her until she told me that watching me sign must be what it's like to hear someone singing.

7. I grew up in a haunted house. That's right, I believe in Santa Claus AND ghosts! Half my readership just scrubbed my blog off their history (so I guess I'm down to just the one reader). The old Victorian house my parents rescued from being torn down had many residents besides us; there is no other way to describe it. Some either did not know how to pass over or had chosen not to do so, some I think may have been members of the Fae families. I also think some of what we experienced wasn't an active spirit or soul but the echo of some one's very powerful life event. I have since developed a pretty detailed theory about ghosts, poltergeists, angels, demons, fairies and 'emotional imprints.'

8. I am half Polar bear. I almost never get cold and actually, am usually too warm. Fall and winter are my favorite seasons because I can always bundle up to stay warm but I can't take my skin off to stay cool. When Cowboy is huddled under two quilts in sweats and socks, I'm sleeping with no blankets in shorts and a tank top. I rarely wear a coat unless it's wet outside or the temperature is below freezing.

OK.. whew! I am not sure I have eight people to name, but here goes: Heidi over at Virushead, Chris on Three Hour Tour, Libby from Caffeinated Librarian, WHW from Television and Stuff and Ted from Sorry.. that's everyone who met these criteria 1)I can remember their name or how to find their blog and 2) Does not appear to have done this Meme recently.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Kinda Cheesy. HA HA HA HAHAHAH

You Are a Brownie Cheesecake

A little chunky and a little gooey, you pretty much run on sugar!
You take hedonism to the extreme.. And people love you for it.

I Have No One to Blame But Myself

Exotic Dancer Name Is...


VirusHead Made Me Do It

You Are a Liberal for Life

You've got a bleeding heart - and you're proud of it.
For you, liberal means being compassionate, pro-government, and anti-business.
You believe in equality for every person, and you consider yourself universally empathetic.
Helping others is not just political for you ... it's very personal too.

Why is this so funny?

It shouldn't be, but it is!

Me, Shelley, and Patrick... Elf Style!

Elfin' it Up!

Try it yourself at

Friday, November 16, 2007

What's Your Game?

We dropped Amanda off at the CSP academy for her course Sunday morning. It's about 40 minutes from our house to Golden; it didn't seem worth the drive back home only to turn around in four hours to pick her up.

In Golden, on a Sunday morning when you aren't (find a delicate way to say this, Christy....) inclined to attend services at a house of worship? There isn't a lot to do.

What to do.. what to do.... As we meandered the road led, as many in that part of town do, towards the mountains, towards.... Black Hawk and Central City. There might be something to do there on a Sunday morning, just maybe. Up the hill we went.

Beautiful Sunday morning drive; through a deep canyon, rushing water just below, mountain goats and big horn sheep above, through four tunnels shooting straight through the mountain and into these tiny towns located side by side.

Keep in mind, Cowboy and I are not big gamblers, which is to say, we don't. The last time I gambled was probably 1998, when I put $5.00 into a nickel slot machine in Vegas and made that five last three days. When I finally cashed it out, on our way home, it was $8.00 and I counted myself pretty darn lucky. Unlike the miners of old, we weren't going up the hill to strike it rich.

There are lots of places to park up there; most major hotels have big parking garages. We cruised both tiny towns, seeing the sights. It's sad but fairly obvious that the big outfits have put the little guy out of business: we saw a ton of empty store fronts. I'm sure it's hard to make it in that sort of town.

We were starting, so we found a spot in one of the mammoth structures and walked through the Mardi Gras casino in search of food. Good things about casinos: generally you can find food that won't cost you an arm and a leg. We found a huge breakfast for $3.99, coffee included! So huge was the breakfast, though, that we had to walk.

Eventually, we found ourselves at Colorado Central Station where we decided it was time to gamble. We weren't feeling as reckless as when in Vegas (besides, Central Station doesn't have nickel slots), so opted to conserve our resources by playing penny slots. The good thing about slots: they're sort of like video games: pretty colors and fun music. Bad thing: they're sort of like video games: they take your money. Correction here: they took Cowboy's money.

We played two hours. I lost $0.22, Cowboy lost $30.00. Completely satisfied for another nine years, we were back in Golden in time to grab lunch and the girl.

I really don't see myself taking the trip up that road again for a while. I'm already taking enough chances: I have three teenagers!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


I am cooking more; I got away from it over the summer when the kitchen was hot and I was working a lot of overtime. I tend to cook for an army so if I make two full meals a week, they generally last the family four dinners plus a lunch or two for me. It's good for me to be in the kitchen; I feel like a better provider, a better mom. It's also better for my weight-state-of-mind.

Besides dinners, I'm making a pot of soup each week. Soup helps me pack a full serving of veggies and often fiber into a yummy, home cooked meal which travels easily. The soup is made just for me, with stuff I like and nothing left out because others don't. I eat it three or four days out of the week; taking it with me for lunch at least twice. Other family members are welcome to a bowl as long as there's no complaining about the contents. It's called Mom Soup for a reason.

I usually start the soup in the morning, figuring to have it ready by evening.

Last week's soup was sausage and bean. So thick it was nearly a stew; I first rinsed a package of 15 bean soup mix available at WalMart or your local grocery. After the beans soaked overnight, I started bringing them to a boil in water twice a deep as the beans in a 14 quart stock pot. I sauteed diced onions, garlic and smoked sausage in a skillet, then deglazed it with red wine.

Onions, garlic, sausage all went into the stock pot along with a can of beef broth and a can of diced tomatoes. Salt, pepper, herbs of choice (mine are red pepper, basil, thyme and bay leaf) and long long hours simmering on medium low are the finishing touches.

This week's soup is turkey and rice. Thanksgiving may be next week, but turkey is a good option for a big family any time so we make it several times a year. Besides, Cowboy's parents are hosting at their house and making the bird on T-Day; they aren't likely to send home the carcass for my soup making pleasure. Turkey last Sunday won't spoil our appetites for it next Thursday.

I make sure not to pick the bones too clean on my bird, leaving lots of meat to fall off in the soup pot. For good measure, I cook the neck in the same session. This time, we stuck a quartered onion in the cavity during roasting. All went into the pot with water covering the bones completely. A good grinding of salt, a bay leaf, chopped parsley and sprinkling of thyme, then the whole was brought to a slow, rolling boil in my trusty stock pot this morning.

This afternoon, I carefully strained the bones from the broth and added diced celery and carrots along with sauteed onions and garlic. Most of the water's boiled off by this time, so I added a few cups more and 3/4 cup uncooked rice, then turned down the heat to simmer.

I just checked; I have a pot of glorious broth swimming with veggies, meat and rice. Tomorrow's going to be so yummy. I think I'll pack extra for work.

By the way, soup is also good way to win friends and influence people.

Give someone a bowl of homemade soup; warm a tummy, make a friend.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

It is Beginning...

I am up, showered, coiffed and coffeed. Why? Against my will, I tell you!

The terror begins today. The knot in my stomach tells the tale, I don't want to do this. It's too soon. I'm not ready. I may never be ready.

I've put it off, made my excuses but still the inevitable marched closer and closer.

It all began so innocently, blinking it's big blue eyes at me. Of course, I had to take it home, nearly 16 years ago; it was helpless.

But now the day is coming nearer. The day...

My oldest child starts driving.

Amanda is enrolled in the Driver's Education course Alive at 25 Once completed, she's on to the dreaded Learner's Permit. We're just over a year shy of her Driver's License.

There is no hope; if you must wish anything for me, wish that it's over with quickly.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Task Completed

I was cleaning out my Tasks lists on the Treo this week and came across this item I meant to turn into a blog entry.

Entry: "Elephant Peeking at Me"
Ren Faire - June, 2007: Remember that I went to have a Tarot reading at the Ren Faire? The wonderful old lady, Norma, who read for me likes to take her time with clients; it took her almost an hour to get to me.

Norma and her partner, a palmist, had a nice shady space with covered benches for clients waiting their turn. The rear of the space is a fence; the parade staging area is on the other side. I enjoyed people watching all the interesting types going past the booth. As I sat, I noticed over the fence, lots of activity as the faire participants got ready for the parade that runs through the whole park several times a day.

A snuffling noise made me turn from from watching people pass by the booth's front. One of the faire's two elephants had been stationed to wait his turn just behind Norma's booth; while he was there, apparently decided to say hello to me. I was so charmed! Perhaps I'm being niave but it was so fun to have an elephan reaching out his trunk to say hello to me. The handler came and took him away shortly, but not before he and I exchanged smiles and nods of a friendly sort. The whole experience added to the magic of the day.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Godmother Wisdom

I just noticed this: more often than not, appearing intelligent is not about what you say, it's about what you don't.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Hobbits to Isengard

Who knew Orli had this kind of rythm

Mashed Taters - Flash

It's nice to know it's not just Amanda and I who get obsessed like this...

Friday, October 12, 2007

That Time of Year...

What Your Halloween Habits Say About You

You are an outgoing person who's a bit of a showoff. It's likely that you dress up for Halloween every year.

You definitely think of yourself as someone who has a dark side. And part of having that dark side means not showing it.

Your inner child is stubborn and a bit bossy.

Your fears are irrational and varied. It's hard to predict what you may be afraid of on any given day.

You're prone to be quite emotional and over dramatic. Deep down, you enjoy being scared out of your mind... even if you don't admit it.

You are a total overachiever and workaholic. You're the type of person who plans their elaborate Halloween costume weeks in advance.

Only if David Boreanz Came Along with the Deal

Thank you to VirusHead for making me think....

You Could Be a Vampire... If You Had To

Like most people, the thought of being a vampire has crossed your mind. But you're not sure if you'd do it, even if you could.
Living forever doesn't sound half bad, if you could live forever with the people you love the most.
But do vampires even love? And would the vampire version of you even be you?
It's all too much to contemplate. Luckily, the chances of you ever becoming a vampire are astronomically low.

What you would like best about being a vampire: Living forever

What you would like least about being a vampire: Blood stained teeth

Friday, October 5, 2007

How to Feel?

My ex husband is getting divorced.

He told me during a rare phone conversation Monday. My first thought was "THANK GOD!" Fortunately, my second was "Don't say that out loud."

This isn't about a possible JD-Christy Do-Over.

I'd never consider leaving Cowboy for JD. Not. Ever.

The feeling's mutual? Good.

That doesn't prevent me from being conflicted.

It's been apparent to me for some years that M has been biggest problem in our relationship with JD. For me, this was a minor irritation. By mutual consent, I have as little to do with the man as possible, but gradually, we've reached a point where my exchanges with him have been neutral, bordering on cordial.

M was a different story: Once every couple years we'd have an ugly fight over something stupid and she'd break out the lawyers. My attorney would take one look at the frivolous claim of the day and convince them to drop it before they got slapped with a fine for a filing a nuisance lawsuit. Not before she collected a tidy retainer from me, of course.

For Amanda, M's interference has been less expensive but more costly: near total disconnect between father and daughter.

Amanda and her half sister (M's daughter w/ JD) don't speak at all anymore.

Step parents are too often villain-ized in TV and movies; Amanda herself can attest to the fact that the Wicked Stepmother/Stepfather image is often far from the truth. Cowboy has raised Amanda as his very own, no different than our other children. Sadly, M never saw Amanda that way.

I realize I probably played a part in it; I made it clear from the start that Amanda is MY child, that M was not her mother. M may have felt a deep resentment towards Amanda because of my stridency. I did not want to share her with anyone, especially not people who often told me how much they hated me. I can see how part of it might have been my fault.

That doesn't explain the years (yes YEARS) when JD didn't see her more than an hour or two twice a year while she was visiting his parents. His mom would tell me it wasn't his fault, that it was causing a strain for him to see her even that much; frankly. I didn't want to believe it. At one point M told JD's parents that they couldn't see Amanda without her permission and a big part of me wonders if she was saying something like that to him too. When Amanda did begin to visit her Father, M and sister, she'd bring home tales that were highly reminiscent of the Bothers Grimm. I wouldn't have believed that they didn't let her sleep in a bed at their house, if M hadn't told me herself that it was true.

Now what? I'm sorry for JD; divorce is hard, especially with children. I am sorry for A's half-sister. At the same time, though, I can't help but feel relieved.

Wouldn't it be great if this marked a turning point? Wouldn't it be wonderful if Amanda, her sister and father got a fresh start and built a better relationship? It'd be wonderful. It may also be part of a future without global warming or AIDs. I can hope.

Finally, a teeny tiny part of me has been doing a little "told ya so" dance all week. Told ya so, she sucks. Told ya so, he does too. Told ya so, she's a poo poo head with bad 80's hair and no sense of style. Told ya so, he's a selfish lover who can't take care of himself.

But that's really a very small part of me. Honest. The vast majority is being very mature and sensitive about it. I ended our conversation by offering to help him if there was anything he needed. See how mature I am?

I'm completely conflicted and I'm not even the one getting divorced!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Invisible Buffalo

Invisible Buffalo
Originally uploaded by fairygodmotherchristy

Very pretty but I prefer my buffalo visible. Really.

Who You Callin Turkey?

Who You Callin Turkey?
Originally uploaded by fairygodmotherchristy

More from Custer

Custer State Park

Custer State Park
Originally uploaded by fairygodmotherchristy

Mule Deer

Vacation Wrap Up

The last two days of vacation, I started jotting things on the Treo for later blogging. The time has come to post:

  • I highly encourage a visit to this area; it's one of the standard trips every American family should make as there's really nothing quite like this part of the world: Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Custer National Park and the surrounding towns. There's something for everyone from the hardiest 'outdoorsy' type to the couch potatoes who prefer to pull up to the curb of the next attraction. The communities around Rushmore and Rapid City really know how to entertain you (and separate you from your money).

  • Mount Rushmore itself has been updated. Though I miss the old cafeteria of North By Northwest fame, people of any age and ability can move around the site easily and appreciate the monument. The drive in from Rapid is beautiful but the Custer highway has some tunnels specifically designed to frame the mountain as you emerge. Very spectacular.

  • The motel in Gillette lacked such amenities as working A/C and clean bathrooms and sheets. I'm sorry to say I missed the highlight of the facilities, the shower in the kids' room. Cheryl reported that the shower curtain smelled 'like Will farted!' Will declared he had done no such thing but agreed the curtain did have a certain tang. I wouldn't recommend it to anybody so will not link to it here.

  • The Grand Gateway Hotel in Rapid City was nicely decorated, comfortable, clean and fun for everybody. Two for one bar drinks for Mom and Dad went along nicely with swimming for the kids. The pool area even had a 130ft water slide into the dinosaur footprint shaped pool!

  • Mount Rushmore National Park's surrounding forests were decimated a few years ago during an especially bad fire season (or two). Though I had delivered a lecture not thirty minutes previously about the life cycle of forests and how forest fires are a natural part of this process, I still cried when I saw the devastation. I hadn't been to the area since I was 17 and had forgotten about the fires. I cannot believe how different the area looks. I did feel much better the next day in Custer State Park, where everything was as I remember (except for those Invisible Buffalo.. read on).
  • When playing the License Plate Game, the parking lots of major National Monuments are fabulous. At Mt. Rushmore, I was declared the winner (by my own authority) when I found one from Alberta, Canada.

  • The area around Rushmore also is the summer home of a number of visiting international students. We were served ice cream by kids from Poland and Russia. Our darling redheaded waitress in Keystone was named Ieva (pronounced Eva) and came from Lithuania. My mother's family being from that area, she could have been a distant cousin judging by her coloring and facial structure (and willingness to talk!).

  • Custer State Park is very pretty at dusk, as you drive along the wildlife loop. You can enjoy the wild turkeys, mule deer and buffalo. It's fairly secret right now, but we imagine sometime in the next few years, they'll announce something new.. which we may have been the first to discover: INVISIBLE BUFFALO! You can't see 'em but you know they're there by the chips, which are not invisible. In all seriousness, it was disappointing, but the closest we got to the big furry guys (aside from numerous signs warning about the danger of charging buffs), was about 1/2 mile away from a group of about 100.

  • At some point during nearly all visits with my parents, I find myself apologizing for something I did as a kid. This time it was giving the impression that I didn't enjoy the last trip to the area. Apparently, I was a little hard to read as a teen and perhaps slightly surly. The impression was that I hated every minute and was determined to spread the feeling. I corrected that forcefully: I've always remembered the area and what a great trip it was. I did manage to block out a shouting match in the car when I apparently told my parents to 'pull over' because I was going to 'walk home' which took place somewhere outside of New Castle, Wyoming (a couple hours BY CAR from my home at the time).

  • First Word to the Not-So-Wise: when dealing with highways in South Dakota and Nebraska, don't always trust your instincts. We took the more logical (but wrong) turn out of Hot Springs, South Dakota. As a result, we missed the turn back into New Castle or Torrington and ended up driving the width of Nebraska, North to South. We calculated that the drive itself worked out to be roughly the same number of miles, only a little bit longer drive time; state highways vs interstates. However, I HATE being lost and for about an hour, we were good and LOST.

  • Second Word to the Not-So-Wise: Do not be distracted by the tempting, fatty, salty glow of the giant M as you enter Chadron, Nebraska from the North. If you fall into McDonald's fast food clutches, you'll miss the turn for the ONLY HIGHWAY headed your way and might have to back track as far as ten miles after you discover you mistake. Not that we fell victim to such an obvious trap...

  • Third Word to the Not-S0-Wise: Even the best Sprint Broadband service doesn't work in the more rural areas of Southern South Dakota and most of Nebraska. Technology will get you lots of places but it's always a good idea to have a good ol' paper map for when Technology has 'No Service.'

Eric, you are correct, Sir. I got good mileage out of this event. I may even have one more post in me about everything I saw. Certainly I shall post a few pictures, as I can't figure out how to embed them from but have set up photo blogging from between Blogger and Flickr.

Stay Tuned!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Wonderful Wyoming (Windy!) Wedding

Alex and Deena W___ were married at 2:00PM, August 31st, 2007 at a ranch that's been in Deena's family for six generations. It was hot, it was dusty, windy, it was beautiful! This is Wyoming, people!

I have no shots of the ceremony itself: the kids had a very talented photographer to do that for them and mine would pale by comparison, but I do have highlights and a few nice photos from the rehearsal dinner and the reception:
  • The setting: grazing land amongst the sweeping plains of North East Wyoming with a view of the Black Hills. The boys had created an arch of iron(?) with linked horseshoes for the couple to stand beneath. I didn't realize it until later, but the horseshoe motif was very clever, picture two horseshoes entwined, or crossing one another. The symbol of two becoming one works very well, it's also the first letter of their last name (W).
  • The Gents: four groomsmen dressed in black cowboy hats, top coats (Alex, correct me if I'm wrong, k?), vests, white shirts, black jeans and boots.To say it was sunny would be an understatement, no rain for our newly-weds' day. The must-have accessory turned out to be sunglasses.
  • The Ladies: a quartet of Deenas' closest friends, each with a pretty purple dress specially designed for her. Despite the wind, hairdos held up, make-up stayed fresh. The flowers made it through the ceremony; good thing they had extra for the reception.
  • The Little Ones: The ring bearer, a cousin of Deena's, I believe, was darling. He was dressed just to match the Big Boys and did a beautiful job, standing still without complaining through the ceremony. Cheryl looked darling with her hair in loose curls and a wreath of baby's breath. Deena's mom, Luanne, designed her dress so that the bodice was made of the same material as Deena's dress and the skirt of the same material in the Bridesmaid's gowns. She carried a tiny white basket filled with pink rose petals remembered it was OK if they blew away.
  • The Honored Guests: we were very fortunate to have so many members of both families join us. Besides both sides of Alex (and my) family, all of Deena's grandparents were able to attend, including her grandfather whose health has been declining. Poppop and Uncle Rick were there, representing the W's, along with my mom's sister Karen. Best of all, the same uncle who married Bill and I also performed the ceremony for Alex and Deena. Both Alex and Deena had unexpected friends show up from far away, both at the ceremony and the reception.
  • The Groom: Alex smiled. A lot. This is big. Alex smiles at Mom and Dad, he smiles at me, at Cowboy, he smiles quite a bit at Deena, and even at his friends. That afternoon, Alex smiled and smiled and smiled. But not during his vows. Maybe it's a sign: both Alex and Cowboy said their vows with faces set in stone, men of their word, they took it seriously. When it came time for him to say the "I take you Deena" part, he was also loud enough to be heard in Utah! When this guy makes a vow, he says it so everybody can hear.
  • The Bride: Soft blond curls floated down Deena's back, her delicate tiara sparkling in the sun. As I think on it, every inch of Deena's ensemble was created or set by someone who loves her very much. The dress was made primarily by her mother, but Deena's whole family helped with various parts. The tiara I mentioned was made by an Aunt in Texas just for the occasion, her hair carefully set and prepared by a long time friend of the family, her flowers arranged by the sister of one of her best friends, even the cake prepared by someone close to her. I gave her a handkerchief that had belonged to our great-grandmother, Miriam to carry as her borrowed thing. Alex and Cowboy said their vows the same way; Deena and I did too. We both sniffled just a bit in awe of the moment.

It was so bright, the wedding party wore shades but I didn't feel it detracted at all. Afterwards, everyone piled into the vehicles for the drive back to town and the reception. Tons of barbecue chicken and beef, fabulous potato salad, tons of ice tea and lemonade and a keg. Cowboy felt it part of his groomsmen duty to assist in the draining of the last, and had enough to make him the best dancer in the room. No really, he gets better with a little beer.

Some other highlights from the reception:

  • Mark (the best man) gave a fabulous toast that really did capture the heart of Alex and his bond with Deena. It also captured Mark's bond with Alex.. which mostly involves horsepower.
  • Alex and Deena are darling together. During their dance, I cried.
  • My parents danced. In my memory, I can't recall ever having seen them dance in a formal setting. I cried.
  • Patrick danced with Deena, as did Bill. I didn't cry, I got pictures.
  • My mother didn't stop dancing the whole night. She danced with my dad, then she danced with Deena's dad (more than once, actually, I think), she danced the hokey-pokey, the chicken dance and the conga. It was awesome!
  • The cake was handmade by one of Deena's friends and turned out beautifully; she'd never worked with fondant icing before but she did so well!
  • I got to dance with my husband. I think it's been close to five years since we had danced and I forgot how much I missed it.
  • Will caught the garter. Not sure how happy I am about that...

Last but not least, the best thing about the whole day.....

Alex did NOT have to work!!!

Congratulations, Alex and Deena. It was a privilege celebrating with you both!

Check out the album I created for this on Flickr (boy I hope this works!)

Wedding Album

Friday, August 31, 2007

Big Girls Don't Cry

Family Du Godmother's Great Wedding Caper Notes to Date:
  • The remnants of Hurricane Dean made interesting driving weather yesterday. Because of Dean we were treated to a fabulous sunrise. Dean also had us moving through various types of fog banks and low lying clouds like nothing we'd ever seen. Tropical storms really aren't so scary once they've worn themselves down into 'Monsoonal Flows.'
  • The stretch of Highway 59 between Douglas and Gillette should be renamed 'Bunny Memorial Highway' judging by all the remains. Apologies to those with tender stomachs, but I have never in my life seen as much roadkill as I did yesterday.
  • Our motel gets classier and classier, water stained ceilings and black mold in the shower are just a few of the delights so far. Please don't believe the advertising: they do NOT have free breakfast for guests but are fairly adept at giving directions to their restaurant, less so to the grocery store.
  • We won't be moving to Gillette, Wyoming. I respect Alex and Deena (not to mention her wonderful, wonderful family) too much to trash the town here on my blog. However, if the city fathers should somehow stumble onto this site: your town has potential, I hope someday you'll manage to find it again.
  • Amanda's dog, Dora (who may get a new name from her new owner) is completely darling. My mother's efforts at 'dog matching' have definitely paid off; Dora and Amanda both appear to be smitten.

Speaking of smitten, it was a genuine privilege to meet Deena and her family yesterday. The rehearsal dinner was everything such an event should be: a meeting and gentle blending of two families at the happiest of times. The highlights:

  • Represented in that room were four generations of two different families. Long marriages and deep ties, children lovingly raised and in turn raising their own.
  • Deena's family are friendly and forthright. They love her very much (of course!) and obviously love Alex too.
  • Alex's boss oh so considerately consented to let him off work in time to shower and attend his own rehearsal dinner. (I am not kidding) We can only hope he'll do the same today for the ceremony (again, I am not kidding).
  • The atmosphere and food were just right. My father and grandfather planned and the restaurant executed an event as close to perfect as anyone could ask. If you have the chance to eat at The Chophouse, may I suggest the Chicken Marsala?
  • My speech went off very nicely. I had given up writing it down and spoke off the cuff, having thought and roughly planned it for two months. I managed to incorporate every one's ideas without taking too long. Best of all: I got through it without crying.
  • Alex and Deena are great together and I WILL get a good picture of him if it kills me (Deena has never taken a bad photo in her life).

I need to wrap this up in order to hop in the shower. We're heading down to the ranch early, to be available for set up. Cheryl's dress is perfect, Cowboy will be smokin' in his tux.

Weddings are not without their challenges at the best of times; I just hope Alex and Deena have gone through all they'll have to face already.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

My Wishes for Deena

We've never met face to face Deena, but I trust Alex's judgement implicitly. As you prepare to join your life with his, I wish you all these things:
  • May you feel welcome as a member of our family; loved and accepted just as much as he loves you and accepts you.
  • May you have a marriage that is more than even what you wildest dreams imagine.
  • May Alex find you attractive always, especially when you feel unattractive. May he always see you as the girl he first loved(even if this means he never notices when you change hairstyles or gain/lose weight).
  • May you have a houseful of love, between you both, your familes and all who know you.
  • May you have the man who is strong when you need him to be, yet understands and supports that often it is we, the women, who must be the strong ones.
  • May you worry only when you need to.
  • May Alex be your helium and your string: giving you flight, yet holding you steady.
  • May you be blessed with a peaceful home and the talent for keeping it so.
  • May your ends always meet.
  • May you find a man who trusts you enough to cry with you. There are few higher honors than a man's tears entrusted to one who won't disrespect them.
  • May it be forever.

I can't wait to meet you. Congratulations!

Friday, August 24, 2007

My Wishes for Alex

Little brother, I'm so happy for you and so proud of you! I finally understand why mom always cried during beautiful pieces of music and happy parts of movies (I am sooo my mother's daughter).

Alex, I wishes for you:
  • May your bond be like the strong bonds you've been surrounded with all your life. May you take the steadfast, stubborn, longlasting love we saw in our grandparents and parents into your own marraige.
  • May you find in Deena a real partner, a woman you know you can share your whole self, even the grumpy in the morning, unshaved and messy haired self with.
  • May you be both a leader and a follower in your relationship, learning and becoming the teacher by turns.
  • May you be comforted and offer comfort as it's needed, that you can become to her what she has been to you.
  • May you have what you need, yet know the pride of self-reliance.
  • May you work together to accomplish your goals; nothing is so satisfying as sharing these experiences.
  • May you suffer crises, that you can know miracles and recovery.
  • May you argue, that you can make up.
  • May you have met someone who compliments your attention to detail with flexibility, your devotion with respect and honor.
  • May you have found a partner who makes you want to work and to grow.
  • May you find tenderness and intimacy in quiet times, a sense of humor and steady temper in loud ones.
  • May you have found someone who gets your jokes, even the really dry ones.
  • May she mean as much to you as Bill means to me, that to lose her would be losing a part of yourself.
  • May it be forever.

I love you.

Inspiration from the iPod

At the end of my Featured Space week on MSN last year, I posted about 'Inspiration from the Radio.' It may have been one of my best posts to date. Music stirs us all deeply. In addition, times of intense emotions tend to inspire me to write. When my grandmother was dying, three years ago, I wrote the tribute that drove my grandfather to ask me to speak at Alex and Deena's rehearsal dinner.

Knowing both these things, I guess it's not surprising that with a week to go before my little brother marries the love of his life, I am suddenly bursting with inspiration. One tiny whiney note: where the HECK was all this inspriration over the course of the last two months, huh? It's gotta all arrive in one night? Yeah, that's reasonable!

*cleansing breath*

Annnnnnnd we're back.

Tonight, I heard Rascal Flatt's sing 'My Wish' and all my wishes for my brother and his fiance began crowding into my brain. It might take me more than one post. I hope you bear with me, I may have wishes for more people than simply Alex and Deena. As I sit I can think of wishes I have for both my grandmothers, my parents, my kids, my grandfather and the rest of my family.

It's a darn good thing I'm practicing to be a Godmother. No other creature has the capacity to handle the vastness of well-wishes bursting out of me right now.

Without further ado...

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

What's Up Buttercup?

What's new? Where've you been? What's going on in your life?

The answers!

  • Cara was here for a visit. We got to spend a couple hours together, rebonding. Aynde even called while she was here (weird? nope. We're connected like that!) so all three of us were sort of in one space for a brief time. Cara took the girls and I out for hibachi at Hanabi's (home of THE BEST TEMPURA ON THE PLANET!!). She put up with me playing 'my best friend is a (soon to be) doctor.. so what do you think this bump on my leg is' and didn't even sigh once. I admired her new Palm and she admired my Treo. Oh and yes, I remembered to get a picture: Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

(Cara's the tall one, I'm the short one, duh!) Oh and she passed her boards! Go CARA!!!

  • My hairdo is new.. but not terribly. Pat and I made me spiky! (she calls it a 'sprout' but whatever, it's SPIKE!!) It's basically my same cut but I can spike the top and back if I feel attituderific. Right now it's causing me to use about double the product I would normally, though. Gotta get that under control.
  • Posting pictures of my 'What Not to Wear' purse. (Yes, still buzzing about the new purse. At least little things that make me happy make me happy a LONG TIME). 'What Not To Wear purse', you're asking? The purse is NOT an example of what not to wear. Instead it's an example of how much the TLC show has taught me. Not too big or too small; has some detail but not too much, some pattern, but not too much and the wallet I found matches perfectly and isn't too busy. Observe: Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Happy sigh... Yep. Still love it.

  • We have finished repainting the main living areas of our house. By we, I mean Cowboy and the Kids painted the walls a gorgeous sort of.. latte color and the trim is high gloss enamel white. I assisted with chocolate chip cookies home baked and lasagna reward as rewards. I do not paint.
  • We have finished washing the carpets and saddle soaping the couch. By we I mean myself and the Kids. Cowboy does not wash carpets or saddle soap anything but his boots.
  • Cowboy has finished rebuilding the fence on both sides of the house.
  • He also added a three foot by twenty foot stretch of brick next to the driveway where the grass had been turned to mud/dirt when we (and the previous tenants) ran over it in order to get into the driveway from our very narrow street
  • We found lovely things for the girls to wear at the wedding. Amanda has a skirt and blouse from Ann Taylor and Shelley has the same from Fashion Bug (she felt Ann Taylor was too grown up).
  • The boys have been out to Washington and back. They flew out all and back all by themselves and even managed a 2 1/2 hour stop over in Salt Lake without incident. They've seen the ocean, gone to a county fair (where Will says there were many 'hot girls') and a farmer's market. Mostly, they spent hours playing with the dogs and horses at my parent's house. Mom and Dad also got them their outfits for the wedding, taking some of the burden off us (Thank you!!).
  • Everybody starts school in the next two days. That's right. Everybody. My baby starts Kindergarten today. We were lucky enough to get her into their all day program. So long daycare bill!!

Coming up:

  • My last day of work is Friday, after which I'm not back until September 5th.
  • My parents arrive Sunday. Hence the painting, cleaning, fence rebuilding and brick-laying and time off work. The new fence/gate is needed for Retro and the new dog, Dora (coming with my parents), who will be Amanda's.
  • We leave for Gillette, Wyoming and the wedding in a few days. We'll arrive the afternoon of the rehearsal, then dinner and the wedding the next day. I cannot WAIT to meet Deena and her family and pretty much have my 'speech' all wrapped up (except for the 'please don't let me cry' part).
  • After the wedding, we're going to join my parents, grandfather and uncle on a mini-tour of South Dakota. We'll swing through New Castle, Wyoming (major metropolis) on our way to Custer and then Mt Rushmore. We'll spend the night in Rapid City and then start back West. We'll pass through Sturgis and actually end up back in Gillette before we turn South for home.
  • My brother in law has given me my next writing assignment: something light from the perspective of the 'civilian' for his Trooper newsletter/magazine. He said something about my being a good writer, which is like someone saying to you "Oh yeah, you're the funny one. Say something funny!". You appreciate the compliment but aren't sure you can live up to the pressure.

All this excitement is already causing me loss of sleep and panic attacks. Have I ever mentioned that I happen to be wound tighter than a spring? oooooooooooh yeah. By the end of next week, I'll make Shelley-Sue's Drama Queen tendencies look like a Zen Meditation.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

I Want To Know

I want to blog but my brain has serious "hamster on a wheel" syndrome (it won't shut up long enough for me to concentrate on one thing). I give up. Instead, here's a list of things I want to know. Feel free to answer any you like or add your own questions -- in other words, lurkers, I know you are there, please speak up, especially the one of you living in Alaska!

I want to know:
  • When did I learn how to figure the Lowest Common Multiplier to a string of numbers in my head? I know there was a point when I could not do this at all, I know approximately when I learned to do it on paper. When, exactly did I transfer this knowledge to my head?
  • Why can't I explain how I get the Lowest Common Multiplier in a way that makes any sort of sense to another rational adult?
  • Why is it that 12 people working in Las Vegas can't take as many calls per hour as nine people working in Temple, Texas?(this question, believe it or not is completely unrelated to the previous two)
  • Whatever happened to a 'free education system? I got the list of school fees for the kids today. Sheesh!
  • Speaking of fees: what exactly does the fee for Honor's English cover, considering that MadManda has to purchase separately each of the books she'll be reading in the class?
  • Where the heck is the Weight Loss Bandwagon? I swear I only got off it for a second; now it feels like it's MILES ahead of me.
  • Which artificial sweetener is Starbucks using in it's Sugar Free Cinnamon Dolce syrup?
  • Where are the executable CD's for my two Heroes of Might and Magic games have wandered off to?
  • Can I download songs sung by the King Kamehameha Children's Choir on iTunes?
  • (MadManda wants to know): Why is 'Superman' a butt head?
  • (Retro wants to know): Are you going to finish eating that?
  • (Will wants to know): Is riding on an airplane scary?
  • Is it Friday yet?

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Little Things

It's funny how the tiny things can make such a difference to us: the smallest irritation or perceived sleight can become worthy of hours spent whining and bitching (to ourselves or others). On the other hand, fifteen minutes spent in quiet meditation (or prayer, if that works for you) can bring us such peace, contentment and clarity; a small, inexpensive excursion you do for yourself, your partnership or your family can mean more (and be better remembered) than the Grand Vacation that cost a bazillion dollars and everybody argued the whole time.

Back on MSN I liked to periodically list the things that were making me happy. Here's my first "Little Things Making Me Happy" on Blogger

  • Meditation (what? You saw that coming? Ah. So much for subtlety): A quiet room, a quiet mind, sweeping out the cobwebs, draining out the boiling anger, letting in the sunshine, pulling up my own energy and that of the Source to calm me and give me purpose.
  • Music: iPod, live, sung to myself, on the computer, on the radio. Celtic, 'Spiritual', Rock, Country, Alternative. Music to fit (or change) my mood, makes me happy.
  • Small Rituals: Meditation, having a cup of tea in a cozy shop, scrubbing the heck out of myself in the shower, cleaning house (I do this one SO rarely!). Little rituals keep me grounded, centered, content.
  • Gratitude: saying thank you over and over again all day long. Thanks for things I take for granted: smooth highways and fast travel. Electricity, running water. Sunshine after clouds, rain after heat, spring after winter. Asking for what we need and getting it.. somehow, even when it seemed hopeless. Being gifted what I never knew I needed until somehow gave it to me without strings.
  • Children: five awesome people on their own journeys. It's a struggle and a pleasure but the joy of participating in their lives is never without reward.
  • Work: Learning a new function, pulling thousands of pieces of disparate material into a report tells us how we're doing, drawing a good wage(AND INSURANCE!) for a job I find challenging and enjoyable.
  • Learning: Picking a subject and finding out everything I can. Talking, reading, listening, watching and learning. Expanding my horizons.
  • Serendipitous Moments: The tea shop that I found on the net-- that wasn't open for another 30 minutes--just so happened to be located next to a spiritual bookstore that was, open, I mean. Finding just the right purse, after months of fruitless searching, when I took Cowboy someplace he wanted to go instead (and having it be 80% off too!). Moments that make me tingle make me happy.
  • Anticipation: The boys are going out to Washington to see my parents, my parents coming out here to see us, Amanda's dog arriving, back to school, my brother's wedding, my children and husband meeting my grandfather for the first time, our first ever (mini)vacation as a family to Rushmore after Alex's wedding.

What's making you happy? Sit quietly and think about it. If you can find nothing to be happy about, look for one small thing about which to be grateful. There is something, even if you have to dig. Hold it in your mind and feel other things you forgot start to occur to you. Revel in the knowledge that you are loved, somewhere. You are provided for, somehow. Feel yourself filled with a warm glow when you realize these things.

Use that energy.

Pass it on.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Harry Potter Post Number 7,450,560

I'm wondering.. is this blog number seven hundred million about the final installment of Harry Potter? Probably. I told Caffeinated Librarian that I was blogging about HP, and so I am. Just like everybody else, damn it.

For those of you following along (snort.. all two of you), my book was actually in my mailbox when I wrote the last post. The story of how it arrived (and how Amazon needs to work on their communication skills), will have to wait. The book was in my hands Sunday morning; I finished it Monday evening.

My boss, recruited into Harry-0-philia partially through my efforts this winter, was disappointed I wasn't finished Monday morning. As he looked at my copy sitting on the Traffic desk, one could almost glimpse inner turmoil: was it a misuse of company time to send me to a conference room until I was finished with the book? Unless he reads my blog (Dan? are you out there?), he'll have to wait till tomorrow.

I'm not quite sure how to proceed, so I'm going to borrow a page from CL and use bullet points. I am NOT using my love of bullet points as an excuse (much...)

Serious spoiler warning. Huge. Big Huge Spoilers. Continue at your Peril.

  • Overall Impression/Rating: I liked it. I liked it for what it was; the end, the sewing up of the threads, the goodbye to old friends at the end of a journey. I felt the pacing was quick but not too quick to savor this last chance to look in on the Wizarding world. I knew there was a lot of death to this book going in, and believe Rowling's inscriptions (is that the right word for the poetry and the William Penn quote?) prepared us even more for this probability. I know what some might say about the ending/epilogue: unnecessary and sappy. I once complained to a literature professor how unfortunate I feel it is that all 'great literature' must be sad. I like happy endings. I think the young and young at heart will appreciate the epilogue because it answers the question all us happy ending types always ask: what happens after 'Happily Every After?'
  • Kleenex Count: I knew when Amanda cried straight on from 200 pages to the end of the book, that I was in deep owl droppings. I did not cry for Mad Eye; he's just not lovable enough. Now, if you didn't cry for Dobby, you are one hard hearted son of a biscuit. I bawled. I bawled for Fred, Tonks, Lupin and Collin Creevy. I am a crier, though, we've established. Tears also appeared when Scrimgeour brought Dumbledore's bequests to the kids, when Kreacher turned the corner, when Harry saw his parent's grave, Ron came back after running away, the kids listen to the radio show, Aberforth tells the tale of Ariana's death, Snape died, when Harry went through Snape's memories, Harry marched to his death surrounded by his dead loved ones and when Neville was the one to step up first against Voldemort. I'm still dehydrated.
  • The Vernons: It was obvious for at least the last two books that Petunia knew more about Wizards and the wizarding world than she let on. My personal theory was that Petunia was actually a squib, but I like Rowlings' explanation more. In the matter of Dudley's (partial) redemption, to me, one of the overriding themes of this book was a lost cause may become an ally (or maybe just slightly less of a loss) if shown kindess or respect. A nice life lesson.
  • The Malfoys: Did anyone else tire of the 'Maloys are being punished' story line that's dragged on for the last two books? Me too. You're Voldemort, for crepe's sake: you don't punish people. You PUNISH them, I felt it wasn't true to his style to leave them all alive. But anyway... Draco's refusal to ID the trio when they're brought to the manor went nicely along with Dudley's (tiny) act of kindness and the theme I mentioned earlier. Here, though, is another theme: once a selfish bastard, always a selfish bastard. That one tiny mercy doesn't make a lot of difference when the Malfoy parents were clearly looking out only for numbers 1, 2 and 3 alone. One can easily imagine they claimed (again) to have been Imperiused when the whole thing was over. I guess I just found a third lesson: give people the chance to redeem themselves but don't beat yourself up if they don't take it.
  • The Weasleys I (like Libby) had accepted that the Weasley clan would most likely sustain a major casualty in the war. I managed to delude (most of) myself into thinking George's ear was the casualty. In the back of my mind though, I kept thinking they were getting off easy. When Percy climbed through the cave opening, I knew we must be losing someone already in Hogwarts and my heart started breaking. I can't imagine Fred without George without Fred; it actually made ending the series that much easier. There can't be anymore books because there can't be stories with only George, not Fred.
  • Mrs. Weasley: So cool she gets her own bullet point! It may sound horrible, but I pictured a Jedi battle when Bellatrix fought Mrs. Weasley. Didn't prevent it from being frickin awesome. Rowling could not have chosen a better pairing: the woman who clearly never nurtured anything in her life against the wizarding world's best mom. That's right, we're moms. We can heal wounds and conjure up fabulous sauces, school supplies, new tennis shoes and money for field trips from nowhere. We can also kick serious ass!
  • Umbridge: There is something horrible about a person who fights evil with it's own weapons. When that same character can actually go along with evil because it serves her agendas, that's unspeakable. I think Umbridge is actually Rowling's scariest character because people like her exist.
  • Magical Creatures: There is a fundamental difference between Potter and the Death Eaters in the way they treat and view magical creatures. It magnifies the difference between the right way and the wrong. Harry buries Dobby because it's the right thing to do, not to make any kind of show. None of the Death Eaters would ever think to do that but sadly, neither did many other basically decent Wizards.
  • Becoming our Own Hero: There comes a time when we realize the people we idolized aren't so great after all. Harry's already done this but he's gone beyond. He takes it one step further by doing right where Sirius did wrong, Lily did, where Dumbledore did. He ends the book as his own man, surrounded by people who care about him but out of the shadow of his parent's sacrifice, even of his own place in destiny. We must all do this. Our heroes show us one part of the path, one way of doing things but sooner or later we find they have faults. We must find a way of becoming our own heroes, without need of fame or praise if we're ever to be really happy. I feel certain if Harry ended the book in front of the Mirror of Ariced, he would see only himself, just as he was. We should all be so lucky.

Saturday, July 21, 2007 Bites and The Worst Writer's Block. Ever.

My copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, which I dutifully preordered June 12 did not arrive today. I was dubious about ordering it this way in the first place, seeing how Manda and I skipped all the hub-bub of the last release and STILL had a copy in our grubby paws by 12:05AM (24hour grocery stores sell books, at a discount even!). Still, well-meaning coworkers and peer pressure got to me and I caved; I preordered.

Manda didn't. Instead, she dragged me to King Soopers at 11:30 for HER copy. I ended up there anyway; I should have just purchased the dag nab thing that way. I should have run to Sam's or Costco this morning and gotten it for $17.99 (and NO SHIPPING!). But nooooooo.. I have to be all '21st Century', Internet savvy, seduced by one coworkers' story that she actually received her copy of HP:ATHBP a whole day early.

Manda's on Chapter 11 and periodically gasps or laughs. It's torture.

I sent a very uncharacteristically un-world-peace-good-karma-pay-it-forward email to Amazon at exactly 7:15 pointing out that their delivery guarantee was as valuable as Confederate money.

It's a good thing my Pat did such a great job on my hair; otherwise the day might be a total loss.

As for the Writer's Block: my grandfather has asked me to speak at Alex's rehearsal dinner. It's something of a tradition for my father's side of the family to have a little speech, poem or song prepared for very special occasions. Sometimes my grandparents spent weeks getting it ready, sometimes they made the thing up in the middle of the event.

I spoke at my grandmother's wake and most of my family read my blog at least occasionally. I guess it's kind of a passing of the torch that Pop-pop has asked me to do it for Alex. Needless to say, I'm incredibly honored and touched. I'm incredibly proud of Alex and couldn't be more happy for him. Combine that with a history of saying exactly the very most WRONG thing at the worst possible times and.......

Forget Writer's Block. It's Writer's Mountain.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

I know it's lame...

I know it's lame, but a quiz related update is better than no update...

Which Family Guy Character Are You? (pics)

You are smarter than most of those surrounding you, yet it is wasted on heinous projects. You demand alot and kick ass when you dont get it.
Take The Quiz Now!Quizzes by

Monday, June 18, 2007

Also from Virus Head

Your Greek Goddess Soulmate (With Pictures) Girls Only

Goddess Athena
You are most like Athena. She was the divine sponsor of warriors and heroes, she introduced several of the arts and crafts necessary for civilization, and she represented wisdom. Obviously, the goddess played a prominent role in Greek mythology. The poet Hesiod states that Athena emerged from the head of Zeus; indeed, she sprang out fully grown and armed for battle. The idea that she was born from a male underscores her relationship with men, both divine and human. In the human realm, Athena consistently becomes a protector of heroes; while in the divine she completely avoids sexual liaisons with gods.
Take The Quiz Now!Quizzes by

What is your TRUE name?

The Irish-Celtic god of the earth and treaties, and ruler over life and death. Dagda, or The Dagda, (''the good god'') is one of the most prominent gods and the leader of the Tuatha D Danann. He is a master of magic, a fearsome warrior and a skilled artisan. Dagda is a son of the goddess Danu, and father of the goddess Brigid and the god Aengus mac Oc. The Morrigan is his wife, with whom he mates on New Years Day The Dagda is portrayed as possessing both super- human strength and appetite.
Take The Quiz Now!Quizzes by

What Mythical Creature Best Suites Your Personality?

You are sweet and forgiving. People love you, there is no doubt about that. Keep it up and you will become Miss. Populartiy!!! You arn't timid and you let people know that in a nice way. Congratulations!!!
Take The Quiz Now!Quizzes by

What is your Spiritual gift?

You have a very special gift. You are a Meduim .....AMeduim is some one who can talk with spirit and bring peace to those who have lost loved ones and the loved ones they lost. This is a gift that you must use wisely and not take for granted.
Take The Quiz Now!Quizzes by


You are a Hindu. Beleiving in many different Gods, and reincarnation. If you are American and got this one, don't be scared. Look into it
Take The Quiz Now!Quizzes by

Which Tarot Arcana are You? (women)

Completion, reward, assured success. Triumph in all undertakings. Arrival at the state of cosmic consciousness. Can mean also movement in one's affairs or travel.
Take The Quiz Now!Quizzes by

MMm... loving the last one. The very first reading I ever did (and come to think of it, the latest too) turned up this card in the Final Outcome position.

Speaking of, I had a Tarot reading done at the Ren Faire this weekend. It was the first time I let someone read for me. She spent an hour with me, working and talking. It was fascinating.

There was lots I have seen before in my own readings but also I learned a lot that I might not otherwise have seen with out help from an outside observer. By that, I mean that some cards I see all the time for myself turned up in familiar positions. However, there were some present in very (uncomfortably) accurate positions which I never have. Also, some recurring themes; a card that we get almost every time we read for MadManda came up in portion the reading concerning her specifically. COOOOOOL!

Best of all, she offered to send me some materials she used to use to teach _ for free_ and even sent me home with a book on Palmistry. It felt very much like a case of being led to someone who might help guide me in the next step on the journey. Wonder where I'm going next!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

My Celebrity Lookalikes.

Eric, does this mean you're going to start referring to me as Condi?

Friday, June 15, 2007

R.I.P. Crisis-A-Minute Christy

A not-so secret nickname my parents gave me growing up. Didn't matter how big or small the issue was, for me, it was all about the drama. ALL about the drama. Every little setback was a major catastrophe, every minor obstacle an urgent crisis.

Ask my parents, or just check their phone records for calls at ungodly hours; the trend continued into adulthood. Ask my bosses, my husband, my ex-boyfriends and friends. It was a bad idea to put me in charge of the team Christmas decoration contest, much less expect me to do something like I did Tuesday. Three years ago, I'd have collapsed completely.

5:30AM Tuesday: I'm driving through rain, headed in to cover the Traffic desk for D, who is sick. It's my day off but with the Mandatory OT, I was scheduled to be at work anyway. It's too early to be going anywhere without coffee and I left the house without it.

5:45AM: Properly prepared with Starbucks, I get to the third floor. I start the process of logging into 3 computers, multiple data bases, programs and trackers, and setting up 4 monitors with multiple views of the same thing: who is doing what, where and how fast.

5:55AM: The business analysts just to the right of me are having trouble logging in to their phones. I can't log into the desk phone or my own extension. A quick check, nobody on the floor can log in to their phones.

5:57AM: The main Traffic desk downstairs confirms the phone servers for the entire building are out. May be related to the lightning strike that took out a tree near us the night before. I have three minutes before my people need to be on the phones or retail will grind to a halt and my company will begin losing thousands of dollars an hour.

Maybe during Cowboy's extended and repeated hospitalizations, I learned to deal.

I start making alternate plans. Mandatory OT means our two alternate sites may have people in their seats early. It'll be less than half our staff but something is better than nothing. I find out how to get our people credit for being here on time and get the word out through our leads. I send the hardest email of my career, to the sups, my managers and even the director, that our main site is down and we have no ETA on repair.

6:00AM: Sites T and V have people logged in! Not very many, but there aren't very many calls at six either and Tuesday is our slowest day of the week.

If sites V and T can receive calls, will they be our calls or the default? Two fast phone calls and I have my answer: the calls are (because my allocation did work) are for Credit issues. We're in business.

6:05AM: I have thirty agents here and nothing for them to do. Next plan: I have the leads get most people started on a web based training we all have to complete in the next two weeks. The rest I get into off-queue order processing.

6:30AM: Sup M arrives and joins the conference call I attended earlier. Our problem is minor compared to what all of the Collections groups are groing through. Back at the Ranch: The floor is quiet, everyone has something to do.

6:45AM: Have everybody log out, they're going to reboot the servers.

6:46AM: We select a few people to log in again. Log out. Log in. Log out. Log in. Scattered reports that they're getting Credit calls. Then Collections, Care.. Retention. Log out again. Log in... wait... success!

6:50 AM: We have the whole center log in, I set tentatively reset the allocation to give us the majority and pray. Agents sitting around the Traffic desk give me the thumbs up: it's Credit calls they're getting. Even better, we're operating at normal capacity within ten minutes.

A few minutes later, my screens go live and my magic call tracking eyes are back too. I send out a follow up to my earlier note: the issue is fixed, we're live and kicking; what's more, the issue cost us very little out of our SLA. Throughout the morning people stop by to thank me and I wonder what I did that was extraordinary.

It's not until I am driving home that I realize what I did: I handled a crisis. I stuck my finger in the damn and got everybody filling sandbags until the Army Corps of Engineers could arrive.

I guess she's gone. Rest in Peace, Crisis-A-Minute Christy.

The ABC's of Me

From Aynde:
A - Attached or single? Attached for (knock wood) life to my Cowboy.
B - Best friend? Cowboy, Aynde and Cara.
C - Cake or pie? Cake! Anything Oooey Gooey and Fudgey!
D - Drink of choice? 32 oz of ice cold water with 1 tblspn of apple juice mixed in.
E - Essential item? Treo755p
F - Favorite color? Deep rich red
G - Gummi bears or worms? Bears but too many make me yak.
H - Hometown? Laramie, Wy.
I - Indulgence? Miso Soup, Sashimi and Tempura Nuri (that's calamari or SQUID if you REALLY want to know)
J – Jail? Er... technically, I have been arrested twice. For my dogs(long story both times). I have never been actually put in a cell, just processed and then released when I paid the over due fine.
K - Kids? 5! MadManda. SuperShel, WondrousWill, PrecociousPat and CommandanteCheryl
L - Life is incomplete without? Projecting positive energy and learning everything you can.
M - Marriage date? June 4th, 1994
N - Number of siblings? 1: Alex.
O - Oranges or apples? Apples. Granny Smith
P - Phobia/fears? Water. Deep, dark water.
Q - Favorite quote? All it takes is faith and trust. And a little bit of Pixie Dust.
R - Reasons to smile? Everything!
S - Season? In Texas? Fall in the Rockies.
T - Tag three. Cara, Virushead, MadManda
U - Unknown fact about me? I am allergic to pineapple.
V - Vegetarian or oppressor of animals? If They didn't want us to eat meat, They should not have made animals out of Meat.
W - Worst habit? Worrying about things I cannot control
X - X-rays or ultrasounds?? Mostly ultrasounds. Five babies. Lots of Jelly on the belly, see your baby on the telly!
Y – Can you Yo-Yo? No, yo?
Z - Zodiac? Pisces and BOY, am I!