What it's all about...

I'm a 39 year old wife, mom, daughter, sister, aunt & friend. That should tell you who I'll be writing about most of the time.







Thursday, December 22, 2011

3 days until Christmas!

This month is flying by! Almost Christmas and then the month (and year!) will be over. One more down with an undetermined number to go...

So, I got my grades back for this semester and for the first time, I earned all A's! I really thought that I was going to continue my trend of all A's and one B, but it wasn't to be this time. :) Next semester, I'm only taking three classes instead of 4 like I've done every semester to this point. I'm looking forward to it, but know that the classes I'm taking should also be a bit harder so I'll need to keep focused. If I've figured it all out correctly, I have 3 more semesters to go for my associates degree, and then it's onto a bachelor program. I haven't yet decided where I'm going for that one, but I'm leaning towards one that seems to have a pretty good selection of online classes. That is probably the most important feature that I'm looking for, as I certainly can't go to classes during the day unless it's on the weekends. So, I'm getting there.

I think that we are completely done shopping for gifts and I only have a couple left to wrap. We will be spending Christmas Eve with Shell's best friend and her family, which has become a tradition that we all look forward to. They make a variety of pierogies that are to die for and we always eat too much. We can't help it. Then we're going to have my parents over on Christmas Day for, um... well, we know they are coming but we haven't yet decided what to make. I'm totally leaning towards Chinese takeout, but it's not going over very well. I just want as little fuss and mess as possible. Shell and I are both off on the 26th, and I'm really looking forward to a quiet and relaxing day together.

For the first time in a very long time, I will get to kiss my wife at midnight on New Years. When she was working nights, her and a coworker would split Christmas Eve and New Years Eve and she always worked NYE so that she could be home Christmas morning. With her new position, she is off on Saturday and Sunday nights, but it doesn't matter because her department is closed both days. We have no plans for that evening, just going to enjoy being together. :)

January is going to bring all kinds of good stuff my way. My sister is coming in on the 5th to go with me to the Cirque du Soleil and even though we don't have any plans other than that, it should be fun. She's only here until Monday the 9th, but then my best friend and his boyfriend arrive on the 11th for a week long visit. I will be off all but one day of their stay and I am SO looking forward to that! We don't have big plans for their stay either, but I see lots of games, drinks, food and relaxing, happy moments being had. I hope that the weather isn't very snowy so that we can get out and around with my sister and the boys. Those visits are going to be my Christmas gifts this year. I had them all under my roof last January and although their visits will be separate this year, I am looking forward to them just as much.

Friday, December 2, 2011

December- For Better or Worse

I am seriously overwhelmed. Seriously. Why, you ask? Hm, where should I start?

There is one week + one day left in this semester and although I cannot wait for it to be over, I also need it to slow down. I can't seem to find time to study for my finals, not to mention I'm not sure when I'm going to have time to take one of them. Luckily, my grades are good again this semester, but I certainly don't want to go into these big exams without being prepared.

I haven't even begun decorating for Christmas yet and I doubt I'll be able to until the semester is over. That puts it at the 11th, unless my kids want to do it while I'm studying every night...

I'm getting my top two wisdom teeth extracted on the 16th. Yes, one week before Christmas. We had almost enough left in our FSA account to cover our portion of the surgery and since it doesn't rollover, we were happy to have a reason to use it. I didn't want to have it done while I was juggling school, so I had to choose either the 16th or the 23rd. I had my bottom ones taken out over 10 years ago, but the top ones seem a little trickier since they are really close to my sinuses and because of my "advanced age". Oh, and I'm having IV sedation for it, which is a first for me. All kinds of fun!

The prep for Christmas is just barely ahead of my decorating for Christmas. We're almost done with the kids. They are getting iPod Touches (so they'll stop playing games on my iPhone!) which are on layaway and only need two more payments, tickets to see Wicked which were just purchased a couple of days ago, and school yearbooks which will be ordered right after Christmas. All that's left for them is some stocking stuffers. We had our photos taken a couple of weeks ago and have the CD with our shots, so this weekend we're planning to sit down and finalize our Christmas cards and get them ordered. Our parents are all getting 8x10 framed photos and my grandparents are getting 5x7 framed photos. We are taking Shell's best friend and her girlfriend to see Wicked with us as their gifts, but I'm really struggling with what to get my best friend and his boyfriend. Other than that, we've got some gift cards to buy and that pretty much wraps up our gift giving.

My sister is flying in on January 5 to go with me to see the Michael Jackson Immortal Cirque du Soleil show. I am so excited to see this, especially after downloading the CD. And I'm happy that my sister is going to share it with me. She's only here from Thursday to Monday, so I'm looking forward to spending lots of time just hanging out and being with her.

I've got one more visit coming too, but I can't talk about it yet since it's a surprise and I don't want it ruined. :)

So basically, I've got a lot of crazy for one more week (+ one day) and then getting through Christmas. Piece of cake!

Friday, October 28, 2011

For my lesbian sisters...

This is further proof that it's good to be a lesbian... :)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Half a semester down...

I'm two weeks into the second half of the semester, and feeling pretty good about where I am. I aced my music midterm, thanks to an extra credit assignment and have pretty good grades in my other classes. I received an invitation to join the honor society, which just blew me away and after discussing it with Shell, decided to join. Guess I'd better plan to keep my grades up, because I really want to wear the cool stole, cords, and tassel at graduation. :)

Speaking of grades, the kids got their first quarter report cards and they each have all A's with just one B, in geometry. They are doing so well, especially considering how busy we are. Football season is almost over for my boy, I think he only has one game left. Rehearsals for the musical my girl is in are in full swing, less than a month until the performance. We need to go shopping this weekend for her costume. Luckily, most of it, she could wear again, so at least we won't be spending money on something she'll never wear again. Speaking of costumes, I don't yet know if my kids are dressing up for Halloween yet. I don't think they were planning to, until the boy reminded his sister that since she is getting braces on after the first of the year, she won't be able to eat much candy next year. So, I think that she is reconsidering so she can trick or treat and eat candy. I don't know what she plans to be, but I'm sure she'll come up with something.

As a result of my being an adult and getting my exams, I'm having a small procedure done tomorrow. One of the moles that the dermatologist sent for biopsy came back positive for pre-cancer cells, so she wants to take the whole thing out and eliminate any chance that it might develop into cancer at some point. I'm told it's no big deal so I'm planning to return to work after it's done. There will be stitches, and the bandage will need to be changed at least once a day. I'm glad that I have Shell to do this for me, since it's on my back but this makes me wonder. What a pain it would be if I was single. I wonder if I'd have to drive to my parents house at least once a day to have one of them change the bandage?

Last but not least, my sister is getting a divorce. While my nieces were here this summer, my brother-in-law moved out. I'm told that it had come up previously, but after trying one thing after another, the decision to split was finally made while the girls were gone. So far, they are on the same page with everything. They are using a mediator, which seems like a much gentler way to end a marriage than having to deal with a lawyer. My parents however, have been shaken by this news. I think that it's a combination of the fact that they really like my brother-in-law, and that my sister's marriage has been a source of pride for them. When your daughter gets pregnant at 15 years old, her future probably looks pretty bleak. When she gets married at 16 to her 17 year old boyfriend, I don't think that you expect them to be together forever. They seemed to defy the odds though. They were married for almost 17 years, have 17 and 13 year old daughters, my brother-in-law went to the police academy and became a police officer and now a detective, my sister went to nursing school and is now an RN, and they own a cute house. On the outside, it couldn't be better. However, as with any relationship, noone really knows what it's like in each one except for those who are in it. And they had simply grown apart. From what I can tell, there isn't any animosity and they are agreeing on everything. I'm happy that my sister took control of her happiness and is moving toward being fulfilled in ways that she was no longer getting in her marriage. I'm sad for my nieces, but they seem to be handling it really well. I guess that is a sign that it was time as well.

This whole thing has made me look closer at my relationship with Shell. We have been through a lot of rocky patches that made us wonder, at the time, if it was worth staying together. I can honestly say that there were times that we probably stayed only for the kids and because splitting up would be a hassle. And had we not found ways to heal our relationship, I don't think we could have lived in that place we had allowed ourselves to get to. But we did heal, many times over, and we are now in a better place than we've ever been. I'm certain that the kids being older has a lot to do with that, but I also know that I value her more now than ever before. I've found and embraced the sex drive that I had all but lost, and even though I hate the size I am now, I also feel pretty good knowing that Shell finds me sexy and appealing and turned on by me. We text and email each other throughout the day to flirt, play games, or just say I love you. We don't have a lot of time together in the evenings, which is ironic now that she isn't working nights anymore, but we are making it work. And this, right now, makes me extremely thankful that we didn't give up before. This is what I hoped we could achieve, and even though we still have less-than-stellar moments, we bounce back from them much quicker. It's a much healthier model for our kids and that makes me very happy.

Oh, and somehow, I am having much better luck commenting on blogs all of a sudden. I don't know what changed, but so far it's going quite well. :)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Update and a Meme

I am so incredibly tired today and I think my body is starting to rebel against no downtime lately. This has been a busy week, which let's be hones, was preceded by many busy weeks and will be followed by many busy weeks. It all started (this week) on Saturday, when we cleaned our house from top to bottom. Seriously, it hasn't been this clean in months. I also had class that day. And that night Shell and the boy made cherry almond scones because we invited my parents over for brunch on Sunday. (Couldn't let the freshly cleaned house go unnoticed.) I got up at 8am Sunday morning and threw towels in the washer, started making bacon, and worked on some homework. My parents showed up at 11, we ate scones, bacon, frittatas, and hash browns then played Tripoley. The kids and I were not too sure about it as my mom was reading the directions, but it was a lot of fun. They left around 5 and I immediately started working on the study guide for my music midterm, which I'll be taking this Saturday morning.

Shell and I took the day off on Monday to schedule a couple of appointments that were long overdue. In 2007, I went to see a dermatologist because I have a lot of moles and freckles all over my body. She did a full skin check and recommended that I come back yearly so that she would have something to compare to. There weren't any at the time that really concerned her though. So I scheduled that "yearly" follow-up for Monday at 8:50am and dragged Shell along because she is always pointing out moles that she is concerned about. I'm glad that she went, because the doctor was able to ease her concerns about almost all of them and gave her a lesson on what to watch for. There was one on my back that usually gets rubbed by my bra, so even though she thought it wasn't a concern from a medical standpoint, she agreed to remove it. There was one that she wanted to check (also on my back), so she took a piece off to biopsy, along with the other. Skin check- done.

Our next set of appointments weren't until the afternoon, so we went to Cracker Barrel for breakfast and then home to watch some of our recorded shows. Then we were off to the gynecologist. Yay! We were there last in 2009, but the doctor said that unless there was a problem or concern, it's okay to go every 2-3 years. At least until I'm 40...which is in 3 years. My exam checked out okay, other than a high blood pressure. Shell was given an order to get some bloodwork done and we checked that off our list as well.

I couldn't get in for a well-woman check at my regular doctor that day, so it'll have to be scheduled still. The only other appointment that I needed to make was to get my teeth cleaned (I'm about a year behind on that one :/), but since I couldn't fit it in on my day off, I'll be going in for that at 7am on the 27th. But then the list of overdue annual appointments will be fulfilled. At least for this year :)

This Saturday is going to be busy all day long. Shell's bloodwork has to be done first thing in the morning, so I'll take her for that at 8am. I need to be in the testing center by 9 to take my music midterm, we have our hair appointment at 11, I have biology class at 1, and our boy has a football game at 3. I am going to be SO happy to get home after all that!

I saw this mem on Heidi's blog and even though I think I took one like it a couple of years ago, I thought I'd do it again. Oh, and I'm still having the worst time commenting on your blogs. I've tried over and over, and get into this endless circle of being logged out, then needing to preview, then trying to post and being told I have to log back in. I haven't successfully posted a comment in so long. I wish I knew for sure if it was a blogger thing, then I would go to wordpress for sure. But I don't want to do that only to find out that blogger wasn't the problem in the first place. Ugh!

Anyway, on to the meme!


Are you open with your sexuality? Yes, very. I never hide who my family is. This became my norm after my kids were born and I realized that to hide or stay in the closet about who we were would only give them the impression that there was something wrong with us, and I was not going to contribute to that ridiculous idea. So I've been open everywhere I worked, and my entire family knows. In truth, I'm proud of us and what we have. We've been together since were were 17 years old and we own our home, have two smart and overall awesome kids, two dogs and are loved and accepted by those who matter. Our children aren't ashamed of us, they invite their friends over and call us mommy and mama still, even in front of their friends. What we have is worth being open about.


Who was the 1st person you told that you’re a lesbian? I dont' remember actually saying "I'm a lesbian", but I told my best friend that Shell and I were a couple. Luckily for me, he had already come out to me a year or so before, so I got no judgment from him. :)


Overall, how difficult was it to come out? Actually, coming out was not difficult at all. The hard part was that my mom didn't like Shell, so I think that the opposition was more about who I was with than what her gender was. Now that said, if I went to my mom tomorrow and said that I thought I was wrong and I'm really straight? She'd probably throw a party and start lining up available men in a second!


Do you own anything with the Gay Rainbow on it? Yes. Bumper stickers, stuffed animals, buttons, shirts, jewelry... I like the rainbow. :)


Do you consider yourself Butch, Androgynous, or Femme? Of those three? Femme. But I don't really think of myself as a "femme". The extent of my makeup use is a little eye shadow and some eyeliner. I wear chapstick, not lipstick. I abhor pantyhose and skirts. My hair is short and cut so that styling it takes minimal time. I don't wear perfume and I keep my nails short. I often go several weeks between shaving my legs. See, not really very "femme", but it's the closest of the three.


What type of females are you most attracted to? Butch girls do it for me. They don't have to be stone butch, soft butch is okay too.


What famous lesbian is your favorite? Rosie O'Donnell. I like a lot of famous lesbians, for a lot of reasons, but I like Rosie for almost every reason.


What is your favorite lesbian movie? I will forever love Fried Green Tomatoes, even though they totally glossed over the lesbian relationship that Ruth and Idgie had in the book, you can still find it in the movie and I just love them.


Do you have any Pride tattoos? I don't have a "Pride" tattoo, but I do have a tattoo of a heart with Shell's initials in it.


How do you feel about Gays/Lesbians having children? Well, I'm pretty much in favor of it. And I think that with queer parents, kids have a different perspective on kids who fall outside the norm.


If it were legal, would you marry another woman? In a heartbeat. I don't know if Colorado will do it in my lifetime, but that's what we're waiting for. I can't see getting married in another state if it won't make a difference in the state I live in.


Have you ever attended a Gay Pride Festival? Yep, we go every year. Denver has a great Pride festival and the kids love going too.


Do you have more Gay/Lesbian/Bi friends than you do Straight friends? I'd say it's probably about even.


Have you ever personally dealt with homophobia? No, and I know how fortunate I am for that.


Did anyone stop having contact with you after you came out of the closet? There were a few people who put some distance between us, but it didn't last for long. I'm just too lovable to stay away from forever. ;)


Do you believe you were born a lesbian? Yes, absolutely, 100%.


Are you proud? Yes. :)

Friday, September 30, 2011

September...is over?

While I am thrilled that the heat of summer is over, I just can't believe that this year is winding down already. Shell has begun making plans for Christmas gifts and I'm just sitting here shaking my head in disbelief. Since the kids and I went back to school it has just been one big whirlwind of activity. My boy started playing football, thanks to a generous gift from my best friend and his boyfriend. We were struggling to figure out a way to pay for his registration and they sent my boy a check for his birthday that covered the whole amount we needed. He plays in a league sponsored by the local rec center, but his team is comprised of boys from his school only. They are 12 and 13 year olds and my kid is the second tallest on his team. He's so tall. When we went for their annual checkups at the end of July, he measured 5'8 3/4" tall. The girl was 5'4 3/4". I was pretty tall for my age growing up, so while I'm not surprised at their heights, it still amazes me that my 13 year old son is now taller than me...and still growing. Anyway, he loves playing football, but his team is not so great. Only 3 of the boys on it have played before and it shows. They still have two games left to play, but so far they've only won one and it was a scrimmage. He wants to play on the high school team next year, which should have better outcomes. Other than the couple of games I've missed due to my classes, we've all gone to every game and cheered them on. Shell loves that he's in a sport that she already loved to begin with and my girl asks questions all the time so that she can understand what's going on. Even my parents have gone to a lot of the games, which has meant more to us than they know.

For their birthday, the kids got their first cell phones. We've held out on this for a long time, but so many times recently we've noticed how it would be an advantage for them and us. Shell and I were both overdue for updating our own phones, so we did a free upgrade on hers, got the kids the free-with-plan phones and I got an iPhone 3. Such a move up for me from my old flip phone and I am loving it. With four phones in our house that have unlimited texting, free mobile-to-any-mobile, and free nights and weekends, plus 700 shared minutes to landlines, it didn't make sense to keep the home phone any longer. Not only did we get rid of that, we switched from satellite to cable for our television and switched to a faster internet service. These changes would be saving us quite a bit if it wasn't for the extra phones plus the data plan on the iPhone...but it comes out to be almost a wash.

Shell and I didn't have unlimited texting on our phones before, but now that we do? So much texting going on! I text my sisters, I text the kids, and Shell and I text while we're at work. Texting has allowed me to reconnect with a friend that I had spotty contact with over the last few years, and we text almost daily now. It has been such a delightful addition to my days being able to catch up with her and have her in my life again. We had a lot in common when we were close as 13/14 year olds and we have even more in common now. Actually, I wrote about Judy a little back in this post and am truly thankful that we are picking up where we left off and jumping right in to being great friends.

My girl auditioned for and got the part she wanted in this year's school musical, "The Big Bad Musical". It is a super cute story about the trial of the Big Bad Wolf in Little Red Riding Hood. My girl plays the newscaster, Sydney Grimm, and she even has a big solo at the end. Because of his practice schedule, the boy didn't audition so this is all for the girl this time. Even though he's not doing the musical, he is still in band and performs with the pep band. Their schedules along with my on-campus classes keep me very busy. Now that Shell is working days, she's not available to run them where they need to go, so it's made my days full. Luckily, she's been getting some overtime recently, so hopefully we'll be able to catch up on some bills and make Christmas a little less painful.

As for my classes, I'm enjoying them for the most part. My math buddy from last semester decided to move to the same class that I'm taking for math, so we have each other to work with again. This is helping a lot. Music Appreciation is not the light workload that I was expecting, so although I really enjoy it, it's a lot to stay on top of. For my English composition class, we are building up to our final research paper with weekly exercises to strengthen our paper. And Biology...well, it's certainly not my favorite class, by a long shot. Luckily, it is not the Biology that science majors have to take so it's a little less on the technical side, but it is still biology and I am still not a science-y person. It shows.

Before I wrap this up for now, I'm curious if anyone else is having trouble with blogger. I am finding it impossible to comment on other blogs with my google account and it is really frustrating. I don't really want to move my blog, but if Wordpress is more reliable I wonder if it would be worth it. Any thoughts?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Alphabet Meme

The proverbial kick-in-the-pants....

A. Age
I turned 37 in May. I really am not the kind of person who identifies with their age. I look at the number and never feel like it applies to me. There are plenty of days that my body feels like my age and older, but mentally I can't reconcile the number to me. I don't dread birthdays like so many others because I truly feel like it's just a day that I get presents and extra attention...how is that something to dread? :)
B. Bed Size
Queen
C. Chore you hate.
I HATE pulling weeds! Probably because we don't do it until they're already very long and have strong roots...but I'm not a fan of being in the sun for long periods of time and have never been one to play in any kind of dirt. No gardening or landscaping for me.
D. Dogs.
LOVE them! We currently have two basset hounds, one male and one female.
E. Essential start of day.
I guess it would have to be brushing my teeth. I don't always eat breakfast and I'm just starting to play around with different types of coffees (thanks to our pretty new Keurig), so neither of those are essential. Oh wait... I absolutely can't start my day until I've fed the dogs, otherwise they'll just whine and whine until I go crazy.
F. Favorite color.
I love greens
G. Gold or silver.
Both. I read somewhere recently that the long held belief that you can't wear both at once is no longer the case. I wonder if that's true because I have jewelry in both that I'd love to wear together if I could.
H. Height.
I am 5'8". I was taller that most of the boys when I was in junior high and much taller than my female friends. Didn't really like that so much. I am still taller than a lot of my friends. It's not so bad now.
I. Instruments played.
None.
J. Job title.
Right this minute, it is Receptionist/Office Support. Hopefully very soon it will be something on par with Office Manager. Keeping my fingers crossed... I'd appreciate it if you would too. :)
K. Kids.
My son and daughter will be 13 years old in 12 days. I'm still processing it...
L. Live.
I was born and raised in Southern California, but was never the definition of a California girl. Never. Now, I live in a suburb of Denver and love it. THIS is where I belong.
M. Mom's name.
Marvell
N. Nickname.
The nickname that is directly derived from my name is Tyff. But I am also Mommy, Timmy, Babe and Beautiful.
O. Overnight Hospital Stays.
When I was 3, I had the measles and was in a quarantined hospital room. I'm not sure for exactly how long, but it was a matter of days. I gave birth to my twins via C-section, so was in the hospital for 4 days then. The only other time was when my son was 2 months old and spiked a very high fever. He (and I) were in the hospital for 3 days while they attempted to figure out what was causing it, and what wasn't. Thankfully, it was none of the bad stuff that they could test him for and once the fever broke they diagnosed it as something viral.
P. Pet Peeve
School supply lists
Q. Quote from a movie
"I love ya more than my luggage."
R. Right or left handed?
Right
S. Siblings.
2 sisters. They are polar-opposite twins and are 3 1/2 years younger than me.
T. Time you wake up.
Whichever comes first: The dogs needing to go outside or my alarm at 5:30am. I have no idea how late I could sleep if the dogs didn't wake me up. On the weekends, they never let me sleep past 6:30. :(
U. Underwear.
Is not all that exciting. Have never worn a thong and strongly believe that given my weight, I should keep it that way.
V. Vegetable you dislike.
I don't like beets. That may actually be the only vegetable I don't like.
W. What makes you run late.
Sleeping in "just a little longer". Screws me every time...
X. X rays you have had done.
Lots of dental x-rays, ultrasounds during pregnancy, my knee and one mammogram.
Y. Yummy food you make.
French toast, omelettes, pumpkin bread, spaghetti, shrimp scampi pasta.
Z. Zoo animal.
I have always loved the Przewalski horses. I think they are beautiful.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

A Shift

Well, we are 2 days into Shell's new position and have already learned a lot. Yesterday morning was a big fat fail, but what went wrong was highlighted and those things went 100% smoother this morning. She's struggling with sleeping at night, but that is something we both saw coming because it's a problem she has always had on the weekends too. I figure it'll take a couple of weeks to become her new sleeping pattern. I had to work at Pet*Mart the last two nights and didn't get home until after 10, so I only got to enjoy having her there for a short time before we fell asleep, but I'm hoping that we'll have some *quality* time either tonight or tomorrow.

Speaking of Pet*Mart, I've decided not to continue working there after the end of this month. It was quite a challenge to juggle two jobs, 4 classes and my family for the last two semesters and I always felt like I was just making it work. I need to be more present for my family and in my schoolwork, so something needed to give. I think that my full-time job probably suffered too and I can't let that happen either. Especially since it looks like I'm going to get a promotion which will mean that I'll be packing more into my 8-hour days and I need to be at the top of my game for that. So, bye-bye part-time job....at least through the next school year. I hope that they'll be willing to hire me back next summer if we need some extra money.

As for the promotion, I'm meeting with our Vice-President next week to discuss the new position and what it would mean in terms of a salary increase. It would be fantastic if it could make up for the shift differential that Shell lost along with the money that I won't be making by working part-time, but that may be wishful thinking. I'm hoping without expecting...

My kids will be 13 years old in 3 weeks... Still processing this one.

My nieces are coming next week for a two week visit. This makes me thrilled and wary. I miss them a ton and really enjoy them when they come, but events during their visit last summer caused the argument and resulting 4 month silence between my mother and I that I'm hoping will not be repeated again. I've already talked to my mom about some things that I think will help prevent the same issues from popping up and I was very happy that she agreed with me. I really just want to enjoy them while they are here. My oldest niece will turn 17 next month and will graduate high school in the spring, so I don't anticipate that she'll be coming out to visit next summer. We are planning to go to California for her graduation and then make it our vacation as well, but I don't think I'll have much time with just her. I'm looking forward to some good long talks and simply happy moments with her and her sister.

The Fall semester starts in 6 weeks and I'm trying very hard to read as much as I can before I jump back into textbook reading. There are so many books that I want to read, but I decided to do something a little different this summer. I've stuck to reading only memoirs or autobiographical books and am really enjoying myself. I started the summer with a fiction one before deciding to limit myself and really enjoyed Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult. I am a big fan of hers and this one didn't disappoint me. I hardly ever buy books anymore and usually just get them at the library, but Shell bought it for my birthday after I had mentioned wanting to read it. Since then, I've read True You by Janet Jackson, Brady, Brady, Brady by Sherwood and Lloyd Schwartz, Foxy by Pam Grier, and Getting the Pretty Back by Molly Ringwald. I'm currently reading Black Heels to Tractor Wheels by Ree Drummond (The Pioneer Woman) and am reading One From the Hart by Stefanie Powers with Shell. I just got a notice from the library that my next book is ready for me to pick up, so I'll probably start The Way I See It by Melissa Anderson tomorrow. There are still too many on my to-read list, but I'm doing the best I can. I do miss it though.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Huge, Fantastic Change

I can't believe that it's really going to happen, but it's official. Starting in two weeks, Shell will be working days for the first time since our kids were born. She has worked graveyard shifts for so many years and although I am grateful that we had the benefit of being the only two people to have raised our children, I'm so happy that it is changing now. We never had to put the kids in day care and probably wouldn't have had them in preschool if the school we wanted them in didn't test prior to kindergarten admission. They actually only attended about 4 months of preschool and still passed their admission test with flying colors! They've always come home after school and Shell has always been home with them on days off or when they've been home sick.

We've had many discussions over the years about when would be the right time for her to go to days or even swings. These talks didn't go far when we contemplated what to do with the kids during summer and other school breaks. We couldn't afford to put them in any type of after school or daytime programs and we definitely weren't comfortable with them staying home alone or walking home from the bus stop on their own. However, a shift has occurred in these conversations over the last year. Working nights and not getting a full "night" sleep during the day has started taking a toll on Shell and although we've made it work for a long time now, it has never been easy for us to only see each other for a small amount of time during the week. This became very clear when I started school and working part-time. Before those happened a typical week day looked like this: Shell doesn't get off work until 6am and it takes her about 45 minutes to get home (without heavy traffic), so I'd get up and get the kids moving in the morning. She'd get home between 6:45 and 7 and we'd chat as I finished getting ready. I left with the kids to head to the bus at 7:15. Fifteen to thirty minutes is all the time we had in the mornings to connect and catch each other up or discuss what needed to happen that day. On days that the kids didn't have school, we'd have an extra 10-15 minutes before I had to leave for work. She picked the kids up from the bus at 4:45 and I'd get home around 5:30. We'd prepare and eat dinner, help with homework when needed, and watch some TV before she started getting ready for work around 8. I'd even sit in the bathroom most nights and talk to her while she was in the shower just to be able to cover everything before she left at 8:45.

When I started school and working part-time, many of those evenings ceased to exist. When I am working, I head straight there from my day job and don't get home until after she leaves for work. On those days the only time I see her all day is for those 15-30 minutes in the morning. The nights I had class, I'd go right to school from work and wouldn't get home until after 7.

Needless to say, our weekends were our primary opportunity to reconnect with each other, but they were also the days when we went grocery shopping, cleaned the house, did laundry and everything else that needed to be done. Our only two nights a week together were always expected as the nights we would make love, but that didn't always happen. Many times we were just too tired or the stress of the week would take over and there would be some bickering or arguments and in those cases having sex was the last thing we wanted to do. Mostly though, we're just tired. We have learned the hard way that if we let a weekend pass without making love it makes the following week harder to deal with and if we're not careful it often results in arguments and less patience with each other by the end of the week. This leads to a weekend where now we're not so much tired as we don't want to be intimate. It is a vicious cycle that we've fallen into more times than we'd like to admit. All this to say that the prospect of having the opportunity to make love or even just be able to snuggle up and go to sleep together every night instead of just 2 a week is VERY appealing.

When a position opened up in a different department where she works, Shell was hesitant but after we talked about it she applied. The kids will be 13 this summer and although it means that they'll have to walk home from the bus and be home alone when they're not in school, they won't really be alone. They'll have each other. And even though they argue and annoy each other all the time, they do really well when we leave them to run errands or go out to dinner. My parents live very close and Shell's best friend lives pretty close too, plus it only takes me about 15-20 minutes to get home from work. We're still nervous, but know that once we work out the little things it will be so much better for us as a couple and as a result, for us as a family.

Two weeks from today our lives will change in a huge way and I can't wait!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Day 30

30 Days: Day 30-a picture



This was taken just last weekend. I love us and I love that I have completed this challenge. I started it on March 22 so I'm not sure that I'd call it a complete success, but I did every single one plus a couple of regular posts as well. It's a success in my book. And I've really enjoyed reading everybody else's challenges too. A few of you have started some others that I'm intrigued by, I'm just not sure I should start another one. Let's see... It took me almost 3 months to complete this 30 day challenge so maybe I could make a goal to wrap up a different one in 2 months this time. I'd have it done before school started back up again at least. Maybe...

Day 29

30 Days: Day 29-3 Wishes

I've thought about this one for a few days and although I came up with many things to wish for, I just wasn't sure which 3 to use for this post. World peace, winning the lottery, the end of poverty... where to begin? And in doing so, I put off writing it. So, for the sake of finishing this 30 day challenge, I'm simply going to put 3 things I wish for my life pertaining to today.

My 3 wishes for June 16, 2011:



  1. I wish that this shake-up at work would benefit me in some way. I want to be considered for a position that has just been vacated, but at the moment I don't know if they are even looking at filling the spot or just having those duties absorbed by others. The "others" would probably include me anyway, so if there is any way to increase my salary at the same time it would sure help a lot.


  2. I wish for the weed killer that I sprayed last night to work on my yards and the rocks surrounding them. I'd like a yard full of green grass, not grass and weeds.


  3. I wish that we weren't having spaghetti for dinner tonight. We eat it almost every week and I'm tired of it. I wish it wasn't one of Shell's favorites so that it didn't always show up on the meal list when we grocery shop. I wish it wasn't so cheap to make because then I'd have a reason to veto it.


I guess that last one had more that one wish in it, but they were all related to the same thing. End of this challenge...here I come!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Day 28

30 Days: Day 28-Something that stresses you out

Money, money, money! Seriously, if it wasn't for money we would be less stressed at least 90% of the time. Just this morning, Shell took the kids for their dental cleanings and was told that our girl will need braces after all. They've been watching her for years to see how her jaw and mouth would move while growing because when she still had her baby teeth it could have gone either way. Our boy was 100% in need of braces, even requiring two rounds to get everything fixed right. But the girl's was dependent on how her permanent teeth grew in and made room and it seems like it didn't go in our favor. She goes for an orthodontic consultation at the end of this month and we'll see what they say. Unless it is imperative that she get braces right away, it may need to wait until the first of the year when we can add more to our FSA account. We didn't see this coming, so didn't plan for it this year. Ai, yi, YI! The stress!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Day 27

30 Days: Day 27-Pets

Let me just start by saying that I love animals and always have. My mom tells many stories of taking me to petting zoos where I squealed in delight when realizing where we were and then once inside, I'd go from animal to animal and pet each one with a huge smile on my face. And to be honest, I still do that now. :)


As far as pets go, we always had them when I was growing up. Our family pets included lovebirds, a cockatiel, lots of fish, and always dogs. When I was little, we got a Basset Hound who stole my heart and is the main cause for my love of the breed. When she passed away, we got a Chihuahua, rescued an adult Shar-Pei and got a Shar-Pei puppy, all within about 6 months. We are definitely dog people in my family.


As for my own pets, I've had a few over the years. The first that were just mine were mice, which I wrote about here. I snuck a hamster into my house once and kept it hidden in my room for a couple of weeks until it bit my sister. Then I had a parakeet, whose name was Teekarapelam (male parakeet spelled backward) who we called Teek. I watched him die and was completely devastated.


After leaving my parents' house, I lived in apartments and have always felt strongly about not having a dog in an apartment. I'm not a huge fan of little dogs, so I chose to do without. However, when we lived in California we ended up with a cat. My cousin's husband works for a veterinarian and this cat was abandoned in his office. They offered it to us and even though I really wasn't a huge fan of cats, I missed having a pet and the cat was very sweet. Let's just say, I fell in love with her. We named her Kerrigan and she was perfect. She used her litter box religiously, never tried to run out the door, liked to be cuddly and always stayed in the room when someone came over. We were so sad to have to find her another home when we moved to Colorado, but since we were moving in with my parents and they already had two dogs, we couldn't bring her. When we moved to the manager's apartment at the motel Shell worked at, she went with my sister one day to the animal shelter to look at cats. Before they walked in, a woman approached them and asked if they'd be interested in a kitten. Her cat had kittens and she couldn't find homes for the last of them. Shell came home with an orange striped female and we called her Sammi. She was a good cat, but when we moved to my sister's basement, Sammi had to stay down there with us. My sister's cat and Sammi didn't get along unfortunately and even after we moved to our apartment she just seemed irritated all the time. Once the kids came, she was even harder to live with. She would choose to use her litter box sometimes, but would also use piles of laundry, the couch, our bed, and sometimes the couch. It was frustrating and we couldn't explain it, other than figuring that between the time in the basement and then the move and the addition of the kids, she was just mad. When we moved out of our apartment into the house we rented, we chose to surrender her to the no-kill shelter instead of running the risk of her habits continuing or worsening in someone else's house. We hoped that she would be adopted by someone without small children who could give her the attention she deserved and she could feel secure in her surroundings.


We moved to the rental house in May and within a couple of months I was hinting that we could now finally have a dog. Two weeks before Christmas, Shell surprised us with a Basset Hound puppy and that is my Willow. She is tri-colored and was 3 days shy of 8 weeks when we got her. I wanted a puppy, but once we were out of her puppy phase, I knew I'd never do it again. After we bought our house, we registered with the Basset Hound Rescue and that is how we got our Joe. He is red and white and was very skinny and skittish when he first came to us, but he got along great with Willow and we all fell in love with him. They are still great buddies and really so much fun. It's hard to think that they are basically middle aged now because they run through the house and up and down the stairs so often, like puppies would. But they are getting a little more white around their eyes and noses and sometimes it looks like it's not as easy for them to get up after laying down for a long time, like they used to. But they are very loved and we truly enjoy being their pet parents.

Willow and Joe

Day 26

30 Days: Day 26-Picture of your family

An assortment of family pictures through the years. I need to get to work scanning my pictures from when the kids were younger!

1998 (First Christmas)




2001


2005

2006


2007

2008

2009


2010

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Day 25

30 Days: Day 25-Favorite memory

Once again...how on earth can I pick just ONE favorite memory? Do I choose when my children were born or when I was falling in love with Shell? Our ceremony in Vegas or my boy earning his black belt in Karate? Singing my first solo or listening to my girl sing hers? I'm modifying this one instead. Let's do it this way. I'll pick some news-related memories from each decade of my life so far.

Memories from my first 10 years (1974-1983):
MTV. It premiered when I was 7 years old and although I don't remember exactly when we actually got cable and I started watching it, I remember seeing Michael Jackson's Thriller video and the Making Of special which premiered when I was 9. I watched MTV after school and we'd usually have it on all weekend long. My mom listened to the same music I did, so she didn't mind at all.

Charles & Diana's wedding. Oh, how I remember that wedding and the obsession that followed surrounding the couple and Princess Diana in particular. I loved everything about the pomp and circumstance and the dresses and the men in uniform and the royal traditions... I still am intrigued and enamored with British royalty from before Diana and ever since.

Memories from the second decade (1984-1993):
The Night Stalker- Richard Ramirez. During the summer of 1985, Southern California was in a constant state of fear thanks to the serial raping and murders occurring throughout the area. I remember that we couldn't leave our windows open overnight because that is how he was getting into houses and everyone was just afraid. When he was caught by an angry mob of people, the feeling of relief was widespread.

Challenger explosion. I was in 6th grade in 1986 and the launch of the space shuttle Challenger was a huge deal because of teacher Christa McAuliffe. The launch was being shown at school and I remember that a friend and I had been helping in one of the lower grades and were on our way back to class when someone ran out and said that the shuttle had blown up. We hurried back and all I remember seeing on the television before they turned it off were the white trails left in the sky.

AIDS. By now, HIV and AIDS were well-known sources of news stories, tabloid gossip and real-life discussions. The "gay disease" had grown from a nasty STD spread by gay men having unprotected sex in bath houses to an epidemic that has claimed over 25 million people including Rock Hudson, Ryan White, Freddie Mercury, Anthony Perkins, Arthur Ashe and Elizabeth Glaser.

Memories from my third decade (1994-2003):
O.J. Simpson. The murder, the low-speed police chase of the white Bronco, the arrest, the trial, the verdict. It was on the news, it interrupted television programming, it was the topic of conversation and it brought interracial relationships, domestic violence and racism into the news in a huge way.

JonBenét Ramsey. Just one year after we moved to Colorado, JonBenet was found murdered in her home in Boulder. To say it was all over the news would be a huge understatement. The subsequent suspicion of her parents and brother along with the spotlight it brought to kids in pageants was everywhere.

2004 to the present:
Michael Jackson's death. Enough said.

President Obama. From the race between Obama and Clinton to the race between Obama and McCain, I've stood in favor of the man who would become our first African-American president. His election truly gave hope to a country that prides itself on equality but fails to practice it.

Not included above: major earthquakes, notable high-order multiple births, 9/11, Oklahoma City bombing, Columbine shootings, Princess Diana's death, Oprah Winfrey's reign, Rodney King, Hurricane Katrina, Clinton-Lewinsky scandal, and Y2K.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Day 24

30 Days: Day 24-Something you’ve learned

Hmmm... and Hmmm some more...

I've learned that these challenges are best answered in bullets! Does that count? :)


  • Despite what I thought as a teen, my parents weren't really out to ruin my life and they didn't hate me. I've learned that they actually did know what they were talking about a lot of the time. However, I've also learned that their way is not the only way and choosing to parent my kids differently is a decision that should and will be made by Shell and I and not by those who parented us. Their time is over, they had their fun and now it's our turn to either succeed or fail.

  • I've learned that having kids is exactly like and nothing like what I was told and thought it would be before they were here. It is much easier in some ways and so much harder in others. I've learned that being a mom and more specifically being their mom is my favorite part of life so far.

  • I've learned that just because two people love each other more than words and fight to be together and live the life they dreamed about, it will still be hard and challenging. Love is easy, but relationships are not. This is not something I've enjoyed learning, as this has led to more learning about how to communicate effectively and what works and what doesn't when you have two people who show their feelings in opposite ways. This one is an education in progress.

  • I've learned that I can do more than I thought. I guess that means that I've learned to have more confidence in myself. I've learned that although it is the hardest thing I've done next to parenting, I can go to school and work and have a family. I'm not always good at managing my time, but it is possible. And I've learned that I'm not as horrible at math as I thought, I just have to work at it.

Meme

I just realized that I've had this blog for over 4 years. Wow. I'm not the best at keeping it updated and there have been quite a few times when months have passed without a post... but still. Four years. So that made me think of the posts I have copied from elsewhere with the intention of doing and never did, that still sit in my unposted list. For the sake of cleaning up my 4 years worth of posts, here it is!


From Maria .

1) ONE OF YOUR SCARS. HOW DID YOU GET IT?
We had a Shar-Pei named Panda when I was young who was not a fan of other dogs. She was the sweetest dog to any other person who came over, but if a dog walked down our street, she would jump at the front door and growl and bark and snarl. She was out for blood. The only dog that she tolerated was our Chihuahua, which was a good thing since they both lived inside. However, we had another Shar-Pei who was our outside dog (this is when we lived in California) and she had the run of the backyard. The two female Shar-Pei's were not friends, and one time did get into a rather nasty fight, mostly due to Panda's intense dislike of other canine's. So, because Panda couldn't use the backyard to relieve herself, we hooked a rope lead to a stake in the front yard and would let her have the run of the yard. The lead was just long enough that she couldn't step foot on the sidewalk, but could get to pretty much all the rest of the yard. Where was I going with this? Oh yeah, my scar. Typically, if Panda was on the lead and a dog was walked down the street, she would run at full speed from wherever she was in the yard until she pulled the rope taut. If someone was actually on the grass when this happened, you needed to basically jump over the rope so it wouldn't trip you. One such time, I happened to be in the yard and reacted too slowly to clear the rope. I now have a lovely scar above my ankle where the rope tore into my skin. Simply calling it a rope burn really doesn't do it justice.

2) WHAT IS ON THE WALLS OF YOUR BEDROOM?
My bedroom, like the rest of my house, is not very decorated. Hanging on the walls of my bedroom right now are: a 2011 Bones calendar, a 2010 Michael Jackson calendar (I couldn't find one for this year, so I just use it for the pictures), the poster that Shell's co-workers made for her when she went to days, and this framed poster.



3) WHAT DOES YOUR MOBILE PHONE LOOK LIKE?
It's a black iPhone 3GS.

4) WHAT MUSIC DO YOU LISTEN TO?
I listen to a classic rock station on the radio, or to the station the kids like which is basically a Top 40's type. When I'm listening to my iPod, all bets are off. It's a mix of everything.

5) DO YOU KNOW WHAT TIME YOU WERE BORN?

I was born at 7:37 AM.

6) WHAT DO YOU WANT MORE THAN ANYTHING RIGHT NOW?
To not be in debt.

7) WHO DO YOU MISS?

I miss my best friend and my sisters and my nieces and nephews. I miss being with my extended family on holidays. And sometimes I miss the days when my kids were little and thought we were the best people on the planet and smiled every time they saw us and gave hugs that didn't hold back.

8) IS ANYONE IN LOVE WITH YOU OR HAS A CRUSH ON YOU?
Well, I sure hope so...otherwise, what I am working so hard at?

9) WHO WAS THE LAST PERSON YOU KISSED?
My wife.

10) WHAT IS YOUR MIDDLE NAME?

Michelle

11) THE BEST TV SHOW EVER CREATED?
I can't think of one "BEST". Of the shows currently on the air though, it's a tie between The Big Bang Theory, Modern Family, and Bones. But, I don't really watch many more than that, so I'm not really choosing from that many.

12) THE LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO?
A customer.

13) DO YOU GET SCARED IN THE DARK?
No, not really.

14) THE LAST PERSON TO MAKE YOU CRY?
I can't remember. I guess that's a good thing.

15) WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE COLOGNE/PERFUME?
I don't have one. I haven't worn perfume in about 7 or 8 years and Shell hasn't for probably about 4 years. I liked the way Tommy Girl smelled on her, but I have a sentimental fondness for White Diamonds perfume. That's what she wore when we were first together and when I get a whiff of it now, I can remember how I'd feel when we were close enough for me to smell it on her. :)

16) WHAT KIND OF HAIR/EYE COLOR DO YOU LIKE IN THE OPPOSITE SEX?

Eye color and hair color really isn't all that important to me, on either sex. Most eyes are beautiful, regardless of their coloring. And I really don't notice hair color that much.

17) WOULD YOU RATHER BE SMART OR FUNNY?
I guess I'd rather be smart. I don't think it would be that fun to be dumb and funny, because how would you know if people are laughing because you tell a good joke or are laughing because your lack of intelligence is funny?

18) COFFEE OR ENERGY DRINKS?
Coffee. I cannot STAND energy drinks. I don't like the way they smell or taste.

19) WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PIZZA TOPPING?
Just one? Can't do it. My favorite topped pizza is the Gourmet Vegetarian from Papa Murphy's take and bake. It has white sauce instead of red and is topped with artichoke hearts, mushrooms, spinach, tomatoes, zucchini and cheese. It also has onions on it, but I ask them to substitute more of the good stuff and leave the onions off. It is SO GOOD!

20) IF YOU COULD EAT ANYTHING RIGHT NOW, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
I think I want that yummy pizza! :)

21) WHO IS THE LAST PERSON WHO MADE YOU MAD?
I don't really get mad all that much, so it takes a lot to get me there. I don't remember the last time I was mad. Guess that's a good thing too. :)

22) DO YOU SPEAK ANOTHER LANGUAGE?
No. I took German for three years in high school and really loved it. I could speak it very well and read it as well. Unfortunately, when there isn't anyone to talk with, the knowledge goes away. Now I remember a handful of words and that's it.

23) WHAT WAS THE FIRST GIFT THAT YOU REMEMBER SOMEONE GIVING YOU?
This one has me stuck. I mostly remember Christmas and birthday gifts from my parents when I was much younger. I can remember stuffed animals that I got for Christmas from friends too.

24) DO YOU LIKE SOMEONE?
I like a lot of people. For the most part, I like everyone in my life. If I didn't like them, they wouldn't be in my life. Well, I guess that doesn't apply to family. No, it does. I'm not in touch with family who I don't like. Refer back to the first 3 sentences.

25) ARE YOU DOUBLE JOINTED?
Nope.

26) FAVORITE CLOTHING BRAND?
Torrid

27) WHAT IS YOUR DREAM CAR?
A new one, doesn't matter what kind. I fantasize about a new car with warranties still intact and low mileage and new car smell. Heaven....

28) WHAT COLOR IS IT?
Doesn't matter.

29) WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE KIND OF EXERCISE?
Ha! Um...well...see... Exercise? I don't do it. So my favorite? Whatever will get me up and moving and motivated to keep it up. Basically, I'm still looking for my favorite kind of exercise.

30) WOULD YOU FALL IN LOVE KNOWING THAT THE PERSON IS LEAVING?
Oh gosh, that's a tough one. I'm all about the "it's better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all", BUT. If I knew that the someone was going to leave before I fell in love with them? Maybe not. And I know that you can't help who you fall in love with, but I don't think I would let it go very far knowing that I would lose them. I'm just not all that much a fan of that kind of pain.

31) WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO TELL SOMEONE HOW MUCH THEY MEAN TO YOU?
Tell them. Seriously. And show them. Don't hide it or beat around the bush.

32) WRITE A NUMBER FROM ONE TO A HUNDRED
72

33) BLONDES OR BRUNETTES?
Brunettes are usually much more attractive in my opinion. Usually more real-looking too.

34) WHAT IS THE ONE NUMBER YOU CALL THE MOST OFTEN?
Shell's cell phone

35) WHAT ANNOYS YOU MOST?
Ignorance

36) HAVE YOU BEEN OUT OF THE COUNTRY? WHERE DID YOU GO? WHAT PLACE DID YOU LIKE BEST?
The only place I've been outside of the US is the Bahamas. We loved it.

37) YOUR WEAKNESSES?
Food...

38) FRIES/CHIPS, RICE OR BEANS?
If I'm choosing between fries or chips, chips always win. Between rice and beans, always rice.

39) FIRST JOB?
I worked at B. Dalton Booksellers which was a bookstore owned by the Barnes & Noble group.

40) EVER PRANK CALLED SOMEONE?
Not that I can think of.

41) WHAT WERE YOU DOING BEFORE YOU FILLED OUT THIS?
Before and during: working of course! :)

42) IF YOU COULD GET PLASTIC SURGERY, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
Weight loss surgery and get rid of the excess skin once the weight is gone.

43) WHY DID YOU FILL OUT THIS MEME?
I'm starting to wonder. It's LONG!

44) WHAT DO YOU GET COMPLIMENTED ON THE MOST?
My kids. They really are my best feature.

45) WHAT WOULD YOU DO IF ALCOHOL BECAME ILLEGAL?
Eh, probably wouldn't miss it all that much.

46) WHAT DO YOU WANT FOR YOUR BIRTHDAY?
Two more tattoos.

47) HOW MANY KIDS DO YOU WANT?
I have two and two is good enough.

48) WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE?
Nope, no one.

49) WHICH FINGER IS YOUR FAVORITE?
Shell's fingers are my favorite. ;)

50) DO YOU WISH ON STARS?
Not with much investment in believing on them.

51) WHAT WAS THE LAST THING YOU ATE?
String cheese.

52) DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING?
Yeah, it's alright. It's legible, but not very fancy.

53) WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCH MEAT?
Pastrami.

54) ANY BAD HABITS?
Well, there's the too much food and not enough exercise bad habit... and I procrastinate too much.

55) WHAT IS YOUR MOST EMBARRASSING CD ON THE SHELF?
It would probably be the Grease 2 soundtrack. I love it and listen to the music still, but it's not high caliber talent.

56) IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON, WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU?
I think so.

57) HAVE YOU EVER TOLD A SECRET THAT YOU SWORE NOT TO TELL?
Only to Shell. And just for the record, no one has ever told me a secret and said that I couldn't tell her. So I think it's understood that she'll probably find out.

58) DO LOOKS MATTER?
Yes, I have to admit that they do.

59) YOU RELEASE YOUR ANGER?
Again, I don't really get angry very often but no, I don't release it very well. I usually just keep it to myself for the most part.

60) WHERE IS YOUR SECOND HOME?
Sadly, it would probably be my office since I spend so much time here.

61) Do you trust others easily?
Kind of. It depends on what I'm trusting them with, but I tend to think that the people I might consider trusting something with are probably dependable to some extent.

62) What was your favorite toy as a child?
My Little Pony. I had the stable and the castle and so many ponies. I loved them.

63) How many numbers are in your mobile phone?
I have 121 contacts.

64) Do you use sarcasm?
Yes, but not very well. I think that sometimes it comes off as potentially hurtful. I don't mean it to, but it does.

65) Do you know anyone famous?
No. The closest I get is barely knowing Shell's aunt who is Hazel Payne from the 70's group A Taste of Honey. Their claim to fame was the song "Boogie Oogie Oogie".

66)Have you ever been in a mosh pit?
No.

67) What do you look for in a place to live?
It would have to be big enough for us, in a good neighborhood with good schools accessible and not a ridiculous commute for us to get to work. And affordable.

68) What are your nicknames?
Mommy, Timmy, Tyffer, Tyff, Beautiful, Sexy.

69) How many hats do you own? What is your hat size?
I have about 3 baseball caps and have no idea what size they are.

70) Do you untie your shoes when you take them off?
Usually.

71) Were you upset about Steve Irwin dying?
It was sad, but not surprising. You can only pretend that you are invincible for so long before something proves you wrong.

72) What is your favorite ice cream flavor?
Jamoca Almond Fudge from Baskin Robbins.

73)Are you lazy?
Kind of.

74) What are your favorite songs at the moment?
The tracks off of the Michael Jackson Cirque du Soleil Immortal and anything by Adele and Matt Nathanson. I've just really discovered them and can't get enough.

75) What is your favorite band?
The Beatles

76) How many wisdom teeth do you have?
Just the top two for the next eleven days and then they are coming out.

77) Do you want to go anywhere special this year?
There's not much time left in this year, so I'd have to say that the most special place I want to go is home. Every day, without going to class first, or taking the kids somewhere or picking them up from somewhere. I just want to go home.

78) What are you listening to right now?
The Dixie Chicks "Not Ready to Make Nice".

79) Last thing you ate?
Still the same, string cheese.

80) Last person you talked to on the phone?
A customer... a different one from before, but still.

81) What is the first thing that you notice about yourself in the morning?
My crazy hair.

82) Favorite thought provoking song?
Michael Jackson's "Man in the Mirror".

83) Favorite two things to hate?
That's a strange question.

84) Favorite Drink?
Ice water. Or chocolate shakes. Or a Long Beach Iced Tea.

85) Favorite Zodiac sign?
I don't care about Zodiac signs. My kids and my best friend are Leo's, so I guess that would be one I like.

86) Sports you like to watch?
If no sports ever came on my television again for the rest of my life, I wouldn't miss them at all. Yes, that's my answer.

87) What is your hair color?
I have naturally boring brown hair. I color it though, so the brown is much prettier and there is some blond in it too. It's much better this way.

88) Eye color?
I have brown eyes, but they have a green tinge to them.

89) Do you wear glasses?
No, but I think it's only a matter of time before I do.

90) Siblings?
My sisters are 3 1/2 years younger than me and are fraternal twins.

91) Favorite month?
May. Spring is still hanging around and the temps are very comfortable. It's my birthday month and the month when summer break starts for me and the kids. All good things.

92) Do you like sushi?
I really haven't had it, but I don't like fish so I don't think I'd like sushi either.

93) Last thing you watched on television?
A rerun of Big Bang Theory last night.

94) Favorite day of the year?
I have two. April 23- the day Shell and I became an us and July 30- the day my babies were born.

95) Are you too shy to ask someone out?
I've never asked someone out, when I think it would be intimidating to do so. I think I could but I am truly thankful that I don't have to worry about it.

96) Summer or Winter?
Neither, I'm a fall and spring kind of girl.

97) Kisses or hugs?
I absolutely love them both!

98) Relationships or One night stands?
Relationships.

99) Who is your favorite celebrity?
I love Rosie O'Donnell.

100) Books you'd like to see turned into a film?
I love books too much to see them changed and messed with, which is what happens when they are put on film.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Day 23

30 Days: Day 23-Favorite vacation

I have plenty of wonderful memories from vacations I've taken in my life. Some of the more prominent ones include:


  • Trip to Missouri with my grandma when I met so many of my family on her side for the first time. Rode horses almost every day and fed my inner horse-lover.

  • Many summer trips to my grandparents' in Oakland and visiting my mom's step-sister at the restaurant she waitressed at. She'd bring me unlimited Shirley Temple's filled with cherries.

  • Driving to Utah for the wedding of my second cousin and hanging out with and playing cards with the adults instead of having to play with the kids. Staying out with my cousin and her friends until very late and having everyone tease us for being so tired the next day.

  • My first trip to Colorado to see my newborn niece. I got to do the middle-of-the-night feedings and hold her as much as I wanted. It snowed and other than missing Shell like crazy, I didn't want to leave.

  • Taking my kids to California for the first time and showing them off to everyone.

  • Going to the Bahamas with my wife.

  • Road trip to California with my mom and my kids. My sister flew in with her kids from Missouri and along with my other sister and her two girls we all descended on my grandma's house for much visiting. I left them to hang out with my best friend for a couple of days before flying home and my kids went back to the desert with my sister for a bit before coming home. It was busy and wonderful. The posts about that trip are here and here and here.

  • Any time my best friend comes and I take some time off is a great way to spend a vacation, even if we don't do anything specific.

A particularly wonderful vacation in recent years happened in 2009. My sister and her family were going to spend a long weekend here and we decided to do something instead of just hang out. We decided to drive to Mount Rushmore as none of us had ever been there and it was only a 6 hour drive from here. I wrote about our long weekend here and here and here. It remains a highlight today and I'm so glad we took my dad as he had a great time too.

Monday, May 16, 2011

30 Days Interruption

I'm almost done with the 30 Days challenge and am really enjoying it. I found another challenge where each day is a picture of something and although I'll have to post from home in order to access my pictures, I'm looking forward to it. In the meantime, having a pre-planned topic to post about has been really nice and has made it easier to get here and post, but I want to take a quick break from it to update on what's been going on.

First, it's summer finally!!!! Okay, so it's actually my summer break. I wrapped up all my finals and final projects and am pretty thrilled with how I did. My final grades were a B in Colorado History and A's in American Government, Human Sexuality, and Pre-Algebra. And, not only did I get an A in my math class, but I got the highest percentage in the class and was the only student to get 100% on the final. That class has been the best experience and has done wonders for my confidence in getting through the other math classes I still have to take to get my degree. I've got 2 more to take to fulfill the prerequisites and then will have just one for the degree requirement. It still feels like SO MUCH MATH, but now I have more confidence in my abilities and it doesn't seem as daunting. I'm all registered for Fall classes and although I'm looking forward to them, I'm also SO glad that I have a break until August. In the Fall I'm taking Introductory Algebra, Science of Biology, Music Appreciation and English Composition II. The English and Music classes are online, the math class is on campus two nights a week and the Biology class is a hybrid course that is taught mainly online with labs done on campus every Saturday afternoon. I think this semester will be an interesting mixture and since I'm going to stop working my second job once the semester starts, I should be able to manage it better.

My kids are still in school, but their last day is next Thursday (5/26). End of the year activities are in full force now. The last choir concert was last week, the end of year choir picnic was last Saturday, the last band concert is tomorrow night and the band is competing on Thursday. We just wrote the last lunch money checks for the year and their fees for next year are due by May 31. Then we can all relax into summer mode.

We are in the process of finishing up the boy's room in the basement. The walls and closet are built and are waiting on the curtains to serve as his bedroom and closet doors. We'll probably do some shopping around this weekend so he can pick what he likes. There is also some discussion about whether or not to buy him a new bed. His twin bed is about 7 years old and is in great shape, but he is outgrowing it. We haven't done a measurement lately, but I would guess he is very close to or at 5'7". He has asked for a bigger bed, and although a twin and a full are the same in length, he would have more room to position and get comfortable or even lay diagonal if he wanted. A new bed is only in the budget if we find a really good sale, so he will likely be using his twin until that happens, but we haven't moved it down to the basement yet just in case. There is a recliner in the basement from when Shell's dad was here and my boy has decided that he wants it if room can be found. He slept in that last night for the first night in his new room. It's coming along.

There is no set date for moving Shell's mom here as of now. Her doctor is working on some things with her to try to get her more mobile, so we're waiting to see what happens with that. I'm staying out of it for the most part and told Shell to let me know when there is a time frame to start planning for. I don't want to dwell on the unknown. It'll happen when it happens.

What else... Shell and I celebrated our anniversaries during the time I've been doing the 30 Day challenge. On April 23, it was 19 years since we started dating and May 3 was the 8th anniversary of our commitment ceremony. May 5 was my birthday which got kind of buried in finals and I actually had two of them on that day. I requested the 5th and 6th off of work, so in the midst of test taking, I also had some down time. I had a really yummy ice cream cake on my birthday and presents! I got 4 cute shirts, 2 pairs of capris and 2 pairs of jeans from the kids and Shell gave me two signed books that I am so excited to read: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels by Ree Drummond (the Pioneer Woman) and Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult (who I LOVE!). Since my birthday was only 4 days before Mother's Day, we combined the two on Saturday with a barbecue at my parents' house. Saturday night was originally planned for playing cards with my parents, but the day before I got a call from Shell's best friend asking if I'd be interested in two tickets to see Lionel Richie perform Saturday night at a gala for the hospital she works for. Shell is not a fan of his, but my mom and I are so I took the tickets and we went. He was amazing and performed for 2 hours without any breaks. He did practically everything you'd want to hear and sounded great. The only songs he didn't sing that we would have liked to hear were "Truly" and "Endless Love", but since he has an all-male band there wasn't anyone to do the duet with, so I was okay with that omission. It was a fun way to do something with my mom for mother's day, and it only cost me $15 for parking!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Day 22

30 Days: Day 22-Favorite city

I don't think I have a favorite city. I like plenty of places for different reasons and for memories that I've made there.

My favorite American city that I've never been to but has so much I want to see and do is New York City. My favorite city outside of the US for the same reason is a three-way tie between Sidney, Australia, London, England, and Paris, France.

I love San Francisco for many reasons, but mostly because during summer visits to my grandparents in Oakland, we'd take the BART to the city and spend the day. I loved it and I would love to take Shell there someday. It seems silly that we've never gone, but it just hasn't happened yet.

I really love the city we live in now. My kids have grown up in this area and have attended the same school since kindergarten. I love the climate and love their school, which I probably wouldn't be saying if we hadn't moved from where we grew up in California. There are cities that I enjoy visiting or would really like to visit someday, but when it comes right down to it, my favorite place is my home. I like it that way. :)

Day 20

30 Days: Day 20 - A Picture of You

Here's a recent picture of me (and Shell) that I don't hate. We both look pretty good actually. This was taken by the very nice lesbian who sat in front of us at the Janet Jackson concert last month. The place was FULL of gay men and women. We deduced that at least half of that audience was family. It was so fun!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Day 21

30 Days: Day 21-Nicknames

I haven't really had many nicknames and the ones I've had or have now are ones I don't really mind. When I was very young, my dad nicknamed me Shorty and he continued calling me that through high school. Now he writes it in my birthday cards, just to make sure I know he hasn't forgotten it.

As a variation on my name, the most common nickname I've had is Tyff, but my family has also exapanded that to Tyffy and Tyffer in the past.

Shell has many nicknames for me which are typically complements to my appearance. She refers to me as Beautiful, Gorgeous, Sexy and the other common names like Honey, Babe and Baby.

One of my favorite nicknames is what my nieces and nephew call me. When the oldest started learning names, she decided that none of us had names she approved of so she picked her own.
Okay, so she just couldn't pronounce them correctly and what she did call us ended up being our new monikers. Aunt Tyffany is a mouthful, so she simplified it for herself and I became Timmy. Sometimes they call me Aunt Timmy now too.

My favorite nickname of all is Mommy. My kids are 12 now, and they both still call me Mommy and I don't take it for granted. I'll be sad to see it go when I become Mom, but I feel like I've had a good long run with the name I grew up knowing that I wanted to be called.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Catching up on Day 14

30 Days: Day 14- A picture you love

For our Christmas pictures in 2006, we went to the mall and had them done at a studio. The pictures turned out pretty great, but this one was my favorite. The photographer whispered in my boy's ear just before taking the shot and my girl had no idea what she told him. It's perfect.


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Day 19

30 Days: Day 19-Something you miss

I'm noticing a pattern in the way I respond to these topics. For instance, today's is asking for "something I miss", but I look at that and know that I'm going to answer with "somethings I miss" in bullet form. I'm not good at making decisions and I guess this just confirms that. I wonder if that makes it more frustrating for people reading, like "geez, just pick one thing. I don't need to read a list..." or if they're like me and see a list and think "yay! more ways to learn about this person who I've come to like so much even though I've never met them and quite probably never will!" Which side do you fall on?
So on to the list of somethings I miss...
I miss:


  • being in high school. I know that sounds weird, but let me clarify what I mean. I miss the butterflies I'd get thinking of Shell and how her face would break out in the hugest smile every time I'd see her. I miss getting notes in between class from her and other friends and then writing notes during class to distribute. I miss walking home with my best friend. I miss being in choir and singing every day. I miss the innocent certainty that being an adult was going to be great compared to being a kid/teen.

  • being pregnant. I wish that I had seriously considered being a surrogate before I got too old to do it, because I'd really love to be pregnant again without adding to my family.

  • having time to read. I haven't read a book for pleasure since I started school last fall and I'm pretty sure it has been the longest time I've ever gone without reading. I'm seriously starting a book the day after my last final. I can't wait any longer!

  • seeing my extended families on holidays.

  • spending time with my best friend. A lot.

3 more days to the end of the semester!!!!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Day 18

30 Days: Day 18-Something you regret

I try really hard not to have regrets. Everything that has happened in my life, good and bad, has brought me to where I am today. Do I wish somethings had happened differently? Sure, but even so, I don't regret that they happened. For example, our kids were born when we were 24 years old. That sounds young, but we had been together for 6 years by then. While I'm thrilled in most ways that we did have them so young, I sometimes wish that we had more time before them as adults to develop ourselves as a couple before adding kids. We were 17 when we got together and 18 when she graduated and we moved into an apartment with friends. We moved into our own apartment a year later and lived there for a year. It was just us and it was a time that we still think about very fondly. At the end of our year lease, we moved to Colorado and right into my parents basement where we lived for about 6 months. My sister, brother-in-law and niece lived with my parents then too. It was a full house. We moved out of my parents house when Shell was promoted to manager of the Motel 6 she worked at and we moved into the manager's on-site apartment. It was connected to the front lobby area through a hallway, so there were frequent interruptions. When she left that job, it came with the consequence of no longer having a place to live so we moved to my sister's basement while we looked for somewhere to live. During that time, we were also trying to get pregnant which happened while we were living with them. A new apartment complex was being built nearby which would fit into our budget, so we put our name on one. We moved in at the end of May and had 2 lovely months as just us before our babies were born.
Needless to say, there has been very little time in the 19 years we've been together where it was just us. I prefer to look forward to the time when it's just us instead of regretting not having more of it before the kids came. And I really am glad we had our kids at the age we did, I just wish we could have had more "us" time before it happened.

And I just realized that I do have a regret. I regret not managing our finances better and making bad choices that screwed up our credit. I'm very grateful that Shell took charge of things when she did, but I wish I hadn't let it get so bad before she did.

Day 17

30 Days: Day 17-Something you’re looking forward to

This is very appropriate for just this moment in time.
I'm looking forward to:


  • the end of this semester! I've submitted all of my final assignments, am taking my Colorado History final Thursday afternoon, taking my Pre-Algebra final Thursday night, taking my Human Sexuality final on Friday and wrapping it all up with my American Government final on Saturday. This has been a tough semester and I'm REALLY looking forward to some time to get some things done around my house and maybe even read a book for pleasure.

  • getting my boy's new room in the basement finished. My dad built the frame for his new wall last weekend and we'll probably have that part done by the end of this weekend. Then we'll move his furniture down and arrange it. He'll have to deal with the curtain that's already down there for now and the overhead light, then once we recover from the wall costs we'll personalize the space for him.

  • seeing my aunt next month. She's never been out here and even though we see her when we visit California, it's very infrequent. Plus she's my favorite of all my aunts and uncles and she'll be here for a week!

What I'm looking forward to long term:



  • Making all this work worth it when I get my degree. AA first, then on to the BA. Maybe someday I'll do the Master's program too. Maybe.

  • At the same time as I'm dreading it, I'm also looking forward to seeing what my kids are like as teens. I'm really hoping for it to be mild, but the anticipation of not knowing makes me worry about it more.

  • the time when the kids are out of the house and it's just Shell and &.

  • having a career and getting paid for something I'm passionate about.

  • seeing my kids go to college.

  • legally marrying my wife in the state we live in. Big dreaming there, but I have to believe it will happen.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Day 16

30 Days:Day 16-Dream house

I don't really have a dream house, kind of like I don't have a dream car or a dream vacation. What I do have is elements of each of those things that I would really love to have. So. Things about a house that would make it dreamy for me include:


  • Large bedrooms. Our master bedroom now is quite large, but the kids' rooms are very much not. I'd like for all the rooms to be big.

  • A separate room (not someone's bedroom) for the computer to live it. Our computer is currently in the living room and I'd like it to be removed from the main areas of the house.

  • A bathroom for each person who lives in the house. This would mean that there'd be two bathrooms in the master bedroom, which would really be perfect.

  • Double oven in the kitchen and a large cooktop with grill built in like the cooking shows have.

  • Windows that open from bottom to top instead of side to side. I hate having the windows open and the shades rattling whenever the wind blows. I wish I could match the shade to be open the same way as the window. I suppose this would also work with vertical shades.

  • A finished basement with bathroom.

  • Manicured lawns with flowers and trees. Maintained by someone else. I'd like a deck in the backyard with some type of awning or cover that won't blow away.

  • A dog door to the backyard so we don't have to open the door for the dogs a million times a day.

  • An interior decorator to help us coordinate colors and accessories and prints for the walls so it reflects us but still looks good.

  • No carpet. I'd like laminate flooring throughout, with some type of runners on the stairs. Big carpet tiles in the bedrooms for coziness, but no more wall to wall carpet, particularly in the main areas of the house.

  • Ample lighting. The lighting in our kitchen sucks and I always wish it was brigher in there.

  • My dream house would be paid for. :)

  • The best part about my dream house would be that my neighbors would be my friends and my close family members. You know, the ones I'd like to have near as much as possible. Even if it was just their vacation home, at least I'd know I'd get to see them more often.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A substitute "Day"

Day 14 of the 30 Day Challenge is "A picture you love", but I haven't had a chance to do this one as my pictures are on my computer at home and I do my blog posts mostly at work. I'm trying really hard to only work on schoolwork when I sit in front of my computer at home and looking at pictures and posting to my blog doesn't apply. So, in place of Day 14, I'm going to do Day 15 and make it back to Day 14 when I can.

30 Days: Day 15-Bible verse

My parents were not church-goers. When celebrating holidays, we never observed any religious aspects of it. Easter was purely about dying eggs, baskets full of candy, easter egg hunts, and yummy food. Christmas was Santa, christmas trees, presents, stockings, reindeer...and yummy food. My maternal grandmother however, was and still is a very religious woman and when my sisters and I were young we would stay over on Saturday night and go with her to church Sunday morning. It didn't happen every week, more like a couple of times a month. And a couple of summers I stayed through the week to attend Vacation Bible School. But all that stopped once I started junior high school. And as I've gotten older and looked deeper at what I do and don't believe, I have discovered and accepted that I don't believe in God and I don't believe that the Bible is "God's Word". I consider myself an agnostic atheist.

Regardless of my views, I am familiar with many Bible verses. A couple that I am quite fond of are:

"Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble."1 Peter 3:8

"Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame.
Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away. If one were to giveall the wealth of his house for love, it would be utterly scorned." Song of Solomon 8:6-7

Monday, April 25, 2011

Day 13

30 Days: Day 13-Goals

Righ now, my goal is to complete this 30 Day Challenge, particularly because I found another similar one that has piqued my interest. Isn't that crazy??

Okay, so my goals. Bring on the bullets!


  • The end of this semester is in less than 2 weeks. Goal: To finish with strong final projects and be prepared to take my finals and do my best.

  • To complete the huge project I started over a year ago to scan my parents photos onto my hard drive.

  • To get my boy settled into his new space in the basement without it looking like we threw it together without taking his needs and wants into consideration.

  • To keep my sanity and perspective when Shell's mom moves in with us this summer.

  • Lose weight and be healthy.

  • Make spending time with Shell and the kids a priority, not an afterthought.

  • Get caught up on our recorded shows and watch the first and second seasons of Glee to get caught up before the next season starts.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Day 12

30 Days: Day 12-What you believe

This topic has me stuck, so since I've yet to come up with something wise and thought-provoking, I'm just going to play stream of thought here. Lucky you... :)

I believe...


  • that the decision I made 19 years ago (tomorrow!) to be with Shell was the absolute right choice.

  • that my children are the most perfect combination of myself, Shell, and the donor. Looking at his profile recently after so long made me realize how much he contributed to them.

  • in my ability to get my BA, because I have an awesome support group behind me.

  • that I will test the limits of my procrastination every semester and that time management will never be a strength of mine.

  • that in spite of my insecurities, I am a good mom.

  • that I'm not a very good partner.

  • that Shell and I are very mismatched in many ways, but that we still belong together.

  • that my wife thinks that I am the most beautiful woman she's ever seen. I disagree, but I believe that she believes it.

  • the children are our future.

  • that the previous statement proves that my stream of thought on this topic is complete.

I hope that everyone has a fantastic weekend, whatever you're doing. We're hosting dinner for my parents on Saturday (pork tenderloin, scalloped potatoes, sauteed green beans, rolls, fruit salad) and then going to their house Sunday morning for breakfast and the egg hunt. I have to work Sunday afternoon, but hope to still get some homework done at some point. Only 2 more weeks left in the semester and I have final papers to write and studying for final exams still. Come on summer!!