Category Archives: Family Matters

Christmas Craft ~ Big Felt Robot

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This hasn’t neccessarily been my year for crafting. I got really upset last summer – two summers ago, actually – when the medication my doctor prescribed for my pnuemonia wreaked havoc on my system, including the loss of the use of my right thumb. Everything I tried doing – crafty or otherwise – was incredibly hard and discouraging. I set aside several projects I’d been working on and have yet to restart them.

It’s been a long year and a half but I have regained most of the strength in my arms and my thumb is usable, although it doesn’t quite have the dexterity it once did. I have hope that it may come back completely, but it’s been a process for sure.

Anyway, this year I did decide to try a couple craft projects as gifts. I painted a couple things, one of which I have yet to finish (yeah, yeah, I know – Christmas was a week ago!) I sort of ran out of time. Our entire household has been battling the flu, and as “last one standing” I had way too much on my plate.

This particular project, the stuffed robot, I made for my youngest niece. Still, she’s 13, so I wasn’t sure if she’d love it or wonder “What the heck is my Auntie thinking?!” It was, of course, much more difficult and time consuming that I’d planned; I was actually going to use a blanket stitch around each of the cubes, but ended up only doing his head and sewing the rest of the cubes on the machine …  and I was thinking that if my niece didn’t love it he was going to be a huge waste of time! I am glad to report that she LOVED him!! I haven’t seen her that excited in awhile 🙂 I also had sprayed my perfume on the stuffing (she always tells me she loves how I smell, lol) and she just hugged him and sniffed him for ages. It was so worth the effort!

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Did you have a Merry Christmas?

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I can’t believe it’s over. It’s like you wait forever – like, an entire year!!  😉 – for Christmas to come, then zoooom… it has come and gone just that quick.

This year was worse than most, because the flu hit my family with a vengence this year. Kiki and both my parents were sick for a full week leading up to Christmas, so not only did we not get to do most of the “getting in the Holiday Spirit” things we do each year, but since I was the only one well I had to do all the cooking and cleaning and what-not, so it was just not my favorite time. Also I think I was fighting the flu myself, so I spent alot of time feeling woozy and nauseated, albeit never actually sick. Alan came down with the flu on Christmas Eve, so he was pretty out of it today as well.

I also didn’t bake hardly anthing this year. I always make frosted sugar cookies, fudge, coconut balls, pecan tarts, and a few other things. This year between feeling rather icky and being overwhelmed with chores and nursing the sick I just had no desire to bake… maybe because I had no real desire to eat, either. But I wish I had some now!

On top of all that, my sister’s side of the family decided they didn’t want to risk getting sick so they opted out of coming over for our traditional Christmas Eve dinner because our house was “too germy”.  I am almost wicked enough to hope they all get the flu anyway – almost, but not quite. It’s a pretty nasty flu.

All that being said, I still had a good Christmas. I love Christmas. I go completely overboard trying to make it an awesome time for my daughter, and once again I did not fail in that! She was thrilled with every gift she got, even tho I found a good bit of it on Craigslist and at the local thrift stores. I did great at thrift shopping this year! I don’t normally do that, but since we are sooo very broke, it seemed like a good idea – and it worked out well.

Of course we try to focus on the true meaning of Christmas – the birth of Christ. I feel like I was a little slack on that this year…

I am sure I try a little too hard to get all the “right” gifts for my daughter, which I am sure goes back to my own childhood (and, well, into my adulthood) in which my parents never really got me what I asked for. I mean, they asked us to make a “wish list”, and then never got me any of the things on it. Don’t get me wrong – I have good parents, and they meant well.  I can totally understand why I never got a horse, even tho it was the #1 thing on my list for – well, forever. We didn’t have a place for a horse, I get that. What was hard is that no matter what I wanted, what I got was… tweaked. Like, say I asked for a Veterinarian Barbie… I would get something close, but not that. And the thing is, it wouldn’t even be super-close. Like I wouldn’t even get “Doctor Barbie” which at least is practically the same thing… I would get some other sort of  doll. It was always because there was some sort of logical reason why they item they bought me was “better”. Maybe it was cheaper, maybe it had did more stuff or came with more accessories or whatever… so I mean, they thought it was a good thing they were doing. But, it wasn’t. I wanted, well, what I wanted. I had some reason why it was the item I wanted, but it didn’t matter I guess.

Which is why I have this… obsession… to get my daughter exactly what she wants for Christmas. I don’t mean she gets every item on her list (I’d have to be a millionaire!) or that she even gets everything that my limited budget would consider a lot spent – I just mean, if I get her something on her list, I get her as close to exactly what she wants as I can. Like, when she was little and asked for a particular American Girl doll, she got that exact doll. Not a different American Girl doll that was on sale that holiday, and certainly not some other doll that was close but… not.  This year I spent hours looking for the exact scarf she had described to me. So, yeah, it’s nuts… but she’s never been disappointed in her Christmas. For good or bad. This year was no exception even though I had very limited funds to draw from. I was creative, so it all worked out!

It was also nice because I myself had nothing in particular I wanted. All I really, really want is a home of my own, and since no one can afford to buy me that, I didn’t anything special, so everything I got was just great!

But now it’s over. And it seems like it came and went far too fast. Tonight my niece asked Kiki to spend the night and she just called to say goodnight, and she’s having a great time. I love that she gets along so well with her cousin, and love that she’s enjoying her time. But I am feeling kind of sad and lonely, and wish she was home with me. I guess we can have fun together even if it’s not Christmas, right? But, I am totally feeling that “after-the-holiday-letdown”; you know what I mean? Plus, tomorrow is back to work for me, so it’s back to the regular old grind and I really wish I had some time off to just enjoy my family, especially since Kiki is on break from school.

Well, I hope you and yours had an amazing Christmas!!

Hunting Christmas Trees in Idaho

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This is how we get Christmas trees in Idaho.

We traipse through the woods.

Tree cutting, nana's tea, some work stuff, ksilly 297

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After we find the (very im-)perfect tree, we strap it to the top of the car.

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We have soup, sausages cooked over the fire, hot cocoa, and of course – s’mores!

We also have a bunch of fun with friends and family.

Thanksgiving ~ Family, Friends, Food, Frivolity…Fractiousness, Franticness,Freaking out….

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Well, here it is… the first pie I have ever made. Well, besides ice cream pies; I do those fairly regularly and quite often on request. But, this is the first time I ever made a non-graham-or-other-cookie-type-crust with an actual pie-ish filling. Which is weird when you consider all the baking I do… but somehow pie crust seemed like something I’d never be able to do correctly. And on my first attempt, I was right… I did up a ‘test’ crust and it was kind of… well, rubbery. How did that happen? So I tried another recipe, and I think it’s going to be good… I didn’t do a test on again, but I did have a few scraps left over so I baked them separately and they were pretty good. It will be interesting to eat this tomorrow and see how it is! Geez, if it was cookies I could have eaten some already, so I’d know if they are worthy of being shared.

The other item I made for tomorrow’s celebration was silly rice crispy turkeys. Which were way harder than they sounded in the instructions.

Alan’s comment was something along the lines of “You do realize there is no longer a houseful of small children running around, right? It’s all teens and adults?” He’s just sore because he wanted me to make a Chocolate Pecan Coconut Tart we’d found a recipe for, and after the whole pie stress I said I’d save that one for Christmas… it just seemed like too much effort. Kind of like why I bought 2 rolls of Pilsbury cresent rolls instead of my originally intended homemade rolls.. because I’ve never made yeast bread before, either, and I guess I only felt up to one new possible disaster!

I haven’t been home with my own family for Thanksgiving in several years… we usually travel to see my husband’s side of the family – but this year we simply can’t afford that, and I am actually really looking forward to spending the day with my family here, even though it’s meant more work on my part!

We have all the extended family plus we always invite a few friends who don’t have other family or other places to go, so it’s a lot of fun. Well, so I have heard! I am excited to be a part of it this year.

Mostly I am hoping not to get sick, as I have been feeling lightheaded, dizzy, and just slightly ‘ukkk’ for the last couple days…

                                    Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours

Chillin’ on a Sunday

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So, we had shawarma again… okay, actually, I had falafel, but Kiki and Alan had shawarma. I kind of thought that if we are going to keep eating at this restaurant, I should branch out a little and try some other menu items.

It was fantastic. Even tho it had pickled beets in it which are not on my list of “foods I love”… it was still really good. But the best part was that right after we sat down, some friends of ours showed up there as well! One of those unique and unusual families that not only do Alan and I love the parents but they have teen girls Kiki’s age who she loves, so it was a totally fun lunch.

The day fell apart after that. We went to the mall, just for kicks, and Kiki tried on pants that were way too small so of course she decided she’s completely fat, then she got her eyebrows … uhm … I forget what you call it … threaded, I think; but anyway they took off too much so of course like I moron I was like “whoa, they nearly made your face bald” so of course she burst into tears – I am just mean like that.

I was looking at the most adorable baby girl in church today. Alan turned to me and said “no, you can’t have one.” He’s the mean one! It made me sad in a way, remembering back on the fun times I had with my little girl, who is growing up so fast… and who is a raging ball of teen-girl hormones that is often quite imcompatible with my peri-menopausal hormones.  Maybe I should be feeling sorry for my husband who has to live with us both!

I was probably cranky to begin with because I think it’s ridiculous that a 15 year old thinks she needs her eyebrows done (she’s not a hairy girl or anything) and I didn’t want to take her to do it but daddy spoils her rotten… sigh

We got home and had a bit of a tiff, she and I. I hate that. We very rarely have those mom-teenager-battles, and they make my tummy hurt. And make me angry. And worried.

I should’ve gone for a walk. I wanted to eat chocolate. (thank goodness we didn’t have any!) I did lay down on my bed for 20 minutes.

Then we watched some TV;  maybe we will go watch something on Netflix…

It’s better now, but I swear having a teenager is probably taking years off my life!

Random thoughts on a lazy Sunday

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 Is it weird that I would drive my kid a half-hour across town so she can spend a few hours watching movies with a friend? Do other parents do this? I feel bad that she doesn’t have friends in the neighborhood like I did when I was a kid… she doesn’t really have friends in our town at all. She also has no siblings to play with. So, I drove her 30 minutes to the next town over to spend the evening with a friend (who, fortunately, is slightly older and has a license so she will drive Kiki home after, so I don’t have to make the trip twice.)

I’ve also spent a lot of time recently driving her a half-hour the other direction to participate in a new theater group. Acting is something she loves doing but hasn’t had a lot of opportunity to participate in, so when she actually got a part after auditioning I couldn’t deny her the chance to do it… but, she rehearses 3 days a week in another town so off we go again! I wish my car got better mileage (17mpg on a good day).  On those days, I spend 3 hours hanging out in a coffeehouse reading or on my computer because I don’t want to make the drive twice – so I just wait out there while she’s rehearsing. I wish I had a friend in that town to hang out with; that’d be more fun!

Last night she had a song to sing in a special fundraising event. She was asked rather last minute, didn’t have time to practice much, and didn’t do very well. After her song, we went outside and she sobbed. Poor kid. It’s so hard to be a mom! I didn’t even want to go watch her, because I had a feeling it wasn’t going to go very well. A couple of very nice folks came up while I was comforting her and told her she had done a fine job, and there will never be another first time, so it will get easier. That helped, and I sure appreciated those people’s words.

It’s been unseasonably cold here for Autumn. That’s kind of bumming me out, because Fall is my absolute favorite season but it almost feels like winter out. It also seems like the cold and wind is making the leaves fall faster than normal, so we won’t get to enjoy the colors as long. Supposedly it’s going to warm up a bit this week; that’d be nice.

My poor orange kitty seems to be a bit “off” the last few days… I wish I could afford to take him to the vet, just to make sure he’s okay before it would turn into anything serious. Unfortunately, I probably can’t talk my husband into this unless it turns into something serious. I hate that.

It seems like we will never get out of this financial hole we are in. Everytime things seem to be looking up, something goes wrong. My husband’s work truck had to go into the shop twice in the last couple months, to the tune of about $2,500.00. Ugh. I keep thinking I should get a full-time job, but I so want to keep being a full-time mom! I am starting to look for a job that would either be graveyard shift or super-early mornings, so I wouldn’t really be gone when Kiki is around and awake and needs me. Of course, I don’t know when I’d be able to sleep, then…

I’ve decided I probably need therapy to deal with the anger I feel toward my sister. I am really not sure why I feel like I do, unless it’s maybe a deep-seated issue from our childhood. I mean, yeah, she does stupid stuff sometimes… don’t we all? Shouldn’t I be able to just let it roll off me, that whole “water off a duck” deal?   sigh    I finally  – at a women’s retreat last month – dealt with some other stuff that has been causing me grief all of my life from very early on. I’ve known it was a problem for a loooong time now, but finally feel like I’ve moved on. Which is awesome! but; sad to think of all the years I can’t go back and “fix” from having lived them in the shadow of those events. Oh, well. What’re ya gonna do?

Now, if only I could “fix” the food addiction…. I am so very tired of being fat, and yet I guess not enough to quit eating the stuff I eat. Sometimes I think it would be better to need to give up alcohol or smoking! Something black and white – I mean, you just don’t do it. You can’t really give up eating! So it’s making the right choices I find so hard.

That’s about all I have to say tonight. I am fighting a sore throat, and probably ought to go to bed early, but of course I won’t be able to go until Kiki is safely back home!

I should’ve stayed in bed today (Algebra must die)

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I have decided. Officially. Algebra must die.

I never liked algebra. We never got along well. Then, I thought I  had left it behind; conquered it as well as I could.

Now I have a teenager. Who hates algebra. Who does not understand algebra. And whatever it was that I learned about it to get me through with a decent grade all those decades ago has been lost in the blur of “I really no longer give a crap”.  So, I can’t help her. She asks me to help; I look at at the problem, and my brain freezes solid. If there is any math knowledge left in my brain, it’s never getting past that block of ice.

We had a major blowout today. Well, it was bad for us. We don’t argue all that often. But today it was so bad I left the house and went for a drive.

It really depressed me. I am having a hard time getting past it. I don’t think it’s all the math. Or the argument. There is so, so much more about my life that is so incredibly stressful right now…. I think it’s just too much. Or maybe it’s the math.

Kiki and I had a nice long talk later on, and what we determined was this: Most of our arguments start over math.

I hate math.

Avengers, Shawarma, life. It’s Sunday.

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Just so no one thinks I’ve died, I am going to post a quick note on here before I crawl back to bed. (Don’t judge my laziness; I have the flu.) I am all alone, which is absolutely lovely in my opinion. It doesn’t happen nearly often enough for me, a gal who desperately needs her “alone” time but lives with an unemployed husband, schooled-at-home teenager (I can’t really call her “homeschooled” now as she’s doing online public school… but she is here, at home, 24-7…) as well as two retired parents.

So you can understand my insanity.

Anyway, our current obsession (ok, it’s my daughter’s obsession but we’ve bought in) is the “Avengers”.  I like to call it the Virile Hunk of Masculine Fury movie (anyone remember where that line came from? I don’t, but I like it!)  I have a raging mad crush on… just about all those hot guys…. oooooh.  Well, if you’ve seen it, you know about the shawarma. And of course, we had to go have some. Since we don’t live in a highly metropolitan area, (understatement!) I wasn’t even sure we’d be able to find it here, so I set Kiki on the task of finding a place that served it. And she did. And it’s awesome. It’s kind of  like a gyro sort of deal, that’s the best way I can describe it. I adore most middle eastern/mediterranean style food (mine came with hummus and warm pita bread; Alan and Kiki went with a side of fries… weirdies.) The folks working there found it pretty funny that we came in because of the Avengers movie… and we haven’t been the first! We told them it’s great advertising for them, because we hadn’t been aware of their little restaurant before but now will definately be back!

We also got a sampler of their baklava – ohmyfreakingosh these folks know how to make it! I could’ve died happy, right then.

I am really glad this flu doesn’t have me hurking, tho…. because it really started to hit right during the meal, and I’d have been totally bummed to have thrown up the shawarma then never have been able to enjoy middle eastern dining again (you know how your brain does that when you get sick right after a particular food, even if it’s totally unrelated to that food, and not, I dunno, food poisoning or such).

But it’s all fine. Even tho my head is throbbing and my body aches and I really really ought to be in bed sleeping it off, I’d actually be quite happy to be downing some shawarma right this minute. Or hummus. Or baklava…… oooh, I really hope Alan and Kiki don’t go out to eat after church and leave me here all sick and hungry….

The dark before the dawn… I hope

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Yeah, I am trying to be hopeful. Because it only seems to get darker and darker, and that’s not just because of the massive forest fires going on around here.  (On a side note, it’s beginning to look like Los Angeles around here, the skies are so grey and murky… it’s gross.)  even though just a week ago I thought things were looking up.

 A little over a week ago, it looked like we’d finally be able to move into a place of our own… it was pretty much a matter of would we qualify to buy a house or have to rent. Also, short of something bad happening, like the car breaking down, our much-anticipated trip to Disneyland was finally, finally going to happen, in September.  Little did I suspect the ‘something bad” that was lurking around the corner.

My husband got himself fired.

Sure, his job was crappy, he complained daily, and it paid 1/3 of what he used to make. It -almost- paid the bills.  My little part-time job paid for extras (even if “extras” shouldn’t really mean underwear, but, still…). I was looking for a better job so we could move out. Now I need a better job just so we don’t go back into the hole we have been trying so hard to climb out of.

His job was supposed to just be a means-to-an-end. It was just supposed to keep paying the bills while we got the business up and running. But he is so… aarrgh!!  I don’t even know what. Proud? Stupid? He worked at a call center, and it’s all about your “stats”, all about the numbers you post. I don’t really claim to fully understand because he had started talking “work-ese” and alot of it didn’t make sense, but what I do understand is that he started doing really well… like best in the center, top 10 out of several hundred… qualified for the “big banquet” and possibly the “big getaway”… and somehow, instead of him just being content that he was doing well and would be able to keep working there until the business could support us, it somehow became all about him being the best; about not slipping out of that number one spot… and he didn’t follow policy, didn’t do something he was supposed to do, because it would cost him precious seconds and maybe his stats would suffer… basically, he “cheated” to stay on top. And he got caught. And he got fired.

To me, it feels like another slap in the face from a man who was supposed to take care of me. He couldn’t just be content to be doing well.  He had his pride to think of, that even tho he had a crappy job he was the best at it. It’s really a question of integrity, and he’s not the man I thought he was. He has screwed up – alot – over the course of our marriage.  I thought he’d learned something.  Grown up. Figured it out. Through it all, he was at least a good provider. I could stay home, raise our daughter. Homeschool her. Have a decent place to live. Now I will have to get a full time job, leave our daughter just as she enters high school, a potentially rough time for her.

I am pissed off, hurt, shocked. Disneyland is off, of course. Our daughter will have to continue living in a bedroom which is really her bed crammed into a room full of furniture that isn’t hers; not even usable to her (bookcases full of old books, a grandfather clock, an antique table… ) She’s a teen and she can’t decorate her own space. She will soon be too old to want to go to Disneyland with us…

I am trying to figure out what benefit I get from being married. He isn’t even nice to me. And now he is mopey and grumpy and feels totally sorry for himself. Instead of trying harder he just slumps away.

I feel like God just doesn’t care. I know He loves me, but I don’t understand why that doesn’t mean some help. I love my kid and would change her life if I could. But He doesn’t, and I don’t get that. Do I have to keep suffering because of my husband’s stupid, selfish choices? Is this my fate?

I am so tired of my life.

Thoughtless Sister Strikes Again

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I know, I know… I only come here to complain. Where, well else should I go? Huh??

Tomorrow is the 4th of July. Holiday and all that. So, we wanted a low-key event, family barbeque, some ‘safe and sane’ fireworks, call it good. Mom and I asked my sister if she and her family wanted to come over. Fine. Because they are coming, I told Kiki that her friend couldn’t come, because I wanted her to spend time with her cousin. My sister later told me she’d invited a gal and her two daughters (who are around Kiki’s age) and that’s fine, because we all know this family, they are going thru some really hard times right now, and they’ll be fun to have over. No problem.

This afternoon I went to the market and bought the amount of groceries I knew it would take to cover the amount of people I was expecting.

Then tonight when I got home, my mom was freaking out about the ‘extra people’ my sister has invited. A total of at least 10 more than we’d planned on! First off, isn’t it pretty rude to invite people over to someone else’s house?? Without asking first? Secondly, these are people my mom doesn’t even know. They are my sister’s friends, not family friends. I do happen to know them – and one couple I don’t like. They annoy me, and the husband annoys Alan so badly I am not even telling him that that guy will be here, because honestly, Alan might decide to go elsewhere… yeah, it’s that bad. And I know I have mentioned to my sister that we don’t really care for this particular couple. And yet….

Her comment was “well, we just have a hard time saying ‘no'”…. Really?? No to what? When someone asks what you are doing how about you reply “Oh, just a little family get-together”. And I bet that person doesn’t invite themself to your family’s event, so what is it that you’d be saying “no” to?

The truth is, my sister not only thinks ‘the more the merrier’ (a trait that my mom, my dad, my husband and myself do NOT share) she also wants to be involved in every little thing – to not miss out on anything – and the only way to not miss out on what your friends might be doing is to be sure your friends are doing it with you.

The other problem this creates is that a couple of these families have kids that Kiki’s cousin is good friends with – so now that I have told Kiki she can hang out with her cousin and therefore doesn’t need to have a friend over, her cousin will now be ditching her for the other kids. (And yes, she will, That’s how it works.)

I was really looking forward to tomorrow. Both Alan and I have the day off work, and I thought it would just be a fun little day. But once again, my sister’s selfishness has thrown a shadow over my life. I am trying to make the best of it… I am sure there will be parts of the day that will be nice. However, I am absolutely dreading the moment Alan finds out about who is coming… that could really make it crappy.