Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Talkin' Story.....the Grown Up Years!

So, it's been a while and once a gain I am contemplating reviving the blog.  So much has changed, and I am trying to come at it from a different perspective.

The Hubster has retired from the Marine Corps and is a full-time civilian.  I have a seasonal full-time job, and my own business the remainder of the year.  We are also in the process of buying our forever home.  It's like we are living as grownups for the first time, ever.

The Diva has graduated from college.  She recently left a good job to accept a position overseas.  In all honestly, there are days I miss her terribly (a LOT of days!), but I'm happy she doesn't feel confined and settled and limited in any way.  She is taking full advantage of her location, and traveling extensively.  Still, I am looking forward to her contract being up and having her back.   

The Blonde One graduated from college and is now in grad school.  He is close enough that he pops in most weekends to raid the refrigerator and hang with his brothers, but it's an adjustment having him NOT here. As is typical of him, he has a Nottagirlfriend who lives nearby and he allocates one weekend day to her.

The Wildcard is living at home in his second year of college, but will be transferring in the fall.....and moving out.  If all goes as planned, he and the Blonde One will be roommates.  They have grown to be best friends, without the drama of best friends. 

Captain Awesome is, well, still awesome.  He will be starting middle school (!!) next year.  He is witty and sassy and mature beyond his years.  I'm not sure how he is going to manage being the only child in the house with two grownup parents! do I continue the blog with so many changes since the early blogging days?  Right now I'm leaning toward more of a lifestyle theme, rather than a family theme.  (Adult kids don't provide as much blog fodder as younger kids, KWIM??)  

As of tonight, this is where I think I'm heading with blog posts:

- We are buying a home.  After years of downsizing as kids move out, we are upsizing again.  I want to re-furnish it with (mostly) used and re-purposed items.  (I draw the line at mattresses and anything upholstered though!)

- I am trying to learn to enjoy cooking.  All of my friends who enjoy cooking also enjoy drinking, so there's a perk.

- I'm still very much into photography. and often take outings with local photography groups.  I also enjoy road trips and photography weekends by myself, and travel with friends and family.

- Family stories, because.  :)

Basically, I'm leaning toward a "my kids are moving out and I'm starting a new phase in life and focusing on myself" theme.



Thursday, January 02, 2014

It's the Little Things....

One of my goals for this year is to pay attention to the little things.  Little things are often the foundation for bigger things, and I want to build on that this year.

It was fitting that a co-worker sent me an invite to "Happier" just before the end of the year.  If you haven't checked it out, take a look.  It's sort of like Twitter for happy thoughts.  

Anyway, tonight I called my dad and spoke with him for nearly an hour.  He is in his 80's and has Alzheimer's, so an hour can seem like five hours or five minutes, depending on his state of mind.

The conversation was typical and meandered between reality and fiction, in short and long loops.  It is never really a conversation, as much as it is a monologue.  He told me stories, some multiple times with different twists, while I responded with polite, brief comments.  At one point it was obvious he had forgotten who was on the other end of the line, as he was telling me about a (fictitious) trip he had taken to visit his daughter in California.  

It can be draining and depressing, but near the end he asked about each of the kids by name.  He may not remember me, or realize he's talking to me, but he remembered his grandchildren and that made me smile.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Happy 2014!

The year started off in the most perfect way ever.....

My alarm was off.

The kids were up late and slept late.

The Husband was able to entertain himself without my help.

I slept until was heaven.

I have so many big things planned for 2014, I hope this is a sign!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Tax Tip Tuesday!

So, as a tax accountant, I've heard it all.  

And I'm here to share it with you.  

Just for clarification, these are questions posted on a public forum, so no client confidentiality has been breached.  Questions are not edited or modified at all.

My Question of the Week (QOTW):

"took a tax preparer course is it deductible"

Ummmmm.......a competent tax preparer would know the answer.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Ridin' the Storm Out....

So, now that the kids are older, the Hubster and I are able to get out and do a few things we enjoy without worry.

Like our Sunday bike rides.  

Generally, we ride about 30 miles round-trip along the coast, where it is mostly flat, scenic, and still a decent workout.  Sometimes we do the river ride, which is similar, but not as scenic.  

And then, there are The Hills.  

Every once in a while the Hubster decides we need to ride hills.  And, to make it more 'interesting', the hills are done in conjunction with the coast or the river.  Like, we ride hills, then head to the beach or river to ride, then ride hills on the way back.

This weekend he decided we need to ride hills.  But before we left, he checked the tire pressure (as he always does), then (per my request) looked at my brakes.

The brakes have been needing a bit of attention, and I thought this was a good time for it.  

My mistake.

He took the entire mechanism apart, then 'tweaked' it.  

The result?  The brake pads rubbed the entire way, causing more resistance on The Hills.  Plus, as an added benefit, the shifting mechanism was possessed and did its own thing the entire ride.  Nothing like pushing up a hill and having your bike switch into 7th gear.....unless you are pedaling downhill and have your bike suddenly pop into 1st gear.  Good times.

When we FINALLY returned home, he raved about what an great workout it was.  And I wanted to kill him.

My bike is in for a tuneup now, the tech said the brakes alone were a safety hazard.  Even better?  It won't be ready in time for the weekend.....and I will need that much time to recover. 

Monday, October 01, 2012

Spell Checking

So, Captain Awesome is in third grade this year.  (I know, I know, where did the time go??!!) 

He has always been above grade level in everything except handwriting and motivation, so we were pretty happy that his new teacher had always taught fourth grade.  His school in Hawaii was not so interested in challenging the kids, and the teacher always seemed annoyed when kids wanted more difficult work.

His new teacher has been great about giving enrichment work (ie. fourth grade assignments) to the kids who are ready for it.  

Take, for example, spelling words.  The kids get their spelling words on Monday and can immediately take a pre-test.  If you pass the pre-test, you don't have to take the Friday test.  Because some of the weekly homework involves spelling words, the kids who pass the pre-test can choose twenty words off a 6-page list of Challenge Words and use those for the spelling homework.  So, instead of writing sentences with the spelling words, they write sentences using the challenge words.  Got it?

This week Captain Awesome decided to do the pre-test, and passed with flying colors.  

He came home with the list of Challenge Words, and on it he had circled the twenty words he wanted to use this week.  I glanced over his choices (legislation, administration, periwinkles, magnificent....) and noticed that they were definitely challenging, more so than most of the words on the page.  

I asked him how he chose the words and he said, "I just went down the list and circled the biggest words."  This surprised me a bit, especially considering his lazy streak. 

Apparently the lazy streak returned.  

Tonight when I reviewed his spelling homework - use each word in a sentence - I found this:

1.  The legislation is lame.
2.  The administration is lame.
3.  Periwinkles are lame.
4.  Being magnificent is lame.

(You get the point.)

That's my boy.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Cooking Challenge

I love Pinterest.

Just like the wanna-be brides, I scour Pinterest for cool things that will most likely never happen.  In my case, it isn't shiny engagement rings or glitzy reception decor, it's recipes.  I have boards filled with soups and salads and entrees, comfort food and ethnic food and copycat recipes....I have it all.  

In reality though, I hate cooking.  (It's genetic, I believe.)  Oddly though, I love to bake.  I have a shelf full of cookbooks - the dessert and bread sections have with worn and tattered pages, while the remainder of the book is in pristine condition.  

While I know I will never really enjoy cooking, I have decided it is time to get out of our dinner funk.  The kids are older now, and (with the exception of Captain Awesome) not nearly as finicky as they used to be. 

With the help of Pinterest, I am doing a Cooking new recipe per week, rave about it or pitch it.  



My first recipe is one I tried several weeks ago, and it was a HUGE hit.  So awesome, in fact, that I've made it three times since.  It is quick, easy, and perfect for summer nights.

The original recipe can be found here:  Spinach Salad with Chicken, Avocado, and Goat Cheese . (Whenever possible, I will post the link to the original source, as opposed to the Pinterest's only fair.)

I did modify it a bit.  The Hubster doesn't care for spinach in salads, so I used romaine.  I eliminated the corn because corn just doesn't belong in a salad, IMO.  I added extra avocado (like, triple) because avocado makes everything better!!  

I used the dressing in the recipe, though it is a bit too mustard-y for my tastes.  (Everyone else loves it.)  I eat the salad without's just THAT good!!    


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Finding His Inner Nemo

Our promise to Captain Awesome has always been that we would put him on a sports team as soon as we were settled.  He has been dragged to soccer games, volleyball games, track meets, and swim meets from the time he was a newborn.....he was completely over the whole "spectator" experience.  

After three moves in three years, we are finally settled.

We discussed it with him and decided on swim team.  We are a very aquatics-oriented family, so it seemed to be the best fit for him.  

Swim team starts in October, but he needs to be able to swim the length of the pool in each of the four strokes in order to be on the team.  He had swim lessons years ago, but sort of acquired his own technique over the years.  For example, if I told him to swim Freestyle across the pool, he would just start flailing and propelling himself across the pool with no real pattern or form.  I knew he could swim freestyle, as I had seen him do it often.  When I asked him WTH he was doing, his reply was "Freestyle, just like you asked."  

I was confused until one day he said he didn't realize the front crawl he was doing was called "Freestyle".  He thought Freestyle meant just are free to choose any style, as long as you make it across the pool.....make it up as you go, just like freestyle rap.   


His other strokes were worse.    He sort of made it up as he went along, and whenever either of his two lifeguard-brothers attempted to help, it turned into a play session.       

So now my options were: (1) Disappoint him once again because he may not be ready by October, (2) Choose another sport, or (3) Sign him up for some Ridiculously Expensive Swim Lessons and hope he masters all four strokes by the time he completes his 20 lessons in October.

I chose Option 3.

The Ridiculously Expensive Swim Lessons started a few weeks ago, twenty minute lessons three days per week.  After 11 lessons, he has mastered Freestyle, Backstroke, Breaststroke, and is almost there with Butterfly.  He can dive off the blocks, and is working on his flip turn.  He entered a fun meet after the first four lessons, and placed second in his age group for both 25-yard freestyle and 25-yard backstroke.  He hopes he can master the flip turn before the next fun meet so he can do the 50-yard events (in addition to the 25-yard events) in all four strokes.  

I'm so impressed, and thrilled that he will be ready by October!

Oh, and his take on the whole thing?

"Yeah, I really don't like swimming." 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

She's Baaaaaaack!!

We're unpacked, vacation was great, and the kids have started school.  Life is good!

Here's the deal:  I have three months until tax season (aka Crazy Season) begins.  That's three months to work on me, the things I enjoy, and.....well, Me.  

In addition to the boring stuff (career advancement, professional education, etc.), I'm pushing my photography to a new level.  The Husband and I have a 5-Year Plan that involves an art gallery/surf shop/beach house.  I need to work the kinks out now to make it happen in five years! 

I've also signed up for a half-marathon in January.  It will be the first test of my newly healed knee, and if all goes well, there will be more to follow....possibly a full marathon or triathlon in 2013.  Stay tuned.

You know what else I am doing?  If you've been following my blog at all, you know I have an "I hate cooking" gene.  Well, I am working on that, thanks to Pinterest.  Look for Pinterest Recipe Reviews.  My goal is one new recipe per week.  

Other than that, SSDD.  More randomness about family life, travels, photography, kids, etc.  

Now, off to update the profile info and start fresh!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Deja Vu All Over Again

If it seems as if I am neglecting my bloggity duties, well, it's because I have been. Again.

You see, we've moved.....again.  If it seems as if you've heard this story before, it's because you have.  (Multiple times.)

We are now getting settled in SoCal.  And yes, we've done that before too.


And once again I am heading off on vacation and promise to resume blogging after I return.

(That's a whole lot of deja vu in a single post.)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

More Lost in Translation

So, I took the kid for a haircut.  He keeps wavering between the Blonde One's curls and the Wildcard's short spikiness and finally it was time for me to intervene.  Yes the long curls were cute, but he just couldn't carry the look like his older brother could.  

So, we opted for short and maybe spiky.

Because I really can't make a commitment, I dropped in to a hair salon on the way home from karate the other night.  As luck would have it, there were no openings for walkins.  The following day, on the way to the commissary we had the same luck.

Finally, on the way to Costco with Captain Awesome in tow, we stopped at Fantastic Sam's and were told that it would only be a ten minute wait.  That was, well, fantastic.

Like clockwork, ten minutes later the little Vietnamese hairstylist popped her head out and called Captain Awesome's name.  I walked back to the chair with him, helped him get situated, and talked to the hairstylist for a minute.

She couldn't stop looking at him in the mirror, with a slightly puzzled look on her face.

"Is it boy or girl?" she finally asked.

I assured her that "it" was a boy, and that he would like a short, spiky hair cut, cut short around the ears and neck.  She seemed to understand.

So, I took a spot in the seating area where I could watch, but not interfere.  A minute later she was back.

"Um, mom?  She so cute.  She should have bob!"

Visions of my cute little ninja walking out with a curly bob, glittery Barbie nail extensions, and an intriguing story to tell his therapist in the future bounced through my head.

Thank God for photo books.  A picture truly is worth a million words.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

I'm An Idiot, Volume XXVIII

When we moved into the 1950's Beach Cottage, we knew we were giving up space for the convenience of having the World's Best Beach across the street.  One of those conveniences was a kitchen with storage.

As I was unpacking our kitchen boxes, I came across lots and lots of Tupperware and lots and lots of Tupperware lids.  The big problem was that space was limited and that we simply had too much Tupperware crap.

In an attempt to rectify the situation, I piled all the Tupperware in one corner, then separated the lids into two piles:  Lids With Bottoms and Orphaned Lids.  My plan, of course, was to ditch the Orphaned Lids to conserve space in the cupboard.

The only problem with that plan is that I'm an idiot and was working on too few hours of sleep.

I tossed the Lids With Bottoms.

I was left with a cupboard full of Tupperware with no lids, and a drawer full of Orphaned Lids.  I'm reminded of it EVERY FREAKIN' TIME we have leftovers.

signed.....looking for a Tuppewrare dealer who specializes in 1990-era lids. 

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Like a Breath of Fresh Air

Last night as I was tucking Captain Awesome into bed and giving him his nightly eight kisses and an eight-second hug, I noticed how good he smelled.  It was fresh, clean, soapy goodness.....more so than usual.

Me:  You smell good tonight!

Captain Awesome:  That's because it's Tuesday.

And with that, the conversation was over.  At least in his mind.

Me (with an obviously dumb look):  Huh?  

Captain Awesome:  It's my system.  In the shower.  You know, my shower system.

(I tilt my head left, then right, like a curious puppy.)

Captain Awesome (after a big sigh):  On Monday I scrub my left arm.  Twice.

On Tuesday I scrub my left arm and my right arm.  Twice.

On Wednesday I scrub my left arm and my right arm and my belly.  Twice.

On Thursday I scrub my left arm and my right arm and my belly and my right leg.  Twice.

On Friday I scrub my left arm and my right arm and my belly and my right leg and my left leg.  Twice.

If you think I smell good now, wait until Friday.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Proof I'm Raising Nerdy Kids:

When kids rebel, watch out.  You really never know where their rebellious ways will take them......

Take Captain Awesome, for example. 

Yesterday he came home from school in a pissy mood, which wasn't surprising.  When he walked in the door and tried to log on to the computer, I reminded him that he hadn't completed his homework the night before and had been in a mad rush in the morning to complete it and still get to school on time.

The kicker was that he knew he had homework, but chose not to mention it to me until 7:25 a.m.

So, the new rule was that homework had to be done AS SOON AS YOU WALK IN THE DOOR.  NO exceptions.  Period.

So, after a bit (okay a lot) of fuss, Captain Awesome pulled his math book out of his backpack and did two pages of division problems. He followed that up with ten spelling sentences, a science worksheet, and twenty minutes of reading.  

When he finished, I let him get on the computer and all was good.

And then, this morning happened.

He got up, got dressed, ate breakfast, and brushed his teeth.  As I handed him his backpack he looked at me and said, "What do you think I am?  Stupid or something?"

I was clueless.

"That math homework I did last night?  The two pages of division problems?  That wasn't my homework.  We're not even on division yet."


Then he pulled out his math book, opened to a page of geometry and spent ten seconds circling images that could be folded from the given flat shapes. 

"See that?  THAT was my math homework.  I just did the division to trick you."

Yeah.........okay.  You win, buddy.    

Friday, January 13, 2012


So, yesterday I was in my office in the back of the house working while Crunchy Girl and Captain Awesome were occupied in the front of the house.  Crunchy Girl was watching TV in the living room while Captain Awesome played with his Beyblades on the floor across the room.  It was a quiet afternoon, and things were winding down for the day.

Or so I thought.

The next ten minutes played out as one of the funniest incidents of my life.  It went like this:

A white ten-passenger cargo van suddenly pulled up in front of our house.  We have a huge floor-to-ceiling picture window in the living room, and the jalousie windows on either side were wide open, so it was impossible for Crunchy Girl to not notice.

The doors of the van opened and the driver helped ten Japanese tourists out of the van, then unloaded a pile of suitcases, wheelie bags, and random travel items......and then he drove off.

Crunchy Girl watched as the Japanese talked amongst themselves and sorted their luggage, then walked up the sidewalk to our front door.  They paused to look at the house, the yard, and point at various plants and pieces of landscaping.  And, since the front window is a two-way window, they waved to Crunchy Girl and headed up the front steps, luggage in tow.  And then there was a knock on the door.

This is when Crunchy Girl raced back to my office in a panic.

She was attempting to tell me what was happening out there, but was startled and freaked out and not making much sense.  (Not that she could have explained it in a way that made any sense of the situation though.)  Halfway through her scattered thoughts, Captain Awesome walked in to the room looking dazed and confused.

"Ummmm, Mom?  Why are there a bunch of Japanese people in our yard taking pictures of our house?"

From my office in the back, I can look out the window and see our front porch.  

Sure enough, it was the stereotypical Japanese tourist scene.  There were about ten of them dressed in Japanese office/travel/everyday attire, mulling around the yard, posing for pictures while flashing the peace sign and grinning ear to ear.  It was surreal and crazy and I was trying to figure out my next move.

Before I could do anything, the white van came flying around the corner and came to a quick stop in front of our house.  

The driver hopped out and frantically shouted something in Japanese. 

Our new visitors paused and looked at each other in shock for a few seconds, scrambled to grab their belongings, then ran across the street and loaded into the van in 60 seconds flat.

And they were gone.

Obviously the van driver needs a better GPS.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Blame It On the New Math?

So, I was out running the other night and twisted my knee on uneven asphalt.  I kept running because it didn't feel too bad.

Probably not a good idea.

Five days later and the doctor confirmed a Grade 2 ligament sprain.  That's somewhere between "it'll heal in a few days" and "shredded".  It means 4-6 weeks of recovery time, crutches, a knee brace, lots of ice packs, and popping Motrin like Pez.

As expected, Captain Awesome is in love with the crutches.  He was with me when I picked them up, and sat with them in the back seat while I drove home.  

"Mom, they look like machine guns."

I tell him he can play with them when I'm not using them.

"Can I open them?"

I tell him he can, and I hear plastic wrap tearing in the back seat, then silence.

"Ummm......Mom?  We might have a problem here.  How much do you weigh?  Because these crutches only go up to 300 pounds."

Thanks, buddy. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

My Pot of Gold

Yesterday was a typical Monday.  Up, dressed, got the boys up, fed, and out the door almost on time.  

As we were driving to Captain Awesome's school, we rounded a corner and climbed a small hill giving us a view across the bay from our neighborhood to the base where I work.

There was a huge, bright rainbow extending across the sky and ending in the vicinity of my office.

Me:  Look!  It's an omen!  I think the rainbow means it's going to be a great Monday!!

Captain Awesome:  What's an omen?

I explain the whole concept of an omen, and that the rainbow must be a sign that I'm going to have a great day.

Captain Awesome (muttering in the back seat):  No, Mom.  I think it means you're going to have a bad day like you always do at work.

Me:  Thanks for bursting my bubble, buddy.

So, I dropped the kid off at his school and the big kid off at his school and headed for the end of the rainbow.

I arrived just in time to make a mad dash across the parking lot in the pouring rain.

So much for my pot of gold, eh?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Hawaiian Potluck

As I've mentioned before, the potluck is a staple of the culture here in Hawaii. Business meeting?  Bring a dish to pass.  Soccer game?  Bring a dish to pass.  Neighborhood watch?  You guessed it - bring a dish to pass.  No gathering is complete without the potluck, and the potlucks are AMAZING.

Tonight the Wildcard had swim practice followed by ----you guessed it ----a potluck.

As usual for any weekday, I flew out the door of my office at 4:30 sharp, grabbed Captain Awesome from his after-school program and made it home in time to yell to the Wildcard to get ready for swim practice.  Five minutes later we were on our way to the pool.

Captain Awesome:  Mom, I'm hungry.

Me:  Okay, get a (leftover) snack from your lunchbox.  We have potluck after swimming.

Captain Awesome moans in the back seat.

A few minutes later, as we are approaching the pool....

Captain Awesome:  Mom, can we just go to a restaurant?  I'm hungry!!!

Me:  I know you're hungry - we have potluck in two hours.  We're not going to a restaurant!!

Another moan from the back seat.

So, we pull in to the parking lot to drop the Wildcard off.  

Captain Awesome:  Mom!!!!!   I'm STARVING!!!

The Wildcard:  Enough already!  We're having potluck.

Another moan from the back seat.

The Wildcard gets out and trots off to the pool.  Captain Awesome and I drive out of the parking lot and head for home.

Captain Awesome:  Can we please go eat?  

Me:  We're having POTLUCK.  Have a snack to hold you over until then.

Yet another moan from the back seat.

Then this.....

Captain Awesome:  Mom?  What's a potluck?

That explains a lot.......and the kid had his first Hawaiian potluck experience tonight.  Next time I say we're going to potluck, he will get it.


Monday, October 10, 2011

It's All About the Loopholes.

For some reason, Captain Awesome is more fascinated with off-limits vocab words than his siblings ever were. 

It began the second week of the school year.  Every day he would come home and tell me about one of his classmates who had 'said a bad word' and didn't get caught!  It wasn't always the same kid, but it seemed to be a group of three or four.

Captain Awesome eventually wriggled his way into this little clique and has been testing the waters to see how far he can go.  
Is it okay if I just say "the s-word"?  I didn't really say the word, so that's okay, right?

What if I spell it?  Can I do that?  Can I spell it with stars, like 's*it'?

If I say it and don't get caught, it doesn't count, right?

How about if I said part of  the word, and my friend said the rest?  Neither of us said a bad word, so it doesn't count, right?

My answer was always the same.  It's about intent.  If you say part and your friend says the other part, your intent was to say the word and it is just as wrong as if you had each said it.  If you write it with stars, the intent is there and you are guilty.

It didn't sink in.  They thought they were invincible because no one ever got caught.  If it was wrong, they would get in trouble and since no one got in trouble, it couldn't be wrong!

So, they got caught.  He said "Shhhhhhh......" and his friend completed the word.  They lost recess and had to write a letter to their parents about how it was wrong and won't happen again.  I hoped that, combined with ten days away from the clique for fall break, would put an end to it.

Wrong.  He's still fascinated.  

I know this because last night when I put away his laundry I found a notepad in his drawer where he was keeping track of who said the most bad words in the house during fall break.  The Wildcard and I each had two tally marks on our page.  

The Hubster, well, he had a bad week........


Saturday, October 01, 2011

The Next Chapter

So, we've entered that proverbial "next chapter" in our lives, sort of.

The Hubster retired, after 21 years in the Marine Corps. It was an amazing ride, but we decided it was just time to end it. We were blessed to have been to some awesome places, with awesome people, and awesome experiences and really didn't see where there was anything awesome out there for us anymore. Fourteen moves to ten different locations in twenty-one years was enough.

I would like to say that the transition was easy, but it wasn't.

The retirement date he chose was January 31, because beyond that they would have given us orders to somewhere yucky, like Washington D.C.

January is the middle of the school year, and we didn't want to move the kids in the middle of a school year. We tossed around a few options, but kept coming back to the fact that our tenants were moving out of our house in Florida in July. It would be vacant, the kids and I could live there while the Hubster finished up his time in the Marine Corps and settled wherever fate led us. The Blonde One wanted to go to a college in the area and would be guaranteed admission if he transferred from a community college just a few miles from our house.....otherwise, he wouldn't stand a chance as an out of state transfer student. Plus, the Hubster's family was only 2.5 hours away, his father was battling terminal cancer and it would give the kids a chance to spend time with their Grandpa before he passed away.

It was a tough decision, but the boys and I packed a few things and moved to our house in Florida while the Hubster and Crunchy Girl stayed behind in California.

It was a tough year. The boys and I lived like college students in Florida, made frequent trips to visit the in-laws, took care of some maintenance issues on the house, and waited to see how the job market gods would bless us. The Blonde One was accepted to his college of choice and FIL passed away in February, so I will never regret the decision. As much as the entire year sucked, I would make the same choices again.

The Hubster accepted a job in Hawaii, but it was not without drama. It took several months for the dust to settle, which coincided with the end of the school year, so we headed to the islands at that time. Again, more drama ensued, but we are now settled in our new home and starting our life as semi-empty nesters.

Crunchy Girl continues her studies in California, while the Blonde One is loving college life in Florida. I went back to work full-time, something I really haven't done in the 21 years the Hubster was active duty. It's an adjustment for all of us, but it's all good.


Sunday, July 10, 2011


I have underwater housing for the Nikon D80, and I plan to use it.

Say tuned.....

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Showing His Italian Roots

So, tonight I was folding laundry as the kids were winding down before bedtime.

Destructo popped his head around the corner and said, "Mom, can I have some chocolate milk?"

I glanced at the pile of laundry in front of me and said, "Sure, I'll get it for you as soon as I finish folding this."

Three minutes later he reappears, as does his Italian lineage.

He's annoyed, and the hands are flying.

"Where is my chocolate milk? This is no way to run a business. You can't make customer wait - they get angry!!"

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Tragic Endings

So, I blogged about a local friend's wedding here.

Here is another story about him.

We are back in Hawaii, but that's another story for another day....hopefully soon.

This evening the Hubster and I headed to the beach for some wind-down time after being cooped up in temporary lodging for WAY too long with three boys.

The lifeguard tower was adorned with local flower arrangements, and a single, large bouquet sat alone on the sand, just beyond the reach of the rising tide. As we walked along the shoreline, we cautiously stepped over hundreds of plumeria, orchids, ginger, and tuberose washed up on the sand.

Jeff's 'paddle out' had been that morning.

It's tradition among surfers to have a 'paddle out' for a lost friend. Everyone gathers on the shore for a brief ceremony, then they all grab their boards and paddle out into the ocean to say farewell to their friend. A circle is formed, they all join hands for a few final words, then drop lei and flowers into the ocean in honor of the missing surfer. It's an amazing, moving tribute to witness.

The Hubster had been there that morning for the paddle out, but just couldn't do it so soon after losing his father.

We walked in silence for a while, then talked about the impact Jeff had had on so many people. I didn't know him well, but the Hubster was honored to call him a friend. He (technically) worked for the Hubster, but the Hubster respected and admired him enough to consider him an equal, at minimum.

RIP, Jeff.

Sunday, April 10, 2011


The Diva has never been a fan of leftovers.

I've always had the 'cook every other day' policy, and make enough on Day 1 to have leftovers on Day 2. If you don't want leftovers, fend for yourself.

The Diva refused to eat leftovers - she always chose the 'fend for yourself' option.

So, she just moved into her own apartment. She calls several times each day (which I love) sometimes for advice and sometimes to just chat.

On Friday she called while grocery shopping. She wanted my opinion on produce - what could she buy that would bake a good stir-fry? I made a few suggestions, which she seemed to follow.

Then this:

Diva: You know what? I just had a great idea - I'm going to buy double so I can make extra and eat it for two days in a row!

Me: (snicker)

Diva: That way I only have to cook once! Isn't that a great idea?

Me: You mean, like..........leftovers?

Diva: Oh. Yeah. (long pause) I get it now.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010


Life has changed.

The Husband is retiring from the Marine Corps.

The boys and I are living in our house in Florida, seeing if any job opportunities arise in the area. In the meantime, we are living out of suitcases with minimal furnishings. As one realtor put it, "Do you have college students renting your place?" Sadly, no.

The Husband and The Diva are living in a furnished rental in California. Oh, to be a fly on the wall in that place.....

Everything we own is in storage. I miss my stuff.

I really, really miss my stuff!

When the dust settles and one (or both) of us secures a real job, we can resume life as normal.

Welcome to "Talkin' Story......the Limbo Year(s)".

Friday, June 04, 2010

I Needed That

So, after an exceptionally crappy week, I picked Destructo up at noon after his half day kindergarten was complete.

He was in a pissy mood because Princess Jellybean toyed with him about a play date, then stood him up yet again. To make matters worse, I told him it was time for a haircut, and we headed off to get his curls clipped for the summer.

Generally he sits still as a statue for his haircut, collects his lollipop and is out the door without a peep.

Today, notsomuch.

He sat still as a statue until the stylist whipped out the clippers instead of scissors.

He HATES clippers. So he cried. And wriggled.

The very young stylist tried to comfort him by saying that she knows how he feels. After all, the clippers are very SHARP!!! She cut her finger that morning, and showed him the damage. Then she flicked the "on" switch and maneuvered the clippers in the direction of his left ear.

He screamed.

After talking him down and holding him still, the curls were history....but not without a few promises made for good behavior. Like, lunch at Burger King because they have Marmaduke toys.

It's strange, but there are very few Burger Kings in this area. We drove a few miles to the one we knew, the one where I have always had some sort of odd confrontation. Last time we were there an elderly woman was hallucinating about visions in the parking lot. I didn't want to be rude, so I played along and pretended I saw the same things. She went back to her meal, we finished ours, and we left.

Destructo and I managed to finish our meals without incident. He was happy with his Marmaduke toy, and the haircut incident was history.

As we headed out the door we passed a table with two adorable men, senior citizens enjoying their fifteenth coffee for the day.

One of them smiled and said, "That's a really fine looking boy you've got there! And well behaved too!"

I smiled and thanked him, as did Destructo.

Then the other piped up, "Well, Hell....Mom's fine looking too!! What did you expect?"

(I love him.)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Princess Jellybean

Destructo has a little friend who lives two doors down and is in his kindergarten class. I'll call her Princess Jellybean (because that's how she refers to herself at times).

Princess Jellybean's parents are divorced and she lives with her dad. At the beginning of the school year, I offered to pick her up after school with Destructo and drop her off at the babysitters, it was right on my way anyway.

Princess Jellybean is one of those kids who has to one-up everyone, no matter the subject. It's an annoying habit in adults.....but pretty amusing when it involves a couple of kindergartners.

Today's conversation began with Destructo showing Princess Jellybean a toy that the Husband had brought home from a recent trip.

Princess Jellybean: I go on trips sometimes.

Destructo: Me too.

Princess Jellybean: I've gone on a plane to Florida before.

Destructo: Me too. Lots of times.

Princess Jellybean: Sometimes I go every weekend.

Destructo: Oh.

Princess Jellybean: My cousins live there. I have lots of cousins.

Destructo: I have lots of cousins too.

Princess Jellybean: Yeah? Well, I have fifteen.

Destructo: I have like thirty or forty.....

Princess Jellybean: I meant to say, "I have fifteen hundred."

As hard as I tried, I just couldn't keep from giggling at that one. Of course that interrupted their conversation and put the focus on me.

Me: You have fifteen hundred cousins?

Princess Jellybean: Yes. I do. Really.

Me: What are their names?

Princess Jellybean: There's Mia. And David.....Little David, I mean. And Big David. And.....ummmm....Big Mia. Some of them I don't know their names.

Monday, February 08, 2010


The Hubster had a job interview today.

It was his third. He was runner-up for one job (which we later learned was a blessing in disguise), and he withdrew after interviewing for the other position.

So, now we're waiting and contemplating.

He goes back and forth about retiring. If the right thing came along, he would retire in a heartbeat.

The problem arises when the job opportunity is in that grey area.

It's a low-key job, which is what he wants after 20 years in the Marine Corps.

The location isn't top on our list, but close enough.

The pay? He would be underpaid for what he has to offer. His retirement pay would make up for it, but he would still go to work every day knowing he was underpaid. For the area, the pay is great; for someone with his background, not so much.

Pay and location are our biggest deal makers/breakers right now.

It's a foot in the door, in a lot of ways. That's a plus, right?

On a side note, he received an e-mail today saying he was on a short list for a 12-month deployment to Afghanistan.

Kind of cancels out the low pay issue, doesn't it?

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Lost in Translation

On our way to church today we were having our usual conversation in the car. Destructo was reminded to behave himself, and to whisper if he needed to say anything. He had a few Hotwheels to play quietly with, but only if he was well-behaved. The Wildcard needed to be reminded to not poke or prod his little brother, especially if he was behaving himself.

Simple enough, and everyone seemed to have understood.

Fifteen minutes later we were sitting in church and all was well. Destructo was kneeling on the floor, facing backwards and driving his Hotwheels back and forth, from me the Wildcard and back again. The Wildcard was pretending to be oblivious, which was good. One glance from him always seems to fire up Destructo, and then all bets are off.

Thirty minutes later, all appeared to be well.....until I noticed Destructo glaring at someone behind us.

He was quite angry.

I glanced back and saw the man behind us playing with one of Destructo's Hotwheels. He was pushing it across the back of the bench, racing it and then crashing on to the seat beside me.

Destructo giggled. He had found a new friend.

The man and his two teenagers entertained Destructo quietly. (I later learn that one of the teenagers is a classmate of the Wildcard.)

Forty-five minutes pass and I realize that the car games have stopped and Destructo is quiet.

Another glance in his direction.

He's finger-spelling messages to his new friends. (At least it's quiet, right?)

The Wildcard glances over at the same time - we watch and mentally translate the hand signs. He's spelling his full name - first, middle, and last. I'm pretty impressed. He learned to finger-spell the alphabet when he was about 3 y/o, and we spell things at home often.

The Wildcard is taking American Sign Language this year, and has been teaching Destructo some of the hand signs. I know the alphabet, but am clueless when it comes to most of the signs.

Anyway, we're watching Destructo tell them his name and the name of his school. Then he starts using hand signals and I'm totally lost.

The Wildcard started to giggle, as did one of the teenagers behind us. There was whispering and more giggling behind us.

I'm lost. When I glance over at the Wildcard, he waves me off and starts giggling uncontrollably, then snorts.

Destructo giggles at the snort, the people around us giggle.

Once again, we don't make it through the entire hour without attracting attention.

An hour after we arrived, we are walking out the door and I ask the Wildcard to clue me in on what happened.

Apparently Destructo wanted to tell them that he was six y/o, which is important to any kid who just had a birthday. He mixed up a couple of the signs.

"I have sex" is similar to "I am six", right???

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


In the ER at 5 o'clock Sunday morning (yeah, it was a fun weekend):

Spineless Husband and Overbearing Wife who arrived just after us, laughing and joking in the parking lot and as they walked down the empty hallways suddenly became quiet as they approached the reception desk.

Spineless Husband: (Cough. Cough, cough.)

Overbearing Wife: My husband has bronchitis. He needs a note from the doctor.

Receptionist: We'll let the doctor take a look at him.

Later, after being checked in and having vitals taken, they were in the back being examined by the doctor.

Overbearing Wife: He has bronchitis and needs a note. They are going to the field all next week, and it's supposed to rain.

Doctor: He doesn't have bronchitis.

Overbearing Wife: I respect your opinion, doctor, but I know he has bronchitis. All he needs is a note from you so he won't have to go to the field next week. It's supposed to rain, and that's not good for his bronchitis.

Doctor: Ma'am, he doesn't have bronchitis.

Overbearing Wife: He has bronchitis. We need a note.

(This went on for a while, but they eventually gave up and went home.)

Young Marine, still half drunk, being stitched up after a bar fight....making conversation with the two MPs who escorted him to the ER:

Drunken Marine: So, like, you guys have the coolest jobs. How long was your school? Because I always thought I would make a good cop....

MPs politely explain the training requirement to become a military police officer.

Drunken Marine: So, like, do you have to be twenty-one? Because I turned twenty-one in September...YEAH!!!!!!!!!!! Oh, dude, THAT was a party! YEAH!!!!!!

MPs settle him down.

Drunken Marine: I just remembered. I got maced last night. By a random stranger. I couldn't see for like 45 minutes. Dude, that's why I never drink. Every time I drink, I get maced.

Just-turned 6 y/o who had been up all night, dehydrated from two days of vomiting. He was sound asleep on the bed for an hour while the IV dripped fluids into his tired, little body. Suddenly, without moving a muscle or opening his eyes, he began to return to his normal self:

Destructo: Mom, do dogs go to school?

Me (surprised to hear him talking): No, they don't usually.

Destructo: Does God have a computer?

Me: I'm not sure. Maybe we can Google it when we get home.

Destructo: I just farted.

And with that, he went back to sleep.

(Yeah, he's okay. Just a nasty case of the stomach flu.)