Monday, January 30, 2006

Invitation and Standing Tall

The commute home this evening was a nightmare--lights out before the Sunset tunnel, one lane closed, and everyone rushing home to make dinner. My shoulders were slumped as I lugged clothes downstairs to be washed.

Critter found me piling up another batch and showed me some pictures. My mother, the Social Butterfly, has a new cat, a beautiful Calico with an Egyptian face. She then showed me her homework, an invitation to celebrate King Tut's life. I love Tut's topknot.

As I looked over the cat photos again Critter stopped me. "Stand up straight." I relaxed my shoulders and punched my chest out, adding another few inches to my height. "Oh, good, I didn't want to be taller than you yet."

I gave her a hug. I don't want to outgrow her either.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Unintentionally Funny

Queen Matriarch has short term memory issues and horrible eyesight. It is an insanely cruel combination. On the rare moments she does remember that her memory is faulty, she can't see well enough to write herself a note about what she must remember. And she can't see her note to know there is something written on it.

On occasion, this has created unintentional and very funny situations. For example, a few minutes ago, Queen Matriarch came upstairs carrying one of our cordless phones. Mr. GoGoGo knew immediately what had happened and promptly told her "That's the phone. You'll never get the TV to work with that."

"Well, that's why I came upstairs," she said. "I need help finding the remote."

So off they both went back downstairs. As they reached the landing, Queen Matriarch said "I knew when it said to dial again that something wasn't right."

La-La and I roared. Poor Queen Matriarch. She wasn't sure why that was funny. And it was all Mr. GoGoGo could do to keep a straight face.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Mental Health Day

Today I’m taking a mental health day. That’s when you call in sick, but you’re really not. Except I’m kinda sick – a little stuffy, a raging headache, and an upset stomach. But it’s not a virus or bug that has me down. It’s change.

My immediate supervisor just took a different job. Yesterday was her last day. Faceted and I had become friends over the three years we worked together. And while I did not always agree with her managerial choices, Faceted supported me and everyone in the department with the ferocity of a mother lion. Now that she’s gone, the “big stuff” rests squarely on my shoulders. And I’m not even getting paid for it.

There’s opportunity, for sure. Moving into a managerial position is definitely part of my career plan. I’ve been asking lots of questions, getting the higher-ups to think through some niggling issues. And I’ve been encouraged by my coworkers to stay plugged-in, in front of the decision-makers. But the reality is, this is going to be a slow process. I’m facing five to six weeks of little or no movement at least. And still, the “big stuff” will rest on my shoulders.

So I’m taking a day for myself. To cuddle the kitties. To work on Critter’s flannel quilt. To scrapbook our Disneyland trip. To nap and recharge. Oh, yeah, and to wait for the UPS guy to deliver our new flat panel TV for the bedroom. Hee. A gift to Jewel Geek and myself from my last bonus. Why just have a TV, when you can have a gadget?

For today, it is all about ME. Let the crafting, cuddling, scrapping, and napping begin.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

His Royal Majesty and The Eclectic Slide

CrafterKat e-mailed me a Friendship Thingy—a basic questionnaire you fill out and forward to your friends asking them to answer likewise. Questions like the name of the last movie you saw (Brokeback Mountain), favorite TV shows (Navy NCIS, Stargate, Extreme Home Makeover), and favorite foods (pumpkin pancakes). One question got me thinking, though: What one thing made you smile today?

I answered and sent my response back to CrafterKat as well as to some of our other friends. But there was actually more than one answer to this question.

Last weekend when Critter picked up His Royal Majesty King James, she discovered a quarter size hard lump on his belly. The vet had just sent a notice that he was due for his four-hour check-up. I called the office on Sunday but they had no more openings for the day. After his ritual weighing (14.5 pounds!), the doctor tugged on King James to get him out of the carrier. “He’s gotten quite heavy!”

I nodded. “Thank you, Steroids.” King James had given us a shock last year when his immune system shut down. We forced steroids into him every day for close to four months to jump start his year-old immune system.

The doctor took a look at the mass. “It’s close to his mammary gland. We could excise it quickly and have it removed. Shouldn’t be a problem.”

The rest of the day I worried until I was able to pick him up that afternoon. King James looked at me with glazed eyes and mewed, wanting to go home. Turns out it was just a lump of hard fat tissue. Critter told me this evening that even though they removed the mass it still didn’t seem to affect his weight.

So, smiles for King James who has been attacking pillow tassels, watching the water go down the kitchen sink, and attempting to overthrow the reigning Queen by sleeping on our bed.

Last night, however, provided another smile. Critter has been preparing for a dance this week, a Cowboy themed event at her school. Just before bed, dressed in her gym t-shirt and neon Mickey Mouse pajama shorts she demonstrated the dance they were to perform.

She stepped around the Christmas decorations we are still putting away and began. “Heel, heel, toe, toe,” She placed one foot forward twice and then back to her side. “Leather,” she tapped her imaginary cowboy boot, “turn, step.” She lost her balance and began again. “Heel, heel, toe, toe, Leather, step, turn” wobble, wobble, “and then the Eclectic Slide.”

“The what?” I asked.

“The Electric Slide. But I can’t do it very well.” She stepped to her left, crossed over her front foot, clapped and repeated.

I grinned and continued to watch the dance. I guess I misheard her…

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

The Happiest Place on Earth

Since returning from vacation in November, we’ve had to remember that some things in the Rose City aren’t the same as they were in Disneyland (or Din-nee-nand as CrafterKat and I often call it).

1. Rockets don’t use the carpool lane.

2. Ask first before being photographed with a Sith Lord.
3. Buzz Lightyear will not ask for our assistance battling evil. I shouldn’t expect to see a score on my car dashboard when I get home from work.
4. I do not get to be chauffeured by Critter in the family car.
5. We will not be dining with royalty.
6. We can’t drive Mr. Toad’s car on the Sunset.
7. The Catapult of Doom should be used by only experienced Muppets.
8. Be careful of what you feed the Chipmunks.
9. Get a second opinion before having Minnie design your living room. Disney furniture isn’t as comfortable as it looks..
10. Watch where you walk. There may be a rhinoceros behind you.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Inside every turning leaf is the pattern of an older tree

Editor's Note: Origingally penned just after Christmas but our blog was not up and running at that time.

The day after Christmas reminded me again of how much I enjoy my family. It started with my Mom, the Social Butterfly, making banana pancakes and reminding us that we still had not completed the snow puzzle she had set up. I began packing up our gear only to be reminded that we still needed to get the new VCR/DVD hooked up for my mother.

I unboxed the contraption and gave the remote to my mother so she could put the batteries in. With my head stuck inside the media cupboard, my mother decided that now was a good time to ask all her VCR questions. “What do these numbers do?”

“I don’t know. I’m not to that part yet,” I called from inside the cabinet.

“What does Set Time mean?”

I craned my neck around some more. “I don’t know. I can’t see anything else.”

After a few more back contortions, I finally got the box set up and programmed in her soap opera. “Now, remember, you need to hit this button here and then the power button, to make sure the program is set. You’ll see a little clock just above the time.” Actually with my prescription and hers it looks like a square but I wasn’t going to go into semantics right now. She nodded and thankfully I didn’t have to go into the Power Off vs. Power On routine that has normally followed any programming done on the VCR.

Flashback 1980-something…
Me: So, Mom, to program your soaps you need to turn the Power on, go to the Program menu and plug in the date and time. When you’re done, press the Power button again to turn the machine off so it can begin taping.
Mom: Don’t you mean turn the Power button on? Because it needs to be On to start taping?
Me: The VCR already has the Power turned on. That’s how we set the date and time. Now we need to turn it off so it can start taping.
Mom: So I press the button to turn it on to start recording? I turn the Power on?
Me: *sighs heavily*

Repeat for each new VCR purchased thereafter.

We packed up the car with our Christmas goodies and suitcases and went to Mr. GoGoGo’s house to pick up leftovers. My father-in-law had BBQ’d a great turkey for dinner—he has since declared that it is time to get a new grill as this one finished the bird in two hours instead of four or five.

More food was crammed into available crannies, we reminded LaLa to see the doctor tomorrow (Avocado Pit=1, LaLa’s Finger=0), and Critter loaded up on leftover suckers which had been provided by the Gold Beach contingent. I tried not to think of the number of presents and linens that could be covered in a sticky goo in the back seat.

The Renaissance Man, CrafterKat's brother, returned from the store, his youngest son sporting a new purple lightsaber. Apparently older brothers can’t have purple ones—younger ones are supposed to have them, too. Our young Jedi showed a few moves and dropped the lightsaber. “Careful!” cried his mother, “I don’t want you breaking it already!”

He pointed to the handle. “Don’t worry, just this small bit broke off right here.”

“We just bought it five minutes ago!”

He chuckled as only a six-year old can. “Just kidding.”

After more hugs and goodbyes, we finally piled into the car and headed to Starbucks to get the driver fully caffeinated. Ten minutes later she came back with her pumpkin latte and my hot chocolate. “What took so long?” I asked.

“New guy running the cash register who didn’t know what buttons to push and a Barrista? Barristo? running the espresso machine on Eugene Time. Which is not as laid back as Hawaii time, but close.” I nodded and we merged onto the freeway.

Our return trip home was a delightful mélange of teenisms, wild animal sightings and snacking. I looked in the mirror and spied Critter slurping on a green sucker. “What flavor is it?”

“Sugar,” she answered.

Before we hit Brownsville we had spotted about ten hawks, each about 500 ft. apart spying the fields for rodents. Critter spotted three more, fourteen baby lambs and one golden styrofoam eagle.

“I have to get up to 16 hawks,” Critter said.


“For when I become 16 because that’s when I’ll have my own car.”

We chuckled at her assumptions.

This is the same teenager who, with an older sibling/babysitter voice, advised Jedi Racoon, her six-year old cousin, to be sure and leave a note for Santa along with a plate of cookies. My nephew listened intently, the youngest and last True Believer in our family, and included a carrot for Santa’s reindeer beside his note.

When we got home to my mother’s Christmas night, Critter asked how Santa could get into houses without chimneys. Christmas morning we discovered a glass of milk and a note had been left for Santa in Critter’s seventh grade scrawl.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Introductions and Welcome

Welcome to our new blog. We, the Crafter and the Geek, hope to post family stories, news, and links to things we find interesting. Enjoy!