Sunday, August 31, 2008

Maybe I'm Just Not Swedish Enough...or Dallas Enough

I ventured to IKEA in Frisco this weekend. It was my first time EVER at an IKEA store (gasp! SCANDAL!)


Can I just say this: IKEA is Swedish for HELL.


Oh.

My.

Gawwwwd this place is crazy out of control madness!


When this IKEA was built here, people took the day off work to freakin' go. Me...*yawn*. It's just another store in the retail-rich, people-rich, wealthy-rich meteroplex. I had heard people ooh and ahhh over furniture purchased there and it didn't mean a whole heckuva lot to me, really. *stretch* Big whoop.


I think it's been about two years since it opened and it's STILL crazy out of control madness!


I had planned to blog about how horrific my experience was, but I haven't the energy. I'm *still* exhausted from my TWO trips (yes, one. two. TWO!) there yesterday.


My Little One should be thankful....after all, she got a new bed out of this ordeal.


Now, if I could get her to sleep in it!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

BAH! Who Needed Those Kitchen Sinks Anyway??

The water heater at my house went kaplooie on Sunday morning. Luckily the water heater closet is in our garage so the water didn't damage the interior of my home.

A technician that is affiliated with the home owner's warranty could not come until Monday. Fine. I understand that. No biggie. It's summer in Texas. A cold shower feels like a day at the pool to us. Cold shower day number one.

Later Sunday afternoon, the kitchen drains start backing up while dishes were being hand washed. Letting out the dishwater didn't help. The Man of the House took a plunger to those rascilly sinks and well, gunk (cool word, huh?) came out and water came up, but the drains were still illin'.

The technician can look at that, TOO, while he's "visiting" on Monday. Eating out dinner day number one.

Monday arrives.

The $55 service charge that was supposed to cover this whirlwind of maintenance has somehow inflated to the flabbergasting amount of approximately $300. Water heater is going to cost EXTRA due to coding compliance upgrades, AND it won't be installed until Wednesday. Cold shower days number two and three.

The Technician runs "his" snake down the drain about ten or eleven feet (there's a whole sexual innuendo there that I'll just skim and leave). His diagnosis: there's a broken pipe and you should NOT use your kitchen sinks until it's repaired. On Wednesday -- when he comes to install the new water heater -- he'll bring a camera to slide down the drain (kinky!) and come up with a game plan (role playing!). Eating out days number two and three.

Wednesday arrives.

Water heater is a beauty! We love it. Admire it. Are in awe of it. We have hot water again. Everyone take a steaming hot shower! Wheeee! Let's use up all the hot water and leave Jackie to take a cold shower. Wheeeee! (That didn't really happen but it almost did! Really!)

I get The Call from The Man of the House. Supposedly the camera confirms an alleged iron pipe that has possibly rusted and it just might, perhaps be broke-icated. And supposedly said Tecnician can set up some sort of wickedcool contraption that attaches to the drains under our sink, and somehow -- mysteriously -- runs into our attic and then into the sewer system and we are back in action.

(???WTF???) That's why HE is The Technician with the capital T. He has skillz and knowledge that no one else in our house does.

OR...***deep breath***

Option number two: Break through the floor of our dining room which is connected to the kitchen (it's a shared space), dig through the foundation and into the Earth, hunting for the broken iron pipe, rip it from its home, uproot it from its family, THEN throw in a replacement pipe that we'll all ogle and ahh once we get the pipe buried (another sexual innuendo), pat the dirt on top of it, somehow fix the foundation of my house and get new flooring for the dining area.

Yes, I *DO* see the bright side to all this drama! I'm sure you see it, too. Let's all say it together, shall we? "NEW FLOORING". Yayyyyyyyyyy!

Yeah -- NOT how I wanted new flooring.

And, yeah -- NOT covered by the home owners warranty OR the home owners insurance. NOT GOOD. Momma can't afford that kinda action!!

So now the special contraption doohickey thingamajiggy with the attic and the sewer is sounding so quite adventurous and more do-able. It also sounds like a bandaid to a problem that really needs major surgery. And this kind of surgery, my friend, is not cosmetic and elective.

I'm superstressedout as a result of this home ownership event. This kind of thing and I don't get along well. It's like when I have a new car and suddenly something in the engine goes wrong and I have to replace a part, I don't like that. I lose faith in the credibility and dependability of my car. I want a new one. I want a new house, now. I don't like this.

Who needs those kitchen sinks anyways? Let's just have sandwiches every night.

Or, do the dishes in the bathtub.

Or, get new floors......

Or.....

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

P.P.S. - St. Monica's Feast Day Today

Monica is my baptismal and confirmation name. Today is the day that she is celebrated by the RC community (also in Lutheran and Anglican faiths) .

She is the patron saint of mothers and wives, chosen as such because her husband was pagan and cruel; and her son, Augustine went from being a non-believer to one of 'fathers' of the Roman Catholic Church. She prayed for him daily, cultivating the virtue of patience (as it states on Wikipedia).

St. Monica icon

Intercessionary Prayer to St. Monica:
Exemplary Mother of the great Augustine, you perseveringly pursued your wayward son not with wild threats but with prayerful cries to heaven. Intercede for all mothers in our day so that they may learn to draw their children to God. Teach them how to remain close to their children, even the prodigal sons and daughters who have sadly gone astray.

Amen

P.S.

Happy Birthday to my Godmother.

I wish I had a picture handy that I could share with you. She's amazing. And she's woven into my spirit and soul like no other human will ever be, ever can be.

Can't Stop Lovin' You!

Sometimes, this song just says it.....

(a la Sammy) Van Halen's Can't Stop Lovin' You....

There's a time and place for everything,
For everyone.
We can push with all our might,
But nothin's gonna come.
Oh no, nothin's gonna change.
And if I asked you not to try,
Oh could you let be?
I wanna hold you and say
We can throw this all away
Tell me you won't go,
.....you won't go....
Do you have to hear me say...

I can't stop lovin' you
And no matter what you say or do
You know my heart is true oh
I can't stop lovin' you

You can change your friends,
Your place in life.
You can change your mind.
We can change the things we say
And do anytime.
Oh no, but I think you'll find
that when you look inside your heart
Oh baby, I'll be there!
Hold on!
I'm holding on!
Baby, just come on, come on, come on
I just wanna hear you say...

I can't stop lovin' you
And no matter what you say or do
You know my heart is true oh
I can't stop lovin' you

Oh, I'm so twisted and tied,
And all I remember
Was how hard we tried
Only to surrender...
And when it's over,
I know how it's gonna be.
True love will never die.
No, not fade away...

I can't stop lovin' you
And no matter what you say or do
You know my heart is true oh
I can't stop lovin' you
And I know what I got to do
Hey ray, what you said is true <~~ Okay that 'Hey ray' part is kinda dumb...
I can't stop lovin' you, oh
Oh, I can't stop lovin' you

Monday, August 25, 2008

It's Not So Bad Being In Second

Look who started second grade today! Doesn't she look lovely?

Butterflies in her belly, she walked up the stairs through the elementary masses to greet her second grade year. She was happy, sad, nervous, excited, cautious. It's her fourth school since she was three years old: Montessori till Kindergarten, Kinder at the church, First Grade at the Magnet School and now, she's gone Ivy League at the new school.

She woke up at 5 a.m. Even made her own lunch! She put granola on her peanut butter and jelly sandwich. *laughing* She was ready by 6:30(ish) and we had an hour yet before leaving to school. My Little One must've been excited too, because she was up early as well and just HAD to be dressed like her sister! HAD to have a backpack, too. HAD to go to the school as well!

This school is only a few blocks from the house, so me and My Little One escorted My Eldest to school. (It was so nice to walk her to school. I am looking forward to doing that every day. I'm so thankful I have an employer who is flexible!) We saw a lizard crossing the alley and encouraged it to find it's mommy and daddy and not play in the street again. It scurried like an obedient, good lil lizard.

There were lots of good and funny and sweet observations of the morning. Mostly, I think she's going to be very happy at this school.

Beep! Beep!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Apples In August

Did you miss me?


I went to see a super-sexy, very intelligent, deeply philosophical, soul-searching, life-giving friend of mine who I will simply refer to as "R". She turned a milestone age that rhymes with 'sporty', so I went to celebrate her glory. I haven't seen her in more than ten years. She allowed me to share her personal space, meet her inner circle, bond with her family, and generally spoiled me while there (thank you, R!).



We walked and walked and walked and talked and talked and talked. She says she is exhausting, but it wasn't R that exhausted me. I think it was those shots of Washington Apples (yummy), the crown and cokes, the Frenatis and the staying up way too late that exhausted me. Mt. Rainer was out quite a bit. "WOW" is all I can say about Rainier. If you've been there, you know what mean; if you haven't, you need to experience it. WOW.


The coolish weather was a nice break from the Texas heat. I had to giggle at those Pacific Northwesterners complaining about their humidity and their heat. It was a good 20 degrees cooler there. It's all about context, I know.... Still I am giggling.

Titlow Beach was our first stop after dropping off my things at home. It's a rocky beach where I collected rocks of character for My Sweet Eldest. There's some story about the world's largest octopus being found there near Narrows Bridge. We watched the sun setting and did lots of laughing while the tide snuck up and nearly trapped us near the boulders. Cold water makes for sharp minds! Later that evening, we indulged in delicious desserts at The Ram, overlooking a setting sun on the water. R has a lovely family. Truly.

Day next, we ventured three hours south to Long Beach (the world's longest beach!) . We rode mopeds on the beach....got stuck in the sand...got unstuck in the sand. (KP is probably still laughing at the thought of my fat a** zipping around in a yellow helmet and yellow moped in a slow-paced beachside town of Long Beach. Shoosh, KP!) Floating in the overcast skies were kites and seagulls. Decorating the packed gray sand were jellyfish, more seagulls and beachcombers.

Picturesque.
Romantic.

I even got to meet The Legendary T (R's male best friend) -- park ranger, painter, historian, policeman, preservationist, surfer with a gaggle of kids (thanks for letting me crash your world, too, T!). The next day, R and I shopped and ate all around Long Beach, then drove to Astoria, Oregon and saw T's art LIVE in a gallery there. I need to save my pennies and make a purchase someday.... Before leaving T's place, I snapped some pictures of fruits begging attention from their trees found in his back yard -- one was a (real) Washington apple - half green, half red and small, poking it's bottom out from 'neath the nurturing leaves.


There's nothing like youth, especially the innocence of young men. Being my age, and married, with a shaky self-image, having 22-year-old boys serenade you and your friend because it's your friend's birthday is definitely a sweet memory (can we say 'vicarious'? lol) . We played pool with them, then watched them strive to be famous music artists in the alley of the bar. I'll never forget the lip-pierced J and curly-headed pre-law student R sing their hearts out passionately. And that station wagon. Ohhhh the station wagon.

R and I attended Mass on Sunday night (before the bar and before yummy Italian dinner served by a very sexy waiter), and I was humbled by streaming tears. At All Saints, I witnessed something I'd never seen before. The bread was unleavened bread that after it was transubstantiated, the priest tore into tiny pieces. Actual breaking of bread. Very cool! Eventually, he had to sneak to the back and bring out the circular hosts that I'm used to seeing. The music was kind of jazzy instead of solemn like in my home church. The congragation even goes out to dinner together after Mass on Sunday nights. Love that sense of community....

Monday was supposed to be 'Seattle Day', but R ended up having to work for a few hours, so I kept my hungover butt in the bed. I had the best fun later that evening going to downtown Tacoma....walking and talking (duh) with R, plus seeing the world-famous Chihuly glass. The U-Dub @ Tacoma campus, Union Station and the general area down there was nice. There's a little marina there, too. How the water frees my spirit and comforts me, even if it's in the middle of the city hustle-bustle.




Tuesday was homecoming, but my flight wasn't till the afternoon, so I had R take me to the train station at Sumner, where I commuted with Workers of The Daily Grind to downtown Seattle. Again, I walked and walked, trekked UPHILL and UPHILL and UP THE DAMNED HILL. Holy cow! I had no idea how many hills were in downtown Seattle! Yes, I went to Pike's Place Marketplace, saw the famous fish throwers, the 'roided up flowers, the colorful and succulently inviting fruits and vegetables, the 3D puzzles and quaint eateries of international food. Flowering baskets hung all around, rainbow-colored umbrellas lined the rooftops, so much sensory stimulation! The first Starbucks ever established is at Pike's Place, so of course, I ventured in and made a purchase.

Before getting to Pike's Place, I trekked UP THE HILLS to St. James Cathedral. I walked through lower-income housing, over a major highway, through construction and past a hospital to find the glorious glass over the doors larger-than-life speak to me: I am the branches, you are the vine. Tears poured out of my eyes look up at Jesus's outstretched, welcoming hands. I made the sign of the cross, said 'thank you for getting me here' (with a little help from my husband!) , then marveled at the doors. I snapped my pictures of the Station that iconifies St. Veronica (a special interest of mine), lit some candles, then headed toward the Space Needle.

I missed my kids. A lot. After the third day, I would cry and cry without even being able to fake it while talking to them. I knew I'd miss them...but to that degree I was not expecting. I was missed. I've heard about it several times every day since. I am so blessed. Blessed to have kids that want me around, blessed to have such a wonderful friend in R, blessed to have a husband who cringed and let me go despite his discomfort with me going.

Indeed, I am a blessed woman. Thanks be to God.
P.S. Yes, *I* took all these pictures, as well as the ones in the previous three entries....so behave! I'll send the feds after you and charge you interest on previously owed money if you claim them as your own!

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Frenati




An original drink comprised of cranberry juice, Fresca and raspberry flavored vodka was coined "Frenati" for reasons that shall remain secret except to those few privileged folk. It's a pretty pink drink. Here is a picture of the bubbly pink concoction in a red lipstick stained glass (mine!)




Friday, August 08, 2008

Mopeds Are FUN!


Cheap thrill!

Twenty two bucks for an hour of silliness....AND a groovy yellow helmet to save my brain should I have crashed. High fashion, bay-beeeee!

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Music Minute: Outshined

If you haven't guessed by now, I have a 'thing' for voices. I am a kinesthetic learner and I am an auditory person. Music moves me. I am aware of sounds that other's don't notice. I listen to dialects and accents when people speak. I am fairly good at detecting language differences, inflections, cadence and other parts of speaking. Certain voices, especially from the male persuasion, will get under my skin.

I dig this guy's voice. A lot!

Here are the lyrics to "Outshined" by Soundgarden. Chris Cornell is the lead singer. The chorus is especially killer...

I got up feeling so down
I got off being sold out
I've kept the movie rolling
But the story's getting old now
I just looked in the mirror
Things aren't looking so good
I'm looking California
And feeling Minnesota
So now you know, who gets mystified
Show me the power child I'd like to say
That I'm down on my knees today
It gives me the butterflies
Gives me away
Till I'm up on my feet again
I'm feeling outshined
Someone let the dogs out
They'll show you where the truth is
The grass is always greener
Where the dogs are shedding
I'm feeling that I'm sober
Even though I'm drinking
I can't get any lower
Still I feel I'm sinking
So now you know who gets mystified
Show me the power child I'd like to say
That I'm down on my knees today
It gives me the butterflies
Gives me away Till
I'm up on my feet again
I'm feeling outshined