Saturday, October 27, 2012

Grandpa Lyman

My sister called. The news is bad. Well, she said, not bad. Sad.

Grandpa. Heart attack.

What we’ve all been expecting for the better part of a decade. Truly. But when you grow up sleeping in a bunkhouse in the middle of Wyoming, where your only option for warmth on a cold winter’s night is one more blanket on top of that pile of six…seven…eight… you don’t give up easily.

My grandpa’s horse ranch was magical. Like Disneyland, we’d say. Full of rides, junk food and happy short people. Grandpa Lyman stood at about 5 feet 4 inches, and my Grandma Lois about 5 feet. What a funny joke, God. You made the spirits of those tiny people so big. They must have been just bursting at the seams their whole lives.

Most of my happy childhood memories are associated with them and their ranch. It was a lighthouse through a turbulent childhood. A beacon that called us to a safe harbor. Constant. Bright. Rest your soul here, little granddaughter. And have a Pepsi while you’re at it.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


Sitting around the dinner table in our house can be a dizzying exercise in the absurd. But never so much as the day Otto started to recite tidbits of mathematical wisdom from his bespectacled nut.

Here are a few...

The Rule of Eights:

Any number can be made eight by minus-ing or adding.

The Rule of 5 + 12:

Every number under five can equal twelve in different ways.

The Rule of Steps:

Every person is between one step and a million bajillion steps away from each other at any given time.

p + p = s + 1 +/- milbajil

The Rule of Brussels Sprouts:

There are 5 brussels sprouts in the world.

The Law of Biggest Loser:

If someone on the biggest loser lost a million pounds, and another person lost one, then a million divided by a million equals zero.

I mean one.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Teens: Great people? Or the greatest people?!

First, let's just start with a little visual of what may have brought you here. It's unrelated, but I think you'll enjoy it...

Can we all agree that this Blogger feature is maybe the greatest thing ever?

Moving on...

I want to talk about teenagers. As a mom of two teenagers, I think I've got a pretty good idea of what living with teens is like. It's not always awesome. There is yelling and tears and the rare hole in the wall. And that's just coming from me.

So, I get that it can be rough sometimes. But I also think that it's maybe the greatest thing ever to watch them turn into young adults. (Even better than the keyword search feature!) They are so smart and caring and, most importantly, hilarious.

When Sofie's friends meet someplace other than our house to hang out, I'm always a little disappointed. Because I love my kids' friends. I love having them around, and I love feeding them and interacting with them and laughing at their jokes and listening to their music. They are amazing people.

Dave's been out of town all week, and it's been teetering on insanity 'round these parts. But not because of the kids. They're the ones who have been keeping it all together. Picking up, helping with dinner, doing dishes and forming an emergency assembly line to the spare fridge in the garage when the fridge in the house went out.

And putting me to bed with a hug and a kiss when it's about the time Dave would have taken over for the night and they can tell I'm done. Simon (he'll be 14 in a week) even came in last night to let me know how great he thinks I'm handling all of it. For real.

Is there arguing? Anger? Crap-loads of eye-rolling? Yes, yes and hellz yes.

I'll take it all, because I know what the other side is. And it's incredible.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Teeter On Tomorrow

Whenever someone tells you to "live in the now," or some (annoying) variation, don't you just want to punch them in the face? Not so much because it's not a good thing to do, as much as it feels like a smug declaration. 

Now that you know that's how I feel, hopefully this post won't seem like that.

I get the sentiment. But I want my motto to be "Carpe What You Can, Whenever You Can." (Sadly, it doesn't quite have the same charming ring.)

I like living now. I like my life. Regretting or aggrandizing the past is a trap. But I think it's fine to look backward and say, "That was amazing. More of that, please." Or, "I'd prefer to forgo that, if you don't mind." Or, "That sucked, but boy howdy, did I learn a lot." And it's OK to say how great or awful something is currently and how great or awful you feel about something to come.

Having said that, I really resonated with this...

“I think a lot of the problems we’ve been experiencing come from the fact that no one embraces the miracle and amazement of the present. So many people—steampunks, fundamentalists, hippies, neocons, anti-immigration advocates—feel like there was a better time to live in. They think the present is degraded, faded, and drab. That our world has lost some sort of “spark” or “basic value system” that, if you so much as skim history, you’ll find was never there. Even during the time of the Greeks, there were masses of people lamenting the passing of some sort of “golden age.” But I’d never go back and live in any other time than teetering on tomorrow; this is the greatest time to be alive.” Patton Oswalt 

I want to look back, look forward, and not forget to look around. I want to teeter on tomorrow. 

Friday, January 6, 2012

The world hasn't ended, but it's highly likely that hell has indeed frozen over.

We got a dog.

Anyone who knows me knows how ridiculous that is. The girl you know and love is unreasonably afraid of dogs and kept having kids to avoid getting her child a pet. I understand the distress this may cause. But this isn't another Harold Camping prediction that people will never take seriously in the first place and then be immortalized into popular culture by an excellent Parks and Recreation episode.

This is real life people. And this is happening.

Dave and I made the decision to get a dog much like we decided to get married and have kids. It can be summed up with the phrase, "That seems awesome. Let's do it!" It's worked out so well for us so far, how can we ever learn our lesson?

Now that's not to say that we didn't try to be reasonable about it. First, we talked about it for a couple weeks. Then, our beloved pet rat Tofu died, and so we thought, "Let's really look seriously at this whole 'dog' thing." We googled dogs for like 27 whole minutes and planned to go to the Austin Animal Center (i.e. the Pound) after the kids went to school.

But then Otto stayed home sick. We couldn't very well wait until the next day. That's for smart people! Those internet dogs were super cute. So we told Otto we had a little errand to run, but that he had to keep it completely secret. (It should be noted that Otto is well known for his excellent memory as well as for his complete inability to keep a secret. In the end, it wouldn't matter.)

We drove to the Pound and took a tour. We (responsibly) spoke with a counselor about several of the small dogs we liked and wanted to get more information on. All of which were too new to interact with, except one. She had been in foster care for about a month, adopted two days ago and returned within 24 hours. Let's take a look, we say!

A nice kid took us back to the the cages and said, "Oh, you want to see that mean one?" Uh...yes? That's the one. Nothing doing. She backed into a corner and growled when he tried to coax her out. He suggested I approach the cage while it was closed. She came up sniffing and wagging. He asked if I wanted to try to take her out. Sure I do! She gave me a little lick. We took her out to a pen to play and she jumped around excitedly, rolling over to get pet, wagging her little tail. All remaining wisps of reason dissipated. We had imprinted.

We said we were interested, and so they gave us the low down on her: She was picked up as a stray on the street, knocked up and running with a pack of chihuahuas who had been menacing neighborhood children.

Perfect! We'll take her!

And that was that. One free leash and 10 minutes of paperwork later, we were walking out the door with Penny. (It's the name she came with, which suits her perfectly and happens to be the fortuitous namesake of one of our favorite Pee-Wee's Playhouse segments.)

She does growl at children; the smaller the better. (We imagine her saying, "I think I can take this one. I got this!") She doesn't like men, although she has been slowly warming to Dave who bribes her with bacon. (Smart boy.) Although she loves and plays with him, she sometimes sees Otto as her competition and doesn't like giving him space beside me on the couch. (Otto wins, incase there was any doubt.) She is house-trained but prefers to poop in the house, if given the choice. (It's nice and cozy in there!)

We all enjoy imagining what her life must have been like before and how wonderful it is now. When she's not begging for a belly rub or being fed an alarming amount of treats, she has long naps in whatever sunny spot she can find.

She perfectly fits our imperfect family. And we love each other!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Chip Bag Diaper™ PSA

Changing lives, people. One Bag Diaper fold at a time.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

You know where to find me.

One of my favorite things to do is read through the google search terms used to lead a googler to my blog. Inevitably, one or two will be good for a laugh. But the current list a pretty fantastic collection.

I think "man portrait wrinkles" is my favorite, but it's a close second to "old woman doing a stretch." What I'd really love to know is what was the searcher actually trying to find? And did they find it here? I sincerely hope so.

I think the main take-home here is that if you're searching for my blog with google, just enter anything about a wrinkles. Specifying man, woman or bitch doesn't really matter; you'll make it here all the same.