October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

I'm giving up my Monday Mug this week to wish you a Happy Halloween!

October 30, 2011

Family portraits

We took a break from my rummage sale duties today to try to get a family picture together for this year's Christmas card. It shouldn't be that hard to get 3 people and a dog to all look decent at the same time. After almost a gazillion shots, I think we have something good enough for a card. And then, of course, we did trick-or-treat. Unfortunately or fortunately, depending on your viewpoint, it's pouring. So I am suspecting the annual bonfire will get canceled. Kind of a bummer, except with the rain, I have absolutely no energy to do anything but lie on the couch. Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

October 29, 2011

Can't catch this

We had a morning of flag football followed by all day at the rummage sale. It's rummage sale drop off day. Or as I think of it, the beginning of a week long endurance test. I'll be so glad when it's next week Sunday.

October 28, 2011

In case of an Antarctic car crash

Being at a funeral affects your thinking toward your own mortality. Specifically, it makes me want to shout from the rooftops what I don't want done with me after I'm gone. Everyone has their choices and reasons for their end of life decisions. And this is no judgment on any of the choices of others; Only what I feel strongly about for me. And since this seems as reasonable of a rooftop as any:

  • No open casket. Please. I don't want anybody looking at my made-up self talking about how good I look.
  • Let's just say no casket, period. Cremate me.
  • Do what you want for the funeral. It's for who is left anyway. But if you could have decent music, and not boring old church music, that'd be nice.
  • No headstones. I need no marker of me on some valuable piece of land next to other headstones. Remember me somewhere I actually like to be. Go to the beach. Plant a tree. That's where I'd prefer to be while living anyway, so remember me there if you must have a place.
  • If you'd like a trip or two to nice places, take me with and scatter bits of me in my favorite places around the world - like Praia do Futuro in Fortaleza, Brazil, in the Swiss mountains, and Brier Island, Nova Scotia as you see a humpback whale... you get the picture. Other fabulous options include Plettenberg Bay, South Africa, off Corcovado in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and off the beach wall in Havana.
  • If you're cheap and don't want to go to nice places, throw me in the water somewhere pretty.
  • Bottom line, keep it simple. And keep it cheap. For God's sake, don't spend a lot on a funeral. Unless it's to splurge on the good booze. Then, by all means, have at it.

October 27, 2011

Windshield time

Taken from my Blackberry during one of the million stops in a construction zone on the way home today.

October 26, 2011


It was a dark and stormy night...
Once upon a time...
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...

I don't know what to write. Not that I'm obligated to write anything, I guess. Well, sort of obligated. I like the routine of posting something each day. But I'm running low on photos. And I've been running kind of low on inspiration overall.  I could complain a lot right now about a rummage sale co-chair over-committing herself and not doing half of it, so I'm picking up the pieces while trying to work, too. Or a funeral tomorrow that is bad enough to go to by myself without having to arrange for all of C-man's activities before and after simply because Beerman is choosing work instead. Or this shoulder that just hurts. I could complain about all of that. But that would be whiny. So I won't.

...So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.

October 25, 2011

Randomly speaking. Because it's all I know how to do.

I've spent entirely too much time in doctors' offices lately. I'm so tired of them all telling me they can fix me. So I'm sticking with the one who isn't promising anything. He's also the same one who assured me this morning I don't have some bizarre tumor making my spine and shoulder hurt, but that it's arthritis-related. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not.

I'm down 5 pounds from my last doctor's visit. Which is excellent and something I attribute to avoiding a lot of the candy and cakes and other crap at work. About 10 more pounds would be ideal, but I'll take every one that comes off. Now that the drugs are working a bit, I should be able to exercise some more. C-man and I have been swimming lately, which is good.

The annual school rummage sale is coming up. This weekend is crap item drop-off, and then all next week is sorting and pricing all the disgusting donated clothes, squirrel-infested couches, and other castoff amazing items. Then the big show is on the 5th. And then I'm done. Rummage sales are just not my thing. But the school earns a huge amount of cash from it, so I am trying to keep my eye on the prize.

C-man just had his flag football pictures taken, so we officially weighed and measured him. He is exactly 4' and 60 pounds. He was incredibly proud of the 4' bit.

It seriously feels like Friday already. This is shaping up to be a long week.

October 24, 2011

What I'll be when I grow up

For a long time, I was pretty happy with my decisions around my career as an adult educator. I was energized by learning theories and learning transfer and interacting with others. I scoffed at people who still used (gasp) clip art and PowerPoint templates for their presentations. I rolled my eyes at boring training sessions when it could be done so much better and faster in another way. I loved facilitating a meeting and stopping it midstream to condense it into 3 bullets of content that would have taken others all day of hemming and hawing to get to.

I've been doing all that for about 10 years straight now. And that's a really long time for me to do something non-stop. So truth be told, I'm getting kind of bored with it. I don't feel energized by it anymore; I feel spent by it. But the fact of the matter is, where I work is a good place to do this, so going somewhere else wouldn't really help. I am just kind of tired of the field in general.

The reality is, however, that I've created a bit of a niche for myself in these 10 years. The hours are good, the pay is better, I'm well respected for what I do, and honestly, I'm quite good at it.

But at the same time, I feel like it's draining my soul a bit. It's like I'm not coming up with anything new anymore, even if it's new to the person I'm delivering it to. And that lack of newness is hard on me. I'm not a routine person. I love new things. I love new information. I love doing things differently.

And so, I'm torn between finding a new "What I want to be when I grow up" and figuring out how to turn my thoughts around on what I am currently doing. At what point is it better to jump ship into the unknown over drudging through my days uninspired?

October 23, 2011

Cutest Cub Scout ever

I could just eat him up, there's so much cuteness in that dimple and gap between his teeth.

October 22, 2011

Simple Saturday

A morning watching football followed by an afternoon playing with friends. Meanwhile, I'll be cleaning the house like a one-armed bandit (this shoulder is getting ridiculous) and getting outside to enjoy the sunny day. A pretty sweet Saturday.

October 21, 2011


Some days, I feel like I'm given a sign to stop and slow down for just a moment and to take a breath. Last night's sky was one of those moments for me. Usually, this time of year helps me do that. As things get colder, the calendar tends to get a little thinner and life a bit slower.

Except for this Fall.

For some reason, okay because of the resident 6 year old social butterfly, the calendar remains packed. Beerman has been on the move a lot lately, going here and there for different things, all while C-man's schedule continues to ramp up. Not to mention, the amount of time and effort this stupid school rummage sale  I'm chairing for the last time is taking.

I recognize this isn't a different plight than anyone else. But because my health is crappier, I do feel like it's harder to bounce out of. Or maybe I'm just whining. Either way, I'm going to keep looking at last night's sky as my reminder to relax a bit. Well that, and continue going to see the matinees of cool movies alongside all the old people on my work from home days.

October 20, 2011

Thursday thirteen random things

  1. I'm getting acupuncture again starting today. I sure hope it helps.
  2. The Humira I've been shooting directly into my stomach seems to, though, which is positive.
  3. Although I have a giant red welt where I shot myself yesterday. Clearly, I did something wrong.
  4. Why is Lindsay Lohan taking up so much of the world's communication waves? Do people really care what she wore to court?
  5. I went and got new makeup yesterday. Mine just hasn't been working out well for me, and I needed some new stuff.
  6. I was late to pick C-man up from chess club. Which may or may not have been a direct result of #5.
  7. It was okay, though, because I had a rummage sale meeting at the school, and C-man got to race around the cafeteria for an hour, which he loved.
  8. I do not love these rummage sale meetings. I'll be so glad when it's over. The mere thought of all those dirty clothes coming in again makes me shudder.
  9. I'm going to start a school plant sale in the spring to get out of the rummage sale obligations. I'm very excited about that.
  10. It's sweater weather again. Which reminds me, I really need to get cooking on that sweater I started in Japan and got annoyed with when I had to rip 1/3 of it out because of bad pattern instructions.
  11. I could really use a facial. I don't know if it's age, stress, the new drugs, or something else, but I'm noticing a lot of un-funny laugh lines showing up on my face that my self-portrait project is only emphasizing.
  12. I've been doing the gluten-free thing for a bit now. I don't think I have a gluten issue. I think I have a sugar issue, which is reduced when I eat gluten-free stuff.You know, with my Web MD and all.
  13. The Jingle Bell Run/Walk is coming up in a couple of weeks. Feel free to sign up to walk with me. Or donate for me. Or whatever.

October 18, 2011

Flaming torches

October's poplars are flaming torches lighting the way to winter. ~Nova Bair

October 17, 2011

A moment in time

We sold our tickets to yesterday's game after they rudely moved it to 7 p.m. It was too much to ask someone to babysit until midnight on a school night. Which made me incredibly sad, not just because they lost, but because Beerman got us tickets in my favoritest spot - the front row of the first level in right field. But it wasn't all bad, because it meant that after him being gone for a few days and only getting back late the night before, we could just all hang out and enjoy the day together as a family. It also meant that while Beerman and C-man played football catch in the back yard, I got some time at the beach in my favoritest spot of all, to let the wind whip my hair, take some photos of the blue water and fluffy clouds, and to just breathe.

October 16, 2011

Single Shot Sunday

My life is like a stroll on the beach...as near to the edge as I can go. ~Thoreau

October 14, 2011

Another week bites the dust

It's Friday, the Brewers are coming home to play, and I'm wearing sassy new boots. Boo.Ya.

October 13, 2011

Thursday thirteen good things

  1. I once was given the word "askew" in a grade school spelling bee. I had no idea what it meant at the time, but spelled it right somehow anyway. I looked it up that night. Now, whenever I see something that is askew, like this tree, I smile to myself a little. "A-S-K-E-W"
  2. My left shoulder has been hurting like crazy and causing my hand to go numb. I must have injured it and not noticed while I was hurting so bad last week, because the pain is slowly subsiding. Which also means it wasn't a heart attack. You know, my other option for possible things causing left arm pain.
  3. C-man has 2 days off school, and I am splitting the childcare days with friends. Which means he gets 2 whole non-stop days of play with friends.
  4. Only 3 and a half weeks to go until the school rummage sale I'm co-chairing fore the very last time is over. Not that I'm counting down or anything.
  5. Only 3 and a half weeks until the Jingle Bell Run/Walk at the Milwaukee County Zoo. You know, in case you want to walk with me.
  6. After picking up and putting down the Postmistress for what felt like the thousandth time, I'm now getting through it. It was a really, really slow start. Like Elegance of the Hedgehog slow start with lots of different characters. But it's a WWII book, which I always enjoy, so I kept coming back to it. And now that I'm in it, I'm totally terrorized haunted gripped by the story and can't stop thinking about it.
  7. At the beginning of the year, I was getting monthly treatments that cost $5000 per time. So I maxed out my health care flexible spending account. I stopped those treatments, and now have a ton of cash in my account I need to use. So I am starting acupuncture again. Good of a reason as any, I say.
  8. I learned how to erase someone or something from a picture in PhotoShop. I love learning stuff like that.
  9. I don't know if it's been the new medicine or coincidence, but I have been sleeping so much better the past week.
  10. The 70 degree weather has been awesome. I think we're saying goodbye to it shortly, though. But so far, so good.
  11. I've been reading Harry Potter to C-man before bed at night. We're about 1/3 of the way through the 4th book now. I adore how much he loves being read to. Listening to stories has always been such a big hit with him.
  12. At the flag football game, Beerman actually yelled, "Go Vikings!" I should have recorded that, it was such a momentous occasion. Proof that you really will do anything for your kids.
  13. It's almost the weekend.

October 11, 2011

Monday night lights

Flag football season has officially begun. They played their first game on the high school field at night, which was loads of fun.

They all play all positions, and C-man got to punt once. That was fun.
A happy, happy, football playing boy.

October 10, 2011

In the silence

I've never been one to love the noise. I've preferred books to TV. Poetry to music. Walks to runs. Because it's quieter. Silence feels like a blanket to me. I'm not an introvert by any stretch of the imagination. I just find that silence feels warm and comfortable, whereas noise feels raw and naked. I think it's a huge reason why I love my camera so much. At functions, I don't have to mingle or laugh, but I can look around, observe, and yes, even hide a little. Which is why I feel it's a bit of a double-edged sword. Each year, I feel like I fade a little bit more into the silence. And I'm finding that I don't really like that it's happening like that that much. While it's comfortable, it's also stopping me from doing things I should be doing. I'm seeking out silence and withdrawal instead of jumping into the crazy. So I'm trying to change that. Little by little, I need to find a better balance. Because in the words of Dr. Seuss, "You'll miss the best in life if you keep your eyes shut."

October 8, 2011

In search of the rambutan

Monday is Columbus Day. So C-man's class is celebrating by dressing as an explorer and bringing in world treats to share. Now that sounds like fun, doesn't it? Except, how in the world do you dress like an explorer? Especially when so many of them, including Columbus, really weren't upstanding gentlemen we'd want to emulate?

So we settled on Marco Polo. By all accounts, he was fairly decent. And since he did the Asian exploration, C-man could take some lychees to school, which he loves. So today, we set off to scour the south side of Milwaukee and its Asian markets. Only to find out, it's not lychee season.

It is, however rambutan season.
Since I've never had a rambutan, Beerman grabbed a pack. They open like a lychee, and are a little bigger, but have the same color and texture flesh. Lychees are still better, but they are quite similar in taste. I'm still amazed by their furry hairs. Apparently they are just as common in places like Indonesia and the Philippines as apples are here. Huh. Who knew? (Best discussion at dinner tonight - C-man, "These rambutans are delicious!" Beerman, "You mean you'll eat strange, hairy fruit but not macaroni and cheese?" C-man, "Yes. But these are good.")
Anyhow, C-man has a modified Robin Hood costume and a tri-corner hat for his Marco Polo impersonation. Nothing like what Marco Polo probably wore, but it's sort of robe-like and C-man is happy with that. And he's taking lychee jelly candies for his treat, along with some Japanese bird cakes we brought home that are still good. I'm curious to see what the other kids' parents come up with.

October 7, 2011

Wild for the weekend

The weekend is almost here. (And the crowd goes wild!) It's filled with things like Cub Scout meetings and Asian grocery store trips and birthday parties and laundry and the Brewers (I hope!). But I'm hoping it's also filled with sun on my face, fall breeze in my hair moments, too. It's Friday. And things are looking up.
An easy fast to those honoring Yom Kippur.

October 6, 2011

Ray of sunshine

This week has been a tough one. I've been in so much pain, I have barely been able to function. Which makes me sad and horribly depressed and craving incredible amounts of sugar (I actually opened a can of sweetened condensed milk and took a couple of spoonfuls straight from the can!), which just makes it all worse. I got 2 90 minutes massages on consecutive days to try to get the inflammation to move. Something most people would die for, but actually hurt most of the time I was having it done. And then I actually sat in the church and sobbed before picking C-man up from chess club, because I knew I'd have to somehow make it down the stairs to the school basement to pick him up and then make it up the stairs again pretending to talk happily to the other parents.

So I called my doctor. Because this is total bullshit. I'm 35 years old and the thought of a flight of stairs creates a pit of fear in my stomach so great, I can barely do it. But my doctor is a good one. And he had me come in immediately over lunch. So I went in for yet a new drug. (This is #5 out of the 6 available to me. And the 6th one is crap that hardly anyone uses.) It's still injected into my stomach, but only every other week now.

And it may be a coincidence, but unbelievably, I woke up today with my hands looking almost a normal shade of skin color. And I grabbed C-man's laundry, hauled it downstairs and put it in the washer without a problem. I can move my head around in a circle. I can sit at my desk without wincing in excruciating pain.

I hate to get my hopes up, but I might have finally found something that works...

October 4, 2011


Last week I started my 50 self-portraits project with this photo. And yesterday, I went out to my mailbox after getting home from work (after a really awfully long day) to see a simple, beautiful mailing tube sitting in it. And I ran into the house, narrowly missing throwing C-man aside on my way in the door, to open it because I knew exactly what it held inside. The amazing, generous, talented Mary had taken it upon herself to do a watercolor of my first self portrait. Me! Seriously, how marvelous is that?!?

There really are some amazing people in this world. I feel so incredibly blessed to meet them in one form or another each and every day. But today, I'm going to be beyond thankful for Mary as I try to figure out what type of frame suits my very own likeness.

October 3, 2011

Monday mug

Self Portrait 2/50

This mugging for the camera still feels a little ostentatious. I find myself setting up the shots when no one is around, because it feels so weird. And then I push the remote button just as the wind whips through, and the urge to do a retake after I've redone my hair and make-up gets incredibly strong. But I fight it. Along with the urge to touch up the photo every way possible in post-processing.  But I'm continually reminding myself that this project is about learning and creativity, not about being airbrushed. And it's helping me realize that this project is also a little bit about personal acceptance. Accepting that it's okay that my hair isn't looking salon perfect, and my eyes are looking chemo tired, and my face pudgier than it should be. It's not about complacency, but acceptance of who I am on this date, at this time, at this stage, at this age. And I guess having a record of that is kind of neat. So here it is. #2 of 50. Only 48 more to go.

October 2, 2011

Happy stuff

  • It is not raining.
  • Beerman is home.
  • Cman got his football "jersey" and hasn't taken it off since.
  • The Brewers won.
  • I got to watch the marathoners run today. I love that. (Run, Kim, Run!)
  • Our house has power again.
  • Beerman came home with new collectors edition beer glasses. (sarcasm)

October 1, 2011

He's going to pass college Logic with flying colors

"Harry loves to be wet. Cats hate to get wet. That's why Harry hates cats." ~C-man