Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Merry Christmas

Hello, Blog Friends.

Updates are few and far between these days, eh?  I've been sucked in to the vortex known as FrontierVille on Facebook.  My husband is holding an intervention for me over the holidays.  :(  That, and.... well, I have a life! 

At any rate, I wanted to wish you each a Merry Christmas.  There are so many of you whose blogs I read, and those of you who comment on mine..... I really appreciate the online community I'm a part of, however loose it may be and how little of the "classified" details I may know about your lives.  Thanks for contributing to my sanity, each of you in your own way.  You really know what it means when I say I'm a married single mom sometimes, and I am so grateful.  Merry Christmas!

Also, Motor Cop's wife started blogging at Beyond The Boots and Britches.  If you don't read MC's blog, you should -- Pronto!  It's hilarious.  Then, visit MC's wife for a view of the other side.  :)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

It's good to be a girl.

This happened today:

Charlotte: "Mom, I don't have enough energy for walking today."
Me: "Ok, then you can run!"
Charlotte: "I don't have enough energy for that."
Me: "Ok, then you can skip!"
Charlotte: "I don't have enough energy for that."
Me: "You can hop instead."
Charlotte: "I don't have enough energy for that, either." [pouty pouty]
Me: "Oh, well... then you probably don't have enough energy for twirling like a princess.  Being a princess is so much work.  It takes so much energy."
Charlotte: "oh, MOM.... I have all the energy for that."

So we twirled our way to the store this afternoon.  I got no complaints and we entertained the passersby. It's all about perspective.  :)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Police Wife Chat

I have grown to greatly appreciate and care about all the police wives out in cyberspace as we travel along this crazy road of life together. I keep in touch sometimes better than others. I have also benefited from chatting live with a few of you once or twice.  Would anyone be up for a twitter chat?  Tell me....

1) yay or nay (would you "come" to the party?)
2) what day of the week
3) what time of day (please include time zone ~ try to keep it Eastern if you can)

Thanks!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The benefit of fall is...

...my kids think they should be in bed when it gets dark.  That's a lot earlier than their normal bed time.  And I think I'll be taking advantage of that.  :)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Say it with me now: "I love my life"

Yes, blog friends, say it with me now: "I love my life.  I love my life.  I love my life."

Maybe if I say it enough, type it enough, see it in print.... I'll believe it.  I'll get to that in a minute.  But first, the "No Spend November" update, as BunnyO was asking about in the comments.  It's been.... OK.  I guess I really should have called it "No Frivolous Spend November" because I'm certainly still spending money but it's more on things that are not frivolous and necessary.  So considering I'd want to call it that, I guess it's more just a major cutting back than not spending.  Again, I'm pleased with my efforts to MINDFULLY spend money instead of  seeing something and tossing it in my cart because I can.  I definitely have had days where I haven't spent anything.  I've been trying to be more creative with what's in my pantry, and making do with what I have instead of automatically running to the store to buy something.  It's been good.  But I sure have a long way to go.

Now, I realize that there hasn't been a lot of police activity here lately.  I'm really worn out about caring about all that stuff.  I realized last night that I've shrugged off the label of "police officer" and "police wife" and am focusing more on the crap that is the fallout of the job that my husband has and the shift that takes him way from our home.  The bumper sticker that goes something like this came to mind: "If you aren't outraged, you aren't paying attention."  That's how I feel about The Job right now.  I'm not paying attention.  Just getting through the day.  So, I'm not outraged.  I can't remember the last time I asked about what happened on shift.  I don't care any more.  If he has some interesting case or some crazy thing that happened I'm happy to listen and ask questions, but otherwise.... whatever.

I think this stems from being stretched pretty thin with schooling, three small kids, illnesses, and my own work that needs to get done.  We were recently together with some relatives and, as all well-behaved adults do, traded a few jabs about our lives.  I can't exactly remember how it started, but of course I'm sure that the HUSBAND did started it.  (yeah right)  lol.  Anyway eventually it degraded to something like this:

me: "Ok, go on home, I'll send the kids with you and I'll stay here"
DH: "Alrighty, good luck getting home then!"
me: "Who said I wanted to go home? It sure would be nice to have a little break!"
DH: [open-mouthed incredulity and death stare]
me: "I know it's really hard on you to be working so much but it's hard for me too"
DH: "At least you work with people you love.  I work with people I can't stand and they aggravate me to no end."
me: "I won't argue that point."

It made it clearer to me that, as I have always suspected, he thinks I have some cushy, easy job sitting around in a bed of roses with all my responsibilities at home.  So last night after the kids were in bed, I said "See ya, I'm going to Target."  He wanted to go instead.  He said "You always get to go and do fun things like that with the kids."  uh, EXCUSE ME??!?  I never get to go out at 9:30 at night while you are at work.  I rarely get to go anywhere BY MYSELF.  I rarely get a quick trip to where ever I want, taking the time I want, to look at whatever I want.  Excuse me?!?!?  I tried to get him to see that taking three kids all over town to do errands is not fun.  One errand, maybe, but your whole life??  He tried to argue with me.  "But I had so much fun with them at the grocery store tonight!"  Yeah, when you are at the store with no real purpose or need to get a huge list of things done, I could see how that is fun.

Me: "Was it fun when Dallas started screaming?"
DH: "Well no.... but after he got picked up he was ok!"
Me: "And then did you go through the checkout line and pay for the groceries while you were carrying him?"
DH: "Well, no, but I didn't even try" [because *I* was paying and caring for the two older kids]
Me: "I would be happy to let you take all three kids to the store and...."
DH: "Nevermind, nevermind, just go, get out of here, go to Target." [wah, wah, wah]

So it's pretty clear to me that the husband has a romanticized idea of what my life is like.  He swears he doesn't, and usually he is pretty good truly understanding.  But.... right now, I think he's hating his job so much that his vision is clouded.  I recommend getting a new job.  We'll see if he ever gets motivation to do that.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

What's the definition of "NO" exactly?

Right, so, I'm at the beginning of "No Spend November" which is, truthfully, going quite horribly.  I gave you a run-down on Day 1, so let me follow up with the last few days.

Day 2: Give me a medal.  Didn't spend a penny!
Day 3: #FAIL
Day 4: Epic #FAIL

To put it in perspective, on Day 3 I did my little trick of returning some stuff ($9.33) and then buying some more stuff ($5.56), with the idea that "net" I saved some money because I spent less than I returned.  I seriously think that's cheating, but it makes me feel better that I'm kind of sort of still a little bit following along.

But that's NOT the point!!  Day 4, fresh off my mild disappointments of Day 3, I realized that my NSN is not at all about not spending money, it's about my attitude behind my spending.  I made that point before, right?  That I want to be GRATEFUL for the things I do have and not spend a bunch of money on things I just "want." 

Now, I'm totally NOT going to go blame it all on my mom (although in most of life she thinks you can always blame everything on your parents) but, I grew up in a house where retail therapy was one of the five food groups.  Seriously.  Fridays were shopping days.  I learned my best math at some big fancy department stores on their "Take an extra 40% off" days.  To this day, although my husband is generally much better at figuring math problems in his head than I am, I will beat him every time when it comes to calculating a percentage off of a product, and what the final cost will be.  I tell you this to help you understand that when I say I use shopping (and, um, food, which we can talk about another time) instead of dealing with my emotions, well, you can see how it's not that far off, and, given my upbringing it makes total sense.  Of course you would do that!

But when I really stop to think about it, I don't like it that way.  I want to go buy something because I need it.  Ok, maybe once in a while I'll just buy something for the sheer pleasure of "wanting it" and then getting it, but otherwise I really only want to buy things because they add value to my life.  And more often than not, I'm realizing that I'm engaging in retail therapy because I'm anxious, worried, concerned, or unhappy about something else that is going on in my life.  Shopping is fun! It makes you feel good! You deserve it! You're worth it! Whether or not all the ads encouraging you to buy, buy, buy make it sound like this, those statements are things our culture subliminally tells us every day.  If we stop long enough to think about what it is we are doing, we'd be shocked.  That's why I love the bumper sticker that goes something like this: "If you aren't enraged you aren't paying attention."

Don't get me wrong, I'm not living in a house that would qualify for a Hoarders episode (yet) and I'm not wracking up thousands of dollars of debt with my purchases.  But I am definitely guilty of saying "Oh, I have a big difficult long day ahead of me, I'm going to treat myself by going out and buying a cup of coffee."  Or visiting the local bakery. Or allowing myself to ________ (fill in the blank).  Instead of actually recognizing that "Ok, this is going to be hard, I have to deal with it" I stuff my face (or my shopping bag) with something and then let the situation just happen.  I should probably just let it happen without the baggage of all the other stuff.

Which is where No Spend November comes in.  I realize that I'm not always that grateful for what I do have, and what I can do.  By trying to NOT spend, I'm recognizing my weaknesses for certain items, times of day, and events in my life where I turn to something else to really satisfy me.  And all this material stuff?  Well, you can't take it with you.  And it doesn't satisfy long term.  It actually creates lots of headache (and heartache, too).

So, I'm back on the trail of gratefulness today.  I'm hoping not to spend any $$, but if I do, I will know why and how and be better for it.  I hope.

What are you grateful for today?  Are you demonstrating it, or just saying it?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Oops, I am crazy

Well, Day One of No Spend November went pretty poorly.  Oops!  Of course ~ part of the problem could be that I actually went to Costco.  Doh!  Automatic FAIL.

I bought gas -- total necessity.  Once inside, I spent $70.... on
$10 -- birthday present
$28 -- groceries
$18 -- lightbulbs
$12 -- kleenex
And the rest was tax...??  I hate it when that happens.  I guess I should get out my receipt so I can know exactly where the money went.  **OH, I just remembered kleenex.  Added to the list.

The moral of the story is -- don't go to Costco if it's No Spend November.  lol.  I did skip buying lunch out today when I wanted to try a new restaurant near the park where we were today.  I also skipped putting some splurge items in my cart at Costco.  I guess that's progress!?!? 

As I was walking down the aisles at Costco, I was exercising gratefulness that I could even think about putting all these things which were totally NON essentials into my basket. 

I also pulled out some stuff I bought at Target at 50% off the day after Halloween, and decided to return that.  So.... does that mean I get to spend the money I get on the return?  Hmmm.... Should I follow the spirit of the month or run full speed legalistically ahead?  :)  We shall see.

And we'll see what tomorrow holds! Hopefully, more gratefulness.

How are you grateful today?

No Spend November

I think I'm crazy, but I'm going to demonstrate that I am thankful for what I have this November by not spending money on MORE stuff.  I'm going to try to eat through some of our stockpile.  I'm going to use up some of the gift cards we have laying around.  I'm going to wear (and organize?!?!) the clothes I have instead of buying that "cute" something for the event I'm going to.  (Even if it is just a pair of cute socks.)

You know what I'm talking about.

Some of my friends are only using Facebook this month to post one thing every day they are grateful for.  I decided I'm not going to just say I'm thankful, I'm going to demonstrate it.  At least I hope so.  How are you going to demonstrate that you are thankful?  Words can be powerful, but actions speak even louder than words. 

How will you demonstrate your thankfulness today?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Cold and Flu Season

It's cold and flu season.  We've had our first cold of the season already.  If you are like my husband, you just use your mind to overcome the bad germs in your body and have no need of any of the fancy remedies or preventive medicines so many folks out there swear by.  So, as usual, I'll give you my cold-and-flu season in LIST form, since I hardly have much more of an attention span than, well, looking at a list.  Without further ado....

Ways to prevent cold and flu this season:
  1. Use your mind to overcome it (wait, that doesn't work for me)
  2. Get crazy about hand washing.  I mean, crazy, crazy, CRAZY.  I ruined my oldest son so much so that he won't do anything before he makes a beeline for the bathroom every time we get home from being out.  But please do it right.  Don't use antibacterial soap, but do use warm water and actually make it count.  scrub!  all over!
  3. Use disposable hand towels (gasp) or assign a "personal" hand towel for each member of the family.
  4. Don't touch your eyes or your mouth.  Ever.
  5. Irrigate your  nose twice daily with a bottled saline solution or a neti pot.  Get those germs out. 
  6. Gargle twice daily with salt water or Listerine.  Gotta kill those germs!
  7. Drink lots of hot water or tea.  The heat kills the germs and washes the really strong ones down into your tummy where your stomach acid finishes the job if necessary.
I started the "personal" hand towel policy last fall when we had H1N1 at our house, and I got bloody, dry, cracked hands from all the hand washing.  However, I was the only one of the five of us here that didn't get hit so maybe I was doing something right.  I just instituted #5, 6, and 7 and I'm even thinking about buying the kiddie versions of saline spray for each of my littles.  We'll see.

Do you have a cold and flu evasion technique that you swear by?  I'd love to broaden my horizons.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Muppets

We recently returned from a trip where we celebrated the memory of my uncle who recently passed away.  It is a crazy family situation, and somewhat tragic.  I'll just leave it at that.  Anyhow, in a desire to lighten the mood here at our house I found this today, and it brought a smile to my face.  I hope it does the same for you.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

It made my day...

This week we were on an "I'm-going-to-go-crazy-if-I-don't-get-out-of-here-quick" walk, when we happened to walk by the local fire station with all it's apparatus out in full glory in the driveway.  I say "full glory" because if you are a six-year-old, a four-year-old, or a 17-month-old, the angels  begin singing when you spot this sort of sight on a run-of-the-mill walk.  The engine had it's cab up in the air and they were testing the lights and sirens; similarly the ambulance was out of the bay and getting inspected.  My kids were in awe.  We were really content just to watch them go through their paces, and were about to walk on when one of the firefighters came over and said these blessed words: "Do you want to look inside the fire engine?"

My kids were in awe.  This guy was awesome.  He got down on the kids' level and explained stuff.  He let them hold a nozzle for the hose.  He lifted them into the cab of the engine.  He was patient, and kind, and I almost wanted to kiss him for how he was treating my kids like adults, but sharing with them in a way they would understand.  To clarify: I almost wanted to kiss him but I'm married so I don't do that sort of thing, and he kept calling me m'am.  Never kiss a man who calls you m'am.  And, as my husband repeatedly points out: No PDAs (public displays of affection) in uniform.

So instead, this young firefighter (who really prefers the paramedic part of his job, FYI) has earned my undying respect and my wishful thinking that I could bake a batch of cookies for him and his station-mates, and have them actually eat them and not throw them away for fear of food poisoning.

Remember how I said he was patient and kind?  It really showed when my son commented "I've been inside of a paramedic before!" and the helpful medic, well.... he was a little speechless.  It was cute.  And what a great opportunity to discuss the difference between a paramedic and an ambulance!  :)

Thank you, Mr. Firefighter Medic.  From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Updated Pancakes

I think I told you that back in August I shared about my favorite Oatmeal Pancakes on The Storylady Blog.  Well, given that it's fall and everyone ELSE is doing it, I thought I'd tell you that I updated these pancakes for fall and now they are PUMPKIN OATMEAL PANCAKES!

I added about half a can of pureed pumpkin to the milk/oat mixture, and a nicely generous portion of ground cinnamon to the dry ingredients... Voila!!

My son says these are the best pancakes he has ever had in his whole life.  I'm smitten with that boy.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Cliff Talk

Today Motorcop posted about two motors officers out in his neck of the woods who were in two different crashes; one in Concord and one in Fremont.  If you are the praying kind, please say some prayers for each of them and their families.

As I read about Officer Brower in Fremont, I was angry.  What idiot decides to run down a cop who isn't even.... well, don't get me started.  That's just rhetorical.  We all know what kind of idiot does that.  So, as usual, I started projecting.

I started thinking about this man and his family.  His wife.  His three sons.  What it would be like to come back from an injury like that.  I'm not just talking about the physical recovery.  I'm also wondering what kind of emotional recovery goes along with it. 

My husband has always been a 'tough guy.'  Not a 'tough guy' in a pig-headed way, but a 'tough guy' in the very best sense of the word.  The kind of guy who would follow you home to make sure you got in safely, just because it is the right thing to do.  He's a little quick to judge other guys who are -- let's say it -- pansies.  The ones who leave the women and children to burn and race off to save themselves.  (That is definitely pansy.)  Anyway, I worry about my man.  All of our officers.  They are trained to be tough, and hard, and invincible.  They aren't (as we all know) but if they think they are ~ that's half the battle to winning with a sketchy suspect. 

So what happens when that invincibility is put to the test, and our officer comes out on the bottom?  Would my husband return to his previously invincible-feeling self?  Or would he not be quite as invincible feeling?  Would he question his ability to do his job?  And would he hate himself for it?

Then I realized, I am just borrowing trouble.  I had to talk myself 'back from the cliff' as I like to say.  I have to put away all the crazy talk and get outside of myself to speak rationally to myself.  This time, I came at it from the slant of worrying.  How many hundreds of sayings are there about worrying?  All of them saying something to the effect that we should not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.   Each day has enough trouble for itself.  When (I'd sure prefer to say IF!) my husband experiences some difficulty in his job which changes his outlook or injures him, that will be a different bridge to cross.  And we'll be able to cross it without much worry, for it will be a day of it's own, with it's own worry.

What's your favorite "don't borrow trouble" saying?

Saturday, October 2, 2010

oh!

Is anyone else freaked out that it's October now?!?!

Friday, October 1, 2010

so sick of swings

I was just congratulating myself about how "we've" been on swing shift for about a year now, and I've got the hang of it.  We have a rhythm going and it's.... working?  Well, we are limping along.

Today, I changed my mind.  I'm sick of swings.

I was up early today.  We were out the door early (me and three kids) where I took the kids to the doctor and, surprise!, all three got poked and prodded. Yes, we're an immunizing family.  Then off to classes.  Then home.  Nap.  Dinner.  Teeth brushing.  (This is my least favorite time of the day -- which happens at least twice every day.)  PJs.  Bed. Today, dinner was easy.  I had a sweet friend spring for fancy-schmancy pizza.  Right around bedtime, the Husband called and it was the first time I talked to him all day.

I'm going to take a minute out of my story here to mention that my husband has the superb knack of ONLY ever calling me from work when I'm supremely busy and going out of my mind trying to do something -- like cook dinner or get all the kids in bed.  And I feel compelled to chat with him for a few minutes since I usually have no idea when I'll get to talk to him again on shift.  I hate that!  Why does he have that sixth sense that complicates my life!

But back to the story.

So, husband's on the phone, and he wants to know about the visit to the pediatrician.  My six-year-old proudly got on the phone to report there was no crying for him.  My daughter got on the phone to tell her dad she cried from the time we got out of the car until we got back in it 90 minutes later.  I got on the phone to hear how angry he was that our kids got poked with needles.  Are you freaking kidding me?  Don't kill the messenger, or don't allow your kids to be vaccinated.  For a tough guy, he sure has a tender heart when it comes to our kids.  And DON'T call me at bedtime.  oh.... my life.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

One thought

Today I had a mild panic attack when I realized I didn't know if my mom had thrown away a special set of my dad's shirts.

I mentioned my dad in my last post, so maybe he's just been on my mind lately.  Actually, I know he has been.  Yesterday I got really angry when I thought about him missing my life.  Wha.....??!  I mean, that feels so out of left field I can't even say the entire word "what."  I'm not angry at him, it's not like it was his fault.  I'm not angry at God, either.  Just.... angry.  Then sad.  Then confused about why it matters at this point.  When would it be "ok" for your parent to die?  If you are 45 years old and your dad was 65 or 70, is that "ok"?  Is that "fair"?  No anger required?  Or...?  I'm really at a loss.  I can't imagine anyone ever dying and my being OK with it.  This is a mind game at this point but it's an interesting idea. 

My mom took a while but after he died, but she did get rid of my dad's clothes in a pretty healthy and timely manner.  She saved a laundry basket full of shirts that were so "him."  It was always business casual for him, more or less.  He had plenty of suits (which he did wear more than "occasionally"), but there are plenty of shirts that I would take one look at and they would scream DAD to me.  You know the ones.  My husband has a bunch of shirts like that.  Whether they like it or not, the men in my life have a signature style.  No, I didn't say they are stylish, just have a signature style.  :)

So I realized I need some of those shirts.  I need to do something with them.  I called up my mom and she really didn't have time to talk, but I asked if she still had the shirts and she said "Yup, they are in my husband's closet."  (Talk about weird, but hey! It works for him and I'm grateful.)  One of the best things was that my mom made my garter-to-keep for my wedding out of material from one of those shirts.  I'm really glad I have that.  It made me cry when I opened it at my bridal shower and I think everyone there was a bit surprised by such a strong reaction to a garter.  There's always a story, though, isn't there?

Anyhow.... that's that.  Pondering lots of things these days.  What's going on in your neck of the woods?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

what is it?

If you follow me on twitter, you may have noticed that all my familia (small though it may be) was in town for a long weekend of birthday extravaganza-ing.  It was a good excuse; a few birthdays, some babysitting needs I had, extra airline credit to use up.... all converged for a convergence of my family in our town.  It was wonderful.

The not-so-wonderful thing was that my mom's husband was there.  The wonderful thing is, he's a wonderful guy.  Are you confused yet?  There's nothing wrong with him, really.  In fact he is amazing.  But he's my mom's husband.  Not my dad.  My dad, who has never met my husband or my three children and knows nothing of my current life.  If you've been reading for a while, you may remember that I memorialized the 13th anniversary of my dad's death this year. He died of a brain tumor.

My dad's five brothers, bless their hearts, were terrified about dying themselves from a brain tumor.  I don't know if their concern over their own mortality led them to be really crappy during that time in our lives or they are just generally crappy people.  Since they are related to my great dad, I'm going to go with the former.  Anyway.  So all that was a long time ago.  Now, one of my uncles has basically ruined his life and has been in the hospital for a few months.  He's behaved in such a way as to throw his life away, when my dad more than likely would have given anything to keep his.  It's so complicated ~ isn't it always? ~ but it makes me so sad.

This weekend, my grandma facebook messaged me.  Yes, my 70-something-years-old grandma!  She wanted to tell me "before it gets all over facebook" that another one of my uncles has cancer.  It's so odd.  It may not be a brain tumor, but it's definitely another way to face your own mortality.  I'm aching for my aunt and my cousins.  I'm aching for my grandma, who has already lost a husband and son, and is facing the distinct possibility of losing two more. 

Then I get frustrated.  I'm of the camp that 'if it's your time to go, it's your time' and it may be from cancer, gangrene, a car crash or a 15-pound hail ball, but....you're gonna go.  Death is inevitable!  It's just that these illnesses force us to stare death in the face, while we might normally do a very good job of relegating it to a small corner behind us.  It's another good reminder, even for me who really isn't skittish about death, to get my house in order.  How about you?  Are you 'ready'?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Life in Lists

School has started, as well as our extracurricular activities which start up this week.  I'm a list maker.  I strongly believe that if I make a list I am excused from recalling any of it, since I've written it down and freed my brain for other things.  Sooooo.... since I'm in "list mode" y'all get a life list from me instead of  a nice, newsy, scintillating blog post.  :)

School started
I can't keep up
My baby has non-mom anxiety

Ok, that's not a very interesting list, but my head is a little cloudy at the moment.  With the end of our month-long vacation as well as the end of summer, life is off and running at the speed of light.  Husband has lots of overtime scheduled for the next few months, and of course we are happy about that since he takes it as comp time but it won't be for a while yet that he'll be able to use any of it.  Sigh.

I'm also secretly plotting to get him to change his work schedule next year so that I can take EMT classes.  I'm sure that will really help with #2 up there, "I can't keep up."

Not!!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Disheartened

I was at our favorite local grocery store recently, and one of the employees there looked REALLY familiar to me.  I tried to figure out if I knew her and eventually we just laughed and she told me that she had recently moved from another state.  It's a state, in fact, that we have been thinking of moving to, so I said that and then she gasped.

"Don't move there!  Do not.  With those beautiful children, stay far, far away."

What!??!  I had no idea what she was talking about, especially when she mentioned my kids.  Well, come to find out, she felt like the town has a great reputation for openness and progressiveness, however, she found it to be very racist and antagonistic.  She said "I'm from New York.  I can take it like the best of them! But I was depressed the ENTIRE TIME I lived there.  There's no sun.  There's no open-mindedness.  I was miserable.  MISERABLE.  I moved here and I'm so happy.  I've never been happier.  No problems.  It was that horrible city that made me like that."

Hmm... well that's certainly NOT a resounding endorsement of that area.  Made me sad.  And a little happy, since I don't want to move anyway.  :)  ha!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Not sure about this one...

Ok.... I just have to say, as I'm looking around for 'human anatomy puzzles' on Amazon this one caught my eye.  Yes, it's just the human head and it's a little pricey (these are toys I'm buying!) but definitely interesting. I'm shopping for birthday presents for Austin and Charlotte!!

I think it's especially interesting that they have an advertisement for a water gun combo on the same page for $7.50.  What immediately came to mind was, "Ok, so you want me to buy the model and then use my water gun with it for target practice?"

Probably not something the general public would think, eh? 

Yeah, I thought not.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

killed

Recently we were in the middle of a long car ride when we had an impromptu gun safety class with our three kids, initiated by our almost-four-year-old.  She started us off by saying,
"Daddy, if you are working on your shooting thing and then you are trying to fix it do you think it can go shooting and get you killed?"
So we talked for a while about what those shooting things are (guns!), how they are not just for "fun" (at least not yet), and I veered my dear husband away from talking about shooting people for fun (a la bb guns and paint balling) so as not to confuse the dear children.

They know they are never allowed to touch -- without permission -- what they may see around (which isn't so much any more, if you were reading my blog about a year ago you know it was gun crazy at our house); we talked about how some kids don't follow the no-touching rule and they have either killed other people or killed themselves even on accident.  It was a really great conversation; of course, at least we thought it was.  And it ended nicely on this note, as again, something only an almost-four-year-old could say:
"Daddy, when you were little did you get killed once?"
 Maybe the conversation didn't go quite as well as we thought.  Oh well.  It's a process.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

It's Complicated...

Hey there...

I bet you thought I dropped off the face of the earth, huh?  :)  Well, it's complicated.  Husband is on vacation for quite some time.  However, due to my responsibilities in my corner of the world I'm really not able to go anywhere out of town.  I'm chained.  Husband refuses to go anywhere by himself or, gasp, with a kid or two in tow, so we are all stuck here at each others' throats in this teeny tiny apartment.

To make matters worse, DH is stuck on his regular work-a-day schedule so when he gets up in the afternoon and is "ready to go" I am on the downhill slide, careening towards bedtime with very little energy to get up and go be the cruise director for fun and games.  He has to pick up the slack, but of course, he's on vacation so he's not having any of that!

So I have no interesting stories to relate, nothing to share about how much the police life bites or rocks, just... my little corner of the world, slowly slipping out of summer and into fall.  How are you spending your August?

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Oatmeal Zucchini Pancakes

I can't believe I forgot to tell you ~ I shared my very favorite pancake recipe on The Storylady Cooking Blog recently!  I made them again today, but with the addition of 1 cup of grated zucchini and a healthy dose of cinnamon and nutmeg.  The kids loved them, just as much as they love the 'regular' oatmeal pancakes.  I'll have to remember this for St. Patrick's Day, although it is completely NOT zucchini season in March.  :)

Yum-o!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Encouragement

I received this in my email inbox today:
Our children are beautiful, unique diamonds in the rough, full of potential yet requiring time and effort to reveal their full brilliance. Building character is a multifaceted task which takes time, patience, love, skill, and determination.  The process of building character is something that can't be rushed.  It requires balance and a well rounded approach.  Each individual facet or character trait is an important part of the whole.  Building character is not an easy task, but the reward is worth the time, patience, and effort.

Rene Sundberg
I've been a bit discouraged lately; I think part of it is the summer laziness and lack of direction I have had ~ although it's not for lack of trying!   My husband deals with people all the time who are full grown adults and they never had anyone help build their character... or they ditched whatever character they did have in some dark back alley right before they mugged an unsuspecting citizen at gunpoint.

Like I mentioned in my last post, I have great hope that my children will not turn into crap adults.  This quote was really encouraging to me; growing up adults who contribute meaningfully to their communities with ~ gasp ~ character takes time and patience.  It doesn't happen overnight.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

"Who shot him?"

We went to the pediatrician this week.  Dallas got some vaccines, which were uncomfortable but didn't phase him too much; Charlotte sobbed and sobbed as she watched.  Oh dear.

The big excitement came as we were exiting from the hospital section of the medical complex.  As we were walking out, I noticed a big hullabaloo brewing.  One of the candy stripers (is it still pc to say that?) was running out the door as another shoeless woman was not far behind her.  They were both headed toward a screaming woman (a mom? auntie? grandma?) who was saying "They said he got shot. Where is he? Where IS he? Where'd he get shot?" (In the arm and the side, evidently) "Who shot him? Is he dead?"

It was the briefest of scenes but it was so jolting to me.  Thankfully the five year old was not in tow, as he would have picked up on what was going on.  Charlotte was blissfully unaware.

In the loading zone out front were two parked police cars, one with lights still flashing.

You are never going to believe this ~ oh wait, my readers in general hear it all so you probably ARE going to believe this ~ I just looked up the crime log for that day and the shooting happened on a street that borders the medical complex.  Right there.  RIGHT THERE!

Anyway, as I said, it was rather jarring for me.  I'm still thinking about it.  I hear all the baloney those cops out there on the front lines deal with on a regular basis.  I hear it with a jaded, bitter slant from one of those cops himself.  But there is nothing like seeing the look on a mom's face that says "Is my child dead or alive?"

I don't care what kind of crap adults my children turn out to be (although I pray they do not actually turn out to be crap adults); I will always, always, always have that look of "Is my child dead or alive?" on my face when I hear something terrible has happened to him or her.  That's the kind of heart I have as I hear the stories my husband brings home to me on a regular basis.  The heart that thinks, "At one time, that person was a child..."

Saturday, July 10, 2010

hi everybody

Whatcha up to, folks?  Just sort of floating here... Hence the lack of anything very truly interesting being posted here for a while.  If you follow me on twitter (@HandcuffedHeart) you know I'm bellyaching about the horrible news media.  I'm sure you can all relate.  This week husband worked a weird schedule, and I got sucked in to reading stuff online about the police which even *I* know is completely untrue, and I don't feel like all that much of an insider.  I got so riled up I literally slammed shut the laptop and vowed to stop reading.  The piles and piles of ineptitude displayed by the media, and the ignorance of the public that spews additional, well, ignorance.... it's just too much for me.  And it feels personal.  I think I take everything a little too personally (don't ask my husband, he will laugh hysterically that I actually admitted that).

/end rant

Ok, so other than the ranting, I'm just trying to keep us all safe and sane over the summer holiday.  Planning for school coming up, and planning my dream vacation where we find a house to buy and a job for DH all in two weeks or less.  HA!  Don't everyone laugh at once.  I'm just trying to prep myself in advance.

I'm really not "happy" about moving but I will suck it up and be cheerful about it, more or less.  When my almost-6-year-old son, cries about it, however, I will totally lose it.  This day is far off, I'm sure, as nothing in our family ever gets decided quickly or easily but I'm just preparing myself now.  I'm slow to embrace change.  Don't have to like that about myself, but at least I know it about myself.

What are you doing this summer to stay safe and keep sane?  Especially if you have little ones running around?  Share your super-smart ideas with me, please!!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Hair's The Ingredient List! ;)

If you like eating duck feathers or human hair, here's a list of foods you should eat:
  • Noah's New York Bagels
  • Dunkin Donut's cake-style donuts
  • Oscar Meyer Lunchables
  • Zatarain's products (cajun food)
  • cigarettes
  • Emergen-C
Of course, don't look for "duck feathers" or "human hair" on the ingredient list.  It will be listed as L-Cysteine.  It is used as a reducing agent in bakery products to:
  1. Reduce the mixing time of the flour dough.
  2. Stop shrinking of pizza crust after it is flattened.
  3. Help move the dough through various bakery processing equipments or dough conditioners.
Gross, grosser, and grossest.  I read this first at (and took this information from) Zsuzsana's Blog.   I may not agree with her all the time but she often includes very interesting information on her blog like this.  Wow!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Who's hiring?

I've finally caved. 

I'm willing to move.

I have not wanted to do the moving thing.  I'm happy here.  I have friends here.  I have history.  I know the checkers at my grocery store.  I know all the streets in the town.  I've lived here for about half of my life (and as I'm not a fresh 20-something that's sayin' something).

But I don't like our living situation, and, well... it's complicated.  The husband is unhappy.  I'm thinking long term this doesn't need to be the place for us.

I'm weary.

So, folks... Who's hiring?  I heard recently about a department that advertised for a few weeks for a few openings and received over 1,000 applications.  DH's department recently hired a few 20+ year veterans from other departments who had been laid off.  He also tells me there are two or three ride alongs from other agencies every day this week who have (or will be) laid off and are looking for a job.  This is not the time to be looking for a job.

The obvious thing is for him to stick in law enforcement, although he has skills in many other areas.  Staying in law enforcement could be tricky if we cross state lines and he needs to go to a sort of "make up" academy.  However, both of us are going to start looking for work and see if anything comes up for one of us first.  I'd like to look at states on the west coast or states like Idaho, Wyoming, Montana.  Other states which don't seem too palatable but might be OK are Alaska, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Nevada.  Don't ask me why, that's just how it is in my world right now.

So if you have any good suggestions or leads, please leave them in comments.  Feel free to leave them anonymously if you are concerned about your identity and location being out in the cyberworld.  Or email me!  handcuffed.heart@gmail.com

Thanks, friends!   

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Update: Nasty & Noxious Style

You may remember how surprised I was by the nasty and noxious lady at my local coffee shop recently.  I should have known better... but evidently she is an institution there.  So when I went there again today, well... there she was.  I shouldn't have been surprised, but... I was terrified.  :O

I ran into a former neighbor who was on his break from working at said coffee shop, and asked him about her. Is she generally not too nice?  He confirmed that he thinks maybe something's not quite right with her.  She's had run-ins with other customers in the past, evidently.  Whew!  I'm glad it's not me.

And he confirmed, they DO mop the floors every night so it really wasn't that big of a deal.  Whew!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Does it take all types?

I think it takes a special kind of person to be a police officer.  In fact, there are lots of jobs that take a special kind of person.  However, I think being a cop is such a unique job that it has a higher percentage of people who are ~ well, very similar.  It makes me think that "it takes all types" doesn't exactly apply when you're discussing the personality of a cop.

Of course I'm writing about this because of a recent conversation I had.  I ran into an acquaintance of ours who recently lost his job.  He had talked to DH in the past about becoming a cop, and when I saw him again recently he started up with asking about the job again.  I've known this person for years.  Years and years and years.  He would NOT make a good cop.  But how do I flat out say that?  I guess I could say that but it is for reasons that aren't all that flattering.  Anyway I think DH told him he wouldn't be a good cop when they talked about it too.  Let's just say he has temper and confrontation issues.  So finally I said "Well, you know DH says that his very best weapon is not on his duty belt, it's his verbal judo.  He gets into so few fights and 'befriends' so many of his suspects because he can make friends with the scumbags and act cool then slap the cuffs on them all quick-like.  So if you think you can really use your words to finesse all kinds of situations that is probably a point in your favor."  In my mind I'm thinking... well, I'm thinking "please read between the lines." 

After we had been chatting a while, his wife comes out of left field with some comment about how she doesn't think he would make a good cop because his personality is more like mine and not like my husbands.  Excuse me??  I don't think she knows what an insult that was to me.  Obviously she must like her husband (she married him) but .... yuck.  She was saying how we both have confrontational personalities and it's not a good idea to have that as a cop.  I was so flabbergasted.  When I mentioned it to my DH he chuckled and said "Maybe she meant he is so girlie and wasn't insulting you."  That's a possibility, because he sure is girlie.

After this comment I recalled a recent conversation where a friend of mine said I am not at all what I seem.  She clarified by saying that when she first met me she thought I was tough and sarcastic... but now having known me for a few years (and I would say now she really does know me pretty well), she realizes that I am actually super sensitive and it was a shock to her to realize this.  Now that I'm thinking about it, I have another example.  But I'll leave it at that.  So... what is it that people think I'm one way but really... I'm not?  I never, ever try to be anything but "real."  I don't try to be someone that I'm not, but I'm certainly private.  So you see one side of me mostly until you really, truly get to know me.  Maybe that's what's going on here. 

But it still makes me think.  Who am I?

Ok, now back to that acquaintance who thinks being a cop would be easy-peasy.  We kept talking and he started asking me about academy.  Now, I can only speak for our (my husband's) experience, not every academy in general.  But I'm coming from a place of being married to a man who went to one of the academies in our state which has a reputation for being one of the toughest, if not the toughest, places to graduate from.  The class before my huband's had a 20% graduation rate or something ridiculously small like that.  They were flabbergasted that my husband's class had such a high graduation rate of around 50%.  I was trying to explain it to this guy... the idea of having limited chances to remediate on exams, always living in fear of being dropped, watching your classmates fail out... I did tell him he would do a great job on the physical fitness part. :) He basically poo-pooed all my comments saying that it is only emotionally difficult because he has a degree from [insert name of University here] and he's not stupid so he's sure it would be so easy.  I just about wanted to puke my brains out when I was listening to this arrogant talk.

The best was when I suggested being a dispatcher.  "They hardly make any money!"

Then I did suggest Starbucks.  You know, they offer health insurance and you don't even have to work a full 40 hours.  "That is so insulting I would never, ever work there."  My response?  "Well, you better put your house up for sale then if you aren't going to do whatever it takes to make some money for your family."

Never a dull moment, people.  Never.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Don't be nasty and noxious

This is a story about the kind of old lady I do NOT want to be.

This is a story about the kind of present day lady I do NOT want to be.

This is a story about an old lady who needs some serious love in her life.

Recently there was an event around town where people were allowed to chalk up the sidewalks with beautiful drawings.  We were walking around town and one of our stops was at the coffee shop so I could get a drink.  :)  Do you know what happens to chalk? It makes lots of dust.  While we were walking around town, as much as I tried to avoid the drawings, they're on the freakin' sidewalk and some of my stroller wheels went over them and got chalk dust on the wheels. 

I ordered my drink at the coffee place and was waiting for them to call my name, when Austin ran over to get a straw for me.  An older lady ("nasty noxious nagger") was knitting and said something to me.  She muttered something about the floor, and I thought she was saying that Austin picked up my straw from the floor.  No, with her evil grimace she said something to the effect that "all those marks all over the floor are from your stroller!" I looked and indeed, there was a little track my wheels had made from the door to the register and then to where I was standing.  With disappointment in my eyes and face I said "Oh, no!  It must be because of all the chalk on the sidewalk!"  She just looked at me and rolled her eyes.  If stares could get you covered in mud, this one was the dirtiest look I'd seen in a long time.  What an evil old spiteful lady!  I did feel bad, especially because I am usually very sensitive about cleaning up after myself.  But... guess what??  They mop those floors every day!  It was as if she wanted me to get down on my hands and knees and scrub the tracks up myself.  I bet you, in fact, if I had gone back there a few hours later they would be all gone from people simply walking over them. As we were leaving I gave her my sweetest "Bye, have a good day!" and boy did that make her unhappy!! 

I feel two ways about this.  First, she really got under my skin and made me so mad.  What right does she have to be so nasty to me?  Then (although I was still annoyed), I felt bad for her.  What horrible things have happened in her life that she has to be so uptight and nasty about something like that, to someone she doesn't even know?  Finally, I thought, I will NEVER be like that.  (I hope!!) 

How about you?  When you are mistreated, can you see both sides of the coin?  My husband, after dealing with "the scum of the earth" day in and day out, has a really really hard time seeing that flip side of the coin.  I always go back to the "they were someone's child" ... at one time they actually *weren't* "scum of the earth" but now.....?  And I'm certainly NOT saying I can see both sides every time, but any which way you look at it, it should be sad.

As a LEO wife I do my best to bring balance to my husband's life.  Just like I get enmeshed and overwhelmed with the kid-life of three kids five years old and younger, my husband gets completely wrapped up in his "you are all scum" job outlook.  I'm obviously being extremely black and white here but it's generally true.  I do my best to battle against that and encourage him to do the same.  Do you?

Monday, June 14, 2010

Rookie Blue

Anyone heard of the new show on ABC called Rookie Blue?  From the trailers I am completely underwhelmed.  Check out a trailer here:  http://abc.go.com/shows/rookie-blue

I'll do my best to withhold judgment until I actually see an episode, but from the looks of things it can't hold a candle to SouthLAnd.  But we shall see.  I might have to go get the first season DVD of SouthLAnd from Amazon to hold me over!

brownie banana muffins

 Here's the recipe for the muffins I made yesterday.  They made exactly 12 regular size muffins and were pretty tasty straight out of the oven.  I was pleased with how they tasted and was SO excited I was going to make more, with a tweak or two.  Sheesh!  I tried one at room temp this morning, and all I have to say is, yuck.  yuck, yuck, and more yuck.  But the kids love them.  They think they are getting something "amazing" and chocolate (since I don't normally let them eat chocolate) and they are all for them.  But I am still going to work on them.  My Notes:
  • Subbed flax meal for oil, next time try applesauce or prunes
  • Added splashes of vanilla
  • Use more bananas ~ at least 3
  • Bake about 17 minutes in my oven

Brownie Banana Muffin Recipe

  • 2 cups whole-wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons (aluminum free) baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 2 bananas, mashed (or 3)
  • ½ cup soymilk, almond milk, or sesame milk (rice milk)
  • ¼ cup safflower oil (or 3/4 c. flax meal, or 1/4 c. applesauce or prunes)
  • ¾ cup raw honey or natural sugar substitute (I ran out so I used about 1/3 c. honey and a few shakes of brown sugar)
  • 1/3 chopped nuts (not at our house!!)
Preparation Stir together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and cocoa powder. In a smaller mixing bowl combine the egg, milk, oil, bananas and honey together. Add all at once to dry ingredients. Fold in the chopped nuts. Fill paper muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes. Makes 12 delicious muffins.

Read this note about subbing applesauce for oil, if you're interested.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Bitter Much?

A while back Mrs. Fuzz of A Police Wife fame posted asking for input regarding the start up of a police wife support group.  You can read the post here.

Just the other day, Mr. Police Man posted his comment, asking why a support group for police wives is even necessary.  Here's what he had to say, I just copied and pasted from apolicewife: 
Please remember when reading this that I'm asking a question and not saying anything personal!

Why the need for a support group? 1) Cuz you don't like our odd hours?
2) The fact that many cops have some sort of "friend" where they work that gives them free coffee or even cooks them dinner? That could mean a family too, not saying its an affair.

3) Don't like that we have to be in control all the time?

4) Don't like that we just want you to do what we say and not ask why?

5) That we are irretable (sp?) when we get home because no one liked us at work and we need some "cave" time (Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus) to decompress?

I feel that a support group will just be a gripe session.

I'm a cop, male and have a degree in Psy. Neither of these make me able to understand the desire of women to bond. But maybe I did just give you some good quesitons to talk about at your first meeting.

Take care, keep that man of yours safe!
Honestly I am somewhat surprised to hear this from Mr. Police Man (MPM).  With all the talk about the brotherhood of blue or blue brotherhood of whatever it's called, it should be pretty obvious why the spouses of such folks employed in law enforcement would want their own "support group."  I thought I would answer his questions here because I believe this deserves an entire post unto itself.  I wouldn't be entirely surprised to hear this from a single male.  However, I'm thinking that MPM is married, or at least romantically involved, considering I skimmed his site and noticed he mentioned having a child.  So that surprised me.

But let's get started.  In short, the answer to all those questions MPM asks is YES.  But since I'm giving this comment an entire post, I might as well go into detail....

1) Cuz you don't like our odd hours?
While I may like the odd hours you are home, I don't like the odd hours when you are gone.

2) The fact that many cops have some sort of "friend" where they work that gives them free coffee or even cooks them dinner? That could mean a family too, not saying its an affair.

My husband is super, uber cautious about this one, so nope, I don't have a problem here.

3) Don't like that we have to be in control all the time?


Nope, don't like this.  I married you to be on your team, not take orders.  When you don't feel like you have to be in control all the time don't you notice how our family life is SO MUCH BETTER?

4) Don't like that we just want you to do what we say and not ask why?


See answer to #3. This is the kind of thing I expect from our children on a regular basis.  I am not your child.  If that's the kind of relationship you want with me, well... lots of things will be changing around here.

5) That we are irretable (sp?) when we get home because no one liked us at work and we need some "cave" time (Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus) to decompress?


Right again, MPM.  I am not the one that lied to you about x, y, or z and I didn't resist arrest or hit you in a head-on collision because I was drunk so don't take your irritability out on me.  You can have your cave time. I get it.  I just want mine, too.  And I want your cave time to actually DO something for your crappy attitude.

So like I said, the answer to all of MPM's questions are pretty much YES.

But a bigger reason why we, as cop's wives and not accountant's wives, like to seek out other LEO wives is because we have more of a chance of visiting our husband in the hospital or the morgue as a result of his job than that accountant's wife does.

I kiss my husband goodbye before his shift and say a prayer (or two or three or fifty) every day for him; that his bulletproof vest would work, that he can even get his gun out of his holster faster than the moron yanking who-knows-what out of his waistband, that his fingers won't freeze up when he has to pull the trigger before the "bad guy",  that his hippie-peace-loving-civil-rights-activist coworker won't be assigned as his cover officer...

All things that my civilian wife friends hear me say but do not comprehend.  All things that should be blatantly obvious to you, as a LEO, and certainly ARE to all my LEO wife friends.

And that accountant's wife?

While that accountant's wife may pray "Dear Lord, please don't let Microsoft Excel freeze up on my honey when he enters in that big number for the reimbursement request," she is certainly, in no uncertain terms, begging for the protection of the life of her dear loved one simply because she has sent him off to work.  This may be a little melodramatic, but come on.  Why did you spend six months at the academy if this isn't a dangerous job?

I feel that a support group will just be a gripe session.

So here, MPM, I'll take a guess that this is REALLY the problem you have with support groups.  I think this is really what you were trying to say.  Why get together when all you are going to do is gripe?  Now on THIS, we can agree.  I appreciate my LEO wife friends who can hear me complain and understand at a deeper level why this life is such a challenge.  They can hear about the difficulties in our marriage, relationship, and family life without saying "I sure hope your husband can find a different job some day."  (One of my dear civilian friends has told me this.)  I also treasure my LEO wife friends who can still love and care for my husband when they know the dirty, dank stuff of our lives, often exacerbated by the day in, day out, CRAP my husband sees at work.  That is true friendship.  That's support.  My LEO wife friends can say "Oh no, girl, you do NOT let him get away with that!" or "This is how we handled that..." and I know they are speaking with the voice of experience.  I appreciate that.  Because otherwise, MPM, you're right... it's just griping and what's the point of that?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

legacy

Mrs. Fuzz introduced me to NieNie at NieNieDialogues.  The short version of the story is that this woman and her husband were in a plane crash, and they both survived.  NieNie, however, had burns over 80% of her body.  She was in a coma for three months and now continues to face reconstructive surgery.

While she was in a coma and recovering, someone started updating her blog (which she had started back in 2005) with their "favorite" posts of hers.  People would write in and talk about how impacted they were by her writing and the things she said, and they would pick a favorite post.  They'd mention why and then the original post was reposted.

These "looks back" are amazing.  It made me think about my life.  If something like that happened, would anyone be so inspired by my blog posts and want to have them be reposted?  Would I handle my situation with such grace?  I'm not looking for a huge money-making, inspiring blog, but I am looking for a REAL life.

It made me wonder, what kind of legacy am I leaving?  Will my kids remember how I yelled at them too much, and didn't say "I love you" enough?  Will they remember that I never let them stop to smell the flowers or collect bugs on our walks because I was more concerned with burning more calories on a faster paced walk?  The list is long.  And while we are all doing our best with what we have on a given day, I know that sometimes I could simply make a different choice and life would be that much sweeter.  It might cost me some calorie-burning or a few extra minutes before leaving the house, but in the long run, I will be building the kind of legacy I will be proud of.  Let's see if I can do it.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

If only we were all this honest...

Seeing as so many of us either visit, or hear about visits to court quite a bit, this was an entertaining item I read this morning:





Thanks goes to Abraham Piper of 22 Words.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Happiness 101

Mrs. Fuzz has gifted me with the Happiness 101 Award that is making the rounds these days.  Thanks, Mrs. Fuzz!  Here are 101 things that make me happy.  JUST KIDDING.  I'm only sharing 10 things.

  1. A quiet, hot, long MORNING shower (if you've been reading this very long you probably already know this one!)
  2. A hot beverage ritual ~ walking to my favorite local shop for something hot or taking the time to prepare it at home in a certain way... anything works.  They all make me happy!
  3. A clean house (no wonder I'm unhappy these days)
  4. A new location of my favorite local grocery store opening three blocks from my house NEXT WEEK!!
  5. A good deal.  Actually, a GREAT deal.  
  6. My children (usually)
  7. Any kind of discovery; like a fun bakery, a neat treat, a great deal, an unusual spider web, a unique collection of things.  In this way, I was made to be a mom.  I can marvel over the smallest things and take joy in them along with my kids.  My husband is, well, not so much like this.  :)  That's why I'm the mom and he isn't.
  8. Baking.  Well actually, eating the things I baked.  But baking.  NOT cooking.
  9. Books.  Books, books, books.  Can hardly climb into bed for all the books littering the floor on my side.  Can I get a shout out for your local library and paperbackswap?!?!!?
  10. My bed.  Oh, my dear, dear, sweet bed.  There's nothing like it.
I want to hear from YOU ~ what makes YOU happy these days??  Share in the comments or give us your 10 on your own Happiness 101 post.  

    Monday, May 31, 2010

    Memorial Day

    Today I could write about how we had a fabulous, fabulous time at the little's first birthday party this weekend.  I could tell you about the tasty food my family (and Costco) helped me prepare, like the Black Bean, Corn, and Rice salad (with help from this recipe here) or the Pasta Salad with the fabulous Newman's Own dressing or the loaves and loaves of bread my friend brought for make-your-own sandwiches, or the awesome awesome guacamole my mom made, or the crowning jewel, the apple carrot "cupcakes" (muffins) I made peanut, dairy, and oil free with the recipe from Bob's Red Mill...

    I could tell you about the new bikes, bike helmets, and beautiful beautiful quilt my mom made for Dallas' first birthday.  But instead, I'd like to remind all of you (who in all likelihood need no reminding) that today is Memorial Day.  There's a reason people are pushing to have the day moved to the middle of the week, so it's not just a day about bbqs and homemade ice cream and the first day at the beach (for the brave ones on either coast).  It's to remember. To be grateful.  Grateful to our veterans, the families of the veterans, the wounded, the weary, the deceased, the active, and the families of all these who sacrifice day in and day out.  Many of you understand in an intimate way these sacrifices as some of the sacrifices are similar to those in the LEO life.  But we will never truly know until we walk in those shoes, which truly can never happen.

    Instead we can be grateful.  Grateful that we can speak badly about politicians and those in office, doing their best (or not) to lead us.  Grateful that we can read the Bible or the Qu'ran or the Book of Mormon or attend "The Church of the Inner Spring" (as in bedspring) on a Sunday morning.  We have so much choice, and so much freedom, and it was bought and paid for with a price.  At times, a very, very high price.

    Let's remember.

    Wednesday, May 26, 2010

    Is it possible...?

    Is it possible to get bloated on cough drops and hot tea?  It sure feels like it.  I weathered the H1N1 storm at our house without a scrape, my kids have gotten sick multiple times and I've escaped unscathed.  However, this week, during the busiest week of the school year, family in town, and a big birthday bash to pull off... I got hit.  I'm sick.  I feel like a truck ran over me and backed up on top of me.  How is that possible?

    Thursday, May 20, 2010

    SouthLAnd!

    Taking a moment out of my crazy month of May to let you know that The Dispatcher and Her Officer have a SouthLAnd contest running that ends on Thursday, May 20.  Go check it out and get to followin' them if you don't already!

    Wednesday, May 12, 2010

    Wow, it sure is quiet!

    I mentioned in my last post it is pretty busy around here.  It is, but I also feel pretty empty inside.  I don't know if I can describe it.  I'm not necessarily lonely or depressed or hungry (all versions of "empty") but there is something missing.  I think it might be the case that I am so overwhelmed and not keeping up very well with what's going on in my life that I get that "deer in the headlights" feeling, everything leaves my head and I am completely totally out of it.  lame.  I know.

    As I've mentioned before, we live quite near to dh's place of work.  So this week has been kind of exciting in that every time I hear the news helicopters outside our window (or should I say "above") I flip through all the news channels and start combing twitter to find out what's going on.  Every time, I've found something on the news and once that segment is over the chopper flies away.  Talk about noise pollution!!  The other day I had to have the TV volume turned All. The. Way. Up. so that I could hear it over the noise of the chopper!  Sheesh! 

    So, nothing else exciting going on around here, and thankfully the news -- as usual -- has made mountains out of molehills so that makes me a happy wife.  DH is scheduled for a good amount of OT coming up and I'm busy getting ready for all the family coming to town, open house, and the big 1st bday party for baby Dallas.  Very exciting, although gotta get rid of my deer-in-the-headlights issues!  :)

    Friday, May 7, 2010

    Somebody's turning one!

    Today is Friday, and usually the kids (older ones) have gymnastics but the gym is under construction!  boohiss!

    So instead I'll be burying my head in the sand over all the things I should be doing and going to get some retail therapy in.  We'll hit Costco (for the second time this week) for printer ink and photos for the birthday party.  I'll hit at least one "party" store to check for zoo animal themed plates and all that fun stuff.  I have a second one in mind, too, (some sort of $1 Store) in case the first doesn't have quite what I want.  My mom found some great ones online but the frugal shopper in me wants to check around town first to see if I can find something cheaper and still cute.  Maybe we'll also hit Target with my collection of coupons.  And if we can get everyone to nap early enough maybe we'll also hit the zoo or another museum in town later in the afternoon.

    This month is HUGELY busy for us.  The end of school with a big open house, family from all over coming into town, the Big Birthday Party, and craziness at DH's work (translate: hellacious overtime)... If you've read back over my previous posts (from a year ago!) you know that our baby has not been the easiest baby ever.  He is delightfully hilarious now (although still quirky) but friends!!!!  I am buying champagne and toasting all my friends and family at the big party for enduring the first year with me.

    Now if I could just kick the weepiness out the window...

    Wednesday, May 5, 2010

    Weepiness

    Sorry, folks, I'm just not done talking about my weepiness.  I'll get over it eventually, I'm sure, but for now I'm still chugging along.

    Last week (as you know if you read my previous post) had a big hitter on the end of it.  But before that happened, I was really hit over the head with a giant realization that I try to control all sorts of things that really are NOT for me to control.  I order around my children, I take care of all sorts of things, and as police wives (or any kind of married single mom!) we are "in charge" more than we are not.  I spoke with a mom of eight kids (ranging in age from two to 24 years old) last weekend whose husband is no longer working as a cop.  She said one of the big transitions for them has been that she is so used to "doing it all alone" that now with her husband home, they run into issues where he wants to participate in life but she excludes him without thinking about it.

    Wonder if that day will ever come at our house!

    In the "big excitement" category, I got in touch with DH while he was on duty recently and asked him if he needed anything at Costco since I was there.  He flipped out saying "There was just a high-speed chase over there! You should be glad you weren't in the middle of it!"

    At least I know to pull to the right and yield to emergency vehicles if I had been!

    Saturday, May 1, 2010

    And so it goes...

    I've been pretty weepy lately.  It could be a million things but it's made it a little hard to blog about much lately.  You'd either get the totally horrendous version of me or the very hilarious version of me.  And neither are really the truth right now.  So, you're getting nothing'.  ;)

    But on my mind (and conveniently I can type about this because I'm procrastinating on the billion other things I'm supposed to be doing to prep for tomorrow) is yesterday.  Yesterday was the 13th anniversary of my dad's death.  I remember that first year after he died.  The milestones hung out like huge boulders signifying another day walked without him. I counted 7 days -- one week.  Four weeks -- one month.  Two months.  Three months.  One year.  I didn't think I could take it.  I couldn't even imagine my life five years out.  But 13?  Never in a million years could I imagine myself here, now, with so much less pain than I felt then. 

    It used to be that I would count the days until the next milestone.  I would flip the calendar to "April" and think about the slightly-less-than-four weeks I had to mentally prepare myself for the Big Day.  This time I gave it a few fleeting thoughts as I knew it was "APRIL" but for some reason I got slapped in the face with the actual date mid-morning.  I hate when I do that.  I really prefer it when I go to sleep remembering that tomorrow is the day and I can wake up prepared to not be sucker-punched in the gut because I've pushed it to the back of my mind.

    That first Big Day I took the day off work.  I tentatively called a few family members, making small talk and asking eventually "Are you OK today?" dripping with the heaviest of implications.  Each one knew exactly why I had called and answered in their own way.  My dumb brother -- did he actually say "yeah, whatever"?  I can't remember but it was something equally noncommittal, if it wasn't that.  Then again, what do you expect from a 14-year-old?  I stopped by my favorite ice cream shop (couldn't actually hit Baskin-Robbins, Dad, sorry!) and took my journal to one of my favorite gardens waaay up the hill.  I found a secluded spot; I sat and cried and looked out across the great expanse and had our little chat.  Don't worry, I don't really talk to dead people but it made me feel better.  :)   Years later my future husband proposed to me near that same park.  It's a special place.

    Year Five it worked out so that I was together with my mom.  We went to a special old-time family spot, enjoying the view and specifically remembering Dad.  It was sweet, and it was huge. 

    Now my mom is remarried.  I'm married.  I have kids.  I have this list of things I've accomplished that he wasn't here to share in.  Life is different and other interesting people, things, and hobbies have come to fill in the empty gash that he left; a gash of varied shape but that each of us in the family has in some way.  I read "A Grief Observed" by C.S. Lewis a million times.  I've searched the sadness of my memories and cry any time someone else tells me they have lost a dear one to death.  It doesn't matter if I know the deceased, but somehow my tender heart can mourn with them. 

    I wouldn't be like that if I hadn't lost my dad -- and eventually both grandfathers, an uncle, two cousins, and a few friends -- in rapid succession.  Who are you?  How did you become who you are?  Are you soft and tender-hearted?  (Even under that tough guy, rugged shell?)  Do you know without a doubt that the important people in your life KNOW they are important?  Are you "ready to go"?  Just because you're ready doesn't mean you will actually, um, kick the bucket.  It's just called "being prepared."  Do you go in to a gun battle without preparation?  I don't think so.

    The only thing that's certain in life is death.  Do you live without regret?  We mostly live as though life is certain and death is uncertain, but that's completely wrong.  It will be much more difficult to forgive or reconcile or truly live if one of the involved parties is... dead.  I know I'm being extremely blunt but it's true. If there is one gift you can give yourself, this can be it.  Do you know how freeing this can be to know that you did the right thing when time was up?  You can call your mom THIS SECOND and tell her how much  you appreciate her.  Yeah, she's your mom and maybe she did kind of screw you up but she gave birth to you and cared for you in ways which you cannot comprehend.  Or go call someone else.  Write a note.  Skip the email, write it in your own chicken scratch.  Your mom/dad/aunt/uncle/cousin/friend/grandparent/super friend will thank you.

    Did you already miss your chance to make it right with someone who is now gone?  Well, buck up, my friend.  Know that you can move forward and have a choice -- you can make the same mistake twice (or three times or four times) or you can work more diligently to get it right this time.

    Monday, April 26, 2010

    Did you hear the news?

    It's Baaaaaaack!

    Southland, that is.  :)   TNT just renewed it for 10 episodes in it's third season, to begin airing January 2011.  I'm SO EXCITED!!  I can't believe I have to wait that long.  Maybe I will have to be content with watching Southland: The Complete First Season (Uncensored) for now.

    BTW in the article it said that the median age for viewers of this show is 47.  FORTY-SEVEN?!  Oh my.  I'm aging before my very eyes. 

    And once again, YAY!

    Saturday, April 24, 2010

    And you just *thought* you were having a bad day!

    I received this via spam email from a friend today.  Annoyingly spamalicious but so true, how could I not share it with you?

    A blind boy sat on the steps of a building with a hat by his feet. He held up a sign which said: "I am blind, please help." There were only a few coins in the hat. 



    A man was walking by. He took a few coins from his pocket and dropped them into the hat. He then took the sign, turned it around, and wrote some words. He put the sign back so that everyone who walked by would see the new words.

    Soon the hat began to fill up. A lot more people were giving money to the blind boy. That afternoon, the man who had changed the sign came to see how things were. The boy recognized his footsteps and asked, "Were you the one who changed my sign this morning? What did you write?"



    The man said, "I only wrote the truth. I said what you said but in a different way." I wrote: "Today is a beautiful day, but I cannot see it."

    Both signs told people that the boy was blind. But the first sign simply said the boy was blind. The second sign told people that they were so lucky that they were not blind. Should we be surprised that the second sign was more effective?




    Now, the thing my friend passed along had this preachy "moral of the story" thing at the end.  While it was all true, I think more valuable would be YOUR interpretation of how you need to reframe your thinking about something in your life.  I know I sure need to do that!!



    Have a great weekend, folks.

    Friday, April 23, 2010

    THAT was anticlimactic!

    Guess what?  This is my 101st post.  I thought I was supposed to have a cocktail party or big celebration when I hit 100 posts!  Well, it's come and gone.  Just thought I'd announce that.

    There has been a spate of reality wedding shows on TV lately.  I'm guessing it's because the spring/summer wedding rush is coming up.  So I'm taking a poll.  Most of you are married or considering gettin' hitched, so you tell me ~ how much did you spend on "The Dress" for your wedding?

    I paid around $500 I think.  I CANNOT believe I paid that much money!  I'm embarrassed to even say it.  If I had more than nine weeks to shop I'm sure I could have done better.  One of my favorite pastimes is getting a great deal.  I would not spend $3,300 or even $14,000, but am I a weirdo?  How much did (or would) you spend on your dress?

    Thursday, April 22, 2010

    No more free ride

    Do you or your police officer use an employer-paid cell phone, pager, or computer?  Think again about sending those racy messages!!

    The Supreme Court appears likely to rule against public employees who claimed a local government violated their privacy by reading racy text messages they sent on their employers’ account.
    Even though officers were told informally that "no one would look further if officers personally paid for charges above a monthly allowance," written policy stated the opposite.  "The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco said the informal policy was enough to give the officers a “reasonable expectation of privacy” in their text messages and establish that their constitutional rights had been violated."

    The Obama Administration sides with the Ontario, CA police department, and it appears as though the Supreme Court will concur.  I'm wondering how screwed those officers are that sent the questionable messages.

    Read the whole thing on PoliceLink.

    Saturday, April 17, 2010

    The Confessional

    Y'all know that I have three kids, ages 5, 3, and 11 months.  Recently we were at a nearby park because I couldn't take it any longer with all of us at home.  I struck up a conversation with another mom who brought a young baby (6 months old) to the swings where Dallas and I were hanging out.  Boy!  What is it about the park and moms?

    I got the whole life story from this mom, including how she met her husband, what she does for a living, what they plan to do about work and childcare, and details about all her infertility struggles and her IVF treatments.  I'm opposed to IVF but it was not the time to get into it with this person I don't even know.  (Nor is it the place here.)  When she asked, I told her my husband works in "business services" and that seemed to appease her.  Better than my usual preferred response of "garbage collector."

    What is it about the park?  It's like a mommy confessional.  This is not the first time this has happened to me, either.

    Thursday, April 15, 2010

    Spring Cleaning

    Anyone else getting a little overwhelmed with the posts about spring cleaning and decluttering and feeling so great about your beautiful space in which you live?  ugh!  One or two of the posts would be great, and motivational, but I've about had it.

    I think spring cleaning and decluttering are awesome.  Admirable.  Wonderful ways to simplify your life.  But in the midst of an already overwhelmed life, a tiny apartment, five people to care for, and nowhere to put the stuff I'm spring cleaning, this is absolutely making me crazy.

    But I am tired of it, you know?  I'm tired of the clutter.  I'm tired of feeling like my day is ruined from the moment I wake up because there is so much crap everywhere.  I hate crap.  I also hate all the stuff that is weighing me down.  So, I decided to do something about it.  Tonight, as I was making breakfast for dinner and the spatula started falling off the counter because there was NO PLACE TO PUT IT, I "spring cleaned" one of the kitchen counters.  You can do what I did in five minutes, just like me!  :)  My one kitchen counter started out like this:


    See, there's that pesky spatula I was using to flip the pancakes for dinner.  Between flips, it quickly came to look like this:



    And you can do it too.  It's easy.  Just do this:


    I put away a few things as I went along but mostly it all got tossed into the bag.  I'm going to quickly -- QUICKLY -- go through it and bless someone else with it, toss it, or hmm.... keep it?  That sounds totally unappealing.  :O

    So what's your secret spring cleaning weapon??

    Reflections on my contributions

    I think it's great to understand what a contribution I am making to the blog world.  I love it that people can use google and find my blog useful for things like:

    corsets
    This was simply for my post about tactical corsets, nothing exciting here. Move along, folks.

    diapers paralyzed
    None of my three children have been paralyzed by the wearing of diapers yet.  

    handcuffed and loving it
    I'm definitely handcuffed to my lawman and we've thrown away the key.  I would not say I'm always "loving it" but it does have it's good moments.  :) You can also read this to find out what you should know about using handcuffs.

    happy easter capitalized
    Well, if you wanted it capitalized you probably should have typed it in the search box that way.

    someone's novelty worn off, what does it mean?
    Ok, I'm just speechless on this one folks.

    Wednesday, April 14, 2010

    I crashed the car

    Ok, I didn't *exactly* crash the car but I was so distracted by other things going on in the parking garage (missing fire extinguisher boxes, for example) that as I backed out of the parking space I did a nice loud, messy, dirty scrape of the car fender on the wall.  oh dear.

    Props out to my husband dearest who did not, in fact, rip me up one side and down the other when I told him about defacing his car.  It only took me two days to get up the courage to actually tell him and then when he reacted so well it was an even bigger relief.  A few days later he was recounting the story to his coworkers, and he got two differing reactions.  #1: horrified.  This from the officer who bought his wife some fancy schmancy car -- he's a car freak -- and a special bra to go over the front bumper.  #2: horrified.  This from a female officer who wanted to know how mean he was to me about it, especially after how angry he was over the last 'big thing' I did.  I then asked if he told them about how I cried.  "What?!!?  You weren't crying!!" he says.  "That's what you think.  I left the room because I knew you'd get irritated."  Well he was irritated when he found *that* out ~ and he has a point: I cry when he's mean and angry, and I cry when he's nice and calm.  "I can't win for losing!" he tells me.  I like the nice and calm crying waaay better, though.  :)   Never a dull moment and glad to know I continue to provide great coworker story fodder for DH. 

    The days of the week DH works have shifted, although he's still working swings.  I realized that now there are at least two days of the week that most likely the kids will not see dad.  That's a bummer.  I don't think we really thought that one out.  I hadn't really seen DH since Monday when this morning (Wed) around 4:30 AM the baby woke up and I realized that I had a man sleeping in the bed with me.  Oh!!  That's my husband!!  So nice to see you, dear.  I rolled over and patted him on the way to get Dallas...  And that was the last I "heard" from him until this afternoon when he got up to go to work.  This swing shift stuff sucks.  That moment of patting his back (or was it his belly?  his arm?  I was so asleep I have no idea) was almost an act of desperation.  It was so very, very necessary for me to touch him and know that he was home and safe and with me.  Albeit a very, very sleepy me. 

    That's the kind of thing I can't explain to some of my friends.  They just don't get it.  Intellectually they can understand what it's like, but there is no explaining the crazy thoughts and weird desperate oddities that seep out of my heart and my mind and wash over the whole of my life and our family.  To say he should "find another job" in light of the sacrifices we each make as individuals and as a family diminishes the work he does.  But there are those who think it, and say it, and may they change their mind the first time they actually, desperately need his assistance on duty.

    Monday, April 12, 2010

    What to do on a rainy day?

    Build a fort, of course.  And finish off that pint of ice cream.  Just kidding, I've been restraining myself.


    Happy Monday!

    Friday, April 9, 2010

    You know there's drama when...

    All I will say is, how do you think I deal with my stress?  I'll give you a hint.  I'm the proud owner of a (half eaten) half-pound gourmet brownie and three cartons of ice cream.  Yeah, yeah, I know... I fell for the "buy three get $3 off" trick.  It sounded so cheap and like such a good idea at the time.  Why will my stomach and waist never, ever, ever thank me for saving that kind of money??  Thankfully they are not all half gallons.  Or is that 1.25 gallons these days?  Whatever.  (The two pints: Starbucks Java chip, Ben&Jerry's Cookies & Milk)

    So, in answer to my own question: You know there's drama when this mama stocks the junk food pile.  sigh.

    Tuesday, April 6, 2010

    Update

    Hello!

    We had a great Easter, I hope you did as well. Yummy food, family, eggs, and stories about why we celebrate Easter. It all came to a stinky end yesterday; as such I'll be spending more time with family and working through some things for a while. Not that I've been a hugely prolific blogger of late ~ I'm just warning you, I may be even less prolific in the coming days.

    Stay safe, friends!

    Friday, April 2, 2010

    Happy Easter!

    So happy to report that we're not divorced yet!

    There was a major "Discussion" yesterday and DH went off to work red in the face and steam coming out his ears. (You know when the word "Discussion" is capitalized AND put in quotes that at least one person in said "Discussion" is going to leave with the whole red face/steaming ears bit. But I digress!) I hate it when he goes off like that, especially to work ('cuz as we all know, what if he comes home in a box instead?!?!) but it was somewhat unavoidable yesterday. I did the best I could to put a patch on it, and worried prayed worried prayed stayed up all night long (also known as 1 AM to this early-night momma). When I finally came to my sense around 4:30 AM he was home safe and sound, without any steam or redness. I asked him "So do you forgive me for forgetting to do that thing you told me to do last week?" There was a bit of discussion, but that was that. So thankful. My tiny misdeed (and really, it was tiny but had far reaching complications), although really really annoying and frustrating to DH (and he was half an hour late to work because of it), provided some great water cooler report writing room fodder and many laughs and giggles for his fellow officers. Glad to be of service, folks.

    Now on to the excitement. Happy Easter, one and all. If you celebrate the original meaning behind the whole shebang, He is risen! If not, go eat a chocolate bunny for me. Best of all, as Dispatcher says over at The Dispatcher and The Officer, hug your family and love on them!