Thursday, December 31, 2009

Welcome 2010!

I am looking forward to 2010 for a lot of different reasons. I feel like 2009 has been a year of preparation and beginnings and that, by default, 2010 will be an extension and an improvement on those beginnings.

My real estate career in Sunshineville began this year. I've worked very hard to lay the groundwork for my future career. I've learned a ton and I've got ten times as much left to learn. I'm getting there.

I started my novel and hope that by doing a little bit at a time, I will be able to finish it this coming year. Maybe. We'll see how motivated I get.

I've started (slowly) doing better things for my body. I make an attempt every day to drink water. I have yet to hit the magic "eight glasses", but each ounce I drink is one that I wouldn't normally. I have been averaging two times a week of some sort of exercise. This may not sound like a lot, and it's really not, but again, for every time I do exercise, it's one more time than I have done previously. I still struggle daily with the amount of coffee I consume. I was getting down to what most people would consider a normal amount (okay, high normal) until we had guests in our house over the weekend. Four extra people, all of whom consume coffee, in my house for almost four days. It's amazing how quickly I fall off the wagon when surrounded by other addicts.

We didn't do many (read "any") improvements on our home this year but we've been planning several projects for the coming year. We will most likely be painting the exterior of our house in the early spring. We'd like to put a pergola on the back of the house off of our bedroom. There are several wiring projects Mister C would like to do as well. Unfortunately, his wiring projects always cause me to have to do drywall repair and painting so I'm kind of hoping that he doesn't get around to these particular projects.

The biggest change in our home has been the change in Master J. He has blossomed this year. He's been getting progressively better. At least until he went on Christmas break. Now, he needs to get himself back to school and back into progressing forward.

So I guess we'll see what 2010 brings us. But I really think it is going to be a great year. May you all be blessed with a wonderful, prosperous year full of friends, family, fun and new experiences. See you next year.

Monday, December 28, 2009

It can't be that far off...

It's been kind of gray around here the last few days. Grayness makes me not feel as chipper as I normally do. It drags me down. It reminds me why I live in Sunshineville in the first place. While I dislike the few gray days we get around here, I also recognize that the majority of my friends are dealing with much worse weather than I what with the blizzards and generally crappy weather they've had the past few weeks. So this post is for them as well as for me. A little bit of color from last spring at the Desert Botanical Gardens. This is as close as we'll get to the blooming season for a few months, so enjoy...

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

I hope your day was filled with joy, family and friends, or at the very least that it was memorable for it's moments of chaos and mayhem...

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Night Before Christmas

What we were trying...

The reality...

What we ended up with...

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

It's Festivus!

That's right, today is December 23rd the traditional day for the celebration of Festivus! Woo Hoo! I'm looking forward to the airing of grievances and I've been practicing for the Feats of Strength for the past hour or so. Let's all hope for a Festivus Miracle! Happy Festivus!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Blond moment #1057

So earlier today, Mamoo informed me that Master J had mentioned that he had seen a swear word on my phone. I assume it was from a text message I had received at some point, most likely from a certain friend (hi Brandy!) Anyway, there's been some issue with a little boy liking to "help" his mom by fetching her phone for her when she gets a text message. Apparently his intent is really to be just a tad bit of a busy body. I don't like him to read my messages though. Not because they are generally so full of interesting new curse words or anything either. Honestly if we're trying to prevent the acquisition of new foul language I'm going to have to go on a speaking hiatus. No, it's really more of a "it's none of your business what my business is" issue. So I got smart. I went into my fancy phone and set it so there's no "preview" of text messages when they come in. I need to go into the little text icon to fetch my message. Aren't I just the brightest little thing? Fast forward several hours. I sent a text to a friend to let her know I hadn't forgotten her. I immediately got back a text from her. When I picked up my phone and looked at the screen, I shook my head and said to Mister C "What the hell? Brandy just sent me a text message and do you know what it says? It just says "text message". What do you think that means?"

To which he replied "That you have a text message you need to go in and read?"

And again I am reminded that Mister C really has front row seats to his own comedy show. He just sits back and waits to see what I'll say next.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

One is the loneliest number...

At least according to Papa it is. See these two adorable puppies playing nicely together? The one in the back, the one that's standing on the other one? That's the female that my folks decided on last week.

This one here? That's her brother. The one being beat on in the above photo. The one that they decided they had to adopt as well. Because they didn't want the first one to be lonely.

I didn't get it from strangers.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Sun Dried Shirt

There's just something about a white shirt drying in the sun that makes me smile.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Naming convention

After watching our dog "ADHD Girl" pick up and eat a piece of fuzz from the floor...

Master J: We should have named her something else.
Mirth: Like what?
Master J: It would be pronounced "en-ak-wil" but it would be spelled e-n-a-q-u-e-l
Mirth: Enaquel? What the heck does that mean?
Master J: Eat Now, Ask QUEstions Later.
Mirth: Huh. That probably would have been a better fitting name.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Christmas Letter

Greetings from Mirthville. Normally at this time of year I would be sitting down and pecking out a lovely Christmas letter about all the great things that have happened over the year. I would use my awesome creative skills and photo-shop prowess to incorporate some adorable pictures into the letter. And then, I will never send it out. Because I will get distracted by candy and shiny things.

Since I am no dummy and I am one hundred percent sure that I will also not send out this year’s letter, I have decided to go a different route. This year, I will write the Christmas letter that I have been unable (for censorship reasons) to write in previous years. The one you always wish people would send, because honestly most holiday letters are so sappy I could cover my pancakes in them and not tell the difference.

So here goes…

In January, I went back to school to get my real estate license. Let’s see, the market is crashing and burning like an oil tanker on icy roads, there’s already enough licensed agents in the county to sell Rhode Island twice and the banks are offering 1% commissions on a lot of the homes they acquired. Good timing isn’t the word I’m looking for. Maybe more like comedic timing. Also, we acquired our idiot, growth challenged orange tabby. Because apparently I had two seconds of down time and thought I needed some chaos.

In February, Mister C & I made a day trip up to the Grand Canyon on my least favorite “holiday” of the year. We weren’t going because it was romantic, we were going because Mister C got peeved at the rangers for not giving him hiking permits that he kept requesting. He thought he’d have a better chance in person and he was right. We left there with permits acquired, and a new found appreciation for why we don’t eat green potatoes. We also went to San Xavier del Bac and the Tucson Botanical Gardens, which were incredibly awesome.

In March, Master J turned eight and requested a cake shaped like a bucket of popcorn. I managed to pull it off and he was thrilled. He also started his regime of coffee consumption this month. Great results and I highly recommend it be tried prior to medication for kids with ADHD (along with other diet/environmental controls). The fact that my eight year old looks like unionized iron worker taking his thermos to school every day is just a bonus.

March was also a big month for purchases. I got my Mac laptop, which I adore, and my new Nikon “big girl” camera, which I would probably give my left eye for. If that didn’t completely skeeve me out with horror and gyrations worthy of belly dancer on crack. Shudder! (ha, ha) Anyway, all puns aside, this camera makes me look like I actually know how to take a decent photo most days.

I passed my real estate exams, both the ones at the school, and the state ones. I’d heard so much about how difficult these things were. People telling me they had failed them multiple times before passing. The instructors talking about how only something like 20% of people pass the school exam on the first time. Really? That scares me. I passed everything on the first time. I’m no genius but I seriously thought all of the tests were pretty straight forward and honestly, easy. It scares me that 80% of the people that had to sit through ninety hours of classroom instruction couldn’t turn around a pass the exam a week later. It scares me more that these same people continue to take the exam until they pass and then go out and write contracts. On a very sad note, this was also the month that we had to have our beloved Dalmatian euthanized after she went into congestive heart failure. Life sometimes sucks really badly.

In April, it was my birthday. The whole month was all about me and how awesome I am. People catered to my every want and need and bowed down before me. At least in my mind they did. In reality? Same shit, different month. Actually there is one big thing that happened in the month of April…I met my first real estate clients and climbed on board the crazy train being driven by the wife of this pair. You know when people say someone is “certifiable”? Ever met one of those certifiable people? Try not to. It’s incredibly effin draining to try and stay sane when the person sitting across from you is anything but. The conversations can be appallingly fragmented and convoluted. In a nutshell, when you walk away from them you need to check yourself to make sure you’re still rational.

In May, Master J finished up the second grade in much better condition than he started it at Midwest Loser Elementary. He also lost his first tooth. My baby is growing up. At the end of the month, Mister C & I went to the Chihuly exhibit at the botanical gardens and I got to put my new camera to work. If I had thought to bring a billy club it would have gotten a great work out as well. I’m still trying to figure out how every person in the entire county was able to attend on the same day. Also, why they all felt the need to get in my effin way. Seriously people, move!

June had highs and lows in real estate. I held my first open house on a home that later went to auction. I actually went to the auction and while I wouldn’t recommend it for trying to acquire a home, I would definitely go for the entertainment value. Here’s a hint though, bring snacks. Or a big stack of money to buy some of theirs. This open house is where I met a client that turned into a friend. She ended up with the house after a whole lot of pain in the ass that occurred over the next few months. This is also the month that the previously mentioned crazy train came crashing off the tracks at the closing table. Good times were had by all.

July is the scene of the second crazy train wreck of the year, although this one was more expected. We made our crazcation to my in-laws house for the holiday festivities. We had a big blow up and big insanity that got turned into a fantastic cross country trip with Mister C, Master J & I getting to see a whole bunch of landmarks between Fargo and Phoenix. After getting back from that trip, we headed back to the airport to go visit my Aunt Ninny in Baltimore. We wanted to see what pancreatic cancer looks like while it’s getting its ass kicked. So far, “PC” is looking like that skanky ho that shows up already drunk at the bar in flip flops and a tank top whose strap is giving in to gravity. She ain’t very pretty and she starts a lot of shit, but if you beat on her long enough she’ll go find an easier bar patron to bother.

In August, Master J started the third grade. And we acquired Satan from the humane society. I bet you didn’t know she was euphemistically referred to as “Ladybug” while enjoying her stay in the kennels. And yes, Satan is a female. She’s about thirty-five pounds of brindled chaos that adores Master J. This is the month where we discovered that honeybees suck big time and cost a lot of money to remove. Also, this is the month I really started to hate “Tank of Ta Bearica” as they too are the Devil’s own little minions.

In September, Mister C went back to work for Charles Schwab. Thank God. That whole “working from home” bullshit? Yeah, not so much. More like “sitting around in my sweats, watching the stock market, grazing in the fridge & annoying my lovely wife”. Working from home, pshaw! That phrase should be banned, at least from my house.

Another thing we figured out this month is that if Satan can’t read a book, she eats it. This was an expensive lesson for Master J since, being the mean mother I am, I made him pay the library for the destroyed books (yes, plural). My logic being that he left them lying on the floor for her to find so he was responsible. Please note that both instances happened on Mister Cs watch. One more thing, I backed into a cop car this month. Someone just needs to take my license and be done with it.

October was a busy month for us. Between picking a costume for Master J, fighting with “Tank of Ta Bearica” about ridiculous things and carving pumpkins, the time just flew by. It seemed to go quicker since we had to throw out our pumpkins early due to the overwhelming fuzzy green mold that grew rampantly throughout them. Also, Satan ate a quarter of Master J’s pumpkin while we were cleaning up the mess from the carving. Amazingly she did not get sick. But she did have pumpkin breath for a few days, which was kind of unpleasant. Speaking of Satan, she started obedience classes this month. They did not work.

November was a pleasant month all around. The weather was beautiful, Satan continued flunking out of puppy obedience and I started writing a novel that I so far have not finished. Probably because I keep getting distracted with other things like long, drawn out Christmas letters that will never get mailed. We had a fantastic Thanksgiving dinner that got passed back and forth between houses until finally landing on my doorstep two days prior due to illness in Papa. Thankfully Mamoo had already purchased the turkey and most of the other things so really all I had to do was to prepare a few items. I was supposed to make a pumpkin pie but I guess if you wait until the day before to go find the ingredients, and there’s some sort of shortage of pumpkins due to an unusually wet summer and mold (hmmmmm) you might not be able to make the pie. And then, you might have to buy one at the store for too much money but really, does it matter? Because there was pie on the Thanksgiving table, so shut up already and be thankful.

Which brings us to December. My favorite month. I love driving around listening to the “all Christmas music” station. While looking out at blue skies and gently waving palm trees. I like wearing open toed high heels and short- sleeved shirts while humming “White Christmas” to myself. Yes I do. I love me a Sunshineville Christmas season. Screw the snow. I don’t have to shovel the sunshine my friend, I just sit back and enjoy it. Also, the angels must have been smiling on Satan because she actually managed to pass her puppy obedience class. I was floored that she managed it. I think it had more to do with the fact that they didn’t make us do the whole meet and greet thing with other dogs in order to pass.

So that’s it, that’s our year wrapped up. No awards won. No fabulous vacations to far away lands. Nobody in this house got married or had any babies. No big promotions or huge bonuses. Just a typical year of chaos and mayhem in Mirthville.

Merry Christmas with Love from
Mirth, Mister C & Master J

I'm not sure why he always looks like he just woke up...

Monday, December 14, 2009

This is not my puppy!

But I did have a hand in her acquisition. This gorgeous pup who apparently loves her food (check her nose), will belong to my parents on January 3rd. She's a standard poodle puppy that so far remains nameless. My sister and I helped Mamoo and Papa decide on this particular pup from the litter of eleven. There will be further updates on this one, I guarantee it! How can you resist that face?

Friday, December 11, 2009

It's a Thingy!

So, after much searching, I found a tree topper like the one of my own sweet youth. It's called the "Bradford Carillon Spire Tree Topper with Angel Hair" and was from the 1950s - 60s. The photo below is of the tree topper I remember that is being offered on etsy by Carmen & Ginger, a blog for the vintage lover in all of us.

You can still get them on ebay and other auction sites, but they all seem to have other colors along with the silver. I only remember it being solid silver but my memory could be faulty. Also, most of them are missing one or all of the bells that hung on the topper. The other thing is that some of them are the "electrified" version, they plug in. Ours definitely did not plug in.

I asked Mister C if I could buy one and he said fine but the problem was finding one exactly as I remember. It's really unfortunate that the original is gone as it was (in retrospect) probably the thing I most remember about the Christmases of my childhood.

So that's it for my trip down memory lane. If I find an exact replica I will probably buy it just because. I guess I'd like to pass on the tradition. Which tradition is that you ask? The one of "Oh look! It's the tree topper thingy! What the heck is this thing supposed to be anyway? Oh, you don't know either? Okay. Hey Dad, can you put the thingy on top? Oooohhhh!" Master J would totally get into it, I just know it.

Santa's Little Helpers

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The most wonderful time of the year

When I was a little girl, I loved the Christmas season. Setting up the tree, hanging our stockings, Christmas music, relatives coming over and lots and lots of food.

Having to sort out the branches of our plastic tree ("Is that red paint or orange on that tip?") was a big portion of the setting up of the tree. Mom would always string the lights and us kids could barely contain ourselves until she was done so we could hang the ornaments. We each had our own special ornaments, given to us every year by Mom. When we were finally done with the ornaments, we'd wrap the whole thing in silver garland. As a final touch, Dad would put the silver, uh, thingy on top. We didn't have a star or an angel. It was a, well I don't know what the hell it was. It was silver though, and it had a big round part that was open on two sides. That round thing was full of some sort of asbestos insulation I think. And then we would shove one of the lights up inside it and the asbestos would glow creating a magical feeling of awe. Either that or we were overcome by toxic fumes. Anyway, it was magical.

Things have been modified slightly in my own house. We get a real tree every year so that Master J can have the fun of helping to pick it out. I string the lights myself while Master J waits impatiently nearby asking when he can start hanging the ornaments. We gave up using garland early in our marriage due to the horror of having cats running throught the house with shiny silver ribbons trailing from their backsides. But most importantly, I don't have a silver, roundy, stuffed full of asbestos thingy to put on top of my tree. I think I have an angel, but I haven't found it yet this year. I really miss the thingy. Wonder whatever happened to it?

Monday, December 7, 2009

Honoring those that were there

*for those who don't recognize the image in the photo, it's the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor in Honolulu. It's a bit of an abstract photo, but at the time I was trying to avoid the hordes of tourists that were there.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Looks like he found the timer on his camera

Friday, December 4, 2009

I think that rounds out the list

Mister C and I have started hiking again on one of the local "mountains". According to Mister C, this particular mountain is only about four hundred feet high so this is more about distance than height. But in the past, we've hiked some of the other mountains around the valley. Some of them are known far and wide and people actually travel here specifically to hike one particular one. I have not made it to the top of that one. I will say that I have made it to the top of all of the other ones I have attempted. Slowly, but I've made it. But this isn't a post about my accomplishments. No, this is a post about humility.

I'll just come right out and admit that I'm not in the best shape of anyone I've ever met. I'm carrying a few (thirty) extra pounds and I absolutely abhor cardiovascular workouts. I avoid them whenever possible. I'd pretty much rather do anything than to go on a hike. I do it because it's something Mister C and I can do together several times a week. Also, it's something that once I'm done, I can feel good that I did. But I suck at it.

In my hiking career over the past eight years that we've lived around this area, I have managed to be passed by almost every person or group out there. I fully expect to be passed by the 18-50 set and the exercise maniacs (hi Dad!). But everyone? Think I'm joking? Not so much. In order of occurrence...

The first time I was passed on a mountain was by a group of cub scouts. What's the maximum age for a cub scout anyway? Eight? Maybe nine? Regardless, a group of kids effectively politely asked me to move my slow self aside so they could skip up the mountain. I believe I was about halfway up the mountain at that time. They passed me again on their way down. Impudent little whippersnappers. I thought they were supposed to help old ladies across streets and stuff. Apparently not when she's blocking the trail.

The second time I was passed was on the same mountain. The same day. But this was no group of half-pint holy terrors. No, this was even worse. The dreaded senior citizens hiking club. Oh yes, my friend, I said senior citizens. Don't let their wrinkled skin and soft demeanor fool you. They look harmless, but the golden agers have no sympathy for a plump and winded woman of less than middle age that's laying on a rock, gasping for air. They take great pleasure in walking past my inert form saying such seemingly kind things as "You'll be fine dear, just catch your breath and don't give up!" Screw you old lady, I know you're gleefully telling stories to all your luncheon biddies about how you breezed right past me. I would have tried to find you later to try and explain my situation, but I doubt I could identify you since I was seeing spots at the time we met.

Which leads me to the next group of people. The morbidly obese. I have nothing but good things to say about this group as a whole. The fact that they're out there, trying to do better is awesome. The fact that they stop to make sure I'm okay while I'm (once again) gasping for air on the side of the trail is a testament to the fact that they've "been there". They understand where I'm at. The fact that they aren't even breathing hard gives me hope for my future. The fact that they were hiking uphill while I was going down is just pathetic.

Now, one would think that covers pretty much every group out there that has passed me on a mountain. One would be sadly mistaken. Because yesterday I got passed once again. At least this time I was upright and moving forward, albeit slowly. I didn't think too much of it when I heard dogs panting behind me, I just stepped aside so they could pass. The owner was a younger woman walking three dogs. The first dog was a young beagle, a very energetic beagle. The second dog was about a ten year old lab mix. The third dog was some sort of terrier mix. No problem right? It's pretty normal to be passed by someone younger than me with dogs. I thought so too. Until I noticed that the terrier was missing a back leg. No lie. I have now officially hit bottom. I've been passed by everyone, including a three legged dog. Nice. I swear if I see someone coming up behind me in a wheelchair I'm going to roll a boulder across the trail.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


I think that about covers how the whole experience went.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

My cat's logic, or lack thereof

I thought that cats were supposed to have a method for figuring out whether or not they will be able to fit their lard asses into a space. No? Because the Hooligan evidently is missing the equipment for this task. I found him trying to jam himself into a space that there's no way he should even consider trying to get into. Lucky for me, I also have my camera ready at these inopportune (for him) times.

Realizing he won't fit, and trying to back out gracefully...

Trying to shake off the embarrassment

Checking again, could he fit this time?

Thankfully he didn't attempt another jam session. Because honestly, I would have totally continued taking pictures rather than save him from his own idiocy.