November 9, 2016

Election 2016

I had another post for today but first I’m sitting here with the Election doing what it’s doing and I’m wondering how we live in a country that would rather put a Hateful Incompetent Blustering Serial Liar in the highest office of the land over literally anyone else you could think of? A person who has made a campaign promising to deport citizens based on their religion, who considers many citizens of this country including women, disabled people, people of color, LGBTA, veterans, and immigrants as less than dirt to be trod on? When he incites violence against those who disagreed with him, invoked the Second Amendment in reference to his opponent – how are we to expect anything different from him if he’s then installed in the Oval? How precisely is he meant to lead and represent this country when his view of the nation is one that would be better off if most of us were gone?

Some of us have kids to whom we’ll have to explain how a bully and a predator was elected to the highest office in the land. How a man can brag about sexual assault and have multiple accusers of sexual assault and still be elected President. Some of us have daughters to whom we’ll have to explain how no matter how experienced you are, no matter how much blood, sweat or tears you’ve invested in the process and your career, a blustering man with literally no credentials or perceived competence can still win over you. Honestly, none of this was new, it’s just that much more obvious now.

I already knew I’d have to explain this to JuggerBaby someday but I had held to this frail hope that it could be in the past tense when ze was old enough to understand.

Add to the list of explanations: why are they telling us to “go home”? Because that’s nothing new either, but it’ll happen more frequently after the election, just as it was becoming more obvious during the campaign.

I was thinking earlier today, is this how it felt in Germany after the elections? A sense of foreboding, and impending doom, and wondering how many of your friends you can shelter from the coming storm? How long you can hold out?

The blistering racism, festering sexism, and ever-present xenophobia that’s pocked this country had me prepared for a close race, but I had held out hope, based on all the good, decent, and kind people I know here, that it wouldn’t come out in favor of hatred and bullying. This didn’t even come down to warring conservative versus liberal values and agendas. For me, this was about basic human decency and he didn’t even meet the minimum bar for that.

It’s not been called yet but I’m worried for the many who are even more vulnerable than I.

I don’t feel it yet, but I can say that I hope that when we wake up, it won’t be as bad as all that. That it isn’t the beginning of the long slide. I hope.

Nov 9 update: The person I couldn’t believe was the Republican nominee is the President-Elect now. It’s an outcome I knew was to be feared and the repercussions will range far and wide. It’s too early to try and hope again, today’s a day for resting, regrouping, and then we’ll pick up again. We’ll stand up to protect ourselves, defend those who need help, and be the best possible people we can be. That’s our job. And in two years, we need to do what we can to change the fact that all three branches of government are held by one party. The checks and balances can’t work when there’s no aisle to reach across.

July 27, 2016

Minimalist Cat, here to save the day!

Minimalist Cat is here to help you with all that unwanted stuffJoking with Kate and Little Green Revolution on Twitter about being ingrates who give unwanted, personalized, gifts that you can’t regift, a genius brainstorm hit me. I can hire JuggerBaby out! Ze can finally earn zir keep!

Ze is a natural (two-legged) cat with the added benefit of not shedding (much). Ze has been auditioning for the role of Minimalist Cat for MONTHS. If there’s anything breakable within reach, ze makes eye contact, reaches out with a chubby paw and pushes it off the shelf. Grins for the smash. Extra giggles if you react. Extra extra cackles if you react with anger.

Foolish human.

Minimalist Cat thrives on bringing chaos.

Disclaimers: Minimalist Cat does not recycle. Minimal Cat does not dust or pick up unless you offer really good bribes and use Mom voice. Minimalist Cat is a fan of brooms but mostly for licking and wild gesticulations. Not so much for sweeping.

Got clutter? Minimalist Cat will help you!

  • Is it breakable? Minimalist Cat will break it.
  • Is it fabric? Minimalist Cat will pick and chew it.
  • Is it paper? Minimalist Cat will shred and cheek it.
  • Is it shoes? Minimal Cat will steal them.
  • Is it a gift you really really didn’t want? Minimalist Cat will rend and tear it.
  • Are you daunted by how much there is? Does it feel like too big a job because your shelves overflowing? Minimalist Cat will empty them and strew things EVERYWHERE. The better for you to sort it.
  • Are you not unsure what’s in that one closet you don’t open the door to? Minimalist Cat fears not! Ze has your back. Services offered: pull everything out of the closet, unpack all bags and boxes so you can’t pretend you didn’t know it was there, and lick half of it. It’s marked now, throw it out.
  • Is that your mouse? YOU DON’T NEED IT.
  • Is that a landline? Ze can smash it.
  • Is that a cell phone? Ze will use it.
  • Is that your baby? No, silly, that’s Minimalist Cat’s baby now.

“‘Uh-oh’ is for accidents, Minimalist Cat,” says PiC. HAH.

No, but seriously

Clutter is a problem around here. Unwanted gifts, poorly selected clothing, snowdrifts of junk mail all make their way in and it’s a Herculean labor to shovel it all back out again. It’s an endless task but it’s gotta be done or we’ll drown in Bed Bath and Beyond coupons.

I’ve tackled the closet one 20-minute session at a time, forcing myself to make ruthless and realistic decisions. The one-year rule doesn’t work for me because I can go a whole year without touching half my closet but then need that half the following year.

Now, I’m paring down with the aim of having a week’s worth of clothing suitable for each season, casual and business. If I do it right, I’ll end up with a much slimmer and more classic wardrobe.

As for kitchen supplies, nothing new is allowed in there unless we get rid of three things for every one item. I refuse to end up with a Hoarders-level kitchen!

:: What decluttering challenges do you face? Do you discourage gifts from family or friends? Would you like to hire JuggerBaby? 

April 1, 2016

TGIF: A toast!

TGIF: A toast to the weekend, shall we? Since the eye injury, Seamus is no longer my friend. Not because I poked him in the eye! I didn’t!

But I am the evil one who administers the pain meds that taste like bitter old shoes (we ran out of pill pockets again, way to go Supplies Manager Me) and puts goop in his eye three times a day, faithfully. Our relationship may never recover, and he’s been taking his revenge via recalcitrance and really foul farts.

Dog gods help us all if this goes on longer than a week.


Ye baneful cough lingers and lingers but I can (and did) skip for uncontainable joy yesterday when I realized I could breathe through my nose again. Sinuses! It’s been months! I love you, never forsake me again.


Vehicle numero dos has not yet made an appearance in our lives but we reached a tricky stage in a possible offer. If it’s meant to be, it will be, Zen me says.

(Anxiety me wants to bop Zen me over the head and offer her up as a sacrifice to the Used Car gods. Anxiety me is shameless and kind of a jerk.)

We fervently hope it’s meant to be, shuttling two critters around for their appointments in opposite directions in one car eats up all kinds of time.


Movement on the refinance! It’s been stalled for who knows why for months now, and we’re finally getting communication again! Wheeeee!


Happy weekend, y’all! Fun for everyone!


February 29, 2016

Everything seems worse when you’re sick

Last week’s ode to the Internet was timely.

This weekend was a trial, made slightly less grueling by having some access to the outside world. Last week I dragged along, trying to muster some good energy pockets each day but utterly failed. The best I could manage was being patient with an increasingly grouchy LB when ze was home and becoming one with the sofa when ze wasn’t. By Saturday, it was no use denying it: another round of illness had come a-knocking and we were fool enough to open the door. PiC was on nearly solo parenting duties, I simply couldn’t stay awake. He kept sending me to bed, and intellectually it’s nothing to feel guilty about, but it’s hard to shake the feeling of not pulling your own weight.

And it’s hard to shake the feeling of uselessness when random body parts stop working. Like the left knee doesn’t bear weight so “walking” is really “wobbling”, or three fingers are so swollen you can’t bend them. Or standing up makes your head spin, dip and swim.

Thankfully, I got a little work and household management done online, amid the brain fog, so that restless need to accomplish something more than having bizarre dreams and sustaining life was fulfilled.

Tetchy Toddler

Granted, it has everything to do with being sick but LB was prone to grouchy outbursts not unlike an angry, thwarted hunting velociraptor. Keep feeding the wee beastie, y’all, a sick raptor-baby is naught to mess with.

And can you blame hir? It’s miserable coughing all night. Poor thing wakes up in the middle of the night burning up, crying, because ze doesn’t understand what on earth is going on. I feel like a heel walking away from the piercing “maaa maa maaaaa!” when we’ve done everything I can for hir and ze doesn’t want to be cuddled to sleep. Rough times.

I don’t know how single parents manage, half the time ze was sobbing because ze wanted PiC. Seamus and I were on standby to fetch and carry, slather vapo-rub and administer Motrin, but ze wanted hir dad and only hir dad for comfort.

Moody Muttley

Seamus is off-kilter too. He’s been refusing his antihistamines and vitamins for weeks. He grudgingly takes them under protest.

It’s hard to tell if something is wrong or if he’s just in an extended funk.

Could be he’s worn out being moral support from our weeks of being sick. He always gets up to join us when LB is sick and being tended to.

Dad and delinquent accounts

Dad’s been missing utility payments.

I know because I am still remotely monitoring the accounts, not because he has learned his lesson about telling me the truth.

$100 here, $80 there. $400 for the electricity, another $200 for the water and trash. They pile up month after month as he pays what he can, saying nothing to me about the rest. Add that to the more than $1000 we pay per month for his rent and and it piles up. As does the aggravation.

I’m deep breathing through it lest the frustration eat me alive. Our budget continues to bear the monetary cost, I refuse to let the cost of his silence be my sanity. But it’s a little harder each day that feels like everything is subtly wrong.

One-horse home

We’re still a single car household and the inconvenience far outweighs the savings. On days when LB and PiC are out together, Seamus and I are limited to going only so far as I can hike, and if we have to run errands, well, we can’t. Unfortunately, he’s too popular with random strangers which makes it unsafe to leave him outside while I run in to run errands. He and I only run errands where he’s allowed inside. In case you think I’m being paranoid, someone just tried to steal our neighbor’s equally cute and friendly pup when they’d run into a cafe to pick up an order. 30 seconds is all it takes for someone to walk off with our dogs. What is wrong with people??

Shaking it off

I’m getting some work filed away to make Monday less painful, and by extension, the rest of the week as well. Maybe, just maybe, we can shake this funk before Tuesday.

How was your weekend? How does your week ahead look? 

January 29, 2016

Decision and everything fatigue

It’s been a long week and that’s the truth. Before that, it’s been a long six weeks of cold and flu season.

After downing gallons of cough syrup, a sackful of cough and cold medication, even springing for a humidifier (though why was I dragging my feet on that for weeks?) so that I could stay upright and take care of EVERYTHING, I could really use a vacation. As long as the request line is open, let’s also say work is banned on this vacation, involves a lot of pampering with all the food I can imagine, and an extra person to help entertain LB so sleep can happen. Oh and at least shed the damn virus, please! Oh, and the best vacation ever would mean no packing anything.


There’s a great book with a great title that a long-ago therapist with lupus recommended to me: Sick and Tired of Feeling Sick and Tired: Living with Invisible Chronic Illness. It was recommended at a time when I was struggling with the experience of pain and fatigue, the limited and unnuanced language of pain and fatigue, the reality of pain and fatigue that is forever, and the frustrations of communicating my boundaries to family and friends who Just Don’t Get It.

Well, one of those times, anyway.

Abby does a great job of elucidating some of these frustrations, on the fatigue front. And Tim’s experience with pain is an exceedingly familiar one as well.


Right now a horde of things To Do is taking up ever-more limited brain space so I’m dropping them off here so as to clear my crowded mind.

  • We need the replacement car, Seamus is outta luck for a ride until we find it.
  • PiC needs to make a decision about possible travel plans in February.
  • I need to find Seamus a sitter for when we’re visiting dog-unfriendly areas overnight. I’m as picky about dogsitters as I am about babysitters, oh boy. We love our one sitter but her availability is limited this spring. This kind of makes me want to quit traveling anywhere Seamus can’t come. Putting together any travel plans involves so many moving parts now.
  • Speaking of travel, we need to book a rental car for two trips this year. Bah.
  • LB needs to transition to drinking from regular cups and we have exactly no infant-toddler friendly cups or plates or anything. Shopping. Ugh.
  • Subscribe and Save failed us a couple months ago and we’re about 3 days away from running out of pill pockets but they’re add-on items. Curses! *It occurs to me that he takes his fish oil gelcaps right in his food. Maybe I’ll try that for a dose or two of the antihistamine to stretch the pill pockets.
  • Seamus needs an alternate antihistamine, the poor guy is breaking out in hives.
  • Also we’re running out of tissues and what is with my mental block about overpaying per unit for paper products??
  • My hair requires some sort of maintenance but at the best of times there isn’t brainpower to worry about that. I’m generally carted to the hair stylist under protest. Does anyone know how to use duck or alligator clips? I’ve broken 89% of my plastic claw clips and I need one of those biannual lessons in grooming. I’d love to lop it all off a la Mako Mori but that’s way too high maintenance. Trims every six weeks? Nooo thank you.
  • We have to make a decision about LB’s childcare situation sometime this year. Current choices: spend a lot more and stay where ze is or spend the same for more time someplace I’m not yet comfortable with.
  • I know the deadline is January 30th for tax documents but I’m slowly going ’round the bend waiting for them to trickle in. So far we have 4 of an expected 35 documents. FOUR.

Whew. It’s a mix of big and little things, only a few are really important. It’s just that being stuck in decision mode and not being able to cross anything off the list makes everything seem worse than it is.

How are you destressing for the weekend? Have a vent in the comments if you’d like to join me in shedding things preying on your mind before the weekend and otherwise, have a great weekend!

December 28, 2015

Weird stuff about life and money

I feel prolonged guilt over the most nonsensical things. I was participating in a volunteer project years ago when the depression set in. I felt so bad about not completing my part of it, even though it was totally voluntary and it didn’t significantly affect anything that I stopped, that just a month ago I had one of those dreams where the person I “let down” (during only one of the worst times of my life) asked me about why I stopped.

Meanwhile, it’s been nearly 15 years since I’ve spoken to my maternal grandparents and some aunts & uncles. Not an ounce of regret. Didn’t invite them to my wedding and ignored them at Mom’s funeral because they’d been utter dipwads from forever before, and then harassed me every single day after she died because they wanted to pay for her funeral so they could pretend they loved her.

I read blog comments from years ago and get verklempt that I don’t know what happened to them (M is for Money, 444 express, The Quest – if you’re still reading, I can’t find your new URL?)

How can I be of service to you? When I’m in a really bad mood, or crappy stuff has been going on, my only refuge is sending a nice card or gift to someone else having a hard time.

Babies are weird!  So weird that sometimes I refer to them as “just like a human!”

A majority of minorities. I know nearly as many lefties as righties and more people who hail from US territories than I know people from any state but CA. Offline that is. Online, where would you say you’re from? Originally or now. And: lefty, righty, or ambi?

When stressed, clean the house or balance the books. Going over spending and savings spreadsheets calms me down better than anything else.

I’m more likely to give money to charities, say, for refugees, than give birthday gifts to people I know but are well off. My $20 to a charity is likely to matter more than any $20 gift I could give someone who makes perfectly good money.

October 12, 2015

My life and Legos

LB and I have been playing with Legos lately. (Truth? PiC and I have been playing with Legos a lot while LB gnaws on them, contemplatively.)

I connect a few, ze takes them for a taste test, pulls them apart, ponders the meaning of color.

While ze debates the delectability of yellow squares versus blue rectangles, I find myself aimlessly connecting more Legos. Invariably, I connect several larger rectangles using a variety of smaller pieces to make a platform and then build walls up.

I’ve never watched other people play with Legos but dollars to donuts they don’t always build a flat foundation first and a standard four walls before unleashing creativity. There’s simply no other way, though, not if I’m letting my subconscious lead the way. Nature or nurture questions aside, this is how I’m built to build. A firm foundation and then slowly build walls and a roof for protection.

Now that we’ve reached a particular level of stability, where I’m not viscerally worried that a missed paycheck or three would set us scrambling, my subconscious is now casting about for the next thing that comes after the walls.

What’s next?

What steps do I take to start building the next, perhaps final, stage of our life? Where do I go from here?

This could be the start of the renaissance of my life. I spent 15 years climbing out of and barricading ourselves against poverty. When I take a good look around, I realize that we can afford to take some risks now. Typically the time to take risks was a decade ago, in my 20s, but I couldn’t. Now, with a brand new child and aging parents on both sides, it would seem that now isn’t the time to take risks either. But! We have good savings, a variety of investments, and for now, we’re in relatively decent health. (Well. PiC is. We have good health insurance anyway.)

I don’t want to forever take and make the safe paved roads. I want that luxury of knowing when my next payday is, sure, but that desire is cohabiting with the need to grow and challenge myself.

I, no, WE can afford risk now. Some risks. I can’t afford to ignore the spark that pushes me to try. Dendrites die when you don’t use them. Motivation gutters when ignored too long, like a fire deprived of oxygen. I’ve long considered myself an intrinsically powered person, driven by circumstances. This period is, perhaps for the first time in my life, an opportunity to try for something purely because I want to and because I want it. Whatever it is. This is a real luxury that many of us enjoy in America / in a first world nation, should we be lucky enough to be born with a few resources and have both the awareness and ability to choose to partake of it.

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