Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Tortillas on The Computer and Why Do I Blog?

I'm trying to sit down at my computer, at the kitchen table, to write my post and there's an open bag of tortillas sitting on top of it. Perfect example of why my house is a mess. The Transporter and SoccerBoy, who just spent the night, just finished making burritos for breakfast. There “was no counter space” because OYT was also making breakfast. That's his reason for putting them there. Um, what about the whole rest of the kitchen table? There was yesterday's mail he could have put it on top of. Or how about the newspaper The Engineer didn't finish reading and left scattered about. Or best of all, on top of the packaging for the car part that arrived FOR THE TRANSPORTER yesterday, and still is sitting ON THE KITCHEN TABLE. No, tortillas on the computer.

I can't win this clutter battle with no help. And I can't even complain about it on my blog until I get reluctant, sullen teenager out of his room to put them away. You'd think I'd asked him to paint the house so enormous was his complaining. Then he tried, “Why couldn't you just put them away? It's just a bag of freakin' tortillas?” My point exactly, but why couldn't YOU put them away. His argument proves my point. He's now sulking in his room because, “All you do is yell at me!” and I'm fuming at the computer because of all the clutter – and what I described is just a small portion, but a perfect example of what happens everywhere.

But that's not what I was going to talk about today...that was accidentally the “vent” portion of my tagline: wanna be writer seeks place to vent, practice, and share. I was going to talk about why I blog, because I read some great blogging rules over at Alex J. Cavanaugh's yesterday. It got me thinking about all the different sorts of blogs I've come across on the Post A-Z Road Trip this summer, and the different types of bloggers, and what motivates us all to go on this crazy ride and join this supportive community.

I blog to practice writing. That's why I'll put up a stupid, gory story when I have “writer's block” (which is a whole 'nother post – does it really exist) because my blog is what holds me accountable to myself (and my readers!) to KEEP WRITING even when it's not flowing, even when I have no good ideas, even when it's late in the day and probably not as many will read it. It's the JUST DO IT thing. Just write. Just throw it up there. Don't let life circumstances, how you're feeling, or what else you have to do stop you. JUST WRITE.

That's why I started my blog. What I didn't know was that I was joining a symbiotic, living, breathing, shifting, evolving community. I didn't know I'd make friends. I didn't know I'd find blogs that I HAVE to read, even if it means that when I get there, I read a whole week's worth of work in one shot. (You know who you are...smiles.) I didn't know about bloghops to meet new people, and I didn't know about challenging myself. I've learned so much.

On my facebook page, my occupation is listed as blogger. It's not that I'm getting paid, but THIS IS WHAT I DO. When I don't do it, I feel like I'm missing out on something good. That good being your post that will teach me something new, show me a great picture, share your artistic talent, make me think, make me argue, and make me smile. The other good would be the interaction through comments and emails that fly all around the world, just because I'm practicing my craft.

Why do you blog?

Monday, July 29, 2013

Slice and Dice

Embarrassing story time again. These come around when I'm sitting staring at my computer and it's way past noon and I've got nothing posted. I have plenty of embarrassing stories to choose from for my writer's block days. We all have our go-to thing...

Warning: Not for the squeamish. Contains blood and guts and cringing.

I worked at Wendy's the summer after I student taught. (There are other Wendy's stories in my archives if you feel like searching...yes, also of the embarrassing category.) I started as “back-room closer” which meant I came in after the dinner rush and started doing dishes. After we closed, I was the lucky girl to empty and clean the frosty machine, the deep fat fryer, the giant vat we made the chili in, and the french fry fryers, the grills, and let's not forget all those individual tubs from the salad bar, which was all the rage in, yes I'll say it, 1987. It was mindless, gross, boring work, but the people were fun and we joked around a lot and tried to make the best of it.

After about a month, they started to let me run the registers and make burgers, fill orders and do less menial stuff. They hired a new back-room closer whom I got to train. One of the tasks I failed to mention was the cutting and chopping and prepping of the burger toppings should they run low at the end of the day. Onions and tomatoes, mostly. We had neat gadgets for this. Sharp gadgets. Dangerous in the wrong hands gadgets.

I was showing the new girl how to slice tomatoes with the mandolin.

(google free images, this one is basic, ours was bigger and fancier and had more blades)

She was doing OK, but at one point asked for help. I started to push down on the tomato, but it was a bit stuck, so I pushed harder. I should not have.

Her fingers were in the way. Then only her partial fingers were in the way. I'd sliced a few pieces off of them, just like a tomato. There was a lot of blood. We picked up the pieces, sorry about that pun but I just couldn't resist, put them in a baggie, and I got to drive her to the hospital. She was a bit green, I was quite freaked out, and I will admit it took me a while to find the correct entrance, even though I'd been there plenty of times before. (Most of my embarrassing stories do involve some sort of injury, but usually of myself. I don't make it a habit to slice and dice others.)

She was going to be just fine. The pieces were so small they weren't worth stitching back on, her fingers would just grow back. I drove her and her quite impressive bandage home, and returned to the scene of the crime. After all, they were now down one closer, and I had experience. Just enough to be dangerous.


Have you ever accidentally injured someone else? Yourself? Wanna share something embarrassing? It would make me feel less stupid...


Saturday, July 27, 2013

Tree of Life: Branching Out - A Collaborative Writing Adventure

Hey Friends,
Just wanted to let you know today is my big day at Writerly Sam's as part of the Tree of Life: Branching Out collaborative writers' challenge! 26 of us were invited to write an excerpt of a continuing story, each part inspired by a track on audiomachine's amazing album “Tree of Life”. 

Here's where I am today:

Here's some general information about the project.

I'm really excited to be included in this amazing endeavor which is generating a lot of buzz. There are also prizes to be won, so if (please?) you go read my part, be sure to check out the links to enter. Your support for this project is much appreciated.


Friday, July 26, 2013

Summer Homework?

Do you think teachers should assign summer homework? I'm talking about a list of tasks which, for OYT, going into 8th grade, are the following:

- 2 book reports
- a short story
- a 20 page math packet
- 2 current event reports
-a science packet of undetermined length since we can't find it
-posting opinions on various topics to several school sponsored forums

I do understand the teachers' perspective – I WAS a teacher. Keep the kids brains alive during the summer. Review skills. Keep them in shape. However, the way this is being done is not fair to all the students.

OYT's school is the only one in the district which does this, but not all students get assigned this list – only those on the Silver Team. This means half the students in one school, in an entire district, are the only ones doing these tasks.

Now let's think about the population trying to complete these tasks. Not all of them have mothers who used to be teachers who nag until it gets done. Some are motherless. Some have mothers who work, some have mothers who have no idea that there IS summer homework.

So the students show up to school, some with it done, some not. More time is given to complete the tasks, so the summer homework really could have been saved until school started since this is what a LOT of the students are doing, some on purpose, some by default, some because of the reasons we discussed above. Meanwhile, these onerous tasks have been hanging over the head of kids who just want to be kids.

They want to ride their bikes to the pool and chlorine burn themselves, come home so tired they almost fall asleep eating dinner, and then do it all over again the same day. They want to run around the yard and bash each other with foam and rubber weapons. They want to go crawdad fishing, drive their RC cars, play their video games when it's too hot outside, and JUST BE CAREFREE KIDS. Old-fashioned, seemingly endless, glorious summer vacation. What are we gonna do today, Ferb?

But no. They have work to do, and are reminded that more responsibilities soon await. High school is almost here, then college, then LIFE. Let them be kids for the summer. Their brains will catch up. 

What do you think?  Do your kids have summer homework?  Did you have it as a kid?  What should be done?  Talk to me.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Random Ramblings

Random is sometimes good for the soul. It's been a hard month health wise, so as I sit here today, with the day ticking away, no post up, and nothing coming to mind, I thought I'd just go totally random. This is more fragmented than Friday Fragments. These aren't even fully formed ideas, this is just what's flitting around in my brain right now.

  • the kids better save me some strawberries. Every time I go out there with my glass of wine to pick the strawberry I've had my eye's gone. “Oh, sorry mom. You can have the next one.” I'm now six next ones down the road...

  • I'm so flippin' glad Danushka is off Next Food Network Star. Anyone with a voice that whiny and who sounds like she's about to burst into tears at any moment is NOT a star of any sort.

  • I can't believe I've watched Duck Dynasty. More than once. More than fact it's four episodes so far. I can't help but laugh my butt off. People (including my children, who were the ones to finally make me watch it) kept trying to explain the merits of it, but I'm a cooking show girl and just didn't think that watching some long-bearded rednecks go about their business would be interesting. I was wrong. I can't remember the last time I laughed so hard for so long. Pet photography. Lizards loose in the warehouse. UNCLE SI. Sigh. I'm embarrassed, but you know me, you get to hear it all.

  • Back to the cooking show addiction: Mystery Diners. Give me some hidden cameras and some idiot employees and I'm there. I cannot believe these people argue WITH VIDEO EVIDENCE staring them in the face that they DIDN'T DO IT! And then they allow this to be played on national television. I feel my intelligence dropping as I watch them, but I can't stop myself.

  • By popular demand, they're doing another printing run of the book my first published story is in! (It's over there in the sidebar – Until They Have Faces.) It's a fund-raising coffee table book to bring dignity and awareness about the many different reasons people end up homeless, and this second edition has some “where are they now” story updates on some of the subjects. I'm so excited that we're able to raise so much money! If you click the picture, you get to a post which explains more.

  • And with this we will close. (Remember that, Dad?) I'm SO looking forward to autumn. I'm ready for some relief from this relentless heat, I want to crunch in some leaves, I want to watch the sun slant in the waning afternoon light, and I want to drive with my windows rolled down and not be blasted with furnace hot air...stay cool my friends.

How is your summer going? Have any random thoughts to share?

Monday, July 22, 2013

Announcing the Anti-Blogfest Gary Fest

Announcing the "Anti-Blogfest Gary Fest" on August 12, a blog hop in honor of Mr. Anti-blog Hop himself, Gary at Klahanie  

Hosted by

The rules are *very* simple.

Create the titles of three PG-13 rated blogfests you would never join - and then add a descriptive sentence or two. That's it!

For example, I would never sign up for the:

Cheesecake & Cauliflower Bloghop - "where dinner and dessert is mixed in one dish."

OR the

Blocked Up Toilet Blogfest - "where crap happens"

Or even the

Alphapet Zoo-mbie Bloghop - "where cuddly undead toys learn how to spell."

Gary is such a good sport about our "challenge which brings further awareness to the alphabet", even taking the time to satirize it, while being a wonderful anti-spokesman to advertise for us.  Let's show him some love and have this fest in his honor.  He does so much for so many others in love and support and friendship.  Let's bring him some laughter as a thank-you!


Sign up below!

Friday, July 19, 2013

The Engineer Grows Food: Aquaponics

I've mentioned over and over again that The Engineer is into projects, so I thought I'd show you the latest.

Aquaponics is the combination of cultivating fish for food and using the fish water as fertilizer for the plants you grow, instead of the rather expensive liquid fertilizer you use for hydroponics, which is the same as aquaponics, but no fish involved. You can spend a lot of time on YouTube watching the lovable nerds explain it to death. My nerd sure has – but it's helped him design a really great system.  

The fish are tilapia and live in a pond in the basement that The Engineer made of a wooden frame and fish pond liner. Our breeding colony has seven members, and are just about old enough to breed. (They are our second colony – the first produced over 200 fish before slowing down “production” at which point they became The Swede's birthday stew. Yummy!) We did take a break and stop heating the water to halt breeding so we could catch up with storage space for the offspring.

Think of it like the nursery rooms at church. You have the infant nursery with the tiny little nemos who will be eaten by their parents (yeah, I know, but they're not the only animals which eat their young...) if not separated. Then you need a toddler room, because soon those toddlers of the previous generation start fighting with the new nemos. Repeat the breeding, and soon those toddlers need the 4s and 5s room. We didn't have one. So it was good to have no new babies while we caught up and found cheap 55 gallon tanks on craigslist and now we have happy babies of all ages, growing quickly.

So how does the fish water in our basement cellar get outside to the growing veggies? Swimming pool pump and some complicated tubes and siphons and engineering stuff like that. Here, let me show you. I can explain better with pictures...

This is the majority of the garden.  We have the vertical hanging towers, and then the five gallon buckets growing the larger plants, mostly tomatoes.  Water comes to the bucket through the black hose you see on the ground, which has those tiny black tubes attached - the fish water sypons into the bucket, keeping the growth material wet.  Water leaves the bucket through the white pipes, and as you can see in the bigger picture, those white tubes lead down to a trough where the water runs back down into the fish tanks again.  This is what controls it all.

That and an arduino which The Transporter programmed.  The pump runs 3 minutes on, 6 minutes off.  (The pump is in the basement.)

The trough, showing how the towers are attached (so that wind doesn't make them drip water in the wrong place) and then it disappearing through the window well (through pipes) back to the beginning.

OK, I can tell most of you're just yawning from all the nerdy explanation, but maybe some of my nerdy (aka wonderful) friends wanted to know all that. How about some pretty pictures of our wonderful crop? 

 Strawberries, bell peppers, and bib lettuce!  Those are all growing from the towers.  

This English cucumber's vine starts in one of the buckets.

Do you have a garden?  What do you grow?  Are you married to a mad scientist with fish in your basement anda weird garden in your front yard?

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Super Hero Friends: Jeremy: Being Retro

You know how much I love getting awards! You also know it's been kinda a tough time around here lately, so getting this Super Blogger Award

from Jo of Jo on Food, My Travels, and a Scent of Chocolate really cheered me up. She said some really upliftings things about me which were part of that whole cheering up thing. She's just a sweetheart. Thank you Jo for honoring me with this award.

It's a unique one – you only pass it on to ONE person.  The rules are simple: tell why your friend is super, then reveal one secret about yourself.  I'm blessed with many super friends, but this choice was easy.

I pass this award on to Jeremy of Being Retro. He's probably familiar to most of you for several reasons, and these are also the reasons he's getting this Super Blogger Award.  

Jeremy is truly a superhero - look at all he does!

  • he's a co-owner of this blog (see sidebar) because he's my technical guy, he designed this all from scratch, and he's always willing to help, like when I said I needed a button to display at Quirky Pickings because she's highlighting me this month (yeah!) and within hours he gave me this: 

  • he's been a co-host of the A-Z Challenge with me for the last two years and does all the art, buttons, badges, bling, etc. there, too, and designed that site from scratch also

  • in fact, his digital art is published, and if you visit his site today, you can read all about it.  He'll be here in August on his blog tour.

  • he's a super supportive friend. When you work long, hard hours on a project with someone (I'm referring to the April A-Z Challenge) you can't help but get to know your fellow workers. We became buds. He's like a brother to me and his hysterical emails always cheer me up.

So here's to Jeremy, my Super pal, brother, friend, comrade in the fight. May the flying monkeys leave you alone, or grab that umbrella and watch out for the flying...stuff...

P.S He loves Superman, so this is perfect for that reason, too. Now go visit him and say hi, and oh yeah, he designs t-shirts, too. Buy one. They are super-soft and very unique. Tell him I sent you and if you know him, remind him how wonderful he is.

P.P.S Oh yeah, a secret about me.  Wow, are there any left?  Hmmm, OK.  (Sorry Mom...) One night I told my folks I was spending the night at a friend's house, and she told her mom she was spending the night at my house and we did neither and stayed out all night with her big brother, cruising the streets of Denver.  It was a really fun time, but the guilt about crushed me.  Sigh.  I was 18.

Monday, July 15, 2013

I Want A Do-Over!

Ever just want a do-over? Go back and erase something bone-headed you did? I used to think I'd like to go back and not break my wrist into a million pieces resulting in six surgeries, eleven years of chronic pain, and a wrist that is now fused. But I don't think that's a good idea. (And I probably have seen too many time-travel movies...) Maybe who I am would radically change – maybe going through all that adversity has profoundly shaped my personality for good instead of for bad. (I've always thought of it as a bad event.) Maybe I'll pick a simpler do-over.

I think I'd like to move into my house again. Almost 13 years ago we came from a 760 square foot house into this 1700 square foot ranch with a (weirdly) finished basement almost the same size. We unpacked. Well, mostly. I still have my antique Swedish chest that I've never unpacked, which every time I think of it, I wonder what's in there that I haven't missed in 13 years. I suspect nick-nacks. Not that these thoughts ever lead to actual unpacking.

I don't know how it happened (though I have some suspicions) but our house is overflowing with clutter and the basement, well, let's call it semi-inhabitable. Where you can walk. I'd like to move in again and THROW AWAY A LOT OF CRAP and then make a NO CRAP ALLOWED rule. A place for everything and everything in its place.

I'd also like each member of the family to put their own stuff away, instead of piling it up in places it doesn't belong. Any flat surface that I manage to clear off, instantly sucks in clutter again. I've seriously found that if I DON'T clean off a spot, it can't gather MORE clutter because it would be too precariously perched, so it stays in a relatively stable state of stasis.

Here's a typical example. Boy orders game from Amazon. Boy unpacks game. Boy leaves packaging, receipt, knife, and cellophane on kitchen table. Husband does minor fix-it job. Leaves electrical tape, scissors, and two screw drivers on kitchen table. I'm trying to set table for dinner. First I have to put away all that crap, then I can proceed. (But at least I found a pair of scissors! Those seem to just vanish into thin air...) Ask them to put it away you say? The fix-it stuff would end up on what's supposed to be my telephone table: pad of paper, basket of pens and pencils, and my coupon basket. What's there now? An assortment of tools, glues, and car parts.

Yeah, I said car parts. We have, as many of you know, several (OK, five) old cars. They require maintenance. Car parts come in the mail. Repeat scenario from game coming in mail in above paragraph. Put car part on little table in kitchen. “It's not worth putting it in the garage, I'm about to install it!” Yeah, like, um, next week. Meanwhile, it gets to live in my kitchen?? I don't get it.

I'm fighting an uphill battle. We're all pack-rats. There's one person who feebly, at times, tries to un-pack-rat, but it's such a hopeless endeavor that she usually gives up and goes to procrastiknit. Wouldn't you? Or would you ask for a do-over?


Friday, July 12, 2013

Friday Fragments

I'm joining a new Friday group called Friday Fragments, which are bits and pieces that are too short for their own post, but too good to never see the light of day. Link up at Unknown Mami (who is hosting for the summer instead of Half-Past Kissin' Time.)  I found this group through DoreenMcGettigan, an A-Zer.

Frag One:
I DON'T HAVE CANCER. I think that's worth shouting. All my biopsies came back negative. Two and a half weeks is a long time to contemplate one's fate. I have some other stuff to deal with that I won't bore you with, but they are going to be dealt with using some new meds that I hope will do the trick. I want to be back to life and leave these debilitating symptoms behind. But it's Friday, the weekend is ahead and I DON'T HAVE CANCER.

Frag Two:
My boys have been wonderful to me. I think they've been mighty worried, but they've gladly picked up the slack on chores and brought me stuff while I lay in bed, fighting the battle against my rebellious digestive system.

Frag Three:
The Transporter is becoming quite the mechanic. His first car, a vintage 1991 Volvo 240, standard transmission, red, needs a lot of love. What do you expect for a car whose new tires alone are worth what we paid for it? He fixed it. It wouldn't start when we bought it (yes, I know that's crazy, but if you have The Engineer, who has worked on Volvos for 20 years, and The Swede, who worked FOR Volvo and ON Volvos his entire adult life, then there's some knowledge floating around and so far there hasn't been anything they haven't been able to fix on our “fleet”) Red now starts, and The Transporter grinned at the compliment about "becoming quite the mechanic" from his Morfar (that would be The Swede – mother's father). 

He won't own this car until he earns those last three contracted A's, but having it sitting in the driveway, ready to go, is what I think will be the final motivation to get him moving academically. 

Meanwhile, we celebrate that we don't live in a covenanted community. I know just what they'd say about our four old Volvos, our ginormous van, and our camper, all parked on our property...

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Summer is Heartless...

S summer's heat
u unrelenting, unending, unwanted
m mercilessly leaving me
m mired in the muck of depression
e essentially stalled in my tracks

r reality skewed by the frying heat

Monday, July 8, 2013

Roller Derby Therapy

Roller Derby is damn good therapy. I've been a whiny, soggy mess since my procedures, doing a really spectacular job of feeling sorry for myself and wallowing in self-pity. Then a friend DRAGGED me to a roller derby match and I'm feeling remarkably better. Roller derby is like no other show on Earth...

My friend from Sunday School has been a big support to me, checking in via text several times a week. It's always nice to know someone is thinking of you. So I get this text on Friday afternoon:

Would you consider doing something kinda crazy with me tomorrow night?”

At first I think hell no, I want to lie in my bed, watch cooking and knit. But I answer,

Depends on how close the porta-potties are...I used to be a let's go crazy girl...”

Roller derby, indoors, at the county fairgrounds.”

We make plans. I follow through. We have some good-natured text banter before she picks me up about which Harley she's driving and if it's too hot for my leathers, at which point she confesses MINIVAN. I counter with PRISON VAN, but we end up settling for minivan and the fact that I have a tattoo.

The spectators at roller derby are some of the best people watching you will find. ANY form of clothing (or lack thereof) is acceptable. The Derby girls, our team being the Boulder County Bombers, wear fishnet stockings (in all shades...even rainbow), tiny, tiny shorts, tank tops with their derby name, and lots of safety gear.

Derby names must be unique to each player and there is a worldwide registry so that you don't take someone else's clever idea. They range from puns to raunchy. Here are a few of the tamer examples:
34D Threat
A1 Saucy
Georgia O'Grief
Miso Bad
Pink Flamengo

You get the idea. What you might not know is that there IS strategy to the game. There are jammers (who score the points) and the other four players play both offense (trying to clear a path for their jammer to lap the other and hence score) and defense (trying to block the opposing jammer from doing the same). Bouts are played in short “jams”, about two minutes long, and there are two halves, about 30 minutes each. The clock stops a lot for infractions.

It's a blast to watch – fast-moving, and it takes 14 referees (not kidding, I took a picture) (I took all the pictures: photo credit: me) to keep it all legal. They have “time out” just like ice-hockey. Of course there's pushing and shoving, but there are rules about which body parts can be used for this. 

(that would be the referees being sworn in before the match)

(that's the opposing team, we were behind their bench)

All in all, a completely enjoyable experience. I highly recommend it if you have the means and opportunity.  After all, as you can see, it's open to girls of ALL sizes.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Backyard Fence Ball

I've written three posts for today. All whiny drivel. I decided to go back to my photo album for inspiration for something to write about that wasn't depressing, medical, or would cause you all to call the men in little white coats to come get me.

It's time you learned Backyard Fence Ball. This is the game you and your siblings invent when you all want to play baseball, only there are only 3, not 18 of you.


Each person is his or her own team. When you're up to bat, you hit the ball, run to first. Get there safely? Go hit again.  Get to first safely again? You are now figuratively on second. Hit again? Get to second? You're home! Simple arithmetic. You get around the bases on singles, doubles, and triples, and each play is added to the one before. Still three outs.

The other two players are BOTH trying to get you out. One pitches, the other fields, as does the pitcher once the ball is away. To get someone out, you just have to hit THE BASE, or hit the person.  First base was the fence you see in the back ground. We were fairly reasonable about what was close enough to first base, although this is the point we argued the most. We should have just drawn a circle in chalk and called it done. We did like to fight though...Second base was the big tree. Anywhere on the trunk was fine. Third was a lawn chair. Again, anywhere was fine. Home was a home plate. Well, a circle drawn in the dirt. 

We played this game for hours. When we lost our wiffle ball (um, yeah, I never said it was a real baseball) (but a wiffle ball does sting if thrown by DataBoy) we'd play a kickball version of it. Yes, I did get over my kickball trauma. Eventually. DataBoy usually won because he had three skills that us girls didn't possess many of: hitting the ball, throwing the ball accurately, and catching the ball. Sigh. It was fun though.

It's a simple game. You throw the ball, you hit the ball, you catch the ball. Sometimes you win. Sometimes you lose.  Sometimes it rains.”

~Tina, challenging you to quote the movie

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

SCUBA, Anyone?

I've been snorkeling, even though it's on the edge of what my claustrophobia can tolerate. All I have to do is lift my head and I'm back to oxygen through my nose and nothing pressing down on me.

I've always said that I could never go SCUBA diving, though, because I'd be too freaked out by the weight of the water over me, and the regulator, the sounds of my own breathing, and the need to ascend slowly if I should panic and want to be above water. SCUBA diving has been pretty easy for me to avoid, though. It's outrageously expensive and usually most readily available in tropical areas, and my budget has kept me away.

I go SCUBA diving every night now. I got my CPAP machine. I wear a mask. Head gear keeps it in place. I have to keep my mouth shut or the force of the air pressure gags me. I have to take deep breaths or I get all out breath and can't get enough air. The mask moves around a bit if I do, and then the condensation from the added humidity drips on my face adding to the underwater sensation.

I dream water dreams. Boats, ships, dingys. They all sink. Swimming. Water skiing, only I can't get up so they drag me under water instead. I float in a womb (a very large womb) of some alien creature and try to use sign-language to communicate with the people I see waving to me, only they never respond. I wake up. Still imprisoned by my gear.

(looks innocent enough, right?)

All those water dreams make me need to use the bathroom. Off comes all the gear and the whole process starts again. I can't go back to sleep for a while, so I lay there, breathing too fast, feeling like I'm drowning, and there's no escape. It's hard to get comfortable with all those pressure points poking your head. I wake up with red marks striping my face. (If I loosen the contraption, it leaks and makes an awful rattling noise it took me 45 minutes to fix the other night.)

(here's me being ultra-brave and putting this on the internet for you - almost as scary as drowning every night - but I trust you not to put it on your facebook page of alien creatures your children are frightened by)

They promise me wonderful health benefits: lower blood pressure, an increase in the hormone which allows weight loss, more energy from a “good” night's sleep, higher oxygen levels (mine dropped to below 72% during the sleep study), and general better well being. Not sure my psyche can handle it, because so far it's claustrophobia, stress, nightmares, and sore spots on my face.

I know Jo (see my sidebar - Jo on Food, My Travels and a Scent of Chocolate) has a CPAP and has been blogging about it.  She seems to be doing well.  Anyone else?  Any advice?  Tough it out?  Give up?  Take sleeping pills or tranquilizers?  Or just double my wine intake?  All advice welcome.  Not all will be followed...

Monday, July 1, 2013

Showered with Love

Yesterday I had the privilege of co-hosting GorgeousGirl's baby shower. For those of you not wanting to head up to the tab to translate all the nicknames: she's my cousin who moved to CO and lived with us for a while before she married The Marine. Their little one is due at the end of August. The party was a huge success.

(The Marine and his sister)

(One of my co-hostesses and her mother-in-law)

Swissie, The Master of Cakes, made this adorable one. Where she gets the patience, I don't know.

On the menu we had rolled up stuffed puff pastry in the shape of snails, baby weiners (puppy dog tails) and frogs in all sizes (gummy style). The guest of honor made this gorgeous bowl of jello with floating edibles, but you know me and my jello phobias, so I did not have any. Of course, for the health conscious Mama to be, we had loads of fruits and veggies.

We drank wine out of baby bottles.

(My niece was NOT drinking wine...)

We decorated onesies with puffy paint.

We tried to guess what was in the baby food jars.

The Engineer's favorite game (not that he attended the event, mind you, even though it was a co-ed shower) was the poopy diaper game. You might have heard of this one. Take a diaper and put a candy bar in it. Melt in microwave. It looks remarkably like real poo. Next, guess which candy the baby ate. Much hilarity ensued as one was allowed to taste if one dared...And some did! First prize was a bottle of wine, and not these little ones that my Swissie and I made as favors. That's great motivation...

Aunt Risky gave this gift. The Marine rides motorcycles, and GG skies. He's going to be one well out-fitted dude!

This quilt was made by GG's grandma, started over 60 years ago, and finally finished last year, on GG's due date. Think “the baby maker” from The Proposal – I think this will be a lucky quilt :-)  

It's fun making people smile, and making memories, and being part of family traditions.  I'm glad I could be a part of this one.

Ever played the poo game?  If you're a parent, what was your favorite shower gift?  Would you sip wine from a baby bottle? 

P.S And for those of you wondering, NO! I didn't have to go to the ER for a fourth Saturday in a row.  Phew.  Thanks to all my friends and relatives for staying out of trouble...