Wednesday, December 21, 2011

I Made Soup and I Still Like Barbie

I used to be able to get writing jobs fairly easily. I was hooked up with a big network of moms and I'd just pitch things to them. Later I was hooked up to a big blog network and I just sort of spread myself around pretty well, making a little more, a little more, a little more ... and then it was gone. I've applied for 3 jobs in the last few months and no one wants me anymore. They all say they are looking for a different tone, etc. I can write in a different voice or style, but when I really think about it, I know I want to be me when I write, not some face-less writer who really isn't telling you anything. So many places don't tell you anything anymore. Have you noticed that?  Just a bunch of words strung together in a pretty fashion with no new idea or no real content. Very odd, that is. I want to learn something new either about myself or the subject or the writer. I want to connect. Is that wrong? I thought that was the whole purpose behind blogging in the first place.

In other news, I made some Chicken Soup for my sick husband  last night and it very well might be the best Chicken Soup of my life. It's all downhill from here folks, I've hit the Chicken Soup Peak. ;)  I am going to write it out and get it up at an old food blog that I started forever ago and am pretty sure I'd like to give another go. I love to cook.

I'm going to use my camera every day. Every ding dong day. I used to be that way. I got this yesterday. Tree Moss. It's pretty stuff. Robin and I used to use it in our Barbie houses when we were kids. We were Barbie-girls. I've never understood Barbie-hate. I guess it's because I realized that she was pretend and I did not want to look like her. I missed the whole Barbie ruined my self-esteem boat.  I simply thought she was fun.

Here's the moss....
This came from the bottom of the Christmas tree my husband cut down for me. Sarah and I were watching a movie, he opens the door and shoves this 12 foot tree in the door. It's now about  4 or 5 feet shorter, still not decorated, but it sure is pretty. I missed trees like this when I lived in Chico. I'll post pictures of it tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Year To Get It Right

I have spent the past year trying to figure out who I am and where I belong. I know it sounds melodramatic (whooo am I???), but my life is very definitely divided into three parts - Before Max, During Max, and After Max. He needed me and that made me feel like there was a reason that I existed. I was here for Max. Not that the girls haven't needed me, but they have always had a certain amount of do-it-herself-ness. Max needed me to do for him, because he couldn't do for himself.

I love being home, living in Northern CA again,  I love being married to John, I enjoy certain aspects of my work life (love working outside, found that I enjoy and have a little talent *my boss's words* when it comes to merchandising), but I'm broke all the time. I haven't seen my brother or my sister and their families in over a year. My grandson doesn't know me, Bay is lost and I can't help her. I never see my two best friends or my mom. I feel cut off. (There goes the melodrama again).

I need to figure out a way to work ONE job and make ends meet. Making ends meet with just a little extra would be a dream come true. (Actually that is most likely the American Dream these days...) I need to get organized (my husband's biggest complaint, hey, organize yourself, kid!) and I need to reconnect with my family and friends. I'm going to stop feeling sorry for myself and figure out what I'm going to be. I need to make a list of my strengths and weaknesses, do some research about who actually makes money in my area, and get this thing done.

I give myself a year to get it right.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

New Blog

Hello. After writing this morning, I decided to add a new blog that I am calling Finding Daily Balance... If  you would like to check it out and work on finding balance with me, you can do so here...

Finding Daily Balance

I will still be writing here.


Out of Balance

I believe that my purpose in life is to find balance. Balance in work. Balance in family. Balance in leisure.  It sounds simple, but it's not. I'm always thinking, always brainstorming ways to find more balance. Sometimes I find it for a temporary amount of time and it's pure bliss. The trick is to find out how to stretch that bliss, lengthen it, draw it out... but maybe that is selfish of me?  Can I be hoping for too much bliss?  Am I too bliss-centric?  See how my brain works?  It's a crazy place at times - I think too much. 

         An example of leisure.... Rode in a biking event with my friend, Angela... Check out that chin of mine...

Here are the areas that I need to work on:

*More money - not for extravagant things, but for necessities
*More time for family
*More order within my home
And I'd like to enjoy what I'm doing when I make the money. I enjoy my work at the store, but it frequently takes me completely out of my family. I work late a lot. John works early. When I get home, he's already asleep. Sometimes he wakes up and he tells me how poorly things played out between he and Sarah that evening. She is 13 and really into testing her new stepdad. I feel guilty that the bulk of the parenting is falling to him lately.

John and I have different parenting styles. He focuses on chores. I focus on growth. He wants things done. I want them done smoothly. He thinks his way is right. I think my way is right. I don't know how he would have handled the years when my oldest daughter was so out-of-control.  There was no talking sense with her. It was maddening and I can remember thinking that I would be alone forever because no man could take that on. Okay, so John came along after that time.... now we've got a new teenager to figure out.... it's always something and it's all about.... growth. :) See, I am right! 

I am thinking about a career change. I look at the schedule every week and I see that very few people are getting enough hours to live on and for some reason, new people are continually hired. Hey, I'd take a few courtesy clerk spots - I have no problem with that work. I find retail hard to figure out. Many aspects appear counter-productive to me, but that's just the way they do them.  The work force is determined by the money made previously. So, if there is a period of slower sales, then fewer people are scheduled, but if there are not enough people scheduled, things go a bit chaotic and we can potentially lose customers.

An example would be the milk. A dairy clerk is scheduled, but he is constantly called up front, away from the milk, because there are more than 2 people in a line and the people up front start bugging out. When the milk clerk is gone, people continue to pull dairy goods off the shelf, which means the shelves empty. Where is all the yogurt?  I can't find my favorite creamer! Ack!!  Let the dairy clerk do their thing. Have an extra clerk up front - maybe they could be a combo courtesy clerk/checker - I've done that before and it worked well. I was available to get people out for their breaks, etc.

Okay, enough retail talk. I've been thinking a lot about sewing. I've got a machine. Just wish I could remember how to thread the bobbin.... more on this later.  I spent last night looking at places like this. If you know of a good sewing blog, please recommend it in the comments.

Hey, do you know anyone who could use a puppy?  Not this one, because we are keeping her, but one equally as cute...

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Father & Mother

Yesterday was Bay's birthday. She is now 19. It is the first time we have not spent her birthday together. I guess that's how it goes when your kids grow up and become mommies and you move away and get married to your best pal.

Bay wrote something on her Facebook wall about her stepdad remembering her birthday and her father forgetting. That man continues to be a disappointment to our children. I usually say he has good intentions and poor follow-through, but to be honest, as time goes by even I realize that may no longer be the case. What is wrong with him? Does he forget? How do you forget something like that?

I remember growing up with a single mom. My dad didn't forget my birthday, but I didn't get to spend very many of them with him. Mom used to say things like, "I try to be both a mother and a father to you." We all laughed when we heard George Carlin use the same line in his act, but a single parent really does have to play both roles. I'm not sure I was ever good at the dad-part, but once I got a Father's Day card from Sarah that said, "You are the top pop," and I'm saving that thing forever.

Monday, July 25, 2011

To Jump or Not To Jump

I had 3 days off from the store. I spent I spent one day working at the ranch, one day hanging around the house, and one day cutting firewood with John the Woodcutter (that's what he calls himself when he is talking to his wood clients).  After woodcutting, we met some friends for swimming over at Kelsey Creek, then we drove back to town, put on dry clothes and met those same friends for pizza and Konnection or Connection - not sure which, but it's like Wii and apparently I'm a pretty good faux bowler. Who knew?

We cut and delivered our wood in Happy Camp, which I may have mentioned before is one of my favorite places. Most of the shots I have of it are from the Winter; the trees look the same, only the temperature has changed... a lot. It was hot. Very. I used some of that spray sunscreen on us, the type that is waterproof, UVA/UVB proof, and sprayable from any angle. It worked, no sunburn, but it's weird on your hair. It could easily double as a super-sticky hairspray, if a Bad Hair Day is your aim.

When we met our friends for swimming, we were talked into jumping off a bridge into the creek. Okay, back in the day I would do anything for a dare. Anything. As we hiked up the bank to the bridge there was no doubt in my mind that I would jump. In fact, when John climbed over the rail and balked I said, "Honey, do you want me to go first?"  And I meant it. Then, he went over and I thought, hhmm that was a long fall. When I stepped over the railing, I didn't like the way I had to lean back toward the bridge - there was no ledge, something they probably did to discourage jumping. I stayed up for a few more minutes, talked to a few more jumpers (all male), then I walked back down to the beach. I'm no longer a kid, in fact I'm a grandma. I started a new job last week and I need to be in good shape. I no longer have to do something just because some yahoo (or my husband ;) ) tries to talk me into it. I felt pretty good.

Later, that night, John said something along the lines of he was disappointed that I did not jump, "Everyone should try it once in their lives."  I see. Okay, leaving behind a good job, my family, everything I'd built for 18 years, to move "back home" to be with him, then marry him a couple of months later obviously does not count as a "jump" or a risk for him. I'm not sure if I'm offended that he doesn't recognize the risk I took or pleased that he sees that all as a no-risk, sure it's going to work, proposition....

Saturday, July 23, 2011

We Got Puppies!

Sis had her puppies yesterday. Here's what I've got so far....
They are 1/4 Trigg, 1/4 Plott, and 1/2 UKC Registered Leopard Hound pups.

My husband is selling them here. Would you believe he's sold two already? 

Saturday, July 16, 2011


I'm not sure what else to title this one. I am tired and not feeling very creative, but it's been so long since I updated. I'm learning a new job at the store - I've been promoted to clerk - and while it's less physically taxing, there is a lot more to remember, so my brain is pooped. 

So far I love my new job. It deals more with the business of the store and a little less with the customer service part. I miss chatting with people while I bag their groceries, but I love the idea of having more responsibility. In the drug center, where I work, I will get to make orders, which might not seem like a big deal, but when I compare it with a few days ago, when people were still advising me on how to place groceries correctly in a bag (something that I was good at doing - nobody ever complained that I broke or squished anything) it's pretty big. In fact, tomorrow I am the sole drug center person for most if not all of the day. Woohoo! I hope I don't suck.


Saturday, June 11, 2011

My Husband the Woodcutter

My husband is away cutting wood in Happy Camp, California. His goal for this trip was 3 cords of Madrone for a client and then a cord and a half for his hunting partner. Have you ever dealt with green Madrone? It's very much like moving log-shaped boulders - heavy, dense, with a beautiful red color to it. We cut a load of it 2 weekends ago and over and over I thought, this Madrone sucks, it's too heavy, why do men love it so... and on and on, but I (mostly) kept a smile on my face, because I was outside, not working indoors and that's what I prefer, plus John is a good "boss." He never yells and we get pizza and beer when we are done.

My husband is all about the Madrone, but I prefer to deal with something a bit lighter like Fir or even better would be some of the Lodgepole that my in-laws have out at the back of their ranch. It's all stacked in a "deck," ready to be split with a borrowed splitter. This is the easiest possible wood practice - John cuts the lengths, I roll or carry them to the splitter where he sits on a log-stool and splits piece-by-piece as his dad runs the controls.  His dad is funny and whenever there's a break he makes jokes like, "The crack of dawn only lasts so long, but the crack of John lasts forever." My husband's pants are always falling down.

After the wood is split, we throw it into the back of a pickup. When there's enough in the pickup, John gets in and starts stacking it. He's very particular about the stacking and seems to distrust my stacking ability each time, until we get near the end and he says, "You are doing okay."  Doing okay is a compliment from John, as is "Pretty good for a town this size," when he finishes a meal. As I'm a person who is fairly confident in my abilities, I don't need a lot of compliments, but I do get prickly about having to prove myself over and over. I sometimes wonder if it is a test. Test this, you big dork... Okay, that was a joke...

John is a lot of fun to work with. He makes up jokes and songs and really enjoys the entire wood-getting process, even when it's the boulder-Madrone and he's splitting each piece by hand. He is very strong and I feel a certain sense of pride when I hear that crack! as the wood splits - my husband is like Superman, is what I think. I sure hope Superman comes home soon, because I've slept without him for 3 nights and just thinking about his lovely, freckled shoulders made me feel like crying this morning.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Constant Change

In the months since Max died, I've been going through a time of constant change. New jobs, new relationships, new homes, new friends, new hobbies - my life, as it exists today, is something I never could have predicted.

I'm lucky, because I have a lot of good choices available to me. I sift through the choices - some work out, others do not. I try to remain flexible and I've simplified things to a point where I can live with a lot less money coming in. Sometimes something seems like a good idea or I make a choice, because to pass it up seems stupid. For example, I left the market and went to work at the center because it meant twice as much money. I wanted to save my minivan. Unfortunately, I am unhappy working there and I still can't save my minivan. So, I'm giving it up. More changes to come....

John drove me to work 3 times before he decided I needed a new vehicle asap. Thanks to a loan from my in-laws, I am now the proud owner of a 1992 F-150 pickup truck. Perfect for my life as a....  Landscape. Ta-da! I love that work. AND I'm going back to the market part time, because I loved that job. Bagging groceries - who knew how fun it could be. Good exercise, too.

It is important to me that I am not just making money, but enjoying my work, because I've found that when I'm miserable, I'm not that much fun to live with. There's a good amount of truth to the saying, When Momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.  I'm the one who makes the home and it's important to me to make it a happy one. Family is my focus.

On that note, check out my handsome grandson, Gavin P, who came to stay with me last weekend. He's a charmer and a half.
Gavin and his big blue eyes.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Hometown Flashes

A friend pointed out that I haven't updated in a long time. I am only on the computer in bits and pieces anymore. I have to share with John and Sarah and neither is good at sharing.... but they are cute, so I keep them around.

Moving back home has been interesting in many ways. One of the aspects that interests me is seeing how people I grew up with or knew as a very young adult have grown up. My good friend, J, was here for a visit last weekend and we all went out to eat. I could see her scanning the room, looking for familiar faces. I do that, too. When I was working at the market a lot of people that I grew up with came through the lines. Sometimes I'd recognize them immediately, but many I'd think I know I've seen that face before, but....

Sadly, I'm a little vain, because when I see someone who looks older than I do, I think, YES! Can't believe I'm admitting to that on here...

This morning, I came around the corner and a guy that I hooked up with a time or two was sitting in a pickup, waiting to turn. I recognized him immediately. Weird flash from the past. I think I was about 19 or 20 when I knew him. He put my car stereo in for me and somehow it was really wrong.

My favorite flash is this one - I'm on the high school bus and a cute, freckled face boy gets on board, catches my eye and gives me a big smile. That handsome husband of mine - he's always had a beautiful smile and he's definitely my favorite flash from the past.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Pop Culture, I'm Kinda Over You

I've been working out in the backyard all week. John has the dogs down South, which means I can shovel .... errr stuff and straw without getting jumped on. I've also planted some seasonal color (fancy way of saying "pansies") and John's mom, Pat, gave me some plants out of her lovely garden, too. Mom used to do that, too. I'd love to put something of Mom's out there, as well.

Today, snow showers were in the forecast. I am happy to say that I've seen nothing of them so far. WooHoo! There is, however, a bit of a chilly wind blowing in the front yard. The back yard is warm... and smokey, because I've been burning straw(and stuff) out there all day.

I keep hearing or seeing the word "winning."  I know it's a reference to Charlie Sheen, because 1) people mention him in the "winning" comment, and 2) I saw a bit of his disturbing interview. Pop culture, it's something I've been interested in for years, but not so much anymore. It's not that I've lost interest, but my interest has changed focus. If it has nothing to do with my family or my work, then chances are I don't know anything about it. I don't get the paper regularly, I don't watch the news, I don't watch TV at all. Neither does my husband and I'm fairly certain any "winning" comments would produce barely a hmm in his mind. If it doesn't have anything to do with family, friends, gardening, hunting or hounds, he's not interested. If it does then he's all ears or eyes.

I love that about him. When we first started dating, the Kardashians came up for some reason. He honestly has no idea who they are. He's probably seen their pictures on magazines as he stands in line at the market, but other than thinking, hmm pretty girl, they do not in any way capture his attention. They have nothing to do with his life or anything that touches his life.

I talked to him this morning and he mentioned having to go in the water last night after a couple of the hounds when they were hunting raccoons down at his buddy's place. A man who will enter freezing-cold water to save a dog, that's the man I married. :)  Who needs the Kardashians? ;)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

I'm Feeling Very Blessed...

Hello. I haven't been updating regularly as you might have noticed. Here's what I've been up to...

I got married on the 11th of February. So far, so good.

I was talking to my mom about men and what a woman wants and what a woman actually finds when she looks for a man. Prior to re-meeting John, I had a list of what I wanted - my friend and I made the lists up at the same time. I ended up with a man who wasn't list-perfect, but he ended up being perfect for me. I had no idea that I'd love living in a house with a messy floor (okay, not loving the messy floor, but I love the house) or that I'd enjoy hunting so much or sharing my life with 6 dogs.

If I were to make a list that described my husband it would go like this;

*Warm and loving

*Great positive attitude

*Makes me laugh all the time

*Strong and capable

*Adorable freckles and beard (although he's currently beardless)

Now that is a good list. If your list starts out tall, dark, and handsome, then you just might end up with a man whose looks are his best feature. I'd rather have a man whose heart is his best feature, any day. And I think my man is tall and handsome, although he tends toward the ginger side, rather than the dark side.

I've been interviewing for a new job. I love working at the market, it's been a lot of fun and I've got into much better shape, but I need to make more money (as in enough to actually live on). I applied for something online months way back in November and they contacted me out of the blue about 3 weeks ago. It's a good fit for me, working with special needs people, which is something that I miss very much. I'm also qualified for this one, unlike the Insurance job, which I thought I was qualified for until I got into the training. Ouch. That training kicked my butt.... or to be more accurate it kicked my brain.

I've been hiking/jogging with a new friend and we are training for a 5K in April. I really like my new friend - she cracks me up. She and John are related by marriage, so she calls him cuz, which cracks us both up. Now that John and I are married, she's my "cuz," too.

I've started getting to know John's daughter Desiree. She reminds me of Bay and John combined. She is funny like John and when she "talks" (texts or emails) it "sounds" like Bay. She and the girls have talked a bit. I am glad that they are hitting it off. I hope we get to visit with her in person soon.

John's parents came down with us to get married. His mom made us a card with a combination of my photos and Dad-John's (John's dad, also named John) photos on it. It said, "I'll give you two dogs to marry me," which is a text message that John sent me a couple of days before we got married. Inside she mentioned how a good marriage is a combination of true love and best friends. I feel that is very much what we have and I'm so excited about the future. I feel very blessed and lucky.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day To You!

                           Happy Valentine's Day to you!

I got married last Friday, so my handsome boyfriend is now my handsome husband.  I took some photos on our wedding day, while under the influence of a couple of margaritas. This one is Leah's favorite...

And my mom likes this one, because she says he looks like he will protect my forever or something like that.

I wish you lots of love and happiness.

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Man Is Hound-Crazy.....

I've had a little trouble writing lately, plus my boyfriend is usually on the computer, so that limits my time to update. :)  The man is hound-crazy and he follows a few forums, plus screen-shopping for hound supplies....

I'm still trying to find a second job. John and I sold oranges off and on throughout the month. I enjoyed it a lot. It's similar in many ways to the work I do at Raley's. I talk to people and lug stuff around - pack the oranges into the truck, unpack them at the site, take them to people's cars, then load the unsold oranges back up. I don't ever want to go back to a sedentary job. I love the physical part - the moving around, using my muscles, trying to be quick. Anyway, my thought is that I could continue to sell the oranges on my own. I saw my schedule for next week - I definitely have the time.

Our puppy is getting so big. He's now as tall as the hound, Sis and pretty close to being Red-size. The other day, he was trying to hump Sis (he is a wild humper with no idea what he is doing) and she was not having it. She flipped him over her back - all long puppy-legs and ears in the air. It was so funny. Whenever I need to smile, I picture that flying pup.