27 March 2014

Things I Bought

I've been buying stuff lately, because I like to buy stuff.

Here is some of the stuff.

I bought a new tent. For full disclosure please note that I got a work-related discount on this tent. I paid about $160 for it. It's a VERY nice tent though. I think it's probably worth $225, if you have $225 in your tent budget, if you have a tent budget. I'm taking Gabriel camping in June, and I'm starting to gather things. Like this tent. Which I bought.

I've also bought assorted emergency supplies, to make my Emergency Car Kit a little more robust. It previously contained items to address all of my day-to-day mini-emergencies (deodorant, tampons, t-shirt, etc). I've added ACTUAL emergency supplies, such as waterproof matches, knife, water treatment tablets, first aid. I googled various emergency kits and bought things on Amazon.

I have been buying things for my impending niece visit. I bought her a baby doll, and some board books, and a pair of pajamas, and a pair of boots. The baby doll was most difficult to find, because I have lots of trouble finding baby dolls that tread the right line between too cartoonish and too much like a real baby laying dead in the corner. I settled on this one, which seems to strike the right balance, for the proper price ($18 at the time of this posting, but, Amazon, so I'm sure that fluctuates wildly).

Gabriel has been voraciously consuming books. He's obsessed with Magic Tree House right now. He got a couple for $1 each at his school book sale, has read 8 from his school library, traded his cousin for two more, I ordered a 4-pack from Amazon, and just agreed to order 4 more from a book order. I'm skeptical about owning versus library-ing these, as he runs through them in about a day and doesn't seem too hot to re-read, but he DEEPLY loves owning them. He's a natural collector of THINGS and loves having his things and organizing them. I don't anticipate getting him all of them, but I don't mind buying him a few. Do you have other book recommendations? He also loves poetry, if by poetry you mean Shel Silverstein, which I do, in this case. So. Children's poetry or chapter books. Otherwise he doesn't much care for picture books these days. I read aloud to him as well.
Oh! We just read The Trumpet of the Swan and it is MAGNIFICENT. I missed it as a child somehow but I just LOVE IT. Even if you don't have kids you should read it. Read it right now. OH IT'S SO GOOD I JUST LOVE IT.
My mom has been reading him the Harry Potter series. I read him through the original AA Milne books, and The Warriors, which...is a series about...feral warrior cats? And their tribes? I don't know. Gabriel really, deeply loves it, but I sort of can't stand it because they all have confusing, stupid names, and unnecessary THESE ARE CATS reminders, and it's not really that well written. At no point was I pleased to be reading it. But Gabriel is OBSESSED. Oh and he read Black Beauty. I came to the conclusion that Black Beauty is the book that most appropriately captures horse ESSENCE. Like actual horse PERSONALITY and feelings towards people. I have Just So Stories to read him, which I think he'll like, and Danny, Champion of the World. But I'm really looking for more books that he can read on his own.

I've been trying very hard not to buy myself any more clothing, with some degree of success. I'll allow that I'm probably just diverting the funds into books and tents, and still not saving quite what I should.

21 March 2014

Key observations, makeup zest, camp anxiety

As part of actually blogging again, I've been trolling my own archives.
Key observations:
1. Everything has changed.
2. Nothing has changed.
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I'm feeling new zest about makeup and skincare experimentation. I always feel at least some zest on these topics, but there's quite a range up there at the top between regular zest and lots of zest. I'm in high zest mode, just now.

This past fall I went on a drugstore mascara rampage. I basically bought all of the kinds that they make and sell, and tried them all, and posted a bunch of strange pictures of my eyes on Instagram by way of review. If you're wondering, and if you like the same TYPE of mascara as I do, the hands down very best DRUG STORE VARIETAL is the L'Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes Excess (red bottle). It's a bit wet, in case you find mascara wetness to be offputting. Also, I have expensive mascaras I perhaps like better (Benefit They're Real is probably my true favorite) but this L'Oreal one is MUCH cheaper and only a tiny sliver of a shade not as good. Recommend! If you are into mascaras. You might not be! I don't know your life!

One of my favorite 'drugstore hunt' products are the Revlon ColorBurst Balm Stain crayon things. They are OFTEN either out of stock or tampered with, so I have a policy of buying them as a I see them, even when the colors are not my usual. If you're wondering, Honey is the color that universally looks like magic on all lips, the matte colors are super fun (and matte), and the lacquer ones are sparkled, and fun. I enjoy collecting them.
I'm still trying to fill the following cosmetics holes in my heart: general skincare SYSTEM, 'full face' foundation and blush, summer shade of foundation that doesn't look too masky (I freckle pretty heavily in the summer).
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I'm taking Gabriel camping this summer for the first time...ever. I mean, he has been camping before, and I have been camping before, but we haven't together been camping.
For one thing, I haven't been camping since my very early 20s. For another, camping with kids just sounds like a complete pain in the ass.
Counterbalance, I have super fond memories of childhood camping, even if I was a complete pain in the ass.
So I'm taking him, but not until like, June, but despite that I'm already FRETTING because camping just involves so much GETTING READY to ultimately...sleep outside. Anyways. Camp anxiety!

18 March 2014

Thoughts on the news

I think people who don't vaccinate are irresponsible dickbags.
No, no. Please don't tell me why you don't. Unless it is a medically supported reason (immunocompromised child), I am not even slightly interested. I live in a community where lots of people want to tell me about why they don't vaccinate their special snowflakes.  I've already heard it all.
With most parenting choices, I am of the "Do you what you feel, bruh" camp, even if it's something that I don't personally agree with.
With vaccination, I feel like you are directly ruining my society.
Get out.
If you choose not to vaccinate your child, and then your child infects another child who cannot be vaccinated due to age or health, well you just gave that kid whooping cough (or whatever).
And those kids who cannot be vaccinated?
They don't tend to be the ones with the vim and vigor to withstand potentially fatal childhood diseases.
In sum, consider the following: You don't vaccinate. Your unvaccinated kid gets measles (or whatever). My infant child is not yet able to be vaccinated and gets those measles. DIES.
Hello, you are personally responsible for the death of my child.
I would like you to be penalized accordingly. The penalties for killing children ought to be quite severe.
The problem with this parenting decision is that it affects MANY other people, and negatively.
Don't just get off my lawn.
You're ruining my herd immunity.
Get out of my village.
Right now.
--
WHERE IS THIS AIRPLANE??
I am obsessed and riveted and obsessively riveted by this story.
It is so upsetting.
WHERE DID IT GO?
--
Ukraine is....also upsetting.
Are we just gonna....Russia is going to redraw European borders for the first time since WWII?
Don't we think that....we're just gonna....really?
Oh because trade partners?
Huh.
Okay then.
--
Still don't care about March Madness.
Brackets hold a certain amount of appeal though.

14 March 2014

Proposed new agreement for internetting

So when I read blogs, sometimes I notice things. Like not usually misspelling things, because I think the squiggly red line takes care of that for all of us, but grammar things, or the same word twice in a row things, or whatever. THINGS.
If I know the person well, I'm like, Yo. I know you know the difference between their and there but you stuck the wrong thing in up they're and I think you should fix it*.
If I am PRETTY SURE I know the TYPE of person, like from reading their blog for ages or for whatever, then I will usually message them with same, but there is lots of internal HEMMING AND HAWING beforehand like, do they want to know? Do they think I'm a persnickety bitch? Is there a way to convey this so it's like, totally clear that *I* am fine with this meaningless grammar error and I am REALLY only sharing this information because I genuinely think THEY might want to know?
And then we have the class of people whom I know really not at all, and I'm like...no. Not going to be that type of dick today. Won't share.

But here's the thing.

Even if you don't know me AT ALL, I really want you to TELL me when shit like that is fucked up! I want to KNOW! Tell me! So I can fix it! It's so easy to fix!

And I'm starting to suspect that most of us feel that way.

So can we all like, agree to some new standards insofar as internet writing is concerned? Because I swear to you I know the difference between write and right but sometimes my typing fingers are going faster than my thinking brain and I just miss it but I WANT TO KNOW. Don't you want to know?

*See what I did their? HAHAAAA I crack myself up.

12 March 2014

What not to post on Facebook, bossy women, vacations, savings, welfare

My mom's cousin's mail-order-bride got in a car accident yesterday, and while she was uninjured the other driver died at the scene of the crash.
I know this because she posted pictures of the accident on Facebook.
Can we all agree what not to post on Facebook?
Don't post dead strangers on Facebook.
It appears that the other driver was entirely at fault, and I'm sure the entire event was quite traumatizing for her, but that other guy is DEAD. He was alive and now he's dead, and I know it because of some pictures on Facebook with the caption "After Walmart Shopping!!"
There was also lots of thanking Jesus who loves her and who is kind and who is watching out special for her.
I have a special rage spot in my heart for people who think that God or Jesus or whatever is up in the sky picking them out special to save and other people to let die. God SAVED me. But not that other guy. Cuz God was looking down from his cloudy god-throne thinking, I'm gonna kill this guy and save this lady to send this lady a special message about how much I love her.
Nothing makes me angrier than this line of thinking.
Although there are many things that make me just as angry.
One of the things that makes me equally angry is the fact that I'm reading all over Facebook and Twitter and wherever on the internet about how we can't use the word bossy anymore when excuse me I think we have bigger fish to fry and also, some people are really, seriously bossy. I know a real-life person who is a woman and a human being and I don't know if she's bossy or not but she was purchased for marriage via the internet. She was involved in a car accident yesterday and the other driver died.
--
I'm visiting my niece in May. She's off in Arizona, which is where my brother and sister-in-law are living while they do their residencies, so I suppose that's reasonable. Although I wish she lived closer because one of my life missions is ensuring that my nieces adore me. I'm taking Gabriel.

I'm visiting friends in Philadelphia in August. I have more babies to meet. I'm taking Gabriel.

One thing I love about my new job is the part where I actually have work-life balance, and it's a balance that involves both enough time and enough money to do things with Gabriel, like take him on trips to visit babies, for instance.
--
I've decided I really need to stop spending my dollars on little things here and there like new shoes or kitchenware or whatever, because I would much rather spend larger amounts of money on more satisfying things like vacations or maybe someday a house. Big picture stuff.
Twice now (so I'd like to think it's a new habit), instead of hitting the checkout button, I've closed that tab on my browser and transferred that same amount of money to my savings account.
I feel very accomplished and brilliant doing this.
And I want to take a tropical vacation over Gabriel's spring break next year, so I have a specific thing I'm working towards as well.
--
When I started this blog I was on welfare.
Now I'm planning vacations and savings and actually trying to figure out when and how I will retire (some day in the very far off future).
Times, how they change.
Also not to brag except I really want to brag, I have worked SO DAMN HARD for all of this. I worked and I worked and I worked and I worked and I kicked and bit and clawed my way out of some really unpleasant life circumstances and then I fought a little harder and climbed a little higher and I couldn't have done one single part of it without a lot of help from a lot of people but I also did it, and at least part of that is me, and I'm proud of myself, and I don't get to say that very often.

10 March 2014

let's talk about butt feelings

iasshole posted about Tweetails, so naturally I plugged myself in to see what I tweet about.

I'm not surprised that I talk about Gabriel more than any other thing.

I *am* sort of surprised about the frequency of words boyfriend, pregnant, and wedding, as I have none of these things, and I don't THINK of myself as particularly preoccupied with any of them.

All the shopping and clothing and makeup words are to be expected because I'm me.

Also cats and butts and super feelings about social posts because fuck apparently internet christmas.

Actually, this is a fairly accurate imprint of my brain.
Cheese options and rage pictures and cousin weekends are all pretty spot on.
I should probably talk about facebook less, cats more.
--
This weekend Gabriel and I went to Tahoe with my sister and her family.
Oh, it was lovely!
We went because it was the cub scout snow trip, and we have cub scouts. We didn't encounter any other scouting families, but we also didn't particularly try. We stayed at Granlibakken, which is a family resorty place in Tahoe City. There was a sledding hill that the kids could go to by themselves, and which satisfied all the snow needs of the children.
If you haven't heard, California is suffering under epic drought conditions, which extend to our Sierra Snowpack, so this winter has not been an ideal one for snow activities. I wasn't planning any actual snowboarding/skiing this weekend, so that was all fine and good. The snow was predictably not incredible, but the kids are easily impressed, and the sledding hill at Granlibakken was A++ in their minds. Unlimited sledding! Sleds included!
There was also a very nice (very hot) hot tub, and a well heated pool, and a sauna to go with.
We got upgraded from a 2-bedroom suite to a 3-bedroom condo, so we had lots of room to spread out and lounge around.
I brought wine and snacks and my sister brought dinner-making things. The lodge had a hot breakfast included, which delighted the children, particularly when they realized that we were going to let them drink as much hot chocolate as they pleased. With whipped cream.
The kids were all reasonably well behaved, and I really like hanging out with my sister and brother-in-law, and I think we're all inspired to do more family vacations together.
--
When I was a kid my family went to Lake Tahoe every summer for vacation. Granlibakken is directly across the street from the condo complex where we used to stay, and oh the memories. Tahoe City in the summer is this impossibly sleepy town, and we knew every single thing about that place. The walk to town and the single grocery store and all the places to buy tchotchkes.
Some summers we took tennis lessons but none of us really liked tennis all that much so mostly we prowled around the outside of the courts hunting for spare balls.
Sometimes we found arrowheads on the lake.
My mom's cousin and my dad's sister both lived in Tahoe when we were kids. My dad's sister had kids who were sort of our age and my mom's cousin worked at Squaw Valley and had a speedboat.
Sometimes there were kids our age staying at the condo complex.
Once I got to go mini-golfing with the family staying next door.
Once there was still snow well into the summer, and my cousin took us skiing for the day.  It was late June.
My mom would make us jump off the pier into the lake at least once, and swim to shore in the snowmelty water.
Sometimes we would hike up to Eagle Lake where you could see Emerald Bay down below.  My siblings and I always scampered around barefoot like mountain goats (or country kids).
My dad is really good at all sports, he's just one of those people. He also doesn't believe in letting kids win games because you have to learn how to compete if you want to play. We would spend a lot of time begging him to play tennis with us (both table and actual) and then a lot of time afterward asking him to go easy.
One summer my mom's youngest brother came with us, and broke his nose on the bottom of the pool when he jumped off the diving board. The next summer there wasn't a diving board.
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My dad was always horrible in Tahoe. He would yell a lot, and freak out about us making a mess, and always sleep during the day on the couch, DEMANDING SILENCE.  One summer (it was a summer when Silly Putty was The Big Thing), he threw all of our Silly Putty up onto the roof of the condo. He would follow us around with messes he found and yell at us about them. He yelled at my mom a lot too. My mom spent a lot of time shushing us and walking us to town and taking us down to the pool. It wasn't all terrible 100% of the time or anything but we all knew that my father Traveled Poorly.
Later we learned that my dad spent the week we were in Tahoe every summer trying to quit narcotic pain killers, for good this time.
He told us that in some horrible group family therapy drug counseling meeting, when I was 14, after he checked himself into inpatient rehab at the hospital.
That made our Tahoe vacations make a lot more sense.