Monday, June 30, 2008

My Best Shot Monday

Happy Last Day of June (already?!) everybody. It's Monday again, and here's one of my best shots recently.

We've been talking a bit about how Lil Girl is certainly no longer a baby anymore, but a full fledged 2 year old. Her speech has blossomed in the last few months, so that our conversations are rich and often entertaining. (Even the 'why cuz' ones.) She's moving from scribbling to trying to make representational shapes, just in the past two weeks or so. She and her brother now don't just grab toys and grunt at each other, they can have real and meaningful arguments (If "Mine! Mine!" & "No, it's not!" are to be considered meaningful). She's coming out of that period where she didn't want to even look at anybody she didn't know really well, and her personality has exploded.

So here's the first picture I took of Lil Girl that made me gasp when I saw it: I immediately realized, Oh my goodness: She's growing up. Sometime in the space between the previous picture and this one, I had a little girl in my sights, not a baby.

It's so exciting!

(As for the promised wedding pictures, I've got posts upon posts still to deliver, I know: Come back Wednesday for the getting ready pictures!)

Friday, June 27, 2008

I hate electrical equipment...

and it seems to feel similarly towards me.

I bought my laptop - this laptop right here - three years ago. February of '05. Immediately after purchasing it, it did this thing were, if you moved it too quickly, it shut down. I thought, for a while, that laptops did that. A few months later, SisterJ purchased her laptop and I noticed "wow, you can move it without treating it like it is plutonium and it still works!" So I asked my HP people what was wrong with the puter and they said "Send it to us, it sounds broken." I did, and it was. The motherboard was 'compromised' and had to be replaced. That sucked, since it was a new laptop and then I was without it for a few weeks - about a month, I think.

About 6 months later, one of my 3 USB ports (the quickest one) stopped working. Just wouldn't even show up on my manage devices list. It kinda sucked, but I dealt with it. A few weeks later, another one stopped working. (To figure this out I had to buy a new cord for my printer, as I had assumed it was the cord that was broken. It wasn't.) Less than 3 months later, the final remaining USB port refused to show up. Nice. Went to the HP people again, and they were all "You must have done something, I wonder why that would happen if you didn't uninstall them" (As if I were purposely removing the posibility of my computer being able to communicate with other devices. "Send it to us," they said, acting as if I needed to be reported to Social Services for laptop abuse. I packed it up and sent it off AGAIN and it as gone for a month and a half. When it came back, they grudgingly admitted that the computer had done it on its own, acting out with the sort of antisocial behavior you expect from 3 year olds.

This year, as we have discussed, I had to send the pretty computer away because the fan was overheating and then full on stopped working. Again: not my fault; Again, at least 3 weeks with no laptop.

The same time I bought my laptop, I bought a printer with it - an Epson. It was an color, copier, printer, and it was free with rebate. I love free. I love rebates. I thought I was veeery lucky. Sometime between the first time I had to send the computer back and the second time I had to send it back, the printer stopped working. Totally. The ink cartridge had somehow leaked into the inside of the machine, and was producing large black splotches on ... everything. The printer refused to print anything, and then got to the point where it wouldn't even turn on anymore. Nice. So I called up Epson, and they were all "really? How'd that happen? Oh wait, that's a known issue with this model. Send it back to us and we'll send you a new one. A better one! You're a lucky lucky girl!"

Yes, I totally felt lucky, as I'm sure you can imagine.

That printer lasted about 2 years, until, last fall, right when my family troubles were exploding, it decided to start eating the paper. It would start to load a page to print out on, and instead of going through, it would crumple it up and then flash red lights at me. "error! error! Error!" it would yell. As if I couldn't tell from the whole gobbling up the paper thing. The warranty had, of course, expired by this point, and this would've been my 3rd try with the Epsons anyway, plus I had been thinking about getting an all in one that you can fax with (because of my timesheets for the PCA program that have to be in every two weeks and sending Mum to Staples every other Monday seemed pretty low on the list of priorities when you're dealing with famiy emergencies).

So to make things easier on myself (and everybody else), I went ahead and bought a brand new printer/copier/scanner/fax. It's a Canon, and I have loved it for all of the 5 months that I have been using it. It printed out SisterJ's save the dates, her wedding invitations, the games we played at the shower. I've completed about 25 of SisterCh's scrapbook pages on the thing, in the past week. It and I have copied a gazillion magazine pages, crochet directions, and recipes.

And then, there came today. When I tried to copy Youngest Nephew's Report Card (he did awesome, watch out 3rd Grade!), the printer started making this scary noise, lights started flashing, paper stopped rolling in. The piece of paper ripped somewhere inside the machine. And there, it got lost. A little piece of paper is sitting in there, making everything else NOT WORK. So I called Canon, and yippee, you guessed it "Please sent it to us, we'll send you a new one to replace it. There's no way you can fix it yourself."

UGH. Just Ugh. I mean, seriously, why do electronic things hate me so much? I am a good owner. I don't misuse them or eat food and drop it into them. I use that spray duster thing regularly, and I've only dropped my poor laptop once, and then, it was because I was dropping as well. (We haven't talked about that: it was the week leading up to the wedding, the computer and I took a tumble ... a serious tumble. My back was WAAY messed up and I was really glad you couldn't see it under my dress. And the puter was ok except for some dead pixels in the lower right corner. Which bothered me a lot at first, but now I realize all it means is that I have to look somewhere else to see what time it is. I think I can deal.) I am not cruel to things with plugs, but they must have heard horror stories, because there is some sort of computer/printer conspiracy when it comes to me.

So, if you have anything that needs copying, you - and I - will have to wait 7-10 days. Sorry about that.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Toddler Tango

Lil Girl has entered one of the most exciting and one of the most frustrating stages of toddlerhood: the why stage.

"Time for breakfast!" "Why?"

"Would you like to paint today? "Why?"

"Look, there's a tree." "Why?"

"Auntie is going to lose her mind today." "Why?"

And there's really no answer that will satisfy her, because it's not so much about the answer - most times she doesn't even wait for you to get through the first little bit of the answer before she asks "Why?" again - it's all about the question.

Sometimes the questions are valid, but that doesn't mean they don't get old quick - "We're going shopping today." "Why?" "Cuz you need some new shoes." "Why?" "Cuz your old shoes are falling apart and Auntie hates your new Crocs." "Why?" "Because they don't fit your feet right." "Why?" "Oh my sweet lord... Look honey, we're going for a ride in Grammy's car... Yay!" "Yay!"

Because I was trained in Early Childhood Ed, I know all the theories and stages and whatnot behind the 'why's, and I have more than a few tricks of the trade up my sleeves, but mostly, as with most things involving the under 5 set, you just have to give them something else to focus on before you resort to the dreaded "Because I SAID SO, that's why!"

But just when you think you'll lose the very last little bit of your patience, they do something so adorably cute that you just melt instead.

Lil Girl has that down pat. The other day instead of asking why, she started asking "Why cuz?" That little angelic face looks up at you and asks "Why cuz, Auntie?" and you just have to smile. She's a quick thinker, that one. (We think she realizes that if she asks why the answer is usually "cuz" so she squished them together: how smart is that??)

So I'm off to spend the majority of my day thinking up answers to the endless why cuzes... wish me luck!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Mosaic Meme

A little meme that I saw over at Abigail's. I love to play on Flickr, so my only difficulty was staying on the first page long enough to put the whole thing together. I may have gotten distracted a few times. May have.

Here are the rules:

The concept:
1. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
2. Using only the first page of results, pick one image.
3. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into Big Huge Lab’s Mosaic Maker to create a mosaic of the picture answers.

The questions:
1. What is your first name? For the purposes of this blog, it's Never
2. What is your favorite food? right now? Right now I could use a pickle
3. What high school did you go to? Somerville High, baby
4. What is your favorite color? Purple... well lilac really, but I put purple.
5. Who is your celebrity crush? I am totally crushing on Stephen Colbert... drool
6. What is your favourite drink? In the summer, I love iced tea. The iced tea in the picture happens to be alcoholic, but I really like the picture so pretend it isn't.
7. What is your dream vacation? I said restful, because that's all I really want right now, just someplace where I feel content and rested for a little while.
8. What is your favourite dessert? My grandmother's lemon squares, which didn't look like any in the results (they're not like a cookie, they're like a ... pudding maybe?), but I LOVE the irony of the picture I chose.
9. What do you want to be when you grow up? A mom. Not thinking about that right now. Moving on.
10. What do you love most in life? Tender moments: those times in life when you're with the people you love most and you're really experiencing it, really feeling it. The ones that you look back on and think "this is why I put up with all their craziness, this is why I'm in the world."
11. What is one word that describes you? I always respond to the question "How are you?" with "I'm doing." It doesn't say much, but I've learned that most people don't really want to know much. So I picked 'doing.'
12. What is your flickr name? BBackPrple, which is a combination of my favorite color and something I used to say when I was little. Every time I'd be going somewhere I'd say "I be back!" It kinda stuck and is now a family saying.

1. Day 203/365: You Never Let Go, 2. Cornichons smell an awful lot like pickles, 3. Zenith Space Command, 4. PURPLE HAZE, 5. Stephen Colbert Christmas Ornament, 6. Long Island Ice Tea, 7. sweet dreams...zzz..., 8. lemon squares, 9. ~ A Kiss For Mommy ~, 10. A tender moment 2, 11. When Waves Collide, 12. Sign of a good book

Please, please feel free to play along: it's a great way to spend a little time, letting your mind wander.

Have a great Sunday & Happy Father's Day to all my dad-type readers (are there any? If so Hello!)

Saturday, June 14, 2008

A quiet house and a restless mind.

My parents have gone out with SisterJ & her husband for an early Father's Day dinner. The house is dark and quiet, still and peaceful. There's one small table light on in the dining room as darkness starts to settle in. It's the kind of night I would've been happy to have all to myself, even though I knew it wouldn't last.

A year ago, now would've been about the time that Nana would be making her way into my room, asking where everybody was. I would've put down my book and clicked the TV on to a Law & Order rerun or been searching through the menu for something vaguely acceptable for us to watch. She'd be full of conversation: having been ignored or abused upstairs all day, she'd chatter on ,relieved that there was someone who was finally listening, finally acknowledging her.

I would've turned the wheelchair when I heard the door close behind her, because if I left it sitting towards me, she'd sit with her neck turned sideways all night, apparently unable to remember that the chair has wheels and was therefore movable.

I would've rolled my eyes a million times by now, most likely over her inability to do the right thing in regards to the PUS, and ultimately, we would've changed the subject before either of us got too mad. We were the only company available for each other, after all. No sense pissing off the person you were going to be sitting next to all night.

So tonight, the quiet is bittersweet - I know she's not going to interrupt this blog post (because I think it's rude to type while people are trying to talk to you) or rant and rave about the latest atrocity those 'little bastards' had committed. I hear their heavy footfalls above me and think of how unfair it is that they are still here and she is not.

I think about how there are pictures of pictures of her at SisterJ's wedding, but no pictures of her, and how she would've laughed and cried and danced and clapped.

I think of how it's been nearly half a year without her, and how that seems both impossibly long and incredibly short at the same time.

I wonder about what the next six months will bring us, and close my eyes and hope that there'll be some peace - no matter how unlikely that seems.

And then I go back to the quiet and wish that I had treasured the interruptions more while I had them.

Monday, June 09, 2008

A get back on track Monday post....

Here's one of my favorites from the rehearsal dinner: Lil Girl and her bride bear, looking all angelic as we wait for the coordinator to finally let us practice. (SisterJ, the bride, was not looking all that angelic at this point, I have to say, and I didn't blame her: coordinator person, it would be nice if you were helpful instead of making things worse. A little tip from me to you.)

Hope to have a bunch of getting ready pics posted for you either tonight or tomorrow... I told you I'd try catching up!

Friday, June 06, 2008

Clean-slating it...

Oh internets, I know I am still waaaaaaaaaaay behind on all of the pictures I have promised you, all of the stories I must tell. To that I say: it'll come when it comes.

I've been trying really hard to catch up, I've been trying all year, since Nana and all of that drama, to just catch up to where I'm supposed to be. And you know what? It's not going to happen... all of the things I was supposed be doing at some predetermined and arbitrary schedule? Yeah, that's so not happening.

Yesterday was my birthday. I am 29 now. It feels very, very strange. There's a lot of things I wanted to have happen in my life, a lot of things I always assumed I'd have or be or be doing by now. And those things? They're not happening either.

It's a lot to deal with, but it's also a lot like taking a big deep breath and letting it out. There's a lot to be said for letting things go.

I have a lot of things I need to let go of, a lot of expectations that I need to reexamine and readjust. And I'm starting to get to the point where I think I have the psychic energy, the emotional strength, to actually do it. I'm not all the way there yet, but it feels like I'm getting there. Getting to the point of being able to say "I'm sorry all of the things you assumed would happen in your twenties just didn't happen for you. It wasn't fair, or right, but it's what happened. You're here now, and you're (mostly) ok. You're (mostly) happy. You're lucky to have come this far, really. So you need to just take those deep breaths and let it go."

It's certainly not an easy thing to do, but it's starting to feel like the only thing to do. It's starting to feel like if I don't do that, if I don't try to let go of some of the things that have been hurting me for so long, I won't be able to make it. And that's not an option for me.

So I have to stop pretending that I've been ok with all of this, with the fact that my body has betrayed me so cruelly. I'm not ok with it... but I can deal with it. It's ok for me to be mad about the opportunities I've missed out on, to be disappointed that I so often feel like a spectator instead of a player. It's not an easy role to have. But if it's my role - if it's going to keep being my role - then I really have to embrace it.

This is one of those posts that I keep not posting because I think it doesn't make sense to anybody but me. But you all often surprise me, so I'm going to let it go this time, say it and put it out there.

Basically what I'm saying is that I'm trying to move forward in a way that is more than just making it through the day. I want to find a way to be living in my skin - my painful, achy, worn out body - and really be happy in the spot that I am in. Even if there's things I don't like about it.

It's so tricky, cuz I often think I'm accomplishing that, but I know right now I am not, I know right now it's been impossible to get past how much I hurt. But I'm going to keep making the effort anyways.

So... next deep breath, and moving on!

Monday, June 02, 2008

Rehearsal Dinner: Pass the wine!

So then, after the rehearsal, we all went out to dinner and had a pretty good time. Here are some of the Best Shots from our little get together. Honestly, at this point in the festivities, people were still trying to be on their best behavior. But the stress, of trying to get everything finished by Saturday (this was Thursday night)? Oh, it was pretty heavy.

But here's the happy couple, and they did a good job of putting aside most of the pressure in order to have a good time. SisterJ's anxiety got a good strong hold on her when we'd first arrived at the church - mostly because of an annoying coordinator lady who was pretty damn unhelpful - but she'd managed to calm down a lot by the time we got to the restaurant.

My two nephews are four years and usually quite a few miles apart, but they still manage to get along pretty well. Here, in response to my request that they do 'something fun,' the pose as 'Secret Agent Spies,' which they continued to be for the next two days. Once they got their tuxes on? It was look out evil, here we come.

Here's Big (no longer Only, as I now have a Brother-In-Law!) Brother and Oldest Sister/SisterS. These two were the least... caught up in the wedding- brouhaha, and all it involved, and while I guess that was good for them, it wound up being pretty hurtful, in some ways for SisterJ. SisterS not only left the bachelorette party about halfway through, she set herself apart at the reception, secluded with her boyfriend, and then left early, even after SisterJ had told her she'd be hurt if she did Ah, the drama. Mostly, I don't understand SisterS as much as I can my other sisters - she's lived with her mom, and therefore apart from most of us, for various times in her life. She's also at a point in her life where she thinks a lot of things are a waste of time, energy and resources - unfortunately, this included what she called the 'overreactions' of SisterJ about stuff (relating to the wedding) that 'isn't really important.' I'm not saying that there wasn't a certain amount of obsession on the bride's part, when it came to the wedding and the details and all of that, I'm just saying that SisterS, and her lack of tact didn't exactly help things. She just didn't handle things well. But here, at least, she's having a good time.

Here's Dad, my new Brother-in-law, and his uncle, about 1 and a half bottles of wine into the night. Deep discussions, and at least 5 more bottles of wine and a bottle of lemoncello followed.


Now, neither Lil Girl or I were drinking, but we still had a good time ;)

Here's Big Brother and Sister K being sweet too (although I won't swear to how sober either of them may be)

SisterJ and her bosses, who had nothing but nice things to say about her. It's so weird, sometimes to see your younger sisters as adults. (Yes, I realize that's an odd thing to be saying when I'm talking about her wedding, but that's a whole 'nother issue.) I was so proud that these people, who'd stood by her during this really trying year, were able to see just what a great person she really is, issues aside.

And another great shot of the bride and groom, as the evening wrapped up.

Oh, there's tons more --> you can click on my flickr account if you're impatient, but I think I'll be getting around to them as time moves on, if you've got it in you to wait.

Up next, a few finishing touches & the getting ready craziness!