Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Tuesday 5: It's Still Tuesday on My Island Edition

1. *cracks knuckles* Let’s see, I think I remember how to type. It’s been a while, I checked. I’ve blogged four times since we left Florida. In some ways, it’s been a tough transition to island life, including finding out that The International Man of Intrigue will be undertaking a year long deployment before too long. So, I’m about to be marooned on a tropical island with four kids and no husband. Good times.

2. I’m watching a whole bunch of stuff right now. Season 3 of “The Fall” is disappointing from a plot standpoint, but still a winner from a writing and Gillian Anderson angle. “This Is Us” is the only thing we’ve picked up that’s new, and it’s been well worth it. I started “Bloodline” because a friend works on the show, but The International Man of Intrigue wasn’t super hip on it, so I’m saving it for later. I also binge “Gilmore Girls” every time I have a little while to myself. Anything I’m missing, Fellow Adventurers?

3. I’ve cleared a number of people off of my social media friends lists lately. I’m sure they think it’s something personal, that they’re too right wing or too left wing or too something. Mostly it was too much negative. Not the negative that’s sad because their party lost or upset because the other party is protesting, but the negative that uses terms like “libtard” and “crybaby” or “deplorables” and “racists” and generalizing about an entire group. I’m not perfect by any means. Sometimes I’m mean and negative and not very pleasant, too. I just know myself and I know that I have to surround myself with positive to get through the year adventure of being marooned on a tropical island with my kids while my husband is off somewhere third-world-y.

4. I’m kind of at a loss. You’d think I’d have more to say since I’ve been mostly saving up my words for months now. Not so. Since I have nothing of value to say, let’s go back to an old standby. What are you reading, Fellow Adventurers? I’m finishing up “The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay,” to be followed by “Britt-Marie Was Here,” which is the sequel to a book I loved, “My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry.”

5. Finally, the Little Explorers: Laura Ingalls Wilder is turning into quite a little girl. She’s in that fun stage where she imagines and sings and dances and it’s darling. Arthur Dent has grown leaps and bounds since school started but he’s still my little guy. His jam right now is “Say Geronimo” by Sheppard. He loves to sing it at top volume. Amelia Earhart is on the robotics team at school and gives me a heart attack at least once a week when I realize she’s almost double digits in age. Gertrude Bell is having a cavity filled tomorrow. I’m petrified. 

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Tuesday 5: It's Wednesday Edition

1. Yesterday, I walked down the street, introduced myself to a woman I’ve never met, and whisked her 9 month old away to my house. This is what happens in military life. Her husband is deployed, the movers were bringing her household goods, and a mutual friend, who is helping her with the mover’s inventory, texted me and asked if I could help out. I think I got the easy job- he’s a little red headed butterball and super sweet to boot. The best part is that my ovaries have in no way indicated that they’d like to see another Little Explorer after spending time with Butterball. It’s nice confirmation that baby fever does subside and four is a good number for us. Oh, and in a random twist, it turns out Butterball’s mom and dad are mutual friends of good friends of ours from college. (Cue “It’s a Small World.”)

2. The Labor Day holiday weekend was another short one for the Intrigue Family. As is so often the case, The International Man of Intrigue was traveling for most of the weekend. He returned from India on Sunday afternoon, and we did end up having an impromptu pizza and beer party in our driveway with some neighbors on Sunday night, as well as a cookout at the neighbors’ house on Monday. It ended up being a nice weekend, but clocking in at a day and a half, it was far too short.

3. The International Man of Intrigue and I just finished watching “Battlestar Galactica” and then binged watched Netflix’s “Stranger Things” in about three days. “Stranger Things” is part Stand By Me, part X-Files, and part Goonies. It is kind of scary, but really good!

4. I remember, when I was first out on my own, half my life ago, that I had a revelation. I was brought up to eat whatever was on my plate, even if I didn’t care for it. When I was at the grocery store, alone, with my own money, I realized I never had to eat canned creamed corn again. It’s taken me until recently to realize the same applies to books. I’ve always been a voracious reader. I’ll read about anything I can get my hands on, even the label on the creamed corn. Earlier this year, I started reading a book, realized it wasn’t my cup of tea, and quit reading it. That was sort of a watershed moment for me. I started thinking about what the books I really enjoy have in common and have done a better job of choosing what I want to read. It turns out I’ve been skipping out on mysteries and detective novels, which I love, because I don’t like scary books, and these often overlap with suspense or horror, but if I’m careful, I can find books in this genre I really enjoy. I also enjoy books set during either of the world wars. I discovered (thanks to Mrs. British Neighbor) the Ian Rutledge mysteries by Charles Todd. Detective novels set shortly after The Great War are currently my cup of tea. 

5. I was texting with the mom of a student in Gertrude Bell’s class. We were bemoaning our kids’ after school behavior and I mentioned that I was having a late afternoon cup of coffee to hopefully make it through until bedtime. She said it was time to switch to wine. I got to wondering, why is there not caffeinated wine? Or caffeinated booze in general? Someone make this happen.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Tuesday 5: Keeping the Little Explorers Alive Edition

1. I’m gunning for the parenting sweet spot, folks. I’m still far from having self sufficient kids, but last week, it was as if a beam of heavenly sunshine picked me to illuminate. Gertrude Bell has to read out loud for 20 minutes every day. Arthur Dent has to be read to for 20 minutes a day. Cue angels singing. I do not have to be a part of this! Gertrude Bell reads to Arthur Dent at night before bed and I just have to sign their papers! Finally, having a lot of kids relatively close together results in a win! (In case you’re wondering, this never worked with Amelia Earhart reading to Gertrude Bell because Amelia Earhart has been reading about 17 grade levels above her age since she finally figured out how to read.)

2. I’m exhausted. It used to be, when the International Man of Intrigue went to the field or TDY (That’s Temporary Duty for all you non-giant-governmental-organization folks.) I would do something like stay up late repainting a room or sewing new curtains. Now, I mostly go to bed early and try to keep the Little Explorers alive and fed. No one tells you when you have kids that the keeping alive part is really a lot of work. For example, Arthur Dent is determined to fall and crack his head open in the bathtub or shower. He even did fall a couple of times in Florida, yet the warning seems to come as new information every time. 
“Arthur Dent, no jumping in the tub.” 
“But, Mama, I wasn’t jumping. I was just hopping.” 
“Arthur Dent!”
“That was dancing.”
“No dancing either. Can you mostly just keep your feet still and on the bottom of the shower at all times?”
(Five minutes later…)
“I’m sorry, Mama. Can I karate chop my way out?”

3. I took the kids to the pool this weekend and managed to get burnt to a crisp. I can’t even tell you the last time I got a sunburn. I’m a big believer in sunblock. I guess I should have had the Little Explorers sunscreen up before we left the house, but instead we did it poolside. Putting sunscreen on Little Explorers is about as easy as giving a cat a bath, and then add to it that the pool was mere feet away, and it was a workout. By the time it was done, I was too busy trying to make sure no one was drowning to realize that I had forgotten my own sunscreen. Two days later and I’m still red and a little uncomfortable.

4. This week, Hawaii is expecting visits from two tropical storms, as well as from President Obama. I bought so much food at Costco yesterday I could barely push my cart to the parking lot. I think The Intrigues will be ok.

5. One major thing I’ve learned about Hawaii is to pack drinks and snacks, or even lunch, every time you leave the house. In the last couple of weeks, I have had what should have been quick errands turn into multi-hour outings. Since Laura Ingalls Wilder is still at home all day and is my sidekick for all these shenanigans, we ended up eating out a few more times than I would have liked. I should clarify- one of those times eating lunch out was shoving money into a vending machine and feeding my child a well rounded meal of fritos and M&Ms. Now I keep a reusable water bottle with me and granola bars and almonds stashed in my purse. If I think there’s a chance that we’ll be out within an hour of meal time, I up our rations. Aloha, baby.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Tuesday 5: It's Mostly Wednesday Edition

Surprise! It’s a Random 5! For most of you, it will be on a random day, since it’s Tuesday night here, and Wednesday most everywhere else in my readership.

1. Do you remember those episodes of The Brady Bunch where they visit Hawaii? One of the boys finds a tiki and it brings them all kinds of bad luck. They also have enough near misses to believe it’s a good luck charm. Let’s just say that after our first week or so in Hawaii, I was tearing through luggage looking for tikis. Hotel issues, housing issues, getting those resolved, then moving into a house and having some big items, including a piece of the bunk bed and a wooden shelf, show up from the mainland in pieces, having two of the Little Explorers get a false positive on their tuberculosis tests, were just the major issues. I never found a tiki, and things have gotten better, so I guess I’ll stop humming The Brady Bunch theme song for now.

2. We drove our mini van, Van Halen, from Florida to Los Angeles, as you may recall. There are lots of weird things to see on a cross country road trip. The weirdest thing we saw was a burning mattress on the side of a major interstate during rush hour. Weirder was that no one else seemed to think it was out of place. 

3. I am writing today even though I feel pretty brain dead. The reason? Today I left the house around 9:45 for a quick trip to the post office and to get an out of state permit for my car at the DMV. The International Man of Intrigue already went through this process for his Jeep and assured me it was quick and painless. Let’s just say that I arrived home three and a half hours after I left the house. The wait at the DMV was LONG. Painfully long. Once I got to the window, it took less than five minutes for me to finish my business and leave. 

4. I’ve had some time to reflect, and I think a lot of the misery we felt when we first arrived on island was compounded by outside pressure. Well meaning friends and family back home were constantly asking us if we’d gone to the beach or on a hike or seen Diamond Head or the sea turtles or had shaved ice or eaten pineapple yet. It was adding to our stress levels that had already skyrocketed with arranging a place to live and taking possession of our belongings and our cars and going back and forth to get the Little Explorers cleared for and enrolled in school. Once we took a step back and reminded ourselves that we’d have plenty of time for the fun stuff, it took a lot of pressure off. After all, we LIVE here, we’re not on vacation. We have the next three years to find our favorite spots and see all the things the islands have to offer. We can also let some of the well meaning questions and comments roll off now that we realize there’s a difference between visiting paradise and living here.

5. What are you watching and reading right now, Fellow Adventurers? I spent the last two weeks watching the Olympics any chance I got. I enjoyed it, but I’m glad it’s over. I just started reading “The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay” by Michael Chabon. I think I’m going to really enjoy it.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Tuesday 5: Status Update

A little update since I haven't blogged in a while:

1. We've made it by car from Florida to LA. It took 23 days and a healthy percentage of my sanity.

2. We fly to Hawaii tomorrow. That will be the rest of my sanity you see plummeting into the Pacific.

3. Since we arrived in LA, we've spent most of our time prepping the van to be shipped and buying, weighing, redistributing, weighing, repacking, weighing, tagging, and weighing suitcases.

4. I did get to spend the evening with my friend Dani NoFacebook. We talked until they kicked us out of the hotel bar, which was still about two hours less than i think we'd have liked.

5. The Little Explorers have been champs on the road. Fingers crossed they do as well in the air. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Tuesday 5: Moving Stuff

1. I’m not sure I really have five things this week. We’re getting down to the brass tacks of moving. The pantry is almost empty and dinner is becoming like an episode of “Chopped.” I just made something along the lines of home made Hamburger Helper for dinner. Some turkey italian sausage, a can of diced tomatoes, and the last of some egg noodles that were hiding behind the regular pasta in the pantry. Throw in some random spices, and the kids acted like they’d never had anything quite so delicious.

2. I saw Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman on TV a couple of days ago. Their idea of a date night looks like it must be a visit to the plastic surgeon. It’s a pity, too, because they were both very attractive before they started nipping and tucking and botoxing. 

3. For Mother’s Day, I got an iTunes gift card so I can stock my iPod with some new music for the upcoming move and roadtrip. Any suggestions for new music? I like a little of everything. I keep meaning to check out some new Florence and the Machine and Avett Brothers, so any suggestions from them would be helpful. I’d also like upbeat suggestions for when I’m driving. 

4. For Mother's Day, we also took everything out of the master bedroom closet and stuffed it in all the other closets. Now, our closet is the "Do Not Pack" room for when the movers come. I'm also tearing apart and making messes everywhere. The art supplies, kid books, kitchen stuff, all of it, and trying to get rid of stuff. Ugh. I'll be glad when it's gone, it's getting through everything that takes too much work.

5. I don't have anything for this one because The International Man of Intrigue wants to use my laptop and it’s making me feel rushed and I can’t think under pressure.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Tuesday 5: People We Like and People We Don't

1. Sorry I missed you all last week. We had to be out of the house for a showing and by the time I got back and got life back on track, I was out of ability to form coherent thought. I did try. Here is the one item I wrote last week: “I’m currently sitting in a controversial chicken restaurant, watching the kids run around like crazy people, while I wait for the house to be shown. I had big plans to type this on my wireless keyboard, but I ran off and left it, my tote bag, and some coupons on the counter. My realtor says a clean and uncluttered kitchen is the most important thing. Now the potential buyers will walk in, see my Joann’s coupons, and walk out, leaving us to wallow in non-sale misery.”

2. Now, on to this week. We started off the week by having some old friends over for a cookout on Sunday. We were stationed with them back when Amelia Earhart and Gertrude Bell were born. They moved to our area a year (or two?) ago, and we had been remiss in not seeing them. We had a great visit and our kids had a great time playing together. We should have done that years ago. Literally.

3. In the complete opposite direction, today The International Man of Intrigue had a conversation with one of his bosses. The boss was referring to something The International Man of Intrigue was working on and stated very matter of factly, “I don’t like this. I don’t like…I don’t like you. I’ve never liked you.” What the heck??? Now, this guy is sick, so maybe his internal monologue isn’t working, but I think that’s a weird thing to just let someone know in passing. 

4. I prefer to handle people I don’t like in a more discreet manner. Yesterday I was at Costco filling up my van, Van Halen, with gas, when I realized there was someone I knew at the pump behind me. It was the wife of a family we vaguely knew at a past duty station. The husband works with The International Man of Intrigue and The International Man of Intrigue has been “accidentally” forgetting to give the guy my number to pass along for the last two years. I very carefully let my hair blow in my face while I finished filling up and jumped back into the safety of Van Halen as soon as I could get the gas cap back in place.

5. Yesterday I was listening to NPR and heard a story about alternative food sources. They were discussing flour made from crickets. Surprisingly, the thought of eating something made out of cricket flour does not gross me out. What about you, Fellow Adventurers?

6. (Bonus since I skipped last week.) I’ll end with a classic conversation with Arthur Dent. We were on the way to school last week when he asked if I’d help him put his socks on. I told him I couldn’t do it while I was driving. He responded, “I know, I know. It’s because you only have two arms. What if you had four arms? Then you could totally help me with my socks.”

Saturday, April 30, 2016

The Good Gray Poet

This is the quote that Facebook said was blocked when I tried to post it. You can tell it's super controversial. 

Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)

-Walt Whitman

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Tuesday Five: I Crashed My Neighbor's Car

1. The Intrigue abode is on the market. I’m not telling you this so you can buy it, but if you are interested, hit me up. I’m telling you this because I have to keep the house clean so it can be shown on short notice. This is not easy for me. At all. 

2. Proof that no good deed goes unpunished: Yesterday we had a showing and the house was still sort of a mess from the weekend. I was at Target with Mrs. British Neighbor when I got the call. She offered to help me clean up. After a couple of hours of cleaning, it was time to pick Arthur Dent up from school. Mrs. British Neighbor offered to stick around for a bit longer. I loaded up a tantruming-as-usual Laura Ingalls Wilder and headed out to get Arthur Dent. Yep. I backed out of the garage and sideswiped Mrs. British Neighbor’s fancy new Volkswagen. I don’t have much else to say about that except that I’m picking her up from the auto body shop when she drops it off next week. I’ll also be going inside to pay for it.

3. Season 2 of “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” is on Netflix now. It’s as hilarious as Season 1, but with a little more exploration into the characters’ feelings and angst. I’m a little sad because I think we’ll finish it tonight. 

4. What are you reading? I’m about halfway through “The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend.” It’s a cute twist on the book club novel, although a bit predictable. Any suggestions about what I should read next, Fellow Adventurers?

5. I’ll end tonight with a quote. “When I was young, I admired clever people. Now that I am old, I admire kind people.” -Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Tuesday 5: Tough Kids and Other Things to be Thankful For.

1. We have a lot to be thankful for this week. The International Man of Intrigue got some job related news that we’d been waiting for and worrying over for months. It comes as a big relief to have this news before we start our move to Hawaii, and we’re grateful that it went the way we hoped.

2. This week is also the two year anniversary of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s official adoption day. Her Godfather is visiting this week as well, so we went out to dinner tonight to celebrate her Adoptaversary. Everyone enjoyed it, and Laura Ingalls Wilder was mostly tantrum free. We’re so glad, tantrums and all, that she’s our kid.

3. In the last week, I’ve started taking pictures of Laura Ingalls Wilder while she's throwing temper tantrums in various places. At first, I felt kind of horrible about it, but after I started posting them to Facebook, I actually started feeling better for a couple of reasons. The first is selfish- it takes me out of the moment, just for a second, and really helps me keep my cool when I could get really angry or frustrated instead. The second is that it seems like people really enjoy seeing the “real” side of life. I love it when other parents of kids her age share with me that their kids are throwing fits, too. It’s so hard when it seems like it’s all day, every day. I never thought a little picture would calm me down, add some levity, and provide a little smile for everyone. Here’s to the Tantrum Photo Series!

4. I cleaned out my purse this week. I find that there’s always something unusual in there. This week, I found the x-ray of Amelia Earhart’s broken nose. If you don’t remember, she earned it playing football. I’m not sure why the x-ray is in my purse, though.

5. Speaking of Amelia Earhart and her toughness, Amelia Earhart and Gertrude Bell went to a roller skating birthday party on Saturday. Gertrude Bell played it safe by learning to skate and sticking to the carpeted area near the rink. In true Amelia Earhart fashion, she took a little while to get the feel for it and then headed out to learn on the rink. She fell down quite a few times, and hard. Every time she got back up and kept trying. She came home with some nasty bruises. I love her determination when it comes to things like that. 

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Tuesday 5: Not Metaphorically Speaking

1. I may have had a minor moving induced meltdown this afternoon. The movers came to walk through and give us an estimate on the amount of stuff we own. When you move with the military, you’re given a certain amount of weight. The movers estimated we’re 5,500 pounds over our allowed weight. After I finished hyperventilating and ate some dinner and took a 20 minute nap I realized a few things. Number one is that we are probably slightly overweight, but not by 5,500 pounds. The second is that it’s just stuff. We don’t need it to be happy. Watch this space for a good deal on buying a piece of The Intrigue Family’s actual belongings- the ones that the Smithsonian doesn’t want, that is.

2. There’s a new Selena Gomez song that I’m finding very problematic. It’s called “Hands to Myself,” and I’m sure it’s problematic in a lot of ways, but there’s one line that really bothers me. The phrase “metaphorical gin and juice” makes me cringe. If you have to explain that you’re using a metaphor, is it still a metaphor? The whole point of metaphor in poetry or literature or song seems to disintegrate when one has to point out that one is using a metaphor as a literary or lyrical device. Rant over.

3. Speaking of music, I’m still really mad that Sarah McLachlan totally ruined that song “Arms of an Angel.” I used to really enjoy it, but now I just see crying puppies and kittens. Thanks a lot.

4. Being the mother of a toddler is a great time. Today, Laura Ingalls Wilder didn’t nap. There was too much going on at our house with people in and out as we prep for a move. She was cheerful despite all that, until she accidentally got a 20 minute nap in the car when we went to pick up the big girls from school. I woke her up when we got home. She proceeded to throw herself on the floor and scream for the next 20 minutes. It was so awesome. 

5. I asked The International Man of Intrigue what else I should write about tonight. He answered, “Spies.” I’m sure it’s because we’ve been marathoning “The Americans” on Amazon Prime lately. I asked what I should say about spies, and he said, “I don’t know. Spies.” So, number five this week is Just Spies. See you next week.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Tuesday 5: Feminists and Fighters

1. There’s a new personal crusade in Arthur Dent’s world. He’s on a mission to take back pink. He wants to reclaim it as a color that is good for boys AND girls. Right now, he hasn’t extended his quest past using pink cups and plates whenever possible at meals. He’s very matter-of-fact about it. He’s the only boy in a family full of girls, and one of only three boys in his preschool class. I support his crusade and am glad his sisters do, too. I'm glad to be raising a house full of feminists.

2. Speaking of feminism, we were playing cards the other night, and I became frustrated when I realized that, in the game we were playing, the winner was called “King” and the second place player was called “Queen.” I don’t know why it never bothered me when playing cards and realizing that the King is always higher than the Queen, but it stuck out like a sore thumb and really irritated the feminist in me while playing this game. 

3. Our kids really enjoy music, and we’ve done our best to encourage their love for it. Amelia Earhart and Gertrude Bell take piano lessons. Amelia Earhart is learning guitar and The International Man of Intrigue has taught himself to play several instruments. He is most proficient at guitar. The other day, he was playing “Renegade” by X Ambassadors and the Little Explorers were singing along. It brought up lots of questions. “What’s a renegade? What about a mutineer? Why is being a renegade ok, but not a mutineer? Who is Spielberg? Kubrick?” This went on and on until they had a full exegesis of the song. I love these kind of unprompted learning moments.

4. Laura Ingalls Wilder is in the throes of terrible two-dom. She is INTENSE. There are lots of screaming fits followed by time outs followed by Laura Ingalls Wilder sneaking out of time out with the time out stool to climb up and get whatever she was in time out for throwing a fit about in the first place. Lather, rinse, repeat. It’s made for some long days. I just keep reminding myself that the same fighting spirit that makes us crazy now is what helped her grow and thrive when she was born weighing less than three pounds. If we can just channel her fighting spirit without breaking our spirits, she’ll be destined for greatness.

5. “I realize God may have gotten something beautiful done through me despite the fact that I am an asshole.” From “Accidental Saints” by Nadia Bolz-Weber. I just started reading this book today and I am finding it both relatable and inspiring.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Tuesday 5: In Which Arthur Dent Gets Left Behind TWICE.

1. Arthur Dent doesn’t know it, but he’s having a rough week. Yesterday, I dropped him off at school with the big girls. Fast forward twenty minutes and I’m shopping at Target where I got a phone call. Turned out there was no preschool. Luckily, he was in good hands and wasn’t worried about it at all. Today, we got orders for our move to Hawaii. The only problem was that they didn’t include Arthur Dent. The error was fixed very quickly, so we don’t have to leave Arthur Dent behind when we relocate. 

2. I saw “The Audience” starring Helen Mirren this weekend. It was a great play, but I’m left in awe not of her performance, but of the fact that, at age 70, she looks better than I do at…well, not that old.

3. We just started watching “30 Rock,” and I’m wondering why we waited so long. Quality hilarity.

4. I’ve decided that for all of our traveling and moving this summer, I need a mascot to take pictures of at every stop. One of my friends has a lego princess. The International Man of Intrigue’s cousin travels with her son’s stuffed penguin. So, I need ideas. What should my travel companion be? It needs to be small so it can fit in a pocket or a purse or a carryon. Lots of suggestions, please!

5. I’m that person with piles of books everywhere. On the end table, on the kitchen counter, on the table in the entryway, on my nightstand. I’m not even sorry.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Tuesday 5: Spring Break

It's spring break and we're at home for the week. I thought about taking the week off of blogging, but I didn't want to leave anyone disappointed. Here is a mini five:

1. Watching: The Americans. Exciting Russian spy stuff.

2. Reading: Not much of anything. I keep picking up several different books and reading a page here or there, but nothing has stuck yet.

3. Eating: I hosted two brunches last week. I served spinach and goat cheese with caramelized onion quiche at both of them. I make quiche a lot, but today I was called "The Quiche Whisperer." I am pretty good at quiche.

4. Mail: I've gotten a package every day this week. Yeah, it's only Tuesday, so that's two, but they were AWESOME. Yesterday was a box of hand me downs for Laura Ingalls Wilder, with a couple of goodies, including a Barnes and Noble gift card, tucked in for me. Today, I got a package from a friend with some little goodies for the Little Explorers and a journal for me! I just love good mail!

5. Eating (again): I'm shoving a freshly baked chocolate chip cookie in my face. I have to go. This demands concentration for full enjoyment. Happy Spring Break, Fellow Adventurers!

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Tuesday 5: Haircuts and Power Outages

1. This Tuesday has been one for the books. Today, at school, Gertrude Bell was pushed to the ground by a boy who wanted her seat in the lunchroom. Coincidentally, it’s also International Women’s Day. While her situation was handled immediately by adults, she told us she didn’t say anything when he pushed her. We took the opportunity to remind her that no one can put their hands on her without permission, and that her voice is a powerful tool. “Don’t touch me!” and “Get your hands off me!” are appropriate things to yell. Raising strong women starts when they’re still little. (Edited to add: The International Man of Intrigue also taught her to fight back with fists. Self defense is also her right.)

2. Arthur Dent may have a promising career as a barber. Today, he took it upon himself to cut Laura Ingalls Wilder’s hair. Thankfully, it was not a lot of hair, but it was a sibling haircut all the same. It was also her first haircut. Considering that Gertrude Bell gave herself her first haircut around age three and a half, that means I'm only two for two in the first haircut parenting arena.

3. The dude may not be ready for cosmetology school yet, but one thing we’ve always loved about Arthur Dent is his sensitive side. He used to cry when we read him the book “Llama Llama Misses Mama,” and he cried the first time we told him about Laura Ingalls Wilder. This weekend, we watched the movie “The Good Dinosaur.” We all enjoyed it, but The International Man of Intrigue and I most enjoyed watching Arthur Dent surreptitiously swipe at his eyes with his sleeve during the sad parts of the movie. Afterward, we asked him what he thought. “I thought it was good, but it was weally sad when the daddy died.” Arthur Dent then spent the next 30 minutes attached to The International Man of Intrigue. I’m still melting at the cuteness.

4. If you don’t have Little Explorers of your own, or love my Little Explorers like your own, you can skip this one. The big news in our house today was that Laura Ingalls Wilder finally pooped in the potty. This has been an ongoing struggle, and in an effort to reinforce how great it was, we told everyone. She got to call The International Man of Intrigue at work. Mrs. British Neighbor gave her a chocolate cupcake. In carline to pick up Amelia Earhart and Gertrude Bell, she told all the teachers “A BIG POOP!” This afternoon I caught her singsonging as she walked around the house, “I poop inna potty! I poop inna potty!” 

5. Fellow Adventurers, it’s time to tell you I typed this entire post while sitting in a pitch black house. The power is out in our entire subdivision. Apparently there is a power pole on fire at the back entrance to the subdivision. The power went out at 7 pm and may be back on by 9:30 pm. I’m hopeful, since a previous estimate had it being out all night. And, with that, I’m going to conserve my laptop battery and go find a flashlight and a novel. Until next week, Fellow Adventurers!

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Tuesday 5: In Which I Do NOT Go On A Political Rampage

1. Lucky me, my neighbor The Other Mrs. Intrigue loaned me the complete 6th season of Downton Abbey on BluRay. This means I’m entirely finished with Downton. I won’t spoil it for those of you who will be watching on Sunday except to say this: I love it when a show or book or movie ends with an “And They All Lived Happily Every After.” I’m not saying I like sappy or saccharine or predictable, I’m just saying there’s enough sadness and heartache and misery in the world, it’s nice to leave a well written or well acted piece with the characters in a place that feels like an ending and that feels like they’ve found some measure of happiness. Downton Abbey met my expectations.

2. Laura Ingalls Wilder has a new hobby. She’s a backseat driver. She likes to yell at me that I should have turned the other direction. She also loves to scream “GO! GoGoGo! GOOOO MAMAAA!” when we’re stopped in traffic. It’s delightful, if you enjoy being bossed around by a two and a half year old.

3. I think I want to start reading more poetry, but I also feel like I don’t know much about poetry in general - what makes a poem good, well structured, etc.? I remember Shakespearean sonnet structure from school, and that’s about it. Do any of you Fellow Adventurers have any suggestions on where to go or what to read to learn more?

4. I am easily distracted. Just now, I started playing an episode of The West Wing that I’ve seen at least four times before. My intent was to provide some background noise while I blogged and packed lunches. Halfway through, I realized I was engrossed in the show to the complete neglect of everything else. What can I say? I’m captivated by good television.

5. I keep getting these pictures of Oprah in my mailbox. She’s telling me how great it is that I, too, can eat bread every day and get skinny. Oprah, clearly you don’t know me. That is not something I can do. If I eat one piece of bread, I’ll eat four. With butter, and maybe jam. So, kindly stop showing up in my mailbox and telling me my business. Thanks.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Tuesday 5: In Which I Explain Last Week's Boycott List

I actually had to verify that it is Tuesday. Today has been a Second Monday, for sure. 

1. I got a lot of questions last week about why we boycott Pizza Hut, Heinz Ketchup, and Amarillo, Texas. In the interest of your rabid curiosity, Fellow Adventurers, here are the reasons: 1. Pizza Hut- In essence, this is one of those horrible customer service experiences that was left unrectified, even after complaining up the ladder. So not very interesting. We boycotted Papa John's before that, but have a strict one-pizza-joint-on-the-boycott-list rule, so Papa John's got a second chance and have managed to stay in our good graces. The rest of our boycotts are much more entertaining.

2. Heinz Ketchup- Some of you may have noted that a handful of other Fellow Adventurers also commented on my facebook link that they, too, boycott Heinz. All those Fellow Adventurers also had spouses serving in Iraq during one of The International Man of Intrigue’s long tours. At that time, John Kerry was running for president and made a very disparaging comment about the troops in Iraq and their intelligence level. It cut most of us to the quick, and since his wife, Theresa Heinz Kerry is heir to the ketchup fortune, and also gave a lot of personal money toward his campaign, The Intrigues, and many families we knew at the time, started boycotting Heinz and never stopped. 

3. Amarillo, Texas- The International Man of Intrigue was pulled over for speeding in Amarillo during college. When he asked to see the radar, the cop wouldn’t let him and instead gave The International Man of Intrigue a ticket for not wearing his seat belt. The International Man of Intrigue had taken it off to get his wallet. So, he paid the ticket and we carried on tolerating Amarillo. Fast forward a decade. The International Man of Intrigue was in his John Kerry deployment and I got a super official looking registered letter from The City of Amarillo. It contained a warning that there was about to be a warrant issued for The International Man of Intrigue’s arrest unless he paid a ticket from about a decade ago. I frantically put out feelers to get The International Man of Intrigue to call me—not easy in those days. The International Man of Intrigue ended up placing a phone call from Iraq to The City of Amarillo. Basically, they had done a shitty job of keeping track of their outstanding tickets and had hired a third party to review and collect and close them out. His had never been marked as paid. He ended up speaking to a judge who told him unless he produced proof that he’d mailed a money order over a decade ago to take care of his ticket, the warrant would be issued. Oh, and thanks for your service. So we did what reasonable people do. We paid the ticket again and enacted a lifetime boycott against the city. And thus ends our current boycott list.

4. I just started reading “Andy Warhol Was a Hoarder: Inside the Minds of History’s Great Personalities” by Claudia Kalb. If you’re interested in psychology, it’s a quick, interesting little read. It’s really armchair psychology, but it’s fun to look inside the minds of famous people. 

5. The Little Explorers have head colds and The International Man of Intrigue wasn’t home for bedtime tonight, so it was a lot like Whack-A-Mole. They kept popping out of bed as quickly as I could tuck them back in, one after another. It’s now an hour and a half later, and I have high hopes bedtime is finally finished. On that note, I’m going to call it a night. Until next week, Fellow Adventurers.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Tuesday 5: Oranges and Boycotts

1. When there’s a federal holiday, Tuesday is the new Monday. Since The International Man of Intrigue was off work on the real Monday, we did something I don’t do when I’m home alone and watched the local morning news. Every time I watch, I end up so confused about Florida. This is a weird place, Fellow Adventurers. Just yesterday, I had to ask why on earth anyone would name an event the Bay Area Renaissance Festival. Did they not check the acronym? I also had to google “feral monkeys near Ocala.” It turns out that there is a gang of feral rhesus monkeys that’s been living near Ocala, Florida since the 1930’s. Depending on your source, they were either left there after the 1932 filming of “Tarzan of the Apes,” or put there by a guy who owned a jungle cruise tour to add atmosphere. I’m not a huge fan of monkeys, so I’m actually relieved I’ve learned this little weird fact just in time to move from this state.

2. Speaking of grocery shopping and The International Man of Intrigue, he sent me a text from the grocery store this week. “Which ketchup are we boycotting?” Yes, the Intrigues boycott Heinz ketchup. We’re pretty forgiving by nature, but we do have a short but serious list of things we boycott. Pizza Hut, Heniz Ketchup, and Amarillo, Texas are the only things on the list at the moment. They all, of course, have good reason behind them. Do any of you Fellow Adventurers boycott anything?

3. We haven’t done a “What are you reading and watching?” for a while. I’ve just finished “Unbroken” by Lauren Hillenbrand, which I found very compelling, and “Hyperbole and a Half” by Allie Brosh, which had me laughing to the point of tears. I think I’m going to read “Paris” but Edward Rutherford next. I did see a couple of quotes from “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” books today, which put me in the mood to reread that as well. We’ve been watching “Longmire” on Netflix, which has kept us interested. The characters are interesting and the detective aspect is something we always enjoy.

4. The International Man of Intrigue just wandered in, complaining that we’re out of oranges again. I swear, you’d think we were attempting to singlehandedly rid the free world of scurvy the way the Intrigues go through oranges. The last bag was gone in two days.

5. Some updates on the Little Explorers: Amelia Earhart’s nose was, indeed, broken. A visit to an ENT confirmed that her nose was still perfectly aligned, even with the break, so we just have to wait for it to heal. Laura Ingalls Wilder is successfully potty trained. She turned out to be the easiest of the four Little Explorers to potty train. I took Gertrude Bell to the Tampa Bay Lightning hockey game Sunday night. Less than two minutes in, a fight broke out. Initially, I think Gertrude Bell was a bit concerned, but in the end, she decides she really likes hockey and was crushed to find out there’s no ice hockey in Hawaii. Not to leave Arthur Dent out of things, we’re very proud that, when we had a houseguest last week, he wore pants the entire time. *Sniff* My baby boy is growing up. Now if he would just stop crying about having to put his shoes on to go to school every day…

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Tuesday 5: An Overwhelming Start to 2016

1. Well, it turns out some of you Fellow Adventurers have actually missed me the last two weeks. I’m super flattered. Contrary to popular belief, flattery will get you everywhere with me. So, why the radio silence on the blog? 2016 has been a little overwhelming. Not only has getting over shingles been a little more difficult than I anticipated, there have been a few other big events that have demanded lots of time and energy. Lots of things have been lots of crazy this last six weeks.

2. After a January that I was hopeful was not indicative of what 2016 has in store for me, February waited exactly three days to punch The Intrigues in the gut, or, more appropriately, the nose. Amelia Earhart got in a collision playing flag football in PE. I got the call and, by the time I arrived at school, her nose had stopped bleeding, but the school nurse thought it might be broken. Off we went to the ER, Laura Ingalls Wilder and Arthur Dent in tow. On the way there, I did my best to reach The International Man of Intrigue, which isn’t always easy, since he is banned from having a cell phone at work and he’s not often at his desk. Once I finally managed to reach him, he left work immediately to meet us at the ER. Of course, he got pulled over for speeding on the way there. At that point, I started to find the whole thing very funny. In the end, I stopped laughing, and we found out that Amelia Earhart’s nose is cracked, but properly aligned, so no need for any intervention. Along the way, we were constantly reminded how tough she is by all the medical professionals. She’s also anxious to rejoin her after school flag football team. That’s my girl.

3. We’re giving up our sanity and diapers for Lent. Potty training starts on Friday for Laura Ingalls Wilder. We do the hardcore, straight to underwear method. It’s brutal, but it works and then it’s over. 

4. Today, Laura Ingalls Wilder left her favorite doll, Baby Niki, at Target. It required a trip back to claim her from Guest Services. Laura Ingalls Wilder is currently sitting beside me, throwing papers onto the floor. I think this is why I’m tired this year. 

5. The most important piece of news in 2016 is that the giant government military complex has told us it’s time to pack up and move again. The Intrigues are Hawaii bound this summer. It wasn’t our first (or second, third, or fourth) choice of assignments, but it will definitely be an adventure. I don’t think there is any way to move to an active volcano in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and not have adventures!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Tuesday 5: Shingles Hobbies

1. Want to know something fun, Fellow Adventurers? Not having shingles. Yours truly can’t wait to not have shingles.  Apparently shingles is the chicken pox virus that has lain dormant and hidden out in your body, waiting for the perfect time, when you're completely stressed out, to reemerge. It’s painful and adds an extra special something when I’m chasing four Little Explorers around while the International Man of Intrigue is out of the country.

2. Today, in the interest of trying to slow down a bit so I can kick this disease, I put on some TV in the middle of the morning, something I’m not usually inclined to do. I found that PBS on Roku had the Library of Congress Gershwin Awards honoring Willie Nelson. It was a great hour and a half of TV. I got a little misty eyed when Willie cried while Allison Kraus and Jamey Johnson did a duet of “Seven Spanish Angels.” 

3. Today is Arthur Dent’s birthday. Since we’re saving cake and presents for tomorrow when The International Man of Intrigue gets back, I figured we’d better mark the day somehow. I decided to do myself a favor and make it takeout from PDQ, complete with milkshakes for the kids. They were excited and I didn’t have to cook. Another little rest.

4. I’m also reading. I read some silly chick lit book and I’m in the middle of “Unbroken,” but it’s too serious for my current state of being. I checked out “The Paris Wife” from the library, but I’m thinking maybe something funny would be more called for as I try to relax a bit. Any suggestions?

5. On that note, the doctor prescribed me 800 mg of ibuprofen to be taken three times a day. It takes the edge off the pain for about an hour or so. It’s time for a dose and a short period of relief before bed! I'm also taking any and all suggestions for relaxing things to do while I recover. Aside from the pain, I don't feel exhausted or ill, so it's hard to think of just lying on the couch. Any ideas? Have a great week, Fellow Adventurers.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Tuesday 5: Sexism and Why We Can't Have Nice Things

1. From the “This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things” file, Arthur Dent threw a ball at the window that sits recessed a foot or so above our front door and managed to hit and knock down a piece of stained glass that was resting there. It fell all the way to the floor and broke. Any of you Fellow Adventurers know someone who does stained glass? I’m not sure I want to outlay the funds required to replace it at the moment, but it was one of my favorite things. 

2. Star Wars spoiler………….I have decided that Kylo Ren’s full real name is Ben Chewbacca Organa-Solo. It only makes sense.

3. Speaking of Star Wars, those of you I’m friends with on Facebook will know, I was at Target yesterday, and in an aisle full of Star Wars toys, there were ZERO Rey toys. Without rehashing that status, I will say that it was interesting to me to see the different reactions. The women generally agreed, some even pointing out that the Monopoly game doesn’t come with her as a game piece, while the men chalked it up to things like the Rey toys not being produced because there wasn't sufficient demand, or wondering if they were sold out. All these people are my friends, and I consider them all very good people, but I will say, it’s definitely indicative of the subtle undercurrent of sexism that runs through society as a whole. Without being incensed or ranting, the women took it as a matter of course that the female character, even though she is the main character of the movie, was left out. 

4. I’ve gone back to the paper planner for 2016, in addition to using my phone. So far, I already feel a bit more capable of keeping up on things than before, mainly because I can jot down things as I wander by instead of having my to-do lists, well, everywhere. 

5. From the geek side: If things like Star Wars, Star Trek, the X-Files, and Mystery Science Theater can come back and be awesome, can Joss Whedon PLEASE get The Scoobies back together for a revival of Buffy the Vampire Slayer?!?!