Saturday, January 29, 2011

Tag!

So.

Things around here have been rather hectic, which means I haven't had much time to stop and savor the blog worthy moments (or, really, to even notice them).

Rachel at Once Upon A Miracle saved my non-blogging butt today by tagging me in a little meme.

1. If you have pets, do you see them as merely animals, or are they members of your family?
Since my children refer to Estes as my favorite child, I guess that means yes.  The cats?  Meh, not so much.  The step-dog?  If I want to stay married, I'd better say yes.
Ugh.  The wind makes me look like the Michelin man.
 
2. If you can have a dream to come true, what would it be?
I should be gracious and say it's already come true...
But I'm going to be greedy and say that I really would love to have some property to be able to build our dream house on, so I could have my favorite child with me all the time.

3. What is the one thing most hated by you?
There are so many...I can't choose just one.  I'll go with the obvious - loose hair.  As in unattached to any body.  If it's wet, it's ten times worse and results in immediate gagging and projectile vomiting.

4. What would you do with a billion dollars?

You know that property and dream house?  Yeah, that would be top of my list.  There are a couple of other things, too, like set up a free medical clinic at the college I work at to give my students the experience of working in a clinic while providing a much needed service to the community.  We're talking full-service family practice, here.  For free.

5. What helps to pull you out of a bad mood?

Gunpowder therapy.  Equine therapy.  My silly husband.
6. Which is more blessed, loving someone or being loved by someone?
Both - not a fair question.

7. What is your bedtime routine?

Eyeballs out, hair up, slide into bed with my best girl, Eloise.  Get your minds out of the gutter - she's my nook.

8. If you are currently in a relationship, how did you meet your partner?
Believe it or not, Cupid.com.

9. If you could watch a creative person in the act of the creative process, who would it be?

I have not a clue.
10. What kinds of books do you read?
The kind with words. 

I'm not often limited by genre.  Some of my favorite authors are (I'm looking at my bookshelf right now, because I'm terrible with author names)...
  • Tara Janzen
  • Janet Evanovich
  • Terry Goodkind
  • Tom Clancy
  • Robin Cook
  • Patricia Cornwell
  • Jeffery Deaver (who I got to meet at WPA!)
  • Dean Koontz
  • James Patterson
  • Jimmy Buffett
  • Sophie Littlefied (also met her at WPA!)
11. How would you see yourself in ten years time?
I don't know. By then the kids'll all be out of the house and RockCrawlinChef and I will hopefully be working on (or have) our dream house. We're planning on lots of travel in the future - back to Italy baby!


Tavernalle, in the Tuscany region

Rome

Cinque Terre (my favorite place on earth)


12. What’s your fear?
Losing someone I love - friend or family.
 
13. Would you give up all junk food for the rest of your life for the opportunity to visit outer space?

I have no desire to visit outer space, so bring on the junk food!

14. Would you rather be single and rich or married, but poor?

Married (as long as it's happily), but poor.

15. What’s the first thing you do when you wake up?

I. am. not. a. morning. person.

That said, the first thing I do is hit the snooze button.

16. If you could change one thing about your spouse/partner what would it be?

He's totally passive/aggressive and I'm not.  If something is bothering me, you'll know it.  If something is bothering him, you probably won't know it until some biting comments slips out.  I come from a long line of "just say it like it is"-ers.  It's difficult for me.

It's probably just as difficult for him to adjust to me; as he comes from a long line of passive/aggressives.

17. If you could pick a new name for yourself, what would it be?

I love my name.  Wouldn't change it for anything in the world.

18. Would you forgive and forget no matter how horrible a thing that special someone has done?
Forgive?  Yes.
Forget?  No.  That's just a recipe for disaster.

19. If you could only eat one thing for the next 6 months, what would it be?
I have no idea.  I get bored of food quickly.  But, I'm pretty sure I could live for a good, long time on RockCrawlinChef's homemade chicken parmesan. And now that I've said that, that's all I want for dinner!  But I don't think we've got time to make it.  Bummer.  My all-time favorite food.

Now comes the hard part...who to tag next...I've only got a few - blogs that I've just started following and suggest you all follow, too.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

And Now ... A Singing Dog

video

And that about sums up the week. (Sidenote to Rach: the gist of it is that it's a "great day to whoop someone's ass" - his lips are hard to read and without opposable thumbs he can't sign it.)

I'm in hour 46 of my work week, with a couple hours yet tonight and a couple more tomorrow.

But...tomorrow is going to be a good day.  Why, you ask?

Because it's GUNPOWDER THERAPY DAY and...drum roll, please...Momma Fargo is guest blogging at Girls With Guns!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Invisible Women

It's time again to link up with Rachel and Mr. Daddy and share our "I can't believe that happened!" stories with the world.  We've all got 'em, so step out of the box a little and click on over to Once Upon A Miracle to join in the fun.


My dear friend Tara and I went to SHOT Show in Las Vegas last week.  We met up with three guys from the gun shop: Boss Man, Army Guy, and the Original Bad Boy.  Boss Man is the owner and gunsmith at the gun shop, who had coordinated our registration for the show. 

Army Guy is Boss Man's best friend who has had a "crush" on me for years.  According to Tara, he can't keep his eyes off of me and every move he makes is in my direction (pay attention to that, it will be important later).  I kind of shrugged it off when she said it, but then realized it was true. 

The Original Bad Boy has been there, done that.  Let's just say I'm glad I'm on his good side and that he's a friend of the U.S.; he's the one and only person I've seen with the ability to completely disappear in a crowded room.  He just becomes so still that he disappears, I kid you not.  It's crazy.

Boss Man's cousin (or cousin-in-law, I can't keep it straight) is a former Border Patrol Agent with tales as tall as Paul Bunyan.  I've never met the famous (or infamous) JT, but I've heard stories about him for years.  Apparently, this was going to be the year to meet JT, as he was going to be in Las Vegas the same time we were and also had registered for SHOT Show.  The Original Bad Boy told us that you didn't "meet" JT as much as you "experienced" him and they all assured us that we'd have a blast getting to meet him and listen to his stories. The boys were so excited they couldn't hardly stand themselves.  Boss Man must have called JT a million times to make sure we were going to meet up and to coordinate when and where. 

Tara and I tagged along with the boys, pausing when Boss Man stopped to talk shop with people in the booth.  The problem is that Boss Man can talk like a girl, so sometimes his quick stops ended up being a half hour or more.  When that happened, we'd just wander off for a bit and keep checking back later until he was ready to move on.

At one booth, Boss Man was busy talking up the owner when the infamous JT showed up with his buddy, Primitive Boy.  Army Guy and Original Bad Boy immediately fell into an animated conversation with them.  Tara and I would have introduced ourselves to JT, but we ceased to exist.  We had been standing off to the side about two feet when JT and Primitive Boy made their appearance.  Army Guy and Original Bad Boy closed ranks, making it impossible for us to join in.  Not a big deal; Tara and I just looked at each other and decided to wander off on our own.

We took in three or four aisles, stopped at the bathroom (no lines!), got something to eat and meandered back to the gathering of JT, which was just breaking up.  Again, no offers to introduce us and no opportunity to introduce ourselves.  After JT and Primitive Boy took their leave, Army Guy noticed that we'd been gone, but only because we came back with food in our hands.  Boss Man asked if we'd been introduced to JT and apologized for being busy with the owner of the booth.  Not a problem, we were going to meet them for dinner anyway.  Plenty of time to get to meet them.

Dinner time comes, the boys arrive at our door to gather us up for dinner with the Great JT and we head to their favorite restaurant.

The Great JT and his posse had gotten to the restaurant first and gotten us a table.  We walked up to join them and realized that they were two chairs short - one for Tara and one for me.  The boys had completely forgotten that we were going to be joining them for dinner and hadn't told the Great JT to include us in the count.

Two of the guys in JT's posse were appropriately horrified at the oversight. 

Our guys? 

Didn't even notice. 

We ceased to exist the minute they set eyes on the Great and Powerful JT.  Tara offered for us to sit at the counter and they could all go do their dinner.  J and K, with the Great JT's posse, wouldn't hear of it and immediately re-located to a table that would seat all of us. 

Our guys? 

Didn't even notice. 

We no longer existed in the shadow of their Messiah, the Great and Powerful JT.  We had become... *insert deep, thunderous voice here* ...The Invisible Women.

Remember, way back at the beginning, when I said Army Boy has had a crush on me for years?  Remember that Tara said that he couldn't take his eyes off of me and that every move he made was in my direction?

Yeah, not so much when the Great and Powerful JT is involved.

At the new table, Tara and I expected that we'd be sitting at one end by ourselves, the boys were so enamoured of JT.  It was amusing to see all of the boys (with the exception of J and K, who chose to sit at our end of the table) fall all over JT and Primitive Boy and fairly scramble to get a seat next to him.  Of all of the boys, I was most disconcerted to see the Original Bad Boy fall under the Great and Powerful JT's spell.

In the end, Tara and I had an absolutely wonderful time with J and K.  I'm betting we had more fun listening to their stories than we would have listening to the Great and Powerful JT's stories - simply because we hadn't had the chance to fall under his spell.

Speaking of Tara - click on over to Girls With Guns for our Q&A with her and a chance to win an autographed copy of LOOSE ENDS.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Now THAT'S Cold!

While I'm off enjoying the warmer weather in Las Vegas (mid-60s all week), I thought I'd share with you a picture from our last cold snap.  It was below zero for a couple of days (felt like a month) and we got snow.

The front U-joints are going out on RockCrawlinChef's Jeep, so I was driving her back and forth to work, while he was driving Ripley (his commute is much longer than mine).  The Lil Blue Box (Jeep) is missing her back window.  The zipper broke and so there's no way to keep the window in place.  It's not really a huge deal as long as the heater's going full blast.

Add in the snow and you get a snow-globe on wheels.  The snow would blow off Lil Blue's roof and into the back window, swirling around with the heater fan.  I can honestly say it was the first time I've ever been snowed on inside a moving vehicle.

It warmed up to about 2* above zero that day and the sun was shining brightly.  It shone bright enough that the snow started to melt despite the below freezing temperatures, causing icicles to form.

The snow that had been previously on Lil Blue's head melted and ran down her side, eventually freezing.  When my boss left work that afternoon, she called me to tell me that my vehicle was frozen to the ground.  Huh?  I knew it was cold, but was it really cold enough to freeze a Jeep to the ground?


Apparently it was.  You can't see it well in the picture, but the icicle's about two inches in diameter and frozen solid to the puddle on the ground.

Ah, well, the good news is that it being Colorado, it was much warmer the next day - we made it to 20* F.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

A Bombshell and then Radio Silence

Or something like that.

First, the bombshell.  My baby, my first born, my sweet, sweet son (he's sweet now that he's living on his own and is self-sufficient) has decided to co-habitate with his girlfriend.  What's so horrible about that, you ask?

I have not met her.  What if she's not worthy of my son? 

Never would I have ever thought I'd be THAT mom.  The one who instantly distrusts any girl who ropes my son in.  But I've never met her.  They've only been "together" for about a month.  A month!  Again with being THAT mom.  I swear, I'm not.  I have no idea who this crazy lady is who has taken over my thoughts.

All I want is for Digger to be happy.  No, really.  That's what I want.  So who is THAT mom who keeps taking over my feelings?

He assures me I'll love her when we meet.  Of course he does.  But he's my baby.  He's only 19 - what does he know about happily ever after?  (Mom and Bill - don't. want. to. hear. it.)

So what that I was 18 when I got married and 20 when I had Digger.  That was me.  Not my baby.

I guess part of my problem is that while I thought about the kids growing up and moving out - I never really counted on them getting married.  That was a totally abstract thought.  Sure, they were going to grow up and get married.  But it never crossed my mind that I'd have daughter- or son-in-laws.

I know, I know.  I'm jumping the gun.  They're just moving in together.

First, they got a dog.

The next day, I find out they're going to be living together.

Now what? (Mr. Daddy - we've had this conversation, you just shut it.)

So...

On to the radio silence.  I'm off the radar for a few days while I'm off at SHOT Show with Tara.  See y'all in a few days.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Winner, Winner!

Using Random Name Picker, I plugged in all of the comments from the give-away and ... drum roll...
brian said...
2011 Dodge Challenger, black, smoked-out windows, de-flagged, rims, hemi, the works.
...oh and, peace on earth, good will towards all me :)
Brian - I checked, and CSN does have Dodge Challengers, but I don't think you'll fit in the little models.  Hopefully, you'll be able to find something that you like.  Email me and I'll shoot you the winner's code for your $40 GC.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Last Day for Giveaway!

Don't forget that today's the last day to enter my giveaway!

Go here and leave a comment to be entered.  Good luck, everyone!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Tara's Coming To Play

The other GunDiva, Tara Janzen, is going to be doing a guest blog over at Girls With Guns.  She's the author of the award-winning and New York Times Bestselling Steel Street series and I seriously heart her.

On Wednesday, jump on over to GWG to join what is certain to be a thought-provoking and fun post.

And don't forget to enter here for a chance at a $40 gift certificate from CSN stores.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Did You Get What You Asked For? *Giveaway*

Well, if you didn't, here's your chance to win a $40 shopping spree at CSN stores.  Though I won't be getting any more modern dining room furniture until after ALL of the heathi are out of the house, CSN stores has some good stuff.  RockCrawlinChef moved some pretty cool furniture in when we got married, but I'm thinking that we might want stuff that we can entertain with.

I'm pretty sure that there's something that you want and had hoped you'd get it for Christmas, but it didn't show up under the tree.  'Cause, dang, I know that Santa did not drop off the consecutively numbered, semi-matching AR-15s under the tree that RCC and I were hoping for.

So...'fess up...what is it you wanted and didn't get this year?  And don't give me all that "I have my health/my happiness/a loving family and what more could you ask for" crap.  A book?  Jewelry?  A trip? The winning lottery numbers?

Leave me a comment with what you wanted by midnight CST on Wednesday, January 12th.  I'll plug your names in a random generator thingy and announce my winner on Friday, January 14th.  Entries limited to three (because I have some long-winded, smart-alec family and friends).

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Flashback to pre-2008

Life's been especially good for the last few years.  And I mean especially good.  Good enough that I had almost forgotten how rotten it can be.

And then it slapped me in the face last night.

That's what I get for thinking that I'd finally gotten everything straightened out and turned around.

I know I'm making it sound all doom-and-gloom, but I'm having a bit of a pity party for myself.

When I graduated college, the only job I could find was building trophies for about $6.50 an hour.  I had three kids, a brand-new college degree and a minimum wage job.  I had quit a job that was paying $22.50 in 1993 to return to school.  I don't make $22.50 an hour as an Associate Dean once I break down my hours.

But I digress. 

When I graduated from college, life sucked just as bad as while I was in college.  Let's face it, minimum wage is minimum wage even with a shiny new college degree.  At that point, my rent was literally 80% of my income.  I had to choose between paying my student loan payments or paying rent.  I chose to pay rent and defaulted on my student loans.  Now I know about deferments and forbearance, but when I tried to talk to the student loan people at my school about it back then, no one said a word.  I had no clue that I could have applied for one or both.  Thanks a lot financial aid people at CSU.  Fuckers.

Long story short, I spent many years working many jobs and gradually worked my way up to a point where I could afford to enter a "rehabilitation" program for my student loans.  When I entered the program, I was advised to not file taxes if I thought I was going to receive a refund - any refund - because it's "offset" - taken to pay back what I owed.  The problem was, that the offset came off of the interest, not the principal.  So, for years, I've been holding back on filing my income taxes.

I finished my rehab program, got my congratulatory letter for finishing it, and was told the offset had been removed.  Not trusting the government to be speedy, I waited an additional year before filing taxes.  I finally filed my taxes in October.

Since I found out what my refund was going to be, RCC and I have been coming up with creative ways to spend that chunk of money.  A lot of it was going to go directly to bills I'm still paying on, but we had a few things in mind that we wanted to do.

I've been anxiously awaiting the lump sum deposit in my account.  Woo Hoo!  I'd managed to dig myself out the financial hole the kids and I had lived in for pretty much their entire lives and it was paying off.

Until I got the mail last night.  In it was a letter saying that my entire refund had been offset.

Wait a minute...I finished the rehab program, I've been paying my student loans faithfully each month, the offset had been removed.  Or so I'd been told.

I got on the phone first thing this morning, determined to straighten out this mess.  I had played by their rules, I had waited a year for them to get it removed.  I wanted my fucking money.

The customer service lady who helped me was exceptionally nice and dug through my files, conferred with her manager and broke the bad news to me...when my student loans were consolidated, they forgot one. 

The Perkins Loan. 

I knew that; I found out a couple of months ago.  Big deal, set up some payments and crank it out.  Get it done and over with, right?  Nope.  Never got the chance. It went straight to an offset.

So, after years of playing by their rules, doing everything they asked, I still managed to get screwed.

I'm going back to my pity party now...

Saturday, January 1, 2011

*Sigh* Another Year Dawns

It seems like I didn't have enough time in 2010 to get everything done.  I checked in with last year's resolutions and felt like it was a draw.  No surprise, I'm recycling all four of them for this year and adding one.

#1: Be healthier.  I semi-succeeded with this one, in that I ended the year weighing less than I started the year.  But I'm in worse shape, not better.  This year, I'll be turning the big four-oh.  I so want to hit my birthday forty pounds lighter than I am now.  Turning the big four-oh, forty pounds lighter.  Yep, sounds like a good omen to me :)  Going to check out a gym tomorrow; have to join one.  I'm too much of a wimp to 1) run and 2) run in the cold.  Screw that business.

#2: Write, write, write.  Re-query TALES FROM THE TRAIL.  Finish HUNTED LYON and begin editing it.  Get to work on the second book in the Lyon series, LYON'S ROAR.

#3: Spend more time with my little girl.  Because, let's face it, there's just never enough time to spend with the equine loves of our lives.  I'm even going to take riding lessons while she's at winter pasture so that I can utilize my seat better.  I ride okay and have lots of hours on the back of a horse, but I'd like to have better leg/seat control.  Estes is much better trained than I am; I'd like to be a worthy rider.

#4:  Continue my Master's program.  If I play my cards right and work my arse off, RockCrawlinChef and I will walk together at graduation in 2012.  How cool would that be?

#5: Be a better person.  I'm kind of a catty, snarky bitch.  I'm trying to learn to live and let live.  It's hard.  I've always spoken my mind, hurt feelings be damned.  I grew up believing that you say what needs to be said, when it needs to be said.  I still believe that, but I think I can learn a lot from my Southern friends who can tell someone to go right to hell, give them directions, and make them think it was their idea to begin with.  It's a skill I envy.  I want to be able to bless hearts with the best of them.