Saturday, November 30, 2013



Today I drove my 1999 Honda Accord for the last time. The first official Zoemobile was traded in on a brand-spankin' new Mazda CX-5. It needed $4k of work and was worth about $1k on trade in. M crunched the numbers and it cost me (sale price only, not maintenance or consumables) about $4.70 per day to drive it for nearly 15 years. A little over the cost of my Starbucks mocha. Not too shabby.

It was hard to give her up. That car has been my go-to for almost 15 years. It got me entirely through my 30s. It took me to countless infertility appointments, then to countless maternity appointments, then to the hospital. It brought my baby girl home, then faithfully shuttled that little girl to preschool, kindergarten, first and part of second grade. Birthday parties and play dates and soccer games and softball games and piano lessons. Doctor and dentist appointments. Haircuts. Field trips.

That car brought my hubby safely home in a snowstorm, doped up on pain meds while I drove white-knuckled all the way. It also brought him home after an emergency appendectomy. It carted his drunken butt (and the drunken butts of three of his friends) home after Man Night. I was sober driver, and my car was the chariot of the inebriated that night.

It took us to Chicago and Cincinnati and Queen Wilhelmina's Castle. It took me to work nearly every day and got me safely home, through six different jobs.

I have slept in that car, cried in that car, raged and laughed in that car.

I have lived a big part of my life with that car. So it was hard to turn over her keys and let someone else have her.

I felt better when I got into my new ride, though, and remembered what it's like to have a new car. It rides well. It smells good. Everything works, without having to beat on it or wait for something to warm up. I have heated seats and keyless entry and push-button start. I have remote start and adaptive headlights and dual climate control and hands-free everything.

It's the new, improved Zoemobile. And I love it.

Friday, November 29, 2013



Ol' Henry showed up sometime last night. He always comes Thanksgiving night. Zozo was so excited yesterday she could hardly contain herself. She couldn't wait to go to bed, just because she knew when she woke up that Henry would be here.

She let us know this morning that he had arrived. And by this morning I mean 3:55 a.m.

We have been talking elves nonstop for days. What they eat, when they sleep, middle names, what they do during the off-season, how fast they fly (variable speeds, depending on potential obstacles, according to Zoe), how our elf is different than other families' elves, whether they wear underwear (they do) and have more than one elf uniform (yes), how they lose their magic if a person touches them, etc.

He just got here and I'm nearly elf'd out.

Welcome back, Henry. Here's to a great Christmas!

Thursday, November 28, 2013



Zobug and I watched the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade this morning, with the cats. M was outside working on the display.

I remember watching the parade when I was her age, so it was pretty special to watch it with her today. We snuggled in our PJs and blankets and talked about how cool the Rockettes are and how much we love the balloons (she: Hello Kitty and the Elf, me: Snoopy) and how they make/shoot confetti.

The tree was on, the fire was lit, and the cats snuggled in with us. It was pretty awesome.

For this, and much much more, I am so grateful.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013



New house with higher ceilings calls for a larger tree. We found just the perfect one, and today Zoe and I assembled the train board and then put up the tree.

Decorating for Christmas is extra fun this year.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013



Piano innards.

Monday, November 25, 2013



Sunday, November 24, 2013



Every year M and I kick off our holiday season by watching Christmas Vacation. This year, Zo watched with us. She loved it. Her favorite scene? When Clark was in the attic, hitting himself in the head by stepping on planks laid across the rafters. Our favorite? The old classic line: "Shitter was full!"

Great movie night in our house. Here's to a great Christmas!

Saturday, November 23, 2013



This is pretty much where she will stay all winter. I don't blame her.

Friday, November 22, 2013



Our Mandarin teacher brought in a bunch of different types of tofu today, to share with students, faculty and staff. She made mabo tofu right on her desk. It was delicious. Very cool.

Thursday, November 21, 2013



Wednesday, November 20, 2013



We finally put the gas fireplace together. I can lounge on my couch and turn it on and off with a remote. I have hit the pinnacle of laziness, and I love it.

Okay, winter. I'm ready.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013



The city shut down our concrete pour today, over a misunderstanding. And since neither they nor our builder thought about taking their damn cell phones out of their pockets and calling either M or I to ask one simple question, we are experiencing an unnecessary delay. Stupid. It's fixed now but poor M had to scramble all afternoon while developing ulcers.

I took the Zoemobile in for an oil change today. And asked them to please tell me why the power steering is whining and why the front end thunks going around corners or over uneven pavement. This, of course, resulted in more bad news about my beloved car. (We still haven't fixed the bad news oil leak from six months ago as we have been monitoring it and it's livable - haven't even needed to add oil!)

So, I got the bad news and drove the car home and came inside to start research. Because the mechanic basically said, "Yeah, you can drive it home. But that's about it." Something about not being able to pass a safety inspection (which thankfully isn't due for another two years), and high-pressure power steering fluid hoses, and power steering pumps, and struts, and tires unacceptable for winter weather. This is in addition to the leaking oil gasket and recommended timing belt replacement.

Warning: do not look up the blue book value of your cherished 15-year-old car if you're already in a bad mood.

Let's just say the estimated repairs are about four times the trade-in value. If the car was in full working order. I wanted to cry. I realize that I should not be surprised that my old car with nearly 200k miles on it needs work. I get that. But this car has been so damn reliable, so faithful. I mean, we have put virtually nothing into it (except consumables and a bit of tranny work that bought us five more years and so was well worth it), so I'm used to it just going and not needing anything. This is why I love the car. It has never let me down. It has been comfortable and dependable. It's practically a member of the family. (I know, my motorhead roots are are more than just transportation to me.)

So we reviewed The Budget and talked to The Fathers and are hatching a plan. Since we don't want to purchase a new car this close to the end of the calendar year (hello January 1 tax assessment) this will soon become "Hey, remember that crazy month and a half where we both worked full time and had all kinds of other obligations and shared one car?! Boy, that was nuts!"

We will make it, of course, and I'm totally whining about a first-world problem, but it's been a shitty day and my head hurts so just indulge me for one post.

This day was NOT APPROVED. Because it has been yucky, I will now STOP WORK and go to bed.

Monday, November 18, 2013





I learned that M planned to use the old ties from the old tracks on the new tracks, and determined that they would look much better if they were dark. The track is dark. The bed is dark. Everything will blend in nicely with the grass...except for light wood ties. And since there are over 300 of them, they will be quite noticeable.

So my most wonderful hubby and his head elf started staining them tonight. All 300+.

They are not very happy, but I know they will thank me once the project is finished. I shall accept their gratitude with humility and grace.

(This is if they don't shoot me first!)

Thank you, elves! I really appreciate all your hard work!

Sunday, November 17, 2013



Today went by way too fast.

Mass this morning, then a work meeting until 12:15. Soccer game at 1:40 (that we had to arrive at by 1:25). Bday dinner with the FIL and fam. A celebratory visit to M's retreat, getting home around 9:45 or so. Then baking cookies for tomorrow's retreat return lunch.

Exhausted yet again, and still so, so happy.

M returns tomorrow! I know he is having a great time and we are so proud of him for serving the men of our parish in this way...but I miss my boy and am anxious to see him and spend time with him.

Tomorrow should be a slower pace. Hopefully.

Friday, November 15, 2013





Wednesday, November 13, 2013



I am trying to work and can barely keep my eyes open, so I better post this before I crash entirely.

It was Girl Scout day.

'Nuff said.



It's a flowery kind of week, apparently.

Once again it's now too late to write anything. Because I'm too tired. (I'm starting to see a pattern here. I mean, beyond the flowers.)

Monday, November 11, 2013



Sunday, November 10, 2013



Clean house. Pick up cupcakes and fruit trays. Make salad. Set up basement.

Shoot final soccer game of the season.

Rush home to welcome a hungry team, fresh from their victory, and their families for pizza and trophy presentation. Clapping and laughter and hugs and grins and new memories.

Errands errands errands (including but not limited to cotton balls, indoor soccer shoes, foundation powder, and a new Christmas tree for the great room).

Homemade dinner (stuffed peppers).

Guest list for Grand Lighting Celebration invites. Tweaking of Grand Lighting Celebration invites.

Review of the day, mostly highlights. Make and drink hot chocolate.

Kiss the sleeping daughter.

Fall into bed.

(No issues with insomnia these days!)

Saturday, November 09, 2013



I worked 14 hours yesterday. I had to be back at work at 7:45 today for an event at which I sat down for 20 minutes total, and I got home at 4.

The event was good, but I am so damn cranky and tired. I mean it. Every single thing is pissing me off tonight, which is not good.

So I think I should go to bed now.



Photo snapped at about 9 a.m.

Photo Instagrammed at 12:03 a.m.

What a day. Went in at 9, worked til 11, gotta be back at 8.

Life is good, and I am tired.

Thursday, November 07, 2013



A monk made my Comms team balloon hats today. Then double-dog dared me to snap a pic and email it to a benefactor.

He should know better.

Pic snapped and emailed. She loved it.

I got a monk-made balloon hat and completed a double-dog dare. I win.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013





Monday, November 04, 2013



As if the fall leaves haven't been spectacular enough this year...

Sunday, November 03, 2013



Last night I learned about this button on my camera. Today I used it.

It's pretty darn cool. Makes me wonder what else I'm under-utilizing on this thing. I'll have fun figuring it out!

Saturday, November 02, 2013



He was hard at work on the display all day. It's gonna be awesome this year!

Friday, November 01, 2013



Another new parish tonight, as their Holy Day Mass fit our schedule. Another old church, as evidenced by our tight squeeze in the pew. M was parking the car while Zo and I went in. I knelt to pray and promptly kicked the kneeler of the pew behind us. This is rare for me, although it happens to M quite frequently. I warned him when he arrived, "You're not going to fit!" He knelt, made an alarming face (I think even he was surprised by just how tight it is) and reached back to lower the kneeler.

We have been in many, many churches. I am continually amazed by how uncomfortable the pews and kneelers are, and am reminded of just how fortunate (some would say blessed!) we are at our parish. Even my beloved Abbey church, which I visit almost daily, has horrific pews (they are also too close together, the seats are too narrow, and the kneelers don't rise, making entering and exiting the pews difficult and, to the elderly, dangerous). I hang out in the choir stalls, which are awesome. Unfortunately that's where the monks sit, so they are wholly unaware of just how bad the pews are.

I suppose one could say that pews aren't supposed to be comfortable and that it's a small sacrifice to pay in the name of Jesus. However, when one is more focused on the pain radiating from one's knees, or the task of not kicking the person behind one when kneeling, or resisting the temptation of taking the Lord's name in vain because one is just so stinking miserable, I think it defeats the purpose. We're supposed to be listening to the Mass, right? Talking to God? Not thinking, "Holy shit, my knees are going to effing explode, and I don't think I'll ever be able to get out of this damn pew again!"

Just a few thoughts for the pew designers of the world.