Ryo-oki carrot
Went to Lagoon yesterday. My daughter, 4, had such a good time! We took her a couple years ago and she didn't want to go on anything, was scared of most of the rides and only went on the carousel and the train. This time, she was a bit scared at first, but once she got going, she REALLY got going! She went on just about everything she could that she was tall enough for! Because I like making lists, I am going to make a list of stuff she went on, stuff I went on, stuff Alex went on, and stuff my Dad went on. So, here we go!

Stuff Baby Girl went on
Baby Boats
Dinosaur Drop (with me)
Dragonfly (with me and my Dad)
Kontiki (with me, Alex, and my Dad)
Ladybug Bop (with me)
Merry-Go-Round (with me, Alex, and my Dad)
Puff the Little Fire Dragon (with me)
Red Baron
Rock-O-Plane (tried to, but I was too big, so we got booted)
Sky Ride (with me, clutching her tightly the whole time (I hate that damn ride!))
Sky Scraper (this is the Ferris wheel, with me, Alex, and my Dad)
Space Scrambler (with me)
Speedway Jr.
Tidal Wave (with me)
Tilt-A-Whirl (with me)
Wild Kingdom Train (with me, Alex, and my Dad)

Stuff I went on that she didn't go on (mostly with my Dad)
Air Race

Trip to Denver
Ryo-oki carrot
This one probably won't be interesting to anyone but me. I like to write down what I eat when I go out of town because I loves the food so much. I went to Denver by train in October w/ my family and we had so much fun!

Here is a nice list of all the food we had:
Day 1 - mostly on the train
Breakfast: Amtrak Dining Car
Lunch: Amtrak Lounge Car (I believe mine was a hamburger)
Dinner: Good Time Burgers

Day 2 - Zoo! It was free day!
Breakfast: Free breakfast in our hotel, a pretty decent buffet
Lunch: Bruggers Bagels because we were on our way to the Zoo!
Dinner: Leela's, yummy stuff! I had a pesto wrap thinger, had dinner w/ our friend Bobby

Day 3 - Children's Museum
Breakfast: Again free breakfast in our hotel
Lunch: At the Aquarium right next to the Children's Museum, seemed like a good idea because the Aquarium was really expensive, but the food wasn't badly priced, so we saw fish and ate decent food, got the Aquarium experience and didn't have to pay $15 a person to get it
Dinner: Bayou Bob's (I LURVE this place, so yummeh!)

Day 4 - Museum of Science and Nature (one of the most awesome museums I've ever seen!)
Breakfast - hotel
Lunch - Museum cafe, it was pretty good! Tho crowded, my daughter had a little lunch tray that was sooper cute!
Dinner - Obento
We accidentally got off the bus in the middle of the largest zombie walk in the world (it really actually broke records!). It was quite hilarious!

Day 5 - goin' home
Breakfast: hotel for the last time!
Lunch - we grabbed Lunchables at Walgreen's to eat on the train
Dinner - Dining car

There we go! Now I can look back at this someday and sigh and be all happy and remember-y.

I forgot I had some text that I wrote to a friend about the trip that I wanted to put here too. Here it is:

Well, we took the train out, Mari FUCKING loved it! She did so well! There was 1 little tantrumy thing in the whole 15 hour trip! And the hotel was really nice, right downtown and had free hot breakfast, free cocktail hour, we had a dining room table, fully stocked kitchen, it was great!

The first day we went to the Zoo, it was really crowded, it's about 2x as big as our zoo, was very cool, then that night we went out w/ my friend Bobby and his girlfriend and her 2 daughters, then Friday we went to the Children's Museum which is fabulous, lots of great stuff to play w/ and Mari had such a good time, we had lunch in the Aquarium which is right by the Kid's museum but is very expensive, so we just had lunch there and watched the big ol' aquariums that you could see from the lunch area

Then Sat we went to the Museum of Nature and Science which is just about the coolest damn museum I've ever seen, seriously! It has a planetarium, we saw a star show, and they had a Mars diorama thing that was huge w/ glass in front of it, a dood in an astronaut costume would come out and pretend he was on Mars in 2047 conducting experiments, Mari was FASCINATED w/ it, she loved it so much! then we saw dinosaurs, mummies, there was a science experiment area, it was just so cool, that night my friend came over to hang out that I went to high school with, he brought some beers he had brewed, they were really good, then the train home which was again fabulous!

We were right next to the 16th Street mall, oh and there was a huge record breaking zombie walk that we accidentally walked into on Sat, the official count was 7,300 zombies, it was hilarious! we were just trying to get some dinner, hee!

I was doooooooooomed!
I am a big giant geek, I always have been, and always will be. And I realized the other day that I was dooooooomed from the start.

Take for example this conversation between my Mom and I on the IMs (Note: I was a red shirted Vulcan for Halloween this year):

Me: ooh, the halloween costume came in last night! still waiting on our ears tho
Mom: oh cool - where are the ears from? do the finger thing - live long and prosper
Me: also from Amazon, just shipping in a separate packag
Me: *package
Mom: have you achieved Kol-i-nar?
Me: I can do the finger thing very well, so that's good
Mom: good, not everyone can do it, another genetic trait
Me: I think I may have a bit too much emotion for Kilinar
Mom: wahhh! boohoo! i'm (sniff) so sorry for you. i laugh hysterically bc i achieved it years ago (neener neener)
Me: ha!

See, dooooooomed!

Top 10 places I want to visit, US and World
I just wanted to get this down while I was thinking about it.

World destinations I want to visit:
1. Paris and Tours, France
2. Berlin, Germany
3. London, England
4. Dublin, Ireland
5. Tokyo, Japan
6. Vancouver, Canada
7. Wales
8. Not sure where but somewhere in India
9. Cairo, Egypt
10. Moscow, Russia

US destinations I want to visit:
1. San Francisco, CA
2. New Orleans, LA
3. New York, NY
4. Seattle, WA
5. Portland, OR
6. Orlando, FL (for Harry Potter reasons)
7. Anaheim, CA (for Disneyland reasons even though I don't like Disney, we're not going to talk about the hypocrisy)
8. Boston, MA
9. Denver, CO
10. Chicago, IL (by train all the way from here in a sleeping car!)

Dream last night
I had a dream last night that I was hanging out with Amanda Palmer before a concert, she was getting ready for the show and I had won some contest or something, so was chosen to hang out with her.

I said something like: "I am so grateful to you, you have been inspiring to me and you are partially responsible for me doing things I wouldn't have done otherwise."

She was happy to hear that, but then I thought about it some more and I said, "but you know, I am completely responsible for me doing all kinds of wonderful things for myself my whole life, so I'm grateful to ME too!" and she LOVED that.

And when I woke up this morning, I felt like I have turned some kind of corner somehow, that doesn't mean I'm completely different, but that maybe I'm getting a bit better.

In My Mind
Sometimes you're in just the right place, at just the right time, with just the right brain goin' on, that a song/poem/book/story, hits you EXACTLY right and your life feels different after. I had this experience a month or so ago with an Amanda Palmer song, In My Mind. She just released the video a month ago, I follow her on Twitter, so I got the link. I didn't look at it for a few days, but one day, feeling quite low about work (which was crazy-busy at the time) and low about things in my life in general, I gave it a listen.

And was blown away.

I listened again, and again, and again, and again. I came home and shared it with everyone in the house. My daughter wanted to also hear it again, and again, and again. She often will ask to see it first thing in the morning "Mama, play My Mind!" And I must comply, what can I do?

The amazing thing about the song is that it goes through a journey that I have been going through, the journey to self-acceptance, the journey to lose the expectations that you have had and will have about yourself and the life you lead. And, most importantly, the journey to figure out that you are exactly the person that you want to be.

The video is amazing, too. And beautiful, and gorgeous, just like Amanda. Please do yourself a favor and check it out.

I provide for you the lyrics because they are so mind-blowingly wonderful to me:

In my mind
In a future five years from now
I'm a hundred and twenty pounds
And I never get hungover
Because I
Will be the picture of discipline
Never minding what state I'm in
And I will be someone I admire
And it's funny how I imagined
That I would be that person now
But it does not seem to have happened
Maybe I've just forgotten how
To see
That I'm not exactly the person that I thought I'd be.

And in my mind
In the far-away here-and-now
I've become in control somehow
And I never lose my wallet
Because I
Will be the picture of discipline
Never fucking-up anything
And I'll be a good defensive driver

And it's funny how I imagined
That I would be that person now
But it does not seem to have happened
Maybe I've just forgotten how
To see
That I'll never be the person that I thought I'd be.

And in my mind
When I'm old I am beautiful,
Planting tulips and vegetables
Which I will mindfully watch over

Not like me now
I'm so busy with everything
That I don't look at anything

But I'm sure I'll look when I am older

And it's funny how I imagined
That I could be that person now
That that's not what I want
But that's what I wanted
That I'd be giving up somehow
How strange to see
That I don't want to be the person that I want to be.

And in my mind
I imagine so many things
Things that aren't really happening
And when they put me in the ground

I'll start pounding the lid,
Saying, "I haven't finished yet,
I still have a tattoo to get,
That says, 'I'm living in the moment'".

And it's funny how I imagined
That I could win this win-less fight
Maybe it isn't all that funny
That I've been fighting all my life
But maybe I have to think it's funny
If I want to live before I die
And maybe it's funniest of all
To think I'll die before I actually
That I am exactly the person that I want to be.

Fuck yes.

I am exactly the person that I want to be.

Mother Truckin' Ants
When we moved into our house last May, there were a few ants here and there. I thought we had perhaps brought them with us since we had a few ants in our old house. At the time, I thought nothing of it. We unpacked (um, not all the way tho, that never happens right?) and settled in. Six months went by, then, they started appearing more and more in the kitchen. I think I first realized we had a problem when I picked up the honey and it was literally COVERED with ants. I was freaked out and chucked the bottle away from me, fully willied.

They got worse, if anyone dropped a tiny drop of juice, or left out anything with sugar in it, it would get surrounded by their little black bodies ringed around the sugary item like they were having a creepy little ant conference. Then there were the trails. Ants leave some kind of chemical trail behind them when they find a food source, and you suddenly have this ant highway, ants trooping back and forth busily absconding with your sugary shit endlessly, mindlessly.

We did battle. And...
we lost.

We tried traps we bought from the store, wiping everything down w/ bleach, plugging up holes we found, calling out the exterminator to spray TWICE. We've tried eco ant killer, and not so eco ant killer, and they are still fucking trooping through our house. We put almost every bit of food we have in a bin, locked it away from them, and they turned to the cat food.

A few weeks ago, I started thinking about why this ant invasion made me so fucking ANGRY, full of RAGE. I felt tense all the time, I had ants marching through my dreams, creeping me out asleep or awake. And I finally figured it out. I can't control it. I can't make it go away, I can't make them stop. No matter what I've done or anyone in the house has done, we can't make them leave us alone. I am completely powerless.

One day I had an ephiphany. I made the connection back to when I was two and three, feeling powerless because I had no control when my grandfather would sexually abuse me. I couldn't get him to stop, or to leave me alone, and I couldn't tell anyone, couldn't do anything about it. I was completely powerless.

With this new insight, I scanned back through my life and realized that any time I get in a situation where I feel powerless, I do everything I can to wrest back that control. Feeling powerless is scary, when you're powerless, scary people do scary things to you, and no one can save you.

The ants still bother me, they still make me grumpy, but I no longer feel RAGE about it. I know they aren't my grandfather. At least I've taken that power away from them. I know they are just doing their little six-legged instinctual job and that in a clash of human and bug, the bug usually wins.

And, I've been working on letting go of feeling like I always have to be in control. Hell, I'm a mother of a toddler, I haven't had control for a long time! It's kind of funny where your brain leads you sometimes, to have such a revelation about something so simple as an ant. But, I'm glad it does, and I'm glad I have the big beautiful brain that I do, so I can try to figure out a new plan to get those motherfuckin' ants to finally leave us alone!

So glad they snubbed Superman
In all the hullabaloo about the Oscar noms coming out, I didn't realize that "Waiting for Superman" got nothing, no nomination atall. It makes total sense to me why it wouldn't, but it seemed like a shoe-in since it was "taking the country by storm" and all that kind of shit. This article was on Ebert's Twitter feed and he mentioned it in a way that made it sound like he's rethinking the film.

I'm GLAD and I hope the snub by Oscar will bring the problems with this movie, and by extension, with the Department of Education's (DoE) strategies to light. I KNOW our education system is fucked up. I KNOW we have problems with our school system and our teachers. The problem is, this movie, and the strategies the DoE are suggesting In fact, many of them will make the problem worse. The article summarizes the problems with the movie and points to Diane Ravitch's review of "Waiting for Superman." Her review is long, but really goes in-depth into why the DoE is flawed in it's ideas. Here's the summary article:

Banned! Woo!
I'm not sure when this list came out, but I am very likely late to this game. Because of the Huck Finn controversy, I started mucking about the American Library Association and found the following list.

I am reproducing it here with a note of which ones I have read and some comments about them. This is solely for me, I don't expect anyone else to really care about it, I just want to have the list somewhere so I can refer to it when I need to figure out something to read. I think a good goal would be to read all the books on this list. So, that's what I'm gonna do. I put no time frame on it because I don't feel like it.

Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books: 2000-2009

Read 1. Harry Potter (series), by J.K. Rowling
I guess the whole witchcraft is satan thing is why this is on here. Guess what? It's FICTION! FICTION people! Sheesh!
2. Alice series, by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
3. The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
4. And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson/Peter Parnell
Read 5. Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
Haven't read this since high school, might be worth a revisit. I'm not sure why it's on here.
6. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
7. Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz
Read 8. His Dark Materials (series), by Philip Pullman
I loved loved loved these books! And I completely know why they're on here, heh. Good for you Philip Pullman!
9. ttyl; ttfn; l8r g8r (series), by Myracle, Lauren
10. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
11. Fallen Angels, by Walter Dean Myers
12. It’s Perfectly Normal, by Robie Harris
13. Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey
Why is this on here? Because he's wearing underpants? I don't get it.
Read 14. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
I love Twain, and I know why it's on here, but c'mon people! It's history, and the word nigger is in there for a reason!
15. The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
Read 16. Forever, by Judy Blume
Tho I also don't remember it very well. I do remember it is NOT anything like her 12-13 year old kid fiction.
17. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
Read 18. Go Ask Alice, by Anonymous
I loved this book in high school. In fact, this book made me want to try drugs. So, I guess if that's what happened to me, then I can see why it's on this list, but we have to go our own path, you know?
Read 19. Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
Not my favorite book really. I wasn't quite sure why everyone around me was freaking out about how wonderful it is. Still not sure.
20. King and King, by Linda de Haan
21. To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
22. Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily von Ziegesar
23. The Giver, by Lois Lowry
Read 24. In the Night Kitchen, by Maurice Sendak
Nekkid! Woo!
25. Killing Mr. Griffen, by Lois Duncan
26. Beloved, by Toni Morrison
27. My Brother Sam Is Dead, by James Lincoln Collier
Read 28. Bridge To Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson
This book was so sad, I was weirded out that they made it into a movie.
29. The Face on the Milk Carton, by Caroline B. Cooney
30. We All Fall Down, by Robert Cormier
31. What My Mother Doesn’t Know, by Sonya Sones
32. Bless Me, Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya
33. Snow Falling on Cedars, by David Guterson
34. The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things, by Carolyn Mackler
35. Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging, by Louise Rennison
Read 36. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
Is it because of all the sex? I liked this one, but for this genre, I will always appreciate The Wanting Seed more.
37. It’s So Amazing, by Robie Harris
38. Arming America, by Michael Bellasiles
39. Kaffir Boy, by Mark Mathabane
40. Life is Funny, by E.R. Frank
41. Whale Talk, by Chris Crutcher
42. The Fighting Ground, by Avi
Read 43. Blubber, by Judy Blume
Why is this one banned? I don't get it?
44. Athletic Shorts, by Chris Crutcher
45. Crazy Lady, by Jane Leslie Conly
Read 46. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
Love all Vonnegut!
47. The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby, by George Beard
48. Rainbow Boys, by Alex Sanchez
49. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kesey
50. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
51. Daughters of Eve, by Lois Duncan
52. The Great Gilly Hopkins, by Katherine Paterson
53. You Hear Me?, by Betsy Franco
54. The Facts Speak for Themselves, by Brock Cole
55. Summer of My German Soldier, by Bette Green
56. When Dad Killed Mom, by Julius Lester
57. Blood and Chocolate, by Annette Curtis Klause
58. Fat Kid Rules the World, by K.L. Going
59. Olive’s Ocean, by Kevin Henkes
60. Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson
61. Draw Me A Star, by Eric Carle
62. The Stupids (series), by Harry Allard
63. The Terrorist, by Caroline B. Cooney
64. Mick Harte Was Here, by Barbara Park
65. The Things They Carried, by Tim O’Brien
66. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, by Mildred Taylor
67. A Time to Kill, by John Grisham
68. Always Running, by Luis Rodriguez
Read 69. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
Oh, the irony that this is on THIS list!
70. Harris and Me, by Gary Paulsen
71. Junie B. Jones (series), by Barbara Park
72. Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison
73. What’s Happening to My Body Book, by Lynda Madaras
74. The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold
Read 75. Anastasia (series), by Lois Lowry
DoubleU.Tee.Eff! Why is this series on here? Seriously!
Read 76. A Prayer for Owen Meany, by John Irving
I think this is absolutely my favorite Irving.
77. Crazy: A Novel, by Benjamin Lebert
Read 78. The Joy of Gay Sex, by Dr. Charles Silverstein
I actually own this one, whee!
79. The Upstairs Room, by Johanna Reiss
80. A Day No Pigs Would Die, by Robert Newton Peck
81. Black Boy, by Richard Wright
82. Deal With It!, by Esther Drill
83. Detour for Emmy, by Marilyn Reynolds
84. So Far From the Bamboo Grove, by Yoko Watkins
85. Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes, by Chris Crutcher
86. Cut, by Patricia McCormick
87. Tiger Eyes, by Judy Blume
88. The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood
89. Friday Night Lights, by H.G. Bissenger
Read 90. A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeline L’Engle
I don't get this one either. I wish there was some kind of explanation why the book is on this list.
91. Julie of the Wolves, by Jean Craighead George
92. The Boy Who Lost His Face, by Louis Sachar
93. Bumps in the Night, by Harry Allard
94. Goosebumps (series), by R.L. Stine
95. Shade’s Children, by Garth Nix
Read 96. Grendel, by John Gardner
97. The House of the Spirits, by Isabel Allende
98. I Saw Esau, by Iona Opte
Read 99. Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret, by Judy Blume
Oh noes! Can't deal with bodies or the natural cycle of life or anything, sheesh!
100. America: A Novel, by E.R. Frank

Hmm, well that's a lot of books I now have to read! Yaaay!

My day planner
I still have a physical day planner. I know, I know, I need to get with the program and put it all in my Blackberry and Google calendar and sync them, etc, etc. I really have no excuse as to why I haven't done that.

I am only using 10% of my Blackberry's talent, just as I supposedly only use 10% of my brain (not true!

I love my day planner though, and call it George and, of course, perform all of the things that go along with calling it George.

My point is not to admit my failing as a physical day planner person here. As I was writing out my list of things to do along the side, I thought it would be interesting to show my list from January 2010 and compare it to the one I just wrote. Then everyone can see just how much I've been able to get done in the last year! How exciting!

Here is the January 2010 list (note: I have written small explanations in parentheses so it might actually make sense):
1. Medicalert - Jenonit (I am fatally allergic to penicillin so I have a bracelet, but I need a new one because the phone number on it is for my Stepdad who died in 2005, so I thought I'd put my friend Jen on it, but have since revised that in my head to put Alex on it, but haven't yet gotten around to revising the To Do list entry to say "Alexonit")

2. Kushiel Dart (Some of you may know what this is, it's a book series. My friend suggested it to me and I haven't quite gotten around to reading it yet. But I will! I swear!)

3. Alex dentist (Need to find Alex a dentist that actually takes our seriously lame-ass plan that no dentist seems to want to take.)

4. Vet (The cats need to get their little check-up)

5. Mole? (Someone needs to look at the mole on my back and see if it has taken over yet.)

6. XSPs (This stands for Xmas Secret Projects, something I really should have been done with a bit earlier than January 2010.)

7. FSA '08-'09 (Federal Spending Account for that year, they were trying to get me to pay myself or themselves back so I could pay myself, or something like that.)

I'm quite proud of myself in retrospect that my list was not too bad. 

Now, let's move to December 2010 and see how I did!
1. Medicalert (Hmmm, well, at least I took the Jenonit off, though I haven't quite gotten around to adding the Alexonit. Maybe once I add the Alexonit, I will actually get the damn thing and my life will be saved!)

2. Kushiel Dart (Um, note to Shauna, I will read it! I swear!)

3. Alex dentist (We seriously have the most lame-ass dental plan in the world, I did honestly work on this, but never found one. We've since talked about getting a more expensive plan for one year, getting everything possible done that we can get done, and then canceling the plan.)

4. Vet (Okay, no I'm not an animal abuser. Here's the deal, they don't really need check-ups every year AND they don't get shots every year either because one of them is allergic to the vaccines. I'm not evil, I swear!)

5. Go through clothes (This one made an appearance when we moved, I thought it would be a good idea to go through my clothes and get rid of some. We moved in May, but I haven't quite gotten around to this yet.)

6. Cull stuff (Yeah, that was for the move too, um, next?)

7. Unpack (Ummm, yeah, ginntonnix?)

8. Shannon Hale - author (Another book series suggested to me, I need to just stop writing these down!)

9. Monthly menu (I had some bright idea that I could create a monthly menu for 7 people eating organic, whole-grain, healthy food for under $100. It's been on my list for months and months because that hasn't quite happened yet.)

10. Novel (I woke up in the middle of the night with the first sentence of a novel running through my head. I wrote it down, started an outline, but haven't quite finished the novel yet. But hey, this one is only new for THIS year, so I've still got time.)

11. Holiday gifts (A little more appropriate name since I don't celebrate Xmas anyway, AND is a bit more timely, good for me!)

12. Linux (This is here to remind me to learn all of Linux.)

13. Blogs (Post to your blogs! which happens here every so often, not the other blogs I have, oog!)

14. Day planner refill (So the vicious cycle can continue! This one is ordered and en route, but I don't feel justified crossing it off until I have it in my hot little hands.)

15. Playgroup @ our house (For kids, not adults. How my life has changed since I have become a parent. *sigh*)

Okay, that was INCREDIBLY boring! Sorry! But you now have insights into my brain a little bit, I guess. Too bad I'm only using 10% of it, can you imagine how boring my list would be if I used more than 10%? Wow!


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