January 29, 2009

Turn the Page

Most people will be watching the Superbowl this weekend. Those of us who are die-hard fans for either the Arizona Cardinals or the PITTSBURGH STEELERS will be watching avidly, cheering and jeering for about four hours. Some will look at the statistics and choose a team to root on based on who has the best defense, the better quarterback, or maybe someone like Fast Willie Parker or Troy Polamalu who's just everywhere. I'm just sayin'.

I'll be right alongside my husband and brother-in-law cheering the Steelers on. But we have a very important event around here that will transpire the day prior to the big game. A smart, funny, and whimsical little girl is turning four.

Her Yaya (pronounced yeah-yeah) will be taking Beth, Bubba, myself, her daughters and two other grandsons out to lunch at McDonald's where we'll also have cupcakes. Then we'll spend the afternoon at the house until the guys get back from the midday golf outing - originally meant to be an afternoon with my husband and his dad, sort of a final father-son outing, but it turned into my husband tagging along as my father-in-law goes golfing with his stepson-in-law and some other guy we don't know. Whatever. After they get back, we'll have the real cake and open presents.

I just can't believe four years have passed since I had my first baby. Is she really turning four? How is that possible? I was looking at old pictures when we were packing up the old place, just a couple of weeks ago, and when she was born we still didn't have a digital camera, so all her baby pictures are actually in photo albums. There's one picture of her sleeping on my chest, just a wee newborn, all curled up, mouth hanging open, and looking like the coziest baby on earth. Now, if I stretch her out to lay her head on my chest, it's like hugging a German Shepherd. She's huge in comparison to four years ago.

Her hair is thick and gorgeous and hangs down to the middle of her back. When she was three months old, all her baby hair fell out and she looked like an 80-year-old man. Her eyes were so dark when she was born, they were almost purple. Now she's big ol' doe eyes that shine a caramel-coffee color. She has really fair skin with a rosy glow and a smile that lights up a room. She's overcome a speech delay, having barely said three words by the time she was two. Now we can't pay her to be quiet. She's become such an integral and vibrant part of our life that we can't imagine life without her.

So in case I get wrapped up in something else tomorrow, forget to blog, or decide to hack out a Friday Chronicles post, happy birthday, Beth. You're an awesome little girl who's going to take over the world someday. We love you.

January 25, 2009

Because Denise was bored...and so am I...

(TAG! YOU ARE IT! Copy and post this on your blog ASAP!) What is this?

Well, you’re supposed to bold the things you’ve done so readers
can find out how you've led an awesome life so far.

Here's what I have done in bold...

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band

4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland [okay, Disney World]
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch

15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping

27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person

34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo's David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater

55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma

65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial

71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London

77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby

95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Read an entire book in one day

January 24, 2009

A Benign Post

I have blog guilt. I haven't produced a quality blog post in weeks. Every day, I swear up and down that I'm going to carve out half an hour to blog...and then every day, I find out I have absolutely nothing to write about. Things are very humdrum here. We've been driving back and forth to the old 'hood to handle college-related things for Rob but that aside, nothin'.

We've thrown a few more bricks into place regarding our migration back east. I've obtained the kids' birth certificates, finally. It only took me nearly four years to get Beth's and a full year to get Bubba's. This is no fault of the county (although I believe it's a bunch of bull that we have to pay to get the birth certificates, to the tune of $19.00 each). No, no, it's all me. I was just too lazy. We never needed them until now.

We bought the trailer hitch this past week, a Class III, meaning we can tow up to 3,500 pounds. I think Rob's installing it next week. I called Southwest to ensure I would be able to get a priority boarding pass because of having an infant with me. As long as I have the above-mentioned birth certificate, I'll be in Group A. I also got this fantastic contraption, the Travelmate, which will be an enormous help in the airport when I have Bubba in his convertible carseat. I didn't buy it brand-new, I bought it used from a woman in Union City. It's an older model, it's only supposed to fit Britax carseats, and I have a Cosco, but Rob's handy and can make it work. He started to explain to me what he was going to do to make it work, but as soon I heard, "What I'll do is..." my eyes glazed over and my ears powered down.

It's also a good feeling to know you're wanted back where you came from. My cousin invited us to her daughter's first birthday party the weekend after we get in, my college roommate is inviting me to her baby shower in March, and an old friend offered to help us get settled. My best friend is driving up shortly after we arrive so we can meet each other's kids and get caught up; nearly six years is a long time to be separated from your best friend.

I'm really excited and I'm glad things are finally coming together. Anybody else back east want to get together?

January 21, 2009

Like sands through the hourglass...

Wow, time's rolling by slowly. We're now T minus 20 days till lift-off and I'm pretty sure if time passed any slower it'd be going in reverse. It's not that things are terrible at my in-law's; if anything they're going better than they did last time. It's just that we're dealing with so. much. crap. these days that most days it feels like my head is swimming with things to do, numbers, and dates. It seems as though we can't catch a friggin' break (save for the massive amount of generosity coming to fruition on February 10th) and there's a roadblock at every pass. It's been this way since November and frankly, I'm not sure how much more I can take! I try to laugh it off. I've always held the opinion that you have to laugh at life, otherwise you'll drive yourself crazy. Lately, however, it's been a real stretch to find the laughter. When will things turn the corner?

In everyday news, my son's speech is picking up like moss on a rolling stone. He's recently added: tree, milk, cereal, ya-ya, Coke, cycle and jacket. Alright, he's actually saying: tee, gul, reh-ree, ya-ya, goke, gye-kul, and gah-ket. But they're his words and we know what they mean! My daughter has suddenly developed a HUGE attitude problem. Hands on hips, shrieking, wrinkling up her nose, making strange noises with her throat...ugh. I tell her daily that I'm trading her in at the Used Kids Store for a less-bratty model. I love that munchkin to death but man alive! She's in for a few years of butting heads with mommy and daddy if she keeps it up.

Rob started his first semester of college yesterday. He's very busy doing homework and posting to online discussions. I'm really very proud of him; he's embracing this whole college thing and trying to figure it all out on his own. It's going to be a rocky first semester what with the move and all, but I'm sure he'll survive. I'm actually a tad jealous. I loved college...and my notebooks. I have a self-professed obsession with office supplies: paper, binders, folders, pens, pencils, staplers, paperclips. I could spend a whole day in Staples. Now my husband has a brand-spanking-new Five Star Notebook just begging me to jot down notes in it. Rawr.

So we're off to the lower east bay again today. We have to buy Rob's books for the semester - provided the college released his funding - and hit up our storage unit to organize and make room for the toolbox. Good times.

January 18, 2009

Phase One, Complete.

So we're at my in-law's now. To be honest, the last time I blogged, I was in a bit of a fog, so I can't remember if I told you all this or not, but someone we know (who's asked to remain nameless) was kind enough to purchase two plane tickets so that Bubba and I can fly back to PA while Rob and Beth drive back with the Tracker, bike-on-trailer, and some of our crap. So we actually have an arrival date for all of you who are keeping track and would like to *ahem* be in Conneautville the weekend after we get back. Bubba and I are flying in on February 10th and will be up in Conneautville on the 11th. Rob and Beth will be rolling in probably on Friday the thirteenth. Bwa-ha-ha.

The 11th-13th will probably be spent just recouperating from the trip and unpacking, getting settled, doing some grocery shopping, stuff like that. So if I run into you around town, yay! If not, feel free to stop by my mom's place, we'll be there. We'll eventually be doing a run down to Pittsburgh to let my mother-in-law meet her grandson (if you recall, I was eight months pregnant with him the last time she saw us), so if you're in da 'Burgh, let me know and we'll try to work out a visit.

So who else is excited about the game today? GO STEELERS! I'm actually not a huge football nut but I do get excited about Steelers games, especially when they're vying for the AFC Championship. By the time most of you read this, the verdict will be in, but for now, I'm excited. We bought our play-off food for this afternoon/evening, we have a bigger-than-our-TV widescreen to watch the game on and we are, to bring up an old chestnut, geeked.

I should go. Things to do, things to do. Happy Playoff Day, folks!

January 15, 2009

Life is a cement trampoline.

So we're emptying out our apartment and throwing bags upon bags of stuff in the dumpster. Throwing out things that were really just cluttering up our life, taking up space, collecting dust...but it's really very hard to get rid of things that, in one way or another, were a part of everyday life. It's even harder to work up the strength to climb our outdoor steps another time to gather another load of garbage. I'm so damn tired, my limbs doth protest a lot.

Anyway, we're nearing the end of the clean-out. I have to finish up with the kids' room, the bathroom and hall closets, and then attack the kitchen. I think I'm going to round-file most of the kitchen; I'm keeping our glasses and Pyrex pans, and a few of the kids' cups. The rest is kind of junk at this point and it's not worth boxing up and saving. I really just want this to be done and to move on to the next phase of this "adventure."

What's on my mind now, to be honest, is our return to western Pennsylvania. I'm excited about it, I'm hoping we're able to finally live the life we've always wanted: friends and family to hang out with, things to do that won't cost a small fortune, football games we actually give a damn about, fishing, and overall a happier and less stressful existence. But I'm worried about reintroducing myself to a social life again.

I've made all of about three friends since moving out here. One I've never met in real life, one I've met in real life once, and one I've hung out with occasionally. Between spending the last four years immersed in raising my children and effectively removing myself from any kind of social scene since 2003, I feel like my social skills have packed up their bags and taken up residence somewhere in the recesses of my brain. I'm worried that given the opportunity to hang out with old friends and family, I'll end up sitting there like a bump on a log with little to say and what I do say will bore them to death.

I don't know, maybe I'll be fine. I've changed a lot since 2003 though, as one friend put it, I kind of act like an old lady sometimes. I'm hoping the fun me is hiding somewhere inside and I can revive her. I don't want to be the person that everyone invites to parties and get-togethers out of sympathy because once upon a time, she was fun to have around but now we just feel sorry for her awkwardness.

Bah. I worry too much. I should just be excited to see everyone again, right? You all will still love me, right? Just be patient with me. I'll come around again, I swear!

January 12, 2009

"We all have big changes in our lives that are more or less a second chance."

~ Harrison Ford

Never thought I'd be quoting Indiana Jones, but that man is mighty quippy.

So here's the rundown, without going into too much gritty detail:

1. We're moving. Yes, we're moving, and not to any other place in the Bay Area. Not even in California. Through a series of essentially uncontrollable circumstances, we're unable to even semi-comfortably stay in California. So all you East Coast folks, you know, the ones I've whined about missing? Mark your calendars, we're packing up and heading back across this chunk of earth and coming to a screeching stop in my old stomping grounds.

2. We're paring down our possessions. Our initial haul will only be bringing what we can fit in our tracker and on a little trailer that will, among other things, be hauling Rob's motorcycle. We sold the fish and their tank today to a man who wanted some easy-to-care-for pets for his kids. I got the impression that all drains would lead to the ocean and although I am an animal lover, I don't honestly care. I just didn't want to be the person to do it. It occurred to us to donate them back to the pet store but we've got too much going on to do that. He said he might do that since they were all healthy fish, so keep your fingers crossed for my daughter's fine-finned friends.

3. We're leaving sometime in early to mid-February, depending on when our tax return shows up. We need to install a hitch on our tracker and pick up the trailer, then load it and tether things. I think Rob scheduled pick-up of the trailer on February 10th, but we'll see if we have the money by then.

4. In the interim, we'll be back at my in-laws. *groan* It'll only be for a month or so, so it won't be like last time, but we know they're going to ask for money this time around. If you need to reach us between January 18th and whenever we leave the state, e-mail me and I'll get you that phone number.

5. When we get back, we're going to be at my mom's until August-ish. Rob's going to finish his semester at Chabot by taking online-only classes through May and I'm probably going to find some part-time job to save up money. We're looking to move down to Pittsburgh in August since Rob plans on enrolling at CCAC for the fall semester and I'm going to find full-time work there. So if you live in Pittsburgh and know of any jobs I'd be qualified for that pay a decent salary, please let me know!

So that's the nutshell. Any questions? E-mail me. God, this sounds like a mass e-mail, doesn't it?


I've got a lot of emotions running through me right now. I'm disappointed that our big quest of the west didn't pan out. I'm excited to be moving back to western Pennsylvania where I know my kids will attend better schools and where all my old friends have kids my kids' ages. I'm worried that it'll be just as tough there. I'm anxious as all hell about our move. Rob wants to go balls-to-the-wall and drive straight through. Practical ol' me knows this is entirely too impractical and will be fighting him tooth and nail to at least stop for one night. He and I could manage it but it would play hell on the kids and the cat. Surely he must realize that!

Rawr. Life just can't be easy, can it?

January 11, 2009

Here We Go, Baby!

January 8, 2009

The Friday Chronicles

I'm always grateful when Friday comes along. Not only is the most annoying ghost-hunting show EVER on, but it's the day I don't have to come up with a blogging topic. I can just rattle off what's happened to me in the week behind me. It's that proverbial Friday that people with a job have. You don't work quite as hard at work as you do Monday through Thursday, you know that you have a two-day break coming up, and you know that no one expects much out of you on that particular day (okay, so no one expects much out of me on any given day, but Friday is always guaranteed to be exceptionally mundane).


So let's talk about the Oakland riot that transpired last night. I know I said I'd steer clear of controversial topics until February but I can't just sidestep this giant pile of poo.

For those who aren't aware, here's one of the cell phone videos taken by BART passengers:

Now obviously, you can't hear what's being said between the kid who was shot and the cops, but it's clear there's a struggle. As you can imagine, there's a huge feeding frenzy out here, and they're trying to make it a racial thing. I can't say if it was or wasn't, only the cop who shot him can, and since he immediately resigned from the police force and has moved twice, well, I'll leave it up to you...and the 12 people I'm sure will hand down his judgment. What's stuck in my craw is this:

What good does it do to create mayhem and cause destruction? What did the business owners in the Fruitvale district have to do with that cop and Oscar Grant? Do they really think they're making a point - much less one that should be respected - by setting innocent people's cars on fire and breakout windows of businesses? Furthermore, assaulting people with news crews? They even booed their own mayor, who was trying to sympathize with them while calming them down.

I couldn't do anything except shake my head while I was watching the news last night. I understand that they're upset and angry. But what good can come of rioting?


I'm trying to get back into the swing of working out. Until we're out of here, I'm using the "spa" (what a laughable term; there's an elliptical, a treadmill, a recumbent bike, and a multi-use weight machine...nothing spa-like in the least) allllllmost daily. Okay, I went twice last week and I went today. I really killed it today though. I'm still sore. I probably overdid it. But hey, if I don't sweat, I'm not working, right?


I got my daughter to voluntarily eat a prune today. You could have knocked me over with a feather.


We watched "The Dark Knight" this past week. I gotta say, I wasn't that impressed. The action was mediocre, Batman was way too vulnerable, the Batmobile died, and they kept referring to him as "...the batman..." Not just "Batman," but "the batman," as if to anonymize him. Christian Bale is, by far, the lousiest Batman to ever hit the silver screen and that gravelly voice he uses when he dons the Batman suit is just comical. What's funnier is that he even uses that voice when he's talking to Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman), who knows he's simply Bruce Wayne. What? The Batsuit causes a whiskey voice? I guess I'll stick with what I'm sure of: the originals are always the best. Michael Keaton is unsurpassable.

I will allow this: Heath Ledger's take on the Joker was interesting. Not nearly as campy or polished as Jack's portrayal, and the makeup was incredibly weird, but I suppose we can chalk it up to artistic license? But he did make the character his own and he was completely unrecognizable as Heath Ledger when he was in character.


So that's about all I have for this week. I'm sorry, again, for my severe lack of blogging. I've had a lot going on and possibly a lot more to come, but when we get everything figured out, I'll have a whole lot of blog fodder for you all. Have a nice weekend!

January 7, 2009

Husbands Say the Darndest Things

A conversation between Rob and I, driving home today:

Darcie: You know what used to be so amusing?
Rob: Hm?
Darcie: When you're in elementary school, and little boys conveyed their affections for you by picking on you or chasing you around.
Rob: Yeah, and then a short time after that, it turns into, "Look at my bravado! I will climb and run..."
Darcie: "...and jump off of things!"
Rob: Yeah. You know, it's really funny because girls mature so much faster than boys. By the time you're 15 or 16, girls already have their system worked out. They know how to find a mate. Us guys, we have no idea how to even speak to those alien creatures! Very pretty. That's all we know.
Darcie: [cracking up] Alien creatures?!
Rob: Yeah. And the worst part is that we spend almost the first half of our lives trying to find and keep a woman and then even the nicest among us spend the other half treating them like crap! [And added just now: Or, at the very least, being a huge pain in their ass.]
Darcie: [still laughing] Oh god...you're so the subject of my blog tonight!

Men are funny creatures. Rob's grandmother used to say, "I feel sorry for the girl that marries you!" I never met her in person, we only spoke on the phone a few times, but I have the feeling she was only 60% joking. Rob's a tough guy to live with sometimes. I love the man dearly, but he has a few attributes that I swear are causing me to molt.

But he does keep me laughing and he keeps my irrational, screaming and wild-eyed freak-outshissy fits to a minimum, so I'll keep him around, I suppose!

January 4, 2009

What's on my mind? Today's List...

funny pictures of dogs with captions
see more puppies

1. Just when you think you're finally going to get a leg up on a situation, you get knocked down two pegs. It gets damn tiresome wearing that proverbial sandwich board that reads, "Kick me!"

2. I'm very tired. Like, curl up and sleep for days tired. I think it's a combination of my lack of sleep last night and all the stress I've been dealing with lately. My body wants and needs to shut down just to recoup.

3. We have a big decision to make very soon. It's a fish-or-cut-bait situation and it's not an easy one. There are pros and cons on both sides and honestly, I don't know which end of things we'll end up on. We're trying to act in the best interest of our kids but we don't want to act rashly and end up regretting it.

4. I put imitation crab meat in my salad for lunch. Normally, I love that stuff. Today? Too much. It's one of those situations where you ate so much of something that the mere thought of it makes you queasy.

5. At the risk of sounding like a true Californian...I. Am. FREEZING. Seriously, it's about 55ºF - 60ºF outside and all I want to do is bundle up in the warmest blanket we own. I can't get warm!

6. The state of California, well, it kind of sucks. A lot. I don't want to say why and even if you email and ask, I still won't divulge, but suffice it to say California, as a whole, sucks.

7. You know how you're not supposed to care about what people think? Yeah, well, I totally do. And if we make a decision vis-á-vis #3, I feel like all sorts of judgment will rain down on me. Judgments about things in general, the way I look now, the way things have turned out, etc. I know it's ridiculous and that I should just shut up about it, but it's on my mind.

8. I really, truly love "Friends." No matter how down and out we are, it always makes us laugh. Awesome show.

January 1, 2009

Since nobody asked, and nobody ever does...

A recap of 2008, a lá Darcie:

...Moved out of my in-law's place and into our current place a shabby-chic two-bedroom loft back down in the "real" east bay.

...Watched my husband suffer through 11 months of scant work and disappointing paychecks before getting laid off.

...Helped my husband enroll as a full-time student at Chabot College to begin his degree in mechanical engineering.

...Celebrated my little boy - and my last baby ever - turn one. Much bittersweetness transpired.

...Threw my hat back into the ring for work. I have countless resumès out (okay, about 30, according to my "sent" folders), two handfuls of applications for retail/supermarket positions, and a few classified applications at colleges. I've had three interviews - none of which panned out - and a test for a senior secretary position with the city of Hayward on the 7th.

...Found myself really caring about politics for the first time in my life. Up until this year, I just sort of skated through life, not paying any attention to Washington or even state goings-on. This year though, and especially with the election, I found a passion for it. Yes, November 4th was a disappointment for me (and many others) but it was still a monumental day and year.

...Checked my pride at the door and learned a new level of humility. Gave as much as I could through a holiday season when I didn't have much to give. Taught my daughter the value of sharing and giving when you have more than you need because there are others out there with less than you have. Found the true spirit of Christmas.

So happy new year everyone. I hope I have a better year than I did in 2008 and I hope I end it on a good note.

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