"Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. " -Helen Keller

Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Once again, my best laid plans have been destroyed. All I can say is that Nyquil doesn't have shit on this cold going around my house.I had grand intentions of writing a coherent, thoughtful post after my kids went to sleep. Instead, It's been a litany of cough, cough, hack, hack "Mom, I can't breathe" "Mom, I feel sick" "Mom, mom, mom,. mom..."

I am beginning to think my children have a built in alarm that goes off and signals the germies to invade anytime I get anywhere close to having adult conversation with my friends. After all, today is Monday night. That means tomorrow is Tuesday also known as the day children get sick so mom can't go to craft group. Pray for my sanity and a miraculous, over night improvement.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Kiddo Catch Up

There have been a lot of little tidbits about the kids that I've been meaning to tell y'all about. First of all, Joey has earned his Arrow of Light, the highest award in Cub Scouting. The Arrow of Light is the only award that carries over and can be worn on the Boy Scout uniform.
Joey and his commemorative arrow
Joey and the other 5 Arrow of Light recipients
in Den 10, Pack 200, Cary, NC
Second, Marty had some kind of cool projects for school this weekend. For his World History class, they had to create a country and draw a map including certain geographical features. They were encouraged to pick a theme and name the country and the land features according to that them. I helped Marty execute the artistic vision but he created all the ideas and made all the decisions about it. He decided on a dragon theme and came up with all kinds of cool names for things. I think he did a fabulous job.
The other project was for his English class. They had to create a personal symbol, something that represented themselves. Marty created what he calls his Hidden Mosaic Box. He colored a mosaic design on one side of foam core board, cut it into6 squares, and glued them into a cube with the mosaic toward the inside. He also put a eight point origami star and 3 good luck stars inside the box. His explanation for how it represents him is that one the outside he seems like the average teenager and is a little rough around the edges but, that when you get to know him, there are some pretty cool and creative things about him.
And, Gabe has been Gabe. Even while he was sick this last week, he never slowed down once. Gabe is doing incredibly well in school and really seems to be thriving. I have to get him to slow down enough so I can get a good picture to share with y'all.

And, finally, I have an incredibly cute picture of Joey with his cat Butterball curled up in his lap...

What's going on with your family...with you? Share please!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

State Sanctioned Bullying

Tonight, I was hanging out watching some of the back episodes of Extreme Makeover Home Edition that had built up on my dvr. The oldest episode I had was the one about the Walker Family. This episode simply broke my heart and I was fighting tears the whole time. The Walker Family lost their 11 yr old, 6th grade son to suicide when the bullying he had suffered through finally stole the last of his fight, the last of his will to live. Part of the reason this episode hit me so strongly was the memories of when my oldest son dealt with bullying...at that very same age. Marty was bullied so badly that he told me "I'd rather die than go back there" referring to school.

As anyone who has been bullied knows, the things they say to you are designed to hurt you, to make you ashamed of who you are. Bullies call you names that make you feel less...less of a person, less worthy, less deserving. Bullies make you miserable.

Last night, I participated in the #Ashamed twitter party event designed to raise awareness about a horrible ad campaign going on down in Georgia. A group called Strong 4 Life formed with the intention of fighting childhood obesity. While the cause is noble, their method of fighting childhood obesity amounts to no more than state sanctioned bullying.  Strong 4 Life plastered the Atlanta area with billboards featuring young kids. These billboards showed the kids with miserable expressions on their faces, closed off postures, and captions such as "Warning: It's Hard To Be A Little Girl If You're Not". The billboards don't promote healthy eating. The billboards don't promote exercise and outdoor fun. The billboards don't try and change the problem through education. These billboards shame the children for their size. These billboards BULLY. As the always brilliant and very beautiful Cecily said last night "If shame helped us lose weight, well, we'd all be VERY SKINNY."

Please join me and all the other wonderful people who were at the twitter event in letting Strong4Life know what you think of there state sanctioned bullying. If you're on twitter, send out a tweet to @Strong4Life and let them know what they should do instead of bullying these young kids about their weight. Use the hashtag #ashamed. Also, help fight against bullying in general, educate your children. Give them the tools to fight back against it. And, take a moment to support the Walker family and support their fight against bullying. Drop by the Stand Together website, click on the Get Your # button, print your number,take a picture with it, and load it on their site. As of right now, 165,756 standing together to fight bullying. Let's make that number grow.

Friday, January 27, 2012


There are stories in our past that we each try to forget. Stories we try to pretend never happened. But, for you my friends, cause I love you and want to make you laugh, I'm going to tell you one of those I can't believe it's happening to me stories.

A number of years ago, about a year after Vic and I moved into the first house we bought together (ya know, the house featured in HouseBuyingFucknuttery), we had finally bought the riding lawn mower I'd been lusting after. Don't judge...when you have over and acre to mow, it does strange things to your desires. It was such a sweet looking lawn mower...red and shiny and it had a cup holder.

Friday finally came and I was up on my lawn mower taking care of the yard. It was just amazing how much faster I could finish mowing the lawn. I hadn't been out there long enough to even get a sun burn and I'd already finished the flat area around the house and I was headed up the hill so I could mow the upper part of the yard. I had completed two laps around the upper part of the yard and I heard the engine of a large truck in the distance. As I started the third lap around the yard, I had to make a detour around the swing set.

That detour did me in.

See, this was the first time I had mowed the yard with my beautiful new riding mower. I didn't quite have a handle on the turn radius of that beautiful red machine. As I rounded the slide, I turned a bit too sharply and clipped the bottom corner of the slide.

No, I didn't tear the slide off the swing set. It was nothing that simple. The wheel of the lawn mower hooked on the bottom edge of the slide and lifted it up out of the ground. That wouldn't have been too bad except the local yellow jacket gang had used that slide to disguise the entrance to their gang headquarters. Yup, I tore open the entrance to an underground beehive. The gang swarmed and went up my pants leg and under my shirt. I threw that bitch into park, jumped off my shiny red machine, and went tearing across the yard shaking my pants leg and flapping my shirt wildly. As I got near the house, I pulled the shirt up over my head. I figured I was safe. We lived way out in the country. Our neighbors were at work. And, dammit, the desperate need to get the bees out of my clothes overrode any sense of modesty.

I was wrong. I wasn't safe. Remember that large truck motor I heard. It was the motor of the UPS truck. And, you'll never guess whose house he was coming to...mine. That day will go down in Cruz family history ads the day I stripped for the UPS man. I bet the UPS guy didn't know he was going to get his very own peep show when he came to work that day.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Harry Ha-Ha

Since I tormented y'all with Voldemort themed erotica, I thought I'd share some truly funny Harry Potter things I found. Y'all remember Harry Plopper from The Simpsons Movie, right?
Well, I found a poster someone created using Harry Plopper's image...
And, while that gave me a good giggle, the video I found had me laughing so hard I was crying. I can either blame it on the fact that I was watching it at 2 am or I could simply admit I have the sense of humor of a 12 yr old boy. Give it a watch and tell me which reason you think wins out.

Do y'all have anything funny you've run across recently? I'd love a link.

Tales from the Dark Side

Earlier this week, I opened the floor to any and all questions. I promised to answer anything asked and, since my brain is too addled by kid cooties to think straight, I decided today would be the day.

The first few questions come from Mrs. Gamgee from Hobbit-ish Thoughts and Ramblings...
  1. What are some of the keepsakes you've kept from when your boys were small? I have the favorite rattles each of them used, a couple of night lights they've outgrown, and I have almost all their baby clothes. I plan to make little quilts out of the baby clothes and blankets I saved.
  2. If you had to give up one, either fabric based crafting (quilting, sewing, crochet, etc) or cooking, which would you give up and why? Oh, I'd give up cooking, no question. First of all, my husband is a kick ass cook. Second, my crafting has saved my sanity on more than one occasion. It's a hella cheaper than therapy.
  3. I've been craving a margarita lately, but since I can't have one, what kind will you have on my behalf? (if you don't like margaritas, what other grown up drink do you prefer?) I adore traditional frozen margaritas but I also love Piña Coladas.
The next few questions are from Bloggers for Hope...
  1. I'd love to hear more about the books you like to read.... For me, the type of books I read are truly dependent on the mood I'm in. I can and will read just about anything. I've read amazing biographies about Walt Disney and Gene Roddenberry. I have a book high on my too read list that was written by a young man who has autism about what it's like to live with it. I adore scifi and fantasy (I use to read almost every Star Trek book out there). But, my biggest literary obsession are Romance books. I think the reason I love them so much is that there is almost always a Happily Ever After and they can fall into almost every genre...romance with fantasy, romance with mystery, romance with thriller.
  2. and what kind of crafts do you like?  I don't think I've met a craft I dislike. I tend to favor the fabric/fiber based ones like sewing, quilting, cross stitching, crocheting, knitting. That's why I really need to win the lottery...so I can sit around and craft all day. I'll pay someone else to clean my house and I'll craft the days away.
  3. Do you have a favorite or one you'd love to do in the near future! I've never tried it but I'd love to make a Temari Ball someday.
    Photo courtesy of Rainy Bay Arts
The last question is from Alana of Alana-isms...
  1. How do you dye your hair? Where/how do you purchase purple dye, or create it on your own? I bleach it and color it with products from Manic Panic. I use the colors from their Amplified line because, even though the colors are still made with all natural ingredients, it lasts significantly longer. Last time, I went for a peacock look and used Ultra Violet and Atomic Turquoise. I desperately need to redo my hair. It currently has barely a trace of the color in it. What color do you think I should use this time?
Thanks for indulging me. If y'all have any other questions, fire away.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

What The Fuck Wednesday: A Harry Potter Tribute (?)

*BTW, the video below is relatively safe for public consumption. It doesn't go too far off the acceptable track.

Welcome back to What The Fuck Wednesday the prime location to read about products, items, and events that make your head snap around and your mouth utter the phrase "What the fuck is that?"

Once something hits the big time, people start putting their own spin on it. It doesn't matter if it's a tv show, a movie, or a book, if it's big enough and popular enough, people spoof it, create tributes to it, or write FanFic about it. Honestly, I can understand loving something so much that you want it to "live" on past the original incarnation. What I'm not sure I can wrap my mind around is when someone takes a thoroughly unlovable character and writes FanFic that places them in an, ummmm, errrr, very "loving" situation. This next youTube video/TV show clip does just that. It's erotic FanFic about the most unlovable character I can think of, Voldemort, and, to add to the whole surreal nature, Ralph Fiennes, Lord Voldemort himself, is reading the FanFic. If that doesn't scream What The Fuck, I don't know what does.

If you've found a what the fuck Wednesday worthy moment, throw up a post and tell us about it. If you don't want to post, share your What The Fuck moment here.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Tasty Tuesday: Lemon Chocolate Chip Pound Cake

Since migraines and computers don't mix for me, I couldn't play with my computer yesterday afternoon. I decided to play in the kitchen instead. Luckily, my mom brought me a new cookbook Saturday and I found some inspiration there. The rest of my inspiration came from a Lemon Blueberry Yogurt Loaf I pinned a short time ago.

Gabe and I played around in the kitchen and created a new family masterpiece. We ended up making a Lemon Chocolate Chip Pound Cake with Lemon Glaze.
Lemon Chocolate Chip Pound Cake with Lemon Glaze

Cake Ingredients
5 eggs
3 cups flour
3 cups sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup of butter
1 cup butter flavored shortening
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

Glaze Ingredients
1/4 cup of butter
2 cups of powdered sugar
4 tablespoons lemon juice
To make the cake...
  1. Cream together butter, shortening, and sugar.
  2. Once fully blended, continue mixing while adding eggs one at a time.
  3. Continue mixing while adding flour a little at a time.
  4. Add milk, lemon juice, baking soda, and salt. Mix at medium speed for at least 3 minutes once all ingredients have been added.
  5. Pour into greased and floured Bundt pan and bake for 1 1/2 hours at 275°.
Take special care to completely grease and flour all the crevices of the Bundt pan because cakes stick far too easily in these (look closely at the cake picture...that's what happens when a 6 yr old greases your pan for you).
Once you've pulled the cake out of the oven, you can make the glaze while it's cooling.
To make the glaze...
  1. Melt the butter in a saucepan.
  2. Reduce heat to low and stir in the sugar.
  3. Keep stirring until mixture is smooth.
  4. Add in lemon juice and stir until fully blended.
  5. Remove from heat and drizzle over cake.
There will probably be enough glaze left that you can drizzle it over the individual slices as you serve them.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Derailed by my body

I had great intentions about writing a post about how things don't work out how you intended because of limitations your body (or your spouse's body) place on you but, weirdly enough, that post got derailed by my body. I have the beginnings of a migraine and, if I don't get off the computer soon, I will get sick. Migraines and the screen refresh rate do not play well together in my world.

Hopefully, I'll be back on later today. Until then, I'll go eat some candy hearts with Gabe. To entertain me when I get back, I have a few requests...

1) Do you like candy hearts? If so, what kind do you like the best? I like Brachs candy hearts the best.
2) If you don't like candy hearts, what is your favorite Easter candy?
3) Please go leave a question for me to answer on my last post.
4) Don't forget to sign up for my 2012 book challenge.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Welcome, welcome one and all...

Hey y'all...welcome to ICLW at Dragondreamer's Lair. My name is Kristin and I'll be your hostess this week. I went through a major blogging slump in December and, while I'm back to blogging regularly, I'm hoping ICLW will be the kick in the ass I need to get back to commenting regularly.

I'm a daughter, a wife, a mother, and an infertility survivor. I've been pregnant 11 times and have 3 fabulous, maddening, smart-assed, intelligent, kind gentle, living boys. I tend to believe in the basic goodness of people but god help you if you prove yourself unworthy of that faith and trust. I will bend over backward to help family and friends but I'll gladly tell you to fuck off if you hurt someone I care about. I love crafts. In fact, I think I have crafting issues because I have enough crafting supplies ,to keep an army busy for a lifetime. I'm a voracious reader and a TV addict (thank God for DVRs). I'm a homebody who hates moving but I adore traveling. I'm a wanna be foodie and a home improvement DIYer with delusions of grandeur and no budget to support it. I'm a faithful Christian with a potty mouth worthy of a truck driver or a sailor or anyone else who curses a lot. I'm a very traditional person who also supports gay marriage and freedom of choice.

I'd love to get to know all of y'all better. So, please, tell me who you are! And, while you're at it, throw a few questions my way. I'll answer anything and everything.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Stuff I Made Recently

Remember me telling you about Beanis and his trip to BlogHer? Well, my willingness to parade around BlogHer with a giant crocheted penis has paid dividends in more than one way. First, I got to meet all kinds of fabulous people thanks to Beanis. Second, I've had the chance to make some money. And, third, I've had the delightful opportunity to embarrass the crap out of my children.

I can feel the jealousy rolling off those of you with kids. I know...how lucky can I get to make a little cash and embarrass my kids at the same time. Yeah, you guessed it. I'm making more Beanises. I got an order in early December for a Beanis. That one went in the mail to the great white North (Canada) right before Christmas. Now, I'm working on my second commissioned Beanis. It's so much fun watching my boys (especially Marty) squirm and beg for it to disappear every time I bring our Beanis to work on him,

Since I know y'all have to be dying to see my last Beanis, here he is in all his glory...the Gay Pride Rainbow Beanis

I've also finished up a scarf for my niece Kayla.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

From Drab To Fab

Gabe, like most 6 year olds, is really rough on his clothes. These past 6 months or so, he's been especially rough on his shoes. He beat up the shoes that were bought at the beginning of the school year so badly that the soles have started peeling off. It's kind of sad because the rest of the shoe isn't in bad shape but he's messed up the toes so badly that there is no saving them. I was browsing online earlier today because I had a coupon for 30% off and then I remembered the cheap, plain jane white canvas sneakers I picked up on sale around the beginning of the school year. Well, I remembered the white canvas sneakers and my Stained by Sharpie markers - permanent markers designed specifically for fabric.

I took the sneakers from this...
to this...
My only complaint about the way they turned out was something that was entirely my fault. I found a cool technique using Sharpies and rubbing alcohol on pinterest and I tried to use it on the toes. I don't know if the thickness of the shoe canvas or the fact I was using the Stained markers made the difference but I didn't get the cool color effects this technique usually gives. I just ended up with a slightly blurry design on the toes of the sneakers. But, Gabe loves the sneakers and they were fun to make so I'm not worrying about them. In fact, I might have to get a pair of shoes in my size and decorate some for me.

What The Fuck Wednesday: the shittiest sweepstakes evah

Welcome back to What The Fuck Wednesday (published just after midnight to avoid breaking the anti-SOPA blackout) the prime location to read about products, items, and events that make your head snap around and your mouth utter the phrase "What the fuck is that?"

Over the weekend, I was watching a program off the dvr with Vic and I guess we were just slow with the fast forward button or something because I saw part of a commercial that made me do a double take and then a triple take. Yeah, it's the commercial I embedded right below. Watch it if you dare...

When it was done running, I looked at Vic and said "I really want to call bullshit on that but it's a CBS Cares commercial and you remember what they ran back in December of '09. I think it might be real." Vic said I should google it and find out if it was real...damn, by now you'd think he would know better. This is what I found...a link to the CBS Cares Colonoscopy Sweepstakes. Yes, you read that right....a colonoscopy sweepstakes.

The first page of the website looks completely normal. Well, normal except for the look on Ozzy's face. After all, it makes sense to have Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne as your celebrity spokespeople for a colonoscopy sweepstakes (damn, I can't even type that without giggling) because Sharon fought and beat colon cancer. But, the second page, oh my gawd is the second page ever out there. I guess after the reaction CBS got to their pap smear ads back in '09, they decided they could run a real sweepstakes but it would be better not to be so serious about it all. I started giggling by the second paragraph on the second page but I totally lost it and was laughing so hard I couldn't talk when I read the paragraph about the day of the colonoscopy.
As the colonoscopy begins, you will be given a drug that will make you feel like you're at an early 70's Black Sabbath concert - but without the music. If the doctor starts to look like Ozzy, please report the side effect to him or the Prince of Darkness - whomever you see first.
Is that not one of the funniest things you've ever read?

Once I'd calmed down enough to talk, I started telling Vic all about it and why I was laughing. My dear demented husband laughed and said "Why don't you enter me. After all, I'm over 50 and need a colonoscopy." So, now I'm hoping fortune smiles on us and I get to spend time in a luxury hotel so my husband can take one up the ass because CBS Cares.

Is it wrong that I hope the answer to question 3 on the entry form
   True   False
is a big, resounding TRUE?

If you've found a what the fuck Wednesday worthy moment, throw up a post and add your link through the Linky widget. If you don't want to post, share your What The Fuck moment here...and, if you don't have a moment to tell us about, join in the fun anyway and enter someone you love in the colonoscopy sweepstakes.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Blackout at the Lair

To learn more about what people are protesting, check out this article on BlogHer and the texts of SOPA and PIPA.

*the last line was inspired by a brilliant tweet by @erinbowbooks.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A Story for the Ages

My friends, every once in a while you get the unique pleasure and privilege of being in on something amazing from the minute it starts. Every now and then you see a person start to chase their dream and you get to see it unfold in spectacular ways. once in a while, you get a front row seat to see someone's talent grow and blossom. Recently, I have been lucky enough to see a person I love, respect, and admire start to chase her dreams and have those dreams grow and flower into something amazing.

I'm talking about my dear friend Kir over at The Kir Corner. I have always enjoyed Kir's writing. She always had a gift for telling a story about her boys or her life and having it touch you or make you laugh. But, early last year, Kir started participating in some writing exercises, she started following the prompts offered in writers' groups, and she started writing about Kimmy and David. Who are Kimmy and David you ask? They are two of the central characters in a phenomenal story Kir has created. Each installation of the story of Kimmy and David engages you, entertains you, and leaves you wanting more.

It truly has been a unique privilege watching this story unfold from the very beginning. It's been equally amazing to watch Kir's talent as a writer explode over the last 10 months. She has created a story that is as good or better than many of the books I've read recently and she's done it following such a wide range of writing prompts. It takes some serious talent to create a cohesive story using the wide range of styles demanded by the prompts she's followed. I would love to see Kir spend the time expanding and editing this into book form. I think she'd have a winner on her hands.

Now, do yourself a favor. Head on over to Kir's Corner and spend a little time with Kimmy and David and all their friends. You can find most of the installments of the stories of Kimmy and David on their own page and you can find the final (so far...pleeeeeeeeaaaaasssssse write more) installment here. And y'all, if you read and like the stories of Kimmy and David, can you comment and let Kir know? I don't think my beautiful friend realizes just how good she really is.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Daffodil Principle

I first read this years ago and I have no clue who the original author was but it seemed like a truly appropriate story to share given the sudden loss of my brother-in-law, José.

The Daffodil Principle

Several times my daughter had telephoned to say, "Mother, you must come to see the daffodils before they are over." I wanted to go, but it was a two-hour drive from Laguna to Lake Arrowhead. "I will come next Tuesday", I promised a little reluctantly on her third call.

Next Tuesday dawned cold and rainy. Still, I had promised, and reluctantly I drove there. When I finally walked into my daughter's house, I was welcomed by the joyful sounds of happy children. I delightedly hugged and greeted my grandchildren.

"Forget the daffodils! The road is invisible in these clouds and fog, and there is nothing in the world except you and these children that I want to see badly enough to drive another inch!"

My daughter smiled calmly and said, "We drive in this all the time, Mother." "Well, you won't get me back on the road until it clears, and then I'm heading for home!" I assured her.

"But first we're going to see the daffodils. It's just a few blocks," my daughter said. "I'll drive. I'm used to this." "Please turn around," I said sternly. "It's all right, Mother, I promise. You will never forgive yourself if you miss this experience."

After about twenty minutes, we turned onto a small gravel road and I saw a small church. On the far side of the church, I saw a hand lettered sign with an arrow that read, "Daffodil Garden." We got out of the car, each took a child's hand, and I followed my daughter down the path. Then, as we turned a corner, I looked up and gasped. Before me lay the most glorious sight.

It looked as though someone had taken a great vat of gold and poured it over the mountain peak and its surrounding slopes. The flowers were planted in majestic, swirling patterns, great ribbons and swaths of deep orange, creamy white, lemon yellow, salmon pink, and saffron and butter yellow. Each different-colored variety was planted in large groups so that it swirled and flowed like its own river with its own unique hue. There were five acres of flowers.

"Who did this?" I asked. "Just one woman," my daughter answered. "She lives on the property. That's her home," she said, pointing to a well-kept A-frame house, small and modest, sitting in the midst of all that glory. We walked up to the house.

On the patio, we saw a poster. "Answers to the Questions I Know You Are Asking" was the headline. The first answer was a simple one. "50,000 bulbs," it read. The second answer was, "One at a time, by one woman. Two hands, two feet, and one brain." The third answer was, "Began in 1958"

For me, that moment was a life-changing experience. I thought of this woman whom I had never met, who, more than forty years before, had begun, one bulb at a time, to bring her vision of beauty and joy to an obscure mountaintop.

Planting one bulb at a time, year after year, this unknown woman had forever changed the world in which she lived. One day at a time, she had created something of extraordinary magnificence, beauty, and inspiration. The principle her daffodil garden taught is one of the greatest principles of celebration.

That is, learning to move toward our goals and desires one step at a time - often just one baby-step at time - and learning to love the doing, learning to use the accumulation of time. When we multiply tiny pieces of time with small increments of daily effort, we too will find we can accomplish magnificent things. We can change the world.

"It makes me sad in a way," I admitted. "What might I have accomplished if I had thought of a wonderful goal thirty-five or forty years ago and had worked away at it 'one bulb at a time' through all those years? Just think what I might have been able to achieve!"

My daughter summed up the message of the day in her usual direct way. "Start tomorrow," she said.

She was right. It's so pointless to think of the lost hours of yesterdays. The way to make learning a lesson of celebration instead of a cause for regret is to only ask, "How can I put this to use today?"

Use the Daffodil Principle...

Stop waiting.....
Until your car or home is paid off
Until you get a new car or home
Until your kids leave the house
Until you go back to school
Until you finish school
Until you clean the house
Until you organize the garage
Until you clean off your desk
Until you lose 10 lbs.
Until you gain 10 lbs.
Until you get married
Until you get a divorce
Until you have kids
Until the kids go to school
Until you retire
Until summer
Until spring
Until winter
Until fall
Until you die...

There is no better time than right now to be happy. Happiness is a journey, not a destination.

So, work like you don't need money, love like you've never been hurt, and, dance like no one's watching.

"Don't be afraid that your life will end, be afraid that it will never begin."

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Warring Emotions

I had somehow let myself forget just how exhausting an emotionally charged situation can be. Silly me. Sitting here, hours after Jose's memorial service, I am totally and completely exhausted. I feel almost like I could go to bed and sleep for a week.

Today was both wonderful and terribly taxing at the same time. It was so hard for me to see my children and loved ones hurting but it was wonderful to trade stories with other people who love Jose the way we do. And, even though it was a sad occasion, it was truly fabulous to see so many family members again. Man, oh man, were there a lot of family members there. After the service, the family all went back to my mother-in-law's house and it was PACKED.

I wish I could find the right words to tell you how incredible and heartbreaking today was but I'm too damned tired to even think straight. I think the dissonance between these warring sets of feelings was a major factor in the exhaustion. Now, since I seem to be repeating over and over again how tired I am, I'm signing off for the night and going to bed.

Hasta la bye-bye.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Tomorrow We Say Goodbye

I think we all hit a breaking point yesterday. Tempers were short. We argued and yelled and snapped and cried. It was not pretty but I think we all just needed to get it out of our systems because we were all in a much better frame of mind today.

Tomorrow is going to be another tough day. Tomorrow at 1 pm, we will be saying our final goodbyes to my brother-in-law, Jose Manuel Cruz. It will be the end of a very rough week and the beginning of figuring out how to adjust to our new normal.I am hoping I have it in me to stand up and speak during the funeral because I think it would do me a world of good and I think it would do the boys a world of good to hear me talk about their beloved uncle.

My sister Becky and Jennifer are both coming to the funeral with us. Having them there to support us will be good for the kids and will be good for both Vic and me. We truly have been blessed to have so many wonderful friends and family members to support us and, I count all of you among the friends that are supporting us. I have been overwhelmed with the love and support y'all have shown us here. If y'all can do me one more favor, it will mean the world to me. Please think of us and send your support or a prayer our way tomorrow. At 1 pm, we will be at Genesis United Methodist Church in Cary, NC remembering Jose and saying goodbye.

You can read his obituary on the Raleigh News And Observer website.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

I've got to brag...

I've got to brag about my oldest son, Marty. This semester, he was taking Algebra I plus (a class designed to reinforce your algebra knowledge before you take geometry). and algebra has been the bane of his existence up until now. Any other type of math, he has conquered without a problem but, like me, algebra has given him fits from day one. This semester he has worked his ass off. He has studied hard. And, he was able to complete his final exam without a problem and came out saying it was a lot easier than he expected. I am so proud of him.

Jose in Photos

my favorite picture

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

What Cornfield Did They Come From?

Years ago, when we still lived a few counties over (in Alamance county for those who know the area), we use to make the trip to Cary to visit with my Mother-in-law, father-in-law, and Jose at least once and often twice a month. When we'd arrive, *Jose would usually still be sleeping because of the schedule he kept. At the time, we only had Marty and Joey and after they spent a while with Grandma and Grandpa, they would start hounding them about where Uncle Jose was and when was he going to get up and can't we go up and see him.

Finally, around 3pm, my father-in-law would look at them and say, "It's about time he got up. Why don't you two go wake him up?" And, they'd be off like a shot. It sounded like a thundering herd of elephants going up those stairs and then they'd hit the bedroom door...bang, bang, bang..."UncleJose UncleJoseUncleJoseUncleJoseUncleJoseUncleJoseUncleJoseUncleJoseUncleJoseUncleJoseUncleJose..." After which, you'd here a noise, some response, something...but, heaven forbid he'd wait too long to respond with real words. They'd be at it again..."UncleJoseUncleJoseUncleJose UncleJoseUncleJoseUncleJoseUncleJoseUncleJoseUncleJoseUncleJoseUncleJose..." until he came out of the room and made his way downstairs. I don't think it ever took more than two rounds of "UncleJoseUncleJoseUncleJoseUncleJoseUncleJoseUncleJose
UncleJoseUncleJoseUncleJoseUncleJoseUncleJose..." to get him out of bed.

One particular afternoon, Jose was particularly tired and Marty and Joey were particularly loud and insistent. Once Jose made it downstairs, he was shaking his head. He looked at Vic and said, "Those kids of yours...**what cornfield did you get them from?" My husband just laughed and said, "What are you complaining about? We live with that every day."

I think from this day forth, in honor of Jose's memory, my children will be know as the Children of the Corn.

* Jose worked as a bail bondsman in addition to his full time job at Gregory Poole before his dystrophy got too bad.
**referring to Stephen King's Children of the Corn

Monday, January 09, 2012

In The Blink Of An Eye

Just yesterday, my family and I were happily planning on a weekend trip to Georgia. My Grandfather's unit from WWII is having a plaque dedicated at the military history museum and the last living member of the crew is going to be there. My whole family (even Vic was off work), my parents, and my niece were going to make the trip together.

Today, we are planning my brother-in-law's funeral. This morning, 1/9/12, at 9:49 am, my brother-in-law, Jose, was pronounced dead. After an almost 30 year battle with Muscular Dystrophy, his body was finally worn out and the battle was done.

Jose was an amazing man who spent the past 30 years beating the odds. When he was diagnosed with MD at the age of 18, the doctors didn't expect him to live too long. Making it past his mid-twenties was considered a long shot. Well, Jose rarely did what was expected of him. So, he thumbed his nose at the doctors, worked his ass off, and lived to be 49 years old.

Jose was just like all the Cruz males and he had a warped, twisted sense of humor. He was always entertaining to be around and my boys absolutely adored him. He introduced Marty to the online Kill the Teletubbies and the Kill Barney games and he always listened to the stories and tales the kids had to share. But, the Jose my kids grew to know was not the same Jose I met almost 20 years ago. As his body grew weaker, his character and personality grew stronger. A number of years ago (10 years I think), Jose went on a trip that turned into a journey of faith and of personal growth. About a year after he went on that trip, I told him that I use to say I loved him because he was my brother, but now I could say I loved him because he was a person I genuinely enjoyed spending time with. This was the man my children grew  to know and the man they will miss desperately.

This weekend, on both Saturday and Sunday evening, I was over at my mother-in-law's house so I could help Jose and Vic's mom. On Saturday, purely by chance, I had Marty with me for the almost 2 hours I was there and he got to hang out and talk with the uncle he adored. And, last night, I had all three kids with me. They showed off there Christmas goodies, chattered about music, and had a great time with Jose. I am so very thankful they got to spend that time with him even if it does add to the whole unreal feeling Jose's death has invoked...less than 24 hours ago we were talking to him, hanging out with him, and now he's gone.

If there is someone you love, someone important to you, that you haven't talked to or seen in a while, call them, visit them as soon as you can because it can all change in the blink of an eye.

Good bye Jose. We love you and will miss you terribly.

Friday, January 06, 2012

2011 Book Challenge Wrap Up and 2012 Sign Up

2011 Book Challenge Wrap Up

Wooohooooo, it's only January 6th and I'm posting the yearly book challenge post. That's a hell of a lot better than last year's February 25th post.

Sadly, I didn't meet my reading goal for last year. I was shooting for 110 books last year and it was looking like I'd hit the goal without a problem. But, my time management skills went to hell in a handbasket when my friend Rys and her family moved in in September and I ended the year with 95 books. I hope the rest of y'all had a great year and did lots and lots of reading. I'd love for y'all to check in and tell me how many books you read.

And, the final bit of 2011 book challenge business, Alana of Alana-isms is the tote bag winner.

2012 Book Challenge Sign Up

It's time to sign up for the 2012 Book Challenge. Once again, sign up will be through Google Docs because it will compile the list and keep all the info handy for me. However, unlike last year, I won't promise to keep in touch via email over the course of the year because, obviously, I suck at that. So, here are the rules...

  1. Please use this Google Docs form to sign up...comment if you like but sign up is through the form.
  2. your goal can be as high or low as you feel comfortable with...the goal is to read more, not to beat everyone else
  3. read, read, read
  4. keep a running total
  5. have fun
  6. if it is under 50 pages or an audio book, it counts as HALF a book
  7. anything over 50 pages counts as 1 BOOK no matter how long it is
  8. textbooks, childrens books, ebooks all count
  9. (thanks Jenn) rereading counts and any books read so far count
  10. cookbooks count as a whole book if you actually read them (I mean really read...not just skim while looking for a recipe)
Once again, I want to say thanks to Jen J for Navigating the Waters of Infertility and Beyond again because she was the one that sparked my Book Challenge in 2009. This year, my reading goal is going to be 110 books.Hopefully, life will remain on an even keel and I can read to my heart's content.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

At 42, I Am Enough

Hi, my name is Kristin. My number is 42. My word is embrace. And, I am enough. I know, I know...these first few sentences seem kind of random and what the hell do they mean anyway. A few of my favorite people, Kir of The Kir Corner and Kim of Live from the 205 have introduced me to a few ideas that seem to be the perfect way to start the new year. Kir has written a number of posts about Just Be Enough...celebrating yourself instead of focusing on your flaws...and, Kim wrote about Curvy Girl's Reinventing The Resolution and One Word 365.

This year, I am 42 years old and I am determined to embrace myself, embrace my life, and celebrate the fact that I am enough! As I go through my day to day life, I will take time to celebrate what I have and try not to dwell on what's not there. I will spend time with my beautiful, wonderful kids and focus on how lucky I am to have them instead of pining for the ones I lost or who never made it here. I will embrace my crafty, creative side -celebrate what I can do - and not stress about my house not being perfect. I will remember to embrace my body, love it for what it is. I will take time to exercise and care for myself because I am worth the time and effort. I won't focus on weight or measurements. I will embrace health. I will write and paint and create. I will try new recipes, cook with my sons, and play board games with them. I will visit with friends, tell the important people in my life I love them, and take a moment to dance in the rain. I will do all these tings not because I need to better myself. I will do these things because I matter. I am enough. And, I am embracing myself and my life. Join me.

Pick a number...
Pick a word...

Thank you Kir and thank you Kim!

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

What The Fuck Wednesday: Wheelchairs Are Us

Welcome back to What The Fuck Wednesday, the prime location to read about products, items, and events that make your head snap around and your mouth utter the phrase "What the fuck is that?" The management wants to thank you for your patience and understanding during our December break.

This week I want to tell you about some wheelchairs that caught my attention and definitely made me do a double take and had me saying "What the fuck" but in a good way. These wheelchairs caught my attention a long while ago (before I had even thought to do a What The Fuck Wednesday post but I'm featuring it today to celebrate the fact that Marty no longer needs a wheelchair to get around school. He is walking with a cane and has enough strength back to make it all around the campus of the huge ass high school he goes to.

So, back to the wheelchairs. We've all seen wheelchairs. Most of them are rather utilitarian. They allow people who can't walk for some reason to get from place to place. They do a job but they are nothing anyone dreams of having. But, these wheelchairs, these are the stuff of dreams and fantasies, stuff that make grown men drool and say I want that. The first chair is a chair it's maker named Lord Humongous...
Lord Humongous is a 22 mph going, all terrain traversing wheelchair. It's rigged with a seat from a Marine helicopter and, see that long, gun-like thing on the front, it's a FLAME THROWER...a freaking flame thrower.

The second fab chair is the Tank Chair from TC Mobility (psst...check here for all terrain pics)...
The tank chair is an all terrain wheelchair that lets you go just about ANYWHERE you want. This chair is so badass that one man has been told by British authorities that he can't take his chair onto public property because the government classifies it as a tank.

If you've found a what the fuck Wednesday worthy moment, throw up a post and add your link through the Linky widget. If you don't want to post, share your What The Fuck moment here.

Monday, January 02, 2012

The Aunt Becky Meme (at least that's where I got it)

1) What does Meme mean?
Something I should really stop doing but can't seem to help myself because it gives me an excuse to spew trivial shit about me

2) 2011 – Was it all you’d hoped it would be?
Yes and no...the last part of the year seemed to get sucked into a whirl of insanity and I'd really, truly like a year without a medical drama in it. That's not too much to ask, is it?

3) Did you watch the Royal Wedding?
Yup, I'm a total sucker for romance. And, most of the hats were killer, but one of the princesses (Beatrice or Eugenie) was wearing something that looked like a giant IUD on her head...
and some other poor lady was wearing (as Joan Rivers termed it) a giant blue vagina hat...

4) Where are your pants?
on my ass

5) Is Justin Bieber human or some sort of robot?
Is Justin Bieber even male? I think *Robot Chicken had it right when they said Justin Bieber was a young woman proud of herself and her alternative life style choices.

6) If you had only one thing to wish for this coming year, what would it be?
A wish...only one wish...I'll wish for a year free of ass kicking crises

7) Would you call yourself a “social media maven?”

8 ) If you had to take three things to a desert island (let’s assume you have ample food and water), what would they be?
my Nook - how I love thee
my iPod
a generator/charger that turns air into electricity

9) If you had the ability to banish certain offenses to an island where they would be rehabilitated into being okay again, what would those offenses be?
text speak used in real speech
anyone who types or says prolly instead of probably - it's only 2 freaking letters y'all
their, there, and they're mix ups

10) How do YOU think the air conditioner works?
it's a magical thing us mere mortals aren't meant to understand

11) Do you ACTUALLY think you can make money blogging?
Me...no...but the brilliant and kind aliens disguised as The Pioneer Woman, Dooce, and Jen from Cake Wrecks can.

12) There’s a lot of talk in the blog world about microblogging (The Tumblr, The Twitter, The Facebook) taking over traditional blogs. Do you think that’s the case?
Hell no...as Aunt Becky said "I think those of us stubborn enough to stick around will be here until they pry our keyboards from our cold, dead hands."

13) If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self, what would it be?
Don't worry so much about what everyone thinks of you. You grow up to be a kick ass, wonderful woman so screw them.

14) If you could’ve told yourself this time last year one thing, what would it be?

15) If you could have one Super Power, what would it be?
teleportation - with travel costs eliminated, going to conferences and traveling would become far more affordable

16) If you could do one thing you can’t currently do, and do it well, what would it be?
Sing amazingly well - I have a great musical ear but all that lets me do is hear how off key my voice is.

17) What surprises you about yourself?
That I'm a stay at home mom and happy to be one...when I was young and clueless I always imagined having some high power career. This is way better.

18) What was your favorite blog post/tweet of the past year?
Shit, that requires thinking and I refuse to think today.

19) Do you REALLY think “Purple Should Be A Flavor?”
Damn straight it should be and, if Aunt Becky gets some of that purple vodka, that par-tay is on!

20) If you could make one outlandish wish for 2012, what would it be?
I want to win the lottery or find someone willing to finance my every whim without wanting anything in return.

*Yes, Robot Chicken is NOT politically correct and frequently can be offensive but it's also funny as hell.

If y'all had fun with this, play along and then head over to Aunt Becky's and link up.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Only 355 Days Until the World Ends

That's right, here we are sitting at the end of the first day of 2012. My house smells divine from the big old pot of homemade turkey soup cooking on my stove.

We rang in the New Year two separate times yesterday. My parents, the kids, Jennifer, and I went to First Night Raleigh for a couple of hours and watched the early acorn drop and fireworks. While we were there, we also listened to a great Scottish band from NC State, saw a whole crowd moving to an awesome drumline, watched a parade with a ton of funky costumes, and had some amazingly good coffee at Crema on Fayetteville St. After the acorn drop, we headed home for a late dinner and settled in to watch some Doctor Who until it was time for Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve. We rang in the New Year at midnight wearing our hats and 2012 glasses with flashing lights...even little Gabe made it until midnight. If y'all are really nice, I might show you just how ridiculous I looked with my flashing glasses over my real glasses.

Once we finally dragged our asses out of bed today, there were a lot of video games played by kids, a bit of obsessive free book downloading by me, and a trip to the local Y for Marty and me. Marty and I have been working out at the Y. Marty's doing a lot of walking at the indoor track because he's trying to build his leg strength back up and I can't ask him to go without going too. So, I've been riding the stationary bike. I'm really hoping to keep up the exercise regimen. My aim is to build my muscles back up and improve my general fitness. If there's any weight loss that goes with it, that would just be a bonus.

Hehe, I noticed something kind of funny when we got back from the Y. As sometimes happens in NC, my daffodils are very confused. We've had just enough warm days that my daffodils are all sprouting and I even have one that is starting to bloom. I kind of want to yell "Nooooo, go back underground. You don't know what you're doing. Those 70+ temps were A LIE."...because tonight it's going into the 30s and tomorrow night we'll be hitting the low 20s...but, then I think the neighbors might really wonder about my sanity if I'm yelling at flowers.

Well, enough of this rambling. I'm going to head off to read a bit and before I go to bed I need to pull the soup off the stove. What's going on in your life? Share with us please.