Nov 30, 2009

GIVEAWAY (of the photo Christmas card variety)

I think I just creeped out my four year old.

I pulled out the, "You'd better go to bed because Santa's Elves are watching you to make sure you're being good!" routine.

His eyes got big, and round, and scared. And he said, "Why would they do that?!"

Also, our church building burned down yesterday.

No wait, it didn't. But the alarm went off, and the entire ward just sat there in the chapel (and gym, because we have an enormous ward.) I sat there too. I don't know what everyone else was thinking, but the thought going through my head was, "Can somebody please get that alarm turned off, it is WAY TOO LOUD!!!!" Seriously, I think our ward is now 37% deafer after that.

Oh, and there was no actual fire.

And the first fire truck to show up was driven by one of our ward members who was on duty that day.

Good times.

And now, that GIVEAWAY:

For procrastinators everywhere (that would include me) I'm giving away one free photo Christmas card design. Just email me your high resolution family photo(s) and I'll mail you back a 4x6 and 5x7 file of the card design of your choice.

You can see all of my designs in better detail in my etsy shop.

Just leave me a wittingly hilarious comment and you're entered. Or blog about it, leave me the link in a comment and get entered 3 times (this is for either a-the nonwitty comment leaver, or b-the blogger who has too much wittiness to be contained in one comment alone.)

I'll be drawing a winner next monday (dec 7th) at 7:00 PM (MST.)

And speaking of giveaways, we're having a couple really great ones at Green Jello with Carrots right now. You can win a $5 gift certificate this week, or enter to win our big $25 give away at the end of December!

Nov 25, 2009

...and then I'll exclaim as I stuff my mouth full of pie, "Happy Thanksgiving to all, and to all a good nigh'!"

Tomorrow will be our first Thanksgiving alone. Not like alone alone, but family alone. As in, just Husband and the kids. And me.

I'm actually really excited about it.

Thanksgivings past have seemed a bit more daunting because they always involved so much social interaction. Generally with extended family -whom I like, by the way, just not all together and at the same time.

(I know it must seem strange, what with my charismatic blog posts, but I don't do social interaction so well. It's kind of embarrassing to admit, but I'm quite the social moron.)

So this year, I'm excited to run the whole Thanksgiving show by myself. (Not to mention we'll actually have all the left-overs in our fridge this year, which has never happened, and frankly I cannot wait for weeks of turkey sandwiches.)

I spent most of today making rolls, pies and layered jello (no, jello is not a traditional Thanksgiving food for us, yes I made it anyway.) The boys helped shape rolls, which was interesting. Two Bits helped make pie - and had to let me know just how big of a mess I made when I spilled pumpkin goo ALL OVER the kitchen.

Husband claimed responsibility for the turkey. Really. He was pretty enthusiastic about it. Apparently he has big plans for our bird.

I have crafts planned for the kids in the morning. Some good old melted-crayon-shaving-placemats will be made. Then I have some of our superb Green Jello with Carrots coloring pages and place cards printed out for the kids to color and use. And possibly we'll also be making hand print turkeys....we'll see how it goes after the "Count Your Blessings" booklets are done.

And then I cook food, we eat food, we eat more food, watch Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, and have pie.

I'm really excited. It's gonna be great!


ALSO (not related to content of post): You know that book I turned in to that publisher? Rejected, but for not horrible reasons, so once I find a literary agent it's heading to the big publishers.

And guess what?


I JUST GOT MY FIRST BOOK ILLUSTRATION JOB.


My samples were chosen by the publisher yesterday. I'm euphoric.

When I was a little kid I said I wanted to grow up to be an author/illustrator. Could it be that I'm finally on my way? (Also, does this mean that I have to grow up? Because I'm not really down with that, but I'm totally pumped to live out a childhood dream.)

Nov 22, 2009

cruise control

You know when you're young you look into the future wondering what's going to happen, where you're going to go, what you'll do, who you'll meet? It's like adventure is just waiting for you because you have so many huge events and moments to experience. You can go anywhere, you can do anything.

Sometimes the adventure goes slower than you anticipated. Like the summer I got stuck being a hotel maid because I couldn't find a decent job. Or that Astronomy class that was close to putting me in a coma, except that it counted as a physical science credit which I needed and really have no aptitude for understanding rocks. Or the time I was on strict, don't even sit up, bedrest for almost 3 months.

And sometimes the adventure seems to be heading in the wrong direction. Or maybe you thought it was going ok and then it suddenly changes and you're doing something that was never in the master plan.

But it's still there. It's still adventure.

You go to college. You get married. You move to different places. You have all of your kids.

Then what?

What adventures are left?

Some people call parenting an adventure. I don't really agree. Because you can't call up your relatives and say, "My two year old just flooded our kitchen, body slammed his sister, and oh yeah, he can successfully label the private areas of his body!!" WHOOOOOOOO." It's not like when you called and said, "I'm getting married!" or "We're pregnant....again!!"

I feel like I've hit the cruise control part of life. Every day is like the one before. No sleep, kids, work, laundry, kids, work, late to bed, no sleep; and then let's do it again. And again. And again. Sure the kids get older, we do different things. Some days are more full than others. Once in a while I get a 9 minute nap on the couch before someone screams and/or pokes me awake. On rare occassions I get out of my house to watch a movie.

But there's nothing big to look forward to anymore. No life changing events. No more babies to have, Husband and I know each other well enough that we're boring, we probably won't even move out of this stinking city. Nothing big. Nothing exciting. No more adventures.

So now I just cruise through the next five decades and then what? Is there nothing but mundane-ness left?

Can I go back? I miss adventure.

Nov 20, 2009

my life in updates

Update 1:
The squatters are now home owners. Glad that's over.

Another Update:
Last week I got to tag along while Husband went to Phoenix for the National Greenbuild Convention and hang out in a hotel room for 3 days ALL BY MYSELF.

I want to go back.

Being alone is LOVELY.

Update Numero Tres: I saw NEW MOON today!!!!!!!!

I have to say that the first movie kind of killed the whole Twilight thing for me. Ok, not really. But the more I watched it, the more I realized how immature being obsessed with vampires and werewolves are.

And I am nothing if not mature.

But after watching New Moon (which was my favorite book of the series - TEAM JACOB) I'm ready to be immature and obsessed again. I was so worried they'd ruin it. I was ready to be disappointed on some kind of level (if only slightly....or possibly a lot, I wasn't sure.)

I'm not disappointed.

And tonight I may just possibly dream that I'm a teenager again so that I can stalk and maybe even date Taylor Lautner.

Maybe when I see the movie a few more times -like 37- I'll decide to be mature again.

We'll see.

Nov 6, 2009

hate crime

Someone local must have found out my pumpkin stabbing/ditching on doorstep plan....I suspect the squatters. Because the night before last someone smashed all six of our pumpkins in the road.

And left every other pumpkin on the street in tact. Let me just tell you - there were a lot of pumpkins on our street.

Honestly I was going to make Husband throw them in the trash yesterday morning anyway (trash day) so the smashers get me out of dealing with the kids' whining. At least I'm not the bad guy this time.

But seriously? Just our pumpkins?

I think someone hates us.



Completely unrelated - I haven't heard back on my book yet. They're just a small publisher anyway, but still. Hey, does anyone know any really good literary agents for children's picture books? If you do, please do tell...

Nov 3, 2009

on a completely different note

(Geez, how many blog posts am I going to write today?)

I just sent my very first book idea to my very first publisher.

Like two minutes ago.

Via email.

Which they could totally reject.

Via not ever answering my email.

I'm so nervous I think I'm going to pee myself...

update on the squatter situation

So, after some venting, and some thinking, I decided that I would go over and meet our squatters.

Remember how I wasn't allowed to go over there? Because I'm clearly a crazy irate person.

Well, I did it anyway.

I'm not really one for "waiting things out." I'm more of an "impulsive, spur of the moment" type person.

And I really extra super nicely told them that they were living in our house illegally and that we weren't happy about it.

I also took them a Netflix video that they had delivered to the mailbox that is technically still ours.

AND

I also took them some banana bread. It was at the grocery store, in the bakery section. $3 for two loaves. And the loaves were in one of those ugly plastic containers, but wrapped in saran wrap individually inside. So I took out one loaf and it looked like I totally made these people homemade banana bread as a house warming gift. Which, honestly, would have been WAY beyond my niceness scope. But still I can pretend.

Apparently their real estate agent has fed them a bunch of bologna through the whole process. And when the bank didn't approve things by the date their realtor PROMISED them, they were going to make him pay to put them up in a hotel until the deal was done. And that's when this guy handed them the keys to our house.

We'll be reporting this real estate agent to his superiors. No question on that issue. I hope he gets canned. Or maybe they can just hang him from his toenails in the basement for a few days. I'm not sure how they punish realtors these days.

But since our squatters seem to be committed and responsible, and willing to sign and follow our agreement until the sale goes through, we're letting them stay.

Also we really want them to actually buy our house - that's kind of a huge part of the niceness act. And acting it was. I was quite impressive, if I do say so myself.

But let me just tell you how much LESS dramatic faux-homemade banana bread is than a cop raid and mandatory eviction.

But at least I proved to Husband that I'm a caring human being - because apparently that was in question.


P.S. I may still do Cathy's pumpkin on the doorstep suggestion - you know, anonymously, and with our most rotten Halloween pumpkin. (For those of you who don't know, that was an old Jack Handy "Deep Thought." Which was something that Cathy and I quoted through most of our Jr High years. So thank you Cathy, I really needed to laugh right then, and that did the trick.)

P.P.S. That Girl, if you were our squatters I would have let you in days before. But mostly because I like you. And also because you moved all the way from BRAZIL. With kids. These people were from across town and only had a puppy. So not the same.

livid

I am furious. In fact, I'm fuming. I am really really really ticked off.

In June we moved. We moved a few blocks away and left our house as a short sale. Because we refinanced at the height of the housing market, and then watched everything bottom out. At the same time I started making less and less money. Apparently being a free-lance anything doesn't suit well in an economic crisis. And since I was responsible for 1/3 of our income, things weren't pretty.

This was a hard decision. We knew we couldn't keep making our huge house payments (for a house we'd already grown out of.) We were trying to be responsible.

We had quite a few offers, but before the bank would approve the short sale they all pulled. But then we could advertise with the magic words "bank approved" and just hoped someone would offer again.

They did.

Then the bank decided they wanted to take their time signing the papers.

It's been about 6 weeks now.

It's frustrating for all considered. But that's not what I'm so angry about.

The people who put in the offer had an apartment lease that ended on Halloween. They hoped to be in the house by then. But it's still not ready or approved or THEIRS.

BUT THEY MOVED IN ANYWAY.

That's right. They moved in, illegally, on sunday. We were notified yesterday. And apparently these people were so confident in this move that they had been coming in with carpet cleaners and other things to get ready to move in. They switched over all the power and water, and we are now getting their mail. Because the mail box is still OURS.

We have illegal squatters living in our house. And it's all because their realestate agent decided to hand over the keys. ILLEGALLY. Did I mention that they're breaking the law?

But we're supposed to play nice about this. Because what if they get mad and pull out their offer and then we end up foreclosing on the house instead? That would suck. But what about the situation now - this situation has suck written all over it.

Husband has no problem playing nice. He is a people pleaser, and the thought of someone not liking him makes him squirm. I, on the other hand, have no problem if people hate me. I had to practically tie myself to this chair so I wouldn't go over right now and personally kick these people to the curb.

Actually, what I'd really like to do is call the police and let there be a massive scene where cops are throwing the squatter's possessions onto the lawn with dramatic flair. And I want to stand across the street and laugh and yell taunting remarks. And maybe throw something.

But I'm not allowed to make any contact with anyone considering this situation - I have been forbidden. Because we wouldn't want the crazy irate person screwing things up. Never mind that they're the ones breaking the law and taking advantage of us.

Nov 1, 2009

happy halloween.....yesterday

I meant to post this a couple of days ago. Because, you know, Halloween is over and all... But whatever, I'm posting it now (I've been saving it.)

Just pretend like we're not moving on to Thanksgiving for a few minutes, ok?


I am afraid of the dark.

I know, it’s a common fear. And it’s not like I could be the president of the “Dark Sissies” club. But I think I could at least qualify as the secretary or treasurer or something. Because I am really afraid of the dark.

We have nightlights all over our house. I tell people that they are for the kids. It’s not a total lie. But they’d probably still be there even if I was kid-less.

When I was 15 my parents built a new house. My room was downstairs at the end of the hall, and the bathroom was at the end of the same hall only a floor above. So in the middle of the night I had a long walk to get to a toilet that was technically only feet away.

This in itself is creepy, since, you know, it’s dark at night. But what made it horrible was that I had to walk past the front door. And it was one of those doors with a glass section, where the glass was all rippley and shapey so that everything you saw through it was all distorted.

And every time I had to walk past it in the dark I was afraid I would see some creepy dude looking through at me, would which be OH scary. But EVEN scarier because his face would be all rippley and distorted. I know, freaky.

So I just held it all night. After awhile it was easy. And on the nights when I might have had too much water after 7 PM, I would run –with my eyes closed- past the door. So that the creepy distorted dude would see me, but atleast he couldn’t freak me out. (Unless he figured out a way to get in…but that’s just too much to think about while running with a full bladder in the dark.)

I also worked at McDonalds for awhile in high school. (Yeah, my life was that glamorous.) In the very back of the restaurant there is “the cage” where they lock up all the supplies and Happy Meal toys. Basically, it’s a bunch of shelves with a chain link gate so that if someone broke in, they would have a hard time getting through the chain link before the cops showed up….or something like that. Although, if I broke into a McDonalds, I wouldn’t be stealing cups and Happy Meal toys, but whatever.

There were a lot of nights that I was required to help close down the restaurant, and it was always really late when we finished. And one night the manager forgot to lock the cage. Which is like a huge no-no. And for some reason I was elected as the person to go back and lock it. (I don’t know why, because I distinctly remember that a manager had to do it, and I was just a lowly ‘drive-thru girl.’)

Since we were about to leave for the night all the lights had already been turned off. And everyone still expected me to walk to the back where it was super pitch black and lock the cage. It totally stinks to be lowest on the employee chain.

I managed a normal pace on the way there. But as I was locking the actual door my imagination took over. And suddenly there was a huge monster with ginormous fangs and claws trying to get out. And he was super ticked that I was locking him in. And he lunged at the chain link with his massive claws protruding through, just inches away from my face. And all the while my hands are freaking out and the key just isn’t working. Kind of like on ET where the kid is trying to scream when he sees the alien for the first time but his body isn’t cooperating. Just, like that….but I wasn’t screaming (yet.)

So I finally locked it -I’m sure it only took about .2 seconds, but when you are staring a super ticked huge monster in the fanged face it feels longer. But just in case the monster broke free I decided to run back to the front. Ok, so maybe it wasn’t a conscious decision – I was just running. And really I knew there was no monster….but I still ran. And then fell, because we had just mopped the ever-greasy floors.

You know, it’s always good to be a victim of fear in front of others. Especially when they all think you’re an idiot. I don’t mind being the provider of laughs….really……

My biggest scared-of-the-dark-and-being-an-idiot-about-it moment actually involved a call to 9-1-1. Which is why I at least earn the status of secretary in the “Dark Sissies” club.

I was living as a sort of part time nanny/chicken feeder with a family in Ririe Idaho. Ririe is a teeny rural community near Idaho Falls. One of those towns where they have to put up a new population sign every time someone moves in, and then someone else does a jig shouting, “Whoo whee – we’re up to 703 people now!”

One weekend I was house sitting while the family was away. It was a big house and they even had this little door in their basement that I called “the creepy midget door.” Because back then you could say “midget,” plus I wasn’t referring to little people. I was referring to the evil laughing midgets who would come through the little door at night and drag unsuspecting victims into their inescapable dimension of torture.

Quit mocking – it could totally happen.

As one of my house sitting duties I had to feed the chickens before I went to bed, which means that it was already dark. And I was outside. With chickens, and a flash light. Talk about protection. I might as well have been wearing a blinking sign that said, “Fanged monster and/or creepy stalking murderers come get me NOW!!”

Luckily, I made it through the feeding unscathed and still alive. Whew, right? I’m sure you were on the edge of your seat there.

But then I had to shower, because I am also very allergic to anything that grows out of the ground or any animal with fur or feathers. Except right before my shower a couple of guys from church stopped by. I think they felt bad for me because I was kind of a friendless loner there in population 703. So they tried to cheer me up by telling me how easy it was for them to sneak into this EXACT house back when the old owners lived here. And they laaaaaauughed…. Oh gosh, they were a riot. Glad for that piece of info on the weekend I was home alone.

Yet, I made it through the shower ok. Although I was a bit less calm and my imagination did attempt a few small stunts.

So then I was sitting in my room, almost ready to go to sleep. And of course I had my door locked. And the house doors were locked. And I even left some of the main floor lights on as an illusion of someone being home and awake (and because it would have been darker with them off.)

And that’s when I heard it. A distinct THUMP against my wall. A real live THUMP. On the wall I shared with the bathroom – an inside wall. MY wall. MY WALL THUMPED.

And then crying and shaking and extreme listening did happen.

Then I shook some more and cried some more and listened some more. Wondering, “Have I totally lost it?” “But that was a real thump...” “Oh Oh Oh my gosh, I’m going to DIE.” “Oh my gosh I’m going to be brutally beaten by some scary crazed man and then I’M GOING TO DIE!!!!!”

And then I called 9-1-1.

Try explaining a ‘thump’ to a police dispatcher. I think the crying shaky voice may have helped. And I made sure to suggest that the cops knock VERY loudly, because there was no way I was leaving my room until they got here. I was just way too busy shaking and crying – plus, HELLO, something thumped, and IT WAS OUT THERE.

My call for help was answered by multiple cop cars (population 703- not exactly exciting.) So I made the policemen search the house and the yard and the chicken coops and up by the corn in the garden while I stood bashfully explaining that all I heard was a little thump.

Of course nothing turned up. No psycho stalking rapist killers or fanged monsters. Nothing. Which is great really – despite the feelings of shame and knowing that everyone on the street has now seen multiple cop cars sitting at the house while my host family was out of town.

My ‘thump’ theory was that the bathroom door was one of those doors that kind of just drifts towards the wall, and that it took a particularly long time to drift. Which is why it finally reached the wall and thumped 5 minutes after I had actually left the bathroom.

I know it’s a weak theory, right? But I’m pretty sure it was a real thump, because I’m not THAT crazy. Sort of. Well, maybe. And it was dark outside and I have been known to imagine a few things…

But don’t you think that’s worth club secretary or treasurer status? Or maybe I could just be the official button making girl. So that I could hand out “Holy Cow, it’s just the dark, you big wuss.” buttons to club “Dark Sissy” members around the world.

And maybe they could glow in the dark…