Doctor Who, Captain Jack and California Dreamin’

And we’re back! First let me say that our trip to California was a whirlwind of FUN. The kids had an amazing time and are officially sci-fi convention addicts. They want to go to next year’s convention AND want to have a full range of cosplay stuff in their suitcase when we go.

Wednesday: We drove to my sister’s house in NoVA to spend the night. It was a long drive, so we got there very late, but got to enjoy breakfast with the family and the kids got a little bit of cousin time.

Thursday: My sister drove us to the airport where my kids got to experience a lot of firsts. The most notable was their first time on a plane. We flew Virgin America and enjoyed a non-stop flight. On the way west, CB sat in the window seat and CG sat … continue on, dear reader!

The Travel Is A’foot

goin' back to cali, cali, cali.  goin' back to cali.  i don't think so.

goin’ back to cali, cali, cali. goin’ back to cali. i don’t think so.

First of all, tomorrow’s Powerball is up to $485M as of this posting. That’s crazy. That would be $223M after all taxes if we win with a single ticket. Wow. Increase all numbers in my previous post accordingly. More to tithe, charity, trust funds, family/friends, investments. Crazy.

In other news, tomorrow night the kids and I head north to Northern Virginia where we will spend the night with my sister. Then on Thursday we’ll be flying out of Dulles to the sunny world of Los Angeles. The time has finally come: Gallifrey One, a Doctor Who convention. Yep. You read that right. The kids are very excited, and so am I. I’m sad that no actual Doctor will be there (last year they had at least a couple), but this … continue on, dear reader!

The Stuff of Lottery Dreams

Powerball is up to $360M for Saturday’s drawing. YOU KNOW WHAT TIME IT IS!

After federal and state taxes, we’re looking at a take home of $170,340,000. Let’s take a look at the damage we can do. Won’t even look at past plans I’ve typed up – because obviously anything can change at any time. But let’s figure out a plan for today. Obviously, before we even go claim the money we’ll sit tight and begin interviewing financial planners and attorneys so that we can set up a blind trust to go pick up the lottery winnings on our behalf. I’d DEFINITELY want to stay anonymous as long as possible.

1) 10% ($17M) to church
2) 10% ($17M) to various charities
3) 15% ($25.5M) into trust funds for the kids, payable in thirds upon their 28, 35 and 42 birthdays.
4) 10% ($17M) to be … continue on, dear reader!

CootieGirl is Makin’ a Fuss (she told me to say that)

“I had a dream last night, I was eating a ten pound marshmallow. I woke up this morning and the pillow was gone.”So CootieGirl wants to be a YouTube star. Even though she is two years shy of their required age limit. She decided a few days ago that her claim to fame will be DIY (do it yourself) projects. This coming from a girl who HATES arts& crafts (she swears she LOVES arts & crafts, no wait “Okay, I LIKE arts & crafts.”).

This weekend we have been working on filming her inaugural video that shall not be posted to YouTube for at least 2 more years. Uh…she just found out that she won’t be able to upload it for 2 more years and she got REALLY upset (“I might as well not even be MAKING videos!” she wailed).

Here’s the thing. I don’t mind if she makes videos. More power to her if that’s what she wants to do for fun. However, the teen angst … continue on, dear reader!

The Rest of Our Vacation

Lest you think we didn’t salvage any of our vacation time in the mountains because of Chilly the Pirate Dog, rest assured that we managed to eek out some fun in between the multiple phone calls with sitters and veterinarians.

The main mission of the weekend was to give the kids a chance to try snowskiing. Denis doesn’t ski because of his knees (although he attempted it back in the day and was not a fan). I hate snowskiing as well thanks to a family trip to Lake Tahoe when I was a teenager.

But we thought we should give our kids the opportunity to try it. Friday morning we arrived at Appalachian Ski Mountain in Blowing Rock, NC. It was only a 10 minute drive from the apartment we rented for the weekend. It was just lovely driving up the mountain going from brown … continue on, dear reader!

Anyone Else Go On Vacation and Have Someone Lose An Eye? Just Us?

Y’all. Y’ALL.

I don’t even know how to begin with this story. I haven’t posted in over a week and I’m coming back with a DOOZY.

A little over a month ago I booked a sitter to watch our dogs so that we could go skiing this past weekend. We used the same sitter we used in December during our White Elephant weekend, so we felt comfortable with her.

On Thursday morning – the day we were dropping off the dogs and leaving for our vacation – she called me to say she had accidentally double-booked. Now, my profile for my pops specifically says I do NOT want double-booking with other dogs because I don’t want to take a chance on Dobby getting freaked out by other dogs. In December the sitter had called me the week before our reservation to say she’d had another … continue on, dear reader!

Starting Work on 2015 Goals

Maze Puzzle (Blender)It’s five days into the new year – time to see if I’ve done ANYTHING about those goals!

1) Clean up the home office – just about an hour ago I set about beginning the task of clearing out the office. I pulled out a folder that I have not looked at since 2009 – it is all the personal paperwork I kept at my old job before I got laid off. I literally packed up my desk, brought home the folder, and then never looked in. Until today. I found a bunch of junk not worth saving, a few things worth saving that will get appropriately filed, and $54 in cash. Score! No idea how the cash ended up in there, but it was a nice surprise.

2) Begin walking/jogging/running again – Today I had every intention of going out for a nice long … continue on, dear reader!

My 2015 Goals

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2015Happy New Year! Were you up late partying last night, or were you in bed before Ryan Seacrest showed you a camera shot of Time Square emptying out?

Here’s another question for you: Do you make new year’s goals or resolutions? I usually try not to. That’s because I know my penchant for STARTING projects but rarely FINISHING them. But this year I’m going to go ahead and write down some goals/resolutions and at year’s end we’ll see how I did.

1) Clean up the home office – I mentioned this a couple weeks ago. Our office here at home is a mess. 2015 will be the year that we clean it up and do some serious decluttering.

2) Clean out the garage – our garage is not much better. There’s probably a lot of stuff in that garage that we no longer need. So … continue on, dear reader!

The Books of 2014

I <3 2 readThis year I did not read as many books as I have in previous years. Part of the reason is that due to my surgery and long-term leave of absence, I had less opportunity to listen to audiobooks. I know, I should have picked up a paper book or my Kindle during my 4-6 weeks off from work, but I opted to become obsessed with old episodes of Match Game on TV instead. Don’t judge.

This year I also listened to four very long books – a Game of Thrones book, two Outlander books, and The Goldfinch – a surprisingly long book. Each of those is at least 3 normal books long (40-50 hours versus 10-12 hours).

Anyway, on to the list, with commentary after!

Diana GabaldonA Breath of Bone and Ashes
Michael D. SellersJohn Carter and the Gods of Hollywood

continue on, dear reader!

2015 Is Around the Corner!

And with it comes lots of pre-teen angst. Right now as I write my daughter is arguing with a friend of hers on the phone. Her friend is very sensitive and gets easily hurt and offended. CootieGirl wanted to take a break from talking and her friend got upset and basically said, “I never want to talk to you again.” Kind of a hot-headed response to a simple request. I’m sure my daughter wasn’t tactful when she said she wanted to take a break from talking, but even so. She wasn’t saying she didn’t want to be friends anymore – just to take a break from talking. *sigh*

In other news, Denis and I continued to stock up on Christmas decorations over the weekend and I think we will have a killer display next year. I emailed the HOA to ask them if I could … continue on, dear reader!

It’s Beginning To Look a Lot Like Christmas

A few weeks ago I posted about how we spent an entire day decorating for Christmas outside the house only to have a few of our lawn ornaments get vandalized less than 24 hours later. I’m happy to report that since installing surveillance cameras AND alerted everyone on our neighborhood’s Facebook page of said cameras, we’ve had no incidences of poor teenage decision-making since then. Yay!

As a result, Denis and I have once again gone crazy with the post-Christmas sales (which are all now pre-Christmas sales) and bought more characters for our front yard. This year (thus far) we’ve added:
1) A dachsund inflatable
2) A triple-ornament inflatable
3) A bald eagle lighted tinsel
4) An ice dancing pig lighted tinsel

In today’s mail we should be receiving:
5) Two toy soldier lighted tinsels
6) A dalmation lighted tinsel
7) A lighted tinsel featuring … continue on, dear reader!

The Horror of Bad Audiobook Narrators

A few years ago I made the switch from paper books to ebooks, followed shortly by the switch to audiobooks almost exclusively. I once swore I’d NEVER read anything but paper books – there’s just something about the feel, the smell, the sound of the turned page. I love reading. When ebooks came along, I acknowledged that the space needed to store my books was much easier on an e-reader versus the bookcases in my house. In fact, at least half my books are packed away in boxes in the attic because if I brought them all out, my house would become a library versus a house. I have books in the living room, our bedroom and the guest room. Plus the kids both have bookcases. It’s the main reason that when we were planning to build a house, I wanted a room that would … continue on, dear reader!