Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Guess what day it is.....

No, not "Hump day". It is, indeed Wednesday. Specifically, June 3rd, 2015. And today is a special day.

It's a birthday. Not my birthday, not any of my kids' birthdays. No. It's much more important than that...

Bigger and better than that.

Today is my nearest and dearest friend's birthday.

Miss Sandy Dee, who has been there for me through all sorts of nonsense, who is my Official Photographer because she will not allow a bad picture of me to exist and is a Photoshop Goddess, who provides me with coffee and mimosas and shares my love of All Things Benedict, including Cumberbatch and Breakfast Items, and with whom I will end up retiring to a cottage in Ireland on the ocean where we can be those creepy old American women with dashing young men around to do maintenance, is celebrating her Eleventy-Billionth Birthday today, whether she wants to or not. (She's not really Eleventy-Billion, although it often feels like it. But a lady doesn't reveal her age. And neither will I.)

In the 12 years we've been friends, I have never really acknowledged her birthday, because she generally doesn't pay much attention to it. But this year, I am making up for eleven years of missed birthday wishes. If I'm lucky, she'll still like me by the time I'm done. Heh.

Oh, speaking of Benedict Cumberbatch, it took some work, but I got some contacts to get him to wish her a happy birthday...

I know he says Samantha, apparently the name got mixed up along the way. It's really for Sandy, I swear...

While I was being ambitious, I tracked down another of our favorites, Tom Hiddleston. He was in Australia, and got the request while at a bookstore, got the whole group to sing along...

He had to pretend it was for a fan there to get them to do it, but he was really sending the birthday wish to Sandy. Really.

If you know Sandy, if you see Sandy, wish her a happy birthday. Get excited for her. Because she is an awesome, amazing, beautiful person. She deserves the best, so much better than she often gets. She's a phenomenal mom. An excellent friend. And the craziest ginger leprechaun I know.

Love ya Sandy. Hope today is half as great as you are. And you still like me by the end of the day. Especially since I think we're supposed to have Coffee at some point.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Non-sequiter Interlude

Dear Dictaphone,

My feet itch.

That is all.

Except now I'm not sure I spelled that right in the title.

Oh well.

I think I'll get another glass of wine.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Nickname for one, nicknames for all!

Dear Dictaphone,

It has been brought to my attention that people actually READ this! And apparently, my posts regarding the #Biggby in Sparta are popular. Also, it seems my assignment of nicknames to the #NotoriousNicole and the #BrilliantBethAnn have prompted other customers to come up with nicknames for other employees of this enchanting place of coffee consumption.

I find this to be absolutely delightful.

First, because people are actually reading what I'm rambling. Second, because they agree that the peeps at my favorite caffeine dealer are worthy of extra attention and special recognition.

So, if you are a patron of said establishment, and you have ideas for nicknames for the others, LET ME KNOW!!!!

You can either comment here (no need for an account or anything) with your suggestions, or just email them to me. I will consider all APPROPRIATE suggestions. Alliteration is encouraged.

Extra thanks to the most #JoyfulJen for bringing this to my attention! Yes, my person remembered to tell me tonight.

So here ya go, #SpartaBiggby fans, let me know what nicknames you have for the #BeguilingBaristas there! I will arbitrarily pick the ones I like best, and maybe even run them by the owner for approval, and post results here.

It's all up to you now!

Friday, May 8, 2015

And, another quick shout out to my Local Purveyors of Caffeine...

Dear Dictaphone,

This morning, when I was running around, dealing with errands and urgent phone calls and such, I had a shocking realization. I hadn't had any coffee yet! Then I had another, much more pleasant recollection... I had a free coffee available on my Biggby card! And I was about to drive past the Spectacular Sparta Biggby Shop. Huzzah!

I pulled in to the parking lot and went inside, because it's much more entertaining that way. And people are less irritated when you can't make up your mind than if that happens in the drive-thru. As I entered the store, the Brilliant Beth Ann saw me and gave a genuinely excited "Hey, it's you!" type hello. Which was pretty gratifying. She may not remember my name, but she recognized me as a Person to be Happy to See.  She also has referred to me as "The one with the blog!" Having many years of retail experience, I understand how easy it is to have customers all blend together. I also know that the fact that I was recognized at all is impressive. Actually, if she remembered my name, it might be a sign that I've spent far too much time there. It should take at least a little while longer for that to happen.

I ordered my coffee (A Super Avalanche Latte with two extra shots of espresso), chatted a bit about some Good Things going on right now, got my drink, then went on my way.

And honestly, the rest of my erranding, indeed, the rest of my day thus far, has been better for this interaction. It's pretty impressive what a difference a simple excited greeting can make to a day. So thanks Beth Ann! This good mood is for you! (And the rest of the folks there, of course.)

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Late night, post-book-finishing ramblings... Also, a tip on books you should read. Because I said so.

Dear Dictaphone,

I should be asleep. But I'm not. I had a pretty darned good day today, and finished it by completing my first reading of Chrysoula Tzavelas' latest book, Citadel of the Sky. There will be a review soon. Keep watching.

Afterwards I had a chat with Ms. Tzavelas regarding the book and her writing overall. Online, as we're on opposite sides of the country. But I am exceedingly privileged to have such a talented author as a friend.  It's always helpful to be able to yell at the author directly, if virtually, when they do things to a character that make you mad. Even when such things make sense and help make the story amazing. Because darn it, you care about the characters and... Oh yeah, you actually have to remind yourself that it's a book.

This particular book didn't make me mad. It just made me want the next one now.  Which means you should totally check it out and buy it and read it. Just keep in mind that this is not fifty shades of sex slave or dragons of tomorrow or some other formulaic series where you have that safe buffer of Authorial Voice protecting you from the experiences of the characters.

Without realizing it, you will be drawn into the characters' minds, seeing the world from the perspective of whichever the focus is on. And having that focus change almost imperceptibly as the tide of the text shifts and rolls. It's mental exercise, but it is so worth it.

So yeah, that was today.

There was also work. Which was less surreal than it has been. Apparently the Full Moon hangover* of this past weekend has passed. People were acting more human today in general.

And the weather seems to be settling sort of maybe. At least enough for sinus pressure to relax.

So... Clearing head, better work experience, and dizzyingly fabulous reading. That was my day. How was yours?

*Full Moon Hangover: The phenomena of people in general acting unusually in various, hard to explain ways in the days immediately following the Full Moon. Extremely noticeable by those who work in customer service. And no, I didn't make the phrase up. One of my cohorts did. But it suits the situation perfectly.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Helloooo Seasons! All in one week!

I've been all over the country, sort of. I grew up in Michigan. I've traveled along the east coast, including Washington DC, parts of North and South Carolina, all the way down to Florida. I went to college in Minnesota. Then I lived in Denver, Colorado for a couple years, and in Des Moines, Iowa for a few. Spent time in parts in between as well.

Yet I came back to Michigan to stay when I started my family. "Dear woman, why? When you lived in such amazing places as Des Moines, Iowa, which no one outside the state knows how to pronounce properly!?!?!?" is something I've been asked multiple times. Well, maybe not the part about Des Moines (although I hung out with a new little band known as Slipknot while I was there, lots of fun to be had). But people do often ask me why on EARTH did I come back?

Well, there is the obvious bit about my family being here. And that is especially relevant, because of the whole "I have this small human and wow it would help to have family around to assist in raising him." aspect of things.

But more than that, more than the fact that we have TREES and LARGE NATURAL BODIES OF WATER, was the weather.

That's right, folks. The weather.

Because Only In Michigan can one have all four seasons in one week (heck, one day if the planets are properly aligned). And have this happen not just once, but multiple times a year.

We had the recent snow. And then the weather got a little nicer. And we've had rain. And wind. And heat. None of it is unbearable (yet) but all of it has happened in a very short time frame. I laugh at people who talk about switching out their seasonal wardrobes. Oh, to be able to enjoy that luxury! To be comfortable putting away all of the cold weather gear, because you are secure in the knowledge that you won't need it until the next cold weather season is officially here! Yeah... no. Not in these parts! Don't you even think about putting all that stuff up! And you'd better be able to access your shorts and tank tops mid-winter, because you never know when that random warm front is going to show up either.

Arizona, you can keep your dry heat. Other places can have their more or less predictable temperatures. I'll stick with my mitten surrounded by water, where every day is a crap shoot, and the only way to be sure what the weather will be like is to open the door and see.  And even that is only assured for the next 5 minutes. Maybe. Oh, and might want to check the back door too, because the weather there might be different.

Ah... Pure Michigan.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

When the Mind Draws a Blank... realization of a not so happy anniversary...

Dear Dictaphone,

I had thoughts this morning. All sorts of thoughts. And I distinctly remember thinking "Oh, that would be fun to blog about!" a few times. So I took care of various Responsibilities (because they are Important) and made sure I had things prepared for doing whatever it was that I was going to do this morning. And then... nothing.

My mind has gone more or less blank. It's rather frustrating, really. I actually have time to do something like binge-watch something on Netflix or Amazon, or knit, or both, or whatever, and what happens? Nothing. Can't settle on a project, can't settle on a show. Okay, so I have my computer on and running and hey, how about I blog about that Thing that I Thought earlier! And... nothing.

So I'm listening to Pandora again. It took three or four stations until I found one that works for my apparent mood (or lack thereof). It's based on "Linger", by the Cranberries. Seems I'm in a late 90's alternative mood today. Which really, when you think about it, explains everything. Because anyone who knew me then is more than fully aware that focus and proper decision making were not hallmarks of that time for me! But man... good times were had.

I lived in Denver, then moved to Iowa. And Experienced more Life in those years than the ones before or after.

That's when I met Kittie.

Dear God. Now I know what's wrong.

This week... is the 10 year anniversary of the loss of the best friend I ever had. My other half. My other me.

It's also the 10 year anniversary of my second miscarriage.... that happened while she was in a coma.

They unplugged her on May 2nd...

For the record, you never stop hurting. You never stop missing them. It's not as bad or persistent as it was before. But it's there.

I guess that's why this music is stuck in my soul today. It was the music of our far too short time together. It was the music of concerts we went to, parties we hosted... Man, those were good times.

Thankfully, I have new friends. I've had more experiences. I have other things to look forward to. Going to meet the Second-Most-Awesome-Person-In-The-Multiverse for coffee shortly, because she's great like that. It helps, because she's still, you know, alive and stuff.

So hey, Kittie? I love you. And I miss you. And Linger finally came on my playlist... and the words, well, they're appropriate. I always was a fool for (and with) you.

Any of you drinking sorts... Take time this week to raise a glass in memory of an amazing woman whose life was cut far too short. She didn't drink, but she liked laughing at people who did.

And just to keep this from ending on a depressing note, I give you Pictures of Vicious Attack Guard Dogs.

Share the love, peeps.

#CancerSucks #Leukemia #Miscarriage #SadSongs #PuppyLove #GoodFriends

Monday, April 27, 2015

Props to Biggby in Sparta (aka - Coffee Happiness and entertaining music)

Dear Dictaphone,

Today I find myself hanging out at Biggby Coffee in Sparta. Had a couple hours I had to kill outside the house, and a computer to work on, so I figured, hey, why not? The people here are friendly, and most importantly, they are a Major Supplier of Caffeine for Ingestion. All that, and they have WiFi too! And power outlets, which help when Various Electronic Devices (other dictaphones) require replenishment.

So I'm sitting here, drinking my Super Mocha Caramel with two extra shots, watching one laptop run updates, and listening to the music play. I asked the Notorious Nicole* if they pick their own Music, and was informed that this is what gets sent through by corporate. Corporate has good taste. Perky upbeat fun stuff. Which particularly works for me because yesterday I discovered that the song "I can see clearly now" when plugged into Pandora, will return a music list that has oodles of 50's bubble gum pop and other reggae infused and similar fun stuff. Apparently I'm in the mood for light perky but not completely without substance music.

So if you see me today, and I'm at least remotely semi-conscious, you can credit that to my local coffee shop.

*nicknames are completely my own fault, I do not know if Nicole is indeed Notorious or not, but it sounded good, and I will now remember her name whenever I see her.

Also, the awesome image is copyrighted to the person who created it. I have it linked to the source. I like it, but it is not of my creation.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Bedazzled Cowboy Hats and Squeezing Christians

Dear Dictaphone,
I fell asleep last night to an episode of Boy Meets World. I woke up to... Shawn Michaels (yes, the wrestler) giving his testimony on a religious show. I already know his story, and it's a wonderful story with a happy ending (so far, because in the words of the immortal Monty Python, "He's not dead yet!"). However at the insane hour of five-dog-trying-to-push-me-out-of-bed-why-didn't-I-set-the-coffee-maker-last-night-thirty am, seeing a wrestler in what looks like a crazy bedazzled cowboy hat that his daughter must have picked out for him (because I don't care how many times you've been the World Champion, if your baby girl tells you to wear a bedazzled cowboy hat on a religious show, you will wear a bedazzled cowboy hat on a religious show) giving his testimony of faith next to whatshisface Robison, I'm guaranteed to question whether I'm really awake.
This run-on sentence brought to you by I Couldn't Wait To Start Reading Chrysoula Tzavelas' New Book So I Was Up Late Even Though I Knew I Had To Be Up Early To Wake Up My Kid and Again Why Didn't I Set The Coffee Maker Last Night. I make no apologies.
It was followed by Joyce Meyer talking about no matter how pretty a Christian is on the outside, you don't know what they're really like until you squeeze them.
Oh dear.
I hope this isn't a sign of what the day is going to bring.
Please go ahead and look up his story. It's pretty darned inspiring. Shawn Michaels, not Robison. People should read Chrysoula's stories too. All of them. And no, I don't have links. If you can read this, you should be able to Google for yourself. I haven't had any coffee yet.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015


Dear Dictaphone,

I woke up to white stuff on my car. First thought was "Why the hell did someone use a fire extinguisher on my car?". Then I realized it was Ice Lord Vomit. AKA snow. Seriously? At that point I went into full Queen of Hearts mode, and declared that I'd had it with Mother Nature, " OFF WITH HER HEAD!" Because seriously, really? I live in the northern part of the country, I get that. But this is still ridiculous.

Also noteworthy, all of this happened around 7:30, BC (before coffee).

Went to the store for random things that don't self-resupply, as much as that may surprise my children. At the checkout told the story of my moment from this morning to the cashiers (who know me oh so well). And happily saw that my groceries were being put in reusable cloth bags. Because it's Earth Day and Family Fare is giving them away until they run out.

When I got home (and had finished my coffee) everything clicked.

It's Earth Day. Apparently Mother Nature opted to use Her day to play a prank on humanity. Because hey, why not? Well played.

And the sun is shining, sort of, and it's all melting. So that's good.

Ice Lords vomited on my car last night.