29 Jan

Google hangouts sometimes legit makes me LOL.



oh, hello.

28 Jul


In reviewing my life here, it seems that I have, once again, undergone a silence.  Life.  Work.  Kids.  I don’t really feel like there is that much to say.  We keep on, in our ordinary lives, and do our best to just keep it all together at times.  How much more mundane could I be?

However, there are things that I’d like to record, so here I am, again, on this infrequently used or viewed platform, to write them out.

1.  My sister and her family moved to Arizona at the beginning of June.  They’d been in South Dakota for, oh, five or six years, and after some situations with her husband’s job, they decided to go somewhere different.  Jordan (baby sister) is already in Phoenix for school, and Sig sure loves warm weather….so, it seemed like a good choice.  I think she’s happy.  We shall see.

2.  Rowan.  This should be #1, really, but I like to pretend, sometimes, that I don’t have an ulterior motive when I open up this blank text box.  Rowan is in Scotland right now!  She has called three times (she’s been gone for one week), and I have been stalking her dad on Facebook, trying to see if she has shown up in any photos.  I think she is having fun.  I always project my own emotions onto things, and I know that I would find it a little awkward, even if it is fun.  Her grandmother is ill.  She met her long-lost brother for the first time.  She is meeting all kinds of cousins that have relationships with each other, and she is here, in America, and is different from them.  BUT, that is how I would feel.  She may not feel that way.  I can’t wait to have her back (she arrives on Wednesday, and I will see her again on Thursday).

3.  Me.  On the ME front while Rowan is in Scotland, well, compared to four years ago when she went, I am doing so much better.  I went a little crazy last time, and had serious anxiety about everything.  This time around, I am doing OKAY.  Not great, but OKAY, and that is about all I can ask for.

4.  Katja is funny, but getting to be oh so frustrating.  What three year old will only eat her chicken with creamy balsamic dressing?  Weirdo!  Tonight, though, she was A PILL.

In our own-going quest to get in shape (it never ends, yet never gets better), we have been trying to go for more walks and go to the gym more.  Tonight, we decided to walk to the nearest lake in this City of Lakes, walk around it, and come home.  Katja would NOT STOP WHINING for the first two miles.  At about 2.75 miles, I pulled the stroller over, because I was about to lose my shit on her.  I calmly told her that she was going to be in such trouble when we got home, and then Steve took the stroller and kept walking while I calmed my temper down.

A lady stopped me and asked how old Katja was.  When I said three and a half, she just nodded and said her daughter was going through the same thing.  It made me feel better. We talked for a bit, and then I ran off to catch those fools.  At least I know that other three years olds are shits, but it doesn’t make me feel that much better when we are in the midst of these temper tantrums.

Thankfully, she pulled it together for the last 2.5 miles of the walk.

5.  A Katja-ism from a few days ago:
we were talking about her growing up, and she was like, “First I’ll be four, then five and someday I will be 16!” and she started laughing and said, “I will look SO WEIRD when I’m 16.”

I thought that was adorable.

6.  Pictures from a recent trip to Sioux Falls (and the surrounding area), SD:



My beautiful niece!!!


Winter break

6 Jan

First, it’s fricking cold here.  -17 right now, I think.  What the eff!?  I am at work for the first time in 16 days.  I have tomorrow off, because schools are closed again (IT’S COLD!).

I want to try to remember things better, so maybe I will write more in here again, like I did once upon a time.  For now, I just want to do a quick run-through of what I did on my staycation.

12/21:  dinner in downtown, Phantom of the Opera with Bird and Rowan
12/22:  small family Christmas, big family in town
12/23:  shopping, dinner with family, broke iPhone
12/24:  celebration at Amy and Jon’s
12/25:  celebration at Steve’s parents’
12/26:  volunteer with Rowan, Chipotle with Rowan, fixed my broken iPhone (sadz!), dinner at Steve’s parents’ house
12/27:  Science Museum – omnitheater and Maya exhibit – with Rowan, lunch at Pizzeria Lola, homemade pizza at our house
12/28:  gym, Pitch Perfect at home, relax with kids
12/29:  did I do anything this day?  I think Steve and I just hung out with Katja all day (Rowan was at her dad’s), and I think we went to the gym.
12/30:  went to The Book Thief with Rowan
12/31:  Nickelodeon Universe with Rowan, Chinese food and wine for NYE.  Watched “Twin Sisters”, a WWII movie that Steve wanted to watch.
1/1:  gym.  Relaxation.
1/2:  pass the pigs and LIFE with Rowan, lunch with Dan!, more games, holiday card addressing
1/3:  puzzles with Rowan, lunch with Bird and Rowan, hair appointments, homemade pizza
1/4:  Target run, Rowan’s basketball game, nap, gym, dinner at home, movie (Despicable Me 2) and popcorn night
1/5:  special breakfast, stay in all day (way too cold) and hang out, watch football, etc.  Lose kid toy in the drain of the tub and fear major plumbing issues (have yet to materialize).  Catch up on bad television.

It went way too quickly and was far more fun than this post makes it out to be.  I love my job, but, dang, sometimes it is appealing to not have to have one!

2013 in Review

3 Jan

I found this at a blog I read, and variations of it seem to be all over, so I am going to do this thing and try to continue to do this thing on a regular basis.

1. What did you do in 2013 that you’d never done before?
Um, represented myself in a court hearing?  Went to Nickelodeon Universe at the Mall of America and rode lots of rides?  Many, many things at work that I didn’t ever do before (newish job and all that)?  I don’t feel that this was that particularly exciting of a year.

2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Honestly, I can’t even remember if I had resolutions.  I always resolve to read a certain amount of books, and I did that.  I will probably make resolutions for this year, but have to think about it a little bit.

3. Did anyone close to you have a child?
My friend Amy had a baby, but I can’t think of anyone else.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

5. Where did you travel?
Miami, FL and about 4 trips to South Dakota.

6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013?
More inner calm (less anxiety).  I don’t think that my life lacked anything in 2013.

7. What dates from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory?
7/6 – Rhett and Vineth’s wedding.
12/5 – Granny

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I think that I had quite a lot of achievements at work that I can be proud of.  Most recently, wrapping up development sessions on the module that I am working on, while still helping other teams and learning a lot about business software and soaking up as much information as possible (always good to know everything!).  I think that I have proven myself as an invaluable member of our team and am very excited about the project that we’re working on.

9. What was your biggest failure?
I don’t know if I really failed at anything.  Sometimes, I am kind of a failure at home.  And, I did fail at fitness this year.  I went to the gym, but was not the best at really re-claiming my body.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?  No.

11. What was the best thing you bought? My new camera!

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?  Steve.  He is a rock.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?   I don’t really want to talk about it.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Mortgage and child care.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?   Our family trip to Miami.  Taking the entire winter break off work.

16. What song will always remind you of 2013?   Oh, god.  Probably Wrecking Ball by Miley Cyrus or Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke.  Actually, I don’t know if I will remember that those songs came out in 2013, but I think that I will recall certain events when I hear those songs…and then piece together that it was 2013.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: a) happier or sadder? b) thinner or fatter? c) richer or poorer?
a) a little sadder.  Though, I was kind of sad this time last year, too.  So, maybe the same?  I’m not unhappy, but I am not terribly happy, either.  It’s been sad with Granny.  I’m sad about a few other things, too.  And, I still have my dumb anxieties that make me sad.
b) about the same.  No matter what I do, good or bad, I kind of just stay the same.
c) Richer in some ways (retirement, house value), poorer in others (I just spent a shit ton of money over break with Rowan).  It’s probably a draw and I am probably about the same….maybe a teeny bit richer if you look at total net worth.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
More time with the kids where I wasn’t into my own world and was really engaged in whatever was happening.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?  I do a lot of mindless surfing of the internet on my iPhone, and I wish I had done less of that.  Less Candy Crush, too. 

20. How did you spend Christmas?
Oh, that was a fun time!  My family came in on Sunday, and we had days of togetherness.  Our little family Christmas was that Sunday morning, then dinner at my sister’s that night.  Shopping with my family on Monday, and dinner that night.  Christmas Eve at my aunt’s, then we dropped Rowan off at her dad’s and spent the evening with my family.  We went to Steve’s parent’s on Christmas Day AND went there for dinner the day after.  Lots of family.  It was a whirlwind.

21. Did you fall in love in 2013?  No.

22. What was your favorite TV program?   Breaking Bad.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

24. What was the best book you read? 
Either “Cutting for Stone” or “Where’d You Go, Bernadette?”

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Probably The Phantom of the Opera.  Ha!

26. What did you want and get?  
A new DSLR camera.  That was not expected, though.  It just kind of happened.

27. What did you want and not get?
Nothing.  I always get what I want.  *WINK*

28. What was your favorite film of this year?  My favorite film that I went to in the theater was “Frozen”, followed by “About Time”.  My favorite film that I saw on DVD was “The Descendants”.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? 
I turned 33.  We had pizza and wine at my house with my siblings.  It was pretty laid back. 

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
I can’t think of one thing that would have made it IMMEASURABLY satisfying.  It was not a bad year.  It was just….a year.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2013?

32. What kept you sane?
Coffee.  Books.  Dan.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
This is kind of a dumb question.

34. What political issue stirred you the most?
I am not really big into issues.  Gay Marriage was an important thing here.  OH, and SNAP benefits being reduced.  That really bothers me.

35. Who did you miss? 
No one, really.  I probably need to see more people, but I didn’t really miss anyone.  I missed my mom when I didn’t see her from July until October.

36. Who was the best new person you met?
I already knew this person (through my brother), but becoming better friends with my friend Kari was good.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013.  Life is short.  I guess I already knew that, though.

Books Read, 2013

3 Jan
1 Big Machine LaValle, Victor
2 The Brief History of the Dead Brockmeier, Kevin
3 Husk Redekop, Corey
4 Dark Places Flynn, Gillian
5 Under Wildwood Meloy, Colin
6 Sharp Objects Flynn, Gillian
7 Where’d you go, Bernadette? Semple, Maria
8 Plan B Tropper, Jonathan
9 Sickened Gregory, Julie
10 Stranger Here: How Weight Loss Surgery Transformed my Body and Messed with My Head Larsen, Jen
11 Swept Off Her Feet Browne, Hester
12 The Runaway Princess Browne, Hester
13 City of Women Gillham, David
14 The Book of Joe Tropper, Jonathan
15 Too Loud a Solitude Hrabal, Bohumil
16 The Dovekeepers Hoffman, Alice
17 The Chocolate Money Prentice Norton, Ashley
18 Splendors and Glooms Schlitz, Laura Amy
19 In the Woods French, Tana
20 This One Is Mine Semple, Maria
21 White Girl Problems Walker, Babe
22 The Likeness French, Tana
23 Silver Linings Playbook Quick, Matthew
24 The Shelter Cycle Rock, Peter
25 A working Theory of Love Hutchins, Scott
26 Million Dollar Throw Lupica, Mike
27 Everything Changes Tropper, Jonathan
28 This is Where I Leave You Tropper, Jonathan
29 Cloud Atlas Mitchell, David
30 Monkey Mind: A Memoir of Anxiety Smith, Daniel B.
31 The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making Valente, Catherynne M.
32 I Remember You Evans, Harriet
33 How to Talk to a Widower Tropper, Jonathan
34 One Last Thing Before I Go Tropper, Jonathan
35 Reconstructing Amelia McCreight, Kimberly
36 Bossypants Fey, Tina
37 Luther: The Calling Cross, Neil
38 Killing Kate Kramer, Julie
39 The Illumination Brockmeier, Kevin
40 Silencing Sam Kramer, Julie
41 Shunning Sarah Kramer, Julie
42 Cutting For Stone Verghese, Abraham
43 The School for Good and Evil Chainani, Soman
44 Alif the Unseen Wilson, G. Willow
45 Election Perrotta, Tom
46 Tell The Wolves I’m Home Brunt, Carol Rifka
47 The Writing Class Willett, Jincy
48 The Tennis Partner Verghese, Abraham
49 The Song of the Quarkbeast Fforde, Jasper
50 Burial Cross, Neil
51 The Witches of East End De La Cruz, Melissa
52 Crashed Hallinan, Timothy
53 We Are Water Lamb, Wally
54 Amy Falls Down Willett, Jincy
13 Dec

My grandmother passed away last Thursday.


She was beautiful. Sharp-tongued, but kind. Funny. Smart as a whip.



This had been a rough year for my grandma. For my mom, too, who had to take care of her. But, it hasn’t really clicked that she is gone. For good.


Due to geography, I usually only saw Granny a few times a year. Always over Thanksgiving. Usually over Christmas. And, once or twice more during the year, whenever I would make it back to South Dakota…or, on the rare instance when my grandparents made the trek in to visit all of us.

Unfortunately, this was a bad year and I didn’t even see Granny until October. I had this PANICKED FEELING that I must go back to visit. I hadn’t seen my mom and dad since July, and I just wanted to go home. I am so glad I did go, because it was one of the only times that I had my parents to myself (usually, there are just too many of us around, and I don’t get quality time with my mom), and because I got to spend a few precious hours with Granny. We went out for dinner at the local restaurant, and I think this is probably the last photo that she was in.


She looks so sad to me, and I think she probably was. I don’t really know the extent of “what was wrong” with her. She’d always been sick. My whole life. She was hospitalized as a baby (according to her sister, because of the dust storms of ’33), and for a while, they didn’t even think she would survive infanthood. She has had asthma her entire life and dealt with that. And, she was a worrier. Oh, boy. Granny could worry. I am fairly certain that that is where I get that from!  This past year was hard.  She just never felt quite right.  But, we didn’t realize that that would mean she would die.  It seemed like, maybe, she would be okay.  We all got to see her over Thanksgiving…and then, not even a week later, she was gone.

Despite her health history, she lived a full and wonderful life. An ordinary, extraordinary life. She and my grandpa raised three kids and built a successful business. They traveled the world. They took us kids on a few trips, too, including my first trip out of the country, to visit my uncle and cousins in Honduras in 1995.

She was always there for us kids, and for my mom. I think they had a difficult relationship, at times, but they always loved each other. To us, though, Granny just came to all of our sporting events, all our school events, all our life events. She and my grandpa were there for everything.

We have been incredibly lucky to have her in our lives, and we are oh so sad that she is gone.








radio silence

25 Jun

Rowan really loves the song “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons. Radio silence, somehow, reminds me of that. Same syllables. Same cadence.

I’ve had radio silence for the last few months while I’ve dealt with shit. Wallace served me with papers in April. I didn’t want to think about it. I consulted with an attorney that I know and sat on it. Sat, thought, sat, thought, conversed, sat, thought, et cetera, ad infinitum.  So it has gone.

I filed my “pro se” (with the help of my attorney friend) paperwork two weeks ago, right at the deadline, and we had our court date last Tuesday. I received my court order on Saturday. We both won, in some ways, and we both lost. Wallace will pay less child support than he has been paying, and he gets another night with Rowan. 6/14 nights. I still maintain sole physical custody and the court order is pretty clear in the fact that that will take a lot to change. Endangerment. Evidentiary hearing.  So, he wins the battle; I win the war.

I am not going to appeal. According to the attorney that I consulted with and my brother, it is pretty hard to appeal a judge’s discretion. If they made an error of law and applied the wrong standard to the case, that would be something else. But, it is what it is for now.

W glommed onto the reduced child support right away and wrote me a lesser check last week, after the hearing. It pissed me off, especially given that the court order that we both received said that the court order should go into place on 7/1. I’m sorry, but to me, $170 is a lot of money. That is what his support is reduced by month and that is what he shorted me last week when he paid. Whatever, I guess. I’m trying not to be irritated by that. It just seems that so much of this was financially driven, and not driven by what is actually best for Ro. So it goes.

So, that sort of explains my quiet. I’ve also been very busy and excited and engaged at work. Who knew that business analyst roles were SO MUCH FUN? Katja remains cute and adorable and a stinker little toddler. Steve is good, as well.

I’ll try to be a better writer. I just needed to process life for a while.