TKO! Or Whatever Fight Lingo Fits Here!

Wow. I sure keep taking these long breaks from this here blog, don’t I? In six years of blogging (SIX YEARS?) I’ve never been as absent as the last few weeks. Do you know what this tells you? THAT THE HOLIDAYS ARE WINNING! It’s like some sort of cage match, first between me and Thanksgiving. I kinda finally took Thanksgiving down after a long and bloody battle, but then Thanksgiving cheated! And tag-teamed Christmas! WHAT THE HELL? That is NOT fair! Who has the energy to fight Christmas in the same match as Thanksgiving? NOT ME.

I made that trip to Louisiana with the kids at Thanksgiving which I wouldn’t have survived without MrZ’s brother and his wife. So, today I leave for Knoxville for a rush trip before Christmas and who’s the lucky bastard who gets to travel with me this time? LilZ. Because when a high school student finishes exams the first thing they want to do is get in the car with their Mom and two screaming siblings to drive for four hours. FUN! The awesome thing is? He’s actually acting like it’s not a big deal. Because LilZ learned a long time ago…Mommy does enough bitching for all of us. He doesn’t need to add to the mix.

This last-minute trip will be good for the soul becuase I’m meeting my brother and we’re going to do Dad Things. Things that either remind us of Dad or would make Dad happy. We planned this at the last minute as a way to try to force the Missing Dad Funk out of our system before the day of actual Christmas. We’re also going to meet up with a few people in Knoxville we’ve been neglecting since Dad died, but who were integral parts in our survival. It will be a good trip but one that took away THREE DAYS from my pre-Christmas prep. So, since touching the ground in Huntsville after out trip to Tucson? It’s been full on Christmas Attack Mode. Shopping, Wrapping, Decorating and Writing. I still have about 10 Christmas cards to mail because I ran out of stamps. Those people will get their cards AFTER Christmas…which will be better than not at all. Right? Of course, AndyZ threw a wrench in the whole Christmas Attack mode when he spent one whole night puking. But did I let that slow me down? NEVER!

(But please excuse any presents you may receive with faint traces of vomit on them. I was trying to multitask.)


(Those were all for my husband. He’s used to the smell.)

Her final product!

Thanks to my in-laws, NikkiZ still got to do her Gingerbread house. That was the first thing I took off the list when I realized we’d be short a few days. MrZ’s Sister took her to Wal-Mart Sunday to pick out the house and the two of them along with MrZ’s Mom decorated away. It turned out amazing. For my part, I managed to squeeze in a trip to the Galaxy of Lights last night because that’s one of my favorite traditions. We’ve seen several Santas, given out a bunch of presents, been to school parties AND work parties. All in all? I’m damn proud of what all I’ve accomplished. This cage match has been grueling, with three out-of-town trips around Thanksgiving and Christmas, a couple of illnesses, and copious amounts of eating that had to be done by me. (What? You don’t schedule your gorge fests?) All in all? Even with the unfair tag-team action by Thanksgiving? I think I’m going to walk away the winner in this match. The Holiday season is totally my bitch.

My favorite thing about the 20mm lens...arm's length photos
Another picture of us pre-party because we looked so cute!

Party Animals

MrZ and I got all dolled up last night for his office Christmas party. He was taking a picture of us with his phone when LilZ (who had my camera) jumped on the coffee table to grab this shot. I am so in love with the idea AND with how great of a photo it turned out to be. I’m going to actually frame it I love it so much. We had a lot of fun at the party and proved how old of souls we truly are when we ended up taking responsibility for the leftover desserts because everyone else was going out after the party. Seriously, everyone else continued the night and we were all, “Really? But it’s midnight! That’s late and we’re old.” We said this to people who had as much as 15-20 years on us. But you know what’s important about that story? We BOTH opted out. Meaning? If we’re going to be lame at parties, at least we’re lame together. Making us the perfect couple.

Flashbacks to Hell Week

Today is LilZ’s first day of exams. EXAMS. Do you know the dark and dreary flashbacks the word EXAMS brings me? DARK AND DREARY.

I spent seven years in college, I studied for a lot of exams. Then, the four years in high school prior to that? ELEVEN YEARS OF EXAMS. Just watching him studying last night I broke out in cold sweats and felt the urge to make a pot of coffee and smoke a pack of cigarettes. How does he do it without caffeine or nicotine?

(Please don’t tell him I asked that question.)

LilZ and I have discussed what he is learning to be his best study methods. They seem to be completely opposite from mine. He reads a lot out loud, he says. Slowly and deliberately, like a script. He seems to respond to the audio and the vocal triggers in his memory. Me? I was a writer. I had to write and re-write things to allow them to solidify a spot in my brain. I would re-write my notes before tests…sometimes several times. MrZ, on the other hand, was one of those bastards who had photographic memory. He re-read everything once and it was solid. And while my memory was often short-term, his always stuck. Which is why when I scored higher than he did on any exams, I felt like a rockstar.

What about you? How did you study for exams?

Random Picture Of a Seriously Cute Couple For Your Enjoyment

Tucson Wrap-Up

Sunset at Catalina
Sunset at Catalina State Park

We are home from one of the best trips of my life. Not only was it exactly what I needed in terms of hanging out with my brother, which is always good for the soul, and taking a break from being a Mom which is what I needed to boost my energy for the holidays. It also inspired the photographer in me with new scenery. And finally? We ate some hella’ good food. Which is awesome for my waistline.

Fisheye Lens at Catalina

We discussed a few times how much Dad would have a) Loved that we were doing all of these things together and b) Probably have come along with us. He loved the desert and always talked about heading up to the Kitt Peak observatory. That entire night I thought of him.

Kitt Peak

Sunset at Kitt Peak

My brother’s house was also awesome. He’s done a much better job about turning Dad’s weird possessions into workable decor in a modern home. My favorite was what he did with the globe and random medical accessories.

Dad's Globe...Given New Life By My Brother

He finally found a new light for the bulb, but the best part is what it’s sitting on. My Dad was a biomedical engineer at a hospital for 25 years. He accumulated a lot of cool medical items like Display Only false hips and shoulders that would get thrown out when they were no longer needed for display. That’s what’s in the glass cylinder…Display Versions of titanium hips and shoulders! And around the base of the cylinder? Some sort of surgical brace. If I could have found a way to sneak the entire contraption home, I would have. Dad would have been amazed that his dusty box of cool medical gadgets could be displayed in such a pretty fashion.

And then…of course…there’s Lance Armstrong. My brother and I agreed Dad wouldn’t have come out for the book signing with us, but he would have loved to hear our goofy stories about it. And he would have loved to receive one of the autographed copies for Christmas. But seeing us waiting in line like giddy school girls at a boy band concert? Would have just made him shake his head in awe. Which made us completely happy to think about.

We made him laugh

Look!! I met @lancearmstrong and he was so cool!

Most importantly, we had a great time as a couple. MrZ even humored me by holding my hand every where, which he hates to do. We needed that time to remember that we like each other as more than The Other Person To Pass Poopy Diapers Off On. It’s hard to remember that sometimes.


Live! From Arizona!

We had a hell-day traveling that started with mechanical problems on one plane that we sat on at the gate for almost two hours. They made us get off of that plain after several attempts to repair and we boarded another at the other end of the concourse. After finally making it into Tucson 3+ hours later than we though we would, we realized while going to open our suitcase to get ready for bed: We made the most dreadful of all dreadful rookie travel errors. We left the airport with the wrong suitcase. While the suitcase we had was loaded with cartons of cigarettes (The former smoker in me was all, “Score!”), it had nothing we needed for our actual trip. We got everything straightened out the next morning and I apologized profusely to the gentlemen whose nicotine arsenal I had acquired.

We went up to Kitt Peak observatory last night and did their evening program that involved a gorgeous sunset, brilliant stargazing, copious amount of Uranus jokes made by my brother and I (“Planets don’t twinkle.” “Except for Uranus. Uranus always twinkles.”), and some frozen appendages (“Freezing our asses off feels a little archaic surrounded by all of this technology.”). It was a great evening. I thought I’d pop in and share a couple pictures with you and then we’re off to an art festival!

Kitt Peak

Sunset at Kitt Peak