Monday, August 31, 2009

Lars and the Real Girl

When my friend Aimes asked me if I wanted to watch a movie about a guy with a blow-up doll called Lars and the Real Girl I have to admit I was a little skeptical at first. She quickly informed me (knowing where my mind would go, but let's face it--anyone's mind would've gone there) that the movie isn't about that. It's PG-13.

I have to tell you, I really liked this movie. A lot, even! I will be vague so as to not spoil it for you should you decide to watch it. What I loved about this movie most is that there's weird psychology involved, which fascinates me (and sometimes horrifies me, but not in this case). And how the townspeople all came together to support this man's healing was really touching, if not supremely weird.

So, if you're looking for something to watch and feel in the mood for something a little different, I recommend this movie. Ryan Gosling did an amazing job playing this character!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Do Yourself a Favor - Watch This Video!

Turn up the sound. Focus on the boy in the red shirt (sorry, sister, your 15 minutes will have to wait). This makes me smile. Just what I needed after last week! You go, boy!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Dear Ms. McQuay

Hi Amy! I'm glad I called you out, because you sound super cool! Please do keep lurking :o) Or, chat once in a while if you have a minute. I love that you're into immunology; I would love to pick your brain.

Thank you for the lovely compliments on my photography; it means the world to me.

Sorry you've had to hear me whine about losing our house; I'm a winer. (You probably figured that out already though...Harvard and all.)

Anyhow...nice to meet you! I'm jealous you live in one of the most lovely pieces of these United States and I am stuck here in Brown Dirt. I have been to Harvard (to gawk, not to study) and was overcome with awe in it's beauty. My first husband had just broken my camera, so I didn't get any pics.

But I ramble, so now I will stop since my daughter is begging for me to take her for a haircut. She's quite persistent!

Sorry I scared you with that last post title! hehe; we Sagittarians like to scare the crap outta people, it's in our star code or something like that



Calling Ms McQuay

Who are you? I notice you noticing me. Just curious.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Dear President Obama

Dear President Obama,

Please be informed that your plan to save people's homes is not working. My husband's income has gone down $12,000 in the last 2 years and another $6,000 so far this year. He hasn't had a raise in 3 and a half years and his piece rate stopped at the beginning of this year, just so you understand the story. (Sidenote to you cute people who thought Todd was a partner in the business: he isn't, and never has been. He doesn't even get benefits. But you are cute to think it was the 3 of them; don't worry, everyone else thought so, too, including me when I first met Todd).

When we saw deep financial trouble approaching, we called our mortgage company and informed them of such and asked ONLY for a refinance to the going interest rate which would have reduced our mortgage payment enough for us to scrape by. They refused, because we "have no equity in our home." Of course we have no equity in our home. We bought it for $252K and it's now worth about $100K.

So, we fell behind on our mortgage payments. After a couple months, we applied for a loan modification according to your new plan, Mr. Obama. We hoped the mortgage company would reduce our principal to the value of the home, since we are older than most people who have bought their first home and thus closer to retirement and relying on equity in our home to retire on (which would never happen at this point the way the market fell), as that was part of your plan.

After several months and multiple times repeating the entire modification application process, we finally received a modification offer from the bank.

They would oh so very graciously tack our late payments onto the end of our mortgage (increasing our principal rather than decreasing it) and lower our interest rate, reducing our payment by a very small amount--not enough to allow us to keep our home.

Meanwhile, because it's summer and my husband does air conditioning for a living, his paychecks have gone up (but only every third week, when he's on call and works over 80 hours in that particular week). Once the weather cools, that every third week decent paycheck will be gone. No long-term solution there.

My photography business is slllllooooow, since photography is a luxury item and most people don't have money for luxury items right now. Plus there are seemingly 5 million other "photographers" (who can't even tell you what a lighting ratio is, or how to control ambient light while using a strobe) out there giving away their "snapshots" for free.

If I were to go out and get a "regular" job, I would probably make about $8/hour, ALL of which would be paid to a child care provider to watch my 3-year-old child.

What has become of our great country? Your plan, sir, is not working. The bank is auctioning our home on October 6th. They will sell it to some strangers (who don't give a crap about my baby's footprints in the concrete) for most likely around $100K.

I am sick over this. Just sick.

sandi miller

San Tan Valley, AZ

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Suicide Girl

This is a true story.

One day, Todd was driving to a job, and a woman was in the middle of the road trying to jump in front of cars. Todd slowed down to avoid her. As he drove slowly by her, he looked into her hollow eyes.

I wonder if she had just lost her house and spent the afternoon looking at crappy ones that she knows she'll have to cram her family into, all the while mourning the loss of her own.

If so, I can relate. I pretty much feel like throwing myself in front of a car right now.

A Roller Coaster of Emotions

This has been a trying week. Two children drowned in our neighborhood. One was revived and will fully recover; the other did not make it. She was only 5. This has weighed heavily on my heart all week; I cannot contain the tears when I think of the parents' grief. They were at their new house preparing it to move into. The children slipped out back. I am so grateful one of them was able to survive. I wish both had been able to be revived, but things don't always work out the way we hope. After two days on life support, little Rachel's organs were donated and saved the lives of 5 other children. Out of tragedy springs hope and renewal. Just like Christ who suffered unthinkable suffering for us, so that we could be renewed.

Hope springs eternal in the human breast;
Man never Is, but always To be blest:
The soul, uneasy and confin'd from home,
Rests and expatiates in a life to come.
-Alexander Pope, An Essay on Man, Epistle I, 1733

Monday, August 24, 2009

Weird Things to Worry the Mind

Todd has to park his work truck in the back yard behind the gate or else things get stolen from it. The past week has been dedicated to worrying about Todd's truck getting broken into once we move and don't have a gate to pull through anymore.

Happy worrying! It's gotta end soon, right?

Friday, August 21, 2009


Okay, ladies...or at least those of you who are still living in the pre-perimenopausal bliss of youth. This is a wake-up call. If you see perimenopause approaching, RUN! Run like hell, because let me tell you, it ain't pretty.

In the last few months, I have:

  • been broken out like a hormonally raging teenager
  • had dull and lifeless hair
  • had more mood swings than a hippie playground (whatever that means)
  • suffered constant weird food cravings
  • gained 10 more pounds

Did you catch all that? Because if not, read it again, and carefully. And if you see perimenopause approaching, RUN! Run like hell, because let me tell you, it ain't pretty.

It's like PMS, injected with steroids, mixed with pregnancy and puberty all rolled into one. Hell, anyone?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

I Like Organizing People

I just realized something about myself and I'm maybe a tad fascinated by it. Or not really, but maybe more surprised that it's something I only just realized.

I like to organize people. I do. I like to get them together and organize them into something: a group, a club, a class.

Evidence? In the 2.5 years we've been in our neighborhood, I've started a blockwatch, a Hash House Harriers group, I've taught photography workshops, and now I've just started a photography club. Oh and I group-itized Castlegate Marketplace. And there's probably a thing or two I'm leaving out.

Isn't that funny? I wonder what that means? And I wonder what will be next?

Monday, August 17, 2009

What More Could I Want?

I know I've said this before; several times, even, but do you know that I married the greatest guy on the entire planet? I really did. I thank God for him daily. How he puts up with me and my complicated self, I will never know. This man drives me around in the car if I'm bored or anxious. He holds me when I'm scared or sad. He doesn't complain if the house is messy or flat-out dirty. If dinner doesn't get made, he'll make it himself, all the while cheerful and smiling. If my cooking sucks, he'll eat it anyway, and if it turns out great, he makes sure I know. He scratches my back and purrs like a big ole tiger when I scratch his head. He snuggles. He snores. He farts. He treats my 2 kids from a previous as if they had been born to him. He helps out so much with our little guy. He gives me directions when I'm lost (that's pretty often) and makes fun of me afterwards. He still finds me desirable even though I've gained 18 lbs since we got married. He jiggles my jelly belly and teases me about it. He whips my butt at Quiddler and sometimes even at Scrabble. He takes me camping. He smooshes big, ugly bugs when I'm too whimpish to do it myself. If I'm drowning in my own bad attitude, he gently reminds me of the good things in life. He forgives those who do him wrong.

We may have lost our house, but we have each other. Todd is my companion not only for life on this Earth, but for all Eternity and I am so grateful for that; words cannot suffice.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Do You Feel Like 1959?

Just wanted to share one of my favorite songs of all time with you. Because I like you. Yes, you!

Thursday, August 13, 2009


Arizona has grown on me (slowly...oh so very slowly) in the six years I've been here. One thing I can't seem to warm up to is the brown dirt and lack of abundant lush, thick, swaying-in-the-breeze greenery I love so much back home in Virginia. So, when we bought our house, Todd and I made a vow that our backyard would be as lush and colorful as the hot Arizona sun would allow.

We planted vitex (which look like butterfly bushes back in VA) and bright green ground cover that becomes blanketed with tiny white flowers in spring. We planted a bright red bottle brush bush and their twin plants (can't think of their names off hand). We planted jonquil bulbs that electrify the landscape in late winter, and a crepe myrtle (also an old fave from home). Our snail vine grows up one of the columns of the patio, so lush and thick and bursting with strange purple flowers that seem to love the intense heat. We even planted a lilac, but it's not big enough to bloom yet. We'll be gone before it has the chance. There are even citrus and pomegranate and donut peaches, but we'll never reap their harvest.

It will all die while it sits empty waiting for someone to move in. In honor of it's memory and the love we put into our backyard (and didn't even get to finish), here is a bee on Todd's bottle brush. I will miss you, bottle brush. There's a back story to that bottle brush, but I'll save that memory just for Todd and me.

copyright Miller&Miller Photography

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Girls' Night Out!

If you're considering seeing the movie, Julie & Julia, but are on the fence about it, I have to say go for it! It was such a cute movie; I really enjoyed every minute of it. And so of course, today I had to find the blog that started the whole thing. Here it is if you're interested. It's very good reading:

My girl Tiff took a little group of us out for eats last night before the movie. We ate at a brewery that I think was called BJ's? Anyway, it was super delish! I recommend that place, too. It was right next to Krispy Kreme, and although before we went into BJ's I admit I was fantasizing about a KK with chocolate sprinkles, but by the time we came out, I was so full (their draft root beer is divine, by the way) all I could do was look at the glowing Krispy Kreme sign and groan. (Next time, KK, I promise!)

Thanks, Tiff...that was a night MUCH needed; I had a blast! Love you!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Sure to Get a Giggle

If you've ever checked out the list of blogs I stalk, and were put off by the one called GoFugYourself, do not let the name scare you! It's a blog about (mostly bad) fashion written by a very witty fashionista. Here's a great one to start with; it CRACKED me UP even in the midst of my foreclosure depression. Go see -->

Scratching My Head

'My friends, we live in the greatest nation in the history of the world. I hope you'll join with me as we try to change it.' -Barack Obama

Okay, i know i said i was through with politics, (Mitt Romney in 2012!) but i just ran across that quote and couldn't resist putting it on here.

I find it so so so so so very interesting that there's already sooooo much talk about the 2012 election. It's in the news continually, it's dicussed on talk shows on tv and the radio.

So interesting. So very interesting.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Worst Performance of My Life

Last night was my sil, Erin's 40th surprise birthday party. I had some trepidations about going, given the state I've been in since we got our foreclosure date. But I thought I would be able to hold it together at least for a little while.


I got there, saw all the smiling happy people and burst into flames. I sat in an inconspicuous spot on the loveseat and tried to plaster on a smile. Didn't work. The tears started coming, so I jumped up and retreated to the den, where a group of my nephews had crashed the computer so severely it said "contact technical support." I perused the pages of an atlas and read about Mount Everest. I tried not to think about moving into a rental house with sterile white walls and zero character.

Allie asked me when we'd be able to buy another house. I sadly had to tell her it wouldn't be during her lifetime in our home. She'll be 16 this December. She'll probably own a house of her own before we do again. I hate that my kids have no place to look back on as "home."

Friday, August 7, 2009

Something To Be ExCiTEd About! Death: The High Cost of Living

I could SCREAM right now. SCREAM!

Death: The High Cost of Living is IN PRODUCTION! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! Suddenly I am alive again.

Neil Gaiman, I love love love you. I've been saying for years...YEARS! that The Sandman series needed to be made into a series of movies. Death was a spin-off, you could say, of The Sandman series. I have the books, and the art galleries (including the Death gallery) and will never ever part with them.

Oh my oh my oh my. I cannot contain myself!

"To see a world in a grain of sand...." --William Blake

I think my favorite plant in our backyard is our snail flower vine. Here are some pics of the snail flower, least my interpretation of them. I dig grain.


And I'm not talking about Winnie.

Bryce has been potty trained (or at least in the process) for a few months now. But sometimes he seems to just get lazy. He couldn't be bothered with walking 25 feet to get his cute green frog potty, so he just lets loose wherever he may be.

Other times, the backdoor is closer, so he opens it and pees off the patio. A few days ago he came back inside and backed up to me with his butt sticking out. "I pooed," he informed me. I knit my eyebrows and said, "Where?"

"Outside," Bryce said, very matter-of-factly.

I looked.

Sure enough, on the large black wipe-your-feet rug at the backdoor was a nice pile of poo. So fun to clean up from carpet.

Don't even get me started on the diarrhea trail from the living room through the family room and down the hall. Or the time he peed on my pillow because he didn't want to miss 5 seconds of Diego.


Thursday, August 6, 2009

You Are All Uninvited

Sorry to have to cancel, but my 40th birthday party is off. I know, I know, I've been talking about it for 2 years. The excitement is gone. I just can't bring myself to celebrate in a rental.

No offense to renters.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

A Fear a Day

I get a word a day emails. I haven't looked at the words in a long time. I love words; I just have too much other crap on my mind. A Word a Day has morphed into A Fear a Day.

Today I'm afraid the rental we'll move into will go into foreclosure and we'll have to move again. And again. And again.

I hate being a renter. It's like staying with relatives; I can't fully relax in someone else's house.

President Obama, your "plan" isn't working. Just thought I'd mention that.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

I Am Not a Fighter

For some reason, people think I'm tough. Maybe because I've lived through so much...growing up in a violent family, my father's suicide, "assault" at age 13, my absent mother throughout my teens, bad relationships, the list goes on.

But losing my home is beating me. I can't seem to find the strength to get through it. Others have born it and moved on. I can't seem to shake the depression, even with the help of pharmaceuticals. Every little detail draws me down: the snail vine growing up the patio column. It will die when we leave. We can't really take it with us; what's the point in planting on rental property?

I'm sinking in stress. Already I'm worried about how many push-pin holes Allie will put in the walls of her rented bedroom, despite my asking her not to.

I will miss my fluffy brown carpet in our bedroom.

Weird little thoughts like that, all day long.

All day long.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Okay, Seriously?

Todd was on call Mother's Day weekend. Todd was on call Father's Day weekend. Any time we get invited to do anything FUN, TODD IS ON CALL and we have to miss it. So, I just realized that TODD IS ON CALL for Ward Campout weekend, so we get to miss that, too. The kids will be sooooo bummed. We got to go last year and had a blast!

Okay, just had to GRIPE since that's about all I do lately.


I Don't Exist If You Don't See Me

Remember that old Sisters of Mercy song? Prolly not, huh? Well, it was a good one. And that's what's running through my head today as I struggle more and more with losing our home.

On a plus side, my mom has been sympathetic and kind through this whole ordeal. She has no money, but said that if she did, she would give us her last penny if it would help us keep our house. And I know she would (not that I would let her). Because in the end, no matter how much she disapproves of me, or how much we get angry with each other, blood is thicker than water. At least, back home it is. Not so much here in AZ.