I hope you all have a Merry Christmas (or your holiday of choice, I’m equal opportunity around here) and in case you didn’t give me your address

Holiday card 2010

best wishes from the whole “Just Expressive” family (sans the reptiles)

one holiday down, two more to go

Thanksgiving is over and almost all the leftovers are out of my house. It was a good dinner with the fam and relatively drama free. Wednesday night we went to Santa’s Wonderland in College Station and damned if it wasn’t a fabulous idea to go early. There wasn’t a line to get in, we were able to get front row parking for Santa’s Town and my sister didn’t have a line for her son’s pic with Santa. Last year we tried to go with friends and had to give up the line was so insanely long.

Speaking of lines…Saturday was the last day for Fest (for us) and it was beyond crowded. We stayed for fireworks and they started an hour late, it was FREEZING. Sprog wanted to give up and go home already but I wrapped him into my cloak with me and that helped soothe the shivering beast. (We also got hot chocolate but he chugged his glass) So many people stayed for fireworks and it ran so late that apparently the traffic control became non-existent. We sat in our row trying to leave the parking lot for 1 hour and 20 minutes before the sheriff’s dept showed up and got us the heck out of there. Seriously, we were the last row to be cleared and our number was 23. HOW DOES 24-36 GET CLEARED BEFORE 23? LEARN HOW TO COUNT!

Ren Fest 11/27
Pre-cloakage. We were watching the insult stages (one is a guy that gets tomatoes thrown at his head while he shouts insults and the other is the dunk-a-wench booth) and Connor LOVED the insult dude, of course he didn’t understand most of what he was saying, I think he just wanted to see him get pelted with fruit.

Sprog wanted to go to Sound and Fury, who does dirty versions of Shakespeare, so we left my sis and Connor to the joust for a bit.

Sunday we did a whole lot of nothing around here. I made a new necklace for the shop

before succumbing to a migraine and staying in bed the rest of the day.

Oh Friday I got the tree up and most of the other inside decorating done. Ridiculously early this year but it makes the hubs happy, so I’ll suffer it. I also helped Sprog decorate his tree (he has one in his bedroom) and instead of the sentimental ornaments he wanted it exactly like mine but in a different color. Interesting!

Expect a Style Lush post on the decor and wrapping, for this year, next week. Tomorrow’s post is all about Christmas stockings so be sure to check that out.

rock n roll marathon weekend in pictures

Last weekend Sprog got to meet his blood family, on my side, for the first time. We went to San Antonio to support my cousin Tracie in running a half marathon.

From our vantage point right in front of the Alamo

Runners and spectators (I ran across the street to catch Tracie after the turn so this is looking back at where we were prev standing.

Leah and John David dancing on the sidelines

Tracie going up the last hill

USMC who pushed (his son I think) all 13.1 miles, I cried when he made it up the final hill without stopping.

Sprog busted having fun on the playground with the kids (he should smile more often, don’t you agree?)

The face my camera is usually met with

Hannah and John David

More pics in the flickr as always

It’s still a bit awkward when we all hang out, but maybe over time that will ease. We did learn to play Texas Hold Em so that was fun :)

if you don’t have anything nice to say, disappear from the internets

apparently. At least that’s what I’ve pretty much done when it comes to the blog. We went to San Antonio over the weekend to cheer my cousin on at the Rock N Roll Marathon (and try to spot Jen, which sadly didn’t happen) and I have felt like ass ever since we came home. Every day is a new exercise in something making me cranky as all get out and I have been hella busy trying to get stuff done for the Etsy shop. I should also be getting things done around the house, hello pit of despair, but maybe this weekend. It seems that when cranky and headachy, I can only deal with so much….

Speaking of, I saw my mother yesterday. My birth mother, the one I haven’t laid eyes upon in what, 15 years now? This whole family business has had me on edge since the get but I tried to put it aside because from what my Aunt told me, they really didn’t have much contact with her, then yesterday I am looking through my second cousin’s SYTYCD album (yes, she went to their traveling road show thing) and all the sudden my heart hits my stomach. Oh, hello maternal unit. UGH. Of course she wasn’t tagged in the picture (and so far, doesn’t have a facebook) but given my reaction I knew it was her. The years of drinking and spending all her time in casinos has not, shall we say, been kind, so she looks quite a bit different but later my second cousin wrote in her name (with incorrect spelling btw) so it’s confirmed.

Now I have this

in my head. *sigh*

don’t hate the playa

So Sprog may have a new girlfriend and y’all should be aware of his sweet, sweet moves.

Apparently there is this girl that he jokes around with frequently like they are going to fight but then he puts his hands up in a heart shape, to make her smile and call the “truce”

Well yesterday she put the heart up in return and then broke it.

So he put his finger to his eye and then drug it down his face like he was crying.

A moment later he put the heart up again and she did it back.



Anyway, apparently later in class their activity was walking from station to station where they had to write notes about something that was posted on the wall. Said girl was being poked in the side by a boy that Sprog knows, to “tickle” her. Sprog told the kid to back off, that she was his. Ooooh. So the kid is like what? Sprog looks to the girl and asks her to confirm that she is his and she says, “Oh, yep, that’s right.”

So I guess that at some point today he’s going to ask for her phone number and make a formal move. Hopefully that goes well.

this year at fest

My sister came up with free tickets to Ren Fest yesterday morning and as we are trying to do as much with Connor, in wake of the divorce and his father abandoning him for Europe, as possible we hopped on the chance to go with them and spend the day.

Most of the pictures are on Candy’s phone but I have a few.

This year at Fest


Got one


Connor got his first pair of bracers from Ravenswood leather and they look adorable on him. Candy has the pics of those, however.

Willy has been super awesome stepping in and giving Connor the male attention that he is so desperate for with his father being absent. On Friday when I babysat him, Willy played Wii Sports Resort with him until it was time to take him to the indoor jumping place for parent’s night out and then yesterday Willy rode the big swings with him, so Connor wanted Uncle Willy in the back of the car with him for the VERY LONG car ride home. We stayed for the awesome fireworks display (if you’ve never been, they put on an AMAZING display, even with the burn ban) which means that we sat for 40 min without moving in the parking lot before the geniuses let us go out the other direction and I scrambled to figure out the back roads on Willy’s Iphone to get us home. Candy and I had a great time in the front of the car with the horror movie style back roads we were on, we both kept waiting for Leather Face to jump out at any moment and try to kill us or for the road to just end over the next hill.

Meanwhile, Willy and Connor were watching The Polar Express in the back seat. When we got back to the house, Connor didn’t want us to leave, poor baby. I am thankful that he has his uncles to help him through this time and I am thankful that my husband is one of them.

take this stuff and shelve it

I might have a small addiction to Costco. Like, I treat it as if it’s a regular grocery store, small addiction. In my defense, I am raising a growing teenage boy that has shot up 6 inches over the past however long and is still growing, so food is very important in our house. We recently were gifted a chest freezer which has helped immensely in my Costco shopping excursions, it’s freaking hard to fit bulk sized freezer items into a side by side freezer space but the other problem is the pantry.

When we bought this house I sacrificed A LOT in terms of space. I had a HUGE walk in pantry in my rent house, a pantry of dreams. A pantry I could tear up about, I miss it that much. In this house, I have barely a coat closet sized pantry, it’s pathetic, it’s also not conducive to bulk shopping or frankly shopping at the Indi-pak (Indian Pakistani market where I get all my spices and such for the huge amount of Indian cooking I have started doing). So the back half of my kitchen, also known as the breakfast nook, has turned into cluttered horrible looking storage. It’s been a nightmare and it’s been driving me nutso. Having a cluttered house has a none so good effect on my person but we haven’t had the funds to get what I really want to put along the back wall for storage so it’s just been a compounding problem. Over the weekend we just decided to suck it up and buy an interim solution, a rack shelving system, it’s not pretty but at least it would be functional, or so we thought.

We bought it at Target it, with its 350 lbs of support claims and it’s black powder coated finish to mimic the cabinets that are opposite so at least it wouldn’t be as heinous. Putting it together was a disaster, none of the support cups are straight, I am pretty sure none of the poles are straight so you can imagine they wouldn’t slide together properly which meant that “gentle tapping with a mallet” didn’t get the shelves to settle, proper tapping with a mallet meant bending…so much for that 350lbs. Instead of returning the cursed thing we opted to muscle through and just deal with the bends, the chips and the craptasticness of it all so we would at least have something to get the shit up off the floor and out of our way and then when we can afford something nicer, that piece of shit is going out to the curb. We have a similar system out in the garage but it’s a proper heavy duty system from a restaurant supply and there really is no substitute.

For now, I am ignoring all the flaws, the fact that it looks very college dorm-esque and reveling in my free from clutter floors, my open traffic path, my ORGANIZATION. OH HAPPY DAY.

it’s my body and i’ll cry if want to

I don’t think I’ve met a woman that doesn’t have an issue with her body, from a size 0 to a size 22+, it doesn’t seem to matter much, there always seems to be something that could be tweaked, swapped or improved upon (regardless of what other people think, skinny people have issues too). For some women, it’s a minor thought, something in the back of their consciousness, something that they might like to be different but nothing that really affects them in their daily life. For others, it’s a constant biting critique, an ugly voice that assaults them from inside any time they confront a mirror, a shopping trip or a stressful occasion.

I vacillate between the two. On a good day, I am fine, I have accepted who I am and how I am built and go about looking cute without much a thought of things. Dressing and make-up can be almost mechanical, a bunch of motions that I have been doing since puberty, things I don’t really have to think much about anymore. On a bad day? It’s really hell. It’s a collection of voices that have been putting me down my entire life. It’s the stretch marks on my upper hips and thighs that I got picked on for when I was 14 and had swimming in PE, the reason I have never (until this past trip to Mexico) gone without board shorts to the beach. It’s the rib cage that sticks out so far as to garner me attention for having 4 boobs during that same time-frame. It’s the break-outs I still have even though I am closer to 40 than I am my teens. It’s the fact that one of my breasts is so much smaller than the other that it’s called the runt and that isn’t an exaggeration. It’s the cellulite I have even though everyone gives me crap for being too skinny.

Beyond that and believe me that should be enough…it’s the fact that in my body I see my parents. I figure most people look at themselves and identify which features they got from which parent, it’s a pretty natural thing to do. I do it with my son, all the time. But when you don’t like your parents? I mean truly don’t like your parents, been scarred by them and haven’t had any sort of relationship with them for many years, you don’t want to identify with them. You don’t want to see them in you. Especially not when the majority of your torment came from them. When all your skin sensitivity issues came from a mother that would point out your zits in front of the cute waiters, loudly, at whatever restaurant you happened to be at or would critique you on your lack of make-up, clothes or hair in front of the staff at your job. I’m not even going to go into how messed up I was because of what my father did to me, suffice it to say…the damage runs deep.

For the most part I don’t look enough like my parents, in the face, for it to bother me. I mean yes I have thin lips like my mother but hers are much thinner than mine so I can remove the association. I probably have my father’s nose but his had a moustache attached for my whole life so it’s not as if it looks the same, you know? Anyway. The thing is, I have my mother’s stomach. Like EXACTLY. Every time I look down at it, it creeps! If I am having a bad day? It’s seriously upsetting to me. I have my father’s shoulders. They are so squared off, I may as well be a hanger and they even freckle the same way. UGH.

I don’t want it to get to me for the rest of my life. I don’t want them to get to me for the rest of my life. I have, for the most part, been able to deal with everything else they have done to me….I would really like to get past this last bit and move on already. So the other day I posted a picture of myself on flickr in a bikini. It was a big step for me. It was seriously freaky, even though it was locked down to only people that are in my contacts list but I am glad I did it, just like I am glad I am writing this post and glad I was on the beach without my board shorts. One more thing put behind me, one step closer to free.

i have a stamp in my passport


Not that I am in anyway being an ingrate, because seriously, I am so thankful for the opportunities that Willy’s job allows and all the travel I have done this year. I (or we depending) have been to a lot of new places (and some old) this year and it’s been great. I could do without the stress of flying stand-by, getting stranded somewhere or it taking 12 hours to make a 2 hour flight home…but trade-offs, you know?

If there was one word that could describe our trip it would be: lazy

We did a whole lot of nothing, went a whole lot of nowhere and drank a fair bit. We spent our days on the beach in the sun and the waves or on a four-poster beach bed, swinging beach bed or treehouse. We saw a lot of this view

Another treehouse view

and a fair bit of this one


and my husband saw this one

Biggest sun hat in all the land

and I this one

Wills in hammock

More deets/review tomorrow when I recover from the blinding headache and sinus crap that Houston welcomed me back with given our current weather situation.

photo album

Over the weekend we spent at least a part of every day with my sister, Friday her husband left “for good” and it was time for the family to rally around her and their son. For the most part they are both doing okay. The nephew was playing in the play structure at dinner pretty much the entire time or stuffing his face with chips at the table. He did announce to the table that his dad left and that he was sad but shut himself down the second he started to tear up about it. When I babysat him on Saturday there was no mention of the situation or his father at all, nor on Sunday when we saw them for family dinner.

I know that he’s hurt and angry but he’s so closed off about the situation that I really hope he gets into therapy. Little boys tend to do well when there is a third party that they can vent to about situations. Sprog said that the whole thing was awkward and was bringing back memories of our divorce but “at least his father was still around, so it wasn’t so bad for him”

My sister is fairing pretty well, I don’t think it’s all hit her yet, she’s mired in the day to day right now. She’s worried for her son, of course, and she worries about her ex way more than she should be, but that was her role for the entirety of their relationship, I don’t think she knows how to turn that off just yet. Sunday night we sat around the table looking at old photo albums and she lamented her lost cuteness, her lost girlyness, her lost “her-ness”. She’s had to be the sole bread winner, the sole “pants” in the family for their marriage and frankly longer than that. Her husband would lose his wallet, his keys, his atm card on the regular and she was always having to keep track of everything for the both of them. She was working herself to death to pay for the fact that he was too expensive to insure via her school insurance and didn’t have any insurance on his own. She paid off insane amounts of debt his father racked up in his name. No, none of us understand it either, but that was the way of it. Now that he’s gone, she’s been able to come home at a reasonable hour already (she turned off his insurance well before he left). She’s been able to not attend work-shops at work already. She’s been able to be around on Friday nights and not pass the eff out from exhaustion and HE JUST FREAKING LEFT.

I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was happy for her. I know that is probably going to get me the stank eye somewhere but it was not a good situation for either of them (referring to the nephew, I could give two shits about the ex BIL) and I remember what it’s like to look in a photo album and not know who the hell you are anymore. I remember what it’s like to finally feel like you can be yourself. I want that for her, I want that for both of them. I want them to have the chance to be happy and healthy and GROW without that negative freaking anchor weighing them down. As angry as I am at him and what he is doing, I am elated that he is FINALLY GONE and I hope that he stays that way. I hope that they are allowed the chance at happiness and healing. I hope that the girl she sees in that photo album doesn’t stay a thing of the past but a thing of the present and the future.