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I Blame the Moon for All of It

Hello blog! I missed you!

This week we’ve had something called a blood moon.  Sounds like title to a Dean Koontz book doesn’t it? But it’s not.  It’s a lunar eclipse!  One where the sun’s light shining through the earths atmosphere reflects off the moon creating an orange-red color on the full moon.

I find things like lunar eclipses interesting.  Mainly because I’m convinced that they make humans act wacko.  No, I am not one of the many who declared the blood moon to be a sign of the End Times, I just think lunar events make people act weird in general.

Which is why I wasn’t all that surprised on Tuesday evening when a man exposed himself to me in the parking lot of Lowes.

Yes.  You read that right.

I was pulling into the parking lot via the “back way” (I take a neighborhood street to get there and thus, avoid the traffic on the main roadway).  As I was circling around the parking lot in my car I glanced over in time to see a man getting out of his 2 door sedan.  At least I *thought* he was getting out.  He was turned sideways with both his feet planted on the ground, as if he were getting ready to hoist himself up out of the car.

But then I noticed that he was petting a small animal in his lap.  Except, yeah, that wasn’t a squirrel or a kitten.  He was, well, how do I put this delicately? Let’s say it this way: had it BEEN a squirrel, he would have been REALLY petting it.  Like, I would have had to call animal control or something.  Because: SQUIRREL ABUSE!

I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that I clutched my pearls and shrieked.  Then I called the police and reported him.

And then I went on about my day while quietly blaming the moon.


ps: Susan’s reply when I texted about all this: “Wow, he really gets off on home improvement”.


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Dog Day

So, after 14 years, my doggie died last November (Thanksgiving weekend! With a house full of guests! Woo!).  After 14 years of having a little animal in my home, it has been quite an adjustment to live without him.  I still (still!) look for him when I walk into the house after being away.  And every time it gives me a little pang of sadness.

Dave never did like our dog much.  When he looked at him all he saw were vet bills, unneccessary fur, and land mines of poo in the backyard.  He had a point about the fur.  Parker shed like it was his job.

So when it came time to start thinking about a new dog, I had some serious parameters.  First and foremost: Dave has to like him.  No point in having an animal under our roof if one of us despises it.  In addition, I’ve determined that I cannot have another dog that sheds.  The fur on everything just about kills me.

After doing tons of research, we determined that a “Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier” is something that might appeal to us.  And it just so happens that our friends own a rescued Wheaten and they were kind enough to let us borrow him for the day.  It was like a doggie test drive!


“Hullo. I am adorable”

And gosh, he was great.  Everyone loved him, even Dave.  We returned Rumble (a dog named Rumble! Cute!) to his owners this evening and all of us agreed that he was the perfect dog.

So that settles it, right?  We’ll rescue a Wheaten and live happily ever after!

Well, except that I came home and immediately vacuumed, and then mopped every inch of my floors.  What I realized today while Rumble was here is: Dogs? Are kind of disgusting.  I suppose after 14 years you get used to them, but now that I’ve lived without one for a few months I’ve gotten used to clean floors!  Dogs walk around in all kinds of ick and then track it into the house, ya’ll.  And their fur is like a swiffer picking up all sorts of debris and dragging it inside.  Leaves, sticks, BUGS.  And don’t even get me started on the licking-of-parts.  Ew.  And then there’s the water bowl slobber trail.

Having a dog makes me a manic house cleaner.  And since Parker died I’ve slacked off.  I only vacuum occasionally now (I had to vacuum every day with Parker or the dust bunnies morphed into dust PONIES).

I suppose I could let this dogs-are-filthy epiphany dissuade me from owning another animal, but anyone who has ever loved a dog will understand when I simply justify things by telling myself that a dog will make me a better housekeeper!

Because not having a dog is not an option.  Duh.




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Why is it so Hard to be a Cool Mom?

It’s spring break.  Which, for us, means extra togetherness with no exciting trips or events planned.  Since my kids only attend school on Monday and Wednesday we tend to take trips during the off-season and avoid crowds.  Thus, spring break is simply a long string of days filled with extra television watching and trampoline jumping.   Maybe an occasional playdate thrown in to break up the monotony.

This morning I woke up and decided, completely on a whim, that I would take the children to a brand new YMCA about 30 minutes away.  It’s got some sort of water park inside complete with a lazy river and a multi-story slide.  Since I’m not a member of the Y, I called to inquire about a day pass.  The lady on the phone said it would be $20 and that the pool was open and not busy.  Score!

And this is where things got hard.  First, I had to explain the plans to the children.  Since we rarely do ANYTHING on a whim, it took a full 10 minutes to explain what it was we were doing and why we were doing it.  My simple “We’re going swimming in a neato indoor pool with a SLIDE” was not nearly enough information. Here is a sample of the questions I was peppered with:

  1. where is the pool? (why does it matter? are they concerned about gas mileage? they have no sense of time or direction so why do they care?)
  2. who will be there? (I have no idea. How would I possibly know the names and occupations of anyone who may be in attendance at a pool we’ve never visited?)
  3. will it be crowded? (by the time we get there? probably)
  4. will the water be cold?
  5. will other children “be splashy”?
  6. do I get to wear my goggles?
  7. will there be things to eat there?
  8. what if I get hungry?
  9. what if I get thirsty?
  10. do I have to wear shoes

I want you to know that I handled these questions with aplomb, all while chivvying them toward their swimsuits and towels.  We managed to make it out the door in less than 15 minutes, which left us the half-hour drive in which to speak about every possible scenario we might encounter at the Mystery Pool.

By the time we arrived I was patting myself on the back for not losing my temper because OMG IT’S JUST A POOOOL HOW HARD CAN THIS BE TO UNDERSTAND??

Deep breath.

When we walked in, the dude at the registration desk (who was not happy to be at work today and wanted me to know it) looked at me with a deadpan stare and said “You do know the pool closes at 10am right?”.  It was 9:25am.

I should just end the story there so you can laugh at my pain, but LO IT GETS WORSE.  I decide that I will pay the $20 to swim for 30 minutes because I have endured the Ortloff Inquisition to get here and BY GOD WE’RE GOING TO SWIM.  Deadpan Dude says we’re welcome to come back at 6:15pm and swim for another 90 minutes at no charge. (How kind!).

We speed-walk to the pool and are immediately approached by a chipper lifeguard to tells me that no child is allowed into the pool until he/she passes a swim test.  And hey! There’s a swim test going on right now! So I rip clothing from my children and shove them into the water.  William passes.  Paige fails (and dear heavens, nearly drowns for trying).

9:36am: Paige cries for a good 5 minutes about having to wear a life jacket.  I am told I must be in the water and arms-length from her at all times.  I wasn’t planning on swimming.  I take one for the team and get in.  Paige is still sobbing.

9:45am: Paige has pulled herself together.  Follow William and Paige up the 3 flights of stairs to the top of the water slide only to be told that children in life jackets cannot slide.

9:50am: Follow Paige down 3 flights of stairs, past dripping children in line, all while she sobs and sobs.

9:52am: Get in lazy river with Paige where she immediately declares this is the BEST THING EVAR. (!)

10:00am: Whistles blow announcing the pool is closed.  Paige sobs again.

10:05-10:17am: Wait, shivering, for a “wet change only” dressing room so that we can remove our bathing suits.  Try to assure children “we’ll be warm in juuuust a minute”.

10:25am: Drive half hour home, change clothes, tell children they can watch a cartoon, crawl back in bed and wonder why I got up at all this morning.  Ponder if it’s worth it to drive back at 6:15 for more torture swimming.



How I Became an Accidental Artist

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Six months ago I’d never painted anything on a canvas.  Ever.  Now? I’m an artist.  An artist who sells paintings for actual American dollars.  No one is more surprised than me. I’ve been wanting to tell you how this happened.  How I accidentally, and without really trying, became an artist.  But gosh, the story doesn’t read well.  Because I want you to hear the wonder and excitement and THRILL in my voice.  And you can’t.  So, you’ll just have to read this and imagine that I’m sitting in front of you with my hands clasped tightly together under my chin.  And imagine my voice being all breathy and my eyes really, really big.  Also, I’m smiling.  I cannot for the life of me stop smiling.

Let us begin.

On November 8th I was scheduled to attend the 40th birthday celebration for one of my life-long friends.  My maid of honor for life.  The celebration was in Dallas and Dave and I had a whole weekend planned.  Just the two of us.

And then my kid got the flu.  On November the 8th.  Which is really early for flu season, but my kid is the valedictorian of the flu.  In fact? This particular bout with the flu marked his THIRD time to get it in 2013.  Yes! Like I said, valedictorian of the flu.

So we couldn’t go.  And whoa there were tears.  By me.  So, on a whim, I bought myself some paint and a pack of 5 canvases at the craft store and decided I would paint my friend a Meaningful Painting.  One that she would keep forever and would tell people that her dearest Rita painted it for her.  (I’m nothing if not dramatic).

And so I painted.  And? It was spectacularly awful.  Like, seriously hideous, y’all.

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So I tried again.  This time was a wee smidge better.  So I instagrammed a photo of the painting.

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And here’s where The Weird began to happen.  People wanted that painting! A friend called that very day and asked if I’d do a larger piece for her dining room.  And do you know what? I said SURE as if I KNEW ANYTHING ABOUT PAINTING.

Because I am insane.

And then? A few weeks later, I ran into another mom from school in a store I never go to.  She said she was an interior designer and asked if I would do some paintings for an upcoming show.  AND I SAID YES AGAIN.  AS IF I WERE AN ARTIST OR SOMETHING.

The show was December 1st and I sold 4 big paintings.  And then MORE people heard about me and MORE people saw paintings on Instagram and then MORE people wanted paintings.

Pretty soon, STRANGERS were wanting paintings. WHAT IN THE WORLD??

So, on December 26th, 2013 I opened a little etsy shop.  I sold my first painting within minutes (thanks Stephenie!).


Since then, I’ve had to figure out postage (I have a FedEx account now… I am totally Big Time!) and I’ve made friends with the dude at the local box supply store (turns out, the “baby crib mattress” box is excellent for shipping paintings).  I’ve created a make-shift logo and printed business cards and stationery and pretty mailing labels.  I even opened a separate checking account.


In short, I’ve accidentally started a business.

I’ve never had more fun in my entire life.  Ever.  And it’s all thanks to Instagram.  Or Jesus.  Probably more Jesus.

ps: until I get a real-live gallery website, follow me on Instagram to see examples of my work.



While listening to a podcast today I learned that humans have something like 21 senses.  Not 5. Twenty-one!  There’s the sense of hunger, for instance.  It’s a sense! Who knew?

“We have 5 senses” : Myth BUSTED.

Also? Mind BLOWN.

It’s 9pm and here’s a list of my current senses:

Sight: Well, for starters, my laptop screen (duh). And beyond that I see my feet tucked snugly into bed.  A bed which also currently houses an empty laundry basket and the remnants of my bill-paying project from earlier (also done from the warmth of my bed while my children played).

Sound: On the baby monitor (Shut up she’s a BABY.  Ok, she’s 5. Again: shut up) I hear the quiet whir of Paige’s box fan along with occasional swishes of her sheets as she settles in.  Oh, and just now, a wee little yawn.  I also hear, just barely, the sound of Dave learning to play his ukulele upstairs (a souvenir from our recent trip to Hawaii.).

Taste: Toothpaste.  Extra minty.  And it claims to make my teeth whiter.  So far I’m not convinced.  But it’s only been 4 years.  I’ll withhold judgement.

Touch: Keyboard (obvs), with the slight slippery-ness that comes from my extra potent hand lotion (Aveeno Baby in the tube because it has absolutely no smell.  I have a sensitive nose.  I can’t even wear perfume!)

Smell: Shampoo.  I showered before bed.  My shampoo is currently Head and Shoulders because if my scalp (and the rest of my body for that matter) get any drier I will simply disintegrate into a pile of dandruff.

As for my sense of hunger? Eh, I’m always hungry.

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The Weather Outside is Frightful


You guys, it’s FUHREEEZING outside.  Way, way to cold for this Oklahoma girl (although I must admit, I don’t have much of a tolerance.  Especially when I heard someone say the HIGH on Christmas day in Minnesota is TEN BELOW ZERO. Dude.)

Dave is the official Cold Weather Worrier in our house.  He bustles around when the forecast calls for frigid temperatures putting special insulating covers over our outdoor faucets and (in dire situations) opening cabinets to allow warm air to circulate around the pipes under our sinks.

I, on the other hand, don’t think a thing about our house, and instead focus on putting on another sweater.  And some socks.

But I suppose extra insulation and caulking around doors and those sorts of things would be smart.  Think of the money it would save! Plus: less sweaters required!

Do you worry about weatherizing your house for the cold months?  Does it work? Did you save money?

Do tell.

ps – Hey locals: did you know OG&E has a weatherization program?  Go here for details! In some cases they’ll come do it FOR YOU.  Dude!  How cool is that? (Or how WARM is that, really)

Compensation for this post was provided by OG&E. Opinions expressed here are my own.


Etsy! It’s Official! I’m an ARTEEEST!

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Just now? Just this very minute? I made my sister-in-law hold my hand while I pushed the “open your shop” button on  And while the shop was loading we SQUEEEEEEE’d.

It was very dramatic.

And now you can buy a painting from me from a legitimate site!   I called my shop RitaARTloff for lack of a better idea.  I wanted “The Accidental Artist” or “A Colorful Mess” but dang it if both were taken.

I need you to come up with something better.  Hurry up now and make that happen.

Either way, you should go buy a painting! Yaaaaay!

I’m so excited (And a little skeeerd, because what if no one buys anything! And then I look stupid! YOU’RE ALL GOING TO LAUGH AT ME!)

(If anyone needs me I’ll be hiding in the closet)



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