Wednesday, November 28, 2007

A Little of This and a Little of That

The Husband called me this morning to tell me that he came upstairs to find our dog with her head stuck in a box of cookies. She almost knocked over the Christmas tree while she was thrashing around the living room, trying to get it off. What a stupid mutt! The Boy had just fed her too! Apparently she wanted a dessert of almond crescent cookies to finish off the Dog Chow.

I must remember to throw the cookies away tonight when I get home. I can just see myself reaching into the box absent-mindedly while watching tv. Uh, like I did while I was watching The Biggest Loser last night. Not a great choice of mine to have a box of cookies next to me while that show was on. It would be even worse to do it now that the cookies have dog slobber on them.

**

So I've started running again after taking a two week break to heal my hip. My first run was Saturday - I did only 2.5 miles, and it felt really good. I ran again last night, and only did 2 miles, but this morning my hip is in bad shape again. This makes me crazy! I'm not supposed to get injured when I've been taking it slow and easy. I suppose it means I have two choices: I can quit running entirely or go to a doctor to see if there's anything they can do to help me get over this hip pain. It's times like this that I want to wail like a two year old and yell "It's not FAIR!!" Because it isn't. It sucks. All I want to do is become a good runner. Hell, I'll take becoming a mediocre runner. I know I'll never win any races - that's not what I want. I want to be able to consistently run a base of 15-20 miles per week so that I can maintain good aerobic health and eat cookies while I watch tv shows and not grow an ass while I do so. I'm in good health and should be able to do that! Wah. Enough whining.

**

Last night I stopped what I was doing and listened to my surroundings. For a moment a really nice warm, toasty feeling came over me. The dishwasher was running, which meant that the kitchen was clean. The washing machine had a load of towels going, and the dog was snoring on the floor next to me. I heard Hollywood downstairs listening to music while she did her homework. The Husband was in his workshop watching Modern Marvels. The show was about the history of pigs. In Bumblebee's bedroom, I heard The Boy reading her a Scooby Doo story. I paused to listed to these sounds and it dawned on me that things can be pretty damn good sometimes.

**

I do this goofy thing with the kids where I sternly call out their names - first and middle - so it sounds like they're in real trouble. When they come to see me, I try to act like an angry mom and then I sternly demand a hug. Bumblebee almost always catches on, and says "HUG" as soon as she hears me yell out her name. Last night The Boy actually thought he was in trouble when I did it to him. Which makes me wonder... was he up to something or did he have a guilty conscience?

**

Hollywood got to go over to her boyfriend's house last night for a while. He'd gotten her a birthday present, but since she's been grounded, they haven't been able to hang out together, so he hadn't given it to her yet. She came home and showed me the present - great big "diamond" earrings and a teddy bear. Oh, to be 14 again and get gifts from boys... (Wait - when I was 14 boys ignored me because I was a scary mess of chubbiness, bad hair, and orthodontia.)

**

I took the kids to see the movie Enchanted over the weekend. It was fabulous. All three kids enjoyed it, and when you have kids whose ages span 10 years like mine do, that's a tough assignment! Patrick Dempsey is so darned... well, for lack of a more creative word... DREAMY, that it's hard to take your eyes off of him. This is the first movie that Bumblebee actually sat through and watched the entire thing. I give it an A+. Definitely worth seeing.

**

I started reading a very interesting book last night. It's a new one - now the two half-read novels sitting next to my bed have a companion. It's called Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. It started off with a great voice, and so far it's fresh and interesting. I'd have read longer, except that I wanted to get to bed at a decent hour so I wasn't late today.

That sort of worked. I got in at 7:20. Which isn't quite on time, but it's closer. AND my hair is neatly styled and not in a ponytail. So we're making progress.

**

Well, that's about enough random rambling for one post. Happy Hump Day!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Funkytown

I'm in a funk. Maybe it's post Holiday depression, or stress, or whatever, but I have no drive or motivation to do much of anything. Here's a list of my funkiness:

  • Last night was the first night since Thanksgiving that I made dinner. We've had takeout or leftovers instead.
  • I ran once over the weekend, but didn't run last night - even though I had every chance to do so.
  • I've been eating so much food that it's no wonder my pants are tight. And tight they are... we haven't even gotten into Christmas food season yet!
  • My house is a mess. Laundry needs done, my bedroom is still a sty, the deep cleaning needs done.
  • We forgot to take the trash to the street last night, and since I overslept this morning, the garbage men were long gone by the time we thought about it. Since we hosted Thanksgiving - the trash is already overflowing. It'll be a fun trash week.
  • I have gotten up later and later since the time change. I'm supposed to work 7-4. Guess what time I got in this morning? 8:03. Not good.
  • I've worn my hair in a ponytail 4 out of the last 5 workdays. I'm too lazy or sleepy to actually style it.
  • I've got two books that are half finished sitting on my bedside table and they're collecting dust.
  • My couch and tv have formed a secret alliance and are hypnotizing me into watching endless episodes of What Not to Wear, Tim Gun's Guide to Style, Project Runway, Design on a Dime, etc. Which is pretty ironic because I sit on my sofa watching these people learn how to look great while my ass grows bigger.
See? It's a funk. And I'm going to try to pull myself out of it starting NOW.

I am eating oatmeal and a banana for breakfast.

I am going on a walk at lunch.

I am going to buy Christmas presents online for at least four people today.

I am going to get some actual work done too. (Though this is my calm down season - I'll have a couple of weeks of downtime before things get crazy again.)

I think that's about all I can commit to right now. But it's a start.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Thanksgiving Recap


Two posts in one day! Can you tell that I don't want to work today? By using company time to write another blog post, I'm protesting the fact that I have to be in the office when everyone else in the country is shopping or putting up their Christmas tree.

We had a lovely Thanksgiving dinner yesterday. We hosted it at our house this year, because the Packers were on TV and The Husband didn't want to miss out on the game. We had family from both sides come over - my mother in law brought one of TH's brothers, and another one came with his family. My mom and three of my brothers joined us as well. I think there were 17 people there. Enough to fill the house and the tables, but not too many to make me crazy and worry about my hostessing duties.

I made the mistake of having two or three (or was it four?) glasses of wine before dinner. This meant that I threw caution to the wind and ate at least 33,210 calories at dinner. But it was a fun time, and that's what counts.

The men were all downstairs watching football. (Way to go, Packers!!! 10-1, baby!) Which left the women - my mom, my mother in law, my sister in law, Hollywood and me all hanging out in the kitchen. With the wine. It was nice.

Highlights of the day:
  • Getting help from The Husband without any grumbling. He really did make the day a breeze by helping me with a few of the last minute things that needed to be done.
  • Getting advice from my mom on how to prevent a hangover so that I could come to work today. "Drink Gatorade," she said. "It really works." I sent Mom home with a big old bottle of Gatorade herself.
  • Reminiscing with my mother in law about the first time we met - which was a nerve wracking situation for both of us.
  • Chatting with my sister in law about her life - getting to know her better.
  • Welcoming Hollywood into the sisterhood of the kitchen on holidays. It was nice having her there, but she probably heard more than she bargained for.
  • The food was good, the company was even better. We have a lot to be Thankful for.
  • Ending the day by watching two Tivoed episodes of Project Runway with a sleeping Bumblebee on my lap to keep me warm. Mabel (the new cat) joined us after she was certain that Hollywood was completely asleep and wouldn't be harassing her.
Thanksgiving is such a nice holiday. Low pressure, good food, family, and wine. Who can ask for more?

The Sock Trasher

I feel like The Boy doesn't get enough 'blog press'. Almost all of Bumblebee's conversations are so cute that they're blog fodder. Hollywood's challenging attitude makes for blogging gold too.

But The Boy, who has always been my "easy" child, happily goes through the day saying sweet things like, "Best Mom in the world." as his good night salutation. He rarely argues with The Husband and me, and if he does get in trouble, he accepts his punishment without opposition. I'm serious - if he didn't remember to practice his trumpet and I take the GameBoy away for a day, he almost cheerfully says, "Ok, Mom." before handing it over. Our biggest struggles with The Boy aren't really that big at all: he's very unorganized, and has trouble focusing on the task at hand sometimes. Think of it as a creative genius disorder, if you will. His bedroom is usually a disaster, but then again, so is mine, so how hard on him can I be for that? The kid TRASHES his socks. I buy brand new ones and after one use, they look like a homeless man has walked the streets of LA in them for weeks.

He's scatterbrained, unorganized, and a sock-ruiner. I'm a lucky parent to have a kid with these three things as his top challenges. I'm sure he'll go through a difficult stage when he's older. I hear that high school is a particularly trying time for boys. But maybe not... Maybe he'll always be a well behaved, rule following, mom-loving little man. I can dream, right?

Friday, November 16, 2007

In the Blink of an Eye

How does one go from here:


To here:


To here:



To here:


To here:


To here:


To here:


In the blink of an eye?


Happy 14th Birthday, Hollywood. I love you.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Sins of the Past Coming Back to Haunt Me...

In 13 years and 364 days I have been viewed by my daughter as the following things:

Caregiver/protector - I loved parenting an infant. I miss the days of complete helplessness, that snuggly warm feeling, the gentle thump, thump of a baby's soft spot on your lips as you're kissing their silky head. Hollywood used to lock her big gray eyes with mine as an infant. She seemed so content. (When she wasn't a screaming, collicky mess, that is...)

Teacher - Hollywood wanted to learn everything when she was a toddler. She craved knowledge, asked about a billion questions, and listened intently to my answers. She absorbed these teachings like a little sponge, and looked at me with adoration when I explained why snakes don't have legs.

Playmate - Endless games of Candyland, a thousand tea-parties, Games of hide and seek, Twenty Questions, I Spy, and so on. I loved getting down on the floor with my kids and playing with them. I remember Hollywood's deep, belly laugh when we'd be playing goofy games together. She used to be so amused by my silliness.

Confidant - When Hollywood was in third grade, she had trouble with another girl her age. I remember her eyes welled up with tears, telling me how this little monster, er, I mean girl, would hurt her feelings. I loved hearing about her life, listening to her stories. My heart broke when hers broke, my heart leapt when hers leapt. She trusted me with her secrets, she felt better after telling them to me.

Cheerleader - I love watching my children play in their sports games or events. I adore watching them sing in their chorus concerts. My chest puffs up with pride when I watch Hollywood compete in her activities like Mock Trial and other academic events. When other parents compliment me on how great of a player Hollywood is, I always think back to one of my earliest cheerleader experiences that occurred when she was in Kindergarten. They picked her to narrate the class play about penguins because she was the only kid who could read it clear as a bell, and sound conversational even. I was so proud, I was bursting. I love watching my children do what they love to do. Hollywood used to get a small smile when she'd look out into the stands to see me cheering at a game or an event. Every once in a while she even waved hello at me! She liked having me there to watch her succeed.

And now... here's what stage we've come to, just one day before my charming daughter turns 14. I am no longer seen as a caregiver, teacher, playmate, confidant, or cheerleader in her eyes. Nope. I am now an old hag who knows nothing about anything.

Sigh... Be quiet Mom, I can hear you laughing from here. This is payback in its finest form.


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Dorky Dorkenstein

Don't you hate when you do something dorky? I am such a dork. Seriously. Sometimes I can disguise it. Most of the time, though... not so much.

Today I went to lunch at The Boy's school. It was their annual holiday dinner. Yum, yum... Instant mashed potatoes with turkey and gelatinous gravy plopped on top. As I was standing in line to eat such delectable goodness, The Boy's teacher took a look at my outfit (purple blazer and top, black dress pants) and said, "Hi Mrs. R! Purple sure is your color!"

Here's where I became a dorkus maximus. I said, rather enthusiastically, I'm afraid, "It sure is!"

I didn't have time to explain why I answered that way - before I knew it, The Boy's teacher was off complimenting other parents, who I'm certain replied with much more grace and tact than I.

The Boy's teacher was paying me a compliment, telling me I look nice in purple. She must have thought I was quite the egomaniac with my response, because clearly you don't say "yep - I sure do look fabulous in purple" as a response to a compliment.

My face is turning red, just thinking of it.

But I'll explain to you why I answered that way, because, well, it might make me feel better. Or not. Probably it will just make me dwell on my dorkiness even longer, but whatever...

Purple is my favorite color. It's been my favorite color since I was teeny tiny. I love the color so much that I wear it A LOT. People at work have commented before on how much purple I have in my wardrobe. I was thinking Mrs. H's comment was along those lines, which is why I answered the way I did. Those dumb words were out of my mouth before I realized that Mrs. H, who sees me about three or four times per year would have no idea that I wear purple all the time, and would therefore not be telling me that purple is my color for that reason.

I know that in the grand scheme of things this isn't a highly embarrassing moment, but I'll keep replaying it over and over in my head until that queasy feeling in my stomach shows up. Why did I say that? I'll ask myself for about three days. Then I'll do or say something that trumps even this dorky incident, causing my mind to obsess about the new dork action.

It's great to be me.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Kid Stuff

Bumblebee was on a roll today... Here are several illustrations of her take on life:
  • The Husband was playing the guitar with her, and letting her strum the chords. They were singing goofy songs like Tie Me Kangaroo Down (Bumblebee thinks it's "Tiny Kangaroo Down") and the Scooby Doo theme song. For a long time, she's been telling us that she's going to be an Animal Doctor when she grows up, but that she wants to be a waitress first. Tonight she told The Husband that she was going to be a guitar player, then a waitress, then an animal doctor, and finally, an OLD LADY.
  • We were talking about getting the new car (we pick it up tomorrow) and Bumblebee was wondering why we didn't get it yesterday. The real reason is that the bank was closed on Saturday, so they need to finalize the loan, but we figured that explanation would just open the door to a bunch of questions, so we told Bumblebee that the car was going to be washed and cleaned, and that they're getting it ready for us. She got very reverent and said, "Dear God, please make sure our new car is washed clean. Amen."
  • I was putting her to bed tonight and she was all sorts of wound up. Finally, I had to scold her. "Mom! You don't have to be so rude about it!" she said. And then, after a few seconds of silence, "I don't think God is very happy with you right now."
  • And finally, after she really did settle down and was getting ready to sleep, she said, "Mommy? I'm sorry when I was naughty a few seconds ago. And the second after a few seconds ago too."
God, I love that kid. Four year olds are awesome.

In other news, The Boy almost beat me in chess tonight. He's really improving! Soon I won't stand a chance. He wants me to teach him to play cribbage, and I'm excited about that. I think I'll get him a nice cribbage board for Christmas. It's a game I played with my Grandpa. And then, when my brother K was in college, we'd play online cribbage while we were both supposed to be working. It'll be fun to teach The Boy cribbage.

Last night we were at my brother in law's house and were sitting around a fire telling creepy stories. The Boy told a story that he made up on the spot, called The Spirit of Cedar Lake. It was really very inventive and suspenseful! If he's not the next J.K. Rowling, I'll be surprised - his creativity is amazing.

Hollywood is going through an argumentative period. I told her before mass this morning that she had way too much eyeliner on, and to go wash it off. I was rewarded with a lovely argument... She wants me to let her have a slumber party for her birthday. This wouldn't be a huge deal, except that she wants to invite 15 girls!! God help us all... I'm not sure when she'll learn that it's easier to get your way if you're sweet and charming beforehand. She's usually the queen of brown nosing, so I'm not sure why her game's off this week. She turns 14 on Friday, and I can't believe it. She'll get her driver's permit and can then drive with a parent. Scary timing since I'll have a car that's 5 days old... Hmmm, maybe she'll have to learn to drive TH's monster truck instead.

Well, it's time to get ready for the week ahead. Sunday nights are so depressing...

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Next Stage (Not a Wells Fargo Ad)

Is it possible? Could I really be on the verge of a new stage of parenthood? Just as I passed the breastfeeding stage, the waking up four times a night stage, and the diaper stage, I am on the cusp of moving out of the MINIVAN stage.

We are trading the minivan for a car - possibly today, but definitely within the week. That's right, folks, a regular old midsize sedan. No more sliding doors that whack like thunder when a kid slams them too hard, no more 19 miles per gallon nonsense, no more soccer mom stigma. (Well, maybe that one won't go away. I am what I am, after all...) No more trouble pulling the van into a compact sized parking space; No more loud, bumpy ride; No more tossing things into the far back of the van hoping that the kid who is sitting there catches the item so they don't have to unbuckle their seatbelt to retrieve it.

I have owned a minivan since I was twenty-five years old. My brothers made fun of me when I got my first one, but they are convenient as hell when you have kids to run here and there and everywhere. We still have kids that we have to run all over the place, but we've decided they can sit three abreast in the back seat. Gas prices have helped us with this decision.

I'm excited to be moving past this stage... there's no bittersweetness in this one. The minivan has defined me for almost 10 years. But now I can be a car girl!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Bad Blogger, I Have Been

Hmmm, not sure why I went all Yoda on the title, but this is a drive by post to say that I will write something, about who knows what, in the very near future. I promise.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Mabel

The Husband and I took the family out to dinner last night. We ate at a BBQ restaurant and had a nice time. Bumblebee is old enough to behave herself while out to dinner, so taking the family out to eat isn't the torture that it once was. We had some interesting conversations while there. At one point TH was teasing Hollywood that we almost named her Mabel, Gertrude, Bertha, Eunice, etc. She didn't really believe us, but it was funny.

Guess who was waiting for us when we got home? Our favorite stray cat. The Husband thought it was probably a wild Tom. The entire family (except for me) went out to greet the annoying little thing. As they bent down to pet it, I saw it rubbing up against TH's legs, and it was purring. Then it raised it's front paws and put them on TH's leg to stretch. That's when we found out it was declawed. TH picked it up and verified that 'it' is a 'she'.

They all turned to me, asking me if we could let her inside. The Husband seemed to be the most influential: "She chose us!" he told me. My heart of stone softened to a less hard stone, something porous that is easily eroded. If it weren't for the fact that she was declawed, I'd have been strong in my refusal to let this poor thing inside. But I saw her across the highway yesterday morning, which means she's risking that pretty little neck of hers by darting across traffic, and she's been begging to get inside our house since last Tuesday. Without claws, she can't defend herself against other animals... I'm still leery, though. Why was she lost? Did she run away? If that were the case, she wouldn't be far from home - our neighborhood is fairly isolated and is only two blocks of houses surrounded by miles of cornfields. But what if she was dropped off intentionally on Beggar's Night because she's a naughty cat - one who pees on the couch or barfs in the hallway so that you step in it on the way to the bathroom at night?

Even with these doubts, I begrudgingly told the family that she could come in temporarily. But we'd have to create flyers and send them around the neighborhood seeing if anyone lost her. She was obviously someone's cat... How did she end up in our neighborhood?

So the family immediately assumed that means we get to keep her. I suppose we will if nobody claims her and if she doesn't turn out to be an evil, horrible cat... They decided to name her Mabel, after our conversation at the BBQ joint. Bumblebee keeps calling her 'Maple' - which is almost a cuter name... She's been checking out the place, got a nice meal in her belly, and has Merlin and Jazzy all stirred up. Last night she tried to sleep in our bed. Uh-uh, no way... I tossed her onto the floor, so she cuddled up next to Bumblebee in her bed all night.

She really is a sweet thing. I'll be sort of sad if someone claims her... But don't tell my family that.

Jogging update: Today was my scheduled "long" run of 6 miles. Wednesday I slacked off and didn't run, so I made up for that run yesterday. I did 3 miles on Thursday, and the makeup 3 on Friday. Today I got on the treadmill to do my long run, and my legs responded with an emphatic, "Hell no!" I only got two miles in. Guess my legs aren't ready for three consecutive running days, especially when the last day is my long run. That'll teach me to screw up my schedule by being lazy... I'm bummed. But I will start fresh this week and hopefully I won't be lazy again.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Eyebrows and Stray Cats

Who can believe that it's November already? Sheesh.

I got my hair cut and my eyebrows waxed yesterday. I'd never had that done before. Well, I have had my hair cut before. Just not the eyebrow waxing thing.

I am in love with my new eyebrows. They are so shapely and not an errant eyebrow hair in place! And you know what? Waxing hurts WAY less than plucking. (Aside: plucking my eyebrows makes me sneeze - anyone else have this curious affliction?) In fact, the warm wax feels soothing on your brow up until the moment that the cloth is ripped off your skin. And even that doesn't hurt very much. Seriously! I love it. For $15, it's totally worth it.

The hair cut is nice too. She didn't go quite as far as I wanted her to with the layers, but I'll get her to cut more layers next time. I think I might have finally found a keeper of a hairdresser. I've only been looking for one for my entire life. But either the location wasn't good or the hairdresser was too chatty. I cannot stand hairstylists who talk the entire time they cut your hair. I'm a very talkative gal with my friends and family, but not so much with strangers. I would prefer to keep the conversation to a few polite comments about the weather and leave it at that. This gal was good - she recognized my preference to chill instead of jabber and went with it.

It's Friday! This week's been long. Not because I've had a busy week - I've actually been slacking at work, and that's totally going to bite me in the ass next week. It's just been a long week. So I'm glad that the weekend is almost here.

Update on the cat: it comes to our door every night and howls incessantly. A few times in the morning it's been there too. This morning I saw it about a half mile down the road (across the highway) so I'm starting to get nervous about the little thing. I'm not sure what to do... If I take it to the rescue league, it might get euthanized if nobody wants it... I do not want another cat in my house - especially this one since I know it likes to howl and whine a lot. Think I'll talk with my neighbors this weekend and see if anyone knows who the poor thing belongs to.

Argh! This blog post sucks. I'm sorry for droning on about eyebrows and stray cats.

(Ok - who has the Stray Cat Strut song in their head now?)

I don't bother chasing mice around
I slink down the alley, lookin for a fight
Howlin to the moonlight on a hot summer night
Singin the blues while the lady cats cry
Wild stray cat you're a real gone guy
I wish I could be as carefree and wild
But I got cat class and I got cat a style